Monthly Archives: January 2014

tandoori chicken and peppers

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I buy tandoori spice mix in the UK but I think you would get a good result by grinding cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamon and chilli, though you wouldn’t get the red colouring.

Early in the morning I mix yogurt, the juice of a lemon and spice mix. I make deep slashes in the skinless chicken thighs and marinade them in the yogurt. (I cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge).  At lunchtime, I lift them out of the marinade and put them in a roasting tray. I season with salt and a dribble of olive oil.  They go into a preheated oven at 200°C. After 20 minutes I turn them over and add a little more of the marinade on top. In another 20 minutes or so, they should be cooked. Meanwhile, I slice two large peppers on the mandolin and cook briskly in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. I stir fry the vegetable until any liquid  has gone and the peppers have softened and taken on a little colour.

Be warned! The kitchen, your clothes and hair will smell of curry for a day, but it’s worth it!

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hamburger and rosti

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If I have top quality mince beef, freshly minced and freshly bought, then it’s hard to beat a hamburger. I like the meat very pink and to hell with health concerns about e-coli etc.

First, the rosti. I grate potatoes in the Magimix, add salt and pepper and tip into a non-stick frying pan with olive oil, With a spatula, I shape the potatoes into rounds and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until nicely coloured, I flip the rounds over and proceed to cook the other side. When the potato rosti are ready, I sprinkle salt into another pan and put it onto a high heat. I season the meat and shape it into rounds. They cook for 3 or 4 minutes each side. There’s no need for oil in the pan, but you can dribble a little fresh olive oil over the meat on the plate.

Another nice thing with rosti, which I ate in Dublin airport of all places,  is to put a thick slice of goat’s cheese  on top of the cooked rosti, and then pop under the grill to colour and melt.

leek tart

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Inspired by the Great British Bake Off (great programme!) here’s my version of a quiche…

First I chop leeks and sautè them in a little butter and olive oil. While they cool, I make the shortcrust pastry (150gm flour, 75gm butter, salt and  water) and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. I prepare the custard by beating two eggs with 200 ml cream and three tablespoons of parmesan, a little salt and pepper. Then I roll out the pastry thinly and line a tin. I prick the base with a fork and bake the case blind for 15-20 minutes at 180°C. (To bake blind, I use a sheet of baking paper weighed down by ceramic baking beans which I remove in the last 5 minutes.) I let the case cool a little, then add the leeks and custard. It returns to the oven for 35-40 minutes.

These tarts are good for stand-up parties or as a supper treat with a salad. I prefer to eat the quiche cold.

creme caramel

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This is nice in individual portions. I use disposable foil pots.

First I make the custard by mixing an egg and two yolks with 60gm sugar. To this I add 250 ml milk which I heat to boiling point with a strip of lemon peel. Then I melt three tablespoons of sugar in a pan to caramellise it. I put the caramel in each foil pot, twisting it round to coat the sides too. I strain the custard into each pot and place them in a roasting tin. I pour boiling water into the tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C. I cool the custard pots and then put them in the fridge. To serve, I loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto a plate.

This quantity makes four.

pork chops in beer

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This was popular in the seventies, so excuse my age coming through!

I slice three onions (not too finely) and flour four large pork chops. I briefly sautè the onions in a frying pan with some olive oil and brown the meat. I season well with salt and pepper and add a glass of beer (or cider) and two teaspoons of Dijon mustard. I transfer the lot into a roasting tin, cover with foil and put in a preheated oven at 180°C. I check after an hour, turn the chops and continue cooking another 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered if there’s a lot of liquid.

The meat should be meltingly soft, the onions caramellised and mashed potato is a must.

 

three fruit marmalade

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This is not my usual area of competence (i.e. Augusta is the family jam maker) but…

First the fruit needs to soak . I wash 2 lemons, a grapefriut and an orange and remove the peel with a potato peeler. I cut the peel into fine strips and add it to a bowl with 2 litres of water. I remove the white pith from the fruit and put it in a muslin cloth (actually, an old cotton napkin). I cut up the fruit and put any pips or pith in the the napkin. I add the fruit to the basin of water. I tie up the napkin well and add it to the basin too. I cover with a plate and leave for 24 hours.

I bring the fruit, water and bag of pith to the boil in a  very large pan and simmer for an hour and a half. I wash five jam jars and their caps well, dry them and put them in the oven at 100°C for half an hour to “sterilise”. I remove the bag of pith from the simmered liquid and squeeze out as much of the sticky liquid as possible into the pan (this is where the pectin is!). I add a kilo and a half of sugar to the fruit and boil rapidly for 20 minutes until setting point is reached. A little liquid on a cold plate will gel. I transfer the marmalade to a pouring jug and fill the jars to the brim. The caps must be put on immediately.

So, breakfast is now sorted for a wee while. 

meat pies

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The Life of Pie …. mmm.

I make the filling first. I chop half an onion, half a leek,and  a carrot and sautè them briefly in a large frying pan with olive oil. I then add 500gm of best minced meat, season with salt, pepper and dried herbs  turn up the heat and brown it well. When all the liquid has gone, I add a splash of white wine and cook briskly until it too has evaporated. Finally, I add a good squeeze of triple concentrate tomato paste dissolved in half a glass of water. This cooks gently unti the mixture is dry. At this point I add some chopped parsley and  leave it to cool, I prepare shortcrust pastry in the Magimix with 250 gm flour, 125 gm butter, a teaspoon of salt and enough water. I use the pulse function for better control. I rest the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I roll out the pastry and make 4 circles, using a fruit plate as a template. I brush the edges with beaten egg and pile a quarter of the cold meat in each. I sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan on top and close the pasties well. I brush them with egg, make a few pricks with the point of a sharp knife and cook them in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.

HP, ketchup or English mustard alongside one of these pies makes life worthwhile!

courgettes with turmeric

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This is a nice side dish for a curry…and easy.

I cut small courgettes lengthways into four and then into 3 or 4 centimetre sticks. I sautè them briefly in a little olive oil in a frying pan, add a teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper (or chilli flakes for some fire, if you like) and stir well. I cover the pan for a few minutes. I uncover and continue to fry briskly  for a minute or two until any liquid has been absorbed and the vegetables are cooked, yet still with a “bite”.

You can do the same with small florets of cauliflower, though you may need to add a splash of water to the pan and cook a little longer.

orange salad

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Sometimes you need or fancy a dessert but there’s nothing in the house. An orange salad is a great solution.

I peel three or four oranges and remove as much pith as possible. I open the fruit in half and then cut it into slices across the sections. I arrange these on a large flat plate and sprinkle over a little sugar (white or brown) and a few tablespoons of brandy. I cover in film and refrigerate for an hour before serving. You can leave the orange whole but half slices are easier to eat!

For a Moroccan twist, try sprinkling cinnamon and orange flower water instead of sugar and brandy.

orecchiette

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There’s no comparison between shop bought and home made orecchiette.

I make a dough with 100 gm semola (hard wheat flour) per person and  water. I use the Magimix, adding the water in a stream through the lid until the flour forms crumbs, which I then press together with my hands to form a dough that’s neither too hard nor too soft. This rests, covered, for 30 minutes. Then I take a portion of the dough and roll it out between my hands to form a long sausage , about 2 cms thick. With a table knife, I cut off a half centimetre piece and, pressing hard, drag it towards me. I open the little roll and shape it over my thumb to create the cap-like shape of an orecchietta. On with the next….! I cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, remove them when they come up to the surface and add them to the pan of sauce (yesterday I made a tomato sauce with pancetta, onion and chilli) to toss.

I suggest googling “orecchiette” and watching a youtube video of someone making them, because it’s not easy to describe the process in words. It’s worth perservering.