Tag Archives: Onion

Creamy Tarragon & Dijon Spring Chicken

12 Jun

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug

From THE worst blogger in the world! I never seem to have enough time to do posts every day, not even once a week! Especially since summers in London are so short, I tend to say away from all technology, and I’m hoping this will pose as an excuse for my #noblognessdisease

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It has definitely caught up with me, since I’ve started to become a bit “low”, which is what happens when I’ve not been creative for some time.

I do hope this post will lift my spirits, and encourage your appetite!

 

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Zesty & tangy summer chicken

2 x teaspoons olive oil

season with Schwartz season all / chicken spice to taste

1 x pack of chicken thigh fillets

2 x tablespoons of capers

2 x handfuls of sliced button mushrooms

juice of a lemon

2  x handfuls of fresh oregano

2 x bunches of fresh, green asparagus

1 x red onion, finely chopped

2 x teaspoons of butter

30ml dry white wine

sprinkle of grana padano / freshly grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

mushroom onion

Heat the olive oil in the pan. While its heating up, season your chicken thighs with the season all / chicken spice.

mushroom asparagus

Cook the thighs about 7-10 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. You want it to become crispy on each side.

Meanwhile, while your chicken is cooking, take another pan and melt the butter in it. Add your mushrooms and gently fry them. While you’re frying them, check your chicken thighs. As soon as it has cooked crispy on both sides, add your browned mushrooms to the chicken.

asparagus and oregano

Mix through and add half of the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the capers and white wine.

Take the remaining butter and add to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in.

asparagus and onion

Cook the asparagus with the freshly picked leaves of the oregano in the butter, season with salt and pepper and allow to grill in the pan for a few minutes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and mix.

oregano

mushroom and asparagus

After frying slightly,  add the remaining lemon juice and white wine. Allow it to simmer away slightly, but make sure the asparagus doesn’t overcook, or it will be soggy. You want it to stay firm. Sprinkle over a little bit of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ll sing!

assembled chicken

All you do now is dish it up!

assembled chicken

If you feel like it, you can always lean over to the posh side and add a cheeky poached egg on top, either one is really tasty!

assembled chicken

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.

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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

Easter festival celebration

5 May

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It has been more than a year since I last posted on my blog, normal excuses are the ones that come to mind, busy lifestyle, rushed, not time to sit down and just enjoy the small things. Today, after a relaxed lunch with my beautiful friend Louise, I’ve been nudged to post a blog again. After all, she was the one that asked me what happened?! Life. Rushing to work, rushing from work to gym, rushing home from gym to cook a quick supper, have an hour and go to bed to do the same thing all over again. Well, today, I take some time to post one of our yearly celebrations we have in our home.

Living abroad, your friends become your family and each celebration is a special one. Each year, we all sit down together around a table groaning under too much food and wine, and all the diets and healthy lifestyles are out of the window for one day. I can’t treasure this time in Easter enough! So this post will be a long one, and I hope to post more often after this one.

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Beetroot, goats cheese & candied pecan salad

1 x pack of cooked beetroot

2 x packs of good quality goats cheese

150g pecans

1 x large pack of lambs lettuce

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

50 ml extra virgin olive oil + extra 10 ml olive oil

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme

60 ml white wine vinegar

pinch of salt

half teaspoon of crushed garlic

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

50 g icing sugar

Take 10 ml of olive oil and pour it over the fresh thyme. Crush roughly and sprinkle it over cut pieces of goats cheese. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place the pecans in a colander. Boil some water and pour it over the pecans. Place the pecans a bowl and sieve the icing sugar over the pecans. Mix through thoroughly with your hands, until the pecans are coated with the icing sugar. Place the pecans on a non stick baking tray and roast it in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, taking time to turn them so they don’t burn.

When done, remove the pecans from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the mustard, olive oil, vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and shake.

Place the lettuce in your salad bowl and arrange the beetroot, cut into pieces on the lettuce. Roughly break and sprinkle the goats cheese over the salad leaves. Toss the candied pecans over the salad. Now pour over the dressing and toss lightly. Ready to serve.

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Roasted sweet potato with lemon, red onion & sweet paprika

5 x sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

3 x lemons, cut into wedges

4 x red onions, roughly chopped into wedges

2 x teaspoons of smoked, sweet ( or normal) paprika

50 ml olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Mix all oil and spices together. Toss the lemon, sweet potato & red onion in the oil & spice mixture. Place on a non stick baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.Image

Traditional roasted crispy potatoes

1. 5 kg potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon of salt

60 g salted butter

2 pinches of fresh thyme leaves

Place the potatoes and salt in a saucepan of water, cover and heat. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. When the water starts to boil with the potatoes, boil for 2 minutes only. Drain in colander. Remove the water from the saucepan and place the butter & thyme in the saucepan. Heat and allow the butter to melt.  Place the potatoes back into the saucepan and mix through until it is covered and has absorbed the butter. Place in a non- stick tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crispy and golden.

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Rack of lamb with fresh minted yoghurt marinade

2 x racks of lamb

2 pinches of salt

2 x pinches of black pepper

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x teaspoons of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon of lemon

For the minted yoghurt

1 & half cup of double Greek yoghurt

1 handful of finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

Make sure your racks of lamb are at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together for the lamb. rub it all over the racks of lamb. Cook the oven for 15 minutes if you like it red. If you prefer it well done, cook it for 20 – 25 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, allow to rest. While it is resting, mix together all the ingredients for the minted yoghurt. When the lamb is rested, spoon over the minted yogurt and serve.

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Cider marinated & roasted pork shoulder in sweet, smoky & sticky barbecue sauce

1 x large pork shoulder joint

2 pinches of salt & black pepper

1x red chilli, finely chopped and seeds removed

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

50 ml red wine vinegar

1x teaspoon paprika

250 ml tomato sauce

250ml barbeque sauce

2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and pour over the pork shoulder. Cover with foil. Cook for 3 hours, spooning the sauce ( marinade) over the pork every hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Reserve the sauce to pour over the pork when serving.

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I also prepared and cooked a red wine marinated leg of lamb (I  was not sure if there would be enough food) and you will find this recipe in my recipe index. Don’t forget to make a bowl of rice too!

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What a lovely and special day we had with all our friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have my sister in law living close by.

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In the end we are blessed with a wonderful group of friends.

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There was an absence in my heart from our dear friends Danni & Emily, but we will see them when visiting Canada later this year, cant wait!

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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