Tag Archives: Wine

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.

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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!

dav

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Slow cooked meatballs

31 Oct

with winter around the corner! Indeed, I wish everything was slow. Nowadays everything feels like it is moving too fast! I barely have time to daydream about what I would like to cook for supper. Nevermind writing my recipes down. As so, my blog has also been slow, as I am sure I don’t need to point out the last time I made a post. As fast paced as life is here in london, our household is “techonologically doomed”!

First, I had problems with my laptop, which is also one of the reasons you have not seen any posts. Then Ipods.. camera’s, dehumidifiers… maybe it is all a sign to let go of all this technology.

Sometimes I wish I was outside, far away from the city, with winding country roads, the warm sun on my face and the fresh breeze of wildflowers in the air. I guess this is what I was thinking about while I was enjoying a glass of lovely red wine, with the meatballs slowly bubbling away.

I believe that our thoughts influence our cooking and so my thougts inspired a heartwarming meal, that helps me to slow down and smell the wafts of the lovely spiced aroma in our home. .. I guess I sound like my mother’s daughter now.. yearning for the farm, family and friends around my table, no rush, surrounded by love and joy.

Enough of my self pity as I sit in layers of clothing in this cold.. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and as it will show, there is so much you can do with the right combination of spices

Flavourful Meatballs with Herb ‘d Provence Cous cous

1 pack of minced beef

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, ground

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of black pepper

2 onions, finely chopped ( use a food processor)

2 slices of stale bread

1 egg

1 teaspoon of paprika

juice of half a lemon

1 cup of chicken stock

half a cup of white wine

half a cup of warm water

2 tablespoons of butter

For the Cous Cous

2 teaspoons of butter

salt and black pepper to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons of Herb ‘d Provence

 

To start, take one onion, and half a teaspoon of all the spices, including the salt and pepper ( 1 pinch) and put them in the food processor. Process fine, just before it makes a paste. Take the bread slices and break them into crumbs. Mix this with the mince, egg and your paste you made. Start rolling the mince into little balls, about the size of a walnut.

Take the remaining spices and put it in your food processor, along with the other onion. Process to the same texture as the semi-paste you made for the meatball mixture. Add your olive oil and butter to a pan. Wait for the butter to melt. Now add the onion and spice mixture. Cook for about 8 minutes. Now, add all the remaining ingredients and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes.

Add your meatballs to the pan. Swirl the pan so that the sauce moves around the meatballs. Turn the gas down to low. Put the lid on and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Now toss the meatballs around, so that the other side of the meatballs are also covered in the sauce. Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until cooked.

While the meatballs are cooking, measure the cous cous you required. Place it in a bowl. Now, take the Herb ‘d Provence herbs and sprinkle it over cous cous. Season with salt and black pepper. Boil water, enough to just cover the cous cous. When this has boiled, pour it over the cous cous, mixing it twice with a fork. Cover completely with a plate or some plastic wrap and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Lift the plate / take off the plastic wrap and take 2 teaspoons of butter and mix it through the cous cous with a fork. I served the meatballs with mixed roasted vegetables, along with the cous cous, but you can serve it with any vegetables of your choice, or even a lovely fresh rocket salad.

Chutzpah chicken!!

23 Aug

Or… now that I think of chicken.. wobbly chicken neck!!! This is my new name for my fellow passengers on the train in the morning. A floppy chicken neck as their sleeping heads move with the train’s rhythm, which I might add has become very entertaining in the morning. That is the lifestyle here at the moment. It seems like everyone’s lifestyle has increased with (dare I say it) the speed of Usain Bolt’s world record! No time, only rushing.. everywhere.. the whole time…so maybe the “headless chicken” is a better comparison for the last few months. Tonight I want to make a dish with some chutzpah!

 

Something that will make me slow down, smell the food, taste it, relax and enjoy! Usually, it is really busy, but I still find time to photograph my food, think about recipes and actually do my blog posts. I have decided to do this today, no matter how tired I am or what time it is. This is my little energy patch.. it keeps me smiling and happy and inspired J So just because I focused myself to do a post tonight, I am inspired with a new idea! Or not.. maybe just in the mood for comforting home cooking… to be honest.. my mom’s cooking. This brings me to say that she is coming to visit… So I am sure mom will spoil her “babies” once she is here J Hoorah!! Cant wait!!!

 

Some leftover red wine.. some chicken thighs.. some mushrooms.. olives.. why don’t I just toss them all together and make a little party dish.. since it is almost Friday.. AND since this will be a long weekend J

 

Celebration Chutzpah Chicken

 

1 pack of chicken thighs

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped teaspoon of chopped garlic

Handful of fresh thyme

Handful of olives

1 cup of red wine

1/2 cup of white wine

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of corn flour

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Add olive oil to a heated casserole dish like Le Creuset or anything similar. Brown your chicken. Remove and place aside.

Now add your onion, mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook until the onions are browned. Now, add your chicken and mix through. Add salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the cornflour and mix through.

Now, add the red wine, cover and simmer on medium heat for about 45 minutes. 10 minutes before you dish up, add the olives. Quick and happy all in one casserole dish!!  Serve with rice… and maybe a few glasses of full bodied red wine ;-p

 

Leftover Thursday

17 Nov

Which, to be honest, there isn’t really much left. I think I am talking about myself. After numerous weeks of being stuck on Ego Planet, I am very happy to have my last day tomorrow in Ego-man land. So from a patience point of view, there is nothing left.

However, after rushing home again last night, as always, I just thought about my friend decided to pop a good ‘ol whole chicken in the oven. Whenever in doubt, this is the route I take, and, I have to say, my friend Amanda, very happily noted to me how easy it is to actually just cook a chicken. You can’t really go wrong with a roast chicken. In her words ” roast chicken breast with a simple tomato salad, yum”, and well, that is what I did. I was very happy that she reminded me. Sorry to say, but coming home so late, there was no time really to do my normal blog routine.

BUT, I was very lucky to have some leftover chicken that smiled at me when I came home and so Leftover Thursday came round ;-p Don’t worry if you don’t have leftover chicken, then just take a pack of chicken fillets and everyone’s happy! This is almost a cupboard meal, but, add some tomatoes and you have a little bit of freshness popping through! So, without further ado, leftover chicken and pesto pasta

handful of cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

teaspoon of crushed garlic

salt & pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of roughly cut artichokes

Leftover roast chicken / 1 pack of chicken fillets, cut in cubes

1/2 glass of dry white wine

2 tablespoons of traditional green pesto

3 cups of pasta of your choice cooked according to packet instructions

1 1/2 tablespoon of capers

Little bit of goats cheese to crumble over as garnish

Heat a frying pan and add your olive oil and garlic. Mix through, add your cherry tomatoes and put on the lid. Shake the pan about and listen until you hear some of the juices splurting out in the pan. Now add your chicken. Mix about and add your capers. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and turn up the heat a bit. Add your artichokes. Now add your white wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add your pesto.  Dish up your pasta, top with your chicken mixture and crumble over your goats cheese. Quick, tasty and happy!

In a thyme tuna pickle

26 Oct

As almost every other day, when I left the house in the (pitch black) dark this morning, I forgot to take out some meat from the freezer. Yet again, this home is plagued by the flu… As I was sitting at work, very much looking like I swallowed 2 golfballs, I realised that the kitchen is “meatless”.

Heavily doped by boredom, I allowed my thoughts to move to our fridge and cupboard… tada!! No surprises there, tuna, bacon, garden tomatoes and capers. Capers are little buggers that go surprisingly well with quite a number of dishes. Particularly tuna and salmon.

I’ve never really known what plant capers come from or how they actually end up in the little jar that I buy them in.. so I went to investigate, after all, I am soooo very busy at work. Logically its like a type of pod from a plant and not too pleasant to eat as is.

Very much like olives. Put some love in it, give it some time and its tasty and very happy!! Pickled… .. ironic as I was not in the best of moods and I might well have been compared to a caper that has been lying in vinegar.. with very sour look on my face…. but when you combine it with its favourite friends, you wont get better!! So enough of all the blah blah blah… lets get cooking!

Tuna & Caper Spaghetti

2 teaspoons of garlic

1/4 cup of dry white wine

juice of 1/2 lemon

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon of capers / 3 teaspoons if the spoon doesn’t fit through the jar

1/2 pack of bacon, cut into medium bitesized slices with scissors

2 tins of chunky tuna with water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan

Bunch of fresh thyme

Spaghetti ( your choice of serving, follow instructions on packet)

Heat a pan with olive oil. Toss in your bacon and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the tuna. Toss in the pan to allow it to be coated with the bacon juices. Add the tomatoes and garlic and toss about. Now add your white wine and lemon juice. Add parmesan cheese and mix through.

Add your thyme and cover with lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Lastly, add your capers and toss about. Reserve some of the pasta water, literally 2 tablespoons.

Add your tuna ingredients all to your pasta saucepan ( with the pasta in) and toss lightly. Cover with the lid and allow to stand for about 5 – 7 minutes. Dish up and grate over some freshly grated parmesan…. subtle flavours, but one of my favourites… njum!!!!!!

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.