Easy Korean Dak-galbi

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I’d never heard of Dak-Galbi until I stumbled across a recipe for it over on Pinterest (…honestly, where did I go to hunt down new recipes before Pinterest came along? Books?) – but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my takeaway dupes repertoire.  It’s a stir fry of spicy chicken and sweet potato and is basically Korean Pub Food; you’ll usually find it served up and sizzling with alcohol.  The marinade is sweet and spicy – thanks to the Gochujang Chilli Paste and Honey – and pairs perfectly with the sweet potato chunks.

I’m pretty sure most Koreans would cry sacrilege at my take on Dak-galbi.  I mean, it’s pretty much just the bare bones of the real deal because you just can’t get a lot of Korean ingredients in your average British supermarket – in fact, I’d be surprised if you found any at all!  The one essential ingredient – and pretty much the base ingredient for any Korean cooking – I had to order off of Amazon.  But as for tteok and perilla leaves?  Forget it.  Still, my stripped back version makes for a tasty, spicy and colourful midweek stir fry and – aside from marinating time – goes from wok to table in under 20 minutes.  Noice!  🙂

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Easy Dak-galbi (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 tsbp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp gochujang paste (I *think* Waitrose stock it, but if not check amazon!)
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • shredded red cabbage
  • grated carrot
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  1. First things first, make the marinade.  In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, gochujang paste, honey, rice wine, curry powder and half of the sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.  Pour in the chicken and stir until it’s thoroughly coated in the marinade – then leave it to rest for at least one hour.
  2. Get your wok smoking hot and pour in the rest of the sesame oil.  Turn down the heat and chuck in the chicken (hold back the marinade) along with the sweet potato.  Cook for ten minutes until the sweet potato has softened and the chicken is mostly cooked; make sure you keep stirring otherwise the honey in the marinade might scorch.
  3. Next throw in the stir fry vegetables – the spring onions, cabbage, carrot and pepper – as well as the remaining marinade and chilli flakes.  Stir fry for five minutes, then serve up with some egg fried rice! 🙂

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Happy four day week! 😉  Oh, and hey – if there’s a takeaway favourite of yours that you’d like to see me take on and come up with an easy to follow recipe for then just let me know in the comments!

Pineapple and Coconut Tray-bake

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Happy Mother’s Day – for Sunday!  It’s honestly one of my favourite days of the year, because not only do I get to celebrate the fabulous Mama Cwtch (more on her in a sec…), but it’s also kind of a Spring milestone, isn’t it?  Once Mother’s Day swings around (in the UK at least – I know you American lot celebrate it a little bit later) there’s usually blossom on the trees and the weather is hopefully (finger’s crossed!) starting to turn towards summer.  It’s been warm and sunny all week here in Cardiff, and it’s been bloody lush!  LONG MAY IT REIGN.

I owe a lot of things to my lovely Mama – my massive boat feet and sensitive skin for one (thanks Mum!), as well as my impulsive nature (let’s do this right now!!!) and love of photography.  But also my sweet tooth and love of baking (I’m always the first person to suggest stopping for tea and a cake – if my Mum doesn’t get in there first!).  The first cake I ever made was a simple Victoria Sponge with my Mum standing on a stool in our kitchen, and boy how far I’ve come since then. 🙂

This pineapple and coconut tray bake is nothing special to look at fresh out of the oven, but is totally transformed with a layer of coconut buttercream and a scattering of flowers made from dried out pineapple rounds.  I saw the idea in this month’s Tesco Food Magazine and I think the Hummingbird Bakery do something similar – and it’s such simple but genius way to finish off a cake!  Sweet!

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Pineapple and Coconut Tray-bake

Ingredients

  • 125g Butter
  • 100g Self-raising Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g Desiccated Coconut
  • 150ml Buttermilk
  • 1 fresh Pineapple
  • Poppy Seeds

for the buttercream:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  1. Give yourself a little bit of time and make the pineapple flowers a day ahead.  Slice the leaves and prickly outer layer of your pineapple off, and then use a teaspoon to core out those spikes.  Turn the pineapple on its side and very carefully thinly slice half of the pineapple into rounds (save the other half, you’re going to use it later!).  Next, set your oven to a low heat (around 100°C) and grab a muffin tray.  Turn it over, and place the pineapple slices over the cups – then pop them in the oven.  It’ll take them about an hour an a half to dry out fully and curl at the edges.
  2. To make the cake – set your oven to 170°C and then grease and line a rectangular baking tray.
  3. Cream together the caster sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Then, beat in egg.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut) and then fold into the buttercream and egg mix.
  5. Gently stir in the buttermilk, then pour the mixture into the baking tray.
  6. Remember the leftover half a pineapple?  Slice it neatly into rectangles, then arrange over the surface of the cake, making sure to overlap them as the cake will rise and expand as it bakes.  Bake in the oven for 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Leave the cake to cool.
  7. While the cake is cooling, whip up your buttercream by creaming together the butter, icing sugar and coconut cream.  Once the cake has cooled, spoon it over the surface.
  8. Arrange the pineapple flowers over the top, then spoon a little bit of buttercream into the centre of each.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds, then serve! 🙂

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You can see a video of me making this cake on IGTV.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mamas out there! 💛

Blood Orange Caramel Upside Down Cake

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Firmly on the Blood Orange bandwagon and no sign of jumping off.  Sorry not sorry.  How was your Valentine’s Day?  Did you celebrate?  Do you celebrate?  I didn’t even get a card, you guys.  Sunny was really busy working in London all day, and to be honest we don’t really celebrate it.  Doesn’t mean I wasn’t just a teeny bit jealous when I watched one of my lovely neighbours squealing over the massive bouquet that turned up on her doorstep… but whatever!  Although, to be fair, Sunny did take me to the opera over the weekend, and since he was willing to sit next to me and endure three hours of Mozart being screamed at him, I think we can call it even… Also, he never gets a chance to buy me flowers because I’m always buying them for myself! 😉

I guess it’s those little gestures all year round that really count, right?  Like, Sunny always walks Bungle on a Saturday morning so I can have a lie in.  He always lets me have the extra cream egg when we buy three (not that he’d really have much choice on that one…).  He de-ices my car and fills up the screen-wash when it’s running low, and he knows how to pull me out of a rut.  My little gestures tend to be food-related; I’m a total feeder.  Last week I made this really easy upside down cake and topped it with blood oranges.  It’s sticky and sweet, and if you choose the juiciest blood oranges then you’ll get the prettiest topping.  The hardest part is making the caramel – but really, as long as you’re not tempted to stir, it’s a doddle. 🙂

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Blood Orange Caramel Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Ripe Blood Oranges, thinly sliced
  • 125g Butter
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 100ml Buttermilk

For the Caramel:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 75g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 100ml of water
  1. Set your oven to 170° and grease a silicon baking tin (I used a heart shaped one because, Valentines Day!) – it’ll make things easier when it comes to flipping the cake.  Sprinkle with a little flour and then set aside.
  2. Make the caramel by putting your caster sugar in a saucepan with water.  Bring it to the boil on a medium heat without stirring (don’t be tempted!).  Once the sugar has all dissolved and the mixture has started to turn a lovely tawny, amber colour – stir in your butter.  As soon as the butter has melted in, pour the caramel into the bottom of your cake tin.  Now, evenly layer your orange segments on top.
  3. Hard part’s over!  Now to make the cake, you’re going to cream together the butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the egg.
  4. Now, in a separate bowl sift together most of your dry ingredients; that’s the flour, baking powder and ground almonds.  Combine with the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in the buttermilk to make a light batter, and then pour it into the tin over the orange and caramel base.  Smooth over the top, then bake for 30 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).  Leave to cool.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, flip your cake so the caramel and orange base is on top.  Serve with cream… 🙂

Have a great week!

Cheat’s Mango Chicken

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You know me, I’m a big fan of fresh and fuss free mid-week meals, but then isn’t everyone?  Whenever I sit down to do my meal planning for the week and ask Sunny if he’s got any requests when it comes to dinners then 9 times out of 10 I’ll get that super specific but mostly unhelpful answer, “I don’t know, *shrugs* something with rice?”  So we tend to eat a lot of curries and a lot of stir fries – and d’you know what?  I’m not even mad about that because they’re so quick and easy to whip up, especially in the middle of the week – and they’re (mostly) pretty healthy.

But, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same two or three things each week.  So.  I’ve slowly been upping my “homemade takeaway game”.  I make a mean plate of Singapore Noodles and – more recently – a cracking bowl of Thai Noodle Soup and now I’m bringing this super satisfying (and stupidly simple) plate of Mango Chicken to the table.  It’s as easy as opening a jar of Mango Chutney!  Sweet and sticky and perfect if you fancy a change from your usual Sweet and Sour Chicken.  You can even switch out the chicken for battered cod or scampi if you fancy.  Boom! 😉

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Cheat’s Mango Chicken (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 300g jar of mango chutney
  • 100ml water
  • 150g diced mango
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • a handful of chopped spring onions
  • 250g of battered chicken breast meat (if you want to make things easy, then buy it already battered – if not, I’d recommend giving this recipe a go; it’s not as tricky as you think!)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Pour the vegetable oil into your wok and get it smoking hot.  Stir fry the pepper, mango and spring onions for five minutes.
  2. Pour in the contents of the mango chutney.  Pour the water into the jar and swill it around to collect the dregs, then pour into the wok – stirring to combine.
  3. Let it bubble for five minutes and reduce down, then stir in the battered chicken.
  4. Serve up with egg fried rice.  Yum!  🙂

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What’s your favourite kind of midweek meal?  Let me know in the comments – I’m always trying to find new favourites!  Have a great week! 🙂

 

Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup

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I think 2018 will be remembered as the year I officially, head over heels fell in love with Thai food.  It’s fresh and filling and colourful (I don’t know about you, but colourful food cheers me up this time of year); more importantly, it’s so quick and easy to make!  Pad Thai (♡♡♡) and Massaman Curry are my midweek meal saviours, and even though that’s not about to change, I’ve been feeling like branching out a little and adding a few more Thai recipes to my arsenal.

I threw this soup together just before Christmas.  I had some Thai Green Curry paste in my cupboard and a can of coconut milk going spare, and, when I reached right to the back I found an old pack of instant noodles.  The filthy kind.  You know the ones, they cost about 30p (or at least they did when I used to buy them on the way back home from High School) and come with a flavour sachet.  So wrong and yet so, so right.  I was just going to whip up the curry and have the noodles with it instead of rice, but then as they were boiling away it occurred to me that the flavoured water they were bubbling in would make a pretty good stock.  So I poured one pot into the other and wham-bam, here’s your Noodle Soup, maam.  It’s vegetarian (as long as you make sure you use vegetable-flavoured noodles instead of the chicken ones, obviously) and perfect for cold and gloomy January nights at home in front of the box.  Just make sure you only add the noodles when you’re ready to eat, because they’ll start slurping up that soup before you get a chance to! 🙂

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Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 400ml can of Coconut Milk
  • 2 packs of vegetable-flavoured instant noodles (cheaper the better!)
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Sliced Chestnut Mushrooms
  • Shredded Red Cabbage
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Sliced Spring Onions
  • Sprinkle of black pepper and sesame seeds
  1. Heat up a deep saucepan with the vegetable oil, then add most of your vegetables – holding some spring onion slices back to garnish with later. 
  2. Stir in the green curry paste until it coats the veg, then pour in the coconut oil – stirring until it turns green. 🙂  Bring the boil, then simmer.
  3. Break the noodle block into a separate saucepan, sprinkle in the flavour sachet and then add boiling water.  Leave the noodles to bubble until they soften.
  4. Once the noodles are soft, pour the stock into the curry to create your soup.  The noodles will soak everything up quickly, so only add them to the soup once you’re ready to eat!  
  5. Garnish with the remaining spring onions, black pepper and sesame seeds – then slurp! 😉

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Happy weekend! 🍜