Sunday, September 30, 2012

Recipe: Tomato and Black Olive Chicken

I made this tonight to warm me up as I believe both me and the weather have conveniently agreed that it is pretty much Winter now (ok... I know it's autumn really but I reckon we're just going to have a really cold time from now until march!). Nick however disagrees, and says it's not cold enough to start using the portable heaters around the house yet (our house doesn't have central heating or double glazing)!!. "Think about the heating bills" he says. It's so funny, my student friends were saying that because they are so skint (and also because they'd rather spend their money on alchohol) they are officially not turning on their heating until December, meanwhile they're all sleeping in jumpers and sleeping bags AS WELL as their duvet, haha! This was really nice served with this couscous dish I made on the side too- it's simply cous cous mixed with kidney beans, feta and sundried tomatoes.

Tomato and Black Olive Chicken (serves 2)

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced
Knob of butter
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
Pinch sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
200ml chicken stock
1 tin tomatoes
100g black olives, halved (and pitted!)
Handful fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1. In a large deep frying pan, sauté the chicken in 1tbsp of the oil, with some salt and pepper, for a couple of minutes each side, or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
2. To the same pan, add the rest of the oil, butter and red onion, and cook on a high heat for a further 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the reserved chicken and all other ingredients (except fresh basil) and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the chopped fresh basil, stir in well, season to taste and serve- with some extra basil leaves on top for presentation.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Recipe: Avocado and Feta Salsa

Yes that's right, another feta recipe! I ought to get Apetina to sponsor me or something, haha! This sounds a bit unusual but trust me it works- the saltiness of the feta goes so well with the avocado, it's ace. It works fab as a guacemole-like dip for nachos and things, on the side of mexican/south american dishes, or actually it's very nice on toast- kinda like a bruschetta topping. If you dont have cider vinegar use some lemon juice or anything acidic- it's mainly just to stop the avocado from browning.

Avocado and Feta Salsa
1 Ripe Haas avocado, peeled and diced
80g feta, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
½ red chilli finely chopped
Handful fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together, season to taste and serve!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recipe: Rice and Feta Stuffed Peppers

This is a nice recipe I rustled up as I had peppers, risotto rice, and now a load feta to use up suddenly- I had a big 1kg block of feta left over from Widcombe Rising, which (unopened) lasts until 2013 something, but SOMEONE (i'm pointing at you boyfriend!) drunkenly (or more worryingly, in his sleep, like sleep-eating!!) opened the pack of feta and had a nibble, so over the next month probably almost every recipe on here will include feta in some shape or form! I'm wondering whether it would be wise to make a big spanakopita filling (feta, ricotta, dill and spinach) and freeze it, to make spanakopitas at another time, but i'm not really sure how well feta freezes. Any way, this is a very pleasant healthy lunch for two, and very cheap to make.

Rice and Feta Stuffed Peppers (serves 2)

2 large or 3 smaller green peppers, halved and seeded
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp mixed herbs
100g Arborio rice
400ml vegetable stock
1 large ripe tomato, diced
Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
80g feta diced

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Lay the halved peppers in a roasting dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive. Season with a little salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and butter for about 10 minutes. Add the mixed herbs, rice, and stock and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the chopped tomato and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the basil and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season the rice to taste and spoon into the roasted pepper halves. Top with the cubed feta, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with some mixed green salad!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Recipe: Chicken and sweetcorn mayo

Hey guys, sorry I havent posted in a while, was on holiday in Barcelona! In fact I wisked Nick away there as a present for his birthday and our 4 year anniversary, aren't I the most awesome girlfriend ever? Haha! Basically this is the nicest filling for jacket potatoes or sandwiches- yummm! You can use full fat mayo, or if you are trying to keep the fat down, you can use low fat mayo or natural yoghurt- both work just as well.

Chicken Sweet corn Mayo (serves 2)

1 small cooked chicken breast, diced
1 340g tin sweetcorn, drained
100g mayo
½ tsp English mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Season to taste and serve!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recipe: Creamy Coriander Chicken

Hey guys. Made this the other day because I had this block of creamed coconut that'd had been in the fridge for aaages, and a load of fresh coriander and chillies to use up- so I sort of chucked this together really! Rather scrummy, kinda like a passanda but very fragrant. Quite rich too- bit of a treat, considering i've been watching my weight and working out a lot lately. Mind you, it seems it doesn't matter what I do about my diet- pig out every day, or survive on nothing but salads and ryvitas for weeks, my weight always stays the same. Eh, maybe i'm just supposed to be this size- just "normal-sized"? Anyway, I served this with rice and peas and that went very nicely with it.

Creamy Coriander chicken (serves 2)

½ white onion, diced
Large handful coriander, roughly chopped (plus extra for garnish)
2 green chillis, seeded.
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
100g creamed coconut
400ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Blitz the onion, coriander, garlic and chilli with a little water in a food processor until it forms a paste. Fry the onion, garlic and coriander in the rapeseed oil for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and garam masala and fry for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked. Serve with some extra fresh coriander on top.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Recipe: Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts wrapped in Parma Ham

Can't believe this worked so well! Yaaay! I've always seen people on TV and cookery programs making various types of stuffed chicken recipes, but I always thought if i'd tried to do it everything would fall out and it wouldn't work. This worked really well though! The chicken stays really nice and moist and when you slice it up it looks very "dinner-party-presentable"- despite being so seasy to makr. Nick wasn't too fond of the lemon flavour with the ricotta, but you can flavour the ricotta with anything really, sundried tomatoes, olives, herbs- very nice with rosemary actually.

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts wrapped in Parma Ham
100g ricotta
Zest of half a lemon (or ½ tsp any type of dried herbs- rosemary,thyme etc.)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts
4 slices parma ham

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Mix together the ricotta, lemon (or herbs), olive oil and seasoning. Slice into the chicken breasts lengthwise, until almost all the way through, and open out. Stuff with the ricotta, and close up.
3. Place two Parma ham slices together, place the stuffed chicken breast on top, and roll up (so that the entire breast is wrapped in Parma ham). Place on a non-stick tray and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Slice and serve!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recipe: Chargrilled Courgette, Pea, and Ricotta Tagliatelli

This is such a divine recipe- the earthy flavours of the courgette mixing with the fresh zesty flavours of lemon and ricotta. I got this ricotta from the new Jamie's Deli that's opened up in town, the place is STUNNING- It's like a proper decent Italian deli, just with a few Jamie Oliver branded things scattered about. Theres meats hanging from the ceilings, big wheels of cheese, crates of unusual vegetables outside, and a fab deli counter. However, i had my sneaky eye on the ricotta they were selling, as i could tell it was THE REAL DEAL rather than the watery tasteless ricotta you get from supermarkets. This ricotta, sourced from Westcombe which is only a couple of miles from where I live, is so delicious and creamy and lovely- i'm hooked! This recipe takes 15 minutes to make and is very good for you- it includes at least 2 of your 5 a day in there! You can either use chargrilled courgettes that you get in a packet from the supermarket, or you could make your own by just chucking some courgettes on a griddle pan for a couple of minutes each side.

Chargrilled courgette, pea, and ricotta Tagliatelli (serves 1)

100g dried Tagliatelli
80g frozen peas
80g diced chargrilled courgettes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Plenty of salt and pepper to taste
30g fresh ricotta

1. Cook the Tagliatelli according to the packet instructions. 2 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the frozen peas to the pan.
2. Drain the peas and pasta, and return to the pan. Mix in the courgettes, olive oil, lemon and seasoning. Top with the fresh ricotta and serve!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Recipe: Student's Basic Spag Bol

All of a sudden it seems, my little baby brother is going off the University!! Can't believe it really, he's such a numpty bless him! Me and my family werent sure whether he was going to get into Uni because his BTEC grades were a bit rubbish, but he's been accepted on a foundation degree (4 years, eep!) and is moving out on monday! This is the first time my brother actually wanted to learn a few cooking basics actually, because as we were growing up as kids I loved food and tried getting my brother into it, but he never showed any interest. Mum's taught him to cook rice and pasta, and some egg dishes (omelette and scrambled eggs and all that) and yesterday i went over and taught him how to cook spaghetti bolognese and chilli con carne. I think those are just great basic student go-to's, and mince is so cheap as well. This is the most simple, basic recipe I could teach him (as he has no cooking experience atall) with the most basic ingredients- and i honestly believe even the most kitchen-shy student could pull this one off. The mince can also be frozen in seperate portions if the student has a freezer (not completely sure whether my bro has one or not?)

Student’s Basic Bolognese (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 white or red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or a tsp of pureed garlic)
500g minced beef
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tin chopped tomatoes
400ml beef stock (made with two beef Oxo cubes)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Sugar salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Grated parmesan on top

1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes- or until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.
2. Add the minced beef, a little salt and pepper, and mixed herbs, and cook on a high temperature for 10 minutes, stirring often, until well browned.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste and serve!

*When cooking the pasta, it’s about 125g dried pasta per person

Monday, September 3, 2012

Recipe: French Pink Garlic Soup

This is my try at a traditional dish I tried recently on my holiday in the Dordogne, and as promised on this blog, i said i would try and recreate it at home and I think i've done a rather good job! I had a bit of a google to see what other traditional recipes include- many of which included egg or mayonaiise, which was a factor i wasn't too keen on, so i just tried making it as close to what i thought the dish tasted like in the restaurant. I wont lie to you guys, this recipe is not for the faint hearted, you have to really LOVE garlic in order to enjoy this soup. I brought back the large head of pink garlic (the size of a head of elephant garlic really) from my holiday in France (from the market in Sarlat)- but you may be able to get pink garlic from a local farmers market. If you can't, and you wanted to create this recipe with normal garlic (although i'm not sure whether the flavour of normal garlic is the same as pink) then i would reccomend using 25 normal sized garlic cloves. Yes ladies and gentlemen- I said 25. I did say this recipe was for alium lovers!!!

French Pink Garlic Soup (serves 2)

50g butter
3 large white onions
1 large head pink garlic, cloves peeled and roughly chopped
Pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
800ml chicken or vegetable stock
75ml double cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onions, garlic thyme and bay leaf in the butter for 6 minutes. Add the stock and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the cream and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, blend, season to taste and serve!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Recipe: Puttanesca for One

Puttanesca is a traditional Italian tomato sauce, traditionally made with tomatoes, olives, capers, olive oil, chilli and garlic. In the Neopolitan region, it is also traditional to add lots of anchovies and oregano to the sauce. I've used worchester sauce because I don't like anchovies (too fishy for me) but worchester sauce is made with anchovies and I quite like that taste of it so i thought it made a good substitute. The sauce is said to have been invented in the 50s, and has been very popular in Italy from the 60s onwards. I have used wholegrain spaghetti this time- but that's what I just happened to have in the house, use white if you'd prefer.

Spaghetti Puttanesca (serves 1)

100g spaghetti
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
100g passata (or tomato juice)
30g black olives
20g capers
2 tsp Worchester sauce
Pinch chilli flakes
Pinch garlic salt
Pinch dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions.
2. Put all the other ingredients in another smaller saucepan, and cook on a medium heat for 6 minutes.
3. Drain the spaghetti, stir in the sauce, and put back on the heat until most of the excess liquid has evaporated and the sauce becomes thick (this normally takes 1-2 minutes).
4.Serve with some freshly chopped parsley on top!