Grilled corn with chiptole cream and cilantro

A super tasty recipe from Rachel Ray. and it’s sweet, smoky and spicy at the same time. This is perfect with some grilled meat or fish from the BBQ.

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4-8 appetizer-sized portions

1 cup cream
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped, 1 tsp adobo sauce reserved
Zest and juice of 1 lime, divided
1/2 heaped cup mild crumbling cheese such as queso fresco, Asadero or Cotija, for topping
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 to 3 scallions, finely sliced
2 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 ears corn, husks and silk removed

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high.

In a small saucepot over a low flame, heat and reduce the cream, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and lime zest until thick and flavors come together, about 15 minutes. Reserve and keep warm.

While the cream is reducing, mix the crumbled cheese, oregano, scallion and cilantro together in a small bowl and set aside.

Grill the corn until the kernels begin to char evenly. When the corn comes off the grill, let cool slightly and cut the corn off the cobb. Place a spoonful of corn in a bowl, drizzle with the chipotle cream sauce, sprinkle with the cheese mixture and serve with a squeeze of lime

Thai meatball coconut curry

What could be better than the comfort of meat balls surrounded by Thai flavors and swimming in coconut broth? Very little, if you ask me. I am sharing this recipe from “Delicious” magazine as there is nothing I would do to tweak it.You can freeze half of this for another time, which is perfect!

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Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 to 5 tbsp Penang curry paste (You can use Thai kitchen Penang curry paste, if available)
2 x 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 each large red and green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely shredded
6 scallions, (spring onions) thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and inner leaves finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
5 to 6 oz ground almonds
Steamed rice, to serve

For the meatballs
2lbs ground pork
5 scallions, finely diced
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner leaves finely diced
good bunch of cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 medium free range, organic egg

In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the meat balls. Season and with wet hands, form into about 40 walnut-sized balls. Put on a large plate and chill for 15 minutes or until needed.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry for 10 minutes until cooked through and browned. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the peppers and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, chillies,scallions, lemongrass and lime juice. Gently simmer for a few minutes then add the almonds and cook for a few minutes to warm through (add a little water or chicken broth if the curry sauce seems too thick)

Add the meatballs to the curry sauce and heat through. Divide half the curry among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with rice and lime wedges.

** Cool the remaining curry and spoon into a freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a saucepan and heat until the sauce and meatballs are piping hot.

Thai crab risotto with kaffir lime and lemon grass

For me, this is the ultimate dish, combining all my most favorite flavors. It is a little time consuming but SO well worth it. This recipe is from the wonderful British chef, James Martin.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 oz Arborio rice
4 fl oz white wine
1 green chillies, finely chopped (The recipe says 2, but I’m a pussy!)
1 tsp Thai green curry paste (or more if you like a real kick)
1 thick stick of lemon grass, crushed and chopped into several pieces
2 Kaffir lime leaves, crushed and sliced finely
10 fl oz hot chicken stock
10 fl oz hot fish stock
2 tbsp Mascarpone cheese
About 1 oz flat leaf parsley and cilantro (fresh coriander) mixed and chopped together
1 lb white and dark crab meat, mixed
4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few micro greens for garnish

Melt the butter i a deep frying pan and add the garlic and shallots. Fry for 1 minute.
Add the rice and then the wine.
Stir in the chopped green chilli, curry paste, crushed lemon grass and Kaffir lime leaves
Mix together the hot chicken stock and the hot fish stock. Add a ladle full of the stock to the rice and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time until all the stock has been absorbed. This should take about 13 to 15 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked,remove the lemongrass, add the Mascarpone cheese and the chopped herbs.
Add the crabmeat and the grated parmesan. Stir.
Add the cream and the lime juice and season well.
Spoon onto warmed plates and serve with extra parmesan, some sprinkled micro greens or a little chilli oil.

Pulled chicken tacos

If you’re like me and adore pulled pork, but don’t want the calories, try this recipe. It’s divine!!
A great recipe from the good old BBC Good Food website

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Serves 6

8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and trimmed of any big bits of fat.
2 tbsp chipotle paste
8 oz tomato passata
5 tbsp barbeque sauce (your favorite one)
1 onion, chopped
Juice of 3 limes, plus extra wedges to serve
2 x 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can refried bens
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 pack cilantro, leaves only
shredded iceberg lettuce
8 to 12 tacos or cooked white rice to serve

Heat the oven to 350 F.
Rub the chicken thighs with 1 tbsp of the chipotle paste and some seasoning. Mix the remaining chipotle paste with the passata, barbeque sauce, 4 fl oz water or chicken broth and half the onion.
Spoon the sauce into a roasting tin that will fit the chicken snugly in a single layer and add the chicken thighs.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour, then uncover, increase the oven to 400 F and bake for another 20 mins.
Meanwhile, mix the remaining onion with the lime juice and some salt, and set aside while the chicken cooks. Mix all the beans in a saucepan with 4 fl oz water or chicken broth, ready to heat to serve.
When the chicken is really tender, use two forks to shred the meat into the sauce (discard the bones). Keep covered with the foil while you heat the beans for 5-10 mins until piping hot and not too wet. Warm the tacos following the pack instructions. Stir the avocado and cilantro leaves into the lime-onion mixture.
Serve the pulled chicken and beans with shredded lettuce and tacos, or rice and lime wedges to squeeze over, if you like.
Top with a spoonful of the avocado salsa.

Chipotle chile mac and cheese with bacon!

I think this would be one of my “desert island’ dishes. Put everything down and make it NOW!

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8 oz bacon rashers
1lb Cavatappi pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups 2% (or low fat) milk
1/2 cup half and half
3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided. (It’s nice to use a blend of half mild and half sharp cheddar)
4 slices American cheese (I never thought I would ever put this sort of cheese in a dish! LOL)
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tbsp adobo sauce (from the chipotle pepper can)
3 oz BBQ potato chips, crumbled

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. When it’s cool, crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
Cook the cavatappi pasta in boiling, salted water for about 6 minutes. It should be al dente. Strain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking and prevent it from sticking.
Preheat the oven to 400 F

Now to the cheese sauce.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour. Whisking constantly, allow the mixture to cook gently for about 3 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Slowly add the milk and half and half and allow it to simmer, whisking constantly until thickened. This can take some time, say, 8 to 10 minutes until it can coat the back of a spoon.
Reduce the heat to low and slowly mix in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese and the American cheese.
When all the cheese is incorporated, mix in the chopped chiotles, adobo sauce and crumbled bacon.
Add the cavatappi pasta to the cheese sauce and mix until the pasta is well coated.
Pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish and top it with the remaining grated cheddar and the crumbled BBQ potato chips.
Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until all the cheese is melted and it’s bubbly and golden.

Malaysian Chicken

I am a sucker for Malaysian and Indonesian food so this is right up my street. The creaminess of the coconut milk, the complex citrus flavors of the lemon grass and Kaffir lime leaf and the moist, falling off the bone chicken.
What more could you want and it’s easy too.

Serves 4

Vegetable or groundnut oil
1 chopped onion
8 organic chicken thighs
3 medium-hot red chilies
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 lemongrass stalk
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
5 Kaffir lime leaves, sliced very finely
14 fl oz coconut milk ( or 1 can )
fish sauce
3 1/2 fl oz chicken stock
2 tsp soft brown sugar or palm sugar
wedges of lime

Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the 8 chicken thighs, skin-side down until the skin is crisp and golden.
Remove the chicken and set aside.

Whizz the chopped onion, garlic cloves, chilies, lemon grass stalk, outer leaves removed and inner core sliced, 1 tbsp grated ginger and a good glug of oil in the food processor.
Fry this paste in the same pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes, add the turmeric, cinnamon stick, 2 star anise and the finely sliced Kaffir lime leaves, then fry for 3 minutes.

Stir in the tin of coconut milk and chicken stock, sit the chicken thighs in the pan, skin-side up and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce is reduced.

If for some reason the dish has too much liquid and it’s too thin, take out the chicken and turn the heat up to reduce the sauce, stirring, then put back the chicken thighs when the sauce has reduced and is thicker. This also increases the intensity of the sauce.

Add the 2 tsp of sugar and a dash of fish sauce.
Serve with the lime wedges to squeeze over before eating.

Serve with white rice.


Slow cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is a pretty low calorie comfort soup and you can leave it to “do it’s thing” for several hours.
I just love weather that asks for soups and stews!

Serves 6         260 calories per serving

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
8 oz can tomato sauce (or more to taste)
1 to 2 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more if you can take more heat)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and more for the garnish
15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes,
2 cups frozen corn (or tinned sweet corn niblets, drained)
1 tsp cumin (I use roasted ground cumin)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or if you prefer, chicken thighs
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for topping
fat free sour cream, optional

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add onion and garlic and saute for about 5 mins, till soft
Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to the boil
Add the cilantro and remove from the heat.
Pour into a slow cooker (crock pot)

To the slow cooker, add the drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir.
Add the chicken, cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the chicken and shred with two forks.
Add the chicken back to the soup and season again with salt and more cumin, to taste

Serve in bowls and top with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and scallions.

If you’re not too worried about the low calorie aspect of this soup, it is divine with sliced avocado and crushed tortilla chips on top!!

Seared fish with beet, avocado, garbanzo bean and pecan salsa

This is so delicious and light! You can use a firm fish like halibut or even better, a fillet of wild salmon works really well with the salsa. It’s very pretty on the plate as the garbanzo beans turn bright pink!

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6 small diced cooked beets (If you roast your own, season them with salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then cover them with foil and roast at 400 F for 1 hr 20 mins or until tender, then peel them, and allow to cool)
1 x 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
8 chopped scallions
¾ cup pecan pieces, toasted in the oven until browned
1 seeded and chopped red chili
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp ground roasted cumin
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put the diced beets into a good-sized bowl. Add the chopped scallions, seeded and chopped red chili, chopped fresh mint, toasted pecans, cumin, lemon juice, balsamic and olive oil.
Mix and season well with salt and pepper. Add more balsamic or lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Season 4 fish fillets and sauté in hot oil over medium high heat on both sides until just done and crispy on the outside then serve on or beside a good dollop of the beet salsa.

Creamy avocado and white bean wrap

White beans mashed with ripe avocado and blended with sharp Cheddar and onion makes an incredibly rich, flavorful filling for this wrap. The tangy, spicy slaw adds crunch. A pinch (or more) of ground chipotle pepper and an extra dash of cider vinegar can be used in place of the canned chipotles in adobo sauce. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa. and 

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.
2. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.
3. To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.
Ingredient Note: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Fresh ginger ale with lemongrass

This is a ginger ale for grown-ups, a spicy, not-too-sweet, ultra refreshing drink that combines fresh ginger, lemongrass and chilies in a way you’ve probably never had them.
It makes 1 quart of syrup, enough to make at least 10 glasses.  The syrup keeps for weeks, refrigerated

Thanks to Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

1lb fresh ginger root, unpeeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small chilies, stems removed
1 1/2 cups white sugar
soda water
lime wedges

Combine the ginger, lemongrass and chilies in a food processor and process until minced, stopping the machine periodically and scraping down the sides, if necessary.

Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 quart water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Cool, then strain and chill.

To serve, place about 1/4 cup of the syrup in a glass full of ice. Fill with soda water, taste and add more syrup if you like. Garnish with a lime wedge, then serve