Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recipe: Beef and Aduki Bean Stew

This is SUCH a moreish delicious beef dish. Absolutely gorgeaus! Also I love any dishes that involve using red or white wine, because in my world that means one glass for the dish and two for the cook! As you can see I served this with some buttered wholemeal bread, but it goes equally well with creamy mash and steamed green veg.

Beef and Aduki Bean Stew (serves 4) £1.79 per portion, £1.97 with brown bread and butter

2 tbsp olive oil
8 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic
400g lean diced casserole steak
1 celery stick, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
120ml red wine
500ml stock (1 beef Oxo, 1 veg Oxo)
1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp mint
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin Aduki beans, drained and washed
1 tsp corn flour, mixed with a little water
3 tbsp chopped mixed fresh coriander and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee shallots and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes, with some salt and pepper.
2. Add all other ingredients except the corn flour and fresh herbs, and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the corn flour mixture, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the fresh herbs and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste and serve.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe: Apple Flapjack

A very simple recipe, but a yummy one nonetheless. There is certainly one thing I have to say about flapjack though- YOU MUST USE BUTTER! Without butter it won't be nearly as good, honestly. In this recipe i have used apples from my friend Ralph's garden, cheers!

I baked them for something called a "naturalisation". I had actually no idea what it was but i realised eventually that it meant my friend from Oklahoma was doing the ceremony that finalises him being 'A British Citizen'. Like, he's allready done the test, it was the final ceremony where you signed a bunch of papers and sang the national anthem and things. I think it's hilarious that people who have done the citizenship test probably know more about Britain, than the people born and raised here! I mean, I don't know the national anthem, do you?

Anyway, so i thought i'd make some "Union Jack Flapjacks" and a big heart shaped flapjack. Corny looking, corny sounding, but it's good fun, and it was for good friends and everyone really enjoyed them! Absolutely delicious.

Apple Flapjacks (makes 18 servings) 16p per serving!

250 g butter
250 g caster sugar
175 g golden syrup
450 g oats
½ tsp ground ginger
225g peeled diced apple

1. Line two heart shaped tins with greaseproof paper and preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
2. Combine butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan, stirring to melt for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and add the apples and ginger and oats.
4. Transfer mixture into the tins and spread out evenly. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Allow to cool. Remove the flapjacks from the tins. Keep whole, or cut each heart into 10 slices.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recipe: Chicken with Sesame Rice and Broccoli

Did I tell you guys yet? I've got a new job! It's a few steps from where I stay at my boyfriend's house, so its very convenient as far as location is concerned. I had to leave River Cottage because my hours had been reduced and i kinda needed more. I'm going to really miss the place though. It's definitely the first place i have left that i am really going to miss full heartedly- the place, the people, the food. Awww....yeah. Still, my new job is GREAT. I am basically a weekend 'Sous Chef'. I'm essentially in charge! I put things I WANT and I CREATE onto a menu, and i do food orders as well. Its very nice to have a bit of power and to have so much more creativity. Thats what I wanted when i became a chef originally- cook nice food for people, that i've created, that i've put my thought and inovation into. I didnt come into the trade to cook the same thing day in day out in a chain restaurant, or to peel potatoes all day. I wanted to be a chef to CREATE.

Anyway, this is a yummy dish and very healthy. It is also very nice using brown rice instead, it's just often i don't have enough time to cook it. I get the miso paste, rice vinegar, mirin and toasted sesame oil all from my local Sainsburys- you don't have to go to a specialist asian market or anything to get them.

Chicken with Broccoli,Rice and a Miso and sesame sauce (serves 2) £1.71 per person

2 skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
Drizzle vegetable oil
Sprinkling of Chinese 5 spice

120g basmati rice
120g broccoli florets
2 spring onions, chopped finely
Small handful coriander, stems and leaves chopped

2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp Miso paste
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Heat the oven to 200C. Put chicken breasts on a non-stick baking tray, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle over some salt, pepper and Chinese 5 spice. Put tray into the oven and the chicken should be cooked in 25-30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile cook the rice according to the packet instructions in salted water. Four minutes before the end of cooking, add the broccoli to the pan. Mix the sauce ingredients together
3. Drain and return to the pan with the spring onions, coriander and the miso sauce. Cook for three minutes or until everything is well combined and hot. Serve!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recipe:Peach Apple Crumble with Toasted Almonds

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Its because of all the Film Studies work I have got going on. It's ridiculous, i have never done a course where a huge percentage of the coursework is wanted BEFORE the end of the first half term. Mental. I really should have chosen to study something easier than Film Noir. Yeah, great idea Mel, choose to study a genre that is ridiculously hard to classify and has hundred of complicated films to choose from. Blegh. I love them though. I got these apples from my friend Ralph's garden, this is a really nice and interesting crumble recipe- usually i don't try anything other than the normal apple or apple and blackberry but this is luuush

Peach and apple crumble, with sugared toasted almonds (serves 6) 75p per person with custard!

600g apples, cooked or eating, peeled and diced
1 x 400g tin peach sliced in fruit juice, drained (240g drained weight) and diced
25g sugar
Juice of half a lemon
110g soft butter
220g plain flour
170g golden caster sugar
50g flaked almonds
Dusting of icing sugar

1. Heat oven to 180C. Pour the diced apple and peach into a large ovenproof dish, sprinkle over lemon juice and sugar.
2. Mix together the butter, flour and sugar with the tips of your fingers- until a fine sandy consistency. Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit, and put into the oven for 50 minutes until the crumble has begun to brown.
3. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry pan until beginning to brown. Whilst still hot, toll in a little dusted icing sugar.
4. Take the crumble out of the oven, sprinkle over the sugared toasted almonds, and serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Recipe: Crabapple Jelly

Theres this big crabapple tree outside my house. I've been there over a year but this is the first time i've used the crabapples, mainly because now I know thats what they are! I had no idea really, and I didn't like the idea of picking random bright coloured fruit and cooking with them! But yeah, they are a variety called "Golden Hornet" and they are damn tasty (with a large amount of sugar added of course). First time i've had a go at making jellies as well but they are scrumptious. Im not sure how long they last yet, but i'm sure in sealed preserving jars that they would last at least a month.

Now that i have LOADS of pots of crabapple jellies in different flavours, I am thinking of trying to make a chutney with the rest of the crabapples and some of the sloe berries growing around here- a neat looking recipe from one of my old preserving books. These jellies are great spread on toast, and a good accompaniment to meat- particularly pork.

Crab-apple Jelly- Makes about 600ml-ish (varies batch to batch!)

750g crab apples
1250ml water
450g sugar to 500ml of drained crabapple liquid (90%)
1 tsp lemon juice, lime juice, or white wine vinegar
(If making a slightly savoury jelly) ½ tsp salt

1. In a large saucepan add the crab-apples and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer, lid on, for about 45 minutes.
2. Strain through a jelly bag/muslin for 2 1/2 hours.
3. Put the crabapple liquid and appropriate sugar into a saucepan with lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil, skimming any scum that forms at the surface. Stir constantly for about 15 minutes.
4. Pour into jars and wait to cool and set. Seal with a lid.

Chilli-16 dried little chillies at stage 1, 2 tsp of crushed chilli flakes at stage 3
Rosemary- 12g rosemary stalks at stage 1, 2 tsp dried rosemary at stage 3, then spoon away most of the stalky bits once you pour it into the jars (they should rise to the top).
Very Sweet- Use 100% ratio sugar with crabapple liquid instead of 90%

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Recipe: Herby Chicken and Cherry Tomato Penne

To be fair, as you can see from the picture, I have used farfalle this time rather than penne. I also used my fresh home grown tomatoes in this, rather than cherry tomatoes. That's whats nice about this recipe- it can be very easily adapted. I mean, I guess this is how I came up with this- just used what I found in the cupboards at the time, but it is rather scrumptious and very healthy too.

Herby Penne with roast chicken and cherry tomatoes (serves 2-3)

2 chicken legs, skin on
Dried thyme
Olive oil (to drizzle)
Salt and pepper
150g penne
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
14 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped basil
Zest of one lemon, and a squeeze of juice
Salt and lots of black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan to serve

1. Preheat oven to 200C. On a baking tray, place the two legs of chicken, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle some thyme and a little seasoning over. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
2. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, remove the skin and get the meat off from the bones. Set aside.
3. Boil the penne according to the packet instructions (cook until al dente).
4. Meanwhile sauté the cherry tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in the extra virgin olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken leg meat, and cook for 3 more minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and add to the tomatoes and chicken. Add the dill, basil and lemon, and cook for a couple more minutes or until all the ingredients are combined and hot.
6. Season to taste and garnish with freshly grated parmesan.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recipe: Lentil,Tomato and Artichoke Salad

This recipe is so quick and easy and with such a delicious outcome. I've only recently discovered the loveliness that is pre-cooked tinned lentils. No fussy soaking or boiling, and still great flavour. The only thing that takes time with this recipe is picking the parsley- but stick with it, it's so darn delicious. I tend to have it on the side of roast chicken or a baked sweet potato. The salsa verde mix is also really nice stirred into cooked buttered new potatoes. This makes a fair amount- but it's fantastic for lunch the next day. I packed some with kos lettuce, and some chilli and cumin marinated olives as a nice office packed lunch for my boyfriend. Nice and healthy.

Lentil, Tomato and artichoke salad with salsa verde dressing (serves 5 as a side dish) 99p per portion

2 tins green or puoy lentils, drained and washed
200g char grilled artichokes in oil, drained and chopped
150g halved cherry tomatoes, or larger tomatoes sliced into wedges
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
40g fresh parsley (30g parsley leaves, 10g stems)
Lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the lentils, artichokes and cherry tomatoes in a bowl.
2. Place all the other ingredients into a food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth.
3. Add the ingredients from the food processor to the lentils, and mix well. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recipe: Blackberry and Apple Crumble

I'm not much of a pudding person, as a family we have never really made as part of our dinner routine, like a lot of families do. However, it was always an autumnal tradition to make at least a couple of blackberry/ blackberry and apple crumbles whilst we can be bothered to go out and battle with the elements to pick our blackberries. The house I grew up in we had an acre of land, which was full of apple, plum and greengage trees- which were all surrounded by masses and masses of brambles. Been much less lazy this year about "foraging". I have made elderberry vodka (marinating vodka, elderberries and sugar for 5 weeks), I am marinating some blackberries in some brandy (to later make crème de Mure) and I am going to have a go at making crab-apple jelly in the next couple of weeks. How very....I dunno..... Victorian of me! All this pickling and preserving and harvesting!

Blackberry and Apple Crumble (serves 5) £1.78 per portion with custard (or 43p per portion if you can go and pick your own blackberries!)

500g blackberries
1 medium sized cooking apple, peeled and diced
50g golden caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
110g soft butter
220g plain flour
170g golden caster sugar

1. Heat oven to 180C. Pour the blackberries and apple into a large ovenproof dish, sprinkle over lemon juice and sugar.
2. Mix together the butter, flour and sugar with the tips of your fingers- until a fine sandy consistency. Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit, and put into the oven for 40-50 minutes until the crumble has begun to brown.
3. Serve with ice cream or lashings of custard!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe: Quorn Sausage and Bean Bake

This recipe started off with the idea that I was going to make a sort-of "vegetarian cassoulet". Since I was rather disorganised that day, not running by a recipe, and kinda grabbing what was to hand- I ended up with this nice vegetarian bake. As it is a fairly dry dish I served this with some mash and a good vegetarian gravy. People seem to think you can't make good gravy without using meat juices- but thats just not true. Just fry up some onions, add a little beer or wine (or any other spirit to hand!) some vegetable stock powder and thicken it down. Season to taste and there you go, youve got a nice meat-free gravy!

Quorn Sausage and bean bake (serves 3) Costs £1.55 per serving, with vegetarian gravy and 80g broccoli, steamed.

2 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
180g young leeks, sliced
1 large or 4 baby carrots, roughly chopped
1 tin Aduki beans, drained
6 vegetarian sausages, fried until golden, then sliced.
Handful fresh sage
1 1/2 slices wholemeal bread
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Fry the onion, leeks and garlic in the olive oil and butter, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and cook for further 10 minutes.
3. Add beans and vegetarian sausages, and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a food processor blend the sage and wholemeal breadcrumbs together until they have become fine breadcrumbs.
4. Spoon the beany mixture into a baking dish, flatten out, and evenly pour the breadcrumb mixture over the beans. Put a little salt and black pepper and top, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with mustardy mash and a good vegetarian onion gravy!