Oven-fried shrimp gyoza

Oven-fried shrimp gyoza

I found out something very exciting recently….

You can BAKE gyoza!

Dumplings can be cooked in the OVEN!

This is revolutionary! Up until now whenever I’ve made them, I’ve had to fry or steam them, which is quite messy (and I don’t really like frying things anyway). However, they are so easy to cook in the oven, and it’s much easier to get a crispy texture this way.

The other exciting this with this is the sauce I drizzled on them. It’s called Chin-Su and is a Vietnamese chilli garlic sauce. I found it when I was in Penang and I’m a bit obsessed with it. It’s can be a bit tricky to get hold of, but you can easily use Sriracha as a substitute.


Ingredients (makes 24 dumplings)
– 24 gyoza skins
– a handful on spring onions, finely sliced
– 100g raw prawns
– 4 peeled garlic cloves
– roughly 4 button mushrooms
– roughly 4 pieces of baby sweetcorn
– 50g Chinese cabbage
– 2 tbsp soy sauce

Glaze: 2 tbsp each neutral oil and soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil

To serve (optional): soy sauce, sliced chilli, Chin-Su or Sriracha sauce, sliced spring onions

1. Preheat the oven to 220 C.
2. Very finely chop the prawns, garlic, mushrooms, corn and cabbage. Mix together well with the soy sauce and some freshly ground white pepper.
3. Place a small tablespoon of the mixture in the centre of each gyoza skin. Wet the rim with a little water and fold them together. Try to seal the edges as much as possible.
4. Mix the glaze ingredients together and brush the sealed gyoza with the glaze.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the skins are turning crispy and the filling is fully cooked.
6. Serve with dipping sauce and more sliced spring onions


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Homemade lamb kebabs

Homemade lamb kebabs

Homemade lamb kebabs 2

It’s not often I eat the same meal two nights in a row. In fact, I enjoy experimenting and trying out recipes so much that I end up making new meals rather that repeating ones I enjoyed. Every so often I remember something I loved and wonder why I haven’t made it again recently… then I’m right back to experimenting.

This was an exception though – I was thrilled to make this again. Eating it two nights in a row was an absolute treat. These homemade kebabs are so delicious and quite quick to make, even with making your own flatbreads. It’s an assembly job, so I’m going to deal with each bit separately.

These instructions will make 4 kebabs – serves 2.

This isn’t my recipe, it’s from BBC Good Food. They’re called quick flatbreads, and they are definitely speedy.
Take 200g plain flour and 1 quarter teaspoon of salt, and mix in 100ml of water. Add in 2 tablespoons of light oil and knead together for 5 minutes into a dough. You may need to add more flour or water to make a soft dough, but these proportions have worked well for me.
You can cook straight away or leave to rest for 30 minutes. Separate into four equal sized balls. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin on a floured surface. I’m not good at making them circular, but I’m going to pretend I was deliberately going for the rustic look.
To cook, heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the flatbreads on both sides for 1-2 minutes each. Place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil until ready to use.

Lamb kebabs (1)

-250g very thinly sliced lamb (I use a cut called sukiyaki, which is basically shaved lamb)
– half a 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

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened and turning translucent.
2. Add the lamb and spices to the pan, along with the Worchestershire sauce. Stir well and cook until the lamb is done to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

Lamb kebabs (4)

This is up to you, you can top your kebab with whatever you like. To me, pickles and garlic sauce were non-negotiable, but go with what your tastebuds tell you.

I always have roasted garlic in my freezer, so I could make a roasted garlic mayonnaise in seconds. I took four cloves out of the freezer bag and when they had softened slightly, I mashed them with four tablespoons of mayonnaise and a little salt. That’s it!

I had pickled some cucumbers recently, using this advice from Feasting At Home. They are awesome and so they went on top, along with a sprinkling of parsley.

Lamb kebabs (5)

To assemble, take a warm flatbread, spoon on some of the lamb, then top with pickles and the garlic mayo. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley, wrap up and enjoy.

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Delicious meat free recipes – easy vegetarian meals

Delicious meat free recipes

Here are some delicious recipes to help you on your way to eating less meat!

One pot gnocchi and halloumi with rocket and red pepper
This warm salad only has four ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to cook. The halloumi adds so much flavour and is complemented brilliantly by the sweet roasted red peppers and the peppery rocket. A real winner for a week night dinner that will also wow if you have guests pop over.
Gnocchi and halloumi salad (1)

Zucchini, Gruyere and pea tart
This simple puff pastry tart is elegant yet easy. I use ready-made pastry for the base, then layer a smooth cream cheese filling with gorgeous vegetables and Gruyere cheese. If you’re watching your weight, just use low fat cream cheese.

Smokey vegetable and black bean enchiladas
You can still have amazing Mexican food if you’re going meat free! The onion, pepper, tomatoes and carrots mean you get lots of lovely vegetables and the black beans provide plenty of fibre. It’s all wrapped up in a smokey, spicy sauce and (of course) topped with cheese!Vegetable enchiladas (8)

Stuffed zucchini rolls
These rolls are surprisingly filling. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of zucchini then roll up around cooked rice and ricotta. Then you bake them with a tasty tomato sauce. They’re great as a starter or sharing platter, but it also makes a fabulous main course for two people.
Courgette rolls (6)

Tortilla pizza
If you want a quick, simple snack that is meat free, try these tortilla pizzas. They are much lighter than regular pizzas but no less delicious.  Plus the final bonus is you can choose your own toppings!

Asian ribbon and rice noodle salad
For this salad, a vegetable peeler is your best friend! Use it to make long slices of cucumber and zucchini, then mix with leeks and rice noodles and a delicious Asian dressing. It makes such a healthy light lunch!

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Easy tortilla pizza

Easy tortilla pizza

Fancy grabbing a quick, filling and healthy lunch? Enter tortilla pizza!

This recipe serves two people – one with an egg on, and one without. Feel free to play about with the toppings!

1. Put the oven on at 180°C. Put two flour tortillas in the oven for 3 minutes on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. (I forgot the baking paper and it stuck!).

2. Spread one tablespoon of tomato puree or tomato ketchup on each tortilla.
3. Add a chopped tomato to each one, then a small handful of grated cheese (I used cheddar and Parmesan). If you are making an egg version, leave a hole in the middle.

IMAG2161 IMAG2162
4. Crack the egg (if using) into the centre of the pizza. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
IMAG21635. Cook for 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the egg is set.
IMAG21646. Sprinkle a handful of rocket over each pizza and serve.

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Mini baked Scotch eggs – with quails’ eggs and chorizo

Mini baked Scotch eggs with quails’ eggs and chorizo

Baked Chorizo Scotch Eggs (4)

Oh, but these are good! However, let’s make this clear up front – this is NOT a quick recipe! These take quite a bit of time to make. I thought they were more than worth it, but don’t start making them and expect to be done in ten minutes! Quails’ eggs are a bit of a bugger to peel.

These make a perfect snack and are ideal for a picnic. I took them for a picnic on the beach with friends, and they went down very well. They’re good hot or cold, and I can particularly recommend them with a little smear of mustard.

I don’t really like frying food, so I decided to bake these. It doesn’t quite make them entirely healthy, but it’s an improvement! The chorizo in them released a fair bit of oil during the baking, so make sure you have kitchen roll ready at the end of cooking.

Baked Scotch eggs (3)

– 18 quails’ eggs
– 100g chorizo
– 400g sausage meat (I bought sausages and squeezed the meat out, but you can buy the meat directly from your butcher)
– 1 tablespoon dried thyme
– 1 hen’s egg, beaten
– 50g flour
– 200g breadcrumbs

Baked Scotch eggs (1)

1. Place the quails’ eggs carefully in a pan. Pour over enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Once the water starts to boil, set your timer for two minutes. After two minutes, transfer the eggs to a colander and run under cold water for at least 3 minutes.
2. While the eggs cool,  place the sausage meat, chorizo and thyme in a food processor with fresh black pepper and whizz together until they are thoroughly mixed.
3. Now, peel the eggs! Tap them first then carefully peel all of the shell away. It is fiddly and will take time. Be patient, it’s worth it in the end.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
5. Assembly time! Divide the meat mixture into 18 balls (I halved it, split each half into three sections, and then made three Scotch eggs from each section). Flatten the ball of mixture in your hand, place the quails’ egg in the middle and stretch the meat mixture around it. Smooth out any gaps as these will split during cooking. Repeat with the other 17 quails’ eggs.
6. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Place three shallow bowls out for the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Take one of the egg-and-meat bundles and roll it in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the sheet. Then, you’ve guessed it, repeat 17 times!
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Make sure all of the meat is cooked through. Once cooked, drain onto kitchen paper.
8. If not eating immediately, store in containers lined with more kitchen roll. Do not put the lid on the container until they are cooled, or they will go soggy. Enjoy!

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Baked Chorizo Scotch Eggs 5

 Argentinian party parcels! – Ideas for Empanada filling

What to put in Empanadas – Argentinian party parcels!Empanadas (5) Empanadas (2)    

Most cultures have their own pastry-based snacks. As a Brit, I am a huge fan of the Cornish pasty, but people have been wrapping meat and/or veg up in pastry all over the world for centuries. Think of samosas. Turnovers. Dim sum. Dumplings. I could go on.

Enter Argentina’s contribution, the empanada. Empanadas (6)These are delicious pastry pockets stuffed full of a wide range of fillings. My local supermarket has started stocking empanada wrappers – thin circles of flaky pastry which make creating your own empanadas an absolute doddle. Just whip up your filling, place a spoonful in the circle, fold and bake!

They make a great lunch. Or a great snack. Or as part of a main meal, especially if you’re going for a buffet or tapas-style. You can make them in advance or fresh. They can be cooked straight away or frozen. So versatile!

Empanadas (1)One of these days, I will have a stab at making my own empanada pastry dough, but for now I’m happy to focus on experimenting with fillings. All of the fillings listed here will freeze. To freeze successfully, lay the raw empanadas out a baking tray (make sure they aren’t touching each other while they are freezing or they will stick together). Place in the freezer until frozen, then transfer into a freezer bag and seal. You can cook them from frozen.

Basic method
1. Make your filling (see below)
2. Place a small spoonful of the filling on one half of the empanada wrapper. Leave a small gap between the filling and the edge of the wrapper. Don’t use too much, or the filling will leak out.
3. Dip a finger or small pastry brush in tepid water. Run finger/brush around the edge of the wrapper so that it will stick.
4. Carefully fold the wrapper in half. You can crimp or prick the edges with a fork if you like. It looks pretty! It can also be useful – I usually make more than one filling at a time, so I crimp one so I can tell them apart once they’re cooked.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. If cooking from frozen, cook for 25-30 minutes, and check the food is piping hot right to the centre before eating.

Empanadas (7)

Possible fillings
This is by no means an exhaustive list, it is just to give you some ideas. Play around with quantities and seasoning. The benefit of an empanada is pretty much anything goes inside. Just remember to chop all ingredients finely. Unless otherwise specified, these fillings all need cooking before putting in the wrappers.

  • Spicy beef – Beef mince, onion, jalapenos, tomato puree
  • Creamy chicken – Chicken, leek, cream
  • Chicken and olives – Chicken mince, chopped olives, onions
  • Cheese and tomato – Grated cheese (mozzarella or provolone work brilliantly) and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pork and peppers – Pork mince, red and green peppers, ground cumin and coriander
  • Ricotta and spinach –  Cook out the spinach first so that it doesn’t release too much water
  • Chorizo and cheese  – Good with a tiny touch of chipotle paste
  • Leek and bacon – Pine nuts are a good addition here
  • Argentinian beef – Steak strips, onions, raisins, chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Mexican beans – Pinto, kidney or cannelini beans, with ground cumin, coriander, tomato puree
  • Squash and mushroom – This works well with blue cheese
  • Breakfast – Bacon/sausage/black pudding with hard boiled egg or beans

So go ahead and experiment.

Empanadas (8) 

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