This weeks array of fabulous dishes that you can whip up in a flash include Sausage & Mushroom Stroganoff, Orange Chicken Noodles and Spanish Fish Stew- all ready to go in 20 minutes or less! And your vegan meal for the week? Sri Lankan Cauliflower Curry. It's all far too delicious and easy for a rainy mid-November week but nothing says the run up to Christmas like stepping up your dinner party game...
300-400g mixed seafood (I used some plaice and ready cooked mussels in their shells)
2 skinless chicken breast fillets or diced chicken
1 medium cauliflower
1 large fennel bulb
Small pack tenderstem broccoli
300ml crème fraiche
200ml orange juice
1 tin white beans (butter or cannellini best)
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
Black mustard seeds
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Light soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Hoi sin sauce
Noodles of your choice
Pasta of your choice
White wine or sherry (optional)
Monday – Sri Lankan Cauliflower Curry, 30 mins
A spin on one of my current favourite recipes, Deliciously Ella’s vegan Sri Lankan curry from her brilliant new Plant Based Cookbook. Warming, nourishing and creamy with just enough of a kick.
Preheat the oven to 200C and cut the cauliflower florets and leaves into bitesize pieces, discarding only the very stem (if your cauliflower is large, you can reserve a quarter of it to become rice tomorrow night if you prefer). Place on a baking tray and drizzle over a tablespoon or two of coconut oil along with a teaspoon each of cinnamon, turmeric and garam masala. Bake for 20 minutes, adding a sliced pepper for the last five or so minutes. Meanwhile make the base of the curry: add a teaspoon each of black mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a pan with some more coconut oil. When the seeds begin to ‘dance’, add a diced onion and a few crushed garlic cloves and fry gently until softened. Pour in the coconut milk and a teaspoon of chilli powder. Bring to the boil then simmer with two or three pucks of spinach until your cauliflower and peppers are ready to be added. Season with salt, pepper and optionally, lime and coriander. Serve.
NOTE: Hate cauliflower? Ella’s recipe uses sweet potato and squash, but it’s also great with pumpkin or courgette. You could easily make this meaty with chunks of chicken if you liked. This freezes well.
Tuesday – Sausage & Mushroom Stroganoff, 20 mins
A thrifty twist on the classic Russian dish, simplified for a weekday and a reminder that brown food is still delicious
Finely slice an onion and fry gently in olive oil for ten minutes. Add 150g of sliced mushrooms, a garlic clove and the meat of three sausages, skinned and rolled into balls. Cook for five minutes until golden brown then stir in most of the crème fraiche and a teaspoon of English mustard (you can slowly add more mustard to suit your own taste). Serve over rice (normal or cauliflower rice – if cauliflower, blitz it up in a food processor then dry fry for 2 minutes in a hot pan) with an extra dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of paprika and/or parsley (both optional).
NOTE – we are using sausages because it works well split between tonight’s dinner and the sausage pasta on Thursday, but equally fillet steak or venison steaks are great in this. Or keep it veggie with mixed mushrooms.
Wednesday – Spanish Fish Stew, 20 mins
This looks impressive but is deceptively simple and very tasty as well as being packed with lean protein and vegetables.
Roughly chop half the fennel into small chunks, chop two fat garlic cloves and fry in a tablespoon of olive oil with a small pinch of salt and a large pinch of saffron for five minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes, a glug of white wine or sherry if using, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Add the fish and shellfish (if using fillets then slice into bitesize pieces), the beans, then cover and let cook for a further ten minutes. Serve with a few grilled spring onions or broccoli and perhaps some crusty bread.
Thursday – Sausage, Fennel & Chilli Pasta, 35 mins
Sausage and fennel are the perfect Neapolitan pairing and come together with chilli in this spicy, comforting pasta dish
Dice the last onion and remaining fennel and fry in a tablespoon of olive oil for ten minutes. Take the sausage meat out of the skins and add to the pan, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add a clove of garlic, crushed, and teaspoon of fennel seeds then cook for a few more minutes before adding the passata and a tablespoon of dried chilli flakes. Cover and cook down for at least 20 minutes, adding a splash of water or wine if it begins to stick. Serve with your favourite pasta.
NOTE: You could make this veggie by using a mince substitute and adding an tablespoon of tomato puree and pinch of sugar for sweetness and depth. Kids love this too – just go easy on the chilli and serve with plenty of cheese.
Friday – Orange Chicken Noodles, 20 mins
A quick Friday night fakeaway dish crying out for a prawn cracker or two.
Slice the rest of the spring onions and fry in two tablespoons of rapeseed oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken breasts, diced, and let fry over a medium heat for about eight minutes, turning occasionally until there’s a nice golden brown crust, then slice the broccoli in half and add to the pan. Mix up the sauce by whisking together the 200ml of orange juice with a tablespoon each of cornflour, soy, hoi sin and rice wine vinegar. Add to the chicken and let it bubble away until thickened and glossy. Add in the noodles (I use straight to wok) with a tablespoon of honey. Check the seasoning and serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds (optional).