Thursday, 24 October 2013

My best ever Fried Rice Recipe

The other night I made the best fried rice ever... it was tasty, healthy, cheap, easy and lasted me a dinner and two lunches! With just a few bits of veg I had left over in my fridge and a selection of Thai flavours I concocted this yummy dish, and I really didn't expect it to go quite this well... It was that good I probably won't be able to recreate it, but I've done my best to write a bit of a recipe for it here so that you can have a go and so I can try and remember how I did it!! Apologies for the big headedness - you will just have trust me that this was just THAT good!

Ingredients (don't trust these completely, alter as you wish, and feel free to add whatever veg you like!)

Serves 2-3
two white fish fillets (I actually just used cheapo frozen white fish!)
1 portion of rice (about 1/3 cup)
1 large carrot, grated
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
2 eggs
olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
about half a broccoli (cut the florets into small pieces)
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 chilli, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3spring onions, chopped
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce
salt and pepper
a large handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly

Recipe (or something similar!)

Bake the fish in the oven for 15-20mins depending on the size of the fillets. Boil a pan of water and add your rice. Cook until it is soft and then drain. Mix the grated carrot with the sugar and white wine vinegar. Crack the eggs into a jug and whisk with a fork. Leave all these to the side for later.

Put a dash of oil in your wok over a medium-high heat, then add the onion and broccoli and fry until the onion starts to soften a little.

Then add lemon grass, garlic, chilli and red pepper and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the carrot mixture and spring onions and fry for a further minute before tipping the veg into a bowl, leaving the wok empty.

Put another dash of olive oil into the wok and add your whisked eggs. Keep moving it around with a wooden spoon until the eggs begin to cook, making sure that none of it sticks to the pan.

Add the ready cooked rice and mix in. Make sure all of the egg is cooked, then add your veg mixture.

Mix in your soy and sweet chilli sauces and season with salt and pepper.

Finally, throw in as much coriander as you like (it's my favourite herb and an essential flavour to this dish!), mix altogether and serve.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Fabulous Food in Slovenia

 The sun's out and it's taken me back to my interrail tour around Europe in the summer... so today I thought I'd share a few of the delicious food experiences we had in Slovenia. This beautiful country was probably up there as one of my favourites - some of the scenery reminded me of Italy but without the price tag and some of the buildings reminded me of Austria! It was absolutely lovely and we managed to try a range of tasty dishes...

Interrail Stop 7


Street Eats

We stayed in the capital Ljubljana for a couple of nights, exploring Lake Bled and Lake Bohenj on one day and the city and castle the next.

Just around the corner from our hostel was a bakery called 'Dunajska Pekarna' that made the best chocolate croissant I have ever had. Seriously. It was warm and soft with melted chocolate in the middle and crispy pastry around the edge...  YUM!

On the topic of tasty sweets, we also sampled this traditional Bled cream cake: 'kremšnita'. Lake Bled (photo above) was probably the highlight of our stay in Slovenia. Famous for the island in the middle of the lake, the area has also got a name for this incredible cake. Looking at the photo you might think that it would taste sickly or stodgy, but you must trust me when I say this is just SO GOOD! Light, fluffy cream and custard in the middle, with a satisfyingly sweet pastry base and topping... I repeat, SO GOOD!

This next street eat is Börek (or burek) and doesn't just appear in Slovenia. With Ottoman origins, we came across it in the former Yugoslavia countries, each putting their own twist on the style. In Slovenia, the burek that we ate was meat filled and tasty! Shaped in a spiral and then shared between the two of us, this was a great meal on the go. We couldn't decide exactly what it was made from - it seemed to be a dough somewhere in between filo pastry and pasta (!!) - but whatever it was, it was delicious!

And last but not least, the smell of Nutella tempted us to try another pancake - very similar to those that we had in Belgrade, but this time we chose a sweet filling. I don't think that I need to say very much for you to know that this was just awesome!!

So by the end of our stay in Slovenia we had sampled several of the street eats and (though I may have left with a couple more pounds in weight!) none of it broke the bank!

Meal Out


As none of the food was particularly expensive (and all totally yummy!) we also treated ourselves to a meal out to a restaurant recommended by our hostel owner. The restaurant was called Gujzina and was not far from the main square and the triple bridge.

It was a beautiful restaurant and we were lucky enough to be seated at the window. We admired the loveliness of the whole thing and then proceeded to order the cheapest meal we possibly could (I know it's a bad way to choose from a menu but we were running out of money!!), settling for a set two course meal for two, including a white wine spritzer each! When the food arrived, believe me, we could not have been more delighted at the meal we had chosen!

A cold meat board starter with freshly baked bread was our first treat of the evening - a tantalizing selection of meats with smooth pate, a tuna mix, cheese and salad accompaniments - I don't think I could have picked a better starter than this, it was absolutely delicious!

A warm, hearty stew of red meats and potatoes was our next treat - a prekmurski bograč - served in a delightful little dish hanging over a candle. The flavours were similar to that of a Hungarian Goulash, but not quite the same. The menu described it as a Slovenian stew, including pork, beef, venison, potatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and salt. I'd love to know what other spices they used to create this yummy dish!

And our final treat for the evening was the bill... 22.90 Euro for both of us, including the drinks!! So if you're ever in Ljubljana then make sure you try this restaurant!

Delicious food, friendly locals and amazing scenery, Slovenia is definitely one to go back to for a longer stay. To round off our trip to this lovely country, I just want to leave you with on last photo...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

First Meal in my New Flat

I'm back!!! I finally have internet in my new flat so I have loads to share with you... There's still some meals from my trip around Eastern Europe and a family holiday to Pollenca and, of course, tons of recipes from my own cooking and books!

I thought the best place to start would be the first meal I cooked in my new kitchen... it's a lovely open plan kitchen/dining/living room - perfect for entertaining as I can cook while still chatting to my friends! So the dish is just a very simple Chicken Tikka Masala - not fancy but absolutely fool proof and very tasty! So welcome back everyone, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the recipe!


Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 3 (great for 2 people with leftovers for the freezer!)

olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1 onion (I used red this time but I normally use white)
large tablespoon of tikka masala paste
2/3 cup of rice
1 red pepper
6-8 mushrooms
tin of chopped tomatoes
handful of flaked almonds (optional)
handful of fresh coriander leaves
1 naan bread
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt (optional)

Chop all of the ingredients and get a pan of water boiling ready for your rice.

Put a deep frying pan on a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Add the chicken and fry until it has turned white.

Add the onion. As the onion softens add the tikka masala paste and stir until it is covering all of the chicken.

Cook the rice according to packet instructions (I usually put it on at this stage and the timings tend to work well).

Add the peppers and mushrooms to the pan and fry for a few minutes, mixing with the chicken, onions and paste.

As the veg softens, add the tin of chopped tomatoes, most of the almonds and coriander. Leave to simmer and absorb all of the flavours for about 5 minutes. If you are serving with naan bread then put it in a preheated oven.

If you want a creamier curry then add natural yoghurt, but it is still delicious without!

Drain and serve your rice and spoon on your curry. Sprinkle the remaining almonds and coriander over the dishes and eat!

So there you have it... the simple and tasty dish that I made for my friend as the first meal in my new kitchen! It's a really great basic recipe that you can mix up with different meats, different veg and chilli if you want to add some more spice - delicious with spinach added towards the end of cooking if you fancy a tikka saag!

A good one for a Saturday evening if you fancy making it tonight or it can even be a fairly quick mid-week meal... have a lovely weekend folks and enjoy!