Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are ridiculous. Ridiculous as in delicious. And ridiculous as in calorific. But did I say delicious? Cos they are, and they freeze well too so are a good one to make in advance and freeze for lunch boxes during the week…

The recipe is taken from Nigella Express.
125g dark chocolate
150g plain flour
30g cocoa, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g butter, softened
75g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
350g chocolate chips (I like to use a mix of plain, milk and white)

Begin by creaming together the butter and sugars. Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb and vanilla along with the egg. Fold in the chocolate chips and mix well. Pull off small pieces, about the size of a walnut, roll in to a ball and place on lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly. You can usually get 6-9 on each sheet.

Bake at 160 degrees for about 10 mins. Leave to cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack. Scoff whilst warm or else leave to cool completely before stacking into a freezer bag and freezing.

French Dressing (v)

Although to be fair, this is not known as french dressing in France, but vinaigrette. But I like to call it french dressing so french dressing it is 🙂

For enough to dress 6-8 portions of salad you need:
1 generous tsp of french mustard, a nice smooth dijon is my fave
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed

Mix everything together to form an emulsion and use as desired 🙂 Simples. There are endless variations, but this is my default version to avoid those disgusting, insipid, water laden shop bottles of gloopy gunk… (can you tell I brought one at the weekend as we were sans my store cupboard in the new house. Never again I tell you. Never.)

Vegetable Rice with Fennel and Smoked Paprika (v)

This was a dinner of two halves; me and N enjoyed it whilst Lex declared it horrible. He did at least eat the carrots and broccoli but wouldn’t touch the rice… Moral of that story? L does not like smoked paprika!

For 4 portions you need:
50ml sweet sherry
50ml brandy
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 head broccoli, cut into smallish florets
3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped into small pieces
2 carrots, sliced
1 yellow pepper, diced
250g paella rice
600ml stock
salt and pepper
lemon wedges, to serve
4 tbsp flaked almonds

Find your paella pan. Begin by sauteeing the onion and carrots in the olive oil. Keep the lid on to retain the steam. After about 10 mins add the smoked paprika, fennel seeds, broccoli and garlic. Sautee for another 2-3 mins. Then add the sherry and brandy, turn the heat up high and reduce the liquid by about half. Add the rice, stock, pepper and tomatoes. Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for about 15 mins. Stir frequently to stop it from sticking. Check the rice and cook for a few mins more if not quite done. Season to taste and serve scattered with the almonds and with a lemon wedge on the side. Yummy.

Teryaki Tofu with Glazed Vegetables and Rice (v)

After my yukky tummy earlier in the week I found what I really wanted to eat was something clean, vegan and with Asian flavours. And this is a favourite recipe that hit the spot luckily.

For 3 hungry people you need:
1 block tofu
1/2 cup soya sauce (I used tamari)
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup dry sherry/sake
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 chinese leaf, shredded
1/4 cup water
2 tsp cornflour

Begin by preparing the tofu. Slice in to three, and then slice each piece in half. Place in a large flat pan with the soya sauce, mirin, sherry and sugar. Heat to dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil and then poach the tofu for 10 mins, turning halfway. Take out the tofu and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 mins till it’s glazed and starting to turn sticky.

Meanwhile poach the carrots and garlic in the remaining sauce. Once the carrots are tender, mix the cornflour with the water and add to the pan. Heat to thicken the sauce and then add the chinese leaf. Heat until the leaf is lightly wilted then serve on a bed of brown rice with the tofu on the side. A perfect, zen like meal 🙂