Tag Archives: potato

It’s Pimm’s a clock.. giving the British a bit of a shock..

5 Aug

I think most of us know by now that the Brits are well known for their drinking habits.. and not necessarily their eating habits or great food!  In this case, they might feel a little bit sensitive about using their world famous Pimms in a crispy duck dish! Some of them might say that I’m “well right cheeky” for even attempting it.

If there is one thing about the British that is a guarantee ( which I hope will make this dish a selling point ) – they love fruit!  In all forms. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit with chocolate, fruit as dessert, fruit as a treat, fruit & biscuits… they will have fruit with almost anything possible, even hot chocolate! So basically, this is almost like Forest Gump and Bubba with their little “shrimpin” business.

Joining in on the whole “cook only what is in season” craze, I have jumped on the bandwagon too!  If you can buy 2 punnets of blackberries for £2 –  no1, you have to buy it, it’s cheap!!  No2,  if your family,  or my (now) increased – appetite- non- stop – eating (always hungry) husband does NOT eat fruit, you have to get creative! And so we come round to the duck.. which seems to be in season for quite some time.. as it is unbelievably affordable.. and always makes me feel “well noble”!

Duck is a very fatty poultry, but exquisite when all the fattiness and crispy skin is combined with something sweet, spicy and acidic to cut through it. So, the 3 main musketeers for this recipe is Duck, Blackberries & Blackberry & Elder flower Pimms.

Crispy duck with blackberries  & Pimms

3 x duck legs

1 punnet of blackberries ( about 2 handfuls)

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

Salt & pepper to taste

75ml blackberry & elderflower Pimms ( any blackberry liqueur if you don’t have Pimms)

4 x small wedges of lemon

Make sure your duck legs are room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Tip: The key to this dish is also to have a heavy based, shallow frying pan that can be used on the hob and in the oven.

lemon

Season your duck legs with freshly ground pepper and salt and rub it into the meat. Now, heat your frying pan. It needs to be nice and hot, similar to frying a steak. When the pan is hot, place the duck legs skin (fat) side down. You want it to fry till the skin is nice, crispy and brown.

When the skin is crispy, sprinkle the cumin seeds over the duck, before turning it over (skin side facing up)  to cook the other side of the legs. Be careful, the heat will make the cumin seeds shoot around like little popcorn kernels. As soon as you’ve turned it around, add the Pimms, making sure that you don’t pour it over the crispy skin. Pour it around the duck. The top, crispy side of the skin should be “Pimms free”.

Now, take some of the blackberries and place them around the duck in any available space. I usually place a few around the duck and then use the rest as a cushion for the duck to lie on, placing them underneath the duck.

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Take the lemon wedges and place the skin side up around the duck. Place in the oven for 45mins. Tip: Do not cover with a lid or foil, because you want the skin to stay crispy.

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I usually serve this with a tomato, mozzarella & basil salad, and some creamy mash with the sweet and zesty sauce cutting through the creamy mash.  You can also serve it with fresh , crusty bread and dip the bread in the blackberry and duck sauce, or even serve with some plain, simple and delicious jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!

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Wayne’s sticky pork shoulder

20 Oct

There’s a very good reason for this title… and that would be a certain loving relationship that my friend Wayne has with a certain Eisbein dish at The Oxford Arms in Durbanville. When I was still in SA, our group of friends often met for drinks at The Oxford Arms.I always knew that Wayne would order his favourite… Eisbein. Wayne does everything with passion. Whether he is working, enjoying drinks & dinner,making music, giving a helping hand to a friend.. he’s almost like superman really!!

When he has the important people in his life around him, with drinks, a good meal and good music, it is safe to say that he is happier than a pig in mud!! They also have a little “piglet” on the way, which I am sure will have the same passion for life, love and naturally, everything else!!

So Wayne, you know I was thinking about you (with  a mental picture of you and a piece of Eisbein bigger than the size of your head… in your mouth) while I was preparing this lovely little piggy!! I am sure you would have lovingly tucked in!! Miss you guys…

Sticky Pork Shoulder

2 kg pork shoulder

1 can of beer

1 can of cider

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

4 tablespoons of apricot jam

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 potatoes, cut into medium slices

salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Pour your beer & cider into a ovenproof casserole dish, along with the garlic. Now put your pork in the cider and flavour with salt & pepper. Place in the oven, lid on for 1 hour.

After cooking for an hour, remove from the oven. Take your pork out and place it on a baking tray. Season with salt & black pepper again. Mix your cumin seeds with the apricot jam and rub/coat the pork in the apricot jam.

Place your potato slices around the pork and season with salt & black pepper.

Drizzle with your sunflower oil and place it back in the oven for 45 minutes.

I served it up with some mushy peas…. a new favourite in our home!! Enjoy it with a salad or any veggies of your choice.

Super food for my superman!

10 Oct

We all know superman has a weakness… kryptonite! Well MY superman’s weakness is flu. Over here, it is almost impossible to avoid it! When he gets it, I get it! I really want him to stay my superman and be my hero ;-p

So he mentioned to me today that he is not feeling well and he is definitely getting the flu. Hearing the feared words.. it kicked me into overdrive!! Most of the time, he loses his appetite, so I have to think of something that is tasty, really healthy and light, because I have found that this, and of course, chicken soup, makes him feel much better!! And of course the extra pampering & love and care he is receiving ;-p  So, I sat thinking about vitamin C, good fats, protein and crunchy and fresh greens!!Don’t forget some lovely, fluffy RED rooster potatoes!!

Yup, they’ll get you back on track just like a rooster wakes you up in the morning! ;-p  Ahhh, salmon my old friend!! Salmon has taken a bit of a back seat for a while, because I think I overdid it a while with my pink friend… but, if there ever was a comeback… it’s now!! Maybe it is also because salmon is easy to make, a lovely, oily and healthy fish and it feels like comfort food…. yes, comfort food to me!!! So for everyone out there feeling weak, under the weather and in need of a little comfort food… let us all hope your loved one cooks this for you too!!

 

300 g fresh salmon

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Salt & pepper according to your taste

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 small radishes, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

50ml of milk / soya milk

4 twigs of chives, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of grated parmesan

2 handfuls of watercress & rocket salad mixture

 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Season your salmon with salt & pepper and the lemon juice. Place in the oven. Boil some water and put some salt in it.  Now add your potatoes and boil them until soft, but still firm.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan and add your mustard. Mix through gently and add your chives. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and add your parmesan. Flavour with black pepper. Now, dish up!!

 

Place your radish on a plate, with your salmon ( I broke mine roughly into piecies) on top of that.

Place the potato around the salmon and sprinkle over the watercress & rocket. Drizzle over the sauce and enjoy!!!

 

Riche de poulet provençal

1 Sep

As you might have guessed, I feel like FRENCH. Yes, country, butter, butter, butter and butter! Only joking, I only used a little butter. However, in the words of Julia Child, everything is beautiful with butter, and french!

So I felt like a lady in lavender today, mostly because for once, the sun was shining! Not much, but hey, we cant ask for much when living in the UK. As I had a off day, I woke up, got dressed and went in search of viola’s, basically small pansies. I have discovered they are the only flowers that I like that can survive the vicious, cold winter here.Finally, I found some, came back and pulled out all the weeds and dead flowers in my garden. In went my violas. When I finished, I remembered that it was the time of year to trim back my lavender.

Lavender is something that reminds me so much of my mother…. can you hear it…. heartache, homesick!!! One picture is always stuck in my mind, one day, cant remember when, while I was still living at home, my mother was in her lavender and white rose garden, picking lavender. It was a hot day and she was wearing a white skirt, with a white blouse, and lavender coloured wide brimmed purple hat, with her skirt swaying in the breeze. I think that was the most beautiful picture in my mind I got from my mother, because that is basically her habitat, besides the kitchen of course. She LOVES lavender! The colours, the smell, their hardiness, they can survive anything, just like my mother.

So today, while I was trimming back my lavender, I obviously put them in a vase, and this inspired me to create a country style french meal. Which in fact, is usually quite a simple meal with very delicate and subtle flavours. Naturally, I had a few tomatoes from my own garden that turned blood red, so I had to use them too! I felt like a french lady with my own chateau in provence! So why not use provencial herbs? This is a classic mixture of herbs that the french use in their dishes, and there is a reason for it, it makes anything delicious! Add butter with that, and hey, you can’t go wrong!

Riche de poulet provencal

5 chicken thighs, skin on

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

3 teaspoons provencal herbs

8 tablespoons of butter

handful of halved tomatoes

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

1/2 cup of dry white wine

juice of 2 lemons

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter with your garlic in a frying pan.Add one teaspoon of olive oil ( this prevents the butter from burning) Place your chicken in the pan, skin side down. The chicken will now fry to make the skin crispy.

While this is cooking, boil some water, put some salt in it and boil your potatoes for about 10 minutes. When your chicken skin is brown and slightly crispy, transfer to a baking tray. Now add your onion to the pan.

Fry until slightly brown. While they are in the pan, drain your potatoes. Add them to the onions in the pan. Toss about. Basically what you want to do is get the potatoes coated in the juices, with the onion. As soon as you think they are coated with the juices, transfer them to the baking tray as well. Now, add the remaining butter to the pan and the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Back to your frying pan,  when the butter has melted, add your tomatoes, and toss about. Flavour with salt. Sprinkle your herbs over the tomatoes. Toss them about, try not to mix it with a spatula, but just toss it in the pan. Now add your white wine. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes and now add your lemon juice. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Take the pan, and concentrate the juices over the chicken pieces. After all the juices have been poured over the chicken, arrange the tomatoes around the chicken. Now place your tray in the oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Now if you’re anything like my big lion in the house, you will either want vegetables or salad. I only made a salad, but if you’d like you can make some frech beans with butter with that 🙂 Also, normal people will enjoy the potatoes with the chicken, however, the lion king wanted rice. So there you go, whatever you fancy, enjoy with veg/salad and rice.

Celebratory Duck – It looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, so it has to be a duck…

24 Aug

Or so it was…. before I picked it up in the supermarket ;-p Ahh… just like water of a duck’s back! Effortless! That is today’s dish 🙂 I know, I have neglected my little love post. However, after being woman down with the stomach flu, (No, it wasn’t dodgy chinese duck) I am now back on track, overly focused and inspired, so I felt like inspiring my inner food goddess today! I finished a contract on monday, so I was literally like a “duck in water”! Happy as can be, relaxing, working on my new little jewellery venture, picking up a package from my loving mother, all the way from SA, and coming home, inspired to cook a lovely dinner 🙂

This is also a little celebratory dinner for the hubby as he passed his exams!! And as I, the do-gooder wife ( tssskk tssssk) joined him at the gym today as another present, he has no excuse to feel guilty for enjoying this little delicacy!! To me, duck has always been “rich man’s food”. Although, if you think about it, I grew up next to a dam with millions of ducks! However, I would never dream of killing one to eat, they are such lovely little things 🙂 Away with the guilt, since I no longer live in that little paradise, I thought what harm would come from enjoying one aspect of it , in a certain sense 🙂  It sounds like a lot of work, but this is a “love and leave” dish 🙂 Everything in one tray, poke an eye on them every now and then, and it turns into lovely, golden delicious dreams 🙂 Easy as pie!

Celebratory Duck

2 Duck Breasts

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks

1 teaspoon of olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed, in it’s skin

a handful of dried apricots

Salt & Pepper to taste

handful of fresh thyme

Veggie stirfry

1 red pepper

handful of mangetout

handful of baby corn

4 spring onions

2 tablespoons of soya sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of olive oil

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 cup of finely sliced carrots

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Now, get yourself a casserole pan that can go into the oven, or any pan that can go into the oven. Season your duck breasts with salt and pepper. Pour in your olive oil and heat your pan up. Place the duck breast fat/skin side down. Now add your garlic, still in it’s skin.

Make sure you hear the slight crackling sound when the skin on the duck starts to brown. It will create a lot of cooking juices from the skin. When the skin is lovely and brown, add your potatoes, and mix them about so that they are coated in the juices. Now sprinkle over your thyme.

Place in the oven for 45 mins. While this is in the oven, you can work on your veggies.

Add your oil to a heated pan and add the veggies.

Add your mushrooms last.


Add your soya sauce, vinegar and honey and fry until tender, but still firm. When your duck is done, dish up and savour the moment 🙂 Utter bliss!

Cottage pie… you’ve got to give it a try

13 Aug

I promise! It’s got a little twist ;-p When I was a little girl, I never liked cottage pie. I liked mashed potato and I liked mince, but not together. There was something about it that I felt was bland and boring and a “quick fix” when you really didn’t have much time to make supper. Not that it is, this was just how I perceived it and naturally, having a mother that is a brilliant cook, I pulled my nose at it!

I am now here to tell you that I have recovered. Hi, my name is Nadia and I have a new cottage pie recipe…. all together now…. “Hi New Cottage Pie!!!! “ This is what I like to call “Italian Cottage Pie”.  I think it has a certain  “je ne sais quoi” to it.  Cottage pie, with a bit more zing and loaded with  love!! And anti-oxidants!

I made this a few weeks ago, thinking my hubby will pull the same face I used to pull when I heard “cottage pie”. However, he actually polished my little red pie dish! I think it is because it has the crunch factor, the zingy flavour and the fluffy potato, topped with the ever so lovely and popular parmesan. Who can live without parmesan!!!!! I’m sure it sounds bad, calling it my Italian cottage pie, but basically, the base of the sauce is Italian, parmesan is Italian, and well, why not. This is not the quickest dish, but it is well worth it 🙂 If you don’t try it, you’ll never know!

Italian Cottage Pie

 

250 g mince

5 tablespoons of tomato puree

Dolmio tomato sauce ( Yes I had to, there was one bottle left in the fridge) / 1 tin of tinned tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoon of mixed herbs

1 large onion, roughly chopped / 2 medium onions

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

4 potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 chilli finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of cream/ soya cream

Get some water boiling and add your potatoes. Flavour the water with salt. Heat a frying pan and add your olive oil, chilli and onion.

Fry the onion for about 8 minutes and add your tomato puree. Mix and fry for another 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Now add your mince and break it up with a wooden spoon. When it has slightly browned, add your Dolmio sauce/ tinnes tomatoes. Mix through.

Now add your mixed herbs. Mix through and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. It sounds long, but it really allows the meat to absorb the flavours in the sauce.

While this is simmering, check on your potatoes. When the potatoes are soft, drain them. Put them back in the saucepan and start mashing!!

When it is beautifully fluffy, add your cream and mix through thoroughly. Taste and season with salt if needed. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Grease a pie dish or any dish of your choice. When your mince is ready, spoon it into the pie dish. Take your mash and spread it over your the mince. Make sure it covers all the mince. Now pour over your egg. Sprinkle with parmesan and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

When you remove it, the egg and parmesan will have formed a lovely crust with a golden colour. Enjoy with a side salad or veggies 🙂

 

Sweet Potato love

21 Jul

Sweet potato love

“Sweet potato is a tuberous crop and its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves.” Isn’t that a sign? Heart shaped leaves? Of course it is! This lovely little fellow might as well shoot little hearts out at you! It has so many great benefits that I cant include it here in my writing, otherwise you will be reading forever! A while back I went to the Gourmet Burger with the hubby – two for one, we can’t help ourselves ;-p To the point really, I decided to enjoy a slightly different burger and had a chorizo and sweet potato burger. Now my friends, of course by now you know, when it comes to eating, I don’t want the old boring, traditional thing. To me when something sounds nice, it should taste nice and my oh my, sweet potato and chorizo are a match made in heaven!!

How can you resist all that soft, sweet love! Just another example that “beauty is in the eye of beholder” or in this case, the taster ;-p Not that a sweet potato is particularly beautiful, suppose if you are into that rustic kind of thing, it might well be. ;-p Anyhow, I remember when I was little my mother would take a few sweet potatoes, wrap them in foil and place them in the oven. I never particularly wanted to eat them. I thought something that ugly and misshapen couldn’t possibly taste nice! However, when I saw my father eating it out of its skin after it was cooked to perfection, I wanted it! Since I can remember, the food he ate and enjoyed created this content expression on his face. Now how did that help anything? I’ll tell you, it made me eat my veggies! However, I never quite enjoyed it the way my dad did. When he ate veggies, it almost looked as if he was savouring a delicious, creamy chocolate! Maybe that was his special trick? Who knows, it worked!

Ever since, as the years went by, I started to love the sweet potato more and more! This is where I can start talking in my “bubba shrimp” voice from Forrest Gump – you can have sweet potato mash, sweet potato fries, sweet potato wedges, sweet potato pie, sweet potato fritters…. and I can go on and on. It is possible that something so ugly can turn into something so irresistible! Totally gobsmacked! After weeks of rain and dark, dreary miserable weather, I need my sweet potato! I am going to follow the route of my inspiration for this dish – The Gourmet Burger. However, I will make a warm chorizo and sweet potato salad, and let me tell you my friends; you will be coming back for more!! What is there to feel guilty about?

Now, I know my dad loves a sweet potato….so what would ultimately make his day besides, a sneaky, special delivery from Torino chocolates in town? He is a big fan of Spanish, Italian and French cured sausages and meat. If he could sit down to this, I am sure that when he closed his eyes he would start imagining himself in a Italian marketplace somewhere with Italians screaming at each other, children eating warm, freshly baked pastries and a few Italians singing while lazily strumming a guitar. Dad, this one is for you. Maybe,one day, soon, we will do this and all of us can turn our faces to the warm sun and enjoy a crisp glass of White Italian wine

Warm chorizo & sweet potato salad 

1 big, long chorizo sausage/ 4 small chorizo sausages cut in slices

3 sweet potatoes, cut in wedges, preboiled for 10 minutes

125g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 onion, finely sliced

2 courgettes, sliced in medium wedges

1 handful of french beans

olive oil for frying

ground cumin to sprinkle

Salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of sugar

Balsamic glaze

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. While these are cooking, drizzle a bit of olive oil in a heated frying pan and add your courgettes and green beans. Cook until tender, but still firm and add your chorizo slices.

They will release lovely juices. Cook until the juices are released. Flavour with salt to taste. Now, in a seperate small frying pan, add olive oil and fry your onions over a low heat. They must start caramelizing slightly, soft, but lightly browned.

Now add your cherry tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes start realeasing a little bit of their juice and season with salt. Now add your teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Remove your sweet potato from the oven.

Squish them slightly with a fork. Place them in your plate. Plate the tomato and onion mixture on top of the sweet potato. Finally, top off with your vegetable chorizo mix.

Drizzle with a little bit of balsamic glaze and enjoy!