Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spaghetti Atun Picante

This is one of those "Store Cupboard"dishes,Its quick and easy to make and has bags of flavour.Take a tin or two of Tuna ,add the oil from the tin,but not the tuna itself, to a skillet on a medium heat,add a crushed clove of garlic 3 tsbs of capers and handful of parsley stalks, chopped finely a whole fresh red chilli,two anchovy fillets and a handful of black olives,give them a squeeze its the flavour we want,after two minutes add a tin of tomato fritta and the Tuna and reduce the heat

Cook your spaghetti a minute short of the instructions on the packet in salted water with a glug of olive oil to stop it sticking,then add to the sauce and ladle a couple of spoons of the water from the pasta into the sauce to loosen it,let it rest one minute stirring continuously,Pasta just drinks up the sauce and absorbs all those flavours may need another ladle of the pasta water,then serve drizzle with olive oil and if you have it,which I didn't today,grated parmesan.

Leftover Chicken Salad

A light Lunch from the leftover roast chicken,with tomatoes speed peeler shaved courgette and a Dijon mustard white wine vinegar and olive oil dressing,nothing to it,but delicious so warranted a small post

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pulpo Gallego

This is a very old and traditional dish from Galicia,and you will find it throughout Spain,it couldn't be simpler just potatoes and Octopus,but what a dish.

Put your Octopus in the freezer overnight,it makes a big difference when you cook it and breaks down the fibres, the Octopus should not be in the least bit tough.Cooking is easy just add frozen to a pot of boiling water,don't salt the water,after an hour take out the pot and leave to cool then just cut the tentacles into small slices and refrigerate to cool.

In a saucepan boil some salted water and add round slices of potato, about 70mm in thickness and  boil just for a few minutes ,so that a fork will easily penetrate the potato,refresh the potatoes in a colander under cold water and pat dry with some kitchen towel

To serve arrange the potatoes on a plate,or more traditionally on a  wooden board place the Octopus pieces on top sprinkle with Sweet Paprika and and a good glug of your very best Olive Oil.

Its great as a starter or a tapas dish  a light lunch or in my case an easy Supper,serve with a chilled glass of Manzanilla

Goose Fat Roast Potatoes

When it comes to roast potatoes cooking them in Goose fat makes for the King of roasties Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
There was a time when it was almost impossible to buy Goose fat,now its widely available in jars and tins and what a difference it makes.

Simply par boil your potatoes in salted water,for around 4 minutes,drain and shake them around to slightly bash the edges to help them crisp,then leave to steam and cool.

Put your goose fat in a roasting tray in the oven at 220' until its smokingly hot and carefully add the potatoes and some unpeeled cloves of garlic to the tray,after 20 minutes turn them over and add some rosemary,another ten minutes or so they should be golden,crispy and ready to take out of the oven serve sprinkled with rock salt.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

French Slow Cooked Roast Chicken

The Juiciest Chicken Guaranteed

This is by far the best way of making a Roast Chicken,Start by making a herb butter in a bowl,simply add dried herbs parsley herb de Provence,whatever you fancy in a bowl
Now,wash out the bird,including importantly the cavity and pat dry with kitchen towel,season the inside of the cavity with salt,quite a lot.

Now lift the skin and put your finger under the skin over the breast without breaking the skin,it will come apart easily and stuff your herbed butter under the skin,any remaining butter use to smear over the top of the skin,I kept the bird trussed,just for appearances, so I slashed with a knife some grooves into the legs to help it cook evenly sprinkled with dried herbs salt and pepper and put a bay leaf some sprigs of fresh Rosemary ,a bit of fresh sage and some fresh thyme,and half a lemon and clove of unpeeled garlic into the cavity
I cut into quarters a bulbous spring Onion and put in the roasting tray for with a glass of white wine,and put in a pre heated oven at 90',yep 90' for one and half hours...Now take it out and let it rest for 45 minutes,turn the oven up to 220' and return for around 20 minutes,let it rest for another 15 minutes covered in foil,I promise you it is soooo Juicy
Once you have a bird as juicy as this I promise you won't go back to quick high heat roast chicken again,I had a lovely Fastino V with it,well several bottles because it takes time to cook,Heaven on a plate,I served with just the Jus from the roasting tin roasted potatoes some vegetables and the crunchy sweet Spring Onion
Making Sunday Lunch enjoying my first glass of Red Wine....Chicken in the oven,the aromas are wonderful,Sunday just wouldn't be Sunday without a proper Sunday Roast,French Slow Cooked herb Chicken,to be blogged tonight

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thai slow cooked Red Beef Curry

On my trips to Thailand I love the heat of the Red curry,and I use a lot of Chilli in mine to get the same taste.

Start by making a red curry paste,I dry fry some cumin and coriander seeds for a minute and then add to a pestle and Mortar and grind them down,I then chop into thin slices 4 fresh red chillies seeds included for extra heat,add them to the pestle and mortar with two tablespoons of grated ginger,two cloves of chopped garlic,3 stems of lemon grass and two tablespoons of hot paprika,add them all to the blender with the juice of a lime and blitz.The aroma is to die for

Take a casserole dish add some vegetable oil and add some finely chopped spring onion and another fresh chilli,and two lime leaves until they are softened,now add your paste and cook it through,then your cubes of stewing beef,stirring all the time,add quarter of a pint of chicken stock with some dried chilli in,and stir,a tin of coconut milk,bring to the boil and put in the oven at 160' for 4 hours...after 3 hours add a chopped potatoe,finger size pieces and return to the oven

When you take it out the oven spoon off any of the red excess oil,and serve with basil and coriander.Its fiery,and delicious.

Thai curry is a wine killer,I tend to drink Mateus Rose or a gerwitzstraminer,or ice cold beer

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beirut Chicken

On a hot day such as this, this is hard to beat,Start by marinating the chicken in lemon zest 1 clove of crushed garlic, the juice of a lemon salt and pepper,and olive oil,marinade for 3 to 4 hours.

Now for the salsa take two handfuls of fresh spinach,a handful of flat leaf parsley,and a handful of fresh mint.add a chopped red chilli,a big one and a tsb of Dijon mustard,Olive oil and a touch of white wine vinegar.

Blitz them with a hand blender,taste, season,salt and pepper,taste,it may need a touch more vinegar,or more salt

For the cous cous just place in a bowl,add the same volume chicken stock a glug of olive oil pinch of salt,put a plate on top and leave for 5 mins.

Pre heat your oven to 200',get your griddle pan scorching hot at least 5 minutes on full heat,then griddle your chicken,pressing down on the surface,all the steamy smoke will come out the chicken,It takes a couple minutes either side,then add to a roasting tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, basting half way with any remaining marinade. Rest for five minutes before serving.

To finish your cous cous,fluff with a fork,add chopped fresh chilli,chopped spring onion and chopped fresh parsley,squeeze of lemon,a good glug of oil,taste may need a bit more salt,and serve,Beirut is a melting pot of cultures and religions,this dish is no different ,its Vibrant,flavoursome with a background heat,cook it this weekend

Cookbooks and Inspiration

Up until my mid thirties I couldn't boil an egg,I knew my food, had been dinning in the best restaurants in London and abroad on a daily basis for years,and loved great food and nice wines but couldn't cook at all.

I was a regular guest for spectacular Sunday Lunches at my old Friends Joe and Nicky's,their lunches were mighty affairs Nicky is a natural and great cook,and Joe a great host and bon viveur,and there was almost theatre in the way they would throw a lunch party.These were the Sunday Lunches against which all others are judged.It was some years later that the thought of those Lunches and the fact I had time on my hands that finally inspired me to try to cook.

I watched Ready Steady Cook on tv,bought a Delia Smith Cookbook,and with the help of some friends,started cooking,made tons of mistakes,but got better,I went on lots of courses and bought more and more cookbooks,still do.love them,I do think of Jamie Oliver as the modern day Delia,and in another twenty years he will seem old hat,but he made it cool for men to cook,which I am grateful for and all his recipes work,and I guess we all like to take a recipe and change it,taking it in different directions,thats what cooking is all about,Jamie more than others encourages that.

Well I am still learning,still cooking and loving it,twenty years later ,I can't think of anything better than being sat around a table with great friends good food and wine,it is the stuff memories are made of.

Look through those cook books be inspired and make something epic for lunch...Bon Apetite

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Steak Pizzaiola

Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant where I am a little dubious of how good there sauces would be,I always ask for Steak with a Pizzaiola sauce,there isn't an Italian Restaurant in the world that can't make a half decent Pizzaiola sauce.

This is a fabulous dish done well,Start by sautéing finely chopped garlic in olive oil,don't let it burn or it will be bitter,just as it looks as though its going to take on colour add a splash of ideally white wine,I had drank all the white wine so added red,then let that bubble up for 30 seconds and add chopped tomatoes,reduce the heat and let that simmer,as it does so it gets richer season with salt and pepper and then add a tbsp of capers and a handful of black Olives.

I had cooked the steaks on the BBQ about one minute either side then added to the pan with the sauce took the pan off the heat and let them rest at least 5 minutes.

Serve on a plate with some chopped parsley,or in my case parsley stalks out of parsley! or Basil,Proper Food!

The Best English Roast Lamb

Take a two kilo joint of lamb preferably Halal,it cooks better,Finely chop three to four stalks of rosemary add the zest of a lemon,and two very finely chopped cloves of garlic,mix with a good swig of olive oil in a small bowl and season smear over the lamb,helps to make incisions in lamb and massage into the meat

Peel and half potatoes and par boil in salted water,shake the pan after draining water to bash the edges,put in a roasting tray along with rosemary and a tablespoon dried Parsley and 4 or 5 unpeeled garlic cloves,give a very good glug of olive oil,season well with rock salt and black pepper.

Place the meat over the potatoes in a roasting tray,give another glug of oil add two halves of lemon and place in a roasting tray at 220" for 10 minutes,turn down the heat to 200" and continue to cook for 65 minutes,then wrap the lamb in tin foil and rest for at least 30 minutes.

proper food enjoy and devour we did,I made this for my best friends Ute's Dinner party,all was consumed....and a good time had by us all !

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chickpea and Chilli Dip

In a saucepan mix chickpeas,roasted red peppers ,chopped fresh chilli,some chopped parsley,a massive glug or two of olive oil,and blend with your hand blender,taste,season put in a bowl sprinkle with Dulce Smoked Paprika,and add Olive oil.

Great as a dip or with grilled meats.


What a pleasure this salad is,simple Tuscan food,start with stale bread old ciabatta,or a cottage loaf several days old,Rip them into little thumb size pieces with your hands and put on a baking tray next to the Aga or at 60' in the oven

Now you can either take fresh red peppers and put them to the flame to blacken the skin,and then put in the oven with cling film to steam or take a jar of roasted whole red peppers in olive oil,choice is yours ,both are good but if you are using fresh you need to blacken and pop in the oven now.

Take some beautiful fresh tomatoes,please don't take from the fridge,they need to be at room temperature and cut up in different shapes and sizes,and put in a colander over a bowl,give them an even sprinkling of rock salt and the juices will start to drip into the bowl which is going to give a lovely sweetness to our dressing

Add some fresh or salted anchovies to the bowl the tomato juice has run into and add some cappers.Take the tomatoes out of the colander give them a good squeeze over the sink to get rid of any excess moisture and put in a serving bowl along with the breadcrumbs and the peppers.

Very thinly slice a little Red Onion,must be wafer thin or it will be overpowering and not good,add that to the tomatoes and peppers.Take the anchovies from the bowl and put on one side,tear some Basil leaves and add to the tomatoes along with a swig of Olive Oil

Now take the bowl  the tomato juice,with the capers in ran into,add a good swig of red wine vinegar ,about two tablespoons,And a swig of your very best olive oil,mix it up,season with salt and pepper,taste,it should be quite tangy,the bread in the salad will soak it up and it will become less pronounced add to the salad put on the set aside anchovies and leave to sit for at least 15 minutes,when you are ready to eat ,give the salad another swig of Olive Oil,Its damn good served with grilled Meat or Chicken..Enjoy I add some chopped Flat leaf Parsley,but you don't have to.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chorizo and Tomato Salad

I first had this dish many years ago in a small Tapas bar in Seville and they were kind enough to give me the recipe, it's a dish I have quite often when its hot,I love the hot chorizo and the cold Tomato with those lovely fragrant chorizo Oils.

You need very fresh and very flavoursome Tomatoes, slice them up in any shapes you like,put them in a bowl add a sprinkling of rock salt and a little black pepper.

Add a tablespoon of Sherry vinegar a small glug of your very best Spanish extra virgin Olive Oil, add some very finely slices of fresh Spring Onion, and put in the fridge for around half an hour

In a frying pan add a little light olive oil, get the heat high,then add sliced Picante(the Spicy one) Chorizo,turn the heat down to medium, and cook two minutes either side.

Put your tomato salad on a plate add put the hot Choritzo on top with a spoon or two of the choritzo oil, sprinkle from a height some freshly chopped Parsley,and enjoy.I promise you will have this again and again perfect with ice cold Manzanilla

Simplicity Itself

When you are short of time and want a quick fix lunch,you could do a lot worse than good old fashioned Scrambled eggs,lightly cooked well seasoned on a slice of toast with chopped parsley...heaven on a plate in 5 minutes,the secret is the quality of the eggs fresh,free range eggs ,that was my lunch,marvellous

Nespresso Coffee

About five years ago a friend bought me a Nespresso machine,I had always been a bit wary of home coffee machines but this is the best gadget in the kitchen,fabulous coffee every day,if you haven't got one go out and buy one,you won't regret it!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chez Loulou: The Cost of Living in France

Chez Loulou: The Cost of Living in France

Keith Floyds Chicken with Peppers

Keith was a very dear friend of mine and many a boys lunch was had at Foxtrot Oscars in the old days,he loved simple rustic cooking and was the master of it,a Bon Viveur in every sense of the word ..I still miss him along with our mutual chum Dai Llewelyn,whom sadly too is no longer with us

This is based on a dish he loved,it is full of flavour ,hearty and simple,its my version of it in remembrance of him.

Start by finely chopping a large onion and a couple of cloves of garlic,Take a casserole dish add a very generous amount of olive oil and put on a high heat....add your onions and garlic give them a good stir and turn the heat to medium

Chop finely a large tomato skin,pips and all and after the onions have had around 10 minutes add them to the pot,after a further 5 minutes add a tin of chopped tomatoes a whole fresh chilli ,a bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Now in a frying pan,one with high sides get your olive oil hot and add chicken legs,it will spit and splutter,brown them and add a clove of fresh sliced garlic..watch it, don't let it burn,now add a glass of white wine,and poor yourself one,Keith never cooked without a drink,and neither do I!

Add the lid and turn the heat down and let the chicken gently cook for about half an hour.
After the chicken is cooked add it and all those precious juices to the simmering tomatoes and onion,wipe the frying pan with a slice of kitchen roll turn up the heat add glug of olive oil and quickly fry  thin slices of red pepper,,a few minutes,you still want them to have crunch,add them to the chicken and tomatoes finely chop a big bunch of parsley sprinkle over the top and serve...Cheers Keith,God Bless

Amaretto Espresso and Ice Cream Float

It's the height of Summer and temperatures are soaring this takes me back to my childhood refreshing coke floats,this is a grown up version of a quick easy desert that is so refreshing

In a glass put a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a scoop of coffee ice cream,you could use any flavours you like,then crumble some amaretto biscuits in the glass and give a stir,you could add fruit if you liked,a double shot of espresso,I use Nespresso,best invention in the world for great coffee at home! then a measure of amaretto liqueur ,I topped with a wafer biscuit...So refreshing!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Char Grilled Steak and Fries

With any steak dish,lets face it, you are to a large extent at the mercy of your butcher,sadly in Spain they slaughter meat too young and don't hang meat more than 10 days a crying shame.

In England where meat is amongst the best in the world it is slaughtered later in life and matured for 28 days,and boy Oh boy what a difference it makes,its darker not red,its marbled and the fat looks yellower,full of flavour and cuts like butter.

I always feel sorry for young inexperienced housewives buying the reddest meat with the least fat,you just know it will be like an old boot,and bet your life cooked on the side of caution to death.

Well this wasn't the best meat,but the best I could buy on the day,I took it out the fridge a good hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature,seasoned with coarsely ground pepper and rock salt and a good old glug of olive oil,and let it sit on the board

I get my Griddle pan so hot it you fear it will crack then sear the meat on both sides no more than a minute or two on either side pressing on the meat, bringing out a steamy smoke then place on a roasting tray and put in a pre heated oven to 200' for another 3 minutes ...take it out and let it relax at least 3 minutes.Rub a little cold butter on the top of the steak to give it a lovely shine,or make a herb butter and use that.

I served with Provencal tomato and a simple salad dressed with no more than salt,the juice of half a small lemon and olive oil,and some French fries..

Was it the best..well no,but a good impression of good,sometimes you have to make the very best of the ingredients you have,yes I did that and enjoyed with another bottle of Claret...and thats what you call cooking baby!!!

Classic Provencal Tomatoes

Wow,what a dish,to me this is so much the taste of France.take a Beef Tomato and cut in two,when cutting tomatoes always use a serrated knife ,you can see mine in the picture,makes life so much easier!
Very finely chop a clove or two of garlic,if you prefer a less pronounced garlic flavour par boil the cloves in water for 5 minutes then chop finely

Chop a couple of anchovy fillets,don't be put off,they melt to nothing and add a lovely saltiness,then add stale bread crumbs about 2 tablespoons,again chopped very fine,a food processor makes easy work of this,but if you haven't got one use a grater or japeneese panco crumbs would work well and add with the other ingredients to a bowl with.....
Freshly chopped parsley and a tsb of dried Herb de provence,mix together well in a bowl with a generous glug of olive oil

Now stuff your tomatoes in all the cavities you have made from deseeding...The aromas are already amazing...

Now place in a clay pot or roasting tin and bake for half an hour at 200' until they are sizzling slightly collapsed and fragrant,the perfect accompaniment for steak,which I will make later,the fragrance in your kitchen of garlic and herbs is wonderful

Or any other grilled meat,go on try it,its the taste of every French Cafe and Brasserie...

Chilled out afternoon on the terrace

Its scorchingly hot,but didn't let that deter me from enjoying a bottle of chilled Rioja and olives on the terrace one of the great pleasures of living in the Med,I hope you  are enjoying your day,I adore olives and we are spoilt for choice in Spain I had some juicy olives stuffed with pimenton......lazy days...let there be many more


Friday, July 20, 2012


Sometimes the simplest things are the best,this makes a hearty light lunch or even late night snack.

Fry chopped potato and onion in a frying pan with olive oil at a medium heat,takes about 15 minutes for the potato to cook through and just begin to take on a little colour on the edges,discard most of the oil and add uncooked spicy choritzo,you don't need a lot.
As it gently cooks the gorgeous red pepper oils come out, the smell is marvellous,after 3 minutes add 3 beaten free range eggs well seasoned to the pan, turn the heat to max and after no more than a minute take off the hob and place under a scorching hot grill for a minute and a half,Serve on a plate with some freshly chopped Parsley and a glass of red wine.....bon appetite

I have always loved Indian food,this is as close as I have found to a restaurant dish without having a tandoor oven and without using the red food colouring,which I would have used if I had had any!

Start by making the marinade,in a bowl add 1tsp turmeric,half teaspoon ground cinnamon,1tsp ground ginger,1 tsp ground cumin,1 tsp of cayenne pepper 1tsp of hot paprika a tbsp tomato ketchup and a cup of yogurt,stir together add the juice of half a lemon and a generous helping of freshly milled black pepper,now make incisions diagonally across the chicken breasts add to the bowl and with your fingers massage all the marinade into the chicken,cover with cling film and marinate for 4 hours.

I take the chicken out of the fridge half an hour before I am going to cook them,pre heat the oven to 220,and put some tin foil at the base of a roasting tray

Now on a hot BBQ cook on both sides about 5 mins each side so you have some colour,then add to the roasting tin and cook around 15 mins to 20 mins,keep an eye on them,I served with a fragrant rice and raita .

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Herb & Chilli Roast Potatoes

We have all been dressing salads for ever,a couple of years ago I started dressing vegetables and lentils too,but it wasn't until this year that I tried this dressing of roast potatoes and it really works

In bowl put some dried herbs ,I used herb de Provence and parsley,but could be any dried herb,don't use fresh or they will burn.then add some flaked dried chilli fresh ground black pepper and a generous sprinkling of rock salt

Add a generous couple of gluts of olive oil and mix together

After you have par boiled your potatoes in salted water,drain and give a good shake to bash up all the edges which turn golden brown and crispy

Let them steam and add to the bowl of dressing,mix them together well with your hands,the aromas are to die for,leave them there a good 15 minutes by which time they will have absorbed much of the oil and all the herbs are stuck to them

Now heat at 220 a roasting tin with a good glug of olive oil or goose fat until its smoking hot,then remove from the oven and carefully add your potatoes...roast turning occasionally for around 20 minutes,a treat and a change to your sunday roast.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I have very fond memories of this dish, in the 70's my wife and I used to go to the Lantern Room restaurant, very smart, waiters in black tie, and waiters who were true professionals and would cook this dish at your table, there are lots of variations on this dish, Julia Child used to mariate for 5minues the steaks in soy sauce, I didn't but have done before the result is very good.
Traditionally you use battened out fillet steak, I prefer the flavour of sirloin and so thats what I used. I started by putting a very generous splash of Worcestershire sauce on the steaks and seasoned with salt and pepper, I got my frying pan very hot added a little olive oil and a a spoon of butter then added the steaks and cooked on high heat for around a minute each side,then removed the steaks from the pan and put on a plate to rest.
I took the pan off the heat and reduced the heat to 4, added chopped shallots a little more butter and then sliced mushrooms, I had a beef stock which I reduced by half and added a couple of spoons of the stock to some Dijon mustard about a large teaspoon but you could use more, and stirred together

I increased the heat of the pan to full placed the steaks back in the pan with the shallots and mushrooms,then added a glass of brandy and lit...stand back and let tyne alcohol burn off,then add the mustard and stock mixture to the stack stir and add to the pan,reduce a little and take off the heat add double cream a splash of tobacco freshly chopped parsley and serve.... superb one of my very favourite dishes and sadly along with lobster Thermidore Escargot and Coquille st Jaques rarely seen in restaurants