Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fondant Potatoes and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken

Some time ago I 'needed' to make fondant potatoes but had no idea what they even looked like never mind how to set about making them. That was until I came across The Cotswold Food Year Blog.
Last night I couldn't think what to make for dinner so looking at what was in my fridge. I've always got potatoes and onions.
I had two chicken breast fillets, Ricotta and some Pancetta, red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes.

Print Ricotta Chicken Recipe


To serve 2
Make the chicken:

Crisp up a few slices of Pancetta (or you could use streaky bacon) in a pan and put to one side.
You need two breast fillets with the skin on and about 100g of Ricotta.
Then using your fingers, push the ricotta under the skin of the chicken - bit messy but get as mush as you can under there!
Season with a little salt and some black pepper.
Grate some Parmesan on top of each and put them onto a shallow baking tray.

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas6

Bake the chicken for about 30 then pop the already crispy Pancetta on top of each breast and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Print Vegetable Recipe


For the Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes:
1 bell pepper - diced
1 onion - diced
1 fat clove of garlic - chopped
a few cherry tomatoes
a little oil and butter
salt and pepper to season

Fry the pepper, onion and garlic in a little oil and butter over a low heat and cook for a good while till they're nice and soft but not coloured. After the first 10 minutes add the tomatoes to the pan too. Season with salt and pepper.
You can keep it on a really low heat or even turn it off while you make the rest of your dinner. Then just heat through and serve.




Print Fondant Potato Recipe

For the Fondant Potatoes you will need:
6 medium sized potatoes - peeled
a glug of olive oil
40g butter
250ml chicken stock
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to do it:
Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6
Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized shapes, about 6cm in length, 5cm in width.
Using a sauté pan that can go into the oven, melt the olive oil over a medium heat, add the potatoes and cook. After five minutes add the butter.
Move the potatoes around a bit and turn them regularly until they are golden brown all over. 
Now add the stock bringing it half way up the potatoes, add the sprigs of thyme.
Put the pan into the oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. 

The stock would have reduced and potatoes should be tender.
Season and serve immediately.

You might like to see my step by step guide to making Fondant Potatoes

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Jan's Lamb and Apricot Tagine

Really tender lamb with a nice spiciness and the sweetness of apricots and golden sultanas.
Totally made up by me as I went along, I wrote everything down as I added it and I will be making this again as it really was delish!



If you have a Tagine then now is the time to use it - this one by Emile Henry is excellent as it can go on the stove top and also in the oven.



You need to use really good quality tinned tomatoes, I used a nice tin of Italian cherry tomatoes. You will also need a jar of Passata (skinned tomatoes which have been passed through a sieve removing the seeds and any lumps)



Print this Recipe


Cooking time about 2 and a half hours


You will need:

*Please note; I used 350g of lamb to make this for two people, but if you used 700g it will easliy serve 4 and there will be no need to add anymore of anything apart from probably all of the whole 300 ml of stock. I only needed 200ml.

a couple of tablespoons of olive oil

a couple of knobs of butter (say 25g in total)

350g or 700g (see above) of nice lean lamb, cut into 1inch chunks

2 large onions, chopped

2 fat cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon of
Ras el hanout (available in any good supermarket)
2 teaspoon turmeri
c
1 teaspoon of cumin

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

250ml of Passata
di pomodoro (available in any good supermarket)
1 x 400g tin of cherry tomatoes - get good quality ones

2 good sized teaspoons of Rose Harrisa (available in any good supermarket)
100g or about 10 dried soft apricots
a small handful of golden sultanas
a small handful of toasted flaked almonds

a pinch of saffron strand
s
300ml chicken stock made from a
Knorr stock cube
a good squeeze of runny honey

2 courgettes (zucchini) sliced

salt and black pepper to taste


How to do it:


Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2
You can use your Tagine if you have one that can go the stove top, if not use a large frying pan for this part. Heat about a tablespoon
of olive oil and a knob of butter and quickly brown the lamb.
Turn the heat off and stir in the Ras el hanout, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon.
Give it all a good stir to coat the lamb. Now remove the lamb and set aside.

Without washing the Tagine or frying pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter. Gently cook the onions and garlic until they are nice and soft but not coloured.
When that's done, put the lamb back in the pan and add the tomatoes, apricots, sultanas, saffron, honey and just 200ml of the stock - keep the rest of the stock in case you need it later.
Add only half of the almonds as you will want some later for serving.

Bring to the boil and then put everything into the Tagine if it isn't already in one, or you can use a casserole dish with a lid.
Pop it into the oven and leave for about 1 hour after which you will need to give it a good stir and have a taste.


Add a little more honey or Rose harrisa and stock if you think it needs it.


Put it back into the oven for another 30 minutes and then you can add the sliced courgettes.

It will then need to go back into the oven for another 45 minutes by which time the meat will be really love
ly and tender.

Just before serving, add a little salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle over the rest of the almonds and serve with couscous or flat bread.



Saturday, 20 February 2010

Coriander and Red Chilli Raita

Cooking an Indian dish tonight?
If so you must try this really easy to make Coriander and chilli raita.


To make one small dish - will serve 2 to 4:
200ml TOTAL Greek yoghurt - don't get low fat stuff for this it won't be as nice
a small handful of fresh coriander - leaves only and chopped
1 red chilli of medium heat - seeded and finely chopped
1 spring onion - finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

How to do it:
Keep back a little chopped coriander and chilli to garnish.
In a small bowl, stir the yoghurt and add the coriander, chilli and spring onion. Stir, add tiny a bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper - give it another stir and it's done!
If you're not going to use it straight away then cover with cling film and stick it in the fridge till later (use the same day though).
Top with the small amount of coriander and chilli you held back.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Moussaka

Moussaka has to be my number one favourite thing to eat!
I know I've blogged about it a few times before but it's never had a proper post all of it's own which I think it
deserves!



I would like to someday use Kefalotiri cheese, but haven't been able to get it - not even in Waitrose! I have no idea what the difference would be though, if any.

Print this Recipe


To serve 4 people you will need:
2 tablespoons of olive oil

12 Kalamata olives, finely chopped

500g minced lamb - get the best you can with a low fat content

1x400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

100ml of red wine

2 large onions - chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 aubergine, sliced into thin rounds

3 teaspoons dried oregano

1 large handful of Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 a teaspoon of dried mint

2 teaspoons of gro
und cinnamon
3 tablespoons of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds


For the Béchamel Sauce:
50g butter - melted

500ml of hot milk

4 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs - lightly beaten

a good handfull grated Romano Cheese or Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)


How to do it:

Brush the aubergine slices with a little olive oil. Now fry the slices in a large pan a few at a time until they are nicely cooked and beginning to turn slightly golden. Remove and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not coloured. Now add the lamb and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in the tomato puree and cook it for a minute or so.
Now add the oregano, basil, mint and cinnamon, olives cook for just one minute and then add the wine.
Let the mixture cook for a little while until the wine has reduced slightly.
Pour in the can of tomatoes including the juice.
Season, with salt and pepper.

Cook on a low heat for about an hour, until the mixture becomes nice and thick.

Now put the sliced potatoes into boiling water and simmer for about 5 or 6 minutes (or when you can easily insert a knife) they are ready. Be careful not to over cook and become mushy.
Run them under cold water, drain and pat dry with kitchen pa
per and set aside.

Lightly oil a largish baking dish, mine is probably about 9 x 9 inches and about 2.5 inches deep. Arrange a layer of potatoes over the bottom.
Now put a layer of meat sauce and a layer of aubergine, sprinkle with some cheese and then do another layer of meat sauce followed by a layer of aubergine. You need to end up with aubergine as the top layer.

To make the Bechamel Sauce:
In saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook the mixture for a couple of minutes and add the salt.
Now at this point, take it off the heat and add the hot milk whilst using a balloon whisk to mix it but you need to keep that whisk going!
Now let it cool a bit and then, add the eggs and grated cheese and keep whisking until it turns into this lovely smooth sauce.
Mix in the ground nutmeg.

Taste a smidgen of it if you dare (remembering there are raw eggs in it) just to see if it needs any more salt.

Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little more cheese.
Top with a little sprinkling of nutmeg.


Bake in a Pre-heated oven at 175C/350F Gas4
for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and it is hot pipin
g hot in the middle. Let it stand for a few minutes before cutting into slices to serve.


Serve with a nice Greek salad.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Choi Sum in Oyster Sauce with Fried Shallots and Garlic

First of all, Happy Chinese New Year!  
A perfect side dish to any Chinese meal - choi sum.
 

Also spelt 'choy' sum is much the same as bok choi or pak choi, they are all part of the Chinese cabbage family.

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

I saw this recipe a while back in a Rick Stein cookery book. It's so easy to make - takes a few minutes and you're all done.
Perfect with Thai fishcakes.




Print this Recipe


You will need:
50ml white wine vinegar
100g caster sugar
1½tbsp water

2 tsp Thai fish sauce

50g cucumber, diced very finely

25g carrot, diced very finely
25g onion, chopped very finely

2 red bird's eye chillies, sliced thinly


How to do it:
Gently heat the vinegar, sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Stir in the fish sauce, cucumber, carrot, onion and chillies. Pour into four small dipping saucers.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Baguette with Chicken, Caramelised Onions and Melted Cheddar

Sticky gooey caramelised onions topped with slightly spiced chicken and melted Cheddar cheese.
I used Old Bay seasoning for the chicken which is almost impossible to get here in the UK but I got mine from someone on eBay who already had a stock in the UK so it arrived the very next day - Marvelous!

I can't imagine it did us a bit of good but it was very, very nice!



Print this Recipe

To serve 2 you will need:
2 skinless chicken breast fillets - sliced into thin strips
2 large onions
a really good handful of Cheddar cheese - grated
a small freshly baked baguette
a little vegetable oil and butter for frying
1 teaspoon of cornflour
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning
plus 1/2 a tablespoon of vegetable oil


How to do it:
In a small bowl add the cornflour, the 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and soy sauce and mix together. Add the sliced chicken and give it a good stir to make sure the chicken if fully coated and set aside for about 30 minutes.

While that's happening, h
eat a little butter and oil in a large frying pan and add the sliced onions.
Cook them over a gentle heat for a good while trying not to move the onions about too much. Just give them a shove around the pan every 10 minutes or so.
They'll take about 35 to 45 minutes to get nice and sticky and caramelised.


Now add the Old Bay seasoning to the chicken and give it a good stir, to coat the chicken well.
In another smaller frying pan add a tiny bit of vegetable oil, heat it up and then add the chicken. It wont take long to cook as it's sliced thinly.

Put the grill on if it's one that needs heating up first.

Now get yourself a nice fresh baguette, slice it in half longways and then slice across the midle to open up.
Pop it under the grill for just a minute or two to slightly brown and crisp the bread part.
Put a good helping of the caramelised onions on the bread followed by the cooked chicken. Top generously with grated cheese and pop back under the grill till the cheese melts.

Waste no time and eat straight away.



I served the baguettes with skinny fries and home made coleslaw.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Beef and Green Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

Beef and green peppers in black bean sauce, totally delicious and just like it is in the Chinese restaurants here in the UK. 




Black beans are usually preserved in ginger and salt, they will need rinsing and soaking before use. 

Monday, 8 February 2010

Apricot Stuffed Chicken with Pancetta

I made this a while back, but this time instead of stuffing the chicken with apricots and Stilton, I thought it would have been better stuffed only with apricots - for the reason that you can get more apricots in!

It's worth noting that Stilton is quite a strong cheese, just in case you've not tried it before.


To serve 2 you will need:
2 skinless chicken fillets - nice big ones
16 slices of Pancetta
about 12 apricots - you want the soft dried ones for this
a few tiny knobs of unsalted
a tiny amount of olive oil for frying
salt and white pepper to season

To make the Stilton sauce:
a tiny amount of olive oil
1 shallot - very finely chopped
100ml double cream
150g Stilton cheese
freshly ground black pepper

How to do it:
Do one fillet at a time.
Turn the chicken fillet over (so the nicer side is now underneath) and make a few cuts with a sharp knife into the fillet, taking care not to cut right through.





Now place the fillet between two sheets of cling film and bash it out till it's flat. Don't go too mad as you don't want it to tear.



Lightly season with pepper on both sides.

Using a nice big, fresh, piece of cling film, lay 8 slices of pancetta on top of the cling film so that each rasher slightly overlaps the next.
Lay the chicken fillet on top. Now chop the apricots into small dice and place a small mound of them in the center of each fillet. Add a few dots of butter for moisture while it cooks.



Now, bring the left piece of cling film to the right so that it brings the pancetta with it. Peel back the cling film and now bring the right piece of cling film towards the left and peel that back.



You now want to bring the top piece of cling film towards the bottom and peel back. Then bring the bottom towards the top.
If I've explained that correctly, you should now have a nice neat parcel.

Keep the chicken fillet wrapped in the cling film until you are ready to cook.
This will help them to keep their shape.



When you've done both fillets you can either put them into the fridge until you're ready to cook.

When you are ready to cook, don't forget to remove the cling film!

Add a tiny bit of olive oil and butter to a skillet that can also go into the oven.
When it's nice and hot put the chicken on it's nice side first and golden it for a few minutes. Turn it over and brown the other side.

If you don't have a skillet that can go in the oven, you will need a frying pan to fry them first and then an oven proof dish to continue cooking.

When the chicken fillets are nice and golden on both sides make sure they the nice way up and put the skillet into your pre-heated oven (220c/400f/Gas 6) for about 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through.
Remember, as they will cook quicker than they normal would because you've made them nice and thin.

To make the sauce:

Heat a little olive oil in a small saucepan. Gently cook the shallots until they are tender - about 10 minutes.
Don't let them colour - you just want them nice and soft.
Cut the Stilton into chunks and add that to the saucepan. Let it melt for a few minutes. Stir using a wooden spoon.
Now you can add almost all of the cream.
Let it cook on a gentle heat until the cheese has melted. See what sort of thickness it is and add the rest of the cream if you need to. 100ml is normally about right for that amount of cheese.
The sauce should be thick 'ish' - not thin and watery. Add a little black pepper and turn off the heat till your ready to serve.

When the chicken is done you can heat the sauce through.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Lasagne al Ragù

Pasta sheets layered with a rich beef and pork ragu sauce, bubbling with a nice golden crust of Parmesan.  I've been making lasagne for years and have tried all sorts of different recipes. 


This is my 'titivated' version of one by Delia Smith.
 It is so tasty, you may not want to add the chicken livers but they really do add a lot of good flavour to the dish. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Thai Style Salmon Fishcakes

I felt the need to make Thai fishcakes. I only had salmon (no white fish) and I was limited to what I had in my cupboards and fridge, I came up with these.

I really wanted the outside to be crispy, so seeing as I had a bag of potato starch living in my cupboard (as you do)!
I wondered what would happen if I coated the fishcakes in it before frying.
A marvelous idea - it worked! You don't want m
uch - just a coating.



Print this Recipe

You will need:

250g of salmon fillet - cut into chunks

1 tsp Thai fish sauce

1 tbsp red curry paste

2 kaffir lime leaves -shredded very finely

1
green birds eye chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
1 egg - yolk only

1 tsp palm sugar or muscovado sugar

½ tsp salt 2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbs of cornflour - if needed to thicken

**optional - a couple of spoons of potato starch to give extra crunch

a glug of sunflower oil - for frying


How to do it:

Put the fish in a food processor with the fish sauce, curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, egg yolk, sugar and salt.
Process until smooth.

Put the mixture into a bowl. Add the cornflour (if you need it) to thicken the mixture.
Stir in the chopped spring onions and the chilli.

Divide the mixture into 4 pieces - or 8 if you want baby fishcakes .

Using your hands, roll each one into a ball and then flatten into rounds.
Roll each one in potato starch (optional).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish cakes in (in batches if you need to) for a minute or so on each side depending on their size.

You want them nice and golden brown.
Once they're cooked, remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve immediately with a nice dipping sauce. Mine was a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

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