Thursday, March 28, 2013

Recipe: Classic French Onion Soup

A good French onion soup is one of the nicest dishes in existence! I've tried to make it as traditionally as possible, but if you wanted to up the anti go to your butchers and buy a marrow bone. A french onion soup should be beautifully sweet, savoury, wine-y and meaty! This sublime meatiness is often accomplished by chucking a marrow bone into the soup whilst it is boiling, the marrow within enriching and thickening the soup. I didnt have one to hand, and I served the soup with my friend's homemade focaccia instead of the classic toasted gruyere on french bread, but this was a marvellous soup- and I reccomend you give it a go!

Classic French Onion Soup (serves 2_

50g butter (or any animal fat/ beef dripping/lard)
1 large white onion, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp sugar
Pinch herbs du Provence
100ml white wine
60g meat juices (or leftover gravy etc.)
1 litre beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onions, garlic, sugar and herbs in a saucepan for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine and cook for a further 10 minutes.

2. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heart for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, and serve.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recipe: White Chocolate, Pecan and Coconut Cookies

My new housemates love me! I baked a load of these yesterday, for many reasons. 1) One of our housemates was leaving, so it was something to have at the party for people to nibble on. 2) I gave around a dozen to our leaving housemate, to take to his new home/fiancee. 3) Brought another dozen over to my new-ish neighbours, kinda like a reverse American "Hi welcome to the neighbourhood"- more like "Hi, i've moved in next door and am really nice/awesome at baking so invite me to parties please! and  4) Might enter these into a competition, they are rather scrummy, and a little bit different. There are no raising agents in this recipe (as i didn't have any at home), but feel free to use self raising flour if you want a softer/cakier texture to the cookies.

White chocolate, Pecan and coconut cookies (makes 40)

320g sugar
3 medium eggs
250g butter
250g plain flour
180g chopped  pecans, chopped finely
200g white chocolate, chopped finely
250g dried shredded coconut
Pinch salt

1.       Preheat the oven to 200C (fan oven 180C). Melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool a little. Whisk the  eggs and sugar together well (until white and fluffy), then beat in the melted butter.

2.      Add all the other dry ingredients and mix well until you have a fairly firm (but quite sticky!) cookie dough. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Roll 1tbsp amounts of cookie mix into balls and place evenly on the baking tray (leaving a little room for spreading).

3.       Bake in batches, for 14 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, and serve!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Mushrooms, On Toasted Sourdough with Tomato Chutney

Now this is basically a lovely way of doing what is essentially "posh mushrooms and tomatoes on toast". Verrry garlicky, a little bit spicy, and just generally a nice mix of flavours. I made this for my student mate the other day and they thought it was completely gourmet or something, basically having nice things "on toast" can be such a simple thing to make, a delicious thing to eat, and it can be presented pretty nicely if needs be.

Roasted Garlic mushrooms, on toasted sourdough with tomato chutney (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter)
4 thick slices sourdough bread
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

4 large (as large as you can get) field mushrooms
4 garlic cloves
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 green or red chilli, finely diced
60g butter
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Natural yoghurt for garnish (optional)

1.       Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix in the parsley, garlic, chilli, oil and seasoning. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, and fill the field mushrooms with the garlic butter.

2.       Put the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the chutney ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3.       Brush the sourdough with olive oil and seasoning, and grill the bread until golden and crisp. Season the chutney to taste, pour on top of the toast, top with the garlic mushrooms, and a dollop of natural yoghurt if desired.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Jalfrezi

Heres another hot recipe for you girls and boys! I've been getting much more into my spicier food lately, not sure why. I think i just tend to go through phases with the sorts of foods I eat. Like I might for instance, live off salads and soups for weeks, and then the next month literally have chips every day. Same with spicy food- in a spicy mood at the moment, but i could go completely back to Korma-land in a bit. I put quite a lot of natural yoghurt on top of this as a garnish, but that's because it ended up being hotter than I expected again!

Chicken jalfrezi    (serves 2)

2 tbsp olive oil
350g diced chicken breast
½ tsp garlic salt
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tsp freshly minced ginger
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 hot dried red chilli, chopped up finely (add seeds if you want it even hotter!)
½ green pepper, diced
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp curry paste
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
300g passata
200ml chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Natural yoghurt for garnish (optional)

1. Add the oil, chicken and garlic salt to a pan on high heat. Cook the chicken for a few minutes until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, add the onion, ginger, chilli, coriander, green pepper and spices, and fry for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to brown.

2. Add all the other ingredients, and the reserved chicken, and cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, and garnish with extra natural yoghurt if desired.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Fajitas, with a tomato and spring onion salad

This is the first proper meal that i've made for my new housemates! So cool! My south african house mate Brendan, who i get on fantastically well with, really liked this dish. Aw- i'm glad I can hopefully keep the (4!) boys i'm living with happy through feeding them lovely things! This is a really tasty, quick and healthy dish- and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you like, just depending on personal taste. You can adjust the cayenne pepper and the chilli in the dish- or you could add some spicy salsa or jalapenos to the wraps just before eating. Yum!!

Chicken Fajitas with a tomato and spring onion salad (serves 3)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced
½ green pepper, sliced
½ red pepper, sliced
½ yellow pepper, sliced
½ white onion, sliced
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp Thai yellow curry paste
1 tsp Schwartz vegetable seasoning
¼- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it!)
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

6 medium or 3 extra-large tortilla wraps.
250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp French dressing
Big handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1.       Add all the fajita ingredients to a large frying pan or saucepan, and fry on a high heat for about 25-30 minutes, or until everything is well cooked and the chicken and veg have started to blacken a bit/ stick on the pan. Season to taste.
2.       Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C, and put the tortillas, wrapped in cling film, into the oven for 8-10 minutes. Mix together all the salad ingredients, season to taste and set aside.
3.       Take the wraps out of the oven, fill them with the chicken fajita mixture, and serve with the tomato salad, and some natural yoghurt if you so desire.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Recipe: Mexican Tortilla Soup

This is one of the nicest soups I make- and you all know by now that i generally make a lot of them! Its sweet, spicy, tangy, filling, and so moreish! Topping the soup with crushed tortillas gives the soup such an interesting texture as well. I think traditionally tortilla soups are garnished with roast chicken and avocado slices, which you are more than welcome to do- I just didnt do it because my mum is vegetarian and also can't stand avocado!!

Mexican Tortilla Soup  (serves 3)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 green chilli, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tin chopped tomatoes
650ml vegetable stock
1 tin black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
100g tinned sweetcorn, drained
1 tsp lemon juice
Large handful fresh coriander chopped (plus extra for garnish)
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Crushed tortilla chips for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish

1. Fry the onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the oregano and cumin and fry for a further couple of minutes.
2. Add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the beans, sweetcorn, coriander and lemon juice and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
3. Season to taste, and serve, with some fresh coriander and crushed tortilla chips.