Thursday, 15 December 2011

Mince Pie Cookies

Whilst mooching around the foody blogs I came across this recipe from Recipe Rifle and imediately though mmmmm, must try this out.  So that very evening when I got home from work, on went the oven and the cupboards were opened to reveal that I did actually have all the ingredients!  What came out of the oven approx 30 minutes later was utter heaven, hubby thought they were utter heaven too and so to save ourselves from their absolute sheer decadence and obvious huge calorific values I valiantly gave them to his work colleagues to finish off.  But I do not dispare I will be making these with my nephews over the Christmas period, I know they will adore them too.  Credit where credit is due I believe that the original recipe is from Jamie Oliver, but have not tracked this down yet.

Mince Pie Cookies
Makes approx 25

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g sugar
1 egg yolk
Grated zest of one orange or other orangy citrus fruit
300g plain flour, sived
411g jar of fruit mincemeat

Set oven to 180oc/GM4 and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.  Add the egg yolk and zest, combine.  Sift in the flour and fold through about 3/4's of the mincemeat.  Stir until it starts to come together into a dough.

Pull biscuit sized lumps from the dough and pop them onto the trays, not too close together as they will spread.  Press down to flatten into cookie shape, dab a little of the remaining mincemeat onto the top of each cookie.

Pop into the oven from approx 10-15 minutes, until they are golden and still a little chewy in the middle.

Wonderful warm, but just a delicious cold the next day from the cookie jar.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Oven Roasted Squash with Leeks & Cheese

Whilst idly watching Hugh F-W and his latest Veg programme, hubby and I were taken with the individual roasted squashes he cooked, they looked fantastic and having got several little squashes in an autumn display in the kitchen just going begging for something to be done with them I knew exactly what that would be.  I am sure the recipe is in Hugh's latest book or on the website, but I codged together the ingredients as below.

Oven Roasted Squash with Leeks & Cheese
Serves 2 WW pro points per serving 9

2 small-medium squashes/pump, lids sliced off and seeds scooped out, trim the bottom is needed so it sits flat.
2 leeks, thinly sliced
80g strong Cheddar, grated
100g half fat creme fraiche
small knob butter
2 tsp oil
1 tsp dried thyme - optional (well I forgot to add it and it did not miss it)

Preheat the oven to 180oc.
Heat oil and butter in a pan, add the leeks and fry gently until soft.
Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Into a bowl add the leeks, cheese and creme fraiche. Add S&P and thyme if adding. Mix together.
Pour into the hollow squashes.
Replace lids and pop into the oven for 1 1/2 hours

You will have wonderfully brown squashes and the softest squash flesh imaginable along with the most delicious cheesy-leeky mix.  It was a really warming comforting meal but be warned it was super filling.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Spiced Red Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

I made this recipe last night, fully intending to have loads left over to use the next day, but it was so delicious that hubby and I scoffed the lot!  It is definitely a recipe to be added to the Christmas meal this year, just the right amount of sweet and sour and low in calories.

Spiced Red Cabbage
Serves 4 as sides

1 red cabbage, core removed and shredded
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
2 red onions, sliced thinly
2 tbls soft dark brown sugar
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves or all spice

Horseradish Cream

2 tbls half fat creme fraich
2 tsp horseradish sauce

Pre heat oven to 150oc
Prepare the cabbage and rinse in a colander, the small amount of water clinging to the cabbage with help the cooking. Turn out into a lidded ovenproof dish.  Mix in the onion, apple, sugar, vinegar and spices. Cover and place in the oven for 2:30 mins.  Checking every half hour to stir and make sure that it has not dried out, add a little water if necessary.

Mix together the creme fraich and horseradish sauce and serve on top of the cabbage.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Dank, dreary, cold and wet evenings require a bit of comfort food.  But what to have that will quell my comfort requirements, but also remain within my weight watchers points.  I came up with the following recipe which hits all the right spots.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.
Serves 2 heartily 13 WW Pro Points per person with an option for 16 Points

1 Medium BNS, halved and the seeds scooped.
100g dried pasta, cooked
80g cheddar cheese, full fat.  (To reduce the points used half fat, but having tried half fat cheddar, I realise life is too short to bother with it.)
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
100ml Skimmed milk
4 streaky rashers bacon, smoked, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Handful mushrooms, sliced
Optional: 1 half fat mozzarella ball for 3 points per person

Heat the oven to 180oc and place the BNS on a baking tray and cook for 25 minutes.  Once cooked remove and cool slightly then peel off the skin and roughly chop.

In a frying pan, use a couple of squirts of 1 cal oil spray and gently fry the onion, bacon and mushrooms.

In a saucepan add the milk, mustard and half the cheddar and whisk until heated and slightly thickened, add water or more milk to increase volume if required.

Add the BNS, bacon, onions and mushroom mixture to the pasta in an ovenproof dish and mix together.  Pour over the cheese sauce and mix again. sprinkle the remainder of the cheddar and mozzarella if using over the top and put into the oven for 15 minutes until golden and hot.

Pile into a dish and om nom nom.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Rioja & Chorizo

Whilst viewing my Twitter feed it was mentioned that one of the ladies I follow had tried this recipe from BBC Food website, it sounded delicious so I thought I would give it a go.

I could not find any lamb shanks so I substituted half a lamb shoulder, the twitterer said that next time she would reduce the amount of Balsamic vinegar used, so I took note and reduced it. 

The result was a wonderful unctuous sauce, not too strong but with punchy flavours of wine and garlic, softened with the sweetness of honey coating a soft and tender piece of lamb which melted off the bone.  Served with loads of fluffy mashed potato and cabbage a real autumnal treat on a cold Friday night with a glass of the remaining Rioja.

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Rioja & Chorizo

Serves 3-4

1/2 shoulder lamb
12 floz Rioja wine
6 floz Balsamic vinegar
1 bulb garlic, cut horizontally
2 bay leaves
2 tsp paprika
Small handful black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
10floz beef stock
4 oz chorizo
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, chopped
Dash honey to taste
Oil for frying

Heat oven to 150oc.  Season the lamb with S&P. Pour oil into heavy bottomed pan and set on high heat.  Brown the lamb all over, remove from pan and put to one side. 

In the same pan, pour off excess fat if too much.  Pour in the wine and balsamic vinegar and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the lamb, garlic, bay, paprika, peppercorns, half the rosemary and stock.  Cover and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, place the pan into the oven and cook for 2 hours, turning the meat after 1 hour.
Remove from oven and add the chorizo, onion, carrots and honey (I used about 1 tbsp) and the remaining rosemary, return to the oven and cook for a further hour or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Remove the meat and veg and keep warm.  Place the pan over a high heat and boil till thickened for 5-10 mins.  I did at this point drain off some of the fat from the lamb.
Serve with mash and greens of your choice.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Denver Cut of Beef

In a desperate attempt to make up for a previous evening meal of a very unsatisfactory Pumpkin & Mushroom Lasagna, with no cheese! (I won't even bother posting the recipe for that one, I am trying to expunge the memory of it, shudder) I decided that a nice juicy steak was called for, so a little trip to the meat counter brought to my attention a cut of beef I had never heard of before - Denver.

A little googling later and I found it is a cheaper cut from the shoulder, along the lines of braising steak, but in more of a hunk format. It has good marbling and although the muscle is quite course in texture it can be cooked to be very tender.  At £6.00 for a piece of 650g, approx 170mm long, 100mm wide and 60mm deep it did indeed seem pretty good value so in the basket it went.

Once home I decided to hand the cooking of the meat over to hubby-with-low-tolerance-levels as there was no way I was going to cook it and possible cock it up.  So he treated it thus:-

Denver Cut of Beef

Rest the meat at room temperature until ready to cook.
Set oven to 200oc
Get a  ovenproof griddle pan and place over a high heat, till smoking hot.
Season with pepper only and oil the meat well, to add salt at this point will only toughen the meat (or so hubby says)
Place meat onto the griddle pan and fry for 2-3 minutes each side, so the outer is dark and caramelised.
Pop the whole pan into the oven and continue to cook for 10mins, turning once.
Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to tin foil and pack a parcel, cover with tea towels to keep warm and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove from parcel and slice up, serve with vegetables of your choice and loads of creamy horseradish sauce and add your salt flakes at this point, really brings out the flavour.

Based on the weight and dimensions as noted above this was cooked perfectly rare and was so meltingly tender, packed full of taste and being greedy-guts we guzzled the lot!  Truly made up for my dismal effort the previous evening and Hubby has now found a new role in life - steak cooker supreme.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Curried Vegetable & Lentil Soup

This is a hum-dinger of a soup recipe, just perfect.  Hearty, spicy, wholesome and another recipe from weight watchers.

Curried Vegetable and Lentil Soup
Serves 4   2 Pro Points per serving

5 sprays Lo Cal oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs curry powder
2 medium carrots, chunky chopped
150g butternut squash, peeled and chunky chopped
1 medium courgette, chunky chopped
1 ltr vegetable stock, made from cube
2 tbs tomato puree
75g split red lentils

In a stock pot, use the lo cal spray and heat, add the onion and garlic and gently fry until soft.  Add the curry powder and stir in for a minute.  Add the rest of the veg and mix together and then pour in the stock, tomato puree and lentils.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the veg are tender.  The soup will have thickened nicely, add S&P to taste.

I made two batches of this soup over the weekend, it was that delicious!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Two chicken & Tomato Recipes

Ok, if you have read my blog before, you will know of my quest for as many different chicken and tomato dishes as possible, or so it seems. Obsession? Possibly. So this week I found myself cooking two similar dishes, there are subtle differences, so you get 2 for the price of 1 with the following recipes.

Chicken & Tomatoes on the Oven
Serves 2 Weight Watchers Pro Points per serving 17

4 chicken thighs with skin on
1 can chopped plum tomatoes
Handful chopped mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
1 red pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp Harissa paste
1 sprig thyme leaves, fresh
120g cous cous, dry weight

Heat the oil on a pan, add the garlic and Harissa paste and chicken and fry gently until golden.  Pour over the tomatoes, add the pepper, mushrooms and thyme and bring to a simmer, them pop into the oven at 160oc for 1 hour.
Make up the cous cous as per instruction and serve.

The harissa gives a lovely delicate spice flavour and the skin will go lovely and crispy on the chicken - a bit of a treat.  I used my terracotta cooking pot - for use on hob and in oven and it worked a treat, not to harsh on the frying, retaining the heat well in the oven.

Spanish Chicken in the Slow Cooker
Serves 2 Weight Watcher pro Points per serving 14

4 chicken thighs - skinless
80g Chorizo, cut into cubes
2 cans chopped plum tomatoes, or less if you prefer less sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, cut into batons
1 tblsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne

Toss everything in the slow cooker and cook on low all day or on high for 6 hours.
Serve with 150g new potatoes at 3pp to bring the total up to 17pp for the dish.

The meat was so tender in this dish it just fell off the bone, the seasoning was subtle but very tasty, the flavour of the chorizo really comes through.  I did make it up with the two cans of tomatoes and there would have been enough sauce for 4! so I will reduce the quantity next time.

This recipe I picked up from the Weight Watchers recipe exchange online, I think you have to be a member to view, but well worth it for a wide range of healthy recipe ideas.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mexican Chicken with Garlic & Chilli

After two glorious weeks on the Greek island of Kefalonia, I have returned back to the UK - 4lbs heavier than when I went, but that is OK, the Stifados, Feta & Spinach Pies and Baklava on offer were all more than worth it.  But now it is back to the Weight Watchers grind stone.  I found this recipe on their website and thought it light and summery (to match our Indian Summer in the UK) and still pretty light on the calorie front.

Garlic Mexican Chicken with Chillies and Crispy Polenta
Serves 4, 6 Pro Points per serving.

450g Chicken breasts, skinned
Fresh coriander
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 chicken stock cube
90g raw polenta
8 tbls tomato puree
2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Radishes - sliced
Spring onions - sliced
Low cal cooking spray

In a pan place the chicken, a couple sprigs or coriander and a clove of garlic, cover with boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is tender.  Drain and retain the cooking juice, discard the garlic and coriander.

Shred the chicken and set aside.

Back into the pan place 600ml of cooking liquid and the stock cube, bring to the boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring for a minute, then reduce heat and continue to cook for 4 minutes stirring occasionally.  Spray a baking sheet with low call oil and then pour out the polenta and spread flat to a thickness of approx. 2cm.  Leave to set.

Heat a small pan and toss in the remaining unpeeled garlic cloves. Dry fry until blackened ad soft, remove, peel and chop.

Cut the set polenta into 4 and spray a non-stick frying pan with low cal oil and fry the polenta pieces a couple of minutes each side until golden and crispy.

In a pan mix together the tomato puree, chilli flakes, cumin and garlic with 2 tbls water (I also used the juice from a can of plum tomatoes to loosen it up a little) S&P to taste. Add the chicken and heat gently for a couple of minutes.

Serve the chicken on top of the polenta with sliced radish, sping onions and some chopped coriander.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pot Roast Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks & Cider

It was my parents 41st wedding anniversary this past weekend and to celebrate I said I would cook them Sunday lunch.  I wanted something quick and easy yet still spectacular and this recipe from Rick Stein's Spain fitted the bill completely.

Pot Roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks and Cider
Serves 4

1.75kg FR chicken
2 tbs olive oil
2 Chorizo cooking sausages, sliced
50g butter
700g leeks, sliced
300g baby carrots (I used chartenay), cleaned, topped and tailed
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Fresh thyme, 2 sprigs worth of leaves
2 fresh bay leaves
200ml dry cider (I used 300ml to get more sauce)

Set oven to 160oc/GM3.  Season chicken.  Heat oil in large lidded pan/casserole dish.  Brown the chicken all over, remove from pan.
Lower the heat and add to the pan the chorizo, butter, leeks, garlic, carrots, thyme and bay.  Cover and cook for 5 mins, until the leeks have softened.
Place the chicken back on top of the veg.  Pour over the cider, re-cover and pop in the oven for 1 hour.  Uncover and increase the oven temp to 200oc/GM6 and continue to cook for another 20 mins.
Remove from oven and lift the chicken out onto a serving plate, cover with foil and rest.
Place the veg on to the hob and at a fast simmer, bubble away for 5 mins to reduce the sauce, at this point it should be a lovely orange colour and will have thickened naturally, season with S&P if needed, we found the taste had really come together and concentrated.
Spoon the sauce around the chicken and serve with boiled new potatoes and green beans.

I really cannot believe how tender and juicy the chicken was, how intense the flavour of the veg/chorizo were with so few ingredients, it was a very special dish and utterly enjoyed by all.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Curried Shepherds Pie

Do you ever find a recipe and think mmm - must try that, cook it and find it is delish and then promptly forget or lose the recipe with no hope of finding it again? 
Well that is what has happened with this Curried Shepherds Pie
The photos (albeit bad photos) have been sitting on my desktop for an absolute age waiting for me to find the recipe so I can write it up, well I don't think there is any hope.  I can guess what went in it:-

Minced lamb (or beef)
Carrots, diced
Peas, no doubt frozen
onions chopped
Curry powder and/or garam masala
New potatoes diced and I think par boiled and then tossed in curry powder and lemon juice, then placed on top of the mince and veg.
Chopped coriander and soured cream/creme fraiche to serve

But the quantities and cooking times are all a mystery.  I will experiment again at some point and update on my findings, but for now it can sit on the blog as an aide memoir.

Chicken & Basil Stew

A lovely fresh and light supper dish again from Good Food.  Modified it slightly to suit new diet.  Easy and filling.

Summer Chicken & Basil Stew
Serves 2 WW Pro Points 15 per serving

2 tsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
1 tbsp plain four, seasoned with S&P and mustard powder
2 peppers, I chose red and orange chopped
300g new potatoes, halved
Handful of button mushrooms, halved
125ml white wine
150ml chicken stock, from cube
15g fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole. Dust the chicken thighs with the seasoned flour and add to the casserole. Cook over a high heat, turning once, until golden all over.

Add the peppers, potatoes and mushrooms to the casserole and cook for 3 mins. Pour in the white wine and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and simmer for 20-25 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the basil and cook for another 5 mins.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Chicken & Polenta

I have never really tried polenta before, well once when the recipe asked for me to pan fry it and it turned turned out to be a total disater, bland, stodgy and burnt.  So when I saw this recipe from the Good Food website I though I may as well give it another go and boy was I pleased I did.  A total Friday night treat, delicious, moist and very flavourful.

Chicken & Polenta
Serves 2, WW Pro Points 21 per servings approx.

500g Ready to use Polenta
25g grated Parmesan
2 chicken breasts, FR corn fed skin on approx 200g each
250g cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tbls olive oil
Leaves of a couple sprigs or rosemary

Heat oven to 200oc. Crumble the polenta into small chunks and scatter in the bottom of a small roasting tin. Tip in the Parmesan and mix. Sit the chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes, rosemary and garlic on top of the polenta, drizzle with olive oil, then season to taste.

Roast for 25 mins or until the chicken skin is crisp and golden and the meat fully cooked. The polenta and cheese should have turned crusty around the edges. Serve with a green salad.

So very simple, yet utterly scrumptious.  I now love polenta!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Sauce

Still sticking to the Weight Watchers diet and still enjoying it! They have a great number of healthy and low pointed recipes to choose from I think I have only cooked a dish a second time on a couple of recipes. This is one of them a real winner with hubby as well. Modified this recipe to suit our likes.

Spicy Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cauliflower & Potato
Serves 4. 8 Pro Points per serving

400g New potatoes, halved
1 medium cauliflower broken into small florets
280g Turkey mince
1 Red chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
3 medium spring onions, chopped very fine
3tlbs creme fraiche, half fat
40g Parmesan, fine grate
40g Gruyere, grated
2 tsp Dijon Mustard - Optional
1/4tsp Cayenne Pepper
Cornflour mixed with a little water

Simmer potatoes in water until tender. Cook the cauliflower until al dente, drain and retain the water.
Combine the minced turkey with the chilli, spring onions and Cayenne, S&P. Form into 16-20 small balls. Heat a non-stick frying pan and cook them over a medium heat, turning often for about 15 minutes.
Take the potatoes, cauli and meatballs and place in a shallow dish.
Take 75ml of the cauli water in a saucepan and add the creme fraiche, simmer and whisk until slightly thickened, add the Gruyere and half of the Parmesan and melt in, add the cornflour and mustard and whisk over low heat until thickened.
Pour over the dish, top with remained of the Parmesan and season with more cayenne or pepper.
Place under a hot grill for a few mins, until melted and golden.

A really hearty dish and fun to make.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Carrot, Parsnip & Coriander Soup

I have been making a fair few soups recently, great for packing hubby and myself off to work with something healthy for lunch.  This is the best one I have made up so far, choc full of veg and oh so good for you.

Carrot, Parsnip & Coriander Soup
4 Servings.  WW Points per serving 1

1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chunky chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chunky chopped
1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped
2 tsp oil
1 ltr Stock - from cube
handful of fresh coriander
2 tsp dried coriander (spice)

Heat the oil and gently and fry the onion till soft, add the carrots and parsnips and soften slightly.
Add the coriander spice and seasoning. 
Pour over the stock and simmer away for 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
Add the chopped chilli and chopped fresh coriander, remove from heat and cool slightly.
Using a hand blender blitz until as smooth as you desire.  I like a fairly course soup with the odd chunk of veg.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Caramelised Onion & Mushroom Lasagne

Oh heck, this is such a good recipe and it is a weight watchers one so low calorie and pretty good for you and vegetarian.

Caramelised Onion & Mushroom Lasagne
Serves 6 portions
Pro Points per portion 6

1 tbs Olive Oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh Rosemary, chopped
100ml water

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Soft brown sugar or Muscavado
5 sprays low cal fry spray (1 tsp oil if not on WW)
250g mushrooms, closed cap, sliced
1 tbs Butter
3 tbs plain flour
600ml skimmed milk
9 sheets of dried lasagna - I used durum wheat rather than egg.
40g grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Nutmeg, S&P

Heat oil in large frying pan add the onions and cook on high heat for 6-8 mins stirring occasionally until golden brown.

Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for 1 minute, stir in the water, balsamic and sugar, cook until evaporated, season with S&P and turn out into a bowl, set to one side.

Wipe out the frying pan and mist with the fry spray, over a medium heat add the mushrooms and fry for about 2 mins until browned, turn out into the bowl with onions and mix.

To make the white sauce put the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan and heat, constantly stirring with a small whisk until the sauce thickens and boils.  Add half the cheese and a little nutmeg.

Take a baking dish and spread a thin layer of cheese sauce over the bottom, lay on 3 lasagne sheets.  Spread on more sauce and half the onion/mushroom mix, lay on 3 more sheets, repeat with sauce and onion mix, lay on final 3 sheets and top with the remaining cheese sauce, finish with the rest of the Parmesan.

Bake in an over for 30 mins GM4 180oc or 160oc fan. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, this allows you to portion it out better.  serve with salad.

Honestly what a revelation this recipe was, so delicious and it was the best way to make white sauce I have ever tried, so easy. I will try with more exotic mushrooms next time.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Chicken & Pepper Pilaf

Here is a super easy one pot dish I got from the author janenicola1976's picture is far better than mine, (only had iphone to hand again!) so go check it out.  I changed it slightly to suit.

One-Pan Chicken & Pepper Pilaf
Serves 6

6 chicken thighs/drumsticks & 3 FR breasts (I only had the leggy bits) skin on.
240g jar English Provinder Hot Chilli Relish
2 tbsp Olive Oil
250g Chorizo, sliced
1 large red onions, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
400g long grain rice
1tsp paprika
1/2tsp Cayenne pepper - my option
1 ltr chicken stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
chopped parsley & lemon wedges to serve.

Marinate the chicken in the relish for 30 mins.
Heat the oil and lightly brown the chicken, remove to one side. 
Fry the chorizo until crispy, put aside with the chicken. 
Fry the onion on the chorizo oil, add the peppers cook a while then add the rice, paprika and cayenne, coat the rice fully in the oil.
Return the chorizo to the pan and add the stock and tomatoes, mix well.  Place the chicken on top and season.
Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until chicken and rice are cooked.
Serve with sprinkles of parsley and lemon wedges.

The relish gives the chicken a lovely spicy and sweet flavour.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew with Broadbean & Dill Dip

What a weekend we just had, I call it the lost motorsport weekend.  First up there was the Le Mans 24 Hour race, followed by the Silverstone Moto GP and rounded off with the epic 5 1/2 hour Canadian F1 GP, where Jenson Button clashed into two cars, had 6 pit stops, one drive through penalty and went from last to win it in the last half lap.  Phew heady stuff going on, so I had to take a little break and do something calmer in the kitchen.

I had just downloaded The Guardian News app and found a lovely quick and easy recipe from Nigel Slater for Broadbean and Dill Dip.

1kg Broadbeans - once podded you are left with a measly 300g and once you have boiled them for 8 mins and then taken off their tough grey skins, you are left with about 200g.  Nigel's recipe calls for 400g.
3 tbs Olive Oil
Juice of half a lemon
Fresh dill, torn into fairly chunky fronds

With my de-podded, boiled and de-skinned broadbeans safely popped into the food processor, I blitzed them to a paste.  Then with the blender still going added the oil and the lemon juice, swiftly followed by a little seasoning.  Stir in the dill and serve with a drizzle of oil and some lightly toasted pitta breads.

A lovely fresh little dip.  It would probably have been a bit more punchy if I had used EVOO but I had none in the cupboard.  The 200g of beans were enough as a prelude to the main course.

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew
Serves 2-3 easily increased

Lovely Louise's signature dish for guests, a simple yet spectacular and very warming & hearty dish perfect on a cold, wet Sunday afternoon in front of the TV watching motorsport!

Half a ring of Chorizo no idea on weight but approx 14cm, cut in half length ways and chop in to 1cm chunks.
1 large onion, roughly chopped
400g tin Chopped tomatoes
400g tin of chickpeas
Tomato puree
Chilli flakes or fresh chilli's if you have them to taste.
300ml chicken stock

Pop the chorizo and onion into a pan and fry, soften the onions and crisp up the chorizo, around 5 mins. Add the tomatoes and puree, a good squirt along with the chilli flakes approx 1 tsp and cumin approx 1tsp. Pour over the stock and simmer away till reduced slightly around 20mins.  Add the chickpeas and heat through.  Serve with chopped coriander (if you have it - I did not) and warmed flatbreads to mop up all the lovely juices.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Summer Chicken One-Pot

Well the Good Food Magazine June 2011 just leapt off the shelf at me this month, mainly due to the fabulous picture of this dish in the cover.  My One-Pot love continues.  Similar to the chicken & spring vegetable stew I posted a few weeks ago but just, if not more, delish.  I have made a few changes to suit what I had in the fridge at the time.

Summer Chicken One-Pot
Serve 4

8 chicken thighs
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
8 rashers streaky bacon (I used smoked) - chopped
400ml chicken stock
250g new potatoes, halved
200g full-fat soft cheese (I used 100g lower fat soft cheese)
200g broad beans (I used frozen peas)
200g sweetcorn, fresh, frozen or in a can
200g cherry tomatoes (I had baby plum toms to hand)

Dust the chicken with flour seasoned with S&P and fry in the lidded pan until brown.  I found this a really good tip - usually when I brown chicken it gets stuck to the bottom of the pan, but using the flour I ended up with lovely crispy brown chicken and no sticking!  Remove from the pan and fry the bacon until crispy.

Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes and cover again and continue simmering for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and potatoes tender.
Stir in the cheese, peas, tomatoes and sweetcorn, cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve.

Really bright and colourful, packed full of fresh flavour.  Another super easy one pot.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Paprika Roast Pork

My quest for slow roast pork dishes continues and the search is gong rather well.  I came across this recipe in another magazine filched from my Mother.  House Beautiful April 2011

Paprika Roast Pork
serves 6

1 lemon
1.25kg Pork shoulder, bones and rolled
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2 tsp paprika
6 rashers streaky bacon
4 sprigs fresh Thyme

For the stuffing
4 rashers back bacon, finely chopped
50g mushrooms, diced
110g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
50g Stilton crumbled

Grate the zest of half the lemon, cut three rounds off the other end of the lemon, then squeeze out the juice.  keep all to one side.
Cut slits into the pork and insert the garlic slivers, then place into a roasting pan.  Mix the lemon juice and paprika and spread it all over the pork. Lay the rashers of bacon, lemon slices and sprigs of thyme over the top of the joint.
Place into the oven at 190oc/170oc fan GM5, cover loosely with foil if the bacon browns too much. Cook for 35mins per 500g, plus 35 mins.

Make the stuffing.  Dry fry the bacon on a frying pan for 3-4 minutes, add the mushrooms, cook for a further 1-2 minutes then add the breadcrumbs, thyme, Stilton and lemon zest.  Mix well and remove from heat.
Either form into 6-8 balls and roast on a tray with the pork 20 mins from the end of cooking time, or I put the mixture into a lightly buttered pyrex dish to roast for 30 mins from end of cooking time.
Remove pork and allow to rest and make a gravy from the juices.

Serve up in thick slices and green beans and new potatoes.

The pictures are from my first attempt, in which I only had a loin joint to hand and had butterflied the joint before I re-read the recipe and realised I did not need to stuff it with the stuffing!  I did however put a couple of lemon slices, thyme sprigs, paprika rub and bacon inside, this help the flavour go all the way through the dish.  Pork and garlic is delicious, never knew that before, the stuffing is so tasty, I did add extra mushrooms and bacon to subsequent attempts, the lemon zest really comes through to balance everything out.