Spicy mango chutney

What better way to feel at one with this season than by using all the abundance of fruit and vegetables and pickling, preserving, making jam, my favourite brown (plum) sauce, or chutneys.

OK, so these mangoes weren't exactly grown locally, but I use and love mango chutney more than any other - so that's what I'm making.

And the apples at least were straight from my parents' orchard, so I'm not entirely missing the point of seasonal eating!

This recipe is very much based on that of one of my very favourite food writers, Diana Henry, and taken from her wonderful book, Salt Sugar Smoke .... I just simplified (to me) the quantities as I don't like weighing things and changed the spices a bit - just due to personal preference!

So, to make approximately 3 jars of delicious and easy spicy mango chutney, I used:

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

400ml white malt vinegar

2 red birds eye chillies, very finely chopped - I keep the seeds in (you can use more or less chillies of course to suit your taste)

1 green chilli, very finely chopped

2 tsp black mustard seeds

3 mangoes (around 1lb each), peeled and the flesh diced (I can't stone mangoes so just slice around the stone and then cut the pieces of mango into smaller pieces)

2 smallish (or 1 large) apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces (a tart cooking apple would be good, but I used eating apples)

1 lb granulated sugar

Fresh ginger, grated, approx 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

grated zest and juice of 1 juicy lime (or 2 less juicy of course)

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

Into a large pan go the onions, vinegar and chillies - bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, when the onions will have started to soften.

Toast the mustard seeds - just put them into a dry frying pan and as soon as they start to pop remove them from the heat.

Add the mangoes, apples and mustard seeds to the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes when the fruit will have started to soften.

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

Tip in the ginger, coriander, cumim and lime zest and then slowly bring it all to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.

Reduce the heat if need be to a simmer and cook until it's yummy and thick and jammy.  

It'll take 30-45 minutes and do keep stirring regularly as it'll stick to the bottom if not!

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

When it's done, squeeze in the lime juice, stir and remove from heat.

While it's still hot put the chutney into warm, dry, sterilised jars, cover with waxed paper discs (confession - I don't have any so I don't do this - also it never hangs around long enough in this house!) and seal with a lid.

It'll keep for AGES too - up to a year - but, as I  said - not in this house it doesn't! 

We tried it immediately for dinner the same night as it was made - with chicken jalfrezi and some carrot salad in place of rice (shredded carrot with a big squeeze of fresh lemon and topped with toasted flaked almonds).

And you can also use it in this recipe for sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry.

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney


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Totally yummy (despite the not very appealing name) egg + bean curry

This is so simple and so good, it's already (and I've only made it once hehe) a new lunch go-to.

My friend Pam shared the recipe and I just knew I was going to love it.

I love eggs and I love curry, so I love dishes like eggs in coconut masala or these great Thai classic 'son-in-law' eggs.

But this is easier than easy and just perfect for a quick lunch.

Here's what you need to make 'egg + bean curry' for one:

Cooking oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 - 1 chilli (depending on taste), chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tomato, diced

2 eggs, beaten

1 small tin baked beans, rinsed of all sauce (or the same quantity of cooked haricot beans)

salt and pepper to season

chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve (if liked)

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Heat a frying pan or wok and add some cooking oil (I use a spray oil then a splash of water if it looks like sticking) then the onion, chilli, garlic and cumin and cook over a very low heat for two or three minutes, adding a little water if it's sticking. You don't want it to burn!

Then add the tomatoes and cook until it's all softened, probably another five or six minutes.

Add the eggs and beans and cook, stirring all the time, for a few minutes to scramble the beans and get everything hot and yummy.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Season to taste, check you're happy with the consistency and turn out on to a plate or a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

I started eating straightaway and forgot to take a photo until I was two thirds of the way in!

So when I make this again (which I definitely will be, and soon) I'll take a photo of the finished dish.

This is really good and simple and tasty - just the sort of lunch I love! 


Coconut cauliflower chicken/mushroom soup

Simple, quick and delicious - my favourite sort of recipe!

And especially on a rainy grey day, I love the sort of soothing-ness that comes from creamy coconut matched with a little spice, and the cauliflower is the perfect texture - soft but with a little bite.

I used chicken stock and some cooked chicken, but it's a lovely vegetarian/vegan recipe made with vegetable stock and mushrooms instead.


For two bowls, you'll need

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

a big handful of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced and/or some cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

300ml stock - I used half a Knorr chicken stock cube, but vegetable is good too 

200ml (half a tin) coconut milk

1 garlic clove, squashed and finely chopped (you can leave this out though, I think I might try it without next time I make it)

1 couple of lime leaves, crumpled and torn to release the scent would be perfect - but I didn't have any so used the zest of one lime

a piece of ginger, probably an inch or so, peeled and grated

If you have a stalk of lemongrass (I didn't), add it! Just remove the outer tough layers, give it a bash with a rolling pin and throw it in 

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1-2 red bird eye chillies, quantity to your own taste, sliced

the juice of half a lime

coriander leaves to serve (if liked)


Prepare the vegetables and chicken (if using) so they're ready to add later.

Then put the stock, coconut milk, garlic (if using), lime leaves or lime zest, ginger, lemongrass (if using), soy sauce and sugar plus the cauliflower, mushrooms and/or chicken into a saucepan and gently heat to bring to the boil.

Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup
Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup

Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft but a little al dente (definitely not mush!) and remove from heat.

Stir in the chillies and lime juice and serve with coriander, if liked - I wish I'd had some as think it would have looked prettier with some greenery on there!

Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup

Oh, you could remove any lime leaves and lemongrass before serving if you want - or just take them out when you come to them in the bowl ...

So simple and so good.



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Strawberry + dark chocolate 'ice cream'

Easiest, yummiest 'ice cream' ever. 

It's actually frozen yogurt I suppose, and so simple and so good.

There's a few ways to make this, so do read the full post before deciding how you're gonna make your's!

You can make it as I did, with fresh berries and then freeze. If you do this, it'll need maybe 20-30 mins to unfreeze enough to serve and it IS quite crunchy icy.

You could use frozen strawberries - make sure they're frozen all the way through - and then serve immediately for a lovely soft almost mousse-like frozen yogurt sensation.

If you want something really creamy and luxurious, add 1/2-1 tin of condensed milk when you blend it all up - for a super-dreamy yummy ice cream.

But back to basics  ... here's what I used: 

approx 300g fresh strawberries (I had a 400g pack but had eaten quite a lot of them already plus saved a couple to have with the ice cream), hulled and halved

approx 400g Greek yogurt (it was a 500g tub but I saved some to make a chicken jalfrezi for dinner)

around 50g dark chocolate, bashed on the side to splinter it (half the packet)

a good tablespoon yummy runny good honey (I forgot to photograph this)

the zest and juice of a lime

And then I just whizzed it all up in the food processor - a blender would work too - and poured into a tub to freeze.

Serve with fresh strawberries and some shavings or pieces of dark chocolate.

Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream

This is such an easy way to make a delicious dessert and works divinely with frozen mango too - and I like quickly toasting some flaked almonds to add for crunch.

Delicious.

Hope you like this - let me know how you go with it.



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Simplest Thai green chicken curry noodles

I had this today for a quick brunch ... needed something super-soothing (and spicy) after a very un-relaxing start to the weekend with eyebrow threading, followed by a bikini wax. Ouch!

Plus I had just over half a tin of coconut milk in the fridge from the night before when I'd made my new favourite Thai-inspired salmon and new potato tray bake.

(OK I KNOW you're not supposed to keep opened tins in the fridge, but it was just overnight, k?)

Anyway, on to brunch.

SO GOOD.

SO SIMPLE.

Not terribly authentic as I didn't have any Thai basil or pea aubergines, but hey ho, it's close enough and it tastes great!

Here's what you need for one big bowl of yummy green curry noodles:

1 layer of dried rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil plus a splash of water)

a good Thai green curry paste - THIS is the one I use

1/2 - 1 chicken breast (depending on size and hunger), cut into bite-sized pieces

about 200ml (around half a tin) coconut milk

some vegetables - I had a few bits of broccoli, a few green beans, a couple of mange tout and some yellow pepper

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Thai basil to serve would be best; coriander would be nice; I had a few slices of spring onion and a few slices of red chilli just to make it look nice really

First, get the noodles ready, according to the instructions on the packet, so they're ready to add, and prepare all the ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

Put a saucepan, big frying pan or wok over a medium heat, add a slosh of cooking oil or around 20 sprays of your cooking oil and add a walnut sized amount (a couple of teaspoons) of green curry paste and the chicken to the pan.

Stir fry until the chicken is sealed and white, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent it sticking.

Then add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and boil on a low-ish boil for 5 minutes.

Throw in the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Add in the fish sauce and sugar, stir, then add the noodles and cook for another minute.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

If you have Thai basil, add it now, remove from heat and stir to wilt in.

Otherwise, just tip it into a big bowl, add any garnishes you like and enjoy!



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Thai-inspired salmon tray-bake

So tray bakes ...

Well, first ... I was at my sister's in Cornwall the last few days, walking on this beach ... 

Spending time with my family, laughing and playing, and also lots of time creating, writing and cooking.

It's very different cooking for a family than for one or two adults (usually) and it made a really lovely change.

I especially liked the simple and delicious tray bake we made last night - just putting chicken thighs into a dish with cherry tomatoes on the vine, a couple of chopped rashers of bacon,, a garlic clove, minced, and new potatoes - served with steamed tenderstem broccoli.


And all the way home, five hours on the train, I was half thinking, half brewing, what I could do for a Thai-inspired version of an easy one-pot tray-bake.

I had a friend coming for dinner tonight, so she was going to be my guinea pig!

I wasn't sure to be honest that it would work.

BUT we LOVED it!

And I'm SO utterly thrilled it was so good, and so simple too!

Current favourite easy dinner!


OK, what you need for two people:

Some new potatoes, however many you want to eat! (I think I allowed 5-6 each)

Approx 150 ml coconut milk (I had this cute 165ml tin so used that)

150 ml stock made with chicken or veg stock cube

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced (put half aside)

a small (maybe a thumb sized) piece of ginger, minced (put half aside)

zest and juice of one lime

I red birds eye chilli, finely chopped

2 fillets of salmon, boneless and remove the skin if you can

some green veg - I had broccoli, asparagus and a couple of sliced spring onions

coriander leaves, chopped, to serve - if liked


I used my trusty remoska to make this, but you can just use a glass/pyrex dish or roasting dish - and pre-heat the oven first to a medium heat.

Slice the potatoes quite thickly and arrange in a layer over the bottom of the remoska or dish.

Mix the coconut milk, stock, sesame oil,  1/2  the garlic and 1/2 the ginger and pour over the potatoes.

Then add the zest and juice of a lime, and the chopped red chilli.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Stir and cook for around 20 minutes. 

You will need to make a decision here as to the right time to add the fish and vegetables based on how cooked your potatoes are.

Mine needed 30 minutes cooking plus another ten for the fish and veg, but I think if you're using a pre-heated oven you'll only need 15-20 for the first part, so do check and use your own intuition (and knowledge of your own oven).

When the potatoes are 5-10 mins away from being done, add the salmon, the vegetables and then the remaining garlic and ginger.

Cook for another ten minutes of so until done.

Remove from heat and add a handful of chopped coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Serve either in the dish it's been cooked in, or if you're using a (kind ugly but the BEST) remoska like me, then serve in a bowl, maybe with extra lime wedges on the side.

We really loved this!

I hope you do too.



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Green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

This is a really lovely dish from Rachel Roddy writing in the Weekend Guardian recently - an Italian warm vegetable sort of salad/stew with soft flavours of braised runner beans, tomatoes, olive oil, salt - all warm and beautiful on a summer's day served with some good bread.

I couldn't resist trying it immediately (nope, patience has never been a strong point of mine!) so I ended up making it slightly differently with the ingredients I had.

I still loved it and I'll be making it again, both the way I made it, and going back to try the original.

It's pretty much perfect in its simplicity just as it is, although would make a great accompaniment to any grilled / barbecued meats of fish too.

You'll find the original recipe HERE.

And because my local shop didn't have any fresh basil the day that I made it, and because I had fine beans rather than runner beans, I made some tiny changes to the flavours - without the basil it would need something so I also used a few slices of chilli pepper and some ground cumin.

If you have fresh basil, then omit the chilli and the cumin.

Note that you leave the dish to sit for an hour or two after cooking to be served warm, so factor that into your timings!

Or just eat it hot of course.

Or make it the day before you want it and reheat very gently to serve - I imagine the flavours will only get better when left overnight.

Here's how I made a big pot, enough for two.

You'll need: 

1 medium white onion, very finely sliced

salt

1/2-1 small red chilli, very finely diced

a couple of tablespoons olive oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray cooking oil and a splash of water when it needed it) 

equal quantities of green beans or runner beans, and ripe tomatoes - I think I used 200-300g of each (and use the very best tomatoes you can get hold of - ones with lots of flavour)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

a good chunk of Feta cheese to serve

Get the ingredients together

Get the ingredients together

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Put the oil in a pan and when warmed, add the finely sliced onion and a small pinch of salt, and the chilli (if using) and cook gently over a low-medium heat until the onion is soft - if you use a spray oil like me, you'll need to add a splash of water or two as it cooks to prevent the onion burning. Cooking onions until soft always takes longer than I think it will - probably around 10 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan, stir well to combine with the onion, then cook - still stirring - for a 3-4 minutes.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

Add the tomatoes, another small pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (if using) then cover the pan and leave for a couple of minutes. Uncover the pan and stir, then cover for another 4-5 minutes (have a look and stir if you like - and if you need a little splash of water add it - although the juice from the tomatoes should be coming out now as it has time to cook with the lid on).

Once the tomatoes are releasing their juice, uncover the pan and cook uncovered on a low heat, simmering gently, for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

The beans will be really tender and the sauce lovely and thick.

If you have fresh basil add a handful of torn basil leaves now for a couple of minutes. 

Taste and see if it needs any seasoning, then remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour or two before serving warm with the piece of feta crumbled over and served with bread, if liked. 

 
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
 


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Scallops + chorizo

Pork and seafood just go together ... here in a hot and sour salad, here in Singapore noodles, and tonight in a super-simple - but also luxurious - scallop and chorizo dish.

I always have seafood in the freezer - prawns, squid and scallops - as it defrosts really quickly in cold water and then cook quickly too, so there's always something good for dinner.

So I just put some scallops in a bowl of cold water to defrost and prepared the other ingredients: 

cooking oil

one garlic clove, crushed and minced

a red chilli, diced

a few slices of chorizo

a couple of spring onions, sliced

some sliced red pepper

one shredded little gem lettuce

and/or cooked rice to serve

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo

Put a pan on a medium heat, add a little cooking oil (I use a spray oil) and add the garlic, chilli and chorizo.

Cook for a few minutes letting the chorizo release that lovely colour - and  do add a splash of water if you need to so nothing sticks and the garlic doesn't burn.

Then add the scallops ... I once read that scallops are 'helpful' when they cook in that when one side is done it will naturally come away from the pan and you're able to turn them, but I think you'd need to be using more oil than I am for this to work!

I just cook them for a couple of minutes each side and add a little splash of water as I like to have a little sauce in this dish.

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops + chorizo

When the scallops have had a couple of minutes on each side, throw in the spring onions and red pepper and cook for a two or three more minutes.

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo

And that's it! 

You could serve with some plain rice, or you could try what I like - which is to add shredded lettuce (mine was little gem but any would do) to the pan and stir in to wilt.

And that's it!   You could serve with some plain rice, or you could try what I like - which is to add shredded lettuce (mine was little gem but any would do) to the pan and stir in to wilt.
Rachel Redlaw scallops + chorizo

I really like this.

I love cooked lettuce, that lovely braised lettuce done the French way with petit pois and mint, and one day decided to just add lettuce into a pasta ragu, or an Indian-style curry - and I liked it hence trying it today in this dish too!



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Prawn, tomato, rocket // easy summery pasta

Simplest summer pasta.

I used to make this all the time, then somehow forgot about it and my sister recently reminded me of it as she'd made it (it was a recipe of hers originally I think).

Quantities are vague really, it doesn't really matter (except what tastes good to you) but for two people, I used:

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

1 small white onion (finely diced)

1 clove garlic (squashed and minced)

1 red chilli, diced

1/3 chicken stock cube (I always use Knorr)

Water

A glass of white wine

2 ripe tomates, core removed and diced

King prawns - I had these lovely head-and-tail-on jumbo prawns and used four for each person - but any large prawns will be good

A couple of handfuls of rocket

Cooked pasta, to serve (I make this first and add at the end but you might prefer to time it so it all comes together! I also use gluten-free but of course just use your own favourite)

 
Prawn tomato rocket pasta Rachel Redlaw
 

Put a frying pan over a medium/low heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil, or a few sprays of oil, if you're using a spray oil (if you are, you may well need a little splash of water too to stop the ingredients sticking so just add a little as needed).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli slowing until softened - this always takes longer than I think (anywhere up to ten minutes).  Keep stirring to stop it sticking and add a little water if it looks like it will.

Crumble in the piece of stock cube, a slosh of water, and the wine and bring to a simmer.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes - it should be good and juicy so add another slosh of water if it needs loosening at all.

Add the prawns to the simmering mixture and cook for a few minutes until either hot through (if the prawns are already cooked) or until the grey raw prawns are completely pink and cooked.

Add the rocket and immediately turn off the heat but keep stirring to wilt the rocket.

Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta

You can serve with the pasta or - as I usually do - add the cooked pasta to the pan to re-heat as it'll be slightly cooled if cooked earlier, and stir to combine.

Season to taste and enjoy! 

 
Rachel Redlaw prawn tomato rocket pasta
 

There's something very elegant about the simplicity of this dish - as in fact with my other favourite summer pasta with prawns + lemon.

Hope you love them too.


 

 

Favourite lemon cocktail sours / virgin mocktail style

Well, the strange thing at my recent Tiniest Thai supperclub ... the vodka lemon sours went down as if they had no booze in them (er, they really did) and the virgin version ... everyone commented that it didn't taste any different to a 'normal' ie with alcohol cocktail!

I think it's the lovely super citrus lemon flavour that both masks the vodka if you're making that version, and yet gives the mocktail a cleanness and clarity of taste you often don't get with overly sweet fruit versions of other cocktails.

These are really simple and very delicious - and absolutely not an inferior version at all.

You do need to make a simple sugar syrup, but don't be put off by this, it really IS simple (and will keep in the fridge for ages once you've made a bottle).

Make the sugar syrup in advance as it needs to be completely cooled down - just put one cup of sugar and one cup of water into a saucepan and bring to the boil on the lowest heat possible.  Then boil for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, cool then bottle or put into a jar and store in the fridge.

And then to make two virgin lemon sours I just put in the blender:

a big handful of ice cubes

four shots of coconut water

two shots of freshly squeezed lemon juice

one shot of sugar syrup

one egg white (optional) 

And blend! 

Taste and add another shot of sugar syrup if you prefer it sweeter - just stir in or give it another quick blast.

The best mocktail I've made yet - do try it!


Vegan tofu + mushroom balls w/ a ginger sauce

When I knew my vegan friend was coming for dinner, I started a LOT of research googling recipe after recipe after recipe for something that would inspire me.

I was after something to make to go alongside my favourite prawn balls and was hoping for inspiration to create something new.

But eventually I came across this great recipe and pretty much just made it exactly as the original.

The original is HERE and I simplified it (to my mind anyway) slightly - and my go at making it you can find HERE.

Vegan tofu + shiitake mushroom balls with a sort of ginger sauce and sesame seeds.

They were very light with the lovely tofu but a bit crumbly - they became firmer on cooling and would be great served as a main with rice and vegetables.

We also had a sweet chilli sauce and a cucumber dipping sauce to accompany the prawn and tofu balls.

Super-simple with a food processor (or blender).

I only put these onto toothpick skewers to match the look of the prawn balls but actually these were a little crumbly so I'd just heap them in a yummy pile next time and pour the sauce and seeds over!

Rachel Redlaw tofu + mushroom balls

OK, let's get started ... pre-heat the oven to 375F / 190C / Gas 5.

The original recipe said to use baking paper brushed with oil on a baking tray ... which would probably be ideal, but I didn't have any greaseproof paper so just added a little oil to my baking tray and wiped it over with a piece of kitchen towel (and it worked fine).

The ingredients for the tofu balls themselves

About 200g firm tofu (I've had so much trouble with tofu over the years and then recently realised it was really down to me not buying the right sort - you do need the firm one!), drained and cut into a few pieces

A big handful of shiitake mushrooms - about 100g or a little more - and if you can't get shiitake then just use whatever mushrooms you have, stems removed and roughly chopped

200g of panko breadcrumbs (I found these easily at the supermarket - I'm sure you could use dry bread to make breadcrumbs in the food processor and then perhaps toast quickly in a dry pan and it would work well)

1 small, or half a large white onion, peeled and chopped into a few pieces

I garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons soy or almond milk

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

For the ginger sauce

I couldn't work out how to convert US cups very easily, so I just used a small cup and followed the measurements - I think as long as you're consistent it'll be fine (and it was, it was good).

1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I didn't have any so used 1 tablespoon of white malt vinegar - I used less as it'll have a stronger flavour and taste than rice vinegar)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

To serve

Some sesame seeds, toasted quickly in a dry pan (watch it all the time, they burn easily!)

Sliced spring onions


Put the tofu, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, milk and soy sauce in the food processor and pulse until completely mixed and crumbly - keep scraping the mixture down into the bowl as needed.

(It was so good I did eat some - I mean 'taste' - at this stage!).

IMG_0375.JPG
Rachel Redlaw tofu + mushroom balls

Roll into about 20 balls and put onto the baking sheet.

I was worried that it was too crumbly to make balls but actually I just took a small spoonful and made it into a ball and it was easy!

Brush with oil (I think I forgot to do this so don't worry too much!).

Pop in the oven and bake for about half an hour, turning half way through - carefully! I started turning mine too soon and they needed a little longer to be firm enough to turn so just see what works for you and your oven.

When cooked, remove and either serve straight away with the ginger sauce and topped with the sesame seeds - this would be a lovely dinner with rice and some stir fried vegetables - or you can re-heat later.

I have to admit to eating two or three as soon as they were cool enough - I really like these!

While they're baking, make the ginger sauce if you're eating them immediately.

Stir the water and cornstarch together to mix well and put into a small saucepan with the vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and ginger and bring slowly to a low simmer. Simmer for a minute or so, stirring all the time, until the sauce has thickened.

When ready to serve, pour the sauce over the tofu balls and top with the sesame seeds and sliced spring onions.

So good - hope you like them!



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Thai prawn + ginger noodles

This is a lovely recipe - it's a BBC Good Food recipe, shared with me by a friend and the original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.

I love the sauce made with red curry paste, orange juice and zest - so good, and such a great idea.

I did adapt it a little and because I hate precise measurements (and don't think they're needed with this way of cooking) I've made them a little bit easy-going :) 

What else did I just adapt a little?

First, the noodles - the recipe calls for sen lek -  lek means small so the original uses thin noodles.  I prefer the wider rice noodles so that's what I used - my message as always is to use what YOU choose.

Whichever you choose, soak or prepare the noodles according to your pack instructions, so they're ready to stir fry.  Always run your soaked noodles under a cold tap until they're completely cold to stop them going gloopy and sticky.

Oh and beansprouts - I don't really like them so left them out, but I'll add here in my recipe where to add them if you're using them.

The only other thing is basil - in my opinion this should say Thai sweet basil (horapha) as Mediterranean tastes totally different and won't work at all. So I'd say if you can get Thai sweet basil, then that would be amazing, but if you can't just leave it out, and don't use Mediterranean basil. 

And the coriander - I know a lot of people don't like it so if you don't, don't let that put you off this delicious, simple dish - just don't add coriander! It's still going to be very, very good.

OK, so I thought I'd try this one out just for me to see how I got on with it before I make it for anyone else, but now I can't wait for tomorrow dinner to cook it! 

For my one portion, so just double for two, I used:

Some lovely rice noodles, soak or prepare ready for stir-frying, according to pack instructions

Zest and juice of half an orange (zest first before halving - not being patronising, just making sure no-one else is sometimes as dizzy as me)

1/2 - 1 tablespoon red curry paste, depending on the strength of your brand of curry paste (you don't want it overwhelming but you do want to taste it)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon Demerara sugar (I didn't have any so just used white granulated)

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons cooking oil, or cooking oil spray (I used 20 sprays)

A small piece of fresh ginger, about thumb-sized, peeled and grated (it makes about 1 teaspoon)

I large garlic clove, squashed and minced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

a handful of mange tout or sugar snap peas, halved lengthways

a handful of beansprouts - optional, if liked

a few prawns, however many you want to eat, I had 7

a handful of Thai sweet basil, chopped - if you can get it - if not, just leave out

a handful of coriander leaves, chopped - optional, if liked

Stir together the orange zest and juice, red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and water to make a sauce and set aside.

And get the other ingredients ready to go.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

As I'd used the grater for the zest, I used it again to grate the ginger - which I prefer to having larger pieces, but am usually too lazy to get the grater out! (and yes I realise that that really IS lazy) - anyway that's why my ginger and garlic has little flecks of orange in with it!

Put a pan or wok over a medium heat, add the oil and then 2/3 of the ginger/garlic and fry, stirring all the time for 30 seconds or, as all Thai recipes say, 'until it smells good'.

I added a tiny splash of water too as garlic burns so quickly and wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

At any time in your cooking if it needs loosening a little, just add a splash of water. It's good to cook when things are moving fluidly and happily.

Add the red pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring all the time.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Then throw in the sugar snap peas or mange tout and after stirring to ensure everything's mixed add the curry sauce mix.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I turned up the heat a little and added a splash more water and when it started to simmer, turned the heat back down to medium and added the prawns (add the beansprouts now too if you're using them).

Cook until pink - about two - three minutes - then throw in the last of the ginger/garlic, stir and add the noodles.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Stir to combine and make sure the noodles are hot, then remove from heat and serve, topping with coriander if using.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I really, really like this!

Great flavours - and one I'll be making again (and again).



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

'Weeping tiger' steak

The ONLY hard part about this lovely easy dish is finding fresh green peppercorns - I get them from my local Thai supermarket but I haven't seen them in the usual supermarkets.

This is a shame and a reason I haven't posted this recipe before because I really try to ensure you don't need any specialist ingredients to make my recipes.

This one, I'm afraid you do ... HOWEVER, they do seem to be pretty much readily available to buy online (at least here in the UK).

I made this just with one steak, for myself, for lunch.

I've made it before though using an incredible piece of beef fillet for a friend's party. Just make up more marinade and cook the beef in the oven - like a roast done with the meat still pink in the middle.

Don't worry too much about the exact quantities of ingredients - to be honest it all tastes good!

But what I did today, for my lunch was to take (in addition to a steak - your choice of cut and size):

1 clove garlic, squashed with the flat of a knife

Some of the stalks chopped off near the bottom of a bunch of coriander, plus a few coriander leaves (plus another handful to garnish before serving)

A couple of sprigs - maybe 2 teaspoons-worth - of fresh green peppercorns

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Oh, and I made a sauce to spoon over the cooked steak too and THAT was simply made with:

The juice of one lime

1 teaspoon sugar (or 1/2 teaspoon sugar + 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce)

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

So first, put the garlic clove plus the chopped coriander stalks and a few leaves into a mortar and pound to a sort of paste/gloop with the pestle.

Stir in the peppercorns, fish sauce and soy sauce and then keep stirring in the sugar so it dissolves.

Rub the mixture over the steak and leave to marinade for half an hour or so.

Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak
Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak
Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak
Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak

Make the sauce by combining the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and chilli flakes and stir to dissolve the sugar. If I'd had some sweet chilli sauce (must make some!) I'd have added a teaspoon of that too but only used 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

 
Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak
 

If you're going to have it with rice, make the rice now so it's ready to go.

I wanted a lighter lunch so just prepped some vegetables which I quickly stir-fried after the steak and cooked and while it was resting.

When the steak's finished marinating cook it to your liking on a grill or griddle then rest it for a few minutes. I scooped up all the green peppercorns that had fallen down into the dips in the griddle and added to the steak (of course!).

Slice and serve with rice or vegetables and spoon over some of the sauce.

Sprinkle some coriander leaves over it all to garnish.

Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak
Rachel Redlaw weeping tiger steak


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Singapore noodles

One of my favourite dishes when I'm using things up ... when there's just a few prawns left in the freezer, or one rasher of bacon and some cooked chicken.

I often use bacon as an ingredient not as the main part of a meal, such as in this fish recipe where there's just one rasher for two people. So I'll keep single rashers in the freezer - they defrost really quickly.

So, Singapore noodles.

It's basically ALL in the prep as when you start cooking it only takes minutes, so getting everything ready is key.

PESCATARIANS! Just use more prawns.

VEGETARIANS! Up the vegetables and add some pre-fried tofu.

Read through the whole recipe first as there's quite a lot going on - it's all simple but there is a bit to prepare.

To serve two, you'll need:

around 100g vermicelli rice noodles

a handful of green beans, cut in half

Soak the noodles in freshly boiled water according to pack instructions. Mine said five minutes and I added the beans for the last minute to blanch them.

When they're done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the noodles cooking further or becoming sticky.

Into one bowl add 1 egg, beaten with a little shake of white pepper and a tiny splosh of sesame oil

Into another bowl go the vegetables. I had half a red pepper, sliced ; a couple of mushrooms, sliced and if I'd had waterchestnuts I'd have added them too

Now into another bowl go 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal; 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced; a small piece of ginger, approx 1 teaspoon, peeled and minced or grated; 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped and 1 teaspoon curry powder

1 rasher bacon, chopped

a few prawns in a bowl with a little fish sauce, maybe 1/2 teaspoon

some cooked chicken - I had approx half a breast in the fridge so cooked that on the griddle and then chopped

(What would be lovely to have had would have been char siu pork - next time I make it, I'll make sure there's a piece left over to make noodles).

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Once all the other ingredients are ready the noodles should have dried out a bit so now separate out the green beans and put them aside.

I normally cut the noodles in half with kitchen scissors as it makes them easier to stir fry later, but forgot today!

Put the noodles in a bowl and add:

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

And mix it all around to combine thoroughly - I just use my (clean) hands!

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Now, you just need some cooking oil and we're ready to cook ... 


Add a few sprays - or a couple of teaspoons - of cooking oil to a wok or good deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and cook until done.  Remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the prawns and a splash of water, cook for a few minutes until done and set aside too.

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Add a little more oil to the pan, tip in the contents of the dish with the spring onions, garlic etc and cook quickly, stirring all the time - you don't want it to burn - for a few seconds until it starts smelling good.

Then add the bowl of vegetables plus the green beans and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add a splash of water if it looks like sticking but not too much as after a couple of minutes you then push the vegetables aside and tip in the beaten egg mixture.

Leave it for a few seconds - I usually count to 10 - to start setting and then quickly scramble in to the other ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Add the prawns, bacon and chicken and stir and then finally add the noodles and cook for another minute or so until everything is hot.

This is where it would have been much easier if I'd cut the soaked noodles in half! 

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Remove from heat and tip out onto a serving dish.

If I'd had some coriander, I'd have added a small handful of the leaves to garnish.

But with or without the garnish, this is very good - and after you've made it once or twice, very easy. 

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Tom yum noodles

I couldn't decide.

I wanted tom yum goong, and I also wanted something with lovely slippery rice noodles.

And what I really didn't want to do was make a wrong decision - I hate making wrong food decisions! 

So I thought I'd make a tom yum noodles ... and it was exactly what I wanted.

A few things to note ...

1. the ingredients weren't hard to find so hopefully you won't find them so either. Galangal (although I used ginger here as that's what i had), lime leaves an lemongrass are all available at my local Sainsbury's although it is a really big one. M&S and Waitrose are a good bet otherwise, even smaller stores.

2. t's a bit of a faff picking the bits of ginger, lime leaf, lemongrass and chillies out of the pan, so I've just ordered some of those little muslin bags you use for spices or bouquet garni and when they arrive will be trying it using one to keep those ingredients separate and easy to remove.

3. you'll need some chilli paste in oil, nam prik pao - it's easy to make and keeps in the fridge for ages but you will need to make this in advance - here's the recipe.

So for a good big bowl of tom yum noodles, you'll need

rice noodles, soaked first or prepared as per pack instructions, ready to stir fry

1/2 cup water

a piece - around 1/3 - of a Knorr chicken stock cube

a piece of galangal or ginger, skin removed and cut into slices (make them quite large so they're easier to pick out later)

1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer removed, cut into two or three pieces and bashed with a rolling pin

a few kaffir lime leaves, leaves torn from the stalks and stalks discarded (this smells AMAZING by the way))

2 or 3 birds eye chillies (don't worry, you don't actually eat the chillies), stalks removed and given a bash with the rolling pin

one shallot or a small piece of white onion, sliced

a big heaped teaspoon of chilli paste in oil nam prik pao

a couple of mushrooms, or one large one, sliced

one tomato, cut into quarters or sliced - or a few cherry tomatoes, halved

some prawns - I had 7 or 8 raw ones

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1-2 limes depending on how juicy they are and your taste

small handful of coriander leaves, chopped (optional)

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle

Add some water, probably half a cup or so (you can always add more) to a wok, deep frying pan or saucepan, turn on the heat and when it starts to simmer, crumble in approx 1/3 of a stock cube and stir.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Add the ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and chillies and simmer for two minutes, stirring and add a splash more water if needed. 

Then add the vegetables and a good teaspoon of chilli paste in oil and simmer again for a couple of minutes.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Add the prawns and cook for a minute or so, stirring, until they have JUST turned pink - don't worry you'll cook them a bit more later and it's easy to over-cook them.

Remove pan from heat and pick out the bits of ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and chillies.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Return pan to heat and add the fish sauce, lime juice (stir and taste to see if you need more) then add the noodles.

Cook, stirring, for another minute of so until everything is cooked and hot.

Throw in the coriander leaves, if using, stir again, removed from heat and serve,

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

I absolutely love this - I love the flavours of tom yum and I love the softness of rice noodles - and hope you do too.



Simplest steak supper

I made this for supper last night after getting home from the theatre.  Needed something good, quick and that wouldn't be too filling.

And I had a steak in the fridge that needed using so wasn't going to waste it!

This was perfect, quick and full of flavour.

I drizzled the steak in a bit of light soy sauce and rubbed it with a squashed garlic clove.

Added a few sprays of oil to the steak and a good pinch of black pepper.and then left it for a few minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper

This was as simple as slicing spring onions and red chilli, tearing off a handful of coriander leaves and getting a lime.

Then I put the griddle pan on to get really good and hot.

Cook the steak to your liking .... and squeeze over the lime juice as it cooks - I LOVE the sound of that sizzle!

And when cooked, rest for a few minutes then slice (discard garlic pieces) and add the coriander, red chilli and spring onions.

This one's super quick and super good,

Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest steak supper


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Jamie's hot + sour rhubarb and crispy pork with noodles

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, recommended to me some years ago by one of my sisters and one that I only got round to making a week ago.

Well! Do I wish I'd tried it sooner?! (The answer's YES).

I've made it three times this week, twice just for me, and once for me and my (other) sister last night.  And she loved it as much I as I do!

I've adapted it a bit, mainly due to me not having cresses or Chinese Five Spice (where on earth did I leave it? I remember taking it somewhere ... ).

Oh, and not having six people to feed! And of course, I used rice noodles in place of egg noodles.

The original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.

And here's what I used to make this utterly delicious dish for two.

For the marinade

4 smallish sticks of rhubarb, ends cut off, and chopped into a few large pieces

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1-2 (depending on your taste) bird eye chillies, roughly chopped

A chunk of ginger, roughly thumb-sized, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds *

1 star anise *

2 whole cloves *

1/2 teaspoon black pepper *

(all marked with a * you could replace with a scant teaspoon of Chinese 5-Spice but I haven't tried it!).

a wineglass of water

And the rest of the ingredients

4 pork belly strips, cut into chunks

2 spring onions

coriander leaves

1 red chilli

cooking oil

2 layers rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions

2 halves of a lime, to serve


OK, first the marinade. Put all the marinade ingredients into a blender - and blend until all blended and smooth.

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb, pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

Put the pork cubes into a roasting tray or dish and pour over the sauce and cover with foil, or - as I'm doing - put it all into my trusted, beloved remoska. Jamie's recipe said to cook for 90 minutes, but mine was done after 60 minutes, so do check.

pork.JPG
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

The original recipe says 180°C/350°F/gas 4 so it might take longer.

There are no temperature options with a remoska - as with an AGA - and I love cooking using both. I've had my remoska for over a decade and highly, highly recommend it.

Yes it's a bit of an initial outlay but you'll rarely ever need to use your oven again - this is so much easier and more efficient.

Anyway, however you're leaving that gorgeous sauce and beautiful pork to cook, leave it to cook and prepare the rest!

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

Slice a couple of spring onions, chop a small handful of coriander leaves and slice a red chilli (as much as you like - if I'd had a bigger mild chil