Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

How many of us make an effort in the kitchen when there’s someone else involved, a loved one, a guest, a friend, but not when we are alone? I hear confessions of oven chips and ready meals, because it’s too much hassle just for one, far too often. If that is you, I hope that this dish will change things for you. This dish is a love letter to yourself, best enjoyed alone with a glass of wine and your own thoughts. It is simple and quick enough that cooking for one seems like no effort at all, but it requires your full attention. Parsley needs to be methodically chopped until fine. Spaghetti needs to be tested, to be sure it’s al dente. Pans need to be watched in case the oil overheats and the garlic becomes bitter. You can customise it to your exact specifications, just the way you like it. You’re cooking for yourself, after all. Whether it’s a grating of Parmesan, a little lemon zest or a handful of prawns, make it your favourite way. You deserve this dish. If you don’t love and nourish yourself, then who will? 

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Spaghetti Aglio Olio
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Ingredients
  1. 100g spaghetti
  2. salt
  3. 3 cloves of garlic
  4. bunch of parsley
  5. pinch of dried chilli flakes
  6. 3 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic and parsley. Add to a frying pan with the chilli flakes and oil. Heat gently until the garlic has just started to turn a light golden colour. Keep an eye on it, if you overcook then the garlic will turn bitter.
  3. Lightly drain the spaghetti so there's still some water in the pan. Add to the warm oil and stir together.
  4. Serve with a glass of wine and a grating of parmesan, if you fancy it.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Easy Pork & Chilli Gyoza

Easy Pork Gyoza

Do you know when you get an idea in your head, and you can’t rest until you see it through? These gyozas were one of those ideas, for me. I love gyozas of all flavours, but they always seemed like they would be tricky to make from scratch so I’d relegated them to a restaurant-only dish. However, after reading Lil’s post on them, I got it into my head that I needed to try it for myself and, after a trip to the Asian supermarket for wrappers (they were in the frozen section!) and a read of this recipe, I was armed and ready to go. And, you know what? They were easier than I thought. Almost therapeutic to make: a little like origami. 

Ever since, I’ve been making big batches of these, and freezing them for mid-week dinners. I serve them with a steaming hot bowl of noodles and stir-fried veg, with some sesame oil and soy sauce. A few sesame seeds never did any harm, either. They’re so satisfying and, after the initial time outlay, so quick and easy. It’s something a little bit different and, although my dumplings will never be as good as Dorshi’s, they’re pretty darn tasty, too. 

Easy Pork Gyoza

A word of warning: these will stick to the steamer! I used my standard metal steamer (the one I use for veggies), and the first time I had a bit of a disaster, with the wrappers all ripping open, leaving everything a bit of a mess. The next time I greased the steam with a little bit of olive oil before putting in the gyoza, and there were no problems! I’m sure there are more technical ways of doing it, or equipment you can buy (one of those bamboo ones, perhaps?!) but I was working with what I had!

Oh, you can also stick the steamed gyoza in a frying pan if you want a slightly crispier finish, but I like them just steamed. 

Easy Pork Gyoza

Easy Pork & Chilli Gyozas
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pack of gyoza wrappers (around 50)
  2. 500g pork mince
  3. 1 chilli, finely chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  5. 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  7. 1 tsp. fish sauce
  8. 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  9. water
Instructions
  1. Mix together the mince, chilli, garlic, spring onions, ginger, fish sauce and soy sauce until well incorporated. You want an even mix of all the ingredients and flavours in each dumpling!
  2. Place around a tablespoon in the centre of each wrapper. Wet the edges and fold over until sealed.
  3. Wet the sealed edge and pleat gently all the way along.
  4. Set on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Try not to place them too close together, as they'll stick together!
  5. Repeat until all the mixture or all the wrappers are used up.
  6. Steam for 12-14 minutes until the centres are piping hot.
Notes
  1. You can freeze the gyozas by placing the baking tray(s) in the freezer - make sure the gyozas aren't touching as they'll stick together and potentially rip when cooked. Once they're frozen, you can transfer to bags or tupperware. You can cook the gyoza from frozen - just steam for 15-17 minutes and make sure the insides are hot before eating.
Adapted from Persephone H
Adapted from Persephone H
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

I love to cook (and to eat). I cook every day but there are still so many basic things that I have never even tried or considered turning my hand to, for fear that they would be too difficult or time-consuming. For someone who spends so much time in the kitchen, I can be pretty lazy (hello, shop-bought pastry…). It’s something I’m trying to work on this year – my New Year’s resolutions were to bake more bread and make more pastry and so far I’m on track, although certainly not an expert in either (yet) – but it has inspired me to start experimenting a bit more.

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Lemon curd was one such experiment – and a very successful one at that. I was making a batch of blueberry scones and was just about to buy a jar of lemon curd to accompany them, when it struck me that I could give making it a go. A quick Google of the recipe confirmed that it was so much easier than I had originally thought it might be (no sugar thermometers in sight!) and so I gathered up my ingredients and gave it a whirl. Believe me when I say that this might be one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever tried, proving once and for all that I should stop being a kitchen wuss and get stuck in to some new recipes every once in a while. The resulting curd is sweet and tangy and ever so satisfying sat in a big jar in my fridge. There’s nothing quite like that smugness that comes from making something yourself, is there? 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
Yields 500
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Ingredients
  1. zest & juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
  2. 200g caster sugar
  3. 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  4. 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, as if you were melting chocolate. Heat until the butter has melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and pour into the lemon mixture. Whisk to combine the two.
  3. Leave to cook over the pan of water for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before spooning into a sterilised jar. Pop in the fridge until you fancy a snack!
Notes
  1. Here's a little tutorial on how to sterilise jars: http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/how-to-sterilise-jars/
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Simple Chicken Curry Recipe

Simple Chicken Curry // Amy Elizabeth

When the weather starts to get a little colder, curry becomes the order of the day. This simple chicken curry is a go-to that I’ve been making for years and a firm favourite in this household. The  comforting sauce is rich, creamy, just a little bit spicy and perfect for dunking big hunks of bread. If you marinate the chicken the night before, the flavour is even more intense – but, like many busy people, I don’t often remember to do so and it works just fine.

I think people are put off making curry from scratch because it seems complicated – lots of different spices and herbs to be tangled with. Now, I don’t pretend that this recipe is authentic – it’s adapted from one originally written by Jamie Oliver – but it is simple. I’ve made it so many times now that I can whip it up without looking at the instructions.

Simple Chicken Curry // Amy Elizabeth

It’s not the shortest of ingredient lists, but we have most of the spices in the cupboard ready and waiting just for this dish. You can supplement the fresh ingredients – ginger, coriander, chilli – for dried alternatives to save on cost, or if you don’t have any fresh in the fridge.

I make it on a weekday, when we want something filling and heart-warming, at the weekend, when we want a treat, and when guests come over, when I want to impress. It’s really a jack-of-all-trades recipe. It’s easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, but the basic recipe serves two hungry mouths. We usually dish it up with naan bread alone – with neither of us being particular fans of rice – but you can include all the usual accompaniments: rice; salad; naan bread; bhajis and samasos.

You’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 chillies, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 squidge of ginger paste (or a small amount of fresh, grated ginger)
  • 1 big squidge of tomato paste
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of coriander, chopped (you can use 1 tsp. ground coriander if you don’t have any fresh)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (or passata, if you prefer)
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Drizzle of double cream

Simple Chicken Curry // Amy Elizabeth

1. Chop the chicken into chunks and put into a bowl. Add the tomato paste, ginger, chopped chillies, garam masala, cumin, paprika and coriander. Drizzle a bit of oil on top and mix together. Leave covered in the fridge overnight, if you can. If not, just set to one side.

2. Pour some oil into a saucepan and fry off the onions for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the pepper and garlic and continue to fry for a few minutes until the onion begins to brown.

3. Once your onions and peppers are ready, add the chopped tomatoes and yoghurt into the saucepan. Tip in your chicken. Add the turmeric and the cinnamon.

4. Stir together and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and continue to gently simmer away, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

5. Add a swirl of cream and serve!

Simple Chicken Curry // Amy Elizabeth Simple Chicken Curry // Amy Elizabeth

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