Friday, 8 November 2013

Chicken and Chorizo stew.

The Autumn days are drawing to an end and soon will be replaced by the cold winter weather. I think this time of the year is when I most enjoy making hearty food such as stews, soups and baked pasta or vegetable dishes. I made this chicken and chorizo stew a few weeks back as it is a comforting dish with an unusual addition of the smokey paprika flavoured chorizo sausage. This recipe can be made on the stove, or if you are busy bee like me, make in the oven. It still takes around an hour or so in the oven but you can get on with other things whilst the stew is bubbling away.
Here is how my chicken and chorizo stew turned out:
Chicken and chorizo stew.

Chicken and chorizo stew.

Serves 4, easily halved
3 tbsp olive oil
8 pieces of chicken thighs
200g chorizo, skinned and sliced
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
200ml dry sherry
600ml pink chicken stock
400g chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Heat the olive oil in a casserole, add the chicken and chorizo and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. You may need to do this in two batches.
Add the onion, garlic and celery to the casserole and cook for 20 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown.
Add the sherry, chicken stock, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Put the reserved chicken and chorizo back into a casserole dish. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for one hour.
Remove from the oven, stir in the chopped parsley and serve.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Jambalaya - a taste of the deep south.

I often say that my mid-week meals, must be quick, tasty, filling and delicious. This jambalaya dish is all of those things but takes a little more time than my usual 30 minutes or so dishes, I managed to make this within an hour which I thought was quite good going.
I was inspired to make this dish for many reasons, to start cooking more from my many cookbooks for one, and after watching Man vs Food almost religiously, this hearty dish has been featured on many occasions. Also I have wanted to try and recreate foods from this region after reading novels based in the "Deep South" and how food centred around family life.
Jambalaya is a dish that originates all the way from Louisiana and  is inspired by French and Spanish influences, the dish is made of meat, vegetables and rice. It is quite similar to paella but with the added spices and flavour, this ranks above a paella in my opinion.
There are two ways to prepare jambalaya the creole way (which is similar to what I made) where the meat is added followed by trinity of creole vegetables (celery, peppers and onion),  seafood and rice. The second version the Cajun jambalaya, contains no tomatoes and the meats and vegetables are cooked separately and takes longer.
I can honestly say that jambalaya is probably one of the best meals I have had all year. I loved the combination of the smoky chorizo, pan fried pieces of chicken, king prawns and rice in each mouthful cooked in a delicious stock. Although the meal takes an hour, my frying pan done a lot of the work once the rice was added.
Here is how my (Creole) jambalaya turned out:


Jambalaya cooking.

Serves 6, but easily halved.
2tbsp vegetable oil
500g chicken breasts
250g chorizo, skinned and sliced
2 onions
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 scotch bonnet chili, carefully chopped
750ml chicken stock
500g long-grain rice
450g large cooked prawns
Cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the chicken and chorizo and brown for 5 minutes over a high heat. Reduce the heat and add the onions, garlic, green pepper and celery and saute for a further 10 minutes, until soft. Add the chili and the stock and stir in the rice. Cover and simmer very gently for 40 minutes.
Add the prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning adding salt to taste.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Turkey and cranberry burgers

I certainly have posted many a burger recipe in my blog life time especially my low fat chicken burgers, my low fat turkey burgers, my mexican chicken burgers and my mushroom and chickpea burger. I also have made the classic beef burgers, but have not blogged about this. On my Facebook page, I have a whole album dedicated to burgers, which better shows my love for this dish.
This burger is quite unusual to my other burgers, as the recipe suggested to use rice in the ingredients. I can only suspect that the addition of 60g of rice is to add texture and to help bind the mixture together. It worked, and I would go far to say this is one of the best turkey burgers I have made. I decided to add the cranberry and burger sauce to the burger bun, as cranberry and turkey is not just for Christmas. This will be a definite flavour combination that I will be making time and time again in the future.
Here is how my turkey and cranberry burgers turned out:

I also added fries and jalapenos to my burgers, who would have thought my usual turkey and spring onion burgers could be transformed in such a beautiful way.
Recipe for turkey and cranberry burgers, adapted from my 1 Ingredient, 4 Ways cookbook (published by Marks and Spencers).
Ingredients - serves 4
55g rice
450g lean minced turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
vegetable oil, for frying
salt and pepper
spring onion
cranberry sauce
burger sauce

Cook the rice in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain rinse under cold running water then drain well again.
Put the cooked rice and all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well. With wet hand, shape the mixture into four thick burgers.
Pour a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the burgers and cook for about 10 minutes, turning them over several times until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan, and place the burgers in a burger bun, and top with a dollop of burger ketchup and a tablespoon of cranberry sauce.



Thursday, 13 September 2012

Crispy parmesan-coated sea bass

Growing up in a Jamaican family I would often have fish once a week, usually fried hake eaten on a Sunday.  I also remember having escovtich snapper or saltfish (salted cod) sometimes in the week, and I also adored these dishes. Fried hake, escovtich snapper and saltfish are, in my opinion the most popular fishes eaten in the Caribbean. Despite loving the traditional fishes I have grown up eating I wanted to venture out of my comfort zone and try a  fish that I've never eaten before in order to introduce my tastebuds to new culinarilly delights.
Many of my cook books feature  fish dish as there are such a variety of the different types of fishes you can have, so I knew I would be spoilt for choice when trying a new fish dish. I do think fish can be expensive, so I  decided on purchasing some reduced priced fish in Asda, and I was lucky one week when I found that the supermarket was reducing sea bass; I brought three.
I scoured through some of my favourite cook books to find a recipe that would compliment my new choice in fish, and remember noticing a recipe in a book entitled "One ingredient four ways" which was given to me by my colleagues at my former placement. This book has over 200 recipes, and focuses on one ingredient, and shows the reader how to make recipes from this ingredient in four different ways - hence the title of the book. The recipe "crispy parmesan-coated sea bass" appealed to me as I would have never thought combining cheese with fish.
As usual I made some amendments to the recipe I seasoned the fish with all purpose seasoning, black pepper and parsley, I could never imagine making a dish without my trusted all purpose seasoning, and often when a dish says to use salt, I immediately replace with all purpose seasoning (unless it is a cake) and decided on not frying the sea bass in oil, instead brushing in oil and baking for 25 minutes. Here is how my dish turned out:

I added basmati rice and vegetables to complete my healthy dinner and this dish was definitely a winner. The fish was moist, flavoursome, and delicious. I would recommend this dish as a lovely healthy evening meal.

Seasoned sea bass and haddock fillets pre cooking

Recipe for sea bass toss in parmasean - serves - 4
4 sea bass fillets, skin on and pin boned (I used whole fish)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
100g freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 small bunch fresh parsely, finely chopped
salt and pepper (I used all purpose seasoning).

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Brush the oven dish with a little of the oil and lay the fillets in the oven dish, skin-down. Drizle over a little of the remaining oil, give each fillet a good squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the lemon rind, Parmesan cheese and parsely together and scatter evenly over the fish. Drizzle over the remaining oil. Cook in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the fish is just cooked and golden - the exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately.


Monday, 9 April 2012

Chocolate fudge cake.

Happy Easter! I was initially going to make a low fat weight watchers fruit crumble for the Easter weekend, but this did not go down well with my family. I then decided on making on a chocolate based dessert/pudding as this seemed more fitting with the Easter celebrations. I was given a cook book on my last placement called "one ingredient four ways" and decided on making the chocolate fudge cake (p.171) as the cake looked very gooey and rich. I have noticed there is a typing error for the recipe, as the recipe stipulates a serving four, but there is enough to serve 12.
Here is how my cake turned out
The 11 mini chocolate eggs represents Jesus's true disciples. The cake is very rich, gooey and perfect for chocolate lovers a la moi.
Recipe for chocolate fudge cake:
176g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing.
175g golden caster sugar (I used ordinary caster sugar)
3 eggs beaten
3 tbsp golden syrup
40g ground almonds
175g self-raising flour
40g coco powder
225g plain chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark)
55g dark muscovado sugar
225g unsalted butter, diced
5tbsp evaporated milk (I used semi-skimmed milk)

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4). Grease and line the bases of two 20cm/8 inch sandwich tins.
To make the icing, place the chocolate, muscovado sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a heavy based sauce pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until melted. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until spreadable.
For the cake, place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the golden syrup and ground almonds. Sift the flour and coco powder into a separate bowl, then fold into the mixture. Add a little water, if necessary, to make a dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until springy to the touch and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When the cakes are cold, sandwich them together with half the icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake, swirling it to give a frosted appearance.
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