From time to time I get a recipe stuck in my head and I can think of nothing else until I make it. These sticky soy and chilli chicken thighs are exactly one of those recipes. There were several criteria that these thighs had to fulfil and anything short of my imagined flavour would not suffice. Most importantly they had to be sticky; properly glazed so that they left trails of marinade on the plate. Secondly, they had to have a salty soy base and a little chilli kick. The ginger, garlic, lime, onion and sesame were all added for depth of flavour. They were everything I wanted them to be.
When I cut into a lemon I can’t help but give it a good sniff. It’s the same with lime and grapefruit. There’s something about that citrus smell that I just can’t wait to inhale; especially if it’s a drizzly day. I also love tropical flavours at this time of year: coconut, passion fruit, mango, you name it! Combining a bit of citrus and a bit of tropical was the idea here so I set about baking some lemon and coconut flapjacks.
You will need (for 12 flapjacks):
- 125g butter
- 125g soft brown sugar
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 225g oats
- 25g desiccated coconut
- Zest 1 lemon
- Juice 1 lemon
- 4-6 tbsp icing sugar (I used unrefined)
Preheat an oven to 180C and grease a baking dish well, the one I used was 20cm x 20cm.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a sandwich. It could be a properly crusty, thickly sliced loaf filled with simple cheese and chutney, a bagel filled with pastrami, gherkins and mustard or some thin rye bread topped with smoked fish and herbs. I don’t think I could ever tire of something that you can just grab and eat with your hands. My salami and mozzarella open ciabatta is just the thing for a simple, no fuss, full of flavour dinner. Don’t tell anyone but I could have eaten all four pieces to myself.
I often make macaroni cheese, or some variation of it. I like to play around with adding vegetables, different cheeses or flavours in the sauce. This three cheese and cauliflower macaroni cheese is one of the most delicious I’ve made. The combination of Emmental (for sweetness and stringiness), Cheddar (for bite and cheesiness) and Parmesan (for savouriness) means you get the best of all the cheeses! And don’t worry, there’s a cauliflower in there too; to add a little vegetable healthiness amongst all that indulgence.
One of my favourite things to do in winter is to get outside early, ideally before sunrise, and drink in that crisp cold air. If I’m lucky there’ll be a few birds jumping around on the frosty floor here and there and I’ll wander up the hill to see the sun spread over the pale morning sky. There’s nothing like it. Usually I’ll only get to do this at the weekend and during the walk I have time to think about which of my favourite winter recipes to cook up.
Winter in my kitchen sees a change in the cupboards and fridge. There are oranges, tangerines and satsumas falling out of the fruit bowl, nuts in the cupboards and green leafy veg aplenty. We’re eating thickly sliced toast slathered in butter and topped with locally made jam to remember the summer fruits, cheap cuts of meat are simmering in the oven in a rich gravy and from time to time we’ll have a thick hot chocolate in front of the wood burner while we warm up our toes.
I love a straightforward dinner. However being straightforward doesn’t mean there’s any skimping on flavour. Grabbing a few ingredients out of the fridge and cupboards, chucking them in a roasting tray and miraculously taking the finished dish out of the oven at the end is the weeknight dream. My Greek chicken tray bake is a two tray affair (I know, slightly more involved than one tray) and really delivers on flavour. The flavours of Greece; oregano, tomatoes, olives make this a wonderful dish for this time of year.
I used to think I didn’t like dried apricots. As it turns out, I do, but only the extra squidgy unsulphured ones. When you bite into them or pull them apart it’s almost like they are full of thick honey and you can see the strands of sticky apricot trying to hold on to the other half. They are the perfect addition to some apricot and coconut granola; a burst of sunny-day flavours for breakfast is how I like to start my day.
You will need (for a big jar of finished granola):
- 350g oats
- 150g mixed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts or whatever you like)
- 75g seeds (poppy, linseed, sesame or whatever you like)
- 75g desiccated coconut
- 125g dried apricots, chopped
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 120ml honey or maple syrup
In a large bowl mix together the oats, nuts, seeds and desiccated coconut.
Sometimes I end up with an awful lot of veg in my fridge. I use bits and bobs throughout the week but despite my best brassica consuming efforts I still get left with some of it. These leftovers often end up in a soup (my autumn minestrone is a great way to use kale) but recently I wanted to make something different. I really like green veg with pasta so I grabbed my veggies, some gnocchi and cheese and set about making a gnocchi, kale and spinach gratin.
You will need (for two big portions):
You know those bananas that you keep avoiding in the fruit bowl? The ones which got a bit speckled a few days ago and now are fully fledged brown? Well, throw out your normal go-to recipe because my banana bread with chocolate, oats and honey is the way to go. Adding a few extra ingredients gives it a delicious flavour and texture and I have been very much enjoying having a slice for breakfast each morning. Any excuse to start the day with chocolate.
You will need (for one banana bread loaf):
Beetroot has to be one of my favourite root vegetables. I love all the different colours you can get and a recent addition to my veg box was a bunch of golden beetroot. At first I thought about boiling it and mixing it with white wine vinegar and some spices. Then I got to thinking about proper comfort food and a golden beetroot remoulade would be the perfect finishing touch to a rather traditional dinner. A fantastically earthy alternative to using celeriac.
You will need (for a good bowlful of remoulade, enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day):