Kitchen

Week 81: African Drumsticks

The eagle-eyed amoungst you will notice that rather than drumsticks, these are actually thighs… lest we forget that my lover has a perculiar aversion to eating meat off the bone, so here we are with thighs! There’s quite a bizarre reason for making this.  Every time I make Nigella’s teriyaki I can never find the recipe, so I call over to my lover to ask what page it is and he always says ’46’. It’s not on page 46, African drumsticks are, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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Week 76: Scallops with Thai-scented pea puree

I have no idea what a baby leek is. I’m assuming it’s a really really young one, but I can’t seem to be able to buy one. So I cracked open half a kilo of frozen peas and cooked this instead. Take that Jamie Oliver.

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Week 74: Flash-Fried Steak with White Bean Mash

I won’t lie to you, last week was a long, hard and tiring to make.  I also had Moussaka three times.  When it came to actually getting the pans out at the end of the week for some tomato-ey pasta I realised that I needed to add something new and quick to my week-night repertoire.  Something lightning quick I could whip up before sitting in my chair and watching Geordie Shore re-runs and Netflix boxsets with a pack of biscuits until bedtime when I get in from work.

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Week 61: Spanish Omelette

Ole! Nothing warms a December teatime more than eating something foreign. And simple food always tastes better, right? I had made myself the Gammon and Peas from Nigella’s Express book, and was flicking through the rest and liked the picture.

I do like a good omelette, with this one containing potatoes I didn’t have to do oven chips to go with it. Another bonus is that because you’re meant to eat it cold it’ll do 2 days – I’m not sure if I’m supposed to make it last 2 days, but we didn’t die…

To make this for 4 (or 8 if you’re doing a load more Tapas to go with it) you will need: 225g baby new potatoes, 4 eggs, 75g flame-roasted jarred peppers, 3 spring onions, 75g manchego/cheddar cheese, butter, oil, salt & pepper. You’ll need to finely chop the onions, roughly chop the peppers, and halve the potatoes.

Also, you’ll need a small-ish heavy bottomed frying pan that can go in the oven/under the grill – non of your plastic handles here!

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I always think these look like tongues…

Depending on your grill you’ll need to turn it on so its hot enough to finish off the omelette.  My grill needs about a weeks notice before doing a round of toast so I have to turn it on really early – but you might be able turn your on when you start frying the omelette.  Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, then drain them.  While they’re boiling grate the cheese, then whisk the eggs together in a bowl/a big jug. Throw in the peppers, onions, cheese and free potatoes, then season to taste.

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Heat 1 tsp of oil and a splash of oil in the frying pan, when it’s hot (but not crazily hot) pour the omelette mix in. Now apparently you don’t need to stir this, so didn’t. When my lover makes omelettes there’s grunting and pushing and alsorts – I quite like this sedate form of omelettry.

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After the omelette has cooked for 5 minutes move the pan under the grill to finish off.  This is instead of turning it over, which I guess would stop it being Spanish Omelette shaped.  Leave it under the grill for a few minutes until it’s pretty much set, then take it from under the grill and turn it upside-down onto a plate. If you can do it without burning yourself that would be great.

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Nigella says that the omelette will keep cooking as it cools down so you don’t need to worry if it’s a bit wobbly in the middle – I can’t comment on this as mine came out a little charred, so there’s no way that bad boy was uncooked when I turned it out.  Leave it to cool down the. Cut it into wedges.

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I even remembered to buy some salad!  I’d definitely make this again, nice and simple and really tasty – and I’ll have a crack at some other Spanish-y bits.

 

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

nigella express

Week 60: Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

It was definitely the week for stew, I don’t think it stopped raining, and we wanted something hearty… We had Nigella out on the side and my lover picked this, and chickpeas are kind of hearty?

To make this for four you will need: 50g vermicelli, 500g bulgar wheat, teaspoon of cinnamon, sea salt, bay leaves, 350g chorizo, amontillado sherry, 100g soft dried apricots, 2 400g tins of chickpeas, 2 400g tins cherry tomatoes, pepper, and coriander (which I missed off)

If you use the full amount of bulgar wheat you’ll be able to feed an army, I used half the amount just for me and him and there was enough left over to feed four more.

This is really quick to make, which is most unlike a stew.  Start by warming 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a thick bottomed pan, when it’s warmed to about medium throw in the pasta and fry until they look like little bits of slightly scorched straw.

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Add the bulgar wheat and stir for two minutes then add the cinnamon, 2tsp of salt, a litre of water and two bay leaves. Bring to the boil then turn it down to the lowest heat and leave (lidded) to absorb for about 15 minutes.

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Cut the chorizo into coins and then cut them in half.  Heat a second heavy bottom pan and fry the chorizo until the orange juice runs out. Add 4 tablespoons of the sherry and let it bubble for a minute or two.  Wash the chickpeas and cut up the apricots and throw them in with the canned tomatoes, half fill each tomato tin with water, swill it round then pour it in to the pan. Turn the heat up high and bubble for 5 minutes.  I completely forgot about the water, but i don’t think it affected it much.

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By now the bulgar wheat should be done, so turn the gas off and give it a fork around to loosen it up, then serve with the stew and an artistic sprinkling of corriander.

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I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t quite work in my mouth. I don’t like baked beans (never have, I know weird right?) and the tomatoes and chickpeas tasted a bit baked-bean-y for me. Also, it was a bit sweet for my sour tooth (I think next time I’d leave out the apricots) and I had to slum it with posh chorizo from Waitrose and they went really rubbery, and I’ve decided that I don’t like cinnamon in bulgar wheat… So it wasn’t the most successful meal I’ve ever made… But I’m sure you’ll love it!

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I thought I’d pop it in for this weeks Fiesta Friday – just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not great for a cosy winter ‘do’. Chin chin!

 

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

Nigella Kitchen

Week 40: South Indian Vegetable Curry

In a moment of vegetable deficiency I walked all the way to the veg stall and bought the world’s biggest cauliflower to make this veg curry I’ve had my eye on in Nigella’s kitchen book.  I’m pretty sure I was mainly attracted to it for the challenge of finding tamarind paste (which was only a challenge because I didn’t look in the bomb-shelter that is Hammersmith Sainsbury’s first).

To make this for four you will need: 2 x tbsp garlic oil, 1 onion, 1 green chilli, 2cm chunk fresh ginger, crushed chilli flakes, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, 1 can of coconut milk, 600ml vegetable stock, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp tamarind paste, 350g cauliflower, 350g broccoli, 100g fine beans, 125g baby corn, and 150g sugar snap peas.  Serve with rice or a warmed naan bread.  Or both…

Firstly,  Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, trim and half the beans, half the baby corns, cut the ginger into fine strips, de-seed and finely chop the chilli, and peel and cut the onion into half moons (sort of like orange segments).  While you’re finishing this off start the oil heating in a thick bottomed casserole or a large saucepan.

Fry the onion – sprinkled with a pinch of sea-salt flakes – until the onion starts to soften, then add the chopped green chilli (I used a red one I had left over in the fridge) and the ginger strips.  Nudge it all around the pan for about a minute.

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Add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp of ground ginger and give it all a good stir to ensure the onion is coated in the spices, and cook for about another minute then pour in the coconut milk, the vegetable stock, a tsp of sugar, and the tamarind paste.  Stir again and bring to the boil.

Nigella says that at this point you can stop cooking to finish off the next day, or portion it up to freeze for another day, and I took half out to put in the freezer – but I had the hob on too high in the next stage and had to add it back to stop it boiling dry.  The flamethrower hob strikes again!

Once the sauce is boiling (either the first time round, or when its been reheated) add the cauliflower and the broccoli and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans and baby corns and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Once the vegetables are tender add the sugar snaps and serve when they’re hot.

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Again I’ve tried a new recipe in the summer and decided it’s definitely a winter dish.  It’s delicious, and very cozy, and I’d imagine Ideal for doing something different with the spare un-cooked veg at Christmas – or Thanksgiving if that’s your thing!

 

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

Nigella Kitchen

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

Week 30: Pasta alla Genovese

I know its a bit of a cop out, but my brain dribbled out of my ear as I chewed on the ears of my seventeenth Lindt bunny, so I chose this recipe purely because it was green.

Green just like the spring haha.  I have never cooked with Pesto before, or said the words “Ooo its got pesto in, I’ll have that”, so I thought it would be good to try something new.  And it meant I got to use the machine again…

Vroom!

As I read the ingredients list, I thought about getting garlic bread so I could pack all the carbs into one dish, but decided that the pasta and potatoes would be enough on their own.

To make this for 4 you will need: 500g floury potatoes (like King Edwards, cut up into half inch chunks), 500g linguine, 200g fine beans, 100g basil leaves, 100g grated Parmesan, 1 garlic clove, 100ml olive oil, and 100ml extra virgin olive oil.

You will need a large pan, filled with enough salted water to boil the potatoes and the pasta.  Put the potato chunks in and bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta and boil for the length of time recommended on the packet and four minutes before the end, then throw in the beans.  Note: if you are using fresh pasta, boil the potatoes for 28-30 minutes and then put the beans in, put the pasta in so it will be cooked when everything else is done… use dried pasta.

Nigella says that for this dish you need to make the pesto yourself, in a blender!  Vroom!  While the pan is on with the potato and pasta put the basil leaves, Parmesan, garlic and oil into the mixer and blitz it until it looks like pesto… which is really hard to photograph.

Take half a cup full of the cooking water from the pan and then drain the potatoes, pasta and beans.  Off the heat return them to the pan and stir in the pesto and the cooking water and serve immediately.

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I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong; it just didn’t really taste of anything.  My friend suggested that I’d not salted the water enough (I had) and I thought maybe my Parmesan wasn’t flavour-full enough.  While it smelled amazing and looked devine it was pretty bland so I don’t know if I’ll make it again.

And I still don’t totally see what all the fuss is about with pesto!

 

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

Nigella Kitchen

Week 29: Korean Keema

How terribly West London of me.  Ra Ra Raaa.  Haha.  This is a really quick recipe, but don’t set your heart on making it until you’ve tracked down some Gochujang… which I can spell but can’t say.

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I found it in my local Thai Supermarket, Nigella says that at a push you could substitute any other chilli paste, and as a last result you could make your own by fermenting red chillies, rice, soybeans and salt in a jar under your house like the Korean’s did in the old days… but who has the time?

This is a brilliantly quick and tasty recipe for 2, but I reckon you could serve 3 slightly smaller portions and not be hungry.  You will need: 150g basmati or sushi rice, 250g turkey mince, 3 fat or 6 thin spring onions (chopped) 125g frozen peas, vegetable oil, rice wine, gochujang, honey, soy sauce, and coriander for scattering everywhere.

Start the rice cooking, following the instructions on the packet, and then boil the kettle.

In a mixing bowl whisk together 2 15ml tablespoons of gochujang, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon of rice wine, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  This will make the most brilliant horror-film red sauce.  Tip the turkey mince in to this sauce and stir it.  Leave to steep for about 5 minutes.

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While this is steeping chop up the spring onions and heat the wok.  Put the frozen peas in a sieve and pour the boiling water over them – let all the water drain away.  When the wok is hot add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and then the peas and spring onions.

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Stir-fry the greens for 3 or 4 minutes and then add the turkey and the sauce.  Stir-fry this for another 4 or 5 minutes.  (By this time the rice should be done so you can strain it and get ready to serve up)

Make sure you’ve not washed the mixing bowl yet, pour in 2 tablespoons of rice wine and 4 tablespoons of water (I used it from the kettle because it was close and I’m clumsy) and swill out the saucy-winey residue from the bowl into the wok.  Stir fry for about 30 seconds until piping hot.  Serve immediately.

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I made this two days running because I could only get the turkey mince in a 500g packet, and the second day I remembered to artistically scatter coriander over it – but it doesn’t really add anything to it and tastes just as good without.

This is an ideal recipe to cook after work, it’s quicker to make than read, it’s really filling and tastes delicious.  And the gochujang lasts for ages so fill yer boots!

 

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

Nigella Kitchen

Week 23: Barbecued Beef Mince

There’s an awful lot of tedious back story to this week’s new recipe; so of course I shall recount it all.

Nigella’s Barbecued Beef Mince recipe is on the page after last weeks triumphal Cheesy Chilli ( https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/week-22-cheesy-chilli/ ) and while I was cooking the chilli I kept looking at the picture of this brown stuff with nachos.  Then I read it:  Barbecued Beef Mince is the same thing as Sloppy Joes!  I had heard of Sloppy Joes but never tried it, and didn’t know what it actually was… it’s not the sort of thing my mum would ever have made with a name like that.

So I read the recipe, realised everything needed processing together and put it aside – my luddite kitchen was not equipped with a blender.  And then suddenly it was!

My lover’s boss was getting rid of his old mixer, he did this by offering it to everyone in the office, rather than putting it in a bin like any normal person.  When he lugged it through the door my heart leapt; YES!  I can cook all those liquidised recipes I have, and can eat meals through straws!  Boom!

I skipped off into town and bought the ingredients: 1 stick celery, 3 cloves garlic, 2 onions, 150g rindless smoked streaky bacon, 2 carrots, vegetable oil, dark brown sugar (3 tablespoons, 2 in the sauce) ground cloves (pinch), ground allspice (half teaspoon) 500g beef mince, 1 can chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce (3 tablespoons) bourbon (3 tablespoons) and tomato puree (2 tablespoons, but you can use sundried tomato paste if you like).  I was surprised how many of these ingredients I already had in my cupboard, this never would have happened in week one!

But then disaster struck… I decided to clean the mixer (it smelled like the last thing my lovers’ boss had liquidised was his underpants) and found that it didn’t work!  NOOOOOOO!  Faced with the prospect of Chunky Joes, I had to buy a mixer.  To cut a long story short the luddite days are over at Casa Del Crump:

There’s a preamble for you.  Behold my new toy; with some carrots.

The first stop in making this is to jam the carrots, celery, bacon, garlic and onions onions into the food processor and keep it spinning around until its all mushed up.  Like this:

Once it’s fully blended, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed lidded pan and cook the orange mush for 15-20 minutes.  While this is cooking, mix the can of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bourbon, tomato puree and add the tomato tin of cold water into a jug, and add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.  I only had dark muscavado sugar, so mine turned out like this:

I don’t know if it’s right.  It smelled kinda fishy…

After the orange mush has turned mushy-er and soft, add a pinch of ground cloves, the allspice and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar.  Give it a good stir and add the mince.  At this point it will look horrible, like so:

A little like a brain.  Eww.  When the pink turns grey add the jug of sauce, stir it, lid it, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes.  While this is simmering away you could make a start trying to scrub the carrot dye off your sexy new mixer without cutting your fingers off.  Also, you can prepare your chosen serving suggestion.  I decided to try it with tortillas and in a bread roll (they were left over from last weeks burger night https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/week-4-burger-night/ )

I know the dish is called Sloppy Joes, but I wasn’t prepared for it to look like this:

I’ll admit, it put me off slightly.  It was like the ultimate protein shake.  Worse still, buoyed by the success of last weeks chilli I made the full amount so I could freeze portions, leaving me with an enormous vat of slurry on my hob.

It has a certain taint to it.  I can’t tell if it was the celery (hate celery) or the bacon/allspice but it wasn’t very nice straight from the pan.  Also it was very watery, maybe I needed to simmer it longer?  The bread roll wasn’t a good idea, it just got wet and my lover has a thing about wet bread.

I froze the rest of the Sloppy Joes, and had a portion on a baked potato the other day and it was much better after it had been through the freezer.  If I make this again (when I have a bigger freezer) I’ll make it and freeze it straight away!

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