Dragon Chilli Chicken

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c 02/04/2018

In case you couldn’t tell, I have a bit of a craving for chillies at the moment. Dragon chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish that definitely delivers on this front and consists of battered chicken stir fried in a spicy chilli sauce. The sauce has a lot of flavour from the garlic, ginger and soy sauce while the dried red chillies deliver a fiery kick. You can adjust the amount of chillies and chilli paste based on your taste. If you like a milder dish, you will want to use significantly less but then you won’t really be making dragon chicken.

This is quite a dry dish. The sauce should be just enough to coat the chicken so if you want more then, by all means, double the sauce ingredients. The chilli paste can be bought readymade but is easily made by soaking dried red chillies in hot water and then grinding to a paste. They give the dish an amazing kick. If you are not a spice fan then this recipe is probably not for you. If however, you can’t get enough of it, read on.

serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Boneless Chicken Breast (cut into thin strips)
  • Coriander leaves or Spring Onion for garnishing (finely chopped)
  • Oil for Deep frying

For Marination:

  • 2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground dry red chilli)
  • 1 Egg White
  • ¼ – ½ cup Plain Flour
  • ¼ cup Cornflour
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper

For Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 3 Dry Red Chillies
  • 4 Tbsp Cashews, broken into small pieces
  • 1 large Onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground up dry red chilli)
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar

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Method:

  1. Take chicken in a bowl and add all the marination ingredients. Mix well and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Now heat some oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot drop the chicken in oil and fry till golden. Drain and set aside.
  2. Now heat oil in a frying pan. Add in dry red chilli and cashews and fry till the cashew turn golden brown.
  3. Now add in onions and bell peppers and toss well in the oil.
  4. Add in ginger garlic paste and sauté for a min.
  5. Now add in red chilli paste, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, salt, sugar and mix well.
  6. Cook this for a couple of mins till the water evaporates and sauce thickens.
  7. Now add in the fried chicken and toss well in the sauce. Add in chopped coriander or spring onion and mix well.
  8. Serve hot.
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Chicken Cacciatore

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chicken (2) 24/03/2018

For the uninitiated, cacciatore (pronounced catch-chee-ah-tor-ay) refers to a “hunter-style” method of cooking in which the meat, vegetables and herbs slowly simmer in a single pot. This recipe stays true to the Northern Italian tradition of using white wine, but adds passata, because, well, why not? Buon appetito!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (from about 2 sprigs)
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4oz smoked pancetta, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2-300ml passata
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, salt, black pepper, rosemary, and 2 tbsp of the oil; stir to make a paste; rub evenly over chicken pieces. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
  2. Heat remaining oil in a heavy cast iron pot over high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken pieces in a single layer, turning to brown all sides. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  3. Add mushrooms, pancetta and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and pancetta is rendered, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and stir to loosen browned bits from the bottom of pot. Add the stock cube and passata and bring to a boil. Return chicken pieces to pot, reduce heat to medium heat, partially cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Then uncover pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook 15-20 minutes more (depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Harcha – Moroccan Pan-Fried Semolina Bread

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harcha2 18/03/2018

Harcha is one of the most delicious Moroccan snacks that I came across thanks to my beautiful Moroccan friend, Sarah, who never turns up to a get-together empty handed. So when she arrived for a coffee with a giant harcha fresh from the pan, we wasted no time devouring it with multiple toppings and/or fillings. Harcha is a semolina bread that you can make in any size and fill with savoury fillings such as cheese or sweet such as honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) semolina
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) milk (or as needed)

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Place the semolina in a bowl, add the sugar, baking powder and the salt. Mix well. You need semolina for this recipe so do not try to substitute it.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan then add the butter to the semolina and mix with a spoon. When it gets hard with the spoon, mix with your hands, Moroccan style!
  3. Add the milk and mix until you get a smooth dough. Then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Shaping the Harcha:

  1. Turn on the heat to medium and heat up a heavy cast iron pan!
  2. Back to the dough… you will notice that it is drier as the semolina has absorbed the milk. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk.
  3. To get perfect shapes, use a cookie cutter to make medium sized Harcha. You can make a large one, or mini-ones – whatever you like. The discs should be ¼” thick or a bit thicker. When shaping the disks use parchment paper, so it’s easy to transfer them to the pan.

Cooking the Harcha:

  1. Reduce the heat to low – very important otherwise the harcha will burn from outside and not cook from inside – transfer the harcha to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes on each side. You will see that the surface gets a beautiful golden brown colour and that the discs start to dry. If you try to push on them, they will feel dry. Flip and cook the other side.
  2. Let the harcha cool a bit and cut it in half with a sharp knife. If the harcha is still too hot and the knife not sharp, it will crumble.
  3. Fill with cheese, jam, honey, or anything you like!

Creamy Pesto Turkey Meatballs

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pesto 18/02/2018

Something a bit different from your regular marinara, this meatball dish only takes about 30 minutes to whip up and is comfort food to the max.

Ingredients:

The meatballs:

  • 1 lb (450g) minced turkey
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto (or any pesto you like)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil pesto (or any pesto you like)
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) sour-cream
  • 1 1/4 cup (300ml) chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with one teaspoon water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

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Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, parmesan, pesto, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, gently work the mixture together until it is well combined. Shape into approximately 12 balls and transfer to a plate.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the meatballs until golden and cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, sauté minced garlic until fragrant and slowly add the sour cream while whisking. Heat through on medium heat, keep stirring slowly. Add chicken stock, cornflour, basil pesto, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep cooking on medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until smooth.
  4. Put the chicken meatballs back into the skillet and heat through for a couple of minutes, coating with the creamy pesto sauce. Serve with spaghetti and more parmesan and basil for good measure. Enjoy!

Thai Style Peanut Pork & Broccoli

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Capture 17/02/2018

This simple Thai-inspired peanut pork melts in the mouth! Made with peanut butter, spices and coconut milk, it’s easy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 kg diced pork shoulder
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 300 ml chicken/veg stock
  • 400 ml can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 200 g tenderstem broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 100 g beansprouts

To Serve:

  • Thai jasmine rice
  • Fresh coriander
  • Chilli flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan on a high heat until hot. Add the pork, and brown on all sides – takes about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Turn down to a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes, moving around the pan regularly, until the onions soften.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin, ginger and garlic and stir.
  5. Add the stock, coconut milk and peanut butter. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer then place a lid on the pan and place in the oven to cook for 2 hours.
  6. Stir in the lime juice then add the broccoli and beansprouts. Stir and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir. Serve over rice, garnished with fresh coriander. Add some chopped fresh chillies and/or dried chilli flakes if you like a bit of heat.

Salmon en Croute

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salm 21/12/2017

Oh the joys of being back at home for Christmas and having a kitchen again! This is a lovely comforting dinner but isn’t too heavy as light flaky salmon and fresh greens are used. It takes a bit of time to put together but the steps are easy then you just bung it in the oven when you’re ready and you’re left with a a dish that delivers on flavour and wow factor.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 250g ready-made puff pastry

For the filling:

  • 450g piece of salmon fillet, skinned and any bones remove, cut into 3 even sized steaks (or 3 skinless and boneless salmon fillets weighing approximately 150g each)
  • 10g butter (a heaped teaspoon)
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 rounded tablespoon crème fraîche
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
  • Whole nutmeg, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

sal

Method:

  1. Place the frying pan on a high heat then add the butter followed by the spinach leaves and wilt it for about 1 minute, stirring it around until it has collapsed then tip it into a sieve over a bowl and leave it to cool.
  2. Then use the back of a wooden spoon to press the wilted greens against the sieve and extract any juices. Now place it on a chopping board and press with several sheets of kitchen paper to extract any wetness that remains. Spoon it into a small bowl then stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice, some freshly grated nutmeg and some seasoning.
  3. Sweat off the onion and garlic in a small saucepan then remove from the heat, add the spinach mix and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Divide the rested pastry into 3 even pieces then roll the first piece very thinly into a rectangle the same shape as the salmon fillet, roughly 21cm by 15cm (you will need to adjust the size of the pastry to according to the shape of the salmon fillet).
  5. Then place a piece of salmon on one half of each piece of pastry and spread a third of the spinach mix on top of each fillet.
  6. Using a pastry brush dampen the corners of the pastry with beaten egg then fold the pastry over the salmon to encase it and crimp the corners with a fork to seal.
  7. Put each parcel onto a parchment lined tray. Pop them in the fridge until you need them.
  8. If you are preparing them in advance cover them with a piece of cling film.
  9. When you are ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
  10. Place the parcels on the baking sheet, with a liner, then make a few diagonal slashes in each one and brush each one with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes on a high shelf until crisp and golden.
  11. Serve with seasonal greens, new potatoes and parsley sauce.

Bolognese Fondue with Garlic Butter Toasts

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bol 21/11/2017

OMG! This is amazing. It’s like the easiest lasagne ever but no need to stand there layering stuff up. Instead you dunk garlicky buttery crisp bread into oozy cheese sauce and rich bolognese. A word of caution though, let it stand for 10-15 minutes once removed from the oven or prepare for a scalded mouth for the next 2 days. I learned the hard way.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the garlic butter toasts:

  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • Parsley or oregano, chopped
    For the fondue:
  • 100g gruyere, grated
  • 3 tsp corn flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • A splash of milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 25g parmesan, grated
    For the Bolognese:
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1tsp each oregano, thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Roll slices of bread flat with a rolling pin. Add the crushed garlic and herbs to the butter and melt in the microwave for 10 seconds. Brush the bread with garlic butter on both sides.  Cut into four triangles, corner to corner.
  3. Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes flipping half way through until golden brown and crisp.
  4. To make the Bolognese, add the oil to a pan over a high heat and brown the beef mince. Add the onion, carrot and peppers, reduce the heat to medium and continue to brown gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add the herbs, seasoning and tomato puree. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and a little water then let the Bolognese simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Mix together the cheese and toss in the cornflour.
  8. Heat the wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cheese mixture a handful at a time until you have a thick smooth sauce.
  9. Pour in some milk and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken.
  10. Spread Bolognese on the bottom of a dish.  Pour fondue mixture over top and grate parmesan to cover.  Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling.
  11. Top with chopped parsley.
  12. Dip toasts in and enjoy!