Tag Archives: London

Creamy Tarragon & Dijon Spring Chicken

12 Jun

dav

How many times have you looked in your fridge for some dinner ideas and all you see are chicken thighs, chicken fillets, chicken quarters, with no other meat whatsoever. Oh yeah, that’s definitely my fridge! As most of you might know, I cannot convince myself to buy a ready meal… I have a feeling my mom will just sense it across the waters that I popped it into the microwave! She will know, all the way from South Africa! Mothers and daughters have this strange connection, and mine definitely knows when I’m up to something!

It’s no secret that chicken is a favourite among most. In my house, THE favourite when the lion gets to decide what he wants for dinner. Lets be honest here, he actually decides what he wants for dinner every night, along with a little bit of imagination from me when I start naming a few dishes. Well,  his favourite… you guessed it,  chicken fillets. For the love of my taste buds, REALLY??

Some days, you’ve just really run out of ideas! A while back I posted a recipe for chicken fillets with tarragon and I started thinking how I could adjust it slightly for something new and fresh. It took a glass of wine, some good music and another browse in my spice cupboard and fridge, but I came up with a different take on chicken thighs with tarragon. A little bit of lemon, white wine, courgettes and that cheeky spoon of mustard! Definitely not for the faint hearted as tarragon has a very specific taste. I might even say an acquired taste for most, but don’t be afraid, why don’t you just try it?  I hope you like it!

dav

Ingredients

1 pack of chicken thighs, skin on

1 x bunch of fresh salad onions (big chives really)

half a glass of dry white wine

Juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 x medium sized or 1 large courgette, chopped to a medium size

1 x tablespoon of dried tarragon

250 ml of cream or soya cream (dairy intolerant)

1 x onion, roughly chopped

1 x bunch of fresh green asparagus, roughly chopped

1 x pack of small button mushrooms or normal mushrooms (you can chop these in half)

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

1 x pack of fine glass rice noodles (or any rice noodles)

1 x heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard

salt and black pepper to taste

dav

This is a lovely one pot dish! Get a heavy bottomed casserole / stew saucepan/pot to cook this in. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius.

Add your olive oil to your saucepan and start frying your onion until transluscent. Add your chicken and start frying and sealing it. Season with salt and black pepper.

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Once its golden,add your tarragon and start mixing through. Turn up the heat a little bit and add your white wine.

Once the white wine has started to bubble with the chicken and onion, add your cream or soya cream and lemon juice.

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Place it in the oven for 20 minutes with a lid. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, making sure your chicken is on top, allowing for a crispy skin.

Add your courgettes and asparagus and mix through the mustard as well, but make sure to add the courgettes to the side and underneath the chicken, still ensuring that when you’ve mixed it through, your chicken is still on top allowing it to stay and even become more crispy.

dav

Allow to cook uncovered in the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes or until your courgette is al dente. Very important, you don’t want the courgette to overcook, or it creates more water, taking the taste away from your indulging little sauce.

In the meantime, take one cube of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to boil in a saucepan. Add your glass noodles. Most of the time these only cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, so keep an eye on them.

dav

So, you’re done! Drain your noodles, place them on the plate, placing the chicken and veg on top and drizzling with your lovely, creamy, tarragon sauce!

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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

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

Follow with a beefy celebration roast

1 Feb

If you read my previous post, you will know that I am focusing on recipes that I created when I made our Christmas Feast. My tarzan is still dreaming about this. I always thought that I will never meet anyone else that enjoys a roast as much as him, but that was until I met our friend Daniel and his wife Emily. These two are from Venezuela, and I am telling you, they probably love their meat just as much as South Africans, if not more!

This was one of the reasons why we had such a meat feast on Christmas day, yes, my feeder symptoms are getting worse!

I remember the first time I had to cook a beef roast – I was terrified! From when I can remember, I have never seen my mother, or anyone else for that matter cook a beef joint. I think it is just not a popular choice in SA. However, I quickly found out that over here it is on top of the list! The secret to cooking a big beef joint is to make sure it is still pink inside.

The first time – I made the mistake to cook it as you would a pork shoulder – for a few hours.  With a beef roast, it only needs a maximum of an hour ( in my opinion), depending on the size. You guessed it, today I will share my beef roast recipe! If, as in my previous post, you DO have the time, take 200ml of the wine from the recipe, pour over the joint, cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Coriander beef roast

Coriander beef roast

 

Coriander, rosemary and red wine Beef Roast

1 x Beef roast joint (2-3kg)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 1/2 tablespoons of whole coriander seeds, roughly ground in a mortar & pestle

400ml red wine (preferably Shiraz)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 sprigs of  fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

1 large onion

Something that I have learnt over the last year ( which most of YOU probably knew already) is that it is always good to remove your meat from the fridge at least 30 – 45 minutes before you start preparing it to go into the oven. Its almost like the texture and flavour changes because of this. So, remember to take it out of the fridge. If you have marinated it overnight, remove it from the red wine, pat dry with kitchen towel and place on a work surface.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Get your roasting tin. Cut your onion in half. Place both, cut side down, along each other in the tin ( the distance of the size of your beef joint) as this will be the “foundation blocks” for the joint. The joint’s ends will be placed on the onion halves, allowing it to be lifted from the tin slightly.

Red wine coriander beef roast

Red wine coriander beef roast

Take all your spices (excluding the rosemary), salt & pepper and mix with the olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Now comes the messy part – scoop the mixture into your hands and massage it all over the joint. Place the joint on the onions. Now, pur the 200ml red wine ( or 400ml if you didn’t marinate overnight)  around the joint and toss the fresh rosemary in the wine, around the joint.

Cover with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil, baste the beef with the red wine juices and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Meat Feast

Meat Feast

 

A move(d)able feast

30 Jan

Again, I am behind on my entries. I have been saving my favourite one as a little “cheery up” tool for myself in this dull grey London. Usually, when we dont travel to South Africa to spend Christmas with our family and loved ones, I invite all our friends in London that are here over Christmas, including our only family, my sister in law, and I revel in the fact that I will have a big, decorated table groaning under all the food that I have prepared with love the whole morning.

Usually I start planning the menu and designing it about 2 months before christmas. This ensures that I can still send out invitations in plenty of time before everyone gets hustling and bustling around. Naturally, it was crazy with everyone around and making sure everything is ready.. so taking photographs of all the dishes was not very high up on my list. However, over the next week or so I will be posting recipes from some of the other dishes from our Christmas feast!! For now, I think I will start with the lamb.. Celebration Lamb

Christmas Feast

Celebration lamb

1X 250 ml buttermilk
1 X leg of lamb ( 2-3 kg)
2 hands of pitted, green olives
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of herbes’ d Province

2 teaspoons of ground cumin
juice of one lemon
500ml of dry white wine
1 sprig of rosemary
160 Degrees Celcius

If you have time  to leave the meat to marinate overnight – then you will be using the buttermilk. Take your leg of lamb and place it in a fitted dish that can fit in your fridge. Now, pour the buttermilk over the lamb, checking that it is covered all over. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge over night. The next day, when you are ready to start on the lamb, make sure you remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start on it. Rinse the lamb, making sure you remove all the buttermilk and pat dry with paper towel. Place the lamb in a roasting dish.

Take a very sharp knife with a small, fine end, and start piercing small holes deep eoungh to push the pieces of garlic in, about 10 – 12 holes. Now, divide your garlic slices between the holes you pierced. Make sure that the garlic slices are quite deep in the pierced holes, so they won’t fall out.Pour the lemon juice over the lamb. Take the olive oil, rub it between your hands and massage into the lamb. Now, grind over salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the herbs and cumin over the lamb and massage into the lamb. Take your sprig of rosemary and place it in the middle of the lamb in one of the holes that were pierced.

Leg of lamb

Leg of lamb

Toss your olives around the lamb and pour over the white wine. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. After one hour, scoop the juices from the roasting dish and baste the lamb with the juices. Cover with the foil again, cooking for another 40 minutes. Remove the foil, baste again and place in the oven for a final 30 minutes, and your done!

christmas lunch decoration

christmas lunch decoration

lazy lemon meatballs

5 Apr

The word “lazy” enters the vocabulary when I whip out my little Kenwood chopper!! This little beauty was another wonderful gift from the hubby!! Yes, I am spoilt rotten!! Add to this little gadget saving me time = quick happy hubby! Which might I add, allows me to finish my blog post quicker, as he feels this comes 1st instead of him ;-p So, in my haste I also accidentally deleted a few photos that I took.

Maybe this is a underlying problem from me wanting to clear all the clutter and extras away, as yet again, my day was filled with walking down the street with boxes again!! Also, I only had mince. Now there comes a time when meatballs with homemade tomato becomes more boring than all the women with their prams here in London ;-p So I had to think of something different and lighter.

A while ago, before I started my blog, I made mini meatballs with cumin, and found that this was a different alternative, however, still served it with tomato sauce and basil. This is a different take on meatballs, tasty, light and warm for the tummy and soul 🙂 No summer here yet!! So here we go:

Meatball mixture

250g mince

half onion, finely chopped in your processor

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of dried coriander

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of cumin

pinch of salt

4 cream crackers, made fine in your processor so they are fine crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Sauce

half a onion, finely chopped in your chopper

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 tablespoon of butter

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of turmeric

250ml of Chicken stock

1 teaspoon of cumin

Ok, so lets start with the meatballs. Place your mince in a bowl, add your spices, cream crackers and egg and lemon juice. Mix thorougly and make mini meatballs. Simples!! Now add your butter and garlic to the pan and the onion and all the spices for the sauce. Fry the onion for 5 minutes. Now add your meatballs. Let them fry and squiggle them around in the pan. Do not allow them to burn, but only brown them. Now add your chicken stock. Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes or untill cooked through.

I have served this with cous cous and finely chopped red pepper, courgette and harissa paste. I took 1 courgette and 1/2 a red pepper and chopped it in my chopper. Fine, but not too fine so that it turns into a paste. I drizzled the pan with a little bit of olive oil. Then take 1 teaspoon of  harissa paste and mix through in the pan. Now add your finely chopped courgette and red pepper. Fry for about 5 – 10 minutes. Now add a cup of cous cous. Mix it through so that it absorbs all the flavours. Flavour lightly with salt and vegetable spice. Now add a little bit of water, just enough for the cous cous to absorb it. Mix through so that the cous cous seperates. Now cover with a lid and allow to stand. The cous cous with now be done. Serve up with your meatballs and enjoy!

Butternut & Aubergine lasagne

10 Feb

A rainy and well known, dull day in London today as described by the  Britons. Cold. One of those days when you just want to eat pasta! So, while working, I started to get the idea in my head that I wanted to go and get myself a big pasta lunch! No!!!! Have to save money for the holiday..save…. money!! So instead, while chewing on a dry crackerbread with marmite (exiting, isn’t it), I let my mind wander for something nice,tasty and warm that I could make.

I didn’t feel like making a plain pasta, I wanted something different. I wanted butternut, but just thinking about the peeling and chopping ( and losing some fingers) I felt even more tired already! However, just  thinking about the pure bliss I will experience while eating this lovely, hearty dish, I pushed myself forward to the peeling and chopping I will be doing when I arrive home. So, after getting stuck in the train again (emergency alarm is what they call it now) I really needed a happy meal! Luckily not in the unhealthy sense of Mcdonalds, but not entirely healthy either. So, here we go.

Butternut & Aubergine Lasagne

1 Aubergine, cut in thin circle discs  (salted to sweat and washed)

3/4 of a butternut, peeled and cut into chunks

Olive oil

3 teaspoons crushed garlic

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 or 1/2 pack of bacon, cut into medium pieces with scissors

1/2 cup white wine

250ml cream / soya cream

125ml milk

cumin

paprika

salt & pepper

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, tear the leaves off the sprig

2 teaspoons of mixed herbs

grated cheese

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Boil some water in a saucepan and tip in your butternut. Cook it until soft, but still firm. While this is cooking, heat a frying pan and drizzle with some olive oil and garlic. Fry the onions until glassy an add the mushrooms and bacon. Season with salt.  Check on the butternut, it should be semi cooked, but still firm. Drain.  Add the mixed herbs to the onion and mushroom mixture and mix through. When the bacon is cooked through, pour in your white wine. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Now grease an oven proof dish. Put in one layer of lasagne sheets. Place your butternut on the sheets and spread them out. You can squash them slighty. Sprinkle with cumin and loose leaves of rosemary. Grind over black pepper. Add another layer of lasagne sheets. Now layer the bacon and mushroom mixture over the lasagne sheets. Layer with lasagne sheets again. Mix the cream and milk together.Now pour over the lasagne sheets. Cover with your aubergine discs as the last layer. Sprinkle with paprika. Now cover it with your grated cheese. Cook in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Now, if you have fresh salad greens in your fridge, it goes beautifully with your lasagne. However, I came home late, only had green peppers in the fridge and was too lazy and tired to make salad! Yes I know, but sometimes I have to rest too! Did I mention while the lasagne was in the oven I folded and packed away all the washing and unpacked the dishes from dishwashing machine? Yup! So that’s why there is no salad ;-p  Enjoy! xxxx