Easy Peasy Cajun Chicken

Tuesday nights are my night to cook – Tom has football after work so I get to choose what we have for dinner. As long as it’s filling, he’s not too fussed! Some nights I just want something easy to make that still tastes delicious, and like you’ve spent ages on it, when you really haven’t! We’ve not been as strict with the healthy eating recently, so we’ve decided to have a healthy November, to allow for a deliciously unhealthy Christmas! To that end and to start early, I chose the Hairy Bikers’ diet dish: Cajun spiced chicken with wedges – except I swapped the wedges for couscous to save time!

This is such an easy dish and when I put the photo up on Facebook so many friends said I needed to give them the recipe because it looks really impressive and takes no time at all! Definitely a winner!

To make the spice mix combine:

5 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt

Rub the spice mix into the chicken with a little oil. When the flavours have marinaded for a while, fry the chicken until cooked well through and the spices have started to caramelise. While the chicken is cooking, make up some couscous. To my couscous I added olives, cucumber and chives, salt and pepper. I also added diced cucumber and chives to a bowl of creme fraiche.

I served the chicken on top of the couscous, and then topped it with the creme fraiche. I then added some fresh crispy mange tout for a bit of texture.

You could also serve the chicken with wedges, potato or sweet potato, and use the spice mix on these as well. Or you could have the chicken in a wrap with salad and the creme fraiche.

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This week has seen me on a bit of a cooking flurry, to save money on lunch, and to warm me up as it gets colder, I’ve decided to make batches of soup. The pumpkin soup has set me off on a soupy mission! Yesterday I made up a batch of roasted tomato soup, with leftover celery, leeks and peppers. I’m feeling quite domesticated and pleased to be saving money while eating a tasty lunch!

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Winter Warmer: Pumpkin & Red Pepper Soup

The St Jude Storm is on its way, and while it hasn’t really hit home too badly yet, it’s still windy and wet enough to warrant a lovely bowl of autumny soup. Halloween is coming up so naturally there’s an abundance of pumpkin and squash in the shops and markets, so today I decided to make my favourite soup: roasted pumpkin & red pepper.

20131027-222348.jpgMy friend Carolyn took a great photo of a ridiculous number of pumpkins today, and it really got me in the bonfire night/Halloween/leaf-crunching-under-foot kind of a mood – and pumpkin soup seemed like the perfect Sunday food for that kind of a day.

I roasted the pumpkin with olive oil, salt and pepper and then added to a pot of sweated down shallots and red peppers. I added stock and seasoning and a pinch of chili and simmered until soft. When everything had softened, I blended the veggies and stock until smooth and then stirred in some creme fraiche. This is my favourite soup and it’s so easy to whip up – looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow!

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Lemon curd

A few weeks ago I had the urge to bake or make something in the kitchen but our oven has really started to fail me now, so I had to choose a recipe that I could do on the hob or grill! I chose to make my own lemon curd as I’ve been meaning to have a go for ages. It’s such a simple recipe and looks really impressive! Sadly though, I couldn’t bake any scones to go with it! I hope you enjoy the pictures, I love the blue gingham against the bright yellow

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The City Break Series: Barcelona

This year I have been lucky enough to travel to lots of European cities, and to eat lots of delicious European food. It figures, that as I write a food and baking blog, that it should write some kind of review post for my travels. To this end, I have decided to write a City Break Series about my travels and the food i discovered. These will be interspersed with my normal posts.

We start, with Barcelona…

In August I went to Barcelona with one of my dearest pals, Hannah. We’ve both been so busy over the last year or so, me at work, Hannah studying to become a Trainee Solicitor, that we decided we deserved a little holiday away! We’ve never gone away together before and usually only get a few hours every few months to catch up so we were well-overdue some decent time together! As we’re both summer babies we chose the first week of August to celebrate our birthdays and picked Barcelona as our destination. I’ve always wanted to see Gaudi’s architecture and Hannah was keen to visit a new city and get exploring! Also, it would be guaranteed hot and sunny weather!
We spent 5 glorious days in Barcelona visiting Casa Battlo, Park Guell, La Ramblas and La Boqueria food market. We also managed to fit in some sunbathing by the hotel’s roof pool for some proper relaxing!

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We were really looking forward to trying proper Spanish tapas and after a few ok dinners we found an amazing restaurant called Teleferic. When we arrived it was pretty empty, I think because we ate a lot earlier than the Spanish seemed to. The staff were really welcoming and friendly, and explained that at half seven they would start bringing out all of the different tapas dishes to the bar area where we could then pick and choose. While we waited we shared some potatas bravas which is one of my favourite dishes. Crispy potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli, delicious!

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We helped ourselves to delicate pastry parcels filled with spinach; lightly battered squid; crispy, salty green peppers; Spanish tortilla; olives; chorizo…there were so many dishes on offer, there was no way we could try them all! I would definitely hurry back to try more when I’m next in Barcelona.

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At the end of the meal we were given a complementary glass of bubbly by the waiter which was a nice touch. Each dish had a cocktail stick in it, some were different colours, some were different shapes. These represented the price of the dish and we were charged according to the number of sticks we had at the end. This was by far my favourite meal in Barcelona and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

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We didn’t have paella, but really enjoyed trying different tapas dishes and just picking and sharing a few different dishes at each meal. We also visited La Boqueria food market, just off La Ramblas. This was great, and reminded me of Borough Market, back in London. There were meat and fish stalls, fresh fruit and veg and cheeses and hams.

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The weather was gorgeous, and with the good food and beautiful architecture, it was a great little girly holiday! I will definitely go back to Barcelona, it’s a city for the senses with so many sights to see and delicious food to taste, including really delicious ice cream, that I think there must be lots more to explore.

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