Tag Archives: Black pepper

Chicken & Vegetable kebabs

16 Feb

chicken kebab

Who said you have to wait for summer before enjoying some chicken kebabs to get that barbeque spirit in the air? If you’re anything like my man, you eat a lot of chicken breast fillets. It is healthy, very low in fat and high in protein. Sometimes, I need a little change from the normal chicken fillet though.

mushrooms

Last summer the man and I really felt like some chicken kebabs on the barbeque, but those tiny ones you buy prepared in the supermarket just didn’t hit the spot.

chopped mushrooms

So I bought some stainless steel skewers, £1 for 4!! I can’t walk away from a bargain, I know!

bell pepper

After I made our own skewers, I never looked back!

green bell pepper

Now to spruce up your chicken fillets, you can make very tasty chicken kebabs that will be gobbled up in no time, and then you have the recipe already for when the long summer evenings start poking out.

peppers and onion

Its also very convenient, because once you’ve placed it in the oven, you just leave it to cook and you can get on with other wife duties, if you’re anything like me and always busy with doing washing or packing things away.

chopped red onion

Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs

chopped red onion

Ingredients

4-6 kebab skewers

3 x tablespoons bbq sauce

1 x 500g pack chicken fillets, cut into cube pieces

1 x tablespoon Nando’s medium peri-peri sauce

juice of half a lemon

1 red onion, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x green bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x red bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x pack of mushrooms, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x tablespoon soya sauce

1 x tablespoon olive oil

Salt & Black pepper

Place the chicken fillet cubes in a bowl.

chopped red onion

Add the bbq sauce, nando’s sauce, lemon juice and mix through thoroughly.

chicken marinade

Cover with cling film and allow to stand for about 15 – 20 minutes. Meanwhile, start cutting up your veg for the skewers.

kebab

You want to start with a piece of red onion, then chicken, then a pepper, a mushroom, and a pepper again.

kebab

Repeat this until your skewer is full, same with the others. Preheat the oven to 160 degree celcius.

When your oven is ready, place the skewers in a tray,  Drizzle the skewers evenly with olive oil and the soya sauce.

chicken kebab

Season with some salt and black pepper and pop it in to the oven for 30 minutes.

chicken kebab

If you want, you can turn it half way through, which is what I did, but if you don’t feel like it, I wouldn’t say its absolutely necessary.

chicken kebab

It all depends on your laziness factor ;-p

chicken kebab

I served the skewers with some buttery cous cous, but I’m sure it will be equally delicious with some sticky jasmine rice.

chicken kebabs

chicken kebab

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Porcini Mushroom Edemame Risotto

8 Feb

A perfect love affair! I’ve never met anyone that does not appreciate a good risotto. Its just always so moreish, no matter what you add to it. Its comforting, warm, creamy and it only takes 30 minutes to make! Yes, I know a lot of people tend to avoid making risotto, because they feel it takes too long and you have to “wait” for it. I don’t necessarily agree. The therapeutic part is when you stir, and that’s all you have to do. Give it the love it deserves and it will love you back three times more! Risotto is as flexible as pasta. You can add whatever you want. My favourite though, will always be a mushroom risotto. Especially with dried porcini’s it lends a slightly wild and rich, earthy taste to the dish. Whenever I have no idea what to cook and our fridge is empty from meat for a roast on a Sunday, I turn to risotto. Its always there for me in my food cupboard and it may just be the big lion’s best friend. If I have EVER seen someone eat copious amounts of risotto, that’s my man with his mouth filled to the rims! porcini

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

1 x pack of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of fresh, chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon crushed garlic

2 x cups Arborio rice

1 pack of bacon, cut into small bite size pieces

1 x onion, finely chopped

60g butter

2 x tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup fresh soya / edamame beans

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of chicken stock.

500ml hot water

risotto Place the porcini mushrooms in a measuring jug. Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms and allow to stand. Meanwhile, add the butter and the olive oil to a wide,big pan. Gently fry the onions for until glassy. bacon Add the bacon and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and mix through, making sure all the rice is glazed with the butter and olive oil. onion Pour in the white wine and mix through. When the liquid has almost been absorbed by the rice, add a little bit of the porcini mushroom liquid. lemon Stir through again. The secret to risotto is that you must keep stirring, and as soon as the liquid has been absorbed, you add some more again and keep stirring. Lemon juice Alternate your liquid with the chicken stock and the mushroom liquid. edamame beans For step by step, I borrowed a link from WikiHow to show those that might feel they’re not sure how much liquid to add at once etc. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Risotto-Rice lemon juice When you have used half of the liquid, add the mushrooms and the soaked porcini mushrooms. edamame beans Mix through and keep stirring until all the liquid has been used. edamame beans Add the edamame beans and the lemon juice and mix through. risotto Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. risotto Mix through the parmesan cheese.Plate up and grate over a little more parmesan cheese, and tuck in! risotto

Tuna Melt Casserole

1 Feb

You know what they say: A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. Where in this case, I know everyone has their little special touch for their casserole. Mine? Two things, wine & cheese! Best combination, whether you use them together in food or just as is, from where I come from in SA, it is definitely a winning pair!

This was last weekend’s indulgent Sunday coach potato food. As you know, its pretty cold in London at the moment, so no one is going out. Best thing to do is have a proper lie in, coffee in hand and then when you get up start cooking a heart warming casserole! My big guy tends to have the best ideas when I ask him on a Sunday morning what he’ll like for lunch. Even if it is a very straight forward dish, I strive to make it extra yummy and extra indulgent! Lets just say there’s no shortage of cheese in this dis. It can be gluten free by using gluten free pasta, and corn flour for the béchamel sauce ( if not using cream).

For those that choose to make the béchamel sauce, you can click on this link for a step by step guide. Just before I turn off the heat, for the béchamel sauce, I add a handful of grated cheese and mix it through until melted.

onion

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-B%C3%A9chamel-Sauce

Tuna Melt Casserole

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta ( cooked to packet instructions)

1 x onion roughly chopped

1 x handful of chopped mushrooms

1 x teaspoon of butter

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

1 x cup bacon lardons / pieces

2 x tins of chunky tuna

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup of cream ( if not making béchamel sauce)

2x cups of mature cheddar, grated

pinch of nutmeg

2 x tomatoes, finely sliced

1 x cup of chicken soup sachet

1 x teaspoon of Italian herbs

1 x white wine

chopped mushrooms

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Fry your onion in the pan for about 5-8 minutes and add the bacon lardons with the mushroom. Add the garlic and mix through.

chopped garlic

Add tuna and fry together for 5 minutes. In the meantime, add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to cooking instructions.

chopped mushrooms

Now add the soup sachet and mix through. Increase the heat and add the white wine. Mix through and lower the heat again. Keep mixing, as the wine will thicken due to the soup powder.

butter

If you’re using cream instead of béchamel, add it now and mix through. Add the pinch of nutmeg and mix through. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flavour with salt and black pepper to taste.

grated cheese

If you’re using béchamel, mix the tuna, mushroom & bacon mixture into the sauce and mix through. Add this to your cooked pasta and mix through. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

bechamel

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, distributing it evenly.

cooking wine

Place all the tomato slices evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Italian herbs, season with salt and black pepper.

pasta

Cook in the oven under the grill until the cheese is super crispy!

pasta

To add a little extra indulgence, I’ve sliced over a little avocado for extra creaminess!

pasta

Cheeky lamb pie

25 Jan

pie

Most of us have this notion that we cook a leg of lamb for Christmas or Easter. NOT my man with his rumbling tummy!! He tends to come home with a huge piece of meat, and then stares at me with a cheeky smile. In this case, you’ve guessed what it is! He also has a way of putting in his order at the right time too!!

Our friends Franco & Sonia moved back to London from Spain, so I cooked a Sunday roast with this leg of lamb. ( recipe on the blog) Is it strange that they don’t eat as much as we do? We might eat a little too much! I won’t comment further, because we then had a fair amount of meat left. The ultimate – when you can make a pie from venison, lamb or a good cut of beef roast. My oh my!!!!

This doesn’t occur, ever! A very cheeky dish and most people will say its a waste of good meat to use lamb in a pie, but I can tell you, no wastage there!! Try it for yourself and we’ll see.

mushrooms

Ingredients

1 dish of lamb leftovers ( mine was about 2 big handfuls of lamb)

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

2 x handfuls of mushrooms, chopped

1 x onion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons corn flour

1 x pack of all butter pastry

1 x egg

3 pinches of all purpose flour

salt & pepper to taste

mushrooms

Add olive oil to the pan. Fry the chopped onions until glassy. Add the mushrooms and fry until light brown. Now add  your lamb and start mixing through. After 5 – 7 minutes, add the corn flour.

onion & mushrooms

Mix through, ensuring it coats the mushrooms and  meat. Now add the red wine. Along with the heat and the corn flour,  it will now start to thicken the red wine into a tasty gravy.

Cook this on a low heat, until thickened. Put aside and allow to cool.

diced lamb

Take a little bit of butter or non-stick cooking spray and spray a 30cm square Pyrex dish or any dish of a similar size.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sprinkle the flour on a kitchen top surface and swish it around a little bit to give you an area where you’ll be rolling out your puff pastry. Now get your rolling pin and start rolling!!!

puff pastry

I usually place one piece of pastry in the bottom of the dish, then I dish in the pie filling. Beat the egg and get yourself a little basting brush. Brush the edges on the bottom half of the pastry. Place the other half on top and gently squeeze the edges together. If you have any pastry left, cut little forms with cookie cutters and place it on top.

rolling pin

Brush your whole pie with the egg.

beaten egg

Last step : take a sharp knife and make a tiny hole in the middle of the pie or use an adorable pie bird!

lamb pie

Bake in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. The final step is to remove it from the oven and look at the hungry buggers’ faces, waiting for the very first piece of that pie and then decide who you’ll give it to first!

lamb pie

Shrimpin business

18 Jan

AvocadosaladOr should I say “shrinking. No REAL new year’s resolution. I’m mentioning this because I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the “I joined the gym, I’m going to lose weight”, ” I’m on a diet, I’m going to lose weight” style of conversations every year. This is just not going to work. In everything, consistency and being serious about your health is key. No crash exercises or diets.

My new year resolutions – 2 things. One is to try my utter best NOT to eat gluten. Unlike most people, I get physically ill when eating wheat, gluten or too much fibre. Its not that I don’t want to eat it, believe me, I’d just stuff my face with it all if I could, but the after effects are so bad that I have vowed to focus and just not give in. The second resolution is not to moan about how bad I feel AFTER I’ve given in. Yes. They’re naughtily tied together.

This means less carbs.. and I REFUSE to buy gluten free products, because I believe these are actually worse for you than eating gluten. Have you seen the expiry dates on those? Most of them are almost a year. You know what they say, the longer it keeps, the worse it is for you. Only fresh and healthy, that is the route.

Luckily I love seafood, and the carnivore lion man does too!! Unfortunately I always have to give him a little piece of toasted bread with some olive oil etc. to make sure that tummy of his is all filled up!!

I love having frozen seafood in the freezer. It never stays in there for too long though. In this case, I just had a pack of cooked shrimp. Many ways to make a yummy salad with those buggers, but in this case I went for a bit of retro shrimp cocktail style salad. Why did we stop making these, they’re awesome, a real classic! This is my take on shrimp cocktail.

Zesty Shrimp Cocktail

salad

Ingredients

500g frozen shrimp

handful of baby radishes

2-3 gherkins / pickles

1 curly leaf lettuce ( or your favourite lettuce)

1 pack of asparagus

1 tablespoon of butter

juice of half a lemon + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice ( for asparagus)

1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon of tomato sauce

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise to your preference

IMG_20150110_151610~2

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss it around in the butter. Flavour with salt and black pepper. Now add the tablespoon of lemon juice. Keep on tossing the asparagus in the pan until cooked but firm ( al dente).

salad

In the meantime, boil your kettle. Place the shrimp in a colander in your basin and pour over the shrimp.

Finely chop the gherkins/pickles. Mix it in with the mayonnaise, tomato sauce and lemon juice. Flavour with salt and freshly ground pepper.

salad

Roughly chop the lettuce and slice the radishes. Cut your avocado into squares.

salad

Arrange the lettuce in your favourite salad bowl.

Now place the asparagus on top of this and sprinkle the radishes over and around. Finally top it with your shrimp mixture and avocado and voila!!

salad

If you’re like my man, you can enjoy it with a fresh crusty bread or some toast soldiers.

 

Buttering up with a butternut soup

18 Jan

butternut

London is in its typical winter mood. Icy cold, a bite in the wind that you cant shake off and that ongoing darkness. This will be something that our friends happily forgot when they moved back from Spain to London. True to my style, I wasn’t too happy to go outside today, seeing its weekend and all and its freezing!!!

butternut pieces

Glancing at my little vegetable stand, I had two butternuts peeking at me. Butternut soup? When last did we have that?! Well, needless to say, I just had to mention “butternut”t to the big old lion and he was sold!  I can’t say the same for my friend Franco. When I mentioned it, he half-heartedly pulled a face and mentioned that it is not really one of his favourites. I can tell you one thing, he ended up asking for seconds. I didn’t even manage to photograph the soup, it was finished before I got the chance to do so. New things DO happen daily in London! Just ask my new soup fan!

whole vegetables

Butternut, orange and coconut soup

2 butternuts, peeled and roughly chopped

Teaspoon olive oil

2 red onions, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

250ml coconut cream or coconut milk

500ml chicken stock

juice of half an orange

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

red onion, vegetables, butternut soup

Gently fry the onions in the olive oil until soft and sweet. Add the butternut, salt, pepper and cumin. Mix through for about 5 minutes while it cooks and infuses with the onions.

chopped vegetables

Add the chicken stock. Allow to boil until the butternut is nice and soft.

coconut cream and stock

Now, add your coconut cream and mix through.

crushed garlic

Finally, add your orange juice, mix through. Blend till smooth with stick blender or blender.

cumin

soup

Serve with a squiggle of fresh cream drizzled in the soup and some warm, crusty bread.

soup

Our final Christmas celebration post.. who’s chicken

4 Feb

After all the meaty posts, I would think you would be happy to see something fresh like a salad! No such luck folks! There is a joke that is well known under Afrikaans South Africans that love their meat – ” I love meat, if I wanted  vegetables, I would have had chicken”, which basically explains that since the chicken eats a few lettuce leaves etc, you still get your veggie part of “five a day”!

Well, besides vegetarians –  who doesn’t like chicken! I don’t think you can really go wrong with it, unless you overcook it so badly it looks like cardboard prop food! So, DONT do that! ;-p I hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas special!

I always buy chicken quarters as I find that the drumstick part keeps the thigh part moist.. maybe its just an illusion, but this chicken is one of my favourite dishes!

Garlic Mediterranean chicken

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 x packs of chicken quarters (5-10 pieces)

500ml dry white wine

3 X whole  garlic , taken apart (skin on)

1 whole garlic, cut in half, skin on

2 x handfuls of fresh thyme

juice of 1 1/2 lemon

salt &  black pepper to taste

Browned chicken quarters ready for the oven

Browned chicken quarters ready for the oven

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius. Heat the olive oil in a pan and allow to become nice and hot. While this is heating up, season your chicken with salt and pepper. Place your chicken top side down in the olive oil. All the pieces need to be browned untill quite crispy, so turn when needed.

Transfer the chicken to an oven roasting dish, making sure all the juices of the chicken are transferred as well. Take the whole garlic, cut in half and place the cut side, facing down, in the roasting dish among the chicken. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken.

Season the chicken slightly with salt and black pepper again.Pour the white wine in the roasting tin, around the chicken. Add the loose garlic cloves to the white wine around the chicken, even placing some of them ON the chicken. Sprinkle big pieces of thyme on and around the chicken.

Christmas lunch meat celebration

Christmas lunch meat celebration

Place in the oven and cook for 45 – 50 minutes, until juices run clear, transfer to a serving dish, pour the juices in a little jug for gravy juice and there you go, wiola!

Beloved friends and good food

Beloved friends and good food