Rice

Week 67: Poulet aux champignons avec une sauce au vin blanc

Which as we all know means Chicken and Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce. Yep, I reached for Rachel Khoo again!

Apparently this is a French classic. I dont think I’ve had it, whenever we went to France as kids The Poisoner insisted in going self catered so the only proper homemade French food I’ve had has had terrible things done to it. (more…)

Week 51: Chicken Tikka (sort of)

So this week is a bit of double celebration – I’ve been making a new recipe pretty much every week for the last year (I started on Facebook then moved here later), and this week I had my 4000th viewer… They were probably disappointed that their search for “Nigella Breast” got my schnitzelly ravings.

This cheeky recipe caught me unawares, I was so busy being smug that I already had all the ingredients in the cupboard I didn’t notice that it needs to marinate overnight. So I started it off and then my lover whipped up an omelette.

This recipe comes from the Cupboard Love book, but is inspired by Vivek Singh’s Tikka recipe in ‘The Cinnamon Club Cookbook’ (which I’ve got my eye out for), and is a recipe I’ve had my eye on for most of the last year. What always worried me was having to make the masala, but I decided this time I would do without it.

To make Tikka for two you will need 2 boneless chicken breasts (book says skin on, but I could only get them skin off), half tsp salt, half tsp black pepper, 2 tbs lemon juice, 2cm fresh ginger (finely chopped), 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped), half tsp cumin seeds, half tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbs yoghurt and 2 tbs olive oil.

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Firstly, with your trusty pestle and mortar grind up the cumin and coriander seeds, not too finely but it will smell amazing! Then chop up the garlic and ginger and add to the crushed seeds, then add the paprika.

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Pierce the chicken a few times and rub it all over with the salt and pepper. Toss into a bowl with the lemon juice, then add the crushed seeds, herbs, garlic and ginger, and then the olive oil and yoghurt and mix together with the chicken.  Cover the bowl and chill for at least 2 hours, but preferably over night.

When you’re ready to cook it crank your oven up as high as it will go, and heat a griddle to a medium high heat.  Line a roasting tin with parchment. Fry the chicken skin side down for 3 minutes, then the other side for 2 minutes (season the skin side with some extra salt). Any of the marinade left on the chicken falls off into the pan.

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Transfer the chicken to the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  Rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve with rice and chutney.

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It was delicious. I’m not just saying that. I loved the dry-ness of it too, I’m not the biggest fan of masala sauce so this was ideal. It went really well with the brown rice and some mango chutney I fould in the cupboard.

Next week a veritable feast for week 52. Hurrah!

 

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

cupboard love

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: http://wp.me/p42Dr4-1X), 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Week 42: Fruity Rice Salad

I’m back!  With party food!  Well, a rice-y salad – but it’s much better than the Martha salad I made the other week.  This last week has been insanely hot, 30c and really clammy.  Hate it.  I thought that making a salad would be the ultimate rain-dance.  It wasn’t, it was still hot and I was covered in pineapple (I obviously wasn’t sticky enough), and the rain that tried to fall in my corner of London came down as steam… but at least I had salad; and it’s the salad I’m bringing along to Fiesta Friday!  It’s been a while!

When I was young my gran would always make a rice dish at family parties – it was yellow with bits of tinned orange and peas in it, and I thought this was an update of that recipe (I’d make the actual recipe but every time I ask my gran she says it’s a secret, which either means she makes it up as she goes along, or has been secretly buying it frozen since 1964).

This recipe is in the Hairy Bikers diet book, and like all the recipes – it uses a lot of ingredients, but I had all the spices and just had to buy in the rice and fruit/veg. That would never have happened when I started the new recipe night project.  This week the ingredient that had never before darkened my kitchen was wholegrain rice – I’d had it at friends’ houses, but never cooked it myself.  I don’t know why I left it so long – it didn’t take as long to cook as I thought it would, and I’ve been getting a bit bored of bismati rice.

This recipe serves 4 as a lunch, or 6 as an accompaniment, or maybe more in a bowl at a barbeque, and is roughly 800 calories for the whole dish.  You will need 125g easy-cook wholegrain rice, olive oil, half a medium red onion, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, half a tsp ground turmeric, a small un-waxed lemon, 1 small pineapple (200g prepared weight), half a cucumber, 100g red grapes, handful of chopped up coriander.

Tip 125g of rice into a half full pan of boiling water, stir the rice then bring to the boil.  The recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but this depends on how easy-cook your rice is, and if it’s not easy cook then follow the instructions on the packet.

Once the rice is on, finely chop the onion, half the grapes, cut the cucumber into into 1.5cm chunks and the pineapple into 2cm chunks.  I think I’d cut the cucumber up smaller next time, the chunks were too big – and I’d use prepared pineapple.

Heat 2tsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and soften the onion in it for about 4 minutes.  Add the cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and cook for about 30 seconds before adding 2 tablespoons of cold water.

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Cook for about 2 minutes – stirring continuously – until the the water has evaporated, then remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of the lemon.  Stir and leave to cool.

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Mix the cucumber, grapes and pineapple in a party-proof serving bowl.  When the rice is cooked drain it in a sieve/strainer and then run it under the cold tap until the rice is cool, then tip it into the onion pan and stir it around until the rice is fully coated in the onions and spice mix.  Stir the rice mix into the fruit in the serving bowl, scatter it with chopped coriander and serve to your adoring guests.

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HA the ultimate serving suggestion!  I should have added some more cocktail umbrellas but I can’t remember where I put them.

Would I make it again?  Yes and no… I would make the rice and stir it into the onion and spice, maybe with some sultanas, but I don’t think I’d go the whole hog with the bits of pineapple.  The second night we had it I served it with some barbeque chicken I got from the deli counter and it was much nicer than eating it on its own.

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The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)

Hairy Dieters

Week 39: Korean Fried Rice, Steak, Mushrooms & Pickles

Instead of cooking something tricky at the weekend and writing it up in time for Friday morning, like I usually do; this week I decided that I’d trash my kitchen with a Jamie Oliver recipe on a work night. Fool.

To make this for four you will need: 2 250g packs of cooked brown rice (like Uncle Ben’s or similar), a lemon, 125g oyster mushrooms, sesame oil, low-salt soy sauce, sherry vinegar, clove garlic, 2 x 250g sirloin steaks, 1 cucumber, 2 spring onions, caster sugar, 1 little gem lettuce, harissa paste, 100g baby spinach, 2 large eggs and some sesame seeds. I was cooking only for him and me, so I used half the quantities.

You’ll need a large frying pan at medium heat, and a griddle pan at high heat, and you’ll need to get your food processor out – but if you’re not fussed about making this in 15 minutes, and you’re a tidy chopper you can use a knife instead.

Put the cooked rice into the frying pan, with the lemon juice and keep stirring it regularly.  With tongs place the mushrooms on the griddle, and turn them over when they’re charred.  While they’re charring mix 1 tbs of oil, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sherry vinegar, and a crushed up/minced garlic clove in a bowl.

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Slice the steak into 1cm thick strips, transfer the mushrooms into the marinade and lay the steak out on the griddle in one layer.  Slice the cucumber and the spring onion and tip into a bowl with a pinch of sugar and salt, a drizzle of soy sauce and of sherry vinegar, and scrunch it all together.

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When the steak is done to your liking put it in the bowl with the mushrooms and mix it all in with the sauce.  Tip the rice into a bowl, and put the a teaspoon of the sesame oil in the pan.  Crack two eggs into the pan and cook for a minute and a half on each side – sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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I’m not sure the best way to serve this.  The picture shows it all in separate bowls, which I did, and then we lobbed it all on to our plates – I could have done this in the kitchen and saved a load of washing up…

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It was OK.  If I make it again I’d use different mushrooms – the oyster mushrooms with were a bit like cold wet ears.  I’d also cut everything up with the knife, maybe leaving out the cucumber/onion mix out and bring it straight from the kitchen already plated up.

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And I wouldn’t make it on a work night.

 

 

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)

jamie 15min

Week 34: Squash, Coconut, Chilli

I once knew a girl who spent time working at a butternut squash farm, and I’ve never been able to look at them without smirking ever since.  However, I was flicking through the books looking for something simple to cook and found this recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Three Good Things on a Plate’ on the page after the lentil curry that stank my flat out (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/week-20-lentils-spinach-potato/).

It meant getting over my squash-giggles, but this week I bought my first ever butternut squash.  It’s surprisingly difficult to buy a small one – small being 1kg.  Who knew?

The recipe makes enough curry to serve 4, I would recommend making it in the same quantities as the recipe and freezing half if there’s only two of you (unless you have half a tin of coconut milk handy).  To make this curry you will need: A Squash (800g-1kg, either a Butternut, Kabocha or Crown Prince Squash), Sunflower Oil, 1 Onion, 2 Garlic Cloves, 2-4 Mild or Medium Red Chillies, curry powder/curry paste, Coconut Milk, a Lime or a Lemon, Salt and Pepper.

Since making this I have found out that you can buy prepared chunks of butternut squash, and vegetarians have lots of hacks to make the preparation of them much quicker.  I had no prior Squash-knowledge, and spent ages wrestling the squash into peeled and de-seeded bite-sized chunks with my battered old 50p peeler.  While you’re at it, thinly chop the onion, garlic and chillies, and lay them out on your board as if you’re a Blue Peter presenter (see above).

Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a large saucepan, and gently cook the onion over a medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and the chillies and after two more minutes stir in a tablespoon (or two) of curry powder/curry paste and cook for a few more minutes.

Toss in the squash, season with salt and pepper and stir it round for a minute or two to make sure the squash is covered in the rest of the mix:

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Pour in the coconut milk, stir, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  After 15 minutes I tossed in some fine beans like Hugh suggested.  Every so often I gently stirred it, as directed.

When the squash is tender, turn off the heat and stir in the juice of a lemon or a lime; I chose a lime.

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Just as I started cooking the squash my lover came up to me and asked if I thought butternut squashes were like pumpkins, which he is insanely allergic to… but what’s a meal without a spot of peril?

Luckily dinner didn’t kill him, and it has been requested again.  I put 2 chillies in but next time I’m going to put 4 in, or use stronger curry powder, or both.  A delicious curry which makes the flat smell lovely.

Yum!

 

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

three good things on a plate

Week 32: Baked Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, Coconut Rice and Beans

I nearly made this recipe instead of the chicken curry that everyone thought was beef.

It was the perfect recipe to christen the casserole dish I bought way back in August, which I’ve been dusting all year after not fancying casserole.  Fickle me.

There are a lot of different elements to this dish, I wouldn’t bother with the pineapple salsa again; it’s just messy and gets in the way.  To make this dish to feed four you will need: 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 4 large chicken lags/breasts/8 thighs/assortment of wings and drumsticks, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 – 4 tablespoons Tabasco, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (I used golden caster), 2 tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, soy sauce, 2 limes, half an orange, fresh thyme, half a pineapple/400g chunks, 6 cherry tomatoes, coriander, 400g tin kidney beans, 350g long grain rice, tin of coconut milk, 2cm piece of fresh ginger and 1 red chilli.

Cut the onion into wedges and bash the garlic cloves and put them into the casserole dish with the chicken pieces.  Turn the oven on to 200c/Gas 6.

In a bowl mix together the balsamic, Tabasco, sugar, allspice, mustard powder, cinnamon, soy sauce, juice of 1 lime, zest and juice of half the orange and some thyme leaves.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and pour half over the chicken.  Stir it round with the chicken and onion, put it in the oven when it looks like this:

The chicken goes into the oven for 30 minutes, after 15 minutes pour the remaining sauce over it and give it a good stir.

If you’re going to make the pineapple salsa: chop the pineapple into small chunks, quarter the cherry tomatoes and put in a bowl with the juice of the other lime and some roughly cut up coriander and take it to the table.

Boil the kettle and put a pan with a lid on high on the hob, tip the rice in with the coconut milk and bring it to the boil.  Drain the kidney beans, peel and grate the ginger and halve, de-seed and chop the chilli.  If you’re not doing the salsa maybe do this before you put the pan on.  Once the coconut milk is boiling add water from the kettle to cover the rice (Lorraine recommends filling to 2cm above the rice, but this is really hard to judge when it mixes with the coconut milk…) add the ginger and the chilli and turn the heat down.

You need to simmer the rice for the amount of time it says on the packet, 5 minutes before the rice is done add the kidney beans on top without stirring in.  If you put the right amount of water in the last of the water should be gone by the time the rice is done, so you shouldn’t have to strain it.

Check the chicken is cooked by piercing it (there should be no pinkness) Fluff up the rice, stirring in the beans, and plate it up.  Spoon the chicken and sauces over the rice and sprinkle with some more coriander.

I’m not sure about making it again; if I do I think it’s a definite November/December dish.  The cinnamon and allspice combination just made it really Christmassy, like one of those Yankee Candles – not really something to cook in May haha.  I only managed one spoonful of Tabasco, but only because I ran out – I’m not that much of a chicken, although much more would have given me the hiccups!

I’d probably also make it with normal rice, the coconutty rice went a bit like rice pudding.  All in all, not the best dinner but I’m glad I tried jerking in the kitchen.

 

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

Lorraine Pascale

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 24: Beef Kofta Curry, fluffy rice, beans & peas

That processor has corrupted me, corrupted I say.  I’m power mad, and to prove it I cracked open Jamie’s 15 minute meals… one of the many recipes that requires electricity!

I know it irks you when I say these things, but I had no idea what a puy lentil was, or that it was a different thing to the orange art-class lentil.  I couldn’t get even a sniff of a puy lentil in Hammersmith and had to go searching.  But I had the rest of the ingredients.

To make this for four you will need: 1 x 250g pack of ready-to-eat Puy Lentils, 1 heaped tsp garam masala, 400g lean mince, 3 ripe tomatoes, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 spring onions, 1 red chilli, bunch fresh coriander, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp runny honey, 2 heaped tsp Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Paste, half a tin of coconut milk, 300g basmati rice, 5 cardamom pods, 200g green or yellow beans and 200g frozen peas.  Jamie also says to use fat-free natural yoghurt, a lemon and 2 uncooked poppadoms, but I didn’t bother with those.  I’m not sure how big a bunch I was supposed to get, but Sainsbury’s sold me this:

I reckon it was too big.

After trying the last two recipes from this book I decided to ditch the frantic 15 minute malarky and calm down a bit.  To start with I scrunched together the lentils, garam masala, mince, with some salt and pepper.  It made a brain:

I had a whole Sainsbury’s fail and could only get a 500g pack of mince (the butchers was miles away in the other direction, I still feel bad cheating on him) so it made a much larger brain than was intended.  Once you have your brain, wet your hands and divide it in half and then mould each half into 6 fat fingers.  They look like mice at this point, which was the exact moment my squeamish lover chose to pop into the kitchen to see how I was going.  Oops.

At this point Jamie says you should put them in the pan, but to avoid burning everything I skipped that bit and skipped straight to the exciting blender bit.  Speed freak.

In your powerful yet sleek liquidizer put in the tomatoes, peeled ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, the coriander stalks (although not all of them if you’ve accidentally bought a tree of it) the tumeric, honey, rogan josh paste and half the tin of coconut milk.  It will look like this:

Blitz that mother down.  Vroom.  Now time to start cooking, calmly and serenely.

Put a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and turn the heat up high, then boil the kettle.  When the oil is hot stick the koftas in the pan, turning them when golden.  Put the rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a medium lidded pan and the (pre-halved) beans on top.  Put the lid on.

After a few minutes, give the liquidizer another quick blast, because its fun, and then pour the mix into the frying pan with the koftas.  Bring it to the boil and then simmer.  My pans don’t have tight fitting lids, so I had to weigh the lid down to stop the bubbly rice water from going all over my hob… which looked like this:

By now, I reckon you should be about 5 minutes before the rice is done, so open the lid of the rice pan, put the frozen peas in and give it all a good stir round.  After this Jamie says you should microwave your poppadoms, but I don’t have a microwave and forgot to buy the poppadoms, so I skipped it to take pictures.

Slice the other half of the chilli and the coriander leaves to artistically scatter over the dish.  Next time I make this I won’t scatter the chilli because it was really hot and gave me the hiccups.

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This was the first recipe from this book that I have loved, and the first where my lover has said I can make it again.

The quantities are to serve four, and rather than mess around with halving all the quantities I made the curry for four and the rice for two (150g rice, 1 mug water, 100g beans & 100g peas) and froze half of it.  It froze, defrosted and re-heated really well (although the koftas fell apart and were more like chunks than mice) so I will definitely make it again.  As a bonus I can use the other half of the tin of coconut milk, the other half of the bunch of spring onions and the other half of the pack of fine beans for Nigella’s curry in a hurry (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) – no waste and I get to process stuff, Boom!

jamie 15min

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)