Nigella Lawson

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 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.

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

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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)

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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!

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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

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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?!?

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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 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 8: (Chicken) Curry in a Hurry

At last!  I plucked up the courage to delve into Nigella.  So to speak.

nigella express

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.

Until now.

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.

Curry Hurry

Bravo Nigella – I’m not scared anymore!

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