Put Some Music In Your Food – Pulled Chicken Reggae Stew

Your Monday morning alarm pulls you away from that warm beach with the waves gently washing over your feet. A quick glance out of the window brings you back to reality as it’s raining and you can see the wind making the trees sway. There’s nothing quite like a miserable cold day in England to get you geared up for a week at work!

There are always ways to cheer up dull days like this, and food is one of them! Give yourself something to look forward to when you get home; Something that doesn’t need lots of preparation. Guess what… I’ve got just the ticket! Pulled Chicken Reggae Stew. Oh yes! Thank you Mr Levi Roots 🙂 A prepare-ahead, easy, warming bowl of comforting goodness! You’ll have your feet up in no-time and ready to take on the rest of the week.

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I don’t have any specific rules to follow when making this dish. It’s great for using up leftover veg in the fridge and it doesn’t have to be chicken either. Mix it up a bit! Pork, Fish, Beef… Experiment! That’s the beauty of Reggae Reggae sauce, it goes well with almost everything. If you are using fish, there is no need to dig the slow cooker out as it will only need 20 minutes when you get in from work. Otherwise, chuck in as much veg as you can, whatever meat you have decided to use, pour over a bottle of Reggae Reggae, turn the slow-cooker to medium and leave your worries at the door. When you get home, the wonderful smell of spices will fill your nostrils and your mouth will water in anticipation! Choose your accompaniments, and tuck in! On this occasion I boiled brown rice with water and truffle oil and served with a generous helping of fresh spinach. Another favourite of mine is to have the stew with sweet potato wedges. The natural sugars in the potatoes fit perfectly with the heat from the sauce. Absolutely delicious!

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What are you waiting for? Go and buy yourself a bottle of Levi’s magical sauce and get adventurous in the kitchen!

Serves 2 (With Leftovers)

Ingredients –
– x2 Skinless Chicken Breasts (Can use thighs too)
– 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
– 1 White Onion, roughly chopped
– 1 cup of Frozen Peas
– 1/2 Fennel Bulb, diced
– 1 jar of Reggae Reggae sauce
– Salt and Pepper to season
– 1/2 tsp of Dried Chilli Flakes (optional if you like it HOT)
– 1 packet of Chestnut Mushrooms, roughly chopped
– 1 cup of Brown Rice w/ Truffle oil (optional)
– x2 handfuls of Spinach
– Few sprigs of Basil to garnish (optional)

Place the chicken breasts in the slow-cooker along with the chopped carrot, onion, peas, fennel, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Turn dial to ‘Medium’

Pour the Reggae sauce over the top and swill the remaining sauce left in the bottle with a little water. Pour this over the chicken too and mix all ingredients together. Place the lid on the dish and leave to cook until you get home from work. Mix in the chopped mushrooms and leave for another half hour whilst cooking the rice.

Once the rice is cooked, thicken the reggae sauce with a little cornflour and water if it’s showing a loose consistency and leave for a couple of minutes whilst you plate up the rice and spinach.

Pull the meat apart with 2 forks and ladle the beautiful stew over the rice. Garnish with a few basil leaves and tuck in!

If it’s a little too spicy, you can always accompany with a spoonful of natural yoghurt to cool the tastebuds.

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Delicious! Next time, I’m going to be using king prawns with chopped pineapple and flatbreads. In fact… it won’t hurt to put some music in my food 2 days in a row… Why wait!

As always, please let me know what you think 🙂 or if you have any ideas/improvements.

Love and Lemons xxx

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Smokey Chilli Beef w/ Cornbread Dumplings

If you have a slow-cooker, then this recipe is perfect and will make your mouth water waiting for that tender meat to touch your lips. If not, then it’s equally as good in the oven or on the hob. You just have to have a little more time to keep an eye on it!

I chose to make this particular recipe because I love meat that falls apart and melts in the mouth, but I also love dumplings! I can pretend I’m eating a cross between bread and cake! The fact that they are cornbread dumplings makes the combination even better. I’m hungry again now…

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I’m distracted now by fluffy dumplings and beef enveloped in rich gravy *drools*

Having friends over for dinner is always the perfect opportunity to show off cooking skills without having to spend hours in the kitchen beforehand or during. Beef in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and then make the dumplings half hour before serving. Dinner is on the table and you’ve only spent 10 minutes away from the chatter and wine drinking.

This isn’t a recipe that I altered much at all. In fact, the only thing I changed was swapping chipotle chillies for regular Tesco ones because I had forgotten to buy any and grabbed an alternative on the way home! I also had to watch the spice levels because I was cooking for a friend who doesn’t like anything hot! I will definitely be making this again and ramping up the heat for more of a traditional chilli kick!

I highly recommend when making the dumplings that you use the strongest cheese possible to really get the flavour through. It’s worth every penny in each cheesy bite.

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Cheesy cornbread with beef gravy, a match made in heaven. There surely can’t be anybody who disagrees? The only problem I had was not putting enough fresh coriander in the mixture as I ran out! This also meant I didn’t have any to garnish the dish with before serving. If you grow it yourself, always check your plant has plenty of leaves!

The recipe is originally from Donna Hay. You can find the recipe here, https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/dinners/smoky-chilli-braised-beef-with-cornbread-dumplings If you are from the UK like myself, just be aware that it is an Australian site, so some of the ingredients vary in name J I have turned to Donna Hay a few times, but it’s thanks to Pinterest (of course) that I came across this dinner party and weekend comfort food gem.

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I know mine doesn’t quite look like the one above, but who’s got time to faff right?!

If using the slow-cooker like I did, follow all the initial steps like you would for the hob/oven, but turn the slow-cooker on to the medium setting for at least 6/7 hours (or until the meat is just firm enough to hold shape when stirred. At this point, I made the dumpling mixture, transferred the beef to an oven proof dish, spooned the dumpling dough on top and put it uncovered in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, so the final magic could happen. Voila.

Served with peas. Delicious. The recipe serves 8 but only one portion was left after 4 hungry adults and a small child had finished! Now that’s a good sign!

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Lovely to see you back again if you are a returning reader! And if this is your first time with me, thank you!

Until next time….

Love and Lemons xxx

https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/

Dark Chocolate & Ginger Brownies

What do you do when a work colleague leaves a big piece of ginger on your desk? You make beautifully spiced baked treats! To make this combination even better, a mouthwatering tin of rich dark chocolate was added to the list by another generous colleague. How can I let them down!? There are eagerly awaiting mouths to feed.

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Ginger cake is always an easy recipe to fall to, so I had to think of something with a bit more oomph! Who doesn’t like a gooey brownie! You bite in to the rich, dark, chocolate, spongy flesh and a ginger blanket wraps you in warmth. Mmmm. Getting them to the office was the hard part! The urge to eat them all was almost too much to bare. A few pieces went missing in order to feed my ‘better’ halves work force (as well as the essential taste test at home). I wonder if he tells them who really made them and not lead them to believe a budding chef roams in their midst.

There are a few things I would change, but overall they were a great success. I do offer a bit of advice though… Only eat one at a time! They are very rich and there is a possibility yo’ll end up feeling a little sick! The only problem is, who can eat just one piece at a time? You can fit at least 3 in whilst having a brew! It is definitely difficult to have that sort of control over my cake to hand to mouth action.

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The verdict of my boyfriend is that they are ‘delicious’. But the relationship contract states that I am a baking Goddess at all times, so he has to say that. The fact that they didn’t make it to lunch time in the office must be a good sign.

The recipe doesn’t state what kind of flour is to be used, so I opted for wholemeal. It gives an added depth to the mixture that white flour seems to lack, although a lot of people prefer white flour. If I make this recipe again (which I am most definitely planning on doing), I would like to try ground almonds as I believe this will give an amazing flavour and make the brownies extra moist. As well as be edible for my poor Gluten Intolerant friends.

It’s not often I get a recipe perfect first time, but that’s ok! It gives me an excuse to keep baking till I perfect it. The mixture needs to be poured into a tin big enough to allow it to breathe and expand. I couldn’t find my large tin and as a result, the brownie didn’t rise as much as I would have liked. It became quite dense. (I tried again with a bigger tin and white flour, the results were amazing!) The recipe has been adapted from the Website Good To Know.

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If you prefer, dark chocolate with ginger can be used to replace the grated ginger. But ground ginger won’t give the desired taste. I used a mixture of grated ginger and dark chocolate with ginger. This was not intentional but ended up being a perfect combination. I ran out of plain dark chocolate and luckily had some of my secret stash chocolate left. Personally, a little more ginger could have been added, but you can alter the amount according to your tastebuds. Not everybody loves the tangy spice of warming ginger!

As per all of my recipes, if you try, please feel free to comment and pass your opinion back to me.

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Love and Ginger xxx

Recipe: Serves 18

– 250g chocolate, broken in to pieces (I used a mix of dark chocolate and ginger chocolate)
– 250g melted butter
– 5 eggs
– 250g dark muscovado sugar
– 150g plain flour, sifted
– 4x pieces stem ginger (from a jar), chopped (I used grated ginger)

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Fan 160c/Gas 4. Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper

Very gently melt the chocolate using either the microwave or over a bowl of hot water. Once melted, add the butter and stir until glossy.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar using a whisk until pale, fluffy and thick.

Add the chocolate mixture, whisking again until smooth and well combined.

Fold in the flour carefully. Add the stem ginger (or grated) and fold in, the pour the brownie batter into the prepared cake tin.

Bake for 20-25mins. Cool, then cut in to squares and ENJOY!