Sizzling Sausages and Beans

When you own a tin of cannellini beans that’s sat around so long it’s nearly out of date*.

As much as I love food (and come on, that’s all you hear from people these days), it’s usually the first thing that gets compromised come the end of the month. So aside from eating jacket potato and beans (that’s next week), I made a list of the things I need to use up, and set out to find a recipe that needed little other ingredients to make them happen.

Joe Wicks has some awesome quick meals, often with simple ingredients, and very little clearing up. I tend to make extra for lunch the next day (where recipes allow) as they’re often very inexpensive too.

Simple things like using chipolatas instead of sausages are great ways to cut corners without cutting flavour or interest. Yes, chipolatas are going to make the meal more expensive than if it were just vegetarian, but when they’re the only thing you need to buy (and they will make enough for two portions) it feels like a real winner!

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This is by no means a showpiece of a meal, but as it’s being demonstrated time and time again, by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Clean Eating Alice and Joe Wicks (to name a few), there really is no excuse for living off frozen chips and pizza. I can’t actually remember the last time I bought chips for home, my thought process has literally changed to ‘buy a potato’ to make potato wedges instead.

I guess it’s just about breaking the habits. Once you find a few cost effective, quick, healthy meals, your freezer draw contains ice for G&Ts, not frozen mac & cheese…

*do people really believe those dates?

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Hot & Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles. Take #2

Well that’s a lie – I’ve made this several times since!

Looking back at one of my first blog posts I remembered this dish that didn’t quite go to plan the first time round. But it is one of those that goes to show you shouldn’t discount a recipe too quickly!

You can find this Jamie recipe here and don’t be put off by the fact it serves 6 either – I have reduced the portion size down to two and it works just fine! Plus – what a great meal to whip up left overs from for your lunch the next day?! (just remember to save some sauce – I often forget!)

So after a few attempts, the pork is lovely and crispy, and the sauce is thicker and bursting with flavour! I think perhaps it was cooked in too much sauce before so it never crisped up how it should.

This IS now one of my favourites… maybe I’ve grown to love it through gaining confidence in cooking it? Who knows… but it’s definitely staying on my menu!

Rosemary & Sage Pork Chops with Caramelised Shallots & Cider

If you’re going to try a new pork dish – make it this one!

It’s pretty quick, easy and just so delicious. Yes it’s totally unhealthy, but worth it! Plus at least you know everything that’s going in it.

This recipe is from lorraine Pascale. She really does comfort food with a twist and a lot of taste.

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Take pride in picking your pork chops… we’ve all experienced those ones that cook down to about half the size and are really chewy! Not that we spent any more money – we still bought humble Tesco pork chops, just made sure they were a decent size and thickness.

We’ve made this a couple of times, this time we made buttery mash rather than mustard mash. Either is great, as it’s the apple, shallot and cider sauce that really steals the show! We always use Aspalls Cider, and it’s nice you have a glass left for yourself at the end too.

Yes, this is quite sweet, but it all blends together so well that you’ll relish every mouthful!

Eggy Breakfast Crumpets

Treat yourself… it’s Sunday.

Alternatively this is suggested as a hangover dish… which is also most likely required on a Sunday! Either way, it’s surprisingly good. I had my doubts, but took courage, drizzled over the maple syrup and enjoyed!

It’s another recipe from the Jamie at Home book – goes to show it’s great to keep looking back at recipe books, as it’s likely you will try something that didn’t stand out to you originally. You can find this recipe online here.

A simple recipe to follow, with little ingredients necessary. We happened to have maple syrup left over from pancake day, but i’m betting most people have brown sauce sitting in the cupboard. The crumpets soak up the egg mixture like a sponge and once fried the warmth and texture almost reminded us of pancakes.

A little bit naughty… but a whole lot nice!

Irresistible Pork Buns

Our proudest moment yet!

Unsure of whether I had made the bun dough correctly (and after making a second batch just in case) it was such a satisfying dinner. When you lift the bamboo lid to reveal these gorgeous little buns you know it’s all been worth it!

It’s definitely one for the weekend, and the recipe can be found here, it’s from our new Jamie’s Comfort Food book (which has some blinders in it!)

I originally made the dough by adding the dry yeast to the other bun ingredients… and after they didn’t rise too much, and I could still see flakes of yeast – I panicked! So I made another batch, following the yeast activating instructions on the tub (we couldn’t get a sachet). The second batch doubled in size so I was convinced the first batch wouldn’t work! But to my amazement the first batch looked and tasted like the real thing! So we have frozen the additional 20 buns to experiment with a salmon or duck version (here’s to hoping that batch works too!)

The pork is the easiest park to be honest, you pretty much forget about it! And the pickles are simple plus they can be made in advance. They would have been more simple if we had a mandolin… something to add to the kitchen wish list! So the only hassle are the buns themselves, but it’s more to do with the stop start approach of dough making than there being anything new to learn.

It all comes together in a really interesting sweet, and slightly sour, gorgeous mouthful. I was so excited that part of me didn’t want to share! And worried two buns wouldn’t be enough… the third was actually a struggle! Once you realise there’s plenty to go round it’s a lovely meal to bring people together!

Pork Souvlaki & Light Salsa Verde

The last salsa verde we made was a disaster but this light version works a treat!

Another one from The Hairy Dieters Good Eating book… don’t worry though we have been kindly given a new Jamie Oliver book for next week to balance it out a bit!

This is dead easy to do, the only thing that took time were the potato wedges (which we chose over the tomato and onion salad). I’m not sure the salsa verde was quite as it should have been… perhaps our measurements of a ‘large bunch’ and ‘small bunch’ aren’t quite accurate! The egg yolk mixture didn’t cover the herbs as well as it should have, so we blitzed it up in the food processor. This added to our doubts after the last one we made… but it goes to show that different variations of recipes are worth trying! I think ours ended up just a tad, shall we say… ‘rustic’!

We found the pork didn’t take as long to cook as suggested, but the pork we used was pre diced so may well have been smaller than the suggested 3cm chunks. But it’s just down to keeping an eye on it. The marinade is really versatile as you can make it the night before, or just half an hour before you would like to eat – so it can fit into everyone’s schedules. In all honesty we were surprised at how much we liked the dish considering its simplicity!

There is probably some greenery missing here… but it was just me and the two lads so it didn’t get put very high on the priority list!

Crispy Mustard Breaded Pork Chops with Beet Chutney

Courtesy of our favourite… Sunday Brunch!

We saw this recipe last Sunday and thought we’d give it a go! As the Juice Plus’ee’ was out it was also a good excuse to put some pork on the menu! You can find the full method here.

Now, you may notice a couple of odd things about this recipe…

2 tbsps Dijon mustard, finely chopped  … we have yet to master the art of finely chopping the Dijon mustard.

1 small shallot, finely chopped … which you then put in a food processor. Time saving tip – don’t finely chop it!

Moving on to other things we didn’t do… For the chutney we replaced the honey with sugar – admittedly it probably didn’t work as well as it would have. But I thought I’d tried my fair share of ‘natural sweetener’ for one one week.

We (well I) felt that the sweet potato chips needed longer than 25mins in the oven. Which they may have done. Just not 50 minutes- although we saved them just before they were completely forgotten about!

So the moral of this recipe is that you need to use some common sense! And it’s often deceiving how quick and easy these programmes make it look! But the end meal was a hearty change to some of the meals we have had recently, and went down a treat.