Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites

Pork belly is my guilty pleasure. I just love the taste of well-seasoned pork with a crisp skin. This is most probably due to my Filipino roots, where spit roasted pork, or “lechon” as it is called in Tagalog, with its crispy crackling was the feature of many Filipino parties growing up. Now, I’ve never mastered the complexities of producing crispy crackling in the oven (let alone on a spit), however I have discovered that I can produce something similar using my air fryer.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Pork Belly: I use pork belly strips from the supermarket and cut them up into bite size pieces, around 1.5 cm to 2 cm thick.
  • Garlic Powder: Gives the pork a rich savoury flavour.
  • Salt: This brings out the flavour of the meat and the garlic. If you will be drizzling sauce over the pork then use less salt, around 0.25 tsp of salt should do.

How To Make Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites

Step One: Pre-heat air fryer at 200 °C (400 °F) for 5 minutes. I use my trusty Ninja Air Fryer for this.

Step Two: Use kitchen roll to pat 500 g pork belly slices dry.

Step Three: Cut the pork into bite-size pieces roughly 1.5 – 2 cm thick.

Step Four: Add the pork belly bites to a large bowl and mix in 1 tsp garlic powder, 0.25 tsp onion powder, 0.25 – 0.5 tsp salt and 0.25 tsp black pepper.

Step Five: Spread the seasoned pork bites on the crisper tray in the air fryer pan.

Step Six: Air fry for 5 minutes at 200 °C (400 °F) . Use tongs to turn the pork over. Air fry again for a further 5 minutes. If you would like the pork to be super crispy then you can turn the pork over again and air fry for a further 5 minutes.

How To Serve Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites

  • This can be served as a main dish with rice, as a topping for a salad, or as an appetizer.
  • Drizzle with hoisin sauce.

Tips for Making Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites

  • For an extra crisp pork, ensure that the meat is as dry as possible before seasoning. To do this pat the pork belly slices with kitchen roll.
  • There is no need to add oil to the pork. It will release it’s own fat during the cooking process.
  • You can add a little water to the bottom of the air fryer pan before placing the crisper tray over it. The water will prevent the fat and any other juices released by the meat from smoking.

Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites Recipe


Serves:
4
Preparation Time:
5 minutes
Cooking Time:
10 – 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g pork belly slices
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.25 tsp onion powder
  • 0.25 – 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat air fryer at 200 °C (400 °F) for 5 minutes. I use a Ninja Air Fryer.
  2. Use kitchen roll to pat the pork belly dry.
  3. Cut the pork into bite-size pieces roughly 1.5 – 2 cm thick.
  4. Add the pork to a large bowl along with the rest of the ingredients (garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper). Mix well.
  5. Spread the seasoned pork bites on the crisper tray in the air fryer pan.
  6. Air fry for 5 minutes at 200 °C (400 °F) . Use tongs to turn the pork over. Air fry again for a further 5 minutes. If you would like the pork to be super crispy then you can turn the pork over again and air fry for a further 5 minutes.

NOTES

  • Serve drizzled with your preferred sauce – I love this with hoisin sauce.

Golden Vegetable Rice

Golden vegetable rice is a quick and easy savoury side dish that’s perfect for when you fancy a change from plain rice. This golden rice gets its flavour from stock, and its colour from turmeric. It is packed with vegetables and it makes the perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken. I often see ready-made, microwaveable versions of this in the supermarkets, however, not only this super simple to make from scratch, but the homemade version tastes way better and is much healthier for you.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Long Grain Rice: Use a good quality rice such as Tilda.
  • Turmeric: Gives the rice a golden yellow colour.
  • Stock: I use stock made up from one chicken Oxo stock cube. You could use fresh stock if you have it, and vegetable stock works too.

How To Make Golden Vegetable Rice

Step One: Heat 1 tbsp light olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.

Step Two: Add 0.5 onion finely chopped and cook for 5 minutes until soft.

Step Three: Add in 2 cloves garlic minced and 0.5 tsp turmeric and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Step Four: Add in 265 g long grain rice and 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Step Five: Add in 75 g frozen mixed vegetables to the top and cover again with the lid. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Step Six: Mix the vegetables into the rice and season with salt and pepper.

How To Serve Golden Vegetable Rice

  • Serve as a side dish with fish or chicken. This is superb with Blackened Salmon.

Tips for Making Golden Vegetable Rice

  • Use a good quality parboiled long grain rice as these tend to stay firm when cooked, preventing soggy rice. My rice of preference in Tilda Long Grain Rice.
  • The idea is to add enough liquid (stock) such that it is absorbed by the rice, and so that there is no need to drain the rice when cooked. If you find that the rice is getting cooked, but that there is still a lot of stock visible then take the lid off the pan. This will allow some of the water to evaporate.

Golden Vegetable Rice Recipe


Serves:
4
Preparation Time:
5 minutes
Cooking Time:
20 – 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 265 g long grain rice
  • 500 ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 75 g frozen mixed vegetables
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  3. Add in the garlic and turmeric and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and the stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid and leave to cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables to the top and cover again with the lid. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the vegetables into the rice and season with salt and pepper.

NOTES

  • Serve with chicken or fish.

Air Fryer Cajun Prawns

Prawns are such a quick and easy protein source for easy weekday meals. They are wonderful because they are awesome at absorbing the flavours of any herbs and spices they are mixed with. One of my go-to dinner recipes is cajun prawns cooked in the air fryer. They are succulent, full of flavour and literally take less than 10 minutes to cook in the air fryer.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • King Prawns: I use raw king prawns as I want them to be succulent once cooked.
  • Cajun Spice Blend: I make my own spice blend from smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, ground all spice and ground ginger.

How To Make Air Fryer Cajun Prawns

Step One: Pre-heat the air fryer at 200 °C (400 °F) for 5 minutes. I use my Ninja Air Fryer

Step Two: Mix together 2 tsp smoked paprika, 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper, 0.5 tsp mustard powder, 1/8 tsp ground all spice and 1/8 tsp ground ginger.

Step Three: Pour 4 tbsp melted butter and the spice blend from the previous step over 500 g raw king prawns and mix well.

Step Four: Spread the prawns out in an even layer on the crisper tray. Cook for 4 minutes.

Step Five: Turn the prawns over and cook for a further 4 minutes.

How To Serve Air Fryer Cajun Prawns

  • Serve with rice, lemon wedges and a garden salad.

Tips for Making Air Fryer Cajun Prawns

  • Don’t overcook the prawns as they will become tough in texture.

Air Fryer Cajun Prawns Recipe


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

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g raw king prawns
  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the air fryer at 200 °C (400 °F) for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the spices together.
  3. Pour the melted butter and spices over the prawns and mix well.
  4. Spread the prawns out in an even layer on the crisper tray. Cook for 4 minutes. You might have to cook the prawns in two batches if your air fryer is small.
  5. Turn the prawns over and cook for a further 4 minutes.

NOTES

  • Serve with lemon wedges.

Sticky Hoisin Ribs

If you are a fan of ribs and are awaiting barbecue season, then this oven baked ribs recipe is one to try. Tender, fall of the bone meat with a sticky, sweet and salty hoisin glaze. These ribs are always a hit with my family. The ribs are first brined in the fridge. Then they are steamed in the oven before being slathered in hoisin sauce and caramelised to perfection.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Pork Ribs: I get these from my local supermarket and they come cut into individual ribs (as opposed to the whole rack).
  • Salt: This is the key ingredient for making a brine. Brine is basically a solution containing salt and water. It can also contain herbs and spices for extra flavour. Meat can be soaked in brine and this causes the meat to absorb the water. In this recipe soaking the ribs in a salt-water-spice solution adds depth of flavour and the salt also makes the meat on the ribs more succulent.
  • Hoisin Sauce: I personally love Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce. It has a lovely sweet and salty flavour with a hint of garlic. It’s quite concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

How To Make Sticky Hoisin Ribs

Step One: Add 3 cloves garlic minced, 1 tbsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt and 1.5 tsp brown sugar to a medium sized baking dish. Add enough water to just add a layer of liquid to the bottom of the dish and mix well until the sugar and salt has dissolved.

Step Two: Add in the ribs and make sure they are coated in the liquid. Top up with warm/room temperature water such that the ribs are completely submerged in liquid.

Step Three: Cover with clingfilm and place the baking dish in the fridge for 2 hours to over night.

Step Four: Preheat your oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional/Gas Mark 6/400 °F).

Step Five: Transfer the ribs to another baking dish and cover with foil. Discard the brine. Bake the ribs with the foil on for 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 200 °C fan (220 °C conventional/Gas Mark 7/425 °F).

Step Six: Brush the ribs all over with half of the hoisin sauce (50 g) and return the ribs to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Step Seven: Brush the ribs all over with the remaining (50 g) of hoisin sauce and turn the ribs over. Cook for another 10 minutes until the ribs are starting to go brown and the sauce begins to caramelise.

How To Serve Sticky Hoisin Ribs

  • For a Chinese style meal serve with stir fried noodles and vegetables, or fried rice.
  • Ribs are a great addition to a fakeaway – sometimes I also cook ribs on pizza night.

Tips for Making Sticky Hoisin Ribs

  • The brine really does add flavour to the meat. Even if you only have enough time to brine the ribs in the fridge for an hour do not skip this step. Brining the ribs over night is more ideal.
  • These can also be cooked on the barbecue. Just follow the steps to when the ribs are steamed in the oven (Step 5) and then finish the ribs off on the barbecue.

Sticky Hoisin Ribs Recipe


Serves:
4
Preparation Time:
5 mins
(plus 2 hours to over night for brining)
Cooking Time:
1 hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar
  • hot water and warm water
  • 700 g pork ribs
  • 100 g Hoisin sauce

METHOD

  1. Add the garlic, onion powder, salt and sugar to a medium sized baking dish. Add enough water to just add a layer of liquid to the bottom of the dish and mix well until the sugar and salt has dissolved.
  2. Add in the ribs and make sure they are coated in the liquid. Top up with warm/room temperature water such that the ribs are completely submerged in liquid.
  3. Cover with clingfilm and place the baking dish in the fridge for 2 hours to over night.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional/Gas Mark 6/400 °F).
  5. Transfer the ribs to another baking dish and cover with foil. Discard the brine. Bake the ribs with the foil on for 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 200 °C fan (220 °C conventional/Gas Mark 7/425 °F).
  6. Brush the ribs all over with hoisin sauce and return the ribs to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Brush the ribs all over with a second coat of hoisin sauce and turn the ribs over. Cook for another 10 minutes until the ribs are starting to go brown and the sauce begins to caramelise.

Easy Chicken and Lentil Curry

This easy, hearty curry can be made in minutes and is perfect for busy week day evenings. It contains tender chicken thigh fillets, red lentils and chopped tomatoes, but is brought together by a super tasty blend of spices. Serve with basmati rice and steamed veggies for a healthy family dinner packed full of protein and flavour.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Chicken Thigh Fillets: I love chicken thigh fillets as they are succulent and more flavoursome than chicken breast.
  • Peeled chopped tomatoes: The curry sauce is tomato based, so is a little healthier than those based on coconut milk.
  • Red Lentils: Red lentils do not require as much time to cook as some other lentil varieties so they are ideal for this quick curry.
  • Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Ground Ginger, Ground Fenugreek: This blend of spices brings a wonderful flavour to the dish and ties it all together.

How To Make Easy Chicken and Lentil Curry

Step 1: In a large pan heat 2 tbsp light olive oil on a medium-low heat. Fry 1 large finely chopped onion for 5 – 7 minutes until soft and translucent. I like to use a large wok with a lid for this.

Step 2: Add in 3 cloves minced garlic, 1.5 tbsp medium curry powder, 0.5 tsp garam masala, 0.5 tsp ground ginger and 2 tsp ground fenugreek, and cook for an additional 2 minutes stirring throughout.

Step 3: Add in 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, 100 g rinsed red lentils, 400 g peeled chopped tomatoes and 200ml water and stir well. Turn up the heat a little to bring it all to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes without the lid.

Step 4: Give it a stir and then cover the pan with the lid. Allow to simmer with the lid on for a further 15 minutes, stirring again after 7 minutes.

Step 5: Add 0.5 tsp dried coriander and 0.5 – 0.75 tsp salt (according to your taste) and stir through again.

How To Serve Easy Chicken and Lentil Curry

  • Serve with basmati rice, and your choice of steamed vegetables.
  • For a more indulgent meal add a drizzle of plain yoghurt, and also serve with my paratha roti or easy garlic naan.

Tips for Making Easy Chicken and Lentil Curry

  • Take a bit of time to fry the onions until they are soft and translucent as this releases a nice savoury, but less pungent, flavour of the onion which makes the perfect base for this dish.

Easy Chicken and Lentil Curry Recipe


Serves:
4 – 6
Preparation Time:
10 minutes
Cooking Time:
35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1.5 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 0.5 tsp garam masala
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets
  • 100 g red lentils
  • 400 g peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 200 ml water
  • 0.5 tsp dried coriander
  • salt to taste (around 0.5 – 0.75 tsp)

METHOD

  1. In a large pan heat the oil on a medium-low heat. Fry the onions for 5 – 7 minutes until soft and translucent. A large wok with a lid is ideal for this.
  2. Add the garlic and spices (curry powder, garam masala, ground ginger and fenugreek) and cook for an additional 2 minutes stirring throughout.
  3. Add in the chicken, lentils, tomatoes and water and stir well. Turn up the heat a little to bring it all to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes without the lid.
  4. Give it a stir and then cover the pan with the lid. Allow to simmer with the lid on for a further 15 minutes, stirring again after 7 minutes.
  5. Add the coriander and salt and stir through again.

NOTES

  • Garnish with some additional dried coriander and a drizzle of plain yoghurt.

Turkish-Style Yoghurt Soup with Chicken and Wild Rice

This rich chicken soup contains yoghurt and shredded chicken for protein, hearty wild rice and a delicious paprika garlic butter. I first tried this at one of my local Turkish restaurants. I loved it, and knew I had to learn to make it myself. It’s such an easy soup to make. Great for lunches, or when you’re feeling under the weather, and it also makes an impressive starter.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Chicken Fillets and Chicken Stock: The base of the soup is chicken stock. The shredded chicken meat makes it more fulfilling.
  • Egg Yolk and Yoghurt: Add a slight thickness and creaminess to the soup, though it’s not as creamy as most british soups which normally contain cream. The yoghurt also adds a slight tanginess which works well with the paprika and garlic.
  • Wild Rice: The rice gives this soup more substance and makes it really hearty. Traditional recipes use white rice however, I use wild rice in my version as it has a slight nutty flavour that balances well with the rest of the soup flavours.
  • Paprika Garlic Butter: Think of this as a soup garnish, but it gives the soup flavours more of a wow factor and adds a lovely red/orange colour to the soup.

How To Make Turkish-Style Yoghurt Soup with Chicken and Wild Rice

Step One: In a small saucepan bring 240 ml water to the boil. Add in 90 g wild rice and lower the heat. Simmer with the lid on for around 50 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Step Two: In the meantime add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan on a medium heat add one medium onion diced and cook for around 5 minutes until softened.

Step Three: Add in one carrot diced and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Step Four: Add in 500 g chicken thigh or breast fillets, along with 1 litre chicken stock, and simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Step Five: Drain and remove the chicken fillets. Use two forks to pull the meat apart so that it is shredded. Set aside.

Step Six: Strain the chicken stock. Discard the carrot and onion.

Step Seven: In a large bowl add in 240 ml plain yoghurt, one egg yolk and 2 tbsp plain flour. Whisk together until smooth.

Step Eight: Spoon the chicken stock into the yoghurt-egg yolk-flour mixture around 2 tablespoonfuls at a time to begin with and whisk thoroughly. Gradually add in more and more stock until all the stock has been incorporated. Really go slow with this step so that the egg doesn’t curdle.

Step Nine: Add this mixture back into the saucepan along with the shredded chicken and cooked wild rice. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Step Ten: Make the paprika garlic butter. In a small frying pan heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter over a medium-low heat. Add in 3 cloves garlic crushed, 2 tsp paprika and 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper. Fry for around 3 minutes until the garlic starts to go brown.

Step Eleven: Either add the paprika garlic butter mixture to the rest of the soup and stir in, or dish the soup into four bowls and drizzle decoratively with the paprika garlic butter.

How To Serve Turkish-Style Yoghurt Soup with Chicken and Wild Rice

  • This can be eaten as a meal on its own.
  • You can also serve this with crusty bread.

Tips for Making Turkish-Style Yoghurt Soup with Chicken and Wild Rice

  • You can substitute white rice (basmati or long grain) for wild rice. In fact this is a great dish for using up leftover cooked rice.
  • You can also substitute the chicken fillets with cooked chicken (like left over roast chicken), just add the cooked chicken in at the end with the rice.
  • Be sure to add the stock to the yoghurt-egg yolk-flour mixture very gradually to prevent the egg from curdling. Really be patient with this step – it’s totally worth it.
  • You can also make this dairy free by substituting the yoghurt with oatgurt, and you can substitute the butter with olive oil.
  • If making this as a cold and flu remedy add in an additional 2 crushed cloves of garlic at Step Four when the stock is added to the pan.

Turkish-Style Yoghurt Soup with Chicken and Wild Rice Recipe


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

INGREDIENTS

  • 240 ml water
  • 90 g wild rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 500 g skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 240 ml plain yoghurt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Bring the water to the boil, add in the rice, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice with the lid on for 50 minutes.
  2. In the meantime add the olive oil to a large saucepan and heat on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 5 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the carrot and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken and the stock. Cover with lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken fillets and use two forks to pull the chicken apart shredding the meat.
  6. Strain the stock. Discard the onions and carrot.
  7. In a large bowl add the yoghurt, egg white and flour, and whisk well until smooth.
  8. Spoon a little stock into the yoghurt-egg-flour mixture and whisk. Gradually add in more and more stock whisking well until the mixture becomes more liquid and all the stock is incorporated.
  9. Add this back into the saucepan with the shredded chicken and cooked rice, and place on a low heat to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted add in the garlic, followed by the paprika and cayenne pepper.
  11. Add this paprika garlic butter mixture to the rest of the soup. Stir and serve.

The Best Air Fryer Chicken

I absolutely love fried chicken, and when I got an air fryer, chicken was the first recipe I wanted to perfect with it. This recipe produces tasty seasoned chicken that is crispy on the outside but succulent in the inside. It’s so quick and easy to make, and no marinating is required to achieve nice flavoursome meat – the air fryer just seems to work its magic. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses significantly less oil to achieve that crispiness compared to pan or deep frying.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Chicken: You can use chicken thighs, drumsticks or a mix of both. I prefer to leave the skin on as the air fryer gets the skin perfectly crispy. However, if you want a healthier meal then you can remove the skin before seasoning the chicken, it will still be delicious.
  • Garlic Powder and Onion Powder: Gives the chicken a deep savoury flavour.
  • Paprika: Adds a bit of sweetness and colour to the chicken.
  • Mixed Dried Herbs: Adds a warm earthy aroma to the flavour.

How To Make The Best Air Fryer Chicken

Step One: Pre-heat your air fryer at 200 °C for 5 minutes. I use my Ninja AF100UK.

Step Two: In a ramekin, small bowl or cup combine 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Mix well with a teaspoon.

Step Three: Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl. You may leave the skin on as it will crisp up during the cooking process. On the contrary, you can remove the skin if you want to be healthier. Add the spices to the chicken and ensure that all sides of the chicken pieces are seasoned.

Step Four: Add in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and mix well.

Step Five: Place the crisper tray to the air fryer and place the seasoned chicken on top. Do not over crowd the chicken as this will hinder the chicken from becoming crispy. Cook the chicken in batches if required. Cook the chicken at 200 °C for 20 to 25 minutes turning after 10 minutes.

How To Serve The Best Air Fryer Chicken

  • Serve with air fryer sweet potato fries, french fries or brown butter mash potatoes, and a side of healthier coleslaw.
  • If you want to have a super healthy meal then serve with a garden salad.

Tips for Making The Best Air Fryer Chicken

  • For crispness, make sure that the chicken is quite dry before adding the seasoning. You can pat the chicken portions down with kitchen paper if need be.
  • The key to crispy chicken is to make sure that your chicken is spaced out on the air fryer crisper tray. This will allow the hot air to circulate around the chicken for crispier results.

The Best Air Fryer Chicken Recipe


Serves:
4
Preparation Time:
5 minutes
Cooking Time:
20 – 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg chicken thighs or drumsticks (skin on or removed for healthier chicken)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 0.5 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat air fryer at 200 °C for 5 minutes. I highly recommend the Ninja AF100UK air fryer.
  2. In a ramekin mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, mixed dried herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken portions to a large bowl and pour the seasoning on top. Mix well.
  4. Add the oil to the chicken and mix well.
  5. Place the crisper tray in the air fryer pan and place the chicken on top. Do not over crowd the tray. Cook in batches if necessary. Cook the chicken at 200 C for 20-25 minutes turning after 10 minutes.

Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

This is my other half’s favourite dish. He loves it so much that I made it for him for Valentine’s Day, which is quite fitting as the preparation is a bit of a labour of love – but it is absolutely worth it. The result is tender flavoursome meat that falls off the bone, and a rich savoury gravy. Once the prep is out of the way the cooking is super easy – pretty much bung the rest of the ingredients in a pan and leave it to stew, which makes it ideal dish to make for a Sunday dinner.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Oxtail: This is a flavoursome cut of meat that becomes really soft and tender as it is stewed.
  • Thyme: A staple herb in Jamaican cooking. It adds an earthy flavour.
  • Spring Onions: Adds savouriness to the gravy.
  • Pimento/All Spice: Pimento berries add a sweet cinnamon/nutmeg/clove flavour, hence its alternative name “all spice”. This is another staple in Jamaican cooking
  • Brown Sugar and Browning: Browning the meat prior to stewing it is a vital step to making this dish. The meat won’t taste the same unless it is browned off first. I use brown sugar and Sarson’s Browning for this. The brown sugar caramelises and adds to the deep flavours of the meat. And the Browning adds a deep brown colour to the meat.

How To Make Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Step One: Place 2 kg cleaned trimmed oxtail in a large mixing bowl (see the “Tips…” section below on how to clean the meat). Add 75 g brown sugar, 1.5 tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp salt, 3 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp all spice and 1.5 tsp browning and mix well. You can use tongs to mix the meat, but I prefer to put on some food safe disposable gloves and work the seasoning into the meat by hand. Leave to marinade for around 20-30 minutes whilst you prepare the remaining vegetables for the dish.

Step Two: In a frying pan or deep casserole dish heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on a high heat. Brown the seasoned oxtails for 2-3 minutes on each side. Do not over crowd the pan. Brown in batches if necessary.

Step Three: If using a casserole dish, remove some of the oil and any burnt parts from the dish first, otherwise in a large sauce pan add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and heat on a medium heat. Add 2 chopped medium onions and fry for around 5 minutes until they have softened.

Step Four: Add in 5 cloves of minced garlic, 6 stalks of finely chopped spring onions, 3 carrots sliced, 4 pimento berries, 1.5 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce, 1.5 tbsp ketchup, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 crushed cubes of reduced salt Beef Oxo, 350 ml water and the browned oxtails. Mix together and bring to a simmer.

Step Five: Simmer with the lid on for 3 – 3.5 hours until the meat is soft enough for your liking – I like my meat super soft and almost falling off the bone. Check the pot every 20-30 minutes to ensure that the pot hasn’t dried out. And turn the meat over after the first 90 minutes.

Step Six: Once the meat is soft add in two 400 g cans of drained tinned butter beans and stir. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

How To Serve Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Tips for Making Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

  • Clean the oxtail with water and vinegar rinse (this is a traditional Caribbean way of cleaning meat). To do this add the oxtail to a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water to rinse the meat. Add around 100 ml white vinegar to the meat and top the bowl up with water so that the meat is submerged. Set aside for around 5 minutes before pouring out the water.
  • Do not skip browning the meat. It really adds flavour to the dish. Traditionally a cast iron dutch pan is used for the browning and the stewing, but you could also use a good quality deep casserole dish. Just remove some of the oil and any brown/black residue (“fond”) at the bottom of the pan after the browning process.
  • During the stewing process be sure to check your pot every 20-30 minutes to ensure that it hasn’t dried out.
  • Turn the meat over after the first hour and a half of the stewing process to ensure even cooking.

Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans Recipe


Serves:
8
Preparation Time:
25 minutes
Cooking Time:
3 hrs 40 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 kg oxtails (the fat should be trimmed off and they should be rinsed in water and white vinegar – see the “Tips…” section above)
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1.5 tsp browning (I use Sarson’s)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 spring onion stalks finely chopped
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 4 pimento berries (I use Dunn’s River)
  • 1.5 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce (I use Walkerswood)
  • 1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 reduced salt beef Oxo cubes (crushed)
  • 350 ml water

METHOD

  1. Add the oxtails to a large mixing bowl and add in the sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, all spice and browning and mix together. Leave to sit for around 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of the oil to a non-stick frying pan or deep casserole dish and heat over a high heat. Brown the oxtails in batches for around 2 – 3 minutes on each of the sides. Do not over crowd the pan. Set the browned oxtails aside.
  3. If using a casserole dish, remove some of the oil and any burnt parts from the dish first, otherwise in a large sauce pan heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 5 minutes until they have softened.
  4. Add in the garlic, spring onion, carrots, pimento berries, pepper sauce, ketchup, thyme, Oxo cubes, water and the browned oxtails. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover and leave to stew for 3 to 3.5 hours. Check the pot every 20 – 30 minutes to ensure it hasn’t dried up, and turn the meat after the first 90 minutes.
  6. Once the meat is as tender as you like it add in the butter beans and cook for a further 10 minutes.

NOTES

Cod with Bacon and Butter Beans

I’ve been trying to introduce more varieties of fish into my diet since the new year began. My go-to fish of choice has always been salmon because of it’s full of flavour and good texture – it doesn’t mush up as easily as some fish do when cooking, which helps with presentation. I also find that there’s not always a great choice of fresh fish at the supermarket. None the less, I decided to have a go at cooking cod fillets and came up with this recipe for cooking it with bacon and butter beans. It’s perfect for a hearty dinner that can be cooked up in minutes.

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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Fresh Cod Fillets: Cod is low in fat.
  • Streaky Bacon: Adds flavour to the dish.
  • Peeled Chopped Tomatoes: This is the base of the sauce.
  • Butter Beans: Adds protein and makes the dish more hearty.

How To Make Cod with Bacon and Butter Beans

Step One: Heat a deep non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium heat and add in 200 g streaky bacon. Cook for 2.5 minutes on each side and use tongs to remove the bacon leaving the oil in the pan. Chop up the cooked bacon and set it aside for later.

Step Two: Add in 1 finely diced onion to the bacon grease and cook for around 5 minutes until it has softened.

Step Three: Add in 3 cloves minced garlic along with 0.5 tsp smoked paprika, 0.5 tsp mixed dried herbs and mix well.

Step Four: Add the cooked bacon back to the pan along with 400 g peeled chopped tomatoes, 250 ml water used to was the can out and 400 g drained tinned butter beans. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Step Five: Carefully nestle 560 g cod fillets into the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

How To Serve Cod with Bacon and Butter Beans

  • This dish can be served with mashed potatoes, rice, orzo or crusty bread.
  • A side of steamed peas and broccoli also works well with this.

Tips for Making Cod with Bacon and Butter Beans

  • Try not to touch the cod too much once it is in the pan as it becomes quite soft and delicate.
  • Since tinned butter beans are used in this recipe they will already be cooked. If you like them quite tender then you can add them in after the cod has simmered, for the last three minutes of cooking. I, however like my beans a little softer which is why I add them in just before adding in the cod.

Cod with Bacon and Butter Beans Recipe


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

INGREDIENTS

  • 200 g streaky bacon
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 0.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0.5 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 400 g can peeled chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 560 g fresh cod fillets (around 4 fillets)
  • 400 g can butter beans

METHOD

  1. Place a deep frying pan or wok onto a medium heat and cook the bacon for around 5 minutes, turning half way. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving behind the grease, and chop the bacon up to be used later.
  2. Fry the onion in the bacon grease for around 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add in the garlic, paprika and herbs and mix well.
  4. Add the bacon back to the pan along with the chopped tomatoes, water, and butter beans. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil.
  5. Nestle in the cod fillets. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

NOTES

  • Be careful not to prod the cod too much once it has been added to the pan as it will delicate and prone to flaking up. Also don’t over cook the fish.

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 large eggs
  • 60 ml double cream (1/4 cup)
  • 60 g grated cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80 g mushrooms sliced (3 oz)
  • 60 g spinach roughly sliced (2 oz)
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 120 g ham chopped (4 oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 0.5 tsp dried mixed herbs

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional / gas mark 6 / 400 °F).
  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 (1/8 cup + 1 tbsp) 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.