Category Archives: One Pot Only

Spanish Rice: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!


Spanish Rice | 450 calories per serving | Serves 4


  • 175g roast chicken, shredded
  • lemon juice
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 225 g rice (I used Basmati)
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • chives to garnish

How to Make Spanish Rice

  1. Shred the roast chicken, squeeze over lemon juice and set to the side.
  2. Spray a little oil into a large frying pan (one that has a lid) and gently cook the green pepper, red pepper and red onion until slightly softened, which should take 5 minutes or so over a gentle heat.
  3. Tip the rice into the pan and stir around for a minute.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and turmeric.
  5. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, frozen peas, cherry tomatoes and spring onions. Season to taste.
  7. Put the lid back on and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the rice is thoroughly cooked through.
  8. Garnish with chives or other herb of your choice (the book recommends parsely, but I despise it).

The Verdict

Flavour: 2 – could have done with chilli
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 3 – plenty of it, but needed more flavour
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 5
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 5
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

I felt like this recipe was tasty, well-textured and filling. I would definitely cook it again and the principles of a one-pot veggie and rice dish is one I’ll look to adapt in future for quick, flavoursome, healthy meals.

The original recipe only calls for boneless chicken meat – I used leftover garlicky, herby roast chicken and added extra lemon juice to moisten it up. The fact it was previously roasted probably added a few calories, but I feel it also added some crucial flavour and proved to be quite frugal! A bit of chilli or cayenne pepper would have given this dish a kick, which I think it could have done with.

This recipe says that it serves 4, so we only ate half of it and will be freezing the remainder in portions to take with us to work for lunches. Win!


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Thai Fish Soup (Tom Yum Gai)

My hilarious attempts to speak Thai should not be left in Thailand, so I present to you: tom yum gai nam kohn – what I believe could mean fish soup with coconut milk. I can’t find exactly what ‘tom yum’ means, it could describe the sauce or could be the word for soup, but it is a very popular dish in Thailand. Tom yum goong (tom yum with prawns) was one of my favourite meals during out trip and so when I saw tom yum paste in Wing Yip, our local Asian supermarket, I had to get some.

I know mixing a sauce in with some vegetables and protein isn’t much of an achievement, but I was pleasantly surprised by how this came together. Guided by the servings per jar, I used a tablespoon and a half of tom yum sauce (which made the soup -ahem- very very very spicy), fried it with onions and green peppers, then I added reconstituted creamed coconut, juice of half a lemon (lime is the best, but we didn’t have any), some carrot, some cabbage and at the last minute some cubed fish. I used monkfish because we happened to have some in the freezer from the last time I fell foul of the fishmonger, and its firm and meaty texture really stood up to the spices.

I added some rice noodles, which sucked up some of the soup but it was worth it! Next time I will use less tom yum sauce (oh the joys of a new ingredient!) but overall I was very pleased, and it proved to be a less fearsome version of a hot and sour prawn soups I’ve made in the past.

Pea Shoot and Bacon Soup

When I had peashoots the other week, the back of the packet said it made a very nice soup with bacon. So I had a go, and this made for a summery version of pea and ham soup.

To make the soup for two, I used four shallots, two rashers of bacon, a packet of pea shoots, ham stock from the freezer and salt and pepper. I cooked the shallots and bacon, added the stock and seasoning and let it simmer for a while before adding the peashoots at the last minute.

I whizzed the lot up (this was very difficult as the peashoots were determined to escape) and it made this pleasuringly lurid soup. It was tasty, and I think I will cook it again as long as the peashoots are in the shop.

I kept some shoots and bacon aside as a garnish, but unfortunately it sunk as the soup was thinner in consistency than my soups usually end up!

Five Spice Lamb Stir Fry

Please excuse the recent obsession with lamb, but I’ve never liked it before and we keep finding it on offer. This is SO quick to cook, and would work very well with beef too. I used half an onion, a red pepper, a green pepper, some mange tout and a handful of pea shoots (what I had left over from the weekend) – any old veg would work well.

The sauce is what the recipe’s about really. I’ve always been apprehensive about Chinese 5 Spice (easily found powder in a supermarket) as it always smells strongly of liqourice. But I gave it a go, and it was DELICIOUS.

SO for two, whisk up the following in a little dish and marinade the finely sliced meat in it.


  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (the recipe asked for Hoisin, so I substituted)
  • dash sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper (seeds and everything)

How to Make it

Marinade the fincely sliced meat (as much as you choose) in the sauce. Heat a wok with some oil, then throw in the meat and sauce, cook for barely a few minutes to keep the meat tender. Set the meat aside, then cook the onion and peppers and hardier veg for a few minutes. Add the mangetout and lighter veg and cook for maybe a minute longer. Take the wok off the heat. Add the cooked meat and sauce back, stir it in and let it sit while you plate up the noodles or rice. The meat will warm through again and the sauce will have a chance to coat the veggies.

And that is that. Superfast and delicious.

Stifado with Orzo

I’ve been searching for orzo for months – none in M&S, Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrison’s – but today I stumbled across a shelf of orzo in the world foods section of an out-of-the-way Tesco. I was so happy. So what’s an orzo when it’s at home? As far as I can tell, it’s a Mediterranean rice-like pasta, often used in soups but equally in salads (this is how I found out about orzo on a flight to Honiara from Fiji strangely enough!) and served as any other warm pasta. As someone who dislikes rice and doesn’t particularly succeed in the cooking of it, orzo is my perfect solution. And at 45p for a 500g bag, it’s pretty good value too!

I’ve had stifado on my mind for a while. Again, from what I gather it’s a Greek beef and onion stew – but any meat seems to go and any variety of veg chucked in too. Its hallmark is the combination of wine, wine vinegar, cinnamon, rosemary and sometimes honey to make an aromatic almost sweet and sour stew. My recipe called for the addition of potatoes, but I wasn’t in a potato mood so I was going to go for a doorstop of bread to soak up the gravy until I spotted the orzo and I knew I had to have it with the stifado. Is it unorthodox? Who knows, but it was a pretty good taste combination.

I have been plundering my one pot book that I bought from Oxfam before Christmas. Its winning quality is that it consists of easy recipes that you bung into a stockpot or wok, but the downside is that it tends to anglicise and tone down the flavours so I just use my judgement and add a bit more. I’ll add even more next time for more depth of flavour, but this is what I did today:

Ingredients serves 3

  • 1 tin tomatoes (450g ish)
  • 150 ml beef stock
  • 400 g shallots, peeled but whole
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 400 g diced beef
  • veg (I used carrots, the recipe specified potatoes – whatever)
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • pepper

How to Make it

In a large pan, cook the shallots and garlic over a low heat for about 5 minutes until coloured. Remove from pan and brown the beef in batches. Add the shallots and garlic back. Tip in the tomatoes, stock, wine, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, bay leaves and honey. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours on the lowest possible heat until meat is tender.

p.s. the stifado is coeliac friendly, the orzo is TOTALLY not

Chicken Rogan Josh

Sometimes only a curry will do, and takeaways have a lovely mouth feel but sometimes only one ‘note’. Beneath the heat of this curry, you can taste the mildness of the yoghurt, the lemon and the coriander.

I think a rogan josh is traditionally a lamb curry, but we have plans on a lamb curry another day so this time we plumped for chicken. I’ve never followed a recipe for curry before as I usually just bung things together and see how it goes, but I wanted to try a recipe from my “One Pot” book and did so, inspired by Ruth’s “Bookmarked Recipes” event.

Ingredients – makes enough for two large portions

  • 150 ml natural yoghurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt
  • 2 chicken breasts (though I usually use chicken thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced (this wasn’t hot enough for me, so I added some flaked dried chillis later, next time I’ll use two or more chillis)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • water to slacken, if needed

How to Make it

Chop up the chicken breast and marinade in the yoghurt, garlic, ginger and lemon. Get it in the fridge in the morning for best results.

Heat the oil in a large frying/saute pan and throw in the cardamom pods to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the onion, chilli, and cumin and cook for 5 minutes or till the onion is slightly softened. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and coriander. Allow this mixture to cook down over a simmer for half an hour or so, it should be fairly stiff. Add the chicken in its marinade, which immediately slackens the mixture. Cook with a lid on for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt as necessary, and add a dash of water if the sauce is too thick for your liking, and it’s ready.

I felt this curry could have done with more garlic, so I will be using far more cloves next time – cooked with onion as well as in the marinade.

For that authentic curryhouse feel, cobra beer went along with curry dishes from the local pound shop (which is in the city’s curryhouse central) as we waited for the rice to go ‘ping’

Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

I’d never liked lamb until this year, really. I’ve tried a forkful of lamb shanks at a restaurant once and it was decidedly yummy so when I saw two lovely large (and heavily reduced) lamb shanks at the supermarket, I snapped them up. A quick google found a recipe (which I adapted, of course) and it turned out wonderful and almost entirely effortless. The dinner may be lacking in the 5-a-day (onion, carrot and leeks in the mash) but it was delicious and greedy.


  • two lamb shanks
  • one onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • two carrots
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

How to Make it

First, brown the lamb shanks in your pot on the top of the oven. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove the lamb and put aside. Saute the onion and garlic with the salt to make it soften a little (4-5 mins) then add the carrots, pepper, rosemary, thyme, lambshanks, red wine and tomato puree. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Perfection is reached when it’s tender enough to fall off the bone easily.

Scallops in Garlic Butter

Yesterday I had a lovely day pootling around, went to the fresh fruit and veg markets, trawled the butchers etc but I had my heart set on fish for dinner. I popped into the fishmonger’s and the scallops called to me. I absolutely adore seafood, scallops in particular for their firm texture.

I’d never eaten the coral roe (the orange part) of a scallop before, as they’re usually taken off and discarded. After a quick browse on the net, there seemed to be no reason for not eating them (except if the fact they are gonads freaks you out). So yesterday evening I simply used a lot of butter, a bit of garlic, a tiny bit of white wine and some lemon juice and had a delicious scallop starter.

To cook them, I added a hunk of butter and a minced garlic clove on a medium heat. I added the scallops, cooked them for a few minutes on either side then added the wine and lemon juice and let them simmer slightly until the garlic was cooked through and the scallops had lost their translucency (a sign that they are cooked). This took only a minute or two longer.

They were simply perfect. TLM (who did not partake in the scallops – more for me!) sat bemused as I at them with complete relish and pleasure. The roe was actually very tasty (even though TLM kept sayin ‘gonad’ as I ate *roll eyes*) and had the texture and taste of a mild mussel.

I’ve had a look around and have seen scallops with small slices of tart apple, maybe I’ll try that another time.

Sweet Lamb, Leek and Apricot Casserole

Before Christmas I found a great book in a charity shop called ‘One Pot’ that is just full of dishes cooked in – you guessed it – one pot. Casserole, stock pot, wok, bowl: the raw materials go in and then come out magically transformed. Love it.

I’d never cooked lamb before, and this casserole ended up being delicious (which pleased me greatly!). It’ll be my dish the next time I cook for friends.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 1  kilo of lamb, diced
  • 6 leeks, sliced
  • carrots (as you like)
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint (or a few teaspoons dried)
  • 115g dried apricots, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

How to make it

Preheat your oven to 180 celsius. Brown the lamb, then set it aside. Cook the leeks and the carrots together for 5 minutes or until the leeks are softening. Add the cornflour and stir in. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to the boil. Quickly stir in the sugar, tomato puree, mint, apricots and season to taste. Put the lamb back in the dish and bake for 1 1/4 hours. By this time the lamb will be on the way to being cooked, and the sauce will be sweet and toffeeish. If you want to do the potatoes separately, cook the lamb for 2 hours in total

I sliced and par boiled the potatoes I wanted for the top, so after the 1 1/4 hours of cooking I put the potatoes on top, pinched some butter over them and whacked the temperatue up to 220 celsius and cook until they’re browned – about half an hour. I might do the potatoes separately next time so I can be more in control of when it all comes together.

This dinner was delicious, and quite unique in its flavour. I was worried about the apricots, but the whole thing melded together and was just sweet and complimentary to the lamb, the sauce was almost toffee-ish. One to add to my folder of favourites.

Beef in Oyster Sauce

On Saturday we went to our local farm shop and picked up some wonderful ingredients, including beef and brocolli. I love beef stir frys, but I’ve never cooked one at home before. So with the coupling of an excellent piece of meat (I trust cooking it quickly if it’s good quality) and a super sharp knife I set to work.

Ingredients (marinade)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (or dry sherry/sake/white wine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • good grind of black pepper
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloved, sliced
  • 1 cm piece of ginger, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
How to make it 

Slice the beef as finely as you can and then marinate the beef for at least 20 minutes, or overnight if you’ve thought ahead. Then stir-fried the lot: onions first, then take them out, followed by beef, then take it out, then the green veg, then re-add the beef and onions. If I were to do this again I would cut the beef even thinner so I could cook it in 2 minutes rather than 5 (approx).