Posts tagged peanuts

Duck & Watermelon Salad


‘ve a list of recipes that just catch my eye for one reason or another that I immediately add to my ‘to cook’ list. Those reasons could be the choice of ingredients, the vibrant colours or just a mood and craving but all contribute to the creation of this list. Shamefully the list has been growing faster than it has even had a chance to be depleted this summer! However an easy Tuesday this week called for this vibrant and fuss free salad. Not much cooking here – just a lot of chopping and fancy scattering. Studded with pomegranate gems, hidden with crispy morsels of duck supported by a solid foundation of juicy watermelon bricks.

Having just this week returned from a bootcamp-esque paradise holiday in Greece filled with wake boarding, yoga, volleyball (I could go on), this recipe offered the perfect balance to continue the health kick while fantasising about being back in the turquoise oceans and white sands of my much beloved Greece.

It has been adapted by a recipe from ‘The Londoner’. Adapted with an alternate dressing more heavy on the lime and some extra hidden gems – roasted peanuts in any dish are rarely a bad thing. But what we do share is our appreciation for the hot duck – cold melon combo that is just so refreshing and de-wicious.

*[Alex and Alice – if you’re reading (which I hope you are), put this on your ‘to cook’ list too before summer is completely over!]

Serves 2

  • 1/2 large watermelon, chopped into chunks
  • 2 duck legs
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • Bunch of mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Handful of salted, roasted peanuts
  • Handful pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Season the duck and roast in a tray for an hour.
  2. While the duck is cooking, chop your watermelon into big chunks and add to a large salad bowl big enough to contain the whole salad.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions, red chilli and chopped herbs.
  4. Add the peanuts and pomegranate seeds (as many as you wish to balance the rest of the salad) and combine well.
  5. Combine the juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how juicy they are!) and the zest in a jam jar. Add almost the same measure of extra virgin olive oil, but a touch under so its more ‘limey’.
  6. Add the soy, sesame and some seasoning. Place the lid on the jam jar and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking. The last thing you want to do is add a bad dressing to your wonderful salad!
  7. When the duck is ready, quickly shred the meat and crispy skin. It cools quickly so in order to maintain the hot/cold vibe you’re trying to create here, pop it back in the oven for a final blast of heat to warm.
  8. Once hot, add the shredded duck quickly to the salad bowl and coat the salad and duck liberally in the dressing and combine well.
  9. Serve immediately!

I served mine with a nice fresh rocket and cucumber salad and some homemade coconut flatbreads. But this is still a good and healthy meal in itself. A few chunky roasted croutons would not go a miss here however. Just sayin.

Chicken Satay


 usually feel that people fall into a love or hate category when it comes to peanut butter, the later being of rarity these days what with all the dreamy varieties and versions available. I embrace all that can be combined with it favouring the blackcurrant jam toast. However if you’ve not tried celery sticks dipped in peanut butter yet then you can thank me later for the introduction. Having mentioned the vast choice we now have for this delicious American spread, sadly I hate to admit that a cheap jar works wonders here. Save your fancy and expensive cashew, pecan and peanut blend for your sourdough toast at brunch y’all.

With no need to continue my expressive love of peanut butter, chicken satay is like a warm hug when wrapped comfortingly in the soft hand of a loveable flatbread with a crunchy, fresh salad. And this recipe really can be served in many ways as mentioned below. I prefer whole thighs rather than diced breast as they have far more flavour and texture. Served with a spoonful of the rich, spicy sauce, a zesty salad and some pillowey flatbreads. Alternatively, chop, coat and wrap the chicken and salad in the mits of a floury flatbread or flat wrap and dive in hands or face only. Use any combination of salad you like but whatever you do, coat liberally with lemon! It cuts through the rich and creamy peanut sauce welcomingly and essentially.

NOTE: If you haven’t tried making peanut butter before its really really simple provided you have a food processor! See here 

Adapted from Nigel Slater.

Serves 4

Chicken Satay

  • 4-8 chicken thighs, de-bonded (allow for 1-2 each depending on starter/main serving size)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Thumb ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1-2 limes
  • 125ml crunchy peanut butter
  • 250ml water
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Sunflower or light, flavourless oil.

Salad & Sides

  • 1 cucumber, chopped into batons
  • 4 little gems lettuce, leaves picked
  • Handful radishes, sliced finely
  • Bunch spring onions, sliced as preferred
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • Flatbreads (homemade, see here)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and begin with the chicken. Heat a hot frying pan with a tbsp of sunflower oil on a high heat. Fry the chicken skin side down until crispy and golden. Turn the thighs over and seal on the other side. Remove from the pan and place in a baking tray. Finish cooking in the oven for about 15-20 minutes while you make the sauce.
  2. Using the same pan, reduce the heat and soften the chopped onion for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass and fry for just a few minutes being careful not to burn it – the garlic in particular.
  3. Next add the peanut butter and stir well and continuously to combine with the aromats. Reduce the heat to a low and add half the water. Stir to combine.
  4. The sauce will bubble and thicken as you do this so add the rest of the water when needed, a whisk is useful here.
  5. Keep on a very low heat to warm through, adding a splash more water if you require a thinner consistency.
  6. Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl and squeeze over a generous squeeze of lemon and seasoning.
  7. By now the chicken should have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set aside to rest for a moment while you put the final touches to the sauce.
  8. Add the juice of 1 large lime. Taste – if it needs more to cut through the richness then add another squeeze. Add a handful of the coriander and stir to combine saving the remaining herbs for serving.
  9. Serving is up to you – I prefer to place the thighs gently in the sauce to ensure the skin you worked hard to crisp up remains crispy and then serve the whole dish on the table for people to help themselves from – thighs and sauce scattered with the leftover coriander. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken pieces into bite sized chucks and stir thoughout the sauce to coat entirely and serve in your flatbreads/lettuce leaves like a wrap.

Sticky Asian Brisket (Coriander, Peanuts, Lime and Chilli)


nly a true occasion calls for the level of commitment that cooking a dinner requiring 5-6 hours plus additional prep time and a huge amount of will power and patience. And that occasion was, you guessed it, a Birthday. My sister’s birthday to be precise. Its a running joke (which is also true…and very much not a joke) that her Birthday is an (on average) 2 week occasion spanning the initial pre-brithday drinks followed by the Birthday eve event, the actual Birthday, the post Birthday dinner, the family occasion and finally a get together for those unfortunate enough to miss all the above.

So it was the family occasion when this recipe was summoned for a Sunday dinner with a twist. Sticky, slow cooked spiced beef marinated in soy and lime and scattered with fresh coriander and crunchy peanuts. As a fan of beef, brisket is a deep and meaty flavour that adapts perfectly to the slow cook. That and the Asian influence that my family adore, this recipe was a hit! The reduced soy based sauce at the end is particularly punchy, salty, deep and sticky so it would suit a refreshing simple crunchy salad or lightly flavoured rice to accompany.

Followed by a ginger cake (see here) with candles, singing, some more cake, and some ice cream for good measure it was a culinary Birthday I’ll have to try and top next year…

Serves 6 (Adapted from Delicious Magazine recipe see here)


  • 400g shallots, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 200ml runny honey
  • 2kg beef brisket
  • 250ml shaoxing rice wine (from the world food section of large supermarkets)
  • 70ml light soy sauce
  • 70ml dark soy sauce
  • 100g fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 large red chillies, halved

For serve

  • 150g unsalted peanuts, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1 red chillies, sliced finely
  • Large bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 limes
  • Rice
  • Crunchy salad (Little gems, chicory, cucumber, spring onion, celery lemon juice etc)
  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C and get a deep roasting tray ready.
  2. Heat a splash of oil in a deep frying pan and add the quartered shallots and fry for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the beef stock and half the runny honey and stir and heat to combine.
  3. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, fresh ginger, five spice and red chills in a big jug.
  4. Lay the brisket in your deep roasting tin and pour over both the stock and shallot mixture and the sauce from the jug. Cover with a piece of parchment and then with a few layers of foil enough to cover the tray tightly folding the edges down. Place in the oven for 3 hours undisturbed.
  5. After this time, remove the foil and parchment and turn over the brisket and baste. Cover again and return to the oven for another 2 1/2 hours.
  6. After this time, remove from the oven and increase the heat to 220°C.
  7. Pour all the juices from the tray into a frying pan and set the brisket aside. Bubble the juices on a high heat on the hob for about 15 minutes to reduce the heat by about half. However check the seasoning as you do so. The soy is quite a salty mixture so if you reduce it too much it will be overpowering. Add a splash of boiling water if you do so. Season with pepper and salt if needed at the same time.
  8. Cover the brisket with just a few ladles of the sauce and then drizzle over the rest of the runny honey. Return to the hot oven for another 15 minutes to caramelise the brisket and crispy the outside.
  9. Once done, remove the brisket from the oven and serve on a large pre-warmed platter with any of the juices and shallots remaining from the tray. Scatter over the herbs, peanuts, chilli and squeeze over the juice of half a lime.
  10. Serve with the reduced sauce in a warmed jug on the side and a good juicy lime half for all your guests!
  11. Serve alongside rice, flatbreads, salad or any accompaniment you like.


Asian Sea Bream and Raw Courgette Noodles


 very simple super this week. Thrown together in a matter of minutes…well about 20. A healthy way to kick of December before the turkey, chocolate and Christmas treats infiltrate the diet. Fresh flavours and your can barely call this cooking…

Serves 2

  • 2 sea bream fillets
  • 1 tbsp good quality, dark soy sauce
  • 2 small courgettes
  • Handful salted peanuts
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • Bunch chopped coriander
  • 1 large lime
  • 4 0z brown rice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Simmer the rice for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and drizzle with the sesame oil and keep warm
  2. Use a julienne chopper to finely slice the courgette into noodle strips. Mix with the peanuts, coriander and chilli and season. Squeeze over the juice from the lime.
  3. Heat a frying pan until hot. Season the fillets and fry, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until the skin is really crispy.
  4. Turn the fish to the flesh side for the final 30 seconds of cooking. Remove from the pan and pat of any excess oil with paper towel.
  5. Serve the rice, courgette and fish, drizzled with a little soy sauce

Jess - Seabream2


Lime Salmon, Sesame Courgette Noodles




Here is a delicious new salmon recipe I’ve been meaning to attempt! Inspired and adapted from ‘Moorish; cook book. Drying the lime zest here really intensifies the flavour and baking in a parchment parcel guarantees a beautifully moist salmon fillet. Serving suggestions are endless but I’m obsessed with my julienne peeler so not even my countlessly grated fingers (they are very sharp!) has stopped my experiments. Use here for a courgette ‘noodle’ salad. I literally think I’d choose these oven pasta in a blind tasting. Healthier and more delicious. Sorry Italy.




Serves 2

Lime Salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly roasted and crushed
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper/Chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Courgette Noodle Salad

  • 1 large courgette
  • ½ small cucumber
  • Bunch mint, finely chopped
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Small green chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice ½ lime
  • Handful roasted salted peanuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 75°C. Place the lime zest on a piece of parchment on a baking tray and dry in the low oven for about 20 minutes to intensify the flavours. Alternatively you can leave it to dry overnight.
  2. Mix the dried zest with the fennel seed, chilli and cayenne.
  3. image
    Turn the oven up to 190°C. Rub the salmon in olive oil and coat with the spice mix. Place each fillet on an oiled piece of parchment and wrap into a parcel. If you fillets are the same thickness as mine, roast for 10minutes which will give you a lovely slightly pink centre.
  4. Meanwhile, using a julienne peeler (recommended purchase for any health food/raw food junkie. They are so quick to use) julienne the courgette and the cucumber into a bowl. Add the chopped herbs and chilli and scatter with the nuts. Mix with the sesame oil and the lime juice and toss all together,
  5. When the salmon is cooked, remove from the parchment and serve on top of the courgette noodles and rice if you like!


Fish, Asian Noodles, Crispy Ginger

I adore this Asian-flavoured dressing! Its originally from ‘Jamie At Home’ (with a little adaptation) to dress his winter roast squash and duck salad which I must admit is one of my foodie downfalls. I just cannot CANNOT resist seconds, thirds and usually fourths. Much of its moreish teasing comes from this powerful killer dressing. Here I used it to coat some warm and obligingly absorbant noodles, mixed with some crunchy peanuts for texture and topped with a hearty piece of moist fish and crispy ginger strips. Shamefully I devoured mine with a fork. However- after a recent outing for a sushi lunch, I must admit my chop stick skills are progressing. Slowly.

Serves 2


  • 1-2 large limes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated/finely crushed
  • Bunch coriander
  • 2 spring onions
  • Large knob of ginger

Fish and noodles

  • 2 seabass fillets (or anything white fish e.g. seabream, cod, haddock)
  • 2 dried noodles nests/ rice noodles
  • 6 raw king prawns
  • Handful of mange tout
  • Handful roasted salted peanuts
  • Knob ginger
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  1. Start with the ginger so it has time to dry out as much as possible before frying. Finely slice the ginger into thin strips or matchsticks. Dry out between two sheets of kitchen roll and set aside.
  2. Make the dressing. Squeeze the lime juice and zest of 1 lime into a jam jar. Add just under the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. Add the sesame oil, soy, sugar, chilli and garlic. Grate in the ginger and finely chop the green tops of the spring onions and add these. Add a small handful of chopped coriander leaves and then place the lid on the jar and shake to mix. Adjust the taste to your liking, adding more soy for seasoning and more lime for that kick.
  3. Chop the remaining spring onions and coriander and set aside in a bowl with the peanuts to garnish later.
  4. For the crispy ginger, heat a shallow layer of sunflower oil in a pan. Shallow fry the ginger for about 30 seconds or so until golden brown. Spoon out onto kitchen to drain and season with salt. Leave aside to crisp.
  5. Bring a saucepan of light stock to the simmer and get a frying pan over a highish heat. Simmer and cook the noodles for about 5 minutes throwing in your mange tout towards the end.
  6. Meanwhile, cook your seasoned sea bass fillets, skin side down, for about 3 minutes until a crispy skin forms. Turn for the remaining minute to cook through and add the prawns and cook, for a matter of a minute, until pink.
  7. Once the noodle are cooked drain them quickly while retaining a little of the starchy cooking water and return to the pan. Add the dressing and mix until it is coated and absorbed.
  8. Add a handful of the coriander, peanut and spring onion mix, saving a handful for the top.
  9. Spoon the noodles into large bowls, top with the fish and prawns. Scatter with the remaining peanuts, coriander and spring onion garnish and top with the crispy ginger.



Caribbean Rice Salad

Today is ‘forage in the pantry’s’ 1st Birthday! It been a delicious year of cooking and blogging. Looking back on my first entry, ’The Best…Peanut Butter Cookies’, I feel compelled to make something peanut infused! However, with all this fantastic hot weather we’ve been enjoying and with today being yet another scorcher, the cleansing flavours of the Caribbean seem appropriate. Cold rice salads are totally underrated as rice is normally associated with curries and hot meals. This delicious one comes courtesy of Ottolenghi- the salad king. I always eat brown wild rice or Camargue as its healthier and full of flavour and adds a welcome component to a meal. This salad definitely needs the Camargue rice as it adds colour and an amazing nutty flavour. Even cooking it infuses the kitchen with its tasty aroma. Don’t use white rice here as it just won’t work….on any level.

While this is devoured, its time to crack on with a proper birthday cake…..

Serves 4-5 easily (Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty)

  • 150g Camargue rice
  • 100g wild brown rice
  • Bunch of basil, shredded
  • Bunch of mint leaves, shredded
  • Bunch of coriander, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, chopped (seeds and all if you like it hot)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice ½ lime
  • 1 mango, cubed into 2cm dice
  • 60g roasted salted peanuts
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  1. Boil the rice for about 20 minutes until cooked. Drain and spread out onto a large plate to cool.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl apart from the lemon and lime juice and the oil.
  3. When the rice is cool, add to the other ingredients and gently toss together until combined. Squeeze over the lemon and lime juice and add enough oil to moisten the salad to your liking- I only added about 1 tbsp but add more if you like.

Note: This would be lovely with my Asian Salmon recipe!


Homemade Peanut Butter


I love the challenge, purity and righteousness of making the majority of the food I eat from scratch. I tackle my own breads and jams, ice creams and cereals. Homemade food is, without doubt, healthier for you as it avoids all the preservatives and additives that processed food contains. So many people are worried about too much fat or salt in their diet but in reality, we need fat and salts and it is only a concern if you have a large amount of processed foods. Its far better to have a small amount of full fat butter than a reduced fat, ‘diet’ alternative which are instead, filled with preservatives and stabilizers that- yes may reduce the calories- but are full of other ingredients. This brought me to thinking, as I made my peanut butter cookies…..why aren’t I making my own peanut butter?

Peanut butter is one of those essentials that should theoretically, just include………..peanuts?! However, if you look on the ingredients list of many jars there is often more to it? This recipe will prove to you that all you need is peanuts (and some salt and spices). The oil-packed, protein rich and creamy little nuts make a smooth and silky peanut butter with not a drop of dairy in sight!


  • 300g (roughly or 2 large handfuls) roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine salt
  1. Place the peanuts (reserving a handful if you are ultimately wanting a crunchy peanut butter) in a food processor. Process for 1 minute.
  2. Add the cinnamon and salt.
  3. Process for about 5 more minutes continually, until the oils are released and the peanut butter is smooth, shiny and tempting! Continue processing longer for a smoother texture, up to 10 minutes…..?



Meanwhile crush the reserved handful of peanuts is required. Add to the final peanut butter and place in a sterilized jar.image

This can also be done with a range of nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios. It would also be lovely with pumpkin seeds!

The Best…….Peanut butter cookies


I have been making these moreish cookies since I was old enough to open my A4, 1cm thick copy of ‘My First Baking Book’! When there is no need to ever have to look anywhere else for a recipe you know its the best. After a recent trip to America I was craving these little morsals, made extra special by the addition of some American produce in the form of a squashed and tempting bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips!

  • 125g unsalted butter softened
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g crunchy peanut butter
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 large handful of Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl
  2. Beat in the egg and peanut butter, then sift in the flour and combine well
  3. Add the peanut butter chips
  4. Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls and place on a lined baking tray, leaving room for them to spread. Using the back of a spoon, gently flatten the top of the ball slightly
  5. Bake at 180° C for 15 minutes and leave to cool on the tray before removing and devouring