Thursday, 16 December 2010

Winter Snow In...

...Well almost, but it certainly feels like one should batten down the hatches and not emerge until spring. 

Sorry to have abandoned you since the start of November but now that winter has hit, far too much old stand by comfort food has been going on.  I did download some foody pics from my camera, but although they look rather delish I have no recollection of making these dishes or indeed what recipe was used. 

Hopefully I will get my mojo back after Christmas and be re-invigorated by the New Year, but for now I will leave you with the unremembered meals!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash

A very tasty and different dish from the Good Food Magazine October 2010.

Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash
Serves 4

1kg sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tsp Ras el Hanout
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
200ml chicken stock
2 tsp clear honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Handful of green olives
Fresh coriander

Boil the potatoes until tender, approx 15 minutes.  Mix the ras el hanout with seasoning, then sprinkle all over the chicken.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan then brown the chicken.
Remove the chicken and add to the pan the garlic and onion, cook for 5 mins.  Add the stock, honey, lemon and olives.  Return the chicken to the pan then simmer for 10 mins until the sauce is syrupy and chicken cooked.
Mash the potatoes with the remaining oil (or butter, like I did), thickly slice the chicken (which I didn't do) stir the chopped coriander in to the sauce and plate up.

I was not sure of this dish to start, I have had some bad Moroccan dishes which usually have incorporated preserved lemons, my most loathed ingredient, but the honey and the lemon in this dish combined beautifully and the ras el hanout spices gave a lovely kick to the chicken, very very tasty and super healthy, according to Good Food!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Sweet Cherry Tomato and Sausage Bake

Another comforting dish from the Jamie at Home cook book, that utilised my beloved one pot cooking.

Sweet Cherry Tomato and Sausage Bake
Serves 6 (or not depending on how greedy you are, we halved the recipe for 2 people!)

2kg Cherry tomatoes various varieties, I also used baby plum tomatoes
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary and bay
1 Tbsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
12 Cumberland sausages
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Set oven to 190oc.  In a large roasting tray add your tomatoes, in one layer.  Add the herbs, garlic and sausages.  Drizzle well with oil and Balsamic, season and toss together.

Making sure the snorkers are on top pop into the oven for half and hour, then take out shake around and pop back in for a further 15 to 30 minuted depending on hour golden and sticky you like your sausages.

Once cooked you have a lovely thick unctuous tomatoey sauce, if it is too thin, take out the bangers and place the tray on the hob to reduce down a little.

I served this on a big dollop of mashed potato. It was a delicious, thick, rich tomato sauce, utterly perfect and could replace the old favourite of bangers, mash, peas and onion gravy.  Very, very tasty.

Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons

I love butternut squash soup, nothing compares to how warming, thick and creamy it turns out, perfect for misty Autumn days, curled up next to an open fire.  I usually just fry up an onion add chopped and peeled squash with vegetable stock and chopped sage leaves, simmer away for 20 mins then blitz with a hand blender, add a little creme fraich or cream if I have it to hand and yum.  Whilst riffling through the Jamie at Home cook book I noticed his recipe and decided to give it a go.

Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons
Serves 8

olive oil
16 fresh sage leaves
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves stripped
1 fresh red chilli chopped
2Kg butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chunked
2 ltrs chicken or veg stock
16 slices of ciabatta (I used french stick slices)

In a large pan add oil and heat then fry the sage leaves until dark and crisp, approx 30 secs remove and put to one side.  Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, chilli and S&P to the oil and cook gently for 10 mins until soft.  Add the squash and stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins.
Whilst the soup is cooking drizzle oil over the bread slices and the press in some grated Parmesan  on each side of the slices.  In a non stick frying pan fry with no extra oil until golden on both sides.

Once the squash is soft and cooked through whiz the soup with a blender, I like it fairly smooth with a few chunky bits.
Dish up and serve with 2 croutons on each and the fried sage leaves on the top and an extra grating of Parmesan.

This is a great soup and a good way of using up all the leftover squashes and pumpkins from my Autumnal/Halloween display.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Slow Cooked Jerk Pulled Pork

I love Becky at Girl Interrupted Eating she always cooks recipes I want to try and has a passion for slow cooked hearty meal like I do.  So when I spied this recipe for Jerk Pulled Pork on her blog I knew I was going to try it straight away!

I have not changed much from her recipe, but will add my own observations.

I used a 1.5Kg boneless rolled shoulder of pork skin on.  I used Shwartz Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, approx 4 tsp and to this I added the juice and zest of one lemon, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp dried oregano and a few bit of grated nutmeg.

This mixed together and rubbed all over the joint gave it a wonderful fragrance which really permeated throughout the entire joint.  Like Becky, I will probably try to make my own blend of seasonings and spices next time. I think a lot of fun can be had changing/amending/playing with this simple recipe.

The meat was kept extremely moist during the 3 hours cooking time and once transferred to the roasting tin and the temp heated up, we did find that the sugars in the meat caramelised and became very sticky and blackened.  The skin did not go crispy, but it did render down until very soft, melting rather than chewy.

I served this with flat tortilla wraps and I made up a few components for salad accompaniments.  Grated carrot with finely minced garlic and Greek yogurt was fantastic. 
I also made cucumber with yogurt and mint, some de-seeded diced tomatoes and diced cooked beetroot with crumbled feta. any or all of these added to the wrap with some sweet chili sauce drizzled over the top and plenty of the delicious pulled pork wrapped up, total heaven. 

A really fun meal to have and so utterly yummy, I have not had such a tasty meal in quite a while, the meat was a total star!  There was plenty of leftovers for round two the next day.

Chorizo & Cheese Tortilla

I love to cook tapas to start a meal and I am always on the look out for a quick and easy recipe for Tortilla as this one, although delish, can be a little time consuming and faffy.  So I was very pleased to find this lovely little recipe in one of my many tapas cookbooks. (Everyday Tapas ISBN: 978-1-4075-7845-3)

Chorizo & Cheese Tortilla

2 small potatoes
4 tbls olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
140h chorizo, finely chopped
8 large eggs
2 tbls cold water
55g Manchego, grated (or Parmesan)

Cook the potatoes in a small pan  of boiling water until just tender.  Drain and set aside to cool, then dice.
Heat the oil in a pan that can be safely placed under the grill later (mine was 8.5" dia). Add the onion, pepper and tomatoes and cook over low heat for 5 mins.  Add the potatoes and chrizo and cook for a further 5 mins.
Beat the eggs with the water and season to taste.  Pour into the frying pan and cook for 8-10 mins or until the underside is set.
Lift the edge of the tortilla occasionally to let the uncooked egg run underneath.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the tortilla and place under a hot grill for 3 mins or until the top is set and the cheese melted and golder.

Serve warm or cold cut into thin wedges.

This served with marinated anchovies, olives and brushetta were a great way to start a celebratory family meal followed by the Chicken with Garlic Sauce .   It was so good I only just remembered to take photos before we guzzled the lot!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Another one of the comfort foods I am craving whilst in my sickened state has been lovely thick creamy soup with crusty bread. Finding I had a butternut squash in the veg rack I went about turning it into a scrummy warming supper.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 Butternut Squash
1 Onion Chopped
1 ltr Vegetable stock
1 tsp chopped fresh Sage
Rapeseed oil
Double Cream (Naughty, but hubby could not find the creme fraich at the shop)

Preheat you oven to 200oc, cut the squash in half length ways, remove the seeds and score the flesh in a check pattern, this will help it cook more quickly. Drizzle over with the rapeseed oil and season with S&P. Pop into the oven to roast for at least half an hour.

Remove and once cooled scoop the flesh out of the skin, put to one side

Fry the onion in a little olive oil till soft add the squash pulp and the stock and further seasoning.

Leave to simmer covered for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped sage for the last few minutes.

I then used a hand blender to remove most of the lumps from the soup, I like to leave a few chunks for a bit of texture. Then pour in a drop of cream, swirl and serve with warm crusty bread.

This soup was so thick and creamy, in my haste to scarf it down I forgot to take a photo of the dished up dish! The fresh sage really added a lovely zing to the soup and using the rapeseed oil to roast the squash with adds an extra 'roastiness' taste. So quick and easy to whip up.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Spicy Pinto Beans

I am starting week 3 of a lovely chest infection. It is slowly getting better, but I am left totally drained and weakened by it. With this in mind all I want to eat is easy peasy comfort food. Having got some chipolatas in the fridge I decided on a bangers and mash type dish, but I wanted baked beans - a real craving for them, which is strange as I am not all that keen on the old BB so it was no great surprise that I found none in the cupboard, but I did not let stop me, I concocted the following recipe:-

Spicy Pinto Beans

400g Pinto Beans
400g Chopped Tomatoes
1 clove garlic - crushed or minced
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 jar of roasted peppers
1/2 tsp Chili Flakes
1 tsp Sugar

Heat the oil in a pan, add the crushed garlic and fry gently, add the chopped tomatoes and heat through. Then add the pinto beans, peppers and chili, S&P.
Cover and simmer gently for 10 mins until the beans have thickened slightly the sauce.
Add the sugar to taste to take away the harsh acidity of the tomatoes. Serve.

These were the most delicious beans I have ever had, the flavour was fruity and with a bit of a kick, the garlic came through and added almost a smokey flavour with the chili. They went together so well with the chipolatas and the oven roasted potato chunks. Real comfort food that will propel me on to the road to recovery.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Chimichurri (on Rib Eye Steak)

Riffling through the Saturday Times a couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe for Chimichurri, the Argentinian sauce/salsa for drizzling on top of your steak. Finding that I actually had all the ingredients in the cupboard I set to work making it.
Since then I have thrown away the newspaper and I am loathe to pay Times Online to get hold of this recipe again, so I googled it and found there is recipe upon recipe for this accompaniment and they are all pretty much of a muchness. Therefore this recipe is a mish mash of all those other recipes.

Chimichurri Salsa

1 Medium Onion - Finely Chopped
2 Red Chillies - Finely Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic - Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Parsley - Finely Chopped
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper

Basically mix all the ingredients together, maybe tweeking a little to taste.

This is a fabulously fresh sauce that smelt wonderful, I think I put a little too much on my pan fried rare ribeye steak as it was a little overpowering, but utterly delicious. I will definitely make this again. I served with crushed new potatoes with grain mustard and stringless beans.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Basque Red Bean Stew

Hubby with low tolerance levels decide to locate the kitchen again last night, for a little experimentation and the results were pretty pleasing.

He works for a Basque company in the UK and frequently makes trips over to the Basque region of Spain. Over there everything stops a 1pm for a lunch hour and he often finds himself being taken out to local eateries for lots of homemade food. One of his favourites is the Red Bean Stew, apparently a dish that is cooked in every household from recipes handed down for generations. After talking to some of his work colleagues he came away with his own idea on how to replicate this dish.

Basque Red Bean Stew
Serves 6

1 Onion chopped
250g Morcilla or Black Pudding
5 cloves of garlic
75g chorizo, chopped into small chunks
300g Smoked bacon piece, chopped into chunks
2 cans of red kidney beans, keep the juice
1 litre hot water
Bay leaf
1 green chilli
1/4 tsp Cayenne
Couple of handfuls of broad beans

Gently soften the onion and garlic for a few minutes in a deep pan. Add the chorizo and bacon and fry for a couple of mins.
Add the kidney beans with juice and water, add the cayenne and bring to the boil and the leave to simmer, covered for at least an hour.
Near the end of cooking time add the broad beans and finely chopped chilli.
Cut the Morcilla into slices and the pan fry until crisp.
Serve up, with the Morcilla cut into chunks with fresh bread.

A tasty heart dish, next time he will use a ham hock that can be boiled beforehand to reduce the amount of salt in this dish, although it was on the high end of salty it was in no way overpowered by it and we both went back for seconds! Keeping the black pudding out of the main dish kept it in one piece and added another texture to the stew.

I think I will encourage him to make this again and perfect his recipe.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Widowed Potatoes

I am really loving this new cook book of mine and here is another recipe from it. Widowed Potatoes gets it name from being a dish with no meat or fish in it. Simple ingredients that combine to be really delicious with great textures, the thick unctuous base of onions, tomatoes and stock with the crispy coated potatoes, hmmm-mmmm yummy.

Widowed Potatoes
Serves 4

500ml light olive oil for shallow frying
3 large all purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds 1cm thick
3 eggs beaten
Plain flour for coating
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion chopped
4 tomatoes deseeded and chopped
1 tsp sugar
400ml beef stock

Heat the oil in a pan, medium hot. Dip the potato slices in the egg and then flour, then fry for 2 mins on each side. They should come out golden with a light crispy coating, drain the excess oil on kitchen towel and then lay in a casserole dish, I decided on halving the quantities above and making up 2 individual servings.

Fry the garlic and onion in a little oil until softened then add the tomato and cook on a low heat until it reduces slightly. Add the sugar and a sprinkling of flour to thicken then pour over the potatoes followed by the stock. Cover and bake in the oven at 160oc for 45 mins. Uncover and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the potato is soft.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Berenjenas Rellenas - Stuffed Aubergine

Here is another delish dish from the Spanish World Kitchen cook book and probably one of the nicest aubergine dishes I have ever cooked.

Berenjenas Rellenas - Stuffed Aubergine

Serves 4 with sides or 2 by themselves!

2 aubergines
60ml olive oil
200g minced lamb
2 cloves garlic
1 tomato chopped
1 onion chopped (book states red, but I did not have one)
1 egg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 slice bread, crust off and soaked in milk
2 tblsp chopped parsley

Cut the aubergines in half, lengthways and score in a cross hatch pattern to about 1cm of the edge, sprinkle with with salt and leave for 20 mins.

Heat the oven to 200oc. Line a baking tray with foil and place the aubergines face down on it and brush over some of the oil. Pop into the oven fro 20 min or until soft.

Cool slightly and the scoop out the pulp, leaving a border of 1cm all around the edge. Discard half of the pulp and chop the rest.

Mix together all the other ingredients, add the chopped aubergine and S&P.

Spoon the mixture into the aubergine shells and place into a roasting tin and drizzle with the remainder of the oil.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the lamb is cooked.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Pollo en Salsa de Ajo (Chicken in Garlic Sauce)

OK, it has been ages since I blogged, far too long indeed. I hope to now bombard you with loads of new recipes. I hit a little cooking rut and lost my foody mojo, but a holiday to Menorca and a new Spanish cookbook and I am all fired up. This recipe is taken from the World Kitchen - Spain cook book.

Pollo en Salsa de Ajo
Chicken in Garlic Sauce

Serves 4

1kg boneless, skinned chicken thighs
1 tblsp sweet paprika - pimenton
2 tblsp olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
60ml Fino sherry
125ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Trim fat from chicken and cut each thigh into thirds. Combine in a bowl with the paprika, S&P to fully coat.

Heat half the oil in a frying pan and over high heat fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan.

Now add the rest of the oil and fry the chicken in batches for 5 mins or until brown.

Return all the chicken to the pan and add the sherry, boil for 30 seconds, then add the stock and bay leaf. Cover and simmer from 10 mins.

Make a picada, by squeezing the garlic from it's skin and pound in a pestle and morter with the parsley.

Stir the paste into the pan and cook covered for a further 10 mins.

I served this with oven roasted peppers and potato chunks.

A very delicious dish, the picada really helps to thicken and freshen the dish. It is not overpowered with sherry or garlic.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Mexican Chicken Stew

Another one from the hallowed pages of Good Food Mag, with a couple of minor changes to suit my store cupboard. Quite a low fat but tasty dish.

Mexican Chicken Stew

1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 dried chipotle peppers - re-hydrated and chopped.
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 small red onion - sliced into rings
Veg oil

Fry the onion in a pan with a little oil until soft, add the garlic,
Stir in the sugar, tomatoes and chipotle.
Put chicken into the pan and spoon over the sauce, simmer gently for 20 mins - add a little water if gets too dry.
Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks then stir back into the sauce.

Serve on a bed of rice and scatter the red onion rings on top.

A lovely dish, but in future I will be adding a couple more chipotles or even a few chilli flakes as there was not much of a kick to it. The chipotles added a really nice smokey flavour and on the whole the dish was very fresh.

Mushroom and Caramelised Red Onion Tart

I found this recipe from the inspiring blog of Kevin at Closet Cooking and modified it to suit what was in my larder at the time:-

Mushroom & Caramelised Red Onion Tart

1 large red onion thinly sliced
250g Mushrooms sliced - I used bog standard closed cup
1 clove garlic - chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 cup grated Emmenthal cheese
Oil and Butter
1 tsp Sugar
Garlic and Herb Light soft cheese
Menorcan Herb Gin - 1 shot

Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the onion and sugar and slowly cook until caramelised, about 20 minutes.
Add a little melted butter and then the mushrooms and cook until soft and slightly browned.
Add garlic, thyme, S&P
I was using a very good non-stick frying pan, so there was no real need to de-glaze, but I did loosen up the whole mixture by adding a shot of the thick Menorcan Herb Gin (I did not want to open a bottle of wine just to de-glaze and I had finished off the cooking sherry so this was my only option!)
Roll out the puff pastry and score around the edges about 3cm in.
Spread the soft cheese over the base, I used about half of a 175g pack. Pour the mushroom and onion mixture over and scatter the Emmenthal over the top.
Bake in an oven at 180oc for about 15 mins.
Serve with a lovely fresh salad.
This tart was deliciously sweet and tasty, the combination of sweet herb gin and red onions went together well whilst the sharper nutty Emmenthal cut through it.

French Style Chicken With Peas & Pancetta

My take on another great recipe from June 2010 Good Food Magazine

French Style Chicken with Peas & Pancetta

6 rashers of dry cured smoked Pancetta - chunky chopped
6 Chicken thighs and drumsticks - skin on if being naughty, skin off if being good
2 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced
1 onion chopped (should have been a bunch of spring onions, but I forgot them)
300ml Chicken stock
250g Frozen peas
1 Little Gem lettuce, rough shred
2 tbsp half fat Creme Fraiche

In a large pan add a little oil and gently fry the chicken skin side down to get it golden and crispy, turn over and continue frying for about 10 mins in total.
Meanwhile use another frying pan to crisp up the Pancetta.
In the main pan remove the chicken whilst you pour off any excess fat and then fry the onion and garlic briefly.
Add the chicken stock, bacon and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 20 mins.
Turn up the heat and add the peas and lettuce for about 4 minutes until the lettuce has wilted.
Stir in the creme fraiche and serve.

I served with crushed new potatoes.

This was a really very delicious dish as well as being colourful. Good Food suggest using skinless boneless chicken thighs which would make the cooking time shorter and saves you having to man handle the drumsticks in order to get all that lovely tender meat off!

Italian Pork Patties

With excitment I opened this months Good Food magazine and found loads of recipes just crying out to be tried, here is the first of many.

Italian Pork Patties

500g Pork mince
50g Fresh breadcrumbs
50g grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 crushed garlic clove
Zest of one lemon

Mix breadcrumbs, mince, Parmesan, parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl - Good Food says to add water to moisten the breadcrumbs first, I just added an egg to bind it all together.
Season well, I also added a little sage.
Form into 8 flatish patties
Add a little oil to a frying pan and over a moderate heat fry for 7 mins each side until they have a lovely crisp golden outer.

I served with the recommended potato wedges baked in a pan with a coating of oil, lemon juice, S&P and a simple salad.

The patties were so soft and light and very tasty, nothing stodgy about them at all. The lemon was a lovely twist although hubby thought it was too overpowering. I can imagine these will be a very welcome change when used on a BBQ over the usual burnt beef burgers.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Hearty Pasta Soup

Yet another super simple recipe from Good Food.

Hearty Pasta Soup

1 tbs Olive Oil
2 Carrots - chopped.
1 Large Onion - chopped
1 ltr Veg stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
200g frozen peas & broad beans
250g pack fresh filled tortellini. I used goats cheese and caramelised onion
Chopped basil leaves
Grated Parmesan

Heat oil in a pan and fry the carrots and onions for 5 mins. Add stock and tomatoes, simmer for 10 mins. Add peas and broad beans.

Once veg is tender, add the pasta. Return to the boil and simmer for 2 mins.

Serve with basil and Parmesan on top.

Hubby whipped up a batch of Rosemary and sea salt Focaccia to go with the soup and very nice it was too.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cheesy Leek & Bacon Tart

I think I am going backwards in my cooking skills and I am trying to find the easiest meal out there. This one is a total cheat but ends up very delish and almost looks like you tried with it. Another from the Good Food archives.

Cheesy Leek and Bacon Tart

1 roll pre-made puff pastry
150g tub Philidelphia Light with Garlic & Herbs soft cheese
3 leeks - sliced into 5mm rings
5 rashers smoked bacon
100g Emmental cheese - grated

Heat a pan and fry in a little oil the leeks until just soft.
Unroll the pastry and put onto a baking tray
Spread the Philly over the pastry about 3cm from the edges (First time I cooked this it was a little too cheesy so second time around I cut back on some of the Philly)
Once the leeks have cooled put them on to the pastry along with the bacon that has been cut into little bits.
Add the grated Emmental and roll the edges up then pop into the oven at 190oc for 15 mins.

Looks and tastes fantastic! Next time I will try with mushrooms in place of bacon.

With the left over Philly from my second attempt I spread it over some pork loins, just before they went into the oven for 15 minutes, it really turned them around and made a possible boring meal a little more exciting. Have also tried adding Philly to pasta - don't try unless you like a claggy mess.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Mild Chilli & Bean Pasta Bake

Another one found last minute on the hallowed pages of BBC Good Food. Recipe Here
I made a few amendments, depending what was in the cupboard at the time, but this dish was really very, very tasty and will definitely be cooked again.

Mild Chilli & Bean Pasta Bake
Serve 4

1 large onion - chopped
350g lean minced beef
2 tsp chilli flakes
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbs tomato puree
400g kidney beans
300ml beef stock
300gm Fusilli
300g low fat greek yogurt
2 eggs beaten
Handful grated Cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove grated.

In a dash of oil fry the onions and mince in a frying pan until onions soft and mince browned.
Add the chilli flakes, tomatoes, puree, beans and stock bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook the pasta, drain and then add to the mince. Transfer to a ovenproof dish.
Mix the yogurt, eggs, cheese and garlic season lightly and pour over the pasta and bake in a 200oc oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

The topping was an absolute winner, firm, creamy and cheesy a great contrast to the chilli beef.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Spanish Chicken

It seems that my usual inspiration for cooking comes from a quiet afternoon in the office a little surf over to the Good Food website to get together a recipe for that evening. It really is a brilliant site. Last night I grabbed the following recipe from its pages.

Now, you know I am all about the ease and simplicity of one pot dishes, especially during the week, well this one is no exception.

Spanish Chicken

8 Chicken Thighs - skin on with bone in
3 Onions - thinly sliced
2 tsp Paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Parsley, good handful chopped
150ml Stock
1 Tbs Olive oil

Heat the oven to 190oc. Put all the ingredients into a large ovenproof dish. Mix everything together and season.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is golden and the onions tender. Stir the onions after 20 mins. Serve with rice.
See simple!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Baked Chicken with Soft Cheese and Thyme

This recipe is my take on one I had seen the the Good Food magazine April 2010. A really easy and satisfying one pan dish.

6 x Chicken thighs / drumsticks - skin on
Enough new potatoes for two - cut in half
200g Baby Plum Tomatoes
4 Banana Shallots, peeled and left whole
Soft Cheese with garlic and Herbs
Olive oil
Dried Thyme (fresh would be better)

Gently peel the skin away from the meat and push a tea spoon or so of soft cheese under the skin and massage into place on all the chicken pieces.
Pop them into a roasting tin add the potatoes, tomatoes and shallots to the tin.
Drizzle with a little oil and season well. Sprinkle over a nice large pinch of thyme.
Put in oven at 180oc for 40 minutes.

The dish came out gloriously crispy on the skin with a lovely ready made sauce from the cooking juices and melted cheese. Very yummy.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mexican Bean Chilli

Tuesday night and I thought I would try a Good Food recipe for Black Bean Chilli unfortunately I could not find any black beans in Tesco! So I codged the recipe to suit what I did have.

Mexican Bean Chilli

Serves 2-3

1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 onion - chopped
1 red bell pepper - chopped
1 1/2 tbs pimenton (Spanish Paprika)
1 1/2 tbs cumin
1 1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs brown sugar
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 x 200g can red kidney beans
1 x 200g can pinto beans
To serve
crumbled feta
sliced spring onions
sliced radishes
Boiled rice

Fry in oil the garlic and onions in a large pan until soft. Add the pimenton and cumin, cook for a few mins then add the vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, pepper and seasoning. Cook for 10 mins then add the beans and cook for a further 10 mins. Serve over rice with the feta, spring onions and radish sprinkled on top.

A very quick and simple dish but one that tastes fantastic. The vinegar adds a really lovely zing to the dish and the toppings lift and freshen the taste. Unusually for us a none meat dish, but could rapidly become a fave. I think any sort of beans could be substituted.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Cottage Chilli Hotpot

This is truly a stunning show stopper of a one pot dish. It comes from the January edition of Good Food magazine and my pictures really do not do it justice, it was my first attempt and I did not transfer it to a casserole dish so it looks a little messy, (Update, have added new picture from my latest attempt, much better) but it really is delicious.

Cottage Chilli Hotpot
Serves 6

800g Braising Streak - cubed
2 tbs seasoned plain flour
4 tbs Olive Oil
300ml Red Wine
2 Red Onions Finely chopped
2 Carrots - Finely chopped
4 Garlic cloves - Finely chopped
2 Red Peppers, deseeded and chunked
Bay leaf
1 tsp each ground Cumin and Corriander
1/2 tsp each Cinnamon and Chilli flakes
2 x 400g Chopped Plum Tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
250ml Beef Stock
400g Red Kidney Beans
1Kg potatoes

Toss the beef in the flour and brown half of it in a pan. Remove meat from pan and deglaze with 100ml wine, pour all the wine and sticky bits over the meat, wipe pan clean and repeat with the remainder of the beef.
Add 2 tbs of oil to the pan and add the veg, peppers, fresh chilli some thyme sprigs and bay, fry for 10 mins. Tip in the spices, cook for 1 min then add the rest of the wine and reduce by half.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, beef, winey jucies and stock, season and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until meat is meltingly tender. Stir in the beans and allow to cool.
Peel and slice the potatoes about 5mm thick, then boil for 5 mins. Drain then tip back in to the pan. Add a knob of butter and thyme leaves, season then toss gently to coat. Pour the chilli mix into a casserole dish and layer the potatoes over the top. Bake at 180oc for 40mins or until sauce is bubbling and potatoes golden.

Serve with green veg and soured cream. Truly scumptious!

Angostura Mince Cobbler

Pink Gin - I love it, just a few drops of Angostura Bitters really enhance a classic G & T with it's unique herby taste and glorious deep pink colour. A bit of research comes up with the fact that it is made from gentian root was developed in Venezuela around 1824 and is 44% Alc. It is an ingredient in many cocktails, can be a cure for an upset stomach and hiccups, but I have only ever once seen it as an ingredient in food. Taken from the 1982 M&S Special Occasion Casseroles I give you the delicious:

Angostura Mince Cobbler

550g Mince Beef
1 Large Onion chopped
2 Carrots peeled and diced
300ml Beef Stock
1 1/2 tbs Angostura Bitters
1 tbs Tomato Puree
2 tsp Cornflour
Scone Topping
175g SR Flour
40g Butter or Marg
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs, I like to use onion seeds
1 Egg beaten
2 tbs Milk
Handful grated Cheddar Cheese

Fry the beef, onion and carrots gently until soft.
Add the stock, Angostura Bitters, tomato puree seasoning and bring to the boil.
Blend cornflour in a little water and add to pan, cook until thickened.
Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and cook in oven at 180oc for 20 mins.
For the scone topping, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the fat until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add S&P and herbs. Bind together with the egg and enough milk to give a softish dough.
Pat out the dough on a floured surface to about 1cm thick and cut into 4cm rounds.
Remove casserole from oven and increase the temperature to 200oc. Arrange the scones in an overlapping circle around the edge, brush with milk.
Return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 mins or until the scones are well risen and golden brown - as an extra add a handful of grated cheese over the scone 10 mins from end.

In a variation minced pork can be used as well and I have been know to add a couple rashers chopped of smoked bacon to it.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Boxing Day Beef

Well Christmas and New Year have been and gone and what a wonderful time it was. My brother and his family were over from Holland. This gave us the perfect excuse to play all those kids games with my nephews without feeling childish, also the excuse to eat, drink and be merry to excess.

Christmas Eve - Shepherds Pie and Fizz cocktails at our house.

Christmas Day - The Turkey and Trimmings at my parents house.

Boxing Day - Roast Forerib of Beef at our house for 10, plus a 4 year old who ate her own body weight in roast potatoes!

I was a little disappointed when I saw the size of the beef from our local butcher, I had asked for eat to feed 10, but thought that there was no way it would. So I put a small joint of pork in the oven as well. I need not have doubted the butcher, after all he knows what he is talking about, we had loads leftover and did not need to touch the pork. In all the confusion though I forgot to cook the Yorkshire Puds! What a crime, but I don't think anyone noticed, mainly because the gravy was fantastic, based on Nigella Lawsons Port & Stilton gravy.
New Years Resolution to try and blog more regularly. Last years resolution to cook more food to freeze fell down when I realised that my small freezer cannot cope with such things, also we are so greedy barely anything is left over to freeze. But I am pleased that in the main I have kept up blogging for a year.