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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Cajun-spiced chicken

These spicy drumsticks are really tasty and perfect when you’re relying on the freezer for dinner!

Wine Suggestion: For some reason we always think of rosé when cooking Cajun food. This time it was the Chateau St Jacques d’Albas, La Chapelle en Rosé and we were delighted to find our rosé of the year.

Cajun-spiced chicken – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½-1 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks or a mixture of both

Make the marinade by mixing everything but the chicken together.

Rub the chicken pieces in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 1 least an hour or up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Spread the chicken pieces out on a roasting tray and cook at the top of the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Fennel & orange salad

We had this as a side dish with pork but it would also work well as a fresh starter or with oily fish.

Fennel & Orange Salad – serves 4

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3 oranges
  • 25g hazelnuts
  • small bunch of mint leaves
  • small bunch of basil leaves
  • small bunch of oregano leaves (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp mustard

Trim the base and stalks off the fennel but keep any feathery fronds. Slice the fennel as thin as you can – we use a mandolin for this. Put the slices in a bowl of iced water until ready to serve.

Top and tail the oranges, then cut the skin and membrane off with a sharp knife. Reserve the peel and slice the oranges thinly, removing the seeds, then arrange over a large plate.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until they have coloured and smell good. Rub the skin off with a clean tea towel if needed, then crush lightly into large pieces.

Make the dressing by putting the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard into a large bowl. Squeeze any juice from the pieces of orange peel, then season well with salt and pepper and whisk together. Drain the fennel and add to the dressing. Mix well and pile on top of the orange slices. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts, herbs and fennel fronds.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si KIng & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Spiced lentil soup

We have what you might call a well-stocked cupboard but the problem with bulging cupboards is that it’s easy to forget what’s in there. Every now and then we make a list and search for recipes to use things up which is how we came to make this soup – perfect for lunch on chilly days.

Spiced Lentil Soup – serves 4

  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • a squeeze of lime
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the ginger, cumin seeds and chilli flakes for a couple of minutes.

Add the onion and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the lentils are tender.

Blend until smooth or leave chunky, then stir through a squeeze of lime.

Serve with some fresh coriander leaves if you have them.

(Original recipe in Olive Magazine, November 2011.)

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Linguine with Tuna

Linguine with Tuna

Please buy fancy tins or jars of tuna in olive oil for this. We often go for Ortiz but recently we’ve been buying Shines Wild Irish Tuna – who knew we had such fabulous fish in Irish waters. Italians will complain about serving Parmesan with this but we can do what we like 🙂

Wine Suggestion: a textural white like Vermentino is our pick. From the Tuscan coast is the delightful Poggio ai Ginepri which is worth seeking out and shows great promise from a very youthful vineyard. Looking further afield you could go for a Vermentino, or Rolle as it is also known as, from France

Linguine with Tuna – serves 4

  • 400g linguine
  • 150-200g tin or jar of tuna in olive oil (drained weight)
  • 50g capers
  • 50g green pitted olives, sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

TO SERVE:

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the tuna into a large bowl and break gently into flakes. Add the capers, olives, lemon zest, Parmesan, parsley and chilli flakes and stir slightly.

Reserve a ladleful of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl and drizzle over the olive oil. Add about 100ml of the cooking water and mix to combine.

Season with salt & pepper, then serve immediately, sprinkled with extra parsley and cheese.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Herb & pak choi salad

We really liked this fresh and vibrant salad by Melissa Helmsley. It went really well with this Korean chicken but we also thought it would be nice with barbecued meat or fish with Asian flavours or Salmon Teriyaki.

Herb & Pak Choi Salad – serves 4 as a side

  • 4 large large heads of pak choi, shredded
  • 1 large Little Gem or Cos lettuces, finely shredded
  • a large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • juice and grated zest of 1½ limes
  • 6 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or you could use light soy sauce)

TOPPING:

  • a large handful of almonds, cashews or sesame seeds (or a mixture)

Make the topping first by toasting the nuts and/or seeds in a dry frying pan with a little salt over a medium heat until golden.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a large bowl and season to taste.

Put the pak choi, lettuce and herbs in a bowl and mix with the scallions. Add the dressing and toss until everything is coasted. Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and seeds to serve.

(Original recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley, Ebury Press, 2018.)

 

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Chicken with tomatoes, mozzarella & basilWe love easy ideas like this for adding extra interest to some chicken fillets mid-week. Serve with warm crusty bread and green salad.

Wine Suggestion: your choice of youthful, lighter Italian red; our choice tonight was the refined and under-rated Poggio ai Ginepri Bolgheri Rosso, but almost chose a Chianti. Both would be good.

Chicken breasts with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – serves 4

  • 4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish
  • 3 x 125 mozzarella balls, drained and sliced (don’t use buffalo mozzarella for this)

Slash each of the the chicken breasts four times with a sharp knife, cutting to the middle.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic and chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden all over.

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 12 minutes, turning the chicken breasts over halfway through.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Take the pan off the heat and put the mozzarella slices on top of the chicken breasts. Grind over some black pepper and put the pan under the grill for a minute or until the cheese starts to melt.

Pour some sauce onto each plate, top with a piece of chicken and garnish with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

 

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Chicken & apple pieChicken pie is an autumnal dish in our house and we usually try a different version every year. We particularly liked this one flavoured with cider and apples.

Wine Suggestion: A natural suggestion is to drink the cider you used to make the pie, and we finished the remainder of the bottle likewise. Our choice this evening was from Normandy, courtesy of our last trip to France. When matching a wine, we think the appley character of Chenin Blanc is what to go with. If your prefernces are French wine, then a Vouvray is a good choice; tonight we chose the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from Swartland in South Africa; a country that really excels with this grape.

Chicken, Leek & Cider Pie – serves 4

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 3 medium leeks, sliced into rings
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 500g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
  • 50g extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten with 2tsp milk

Melt 40g of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Continue to stir over a medium-low heat for a minute to make a roux. Remove from the heat and gradually add the cider, mixing carefully with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the cider has been added, then gradually add the milk. Season and return the pan to the heat and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice and crème fraîche and taste for seasoning.

Melt the other 20g of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks and apples for 5 minutes. Add 2tbsp of water, season, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender. If there is a lot of juice you can increase the heat to reduce it.

Add the chicken and half the cheese to the sauce, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and heat the chicken through. Gently stir in the leeks and apples. Taste and add more mustard or lemon juice if needed.

Spoon the chicken mixture into a 25 x 20cm pie dish or a round dish 25cm across. The dish should have a capacity of 1.3 litres. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and leave to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin. Cut off a strip the same width as the lip of your dish. Wet the lip and press the strip onto it. Brush the strip with water and place the rest of the pastry on top. Press the edges to seal, then cut off the excess. Crimp the edges and decorate the top with the trimmings.

Make 3 small slits in the pastry close to the middle, then brush the top with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed up. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food)

 

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