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Monday, 26 June 2017

Family Meals : Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives

I've mentioned before on this blog that I cook the majority of our family meals from scratch, and on most nights of the week. We rarely eat out, and only have takeaways very occasionally, and if we do it's only usually from the local chippy.

We also have very little food waste in this house, which I put down to meal planning (albeit a bit haphazardly at the moment), cooking from scratch, and always using up any leftovers by making them into another meal, freezing them, or eating for lunch the following day.

I also encourage our family to eat our evening meals together as much as possible. It's not always easy with two teenagers though, especially at this tome of the year when they're out with their friends for the majority of the evening, so it's often only three of us at the dinner table. At least 3 or 4 times a week we do all manage to sit down together though, and some of our favourite meals involve a large panful of food in the centre of the table with breads, salads and vegetables on the side for everyone to help themselves to.

This article about the benefits of family meals is a very interesting read, and should encourage all families to try and eat together as much as possible. 
This Paprika Chicken dish is one of the many dishes that I enjoy cooking, as I know everyone will enjoy it, and it takes a minimal amount of effort to make. As the majority of the ingredients used are from Iceland's cook from frozen range it means that you can always have a supply of ingredients in the freezer ready to whip up a meal at any time, without the worry that anything is going to go off.

Family Meals : Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives

The dish could be served with salad and bread or roast potatoes and steamed vegetables, but I chose to serve it with a large pot of ratatouille (which is always delicious the following day on a jacket potato or pasta), bread rolls (who knew you could buy frozen ready baked bread rolls), and Iceland steamed rice.

Family Meals : Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives

Ratatouille is also a great way to use up vegetables from the bottom of the fridge, such as onions, peppers, mushrooms, aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes, as well as carrots, leeks, butternut squash and cabbage. Just like a 'fridge bottom' soup or curry, almost any veg can go into a ratatouille, but using the Iceland Mediterranean Vegetables as a base gives it a great flavour, as well as saving valuable time by not having any chopping to do.

Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives by Helen Jessup on Scribd

Family Meals : Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives


Family Meals : Paprika Chicken with Chorizo & Olives

This is quite simply one of the easiest, tastiest, cook from [almost] scratch, no chopping, no waste, family meals that you could ever wish to make. That's the #PowerofFrozen!

 photo paprika chicken Pin_zpsymyhymf8.jpg

a commissioned post for Iceland Foods #PowerofFrozen

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hot & Spicy Halloumi & Salad filled Flatbread

Wow, what a lovely weekend that was for the weather. Although, how many of us were doing the typical British thing of moaning that it's too hot? One week we're in jumpers & jackets & the next it's hotter than the Med. Crazy weather.

When the sun does come out for us, so does the barbecue. We are a family of barbecue and bbq sauce lovers, so when I was offered some Jack Daniel's barbecue sauces to try out I was intrigued to see what they would taste like, and whether the rest of the family would like them considering they're made with real Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

Hot & Spicy Halloumi Flatbread

I was dying to try the Extra Hot Habanero as I do love my spicy sauces, and this didn't disappoint, as it had a huge kick! It still packed a punch once it was brushed onto the halloumi slices and cooked on the griddle pan.

Hot & Spicy Halloumi Flatbread

These halloumi & salad filled flatbreads are so fresh tasting, and are very quick to prepare as the halloumi only takes a few minutes to cook. They're a great veggie alternative to the usual meats at a bbq, or a simple pack up for work. I love these ready folded flatbreads that I found in Tesco as they're a perfect size to hold the filling securely without everything falling into your lap! Myself & the husband ate these as we both love spicy food, and the kids loved the bbq chicken breast made with the full flavour smokey sauce at the weekend - you can see an Instagram pic of our tasty bbq feast here.

Hot & Spicy Halloumi Flatbread

Hot & Spicy Halloumi Flatbread Hot & Spicy Halloumi Flatbread jack daniels sauces

Jack Daniel's sauces are available in 6 flavours, including these 3 above, and are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, and some are also gluten free.

Hot & Spicy Halloumi & Salad filled Flatbread

a commissioned post for Jack Daniel's Sauces

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A Day out at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited by the Vegetarian Society to their Headquarters and cookery school in Greater Manchester. All I knew was that it was going to be a day of cooking up some Vegan dishes with a handful of fellow bloggers, so I didn't really know what to expect from the food that we were going to be preparing & eating. I do like meat free dishes and cook many of them for the family, often without them knowing (bread bolognaise for example!), but I do love a steak every now and then, and couldn't see myself living without cheese.

vegetarian cookery school

We weren't invited along to be converted to veganism though, and there was a good balance of both vegetarians and meat eaters. One of the reasons for our visit was to be introduced to the new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark, which will be appearing on products from late summer, and will help the consumer when selecting vegan approved foods, without having to scan all the ingredients, safe in the knowledge that products are 100% vegan. 

These products are guaranteed to be free from: 
• animal-derived ingredients
• cross-contamination during production
• GMOs
• animal testing, either directly or via commissioned processes. 

The Vegetarian Society is a charity passionate about veggie food, and rather than pushing meat eaters, such as myself, into becoming vegetarians or vegans they aim to help people better understand the impact of their food choices, and support those who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, whether it be every day of the week, or just on a Meat Free Monday.

The day started with an introduction to the friendly and welcoming staff, including our tutor for the day, Alex, before being shown to our workplace for the day. It was hands on right from the start, with Alex getting us involved in making our own dishes. Before long the kitchen was a hive of activity, with plenty of chopping, kneading, rolling and blending going on, in between the chatting, laughing & taking photos.

vegetarian cookery school OUR TUTOR, ALEX (photo credit : Vegetarian Society)

During the day we used many ingredients that most of us hadn't come across before, including braised tofu, ackee and breadfruit. I was seriously impressed with the vegan mayonnaise made from soya milk, and I'll definitely be making that one again

One of the other dishes that stood out for me was the Solomon Gundy, which is traditionally a fish based pate, but in this instance had been made with braised tofu. If you're a vegetarian or vegan that hasn't tried braised tofu then I insist you go and buy some. I can't really explain what it's like, and whilst it has an odd initial taste, the aftertaste is really quite nice, and in the pate it worked so well. 

I also really really loved the Spicy Chickpea Tagine with pan fried Harissa Aubergine, and the cashew crème in the Fruits of the Forest Sundaes was so creamy and you would never guess that it was a dairy free nut based alternative to cream once it was paired with the berries and crunchy oat topping. Tofu scramble was a bit of a revelation for me too, as tofu can be a bit of a 'meh' ingredient, but it worked really well in this protein packed breakfast dish. I'm not convinced about Vegan cheese though, so although I'm happy to continue with my semi vegetarian diet I'm not ready to go full on vegan and ditch the cheese just yet.

vegetarian society cookery school
BUSY BUSY BUSY (photo credit : Vegetarian Society)

tofu scramble

vegan pate

vegan tagine

 photo cake_zpsqtsxtvpc.jpg

If you want to see more of the fab dishes that we cooked up, you can find them on this post on Facebook.

If you're a fully fledged Vegan, or maybe considering adopting a more plant based diet, then you can register here for FREE TICKETS to the Just V show in London from 7th - 9th July.

 photo vegan trademark_zpshvyhoits.jpg

Monday, 12 June 2017

BBQ Asian Beef Skewers

A couple of weekends ago the weather was beautiful, so we spent a little time cleaning up the garden and having a sort out in the garage, which seems like a never ending task. I have no idea why we keep so much junk, or even how we acquire much of it in the first place! Three carloads to the tip and the garage is looking tidier, but somehow it still looks full!

It was a lovely day for some outdoor cooking, so at lunchtime I fired up the bbq (it's gas so doesn't take much effort!), and cooked us up some Asian Beef Skewers. They only take a few minutes to cook so are perfect for large family gatherings as a large batch can be cooked in next to no time, and most of the prep can be done ahead of time.

BBQ Asian Beef Skewers

I've always considered rump steak to be a little on the chewy side, and rarely choose it when eating out or cooking at home. I wanted to give the Irish Beef rump steak a try to see if Irish Beef really did live up to its reputation for being a premium product, superior to much of the meat available to consumers. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed with this cut of meat, which worked perfectly in this dish, and had the family fighting over the skewers. They were divine.

If you've never considered Irish Beef before, here are a few reasons why you should :

Irish agriculture: Spread across a network of 120,000 small farms, Ireland’s agricultural production uses a seamless blend of traditional craft passed down through generations and modern farming methods developed using cutting edge technology – resulting in bumper harvests and best-in-class, world-renowned cattle.

Irish Cattle: Today, Ireland sets the benchmark for high quality cattle. Enviable lineage and exemplary breeding practices have enabled Irish farmers to produce cattle that possess many benefits of different breeds – from superior conformation and marbling to fertility and milk production.

Irish grass: Ireland’s nickname is ‘The Emerald Isle’ – and for good reason. A phenomenal mix of perfect atmospheric conditions, proximity to the gulf stream and unprecedented levels of nutrient-enriched grasslands all combine to create a landscape as perfect for cattle grazing as it is beautiful.

Health benefits of grass-fed Irish Beef: Imbued with heightened levels of Vitamin A, carotene and Omega 3 fatty acids, coupled with superior marbling and tenderness, Irish Beef is a great fit for any balanced diet.

WIN a Weber Barbecue
If you think this recipe is worthy of winning the Irish Beef Summer Beef Encounters blogger competition then please head over to their site to cast your vote. By voting you could be in with a chance of winning a Weber barbecue for yourself too! Voting is open until 9th July. (full terms & conditions)

BBQ Asian Beef Skewers

Asian Beef Skewers - serves 2-3

2 x 265g Irish Beef rump steaks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2cm of fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp honey
  • Trim any excess fat from the steaks, and cut them against the grain into 2cm strips
  • Mix the remaining ingredients together to make a marinade
  • Add the strips of steak to a large bowl and toss them in the marinade
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least a few hours)
  • Thread the steak strips onto skewers 
  • Place the skewers on a very hot bbq and cook for just a few minutes each side (depending on how you like your steak cooked)
  • Serve with sticky rice, chilli dipping sauce and a salad of noodles, lettuce and spring onions

  • BBQ Asian Beef Skewers
    BBQ Asian Beef Skewers BBQ Asian Beef Skewers

For more information on Irish Beef & their Summer Beef Encounters, follow their social media via the links below, or search using the hashtag #SummerBeef :

 BBQ Asian Beef Skewers

a commissioned post for Irish Beef


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