Two Ingredient Flat Breads

These two ingredient flat breads are incredibly simple to make. They are so simple that my children get stuck in when making them. The best thing about these flat breads is that they take literally no time to make them and they are really difficult to mess up.

I have been buying Naan breads from the shop for years out of convenience. They are the perfect side for a curry, especially my butter chicken recipe.Although shop bought flatbreads are great, I always love being able to make the things I buy as it gives me a bit more satisfaction and with a bit of experimentation they usually end up being better. I make butter chicken curry once a week with some yoghurt dip and flatbreads. It always goes down well with the family and it’s a pretty cheap dinner.

When you buy flatbreads from the shop you usually only get between 2 to 4 and cost anywhere between two and three pound. When I make these, I make about 8 to 10 flatbreads which means I can save some for the next meal. They keep in the freezer for about a month.

Recipe

300g self raising flour

200ml 0% Greek Yoghurt ( I usually buy a 500ml tub and using some for the flatbreads and the rest for the yoghurt dip)

If you want to add some extra flavour to the mix you can add some herbs or some garlic granules. They are absolutely fine plain.

Method

Put the flour and yoghurt in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Depending on the flour you may need to adjust the amount of yoghurt you need. I tend to ‘eyeball’ it and add a little bit more if the mix is a little dry.

The dough should come together easily by working it together with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in. My kids love this part.

Once it’s together take it out of the bowl and knead the dough like you would bread on a clean surface for about 5-10 mins. It should have a smooth surface when it’s ready. Then roll it out into a sausage shape and cut it in to 8-10 portions of equal size. Roll these portions into balls and then press down to flatten. Use a rolling pin and roll then out to about 1/2 centimetre thickness.

You can add some oil or a sprinkle of water to the surface of the flatbreads and then cook. I cooked the featured flatbreads on a health grill for about 8 minutes. Flatbreads need a little colour, so if you get some charred bits all the better. To cook in the oven, preheat to 200C and cook for 6-8 mins. I always do test flatbread first as the mix varies dependiing on what flour I have used and how thick and large I have made the flatbreads.

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Our go to curry favourites – Butter chicken, quick flatbreads and yogurt dip

If your interested, see these recipes to make the curry and the dip:

Butter chicken curry

 

Yoghurt dip side for curry

 

 

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Indian Raita Yoghurt Dip

The perfect accompaniment for curry and flatbread, this dip is super simple and delicious. The part is it takes no time at all to get together and you can make it in advance. Just chuck it all in together and mix, then pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Prep – 2 mins

Recipe

250ml 0% Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt

1 tsp mint

Half a cucumber – Grated and squeezed to drain the juice

1tsp Ground cumin

1 tsp Ground or fresh Coriander

1/2 tsp Lemon or lime juice

Check out my other recipes to go with this:

Spice Friendly Lamb Curry

Butter Chicken Curry

Two Ingredient Flatbreads

Butter Chicken Curry

A good curry takes time to make from scratch but you can make some short cuts. My version of a butter chicken recipe has taken quite a few attempts at getting the flavour and texture I want from a curry. It also has to be okay for the kids to eat as well – not too spicy.

I think we are not alone when I say sometimes it is just easier to get your curry from the local Indian takeaway, and we do when we want a sample of a couple of different curries. However, we tend to eat curry at least once a week and it gets expensive if you eat takeaways that often. My wife and have always loved curry! We went on holiday to Goa just so we could have a great excuse to eat curry for breakfast, dinner and lunch. It was amazing! That’s why it is so important that when we do have homemade curry, it must tastes authentic. The trick to this? Make sure you buy a good Garam Masala spice mix. You can make it yourself but buying it is one of those short cuts. Also, don’t use cheap tin tomatoes – just like making Italian pasta sauces, tomatoes are just too important to get wrong.

Serves – 4 to 6

Prep –  10-15 mins

Cooking Time – 35 mins

Recipe

3 large onions

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ginger

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tsp powdered garlic or 3 cloves garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes or passata

30g butter minimum ( I some times add a bit for for a creamier taste)

salt and pepper

Chilli powder if you like it a bit spicy

150 ml of water

3-4 chicken breasts

Method 

  1. Dice the onions and sautee until transculent in some olive oil. Be sure to salt the onions as it helps draw the moisture out.
  2. Add the garam masala to the pan and cook the spices out on a low heat for a few minutes.
  3. Once the spice has cooked out the onions will take a beautiful dark colour. At this point add the tomato puree and cook out for another two minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the spices and a little splash of water or chicken stock.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and the water. Let the pan simmer for about 15 mins until it has reduced by a third.
  6. Use a food blender to blend the sauce until it is smooth
  7. Strain the sauce through a sieve. This will make the sauce really silky and without the lumps. You don’t have to do this but I think it makes the sauce better.
  8. Chop and cook the chicken with some oil. Be sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper. It makes the difference. You can add some extra flavour to the chicken by making the sauce the day before and marinating the chicken over night.  The chicken takes about 8 mins to cook in a saucepan.
  9. Add the sauce to the chicken and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and continuously stir until it dissolves into the curry.
  10. Serve with basmati rice, yoghurt dip or mango chutney and flatbreads.

Check out the recipes for the sides:

Flatbread recipe

Yoghurt dip recipe

Slow Cooker Brisket

Slow Cooker Brisket

I’ve thought about trying out vegetarianism a few times; in fact, I once gave up meat for lent. I lasted about twenty days until I accidentally ate a shepherd’s pie that was put in front of me. I am not exaggerating. It was upon my last mouthful that I realised what I was doing and how I had just ruined my lent challenge. I am a meat eater and can’t really help it. This recipe is just one of those reasons why as well. The photos don’t do it justice on this occasion. Sunday’s, especially at the start of Autumn, demand a roast dinner. That’s one of the things I love about this time of year – there’s something magical about going for a Sunday morning walk, seeing the new colours that we all remember from childhood, having the wind blow the cobwebs from your tired eyes and the cooler wind freshen your soul. Returning home and having that roast dinner aroma fill your nostrils is heavenly. Of course, it is not just the meat that seals the anticipation, but it is definitely the main show.

Rolled Brisket is generally one of the cheaper cuts of cow meat. I bought this one for £5.03 from Lidl. You can obviously buy them at your local butchers, which I do often, and other supermarkets. The prices vary but generally they are cheap cuts wherever you go. Cheap sounds great,yeah? In my book it definitely does. I used to buy the most expensive bits of meat for my cooking, but since becoming a parent and looking after the pennies and pounds a little bit better, cuts like brisket are perfect. If not cooked correctly, this incredible bit of meat will become tough. Cooked low and slow, this meat is absolutely mouth watering.

Cooking it low and slow is the basis of any good brisket. Generally, a brisket is going to need at least 3-4 hours in a slow cooker in order to make it nice and tender. Trying to rush this cut of meat is a major no no! Trust me, I’ve tried and failed and it’s just not worth the disappointment. You can’t just chuck it in the slow cooker without taking care of the cut just a little bit either. Don’t worry though, it’s not a complicated process, and you definitely don’t need much skill. Simply put, all you need to do is brown off your meat in a frying pan (the darker you get it the better) as this will seal in the juices and also colour and flavour the gravy that you will make as you’re cooking. The other task is imparting as much flavour as you can with vegetables, herbs, stocks, and spices. For this recipe I’ve made it simple – some salt and pepper, stock, chunky carrots and some roughly chopped carrots. That’s it!! I cooked mine for a bit longer on the lowest temperature on my slow cooker – 8 hours. It was deliciously soft and tender by the time it was ready. The effort was minimal and the satisfaction was maximum.

The best part about – there is always leftovers that you can use the day after for a nice stir fry or stunningly sumptuous beef brisket sandwich or wrap. The other bonus, other than my own satisfaction, is that my kids and family love it and always think you’re some amazing cook that has slaved away in the kitchen carefully looking after your roast, when in fact it is far from it. Sit back, relax, go for a Sunday stroll and come back to a awesome Sunday lunch.

Ingredients

Rolled Brisket

2-3 Carrots

4 Shallots or 1-2 Onions

500ml of beef Stock ( I use an Oxo cube dissolved in hot water)

1 Tbsp Cornflour

Method

  1. Unpack your meat and season by rubbing salt and pepper into the brisket. Roughly chop the onions and carrots and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. The slow cooker needs to be on the low setting for 7-8 hours or the high for 3-4 hours. Also, make the stock with 500 ml of hot water and a stock cube. Add any spices or herbs you like. I usually add some garlic and bay leaves (at least 2). Add the a tablespoon of cornflour to thicken the gravy throughout the cooking period.

  1. Sear the brisket in a hot frying pan. Do not add any oil to the pan. Sear all sides of the meat until it’s nice and dark brown. Don’t worry if parts of the meat catch and look too dark. This will add more flavour and give a lovely colour to your gravy.IMAG0131.jpg
  2. Add the meat to the slow cooker for the your chosen time. When ready get the meat out and rest for at least 15-20 minutes. This will help the meat relax and will be all the better for it.
  3. Remove the carrots and blend the liquid in the slow cooker to make a gravy. You can move liquid into a saucepan to reduce down for 5-10 mins if you like a thicker sauce.

We have this served with other veg and Yorkshire puddings. I will post my recipe for Yorkshire puddings soon.

Disability Hate Crime

 

My son is disabled. It is just a fact of life. He had a stroke and although this is awful, we don’t let it determine the way we live our lives. Of course there is an impact, but we don’t let it control our life, in fact I think it has enriched our lives in a lot of ways. We have experienced so many beautiful events and people that I feel have blessed us in so many unique ways. There are moments in life that are a bit harder, I am not going to lie. Whether it is having to find somewhere clean to change your disabled child when most places don’t have adequate facilities, or having to deal with people staring or making really cruel comments. Although I don’t like to focus on the negativity, I feel it is important to discuss some of the things that make it harder as well as the aspects that make it all worthwhile.

I got inspired to write this post by a new report on the BBC this morning – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41600137. It’s titled ‘ Disabled children hate crime reports increasing’ and it details how children (yes children!) faced with prejudiced and despicable acts of hate. I would like to say that this is not common, and in my experience it is not. This article focuses on one family who has a 23 month old daughter who ‘has hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, which causes her head to swell. It means at one point Lydia’s head was double its natural size. She also has cerebral palsy and is fed through a tube.’. Before we had J I would have thought it impossible that anyone could victimise a baby – a vulnerable, innocent child who can’t defend themselves. It is unconscionable to think any human being can do this, yet it happens more often than you think. The article states:

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Overall the number of disability hate crimes increased by 101%, from 1,531 in 2014-15, to 3,079 in 2016-17.

3079 cases of disability hate crime is one year! This is a shocking statistic for most, however I don’t find it surprising. Why? Because we have experienced it ourselves on a number of occasions. It may not be as bad as some, but it can still hurt.

When our son was born it was the most amazing event of our lives. He was diagnosed with having had a stroke a few days after birth and with epilepsy a few months later. It was a traumatic time in our lives, but we have a great life. It is full of love, fun and laughter the majority of time. He has overcome so many obstacles so far. We were told he wouldn’t walk, or talk, or do very much at all. He does have trouble walking so he uses a wheelchair when he can’t walk. He does have trouble with his communication and he is hard to understand. He has gone through long periods of selective mutism which impacts on his education. He has uncontrolled epilepsy which means he will need surgery at some point soon. Do you know what though, he still smiles through it all. He plays with his sister all the time, he makes our family so rich with love and experiences, I could only hope every family has a son as wonderful and as strong and determined as him. You can tell – I am quite taken with him. Just like any father would be. I would honestly give my life for him. If I could have had the stroke instead, I would have. My wife says the same. We can’t change that, and we wouldn’t change him for the world. Yes, we would like him to have it easier, but that’s life. You can’t change it. However, I think we need to educate people better about disability and difference. Hate crimes are avoidable through education. I don’t just mean at school either. We are educated every day – by our experiences; our interactions with different people, cultures and communities; by our parents and family, even by the people who we don’t get on with. We all need to learn acceptance of difference and disability. It’s easy for me to say I know, but it is our unique differences that make us interesting and worthwhile.

I was going to write this post a while ago but didn’t get round to it until reading that article today. It reminded me of a situation I dealt with last week whilst visiting our local Tesco Cafe. My son was getting over a ten day illness and my mother and I decided it would be nice to get J out for a well deserved treat. It was also one for myself as I was a dishevelled, knackered, exhausted mess after a very long few days. Tesco cafe isn’t the most glamourous of treats, but it is one J is familiar with and enjoys. He doesn’t always like new places and we wanted him to feel comfortable. We are used to people staring. Seeing a child in a wheelchair isn’t uncommon but people tend to stare anyway. That’s not what bothers me. It is the looks of fear and occasional disgust. I just don’t get it. Unfortunately, many people can’t hide the feeling from their faces. For example, I know when I am on the wrong side of my wife – her face says it all, even if her words don’t. I imagine I am the same. Well, on this Tesco visit we had the usual stares. It was busy though and the cafe was rammed. So much so we had to try to squeeze through spaces to get J’s wheelchair to our seats. This is where we encountered the looks of disgust. Maybe, this was just out of inconvenience as we had to ask them to get past. Don’t get me wrong, most people are willing to move and are helpful, but there are enough people out there where this is not the case. Just one person can make you feel annoyed unfortunately. It’s not fair as it is not our, or his fault. We also had two young women come to sit behind us, J was sitting in his wheelchair, and that he was a bit messy because he was eating and this can be a little bit of a challenge for him – especially to stay relatively clean. Needless to say, they didn’t like this and made the most awful look at J and his wheelchair, mumbled a few comments under their breath and then decided to move to the other side of the cafe. I mean the other side as well. They couldn’t have moved further away. It upset my mother and I was annoyed, but I thought it better not to react. We have had this experience numerous times and I always find it a really strange event. I think it is ignorance and a lack of understanding. Most people who get to know my son find him to be awesome. I mean awesome! He is a little shy when he meets someone new but when he eventually comes round he is always smiling.

There is a positive to this story though.A big positive. I think it happened for a reason as well. I am a great believer in that. We met a lovely lady whose name evades me as I am writing this. She sat behind us and she gave us and J a nice big, welcoming smile as she came to sit down. Without warning she said ‘Hi’. Wow just wow, a stranger who is willing to say hi and smile! It came as a jolt. So often nowadays we live our lives without really impacting each other. I love saying good morning to people in the street and smiling – it is a great way to spread a bit of happiness, although it is sparsely reciprocated. She then asked if she could say hello to J. I couldn’t help but say yes. She came over and sat on a chair in front of J and told us to ignore the stares and spoke directly to J. The worried look on his face soon evaporated and a smile lit up his face. If I could have given her the Nobel peace prize there and then, I would have. What a wonderful lady! It is moments and encounters like these that give me hope. After a little conversation we learned that she had a son, older than J, who had autism, and that she loved speaking to children who were like him. In that moment she gave me hope that people are inherently good, and that experience teaches us to be kind to each other. She left us much happier than when we had sat down. The treat that we had was not the cakes or coffee that we had consumed, it was the chance encounter we had had with a like minded human being. I wish this sort of experience on everyone. It has stuck with me since it happened. It will definitely be something I will try to reproduce for someone else. It made our day!

The article also shone light on more vocal encounters, with people making direct comments either face to face or online. This is less common in my experience but still happens. I experienced it when my son was a lot younger and I was also with my daughter. It was an older lady in a supermarket. I know, I am there a lot – I could pitch a tent there, it would be easier and save petrol! An older lady came up to us and spoke to our 18 month old daughter. She said she was lovely and beautiful. What a lovely thing to say, I agree. However, when discussion turned to J, her face changed to horror. I was surprised, he looks like any normal child, if you didn’t know he had a stroke and was not in a wheelchair you wouldn’t guess that he was different in anyway. His wheelchair was obviously the problem as she decided to say ‘he’s not right is he!’, the disgust on her face was ‘HD’. I was in shock, I did not know how to respond to be honest. This sweet, little old lady had just sucker punched me. She carried on after that as well. She even followed us round the shop further clarifying how wrong he was!!! I had to tell her to go away. I honestly couldn’t believe it. People were looking on, not saying anything though, but looking on, interested in our exchange. This woman really opened my eyes to how some people can be unnecessarily cruel. My son was coming up three so hopefully he won’t remember it. I will, forever. I do forgive her ignorance, but I cannot forget how hurtful her comments were. I have told people about this situation and always get the same reaction of horror and disbelief. I could let these type of occurrences change the way we live our life, yet I will never let that happen. I know most people are kind, generous and accepting. I want to teach my kids that. We just need to educate and change the attitudes of people that have not yet learnt the nuances of accepting difference.

The latter part of the article states something really troubling:

Amanda Batten of the Disabled Children’s Partnership said the findings echo a new survey it carried out of nearly 2,700 parents of disabled children which revealed hate crime and abuse was commonplace.

“Families often feel like they can’t go into busy public spaces or post images onto social media for fear of being publicly shamed or having to be submitted to people telling them that their child must lack quality of life because of their disability.

“The idea that so many parents and children with a disability are facing such a lack of support and outright abuse from the general public is truly heart breaking.”

Not one person or family should feel that they can’t go into busy public spaces, or post pictures of their loved ones on social media. I write my blog as a way of keeping myself busy and productive whilst being a stay at home dad. There’s no agenda for me. I just wanted to write. I find it fun. However, with this topic I hope that it opens the eyes and the hearts of someone who finds it hard to accept difference. Having worked in a school for five years helping to educate teenagers, I have learnt that you have to open an honest conversation to really engage people about changing attitudes and preconceptions. I would be happy if only one person read this and that helped them understand. The next time you see a person who is different try to make a positive impact. If you stare, why not make it a positive experience for them – smile, start a conversation, say a simple hello. It makes a difference, trust me.

I am happy to say there is a campaign launched under the hashtag #secretlivesofus by the Disabled Children’s Partnership which aims to challenge and break the barriers that disabled children and their families face. You can sign up here http://bit.ly/2t590Yw if you want. You can follow them on twitter as well https://twitter.com/DCPcampaign .

No Chilli Chicken Enchiladas

No Chilli  Chicken Enchiladas

If you can’t have chillis or chilli powder like me, this is a great recipe. I have always loved enchiladas – there’s nothing better than settling down for the night, watching your favourite TV show and then tucking into to a couple of tasty Mexican treats. I used to like mine spicy and cheesy. We used to do it the lazy way and buy the El Paso Enchilada kit, and although I loved it I would always add a few extras to make it spicier or a little bit more cheesy.

As I have mentioned a few times before, I cannot eat a few different things now due to a lot of ingredients triggering LPR. Enchiladas were going to be one of those recipes I was going to have to figure out pretty quickly – I could not live without this for too long. Needless to say I sorted a recipe out and it has gone through a few different changes to get it the way I like it over the past few months. I have tried it out on a few people, including my sister who is another mexican food lover like me. She loved it! I knew I was onto a winner and the litmus test had been passed.

I am a little biased obviously, but I think this recipe is far superior to any enchiladas I have tasted, although I haven’t been to Mexico so this recipe would probably be beaten by a traditional Mexican recipe. Maybe not. Suppose I will never know.

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

3 Chicken breast fillets – Sliced into thin strips

1 onion or 4 spring onions (milder flavour) – Sliced into strips

Tomato puree

Chopped tomatoes – half can – blended

1 Bell Peppers  – Sliced into strips

1 Beef tomato – roughly diced – chunks are better

2 tbsp cider vinegar

Chopped tomatoes

Corn flour – 1 tsp

1 1/2 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Paprika

Salt – To taste

2 tsp Chives

1 tsp Tumeric

200ml warm water with veg oxo cube dissolved

1 tbsp Tamarind Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Garlic Granules

100g Cream Cheese – Low fat (-5%)

Flour tortillas – Corn tortillas are better but I tend to have flour more often

Parmesan – 50g (or more if you like a stronger cheesy flavour)

Method

  1. Prepare the vegetables and chicken by slicing them all into strips of roughly equal size.
  2. Soften the onions in a pan for 5 mins. They should be translucent when they are ready.
  3. Add the beef tomatoes and cooked for a 3 mins on a medium heat.
  4. Add the cider vinegar and cook off the liquid until evaporated.
  5. Add the peppers and make sure to stir constantly until softened.
  6. Add the spices and herbs including the garlic but not the tamarind sauce.
  7. Add some corn flour – this will thicken the liquid that we are going to add. Stir for a minute until the cornflour has combined with the ingredients.
  8. Add the water and stir all the ingredients in.
  9. Blend the half can of chopped tomatoes and add to the sauce.
  10. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins until the sauce has reduced to a thick concentrated sauce. Add the tamarind here and simmer for another 5 mins.
  11. Put one half of the sauce aside.
  12. Brown the chicken in a pan. This takes about 5 mins. Add the sauce and cook for a further 5 mins.
  13. Preheat your oven to 220C or 200C for fan assisted.
  14. While this is good grate your parmesan, ready 4 – 6 tortilla by lining them with low fat cream cheese and a little bit of parmesan or low fat mature cheddar.
  15. Add the chicken and sauce and roll your tortillas. If you’re using the flour tortillas you will need to cook them without a topping first in order to get that crispy finish, otherwise it will become soggy and not very tasty. I use a George Foreman Grill, but a panini press with also do the job. It doesn’t take long. You want a nice browning or charring on the tortilla.
  16. Assemble the enchiladas in an oven proof dish.
  17. Then pour the rest of your sauce over the middle of the enchiladas. Do not full cover unless using corn tortillas.
  18. I then dollop cream cheese over the and then grate parmesan over the top.IMG_0264.JPG
  19. Place in the oven for 20-25 mins until the cheese and melted and starting to crisp.
  20. I serve mine with a nice Avocado salad and sweet potato wedges.

If you do try this, tell me what you think. It’s not the usual/traditional way to make enchiladas but it is extremely delicious and is definitely within the realm of mexican flavours I like.