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!

Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

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How’s your head, Wales?  Is your hangover still ragin’ after grand-slamming a few celebratory shots on Saturday night?  Sworn off drinking forever?  Sad that the Six Nations are done and dusted for another year?  But what a weekend of Rugby!  If you’re still feeling a bit hanging and wobbling over the idea of just giving in and getting in a takeaway tonight, then have I got the recipe for you – perfect for the Monday after the weekend before. 😉

I’ve been on a kick recently of upping my midweek meal game – particularly when it comes to takeaway dupes – and this sticky honey and sesame chicken is a winner (-winner chicken dinner).  Nail the sauce and the rest is history.  You can either batter your own chicken or pop some chicken dippers (or Quorn Nuggets) in the oven, and then serve it up with some egg fried rice, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and some chopped spring onions.  So easy!

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Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

Ingredients

  • 100ml runny honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 125ml water

to serve:

  • a handful battered chicken nuggets
  • sesame seeds
  • chopped spring onions
  1. Whilst your chicken nuggets are cooking, make up the sauce. Pour all the ingredients – except the water – into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.  Then, add the water and stir.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil; stir until the sauce starts to thicken up, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Drizzle it all over your cooked chicken nuggets, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.  Serve with egg fried rice and scoff! 🙂

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Have a great week! 🙂

5 Weekday Lunches

I’m absolutely useless when it comes to eating lunch during the week.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to dive head first into the fridge at lunchtime, but I always seem to surface with my hands empty and end up heading off to the snack cupboard instead.  Jam Doughnut?  That’ll do.  Half a bag of Tortilla Chips?  Be rude not to.  I grab and I go and more often than not I end up swinging back in a couple of hours for round two because – you guessed it – I didn’t eat a proper lunch.

So this week I decided to shun the snack cupboard and sort myself out with some proper midday grub in under 15 minutes using whatever happened to be in the fridge.  It was really nice to take some time to cook (mostly) from scratch and treat myself to a little lunch date every day! 🙂

Monday: Egg on Toast

Yes, it’s simple and probably a little bit boring, but you can’t beat fried egg on a slab of toast.  I was going to mash up a little avocado to go with it, but since none of the ones hanging around in my fruit bowl were ripe, I had to go without.  I finished things off with some chopped chives, a little grated cheddar, chilli flakes and black pepper.  Yum!

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Hash

On Tuesday I found some leftover halloumi (…does such a thing exist?) when I was rummaging around in my fridge, so I quickly fried it up with some garlic, diced sweet potato, button mushrooms, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.  I mixed in some salad and grated cheese (extra cheese!) and scoffed it in front of a brand new episode of Outlander (I’m so happy it’s back!).

Wednesday: Flatbread Pizza

Hump Day Treat!  Sunny was working from home and found some flatbread in the fridge and complained that it wasn’t any good – “You can’t make a sandwich with that!”.  Nope, you can’t.  But you can make pizza.  I spread some tomato puree over the top, sprinkled it with some grated mozzarella, added some chopped button mushrooms and tomatoes and then grilled it for ten minutes.  Mwah!

Thursday: Toasted Tea Cake

Change of scenery! On Thursday, I ended up popping out to the local garden centre coffee shop to catch up with my Mum and Dad.  My Mum and I love a good old toasted tea cake with plenty of butter; old habits die hard, so that’s what I had. 🙂

Friday: *Pheasant Tikka Masala by Wild and Game

A very gloomy Friday afternoon treat!  Okay, so this one didn’t take 15 minutes – but since it involved absolutely zero effort on my part other than turning the oven on and grilling a bit of naan bread, I’m counting it.  Wild and Game have a whole range of ready meals and pies made with meat from game animals like grouse, pheasant, partridge and hare.  I know what you’re thinking – you’re imagining dinner at Downton Abbey, aren’t you?  Well, while game used to be the nosh of the well to do, thanks to companies like Wild and Game you don’t need a spot on the civil list to get your hands on it.  When they got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their Pheasant Tikka Masala, I said “yes please!” and ended up trying it out this afternoon as a Friday lunchtime treat.  I’d never tried pheasant before (although I’m used to seeing them pottering around the field near where I live – Bungle loves to chase them!) and so I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like or whether I’d even like it.  But it was delicious, with a flakey, tender texture and a taste slightly similar to turkey, and the curry was the sort of “little bit of what you fancy” Tikka Masala you’d happily pick off a gastropub menu and order with half and half (half rice, half chips for the uninitiated 😉 ). Tasty, and with a hefty portion of pheasant enough to serve two.

I’ve been a bit put off with chicken recently after cooking up a stringy, bad batch from the supermarket a few months ago.  The truth is chicken is terribly over-consumed in the UK and chickens incredibly poorly treated (over 20 million are killed every week for their meat – if you want your eyes opened on the subject then just watch this bbc documentary), and I’m personally a little fed up with being a part of that whole process.  Pheasant, to me, seems to be an ethical and affordable alternative.

What’s your favourite working lunch? 🙂

Bloody Beetroot Freaky Fries

Beetroot Filthy Fries

Halloween is upon us! I love getting creative in the kitchen this time of year and serving up spooky recipes. I’m kind of like Monica Geller when she tries to out-cook herself at Thanksgiving; I challenge myself to come up with ghoulish-themed grub that’s never been done before.  There was the year of the pumpkin guts traybake (don’t bin your carved pumpkin flesh!), and how about the ghostly ring doughnuts (Doooooooonuts) I made last year?

This year, I’ve gone for something a little bit different.  There don’t seem to be many halloween inspired recipes for freaky fries out there, so I came up with my own!  These Bloody Beetroot Freaky Fries wouldn’t be out of place at Dracula’s Halloween Shindig or whatever party Hannibal Lecter’s throwing this year; the beetroots are sweet, the bacon’s salty, the sriracha gives everything a little kick, and the cheese… well, I don’t need to sell you on melted cheese, do I?  Also – bonus – cooking these will make you look like you’ve slaughtered someone; handling the beetroot is bloody messy – you’ve been warned!

Beetroot Filthy Fries

Bloody Beetroot Dirty Fries (serves two)

Ingredients

  • 3 large beetroots
  • 250g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 50g chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sriracha seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • onion relish (optional, but this one from Marks and Spencer is the bomb-diggity)
  1. Peel and chop your beetroot into chunks shaped like fries.  Pop them in a saucepan and boil them with some salt for 20 minutes until soft.  Drain them, then leave them to dry out for an hour.
  2. Put the fries in a bowl and coat them with the olive oil, then spread them out evenly on a lined baking tray.  Set the oven to 200°, generously season the fries with some salt and pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. While the fries are cooking, fry up your bacon, chop your parsley and grate your cheese.  Once the bacon is cooked, I like to coat it in some onion relish – but frying up some chopped onions is a good alternative.
  4. Once the fries are cooked, load them with the bacon and half of the cheese and pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Finish things off with the last of the cheese, and then sprinkle with parsley and sriracha seasoning.  Scoff!  🙂


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Happy Halloween everyone! 🎃

 

Halloumi Bread with Fig Jam

I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine.  I can’t make bread.  Or maybe that should actually be “couldn’t make bread”.  At least not without the help of a machine, anyway.  For a long time bread has been my nemesis; I’m always accidentally killing off the yeast or under-kneading the dough, and my bricks (no that’s not a typo) are never that lovely, light, chewy bread-like consistency.  I’d never EVER survive bread week on Bake Off.

Until now!  *Fist pump*  I tried making this Halloumi Loaf in the bread maker twice and it just did not work.  The first time the machine broke up all the lovely chunks of halloumi until they were were practically invisible, and the second time the loaf was just too dense.  So I tweaked the recipe a little and tried it by hand and whaddya know?  It not only worked, but my oven spat out the softest loaf I’ve ever made.  AND it’s got chunks of cheese inside it.  Banging.  Take that, technology!

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Halloumi Bread (served with Fig Jam)

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • 15g fresh yeast
  • 200ml soda water (neat trick to help the loaf rise!)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, chopped into little cubes
  1. First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast.  Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl.  Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast.  Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, pour in the olive oil and then add the salt and flour.  Stir it together to create a very sticky dough.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  This stage is messy; there’s absolutely no avoiding it!  But keep stretching the dough and it’ll be worth it in the end! 😉
  3. Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
  4. While you’re waiting, make up the fig jam.  All you’ll need is three or four figs and some jam sugar.  It’s a 1:1 recipe, so take the flesh out of your figs and then weigh what you’ve got to see how much sugar you’ll need.  My three figs weighed 100g, so I used 100g of jam sugar and 100ml of water.  Boil it all on the hob and once it’s set pour it into a sterilized jar.
  5. Once the dough’s had it’s first proving, leave it in the bowl and pour in the cubes of halloumi.  Fold them into the dough until nicely combined, then turn it out onto a lined baking tray.  Shape it, then leave it to prove for another hour.
  6. After the second proving, set your oven to 200.  Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and then poke a few holes into it to help it rise while it’s in the oven.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with a little cream cheese, fig jam and a generous drizzle of honey. 🙂

Happy Monday!  Have a loaf-ly week everyone!  (…that didn’t work, did it?)