Chicken Saagwala

I have had to start a low FODMAP diet for health reasons. I was really worried that would mean a narrow range of foods (which isn’t good if you blog about food!) and bland flavours. Thankfully, as this Chicken Saagwala will show, that is not the case. There are plenty of ingredients to choose from, I just needed to change my habits and learn new dishes. I do have to be careful as just because the word low is in the diet name, it doesn’t necessarily mean low fat or calorie!

How are all the parents doing out there with first days of school coming up quickly? Our district is still trying to sort out what to do. They have seemed to settle on dividing the schools in half and one group will go two days and the other two days. They are trying to encourage parents drop off students as they need to reduce those taking the bus. The tricky bit round here is there are several hill towns, up to 45 minutes away, that bus into our district. They state bus windows must be open. That can be a problem as we can have winter start in October. I know there aren’t any easy solutions to this surreal year. Universities are starting to reverse their decision to accept students on campus. Our daughter’s school is one of them so we get to have her home for this semester. I feel for her but am also glad she’ll be safer.

Technique for Chicken Saagwala

I found this recipe from A Little Bit Yummy. Of course I changed it but mainly I was trying to use what I had available. It still follows the low FODMAP guidelines. The only ingredient that I couldn’t fine definitive guidance on was the poblano but it didn’t cause me any problems. But just do your research.

We have lost the plot with the mustard greens we are growing so it was great to be able to use this in a recipe. The greens went like gangbusters but the rest of the lettuce we grew decided to be very indifferent to growing. I love gardening but at times there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason.

In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and begin to cook the cubed chicken breast. Add the garlic chives. Cook for a few minutes.

Add the leek, mustard greens and minced ginger. Cook until the greens begin to wilt down. I really like ginger which is why I put in 2 tbsp. If that is too much for you, just reduce the amount.

Add the poblano, diced tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, ground cloves and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for several minutes so the liquid can reduce a bit. Season with sea salt and pepper.

While I was cooking this, I roasted a sweet potato to accompany this dish. I really enjoyed this dish with the flavours of the fire roasted tomatoes and the bitterness of the mustard greens. I don’t pretend this is full on traditional as if you look at other recipes, there are a few more steps and it looks a lot greener. They also have dairy in it. But I hope you enjoy my version.

Chicken Saagwala

A low FODMAP dish with loads of flavour and easy to make.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Chicken Saagwala
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, skinless and boneless, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic chives
  • 1 cup chopped leeks, the green part only 80g
  • 1 cup chopped mustard greens 120g
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 poblano, chopped and seeded
  • 14 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and begin cooking the cubed chicken. After a couple of minutes add the chives.

  2. Add the mustard greens, leek and ginger. Sautè for a few minutes

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for several minutes to reduce the liquid a bit.

  4. To keep this low FODMAP, serve this with something like a roasted sweet potato. If you aren't worried about low FODMAP then naan would be perfect.

Fish en Papillote

My daughter’s school is planning on bringing back students to their campus in a few weeks. Before she heads back to university, I wanted to make sure she gets meals she won’t get there. When there she mostly eats vegetarian as, well, dining hall meat and seafood doesn’t always set a high bar. As she loves seafood I thought I’d make this incredibly easy but delicious Fish en Papillote for her. I do wish I could cook her dishes and mail them to her safely but well, that’s not possible.

I am curious how long open campuses will last. These issues are the same closer to home. Our school system is looking to have in-classroom learning. Not quite sure how they will pull this off when, in the high school, there will be 1400 students walking through the hallways every 84 minutes. Who will be cleaning the classrooms between classes? Not an easy problem.

Technique for Fish en Papillote

I bought a nice piece of fresh cod for this dish and the fresh thyme from the garden was a lovely compliment. This fish was a reminder to pay attention to what the fishmonger is handing you. I pointed to a thicker filet and without me paying attention, I got this thin piece. I didn’t notice until I was back home. Slightly small for two people, especially when one is a teenager.

Place the fish in the parchment paper and twist the ends to make a boat shape. Add the ingredients into the boat.

Seal the package so the liquid is contained.

Bake at 350F/175C for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. You want the cod to be nice and flaky.

Serve immediately.

It was a lovely pairing with salad and roasted sweet potato. This is also a great dish to whip up for a quick lunch.

Fish en Papillote

Fish cooked in parchment paper

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Fish en Papillote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 6 oz fresh cod
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

  2. Place the cod onto a piece of parchment paper. Make a boat shape with the parchment paper and add the rest of the ingredients to the fish.

  3. Seal the parchment paper into a packet to hold the liquid in. Bake 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked and flaky.

  4. Serve with sides of your choice. For example, a salad and roasted sweet potato.

Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

A big component to my joy of traveling is being able to try new food and get inspiration for new dishes at home. My husband and I aren’t big shoppers, we’d rather budget for experiences. I prefer having a memory of a lovely meal in some far off locale than fill the house with stuff. Though stuff seems to multiply anyway, not sure what happens there! A couple of decades ago I was in Scotland on the west coast. I had a meal that I remember til this day because not only was it delicious but the simple flavours just came together to be amazing. It was Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce.

Prior to this I’d never had duck. I don’t think it was something, at the time, readily available in the States. I was also not a fan of cherries as it was difficult to get really fresh cherries and the flavour that gets stuck in your mind is the awful chemical cherry flavour of ice creams or medicine. Seriously, who taste tests those? But this was a revelation.

Technique for Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

The key to this, as is for most dishes, is fresh ingredients. I love being able to pop into my garden for the fresh herbs and veg.

Coarsely chop the cherries and finely chop the garlic. I really wish I had a cherry depitter but it’s not big deal to cut away the cherry from the pit, just slows it down a bit. Start cooking the cherry in a small pan with a bit of water.

Prep the duck by scoring the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place into a skillet face down to start with. Keep the heat just under medium so the fat renders down as much as possible while giving you that really nice sear. Every few minutes flip the duck so it cooks evenly without burning either side.

Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice to the cherries. Let that simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the butter, sea salt and pepper. Stir well.

I do like a crispy duck. Cook the duck to at least medium. Allow to rest for several minutes before slicing.

Slice the duck and place over a bed of greens. Spoon over the sauce. We also roasted potatoes in duck fat. That is next level good.

Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce

Seared Duck with cherries, garlic and thyme

Course Main Course
Keyword Seared Duck with Cherry Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 duck breast
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water 2-3oz
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Cooking the Seared Duck

  1. Score the duck fat without cutting into the meat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

  2. In a skillet, put the duck face down. Keep the heat just below medium so the fat renders out without burning the duck. Flip the duck every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Cook until it is at least medium in the centre. Let it rest for several minutes before slicing.

Cooking the Cherry Sauce

  1. Sautè the cherries in the water for a few minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the garlic.

  3. Add the butter and stir well. Reduce the liquid by about a third.

Serving the dish

  1. Slice the duck and arrange it over a bed of greens.

  2. Spoon the sauce over the duck.

  3. Serve with potatoes roasted in duck fat.

Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

So how’s the year going for everyone? Crazy you say? We all have years that we are glad to see the back of but this is a year, for the first time in a very long time, I think we’re all looking forward to see the back of. It’s been difficult to hold on to some normalcy, especially with our kids. Blogging took a back seat with sewing face masks and headbands, as well with just wanting to do cosy things and make sure the family was in a good and safe space. For a lot of us, the anxiety has been over the top. How there hasn’t been a wine shortage, I’ll never know. We still need to eat, of course! This Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork is very easy to make and has a lovely fresh flavour, perfect for these hot days.

Technique for the Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

Prep the pork by removing any connective tissue and then pierce the pork in several spots. Everytime I think or say “pierce the”, I always think of the movie Birdcage and the “I pierced the toast!” line. Very funny movie. Place the pork in a deep baking dish. Season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the baking dish.

Cover and bake for about 6 hours. Low and slow is key here. You’ll end up with moist and falling apart pork.

Remove the big pieces of rosemary so you don’t have big twigs in the meal. Shred the pork and stir well so the onion, garlic and rosemary are evenly mixed in.

Serve on a bed of lettuce, top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I absolutely love roasted potatoes so that was my chosen side with this light meal.

I hope you are all getting through this surreal year and are staying healthy, we will eventually get through this.

Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork

A lemony slow cooked pork served over lettuce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Slow Cooked Lemon Garlic Pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 4
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder 900grams
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 boughs of rosemary
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice 4oz
  • 1 cup chicken stock 8oz
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C

  2. Remove the connective tissue from the pork and pierce with a knife, several times. Place in a deep baking dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the remaining ingredients to the baking dish.

  3. Cover the baking dish and bake for 6 hours. After about 3 hours, baste the pork every 45- 60 minutes.

  4. Remove the big pieces of rosemary. Remove from the oven and shred the pork with two forks. Mix in the rosemary, onion and garlic evenly.

  5. Serve over a bed of lettuce and grate fresh parmesan over the pork.

Minestrone Soup

We seem to be in a continuous cycle of warm temperature to bitter cold temperature and back again. Germs everywhere! Minestrone soup is a great antidote to fighting off all the stuff going round. As remedies go, it’s a delicious comfort food.

My husband had sent me an article from the Guardian about Ultra Processed Food. For those that follow this blog, you know we’re big on cooking from scratch and keeping overly processed food out of our diet. I found it interesting when the article mentioned that it’s a good sign to see a container of sugar in the kitchen. The reason is, it’s a sign that home cooking from fresh ingredients occurs. Which is so much better than buying boxed goods.

Technique for Minestrone Soup

While this is a very easy soup to make on a busy night, I do recommend to make it a day or so ahead for the flavours to really come out.

Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sautè the onions until they soften. Add the garlic, carrots and celery. Cook for a few minutes.

Add the mushrooms and peas. The beauty of this soup is you can add whatever veg you want. I don’t like zucchini/courgettes and the like, especially in soup, so I left those out even though they are more traditional.

For the diced tomatoes I like to use fire roasted for a deeper flavour. Continue to cook for a few minutes before adding the veg bouillon. Bring to a simmer.

Season with the herbs, sea salt and pepper. Add the pasta and bring to a boil until the pasta starts to soften. Turn back down to a simmer.

Years ago, on our honeymoon in Italy, we had taken a cooking lesson and the woman gave us a tip on how to use up the parmesan ends. Throw in the piece into the soup and simmer. It gives a really lovely cheesy balance to the soup.

Serve with fresh bread and butter. Perfect for the whacky winter evenings.

Minestrone Soup

A hearty delicous soup

Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Minestrone Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1-2 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese end
  • 1 cup rotini pasta, dry

Instructions

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sautè the onions until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, celery and carrots to the pan. Cook for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms and peas. After cooking for a few more minutes add the diced tomatoes.

  2. Add the bouillon and the pasta. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the herbs and season with the sea salt and pepper. Toss in the cheese end. Once the pasta is cooked, it is ready to serve.

Birdwatching in the UK

It was a lovely surprise to find how plentiful the variety of birds were when we went birdwatching in the UK over the holidays. And such a tonic as the few months building up to the holidays were high stress and very busy, hence me being absent for so long.

Most of my time was taken up with knitting a shawl for my mother-in-law for her Christmas present. It’s my own fault really, I am not a fast knitter but because I waited until October to start I was dedicating up to 8 hours a day. I did not take after my Grandma, who could knit up a cricket jumper for my dad in a week, including cables! So I would be knitting like a mad woman at a somewhat snail’s pace.

It was the smallest yarn I’ve used to date. I had to wear my readers over my bifocals to see what I was doing. Thankfully I had it done in time and she loved it.

That meant, by the time we arrived in the UK, I was ready for a break and relaxation. Because the winters there are so mild, we spent a lot of time outside. Where we live currently, the winters are harsh and bitterly cold most of the time so we were wandering round without many layers while the locals were in their arctic fur. I felt hot most of the time! Makes for a welcome break in the winter.

Being able to spend so much time outside allowed for some really good birdwatching. I know in the UK the songbird population has taken quite a hit but compared to where we live, it was wonderful hearing all the different songs.

There were three main spots where I had the best luck. The first spot was at Harmon’s Cross. Swanage Railway had a winter event that they put on before they start the January maintenance. The times between the trains was enough that we found ourselves with an empty platform. There was a spot where bird feed was left out and the birds were flitting about. I stood very still and I was rewarded.

This blackbird was doing its best to eat all the birdseed.
A Chaffinch
The Blue Tit proved to be elusive. I have loads of blurry pics of this bird.

My mother-in-law took us twice to the RSPB Arne in Dorset. It’s an incredible conservation area that covers many different types of environments. You have woodland, grassland, heather, water, etc. Such a variety of birds to find.

At the car park, they had several feeders and it was like rush hour with the songbirds rapidly flitting in and out. Again I took loads of pics in the hope I could get some good ones. I’m amazed, given the speed of some, that they managed to actually get bird seed.

I particularly like the Goldfinch, the colours are gorgeous.
A Nuthatch
A Coal Tit in the front with a Goldfinch looking to land.
A House Sparrow (which looks like a mini hawk) and a female Chaffinch.
This Robin was eye level and only a few feet away giving us quite the concert.
A Pheasant minding his own business as we walked by.

The areas for watching birds in the water were breathtaking. It was so calming just sitting in a hide and watching them go about their day.

A Shelduck looking for a spot to land.
The white bird is an Avocet which is making a comeback in the UK. It is surrounded by Eurasian Wigeons and there is actually a Common Teal Duck in the mix.
An Oyster Catcher making a graceful landing.
The Curlews are funny looking things.

We did see spoon bills but they were too far away for me to capture clearly with my 300mm lens. We discovered that many birds were just beyond my lens. I would love to hear from those that do bird photography, the pros and cons of a teleconverter vs a 150mm-600mm lens. Trying to decide which direction to go in.

The end of the holiday was spent in London with my son as he had to get back to school. I was taking him to Churchill’s War Rooms and we cut through St James Park. I was taken aback at all the different birds there. I only used my phone for these pictures as I wanted to make sure my son had time at the War Rooms. If I’d taken out my proper camera, we would have been there a long time.

My mother-in-law had joked I needed to get pictures of pelicans. Imagine my surprise at seeing pelicans in the middle of London.

A Tufted Duck
Tame Greylag Geese and Ring Necked Parakeets

We also saw a Black Swan, Blue Heron, some Coots, Barnacle Geese and Moor hens.

I can’t wait to explore more RSPB areas and coastal walks. We will probably have to do a boat trip along the cliffs in Dorset as that’s what you have to do to see Puffins. That would be fascinating.

Poached Eggs and Tofu

I mentioned in my last post of my Tofu Burrito I was struggling with a dish so I had put it aside. It called for hot spring eggs, which are made by covering with boiling water. The recipe is from Harumi’s Japanese Cooking and said it’s very easy to make. Not so! I tried it different ways and all I ended up with was the yoke. I gave up as making poach eggs is faster and I knew what I was getting. So this is my Poached Eggs with Tofu, loosely based on the Hot Spring Eggs.

I love the subtle flavours of this dish and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. With a bit of prep you’ll have an easy lunch to enjoy.

Technique for Poached Eggs and Tofu

About an hour or so before the dish is made a stock has to be made and the tofu needs to be wrapped in paper towel/kitchen roll. Slice two rectangles of tofu per serving and wrap it. Set aside. This helps remove excess water for when you pan fry the tofu. In a cup add equal parts bonito flakes and kelp and cover with boiling water.

Set this aside and let steep for about an hour.

When it’s time to make the dish bring water and a 1/4 cup (2oz) of white vinegar to a boil. Poach the eggs for 3 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small serving bowl.

Meanwhile, heat up the sesame oil in a skillet. Fry the tofu until both sides are golden and crispy.

Drain the tofu of excess oil and place the eggs over the tofu. Drizzle some sauce over the eggs and top with fresh scallions/green onion.

I enjoyed this with smoked mackerel. I’m glad I switched to the poached eggs as I love the flavours of the dish so it was nice to finally get it together!

Poached Eggs and Tofu

Asian flavours with pan fried tofu.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Poached Eggs and Tofu
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 2 slices tofu (per serving)
  • 2 eggs (per serving)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • equal parts bonito flakes and kelp
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp amino acids or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp stock made with bonito flakes and kelp
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallion/green onion

Instructions

  1. Boil water and cover the bonito flakes and kelp in a cup. Steep for at least an hour.

  2. Slice the tofu and wrap with paper towels/kitchen roll to remove excess water. Set aside.

  3. Boil water with 1/4 cup/2oz of white vinegar. Poach the eggs for 3 minutes.

  4. Mix the stock from steeping the bonito flakes and kelp with the aminio acid, mirin and minced ginger. Stir well.

  5. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet and pan fry the tofu until golden and crispy. Drain the excess oil from the tofu.

  6. Place the poached eggs over the tofu. Drizzle the sauce over the eggs and top with the scallion/green onions.

Tofu Burrito

Before I decided to make this Tofu Burrito, I was trying to make a different dish with eggs. I tried over a few weeks to get it to work based on the directions. Easy it said. Not in the least. So I put that on the back burner to make a different dish so that I could at least get a post done this month. Have you ever run into the proverbial brick wall with a recipe?

Last weekend, my husband and I decided to play hooky from working on the house. It’s a Victorian Queen Anne and while we love old homes, it becomes a drag at times with the constant long list of to-dos. It was a gorgeous autumn day so we went hiking into the woods. Being out in nature does wonders for the mind and makes it easier to take deep breaths.

We found a fabulous cafe in our travels for lunch and my husband ordered their tofu burrito. The only complaint he had was they didn’t use cilantro (coriander leaf). Because our son also loves burritos I decided to recreate this dish for them. My son was shocked I have never eaten a burrito in my life. He looked at me like I had three heads! How have I survived? 😉

Technique for Tofu Burrito

This dish couldn’t be simpler to make. Make the rice while you prepare the filling. White rice or brown rice is fine. I went with white rice as it can cook in half the time and I wanted a quick dish for the week night.

Heat up the olive oil in a skillet. Cook the beans and corn until the corn thaws.

Add the hot pepper, for this dish I used a cayenne pepper from the garden. Also add the scallion (spring onion), garlic and tofu. Sauté until the onion begins to soften. Add the chili powder, cumin and lime juice. Don’t worry about the level of seasoning until after you add the rice.

Add the sweet pepper and cilantro (coriander leaf). I add the sweet pepper last so there is a bit of crunch.

Add the rice and mix well. Check the level of seasoning and adjust as needed. I added a bit more lime juice at this point. Then season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lay out the burrito wrap. Add the shredded cheese and top with the burrito filling. Wrap tightly.

Serve with salsa and sour cream. My son said this was really good. High praise from a 15 year old and he went back for seconds.

Tofu Burrito

A vegetarian dish with tofu and black beans

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Tofu Burrito
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

  • 6 burrito wraps
  • 1 cup dry white rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 hot pepper of your choice, chopped
  • 2 scallions (spring onions), sliced
  • 1 cup cubed tofu
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander leaf)
  • 1 small sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions

  2. Blot the excess moisture from the tofu.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Cook the black beans and corn until the corn has thawed.

  4. Add the scallions, hot pepper, garlic and tofu. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the chili pepper, cumin and lime juice. Mix well.

  5. Add the sweet pepper and cilantro. Sauté again for a few minutes. Then add the cooked rice. Check the level of seasoning and adjust as needed. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  6. Add cheese on top of a wrap and spoon the mixture over the cheese. Wrap tightly and serve.

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

On date night the other week, one of our go to restaurants had a new menu that included Korean BBQ Short Ribs. I’d never had Korean BBQ but it was really good. They did serve it with an aioli, which didn’t seem authentic but worked.

I did research on the recipe for the BBQ and for the most part it’s pretty consistent in terms of ingredients, though some called for vinegar instead of mirin. As mirin is easy to find, I didn’t think substituting was necessary. I did have to use a regular pear as Asian pears are apparently too exotic for my local shops.

There are a few steps to this dish but nothing is complicated and it’s well worth the effort.

Technique for Korean BBQ Short Ribs

First it’s important to prep the ribs. There will be connective tissue that you want to remove as that will make the ribs tough when cooking.

Use a sharp knife to do this so you don’t take off too much meat in the process.

Prep the marinade ingredients. I won’t lie, grating onions is torture on the eyes. I’ve always been curious how the first human decided onion was a good thing because raw is very strong! But for this marinade you don’t want any big pieces, with the exception of the finely chopped garlic, so grating it is.

Mix well and add the beef. Make sure the beef is well coated. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I then sliced some red onion and covered it with apple cider vinegar.

Marinade the onion for a few hours in the fridge. It makes a great contrasting topping to this dish.

When it is time to grill the beef, warm up the grill to medium. For this, you don’t want to have the heat on high in order to keep the meat tender. You will still get a good sear on the meat. Patience, grasshopper is the way to go here.

While the meat is cooking, prep the other ingredients. We have a lot of fresh veg in our garden so we did up a bunch of veg sticks. For dipping sauces I heated up the beef marinade, mixed some sour cream with ginger and lime, then made a traditional dipping sauce. That sauce was equal parts Gochujang and yellow miso ( 2 tablespoons each), 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and a clove of finely chopped garlic. If you find it too thick of a paste add more oil a bit at a time.

Once the meat has rested, slice it and serve with the sauces and veg.

Use the lettuce as the wrap and top the beef with the toppings of your choice.

We all loved this dish with the all the flavours from the marinade. We will definitely be having this again.

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

A fun and delicious meal with beef short ribs.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Korean BBQ Short Ribs
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless short rib

Marinade

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 1/3 cup grated red onion
  • 1 small pear or Asian pear, grated
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp seasame oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Prepping the Short Ribs

  1. Clean the beef by removing the connective tissue and any hard fat.

Marinade

  1. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade well. Add the beef and make sure it is covered completely. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

Cooking the meat

  1. Heat the grill to medium. Cook the meat until it is medium rare. The meat should have a nice sear without the sugars in the marinade becoming burnt. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes

Putting it all together

  1. Cut up different veg to accompany the BBQ. Slice the beef and serve with the veg and lettuce leaves. Heat the leftover marinade as a dipping sauce. Chopped green onions and pickled red onions are great toppers.

Lemon Thyme Bars

Lemon Thyme Bars were requested by my daughter for her first care package and I was happy to oblige. It is also the start of settling all of us into the next chapter with her off to college. What an adjustment it has turned out to be. I knew it would be hard, we’re not heartless and we like having her around but we’re not helicopter parents either. Turns out, that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever!

Move in day was quite the event with the heat index at 107F/42C but I was impressed with how the college handled everything with volunteers and plenty of water stations. They even had in the schedule the time parents should say goodbye. During that time they did tell us tales of velcro parents not wanting to leave on the first day. Can you imagine? So of course we teased our daughter asking her to text every five minutes, text after she falls asleep, before she wakes, etc. She was ready for us to leave after that. LOL.

Thankfully, she has settled in and she is doing very well. That doesn’t mean she isn’t happy to receive care packages and home baked goods. When she requested these Lemon Thyme Bars I was surprised to realise I hadn’t made these before. Which is silly as they are very easy to make and a lovely treat.

Technique for Lemon Thyme Bars

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Using your fingers or a pastry fork, blend the butter, flour, sugar and thyme to make a crumbly mix that will stick together when gently pressed.

Press into a baking pan 9″ x 13″. Make sure there aren’t any holes.

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden. It won’t be overly firm while really hot. I wanted the shortbread on the softer side so I only baked it for 15 minutes. The longer you bake at this stage the crispier it will be in the final result.

Whisk the lemon juice and eggs together. In another bowl, mix the sugar and flour together.

Pour the lemon egg mixture into the flour and sugar. Whisk well to remove any lumps. Pour over the shortbread. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. The lemon will set as it cools.

Dust with powdered/confectioner’s sugar to serve.

Of course, I had made these on a Thursday without thinking about the travel time for shipping as it was coming up on a holiday weekend. Turns out, our daughter is considered in the middle of nowhere according to the Post Office. Fortunately, they arrived several days later in good condition. I’ll have to do my baking at the beginning of the week from now on.

Lemon Thyme Bars

The flavours of summer in a delicous baked treat

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Lemon Thyme Bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Shortbread

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2-4 tsp fresh, chopped thyme

Lemon Mixture

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Finishing

  • powdered sugar to dust over bars

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Shortbread

  1. Using your fingers or a pastry fork, blend the shortbread ingredients together until it becomes crumbly but will stick together when gently pressed.

  2. Press into the baking pan (9" x 13") making sure there aren't any holes. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden. The less you bake, the softer the shortbread will be when the bars are cooled.

Lemon Mixture

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. Pour the lemon mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk until there are no more lumps.

  2. Pour the mixture over the shortbread and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking pan. Dust with the powdered sugar to serve.