Chicken Chimichangas with Mexican Rice (serves 4)

Chicken Chimichangas by The Fat Foodie

I always thought that chimichangas involved a lot of ingredients, but after researching them for the website I realised that they’re really only made up of a tortilla that’s stuffed with rice, cheese, meat or vegetables and then folded and fried until it is crispy. With this in mind, you could make chimichangas with any filling combination you fancy, such as slices of roast chicken, shredded pork or beef, or even fish.

Although many people like to fill their chimichangas with plain rice I prefer to serve my rice on the side because it allows the tortilla to take on the flavour of the meat and cheese and it also means that I can make Mexican rice to accompany the chimichangas. Mexican rice is a seasoned rice that’s made with chopped tomatoes and a range of spices, providing a great side dish to the chicken chimichangas that goes really well with the usual jalepenos, sour cream, guacamole and salsa that we tend to serve alongside Mexican dishes.

Chicken chimichangas make a lovely change from the usual fajitas or burritos our family tends to have on our chosen ‘Mexican night’. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy a soft, warm corn tortilla wrapped around well-seasoned fajita ingredients, but the beauty of frying the tortillas to create chimichangas is that it produces the great taste of the fried, crispy tortilla. The crispy exterior of the chimichanga also makes a wonderful contrast to the soft, gooey cheesy interior.

Chicken chimichangas don’t take that much longer to make than regular fajitas or burritos, but they’re worth it in terms of taste. The crunchy, toasted corn tortilla that’s tightly wrapped around tender pieces of roast chicken, tangy cubes of fresh tomato and soft, melted cheese provides a taste that’s unbeatable.

Ingredients:

8 corn tortillas (or normal wheat tortillas if you’re not sensitive to wheat or gluten)

3 chicken breasts

100g grated cheese (I use non-dairy Violife)

4 fresh tomatoes (diced)

Vegetable oil (for frying the chicken chimichangas)

For the Mexican rice:

2 vegetable stock cubes

200g long grain rice

600ml boiling water

1 red pepper (diced)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp asafoetida powder

1/3 tsp of dried chilli flakes (optional)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

Cook your chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, put your hot water in a pan and dissolve the stock cubes in the water. Add the rice and cook until the rice is soft. Drain the rice and put it back in the saucepan.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, the diced red pepper and all of the spices to the rice and heat through.

Once your chicken is fully cooked, slice it into thin strips.

Build your chicken chimichangas by laying out a corn tortilla, adding grated cheese, sliced chicken, some diced fresh tomato and a good grind of fresh black pepper.

Fold the sides of the tortilla so that the edges meet in the centre and then fold the top and bottom towards the centre so that it forms a tight parcel.

A Chicken Chimichanga that’s filled and about to be folded.

Chicken Chimichangas ready to be fried.

Get your frying pan hot and add a tbsp of vegetable oil. Once it’s hot lay the chimmichangas folded side down in the frying pan and fry them until the base is golden brown and crispy. Turn the chicken chimichangas over and fry the other side too.

Once they’re crispy and golden serve them with the Mexican rice, salsa, sour cream, jalepenos, chopped fresh coriander and salad.

The Interior of a Chicken Chimichanga by The Fat Foodie

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Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs by The Fat Foodie

I do not like pickled eggs. I do not understand how anyone can possibly like pickled eggs. I certainly have no intention of tasting the pickled eggs I have made. That said, my entire family loves pickled eggs. They don’t understand how I can possibly not like pickled eggs. Whenever I ask if there’s anything they’d like me to buy when I go shopping they frequently beg me to buy pickled eggs for them from the supermarket. I’m known as “the weirdo” of the family who hates pickled eggs. I freakin’ hate pickled eggs, man.

I’d imagine by now that you’re wondering why on earth I’ve decided to feature them on the website then? Well, for a few reasons really:

Firstly, my family would really love some pickled eggs.

Secondly, it’s come to my attention that a lot of people freakin’ love pickled eggs and apparently they’re lovely served alongside salads and cold meats.

Thirdly, my aunt recently shared a recipe for pickled eggs on Facebook so I had no reason not to make them for my family. (Although I must say I enjoyed reading the huge comment thread debate that ensued between those who hated pickled eggs and those who loved them!)

And fourthly, they’re an ideal low FODMAP snack for those who like pickled eggs.

Joking aside, jars of pickled eggs are really expensive to buy. The last time I went shopping they were priced at £2.95 for a jar of 4 or 5 eggs. That’s pretty ridiculous when you consider how cheap eggs are to buy. Therefore, when I saw that my aunt had made her own I figured I could keep my family happy while keeping my purse happy at the same time. I didn’t have all of the spices that her recipe suggested so I just kept mine simple and used what I had at hand instead.

As it turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make your own pickled eggs! Essentially all you have to do is hard boil your eggs and peel them, make your pickle vinegar, sterilise your jars and then pop all of your ingredients into them and leave them for 2 days until you eat them. It’s as easy as that. Just keep the jars of pickled eggs in the fridge and use them within 3 months for best quality.

I’m not going to try waxing lyrical about the taste of these pickled eggs because frankly I’m not sure there’s any way possible of making pickled eggs sound remotely sexy. So I won’t. But if you like pickled eggs and you have a bash at making these ones then please let me know what you think. I’m sure my family won’t be shy in offering their tuppence worth.  😉

Ingredients:

12 hard boiled eggs (de-shelled)

250ml white wine vinegar

250ml water

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsps pickling spices (I used 1 tsp black peppercorns, 10 cloves, 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/3 tsp of dried chilli flakes)

Method:

Sterilise your jars by washing them in hot water, rinsing them out and then placing them on a baking tray and putting them in a hot oven until they are dry. Once they’re dry switch off the oven and leave the jars inside the oven until you need them.

Hard-boil your eggs by cooking them in boiling water for at least 12 minutes and then de-shell them.

Put all of your pickling vinegar ingredients into a saucepan and bring it to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer the liquid for 10 minutes.

Take your jars out of the oven, place your hard-boiled eggs inside them and add the pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar. Seal the jars with the lid and leave to cool.

Once cool, put the jars in the fridge and leave for 2 days before eating.

Pickled Eggs by The Fat Foodie

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Cornflake Chicken Tenders (serves 4)

Cornflake Chicken Tenders by The Fat Foodie

A while ago I made gluten-free southern fried chicken and it was really tasty and very popular with my family, to the extent that I wanted to try something new, but along the same lines. Another chicken recipe which seems to be very popular within gluten-free recipe circles is for chicken fillets which are coated with crushed cornflakes, a naturally gluten-free product. I was a bit sceptical as to how chicken pieces would taste wrapped in cornflakes, a product I would normally associate with breakfast, but thankfully it turned out to be really delicious.

A lot of recipes for cornflake chicken tenders ask you to marinade the chicken pieces for a while before you coat them in the cornflakes, but I’ve tried making it both ways and I can’t really tell the difference so I’ve just went ahead and written up the recipe without doing it. However, feel free to experiment yourself.

I’ve kept my seasonings quite tame, omitting the dried chilli and ground cumin that so many recipes call for because I wanted a gently seasoned piece of chicken that let the flavour of the chicken thighs shine through, but I did add dulse seaweed flakes to my mixture to add a depth of flavour that can rarely be found elsewhere.

Dulse seaweed is seriously nutritious stuff, incorporating deep umami flavour while also being chock full of nutritional benefits such as iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, protein and fibre. In fact, seaweed contains more minerals than any other vegetable. We’re really lucky in Scotland to have a brilliant company called Mara Seaweed which makes and sells seaweed to use as seasonings, so it’s theirs I tend to use in my cooking. I’d really recommend giving dulse seaweed a go because it’s a great seasoning alternative to using salt in your cooking, but you don’t need it to make this recipe for chicken tenders.

This recipe for cornflake chicken tenders creates soft, tender and juicy pieces of chicken thigh meat which are encased in a crispy, well-seasoned coating of crushed cornflakes. They’re delicious either on their own with a dollop of ketchup, served alongside a fresh salad, or placed in a floury bun and topped with good quality mayonnaise. However you serve them they’re finger-licking good!

Ingredients:

500g chicken thighs (cut into thick strips)

100ml rice milk

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

1/2 tsp dulse seaweed flakes (optional)

200g gluten-free cornflakes (crushed)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsps vegetable oil

Method:

Preheat your oven to to 180°C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and prepare a non-stick baking tray.

Place the chicken strips in a bowl and coat them in the rice milk.

Crush the cornflakes, but don’t crush them so far that they become flour!

In a separate bowl, add the crushed cornflakes and the seasonings and mix together before drizzling the oil over the top and tossing it through the mixture.

Dip each of the chicken strips in the cornflake mixture, ensuring they are fully coated, before placing them on the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until they are fully cooked through and serve.

Cornflake Chicken Tenders by The Fat Foodie

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Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable to incorporate into our diets. It’s a great source of fibre and is packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins K, C and A, along with B-Vitamins too and iron, potassium and calcium. It’s a great vegetable all round! So, when my Dad gave me another bunch of rhubarb stalks the other day I wasn’t going to refuse the gift and I decided that the best thing to do with them would be to make a jam.

Rhubarb is very low in pectin, the carbohydrate found in fruit which helps jam to set firm. You can buy jam sugar which is normal white sugar that has pectin added into it, but I didn’t have any so I needed to find a way to add pectin into my jam. However, the white pith of citrus fruits contains lots of pectin so I figured I’d use the rind of some satsumas I had in the fruit bowl. On reflection, I thought that I would be just as well using the whole fruit (waste not, want not!), so I blended 4 whole satsumas, along with the ginger, to a pulp in the Nutribullet and added them into my jam mix. (I checked them for pips first though!)

This rhubarb, orange and ginger jam is really easy to make, involving nothing more than preparing your ingredients and then letting it boil away on the stove top for about half an hour with the occasional stir. In return you’ll be rewarded with at least 5 jars of tart, but sweet, soft-set rhubarb and orange jam that’s infused with the warming spice of ginger throughout. I’m currently dolloping it on every slice of toast that comes across my path.

Ingredients:

1kg of chopped rhubarb stalks

80g fresh root ginger (finely minced)

1kg white sugar

100ml lemon juice

100ml water

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 whole satsumas (blended smooth)

Method:

Heat your oven to 140C/120C Fan/gas mark 1.

Sterilise your jars by washing them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then rinsing well. Put them on a baking sheet and place them in a hot oven until they have dried. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven.

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and add all of your liquid ingredients followed by your rhubarb, minced ginger and blended oranges.

Stir well and cook for around half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once you’re happy that the fruit has cooked, taking care because it’s very hot, pour the jam into your sterilised jam jars, cover the jam with a waxed disc and seal with the lid.

Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

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Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

I think we can all agree that potatoes are a staple of the low FODMAP diet. Their wonderfully low FODMAP status means that they’re a great carbohydrate to be able to fall back on when you need a relatively quick meal. I tend to get fed up of eating bread all the time, even if it’s my gorgeous gluten-free soda bread, so it’s nice to know that I can have a baked potato instead.

When I was at uni doing my Masters I’d often go for a baked potato for lunch because they were huge, well-baked beauties that were perfect specimens of the potato family. Although many baked potatoes can be dry, these ones always had lovely moist interiors and were encased within a delicious-tasting natural shell. (I always eat the baked potato skin because it’s packed full of nutrients.)

Now, I’m going to tell you how to make the perfect baked potatoes and this advice is gold, my friends. On one of those days when I was buying lunch from the uni canteen I asked the lady who was serving the lunches why their baked potatoes tasted so good and she smiled and replied that, although they weren’t supposed to add salt without good reason, she coated the freshly washed raw potatoes in a very thin layer of granulated salt before she baked them so that the salt dried in the oven and created a crust on the outside which prevented the moisture within the potatoes from evaporating while simultaneously seasoning the potatoes beautifully. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

This was a revelation to me. I’d never have dreamed of putting salt on my baked potatoes, but sure enough, when I tried it at home (and every time I’ve made them since) it produces wonderfully tasty and beautifully seasoned baked potatoes.

Another trick to ensuring you get the perfect salt-crusted baked potatoes is to use a four-pronged potato baker. When my partner and I tied the knot, my Aunt and Uncle in Canada very generously sent over a Debenhams gift voucher for us. I bought a number of things with it, including a large bale of white towels which have long gone to grey bath towel heaven. However, one thing which remains from their wedding gift, and is used on a very regular basis, is a pair of potato bakers. These potato bakers are brilliant because they ensure your potatoes cook evenly by piercing them through the middle and radiating the heat through their centre. They’re truly a genius invention!

If you enjoy a good baked potato I’d really encourage you to try these salt-crusted baked potatoes some time. They’re a lovely way to treat what is a pretty plain vegetable and they really coax the natural sweetness out of the potato. The only hard part is deciding what you’re going to top them with.

Ingredients:

As many large potatoes as you need (washed and any eyes removed)

Granulated salt

Any toppings you fancy

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7.

Wash your large potatoes and remove any eyes from them.

Scatter salt over the wet potatoes (I use around 1/3 to 1/2 a teaspoon of salt per potato) and then skewer them on the potato bakers and place on a baking tray.

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Bake them in the oven for around 45 to 55 minutes. (You can’t really tell when they’re ready from looking at them so I tend to check they’re cooked by removing one of them from the potato baker and cutting it open. If it’s soft in the middle, they’re done. If not, pop it back on the potato baker and put them back in for a bit longer.)

Once your potatoes are ready remove them from the potato bakers and serve with your desired toppings.

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

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