Frittata

This recipe was inspired by Harrison Ford’s character in the film Morning Glory. When the film ended I was left pondering a couple of questions: What exactly is a frittata (I’d previously had one for lunch at the canteen at work and to me it was just an omelette served at lunch time instead of breakfast)? And, What makes a frittata so special that the character only made it for the people that were special to him? I decided to do some research and have some fun in the kitchen finding out.

I now know that a frittata normally consists of eggs beaten with milk or cream that is poured over cooked meat or vegetables and slowly baked. Some people think of it as a crust-less quiche. It’s is normally eaten cold so it is perfect as a picnic food. However, I’ve found that I prefer to eat it warm, and it’s a brilliant dish for using up meats and veggies that you find in the fridge at the end of the week.

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In a frittata the meat or vegetables are cooked off before the egg is added so that any water they release evaporates. This gives the egg a firmer texture once it is cooked. The pan should also be really hot before adding in the eggs as this produces a fluffier frittata.

In essence I think a fritatta is definitely a bit more special than an omelette. Adding the cream to the egg, and herbs to the filling gives it a richer flavour. I also add minced garlic to the egg mixture which takes the flavours to yet another level. Indeed a fritatta is now my new go-to brunch recipe.


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Frittata Recipe

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • 60 ml double cream
  • 60 g grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80 g mushrooms sliced
  • 60 g spinach roughly sliced
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 120 g ham chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 0.5 tsp dried mixed herbs

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional).
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, cheese and garlic.
  3. Heat oil in an oven-proof frying pan over a medium heat.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for around 2 minutes. Then add in the spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes until any water they release has evaporated.
  5. Add in the spring onions and stir for around a minute before adding in the ham.
  6. Turn up the heat to high. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the herbs. Stir for another minute until the pan is sizzling.
  7. Spread the mushrooms and ham out using a wooden spoon then pour the egg mixture on top.
  8. Remove from the hob and place in the oven for 20 minutes until set.

NOTES

  • Serve warm or cold.
  • The ham and mushrooms and spinach can be substituted with other fillings just be sure to cook them before adding the egg to release and evaporate water they give off.
  • The double cream can be substituted for milk, just use 40 ml of milk instead since it has a thinner consistency.
  • A plant based double cream alternative (such as Elmlea Plant) can also be used here to reduce the dairy and fat content.

Air Fryer Honey Mustard Salmon

This is an easy salmon recipe that can be cooked entirely in an air fryer, which makes for an easy clean up after dinner. In this dish seasoned salmon fillets are first air fried until they are crispy. The honey mustard sauce can then be made in the air fryer pan and is served over the salmon. There is sweetness from the honey and the slight pepperiness of the mustard goes really well with the salmon flavours.

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Air Fryer Honey Mustard Salmon Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

for the salmon:

  • 520 g salmon fillets (around 4 fillets)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp avocado oil

for the honey mustard sauce:

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2.5 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat your air fryer at 200 °C for 3 minutes. I would completely recommend the Ninja 3.8 Litre Air Fryer, I use mine pretty every day – from making dinners to reheating leftovers for lunch.
  2. Season the salmon fillets with a sprinkling of salt and pepper along with the garlic powder, and coat in the oil.
  3. Once the air fryer is preheated, carefully add the crisper plate to the air fryer pan and arrange the salmon fillets on top. Try to spread the fillets out as much as possible. Air fry for 10 minutes until the fillets are brown on top.
  4. Remove the fillets, place them in an oven proof serving dish, cover with foil and put in the oven on a low heat to keep warm.
  5. Use tongs to carefully remove the crisper plate from the air fryer pan. Rinse pan out and dry with kitchen roll.
  6. Add oil to the air fryer pan and heat for 1 minute on 200 °C.
  7. Stir in the onion and garlic and air fry for 1-2 minutes. The onion should have softened, but you don’t want to burn the garlic.
  8. Add the honey, mustard and lemon juice and stir well. Air fry for a further 2 minutes.
  9. Pour the sauce on top of the salmon fillets. OR if you prefer your salmon to be slightly charred you can add the fillets to the sauce in the air fryer pan flesh side down. Then turn them over to make sure they are coated in the sauce, then air fry for a further 1 minute.

NOTES

  • Serve with wild rice or mashed potatoes, and a salad.

Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti Bolognese is a family favourite in my household. The kids have fun slurping up the spaghetti, my other half loves it as the sauce is full of flavour and protein, and I enjoy making it as it’s quick and easy, perfect for a mid-week meal. A lot of recipes for Bolognese sauce include red wine, however I like to make mine a fancy by adding in some port. It uplifts the flavour of the meat and adds a little sweetness to the sauce that works so well with the tomatoes.

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Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1.5 large white onions finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 750 g minced beef
  • 3 low salt beef stock cubes crushed
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 120 ml port
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 0.5 tsp mixed dried herbs (thyme, oregano, basil)
  • 3 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 400 g tin peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml water use to wash out the tomato tin
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Add in the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  3. Turn up the heat and add in the mince. Cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly until the meat has browned.
  4. Add in the port and stir through for two minutes until the alcohol smell goes away.
  5. Lower the heat and add in the crushed stock cubes and the tomato puree and stir well.
  6. Add in the rest of the ingredients apart from the salt and pepper and stir through.
  7. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on low for 25 to 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTES

  • Serve with spaghetti and top with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Use any left over sauce as a topping for baked potatoes (white or sweet) for lunch the next day.
  • You can make this vegetarian by substituting the beef mince for Quorn mince and use vegetable

Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels sprouts: Love them? Or Hate them? I’ve always been quite indifferent about eating brussels sprouts, we used to only eat them occasionally so I’ve never really minded them. We would steam them or sauté them with onions, and at Christmas a little bacon was sometimes added to the mix. However, I recently tried a different method of cooking them, and this has made the humble sprout my new favourite vegetable! In this recipe the sprouts are first slightly charred in a pan before being mixed with cream, parmesan and crispy bacon. I think it’s the char that lifts the flavour of sprouts to another level – divine! I hope you will try this out and let me know what you think – even you sprout haters 😊

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Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 130 g smoked streaky bacon
  • 400 g brussels sprouts (peeled, trimmed and halved)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 180 ml double cream (I used my favourite Elmlea Plant Double Cream Alternative)
  • 25 g parmesan cheese grated
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • finely chopped spring onions to garnish (optional)

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil on a high heat in a deep frying pan or wok and add the bacon rashers. Cook for 5 minutes, turning halfway, until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon, chop into pieces and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to medium- high. Add the sprouts and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until some of the sprouts char slightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the lid and steam for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for a further minute.
  4. Add the cream, parmesan and pepper and stir for a minute. Then add the bacon and stir through.

NOTES

  • This is a great side for a roast dinner.
  • For a vegetarian/vegan dish you can substitute the bacon with halved button mushrooms and ensure you use a double cream alternative.

Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I am currently embroiled in a love affair with my new air fryer (yes, I’m such a kitchen geek)! I’d wanted one of these for a couple of years now, but had always talked myself out of buying one. I thought it would be just another kitchen gadget that I’d quickly loose interest in, that would remain on my kitchen counter taking up precious space. However, I could not have been more wrong. These things are amazing! I honestly wish I had bought one sooner. Somehow they add crispness and flavour to foods even without prior marinating (and I’m the marinating queen) and all with minimal oil.

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After lots of research I decided on the Ninja AF100UK as it seemed perfect for a family of four, and I have not been disappointed. It’s really easy to use (I used it without looking at the manual) and cleaning up is easy as the pan and grilling tray are non-stick and can be popped into the dishwasher. Honestly, I’ve found a way to use it every day since it arrived and the great thing is that I can make healthier meals for my family without compromising on the taste.

One of my kids’ favourite treats are freshly fried cinnamon sugar donuts (the kind I remember getting at the fair when I was little), so I decided to have a go at making a slightly healthier air fryer version. I kept the recipe pretty much the same as when I make them for the frying pan, but reduced the cooking time and brushed the surfaces of the donuts with melted butter after they were cooked to give the cinnamon sugar something to cling on to. The result is a tasty, sugary, soft donut that the kids could easily polish off in one sitting. And unlike the frying pan version there was no excess oil to have to somehow discard afterwards.


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Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Recipe

Makes: 12 ring donuts and 12 donut holes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Leavening Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the donuts:

  • 205 g strong white bread flour
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 7 g dried fast action yeast
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 50 g salted butter melted, slightly cooled plus extra for greasing the bowl
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract        
  • 1 medium egg beaten

For greasing the donuts before and after air frying:

  • 6 tbsp melted butter

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the donuts (flour, sugar, yeast, nutmeg).
  2. Add the milk, vanilla extract and egg to the butter and mix well.
  3. Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients whilst mixing with a spoon until a slightly tacky dough is formed.
  4. Knead by hand or using dough hooks on a hand mixer for around 5-10 minutes until the dough is less tacky.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the inside of the bowl with some additional melted butter, it doesn’t matter if the bowl has some dough residue. Then place the dough back into the bowl and turn it over so that the top and bottom is greased.
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and place a clean tea towel on top. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 even balls and spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the tea towel and cling film. Use a rolling pin to flattten the dough balls into rounds approximately 6 cm in diameter and 8 mm thick.
  9. Use a 3 cm diameter round cookie cutter to cut out donut holes. Set the donut holes aside.
  10. Brush tops of donuts and donut holes with a quarter of the remaining butter. Turn them over and brush the other side of the donuts and donut holes with another quarter of the butter.
  11. Heat the air fryer at 190 °C for 3 minutes.
  12. Cook the donuts in batches (I cooked 4 at a time) on the crisper tray in the air fryer for one minute per batch until the donuts just start to go a tiny bit brown. Cook the donut hole batch for around 45 seconds.
  13. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  14. Brush the tops and bottoms of the donuts and donut holes with the remaining butter, then toss them one by one in the cinnamon sugar.

NOTES

  • These are best devoured while they are warm.
  • Don’t over cook as they will get hard.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

In keeping with my theme of hygge for January (and as a nod to Vaganuary), there’s nothing more cosy than indulging in a hot chocolate and a slice of cake on the sofa whilst snuggled under a warm blanket. Here is my favourite hot chocolate recipe – it’s rich, smooth and vegan. It’s really quick and easy to make and requires only 4 ingredients.

Now, I’m not actually vegan, and I don’t think I ever will be (since I love meat so much), however I do recognise and value the health and environmental benefits of plant based foods. For these reasons I started incorporating vegan dishes into my diet. And I actually believe that some vegan foods actually taste better than their animal product containing counterparts. A prime example is the vegan hot chocolate recipe. It’s so creamy and delicious, and all without the dairy!

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Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Makes: 1 mug
Preparation Time: 1 minute
Heating Time: 1-1.5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • oat milk

METHOD

  1. Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar and cinnamon to a microwavable mug and mix well.
  2. Add a few drops of milk and mix well to make a paste. Keep adding the milk a few drops at a time until the paste starts to thin out. Then stir in the rest of the milk.
  3. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and enjoy!

NOTES

  • If making hot chocolate for a number of people then just multiply the quantities by the number of mugs required. Add the dry ingredients to a sauce pan and mix well before gradually adding in the oat milk and mixing well. Heat on a low-medium heat for around 3-4 minutes. Do not let it boil.
  • Serve topped with plant based whipped cream – I love whipping up some Elmlea Double Plant Cream Alternative. Mini marshmallows are also preferable.
  • I would recommend Oatly oat drink as a non-dairy alternative to milk as it doesn’t curdle like some oat milks do and it doesn’t have the strong taste that you often get with coconut or nut-based milks.

The Ultimate Burger

Happy New Year!

With December being the month for giving to others, I think January should be the month for being kind to yourself. After over indulging and over spending during the Christmas season this new month is the perfect time to reset, recharge and prepare yourself for the year ahead. Often there is pressure to hit the ground running in January – I used to set myself big resolutions for the New Year, sometimes they were over ambitious and I would crash and burn after a couple of weeks and feel disappointed. So now I take a more chilled out approach. Being in the dark depths of winter, and now in the middle of yet another lockdown (here in the UK), this was always set to be a tough month. So, I think January is the perfect time to unleash your inner hygge! Make sure you are comfortable and cozy, and do things that make you content. Take that bubble bath, read a novel, binge on a series (I would totally recommend Bridgerton by the way), eat well and nourish your body but allow yourself a little comfort food too. Just ease your mind and body into the new year. Then, when YOU’RE ready take your place in the world and slay 2021!

On the notion of comfort food, I have an amazing burger recipe to share. The patties are well seasoned and then double cooked to perfection – they are first browned on a grill pan and then steamed in the oven. The result is a super succulent burger with a tender texture and uber flavour. Trust me, this beats any restaurant burger, and is incredibly quick and easy to make for mid-week meal.

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The Ultimate Burger Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 32 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the burger patties:

  • 1 slice of bread (crustless and cut into 1 cm squared chunks)
  • 40 ml milk (I use oat milk but dairy milk is fine too)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced and chopped
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 0.5 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 750 g beef steak mince (around 15% fat)

To put the burgers together:

  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 4 yellow cheese slices
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato finely sliced
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 8 slices of crinkle cut pickled gherkin
  • BBQ sauce, yellow mustard or additional ketchup
  • 4 slices grilled smoked streaky bacon (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional).
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the burger patties together except for the mince.
  3. Add the mince and use clean hands to mix thoroughly.
  4. Divide the seasoned meat into 4 pieces and shape into patties.
  5. Heat a lightly oiled grill pan on a medium heat. Cook the burgers two at a time for 6 minutes on each side. I use my Tefal Grill Pan.
  6. Place the burgers in a baking tin and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Assemble the burger. Around 5 minutes before the burgers are done place the buns in the bottom of the oven to warm up. Slice the bun in half and top with a cheese slice lettuce and tomato. Add a burger patty. Top with your sauce of choice, sliced onions, a couple of gherkin slices and bacon if using.

NOTES

Paratha Roti

I love bread and pretty much anything full of carbs (though I really do try hard to to make sure I eat in moderation – so difficult). I’ve been experimenting with flat breads such as naan and tortillas, but I’m really loving roti at the moment, especially the Trinidadian-style paratha roti which also goes by the edgy name of “buss up shut”. This flat bread is soft but is super flaky. It is normally eaten with meat or lentil curries as the flaky texture of the roti makes it perfect for dipping into sauces. In Trinidad the colloquial term “buss up shut” refers a shirt that worn and torn up, the texture of the flaky parathas looks similar to this, hence the alias of “buss up shut” when referring to the roti.

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Rotis are surprisingly made from only a few basic ingredients that you’re already likely to have in your kitchen: flour, water, sugar , salt, oil, baking powder and butter. It is the technique when making the dough that produces the flakiness. In essence the dough is rolled out flat and brushed with butter before being rolled into a special cone shape and left to rest. Prior to cooking these dough cones are rolled out flat. It is the layers of dough separated by the butter that produces the flakes.


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Paratha Roti Recipe

Makes: 8 rotis
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp caster sugar
  • 220 ml water
  • 115 g butter melted

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, oil, salt and sugar and mix well.
  2. Add the water in use your hands to form a dough. Knead it in the bowl for 2-3 minutes. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into eight balls.
  4. On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a thin circle approximately 27-28 cm in diameter.
  5. Brush the top surface of the dough circle with some of the melted butter and then lightly sprinkle some flour on top.
  6. Cut a radial slit from the centre of the dough circle to the edge. Take the dough at one edge of the slit and roll the dough into a tall cone enveloping the buttered surface. Place the cone on a plate and push inwards the peak of the cone.
  7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 for the remaining dough balls. Cover with clingfilm and leave these slightly flattened dough cones to rest for a further 30 minutes.
  8. On a low-medium heat brush the base of a frying pan with butter. Roll one of the dough cones out on a floured surface such that it forms a 28 cm diameter circle again. I use a Tefal frying pan for this, click here for more details.
  9. Place on the frying pan and brush the top surface with melted butter. Allow it to cook for around 3 minutes until it begins to puff up. Flip it over and allow the roti to cook for a further 3 minutes.
  10. Repeat steps 8 to 9 for the remaining dough cones.

NOTES

  • Serve with lentils or a curry.
  • These are also ideal for making wraps.

Banana Bread

I know I’m a bit late to the banana bread party (everyone seemed to be baking banana bread during quarantine/lockdown!), but I found myself making banana bread today and wanted to share my favourite go-to recipe. This banana bread is so quick and easy to make – it can be prepared in less than 10 minutes! The result is a moist banana bread that is not overly sweet. It’s ideal as a snack, but because it is less sweet than some versions it’s also really good for breakfast spread with Nutella.

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Banana Bread Recipe

Makes: 1 loaf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking: 45-50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 115 g unsalted butter melted, plus extra for greasing the loaf tin
  • 3 medium bananas mashed
  • 2 large eggs beaten at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp almond essence
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 240 g plain flour

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C fan (190 °C conventional). Grease a 2lb (23 cm x 13 cm) loaf tin with unsalted butter.
  2. Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in the bananas eggs, vanilla essence and almond essence.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one third at a time and mixing well.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean
  6. Leave to cool in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack.

NOTES

  • This is delicious served warm.
  • Great for breakfast spread with chocolate spread.

Korean-Style Turkey Mince Bowl

This is my take on the Korean beef bowl, but substituting leaner minced turkey for the beef. In this dish the mince is cooked with an onion, garlic and ginger base and flavoured with soy sauce, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. This results in a deeply savoury mince with a hint of sweetness. It is finished off with a garnish of spring onions, sesame seeds and chilli flakes for a restaurant quality dish that can be cooked within 20 minutes! Perfect for a tasty quick and easy mid-week meal.

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Korean-Style Turkey Mince Bowl Recipe

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I use light olive oil)
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • Thumb sized piece ginger grated
  • 4 spring onions white part finely chopped (chop the green part and reserve for the garnish)
  • 1 kg lean minced turkey
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper

Garnish:

  • sesame seeds
  • chilli flakes
  • chopped spring onion (the green part from the above)

METHOD

  1. In a wok or sauté pan heat oil on a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, approximately 5 minutes. I would recommend the Sky Light Wok Pan, it’s a versatile good quality wok, you can find out more about it here.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the turkey mince and mix well. Cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally until brown.
  4. Add in the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil and pepper. Stir well and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring regularly.
  5. Garnish with sesame seeds, chilli flakes and spring onion.

NOTES

  • Served with steamed white rice and steamed broccoli.
  • This dish is also perfect to take to work for lunch as it reheats really well in the microwave.