Cupboard Love

Week 58: Aglio Dorato – Garlic & Tomato Sauce

So here’s a turn up for the books – this week I had my 5000th viewer – which is pretty darn impressive for a year of slightly burned food and bad smells. So thank you for visiting, and coming back for more, it’s great – and to celebrate I will tell you all about the really horrible  meal I cooked at the weekend…

I was pretty intrigued by the concept of a ‘jazzed-up tomato sauce’, I’ve almost made this recipe before, but it takes a bit too long to make after work so it’s waited until now.  I liked the idea of being able to keep the sauce for a few weeks in the fridge, which would be ideal for later work nights.

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To feed two people you will need: 200g spaghetti, 250ml olive oil (yes really) 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (squash them in a colander until you’ve just got pulp – like in the tomatoey pasta), 10 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole), and salt and pepper to season.

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Gently heat the oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic when the oil is warm.  The book says to keep the heat low so that the oil doesn’t spoil. I’m not entirely sure that this isn’t where I went wrong; my hob is a bit of a flamethrower!  After 20 minutes check the garlic cloves are really tender (give them another 10 minutes if they’re not) and then carefully add the squashed up tomatoes. Turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Take the pan off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer the mix to your trusty  food processor and blend into a smooth emulsion.  It’s a little tricky because I found that almost immediately the sauce separated into oil and not-oil which turned out to be a nuisance when it came to the next bit.  Cook the pasta like how it says on the packet, and then drain it really briefly so it’s still a little dampened return it to the cooking pan and add 4-5 table spoons of the sauce and give it a toss.

Serve with Parmesan, and pour the rest of the sauce into a thingie and put it in the fridge.

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I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about this, I thought the garlic seemed very subtle, maybe too subtle for my bawdy palette – and then my lover put his fork down and said “it’s just a load of tasteless oil”

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That was me told. It wasn’t very nice, and even the next day when I poured off a bit of the oil and it was more tomatoey it just tasted a bit ‘crisp-n-dry-ish’. Also, I was slightly worried about Botulism from the garlicky oil, but it’s been a few days and nothing’s developed.

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There could have been loads of things I did wrong, like not using good enough oil or not garlicky enough garlic, or it might have been too hot, but it wasn’t very tasty so I don’t think I’ll make it again.  Oh well!

 

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

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Week 54: Orecchiette with Brocolli and Anchovies

So that’s that then, I’ve cooked all three of the recipes in the “three pasta dishes with anchovies” section of the Cupboard Love book. I’m not sure if I cooked it for completeness (such a freaky collector – gotta have the set) or to see how it compared with the really similar (practical identical) Jamie Oliver recipe I made a few weeks back (Broccoli Pasta Chopped Garden Salad  https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/week-48/ )

Probably both. Doubly whammies are hard to resist.

Once again I didn’t have any Orecchiette, so I used the last of the little pasta I used on week 48, but I’m determined to track some down – apparently it’s ideal for brocoli sauces.

To make this for two you will need: 200g orecchiette, unsalted butter, olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, dried crushed chilli, 1/4 nutmeg (I assume he means an actual nutmeg grated up, rather than the ground stuff I had in a jar), 4 sprigs of thyme (just the little leaves, not the stick bit), 1 kg of broccoli (I know. I’m assuming this is the uncut weight – I managed to get 600g off two heads and that was enough), 4 anchovy fillets, juice of half a lemon, and 50g Parmesan.

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First up, cut the broccoli into small florets. I’m not sure how small they need to be, I reckon smaller than I did them. Chop the garlic, grate the nutmeg, and pluck the leaves off your thyme.  Gently heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide pan with a lid.  Start some salted water boiling for the pasta.

When the butter/oil is fizzing stir in the garlic, half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, the nutmeg (I substituted a quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg, I chose this amount because I had no idea how big a nutmeg was), and thyme.

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After minute add the anchovies and broccoli, then add 3 tablespoons of water and a little sea salt. Put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

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Cook the pasta while the broccoli steams, drain it thoroughly and return it to the pan.  Stir in the broccoli mix, then add the lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan (I forgot to say, while everything’s cooking grate the Parmesan) give it a stir and serve straight away.

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It was really tasty, I think the anchovies and chillies gave it the edge and the nutmeg a real depth of flavour. I managed to slightly catch the broccoli on the pan, mostly because I was using the flamethrower-ring and it just didn’t go low enough to steam the broccoli – so next time I’ll know! Also, I think I need to cut up the broccoli into smaller bits next time, it might become more like a sauce.

Like a lot of other ‘soft’ recipes I’ve made this really needed something crunchy to go with it, but it wasn’t ‘one-texture-ish’ enough to make it bland… If that makes sense?  With the winter starting to make itself known, this is a simple but delicious comfort dish that only requires a truckload of broccoli and some kitchen cupboard staples! Yum!

 

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

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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)

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Week 49: Picci Pacci

Gosh well there’s a flash name for ‘Chilli, Basil and Almond Sauce’ but if you can’t wave a bit of italian around the kitchen every now and again what can you do?  This recipe is from my beloved Cupboard Love book, and Tom Norrington-Davies thinks Picci Pacci might mean something like ‘this and that’.

The recipe does indeed involve putting a bit of everything in, I saw that it had almonds in and was sold.  I was hoping that it would be a quick after work pasta fest like the fishy pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/week-9-linguine-with-sardines-anchovies-and-parsley/) or the tomato-ey pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/week-35-spaghetti-and-tinned-plum-tomatoes/) but it wasn’t as such.  The actual cooking is instant, but it needs time to steep for a couple of hours.

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For two people you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, 50g blanched almonds, 400g tin peeled tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped basil (or parsley, I used parsley), 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic) half teaspoon salt, pinch of sugar, half a teaspoon dried crushed chilli flakes.

To start drain the tinned tomatoes into a sieve or strainer and squeeze out all the juice, just like on the tomato-ey pasta. Put the pulp into a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, the finely chopped garlic, the basil/parsley, vinegar, salt, sugar, and chilli flakes; stir it all together and leave to steep for an hour or two.

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Heat the oven to a medium heat and toast the almonds for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then chop them up (50 grams looks a lot for two people, but I found I ate loads of them before they got anywhere near the table.

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Cook the pasta as recommended on the packet (use good quality pasta) then drain it, return it to the pan and stir the sauce in straight away. Plate up and sprinkle the almonds over them.

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While this has a total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes the steeping makes it a bit of an effort for a work night. I’m not sure how the sauce would cope steeping a whole day outside the fridge, and away in the fridge would make it too cold to stir into the pasta with being heated. But it is so delicious I would definitely make it on the weekend, and should you. YUM!

 

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

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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)

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Week 27: Sapori Forti

So I slightly burned this the first time round, so I had another crack at it!

It’s been a couple of months since I tried something new from my trusty Cupboard Love book, and as my lover pointed out: a while since I’ve stirred something different into some pasta.  Sapori Forti translates as Strong Flavours, and I’d been glancing at the recipe in a quizzical fashion ever since Week 9 (http://wp.me/p42Dr4-T) and when this week’s New Recipe Night crept up on me I realised I had everything in the cupboard!

To make Sapori Forti for two you will need: 200g pasta (linguine or spiralli), 1 onion (thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves, 4 or 5 anchovy fillets, 50g black olives, 1 tbs capers, 50g raisins, 1 tbs pine nuts, 1 tbs chopped mint/oregano and some extra virgin olive oil.

First up, pop the raisins in a bowl in some warm water; while these are plumping up finely chop the onion, chop the garlic, roughly chop the capers and the olives and measure out the tablespoon of pine nuts (because you’ll only forget them later, like I did)

Heat 2tbs of normal olive oil in a fairly wide pan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 or 10 minutes until really softened (keep stirring, but a bit of browning is OK).   Set your pasta water boiling in a different pan.

When the onion is really soft turn the heat down and add the anchovies, cook until they disintegrate and melt into the onions.  While this is melting, put your pasta into the water and cook as recommended on the packet (if you’re the sort to make your own pasta or buy that posh fresh pasta that cooks really quickly, don’t do this for a few more minutes)

After the anchovies are cooked add the olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts and herbs and remove the pan from the heat.  Give it all a good stir and add the extra virgin olive oil, it sort of loosens up and the oil picks up the combined flavours.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan – fold the sauce around the pasta and serve.

So the first time I tried it I somehow blackened it to a crisp – without actually burning it – but it tasted so good I had a second bash at it, with new less charred pictures.  I’m glad I did it’s one of the tastiest things I’ve made!  Open your copy of Cupboard Love to page 28 and have it tonight!

 

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

Week 15a: Thai Chickpea Curry

Those darn waxy potatoes taunting me again!

After the vegetable cutlets debacle (http://wp.me/p42Dr4-X) I went online to find out which potatoes were waxy and which weren’t – I was surprised to learn that there are so many!  Unfortunately, I was looking on the run up to Christmas, and the already limited choice of potatoes in Hammersmith was distinctly floury.

Then, I chanced upon a pack of Maris Peer potatoes in M&S Foodhall.  I pounced on them, and then bought them to avoid the angry stares of security.  Not wanting to try feeding my lover the cutlets again I remembered a different recipe in the Cupboard Love book:  Thai Chickpea Curry!

This curry uses garlic, fresh ginger, black pepper, vegetable oil, a medium sized waxy potato, madras curry powder, coconut milk, a tin of chickpeas, tomatoes, soy sauce, salt and sugar.  For once, I had most of the ingredients in, and the others weren’t hard to find.

Then I hit my only hurdle.  The recipe asked me to pound or blitz the ginger, pepper and ginger into a paste.  I didn’t have  pounder or a blitzer, but the waxy potatoes were mocking me, so I had to improvise:

My rolling pin and tin foil blitz-pounding-extravaganza!  It didn’t turn very paste-like, more like lumpy dust actually, but I had to improvise…

Like all wok-cooked curries, everything else gets lobbed in pretty quickly, and then it boils and simmers down, from this:

To this:

The tomatoes get put in for the last few minutes.  The recipe said to put in basil or coriander, but I didn’t have either (and it was the night before I escaped north for Christmas so I wasn’t going to get any in specially) so I left it out.

I have to say, it turned out delicious.

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I’ve made it three times now, and its turned out slightly differently every time.  The only problem I have with this curry is that what my body does to cheap eggs is nothing compared to what it can do to half a can of chickpeas.

I canvassed my friends and the various suggestions for making chickpeas less gassy included peeling the chickpeas (which I don’t fancy doing for a whole tin of them) adding parsley (which either stops the gas or makes it smell like parsley…?) or either cooking the chickpeas for longer or shorter (but my friend couldn’t remember which)

If anyone knows how to make chickpeas less ‘trumpy’ or knows a substitute that’s as tasty and comes in a handy 400g tin, please do not hesitate to post a comment below (No, seriously, please do – I can’t open my bedroom windows, I need a solution before I make it again)

But to end on a nicer note, I bought myself a little present before I cracked open the tinfoil to make it a third time:

My kitchen’s becoming high-tech!

(I meant to post this Christmas week, and I completely forgot – and now its the end of January… So Slack!)

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

Week 14: Crabby Noodles

Ladies and Gentlemen there is a dead crab in my kitchen.

It still has eyeballs.

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I called it Nigel.  I’ll admit I chickened out of getting one I’d need to wrestle into a pan of boiling water for a whistle-y death in my kitchen;  I got a dressed one instead.  One day, I’m sure I will commit crabicide – but not the first time I’ve cooked it!

I saw the Crabby Noodles in the Cupboard Love book on week 12 when I did the Thai Style Noodle Fry-Up – https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/week-12-a-thai-style-noodle-fry-up/ –  and thought it would be good to give it a go.

The recipe uses: rice stick noodles, chilli and garlic sauce, spring onions, courgette, Thai fish sauce, lime, and crab meat.

I got everything lined up ready like they do on the telly.  It was good to be organised, and I felt just like Nigella (however, I looked more like Mrs Craddock) – more importantly I could baff it all in the wok without having to panic.

It cooked so quickly I couldn’t really take any other pictures, until it was all bubbling at the end, as seen above!

I had a slight crab panic, because I didn’t know if I should save the spare meat for lunch the next day; or if it would kill me after being in the fridge so long.  So rather than die, I lobbed it all in and it was a little too crabby.  My lover said I should have put more courgette in, but if I’d got one any bigger it would have been a marrow.  I think next time I’ll just use the quantity the recipe asks for, and pop the rest in the freezer.

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When I have a bigger freezer, I’ll buy a few crabs at once and portion them off so I can make this quickly; but I’ll definitely make this again!

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

Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cupboard-Love-Most-Your-Kitchen/dp/0340835265

Week 12: A Thai Style Noodle Fry-Up

After the meatballs and cutlets didn’t turn out so well, I decided to do something very simple and quick.  So quick in fact, I spent longer chopping than cooking.  It’s been a few years since I last got my wok out, and I have never cooked rice noodles before.

Everything chopped and ready to wok – it felt a bit like cooking on TV but stir-frying is very fast and I’ve had them go wrong in the past when I’ve had to stop and chop something halfway through.  Above: chopped chillies, spring onions and garlic, beaten eggs and prepared sauce.

After doing the preparation you heat the wok and then put the eggs in.  The book said to start the egg as if you’re making an omelette – which made me laugh, because I’ve never made one before…

The omelette with the chillies, spring onions and garlic.

100g beansprouts – this was the only thing I wasn’t sure about, because I’ve only ever eaten shop prepared stir-fry before and I’m not a big fan of the beansprouts in them; however this recipe gives them time to wilt and soak up the sauce.  After this the noodles get added to the sauce and it’s on the table as quick as you like.

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It’s really tasty.  The only thing I don’t like about it  (which has more to do with what I don’t like about my local Sainsbury’s than the recipe) is that we have to eat it twice in a row if I’m only making it for two. The recipe needs 100g of beansprouts and the smallest pack I can get is 200g.

If you’re at a loss for something to spend your amazon vouchers on, I can’t recommend this book enough: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cupboard-Love-Most-Your-Kitchen/dp/0340835265 or if you have good old-fashioned cash your local Smiths/Bookshop will probably still have a copy on the shelf.  Mine came from the charity shop for £2.95!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas (/Holidays) and a Happy New Year!

Cheers

Simon

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

Week 10: Vegetable Cutlets

I love burger night.  I actually love it.

However, I am aware that some of my friends would rather remain vegetarian than sample the delights of the usual beef burger I make… Not to worry: Cupboard Love to the rescue!

In all my years I have never eaten a veggie burger, so I was interested to see how it would taste.

I think the main problem was that my carrot was too big:

It sounds like a silly problem, but I’m pretty sure it made the mixture too wet.

It made them a bit too floppy, which made smothering them in polenta pretty difficult.  And they were still pretty floppy after they were cooked…

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I tried my best with them, but ultimately they weren’t very nice so won’t be something I make again.

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