Thursday, 28 June 2012

Kidney in Red Wine with Chorizo

After hubby's last sortie to the kitchen, resulting in the Steak & Kidney Pudding, I was left with several unused lamb kidneys.  Unsure of what exactly to do with them and a bit loath to just chuck them out I consulted the Sainted Delia and came away with my version of this recipe.

Kidney in Red Wine with Chorizo
Serves 2 Est WW Points 10 per serving

6 Lamb kidneys, halved and with the core cut out
Large handful of mushrooms halved
1 glass red wine
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

40g chorizo
20g butter - naughty but nice
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp fresh thyme chopped

Melt the butter and gently soften the onions and garlic.  Add the chorizo and mushrooms and cook slowly for 10 mins. 
Add the prepared kidneys and cook them until they have a little colour. 
Sprinkle on the flour and stir in to soak up all the juices, pour in the wine and add the thyme and S&P.
Stir and bring up to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and leave to blip away for 15 mins, then remove lid and simmer for a further 10 mins.

I served with boiled new potatoes and cabbage and for an afterthought of a dish it turned out very well indeed.  A seemingly decadent dish that is rich on taste and low on cost.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Steak & Kidney Pudding

Hubby had another success in the kitchen at the weekend and managed to pull of THIS receipe from the Hairy Bikers.  It was truly scrumptious.  Again it was not a thing I would have attempted myself as I have an aversion to fiddly cooking and as I thought also to kidneys, but as it turned out it was a) not very fiddly, just time consuming b) I may have mentioned this already, was truly scrumptious! and c) I like kidneys

Hubby halved the recipe and used a .75ltr pudding basin which turned out perfectly for 3 people or two if you happen to be greedy (we were the latter).  He also added lots of fresh thyme to the suet pastry which not only smelt fantastic added a lovely zing to the dish.

He did have a little mental abberation when it came to the stock and added 4 times the amount of stock to the volume of liquid required, to me it just made the dish extra unctious and rich, but he was concerned that it was too strong, (I think it was perfect).

Served up with new potatoes and cubed swede, mmmm will have to encourage him to make this one again.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Hubby's little baking escapades are continuing with great results.  This easy slab of Focaccia came from the Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking and was exceptionally tasty.

1 loaf

500g strong white flour
7g fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml warm water

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Maldon salt
1 tsp black pepper, course ground
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chilli flakes

Put flour, yeast sugar and salt into a bowl, mix oil with water and pour into mixture, mix together to form a rough ball.

Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough, knead for 5 mins to make smooth and soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour until twice the size.

Lightly oil a large baking tray.  Turn the dough out onto the floured surface, knock it back with your knuckles, then press into the baking tray pushing the dough to the edges.

Cover again with clingfilm and leave for a further 30 mins to prove.

Preheat the oven to 220oc/200oc fan.  The dough should now look rather puffed up and spongy.  Use your finger to poke dimples in the dough.  Drizzle the oil over the dough, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper rosemary and optional chili flakes.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Monday, 18 June 2012

Pastitsio (or Beef Mac & Cheese)

Thinking back to our lovely summer holiday last year to the Greek Island of Kephalonia bought back memories of the great food to be had there, stifado, kleftico, baklava and so on.  So I rootled through my Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes cook book and found a hearty and naughty Greek dish to try, Pastitsio, which looks just a minced beef macaroni cheese, but tastes 10 times better with quite complex herbs and spices and gutsy red wine thrown into the mix.

Serves 8

500g Rigatoni or large tube pasta, dried
2 eggs, beaten
50g Parmesan grated or Greek Kefalotiri
10g fresh breadcrumbs

For white sauce
115g butter
115g plain flour
1.2 ltr milk - recipe called for full cream, I used semi skimmed
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.

For meat sauce
4 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1kg minced beef, lean
200ml red wine
400g chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato puree
1 cinnamon stick
1/4tsp ground cloves - I used Allspice instead
1 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped - I did not have fresh, but it probably would have lifted the dish slightly.
3 bay leaves

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add garlic, celery & onion and fry until turning golden.  Add beef and fry over high heat until browned.  Add the red wine, tomatoes, puree, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, bay leaves along with 100ml water and S&P.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.  Sauce should thicken slightly.  Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon and bay leaves.

Cook in boiling water the pasta, leaving it slightly al dente, drain and cool slightly.

For the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan and the flour and stir over heat for a minute, with a balloon whisk, beat in the milk and bring to the boil, if you have lumps keep whisking.  Season with nutmeg and S&P.

Preheat oven to 180oc.  Stir 250ml of the white sauce into the pasta with the beaten eggs and half the cheese.  In a large shallow ovenproof dish spread one third of the pasts and cover with half the meat sauce.  Add another third of pasta and the rest of the meat, finish with the final third of pasta and pour over the remaining white sauce. Sprinkling the top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.  Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

Serve with a green salad and plenty of gutsy red wine.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Roast Stuffed Tomatoes

(Again can't figure out how to make the rotation on the pic stick! Grrr)

Another yummy light recipe from Weight Watchers, can be used as a side or a light meal. Again I have slightly modified it from the original recipe.

Roast Stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 4  PP per serving 4

8 beef tomatoes
100g couscous
180ml veg stock from 1 cube
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
75g chopped Pepperdew Peppers from jar (in brine)
Fresh parsley
75g Feta cheese, crumbled
Black Pepper

Mix the couscous with stock and leave to absorb the liquid for 5-10 mins.
Slice the tops off the tomatoes and gently scoop out the seeds and flesh, cut out the hard core and chop the remaining flesh.

Using one-cal spray heat a frying pan and add the onion and garlic and cook for a few mins until soft, then add the tomato pulp, parsley and pepperdew peppers. Cook for a further minute.

mix together the couscous and vegetables.  stir in the feta and season.  Fill the tomatoes and put the tops back on.  Lay in a one-cal sprayed baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Utterly tasty and so very good for you.  I had a couple of small peppers that I stuffed as well and they too turned out brilliantly.