Tag Archives: Olive oil

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.

dav

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.

dav

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!

dav

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Zucchini Fritters

11 Mar

zucchini fritters

Can you see the daffodils popping out all over.. this is a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite,most beautiful seasons! Everything is new again and then I just want to start cooking light, fresh, good-for- you meals!

It sounds a little bit different, and for those that aren’t big fans of tuna, I’ll tell you, its a whole load of protein – you wont even taste the tuna, and the best of all,its gluten free! Sometimes you just have to take a different route with vegetables and it can be very refreshing!

Zucchini, feta & tuna fritters

zucchini

Ingredients

2 x fresh chives, finely chopped

2 x medium sized zucchinis, grated

150g of greek feta, crumbled

1 x tin tuna

2 x eggs

4 x strips of bacon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x tablespoon olive oil

handful of marinated artichokes

2 x teaspoons of red pepper pesto

2 x poached eggs

zucchini

When you have grated your zucchini, flavour it with salt and black pepper and mix through. The salt will draw the water from zucchini.

zucchini

Make sure you squeeze all the water out from the zucchini, or it won’t bind properly with the remaining ingredients. While you wait for this, in the meantime, you can fry your bacon in a pan.

zucchini

When you have squeezed the water out, place the zucchini in the bowl. Add all the ingredients to the zucchini, besides the bacon, pesto & olive oil and poached eggs.

chives

Mix together thoroughly, to allow the egg to bind properly with the other ingredients. Heat your olive oil in a pan and scoop the mixture in the pan with a tablespoon.

IMG_20150210_192934~2

Cook the fritters on medium heat. These should go for about 4 minutes on each side before you turn them over.

eggs

Make sure to fully scoop them, covering the whole spatula, or they will break when you flip them over. In the meantime, cooke your poached eggs.

zucchini

To plate up, place 2 strips of bacon on each plate. Place the fritters on top of the bacon and top each fritter stack with a poached egg.

eggs

Drizzle with a little pesto, grind some black pepper and add artichokes to the side (optional)

zucchini fritters

Hope you enjoy these fresh little fritters as much as I did!

zucchini fritters

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

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

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

 

 

 

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