Chicken Kebabs, a family favourite

Use whatever vegetables you have to hand and balanced with the protein-rich chicken, this is a great family meal. The accompanying ‘pesto’ sauce really makes this dish something special. And it’s all so quick to make too. Ready in 20 minutes.

Serves 4

  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, cut into pieces
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges

For the ‘pesto’ sauce:

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp ready made pesto
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into cubes or bite-sized chunks.
  2. For the marinade, combine the lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken and vegetable pieces into the marinade and toss lightly until everything is covered with the marinade. Leave on one side to marinate for about 30 minutes (or overnight if preparing the night before).
  4. Thread the vegetables and chicken onto barbeque skewers. (You can get little ones involved, they’ll love making their own ‘designs’.)
  5. Cook the kebabs for about 10 minutes under a hot grill (or a hot BBQ). Keep turning to ensure even cooking.
  6. For the ‘pesto’ sauce, combine the lemon juice, yoghurt, sour cream and pesto.

Serve the kebabs with freshly grilled corn on the cob and green salad. YUM.

Portobello Mushroom Burger

We can’t describe quite how excited a little sun and milder temperatures makes us, especially in what should be the depths of winter. It’s enough to tempt us to fire up for a winter BBQ!

This veggie option is scrumptious, takes almost no preparation and is ready in less than 15 minutes (so you can hurry indoors to keep warm). The earthiness of the portobello mushroom is absolutely perfect for its wintery context.

It hits the spot. It really does.

Top tip: If it starts raining or the temperature suddenly plummets (face it, quite likely), take this indoors and use your oven for all the grilling.

Serves 4

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, halved
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bag of rocket
  • 4 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Mix the mustard and balsamic vinegar together. Brush the mushrooms with this sauce.
  2. When the barbecue is ready, add the mushrooms to the grill and cook for a couple of minutes on either side.
  3. Grill both the tomato slices and ciabatta rolls for a minute or so.
  4. To prepare your burgers, dollop any leftover mustard/balsamic vinegar mix onto the buns. Top with the grilled tomato and mushrooms. Add a slice of red onion and handful of rocket.

Healthy chicken, broccoli and noodle salad

Enjoy for a light, healthy dinner. And if you’ve got enough leftovers, take into work for a nutritious lunch. Ready in less than 30 minutes too!

Top tip: If you have a few extra minutes, toast some sesame seeds (this releases their nutty flavour) and sprinkle over the salad before serving.

Serves 4

  • 2 broccoli heads, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 100g green beans, topped, tailed and halved
  • 4 roast chicken breasts, sliced
  • 4 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • pack of egg noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Stir fry the red onions, chilli and garlic for a few minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli and beans. Cook for a further 4 – 5 minutes until just tender.
  3. Add the chicken and soya sauce and give it a good stir. Then add in the cooked noodles.
  4. Serve warm or cold.

Perfect Pancakes

Looking for a never fail pancake recipe? You’ve come to the right place.

Top Tip: Serve with any number of toppings. Sugar and lemon with a sliced banana is a classic. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries work a treat. Or try something a bit more exotic like pineapple, mango or kiwis.

Serves 8

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch salt, pinch sugar
  1. Place all ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Beat with a fork or electric beater until you have a batter of smooth consistency with no lumpy bits. If the batter seems a bit heavy, add a little more milk.
  2. If you have the time and no hungry mouths waiting, leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat up a little oil in a pancake pan. Pour the batter into the pan with a ladle, tilting the pan to move the mixture around to make a thin and even layer.
  4. Cook for 20-30 seconds or so, until the underside of the pancake is a light golden brown.
  5. Flip the pancake and cook for another 30 seconds.

To freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrap them in cling film. If making a day in advance, you can reheat them in the oven. Place on a heatproof plate and cover with foil. Warm at 180C for 10-15 minutes from cold or 5-10 minutes from room temperature. You can also microwave, placing the stack on a plate and covering with cling film (make sure you pierce the cling firm). High for 1 minute should be enough.

 

Indian Savoury Pancakes

Who says you have to make traditional pancakes on Pancake Day? These savoury Indian pancakes are full of flavour and sneak in some of your veg for the day too.

Top tip: typical Indian pancakes are not supposed to be fluffy like normal pancakes. They’re a bit more dense and the flavours pack the greatest punch when eaten immediately after cooking, perhaps served with some cooling yoghurt.

Makes 12 pancakes

  • 1.5 cups semolina
  • 1.25 cups yoghurt
  • 0.5 cups finely diced red onions
  • 0.5 cups grated carrots
  • 0.25 cups chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped or minced green or red chillis
  • 0.5 cups water (approx)
  • salt and lemon to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together. The batter should be the same consistency as  normal pancake batter so add the water slowly while you mix.
  2. Heat a pancake or frying pan. Bring the pan up to a good heat otherwise the pancakes will burn quickly.
  3. Place a little oil in the pan and pour the batter in. Spread and flatten the batter with the back of a ladle and cook  over a gentle heat. (If you find the batter sticks, add a bit more oil around the sides of the pancake.)
  4. When the top of the batter has dried out, flip the pancake carefully. Press down gently to cook. A well cooked pancake should be golden brown on both sides.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with coriander leaves and accompanied with a bowl of cooling yoghurt.

Pink Beetroot Pancakes

Pancake Day is almost upon us. With beetroots in season at the moment (and so good for you!), why don’t you get busy and pink in the kitchen with these pancakes with a twist?

Makes 16 pancakes

  • 250g cooked, peeled and cooled beetroot
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
To Serve
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 2 oranges, sliced into quarters
  1. Place all ingredients into a food process or and whiz to make a batter. Allow this to rest for half an hour.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan. Put a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan . Turn when bubbles form on the top. Keep an eye on them as they cook quite quickly.
  3. Mix the cinnamon and sugar reserved for serving and sprinkle over the pancakes. To serve, roll the pancakes and serve with the orange quarters.

Chilli and Garlic Prawns with Asparagus

Its reputed aphrodisiac powers meant that 3 courses of asparagus were served to 19th Century bridegrooms before their big day!

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 12 raw king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left intact
  • 0.5 onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 175g asparagus, trimmed and cut into long lengths
  • 0.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • pinch of caster suger
  • parsley leaves, chopped
  1. Heat half the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the prawns and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until just cooked through. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil to the wok and stir-fry the onion until golden. Add the chilli and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the asparagus and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce and sugar and toss all the ingredients together. Add the prawns to the stir-fry and cook for 1 minute to heat them through. Garnish with chopped parsley leaves. Serve immediately.