Month: June 2014

Week 38: Chicken Teriyaki

Friday again already!  I’ve watched Nigella make her Chicken Teriyaki recipe about 19 times on Food Network, so I thought it would be a good recipe to try.

Aside from a slight Sake-buying issue, I managed to find all the ingredients (except the sesame oil which I forgot); I even decided to give sushi rice a go!  I’d never had Teriyaki before, so I didn’t know if I’d like it – but I decided if it wasn’t very nice I’d just drink the Sake!

I’m not sure how widely available Sake (Japanese rice wine) or Mirin (Sweet Japanese rice wine) are – you might be lucky if you have a full-sized supermarket near you, or you can get it from the Chinese/oriental supermarket.  I got mine from the Thai supermarket, which is also where I get gochujang, fish sauce, and green thai chilli sauce.  There’s bound to be one nearby, just not in Chiswick Sainsbury’s.

To make this for 4 you will need: 2 tbs sake, 4tbs Mirin, 4 tbs soy sauce (half this if you’re serving kids or don’t like it salty), 2tbs soft light brown sugar (I used golden caster), 2 tsp grated sugar, a splash of sesame oil, 750g chicken thighs and 1tsp ground nut oil.  Serve with rice.

This is quite a quick dish to cook, but takes a while to prepare.  Start by mixing the Sake, Mirin, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil and putting it in a dish with the chicken (which you’ve cut up in to bite sized chunks)

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Steep the chicken for 15 minutes, while it’s steeping you can put the rice on.  After 15 minutes heat 1 tsp of ground nut oil in a shallow frying pan with a lid, fish the chicken out of the sauce with a slotted spoon and put them in the pan (keep the sauce).  Cook the chicken until it looks cooked on the outside.

Pour the sauce into the pan, stir it up and heat until it starts to bubble – turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes (cut open a piece of chicken to check its cooked, but if you’re using really small chunks it will be)

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Again with the slotted spoon, fish the chicken out onto a warm plate and cover with foil – then whack up the heat and let the sauce boil down to be thick and syrup-y.  Throw the chicken back into the pan and coat with the sauce and serve.

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By the time I had done skinning and boning the chicken thighs I was convinced that I would hate the Teriyaki, but I didn’t – it was delicious.  Incredibly salty but delicious.  Next time I make it it’ll be with boned thighs or breasts, and half the amount of soy, and not on a work night, but it’s definitely one to cook often.  Bravo Nigella!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

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Periodic Pudding Number 5 – Clafoutis

So my interest was peaked.  I had a bash at a savoury clafoutis the other week and my lover wasn’t impressed, it left me wondering whether a sweet one would pass muster.  I didn’t have to wait too long – a walk down Chiswick High Road revealed it to be cherry season! They might have been Iranian Cherries, but they were fresh and red and juicy, and £2.50 for a pound.  Bonus.

After pigging a pound of them I waddled over to the cookery book shelf and pulled out Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen book to try the sweet version of Week 33s extravaganza ( https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/week-33-savoury-clafoutis/ )

To make a clafoutis to serve 6 you will need: 4 eggs, 150g sugar, 50g ground almonds, 2 tbs plain flour, 100g creme fresh, 100ml milk, 350g pitted cherries (you can use any soft fruit)

Basically you make it exactly the same way as the savoury clafoutis, but with added sugar:

Whisk the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and thick, sift in the almonds and flour and then stir it all together with the creme fresh and milk.  Spread the cherries out in your buttered & floured clafoutis tin and pour the batter over them.  Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180c (160 fan) until golden brown and set.

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Easy as pie.  It was delicious.  I served it with a dollop of left over creme fresh and it was delicious.  Far nicer than the savoury version, and the cherries floated around the mixture rather than staying on the bottom.

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I’m glad I only made it for the two of us – it lasted three days.  I shall try everything else in a clafoutis this summer.  Yum!

 

The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Penguin Books 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15811-8)

Little Paris Kitchen

Week 37: Mediterranean Grain Salad

This is my first attempt at a Martha Stewart recipe, from a book that’s been baffling me for years.  It was sunny again and it was demanded that I make another salad… and as a bonus this recipe is perfect for Fiesta Friday and a very tenuous contender for June’s Cheese Please (if you count parsley as a herb).

Martha suggests that this is an ideal dish to make the next time you’re invited to a pot luck party.  I’m pretty sure that’s not the car-keys party… but even if it is, bulgur wheat is a healthy alternative to pasta.

All the measurements are written in crazy measurements, so I’ve put them into grams.  This will make enough for 4 as a main course, or 8 as a side salad with something more filling.

You will need 275g Bulgur Wheat, 300g (a pack) cherry/grape tomaoes, parsley, 2 shallots, 4tbs red-wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, 120g fresh goats cheese.

Firstly put the bulgur wheat, a teaspoon of salt and a pint of boiling water into a heatproof bowl and cover with clingfilm for 30 minutes.  While the wheat is soaking half the tomatoes, mince the shallots, and roughly chop up the parsley.  The recipe calls for an actual bush of parsley but I probably put in about a handful.

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Drain the bulgur wheat really well so no water remains and put back in the bowl with the 4tbs of vinegar, 2 tbs plus 2tsp of olive oil (I’d just round it up to 3tbs), the tomatoes, shallots, and parsley, stir it all up so the oil is combined.  Next season it with some pepper.  Serve with goats cheese crumbled over the top.

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I’m not sure what I think about this salad.  I love bulgur wheat so that was good – but it really wasn’t very Mediterranean.  Maybe if it had used some sun-dried tomatoes it would have been a start… and been less vinegar-y.  I think to change the recipe I would try putting the vinegar in with the boiling water so it’s less over-powering.

One of my favourite things about doing New Recipe Night is cooking with new ingredients that have newer before darkened my kitchen counter.  This week that honour fell to the the humble shallot.  They’re pretty tricky to cut aren’t they?

This time I just used bog standard goats cheese from Chiswick Sainsbury’s, but next time I’ll head over to the cheese shop and get a better one.

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I would recommend this for a party, or a barbeque, or just a simple fiesta, but you should make it the day before and keep it in the fridge over night so the flavours blend better, and then drizzle with some fresh olive oil before fluffing it up and serving.

 

Check these out for something else to cook if Martha’s not so Mediterranean Grain Salad doesn’t tickle your fancy:

Fiesta Friday #21 http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/fiesta-friday-21/

Junes Cheese, Please! http://fromagehomage.co.uk/2014/06/02/junes-cheese-please-recipe-blog-challenge-herbs/

 

Martha Stewart’s Everyday Light, by Martha Stewart (Transworld Publishers 2011, ISBN 9780593070529)

Marthaeverydaylight

Week 36: Potatoes, Beans, Sardines

So the weather turned hot and within four seconds of it hitting 20 my lover said I should make a salad.  Neither of us are particular fans of lettuce, so I delved into the books and found Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s take on a Tuna Nicoise.

To lob a refreshing salad at four diners you will need: 500g new or salad potatoes (I used Charlottes), 200g French Beans, 120g tin sardine fillets in olive oil, lemon juice (from a lemon), extra virgin olive oil, stoned black peppers, and a hard boiled egg.

If you want you can use locally caught Cornish pilchards (or tinned ones) instead of sardines, and little gem hearts instead of french beans… and the olives and eggs are optional too.

Cut the potatoes into chunks and boil in salted water for 6-10 minutes.  Cut the beans in half and put them in with the potatoes for the last 3-5 minutes so that there’s still a bit of bite in them.  Drain the beans and potatoes and leave them to cool to room temperature.  If you’re adding eggs boil them at the same time as the potatoes.

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Tip the sardines in their oil into a bowl, add a pinch of salt, crack some pepper, and squeeze some lemon juice in and mash it all up into a rough puree.

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Tip the potatoes and beans into the bowl and toss it round so everything’s coated in the fishy oil, and then throw in the hard boiled eggs and olives.  Serve with some salad or maybe some bread (like we did, because I forgot to buy salad)

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This was delicious.  The sardines were much tarter than the usual tuna making the it much more refreshing than a usual tuna nicoise, it was brilliant as a meal in its own right, and I imagine it would be great to have at a barbeque too.

Yum!

 

Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)

three good things on a plate

Week 35: Spaghetti and Tinned Plum Tomatoes

I know, it sounds like something from the menu at a motorway service station in 1987, but bear with me as it is possibly the tastiest meal I have cooked this year.

It’s the first recipe in the Cupboard Love book, and I’ve always swished straight past it to find something harder and more exotic; but this week I needed to cook something from what was in the cupboard (approximately nothing except for cornflour and a load of spices) after getting home late from work.

I was intrigued to try it after seeing a couple of programs on Food Network singing the praises of tinned tomatoes, so I thought this recipe would be the best one to see what the fuss was about.

To make this for two you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, a 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (posh ones if you like), 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons butter, 1 quarter teaspoon salt, 1 half teaspoon sugar, 2 garlic cloves, and some basil or sage leaves (but I didn’t have any)

First start the water boiling for the pasta, and while you wait get a colander / strainer (but not a sieve) and empty the tin of tomatoes into it.  Squash the tomatoes with your hands and mush them around until the juice has gone down the sink and you’re left with a tomato-ey pulp.

If you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll also be left with a tomato splattered kitchen.  If you squeeze the tomatoes too hard they’ll squirt juice and pips everywhere, and your kitchen will look like the aftermath of the Red Wedding.  I’m still finding pips.

By the time you have wiped the worst of it off the kitchen window, the water should have come to a rolling boil, put the pasta in, and gently heat a heavy bottomed frying pan.  Add the oil and one teaspoon of butter, peel and break the garlic with the side of a knife/rolling pin.  When the butter has melted put the garlic in the frying pan and heat for 2 minutes, but not so the garlic goes brown.

Add the tomatoes, give it a good stir, then add the salt and sugar, and stir again.

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Leave the sauce on the gentle heat, fizzing but not bubbling (it’s hard to describe but pretty accurate) while the pasta finishes cooking.  When it’s done drain the pasta then return it to the pan and stir it round with a teaspoon of butter. Then tip the tomato sauce in, stir round, season and serve.  I had a bit of parmesan in the the fridge, so I grated it over the top and it was bloody lovely.

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If there was one meal I could eat day after day it would be this.  I’ll just paint my kitchen red.  Try it tonight!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love