Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Category: Main courses (Page 1 of 12)

Middle Eastern Roasted Vegetables

This is very cheap, very easy and very delicous. It makes a great side for a Middle Eastern-themed meal, or it could be a veggie/vegan main. Try stuffing pittas with it. You can use any suitable vegetables for this, just swap out the ones listed for something similar.

First roast the vegetables:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small raw beetroot
  • Cauliflower florets
  • half a butternut squash or small pumpkin
  • olive oil
  • salt and petter

(alternatives are broccoli, parsnip, pepper, sweet potato, aubergine, button mushroom)

Prepare the vegetables then dice into about 2cm cubes so they cook evenly. Put them in an oven roasting pan. Toss in olive oil then season with salt and peper. Roast in an oven for 30-40 minutes at 180C . (Tip: prepare everything except the beetroot. Then prepare the beetroot and push to a corner of the tin. That way the vegetables stay their own colour otherwise everything ends up pink!)

Meanwhile make the tahini sauce.

  • 3 tbs tahini paste
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • I garlic glove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Mix all the ingredients and add cold water to make a consistency of thick cream.

To assemble, take your vegetables and mix in

  • 2 tbs toasted pine uts
  • 2 tsp za’atar spice mix
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley or coriander

Drizzle over the tahini sauce. Enjoy!

Sausage and leek pie

Good comfort food. From a BBC freebie calendar. Serves four.

  • 4 large or 8 small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Boil in salted water for 15 minutes, then mash with a dash of milk and a little butter. Set aside. While the potatoes are boiling you can make the filling. Heat a pan with a dash of oil.

  • 8 sausages, squeeze the sausagemeat out into blobs

Fry in the oil turning until brown all over.

  • 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly

While the sausages are cooking, do a similar thing in another pan with the leeks, only more gently. If you put a lid on their pan they will soften nicely.

  • 1 tbs plain flour

Add to the sausages and stir around. Add

  • 450 ml chicken or vegetable stock, or leftover gravy.

Heat together until it thickens

  • 200g washed spinach or 150 g shredded kale.

I don’t like kale. Add spinach (or kale) to the gravy and heat until it wilts. Now go back to your leeks and potatoes. When the leeks have softened, stir into the potatoes. Add

  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard

Mix all together. Now spread the potato mixture over the sausage mixture. Sprinkle over

  • 50g grated cheddar

and brown under a grill. I forgot to mention you need to have a grill-proof pan for your sausage cooking. If you didn’t read ahead or haven’t got a suitable pan just decant the filling into a pie dish and add the potato topping to that. Grill for 3-5 minutes until the top is nice and brown and crispy. This is a meal in itself, meat, gravy, veg and potatoes!

(Dog)Fish Tacos

Dogfish (huss) is a good meat for this dish. It is firm and holds its shape well, and can take a strong seasoning. Some would say it needs strong seasoning – I’m not going to argue with that. Nor am I going to argue about freezing dogfish. I always freeze dogfish for at least a week before cooking and have never experienced an ammonia taste. Let others argue for or against!

Quite simply, these are marinated, spicy, flash-fried fish strips served on a flour tortilla with all the trimmings. One small dogfish makes a generous meal for one. Simply scale up for more people. Here goes.

First prepare your fish strips: take your skinned dogfish and cut two fillets from either side of the central bone. Then cut prawn-sized strips from the fillets. Now make your marinade:

  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp paprika
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch garlic powder
  • pinch dried oregano

Mix well and toss your fish strips in the marinade. Leave to infuse while you prepare the rest of the meal. Make some garlic sauce:

  • 3 tbs mayo
  • 1 tbs cold water
  • 1 tsp garlic puree or 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • pinch salt.

Mix well and set aside. Now shred a few lettuce leaves, slice half an avacado, slice a small tomato, chop some fresh coriander, slice some red onion and find a quarter of a lime. Now warm two or three small tortillas or one big one ready for the final cook-off.

Heat 1tbs oil in a frying pan. When smoking hot, tip your marinated fish strips in the pan and spread out. After about a minute flip the strips over, they should be nice and charred. The honey in the marinade will help. As soon as the strips are cooked – literally a minute or two – you can assemble your fish tacos as pictured above.

Alabama Spatchcock BBQ Chicken

This is amazing and creates the most delicious tender, moist chicken inside a taste-bud bursting crispy skin. Want to find out more? The secret is to slow cook your chicken slathered in this Alabama sauce, then finish off under the grill or over the BBQ. First make your sauce:

  • 100ml mayonnaise
  • 100ml buttermilk or yoghurt
  • 3 tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs horseradish sauce
  • 1 tbs English mustard
  • 1 stp garlic granules
  • small bunch of chopped dill.

Mix. Divide equally into two bowls. That’s the first bit done. Now take your chicken and slow cook it:

  • 1 spatchcocked chicken, any size but if really large check it is cooked properly with a meat thermometer
  • A rub mix made up of
    • 1 tbs smoked paprika
    • 1 tbs ground cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp garlic powder

Rub the rub all over your chicken. Lay it out in a tin, and cover tightly with foil. Cook in the over at 140C (Fan) for 1 hour 30 minutes or until cooked. At this point you can take it out and leave it to cool before finishing off under the grill. When ready to finish:

Fire up the BBQ or switch on the grill. Smother the chicken both sides with one of the bowls of sauce. You may need to skewer it to hold it together for handling, as it may otherwise fall apart. It will still taste as good but won’t look pretty! Grill/BBQ each side for 3-4 minutes. Brush with more sauce or juices and repeat until the skin is charred and crispy enough. If you had left it to cool you may need a few more turns but if transferred directly from the oven, a couple of cycles will probably be enough. Leave to rest and firm up for 10 minutes, then serve with the other bowl of sauce for dipping/more smothering.

Rainbow Picnic Pie

This makes a spectacular vegetarian pie to serve cold at a buffet or picnic. It might look a bit fiddly but it is worth it. This pie serves at least 8 portions, more if cut smaller for a buffet. Measures are approximate, you could make the pie bigger or smaller. You may need to adjust cooking times slightly if you are changing the size.

First of all, assemble or make all the ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbs breadcrumbs
  • 2 fresh beetroot, cooked and sliced (20 minutes in an Instant Pot)
  • 1 small butternut squash, roasted (40 minutes, 180C)
  • 1 onion sliced, cooked slowly to caramalise
  • Jar of roast red peppers
  • half to one pack feta cheese, crumbled
  • 5 new potatoes, boiled and sliced
  • Handful of frozen peas
  • Bunch of fresh mint and parsley, chopped.

Find a pie dish capable of taking most of a sheet of ready rolled pastry, say 200mm x 300mm. Rectangular is better but not essential. Line it with baking parchment leaving the edges sticking up so you have something to hold to get the pie out later.

  • Shortcrust pastry

Line the dish with the pastry. Sprinkle the base with breadcrumbs. Later the sliced vegetables as follows, seasoning between each layer: beetroot, squash, onion, peppers, feta, potatoes, peas, herbs. That should fill the pie nicely.

  • 6-7 eggs

Beat the eggs. Pour the eggs into the pie to fill the gaps. Keep about half an egg back for the egg wash.

  • Pack of puff pastry

Lay the puff pastry over the top, tucking and rolling the edge to seal with the shortcrust pastry below.

  • Beaten egg
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Paint the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in an oven at 160C for 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool completely, then chill. Remove from the dish and cut into little squares to serve.

Instant Pot Lamb Madras

This is a delicious curry made quickly in the Instant Pot. This serves 6.

  • 3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1.5tsp black peppercorns
  • 3/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seds
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 – 3 dried peppers

Dry-fry until they release their fragrance (i.e. start to smell). Then pound to dust in a pestle and mortar or wizz in a flash in a spice mill. I use a cheap coffee mill just for spices.

  • 1.5 onions chopped
  • dash of oil

Saute in your Instant Pot until translucent

  • 1.5 tbs grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped

Add to the pot and cook for another minute

  • 800g dice lean lamb

Add to the pot and turn around until coloured. Add the dry spice mix and cook for another minute. Add:

  • 2 tbs tomato puree
  • 100 ml passata
  • 200ml yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Stir and cook on Meat setting for 40 minutes. Allow to depressurise for 15 minutes. If it is to runny, put 2tsp cornflour in a tablespoon or two of water, and stir in briskly. We ate this with saffron rice and Josh’s Dhal

Swedish-style Salmon and Spinach Bake

This was unexpectedly delicious! Quantities make four portions. It is basically layers of wilted spinach, salmon, creamy lemony sauce topped with sliced potato and baked.

  • 600g waxy potatoes, such as DesirĂ©e, not peeled

If the potatoes are large you can cut them in half or quarters. Boil 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then slip the skins off. Set aside.

  • 350g young leaf spinach

Place in a collander, pour over boiling water until wilted. You may have to do this in two batches. Set aside to drain.

  • 60g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk

Make a white sauce. When thickened, add

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 10-15g fresh dill, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • pinch of ground white pepper

Now assemble your pie in a suitable oven-proof dish. Squeeze all the remaining water out of the spinach and lay it out in the bottom of the dish. Add

  • 700g skinless salmon fillets (about 4) cut into bite-size chunks

Pour over the white sauce. Slice the potatoes and layer over the top, overlapping.

  • 2 tbs mleted butter

Brush the top with melted butter and bake 30-40 minutes at 180C. This is a meal in itself but goes well with some fresh bread and a green vegetable if you wish.

Rice ‘n’ Peas

Not peas actually, but beans. Here’s a quick nearly authentic version to go with any Jamaican dish. Serves four as a side.

  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • Dash of vegetable oil

Saute the onion in the oil until transparent. Add

  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced

Saute a few minutes more. Add

  • 225 gm long grain white rice

Stir until coated in oil. Add

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 900 ml vegetable stock
  • Pinch of dried thyme or a teaspoon thyme leaves

Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Add

  • 1 tin of either red kidney beans, black beans or black-eyed beans
  • Optional: 50g coconut cream

Heat for another five minutes. If the water hasn’t been absorbed, remove the lid and heat until it dries out. Add

  • Chopped coriander leaves or parsley
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

Serve as a side dish for four people. You can make this a main course by stir frying 200g pork mince with the onion at the beginning, which would serve 2-3.

Mama’s Jamaican Chicken

Serves four as a main course. One tricky part and the rest is very easy. Marinaded, seared then simmered. First make your marinade.

  • 2 spring onions
  • thyme – leaves from 3 sprigs
  • 2tbs chopped coriander leaves
  • 1tbs chopped parsley
  • 1tsp chopped ginger root
  • 2 garlic clives
  • dash of vegetable oil
  • half a lime, juiced
  • dash of Angostrua bitters
  • dash of hot chilli sauce

Blend all that with a stick blender to make a green sauce.

  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on

Marinade the thighs in the sauce for at least four hours or overnight.

  • 5 tbs caster sugur

Remove the chicken from the marinade. Scrape off the marinade and keep it. Here’s the tricky part. Spread the sugar over the base of a cast iron casserole and heat until it turns brown and smokes. If you let this go slightly too far it will burn and you’ll have to start again. At the right moment, put your chicken thighs on the pan skin side down so it sears in the hot caramel. After five minutes turn them over to sear the other side for a few minutes more. They should look nicely brown. Add the marinade you kept, and a dash of water. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, adding more water if it is drying out and catching. When the chicken is cooked and you have a nice syrupy sauce, serve with rice ‘n’ peas.

Cheat’s quick veg biryani

OK, true Indian cookery affionados will probably cringe at this, but if you want a tasty meal ready in under 20 minutes and fewer than 100 ingredients you are in the right place. I’m giving the quantities here for one person, you can scale up x2, x3 and x4 but as this is a microwave dish I’m not guaranteeing it will work for larger quantities because I haven’t tested it for more servings. You can adapt it for the Instant Pot then you can go larger.

Here goes, per person. You can chop and change the choice of vegetables. It can be one or two types, or a gathering of anything you have to hand.

  • 70gm basmati rice
  • 140ml vegetable stock
  • 0.5tbs curry paste (any will do)
  • 120gm vegetables – sliced mushroom, chopped beans, peas, chopped pepper, chopped carrot, cauliflower florets, diced potato, diced sweet potato or any combo that takes your fancy. You can use chopped onion but best to saute these first.
  • 25g dried fruit such as sultanta, raisin, chopped dried apricot

Put the whole lot in a microwaveable container such as a pyrex bowl, and cover. Microwave on full power for 12 minutes. If you are scaling up, you may need to cook for slightly longer but only a minute or two. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up and add:

  • 25g shopped cashews or flaked almonds
  • 0.5tbs chopped fresh corianer if you have it

Serve with a blob of yoghurt on top and chutney on the side. If you have a few long-life naan breads in the cupboard, heat one in the toaster. If you have grabbed a pack of uncooked popadums you could microwave a couple of those instead. Grab a bottle of lager and away you go.

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