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.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hasan Pasha Kofte - Cheesy Beef Kofte

Hasan Pasha Kofte - Cheesy Beef Kofte

Serves 4 (makes 8 kofte)

  • 300g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg separated (you will be using both the yolk and the white)
  • 1/2 tsp Turkish pepper flakes
  • 500g beef mince (15% minimum fat)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 slice of bread, crusts removed, soaked in 3 tbsp of cold water
  • 125ml tomato passata
  • 75g grated mozzarella cheese
  • A small handful of torn flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water until tender, drain and return to the pan.  Add the butter, egg yolk, Tuekish pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt.  Mash together until smooth and set aside.

Put the beef mince in a mixing bowl and add the onion, garlic, black pepper, soaked bread, egg white and a good pinch of salt.  Using your hands, mix together thoroughly for a few minutes.  The mixture will feel wet at first, but the bread will begin to absorb the moisture.  Roll into 8 meatballs and place the, in a snug ovenproof dish.  Push your thumb into the centre of each meatball and create a well.  Top each kofte with a spoonful of the mash.

Mix the passata with 125ml cold water and pour around the kofte.  Cover the dish with foil and cook for around 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through.  Scatter over the cheese and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes nail melted.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Hasan Pasha Kofte - Cheesy Beef Kofte

This was a nice looking dish, the mash topping was lovely but the kofte I have to say was lacking in flavour for me, if I were to make this again I would up the seasoning somewhat as they just tasted like mince!  Cooking time was also about twice as long as stated in the recipe, perhaps my balls were somewhat large lol.  I will make again but with some tweaks.  The recipe is taken from the cookbook, Turkish Delights by John Gregory-Smith, there are some fab looking recipes in there and will be looking forward to trying out some more.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

McMark's Bacon and Egg Flatbread

McMark's Bacon and Egg Flatbread
  • 1 flatbread
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 slices smoked back bacon (or whatever bacon you prefer)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Knob of butter
  • Sauce of choice
Cook your bacon under a medium heat grill for around ten minutes until nice and crispy, turning halfway.  Once done, remove from the oven and place onto some kitchen roll to absorb any fat.  Whilst the bacon is cooking, beat the eggs in a jug along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, once sizzling, pour in the eggs and leave for a minute or so until they start to set, then using a silicone spatula move the eggs around the pan (you don't want the eggs to turn into an omelette or stick to the pan!), keep doing this, breaking them up as you go, it should only take a few minutes to cook the eggs (without drying them out).  Whilst you are doing the eggs, place the flatbread onto a shelf in the oven for a few minutes, the residue heat from the grill should be enough to warm it through.

Place the flatbread onto a plate, drizzle with your sauce of choice, I went for tomato ketchup, place the bacon on the front half of the flatbread, top with the eggs and then fold over the other half of the flatbread and cut in two and serve (just incase you thought I was being greedy, this serves two people!).

Who needs to go to the Golden Arches for breakfast when you can make this bad boy yourself at home in no time at all!  There are endless variations you could make using the flatbread with the fillings of your choice, this was sooo good and took no time at all to make, let me know what you would put in your flatbread?

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Halloumi Fries

Halloumi Fries!
  • Pack of Halloumi, sliced and cut up into chip shaped sizes
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Vegetable oil

Pour enough oil into a frying pain, deep enough to come up about half way against the depth of the fries, heat the oil until smoking hot.  Mix the paprika into the flour and dip the halloumi into the mix, ensuring all areas are coated, then place into the frying pan.  Cook until golden and crispy, turning over once the bottoms of the halloumi fries have crisped up.  Remove the fries from the pan and place onto some kitchen roll in order to absorb any excess oil.

This recipe is so quick and simple yet produces something which is so tasty.  I served the halloumi fries with a tuna rainbow salad and some mustard mayo and boy was it good, will definitely be making these again.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Indian style pizza

Indian styles pizza
  • Portion of  Hairy Bikers Style Beef Rendang curry
  • 2 naan breads
  • 1 pack of paneer cheese, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 pepper cut into thin slices
  • 2 tomatoes cut into chunks
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Handful of rocket leaves
  • Mint and cucumber raita
  • Mango chutney
  • Rapeseed oil

Last week I made a beef rendang curry, it was a big portion so I decided to do something a little different with the leftovers.  Everyone loves Indian and Italian food so why not an Indian pizza!

Obviously this dish will work with any curry that you have made, I am just using the beef rendang as an example as that is the last curry that I made and is what I used in this recipe.

Warm your curry up in a small saucepan and pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.

In a small frying pan warm a dash of rapeseed oil and then  add the tomato chunks, paneer and a pinch of cumin and fry for around ten minutes, by which time the tomato will have softened and make a sauce.

 On an oven tray place your naan breads and sprinkle with a small amount of water (this will keep them moist when heated in the oven).  Once the curry has been warmed through spread half over each of the naan breads, top with the paneer and tomato sauce and cook in the oven for around 10 minutes. 

 Once done, top each pizza with the red onion, pepper slices, rocket and the raita and mango chutney.

A quick and easy dinner which is tasty and filling.  I prefer to add my vegetables after the cooking process to keep them fresh and crunchy but you can add them to the pizza when you place them in the oven.  This is a great alternative to the traditional Italian pizza and one that I hope you will love as much as we did

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Beef Rendang – Hairy Bikers Style

Beef Rendang – Hairy Bikers Style

  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp galangal paste
  • 2 plump red chillies roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 kilo beef steak cut into bite sized chunks (stewing or braising)
  • Big pinch of sea salt

Peel off the dry outer layers of each lemongrass stalk and slice the inner white part into 1cm pieces.  Place them into a food processor, add the onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies and blend to make as fine a paste as possible.  You will need to push the mixture down a good few times to ensure everything gets a good blitz, word of caution, don’t breath in deeply when doing this as the fragrance will knock you for six!
Heat the vegetable oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the onion paste gently for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric, mix well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the beef to the casserole dish and toss it with the onion paste and spices.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the meat is lightly coloured all over.  Pour in the coconut milk, add the water, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce and salt.  Place a lid on the casserole dish and cook in a preheated over at 160 degrees for around 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, you will need to give a good stir on the hour and also just to check it isn’t drying out.  

By the end of the cooking process you should be left with a thick, rich sauce.

It is best to make the curry the day before you eat it as the flavours will enhance the dish even more.  If you are a spice fiend then add as much fresh chilli as you can take, I did find the two chillies (including the seeds) gave this quite a good kick of heat. 

  I served this with basmati rice, cucumber and mint raita, and a tomato, onion and coriander chutney with some poppadoms.
Whilst it may seem like a lot of ingredients most of the dry ingredients people will have in their store cupboard and any additional ingredients required shouldn’t work out too costly and will keep in the fridge for a while once opened.

We both loved this dish, perfect for the weekend and with enough leftover for another dish I will be making later in the week,, watch this space for an Italian dish with an Indian twist!
Recipe adapted from The Hairy Bikers – Great Curries

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Homemade chicken kievs

Homemade chicken kievs
Well Christmas and New Year have been and gone, all roasted out, how about a nice chicken Kiev?  Ordinarily I would have had this with a big plate of fries but given everything that I've eaten over the festive period I went semi healthy and had a big plate of rainbow salad with mine!

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salted butter
  • Handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Beaten egg
  • Flour

In a bowl place enough butter to make two small pats that will go inside the chicken, add the garlic, parsley and the lemon juice, mix together using the back of a spoon, once combined form into a small sausage shape and put into the fridge to firm up.

Place the chicken breasts inside a plastic sandwich bag (or something similar) and give them a good whacking with a rolling pin or the base of a pan, we need to flatten them slightly. Using a sharp knife make a slit in the side of each piece of chicken, not too large but use the knife to work some space inside the chicken to accommodate the garlic butter, placing half into each chicken breast.

Place the Panko breadcrumbs into a deep dish, put some flour onto a plate and beat the egg in a bowl large enough to dunk the chicken into.  Roll the chicken in the flour, dunk in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, once done repeat the egg and breadcrumb process that way you ensure you get a good coating which will get pretty crispy once cooked.  Place the chicken in the fridge and leave to firm up before cooking.

Put some vegetable oil into a large frying pan and heat up ready for the frying stage.  You can drop a breadcrumb into the oil and if it sizzles you know the oil is hot enough. Place the chicken breasts into the pan and cook for around 20 minutes, turning half way through (this can take longer depending how thick your chicken breasts are, you can always cut into the end part of the chicken to ensure that it is cooked).  Remove the breasts from the pan and place onto some kitchen roll on a plate in order to absorb any excess oil then serve.

The good thing with this recipe is you can pretty much put what you want into the butter mix, next time I'm going to try coriander, lime and chilli flakes, give it a bit of a Mexican twist!  Obviously you can add as much or as little garlic to the original recipe as you like and adjust the amount of butter depending on how many kievs you are making.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Years Day Canapés

New Years Day Canapés
Here are a couple of quick and easy canapé ideas, I won't bore you with the smoked salmon blinis recipe as I'm pretty sure most people know how to put these together: shop-bought blinis, smoked salmon, creme fraiche mixed with horseradish and some lumpfish caviar, job done.

For the tuna and cucumber canapés you will need a tin of tuna, drained and mashed in a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon, few grinds of black pepper, small handful of diced red onion, mix well and then add a teaspoon of the mix onto a thick slice of cucumber (it needs to be thick as you don't want a floppy cucumber!).

Given my love of a bit of spice I think next time I may add a few dashes of hot sauce to the tuna mix, liven it up a notch!

I really hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I would like to thank you all for checking in on A Mouthful Of Mark, here's to another great year ahead of foodie adventures!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Gin and Tonic Pickles

Gin and Tonic Pickles
  • 1 medium size kilner jar
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • ½ cup gin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 slices of lime
  • Tonic water

Trim the ends from the cucumbers and cut them into half and then quarter them (or more depending on the size!).  Place the cucumber into the kilner jar along with the lime slices, add the salt, sugar, gin and lime juice, close the jar and give a good shake to combine everything.   Open the jar and top up with the tonic water, making sure the pickles are completely covered, re-seal and leave for a couple of days in the fridge, once opened they should last in the fridge for up to a month, I say should, however I doubt they will be around long enough!

I have literally just made these - so I have yet to taste them - however as big gin lovers what’s not to like?  These pickles should be perfect for that Boxing Day buffet, I can’t wait.  Recipe is courtesy of

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Six Hour Pork Belly

Six Hour Pork Belly

  • 3 onions sliced in half
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 300ml dry sherry
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1kg pork belly
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tbsp sea salt
  • For the relish
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp sherry-vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 20g bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 20g bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 240 degrees/220 fan.  Put the sliced onions into a deep roasting tin with the garlic, sherry and stock.  Place the pork on top, skin side up, pat dry with kitchen roll, then rub the fennel seeds and salt into the skin of the pork.  Roast the pork for 15-20 minutes until the skin starts to puff up and looks like its about to crackle.  Turn the heat down to 140 degrees/120 degrees fan and cook the pork uncovered for 5 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart.  Take the pork out of the oven, drain the stock/juices from the tin into a saucepan, along with the onions, then set aside.

Turn the oven back up to 240 degrees/220 degrees fan, put the pork back in and cook for a further 30 minutes to ensure the crackling is nice and crispy, if the fennel seeds brown you can brush them off the top of the pork.  Whilst the pork is in the last stages of cooking, make the relish.  Put the red onion into a small dish with the vinegar and sugar and set aside.  When the pork belly skin has finished crackling, remove the tin from the oven and put the meat onto a lipped plate and leave to rest for 20 minutes.  For the gravy, bring the reserved stock mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon.  Add a glug of sherry to give acidity, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Just before serving, stir the chopped fresh herbs into the relish.  Add any resting pork juices to the onion gravy then carve the pork into chunky slices.  Serve with the relish, sherry gravy and your favourite potatoes and greens.

This recipe is a perfect winter comfort dish and just right for a Sunday roast.  I adapted the recipe slightly from Delicious magazine, adjusting the stock and sherry levels as the original recipe had too much to fit into the oval roasting tin that I used, also my recipe serves 4 as opposed to 6-8 in the original recipe. 

Whilst I have included the recipe for the gravy I will be honest and say it didn’t turn out all that well and given that a large percentage of it was made up of rendered down fat, I wasn’t actually too keen on eating it in the first place!  That’s when that store cupboard staple of Bisto gravy granules comes in super handy as a last minute substitute! 

Overall a nice tasty dish and the relish really did go well with the pork, going forward, I wouldn’t spend 6 hours cooking this again it could be cooked for half the time on a slightly higher temperature and leave you with the same result!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.