Sunday, 7 February 2016

Roast chicken thighs, baked potatoes, roast squash and steamed brocolli

It's not a full roast dinner - but it's right good (and right good value).  There was also haloumi with leeks and tomato for the vegetarian contingent - but I forgot to take a pic...  Little extras which turn "bog standard" (not my words) into a bit special were garlic, mustard, bouillon powder (all available from The Mediterranean Pantry), and a splash of dry white wine (not available from the pantry - I'm not licensed.)

Also, I will admit, one of my biggest weaknesses in the kitchen is leaving the squash battling until it's unavoidable - or - as this week - done be a-n-other (thanks hun xxx), so the roast squash was not all mine.  It was prepped and roasted first, with some olive oil, garlic, lemon rind and black pepper for about 45 minutes.  I put it back into the oven 30 minutes before serving the rest ... ie.  after dealing with the potatoes and chicken, and about the same time as starting the leeks for the halloumi and putting the brocolli on to steam.


olive oil
chicken thighs
bouillon powder
white wine

1.  Gratefully receive prepped squash :)
2.  Wash potatoes, prick with a fork and coat with olive oil (put a teaspoon of live oil in your hands and rub each pricked potato).  Put in microwave for 10 minutes (this just means that you  can bake them in under an hour - you could bake form scratch, obviously).
3.  Transfer the potatoes to the oven, and then start with the leeks for the chicken.  Sautee them gently for 10 minutes in olive oil for 10 minutes, add crushed garlic.
4.  Add chicken thighs, skin side down, to the onions and brown for about 3 minutes.
5.  Splash in white wine, stir in a splash of wine and stock made from bouillon and a big teaspoon of grainy mustard.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
6.  Transfer chicken to oven dish, add sauce - put in hot oven with potatoes for 30 minutes.  Put the prepped squash in the bottom of the oven to heat back through.
7.  After 10 mins - Cut broccoli into florets and steam. (takes about 15 mins from cold)
8.  Sautee leeks and crushed garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes, add chopped fresh tomatoes - season.
9.  Move leek mixture to the side of the pan and fry the halloumi (in slices) for a couple of minutes each side.
10.  It should be done now - so serve and scoff.


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Wild fennel and tomato pesto tagliatelle, prawns and salad

We needed a very quick dinner, and fortunately I had been waiting to try the wild fennel and tomato pesto which I now stock - well!  it is outstanding!  Some good pasta - tagliatelle today and some salad and we were good to go.  I added some grilled prawns as well, to please the gathered ... but there were three views on this!  i) fantastic, love it, having thirds; ii) really good pesto, pasta and salad - would make a really good veggie dinner; iii) nice dinner - but would be fan-bloody-tastic to have this pasta and pesto with steak, or indeed, chicken ... and the same salad would be great too.  I think I come down with iii ... but, damn good pesto, damn good pasta, damn good dinner.

Takes about 12 minutes from cold ...

1.  Put on a pan of water to boil.
2.  Prepare lettuce.
3.  Make salad dressing - a splash of garlic infused olive oil, a squirt of lemon juice and a grind of sea salt and black pepper - into a salad bowl.
4.  Chuck lettuce and very finely sliced half moons of onion into the dressing.
5.  When water is boiling, chuck in the pasta and cook for 4 minutes until al dente.
6.  Grill prawns in hot pan.
7.  When the pasta is done, drain and stir in pesto.  Toss the salad.

Serve, scoff ...   then get the opinions written above ... thinking about it now - I think this pasta/pesto combo would be AMAZING with a good steak.  (Sorry vegetarians!)

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Veggie chilli, guacamole - rice and tortilla chips

Another bitterly cold day so I thought we deserved a bit a warming comforting summat.  Also, there was an avocado from the veg box which needed using up - so, why not a bit of chilli?

Veggie Chilli
Olive oil
red pepper
mixed herbs
chilli flakes
green beans
turkish beans
red kidney beans
vegan bouillon
salt and pepper

basmati rice

red onion
juice of half a lemon

tortilla chips
natural yogurt (or sour cream)

It takes about 45 minutes, start to finish ... but you could let it simmer away happily for longer if you were busy with something else.

1.  Soften chopped onion in olive oil.
2.  Add chopped carrots, red pepper and green beans with the crushed garlic.
3.  Turn all the veg over in the pan for a couple of minutes, then add a good pinch of mixed herbs and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
4.  Add a teaspoon of bouillon powder and about a pint of water.  Simmer.
6.  Put the rice on - I put it in a cast iron pot, cover with water to an inch above the surface, bring to the simmer, cover and pop into a coolish oven.  This will wait patiently until you are ready.
5.  Add a tin of turkish beans (like greek giant beans, but a bit smaller - in a tasty tomato sauce).  Add a drained tin of kidney beans.  Simmer for another 20 minutes, adding water and seasoning as necessary.
6. While it's simmering chuck together the guacamole - chop a red onion, finely.  Chop a tomato and add to the onion.  Scoop the flesh out of the avocado and add that too - squish the mixture with a spoon.  Squirt on the juice of half a lemon - mix and keep covered, in the fridge, until you are ready to eat.
7. 5 minutes before serving pop the tortilla chips into the oven in an oven proof dish, to warm through.
8.  Serve, scoff - adding yogurt if you wish.  Grated cheese would be another possible garnish.

Lovely!  Would have been vegan except that I am not vegan, and I like the coolness of the yogurt.  The guacamole was particularly well received, as there was a bit of a crunch left in it - and we like that :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Pan fried cod, with garlic and rosemary mini roast potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Sometimes, when you have a real quality product - less is more.  So, I decided to treat the cod really simply and just to fry it at the last minutes (oil the fish not the pan) ... but had enough time to make crispy baby roast garlic and rosemary potatoes.  This gave me enough time to finish off a bit of paperwork before I steamed the veg and fried the fish.

olive oil
green beans
cod fillets
salt and pepper

1.  Cut the potatoes into 1cm(ish) cubes and par boil.  
2.  Prep the veg (ie. peel the carrots) and chop the veg into bite sized pieces.
3.  Put some olive oil in an oven dish, and heat it for a few minutes, ready for the potatoes.
3.  When the potatoes are al dente ... or not quite done - drain them - chuck them into the prepared dish.  Add rosemary and crushed garlic, and salt and pepper.  Turn in the oil so that every piece has a light coating of oil and herbs.  Stick back into a fairly hot oven for 35-45 minutes.
4.  Do the stuff you need to do ... 15 minutes before dinner is required - steam the veg.
5.  5 minutes before dinner is required fry the cod in a hot pan - as I said before, oil the fidh, not the pan - but make sure the pan is hot - fry skin side down first for 2(ish) minutes turn over and finish off.

Serve and scoff!  Delicious.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Shepherdess pie

 Drizzly (again) ... cold (again, but it is January, so that's reasonable) ... and MORE kale in the fridge from the veg box - but this was DELICIOUS!  Really, let me boast, it was great!

This is what I used:-

olive oil
red pepper
green beans
brown lentils
red wine
bouillon powder
grainy mustard
mixed herbs
chilli flakes
soya spread/butter

1.  Peel and chop potatoes, put onto boil .. for about 12 minutes, ie. until ready to mash.
2.  Chop onion, sautee in olive oil, after a few minutes add chopped pepper, crushed garlic and chopped green beans.  Stir around.
3.  Add brown lentils, and then about a pint of water.
4.  Sprinkle on bouillon powder (or scrunch in a stock cube) add herbs, a spoonful of mustard and a pinch of chilli flakes.
5.  Simmer a little, add mushrooms and keep simmering until done (about 30 minutes)
6.  Test potatoes, when ready, drain and mash.
7.  Put lentils in an oven proof dish, top with potatoes and bake for 30 minutes (its always ish ...) until the top is golden.
8.  Chop kale, removing tough stems, put into oven proof dish with a spoonful of water - cover with cling film and microwave for 2 minutes.
9.  Scoff

Friday, 29 January 2016

Fish and chips ... Moroccan twist this time

 I am going to have to improve both my presentation and photography skills, because neither of them do this food justice!  Also, I am really beginning to understand the benefits of working in the market - today the spice mix  Ras El-Hanout (top of the house), and the olive oil came from my stall, the hake came from Paul the fish, and the potatoes came from Gary the veg!  It's a good life :)  The cavolo nero came from the organic veg box - because we still enjoy the benefits of seasonal and organic to the door ...

So ....

New potatoes
olive oil
cavolo nero
white wine
ras el-hanout spice mix

1.  Wash and parboil new potatoes, relax - nibble olives, drink wine etc etc ... for about 10 minutes
2.  Chop potatoes into bite sized pieces, ready for sautee-ing.
3.  Chop onion, and start to fry gently in olive oil.
4.  Coat fish in spice mix.
5.  Chop cavolo nero, add to onions, on a low heat.
6.  Start to sautee drained potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with rock salt.
7.  Heat olive oil to fry fish - fry skin side first - for 2-3 minutes each side.
8.  Splash wine into cavolo nero mix and allow to evaporate.

Scoff.  I did half of the hake in spice, and half on its own.  I was really pleased with the result.  The spice gives a lovely aromatic floral interest (it's not hot at all), but the hake was so delicious that I wanted to savour the flavour of that too.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Broccoli and tofu stir fry with noodles

I only stock three of tonight's ingredients at the market (garlic, tofu and chilli) - but I'm sure that everything else could be picked up from the veg stall outside, and the oriental stall inside - so this is a real Tod dinner.  It is quick to make and vegan as well.  Happy days.

Vegetable/peanut oil
green beans
black bean and garlic sauce
chinese rice wine
soy sauce
chilli flakes
brown rice noodles

1.  Heat oil in a frying pan and fry tofu on all sides.
2.  While the tofu is doing prepare and chop all veg into smallish pieces.
3.  When the tofu is done take it off the heat, and put on a pan of water to boil for the noodles.
4.  Start the stir fry with the onions in hot oil, followed quickly by garlic and ginger.
5.  Keep veg moving and add the other bits of veg - except the mushrooms, stick them in a bit later.
6.  Toss the veg about a bit, then add a big spoon of black bean sauce, a splosh of rice wine, a splosh of soy sauce and a pinch of chilli flakes.
7.  Add a little water, and keep it all moving so that it steam-fries.
8.  At this point stick the noodles in the water.
9.  About 6ish minutes later the veg will be done, and the noodles will be soft.  Drain the noodles and swish under cold water.
10.  Add the noodles and the tofu back into the veg, toss about a bit.
11. Serve, scoff

This is absolutely on everybody's "do again" list, which is very pleasing, as I am not always totally confident with oriental stuff - and it's entirely seasonal UK veg.