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.

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.

Lamb Kofta

Saturday night is fakeaway night in my household. We either make homemade pizza or homemade lamb kebab. These lamb koftas are succulent and so full of flavour. They are inspired by the Turkish Adanas you can get in the kebab shop.

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Lamb Kofta Recipe

Serves: 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml lemon juice (the juice of approximately 1 lemon)
  • 500 g lean lamb mince
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground sumac
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the grill or pre-heat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional oven).
  2. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Pour the lemon juice over and mix well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and use your hands to mix it all together.
  4. Divide the meat into 12 pieces. Use your hands to shape and roll each piece into a sausage shape, roughly 12 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. Insert each kofta onto a 20 cm metal skewer. I use KitchenCraft Flat BBQ Kebab Skewers, which you can find here. Flatten the koftas slightly.
  5. Place a wire rack on a baking tray and spread the skewers our on the rack. Cook in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, turning halfway, until brown and cooked through (be careful not to over cook these as they will become dry). Or cook in the grill for around 7 minutes each side.

NOTES

  • For the fresh breadcrumbs, toast approximately 2 slices of medium sliced bread. Break into pieces and add to a chopper. Blitz until really fine.
  • Serve with pitta or naan breads and a salad of shredded red cabbage and sliced tomatoes.
  • These koftas are also ideal for cooking on the barbecue.

Homemade Pizza

Saturday is pizza day in my household. Nothing beats freshly made pizza straight from the oven. With a crisp thin crust, tangy tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella, here’s pizza recipe to rival your favourite restaurant. Trust me, after this you’ll never want supermarket pizza again.

This recipe is simple, but requires a bit of forward planning in terms of leavening the dough. I normally make the dough in the morning and leave it to rise for at least two hours. The longer you leave it the bubblier and lighter the base will be. The sauce in this recipe is enough to cover 4 pizza bases, but I normally freeze half of it in a plastic food storage container, for the next pizza day. I simply take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge the night before to defrost.

For a more authentic restaurant style pizza dust the base of the baking tray with a thin layer of semolina. This gives a base an extra crunch and also stops it from sticking to the tray. If you don’t have semolina, you can just dust the tray lightly with bread flour.

When it comes to forming the base never use a rolling pin as this removes that lovely bubbliness that forms due to the yeast which is what makes that nice light base. Instead, use your hands to gently stretch the dough out. Once the base starts to thin you can place it on the floured/semolina sprinkled baking tray and continue to stretch the edges out.


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Homemade Pizza Recipe


Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Leavening Time: 2-5 hours

Cooking Time: 32-35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Pizza base (makes 2 pizza bases roughly 30cm in diameter):

  • 300 g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra 1 tsp for oiling the bowl)
  • 180 ml water (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp course semolina

Pizza sauce (enough sauce to cover 4 pizza bases):

  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Topping (enough for two pizza bases):

  • 250 g grated mozzarella cheese
  • your choice of toppings (see notes below for my family favourites)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • cracked black pepper

METHOD

  1. To make the bases, start by placing the flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast and the salt, followed by the olive oil.
  3. Slowly pour in the water, whilst mixing with one hand. A firm dough should be formed which leaves your fingers and the sides of the bowl clean-ish, but it should have a slight tackiness to it. If you feel the dough is too dry then add a little more water. Likewise if the dough is too sticky add a little more flour.
  4. Knead the dough for around 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and pour in around half a tsp of olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread the oil so that the bowl is nicely oiled. Don’t worry if there are little remnants of dough left on the bowl, just oil over these.
  6.  Place the dough back in the bowl. Pour a tad more oil on top of the dough, and spread with the brush.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling film and then a tea towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm location for 2-5 hours.
  8. In the meantime make the pizza sauce. Heat one tablespoon of light olive oil in a deep frying pan. Finely chop the onion and fry in the oil for 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Crush the garlic and add it to the pan. Continue to fry for another 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
  10. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  11. Pour the tomato sauce back into the pan and add the basil, salt and black pepper.
  12. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.
  13.  Around 20-30 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza preheat your oven to 220°C fan or 240°C conventional.
  14. Prepare two baking sheets by lightly sprinkling course semolina on both of them.
  15. Once the dough has risen remove the towel and cling film. Use a sharp kitchen knife to cut the dough in half.
  16. Remove one half of the dough from the bowl and, starting from a rough ball shape, stretch the dough with both hands. You can rotate the dough and use gravity to help you. The base should be thinnest at the centre and thicker at the edges to form a nice crust.
  17.  Place the base onto the baking sheet. You can continue to stretch the dough out on the baking sheet if the centre of the base has become too thin and delicate.
  18. Take a quarter of the sauce and spread it on the base using the back of a spoon.
  19. Sprinkle half the mozzarella on the base.
  20. Spread your pizza toppings over the mozzarella.
  21. Drizzle the pizza with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.
  22. Place the tray on the top shelf of the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  23. Repeat steps 16 to 22 for the remaining half of the dough.

NOTES

  • Preheating the oven for at least 20 minutes should ensure that the oven is hot enough to produce a crispy base.
  • Sprinkling the baking tray with semolina will stop the pizza base from sticking without leaving a floury taste.
  • You can freeze the remaining sauce for the next time you make pizza. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight. Or, you could stir the sauce to cooked pasta and add a sprinkling of cheese for another simple mid week meal.
  • My family’s favourite pizza toppings:
    • thick cut ham (especially from the deli counter)
    • pepperoni
    • tuna, red onion, olives and sweetcorn
    • sweet pepper and fresh cherry tomatoes
    • sliced smoked pork sausage
  • If you love spice then try adding a sprinkling of chilli flakes after taking the pizza out of the oven.