Tag Archives: chilli

Simple Supper: Baked Beans and Bangers

16 Nov

A big warm hug of a dinner

This supper is perfect when you’ve spent all day drinking tea and wearing chunky jumpers but still want something warm and comforting for tea.  If you have the forethought to soak beans overnight you can do so, otherwise I just use a can of cooked beans.  Once you have the beans ready to go, the meal’s on the table in less than an hour with a minimal amount of faffing in between.

It also makes me think of this delightful clip of  Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development asking his family who wants “a banger in the mouth”. And what more can you ask for, really?

To buy (for 2 big bowls):

*200g dried haricot beans/ 1 tin cooked haricot beans   *1 tbsp olive oil   *6 lovely pork sausages   *1 red onion or a few shallots, finely sliced   *2 garlic cloves, finely chopped   *1 red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped   *2tbsp sundried tomato puree   *1tsp smoked paprika   *1 pinch of sugar   *100ml red wine   *125ml chicken stock   *1tbsp balsamic vinegar   *salt and pepper   *1 bunch of parsley, torn-up.

To make:

1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight in cold water.  Drain the water and then rinse the beans and pop them in a large pan with water.  Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beans are soft then drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 180Oc/gas mark 4.  Drizzle the oil in a casserole dish, add the sausages and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or so, until they’re golden brown all over.

3. Then add the onion to the dish and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few more minutes.  Now add the beans, paprika, tomato puree, wine, stock, vinegar and seasoning. Mix well and cover with tin foil.  Pop a few holes in the tin foil and then pop in the oven.

4. Cook for 45 minutes.  If the bake is too dry add more stock, if too wet then remove the foil lid after about half an hour and cook until it’s the right consistency. Before you serve stir in the parsley.

5. Nice with buttery warm bread or spoonfuls of creamy mash.




Recipe: Beef and pak choi Noodles

20 Jul

Where's the beef?

Uh oh. I feel rather sheepish. With burning, blushing cheeks, I realise it’s been nothing short of yonks since I updated Would Like to Eat and the fact that some of you lovely readers have had to pull me up on this is an outrage. It’s a dereliction of my duty. But a perfect storm of being busy at work and flat-out broke (I’m saving for an American road trip, have an awful bank and am perennially feckless…) has meant that I’ve not been eating out and I’ve not been eating ANYTHING decent in. And I couldn’t possibly confess the full depths of filthy food I’ve been scoffing of late. But let’s just say that there may, ahem, be mini chicken kievs and curly fries in my freezer… Ahh… my cheeks are burning brighter!

Anyway, all of this is set to change. So I trust you accept my apologies and stay with me as I leap back onto the domestic bandwagon!

Tonight, for example, I had a night in alone and rather than buy one of those glum little roast-dinner-meals-for-one or tuck into my default solo dinner (cinnamon toast and a mug of tea), I thought I’d make something proper, like.

And so to noodles. A bowl of noodles is surely one of life’s most incredible pleasures: all slurpy filling goodness. My boyfriend can’t quite handle my obsession for noodley broths so whenever he’s out – i.e. at the cricket/pub – and I’m in I go noodle-crazy. Thick juicy udon noodles,delicate spindly rice noodles, crystal glass noodles, heavy egg noodles, silky ramen noodles, giant flat noodles. Gosh. Be still my beating heart. As long as it isn’t pot noodles.

To buy:

*a handful of rice noodles (about 30g or so)   *150g beef sirloin   *olive oil   *giant pinch of ground cumin   *salt and pepper   *half a small onion, very finely sliced   *thumb-sized fresh ginger, sliced   *pinch of chilli flakes   *fistful of mushrooms, I used chesnut but oyster or shitake will taste fab   *200ml chicken stock   *1 pak choi, washed and chop the end off.

To make:

1. Boil a kettle and pop the noodles in a pyrex bowl, add the hot water, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Then drain and leave submerged in a bowl of nice cold water.


2. Meanwhile, rub the beef with the oil, cumin and pepper. Place in a really hot wok and sear on all sides.

3. Add the onion, ginger and chilli flakes and fry at high heat for a couple of minutes.

4. Take out the steak, leave to rest and slice. Set aside for a mo.

5. Add the mushrooms and pak choi to the onions and ginger in the wok and stir. Pour in the chicken stock and season to taste.

6. Serve the noodles and broth in a big bowl, pop the sliced beef on top and throw on a bit of coriander if you have it knocking about.

Feeds one and takes minutes to cook and a similar amount of time to wolf down. (Recipe originally Mr Jamie Oliver’s but I messed about with it slightly. I know, I know, how very dare I! ) Not the cheapest of dinners but will hopefully make me big and strong. If you’re a veggie then use more veg or tofu if you like. Yummy.

Review: Silk Road

19 May

Worst. Photo. Ever.

49 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR
020 7703 4832

How many of you have seen The Wire? I have and to say that it’s the best programme I’ve seen in years is rubbish. It’s the best programme I’ve seen, ever. Unfolding layer after layer of grit and heartbreak, revealing pride, love, pathos, vengeance, pain and ambition, like a great American novel we see the struggle of a whole city, it’s future and it’s past. So dark and so poignant still, this is telly that made me think and made me think differently. The only problem is that I’ve become a kind-of demented missionary, singing it’s praises and willing people to convert (touting the mantra that there’s those who love The Wire and those who haven’t seen it yet) because I believe!
I fear that Silk Road may fall victim to the same treatment.  It’s that good.

With its unassuming bench-style seating, modest decor and miles-out-of-SoHo-location, the Silk Road may not look like much but don’t be fooled.

Four of us went for dinner last night and Alex (who is always amazing at ordering “Dad-style“) called for our table to be filled with a smorgasbord of delights. The leek and shrimp, pork and beef dumplings were winsome, tender, chewy, yet soft and silky and came in at £2.50 for ten! We ordered 8 skewers of lamb and gnarled at the tender chilli-cumin meat and melt-in-the-mouth cubes of fat. The medium plate of chicken arrived in a bowl of hot aromatic broth. Bobbing with chunks of potato and ominously huge looking slices of chilli. We greedily slurped our ways through the bowl before the waiter piled in hand-rolled noodles (thick and chewy ribbons of utter scrumminess) and then bowls of rice arrived to mop up the juice. A plate of sour sticky cabbage, peppered with chillies, was uncommonly good and wolfed down in seconds. And then the home-style eggplant showed up. My God. This was aubergine that knocked my shoes and socks off. Sweet and smoky, tender and hot, you’ve just got to try it for yourself.

Throughout the meal the service was as flawless as the food. Attentive and kind, but utterly relaxed. Alex dropped his chopsticks and quick as a flash, a clean pair appeared. They even laughed at Alex’s jokes. I mean, wow. The entire meal (with beer and cans of pop – costing 50p, yes 50p – in London!) came to £40. I nearly fell off my bench.

I will preach more if I need to, but others including Jay Rayner, Time Out and WillEatForMoney have already done this very elegantly. The proof surely is that I was so busy scoffing that I only managed to take one single awful picture (see above) throughout the entire meal. It was that good.

Recipe: Oodles of Noodles Soup

4 May
A bowl of joy

This recipe is something I knock together and is hot, healthy and spicy. It is super filling but not in that just-eaten-a-curry-need-to-lie-down kind of way. It is also wonderful as it can use up what ever you have knocking about and takes 15 minutes tops. Simples. Serves 2, make more as you wish.  I get my rice noodles from the ace Asian shops in Brixton Market but lots of supermarkets sell them now. Adjust cooking time depending on how large the noodles are…

To buy –

* a big glug of wok oil   * handful of finely chopped ginger   *2-3 cloves of finely chopped garlic   *a red onion chopped as rough as you like   *teaspoon of chilli powder *2-3 teaspoons of brown sugar   *glug of soysauce   *fresh/dried coriander   *salt and pepper   *3/4 -1pint of vegetable stock   *two handfulls of rice noodles   *whatever veg you have: baby corn, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, carrots, savoy cabbage, spring onions, peas, peppers all work well.

To cook –

1 . heat up a wok on a high heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the pan’s bubbling.

2. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and gradually add the soy, sugar, chilli and coriander. Cook for a minute or two. Meanwhile get the stock nice and hot.

3. Add the veg to the pan depending on how long they take to cook. For spring onions and the like, hold them back for now, so as not to over-cook.

4. Pour the stock and cook for a minute or two. Then add the noodles and make sure that the soup covers fully.

5. If you have any veg that takes only a few minutes to cook then add them now. Season as you wish.

6. To serve make sure you have some sweet chilli oil, soy sauce, and fresh corainder.

It easily works as a quick lunch or supper andyou can tweak as you see fit. Lime juice adds zing or sesame seeds a little bite. This is my favourite comforting bowl-food. I love it.

Review: Dim t

5 Apr

Full me.

32 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2NQ

020 7637 1122


I have taken to coming up with fantasty-lunches of late. They go a little something like this… Irrelevant of what you will end up eating come noon, you wish really really hard for what – in your best dreams- you would find on your plate. Last week I had a crazed hankering for dim sum. It’s been my fantasy lunch for five long days now. When I’ve ended up eating limp chicken and avocado sarnies on the train, or bowls of soup hunkered over my desk, in my mind I’ve been opening steaming wicker baskets and finding doughy buns and lightly spiced dumplings. Today, finally, my fantasy lunch came true. And boy oh boy, it was worth the wait.

The Brunette and I awoke hungover as hell this morning. Yesterday’s Easter lunch had deteriorated into a late-night booze-session and we spent the morning fighting off cravings for pizza slut, dirty burgers and tuna melts. It was tough. By two ‘o’ clock when we staggered into Dim t near Goodge St we were famished. But it was an oasis of calm, with Japanese style-decor – all slate walls, low lamps and silk cushions – and the service was so friendly and whip-fast.

We ordered grilled chicken gyoza, chicken satay, baskets of chicken and cashew nut and beef and chive dumplings and a big pot of jasmine tea. My boyfriend had classic guilty pleasure – Katsu curry- and I opted for a big bowl of chicken and udon noodles with a spicy, fragrant red curry sauce.  Everything was incredible. Fresh and hot, spicy and delicate. The dumplings were soft, steamed parcels of joy. The curry silky, creamy and full of crisp beansprouts, sweet carrot and tender chicken. We wolfed it down before reclining on the sofas and mopping our brows.

Dinner came to £40 for two and next time I will try hard to make sure I fill my dessert tummy too – as the puddings looked immense – but wow.  Fantasy lunches don’t come much tastier than this.

Review: Negril

29 Mar

honest jerky goodness

Address: 132 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RS

Phone Number: 020 8674 8798

A neat ten minute walk up Brixton Hill from the Ritzy Cinema, there a few finer pleasures in life than a dinner date at Negril. Now that I live in Battersea I get to scoff the delicious, soulful food far less than I should but oh boy, when I do, I smile.

Negril is such a charming cafe. Even with the recent revamp it’s still slightly ramshackle and it’s always busy but cosy. Word of warning – I always book so you might want to as well.  The service is both lovely and speedy (When I lived round the corner the delivery service came courtesy of a boy and his bike – cool) and in the summer you can eat outside under the stars, ahem, and near the bus lane, but still… it’s mega. 

However, it really the food that sings.  Juicy, tender chicken, rubbed with Jamaican jerk spices and cooked until it falls off the bone. Hot and dry chilli sauce, soft and fluffy rice and peas, creamy fresh coleslaw and, really, truly the best goat curry I have ever wolfed down. Hearty and home-cooked food full of soul, I love it.  Even the ginger beer tastes best in this place.

I went here on Saturday with my boy and my mum. It was lovely. We all ate until we could barely move – having already necked Pina Coladas at Mango Landin’ down the road – and it was so understated and such good value. (Expect to pay about £12 for dinner and pop) I really cannot say enough sweet things about Negril. I just wish I got to go more often. Amazing.

Review: Mandalay

16 Mar

Burmese Tease

444 Edgware Road, London, W2 1EG
Telephone: 020 7258 3696
Website: http://www.mandalayway.com/restaurant/contact.html
My friends Hol, Non, Josh and I have a bid to eat our way around the World (in London) and last week we popped into Burma. On the Edgeware Road.  Mandalay, a sweet and understated place which won the Time Out Top Cheap Eats award in 1996 (and rather adorably still boasts this accolade on the menu) is all about modest surroundings, charming service and big flavours.
We had a big bunch of starters to share: Bazun Kaw-Pyant (Shrimp and Vegetable spring-rolls), Kyet-Oo & Ah-Loo Samusa (Egg and Potato Samosas), Boo-Thee-Kyaw (Kalabash), Tin-Baw-Thee Thoat (Raw Papaya and Cucumber), Prawn Crackers and Popadums.  The Samosa especially was jaw-droppingly good.  Juicy, moist spiced potato and crisp and hot pastry.  The salad too took my breath away – crisp and tender vegetables and a hot and sour dressing complimented the soft sweetness of the papaya.  We washed it down with cool beer and revelled in the Eastern flavours which combine China, India, Malaysia and Thailand.
For my main I wolfed down a Kyet-Tha Ohn-No Khauk-Swe (a beautiful bowl of noodles with coconut and chicken) which was fragrant and spicy and looked utterly beautiful.  Despite, our trousers becoming undone, we shared a Faluda (Milk, Ice cream, Jelly and Rose Syrup), Ice-Cream Mandalay (With Asian Fruits) and Coconut Agar Agar Jelly or Kyauk-Kyaw as it is in Burmese.  These desserts featured a lot of coconut and jelly and were brilliantly unusual.
The meal was a snip at £20 a head, including a tip, and the service was charming and gentle throughout.  The décor of the place deserves a mention too. Cramped tables, plastic chairs, so like places I have loved eating in Asia.  The toilets were an Alice-in-Wonderland adventure away down twisting corridors and the windows were decked in those jumping lights which look wonderfully jolly.  For a Thursday night, Mandalay was pretty busy and I am not surprised at all. Good, bold, honest food at a super price. I will definitely be going back.

Recipe: Slow-Cookin’ Chilli con Carne

1 Mar

We be chilli'n


When I used to live in Brixton I had a “London Mum”, a super girl called Cat who made to-die-for roasts on a Sunday and then – I still can’t believe this – Moist-maker sandwiches with three slices of bread stuffed with roast veggies, gravy and meat for Monday lunchtimes. 

She was an is a hero! Before a bunch of us went to see 2ManyDJs at the Academy she made us some chilli for dinner. By the time we came to eat it, it had been on the hob for five hours simmering. The taste was so deep and the flavour so rich that I could barely believe what a lucky lady I was. The chilli was so tender, so moist. It kept me on my feet, bopping, for hours on end. Magic.  I asked Cat how to recreate it and I am not sure I managed to pull it off (to be honest I doubt anyone ever will..) but it was still the best ever and Cat very kindly let me pop the recipe here: 

To buy: 

*2 onions   *5 cloves of garlic   *cumin   *dried chilli flakes   *mild chilli powder   *paprika   *cayenne pepper   *cinnamon   *500g minced beef   *2 medium carrots   *1 large red pepper   *250g minced pork   *chorizo (as much as you like)   *2 beef stock cubes   *tomato puree   *1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes   *salt and pepper   *lime   *1 x tin kidney beans 

To make: 

1. Dice and fry the onions in a big pan (that has a lid) and as much garlic as you like (Cat and I like LOADS!) and then add any combination of the spices (I broadly used: 1 heaped tsp chilli flakes, 3 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp chilli powder, a big pinch of cayenne pepper and a big pinch of  paprika) as you like and experiment to taste. 

2. Once the onion has started to soften and the spices start to smell extra good add the beef mince and the pork mince and start to brown it all off. 

3. Then add the carrots (which have been finely diced) and the red pepper (which has also been diced).  Slice about half a chorizo (but as much as you like) and add to the pan in discs or chunks. Start to fry it up. 

4. Mix two beef stock cubes with a generous dollop of tomato puree and some boiling water and add to the pan.  Season with lots of salt and pepper. Add spices of herbs to taste. 

5. Next, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and the zest of 1 lime, stir.  Then pop the lid back on and cook for about 3-5 hours, seasoning and tinkering as you go. 

6. About an hour before you want to serve, add the kidney beans and cook with the lid off so that it goes thick and gloopy. (If you can find Adzuki beans then Cat suggests they will be awesome to add to the chilli, but I couldn’t find any!) 

I served mine with a sprinkle (ok, ok HEAP) of cheese, some boiled rice and a massive dollop of soured cream.  This recipe makes enough to feed about 6 people but will also make 4 very hungry bellies happy.  I need to give mad, crazy and huge props to Cat for sharing the recipe and make sure that I make it again asap. It made me do a huge yummmmmmmmmmmm.

Recipe – Crispy Chilli Beef

31 Jan

Beef and oodles of noodles.

Asian food is so freaking good. The months I spent travelling in Vietnam, India, Cambodia and Thailand were some of the tastiest ever and I never ever got bored of the eating. And somehow it didn’t make my jeans strain – a result!  So fresh, hot and fragrant. This dinner – from a goodfood recipe – is spicy, sticky and quite a treat. A bit naughty, it would be perfect for a hot hot date!

To buy:

*Wok Oil   *300g thinly sliced sirloin beef tossed in lots of cornflour   *broccoli florets from a small head, sliced   *2 garlic cloves thinly sliced   *large chunk of ginger thinly chopped   *1 tsp chilli flakes   *small bunch spring onions, sliced diagonally   *4tbsp soy sauce sweetened with 5 tbsp brown sugar   *juice of 1 large lime   *egg noodles   *sesame seeds   *handful of coriander

To make:

1. In a hot wok, warm a big shake of oil until it’s really hot.  Fry the beef in batches until it’s really crispy, drain and place on kitchen-roll. Rest the beef for a few minutes.

2. Heat your plates or bowls in the oven and add 2 nests of noodles to boiling salted water. Boil for about 5 minutes and drain in cold water, fry the noodles with coriander and sesame seeds. Split, pop on the plates and keep hot in the oven.

3. Now, pour away most of the used oil from the wok and fry the broccoli, ginger, garlic and chilli for about a minute. Then chuck in the sweet soy sauce and lime juice. Cook for another two minutes.

4. Add the crispy beef and spring onions and toss in the wok. Serve with the noodles and an ice cold beer. Nom nom nom.

Tasty tasty scoffs.