Jamaican Chicken & Rice

Jamaican Chicken & Rice

With the weather being very dreich (dull & gloomy) recently, we wanted to transport ourselves to a warm sunny place & with that not being possible in these unprecedented times I turned to my Kitchen Cupboards to see what I could make for dinner. Having some tinned pineapple, beans and rice in the cupboard we decided on visiting the Caribbean. This dish has a great blend of popular Caribbean spices, such as ginger, paprika and allspice which transports you right onto the Islands.

Also a great dish for batch cooking as you could quite easily make a big pot and freeze for later. A very nutritious dish with the beans high in fiber and the chicken giving you a good intake of protein. A good filling meal for any family table.


Serves 4

2 Chicken Breasts – cut into bite size pieces

1 Red Pepper, diced

1 White Onion, diced

4-6 Spring Onions, diced (for serving)

1 Tbsp Oil for cooking

1 Tbsp Curry Powder

1 Tbsp Smoked Sweet Paprika

1/2 Tsp of AllSpice

1/2 Tsp of Ginger

200g Cooked Wholemeal Rice (about 50g per person)

Juice of 1 Lime

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

1 Tin Pineapple Chunks

1 400g can of Black Beans, drained

Handful of Garden Peas

20-30g Cashews, chopped (for serving)

Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium to high heat, season the chicken and brown all over.
  2. Add the peppers and onion to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.
  3. Add to the pan the paprika, curry powder, ginger, allspice, brown sugar and chillies, mix through for about 1 minute to coat, then add the black beans, peas, cooked rice, pineapple and lime juice, mix through to combine.
  4. If too dry, add 1-2 Tbsp of water and stir, put lid on pan and heat through for about 5 minutes. To serve sprinkle the spring onion and cashews. Enjoy!

MEDICINAL GREEN CURRY

Green Curry with Rice

This time of year (January) it is very cold, wet, windy and snowy, so your immune system can take a bit of a battering. We tend to reach for medications such a cold & flu capsules, ibuprofen etc, which can help, however, I am a great believer that you can repair your body and fight infections from within and eating right does play a big part on that.

This recipe contains the following, so it is the ultimate winter fighter food.

Chillies contain Capsaicin which helps clear mucus. Ginger contains natural antibodies & anti-inflammatory agents & the ability to clear congestion. Garlic has antiviral & antibacterial properties. Butternut squash & wholemeal rice is good for boosting Vitamin C for your immune system. Cashew nuts are good source of fibre & magnesium both good for bone health & energy boosting.

This is also a great dish for batch cooking. It really is a win win all round.


Serves 4

2 Large Chicken Breasts – cut into chunks

2 Tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste (1 used the Blue Dragon Paste, but feel free to make your own)

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Olive Oil for cooking

1 400g Tin Coconut Milk

1 Vegetable Stock Cube

1 Tsp Turmeric

300g Butternut Squash, cut into chunks

200g Cauliflower, cut into small pieces

150g Baby Spinach

1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

Salt & Pepper

Juice of 1 Lime

30g Chopped Cashews (to garnish)

Handful chopped Spring Onion (to garnish)

50g Wholemeal Rice per person, cooked as per pack instructions.

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium to high heat, brown the chicken and remove with slotted spoon.
  2. If needed, put a little more oil in. Stir fry the curry paste for about 2 minutes to heat through and release the flavours.
  3. Crumble the vegetable stock cube into the coconut milk and stir, pour into the pan with the curry paste and mix through. Add 1 Tsp of Turmeric.
  4. Add back to the pan the chicken, butternut squash and cauliflower, mix and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
  5. 5 minutes before curry is ready, add in 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce, Juice of Lime and Spinach, mix through continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with some wholemeal rice, spring onion and cashew nuts.

Thai Green Curry & Wholemeal Rice

CHEESY BEEF MINCE PASTA

Cheesy Mince Pasta

My meal plan somehow didn’t go to plan this week as I seemed to run out of store cupboard essentials like tin chopped tomatoes etc. This dish was the result of that, having looked a what I had and what needed to be used up I decided on a simple, quick and one pot dish. This turned out so delicious that I am sharing it with you, not only is it an easy to make dish but one that could be made ahead of time and frozen for later. The flavours in this dish can be enjoyed with the whole family. The good thing about this dish is that you can add whatever vegetables you like, to be honest anything goes here.


Serves 2 – 3

250g Scottish Beef Mince (you could also use minced lamb)

1 Onion, chopped

1 tsp Ground Garlic Granules or 2 Garlic Cloves

100g Frozen Garden Peas

120g Pasta (I used fusilli but penne will do too)

400ml Beef Stock

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp oil

100g Grated Cheddar Cheese

Handful of Chopped Parsley

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium to high heat and fry the onions until softened and slightly browned
  2. Add in the beef mince, season with salt & pepper & brown.
  3. Add in the tomato paste, garlic, paprika, chilli flakes and frozen peas, mix through. Add in the pasta and beef stock, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered until pasta is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Remove lid and sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and parsley, put lid back on, turn off heat and leave for 5 minutes. The heat in the pan will gently melt the cheese. Serve and Enjoy.


Scottish Oat & Pistachio Crusted Cod

Scottish Cod

I am very lucky to live in a Country with an amazing Food Larder and 1 type of Food that Scotland is known for is it’s Fresh Fish, the Scottish Fishing Industry is currently worth around £316 million to Scotland, unfortunately that number has went down recently due to Covid, but at the height back in 2015 it was worth nearly £437 million. Most of its catch comes in from Aberdeen, then some from central and southern areas. Some of the most popular seafood caught in Scotland are mainly shellfish such as Mussels, Shrimp & Crab but also Salmon, Cod, Haddock & Mackerel.

My local Fishmonger Ryan Black, is from a nearby Town called Kirkcaldy which is in the Fife region, they provide a fantastic service and deliver straight to your door, straight from the shore. There is nothing better than getting the freshest fish delivered the same day. I got some lovely pieces of Cod for dinner.

Having some Pistachios in my cupboard to be used, I decided to try my Pistachio Crust recipe with the Cod and it worked a treat….super delicious, healthy and quick mid week meal.

Serves 2

2 Cod Fillets

25g Pistachio’s

20g Scottish Oats

1 Tbsp Mustard Powder or 2 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Tsp Dried Parsley or small handful of fresh

  1. Line a baking Tray with greaseproof paper and preheat your oven to fan 210 deg C
  2. Using a processor, blitz the pistachios and oats together with the parsley until roughly chopped
  3. If using mustard powder, take 1 tbsp into a bowl and squeeze 1 tbsp lemon juice in and mix into a paste, leave to sit for 10 minutes to allow flavour to develop.
  4. Lay cod onto baking sheet and spoon the mustard over the fish, season with salt and pepper, then place the pistachio crust mix over the top covering the fish, press down to secure. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until opaque.
  5. Serve with a slice of lemon.


The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes

Best Crispy Roast Potatoes

It’s coming up to the Festive time of year when we start planning our Christmas dinner get together. Roast Potatoes are probably one of the most popular side dishes on the table for most households. We all hope for those crispy skins and fluffy insides for our Roasties but sometimes that just doesn’t happen for whatever reason, so this is my foolproof recipe for the most amazing Crispy Roast Potatoes every time . Great for the festive dinner table but also great throughout the year for the perfect accompaniment to a good Sunday Roast dinner. Enjoy.

Serves 4

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes (these are the best kind)

100g Goose Fat (I used high grade Goose Fat from my local Butchers, S.Collins & Son) (you can also use a good Duck Fat too)

2 Tsp Cornflour

Sea Salt Flakes to taste

Rainbow Peppercorns to taste

  1. First place a Baking Tray in an oven and pre heat to Fan 220 deg C.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters (or which ever size you prefer), place into a pan of cold water and season with salt. Bring to the boil and reduce to a medium simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spoon the Goose Fat onto the hot baking tray (be careful) and put back into the oven to heat the fat up, about 10 minutes until the fat is smoking slightly.
  4. Drain the water from the potatoes, give the pan a good shake to fluff up the potatoes, sprinkle the cornflour in and give it another shake, keeping the lid on let the potatoes sit for about 10-15 minutes so that the steam can air dry the potatoes. (the Drier the crisper they’ll be)
  5. Carefully with a pair of tongs, place the potatoes onto the baking tray ensuring they are coated with the Goose Fat. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the potatoes over and bake for a further 15 minutes, turn again and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until all golden brown and crisp.
  6. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of sea salt & some pepper.

Some people add garlic and herbs like rosemary etc, which is fine, but I love my traditional recipes to be traditional, if you get a good potato there is no need for extra flavouring, the duck fat & salt are simply perfect for a roastie.


Braided Pizza Wrap

Pizza Wrap

I do Love Pizza! Pizza originated from Italy and is usually a round or flattened wheat base with cheese and tomatoes. Through the years pizza has had many a different toppings, such as onions, olives, mushrooms, meat and dare I say Pineapple even! Pineapple in our house is very debatable whether it is a good topping or not what’s your take on it? Lol!

I just found out that the term PIZZA was first recorded in the 10th Century in a Latin manuscript from the Italian town of Gaeta, Lazio. Pizza has became one of the most popular foods in the world, especially in Europe and North America. The Baking/Cooking of Pizza varies around the world, with the most popular being a wood fired oven. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of these….yet! lol! I did invest in a Pizza Stone which to me is the next best thing for that perfect crusty base.

Although I am a fan of Traditional Foods, I also do like to experiment and decided to take a look at how I could make Pizza a bit different. Taking the traditional shape dough and filling only the middle then bringing up the sides and over like a calzone almost, this was my creation…..a Braided Style Pizza Wrap.

Makes enough for 2

For the Dough:-

400g Strong Bread Flour

1 Packet of Dried Yeast 7g

Pinch Salt

1 tsp Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Olive Oil

200ml Lukewarm Water

For the Sauce:-

1 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

1 Tsp Dried Garlic Granules or 2 Finely Minced Garlic Cloves

2 Tsp Dried Basil

For the Filling:-

To be honest this is entirely up to your own tastes, this is what I used:-

1 Ball Mozzarella, sliced

100g Grated Cheddar Cheese

Mushrooms, washed, sliced

125g Sliced Hungarian Smoked Sausage (or any smoked sausage) I love the Gyulai Kolbasz as it has a lovely smoked paprika flavour. I recently purchased from the Transylvania Shop in Glasgow, they have amazing foodie finds. https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/

  1. To prepare the dough, sift flour into a mixer bowl with sugar and salt. Put the lukewarm water into a measuring jug and add the dried yeast, allow the yeast to start to bubble and react, approx 5-10 minutes.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add in the olive oil and the yeast mixture and slowly using a dough hook bring the dough together and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough bounces back when pressed. (alternatively use your hands in a bowl and knead on a floured work surface) Allow to rise at room temperature or in your oven and 40 deg C until it doubles in size, approx 1-2 hours. Once doubled in size, punch back air and shape.
  3. If you have a pizza stone, place on the oven rack and preheat your oven to its highest temperature, usually 250deg C. If not, preheat a baking tray or pizza tray in oven at 220 deg C.
  4. To make the sauce put everything into a pot and heat through for about 5 minutes, using a blender blitz into a smooth sauce.
  5. Meanwhile prepare your pizza wrap. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle shape.
  6. Spoon some of the pizza sauce down the middle, I measured dough into 3 equal sections. Then add your toppings onto the sauce, starting with the mozzarella first, then the rest.
  7. With a sharp knife make horizontal cuts at either side in the pastry, then one by one and alternating each side, wrap up the pizza, securing the ends.
  8. Reduce your oven temperature to 220 deg C before putting pizza in, slide onto pizza stone or tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove and serve. This is also a good sharing idea as you can cut each section into pieces for everyone, great for parties.

Chicken & Bean Tagine

Chicken Tagine

This North African dish is named after the earthenware pot it is traditionally cooked in. I have used Chicken which is simmered with the traditional flavours of sweet spices and vegetables. A Typical Moroccan style dish would use beef which has always been their staple diet with sweet spices & dried fruit. I used my heavy Cast Iron Pot for this, which is great for slow cooking and low temperatures.

If you have read through some of my other recipes, you’ll see that I love One Pot Cooking, it is simple and good for batch cooking if you prepare meals ahead of the week. It also means less dishes to wash…lol!

Serves 2

2 Chicken Breasts – but into big chunks

6 Shallots

2 Carrots – chopped

30g Butter

1 Tsp Saffron

1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

200g Tin Broad Beans or Butter Beans (you can even use Chickpeas)

50g Dates (Optional)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fresh Coriander – Chopped

Fresh Parsley – Chopped

  1. Preheat a little oil in the pot on medium to high heat and brown the chicken.
  2. Peel and chop 3 shallots into rings and 3 into quarters. Add into the pan with the carrots, butter and brown gently.
  3. Pour in 400ml of cold water, just enough to cover the chicken, bring to the boil slowly and reduce to a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add in the saffron, ginger, paprika, dates(if using) and beans to the chicken pot, stir and put the lid back on, continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes. Season with Salt & Pepper.
  5. Serve and garnish with some chopped coriander and parsley. For a more filling dish you can also serve with some couscous.

Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

It is definitely soup season, nights are getting darker, air is getting colder and a bowl of warm soup is the perfect recipe after a long days work. If you are looking for a really tasty soup that is simple to make with simple store cupboard ingredients then this is for you. The things I love about soup is that you can make a huge pot and freezer it for later. Tasty cooking can not get any simpler than this.

I harvested some of my Carrots and Parsnips at the weekend, so this was what I had decided upon. With some good quality crusty bread on the side this is perfect for lunch or dinner. The bright orange colour also brightens up your dinner table.

Full of nutrition too, with Carrots & Parsnips both being full of good Vitamin C this can help boost your immune system at this time of year and very low in calories too. Lets not forget the spices, with cumin being a great aid for the digestive system and also full or iron. Garlic, with its active compounds which can help reduce blood pressure and also combat sickness including the common cold. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant, was classed as a Superfood too. It’s a win, win soup for me this season.

Vegetable Harvest, Carrots & Parsnips

Serves 4

8 Medium Size Carrots, Chopped (I keep the skin on but you can peel if you prefer)

6 Medium Size Parsnips, Peeled & Chopped

3 Celery Stalks, Chopped

1 White Onion, Chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Ginger Granules or 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger

1 tsp Garlic Powder or 2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Turmeric

1.5 litres good Vegetable Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

A Little Swirl of Cream to serve and a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (Optional)

Crusty Bread to serve (Optional)

  1. Pre heat the oil in a large pot on medium to high heat, add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the spices (cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger) and mix through until coated.
  3. Add in the parsnips, carrots and vegetable stock, season & bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and using a hand blender, blend the vegetables to make a smooth thick consistancey.
  5. Serve into bowl and finish with a swirl of cream and sprinkle of seeds.

You can keep soup in a fridge for about 3 days and freezer for up to 3 months.


Lentil & Squash Dhansak

Lentil & Squash Dhansak

This quick and easy vegetarian meal is perfect for those Autumn and Wintry Days, a warming bowl of goodness in your tummy. Full or nutrition and good vitamins, with only around 300 calories per bowl is a great healthy option to a takeaway Curry. This is also a good recipe to batch cook with. You can serve with a toasted naan on the side for a more filling meal.

Serves 4

300g Sweet Potato – chopped and diced into 2cm cubes

300g Butternut Squash – chopped and diced into 2cm cubes

2 White Onions, diced

2 tbsps Mild Curry Powder

2 tbsps Garam Masala Powder

1 x 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes

1 x 400g Tin Coconut Milk

1 x 400g Tin Green Lentils

200g Spinach – chopped

Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds to garnish (yoghurt optional)

  1. Steam cook the Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash, place in a microwaveable bowl with 2 tbsps water and cover, cook on medium level for 10 minutes. (you could always roast in oven for about 35 mins too)
  2. While cooking add a little oil to a pan and cook the onions until softened, add the curry powder, garam masala powder and mix through. Add the tin tomatoes and coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly.
  3. To the sauce add the sweet potato and butternut squash along with the lentils and spinach, season and mix through, allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of seeds.

Asparagus, Pea, Bean & Rice Bowl

Asparagus Rice Bowl

I am always looking for new ideas to be healthier in my Dinner choices, I used to think healthy meant you’d always be hungry after….lol. In this dish it is the complete opposite, with the addition of the rice & beans it was very filling and kept me satisfied all night, and with only 400 calories & 29g protein per serving, it was super healthy too.

You can always add some flaked Salmon for that extra nutrition.

Serves 2-3

Handful of Asparagus, trimmed & chopped

Handful of Green Beans, timmed & chopped

Handful of Peas

150g Wholegrain Rice (or for quickness, you could use prepacked rice)

100g Baby Spinach, chopped

1 x 400g Tin of Mixed Salad Beans (or any beans that you prefer, just not Baked!)

Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch Sugar

Handful freshly Chopped Coriander

Rainbow Pepper or Black Pepper

  1. Cook the asparagus, green beans and peas in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 mins until tender. Drain.
  2. Cook the Rice as per packet instructions and drain.
  3. Heat the mixed salad beans in a pan for 4-5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, put the rice, asparagus, green beans, peas, mixed salad beans & spinach, mix through until combined.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together, olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice & zest and pinch sugar, pour over the rice bowl and mix through. Sprinkle over some fresh coriander and pepper then serve.
Bowl of Asparagus, Bean & Rice