A new blog post series...
Thought I would deviate from the series I have done in the past - which although necessary to address and talk about, can be a little downbeat and somber.
So here goes!
Now - there have been a few times that I have been cooking dinner and a friend or relative has popped in at that time and commented on my cooking. My brother has often stated that he misses my cooking since we moved out - naw bless.
Well I am no chef, but I do enjoy cooking and when I know what I am going to cook (that is the worst part of the process, the coming up with something!) I find it quite cathartic and relaxing.
So! I thought I would share a few of my own recipes and how I throw things together. I like to eat as clean as possible, and if you aren't familiar with the term "clean eating" let me explain. Eating clean is basically making things from scratch - well that's my take on it, this is done by using good oils and fats with loads of herbs and spices to add the flavour. So think making spaghetti sauce from scratch, not using pre-made sauces and mixes e.g. Dolmio or Chicken Tonight kinda thing.
Cooking from scratch and making your own sauces is not as hard or complicated as you may think. You just need to know what herbs and spices you need and what goes with what.
If you are completely new to spices and herbs, the easiest way to know if things are going to work (without googling) is to smell them. I find that giving things a good smell before using something is a great way of learning what compliments a dish and what doesn't. For example, give ginger a whiff and then give basil a go.... instantly you can smell that the two will not mesh. If you then try ginger and lemon grass you will notice that the two smelt together work very well - and then a quick google search will confirm this... what a wonderful age we live in!
Now, let's do a simple recipe first. This is one that I came up with when I looked at the ingredient list on a packet of fajita mix. Sugar and other preservatives are not what you want in clean eating. Overlooking the nasties I saw what it contained; marjoram (like oregano, from the same family) paprika, smoked paprika (there are a few types!) garlic, coriander (I hate this stuff fresh, but when dried or semi dried it takes on a new flavour... not that disgusting soap taste... blergh) chilli, and cumin. Obvs it has salt and pepper - you just add that to taste. Also don't be afraid of salt, just make sure it is a good one! We use pink Himalayan salt.. table salt is a bit of a no no. I am not fussed on what brands I use - I probably should be.. you know, try to be organic and stuffs.... I will get there eventually. Baby steps!
So, using the main ingredients on the back of this pack you can make a clean version of this fajita mix. Trial and error comes with adding spices, again smelling things you will be able to tell what is strong therefore needing less of, and what is milder and you may need more of. Things like chilli - well we all know that the more you use the hotter it will be so you can either omit it or use sparingly if you don't like things spicy.
Olive oil heated up, then add
Half a tablespoon of paprika
Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika (it is quite strong)
A pinch of marjoram,
Half teaspoon of cumin
A pinch of chilli
Two pinches of dried or semi dried coriander (truuust me on this one, I promise no soap taste!)
Two cloves of garlic, we like garlic so you can do just one if you don't like it as much, and then salt and pepper to taste.
Now for the main ingredient, it takes 3;
One capsicum, I like to do half red and half yellow
One onion....... That's it.
Once the oil is hot, add the spices until it gets nice and fragrant - add the chicken (you should hear a nice sizzle) and then once it is halfway cooked add your vegetables and keep stirring until done!
This is one of my go to recipes when we are strapped for time or I am not feeling like doing a big meal. We eat with wraps (not clean, but I cannot get the boys to stop eating white bread products!) lettuce or baby spinach leaves, cheese, chopped tomatoes, avocado - any thing that you like really that you would normally eat with tacos or fajitas.
It's always a hit here, and tastes as good as it smells. So there you have it, a quick little recipe for you to try.
I'll do another one the next time I take pics whilst cooking! Enjoy and let me know how you go if you try it out!!
Love AJ xo