chinese chicken and vegetables


My dad was neither Chinese or a particularly good cook, but for Christmas one year he got a wok as a present and made something like the following recipe. I have added a lot more vegetables to his version of the dish and served it with some pea egg fried rice.

The vegetables in the dish can easily be changed for whatever is in the fridge or your preference. The key ingredients really are the cashew nuts and the sauce.
Chicken ingredientsIngredients
Chinese chicken with vegetables
1 chicken breast
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of mushrooms
1/2 cup of mini sweetcorn
1/2 cup of mange tout
1/2 cup of broccoli
50g of cashew nuts
150ml of chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon of corn flour
2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Pea egg fried rice
200g rice or 1 pack of ready cooked rice little easier to fry as it tends to hold less water
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 egg white
1 egg yolk

Cook the rice and set aside to dry

In a hot wok cook the chicken until cooked and set aside.

Toast the cashews for about a minute, being careful not to burn them. Once browned add all of the vegetables and cook until tender.

Add garlic and continue to cook for a minute or so.

In a jug mix the stock, soy and corn flour, and then add to wok. Stir and cook for a further two minutes. Remove from heat and place on a serving dish.

Heat a fresh wok or frying pan until hot and add the rice and peas.

Stir the rice through and once fully heated add the egg whites, continuing to stir.

Once the whites are fully cooked, egg the yolks and continue to stir so that the yolks are evenly mixed through the rice.

When cooked through serve with the chicken, season with a little soy and enjoy!

chicken rice


gordon ramsay beer bread recipe


For Christmas I was bought the Gordon Ramsay Ultimate Home Cooking book. As I had seen some of the episodes on TV I was really excited to see how they would work at home.

One of my New Year resolutions was to make more basics like bread, so in preparation for the beer bread recipe, I went to my local supermarket and bought some beer. Brains have recently brought out a new range of craft beers, which I hadn’t tried and them being my favourite brewery and me loving craft beers, it was the first item in my trolley. I probably should have checked the cupboard before going to the shop for the other ingredients, but we just about managed with what we had.

This is probably the easiest recipe in the world to make, as it only contained three recipes, one of which was salt!

250g white self-raising flour (original recipe 175g white and 75g of wholemeal)
300ml of Barry Island IPA beer
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C and dust your tins with a little flour.
In the book we are supposed to use small individual bread tins, which I do not own, and so just used a muffin tray instead.

Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together to form a runny batter.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the tin and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and brush over a little milk and return to the oven for 5 minutes to brown off.

Ensure that the centre of the bread is fully cooked by inserting a a skewer into the middle of the roll, which if clean from crumbs is cooked.

spooning-bread-mixtureI would probably use a different tin ,as they were very rustic looking, but as with any food the real test is how they taste.

fresh-bread-rollsfresh-bread-butterHaving helped with making the bread, my son was eager to be the first to taste the bread, so ripped open the warm roll and covered it in cold butter.

spreading-butter-on-breadGordon Ramsay – Ultimate Home Cooking

kermit the frog and miss piggy muppets birthday cakes


H-cakesThe brief from our son for his birthday cake this year was a chocolate cake, and as it was a Muppets party, it had to be Kermit. As I had not made a chocolate cake before I did a test run last Monday (without the icing) and spent quite a while researching the best recipe. Loosely based on Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Orange Birthday Cake, which based on his guarantees, seemed the easiest one to make. We had more guests than one muppets birthday cake would provide for, so we decided to also make a Miss Piggy cake as well.

The recipe makes two 8″ cakes, so you need to cover the base of two cake tins with baking paper and then grease the sides of the tins, before you start the mixture. I cook the cakes at about 160°C-170°C for 24 minutes.

200 g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
200 g caster sugar
200 g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cocoa powder (mixed with 5 tablespoons of boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 large/ 4 medium  eggs


Mix the butter and sugar together in a mixer (or by hand) until they become light and fluffy (about 30 seconds).
Add all of the other ingredients to the mixture and mix for about another 30 seconds.
Evenly pour the mixture into the cake tins and cook for 24 minutes at about 160°C-170°C.

Icing the cake
Having previously made a mess of the last time that I iced a cake, I decided to look for some tips. I first watched the following, but the icing is white and so did not completely help as I was using coloured icing.

The following used coloured icing, which described the process of polishing a little icing sugar into the top of the icing ball prior to rolling and not using any more during the process.

muppet-cake-kermic-1A reasonably easy cake to make once the cake is covered in icing. I made a template of Kermit and then cut out a black background and then the various features.

muppet-cake-kermic2Miss Piggy was a little more difficult in that I also added a cup cake under the icing for the nose. As long as you are gentle in smoothing the edges and do not force the icing into the shape it should cover the area without creases or cracks.

muppet-cake-piggy1A little bit of free form in creating the hair, eyes and mouth completes the cake.

muppet-cake-piggy2One final tips is to keep the cakes out of reach of a two year old, who says ‘ah play-doh’ and pushes his finger into the sides.


cooking super gooey cookies


The boys wanted cookies, but we didn’t have any in the house and it was raining so we couldn’t go out and we needed something to do. Looking on BBC Food I found the following recipe, which I then adjusted a little. They are probably the best cookies that I have ever eaten, especially hot, as they are soft, chewy and very chocolaty.

Before you start on the mixture, cover two trays with baking paper and set the oven at 160°C.

150g butter, at room temperature
80g light brown sugar
80g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g plain chocolate chips and/or chunks

Mix the butter and sugar together in a mixer (or by hand) until they become light and fluffy (about 30 seconds).
Add all of the other eggs, vanilla, flour, and bicarbonate of soda to the mixture and mix for about another 30 seconds.
Cookie-mixtureStir in the chocolate and spoon large teaspoons of mixture onto the baking trays. The mixture should be enough for about 12 cookies.

cookies3Cook for about 14 minutes at about 160°C and then allow to cool down a little before eating so that they firm up a little in the middle.