This week, we've got some vegan comfort food, a Nando's fakeaway and for your Thursday night dinner party, the ultimate 'this looks like i've tried hard but it took 30 minutes': Blackened fish burgers, bean salad and sweet potato wedges...
2 large cod loins
4-6 pieces of bone-in chicken
400g diced beef steak
2 pork loins or pork chops
1 small red cabbage
2 large or 4 mini corn cobs
1 bunch coriander
1 small piece of ginger
Small pack fine green beans
3 large sweet potatoes
3 white onions
2 large red chillies
Birds eye chillies
2 brioche buns
1 tin black beans
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
Desiccated coconut (optional)
Curry leaves (Indian foods section but don’t worry if you can’t get them)
Cinnamon sticks or cassia bark (in the Indian foods section)
Brown mustard seeds
Monday – Baked sweet potatoes with black bean chilli, 45 mins (or 20 if you microwave the potato)
Accidentally vegan comfort food to satisfy on a chilly day
Put the potatoes on a baking tray into the oven at 200C for 45 mins. Meanwhile, make the chilli: chop a small red onion and a clove or two of garlic and fry off gently for five minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of ground cumin, and a teaspoon of hot chilli powder. Fry for another minute then add ¾ tin of black beans, a whole tin of tomatoes, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and a sprinkling of dried oregano. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer until the potato is cooked. Serve across the potato with half a sliced avocado each on top.
NOTE: This recipe is vegan, but feel free to add sour cream or cheese if you like. You can always make a bigger batch of the chilli and freeze for another day, or take to work.
Tuesday – Pork loins with braised apple cabbage, 40 mins
A hearty yet healthy plate of autumn flavours
Finely slice the red cabbage, leaving just the very stem and core of the vegetable – you can do this in a food processor if you like. Rinse (don’t dry it) and set aside, reserving a handful or two for Thursday night’s recipe. Finely slice an onion and an apple, place in a large saucepan, then fry gently for five minutes in a teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add the red cabbage (it will shrink), 200ml of water, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt. Put the lid on the saucepan and let it braise away on a medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to check it doesn’t stick. Towards the end of cooking time, brush the pork with olive oil, season well and grill under a high heat for about 4 minutes each side until the fat is crisp and golden. Leave to rest, covered, for about two minutes before serving on top of the cabbage with mustard on the side (we like Dijon). Serve with mash if you’re really hungry.
NOTE: If you’ve made far far too much cabbage (easily done), pop in the freezer for an easy side dish another time.
Wednesday – Piri piri chicken, spicy rice and corn, 40 mins
Prep the piri piri chicken marinade a day or two before for the most flavoursome cheeky Nando’s fakeaway
Make a marinade by mixing two tablespoons of paprika, a teaspoon of chilli powder, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a crushed garlic clove, a chopped red chilli or two and two tablespoons each of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Pour all over the chicken, cover and leave to marinate for as long as possible (ideally overnight). When you’re ready to cook, place the marinated chicken in a large ovenproof dish and cook at 200C for 30 mins.
10 minutes before the chicken is ready, put the all the corn on to boil in salted boiling water (reserve some of the cooked corn for tomorrow). For the rice, add a pinch of paprika, oregano and a knob of butter to the rice and heat gently, coating the rice with the mixture before adding water and cooking according to packet instructions. When the chicken is cooked, stir a few spoonfuls of the spicy chicken juices that are left in the dish into the rice and serve it all up with a sprinkling of coriander and a wedge of lime (optional).
NOTE: You can always make more chicken and use in salads during the week. Leave out the chilli if you’re not keen on spice.
Thursday – Blackened fish burgers, bean salad and sweet potato wedges, 30 mins
A super nutritious plate of Southern style soul food to bring sunshine to a dark autumn evening
Cut any knobbly ends off the sweet potato and slice into wedges (don’t bother peeling). Toss in olive oil, a tablespoon of oregano and some salt then place on a baking tray and cook at 180C for 25 mins.
Make the bean salad by slicing the corn off the cob(s) leftover from last night. Place into a bowl. Rinse the remaining black beans in water, then add to the bowl with one chopped tomato, coriander, the juice of half a lime and plenty of salt and pepper.
Mix one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning with a teaspoon of olive oil and rub it over the fish carefully. Set aside.
Cook the remaining shredded cabbage from Tuesday by stir frying in a non stick pan with a clove of garlic and a slug of olive oil. Once it’s softened, set it aside until construction time.
Cook the fish in the cabbage pan on a high heat – have the confidence to just leave it rather than prodding it or it will flake apart. Turn after two minutes.
Assemble the burgers by layering half the cabbage on each base, followed by the fish and a slice or two of tomato. Add sriracha or mayo, or both, as you wish and the bean salad and wedges on the side.
NOTE: This would also be nice with flattened chicken breasts if you’re not keen on fish. Vegans, try it with extra firm tofu.
Friday – Coconutty Beef Curry, 1 hour
A spicy yet creamy curry with all the flavours of South India to welcome the weekend
Chop an onion, four cloves of garlic and fry gently in coconut oil taking care not to let them brown. Add a thumbsized piece of grated ginger (no need to peel it, just grate it in) along with a teaspoon each of turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and garam masala plus half a teaspoon of brown mustard seeds. Continue to fry gently for a minute or two then add two large roughly chopped tomatoes and chopped birds eye chillies to taste (we used three). Let them cook down a bit then add the beef, browning it off over a high heat for a few minutes before adding the tin of coconut milk, cinnamon stick, a good sprinkling of desiccated coconut and curry leaves if you have them. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down, cover and let it bubble away for at least 45 minutes. Add a splash of water if it looks to be getting sticky. During the last five minutes of cooking, add chopped green beans. Remove the cinnamon stick and curry leaves then serve with rice or naan – or both, it’s a Friday.
NOTE: This is even better slow cooked – just pop all the ingredients in a slow cooker before work and pop it on low all day. You’ll need to add 250ml of water to it and it’s best to use braising steak or diced beef shin instead of steak if slow cooking. Of course many Indians wouldn’t use beef so you could use lamb if you prefer. Vegetarians swap the meat for waxy potatoes or squash.