Saffron & Rosemary Chicken

IMGP3284Just look at that! Isn’t it beautiful? It’s the combination of a couple different recipes I stumbled across in Sabrina Ghayour‘s Persiana. It’s another beautiful book, that I’d spent hours reading as if it was a novel.

Every recipe looked awesome, but I was surprised to see that many of them could be easily tweaked to create a healthier option. All I needed to do with these was swap oil for frylight, and the job was done!

So what we have here is Saffron & Rosemary Chicken, with Turmeric & Cumin Roast Potatoes. I served them on a Watercress, Spinach & Rocket salad, with balsamic and pomegranate seeds… but you don’t need a recipe for that part!

The end result is a low-fat, healthy meal that will fill you right up. Oh, and did I mention that it’s pretty damn tasty, too?

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Where There’s Smoky Chunky Chilli There’s Fire


This Chilli is so smoky that for 24 years, it’s been living next door to Alice. Don’t let that middle-of-the road, easy-listening 70’s Soft-Rock Ballad analogy fool you, though… where there’s smoke there’s fire, and this is no exception! This smoky-fiery chilli will make your nose run and your forehead sweat. It’s illegal to wear a wooly jumper whilst eating this dish.

I’ve often said that every man should have a robust chilli in his repertoire, so I guess it’s somewhat surprising that after over 25 recipes, one hasn’t featured yet on TidyMunch. The honest truth of the matter is that until now, I haven’t had such a chilli! With the weather turning bitterly colder this week, I was determined to fix this with a proper winter warmer. And I’ve certainly achieved that!

Don’t worry – you can always adjust the spices if you prefer a little less heat – the smokiness still makes this a hearty and tasty plateful for cold winter nights!

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Tidy Big T Tapas


So the last time I went home to the Big T (otherwise known as Tranent) I spent a lot of time cooking. It’s traditional that whenever I’m home (or whenever we’re together anywhere, actually) that the mothership and I go for tapas. Since the good ship TidyMunch set sail somewhere between that visit and the one before it, I decided that instead of going out for tapas, I’d just make my own.

And so I present to you: Croquetas de jamón with alioli, Chorizo al jerez, and Patatas Bravas.

There’s quite a bit to do in these recipes, so unless you fancy spending an entire day in the kitchen (if you’re as slow as me) I’d recommend making the Croquetas and the alioli a day ahead!

Of course, there’s no need to serve them all together, you can pick and choose as you please. It’s quite the feast if you do make the effort, though!

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Spicy Baked Eggs with Tomato & Bacon Sauce


I found this simple little beauty in a book called Man up Your MealsIt’s one of those types of books that costs pennies (OK, pounds but very few of them) in those bargain books kinda stores, and doesn’t have the author’s name on the front. Given my well (self)documented large appetite, I’m sure you can figure out why it appealed to me.

There’s a wonderful, earthy-smokey flavour to this dish that’s very satisfying, but I couldn’t help but feel there was one (just one) thing missing. So I added cheese, and my life was complete.

It doesn’t look particularly appetising I have to admit (sweetcorn does that) but the taste more than makes up for it.

So what are you waiting for? Get your Cook on!

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Meatballs in a Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Tomato Sauce

IMGP3062This one’s a treasure! It looks like a bit of a faff, but didn’t feel so in the doing!

I found this in Honey & Co. Food From the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich. Another beautiful-looking cookbook with some fascinating recipes. I found it somewhat mesmerising to read the introduction and the first few pages of recipes – personal experience of their life together and early days of launching their own restaurant are weaved around and throughout the recipes to create a narrative that reads almost like fiction. No matter how many of the recipes I get around to trying, I’ve a feeling I’ll read the book cover to cover, which I don’t think can be said for many cookbooks!

Back to the recipe itself, this is almost a straight take on it. I’ve suggested some tweaks later as I always do, but the version presented here is fairly true. It is indeed sweet, sour and spicy. It’s also very filling and satisfying. So go go go!

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Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Risotto


Today’s recipe is a fat club one from Weight Watchers, and is very much in demand amongst my friends and family! Hearty, and big on flavour, it’s one of those that you could lie about to feed hungry men who turn up their noses at “diet food!”

This is one of my favourites, as it’s so easy. Although it takes a littler longer than most of the recipes I share here, it’s definitely a go-to one for me. It lives at the “fatter” end of the “diet” spectrum, but that makes it feel like a worthy meal after a day full of exercise, and stops me “treating” myself with chocolate and naughties!

So whether you’re dieting or just plain hungry, get your cook on!

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Ifits Sweet & Spicy Beef Stir-fry


My mother is one of those people who always has a fully-stocked kitchen. The fridge and freezer are always over-flowing, as are the cupboards. If there is a blizzard, my parents will not starve. If there is a tropical heatwave, there will be cool drinks. In a Nuclear Apocalypse, they’ll outlast the cockroaches. On judgement day, there will be nachos.

I’m not one of those people.

I plan my week’s meals, and I buy the ingredients for them. A week at a time. If I’m craving chocolate, I have to walk to the shops, and convince myself that I’m burning off the calories I’ll be consuming.

Once in a while, things go wrong – one of the ingredients will have gone off, I’ll have forgotten something, or I just (shock) won’t feel like cooking (most often, it’s more accurate to say that I won’t feel like cleaning up after). Those days are known as Eff-it days…. as in “eff-it, I’m having a take-away!” Those who know me, will know that this happened far too often.

Lately, I’ve been trying to lose some lbs and save some £££s, so the Eff-it days have greatly dwindled, to be replaced with what my friends Trudy & Julian call Ifits days – “If it’s in the cupboard, that’s what we’re having!”

So, despite my propensity towards Mother Hubbard-dom, I can honestly say that the beef itself is the only ingredient from Ifits Sweet & Spicy Beef Stir-fry that wasn’t already in my cupboards. The whole Idea of this recipe is that many of the ingredients can be replaced by anything else!

So what are you waiting for? Get your sleeves rolled up, and get up to the elbows in the cupboard!

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Well, it’s time to shed a tear and bid a fond farewell to The Netherlands, my tip to have won the World cup 🙁

I’d hoped that today we’d be making this delicious curried-rice dish to celebrate their progression to the final, but it wasn’t to be! Instead, let’s take comfort in its fulfilling, satisfying, tasty, spicy yumminess.

Kerrieschotel roughly translates as “curried things’ and I believe it’s originally intended to be a meal made from leftovers, things you’d already have in the house. It has a nostalgic ‘World War rations” feel about it that is kind of rustic and romantic, but as my belly rarely allows there to be any leftovers, I’ve adjusted the recipe to a more “premium” from scratch, one-pot one. Therefore, this recipe isn’t quite authentic. In fact the whole thing is pretty much a tidy tweak. All will be explained in that section, but for now, get your sleeves rolled up, and get stuck in!

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Costa Rican Empanadas


Carrying on with our World Cup theme, I thought it was time to celebrate another of the competition’s unexpected delights, through the medium of a culinary delight!

Costa Rica weren’t expected to qualify from their (apparently) tough group, but actually won it, with the poor late lamented England the only team to take a point from them. They beat Greece after penalties, and now find themselves in the quarter finals!

These Costa Rican Empanadas are the perfect snack to nibble on during Saturday’s match against the Netherlands (who I’ve been backing to win the whole thing). Whether they’ll be drying their eyes and saying goodbye, or dancing in the streets of San José, celebrating their first Semi-final, these will see you (if not them) through!

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Nell’s Coronation Chicken

Nell's Coronation Chicken

With England bowing out in the World Cup’s group stage for the first time since 1958, and Andy Murray’s defence of his Wimbledon title getting underway, it seemed fitting that we go for something Classically British this week. And so we have our first ever Guest Spot at TidyMunch – it’s from Nell, and is her latest take on a familiar favourite from my childhood.

From here on in, most of the words are Nell’s…

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