Monday, 30 June 2014

Prawn and rocket pasta

So first I need to apologise for my recent absence. This has been for a number of reasons (World Cup, hangovers, changing jobs etc), none of which will interest you. I did intend to post a carrot cake yesterday but, in a rare moment of non-awesomeness, I fucked it up. Yes that's right, even us great chefs can stuff up sometimes. Will go back to the drawing board and bring that one to you another time. This, however, is unfuckupable and takes hardly any time to make. Winner.

This dish is really damn tasty and looks pretty nice too. Low effort for maximum reward, and that is exactly the sort of grub we like here at Food For Fellas. Plus the recipe calls for wine which is always a good thing.

How it's done

Just a few simple ingredients and no stressy techniques here, so it's one for even the most novice of chefs. 

  • Wholewheat spaghetti
  • 250g uncooked and peeled king prawns
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A red chilli
  • White wine
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto
  • A lemon
  • A bag of baby rocket

First job is to get the spaghetti into some boiling water with a lug of olive oil to stop it from sticking together. Next up you need to finely chop the garlic and de-seeded chilli. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after doing this (and definitely don't scratch your nether regions without cleaning your hands first - seriously, trust me on this one...). Get the garlic and chilli into a large frying pan or wok with a decent amount of olive oil and fry off until the garlic begins to colour.

Next throw in the prawns which you have butterflied (see the Ebi Raisukaree recipe for this technique) and cook for a couple of minutes until they have coloured and opened up. Now throw in a small glass of white wine (I am currently really enjoying the Glenridge Point Sauvignon Blanc from Sainsbury - it's currently on offer too) and two tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato pesto, and leave all that to simmer for a few minutes. 

Drain the pasta and then put it back into the pan before adding all of the sauce along with the juice of half of the lemon and a handful of the rocket. Season it and then toss it to mix everything together before getting it onto a plate and throwing on some more rocket and some parmesan. Sorted. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Leftover chipolata, squash and chickpea stew

This one was another result of needing to do something with a random ingredient, in this case it was six cooked chipolatas that were donated by my housemate. We are on a bit of an economy drive at the moment so I decided to raid the fridge/cupboards and see what I could do with it. I then remembered this cheeky little recipe passed on from a friend and thought I'd adapt it. Voila, this awesome concoction was born.

Feel free to use larger cooked sausages for this, it just so happens that my housemate is a fan of the smaller ones - so many jokes, not enough time. This one does take a bit longer than the normal recipes I post, but it is damn nice so it's worth the wait for sure. Also, if you're in the arms of a hairy vegetarian, leave out the sausages and you will be on a fast track to pound town my friend. 

How it's done

This one is pretty much made up from cupboard staples like chopped tomatoes, stock cubes, chickpeas... 'Wait, did he just say chickpeas?!' I hear you scream. Well yes, I did. Stop being a little bitch about everything and make sure you ALWAYS have a can of these bad boys in the cupboard because they are an awesome utility ingredient for all sorts of things, including a fantastic little curry recipe I have coming up for you.

  • Cooked sausages
  • A butternut squash
  • Garlic clove
  • Dried thyme
  • An onion
  • Some fresh coriander
  • 20g sultanas (these aren't a complete necessity but add great flavour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A small red chilli
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 160g cous cous
  • Fat free yoghurt

This is all very straight forward, if a little time consuming. Peel and chop up the squash (I can't be arsed with the fat end that has all the pips and shit, I just use the top part), you want it in small chunks around 2cm. Throw the squash into a roasting tin with a good amount of olive oil, the dried thyme and a clove of garlic that you've crushed with your bare hands. No seriously, just get a garlic clove (don't worry about taking the skin off) and put it on the counter before slamming your fist down on to it just to crack it so all the awesome flavours will come out. Get this into an oven on 200C for about 40 minutes. 

Peel the onion and finely dice it up before putting it into a reasonably large pan with some olive oil, the sultanas (if you want them), the de-seeded and chopped chilli, the cinnamon and the roughly chopped stalks of the coriander. Stick a lid on top and cook this for around 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, along with adding some boiling water here and there to keep it moist and stop it burning. 

Then add the roasted squash, can of tomatoes and chickpeas (drain half of the juice out of the can but be sure to add some to the pan). Pour in 300ml of boiling water and crumble in the stock cube. Leave this simmering for around 30-40 minutes on a medium heat with the lid off, until the liquid reduces and the stew thickens.

When the stew has about 15 minutes to go, stick the cous cous into a large bowl and just enough boiling water to cover it. Get a plate on top and leave it to soak up the water. Just before the stew is done, fluff up the cous cous with a fork and season well. 

That's it, all done. Put the cous cous on the plates and then get the stew on top. Lob on a bit of the yoghurt and sprinkle the whole thing with chopped coriander leaves

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Double chocolate apology muffins

So, since I figure there's a lot of dudes out who will be needing to apologise over the next few weeks - whether it's for hogging the TV or being delivered home by the constabulary after drowning their sorrows following England defeats (I'm only going on what happened last night here) - I decided it would be a good idea for us all to have a chocolate recipe to hand. The perfect way to say sorry.

These muffins contain a secret surprise in the form of a delicious dark chocolate ganache piped into the middle. You can, of course, leave that out if you can't be arsed but it might be the tipping point that gets the object of your desires into the bedroom for the first time, or the Mrs to indulge a fantasy that she has so far resisted. It could be that neither of these things as a result of adding the ganache happen but are you able to live with not knowing?

How it's done

The one downside to this recipe is that you do need to go and buy something called tulip cases from the supermarket. Pick your cashier wisely when going through the checkout with these, since you don't want to damage your reputation. 

  • 165g butter (at room temperature)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g self raising flour
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 222ml milk
  • 25ml malt vinegar
  • Large bar of milk chocolate
Get the oven on to 160C if it's a fancy fan one, otherwise it's 180C, and put 12 tulip cases into a muffin tin. Measure out the milk into a jug, add the vinegar, stir and put to one side. 

Next, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl - you can do this with a mixer or by hand if you want to maintain a shred of masculinity. Once they're mixed together, add the eggs and vanilla extract and stir. Now add all the dry ingredients (the flour, bi-carb and coca powder, you bell). They don't need to be sifted, who's got time for that anyways? Finally, add the milk and vinegar mixture into the bowl and mix everything together to make an awesome, chocolate batter. 

Grab a couple of normal dessert spoons and use those to fill each tulip case to about 2/3 full. When that's done, take your chocolate bar and chop it up into chunks before throwing a few on to the top of each muffin. Get these into the middle of the oven for around 25-30 minutes.

If you are going the whole hog and want to get the ganache in there too, you will also need to buy 150ml of double cream and 150g dark chocolate (it's quicker and easier to just buy a bag of dark chocolate chips). Get the cream into a pan and bring it to the boil. When it starts to bubble, turn off the heat and throw in the chocolate chips. After a couple of minutes, stir it to make a nice, smooth ganache. Leave this to cool for around 15 minutes.

When the muffins have been out of the oven a few minutes, get a sharp knife and run it down through one of the cracks in the top. Wiggle it around inside the muffin to create the hole for the ganache. Take the cooled ganache and stick it into a piping bag with a thin nozzle. Put the nozzle into the hole you've created and pipe ganache in until the muffin plumps up. Now just leave the muffins somewhere to cool completely.

There you are, you're done and clear to watch the rest of the World Cup in peace! 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Pesto chicken, avocado and walnut salad

The World Cup is on and none of us have time to cook (either for the ladies or ourselves) or blog so this is a very quick and easy dinner that you can put together in between games. The beauty is that it looks amazing, tastes awesome and is healthy too. 

There's a distinct lack of photos here because, well, I forgot. I was quickly throwing something together for dinner before the awesome Spain v Netherlands game and this is what I came up with. It literally took five minutes to get on the plate (if you ignore the 22 minutes it took for the chicken breasts to cook), but came out tasting great. The idea is from a very well-known salad bar that is in most shopping centres in Australia, this was the item on the menu that I loved the most but hated having to pay $11 for each time. Turns out you can make it at home for a lot less but just as tasty.

How it's done

I prefer to buy fresh chicken breasts and cook them myself (if you choose to do this, just buy skin-off breasts and stick them in the oven on 200C for 22-25 minutes or until the juices run clear). The rest of the ingredients are all pretty simple.

  • Chicken breast (fresh or pre-cooked)
  • Jar of green or basil pesto 
  • Ripe avocado
  • Bag of baby spinach leaves
  • Bag of rocket
  • Feta cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Balsamic drizzle (the thick stuff)

Chop up the chicken breast into small pieces or cubes and throw in bowl. Add a generous amount of the pesto and stir to make sure each piece of chicken is coated. Then it's just a case of layering up the dish. Get a big wedge of both leaves and get them on the plate. Next, peel and chop the avocado and sprinkle over the leaves. Chop up the feta into little cubes and drop that on top.

Next, get the chicken on the plate before topping the whole thing off with a generous helping of walnut pieces and a pretty pattern made out of the balsamic drizzle. Filling and super healthy at the same time, and ready in time to catch the second half before taking the lady upstairs to celebrate the win.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Yes, I know it is weird to be posting this rich, awesome, French mountain food as the weather starts to get warmer but this weekend I was craving it. I spent some time working in the Alps as a chalet host, and this dish was something that I never got bored of during the four months I was out there. For some reason, on this warm early Summer's day in England, I fancied tartiflette and all of it's cheesy, gooey, creamy goodness. 

You might want to save this for a freezing cold Winter's day so feel free to keep it in the back pocket until then. Whenever you do choose to use it, however, you can be sure that the Mrs will also be in your back pocket as a result. There's nothing to not like in this dish - unless you're vegetarian, allergic to dairy or simply just don't like awesome food. 

Literally every ingredient in this meal is good: from the cream to the bacon to the potatoes to the white wine. What's not to love? Get involved.

How it's done

I've adapted this recipe to make single portions rather than one big one like they tend to do in France, but they key thing is to find the right cheese. I've only found it in Waitrose in the UK so that's a heads up, but you might be able to find it elsewhere. 

  • 1kg Charlotte potatoes
  • 250g bacon lardons
  • 1 onion
  • Garlic
  • 100ml white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • Half round of reblochon cheese
This one is super easy. Get the oven on to 200C and then stick the potatoes into a pan of salted, boiling water for 5-10 minutes. While they are bubbling away, dice up the onion and fry that in a little oil with the lardons and crushed garlic. Once the onion has gone a nice, golden brown throw in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Leave that cooking until the wine has evaporated.

Drain the potatoes and once they have cooled enough to touch, slice them thinly. Then in each of your dishes put a layer of potatoes, season them and then throw some of the bacon, onion and garlic mixture on top and repeat until you've nearly filled it up. Pour over half of the cream and top it off with the cheese - slice it through the middle and lie it so that the rind is facing up. 

 Stick into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with a side salad the rest of the wine (in a glass you dope!). Bonjour tout le monde!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Cookie-stuffed cookies

These little beauties are the shit - fact. Honestly your Mrs will not be able to hide the delight she gets from biting into a freshly-baked cookie and then finding another cookie inside. They are a one-way ticket into the good books for an indeterminate amount of time so you might want to bust them out when you've got some making up to do. 

If your Mrs doesn't look like she needs two cookies in one sitting (if you get my drift...), then you can always leave the Oreo out and use this as a straightforward, yet awesome, chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

How it's done

  • 310g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225g unsalted butter (at room temparature)
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g milk chocolate chips (or bars chopped up)
  • Oreo cookies
In a mixer (or in a bowl with a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugars. Then throw in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix together. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt before mixing everything together. Use a wooden spoon to fold in the chocolate chips.

You can, at this point, stick the cookie dough into the fridge to chill for a while (overnight if you like) but it is up to you. 

When you're ready to make the cookies, get the oven on at 175C. All you have to do now is take a tablespoon of the cookie dough, roll it into a ball and put it on top of an Oreo. Get the same amount of dough again and put it onto the bottom. Press the edges of the dough together so that you can't see the Oreo cookie any more and place onto a baking sheet or greased baking tin. Stick them into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to go brown. Leave them to cool on a wire rack before handing over to the Mrs and awaiting your reward.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Gluten-free sundried tomato and parmesan bread

OK so I know you saw the title and thought I'd gone soft, especially since the last post was a vegetarian one and now we're going gluten-free. Don't worry my friends, the meat will return in a big way in the next post but, given that I was in the company of someone who is allergic to gluten at the weekend and didn't want her puking up everywhere, I decided to indulge in some gluten-less baking.

This one was actually a bit of a result due to the fact that the person in question was adamant that gluten-free baking is terrible and that I was wasting my time in even attempting to make this. 'Relax', I said, 'for I am an awesome cook.'

To be quite honest I had no fucking idea if this recipe was going to work out or not, but God loves a trier. You can imagine my glee when the person in question ate her pre-cook criticism as well as half of the loaf when it came out, yes you guessed it, awesome. 

In all fairness this could well have been beginner's luck and she does know a lot more than me when it comes to gluten-free cooking (since I bloody love gluten) but either way, we were both happy with the outcome. So, my friends, keep this in the back pocket in case you ever encounter someone who will run a mile if they so much as see a standard loaf of bread.

How it's done

This is really simple and surprisingly tasty. The making part only takes around 15 minutes and then you can just leave it in the oven for an hour to work it's magic, pleasing your allergic friend with it's gluten-less aroma.

  • 200g gluten-free white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 284ml whole milk with a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50g sundried tomatoes (the ones you get in the jar with oil)
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese

So this is extremely simple. Get the oven on at 180C (or 160C if you have a fancy fan oven). Stick the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, throw the milk, eggs, tomato paste and oil, and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ones and mix. Then throw in the chopped sundried tomatoes, and half of the parmesan and stir. Add all of this to a loaf tin which you have greased with butter, throw the rest of the parmesan on top and then cook for an hour. 

Once the hour is up, pull it out and be sure to stick a knife in the middle - if it comes out clean then you're golden. Let it cool before tipping it out and serving to your allergic friend.