Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken or Lamb Tagine

Seem to have been making a lot of slow cooker tagines recently.  Maybe that's because I've had no kitchen to speak of.  There are a million tagine variations, but this is now my go-to recipe for either chicken or lamb.

Serves 4

8 chicken thighs or 500g cubed lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika

10 dried apricots, cubed (or dates, if using lamb)

2 tsp honey
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin boiling water
1 tin chickpeas
1 chicken stock cube
2 tsp dried mint

Fry the chicken thighs in the olive oil.  Once brown, place into the slow cooker warming on high, leaving the oil in the frying pan.

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil left in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Add the cinnamon, cumin and ginger and continue frying for another 5 minutes or the onion starts to brown or catch.  Add the rest of the ingredients and heat until simmering.

Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker and leave to cook on High for 6-8 hours until the chicken is falling off the bone.

Serve with couscous or bulghur wheat

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Chorizo Stuffed Marrow

What to do with a courgette/marrow glut Part 5

No attempt to clear a courgette/marrow glut would be complete without Stuffed Marrow.  But in an attempt to make it palatable to the kids, I have wooed them with a chorizo flavoured stuffing from - an ever so slightly toned down version of River Cottage's Tupperware Chorizo to be exact.

Serves 6

1 oversized courgette/small marrow

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes

500g minced pork
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
50ml red wine
Freshly ground black pepper

 Mix and squish the chorizo ingredients together thoroughly. Seal in a tupperware container and leave for 24 hours or more (it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge) for the flavours to develop.

On the day you are cooking your stuffed marrow, wash and halve the marrow lengthways and scrape out the seeds.  Find a high sided baking tray they can fit snuggly in side by side cut side up.  Season the cavity and drizzle with olive oil.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until it just starts to brown.  Add the chorizo mix and fry this until brown too.  Pour in the chopped tomatoes and half a can of water to make a sloppyish mixture.

Once the sauce is bubbling, turn off the heat and spoon into the marrow cavity.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil (it is the trapped steam that cooks the marrow) and bake for 30 minutes.  The recipe I followed said it should be ready after this time, but my overgrown yellow courgette was still solid at this stage.  I ended up baking it for an hour so factor this into your estimated dinner time!

I served it with bulghur wheat and it was announced the best way ever of having courgette!

Dairy Free Courgette & Lime Cake

What to do with a courgette/marrow glut Part 4

I believe this is a Nigella Lawson recipe. which I found on someone else's blog.  I made it as an all in one recipe in the food processor as is my wont, rather than the more traditional cream and stir in method.  It is also supposed to be a sandwich cake, but I make 2 loaves and iced them in their lining paper to take to market.

250-300g courgette/marrow
125ml sunflower oil
150g sugar
225g self raising flour
2 eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lime juice
50g raisins (optional)

2 tbsp lime juice
Icing sugar (about 20 heaped teaspoons)

Makes 2 small loaves/cakes (2lb loaf or 21cm round tins)

If using raisins, leave these to plump up in a little boiling water as you start making the cake.

Wash and roughly chop the courgette (I had to peel mine as it had grown tough like a pumpkin's as it was the size of a marrow).  Chop the courgette in the food processor to a fairly fine rubble.  Tip into your tin.

Cream the sugar, oil, and eggs in the food processor.  Don't worry if any bits of courgette are still in the bowl. Add the flour, lime juice (I used bottled lime juice from Aldi), and baking powder and mix again until smooth.

Add the courgette, and raisins if using, and quickly mix to incorporate.

Spoon and divide equally into 2 lined cake tins.  Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Mix the lime juice for the icing with enough icing sugar to make a cream like consistency, halfway between double and extra thick cream.  You want to be able to pour it on but not have it run off the cake like milk.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Creamy Courgette Pasta

I have returned from 3 weeks away to find 6 overgrown courgettes on my allotment.  This is the first of many recipes to tackle my 'courgette problem'.

I started off intending to make Jamie Oliver's Courgette Carbonara, but as ever had to improvise as I realised I had no bacon, ham or lardons, no cream, and no spare eggs.

Serves 4
4 medium courgettes, any colour
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
200g soft cheese
50g mature cheddar
400g dried pasta shapes

Wash, top and tail, and then grate the courgettes.  Using my overgrown courgette, I had to peel the harden skin off so my resulting sauce is a rather insipid colour.  Fry the grated courgette with the olive oil over a medium heat in a high sided saute pan until it is soft and almost transluscent, or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions.

When the courgette is soft, add the soft cheese and melt and stir it into the courgette together with the garlic and plenty of black pepper.  Stir in the cheddar and leave on the lowest heat until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta, reserving about half a mug of the cooking water.  Pour the cooked pasta into the courgette sauce and stir the sauce through thoroughly, adding a little of the pasta water for a looser sauce if preferred.

What to do with a courgette/marrow glut Part 2

Monday, 25 July 2016

Italian Courgette Soup

Frantically trying to eat up a glut of courgettes, I remembered a recipe that my flatmate in Siena (I studied French & Italian at university and spent my 3rd year half in Siena and half in Nantes) taught me.  It is surprisingly tasty for a recipe with so few ingredients.

1 large courgette
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp olive oil
500ml boiling water

Finely slice the courgette (I used the julienne attachment on a mandolin).  Fry over a medium heat until the courgette begins to brown.  Add the water and crumbled stock cube.  Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes.  Whisk to break up the courgette and serve.

To make this a more filling soup you could add a small handful of white rice with the liquid.

What with a courgette/marrow glut Part 1!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

St Clements Marmalade with Elderflower

I'm not sure as I peer through the rain covered window whether any elderflowers are left out there, but if there are and you are making Elderflower Cordial I highly recommend making marmalade with the orange and lemon soaked with the elderflowers overnight.

Makes about 3x 450g jars
2 oranges
2 lemons

Remove the sliced oranges and lemons from the discarded elderflowers.  Don't worry if any odd elderflowers are attached to the slices, that is part of this marmalade's charm.  Finely shred the slices including the rind, ensuring you remove all the pips as this can make the marmalade unpleasantly bitter.

Once shredded, weigh the chopped mass.  Write this weight down then and add the same weight of water to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer very gently with the lid off until the rind is soft enough to squash between your fingers.  My marmalade recipe says 2 hours but it is for Seville marmalade the rinds of which are apparently tougher than most citrus fruit.  I think it took about 30-60 minutes to be soft enough.

When you think the rind is soft enough add double the weight of the shredded fruit in sugar.  Stir to dissolve and bring to a rolling boil and keep it boiling for 10 minutes.  Test for set on a saucer that has been placed in the freezer.  The marmalade is set when about a teaspoon of marmalade wrinkles when cooled as you push the edge of it towards the middle.  Turn off the heat once the marmalade has reached setting point and leave for about 10 minutes before pouring into sterlised jars (see below).  The reason for leaving it to cool a little is to stop start the jam setting and stop all the rind floating to top.

How to sterilise jars:-  Soak the labels off in warm soapy water and clean thoroughly inside and out.  Drain then place into cold oven.  Heat the oven and jars to 150C.  The jars are sterilised once the oven reaches temperature.  I sterilise lids (both old and new) by simmering them in boiling water whilst the jars are sterilising in the oven.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Warming Spring Greens Soup with Paprika

It's the 20th June and I'm wearing a fleece.

It's not as cold outside as it looks, but I've got a sore throat, feel like I'm going down with something, and I've got a surfeit of spring greens.  I need soup.  Spring green soup.

This soup is loosely based on a Portuguese Kale & Potato Soup, Caldo Verde.

Serves 4 (makes 1.5l)

1 medium onion, peeled & roughly chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/2 a head of spring greens, roughly chopped (or cabbage)
1 medium potato, roughly chopped
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1l recently boiled water

Place all the ingredients in a deep lidded saucepan.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.  Liquidise and tuck in!