Month: August 2014

Week 47: Chicken Schnitzel with Bacon and White Wine

So this was the week that nearly didn’t happen – I asked my lover to choose a recipe because I was crazy busy at work, and I couldn’t find the ingredients for what he chose.  So as an emergency replacement, I am very proud to present: Chicken Schnitzel. Tadaaa.

I was interested to try Nigella’s take on Chicken Schnitzel, my Lover made his Polish Grandmother’s Polish Schnitzel (breadcrumbed etc) so I was keen to try it German style.

Absolutely no ingredients: 1 chicken breast each (an escalope), 2 rashers of bacon each, 25ml of white whine each, and a teaspoon of garlic oil for the frying pan.

Nigella says to use escalopes, but as usual I couldn’t find exactly that in Hammersmith Sainsbury’s, so I bashed a pair of breasts with my rolling pin.  I could have worded that better… then my lover said I was being too gentle with them then bashed them really flat – about half an inch I think.

Turn the pan on quite high, add the oil and then the bacon.


Fry the bacon until crispy and then set it aside in some foil to keep warm.


Fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, make sure you check the chicken is cooked before taking it out the pan (Nigella recommends cutting into it to check for pinkness – mine took about 5 minutes in total)


When the chicken is done plate it up (or remove it to a serving plate if it takes your fancy).  Crumble the bacon into the pan, pour in the wine and stir it around until it all bubbles up (this bit happened far too quickly to take a picture)

Pour this over the chicken and eat it.  I was surprised how quickly this cooked – if I hadn’t chosen to serve it with oven chips dinner would have been done in 10 minutes!


As my lover just this minute said “This weekend you’ve cooked two quick meals that we’ll definitely have again” and we definitely will.  Sorry Babushka, I prefer my Schnitzel German style!

Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

nigella express

Trying everyone else’s dinner – part 1

A Wednesday post! What’s going on? It’s a shiny new occasional feature for New Recipe Night – it’s got that new feature smell, and this week that smell is peanut.

Don’t you just hate it when you’re out for dinner and someone you’re with leans over and tries something from your plate without asking, and you’re too polite to jab them with your fork… well this is a little like this but I’m using the power of the internet rather than ambushing your dinner off your actual plate.

For a while now I’ve been reading everyone’s food blogs, salivating at the lovely looking meals and book-marked them to try later. And then I didn’t really know what to do next, until the other week when Ngan posted a brilliant post where she cooked food from other peoples blogs (with really cool pictures: check it out ) and it got me thinking – new feature time!

The first recipe I properly tried from someone else’s blog was Dewi’s delicious overnight oats ( ) and while it got my lover very excitedly eating oats for the first time ever, he can’t work a camera until well after breakfast time – so not the best contender for a shiny new post – but check out the overnight oats, they’re delicious!

Tonight I had some spare bacon (which never happens) and I had a blog page open (which has been open for a month on my iPad browser thing) and I put two and two together and made dinner 🙂

The recipe I had open is from the brilliant Put Your Cake Pants On blog and is for Spicy Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburgers ( ) which have been making me drool a little every time I’ve clicked on that tab.


I pretty much followed the recipe, but with slightly altered proportions to take into account the size of packs of minced turkey for sale in England (1lb is roughly 450g and everything’s sold in 250 or 500g packs) and then shrank everything to just cook for me and him. Other than not covering my pan when I warmed the cheese, and using pig bacon rather that turkey bacon, I made it exactly as instructed on the blog.

Absolutely delicious! Brilliant alternative to beef for burger night, something I’ve been searching for since my disastrous attempt at vegetable cutlets ( ) – I’ve been instructed to make it again, but with slightly less peanut butter and slightly more chilli… Sir likes his lips to tingle.


Another bonus of these burgers is that with one 500g pack of minced turkey I can use half for the burgers, and half for the Keema from week 29 (which I make all the time time ) – hurrah!

Check out Cakepants blog, and give these burgers a try 🙂

Week 46: Gammon Steaks with Parsley (and peas)

Week 46! Welcome to my lovely new followers!  Not party-ish food this week, but I hope you like it all the same 🙂

So this week my lover took a trip out of town for a few days, and as the saying goes while the cat was away this mouse played.  Not with the strumpets of Hammersmith, no this mouse plumped for much more forbidden fruit – pork! My lovers a pork-dodger so I never get it at home 😦

And I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a year. A YEAR!

Gammon is hands down my absolute favourite meat ever – I prefer it to bacon any day of the week – and I think that not being able to cook it makes me yearn for it even more.  This delicious looking dinner is the ultimate in speedy after-work scran, from cooker on to the table in 10 minutes – without using every single utensil and pan you use.

Nigella recommends serving the gammon with marrowfat peas, and then gives alternatives if you can’t bring yourself to eat them. This got me intrigued as I had no idea what a marrowfat pea was, so I got a tin, I’m not proud.  Imagine my delight when I opened the can and found they’re mushy peas before they go mushy! Hurrah! I cooked the peas as instructed on the side of the can, on a low heat with all the juices that come in the can.  I put the pea pan on when I put the frying pan on for the gammon, and kept an eye on it so the peas didn’t boil (but did get piping hot).


For the gammon you will need: garlic oil, 2 gammon steaks (approx 200g each) white wine vinegar, honey, freshly ground pepper, parsley, and a big juicy tin of marrowfat peas.


Heat 2tsp of garlic oil in a largish frying pan (big enough for 2 gammon steaks) and turn the peas on low, and when the oils hot out the steaks in and cook them for 3 minutes each side.  While the steaks are frying mix 2tbsp of white wine vinegar with 4tbsp of water, 2tsp of honey and a load of freshly ground pepper in a bowl of something. Also roughly chop up some parsley.


When the steaks are done take them out the pan and put them onto warmed plates (and turn the peas off) and then pour the vinegary mix in to the hot steak pan, with a load of parsley. Stir and scrape the mix around for a bit until it’s hot-ish and gammon-y and pour it over the steaks. Then drain the peas and serve the illicit gammon-y deliciousness, and for once it looked just like the picture in the book! Hurrah!


This is a genuinely delicious and speedy dinner! The peas might not be the finest of fine dining but they compliment the gammon to a tee, and the vinegar-iness of the glaze goes really well with the natural saltiness of the gammon in a really sly fish-and-chipish way. Did I mention it was delicious?!?



Anyhoo, gammon comes in packs of two and I really want to make it for my lover, cos I just know he’d love it… he’d better!


Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

nigella express

Week 45: Goat’s Cheese, Toasted Hazelnut & Honey Quesadillas

This week I was really busy at work so I asked my lover to have a look through the books to find something quick for dinner… And he chose these: quesadillas!

This recipe from Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy Food makes four quesadillas, which can be cut into 16 triangles to serve as finger food – ideal for a party!  Like a Fiesta Friday kinda party!

To make four quesadillas you will need:  4 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, fresh coriander, 4 tortillas (corn or wheat) 250g goats cheese and 4 teaspoons runny honey.  It’s a complicated recipe in that you need to put the oven on and use two frying pans to make sure everything cooks properly and stays warm.  If you’ve got one of those hotplate things I’d imagine you could use that, and if you’re cooking these as canapes I would skip the second pan and just make them one at a time.  I had chips in the oven so I used two pans.

Turn the oven on to 100c (gas 1/4) and then put two medium frying pans on medium with a drizzle of sunflower oil in each pan.  While these are heating up break the hazel nuts with a pestle and mortar, but don’t grind them too small.  Chop the coriander leaves (I used dried ones that were in the cupboard)

Lob a tortilla into each pan and toast them for a minute, then crumble some of the cheese (roughly 60g) onto each tortilla, then scatter some hazelnuts, coriander, and a tsp of honey over the cheese.


Now listen up, don’t do what I did and spread it out all pretty like in the picture; pile it in the middle or it’ll all fall out the sides after you’ve folded the tortilla over on itself – then press it down slightly.  Reduce the heat down low, cook for a minute and then flip them over to cook for another 5 minutes.


So if you’re making 4 at once this is where you want to slide them onto an oven tray and put them in the oven to keep them warm while you turn the pans back to medium and make the second pair of quesadillas.  I just scraped mine off the pans and cut them in to 4 and served them up with oven chips and rocket for our tea.


I think that these were slightly stickier than they should have been after all the filling poured out, and I should have bought some new nuts rather than the ones from the back of the cupboard; but I’d definitely give these another try – and maybe even serve them as canapes.!


Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)

Lorraine Pascale

Week 44: Polenta, Beans, Kale

So the other day my lover turned to me and said “you know I will actually eat soup, just not from a mug like my parents” this after 9 years or solid meals. So I set out to make a thick soup to lull him into soup-ness before making something runny.

The recipe I chose was from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things on a Plate, it looked lovely, I had everything except the beans and kale in already, and I could finally try making something with Kale after years of people telling me it’s a super-food. Word to the wise: kale definitely gives you certain super-human abilities, which aren’t for demonstrating in polite company.

Hugh says this is his take on a traditional Tuscan Peasant dish, without wanting to give away the ending, if I gave what I made to a Tuscan Peasant I’d wake up with a horse’s head in my bed.  Unlike most of the other recipes  that have gone wrong this year, I’m not entirely sure what I happened this time.

To serve four you will need olive oil (Hugh says normal oil and some really top-notch oil to drizzle afterwards), an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 200g Kale, 850ml vegetable or chicken stock (Hugh recommends home-made stock or really good quality shop bought stock, but I used oxo cubes haha), 400g tine cannellini beans, 100g quick-cooking polenta, sea salt and black pepper.

Chop the onion and the garlic, drain the beans, and strip the kale from the tough stalks; you can cut the leafs into ribbons but I didn’t.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, sweat the onions on a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and golden.


Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the stock and the beans and bring to a simmer.  Add the kale and return to a simmer for 5 minutes until it is tender.  Stir the polenta in and return to a simmer (stir well and the polenta wont go lumpy).  Simmer for another 3 minutes until it has thickened.


I’m pretty sure this is where I went wrong.  Maybe my polenta was too quick cooking?  Anyway, I was expecting it to be somewhere between a stew and a soup and its not what I turned out with… my lover had got bowls and spoons out, came over to look into the pan and said “well we can have that on plates” and went to get some forks.  To serve spoon it into a warmed bowl and drizzle with your good olive oil.  Et Voila:


Not much like soup… It wasn’t very nice.  I don’t know if it was the not top-notch stock that I used, or maybe I had faulty Kale, or maybe it was just too delicately flavoured for our burly pallettes?  It’s not a dish that I’ll make again.  Sorry Hugh.

But wait, there’s more…  I didn’t fancy having half a bag of kale hanging around in case I didn’t like it, so I cooked for four.  In the book Hugh says that to re-heat this add some more stock or boiling water to break up the polenta and heat in a pan until piping hot.


After 2 days in the fridge I didn’t do that, I broke it into chunks and heated it in a frying pan with a knob of butter, and when it was cooked all the way through I served it up with some cooked chicken from the supermarket and a big dollop of Dijon mustard.



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

three good things on a plate

Week 43: Mirin-Glazed Salmon

So here’s something I thought I would be able to tell you about much sooner than the forty-third week of the New Recipe Night project… This week, I cooked fish for the first time.  I’ve cooked tinned fish this year, and who can forget Nigel (from week 14:, but never an actual chunk of fish.

I suppose what attracted me to this was that it looked like an easy introduction into cooking fish, it looked quick to cook and I already had the ingredients.

To make this for 4 you will need: 4 x 125 g pieces of salmon (Nigella wants narrow and tall, rather than wide and flat… the minx) 60 ml (4 tbsp) mirin, 50g soft light brown sugar, 60 ml (4tbsp) soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1-2 spring onions.

I’ve recently got in to sushi rice, and now that I’ve stopped burning it to the pan it’s become a firm favourite.  If you are like me, cruelly without a rice-cooker, you will need to get the rice cooking before you make the marinade (which is probably exactly the same as if you do have one)

Start your rice cooking and then in a bowl or dish that will hold all your bits of salmon, mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce together.  Eight minutes before the rice is due to be cooked, put your fillets into the marinade for 3 minutes for the first side, and 2 for the second.


Whilst this is marinading, shred the spring onion (to look like the shredded spring onions you get with crispy duck at the Chinese). Then heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob.  Put the salmon in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, turn over the salmon and add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.


If you’re a genius at timing your rice should be done as you turn the salmon, so while the salmon and marinade are bubbling away, you should be able to drain the rice (if it needs it) and put it out on your serving plates.


Take the salmon off the heat and dish up on top of the rice.  Then add the rice vinegar to the pan to warm through.  Nigella says that this is supposed to form a dark, sweet and salty glaze for you to pour over the salmon.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it turned black and burned onto the pan in a massive puff of fishy smoke.  I spotted some of the smoking goo onto the salmon, it didn’t look very glazed but I sprinkled it with the spring onions all the same.


The salmon was delicious, perfect with the rice, a little too blackened maybe but I’m pretty sure I had the hob on too high.  Unfortunately the last step to make the glaze burned itself onto my ‘non stick’ pan so hard that it’s taken forever to clean, and still has big black patches that are now part of the pan.  Also, my lover doesn’t really like fish, so it’s not going to become a regular dinner round here, but I still might make it just for me once I’ve worked out what I’m doing.

Fish.  Tick.


Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

nigella express