Monday, 23 February 2015

Leftover Roast Chicken with Chorizo & Butter Beans

A really quick tea I put together last week with leftover roast chicken.

Serves 4

1 large handful of leftover roast chicken, or more if you have it
100g spicy chorizo, cubed or finely sliced
1 can butter beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 can recently boiled water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped 
1 tbsp olive oil
Pepper & salt to taste

Fry the chorizo in the olive oil until it starts to brown.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 5 or so minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredient, topping up with water to make into a suitable stewlike consistency, and simmer for 10-20 minutes to ensure the onion is cooked.  Season to taste.

Serve over rice, pasta or just with crusty bread.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Quick Moroccan Inspired Fish Stew

There is an advertisement on television right now with a dad and young daughter making a Mediterranean Fish Stew.  Here's my take on it.  More Moroccan, and less (read as no) child participation.

Serves 4
Cooking Time: around 15 minutes

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, chopped small or pureed to hide it
1-2 tsp harissa paste
4 fillets frozen white fish (I use pollock)
Handful of black olives (optional)
Handful chopped parsley or coriander (optional)

Fry onion, garlic and red pepper if using chopped in the olive oil over a medium heat in a saucepan until it starts to brown.  Add red pepper puree if not added chopped earlier.  Add tomatoes, half a tin of recently boiled water, harissa and bring to a simmer.  Add the other ingredients and simmer until the fish can be broken up easily into small pieces.  Stir in parsley or coriander if using, and season to taste.

I serve it over couscous (Add a good pinch of salt, pepper and a glug of olive oil to half a mug of couscous.  Cover with a full mug of boiling water in a dish with a tight fitting lid and leave to cook in the heat of the hot water whilst you make the fish dish) or bulghur wheat (boil a mug of bulghur wheat for 10 minutes in lots of salted water whilst waiting for the fish to cook).  If in need of brownie points off the children I will serve it over pasta.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Simple Venison Casserole...with Chocolate

I picked up a pack of casserole venison in our local butcher during the week as the ideal thing to put in the slow cooker on Saturday, to cook whilst we spent the afternoon in the rugby club celebrating the opening of the new pitches.

Not the cheapest meat, I opted only to buy a 500g pack between five of us and bulk it out with something.  I settled on this recipe with button mushrooms, as I am not a fan (as I might have mentioned) of overly stewed carrot and celery.   Only one child baulked at them.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
500g casserole venison
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic, finely sliced
50g smoked bacon offcuts or 2 rashers smoked bacon, diced
200g button mushrooms
200ml red wine
1 beef stock cube, crumbled
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Boiling water

At the end of the cooking time:-
4 heaped tsp cornflour
4 cubes dark chocolate
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fry the cubed venison in the olive oil in batches to brown it.  When brown, place in the warming slow cooker.  Fry the onion, garlic, bacon and mushrooms in the pan after the venison.  When it begins to brown or catch add the wine, stock cube and redcurrant jelly.  Bring to the boil and pour into the slow cooker.  Top up with about 200ml boiling water so the meat is just peeking out.  Stir, cover, and leave on Auto for about 6-8 hours.

When ready to eat, pour back into the pan you used to fry everything in if still available.  Mix a little water into the cornflour until it is the consistency of double cream and stir into to the simmering stew to thicken.  Melt the chocolate into the sauce (mainly done to win the kids over admittedly), check the seasoning and serve with mashed potato, or pasta if you think you'll still need additional help winning the kids over!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Vietnamese Beef Pho

When a friend, who lived in Vietnam for a while, said she was making a Beef Pho I thought this was something I had to try for myself particulary as I had a little rare beef left from a roast.  She texted me a couple of photos of recipes from two recipe books and I muddled through from there.

A lot of 'proper' Vietnamese recipes instruct you to roast beef bones and make your own stock.  Don't bother!  I came across beef bones by chance (I buy chicken carcasses weekly to make stock for Watercress Soup that I sell to a local farm shop) but it was a long, steamy, and ultimately greasy task.  And I think I'll stick to organic beef stock cubes in future.

Serves 2

200ml wide rice noodles
500ml beef stock
1 star anise
3cm root ginger, shredded

3 bunches bok choy, shredded (I used equivalent amount of sugar snap peas, baby corn, spring onions)
Thinly sliced red onion
Handful thinly sliced raw or rare beef
Half a large bunch of coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint or 1 tbsp dried mint
1/2 tsp hot chilli flakes

Fish sauce and lime or lemon juice to serve

Prepare the vegetables, onion, beef, coriander and mint first.  Bring the stock to the boil and add the start anise and ginger and simmer whilst cooking the noodles according to the packet's instructions.

When the noodles are cooked, drain and divide between two large bowls.  Quickly divide all the other ingredients and place vegetables, onion, beef, and herbs into the two bowls and pour over the simmering stock.  Add fish sauce, a squeeze of lime or lemon juice, and chilli flakes before eating immediately.

 Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry

Monday, 19 January 2015

Hearty Slow Cooked Oxtail Soup

I had hoped sell this at Alresford Country, but unless someone tells me of a source of cheap oxtail this will have to remain a family treat.  And after a 4km frosty cycle ride followed by a 2km walk up St Catherine's Hill and back I think the kids (on an inset day) and 1 deserve it.  It is, however, a 24 hour process so plan ahead for a chilly day's reward.

600g oxtail (local butcher seems to sell in this size pack)
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin tomatoes
2 organic beef stock cubes
Boiled water
Thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp plain flour or 1 medium potao

Brown the oxtail in the oil in a frying pan and place in the warming slow cooker when browned.  If not using a slow cooker, use an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid and place the browned oxtail on a place to one side instead.

Peel and roughly chop the onion and carrot.  Fry this with the roughly chopped celery in the pan after removing the oxtail.  When it starts to brown and the tomatoes, stock cubes, and 500ml of boiling water.  Add the herbs and peppercorns and bring to the boil, scrapping all the lovely caramelised meat off the bottom of the pan.

Pour this into the slow cooker together with another 500ml of boiling water ensuring the meat is covered with liquid.  Cook on High for 6-8 hours or when the meat is falling off the bone. If using a casserole dish, return the meat to the boiling liquid and again add another 500ml of hot water.  Cover and leave simmering for 2.5-3 hours.

When cooked, take of the heat and remove the hot oxtail carefully and leave to cool on a plate.   When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone and drop back into the soup.  Refrigerate the soup overnight.

The next day, about half an hour before mealtime, get the soup out of the fridge and scrape off and discard the congealed fat off the top of the soup.  Bring to a gentle boil and then either add a peeled chopped potato or 1 heaped dessertspoon of flour.  Simmer the soup with potato in for a further 20 minutes with the lid on before blitzing with a stick blender.  If adding flour, blitz immediately and simmer for a couple of minutes for the flour to thicken the soup.  Season to taste and enjoy.
Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Courgette, Lentil & Cottage Cheese Lasagna

I made Jamie Oliver’s Leek Lasagna before Christmas, and although the grown ups thought it was delicious, it was a bit too leeky for the kids.  It also had a fair degree of prep, and wasn’t cheesy enough for me.

So today I have experimented with my own version, which seemed fairly well received by the kids. The courgette is still crunchy, which is what I wanted, as my inclusion of Big Boy’s favourite courgette salad was one of my selling points to him (that, and the argument to a raging carnivore that lentils are a kind of meat - well protein)

100g green lentils
1 large onion
1 large clove of garlic
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 large pot of cottage cheese
3 medium courgettes
1 small clove of garlic
1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Pepper & salt
Lasagna sheets
Handful of cheddar cheese or parmesan

Cook the lentils according to the cooking instructions.  Take off the heat when cooked and leave to one side, keeping the cooking liquid.

Grate or julienne the courgettes.  I did mine with a cutting disk in the food processor.  Add the small garlic clove crushed or grated, a pinch of salt and ground pepper, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Toss together and leave to one side.

Finely dice the large onion and garlic clove. Fry gently with 1 tbsp olive oil to soften.  Add the chopped tomatoes, cooked lentils, and any remaining liquid.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste.

Finally, before assembling, stir the cottage cheese into the courgette. And preheat the oven to 200C or 180C Fan.

When assembling, I like to put as many pasta sheets in as I can manage as I find most recipes only use about 6 sheets of pasta which my other half complains is not enough.  So, last time I made it I mentally divided both my tomato sauce into 4, and my cottage cheese mix into 3.  Starting with a layer of tomato sauce I put a layer of lasagna sheets onto this, then a layer of cottage cheese mix with a layer of lasagna sheets on top.  I repeated this twice more to end up with a few ladlefuls of tomato sauce to put on top and then sprinkled this with a handful of cheddar cheese. 

Putting lasagna sheets on top of every different layer I reckon I ended up using 6 layers of lasagna so 18 sheets in total.  I might possibly half the layers next time for the simple reason that the courgette and cottage cheese layer was a bit dry, and without being cooked in a sauce, the courgette remained too crunchy/recognisable for the kids.  Putting the cottage cheese mix straight on top of the tomato sauce, then lasagna sheets, should result in a more creamy sauce?  Divide your tomato sauce and cottage cheese into 4 if doing this.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden and bubbling.  British tradition seems to be to serve it with garlic bread, but if you’ve managed to put in as many lasagna sheets as I did you probably don’t need any!

 Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry

Monday, 5 January 2015

Vindaloo Sauce with Leftover Roast Turkey 
The last of the Christmas turkey was seen off a couple of days ago with some fiery homemade vindaloo sauce.  The kids had fish fingers!

I usually follow a Anjum Anand’s recipe when I make a vindaloo, but this is quite a dry dish and as I didn’t have much turkey left I decided to make a thicker vindaloo sauce to stretch the meat a little further.  And after combining several recipes I found online, this is what I came up with.

Serves a greedy 2

2 tsp cumin seeds, or 2 tsp ground
2 tsp coriander seeds, or 2 tsp ground
5 black peppercorns, left whole
2 green cardamom pods, seeds only
2 cloves
1cm cinnamon stick, or 1 tsp ground
1 tsp garam masala
1cm fresh root ginger
7 garlic cloves
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds, or 1 tsp English mustard powder
1 large onion
1 tin chopped tomatoes or passata
A large handful of leftover roast turkey, chicken, pork or fresh pork, prawns, chicken…
1/2-1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

If using whole dried spices, dry roast these in a heavy based frying pan for a few minutes and then grind to a powder in a spice grinder.

If using ground spices, add these to the garlic, ginger, salt, and vinegar in a mini food processor and blitz to a paste. Rub the paste all over your leftover meat, or whatever you are using, and leave to marinate for a at least a couple of hours.

When ready to cook, sizzle the onion seeds in the oil in a sauce pan until they start to pop (if using mustard powder either add to the marinade or with the chopped tomatoes), finely slice the onion and fry gently stirring only now and then (this takes about 20-30 minutes) until the onion is brown and caramelised. Add the marinated meat, stir, then add the chopped tomatoes and half a tin of hot water.

Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes if using cooked meat and prawns, or 30 minutes if using raw meat.

Serve with basmati rice or naan.

 Twitter: Leesa@sunhillcurry