Mushroom kebabs – homemade vegetarian shiitake mushroom kebabs

So it turns out I’ve become a bit of a cliché.

For the last few months I’ve been on a drive to save money and eat more healthily. The good news is these two aims have complimented each other nicely, as a lot of my healthier meals have been meatless. I’ve exchanged meat for a lot of beans, chickpeas and lentils, which are a lot cheaper! Apparently, this makes me a flexitarian, which is a very trendy thing to be right now. (Also known as “a vegetarian who cheats” according to The Guardian…)

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One of my favourite recent recipes on the blog was my delicious lamb kebabs. I wanted to make them again, but a “flexitarian” version. I choose shiitake mushrooms as my meat substitute because of their texture and taste. They are topped with an awesome garlic mayo and homemade pickles. Try them out – you definitely won’t miss the meat!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 200g shiitake mushrooms
– one red onion, peeled and cut into half moons
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
– 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
– 1 teasoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– half a teaspoon celery seeds
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

To serve:
– flatbreads (I made mine using this BBC Good Food recipe)
– roasted garlic mayonnaise (a few teaspoons of mayo mixed with a few cloves of roasted garlic
– pickled cucumbers (check out Feasting At Home for great tips on how to do this)
– a handful of parsley

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Method
1. Mix the flatbread dough.
2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened and turning translucent.
3. Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms. Add them to the pan along with the spices and Worchestershire sauce.
4. Cook for at least 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and have absorbed all of the amazing flavours.
5. In the meantime, mash the roasted garlic with the mayonnaise and cook the flatbreads.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Mushroom kebab 01-06-2017, 19 48 47

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Crispy chicken nachos with peri peri garlic sauce

peri-crispy-chicken-tacos-2There are so many things that I love about this recipe. It has very quickly become one of my favourite, and I’ve made it at least once a week for the past month. I don’t regularly repeat recipes, so this one is definitely special!

I love that the chicken is baked, not fried. I love the tangy, creamy dressing that totally lifts all of the other ingredients. I love the crisp lettuce. I love the soft taco cups that have a bit of a crunch but don’t cut your mouth to pieces. I could go on…!

I usually try to be quite generic with my ingredients and not recommend specific brands, but I’m naming one in this recipe. I use a Nando’s peri peri garlic sauce to make the dressing and I’d definitely recommend you do the same. Their sauce is awesome!

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Ingredients (makes 4 taco bowls)
– 200 grams chicken breast strips
– 60 grams breadcrumbs (you can use Panko for extra crunch, but normal breadcrumbs are perfectly fine)
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 tablespoon plain flour
– 4 flour tortillas
– half a head of lettuce, shredded (something with a crunch, like iceberg or romaine)

For the sauce:
– 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
– 3 tablespoons Nando’s Peri Peri Garlic sauce
– 2 teaspoons lime juice
– 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Mix the breadcrumbs and paprika together, then season with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg and flour together well in a separate bowl.
3. Dip the chicken first in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray.
4. Repeat with the other pieces of chicken, then bake for 15-20 minutes until the coating is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.
5. While the chicken is in, push each of the tortillas into an individual bowl and bake at the same temperature until the tortillas hold the “bowl” shape. This usually takes about 12 minutes.
6. Mix together the sauce ingredients. Shred the lettuce.
7. Remove the chicken from the oven and slice each piece. Build the tacos by lining a bowl with shredded lettuce. Top with chicken pieces and then drizzle the sauce over the top. Yum!

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Creamy roasted red pepper sausages – only 3 ingredients!

Creamy roasted pepper sausages (2)

Creamy roasted red pepper sausages

As you may know, we live in Malaysia now. It’s a fantastic place to live and I’m loving exploring all of the different cuisines. We are so lucky to able to experience such a wide range of food cultures and I’m really trying to make the most of it while we’re there. I try, I like, I try to replicate in my kitchen at home! In fact, I hadn’t realised how much my cooking had been influenced until I got back to England this summer. Lots of the ingredients I’ve come to take for granted are hard to get hold of here, so I’ve had to adapt again.

Of course, one thing I’ve missed in Malaysia is good quality pork sausages. They’re not easy to come by and they’re often extremely expensive. So while I was back, I treated myself to this amazing sausage dish.

Creamy roasted pepper sausages (2)

The creamy sauce that accompanies the sausages actually only has two ingredients, so it is ridiculously simple to make, but I can promise you it is so delicious. You can serve the sausages and sauce with whatever you like, but I went for braised peas and red cabbage with mine. I’m also a little bit obsessed with hasselback new potatoes at the moment, so I included those too.
Hasselback new potatoes (2)

Look how beautiful they are! Take each new potato and make vertical cuts halfway down all along one side. Toss in oil, salt, black pepper and dried herbs of your choice (I like thyme and rosemary). Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for 40-50 minutes until cooked through.

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 8 good quality sausages (I used pork and leek)
– 125g mascarpone
– 400g roasted red peppers in oil

To serve – hasselback new potatoes, red cabbage and peas

Creamy roasted pepper sausages (1)

Method
1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan and brown the sausages. Continue to cook gently for 10-12 minutes until the sausages are cooked through.
2. Drain the red peppers (if you save the oil, you can use it like regular olive oil with added flavour!) and put into a food processor. Blend until smooth.
3. Add the mascarpone and blended red peppers to the sausages in the frying pan and stir well to combine. Once the sauce is warmed through, season to taste. Serve with the potatoes and braised vegetables.

That’s it! Enjoy!

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Black pepper stir fry sauce

Black pepper stir fry sauce

This is one of my current favourites. I’ve become a bit addicted… I got through a whole pepper grinder’s worth of black pepper corns in a scarily short amount of time. Totally worth it though! If you’re a pepper fiend like me, I would definitely recommend buying pepper corns in bulk, rather than forking out repeatedly for individual grinders.

This Asian-inspired sauce is really easy to make and goes brilliantly with strips of chicken or beef, or with lots of chopped veggies. Happy grinding!

Black pepper beef (6)

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 200g beef or chicken strips for stir frying (optional)
– 1 each red and green peppers, cut into long slices
– 1 white onion, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
– whole black pepper corns in a grinder
– 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
– 1 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) – or light soy sauce with a pinch of brown sugar in it
– brown rice or cauliflower rice to serve

Black pepper beef (1)

Method
1. Add the chopped garlic to the chicken or beef and then grind black pepper over the meat. The amount is sort of up to you. I find it hard to say “a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper” because it’s almost impossible to neatly grind into a teaspoon to see the amount! Basically, I make sure the meat has a generous coating of black pepper and garlic. (Skip this step if you want a meat free meal.)
Black pepper beef (5)
2. Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan. Sear the meat for 2-3 minutes then add the onions and peppers. Stir well for a few minutes until the onion has softened.
3. Stir in the oyster sauce and soy sauce, and another generous grating of black pepper.
4. Taste. Adjust to your preference by adding more of the sauces as desired. Or more pepper!!
5. Serve immediately with brown rice or cauliflower rice

Black pepper beef (4)

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Creamy mustard sauce with bacon and mushrooms – perfect with pork, turkey and chicken

Creamy mustard sauce with bacon and mushrooms
Creamy bacon mushroom mustard sauce  (4)
This sauce is great with lean pork, turkey or chicken. It’s rich, creamy and so tasty – whenever I make it I want to lick the plate clean.

Cook the meat first on both sides in a large frying pan, then put to one side and keep warm in a covered dish (you don’t want the meat to dry out). Prepare the sauce in the same pan to save on washing up. Once your sauce is done, you can return the meat to the pan and let it sit in the sauce for a while to soak up all of the lovely, creamy flavours as it finishes cooking.

As a meal, it works really well with brown rice or cauliflower rice, and plenty of steamed vegetables. Combinations that worked for me were pork with brown rice, broccoli and carrots, as well as turkey steaks with cauliflower rice, tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. I can also recommend chicken with hasselback potatoes and sauteed cabbage.
If you’re  interested on making cauliflower rice, there are some instructions in this post on one of my other recipes. It’s super easy, really healthy and definitely worth a go.

Creamy bacon mushroom mustard sauce  (1)

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 4 rashers smoked bacon
– 1 red onion
– 200 g white mushrooms
– 300 ml single cream
– 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (you can add more to taste)

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Method
1. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Chop into slices (and halve the slices if the mushrooms are big).
2. Heat a little oil (or butter for extra indulgence!) in a large frying pan. Peel and chop the red onion and saute.
3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan once the onions have begun to soften. After 4-5 minutes, stir in the mushrooms and cook until the bacon is cooked and the mushrooms have started to take on some colour.

Pork and mushrooms in mustard sauce (4)4. Stir in the mustard then add the cream. Mix together well, season and taste. If you love mustard, you might want to add some more here!
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Jerk chicken skewers with sweet potato fries

Jerk chicken skewers, zesty soured cream and chive dip, sweet potato fries and charred pepper salsa

BBQ - Jerk skewers (6)

I’m very lucky to live in the south of Spain, where barbecue season is long! It was gorgeous weather yesterday, so we decided to fire up the barbecue. As is so often the case, my first point of call for inspiration was Jamie Purviance’s “The Complete Weber Barbecue Book.” I love this recipe book. It is packed full of delicious recipes, ideas for barbecuing pretty much everything and loads of suggestions for rubs, spices and marinades.BBQ - Jerk skewers (5)

The jerk chicken skewers recipe came from this barbecuing bible, and I developed the meal from there. I’ve already posted up recipes for some of the separate elements, but if you would like the complete meal, then here it is.

You don’t actually need a barbecue for any of this recipe. The sweet potatoes and salsa can be made in the oven, and the skewers can be grilled. But that’s nowhere near as much fun!

*Barbecue tip 1 – I built up my coals on one side only of BBQ - Jerk skewers (2)the barbecue. This meant I could cook the skewers over the direct heat, but the peppers and sweet potatoes could be cooked on the other side. It is still hot, but they haven’t got the coals directly underneath them so the bottom doesn’t burn. Jamie Purviance refers to this as direct and indirect heat. My barbecue is this one from Weber.
* Barbecue tip 2 – If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you have soaked them in water first, otherwise they will burn. I soak a whole packet at a time and then freeze them, so I always have skewers ready. You can also use metal skewers.

Ingredients (serves 3)

Jerk chicken skewers
– 3 boneless chicken breasts         BBQ - Jerk skewers (4)
– 1 chilli
– 25g coriander leaves and stems
– 75ml olive oil
– 2 spring onions, chopped roughly
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 teaspoon lime juice
– salt and pepper
– 3 spring onions

Sweet potato friesSweet potato fries
– one large sweet potato
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 teaspoon each of: paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, dried rosemary
– 2 teaspoons crispy onion bits
– salt and pepper to season

Zesty soured cream dip
– 250ml soured cream
– 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
– zest of half a lime
– 2 teaspoons chopped chives
– drizzle of honey

Charred pepper and tomato salsa
– 1 large red bell pepperCharred pepper salsa (2)
– 10 cherry tomatoes
– 6 small green poblano peppers
– 4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
– olive oil
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
– salt and pepper to season

Method
BBQ - Jerk skewers (1)1. Put the chilli, coriander, olive oil, spring onions, garlic, ginger, sugar and lime juice in a food processor, along with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. If you’re chilli is a very hot one, you could remove the seeds first. Process until you have a smooth paste.
2. Cut the chicken into chunks, about 1.5cm thick. Cover in the paste and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
3. For the salsa, de-seed all the peppers and cut into large pieces. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Take a large baking tray. Spread the pieces of pepper and tomato around the tray, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well with your hands.
4. Place on indirect heat on the barbecue. Make sure the lid is on the barbecue. Leave for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
5. Mix all of the dip ingredients together. Cover and leave in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
6. Peel the sweet potato and ” target=”_blank”>Spiralize it, using the thick noodle setting. Cut any really long noodles with scissors to make curly fries. Transfer into a large bowl.
Season with the most of the oil, then all of the onion, spices, salt and pepper. Mix really well.
BBQ - Jerk skewers (2)7. Take a large piece of tin foil and drizzle with the remaining oil. Spread the sweet potato fries out on the tin foil (more than one layer is fine). Fold the tin foil over to create a parcel.
8. Remove the peppers and tomatoes from the barbecue. Replace with the sweet potato foil parcel. Barbecue the sweet potatoes on an indirect heat for 25 minutes. Then, open the parcel slightly so some of the steam can escape and cook for 5 more minutes. BBQ - Jerk skewers (3)
9. While the sweet potato cooks, chop the peppers and tomatoes into chunks. The size is up to you, it depends on how chunky you want your salsa to be.
Add the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Squeeze the soft, cooked garlic out of the papery skin and chop. Mix together thoroughly and season to taste. Set aside ready to serve.Charred pepper salsa (1)
9. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers. Alternate a piece of chicken with a slice of spring onion. Grill the skewers over a direct heat for 6-8 minutes, with the lid on. Turn once, halfway through the cooking time. Check that the meat is thoroughly cooked.
10. Serve skewers, dip, sweet potato fries and the salsa.

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Roasted tomato sauce – cheap and delicious

Roasted tomato sauce

Roasted tomato sauce (4)

This sauce is a really handy one to have in your repertoire. It goes brilliantly with pasta or any spiralized noodles. I think it would be absolutely fab with courgetti/zoodles. I served it with pasta and Fuss Free Cooking’s turkey pesto meatballs, but it stands alone as a sauce.

One of the best things about it is how cheap it is to make. The main Roasted tomato sauce (1)ingredient is a tin of tomatoes! Roasting the tinned tomatoes before adding them to the sauce brings out their wonderful tomato-y flavour, adding so much depth and richness to your sauce. (I also use this tasty tomato trick in my sausage, zucchini and roasted tomato lasagne recipe.) Aside from that, you need half an onion, a little passata or frito and a stock cube. You can easily feed three or four people for about £2!

One thing that it really important as you make this sauce is to be aware of the importance of tasting your food. I live in Spain, but cooked this in England whilst staying with my parents. I’ve made very similar sauces several times, but I couldn’t believe the difference in the taste of tinned tomatoes in Spain and England! English tinned tomatoes are so much more bitter than their Spanish counterparts. I was tasting as I went along, and was really surprised by the difference. I had to adjust my seasoning considerably from how I usually make it. So make sure you taste as you go along!

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 400g tin of whole peeled tomatoes
– 500g passata/frito
– half an onion, finely chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
– olive oil

Roasted tomato sauce (3)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.Roasted tomato sauce (1)
2. Drain the tinned tomatoes but KEEP the juice! Chop each tomato into quarters and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and the dried rosemary. Mix well.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have intensified in colour. Check the edges don’t burn!
4. While the tomatoes are cooking, you can start to prepare the rest of the sauce. Chop the half onion and garlic finely, and sauté with a little olive in a saucepan.
5. Once the onion and garlic are softened, add the juice drained from the tomatoes and reduce. You’re aiming for hardly any liquid to be left, but don’t boil it too hard or it will become really bitter.
Roasted tomato sauce (2)6. When the tomatoes are done, take them out of the oven and chop into small pieces.
7. Add the tomatoes to your onions and garlic, along with the passata. At this point, taste! Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is a little sour, try half a teaspoon of sugar or you can add ketchup. It has the same effect. If you like, you could also add some oregano here.
8. Simmer for about five minutes until thickened slightly.
9. Serve over pasta or any spiralized vegetable noodles.

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