This week, we're putting an adult twist on some your childhood fan favourites. With grown up fish finger butties on Wednesday and our own take on those delicious Ikea Swedish meatballs on Thursday, get ready to revisit your youth with these tasty meals...
250g diced chicken breast
2 x 100g cod or haddock fillets
12 pork meatballs
2 large chicken legs
400ml chicken stock (a concentrated pot or cube is fine)
300ml crème fraiche
1 green apple
1 small punnet red grapes (approx. 300g if poss)
1 romaine lettuce
1 small pack green beans
1 bunch tarragon
Small piece of ginger
2 rolls of your choice
Breadcrumbs (any kind you like – I used a tub but panko, fresh or smashed up cornflakes also fine)
Soy sauce (we used dark soy but light is also fine)
Crunchy peanut butter (look for a palm oil free version if you can)
165g coconut milk (if you can’t find a small can and won’t use a 400g one, try a creamed coconut block – or you could freeze the rest of the can)
Curry powder or garam masala (bizarrely the most basic, cheap mild curry powders work best for this satay recipe but use whatever you have)
Cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly
Monday – Waldorf salad, 15 mins
No cooking, just chopping, for this veggie friendly salad invented by the Waldorf Hotel
Take the lettuce and remove a few of the large outer leaves and place on the plates as a kind of dish. Finely chop the rest of it, discarding the very stem, and place in a very large bowl. Chop half the cucumber into bitesize chunks, then take a few of the green beans, top and tail them then slice into 1-inch pieces. Add this all to the bowl. Slice the apple into long matchsticks and add to the bowl, then sprinkle the walnuts in too. Make a dressing by finely chopping 1/3 of the tarragon and mixing with two or three heaped tablespoons of crème fraiche, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, the juice of a lemon and a level tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Combine and season to taste. Stir into the salad and use your hands to distribute it evenly. Serve immediately.
NOTE: This salad is already energy rich thanks to the walnuts, but should you like more protein you could add some chicken, prawns, blue cheese or bacon lardons. Make the dressing vegan by using vegan mayonnaise (M&S is good) in place of the crème fraiche and normal mayo.
Tuesday – Chicken satay with rice and pickled cucumber, 30 mins +marinating time
A takeaway favourite that genuinely tastes better homemade, we promise
Make a peanutty sauce by combining two heaped tablespoons of peanut butter with a tablespoon each of soy sauce, curry powder, sriracha and grated ginger plus the juice of two limes, a teaspoon of sugar and a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Mix well. Use a heaped teaspoon of the mix to marinate the diced chicken breast (overnight is ideal but I’ve made this after just 20 minutes marinating and it’s still delicious) then put it back in the fridge.
Prepare the cucumber by slicing what is left (unless you’d like to keep a few slices for your fish finger butty tomorrow) and putting in a small bowl with the juice of a lime, a pinch of sugar and salt.
Cook the sauce by placing the rest of the peanut mix in a pan and adding the coconut milk and letting it bubble away gently for 15 mins.
Cook rice according to packet instructions, then cook the chicken by grilling under a high heat – it should take about five minutes each side. Add to the sauce when it’s done and serve with the drained cucumber.
NOTE: The chicken satay freezes well and would also work with vegetarian chicken alternatives like the Quorn ‘fillets’ or tofu.
Wednesday – Grown up fish finger butty, 25 mins
Why should kids get all the fun food anyway?
Make a tartare sauce by mixing two tablespoons of crème fraiche with a tablespoon of mayo and half the remaining tarragon, chopped. Take a tablespoon of capers, roughly chop them and add to the sauce along with the juice of half a lemon. Season to taste then set aside.
Boil two large handfuls of peas until cooked (about three minutes) then plunge immediately into iced water for a few minutes. Drain then mash them together in a bowl with an avocado, salt, pepper and the rest of the lemon juice. Set aside.
Make the ‘fish finger’ by taking your cod fillets, patting them dry then smearing with some crème fraiche. Cover them in breadcrumbs then shallow fry in a very small amount of olive or rapeseed oil for a few minutes each side until golden and crispy. Drain on some kitchen towel then serve in a bun with salad of your choice, the pea smash and tartare.
NOTE: Absolutely no judgement if you use pre-prepared fish fingers!
Thursday – Swed-ish meatballs, 25 mins
A quick, tangy, comforting meatball recipe. No trip to Ikea required.
Mix up 400ml of stock then add a heaped tablespoon of Dijon mustard to the stock and stir. Brown the meatballs in a large non-stick pan on a medium heat for about eight minutes, moving them around occasionally. Once they’re browned, pour in half the stock and bring to the boil. Let it bubble for a few minutes then turn the heat down a bit to a simmer for ten more minutes, then stir in the rest of the crème fraiche (should be around two heaped tablespoons left) and season really well. Serve with mash, or chips and plenty of cranberry or redcurrant sauce.
NOTE: Other meatballs are also fine; beef, venison or veggie alternatives (I like Asda’s frozen ones or M&S Plant Kitchen). Swap the chicken stock for veg stock of course.
Friday – Wine braised chicken and grapes, 45 mins
This is an amalgamation of Diana Henry’s, Nigella’s and Jamie Oliver’s various recipes for chicken with grapes, and tastes like it is a lot harder to make than it actually is
Take the chicken thighs and brown them skin side down in frying pan or oven proof dish using a medium-low heat on the hob. Chop a few cloves of garlic and add to the pan while the chicken is browning. After about five minutes, turn the chicken pieces over, add in the remaining grapes, a generous glug of white wine and the rest of the mustardy stock from yesterday. Top with the rest of the tarragon then transfer to the oven for 40 minutes at 190C. Serve with the rest of the green beans, steamed or boiled.