Monday, 20 August 2012

Chicken and Couscous tagine with Chorizo

My first attempt at Moroccan food after two Friday nights out. The first was on Upper St, where I had a lamb and pumpkin tagine at Maghreb, which was very tasty, and one in Maison Touareg, on Greek St in Soho, where I had a delicious white fish tagine, with potatoes and peppers served with Tangy spicy sauce - this was really good!

Fish Tagine at Maison Touareg

So, inspired by these two suppers, I wanted to try it for myself. Again I turned to Rachel Allen (she of Easy Meals) and made her chicken and couscous tagine (with added chorizo).

This is a  quite impressive dish, and simple enough in itself. 
Simply toast some chopped almonds, being careful not to burn them, then set them aside. Then season the chicken breast cubes (and chorizo) and fry in olive oil until browned all over (again, careful not to burn the chorizo). 
Lower the heat, and add some more olive oil, then add in some onions, garlic and a cinnamon stick. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are soft. 
Next add a pinch of saffron, with about a pint of chicken stock, and stir in about two spoons of runny honey. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat again, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. 
Stir in the couscous, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the couscous is soft, then stir in the toasted almonds. 

It's a sweet, fruity, spicy dish, well worth having again the following night!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rice with chicken, chorizo and peppers (Arroz con pollo, chorizo y pimenton)

I LOVE this recipe! I took it from Well Worn Whisk's blog, it was so good. I made it for my sister, over from Ireland, en route to Crete, and her two teenage kids. They were quite impressed - empty plates all round. I did consider cooking them something Greek, but I figured they would be eating moussaka and stifado for the next two weeks, so I went with Spanish.

It's a really great blog, Rachel went on holiday to Spain (jealous!) and cooked from scratch every day - sounds like I would like to go on holiday with her!! Have a look, and really, try it, it's delicious.

Chicken, chorizo and peppers with rice.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Italian Supper Club

I love having friends round for supper, I was planning this menu for days beforehand!

First course

Mediterranean market peppers

This is taken from the front cover of Sainsbury's magazine. The peppers (six of them!) are cooked, along with the sliced off tops, in the oven with olive oil , for about 20 minutes or so, though I would say leave them a bit longer if they are quite big, so that they soften up nicely.
Fry some onion and garlic, until they are soft, then stir in some cubes of bread (sourdough is a good one, but you can use any nice bread) and torn prosciutto. Cook this until the bread is toasted and then stir in some chopped cherry tomatoes and some herbs, basil is always good. 
Then, slice some mozzarella (or goat's cheese), remove the peppers from the oven, stuff with the onion-bread mixture and top with a slice of cheese. Bake this again for another 10-15 minutes, then serve the peppers drizzled with some basil and olive oil with the tops on the peppers.

Mediterranean Stuffed Market Peppers
A salad (lemon and herb drizzled), olive bread and some parmesan...

Second Course

Lemon and Oregano Chicken Traybake

This one is taken from BBC Good Food September Issue. Really easy to make while you chat and drink Prosecco. First, roast some thin slices of new potatoes for about 20 minutes, drizzled in olive oil. Then, season your chicken pieces, and add them to the roasting tin with some shallots, pancetta, lemon wedges and  fresh oregano. Drizzle with some more olive oil and roast for another 20 minutes. Next, pour over a glass of white wine and about two glasses of chicken stock, and roast for another 20 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through. Really good!

And for the finale!


Bailey's Tiramisu
Speaks for itself. Even my Italian colleagues liked the leftovers.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Chicken Jalfrezi, Hairy Biker Style

This a great recipe. I found in the September issue of BBC Good Food. It's from How to Love Food and Lose Weight by the Hairy Dieters. It's quite easy, if you have all the spices in! It has chillies, ripe tomatoes, garlic, ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric, caster sugar, salt, natural yoghurt (unfortunately for the 'low fat' criteria, I didn't have any yoghurt, so I used double cream! Whoops!!), onion and green pepper, and a teaspoon of cornflour to thicken it up at the end. It was really tasty (and creamy!) and I will try it again soon, with yoghurt...

Chicken Jalfrezi

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Chicken with BBQ sauce and paprika wedges

Another deliciously simple recipe for a quick supper. Taken from a little book called 35 Speedy Suppers free with the September Issue of BBC Good Food Magazine. (@bbcgoodfood), it was an easy barbecue sauce, made with ketchup, sugar, white wine vinegar, paprika, simply poured over the chicken breasts halfway through cooking, turning the chicken so it's nice and sticky, and cooked through. To be fair it tasted a little like sweet and sour, but it was still good. The recipe uses pork steaks which would also work really well I'm sure. 

The wedges are Rachel Allen Easy Meals paprika potato wedges. 

Chicken, Lemon, Green Beans and Pine Nut Traybake

This is my very own recipe. Really simple, I just bunged some green beans and peppers in a tray, laid the chicken breasts on top, halved a lemon, sprinkled with some pine nuts and fresh basil, spritzed it in olive oil, and baked in the oven until the chicken was done, turning the breasts once or twice.

Served with some crusty bread. Lovely. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Beef Picadillo from Puerto Rico

Here's another recipe from my new portfolio as a recipe tester! Again from American writer Ann Prospero (@annprospero) for chefs and healthy living, for whom I previously tested the Chicken Cacciatore for her upcoming cookbook, to be published in the Autumn,  Even You Can Be Healthy.

It's a really tasty dish, and I will definitely be cooking this again:

Picadillo Puerto Rican

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 cup onion chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder or dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 pound 93-96 % lean ground beef
½ cup sliced olives stuffed with pimientos
1 cup raisins
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce or 4 ounces tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste, using a minimum
1 box frozen French-style green beans
Heat oil on medium heat on the stove top in a large non-stick skillet. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion is translucent and the bell pepper is tender. Add the garlic, oregano, and cilantro. Stir until well blended.
Add the ground beef and with the back of a spoon spread the meat in the pan until it is in small bits and cooked through.
Add the olives, raisins, cumin, and cinnamon and stir until well blended.
Add the tomato sauce or paste and combine well. Continue to cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding salt and pepper if necessary.

Place the picadillo in a serving dish and top with the cooked French-style green beans. Serve with brown rice and beans on the side.

Or if you are not feeling virtuous, wrap it in some torilla.

A really tasty, flavoursome dish, with a good healthy feeling to it! YUM!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Chicken Cacciatore - From Even You Can Be Healthy

Here I have reproduced (with permission, of course!) a recipe from an American writer Ann Prospero (@annprospero) for chefs and healthy living, for whom I tested some recipes for her upcoming cookbook, to be published in the Autumn,  Even You Can Be Healthy.

I really enjoyed the recipe testing process, the interaction with the author, and of course, being able to eat my work!

Chicken Cacciatore, Italian American

Serves 4

cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, sliced
1-3 tablespoon olive oil
Chicken pieces w/o skin, enough to cover bottom of heavy
skillet (I used 2 chicken breasts here, but I could have used 4, as there was plenty of sauce).
½ cup stuffed green olives, sliced in half (I found some green olives stuffed with pimentos!)
1 large can whole tomatoes (slice tomatoes before adding)
1 tablespoon dried oregano (1 tablespoon seemed a lot, I used half.)
1 tablespoon dried basil (I used fresh basil)

Directions: In a heavy skillet on medium heat, place enough olive oil to sauté garlic and onion until onion is translucent. Add sliced bell pepper and cook until barely limp. Move vegetables to the side and add chicken pieces and brown lightly on both sides. Add olives, whole tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover. Simmer for about twenty minutes or until chicken is done. Let rest while rice is cooking

Serve over cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Here I strayed slightly from the healthy route, and sauteed some potatoes...

Overall it was an easy to follow recipe, ideal for time-pressed health conscious peeps. Tasty too!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pollo alla Pancetta

I had some chicken and pancetta to use up, and I found this great recipe through Twitter, Pollo alla Pancetta. I follow both The Evening Standard Stylist @StylistMagazine , and Katie Caldesi, a cookery writer and Italian restaurant owner in Marylebourne, @KatieCaldesi.

I was only cooking for Himself and myself, so I only needed two chicken breasts (luckily, that was all I had in the fridge!). I flattened them out, and put chopped long red pepper and grated Manchego inside. And yes, I added a chilli as well...
Rolled them up and wrapped them in pancetta, and stuck a cocktail stick in them, so it didn't unfurl as it was cooking.
Then I melted some butter and gently fried the chicken 'roulades' until browned all round. Next, I added some chicken stock and red wine (Chianti), brought it to the boil, covered, and simmered for about half an hour.
This next bit was new for me, a teaspoon of cornflour, mixed with a little water, added in, to thicken up the sauce, it worked really well!

Chicken with pancetta in red wine sauce
 In the meantime I boiled some new potatoes, and once they were cooked, gently pan-fried them in some butter and basil.

And for some vegetable input, I fried some shallots and asparagus in butter (health drive on the back burner tonight) and some pine nuts to finish off.

Shallots and asparagus with pine nuts

It was all delish! Try it.

Pollo alla pancetta