Lorraine Pascale

Week 73: The Mighty Moussaka

Normally when I attempt a recipe I halve it so I have a sane amount of food for me and him.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do it this time… This week, I have mainly eaten moussaka.


Week 45: Goat’s Cheese, Toasted Hazelnut & Honey Quesadillas

This week I was really busy at work so I asked my lover to have a look through the books to find something quick for dinner… And he chose these: quesadillas!

This recipe from Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy Food makes four quesadillas, which can be cut into 16 triangles to serve as finger food – ideal for a party!  Like a Fiesta Friday kinda party!

To make four quesadillas you will need:  4 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, fresh coriander, 4 tortillas (corn or wheat) 250g goats cheese and 4 teaspoons runny honey.  It’s a complicated recipe in that you need to put the oven on and use two frying pans to make sure everything cooks properly and stays warm.  If you’ve got one of those hotplate things I’d imagine you could use that, and if you’re cooking these as canapes I would skip the second pan and just make them one at a time.  I had chips in the oven so I used two pans.

Turn the oven on to 100c (gas 1/4) and then put two medium frying pans on medium with a drizzle of sunflower oil in each pan.  While these are heating up break the hazel nuts with a pestle and mortar, but don’t grind them too small.  Chop the coriander leaves (I used dried ones that were in the cupboard)

Lob a tortilla into each pan and toast them for a minute, then crumble some of the cheese (roughly 60g) onto each tortilla, then scatter some hazelnuts, coriander, and a tsp of honey over the cheese.


Now listen up, don’t do what I did and spread it out all pretty like in the picture; pile it in the middle or it’ll all fall out the sides after you’ve folded the tortilla over on itself – then press it down slightly.  Reduce the heat down low, cook for a minute and then flip them over to cook for another 5 minutes.


So if you’re making 4 at once this is where you want to slide them onto an oven tray and put them in the oven to keep them warm while you turn the pans back to medium and make the second pair of quesadillas.  I just scraped mine off the pans and cut them in to 4 and served them up with oven chips and rocket for our tea.


I think that these were slightly stickier than they should have been after all the filling poured out, and I should have bought some new nuts rather than the ones from the back of the cupboard; but I’d definitely give these another try – and maybe even serve them as canapes.!


Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Lorraine Pascale

Week 32: Baked Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Coconut Rice and Beans

I nearly made this recipe instead of the chicken curry that everyone thought was beef.

It was the perfect recipe to christen the casserole dish I bought way back in August, which I’ve been dusting all year after not fancying casserole.  Fickle me.

There are a lot of different elements to this dish, I wouldn’t bother with the pineapple salsa again; it’s just messy and gets in the way.  To make this dish to feed four you will need: 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 4 large chicken lags/breasts/8 thighs/assortment of wings and drumsticks, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 – 4 tablespoons Tabasco, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (I used golden caster), 2 tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, soy sauce, 2 limes, half an orange, fresh thyme, half a pineapple/400g chunks, 6 cherry tomatoes, coriander, 400g tin kidney beans, 350g long grain rice, tin of coconut milk, 2cm piece of fresh ginger and 1 red chilli.

Cut the onion into wedges and bash the garlic cloves and put them into the casserole dish with the chicken pieces.  Turn the oven on to 200c/Gas 6.

In a bowl mix together the balsamic, Tabasco, sugar, allspice, mustard powder, cinnamon, soy sauce, juice of 1 lime, zest and juice of half the orange and some thyme leaves.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and pour half over the chicken.  Stir it round with the chicken and onion, put it in the oven when it looks like this:

The chicken goes into the oven for 30 minutes, after 15 minutes pour the remaining sauce over it and give it a good stir.

If you’re going to make the pineapple salsa: chop the pineapple into small chunks, quarter the cherry tomatoes and put in a bowl with the juice of the other lime and some roughly cut up coriander and take it to the table.

Boil the kettle and put a pan with a lid on high on the hob, tip the rice in with the coconut milk and bring it to the boil.  Drain the kidney beans, peel and grate the ginger and halve, de-seed and chop the chilli.  If you’re not doing the salsa maybe do this before you put the pan on.  Once the coconut milk is boiling add water from the kettle to cover the rice (Lorraine recommends filling to 2cm above the rice, but this is really hard to judge when it mixes with the coconut milk…) add the ginger and the chilli and turn the heat down.

You need to simmer the rice for the amount of time it says on the packet, 5 minutes before the rice is done add the kidney beans on top without stirring in.  If you put the right amount of water in the last of the water should be gone by the time the rice is done, so you shouldn’t have to strain it.

Check the chicken is cooked by piercing it (there should be no pinkness) Fluff up the rice, stirring in the beans, and plate it up.  Spoon the chicken and sauces over the rice and sprinkle with some more coriander.

I’m not sure about making it again; if I do I think it’s a definite November/December dish.  The cinnamon and allspice combination just made it really Christmassy, like one of those Yankee Candles – not really something to cook in May haha.  I only managed one spoonful of Tabasco, but only because I ran out – I’m not that much of a chicken, although much more would have given me the hiccups!

I’d probably also make it with normal rice, the coconutty rice went a bit like rice pudding.  All in all, not the best dinner but I’m glad I tried jerking in the kitchen.


Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Lorraine Pascale

Week 19: Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

The full title of this recipe is “Really simple Sri Lankan chicken curry with coconut milk & cashew nut rice” which is far too long to fit in a tweet…

I’ve heard warnings that you shouldn’t try new recipes out on guests, but it worked fine when I made the Curry in a Hurry for a visitor (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) I was maybe a bit bullish this time.  Silly boy.  This time I was cooking for two guests, and if truth be told I was secretly grateful that they got a bit drunk on the train.

Lorraine Pascale’s recipe uses cashew nuts, basmati rice, frozen peas and curry powder for the rice; and curry powder, garam masala,  cinnamon, ginger, chilli powder, vegetable oil, coconut milk, spring onions, garlic, coriander, and chicken breasts to cook the curry.  Because I was catering for guests I even bought the coriander.

It was all a bit of a panic making this, the first four steps were fine (even when one of my guests shouted “do I smell burning?” which she slightly could) but then the instructions turned over the page and I got pretty flustered.  For example, I completely missed Lorraine telling me to put oil into the pan after the spices had toasted which made the chicken get really really coated in the pretty burned spices and it looked really black.

The curry seemed to take forever to simmer down, and while I was waiting for it the rice over-cooked:

It was a lot pinker than has shown up on the picture, maybe Lorraine’s curry powder is yellower than mine?

Anyway, I plated the rice up while the chicken was finishing off and divvied the curry up between the four of us.  It didn’t look much like the picture in the book:

sri lankan curry 3

I think the darker yellow smudges are the curry sauce.  I reckon if I’d put the oil in when I should have (ever) the curry would be the pleasing brown in the book, even if the rice looks egg fried from the takeaway.  It’s not quite one of those “nailed it” meme’s, but not far off haha.

Taste-wise it was good, but it wasn’t well cooked.  I lucked out though, my guests and my lover kept drinking while I was cooking and said it was delicious.

Shortly after one of my guests ate a dog biscuit and fell asleep.  Later in bed my lover said “that beef was really nice, but don’t do the rice again”


Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Week 13: Lozza’s Lamb Biryani

Oof… Happy New Year Y’all!

Welcome to the first weekly installment of New Recipe Night – from now on, every Friday!

It also marks the first recipe made from the first cookery book I’ve bought in six months – only because it was on offer when I bought my mum one for Christmas.  It was rude not to buy it really.  The book is Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy food:

Lorraine Pascale

To serve four, the recipe uses Vegetable Oil, 5 Cardamom Pods, 2 tsp Garam Masala, 2 tsp Ground Tumeric, 1tsp Ground Cumin, 1 tsp Chilli Powder, a bunch of Spring Onions, 500g Lamb Chump Steak, 350g Basmati Rice, a tin of Coconut Milk, 100g Sundried Tomatoes, 50g Raisins and 25g Toasted Flaked Almonds.

I halved the quantities to make it for two people.  Splitting it worked really well, with the added bonus that I can make it the day after Nigella’s Curry in a Hurry (see week 8: https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) using the left-over coconut milk.  However, this is one recipe I wouldn’t make then freeze – just because I’m a bit gun-shy about freezing rice, but it’s really quick to make so it’s OK.

Unfortunately, with it being the last Saturday before Christmas when I made it, the butcher didn’t have lamb so I used beef instead.

It went together really easily and I was surprised just how straight forward the recipe was, especially after the Jamie Oliver recipe last week!

To start, heat a bit of oil in a pan, slam the cardamom pods open and put them in a pan with all the spices for 3 or 4 minutes.  While this is cooks finely slice the spring onions, and cut the lamb into bite-size pieces (although my lovely butcher did this for me)

Turn the heat up and lob in the lamb and onions, with a little more oil, and brown the meat for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the rice, coconut milk and 100ml of water.  Fit the lid, bring it up to the boil and then turn it down to a very gentle simmer and leave it for the amount of time the rice takes to cook (it says it on the packet)

When its done, you take off the lid and it should look like this (preferably better than this) and it will be just like Christmas!

While its cooking cut up the sundried tomatoes, some coriander (or mint) and stir them into the biryani when the rice is done, along with the raisins, and heat for a couple of minutes.

Season it with some salt and pepper, maybe stir in a knob of butter if you want your biryani to be extra creamy (I didn’t) and plate it up.  Artfully sprinke some more coriander/mint and the toasted flaked almonds over it and serve it to admiring diners (who will shower you with compliments and maybe wash up)

biryani 4

The only thing I would change if I used beef again would be the cut of beef.  When I told the butcher I was doing biryani he selected a cut of stewing beef, and as this recipe is really quick to cook the beef was pretty chewy.  Delicious, but chewy.

Lorraine Pascale’s instructions are much clearer than mine, so I reckon this book is a must have for your kitchen (and its always really cheap in Smiths’)

Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorraine-Pascales-Fast-Fresh-Easy/dp/0007489668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388749392&sr=1-1&keywords=lorraine+pascale+fast+fresh+and+easy+food or on 2 for £10/3 for £12.50 at WHSmith.