Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Birthday of this Blog Today and Catalan Chicken with Chickpeas to Celebrate!

Crikey I can hardly believe it is twelve months ago today that I made my first post for a Hamburger! I started the blog really to catalogue recipes for family and friends, a more modern version of a recipe book. I was surprised that other people actually managed to stumble upon it and thrilled when 12 visitors a day grew and grew and people I had never met from all over the world were making my recipes and I theirs. I have had 53,002 visitors since I started, mind boggling.

I love cooking and entertaining but it has become more difficult to post as often as I still go back to the old favourites that I have posted before, what the blog has done is to make me attempt new dishes and try new things more often, and I have made a great many friends in the food blogging and twitter world.

One of my great highlights of the year was to have Nigel Slater actually reading some posts and rather liking them. Surreal.

 Anyway this is based on a recipe I saw in Saturdays Financial Times only they used Quail! I marinated the Chicken with Salt Pepper a squeeze of Lemon and a tbsp of sweet Paprika only an hour or so, then in a Casserole dish melted some butter with a glug of Oil and browned on both sides the Chicken Breasts and set aside.

I added just a touch more butter and added finely chopped Onion Garlic about two cloves and finely diced celery and Carrot and sweated them off gently for about 20 minutes
 Then add some finely chopped Chorizo and a finely chopped Red Chilli and cook out for a further few minutes I added a generous glass of dry White Wine, and of course poured a glass for myself, all cooks should drink whilst they cook simply rude not too!

Now add about a pint of chicken stock let it simmer...I made in a mortar and pestle a very simple Picada, I dry fried some almonds added them to my mortar and pestle along with a garlic clove some rock salt and a touch of Lemon juice and drop of olive oil and crushed them into a paste which I added to the pot and stirred in.
It helps thicken the sauce and gives a lovely depth of flavour

Now add a jar of Chickpeas (cooked) and top with the Chicken put it on a slow low simmer covered with a lid and cook on the stove for around 20 minutes.

Serve on a plate with freshly chopped Parsley and season to taste Delicious only would be better I think with Quail!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Paprika Chicken with Charred Red Peppers and Chilli

Dont get me wrong I am relieved and delighted to be very busy at work but gosh my twitter and blog life has come to a standstill! Time is in short supply and the dishes I am cooking, when I have been cooking which has not been often of late have been very quick and simple affairs.
 This is typical of my recent cooking exploits so quick and yet still packs a punch with flavour, Simply marinate the chicken breasts in Lemon juice Paprika Picante and a pinch of Chilli Powder and a glug of Olive Oil and let them marinade at least an hour, I did these in the morning for Dinner in the evening
Get your Griddle pan smoking hot and I added some sliced Red Peppers and fresh chillies just dressed in Salt and Pepper and a little Oil and blacken them for 3 or 4 minutes, set aside to keep warm.

Then char your Chicken breasts 3 minutes either side and put in a preheated oven for around 15 minutes at 200c. meanwhile take a tub of Greek yoghurt and the juice of a Lemon and a glug of Oil.

Serve the chicken on top of the Peppers with a spoonful of the Yoghurt...It doesn't get simpler than that really quick and very tasty.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lemon Marinated Pork Chops

 I have been a bit absent of late from my little blog for two reasons really firstly just manicaly busy at work, which is a jolly good thing given the economy, seem to be bucking the trend for now anyway so making hay whilst the sun shines. Secondly as I have posted over a hundred different dishes over the year do tend to find the dish I am making I have already blogged or it got late and just couldn't be bothered!
 Anyway here is one of those dishes I made the other day when I really was a bit pressed for time and wanted a one pot wonder!
It couldn't be easier I marinated some pork chops over night in Lemon juice and Garlic then quickly pan fried them to give a bit of colour and added them to a clay pot which I had put some sliced Potato
 some sliced Onions a chopped Tomato a crushed clove of Garlic and a sliced Courgette, Mixed them all together with a glug of Oil some Oregano and plenty of Salt and Pepper and a glass of White Wine and put them in a pre heated Oven for around 45 minutes before adding the Pork Chops at 200c
 After 5 minutes added some frozen Peas and cooked for around another ten minutes so the chops are just cooked through.
Take the dish out the oven add the zest of a Lemon and a little squeeze of Lemon Juice and sprinkled over some Freshly chopped Parsley for Colour. Really tasty great flavours from humble little ingredients and hassle free to make!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Entrecote with Lemon and Herb Butter

 There is nothing nicer than a beautiful Griddled Steak with Salad very French and a firm favourite in our house. To a large extent you are very much at the mercy of your butcher, I am so fortunate to have finally found an excellent butcher this steak has been matured for 60 days weighed around 225gms and cut like butter.
 The butter is taken from Daniel Galmiche's excellent book "French Brasserie Cookbook" to make the butter put butter, 2tbsp of chopped Parsley 1tbsp of chopped Tarragon some Lemon Zest and a squeeze of Lemon Juice in a bowl and mix together in a bowl then place on cling film in a sausage shape and roll to make a butter sausage place in the fridge to set, then you can cut a slice off for Barbecues and Grilled Meats as and when you need it
To cook the steak, and these were big, get your griddle pan scorching hot and make sure you have taken the steak out of the fridge at least an hour earlier so they are at room temperature, rub in some Olive Oil on both sides a sprinkling of Thyme leaves and a squeeze of Lemon Juice and season well with Salt and Black Pepper.

I seared couple of minutes each side turning every minute and finished in the oven for 10 minutes which gave them a blushing Medium Rare. If your steaks are thiner 5 minutes would do

Let them rest for 5 minutes makes all the difference and add a slice of your herb butter.

I served with Salad and Boulangere Potatoes Heaven!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Osso Bucco with Risotto alla Milanese

It seems like yesterday that there wasn't a decent Italian Restaurant in London that didn't have this on the menu, how things have changed and not really for the better.

This is one of the great classic dishes of Northern Italy traditionally served with a Risotto alla Milanese, truth is the original dish created in the Osteria Restaurant in Milan did not include Tomatoes that was a somewhat later addition of 40 years ago but in my view a welcome one.

Osso Bucco is cross cut veal shank, the marrow hole at the centre of the veal shank oozes a rich flavour and a glossy appearance.

Start by seasoning well your meat and dust in Flour.
 Then in a lidded pot on a medium to high heat with Olive Oil and butter, brown the meat both sides, takes a couple of minutes each side, then reserve to a plate.
 Now reduce the heat and add finely chopped onion and a Celery stalk and two cloves of garlic and sweat on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the onions are sweet and translucent add a glass of white wine or Vermouth a tin of Tomatoes and a pint of Chicken Stock. Top with a Bay leaf and season generously bring to the boil add your reserved veal, put on a lid and place in the oven in a preheated oven at 150c for at least two and a half hours
 To make a proper Risotto alla Milanese takes around 50 minutes, Start by sweating at low heat finely chopped Garlic and Onion for around twenty minutes in Olive Oil and Butter.
Then off the heat add your Risotto rice and stir with a wooden spoon until they are coated and glossy then put back on a medium to low heat and add your first ladle of the top quality Chicken stock, let the stock completely absorb before adding another...
Keep stirring adding ladle after ladle very slowly. after 30 mins your rice is cooked add a generous pinch of saffron, and a glass of White wine.
As it absorbs add a good grating of fresh parmesan and 2 tablespoons of room temperature Butter and stir in.

Make a quick Gremolata which is no more then chopped Parsley Garlic and the zest of a couple of Lemons combine it all together

Serve the risotto on the plate topped carefully with the Osso Bucco being careful to keep in one piece and not to loose the marrow.

Now sprinkle over the fresh vibrant Gremolata

Perfection on a plate well worth the wait

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fresh Raw Artichoke Salad

 I think Spring is my favourite season, everything coming to life and the climate in Spain is perfect not to hot but blue sky's ever day. I love the new seasons Artichokes Asparagus, Strawberries and Peas and do try to make a point of eating whats in season and when I saw these little artichokes I just had to have them.
I wont pretend they are my favourite vegetable but these were young and crisp so I peeled off the harder spiky outer leaves to reveal the inner leaves, covered them instantly in Lemon juice to retain there colour chopped some fresh Mint a glug of your very best Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkled generously with Salt flakes and a grind or two of Black Pepper just delicious vibrant and so fresh. I preferred them in this crisp raw state to cooking them.

Give them a try, you won't be disappointed but make sure they are young and fresh

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blanes de Poulet au Legumes et Lardons

 Don't all dishes sound so much more delicious in French, This is a Charred Chicken Breast with a little Ragout of Spring vegetables with crispy Pancetta and a gorgeous little Spring or Summer treat it is too.

I cook Chicken a lot and I am always looking for different ways to do it, this is my own invention but the inspiration comes from the great Daniel Galmiche. One of the real treats in Spring is the first of the Seasons new Asparagus absolutely one of my favourite vegetables at this time of year the later part of the Season the Asparagus becomes a bit stringy and firm, now is the time to enjoy it, along with Peas and Spring Onions.

 Start by marinating your Chicken breasts in Lemon Juice, Garlic and Olive Oil with a sprig of Rosemary an hour or two before cooking.

Now get your Griddle pan scorching hot, takes about ten minutes to get to temperature at full heat and sear your chicken breasts a minute or so either side so that they have taken on those brown scorch lines, then place in a roasting tin with the marinade and Rosemary poured over them and put in a preheated oven at 200c for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your Chicken breasts.
Now put a Frying pan on a medium to high heat add a good dollop or two of butter and when it foams add some chopped Carrot, keep shaking the pan for 4 minutes or so then add chopped Spring Onion cook for a minute and add a glass of White Wine, it will sizzle and bubble up place a lid ajar on top to let the veg steam.

Every 3 minutes or so check to see when the wine has reduced add a Ladle of Chicken stock then add your sliced Courgette and Asparagus, couple of Minutes remove the lid and add Frozen Peas and some pre boiled New Potatoes, another 3 minutes and they are ready Add the Zest of a Lemon and a Handful of Fresh chopped Mint and Parsley stir it in 30 seconds and serve onto your plate. In a separate pan fry at high heat some Pancetta only takes a couple of minutes and drain on kitchen paper, scatter these around and over your Vegetables and top with the griddle Chicken spooning those delicious Roasting Juices from the Pan over the Chicken Breast.

A very simple but vibrant flavoursome dish, give it a try

Monday, April 29, 2013

Boudin Noir Aux Pommes

As a child I thought there could be nothing more revolting than Black Pudding, the English variety, heavy almost always overcooked with big lumps of white fat, to this day shudder at the offerings of School breakfast black pudding too horrid for words.

It wasn't until I was eight or nine years of age in a Brasserie in Paris that quite by accident I ordered Boudin Noire aux Pommes, I had no idea what it was but thought it sounded good, On its arrival I thought it was a sausage with this rich delicious minced filling and I adored it.
 I am still not fond of the English variety but the French and Spanish version is something quite different a wonderful starter or light Lunch.

Daniel Galmiche in his French Brasserie Cookbook has a version with Pears, but perhaps through childhood memories I prefer the more traditional caramelised Apple.

In a saucepan bring salted water to a simmer, not a boil as the skins are easily burst and gently simmer the sausage for around 4 minutes. Meanwhile in a non stick frying pan bring a dollop of Butter to a medium heat until it is frothing and add slices of Apple, cook gently for 3 minutes until they take on some colour then add a tsp of Sugar and a good glug of Balsamic vinegar and a splash of Water and let it cook down to a light Syrup.
Now add your Sausage to another frying pan with a little Sunflower Oil and cook at a Medium heat again for say 3 minutes and serve. Bon appetite !

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pan Roasted Salmon with Lemon & Coriander Mayonnaise

 This very simple rather Summery dish is a version of Daniel Galmiche's the only difference is that he uses Lime rather than Lemon in the Mayonnaise, which is without doubt a far better choice, I just didn't have a Lime to hand last night!

 Start by making the Mayonnaise I love making my own but mid week a jar of Hellmann's is forgivable, In a bowl Zest a Lemon add a handful of Coriander Leaves finely chopped a couple of large spoonfuls of the Mayonnaise Salt and Pepper and a squeeze of Lemon juice. If you have Lime use it instead in exactly the same way and mix it all together
Now score the skin of your Salmon Fillet with a sharp knife and season. In a non stick frying pan heat a dollop of Butter and a splash of Olive Oil on a medium high heat until its foaming and add your Salmon skin side down for 4 minutes. Don't move it.
Then flip the fish over and cook for a minute, flip it once more skin side down and put in a pre heated oven at 200c for 5 minutes.

Let the fish rest for a minute or two before serving. I made some charred Asparagus and a crushed New Potatoes with Coriander, and a spoonful of the zesty Mayonnaise on the side. Perfect

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

French Rabbit Casserole with Lemon & Garlic

 Or as this dish is called in France "Lapin en Cocotte au Citron a L'ail", why is it that to the English at least, dishes sound so much more appetising in French or Italian!

This recipe is from Daniel Galmiche's brilliant "French Brasserie Cookbook" and whilst its a simple dish it does need to be cooked with some care.
In France, Spain and Italy, Rabbit is hugely popular yet in England it is less common. It is very much like Chicken but with a more gamey flavour and I would really encourage you to try it
Its the first time I had attempted this recipe and on reading it through I thought it would benefit from the addition of white wine, but I followed the recipe to the letter and rather glad I did, wine would have changed this dish to something completely different, as it was the sauce was a light syrupy delight.

So for the first time at least, stick to the recipe. This is a spectacular dish a beautiful marriage of flavours and a recipe I whole heartedly urge you to try.

Pre heat your oven to 180c. Put the zest and juice of a lemon in a bowl with a couple of tbsp of Olive Oil and add your Jointed Rabbit, season with Salt and Pepper and let it marinate for 5 minutes.
In a large Casserole dish add 15g of Butter and a good glug of Olive Oil and put on a medium high heat and sauté the rabbit pieces until golden brown, takes around 8 minutes each side. Now add 4 Garlic cloves unpeeled crushed with the flat  edge of your knife and the Lemon marinade, turn the heat down slightly and stir to deglaze your pan.

Reduce the liquid for around 5 minutes until it is slightly syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Add a 500ml of Chicken Stock, I had added the heart liver and head of the Rabbit to a Chicken stock to get more Flavour, and poured it through a sieve into the casserole dish with a couple of sprigs of fresh Thyme bring to the boil and put in the oven 30 to 35 minutes.
After half an hour remove the rabbit from the casserole dish onto an ovenproof serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Return the Casserole dish to the hob and bring the cooking liquid to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, for about 5 minutes until the sauce has the consistency of a light syrup.

Pour the sauce over the Rabbit and serve with some Chopped Parsley and a buttered Spinach

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gambas Pil Pil

By and Large in Andalusia there is a culture of rarely drinking alcohol without eating, makes a lot of sense, of course the English in Spain don't always take a lot of notice and seem to drink morning noon and night.
 But the Tapas culture is a wonderful thing that I really enjoy, little nibbles are so often more exciting than the big event, and in Spain Lunch is very much the main meal and Tapas will often suffice in the Evening.

My favourite Tapas is Gambas Pil Pil, Its very quick and simple and this is very much an authentic recipe that you will see throughout Spain. Key is to use very Fresh Raw Prawns, the pre cooked ones will go rubbery, Shell them and put in a bowl with a tsp of Paprika Picante and a squeeze of Lemon juice.

 In a Cazuelita which is an earthenware dish that can be put on an Electric or Gas Hob, heat to a Medium High Heat with some Good Quality Virgin Olive Oil add 5 or 6 finely chopped cloves of Garlic, dried or chopped Fresh Chillies and add your raw Prawns , after a minute or so they turn pink add a glass of Manzanilla or white wine, it will bubble and sizzle scatter some chopped Parsley and serve with crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices and a glass of ice cold Manzanilla.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thai Weeping Tiger

 I had the most wonderful week at work, hard work with a huge dollop of good luck led to a weekend of indulgence and Yahooing which I couldn't have enjoyed more. Come Sunday I was very glad to stay at home and what could be better to recover than some spicy Thai food and no booze!
There are a few stories why this is called Weeping Tiger but truth is I have no idea why it's called that, I first had this in the 1990's at the Blue Elephant in London loved it then and order it whenever I see it on the menu.

It couldn't be simpler start with some finely chopped Ginger about a third of a thumbs worth put it in a bowl with 3 or 4 chopped Red Chillies, yep its very hot, use less if you are nervous, add a good glug to fill a small bowl about half way of Light Soy Sauce the juice of two limes a tbsp of Fish Sauce and ideally fresh Coriander, I only had dry but that worked, and half a clove of crushed Garlic, I usually boil the garlic first so it doesn't have that raw taste which can be a bit overpowering.
Give it all a good stir and taste may need a little sugar. I use this as both a marinade and a dipping sauce to serve with the meat.
Now marinate a Rib Eye or Sirloin Steak for about 20 minutes, because of the Lime it's probably enough and then cook your steak on a griddle pan a minute either side let it rest and drizzle with the sauce.

Delicious , I served with Sticky Thai rice and a Red Chicken Curry gorgeous.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 The Italian Frittata always seems to me to be the more casual relation to the more formal traditional fold over French Omelette and I rather like that. You will never see this on an Italian Restaurant Menu, it is meant  to be a dish served at home, a heart warming dish using up mostly Mediterranean Vegetables but you know you can put whatever you like in this

 I live in Spain and adore Tortilla or Spanish Omelette which traditionally is just Potatoes Onions garlic and a little Egg, so I do like more often than to use a lot of Potato in my Frittata.

So on this occasion I started with Chopped Potato and Onion and cooked them in Olive Oil for around 20 Minutes. I then added some sliced Red Pepper some chopped Chilli, Some dried Parsley some mushrooms I had left, and a handful of Spinach,
Once the Spinach had wilted I added 4 Eggs which I had whisked up in a bowl with a fork..let it cook only a couple of minutes and then put the whole pan under a preheated grill for around 5 minutes until it has bubbled up and tinged a little.

You could make this with or without Potatoes or Mushrooms , you could add cheese, its up to you, Its a wicked dish great served Hot or Cold and wonderful on Picnics