Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Coq au Vin

This one is a bit of a classic which I semi-improvised around. The onions and garlic should be good and chunky in this recipe. The carrots should be in fat slices and the mushrooms quartered. This is a hearty, rustic stew, so the veg should be chunky.

6 thick rashers bacon (or pack of pancetta or lardons)
2 small-to-medium onions
3 cloves garlic*
6 chicken thighs, bone in
300g mushrooms
Two carrots
600ml red wine
300ml chicken stock

Chop the bacon up and fry in a large saucepan or stock pot. Trim the fat, but do not remove it all; much of the cooking fat should come from the bacon.

Add the onions and garlic, roughly chopped. Cover and simmer until the onion starts to soften.

Add the chicken and brown on both sides.

Add the carrots and mushrooms, roughly chopped.

Add the wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a steady simmer. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with mash, noodles or rice.

* Some recipes describe the garlic in coq au vin as 'optional', but how can anything with that strong a flavour be optional?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Summer Pancake Pudding

Another recipe for leftover pancakes.

7-10 uneaten drop scones
Approx. 500g mixed berries
3 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 tbsp water

Line a pudding basin with cling film.

Put the berries in a pan with the water and sugar, leaving out strawberries and anything else that would go squidgy. My mix was about half strawberries with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Bring to a simmer then gently heat for about five minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the fruit, reserving the syrup.

Add the strawberries to the other fruit.

Line the basin by soaking pancakes in the syrup then laying them in an overlapping pattern.

Fill the pudding with fruit and lay the remaining pancakes over the top.

Close the cling film over the pudding. Place a small plate over the top and weight with cans. Chill for at least two hours.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Lemon pancake bread and butter pudding

This recipe is based on this one from the BBC.

Small stack left over gluten free drop scones (aka Scotch or American-style pancakes)
Lemon curd
Cinnamon powder
350ml whole milk
50ml double cream
2 eggs
25g sugar

Butter a 2 pint ceramic dish.

Spread the pancakes generously with curd, cut in half and arrange in layers in the dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Gently heat the milk and cream together.

Beat the eggs and sugar gently together. Add the milk and cream and stir through until combined. Pour this custard over the pancakes.

While the pudding sits, heat the oven to 180C, and then cook for about 30 minutes.

Serve with fresh berries and a little cream or ice cream.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Paprika Chicken HD

This is a recipe from the first Hairy Dieters' book. We cook it a lot - usually making half the amount here and serving it with rice - and the book keeps going walkabout, so I'm recording the essentials here.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
12 chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp smoked paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
400ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp mixed herbs
3 large peppers
1 tbsp cornflour

Heat the oil in a large pan. Finely chop the onions and fry on a medium heat until softened.

Bone the chicken, if necessary; cut away the fat and cut each thigh in half. Season with pepper and add to the pan, turning occasionally until browned on both sides.

Finely chop or crush the garlic. Stir into the pan along with the paprika.

Add the tomatoes, stock and herbs. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

De-seed the peppers and chop into chunky pieces. Add them to the pan and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of the cooking juices and return to the pan. Cook another 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Pasta Bolognese

I am not a Bolognese snob. I do not hold with their being one way to make it and all others being a sin. A great many ways are rubbish, there's no denying it. I've seen some horrible Bologneses in my time, as well as one in California which was actually a tomato sauce with meatballs and sausages like in The Godfather.

For myself, I like a Bolognese to be thick, rich and meaty, without carrots or celery.

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic (oh yes, I went there), finely chopped
250g lean minced beef (not extra lean)
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 glass red wine
1/2 tsp oregano*
1 tsp basil*
1 beef stock pot

75-100g pasta per person

Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat.

Add the onion and garlic, stir well, reduce the heat to medium and then cover and sweat until the onion starts to soften.

Add the beef, making sure to break up any large chunks early. Stir periodically as the meat browns.

Add the herbs, a twist of black pepper, the puree and the wine. Stir well, add the tomatoes and the stock pot and mix well until the stock is dissolved.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes.

Serve with almost any kind of pasta and freshly grated Parmesan. You can also mix with the pasta and layer into an overproof dish with mozzarella to make an excellent pasta bake.

* While living things wither in my presence, if you can keep a basil or oregano plant alive, this is a meal that really benefits from fresh herbs.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chicken Paella

This is one of my signature dishes. It's kind of involved, but well worth the effort. Your classic paella is full of seafood, but it can be made with anything and I'm not a fan of shellfish. I usually use chicken, but sometimes substitute game.

2 tbsp olive oil
250g chicken breast or thigh, cubed
1 red pepper, roughly diced
2 green pepper, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100g diced chorizo
100g diced pancetta
20g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
200g chopped tomatoes
1/2 tbsp paprika
180g bomba rice
500ml chicken stock
Pinch of saffron
200g peas

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan on a medium-high heat.

Fry the chicken and peppers until the chicken is browned, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the saffron to the stock to infuse.

Clean out the pan and heat the remaining oil on a medium-high heat.

Fry the onion, chorizo, pancetta, parsley and garlic (the sofrito) until the onion begins to soften.

Add the tomatoes and paprika, then cook on a medium heat until the liquid from the tomatoes is mostly evaporated.

Restore the chicken and peppers and add the rice. Stir so that the rice is coated in the other ingredients.

Add the peas and then the stock. Cook at a high simmer for c. 10 minutes without stirring or covering.

Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until all of the stock is absorbed and the rice has just a little bite left. If the liquid is used up too quickly, top up with a little boiled water.

Cook on a high heat for a minute to scorch the bottom of the paella.

If cooking game - pigeon, pheasant etc - instead of chicken, omit the pre-cooking, as the meat will end up too dry.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is a good standby, both because it's quick to make and because my daughter reliably eats it. I have added peas to the standard recipe because Arya eats them and it puts at least some vitamins in what is otherwise a carb-and-protein dish.

Ingredients (per person)
100g spaghetti
1/2 cup peas

2 eggs
2 rashers bacon
2 tsp grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and peas, bring back to the boil and then simmer until the spaghetti is cooked.

Once the spaghetti goes in, heat the oil in a large saucepan.

Fry the bacon until cooked to preference.

Beat together the eggs, cheese and pepper.

Drain the pasta, add to the saucepan and toss together with the bacon and oil.

Remove from the heat, add the egg and stir though.