One Pan Pork Belly & Chickpea Stew

Recently I have cut down a lot on how much meat I have been eating. I have definitely been having a lot more fish and vegetarian options in my diet as opposed to having meat. With a good bit of discipline I have been having meat only once a week and have actually really enjoyed not having as much as I used to. When my meat day comes along I really do think long and hard about what I would like to devour; I see it as a real treat. This time I made a pork belly and chickpea concoction, made in one pan which is just amazing cooking as there are less dishes to wash up. A succulent meal where the pork is so tender from the stock and its own deliciously rendered juices; a dish I believe will be revisited time and time again.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork belly slices, cut into bitesize chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 100ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. On medium-high heat drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a pan, (not too much as the pork belly will produce a lot of its own oil as it cooks) add the meat, season with salt and fry. When the pork starts to brown and crispen pour in the wine and add the garlic.
  2. Cook until the wine evaporates and the pork is crispy.
  3. Add the oregano and chickpeas, fry together for a couple of minutes.
  4. Drop the heat to medium, pour in the stock and cook for 20-25 minutes. The juices will have reduced and thickened.

Best served hot.

Better Than Expected Bulgur

Sometimes some of the best things you create in the kitchen are the dishes you least expect to become something; hence the name ‘Better Than Expected’. This is basically what happened with this recipe; I basically got all experimental and whacked a few ingredients together and here we are…a really fast-paced recipe for you to enjoy. I’ve kept it real simple and with a few try-outs you can mix up your spice quantities, adding a little more cayenne if you fancy a stronger chilli kick. Something a little lighter that works fantastically with both fish and meat but holds its own by itself too. It’s a go to recipe when I want to take lunch to work that’s not too heavy and is just so tasty.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tbsp frying oil
  • Ground allspice
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the onion in a pan with the oil on medium-high heat.
  2. When the onion starts to become translucent, add the tomato puree; mix and fry for a minute.
  3. Pour in 4 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the stock, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of the allspice and cayenne pepper before dropping the temperature to low.
  5. Add parsley and the bulgur and give it another good mix.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. After, fluff with a fork and serve.

Getting Those Greens

Can’t be asked? I hear you, we definitely all have those days where we can’t be bothered to get in the kitchen, cook and concoct something ‘delisicoso’ for ourselves. Sometimes I find it difficult to get those greens in my meals, which is why I have a cheeky stash of various veggies in my freezer, making life a little easier and making the following recipe incredibly simple and easy to make. A really good go-to if you need to get some of your 5 of a day in there. A foolproof, no fuss way to get those nutrients and can be mixed up with any other veggies you have hanging around that need using up. There are no quantities for this green mess as you can mix it up with the amounts that work for you.

Ingredients:

  • Edamame beans
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Take the frozen vegetables and place it in a pan. On medium heat, pour in some water to the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the water, season the vegetables with salt and pepper and transfer to your serving dish.
  3. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil.

Leftover Turkey Treat

Merry Christmas Everybody!! I hope you all had an enjoyable time, had lots of amazing food and spent some quality time with some loved ones. Now, I know what you are all thinking, Carla, we have all just stuffed our faces with turkey and you’re coming here and posting something about Turkey, are you feeling alright love? I know,I don’t blame you. There will be a fair few of us with some serious leftovers after yesterdays antics and lets be honest, we need to gobble up those goodies.

This recipe works perfectly for any leftover Turkey or works just as well with Turkey steaks, which is fantastic as they are so easy to access all year round, not just for the Christmas period. So quick and easy to make, you’ll be back to chilling on the sofa watching all the treats in store on the television.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 turkey steaks, chopped into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime

Method:

  1. On medium heat, fry the shallot, ginger and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned.
  2. Add the turkey and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Season with all the spices and mix.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are blistered and have released its juices.
  5. Squeeze over some lime juice, stir and take off the heat.

Best served hot.

Chicken and Pumpkin Traybake

As we grow closer to the end of the month, I thought that we can’t say goodbye without at least one pumpkin recipe. I know many of us associate this delish veg with only October but they are just as delicious and accessible in November. I enjoy this dish particularly with a cheeky side of basmati rice. You’ll find that when this is cooked there will be delicious juices in the roasting tray, this poured onto rice equals pure heaven.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 8 cloves of garlic, cut in half
  • 250g pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves
  • 150g baby button mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

Gas Mark 7

  1. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the paprika, allspice, nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and add the cloves. Get your hands stuck in there and give it a good mix. Then cover and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place all the vegetables and the oil in a roasting tray. On the stove, fry these for a couple of minutes on medium-low heat.
  3. Then add the chicken, pour in the wine and bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Finally, pour in the chicken stock and place the tray in the oven. Leave to bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken is looking nice and crispy and cooked through.

Best served hot.

Chickpea and Butter Bean Soup

In the recent cooler weather, we need a bowl of comfort food and this chickpea and butter bean soup is the way to go. Ready in less than 30 minutes, makes a quick and healthy delicious dinner. By partially blitzing the soup at the end adds extra texture and creaminess that just makes it even more flavoursome.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (400ml) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-sized shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, (I used Knorr) dissolved in 700ml of boiling water.
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large dried bayleaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Fry the onion, garlic and bay leaves in the olive oil on medium heat until lightly browned.
  2. Add the carrot and potato and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Season with cumin, paprika, oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chickpeas and butter beans and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Pour in the vegetable stock and give the mix a stir.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
  7. With a hand blender pulse the soup mixture 3-4 times just to add more texture and silkiness to the consistency.

Best served hot

Buenos Aires Steakhouse. Richmond, Surrey

It has felt like absolute yonks since I had a good piece of steak. Buenos Aires steakhouse in Richmond have always delivered good quality, juicy steaks; it has been my go to for a good few years now.

On their menu they used to have medallions of beef which came in the weight of 6oz with an accompaniment of vine tomatoes. Around 95% of the time that used to be the option that I’d go for.
Unfortunately they took that off the menu before lockdown, which was disappointing as a fillet steak is the most tender and the least likely to have nerves. This time I went for the 8oz Rib-Eye which was just so flipping tasty. As you can see in the picture below, just serious juiciness. Please believe that bad boy did not last long, it was so damn good. I am a sucker for a steak sauce too, my go to tends to be peppercorn; I just can’t get enough of that stuff, with actual peppercorns in the sauce too.

If you ever get the change to venture down to Richmond and are in the mood for some good steak meatiness then check out Buenos Aires; you won’t be disappointed.