Tuna steak with spicy soy sauce glaze

I love tuna steak. My work colleagues hear me say “you know what, I think I’m going to have tuna for tea” on pretty much a weekly basis. Tuna is a meaty fish and fish is really healthy as it’s a fantastic source of lean protein. This recipe is ridiculously quick and easy. Even if you think you can’t cook you can do this recipe.

I do apologise for the quality of the photos. They were taken on my phone (I cooked this after the gym and couldn’t quite muster up enough enthusiasm to run up two flights of stairs!

To make the tuna you will need:

1 tuna steak for every person you are feeding  or 2 if they are smaller (I defrosted some frozen fish, you don’t have to buy fresh)

Black pepper

Soy sauce

Chilli sauce (I use Sriracha)

Runny honey (I prefer dark honey is savoury dishes)

Serve with whatever you fancy. I had mine with rice noodles and vegetables grilled on my George Foreman grill. If you’re pushed for time or just want to keep it really simple its nice with salad and crusty bread. I recommend cooking the other things before the tuna so you can make sure the fish doesn’t overcook.

Start by mixing the soy sauce, honey, black pepper and chilli sauce in a flat tupperware container and mix. Place the tuna in the container and leave for a few minutes then turn over, put the lid on the container and leave to marinate for as long as you like. The beauty of this recipe as it can be left for about 10 minutes and the fish has a fantastic flavour.

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Turn the hob onto the highest temperature. Add a small amount of oil and allow oil and pan to heat up. Put the tuna in the pan and cook on one side for a minute and then flip over and cook for another minute.

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Note – it is pretty much the opposite of fun trying to clean a non stick frying pan without scratching it!

Cook for a further 30 seconds on each side. A little longer if you don’t like your tuna rare, say 2 – 4 minutes.

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Serve.

Bon appetit!
Bon appetit!

Bask if the smug glow of someone who has managed to create a dish that is simultaneously quick, healthy and delicious.

 

Halloumi kebabs/skewers

What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror? Halloumi.

This is a vegetarian recipe that cheese lovers will enjoy. However, if you’re a hardcore meat eater you could add some chorizo to the mix or serve with parma ham or pastrami, both of which go well with this. Now vegetarian people do have to take care what they eat as too much cheese can cause an increase in your cholesterol, but a bit of cheese is actually pretty good for you.

In addition, I sometimes find it pretty difficult to digest cow’s milk products but I feel a lot less bloated after eating Halloumi which is a ewe’s milk cheese. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to describe these as kebabs but they are quick to prepare and something that people of all cooking abilities can do.

What you need:

Bamboo skewers/metal shish kebab thingies

2 peppers (I used red and green for picture contrast but some people don’t like green so use whatever you fancy)

2/3 of a block of Halloumi cheese

2/3 a pack of mini portobello mushrooms*

The seasoning of your choice (I chose chilli and garlic flakes but the world is your metaphorical oyster)

*I am aware some people are allergic to mushrooms or hate them, I suggest tomatoes, red onion or courgette as a replacement.

 

Switch on your grill. Chop your vegetables and cheese into bite sized chunks.

 

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I never met a cheese I didn't like
I never met a cheese I didn’t like

Thread your vegetables and cheese onto your skewers in whatever order you fancy. If you have some pieces of pepper or mushroom leftover just grill them alongside the skewers.

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Whatever you do don’t try to use these as lightsabers. It will end up in a mess.

Place on a baking tray (the cheese and vegetables can drip when grilling and its easier to clean a baking tray than an oven). Spray with oil/or drizzle on a tiny bit of oil. Season to taste.

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Colourful food is the nicest

Bake for approximately 8 minutes on each side.

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Some of the ingredients may fall off the skewers. Don’t worry, it will all taste the same! Serve with salad and flatbread or cous cous. Or you eat like me and eat it with soda bread (it was £1 in Asda and although it’s not a patch on J’s mum’s it was pretty lovely).

Salad makes everything look prettier - fact
Salad makes everything look prettier – fact

A great midweek tea after work. My housemate enjoyed these also. Mind you, if it was up to the pair of us the fridge would be filled with different cheeses and cured meats.

 

My baking bible – Baking Magic

Originally I was going to share a recipe that I adapted from my favourite baking book, but I decided to just recommend the book to start off with. Baking Magic written by Kate Shirazi is a fantastic baking book for people of all abilities. (I know some amazing bakers who are terrified about how their biscuits will turn out). My baking style – great tasting, not so beautifully decorated was wonderfully improved by this book and I was inspired to practise cake and biscuit decorating techniques. The book is a conglomeration of 4 books; Cupcake Magic, Chocolate Magic, Cookie Magic and Muffin Magic (the latter was written by Susannah Blake).

Shirazi and Blake both writing in a fun, lively way encouraging you to get creative. But my favourite thing is actually where they describe recipes by how faffy they are (one of my mum’s favourite expressions about how fiddly a recipe is). A lot of the cake and biscuits designs are pretty tongue in cheek – such as the gingerbread gangland. There are also recipes that are very suitable to make with smaller children such as jammy splodgers.

My personal favourites from the book are the Guinness cake and Beet the Choccy cake, while my mum adores the butterscotch cookies. The main thing with learning to bake (which relies a lot on the chemical properties of food to make cakes rise) that above all practise is important. If it doesn’t turn out looking beautiful first time, keep practising. People are more than happy to eat cake that’s risen more on one side than the other. Its only really you that notices imperfections (particularly with dessert, whenever cake appears at work I become rather Gollum like hissing “my precious” at whatever’s on offer).

You can find out more about Kate Shirazi and her cake company Cakeadoodledoo here.

Below is a series of photographs showing the butterscotch cookies and Guinness cake I made from the book when I was at home with my parents for Christmas.

Quick recipe – chicken stock

Now stock for most people conjures up images of crumbling Oxo cubes into a simmering pan. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with using ready made stock cubes most of the time its great to have some stock in the freezer and chicken stock is stupidly easy to make. Once you have it in your freezer its great to have in reserve to make stews and soups. It adds a certain richness to both that you don’t generally find in stock cubes, plus if you or someone you live with has a cold it can provide great comfort to whip up a batch of quick chicken noodle soup. In addition, its great if you need to watch your salt intake as you can make it salt free.

To make a small batch of chicken stock you will need:

Chicken bones (leftover roast chicken)

A stick of celery

A small carrot

An onion

Cold water

Pick the bones clean of any remaining chicken you want to eat. Keep back skin (if you like skin, I personally don’t) as this adds some flavour.

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Peel and chop the onion and carrot and trim the celery. Add to the pan with the cold water.

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Switch hob on a medium low heat and allow to simmer for about an hour and a half to 2 hours depending on how the flavour is coming on. Occasionally add a bit of water to make sure it doesn’t dry up. But you can mostly relax and ignore the pan.

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When you think the stock is tasty and ready use a sieve to strain the liquid from the chicken bones and vegetables into your desired container. Leave to cool and skim the far from the top.

Not the most glamourous recipe ever but one you won’t regret learning, especially if you’re thrifty and like getting the most out of your food.

Mussel and Steak Bar Edinburgh

I was lucky enough to have a weekend away in Edinburgh with J this weekend. I actually had the best time, good food and sightseeing is a pretty perfect way to spend a 5 year anniversary. Armed with several restaurant recommendations we actually chose our first restaurant due to its vicinity to our apartment (flurries of snow were coming down and it was too cold to venture too far). Well, the snow was actually a bit of luck as it resulted in one of the most delicious meals I had eaten in a long time. My mouth is watering just remembering it.

We went to Mussel and Steak bar which is in the Grassmarket area of the city. We spent a fair while deciding what to pick off the menu as it all looked so tempting.

I started with griddled scallops from the daily specials. Now after 6 hours on various trains in was a pretty spectacular first meal. I would have have considered griddling scallops but it added a pleasant charred sort of flavour to the mix. I’ve never eaten pickled mussels before and they were a nice addition to the dish.

Scallops, don't mind if I do!
Scallops, don’t mind if I do!

J had prawns in their shells which were also from the daily special menu. These were perfectly cooked and the sauce was delicious. (One of the truly excellent things about J is that he lets me taste his food when we eat out!)

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J’s prawns in their shells

For my main course I had surf and turf. I think this was my favourite thing to eat from the whole weekend. If you love steak and also shellfish you can’t really go wrong with this. The steak was beautiful and cooked just how I asked for it (rare), the mussels in their chilli sauce were a treat, the prawns were flavoursome and juicy and the squid was tender. Squid is something that can often be overcooked and go rubbery but I have noticed that more places seem to get it right and the squid here was perfect.

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Surfin and turfin

J had sea bream with Moroccan spiced cous cous from the specials. Now the cous cous might not look like much, but J absolutely adored it. He said it was delicious. The bream was cooked perfectly. Crispy skin and tender flesh.

Fish in a dish
Fish in a dish

We had sides of salad and bread (which we used to mop up the lovely sauces). We also accompanied the meal with white wine. Although the dessert menu was extremely tempting, we decided not to. Sometimes when you seriously overeat it can lessen the enjoyment of a night (besides my waistband was certainly feeling tight, despite cutting round the fat on the steak!). We skipped (or slid) happily back to our little apartment, slightly tipsy of white wine in my case. Next time I visit Edinburgh I definitely want to go back. If I could pick a last meal before I died, the surf and turf at Mussel and Steak bar would definitely be a contender.

You can find out information on Mussel and Steak bar here.