I might have mentioned it once or twice, I am a man with a very small kitchen. Sometimes I come across recipes that I just don’t have the space to make (for example, everything from Jamie’s 15 minute meals), without a bit of planning this is one such recipe. Lisa Faulkner’s ‘Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter’ is my lovers go to book, mostly for cake and staring, but this is the first time I’ve used it. I was intrigued about Katsu sauce, I’d never heard of it before and it sounded tasty.
I still can’t find baby leeks. So to console myself I savagely beat some chicken breasts after work.
So I’m not nailing my colours to the mast and saying that spring has sprung, but its not far off! I’ve replanted my window boxes after killing my winter plants, and as a bonus; some crocuses I thought I’d killed last year have come back out for another year 🙂
Happy Anniversary Fiesta Friday! I hope you all had fun last week with cocktails and nibbles while I ate my burned curry… (more…)
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…)
Did I mention that the weather had turned? It has, it’s gone really nippy round our way. This week I was instructed to make something meaty and cosy. I don’t think I’ve used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things on a Plate for a few months, after the beany-kale thing, but the funny smell cleared and for some reason the ‘meat and two veg’ chapter appealed to me…
This is a dish that could feed the masses, it calls for a full chicken, but I wasn’t sure about eating it for a full week when I didn’t know if I liked tarragon. I reckon I could joint the chicken though if I were to cook this for 6-8; I saw Fanny Craddock do it with a pair of secateurs.
To serve 6-8 you will need: a chicken (1.8kg-ish jointed into 8 pieces, skin and bone on), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 glass of white wine, juice of half a lemon, 500g ripe tomatoes and a bunch of tarragon. Unfortunately I had a slight chicken fail, I couldn’t get hold of any chicken pieces with the skin and bones on, so I got a pack of thighs instead. Ho hum.
Turn the oven on to 190/gas 6 and heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan to a medium-high-ish heat. While these are heating up rub salt and pepper into the chicken pieces. Sear the chicken pieces in the frying pan until they are golden brown all over, then put them in an oven dish. While these are browning squeeze the juice out of the half lemon.
Pour half a glass of white wine into the pan, giving it all a good scrape around the bottom to loosen any chicken from the bottom. Pour into the chicken dish, then add the lemon juice and some more salt and pepper. Foil over the dish and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
If you’re having this with mash then you’ll need to prepare the potatoes before the thirty minutes is up (and if you’re having it with brown rice you should probably have put the rice on this morning sometime). Also, you’ll need to quarter the tomatoes.
When the 30 minutes is up take the dish from the oven, remove the foil and add the tomatoes (cut side up, snuggling with the chicken pieces) and put them back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes (uncovered)
Check the chicken pieces are cooked and then scatter the chopped up tarragon leaves over the top. Toss everything around to mix in the tarragon and then leave it to stand for a few minutes while the flavours infuse together. Serve.
I would definitely make this again, and I would even make it for other people. I was a little worried about the tarragon because I don’t like aniseed, but it wasn’t strong so I really liked it! I’m not very good with portion control, I accidentally made more than would usually be seen in an episode of Bodger & Badger and I was a little worried that the plates wouldn’t make it to the table… But they did! Hurrah!
I think I could have put a little more wine and lemon juice in because there wasn’t much sauce, maybe a smaller dish would have kept the moisture in? Yum!
Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)
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)
The full title of this recipe is “Really simple Sri Lankan chicken curry with coconut milk & cashew nut rice” which is far too long to fit in a tweet…
I’ve heard warnings that you shouldn’t try new recipes out on guests, but it worked fine when I made the Curry in a Hurry for a visitor (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) I was maybe a bit bullish this time. Silly boy. This time I was cooking for two guests, and if truth be told I was secretly grateful that they got a bit drunk on the train.
Lorraine Pascale’s recipe uses cashew nuts, basmati rice, frozen peas and curry powder for the rice; and curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon, ginger, chilli powder, vegetable oil, coconut milk, spring onions, garlic, coriander, and chicken breasts to cook the curry. Because I was catering for guests I even bought the coriander.
It was all a bit of a panic making this, the first four steps were fine (even when one of my guests shouted “do I smell burning?” which she slightly could) but then the instructions turned over the page and I got pretty flustered. For example, I completely missed Lorraine telling me to put oil into the pan after the spices had toasted which made the chicken get really really coated in the pretty burned spices and it looked really black.
The curry seemed to take forever to simmer down, and while I was waiting for it the rice over-cooked:
It was a lot pinker than has shown up on the picture, maybe Lorraine’s curry powder is yellower than mine?
Anyway, I plated the rice up while the chicken was finishing off and divvied the curry up between the four of us. It didn’t look much like the picture in the book:
I think the darker yellow smudges are the curry sauce. I reckon if I’d put the oil in when I should have (ever) the curry would be the pleasing brown in the book, even if the rice looks egg fried from the takeaway. It’s not quite one of those “nailed it” meme’s, but not far off haha.
Taste-wise it was good, but it wasn’t well cooked. I lucked out though, my guests and my lover kept drinking while I was cooking and said it was delicious.
Shortly after one of my guests ate a dog biscuit and fell asleep. Later in bed my lover said “that beef was really nice, but don’t do the rice again”
Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)
At last! I plucked up the courage to delve into Nigella. So to speak.
I’ve had the book for ages, and I remember it being on TV a couple of years’ ago, and we joked how we never had any stale croissants left in the cupboard, and should we try to caramelise them after a night out we’d probably burn the house down (Caramel Croissant Pudding, page 23) – and all these years later, I probably still would.
I’d made a tuna-beany salad from it years’ ago, and it was really nice; but never made anything hot.
I’ll admit, it was a bit of a special occasion – my friend was coming to stay and she says I can’t cook… so like a mature adult (that I am), I used Nigella as a weapon. Biff, take that for can’t cook!
I think I was always put off making the hot recipes by the received horror of tracking down the ingredients for a Nigella recipe. I’ve sat through many a boxing day dinner listening to a family friend’s story about getting the last star anise in the whole of Nottinghamshire, dishing out black eyes in the process – especially to do something festive with it on Nigella’s say so. I must say, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’m lucky there is a good Thai Supermarket down the street, and the butcher is a whizz with chicken; however I had a bit of trouble with the soya beans.
I wasn’t sure what a soya bean was, and I wasn’t entirely sure where to get them from – so I went to a health food shop. They had dried ones, which I would have to boil and simmer for hours but no fresh. Then I went to Whole Foods in Kensington, and they had the dried ones, but the shopboy said they had no fresh or frozen. They had frozen edamame beans (which google said were the same thing), but only in massive bags.
Yay for Brook Green Tesco’s though, they sold frozen soya beans in bags small enough for my tiny little ice compartment, my Nigella ingredients finding mission over for this week. I reckon you can get hold of Green Thai Curry Paste and Nam Pla fish sauce in most larger supermarkets, but if you live near an ‘oriental supermarket’ you’d be better off going there.
I “accidentally” went to the pub and got a little ginny before making this the first time, and I had to substitute a beef stock cube for the required chicken one, but it was lovely. Genuinely lovely. There was an awkward moment where it looked like a pan full of sick, but the water boiled down to a nice thick sauce and we didn’t have to order pizza.
I have made this a few times now, but still not made it with the quantities below – I have found that half quantities will serve 4 easily, and it freezes well .
To serve 6 you will need: wok oil, 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions (although I usually leave them pretty chunky out of laziness) 3 or 4 tablespoons of Green Thai Curry Paste, 1 kg chicken thigh fillets (When I make half the quantity I use two breasts) 1 can of coconut milk, chicken stock (250ml of boiling water with enough stock for 500ml), 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla), 185g frozen peas, 200g frozen soya beans, 150g frozen fine beans (I use fresh ones) and 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped coriander, which I always forget.
Heat the 2tbs of wok oil in a large lidded saucepan (although I’ve made this a load of times and can’t work out which bit I’m supposed to put the lid on for) and throw in the spring onions, cook them for a couple of minutes and add the curry paste.
Put the chicken in with the onions, and cook for about 2 minutes stirring continuously. Then add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, frozen peas and soya beans. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the frozen fine beans. If you use fresh ones like me add them after about 5 minutes so they’re not tough. It will look just like this:
Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes and serve. Nigella recommends serving with rice or noodles – I’ve not tried with noodles but its delicious on a baked potato.
Bravo Nigella – I’m not scared anymore!
Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)
In a fat moment I bought the Hairy Dieters book.
I don’t know why, I was stopping at my parents’ and my dad’s a fussy eater and won’t eat spicy food, so I couldn’t make any of the recipes while I was there. So it went into a book box.
My cousin recommended that I try this recipe, she said it was one of her regulars, so after a few trips gathering ingredients and braving the butcher’s shop (and asking the hot butcher if he’d mind boning my thighs. We both blushed), I gave it a go.
I had to do a spot of maths to halve the recipe (to serve two) because I wasn’t sure if I’d be OK reheating the chicken. Because of this I used one red onion instead of half a red and half a normal onion. I think I also used the whole pepper rather than have half sitting around my tiny fridge.
It takes an hour in the oven, so if you’re not usually home until seven it may be best to make this at the weekend. I’d never had to spoon hot juices back over food I’ve been cooking, and I was a bit apprehensive that I was going to pour it all over my wrist. Also my Cath Kidston oven gloves aren’t actually heatproof.
It was nice, and as it contains potatoes and veg you don’t need to make any other things to go with it. The book says its only 370 calories per portion – which I guess varies slightly depending on the size of your thighs…
I’ve not made it since, but I will – it just takes a lot of ingredients and time to make. The chicken was lovely from the butcher’s, but I’m not sure how it would taste with supermarket chicken (probably the same)
The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)