Oriental Chicken Salad with Nutty Dressing Laura of London Laura Nana

Family Salad – a quick meal to get in the mood for Summer

Summer is just around the corner, I can almost touch it! So I’m testing out lots of new salad ideas, packing as much nutritional punch as I possibly can. I try and add lots of additional beneficial extras  – things like mixed seeds, nuts, bee pollen, flax seeds – you barely notice they’re there but they do heaps of good for your insides! You can easily omit the chicken in this recipe or replace it with rare cooked tune or steak or seafood – its really versatile.

Oriental Chicken Salad with Nutty Dressing Laura of London Laura Nana
Oriental Chicken Salad with Nutty Dressing

I’ve used a spiraliser on my salad vegetables to get nice long thin curly pieces but you can easily just use a peeler to shave them into your salad bowl.

The vegetables in my salad, using a spiraliser Laura Nana
The vegetables in my salad, using a spiraliser

Ingredients

1/2 pack of bean sprouts
Buckwheat/Soba Noodles
500g Chicken mini-fillets
Mixed seeds or nuts
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Finely chopped coriander, basil and mint – it doesn’t matter if you don’t have all of these

Herbs needed for Oriental Chicken Salad Laura of London
Herbivores unite! Basil, Coriander and Mint

any or all of the following
Carrots
Cucumber
Mooli
Peppers, sliced

for the dressing

2 tbsp Tahini
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp Fish sauce
1-2 tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp chilli flakes or fresh chilli
1 tbsp honey or agave
You can also add a bit of fresh chopped ginger and garlic to the dressing, if you want/have it in

Nutty Dressing - Laura of London
Nutty Dressing

Method

Ok a lot of this is going to be prep work for the vegetables and then pulling it all together at the end.

Put some coconut oil in a pan and add your chicken mini fillets – I cook just a couple at a time on a high heat – this means that they will get super crispy on the outside which is lovely for some added texture to your salad – you can’t have a crowded pan to do this. Once it is all cooked, chop it up into bitesize pieces. Set the chicken aside to cool.

Prep all your vegetables, using a peeler or a spiraliser and set aside. This may take a while – play some music, dance around, get family to help.

Boil your noodles for 5 minutes, drain and run under a cold tap to cool quickly. Mix with your salad vegetables and bean sprouts.

Pop all the dressing ingredients into a saucepan and warm through gently until the sesame paste (tahini) has melted down. I add my spring onions to the dressing because I think warming them through takes away that sharp bite they can have when they’re completely raw.

Now just put it all together, its nice to put this on a big serving platter or a chopping board and everyone can get stuck in at the table. Lay out the veg, bean sprout and noodle mix first, then put the chicken over the top, drizzle over your dressing and then add seeds/nuts and your mixed herbs.

I really enjoy this salad, we’re having it once a week at the moment because everyone likes it so much. I think this would be lovely as a side salad for a BBQ – one for me to test further down the road.

Let me know what you think xxx Have a great weekend all xxx

Laura of London

Oriental Chicken Salad with Nutty Dressing Laura of London Laura Nana
Oriental Chicken Salad with Nutty Dressing

Time constraints

I had a pretty full on day today at work – back to back meetings and then some crappy traffic to slow us down on the way home. I didn’t really have much patience for cooking so chose this quick Italian salad that’s ready in 10 minutes

 

Laura of London Italian Salad Laura Nana
Perfect for those nights when you need something fresh and tasty super quick
  
Ingredients

  • 3 slices of Prosciutto 
  • 1 beef tomato cut into slices
  • 1-2 organic mozzarella balls
  • 5-6 sprigs mint
  • 10(ish) basil leaves
  • Asparagus
  • Lambs lettuce or rocket
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5tbp Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Laura of London Italian Salad Laura Nana
Ten minute meals are the way forward

Method

I split the asparagus lengthways and put them under the grill for 3-4 minutes on high, turning them over half way through. 

I finely chopped the mint and basil and put it into a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Mix well.

Arrange your tomato, mozzarella and lettuce on a plate, drizzle over some of your dressing then add the prosciutto and the asparagus and add a final drizzle of the dressing. 

Laura of London Italian Salad
Get stuck in

Clean cheating: A confession 

Ok Sunday, finally the best day of the week arrives, we had the lovely and newly married Kavish and Keyasha round for lunch having just arrived from South Africa this morning. Obviously they need a good meal after such a long flight!

Cue clean cheating, clean eating with a couple of rogue additions to make life easier and to make it a little more palatable to people who are not yet initiated into the world of clean eating! Little do they know they’ll be my guinea pigs for the day 😜

 

laura of london  pitta bread, crisps and dips laura nana
‘Naughty’ snacks

We started off with some snacks, I baked some pittas in the oven for ten minutes sprinkled with cinnamon and made my sweet potato crisps, we also had some of those new Pringles nachos which were yummy with a dip made of spicy chilli sauce mixed with mayonnaise. 

 

laura of london Sunday Roast laura nana
A delicious Sunday Roast

For main I roasted a leg of spring lamb. In a sauce pan, I melted coconut oil with cumin seeds, curry powder, chilli powder and salt. I sliced 4 garlic cloves lengthways and put them in slits I cut into the meat.  Then poured the spice sauce over the top. 

Then, I lined a roasting tin with foil and added sliced onion, carrots, parsnips and any other veggies I could lay my hands on! I poured in a glass of red wine and a glass of water added the leg of lamb and popped in my meat thermometer and off it went to oven heaven at 180 degrees. 

I do not roast my meats in the oven based on time. I only ever use a thermometer, in my experience this provides a much more accurate result. 

We only have one hob working at the moment so making a roast is an interesting challenge, I par boiled peeled potatoes for 10 minutes then did the same with peeled parsnips. I lined another tin with foil and added a tablespoon of coconut oil and melted it in the oven. Then I added some salt, drained the spuds and roughed them up a bit before adding them to the roasting tin for 1 hour, turning them every 20 minutes. 

I put the parsnips in another roasting tin with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a tiny bit of coconut oil. I set aside to roast later. 

I split Brussels Sprouts in half and lightly fried them on high in a little coconut oil to char them, then added a small amount of water and put the lid on to steam them through. 

Then I boiled up some carrots and green beans and left them plain because of the flavours going on with the lamb and the to-be-gravy. I roasted the parsnips for about 20 minutes before everything else was ready. 

I took the lamb out when my thermometer went off and left it wrapped up to rest, strained the liquid from theroastung tin into a saucepan and boiled it down to concentrate the flavours with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the meat had rested, I sliced it up and poured any meat juices into the gravy. Everyone had seconds and thirds so I can only assume it was a good feed. 

 

laura of london clean bbrownies laura nana
Sweet potato brownies with chocolate sauce and ice cream
  
For dessert I made Deliciously Ella’s sweet potato brownies adding flaked almonds for texture and with melted 75% dark chocolate sauce and a little bit of shop bought vanilla ice cream. I wanted to see if serving a healthy/clean dessert with dinner guests would work. I think it did (you’ll have to ask the guests😜) but I definitely wouldn’t do it every time – every now and then we all need a little bit of naughty but I’m glad I tried it. 

 

laura of london clean brownies laura nana
Sweet potato brownies with chocolate sauce and ice cream
Having written this post, I’m not sure I agree with the title anymore, I don’t feel like I’ve really cheated because I don’t feel guilty and it’s not really a confession but you get my drift…

Who wouldn’t want dinner ready in 15 minutes?

I’m a big fan of fast cooking during the weekday, I have a regimental order post-5.30pm that must be followed otherwise we’re heading for a meltdown (mine, not my son). I learned this Vietnamese salad as part of a cookery lesson at Recipease a couple of months back and realised its a great little ‘go to’ dish when you need something quick and super healthy to make you feel good. Most of it is just prep work with a final flourish at the end to pull it all together.

Laura of London Delicious Vietnamese Prawn Salad Laura Nana
Vietnamese Prawn Salad

You can also prep the salad and wrap it in soaked rice paper and then use the dressing as a dipping sauce – Vietnamese Rolls – this is quite a nice ‘fancy’ starter when you have friends round.

If you’re not big on prawns, leave it out or replace with chicken, mackerel or beef strips just make sure they’re cool before you add to the salad/rolls.

Laura of London wrapping Vietnamese Rolls Laura Nana
Laura wrapping Vietnamese Prawn Rolls
Laura of London Vietnamese Prawn Rolls Laura Nana
Vietnamese Prawn Rolls

 

Ingredients

Packet of cooked prawns
Vegetable stir fry packet including bean sprouts
Buckwheat/Soba noodles
10cm piece of Mooli (if you can get it)
1 carrot
10cm piece of cucumber
3 spring onions
Good handful of nuts – cashews or peanuts

For the salad dressing/dipping sauce
1/4 cup of Fish Sauce
1/3 cup of either Rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar (I tend to use whatever I have in the cupboard)
Approx 4 tbsp Honey – depends on your taste
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 cloves of garlic
2cm piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
At least 2 fresh chillies split lengthways

Optional
Pack of Rice Paper Sheets
Extra chopped chillies in the salad

Method

Put all the ingredients for the salad dressing (or dipping sauce) in a saucepan and heat gently for 5-6 minutes then take off the heat and leave to cool. Taste it with a bit of salad from your bowl – its meant to be quite strong – add more of the fish sauce, vinegar, lime or honey depending on what you think it needs. Go for less sweetness than you think it needs.

Put the stir fry packet in a large bowl. Peel the skin off the carrot and then proceed to use your peeler to peel the carrot into the salad bowl so you end up with nice thin ribbons of carrot. Do the same with the mooli and the cucumber. Alternatively you can cut them up into matchsticks if you prefer. Boil the soba/buckwheat noodles in water for 3-4 minutes and drain, leave to cool then add to your salad bowl.

Slice the prawns lengthways and slice the spring onions finely at an angle and add to the bowl. Chop up your nuts and leave to one side.

Once your dressing/sauce has cooled, pour 4-5 tablespoons of it over your salad, toss and taste to see if it needs more of anything. Add a final squeeze of lime juice then throw on your nuts and munch away!

If you’re turning these into rolls then just soak a paper sheet in warm water, as per packet instructions, put it on a clean kitchen towel and then put 1-2 tablespoons of the salad into the middle. Wrap it up and put any left over salad on the side or save it for lunch the next day. Keep the dipping sauce on the side otherwise the sheets will go too mushy.

Let me know how it goes!

Greek Lamb Burgers

I call them Greek…it’s my take on a Greek style burger… Save anyone questioning their actual heritage! Enjoy and let me know what you think by posting in the comments below xxx

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Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 6/7 Jacobs crackers (very well crushed)
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 4 burger buns

For the Yoghurt

  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 stick celery
  • Handful of chopped mint and coriander
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of paprika
  • 6tbsp Greek Yoghurt

 

Method

In a saucepan, fry the spring onions with the fennel seeds for 3-5 minutes. Add the grated garlic at the end to get rid of the raw taste that tends to repeat on people. Allow to cool.

In a bowl add the mince, all the spices, the crackers, the egg and the mix from the saucepan. Season well and get in there with your hands to really mix it up, don’t be dainty – scrunch those mothers up!

Separate the mix in to four and roughly shape them into burger shapes with your hands or use a ring to do it fancy. Pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the yoghurt by grating the cucumber and celery into a tea towel. Squeeze the water out as if your life depends on it. Get all of it out!!  Put it in a bowl with the herbs and yoghurt and mix to combine. When ready to serve sprinkle over the paprika.

Fry the burgers on a medium high heat, for 15 minutes – I usually do one side for 5 minutes on a high flame to get a nice char then the other side on a lower heat for 10 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes covered in foil.

Toast your buns, add the burgers and yoghurt with a good squeeze of lemon juice. You could also serve them with rings of red onion and large juicy tomatoes.

Enjoy you lovely buggers!!

A Bloody Good Burger

I love a bloody good burger. You can’t beat a bloody good burger. True, there are many and this is just one simple submission for you to try, let me know in the comments below how you like to pimp your buns.

IMG_3863

Ingredients

500g Beef Mince
1 egg
6 Jacobs Crackers
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Rosemary sprig, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 onion finely diced
Cheddar, thin slivers
Stilton, crumbled
Salt and Pepper to taste
Burger buns – brioche or sesame seeded are best
Lettuce, tomato, onion
Ketchup or your favourite relish (I’ve got a great chilli and tomato relish that works well with this)

Method

1. Bash up your Jacobs crackers in a food bag until they’re tiny little crumbs, really get your anger out, When you add these to the mince, they hold on to little bits of fat and juice, keeping the burger moist.

2. Fry your onion, garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary until soft with salt and pepper.

3. In a bowl, combine the mince, crackers, egg, and cooked onion mixture. Best to mix with your hands, just in case you have any residual anger from the cracker beating session.

4. Divide the mixture into four and shape them into burger patty shapes, I’ve got a fancy ‘cooks ring’ to do this but you’re hands will do the job just as well.

5. Oil the burgers and set your frying pan to a nice medium heat. Make sure you can put a lid or a plate on your frying pan. Put a little salt on both sides of the burgers. Once the pan has warmed up, put your burgers in and try not to move them around for the first couple of minutes. You want there to be a nice enough sizzle that you know they’re cooking but not so much that you’re risking the fire alarm going off.

6. After 4-5 mins on one side, flip the burger over and leave to get nice and charred on the other side. After another 4-5 mins or so, flip the burgers again and add some cheddar and stilton to each burger. Turn the heat down and put your lid on. This will make sure the burger gets cooked and the cheese will melt as the heat circulates the closed pan. Meanwhile, toast your buns and get your salad ready – your salad will cancel out the calories from the burger so make sure you eat it 😉

7. Remove the burgers to a plate and leave them with a little foil hat on for 4-5 mins to rest.

8. Build your burgers! Any way you like really. I like to put a little mayo on the base with lettuce, then the burger patty then my relish on the top bun.

I always serve these with oven cooked spicy potato wedges, I’ll post a recipe up of those if anyone wants? Let me know. Enjoy!

Amaaaaaazing Ribs!

Ok I know I’ve already posted one ribs recipe on here but I’m a obsessed! For the past few weeks I’ve been researching ribs (highly technical process) and I think I’ve got a great recipe here… I am picky about ribs, I don’t just want sweet and sticky, I want savoury with sweet notes, chewy bits and charred bits. I want ribs the Americans would be proud of! Here’s my latest concoction, sounds mad but believe me it works.

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Ingredients

2 racks of pork ribs
1 tbsp English Mustard
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp Marmite
Optional 2 tsp chilli flakes

Method

1. Turn your ribs over so the concave side is facing up. You should see a membrane covering the back of the ribs. Cut into the ribs at one corner to give you some leverage to rip it off. Grab it sandwiched between some kitchen towel and pull! It is this membrane that keeps your meat tight, gets stuck in your teeth and stops the marinade soaking in as much as it could, get rid of it! Be gone evil membrane of rib doom!

2. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. Spread half over your ribs and leave them to marinade in the fridge for 3 hours or so.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for about 2½ hours. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes. Covering them with the rest of the marinade. Or this is the point you could throw them onto a BBQ

Serve with wedges (potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika in the oven for 45 mins) and corn on the cob for a seriously wicked Friday night dinner.

Mackerel salad with lemon buttermilk dressing

Ok this is amazing! Truly amazing. It’s the dressing that does it. If you didn’t fancy mackerel you could do this just with Parma Ham or veggies alone or salmon or chicken or…or….or…. You get the picture. Try it, it’s fab. And quick, did I mention it’s just 20 minutes to lushdom?

Ingredients

2 mackerel fillets
3 slices of Parma ham (optional)
4 tomatoes. I used yellow and red varieties
2 asparagus spears
1 little gem or other preferred leaf
6-10 baby potatoes
Zest and juice of one lemon
Half tub of buttermilk (roughly 140ml)
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Method

Boil your potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes. Shave your asparagus into strips with a potato peeler. Cut your tomatoes into quarters and then slice them horizontally. Tear up your Parma ham and mackerel.

Arrange all of this loveliness on a big platter.

To make the dressing add the buttermilk and lemon zest to a bowl and gradually add the juice, tasting all the time. The buttermilk will balance out the lemon for a lovely mellow taste. Add the Extra Virgin olive Oil for richness and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over the salad and serve!

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Cod and Chorizo Stew

We had this last night, I like the idea of chucking all the “stewwy” parts in the pan and letting them cook down for an hour – gives me a chance to hang out the washing, tidy up and read to D. I oven bake or fry the fish towards the end of the hour and hey presto, another easy dinner. I use frozen cod so this is mostly a “store cupboard” recipe. I also throw in a few frozen prawns at the end of cooking quite often, if I have them.

Chorizo Stew

Ingredients

100-200g Chorizo, cut into rounds and then cut into half moons
4-6 Thyme or Rosemary sprigs
1 large onion – red or white, doesn’t matter, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp [olive] oil
2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
6 baby new potatoes, halved
125ml of red or white wine (whichever you have available)
10-12 frozen raw prawns (optional)
4 fillets of fish – I use cod or salmon
Half lemon for juice

Method

First, heat a small saucepan to a very high heat, then add your wine and count to 30 and take it off the heat.

In a separate saucepan, add the oil and heat to medium, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, bay leaf and thyme and cook for 4 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and cook for a minute or two then add the chorizo, new potatoes and wine reduction. Set a timer for 1 hour and put a lid on it with a small gap. You could add 400g of sliced squid at this point to slow cook and omit the cod. Slow cooked squid is a revelation.

10 minutes before the stew is finished, heat a pan to medium. Add some oil. Put your fish in with some herbs if you have any left over. Let it get nice and crispy – increase the heat if necessary. Cook to taste, depending on the thickness of the fish and how you like it cooked. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and season.

Serve the fish atop the stew and dig in. Its also nice served with some green veg on the side – like kale or fresh uncooked watercress.

Breaded Chicken, Mash, Kale and mushroom sauce

I’m making this tonight (20.02.14) for dinner, my mouth keeps watering at the thought of it!!

Ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts, flattened as much as you can with any suitable kitchen instruments
Breadcrumbs (I used panko)
2 eggs beaten
Plateful of flour

Half an onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic crushed
200g mushrooms
100ml single cream
Splash of white wine or brandy
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Sprig of Thyme or Rosemary

Mashable potatoes, I used Tesco’s Finest Blue Belle Potatoes

Kale

Method

  1. MASH: Peel your potatoes, put them in a pan of cold water and once boiling, time for 20-25 minutes. Drain them for 5 minutes, put them back in their pan with a few knobs of butter and go all out mashing them. Add a little milk and use a fork to stir/fluff it through. Put it in the oven to keep warm if necessary
  2. CHICKEN: Having bashed up the chicken satisfactorily, set up a production line with the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Dip in each methodically and put on a plate.
  3. CHICKEN: You can either spray with Olive Oil spray and oven back for 20 minutes at 180 or you can pan fry them – heat some oil in a pan then add the chicken breasts. Don’t overcrowd the pan or they won’t get crispy. Pan fry for 5-7 mins on each side. Cut into the middle of your meat, if any pinkness remains, put it back in the oven/pan – this can vary depending on how thick/think your chicken is.
  4. SAUCE: Fry your onions and garlic on a medium heat with a little oil for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add your mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add your white wine or brandy and boil down for 4-5 minutes. Add the dijon mustard and herbs, stir well. When ready to serve, add the single cream and stir. Season to taste
  5. KALE: Boil for 7 minutes and serve

As always, please post your results in the comments. Good idea to warm your plates beforehand too – especially if you have the oven on anyway 🙂