In England, we can now go out and meet up with friends (6) in outside venues, have your hair cut (unless, like me, you can’t even get through on the phone for an appointment!) and even stay away in a self catering UK villa. Whilst, of course, all this is great, there will be some of you who throughout various lockdowns may have had kind friends and neighbours leave a meal on the doorstep (or you may have done the same for someone else and cooked for more than yourself) or you will have enjoyed takeaways of some description as a treat. Now it is back to “normal” and you find yourself back to cooking for one – where, of course, all this blog started. So these 2 recipes are especially for you – 2 meals exactly for one but with a bit of zip in to get you back on the road! You are unique and deserve the best you can. You’re worth it!
Vietnamese-style Chicken Noodle Bowl
- 30g coconut milk powder (no leftover coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 chicken breast, sliced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1/2 red chilli
- 2 tablespoons Vietnamese curry paste (find it in the World food aisle in your supermarket)
- 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed
- 1 nest rice vermicelli noodles
- 9g pack of baby pak choi
- finely chopped coriander
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (tastes much nicer than it smells!)
- 1/2 lime, juice
Dissolve the coconut powder in 225ml of cold water and set aside. Heat the oil in large pan, add chicken, shallots and the chilli and stir fry over a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the curry paste and stir in the coconut milk. Add the lemongrass and bring to the boil; simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the noodles according to pack instructions. Add the pak choi to the pan and stir in coriander to taste. Cook over a gentle heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the noodles, stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until piping hot. Stir in the lime juice. Carefully remove the lemongrass, ladle into a wide bowl and eat immediately!
Chorizo, sweet potato and spinach oven hash
This throw-it-together dish is full of warming spices. The oven does most of the work and the combination of tender sweet potato, sticky red onion , chorizo and creamy aioli is lovely!
- 1 sweet potato cut into cubes
- 1 small red onion cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon aioli (you can buy some excellent ones in a jar now)
- 1/2 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
- 1 large egg
- 80g spinach
- 60g diced chorizo (some supermarkets sell ready diced frozen chorizo so even less waste!)
Preheat oven to 200oC Gas 6. In a roasting, toss the potato and onion with the oil, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and salt and pepper. Bake for 20m – 25 minutes, until tender. In a bowl, mix together the aioli, lemon zest and a squeeze of juice and set aside. Bring a small pan of water to simmer and boil the egg for 7 minutes. Lift out, cool, peel and cut in half. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over some boiling water from a kettle to wilt it. Rinse with cold and squeeze out the excess water. Scatter the chorizo into the tin with the potato and roast for 5 more minutes. Add the wilted spinach and toss through. Top with the boiled egg halves and serve with the aioli mix drizzled over and lemon wedges.