Archive | March 2015

Chicken Dansak

Tonight’s dinner was a Chicken Dansak.  It’s a sweet and hot curry with a tropical pineapple twist.

This curry uses lentils and various spices and you can find the recipe here.

http://www.curryfrenzy.com/curry/recipes/Chicken-Dhansak.html

The recipe asks you for 400 ml of lentil puree, and this is what you would prepare first.

To make the lentil puree, you need a small bag of red split lentils. Follow the packets instructions on how to cook them, but If there isn’t any I will tell you how I do it.

Pour the lentils into a sieve and rinse and discard any off colour lentils. Once throughly washed, put them in a pan with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. While they are cooking chop up three onions and add to pan of water and boil them until soft, this is for the onion puree.

When the lentils are soft and resemble mashed potato,  use a hand blender to make it into a puree.

Do the same with the onions and set them both aside.

.received_10152823256288990

Now its time to make your spice mix.

Mix all the spices together apart from the garam masala and add some water to create a paste.  Set this aside until needed.

Add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to a saucepan and turn on the heat. Leave them until they start to pop, then add a dash of oil and turn the heat down. Add the onion and cook till translucent.

Add the curry paste and cook for five minutes. Then add the chicken. Make sure you coat all the chicken in the spice mix and cook the chicken until sealed.

received_10152823256418990

The next step is to add the pineapple juice and mango chutney. If you like a bit of spice in your life, buy a hot and spicy mango chutney this will give it a kick.

You then have to add the lentils, onion puree, tomato puree and stock. The best way to do this is to put all the ingredients in  jug and stir together before adding to the Curried chicken.

Add the pineapple as well as the juice and stir, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

received_10152823256073990

Right at the end of cooking I add a teaspoon of fenugreek, this just adds an authentic taste to the curry and makes it even more delicious

Serve with yellow turmeric Basmati rice. Enjoy.

IMG_30825326111161

Advertisements

Night Out Preparations.

So I’m having my first night out in ages on Saturday which I’m so excited about. I’m going out in Birmingham with two of my very best friends.

We are starting early and going for a nice lunch and some retail therapy, before heading to a hotel to get ready for a night of cocktails and naked men.

Yes we are going to see the Dreamboys, which is something I never normally do, but I’m hoping it will be good.

Anyway, I’ve brought a nice dress and some killer gold sparkly heels. The dress I’ve brought is armless so I thought there’s no way I could wear it without adding a bit of colour to my skin. As it’s been a very long time since I’ve been on a hot sunny beach my skin is very pale.  I decided I would have a spray tan. I have had one spray tan before and it was good but I wanted to try something different.

I started by looking on the Internet for mobile spray tan technicians, then I looked at the reviews for the different tans that are used. I finally found a technician that uses xen tan.  All the reviews I found for this tan were great, and I read that celebrity’s such as holly Willoughby use it, so I thought well holly Willoughby always looks beautiful and bronzed so I would give it a go.

When the technician came she set up her tent and gave me some sticky feet pads to wear. She then asked me how dark I would like it. Having a lack of experience with fake tan, I wasn’t to sure on how dark to go. She then asked me how dark I go when I go on holiday. From what I remember (it has been a long time) I did go quite dark so I decided to go for the darker shade.

I then had to do the dreaded thing and strip off down to my knickers, this was a bit embarrassing,  but after having two children I quickly got over it.

The technician told me exactly how to stand then she began to spray me, it was very cold but as my house is like living in a sauna it was welcomed.

I had to stand in a variety of positions, to ensure the tan was put on evenly.

This tan is the best smelling fake tan I have ever used. It smells like a freshly baked vanilla cake.

Once it was finished, the technician handed me the dryer and I dried my myself all over.

It took 15 minutes to do and the results were great.

I had beautiful olive skin that smelt delicious.

The only downside to having a spray tan is how sticky you feel after wards, but that’s only until you have your first shower.

In conclusion I would highly recommend this tan and the results are well worth it.

Tonight’s Dinner: Meat and Potato Pie

Tonight I fancied pastry,  and because my other half is on a night shift tonight I want to make something nice and filling for him.

My Dad used to make this for me and my sister when we were children, and i really enjoy recreating it.

To make this dish you will Need the following.

20150325_141152

1 pack of shortcrust pastry. (Your if your feeling creative make your own.)

1 Packet of Lean Mince Beef.(weight depends on how many your cooking for)

1 Packet of Charlotte Potatoes

1 Packet of Carrots ( or 2 carrots, I’m just being lazy)

2 Onions

1 Bag of all purpose potatoes

1 Beef stock

Dash of Worcester sauce

1 tablespoon of Tomato puree

1 Bag of Green Beans

Peas

Start by Peeling the Charlotte potatoes, then cut them into cubes. Chop the Carrots into quarters. Place the carrots and potatoes in a saucepan and par boil.

Chop up the onions and add to a saucepan,  add the mince and brown.

Once the Beef mince has browned add 1 Beef stock pot, Worcester sauce and tomato puree.

Once the carrots and potatoes have par boiled, drain them, reserving the water, add to the saucepan.

Add the reserved water and bring to the boil, then simmer for half an hour.

Now its time to prepare the pie dish. Roll out the shortcrust pastry, grease the pie dish with butter and line the pie dish with the pastry.

Drain the beef mince reserving the juices.

Add the beef mince mixture to the pie dish, then spoon some of the reserved juices on the top.

Roll out the rest of the pastry and make a lid for the pie.

Poke a couple of holes in the top, and put in a pre heated  oven for 30 minutes gas mark 5.

Once pie is browned serve with boiled potatoes, beans and peas. Or any vegetables you desire.

Add some bisto gravy powder to reserved liquid to make a delicious gravy.  And enjoy.

20150325_180521

Blue Dragon Vegetable Thai Green Curry

Tonight’s dinner was a favourite of mine and it was Blue Dragon Thai Green Curry. Now I could have made this curry from scratch, but this Thai paste is amazing and really does get your taste buds tingling.

For this meal you will need the following:

20150323_165527

1 jar of Blue Dragon Thai Green Paste

1 can of coconut milk (I use reduced fat coconut milk)

1 packet of mushrooms

3 bell peppers

1 packet of trimmed green beans

1 packet of mangetout

2 packets of tenders team broccoli

1 bag of jasmine rice

Start by preparing your vegetables. Cut the bottoms of the broccoli, the peppers into strips and quarter the mushrooms. Then put them all in a saucepan and par boil them.

Throw the mushrooms into a wok and cook for about 2 mins, just to brown them. When this is done put them in a bowl.

20150323_170325

Now its time to fry the paste. I use the whole jar as I love spicy food, and this does really make it spicy, but you can just follow the instructions on the jar.

Put the desired amount of paste in the wok and fry for 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk,  once the milk is warm add all the vegetables to wok and simmer for about 20 minutes.

20150323_171748

Meanwhile cook the rice according to the packet. If you’ve never cooked jasmine rice before you will notice it’s very sticky and stodgy, but don’t panic it’s suppost to be like that. It is a great accompaniment to the curry.

Once the rice is cooked, serve with the curry and maybe some naan breads.

I serve mine with poppadoms, as I like the crunch they have.

20150323_174251

You can also add chicken to this dish, just add it when the milk gets hot.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

This entry was posted on March 23, 2015. 2 Comments

Birthday Cake

When a friends or family members birthday is coming up I quite enjoy making them a birthday cake. I really enjoy baking but don’t really get the time to make them often, so I take advantage of my loved ones birthdays and I always make them a cake.

I have tried many cake recipes but never found one that turns out exactly how I want it. That was until it was time for me to make my friends 40th birthday cake.

I spent a few hours on the Internet looking at different madeira cake recipes looking for one that had good reviews. I finally found one and you can see the recipe here http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/15645/large-vanilla-madeira-cake.aspx

I added lemon rind to my cake as I like the taste of lemon running through the cake.

I followed the recipe to the letter, but I did have to up the baking time to an hour and 15 to ensure it was cooked.

The cake turned out perfect. browned to perfection and the taste was amazing.

my friend loves dragons so I went with a dragon themed cake and the end result is something im very proud off as im not an experienced baker.

18288_10152779224495983_9057056818720834250_n

I used vanilla buttercream and jam in the middle of the cake and the recipe for the buttercream I used is a Betty Crocker recipe. http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/vanilla-buttercream-frosting/39107a19-be94-4571-9031-f1fc5bd1d606#!

The vanilla buttercream is amazing, so tasty and so sweet just perfect for a cake filling. I did tweak it a little and I used half unsalted butter and half salted, this is because one of my dearest friends (who is an experienced baker) taught me that by using the salted butter it takes some of the sweetness out, which makes it taste even more amazing.

I now have the baking bug so will be cooking up some wonderful creations (hopefully).

Not Your Traditional Sunday Roast

On a Sunday my mom usually cooks a beautiful Sunday roast. But as I’ve been poorly all week, and I feel better today, I thought I would make dinner as I have missed cooking.

When I was browsing recipes last week while I was cooped up in bed, I found a recipe for Chicken Kievs.

I love Chicken Kievs and there garlicky goodness, but they never seem to be oozing with garlic butter like they show you on the pictures.

I found a recipe on the Tesco website, which explains how to make them in a way I’ve never came across.  So I thought I may give it a go and see how they turn out.

http://m.tesco.com/mt/legacy.realfood.tesco.com/recipes/chicken-kiev-recipe.html

In the recipe it says to make the garlic butter and chill In the fridge for an hour. I made mine the night before, so I didn’t have to wait around to much the next day.

The recipe is also for two Kievs, and I was making three so I doubled the amount of butter and added an extra garlic clove.

20150321_213828

20150321_214125

20150321_215020

Then it goes on to explaining how to prepare the Chicken. It says to flattern the chicken between two sheets of cling film. This was harder then it sounded, as the chicken kept coming out the sides, so ensure you have enough space on the top, bottom and sides for the chicken to spread out.

20150322_152715

20150322_15310620150322_152348

It then says to chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes, I left mine for half an hour to make sure it firmed up enough to coat in breadcrumbs.

Then comes the messy part, my kitchen resembled a bomb site by the time I’d finished coating the chicken.

It says to get three bowls, one with an beaten egg (I used two as I’m making more then the recipe states), one with seasoned flour and one with breadcrumbs.

You then have to to dip the chicken in the flour, egg then the breadcrumbs then fry for 2 minutes, just so the chicken seals.

Then transfer the chicken to the oven.

20150322_161919

20150322_162552

I cooked mine for 40 minutes which judging from the end result was a bit to long.

20150322_171001

The chicken didn’t ooze garlicky goodness that I’d hoped for, but they were very tasty.  I think this was down to over cooking.

So in conclusion I wasn’t that happy with the way they turned out, but they were very tasty and I did enjoy them.

I will be trying them again in the future so keep an eye out to see how I get on.

A great night out

On special occasions we like to go out to various restaurants, but one of my favourites is  Jilabi.

Jilabi is an indian restaurant on the Coventry road Birmingham.

We went there just last week for my friends 40th birthday. On arrival they take you to your seats and even pull the chairs out for you.

They have just had an extension and it is decorated to a high standard. Once seated they take your drinks order, then hand over the menus.

There choice is amazing and the prices are doubly amazing. They offer poppadoms just like most Indian restaurants, but something I rarely come across when I go to an Indian restaurant is the pickled garlic they serve as an accompaniment. It really is nice and if your a garlic lover like me you will love it.

Once all our meals were ordered it wasn’t long before the starter came out.

I ordered the tandoori king prawns, which are very tasty and spiced to perfection. I never liked prawns before I tried these. You get served two king prawns and a lovely fresh side salad.

Once all starters have been devoured the waiter then came over and took another drinks order, before cleaning the plates away ready for the mains.

The mains arrived in good time, I ordered a chicken dansak which is a medium Currie made with lentils and pineapple.  It’s a fruity dish that is so tasty, it definatly makes your taste buds tingle. It was very tasty and probably the best one I have had.

Along with my curry I ordered a side of garlic rice and a garlic naan, as you have probably guessed I am a garlic fan, the rice was cooked to perfection and the bread was crisp and full off garlic loveliness.

Once all the mains had been finished thee waiter quickly tidied the plates away then offered us complementary desserts, this consisted of ice cream, marshmallows and a cake made with chocolaty goodness. Along side this we were offered complimentary coffee or alcoholic short. I had a gin and tonic while the men did the manly thing and asked for whisky.

They then brought the cake I made for my friend, and all the waiters came round the table to join in the singing of happy birthday, which made her feel very special. They then offered us a complimentary bottle of champagne as it was a special occasion, which was a nice touch.

Overall this restaurant is a definite place to go on a night out. The staff are all very attentive and they make sure you have the best night. Along with all the complimentary desserts and drinks, they make you feel very welcome and you leave feeling full and happy.

If you ever get chance I highly recommend you give it a go. But I would ring and book a table as they do get very busy especially at the weekend.

Here’s the link to there website so you can have a browse at there menus.

Www.jilabi.co.uk

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13876547/?claim=ttrq82ypga3″>Follow my blog with Bl<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13876547/?claim=ttrq82ypga3″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>oglovin</a>