Sunday, 20 May 2018

Chipotle chicken tacos with pineapple salsa

Chipotle chicken tacos with pineapple salsa

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Kankun chipotle marinade
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander
  • 150g fresh pineapple chunks cut into small cubes
  • Half a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 radish's cut into thin slices 
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, shredded 
  • Handful of grated cheese
  • Pack of taco shells

Place the chicken breasts into an oven proof dish, score the chicken and coat with a couple tablespoons of the chipotle marinade, I prefer Kankun sauce but there other other sauces available, cover and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and cook the chicken for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Whilst the chicken is cooking, combine the pineapple, coriander, chilli, lime juice and red onion, mixing everything together thoroughly.

Once the chicken is cooked drain off any juices and shred the chicken using two forks.  Heat the tacos in the oven for around 3-4 minutes, this amount of chicken should be enough for 12 tacos that you usually get in a pack.

In each taco place some lettuce at the bottom and top with some cheese followed by the chicken.  Lastly place a couple slices of the radish on top of the chicken and a spoonful of the pineapple salsa.  I have to say the salsa really made this dish, if you prefer a bit of heat, leave the seeds in the chilli!  Yet another quick and easy recipe, great to eat outside whilst you enjoy the lovely weather.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Easy Crispy Chicken

Easy Crispy Chicken
  • 150g white bread (about 4 slices)
  • 4 tsp dried oregano 
  • Couple pinches of sea salt
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (200 fan).  Place the bread on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment and toast until pale golden brown.  Leave to cool, then remove the crust and discard, and tear into large pieces.

Put the bread into a food processor and blitz into crumbs.  Tip these into a large bowl and toss with the oregano, salt, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and season with lots of black pepper.  Place the flour and yoghurt onto separate plates and firstly coat each breast in the flour (shaking off any excess) and then dip into the yoghurt and then press into the breadcrumb mix and ensure the whole breast gets a good thickish crust all over.

Transfer the chicken to the lined baking tray and bake for around 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden and cooked through.

I served this with a green salad and coleslaw and it went down well, definitely something for those warmer nights, might do a cheeky portion of chips next time!

Recipe adapted from the Hairy Dieters Cook Book.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Chicken and vegetable satay noodles

Chicken and vegetable satay noodles
  • 200g mini chicken fillets
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 100ml boiling hot chicken stock
  • 100g sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 50g frozen sweetcorn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g fresh egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Put the chicken in a bowl, add the soy sauce and cornflour and mix well to coat.  Cover and set aside for a few moments.

Melt the oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok, add the spring onions and stir-fry for a I ute or until softened.  Add the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and stock and stir until combined.  Bring to a simmer n add the marinated chicken and poach for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Add the sugar snap peas and simmer for another 2 minutes or until nearly tender, then add the frozen peas and sweetcorn.  Return to the boil, stirring the lime juice and season well.

Stir in the noodles and heat for 1-2 minutes or until hot through.  Serve in a bowl topped with the cashews and coriander.

This recipe serves one and is taken from The Fat Loss Plan by Joe Wicks, naturally you can adjust the ingredients depending on how many you are cooking for.

This is definitely as good as take out food and so quick and simple to make.  This is one of those recipes you can add so many other ingredients to, bok choy, fresh chillies, broccoli, the list goes on, basically anything you have in the fridge!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Lunch for 18!

Me prepping the lunch for 18 in my favourite apron!
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it gives you the opportunity to come into contact with some amazingly talented people, one such person is Helen Dyne, a glass artist with an extraordinary talent.  I first spotted some of Helen’s creations on facebook, followed her page, got talking and I am very happy to now call her my friend. 

For the last couple of years Helen has held glass workshops at her home and has asked me to cater for the lunch which I jumped at the chance at doing.  The first time it was very much a learning curve, it is never quite the same cooking in a strange kitchen and never assume that people will have the same equipment as you!  I still can’t believe you didn’t have a microwave Helen!  

Second time around I was more prepared despite the fact I was to be cooking for 18, two of whom were vegetarians.  Given the numbers I thought the best option was to make up two curries, a chicken tikka masala and a chickpea and spinach curry - recipes below.

As a man of leisure, it gave me the opportunity to make both curries the day before which certainly saved any stresses on the day.  I also made up a batch of cucumber raita and decided to make my tomato, onion and coriander chutney on the day as it doesn’t really keep too well overnight and looses its vibrant colour.

I have to say everything went to plan, literally other than making up the tomato chutney I only had to heat up the curries and make some rice to go with it, couldn’t be simpler. 

  Luckily Helen has a rather large kitchen with a central aisle from which I was able to plate up comfortably.  Thankfully I had made a large batch of the vegetarian option as despite the fact one of the vegetarian guests not turning up, the whole lot was hungrily devoured along with the chicken option, they both seemed to be a resounding hit along with the dips and poppadum’s.

Many thanks once again Helen for having the trust in me to pull this off, I loved it.  It was great to see you and the rest of the gang and hopefully I will get to do it again some time. 

Feedback from the day:

 "Spending the day with dear friends Helen Dyne and Chris, on her fabulous glass making day, being fed by the very talented food guru Mark Popkiewicz just doesn’t get much better ......... some beautiful pieces of work completed and straight into the kilns for the kiln fairies to do their job xxx"

"Thanks Helen for a great day, loved it; really enjoyed making my angel, delicious lunch and great to catch up. I'd like a place on the next one please"

I definitely suggest that you check out Helens facebook page, you will be amazed at what she can do with glass, a genuine real talent.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala
  • 4 skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • vegetable oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1/2 a 283g jar of pataks tikka masala curry paste
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 * 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 * 400ml tin of coconut milk

Slice the chicken breasts lengthways into 2cm thick strips.

Peel, halve and finely slice the onions. Finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely slice the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side, then finely chop the stalks.

Put a large casserole type pan on a medium to high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil and the butter.

Add the onions, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for 10 minutes until softened and golden.

Add the curry paste and the chicken strips. Stir well to coat everything with the paste and season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes and the coconut milk. Fill one fo the empty cans with water, pour into the pan and stir again.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not drying out and more water if necessary.

When the meat is tender and cooked taste and season if necessary.  This recipe should feed 6 comfortably.  

Chickpea & Spinach Curry

  • 1 tblsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tsps. curry powder
  • 2 tsps. garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tin (380g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin (390g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized (300g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 400 - 500ml vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g fresh spinach

Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened.
Add all the spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, salt and about half of the vegetable stock. Stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked adding more stock as needed.
Add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the spinach has wilted.

Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Parmesan & lemon zest breaded chicken lettuce wraps

Parmesan & lemon zest breaded chicken lettuce wraps
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into strips (you should get about 12)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesan
  • Handful of flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Small dish of golden breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 pepper finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions cut into thin ribbons
  • Romain lettuce
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Couple handfuls of grated cheese
  • Tablespoon of diced jalapeño pepper
  • Rapeseed oil
Mix the lemon zest and grated parmesan into the bowl of breadcrumbs.  Coat each chicken strip in the flour, shake off the excess and then dip into the beaten egg mix and then lastly the bowl of breadcrumbs, ensuring all of the chicken is coated.

Heat enough oil in a large frying pan to shallow fry the chicken.  Cook for around 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are nice and crispy and the chicken is cooked through.  Separate the lettuce leaves and cut off the stem part at the end.  Sprinkle some of the grated cheese onto each of the leaves and top with two pieces of chicken (this will give you 6 wraps).  Drizzle some salsa over the top of the chicken and then place some of the sliced pepper and spring onion onto each wrap along with some of the diced jalapeño pepper.  Lastly dollop some guacamole on top, pick up and get stuck in!

Usually fajitas are a Saturday night given in our household, however hubs is watching the carbs hence the switch to lettuce leaves which I have to say made this dish even more tasty.  I opted for Romain lettuce as they are bigger than baby gems and obviously you need to pack that bad boy with the fajita goodness!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Baked eggs and bacon

Baked eggs and bacon
  • 4 portobello mushrooms (remove the stalks)
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 slices bacon
  • Tomato (halved)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oregano

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Rub the mushrooms with a little olive oil and add a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt to the inner part of the mushroom and a sprinkle of oregano onto each tomato.  Crack an egg into each of the mushrooms and place onto a lined baking tray along with the bacon and tomato and cook for around 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked by which time the eggs will have baked through.  Plate up and enjoy.

This was a quick and easy brunch, no messing about and everything cooked on one tray and double bonus it is carb free!  Next time I will try the dish with poached eggs, I do like a runny yolk!

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Burmese Beef Curry

Burmese Beef Curry
  • 800g cubed stewing steak
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Garamond masala
  • 2 lemon grass stalks (outer tough leaves removed) thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp galangal paste
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 chillies finely chopped
  • 500ml beef stock
  • Tablespoon of vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and brown the beef.  Place the remaining ingredients (excluding the tinned tomatoes) into a food processor and blitz until you have a fine paste. Add the paste to the beef and mix thoroughly to ensure the meat gets a good coating, add the beef stock and the chopped tomatoes, stir through and bring to a simmer.  Once done cover and place the dish into the oven at 170 degrees and cook for around 3 hours, stirring on the hour.  You should have plenty of sauce but if you notice it starting to dry out add a splash or two of water.

Following a recent holiday to Myanmar I had this dish 3 times in two days, it was delicious.  We stayed at the Inle Princess for the last portion of our holiday and they kindly provided me with their recipe for this dish which I have incorporated with another recipe that I found.  The traditional dish does not have chillies and is very mild but as you all know I do like a kick of heat hence the addition of chillies but obviously you can leave them out.

We had this with boiled rice and the usual popadoms and dips and it was a resounding hit and tasted as good as those we tried on holiday.  This recipe makes enough for 4 portions, we've had two portions already so have a guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Mango Chicken Burger

Mango Chicken Burger
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you don't want it too hot)
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 slices of white bread, crumbed

To serve
  • 2 tbsp zero fat Greek style yoghurt
  • 2 large brioche buns, split in half and toasted
  • 4 gem lettuce leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 slices of tomato
  • 4 cucumber ribbons, sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney

Place the chicken, ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander, zest and juice of the lime and breadcrumbs into a food processor.  Season with salt and pepper and blitz until everything is well blended.

Shape the mixture into two large patty's and place under the grill for 6-10 minutes each side or until cooked through and lightly golden.

To serve, spread the yoghurt onto the base of each of the buns, top with lettuce, tomato and the cucumber ribbons.  Place the burger on top, spread over the mango chutney and top with the bun lid.

I served this with my Halloumi fries and boy did this dish go down a treat.  The herbs, lime and chilli really made for a fresh zingy tasting burger.  The recipe is taken from Joe Wicks, The fat-loss plan which contains plenty of great recipes to eat in conjunction with his workouts which I will be giving a try over the coming months so watch this space for more of his tasty yet healthy recipes.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Spinach with potatoes and chorizo

Spinach with potatoes and chorizo
  • 450g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cooking chorizo, sliced to the thickness of a pound coin
  • 700g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1kg spinach, trimmed and shredded

Parboil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 5 minues then drain.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a deep pan and cook the chorizo until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon then add the onion and cook in the chorizo fat until soft.  Add the remaining tbsp of oil and then add potatoes and cook over a medium heat until some burnished edges appear.

Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then reduce the heat slightly and cook 10 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook for two minutes, stirring regularly, plate and serve.

This is a side dish that serves four,  however Scott and I had this as a main between us along with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices!  I have to say that to ensure I got a good crisp crunch to my potatoes I did roast them for a while in the oven, you can't beat a good roast potato, that crunch as you bite into it and the soft fluffy centre, heaven!

Another recipe taken from Lets Eat Meat by Tom Parker Bowles and another hit with us, hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Harissa and Za'atar Marinated Chicken Kebab with Chilli Raita

Harissa and Za'atar Marinated Chicken Kebab with Chilli Raita
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized chunks
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp Za'atar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 flatbreads or large pitta breads
  • 1 head of round lettuce, chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Tomato & Onion Salad

  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 birds-eye chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Big pinch of sea salt

Chilli Raita
  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green finger chilli, finely chopped

Mix the chicken with the lemon juice, harissa and Za'atar.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or longer if possible.

To make the salad, mix all the ingredients together and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the raita, add a pinch of salt and leave to sit.

Drain the chicken well.  Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or griddle pan and cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side until cooked through, with piping hot juices that are clear when the largest piece is cut in half.

Heat the breads, smear the chilli raita all over, top with the lettuce, salad, chicken and herbs, wrap and enjoy!

This recipe serves four - or two very hungry people!  We both really enjoyed this, fresh and tasty and would be ideal to cook on the BBQ in the summer as it was so quick and easy to prepare.  I had never heard of Za'atar before, turns out it is an eastern spice mix and I managed to get mine from Ocado, no doubt it is also available from most other supermarkets.

The recipe comes from Let's Eat Meat by Tom Parker Bowles, great cookbook with some tasty looking recipes, another one of which I will be making later so keep your eyes peeled as that will be featured soon on the blog.