Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Pasta, Cheese and Some Other Bits!



Once again this was a case of working today and so I had to make something quickity quick! And also to use up even more bits that were in the fridge!
I think you'll all be glad to know everything is now used up!

I had bought some minced pork and some minced beef - I think all pasta dishes taste better if you use half and half of pork and beef, instead of all beef.
I fried the meat until it started to brown and then added some sliced onion. I let that cook for a while and then added some sliced red pepper and some cubed aubergine (eggplant). Once it was all nicely cooked I added a jar of 'Ragu' ready made pasta sauce.
To make it a bit spicy, I stirred in a couple of teaspoons of my amazing red pepper sauce that I have stored in the freezer for when things need spicing up!

I cooked some pasta and stirred that into the meat and sauce mixture then poured into a lightly oiled baking dish, sprinkled with some grated mozzarella and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese had melted and browned nicely.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce and Some Other Bits!



Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, with other stuff that was in my fridge and needed to be used up soon!
I was working again today so another day of 'dinner that had to be quickish' with not too much messing about!

I had half a yellow pepper, yes - just the half!
A whole red pepper, some pak choi, beansprouts, spring onions and a pack of noodles!
I cubed some chicken breast fillets and left them to marinade in a little bit of cornflour, a little oil, good couple of glugs of soy sauce and a splash of Saki.
I didn't have too long to mess about, so they were only in the mixture for about 35 minutes. I have discovered this makes the chicken so much softer after cooking in a wok than if you don't do this.
On the net and on TV I've heard about a process called 'Velveting' chicken to make it softer when cooked. But I can't be doing all this cooking in oil until it turns white stuff when I've been to work - I'm sorry!

Anyway, where was I?.......
I had all these left over things - so I fried the chicken in a wok till it was almost cooked through, and then added the peppers and onions (not for too long - you don't want them too soft).
I then added the black bean sauce and stirred for a minute before adding the beansprouts and the pak choi just for a few seconds - until the pak choi wilts.
I served it with the noodles, which I'd stir fried in some sesame oil.
Just for show and to use them up - I added some chopped spring onions for colour!
I have to say it all turned out rather nice indeedy!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Pork Yuk Sung (Pork in Lettuce Leaves)

Easy to make at home recipe for Pork Yuk Sung!
We had this a while ago in a Chinese restaurant and have been a fan of this dish ever since.  Some places add a few spoonfuls of plain boiled rice to the cooked pork mixture. 


 I think this tastes as near to the dish that is served in restaurants as you can get. I served it as a starter to Kung Po Chicken.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Chicken Breast topped with Caramelized Onions and Cornish Cruncher Cheese



This is a 'Marks and Spencer' dish from their 'COOK' range which I have copied - Naughty me!

Sorry, I can not be too accurate with amounts, I forgot to weigh things as I went, but it mostly depends on your taste. Just use what you feel is necessary.

You will need:

2 Chicken Breast Fillets
A Good Dollop of Cream Cheese
Half an Onion - Chopped Finely
Some Grated Cornish Cruncher Extra Matured Cheddar Cheese (or any other strong Cheddar you fancy)
Zest of 1 lemon (not the end of the world if you don't have any - don't fuss)
How to do it:

Fry the onions over a low heat until they become golden and caramelized.
Put to one side to cool.
Using a Sharp knife, cut each chicken fillet along one edge being careful not to cut right in half, so that they open like a book.
Place one at a time in between some cling film and bash with something 'bashable'! (a mallet type thing). So that they are quite flattened.
This will make them a lot thinner so they will cook a lot quicker.
Pat dry with kitchen paper and season. I only used pepper, no salt because of the cheese.
Place onto a lightly oiled tray and spread the cream cheese over the top of them.
Now put the onions over the top and then grate the 'Cornish Cruncher' cheese (or whatever Cheddar you are using) on top followed by the lemon zest.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for about 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
I did some potatoes roasted with red onions and bacon and also had did some green beans.
PS: Blogger is doing my head in today - it won't let me put spaces where I want to when starting a new sentence!!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Steak and Caramelized Onions with Melted Cheese


Oh dear - we do seem to be eating too much cheese here lately.
Just as well we aren't on a diet in this house!
I was working today - never a good thing getting home late when cooking is concerned!

I work in a food shop (Marks and Spencer) and I LOVE looking at other peoples shopping.....I know - what AM I like?!
But then I suppose, it's a bit like us all reading blogs about what other people are cooking.....make me feel better about this problem of mine - Please!

Anyway, at the end of the day we get to buy food that the 'Display Until' date is up. But the 'Best Before' date is the day after.
So tiz perfectly fine. And we pay half price or less for it.
Where was I?..... Oh yeah, so, I seem to have bought this 'bargain' pack of thin cut steak. I already had some 'Ready to Bake Baguettes' and as I've been to work - no time to be making them from scratch!

I fried some onions until they were nicely browned and almost gooey, then I pan fried the steak (took only minutes as it was thin cut.
I put the steak into the baguettes along with the onions and then topped with melted cheese for that extra 'yummo' factor!!


Monday, 21 April 2008

Rosemary Crusted Pork Fillet with Goat's Cheese Dauphinoise Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables




Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6

Roll the pork fillet in flour and then in a beaten egg.
Now roll it into some breadcrumbs that have been seasoned with salt and pepper and a little freshly chopped rosemary.

Then drizzle the fillets with a little oil and roast in the oven until cooked right through. (approx 40 mins.

For the vegetables:

I roasted some vegetables - red and brown onions, red and yellow pepper's, aubergine (eggplant) and courgettes (zucchini) in oil and a little balsamic vinegar.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Goat's Cheese Dauphinoise :
I used 4 medium sized potatoes - peeled and sliced to about 1mm thick.
2 crushed garlic cloves - finely chopped
3 shallots - finely chopped
270ml double cream
50ml milk
25g butter
170g goats cheese - crumbled
And about a half handful of grated mozzarella that I had in the fridge and needed to use up!

What I did next:

Put the butter in a fry pan and fried the shallots and garlic over a low heat until soft.
I then stirred in the cream and milk then when it had heated through I added the sliced potatoes, then seasoned with salt and pepper.

After about 10 minutes on a low heat I transferred the potatoes to an oiled dish (one that can go into the oven).
I did one layer of potato mixture and a layer of goat's cheese. Finish off with the potato mixture and sprinkle the rest of the goat's cheese (and mozzarella if you happen to have any).

Cover the dish with foil and put it into the oven to cook for about 20 minutes before you put in the pork and the roasted vegetables. These potatoes will take about 1 hour in the oven in total.

After 20 minutes remove the foil so the potatoes go nice and brown on top.

I then put the pork and the potatoes on the middle shelf and the vegetables on the top - then swapped as necessary (to what was cooking quicker)!

After about 40 minutes the pork was cooked through so I removed it and let it rest before cutting with a sharp knife into slices.
By that time the rest of the dinner was ready to serve.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

A Cheese Described As.......


I went to a food shop the other day and I saw a little terracotta pot of Cheese spread called 'Curtet's ST.Marcellin'. Made in France.
The packaging described it as 'Complex Yeast and Winey Aroma with a Tangy Fruity, Creamy Paste'.
It's very sad I know but I just HAD to buy it. It looks like it might just be very yummy indeedy! ........
A Bit Later On:
It was Yummy - If you see this I recommend you try it.
It really is tangy yet fruity and winey even!
Perfect for crackers.



Browned Onions and Madeira Gravy......

I made this gravy a few weeks ago before I started this blog.
A gravy for sausages, toad in the hole, mashed potatoes, and is wonderful over piping hot bubble and squeak....

Ingredients:

A thick slice of butter (approx 75g)
2 Large Onions
Flour (about heaped tablespoon)
75 ml of Madeira, or you could use Marsala (I've done this with both and they are equally nice).
250ml Stock
Worcestershire Sauce

Here's what to do:

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat till golden and soft.
Continue cooking, covering with a lid, until the onions are really brown and soft.

Stir in a heaped tablespoon of flour and cook for a few minutes until it has lightly browned. Now pour in the liquids.
Season with salt and pepper and the Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down so that the gravy bubbles gently and leave for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Grown ups Fish Finger Sandwich with Lemon Mayonnaise



Today I made some dough in the bread machine and made it into rolls (big ones) and baked them. I had one large beer battered cod fillet in the freezer.
A few weeks ago I'd had this in a local pub for lunch. They called it Grown ups Fish Finger Sandwich - it was yummy, I copied it!



I had never made mayonnaise before, but it turned out fine so I was pleased with myself.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Pan Fried King Scallops with Bacon..........



Here's what I did.

Pan fried some bacon, then when it was done I put the scallops in the same pan to fry in the bacon fat - there is no need to add anything else.
The scallops only take a minute or two each side. Remove and serve with the crispy bacon and the pan juices.
The saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the scallops, there is nothing quite like it!

Pan Fried Bacon, Halloumi Cheese and Balsamic Dressed Leaves......


We don't usually have a starter in the week before our dinner, but I went to Waitrose (a rather nice supermarket) today and saw some scallops.........I LOVE scallops and bacon.
But the husband does not. So I bought me some scallops and him some Halloumi cheese. I did say there was an overdose of cheese in this house today!
I pan fried the bacon until it was almost done then added the Halloumi cheese. The salad leaves I dressed in balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Some Good Things to Go On a Pizza

Sliced Red Onion, Sliced Tomatoes, Olives, Finely Chopped Chili Pepper, Sliced Peppers, Pepperoni, Buffalo Mozzarella, Grated Mozzarella Cheese


The pizza about to go into the oven.



This is a 'His and Her's' Pizza - the side with the olives and tomatoes is mine.
I build my half and he builds his!

Homemade Pizza

Today I will not be cooking anything fancy. However although it isn't fancy, homemade pizza is so easy to make and very tasty.

To Make Pizza Dough:

Ingredients:

170ml Water
300g Strong White Bread Flour
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 a Teaspoon of Yeast

Method:

Put all of the above in a bread machine (although you can mix this by hand of course) and select 'Pizza Dough'

When the dough is ready remove from the machine and press out with the heel of your hand to a 25cm/10inch circle.

Cover with lightly oiled cling film to stop it drying out. Allow to prove for about 20 minutes in a warm place.

Add topping of your choice starting with a tomato pizza base sauce, which you can buy ready made in just about any supermarket.

I then add sliced red onions, sliced pepper, grated cheese, pepperoni, olives, sliced tomato, a little chopped green chili and finally mozzarella.

Now bake in a preheated oven at 220C/425F/Gas7 for about 20-25 minutes depending of the amount of topping.

Maple and Pecan Bread for Bread Machine

I have made this a couple of times now and it's really nice - The nutty bits in it give it a nice texture.




Ingredients

3/4 Teaspoon Yeast
200 g Strong Whole Meal Flour
15 g Butter

1 Teaspoon Salt

3 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup

280 ml Water

75 g Pecan Pieces


Method

Place ingredients in bread machine and follow manufactures intructions for bread making.

The pecans are to be added either when the bleep sounds to add 'extra' ingredients - or into the automatic dispencer if your machine has one.


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Salmon, New Potatoes, Green Beans with Lemon and Dill Sauce

I will have to complete this post tomorrow as I seem to have had a bit of an accident at work - will tell you more tomorrow!.....

Okay - here's the update!
Just as I was leaving work on Tuesday night, completely by accident, I got poked in the eye - now don't laugh! It's really bad.
I spent yesterday afternoon at the hospital. I will not go into detail as this is, after all, a blog about food and I'm sure no one wants to read about my injury anyway.
I can not complete this post about the salmon we had though as I have no picture - due to my eye problem. Anyway, it is quite a bit better today.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Ragu Bolognese and Focaccia



You will need:

25g Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
250g Minced Beef
250g Minced Pork
75ml White Wine (red is fine too)
680g Jar of Passata (tomato pulp)
1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to do it:

Heat the oil and butter in a pan and fry the chopped onion.
Add the meat and fry until brown. Stir in the wine, tomato pulp and tomato puree.

Season with salt and pepper
Cover with a lid (or some foil) and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes - stirring from time to time.

Serve with freshly cooked pasta (I used Linguine) and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.

Focaccia with Balsamic Onions

I made Focaccia bread from a basic recipe for the bread machine.

1/2 Teaspoon Yeast

300g Strong White bread Flour

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

170ml Water

Put the above in a bread machine and select 'Pizza Dough'

Finely chop some red onion that has been softened in some olive oil over a low heat. When softened add a little balsamic vinegar and put to one side until the dough is ready.

When the dough is done (approx 45 mins) remove and roll into a round until about 3/4 of an inch thick.

Drizzle with olive oil and press your knuckles into the dough to make dents all over and cover with the onion and balsamic mixture. I also added a little chopped rosemary.

Cover with cling film and allow to prove for about 30 minutes.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until golden at the edges and cooked well in the centre.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Perfectly Crispy Roast Potatoes

You will find all manor of amazing recipes to get 'The perfect roast potato' some telling you to coat them in flour.
Some telling you to deep fry them. Some involve using only goose or duck fat to roast them in as I have done here.
This is my non fancy version but I believe it is a good one - since it always works! I always use Cookeen




Print Recipe
Preheat the oven to 225c or 425f/Gas 7

Firstly, you need to use a floury variety of potato such as Maris Piper.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces large enough for two or three bites. Any less and they will be all crust and no spud.
Put them in a saucepan of cold water, partly cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
Add salt to you taste - I put in a tablespoon, cook for five minutes, and drain. be careful not too cook too long or you'll just end up with mush!

With a lid on the pan, take the pan of potatoes in both hands and give it a couple of good shakes. The idea is to fluff the edges of the spuds up so that they become crisp and frilly as they roast. This is the key to success.......

They should look like this:
Put enough Cookeen into your roasting pan to form a thinnish layer when melted (about 0.5cm) in the bottom when heated briefly in the oven.
Pour the potatoes into the hot fat and turn them until they're well covered.
Baste them again with the hot fat after about 30 minutes, turn them over and baste again. Continue to bake them until they're gold and crispy.
They will take between 50 minutes to an hour or so.  But if they take longer, then so they do. You can not rush a good food!
Try to move them only once or twice during cooking, otherwise the edges won't go crisp and brown.

Sunday isn't Sunday......

Without a Traditional English Roast.
Sunday's to me mean crispy, crunchy potatoes roasting in the oven with the sticky gooey bits scraped from the roasting pan. The smell of a nice juicy joint of Beef roasting in the oven. Cauliflower, carrots, swede and of course butter beans simmering away on the hob.
Gravy made with 'Bisto' powder adding the juices from the meat as you stir. Throwing in a bit of cooked cauliflower, swede and the odd carrot and mushing them into the gravy. And finely you must not miss out on the Yorkshire puddings.....

As a child I wouldn't and couldn't eat a roast dinner to save my life - but I don't know why. I think it must just be a child thing of deciding that all vegetables must taste horrid. That said I don't think I ate a roast dinner until I was in my 20's!
We don't always have beef sometimes we have chicken or pork. My personal preference will always be beef.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Pot-roasted Chicken with a Sweet and Sour Sauce



Yet another Jamie Oliver recipe - This is a really tasty and colourful dish - once all the preparation has been done you can leave to cook on it's own.

Ingredients

2 kg Whole Chicken

Sea Salt and Black Pepper
A Handful of Fresh Parsley
4 inch Piece of Fresh Ginger Root - Grated with the skin left on
2 Red Peppers
2 Yellow Peppers

4 Red Onions
2 Red Chillies - medium hot ones

1 Fresh Pineapple

1 Teaspoon of Fennel Seeds

Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Sugar

6 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar


How to do it:

Preheat the oven 190c/375F/Gas5.

You will need a casserole dish large enough for the chicken to sit on top of all the vegetables and pineapple. You will also need a food processor.

Crush the fennel seeds and put to one side. Chop the parley and put to one side.
Cut the stalk off the top of the chillies. Snap them in half and put those to one side too.
Grate the ginger - Leaving the skin on.

Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and stuff the cavity with the parsley and ginger.

Peel the pineapple and cut into large chunks.


Cut the red onions and peppers into quarters and put into a cold casserole dish.
Add the chillies, pineapple and crushed fennel seeds. Drizzle with 3 good glugs of olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give it a good stir to coat everything well.
Place the chicken on top and pat it with a little oil.

Cook in the middle of a pre-heated oven until the chicken is cooked - about 2 hours.

**Please note cooking time is APROX - please read the label on the chicken.

The chicken is only cooked when the juices run clear and you can easily pull the bone from the thighs.
When cooked, remove the chicken and drain the juices over the pan.

Remove the chicken from the bone and put onto serving plates. Now remove half of the vegetables and half of the pineapple and put with the chicken and keep warm.

Put the remaining vegetables and pineapple from the pan into a food processor with the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Correct the seasoning with a little salt and pepper - if needed.

Blend for just a few seconds to make a lovely sauce.
Pour over the sauce over the chicken and serve with plain boiled rice.

Camembert Baked in its Box With Garlic

Sticky, gooey, melty cheese that oozes in it's box.
All that's needed are a few gherkins, some baby new potatoes or some nice crusty bread for dunking. 
 
You will need:

250g Camembert Cheese in it's wooden box
1/2 Clove Garlic
1/2 teaspoon White Wine

How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
Chop the garlic very finely. Remove the cheese from it's box - take off the wrapping then put the cheese back in the box.
Make about 6 tiny holes in the top rind of the cheese and drizzle the wine into them. Sprinkle the garlic on top.
Put the lid back on the box and bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbling.
Serve the melted cheese in it's box, dipping in some gherkins or just some nice fresh crusty bread. 

I've posted a slightly different version which can be seen here.

 

Lemon Pickle - Jamie Oliver


An excellent pickle for serving with curry from Jamie Oliver's book 'Happy Days with the Naked Chef'

**If you're looking for the lemon pickle from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, it can be found in my post here.


I used 'Barts' dried curry leaves.

You will need:
2 Teaspoons Mustard Seeds

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

A Few Dried Curry leaves - broken
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mung Dal
1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
4 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

2 Lemons


Method:
Wash and deseed the lemons and cut into bite size pieces, leaving the skin on.

Fry the mustard seeds in the hot oil. As they begin to pop add the curry leaves and the urad dal.
Lower the heat and cook until brown, then add the vinegar.

This bit is important! - Cook until the dal is soft - test one as they will be really hard if not cooked through.
Stir in the lemon, cook for a bit and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. This can be stored in the fridge for a few days if you wish.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Recipe for home made burgers


Bit of a shame - the picture is more of the chips than the burger......I must try harder with my pictures!

Ingredients
250g Minced Pork - with low fat content
250g Minced Beef - with low fat content
1 Large Onion
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Worcestershire Sauce to Taste
Handful of Freshly Chopped Parsley
Freshly Chopped Chives
Yolk of 1 Egg

Method
Finely chop the onions in a blender, remove and put into a mixing bowl.
Now put the pork and beef in and give it a few seconds - you do not want the meat to be too finely chopped.
Remove and add to the onions.
Finely chop the parsley and chives and add to the same bowl along with the yolk of one egg.
Season with salt and pepper and about 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and mix well with a fork.
Make into 4 burger shapes using your hands and shallow fry in a little vegetable oil until cooked through.

Warm Bread Salad of Crispy Pancetta, Parmesan and Poached Egg



This is a Jamie Oliver Recipe for a really tasty and 'posh' looking salad.
You can use any salad leaves that you like. The pancetta must be thinly sliced.

Ingredients

1 Loaf of Ciabatta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic
Sea salt and Black Pepper to Taste
12 Sliced of Pancetta
Juice of 1 Lemon
4 Large Eggs
3 Handfuls of Rocket
1 Lettuce (Oak leaf lettuce looks nice)
100 g Parmesan Cheese


Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas6.

Leave the eggs in their shells at this point (you will need to poach them later on).
Shave the Parmesan with a vegetable peeler and put to one side.
Peel and slice the garlic.

Remove the crusts from the ciabatta and discard. Tear the bread into finger sized pieces. Put them on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil and toss with the garlic and seasoning. Bake for 10 minutes until the bread is crisp.

Lay the pancetta over the bread and bake for about 5 more minutes - until that's also crispy.

Mix the lemon juice with 8 tablespoons of olive oil and season.
Put a big pan of unsalted water on to boil.

In a large bowl, toss the salad leaves, pancetta, bread and the dressing together. Divide between 4 plates.

When the pan is simmering, gently crack the 4 eggs into the simmering water to poach. Simmer for 4 minutes if you like a soft egg, or to your liking.

Place an egg on top of each salad and add the Parmesan shavings.
Serve straight away - Don't let the eggs get cold!


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Roasted Chicken, Chorizo and Potatoes Jamie Oliver Recipe

Today I fancy making this Jamie Oliver recipe. He calls it 'Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken'.
  I've made it a couple of times before and it is so nice and easy to make but more importantly it looks good and it is very tasty.
He's book mentions one beaten egg - but where?? why??
Bit of a printing error me thinks!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Dukkah Crusted Pomegranite Marinated Cod


I made it!
What can I say - this was so nice, the smell of the dukkah when the nuts and spices were toasting was amazing.
Kevin - My picture does not do this dish justice, sorry - I am no photographer!!
I almost didn't put my picture on here but then no one would have thought I'd really made it!
But - whatever my picture looks like, it was really yummy!!
I will make this again!

If I can get Pomegranite Molasses - I will make this!

Today I have found a really nice looking recipe by Kevin - he has a great food blog.
Have a look at this Dukkah Crusted Pomegranite Marinated Cod
I've never heard of Dukkah but he has the recipe for that too!
Now I have one small problem - will I be able to get such a thing as Pomegranite Molasses?
I can't say I ever heard of it so I have no idea if it's easy or not to buy round here. I'm off to find out!



Monday, 7 April 2008

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Bake

Spicy tomato sauce with aubergine, red and yellow peppers, red onion and pasta. Topped with Gruyere cheese and grated mozzarella and baked in the oven.


And a salad of leaves, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives and feta cheese.

Click here to Print Recipe

Ingredients
Vegetable oil
2 Chicken Breast Fillets, slice then put to one side.
2 Red Onions
1 Aubergine
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
750ml Jar of Crushed Tomatoes with Garlic (available from almost any supermarket)
Grated Cheese of Your Choice.
You can add whatever else you like - this is all I had in the fridge at the time.
Method
Cut all the vegetables and onions into bite size chunks.
Brown the onions in a little oil in large frying pan until they started to soften. Then add the peppers and fry until they soften a little.
Now add the aubergine to the pan. When that has began to soften, remove all the vegetables from the pan and put to one side.
Add the sliced chicken breast - you might need a little more oil at this stage. Brown the chicken a little, until it's almost cooked through, then put the vegetables back in.
Now pour half of the jar of crushed tomato and garlic sauce. Don't pour the whole jar in at once as you don't want this mixture to be too wet or it won't be nice. I ended up using very nearly all of it. The amount you need will depend on how much veg you have used. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
I then added 2 tablespoons of Turkish Red Pepper Sauce for the spiciness but you can add chili powder or dried chili flakes, or whatever you fancy.
Cook on a low heat until the chicken is cooked right through. Then transfer to a non stick dish that can go into the oven. I topped mine with grated Gruyere cheese and grated mozzarella and baked in the oven. You can use whatever cheese you fancy.
Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes on 180C /350F / Gas 4
Then remove the foil and turn the oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6 For approx 15 minutes - or until piping hot.

In my fridge I have.....

I'm off work this week on holiday - well today and tomorrow are holiday days and then I'm days off anyway. I must remember to turn up there on Saturday though!

Today, I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight.

In my fridge I have:
Mange tout, baby corn and beansprouts (left from making the Thai green curry).
I also have tomaotes an aubergine red and yellow peppers and two nice big chicken breast fillets. I have goats cheese, parmesan and Gruyere. Oh and I have some fine green beans too!
Now what can I make out of that lot (not all of course) but most to use them up?...........
I'll let you know later.


Update:
I've thought - Some sort of chicken and vegetable pasta bake type thing with Gruyere cheese on top! Not the most amazing thing but it will use up some of the stuff in my fridge.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Recipe for slow cooked lamb shanks

This recipe was given to me by a really good friend of mine - Jean.
Lots of people have asked in the past 'Are you two sisters'? We might as well be!
Jean is my once brother in laws wife. I say once as I don't like the word ex.
We've always stayed very good friends and I love them and their two girls to bits.
Anyway - On with the recipe!

You will need:

2 Lamb Shanks
2 or 3 Rashers of Streaky Bacon
1 Red Onion peeled and quartered
1 Clove Garlic
Small handful of Fresh mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary bay leaves)
2 or 3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 or 3 Carrots, peeled and quartered
2 or 3 Parsnips, peeled and quartered
2 sticks of celery
1 Pint of Chicken or Beef Stock
Glass of red wine (Jean says optional but I'd say must)!
Packet of Cross & Blackwell’s Madeira Wine Gravy Mix. (If you can't get Madeira wine gravy you can use Bisto powder)

Preheat oven to Gas 3 - 170C - 325F -
170

Use a meat tin or casserole that is able to go on the hob.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and brown your seasoned lamb (be careful as it spits quite a bit)!!

Remove from the pan, then add onion and garlic and bacon and fry until soft.
Now add the herbs and vegetables and pour in stock and wine if used.

Put the lamb back into the dish and cover with tight fitting lid or tin foil.
Bake in oven for 2 to 2½ hours.

When cooked, the meat should come off the bone very easily.
Take out the meat and vegetables and keep warm on a hot dish and stir your gravy mix into the pan juices adding more liquid in required.
Serve with creamed potatoes.

Turkish Red Pepper Sauce



I'll be using this next week in a recipe for Aubergines stuffed with spicy tomato and onions. This makes about 175ml (so half everything if you want to make less).

Ingredients
4 red capsicum
4 red chillies (medium heat)

40 ml water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

20 ml olive oil

Directions
Cut the capsicums into large chunks, discarding the seed core.
Slice the chillies in half (discarding the seeds for if you require a milder paste) and trim any stems.
Place the capsicums, chillies, water, salt, sugar and olive oil in a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer gently until the mixture is thick has reduced to a thick paste (about 1 hour) stirring frequently.
Keep stirring frequently to take care that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Allow to cool then use as desired in Turkish recipes or any time that you want a little "heat" in your cooking.
This mixture can be kept in a refrigerator or up to 1 week in a sealable container. Or, it can be frozen in a small sealable plastic container.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Today - by request from the husband.....

We are having 'Tacos'! EASY or WHAT?
Get a Taco meal kit from your local supermarket. The corn taco shells, you know the ones I mean?
The kit comes with 12 taco corn shells, spicy toamto salsa and the taco seasoning. All you do is fry minced beef, add the seasoning that comes in the kit, then fill the shells with the minced beef. You then add whatever else you fancy.... lettuce, grated cheese and tomatoes are a must!
Then, you can serve with some 'refried beans' once again these are available in a can in almost any supermarket. I also like to have some jalapeno and chilli peppers.......Mmmm!!

We were extra greedy and also had some spicy potato wedges with some soured cream.






Tomorrow - I think we'll have Thai Green Chicken Curry......






Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Tomorrow's Dinner - Something with preserved lemons.........

Not sure what it'll be that I cook tomorrow. But it will have to involve my preserved lemons! They are ready now and I feel the need to use them - for something.......
I will look in my Rick Steins book and, of course, on my favorite site 'RecipeZaar'. It's a great site for finding a recipe for just about anything.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Pastitsio

A nice salad of leaves, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, black olives. Drizzled, of course, with a good olive oil......



So, tonights dinner was a doddle!! It was made last week, then frozen.
Nothing to do except make the salad after defrosting the Pastitsio.
Then to pop into the oven.......


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