Chicken, red wine casserole with parmentier potatoes and local king cabbage

 

 

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Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.

It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.

This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.

Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.

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This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1/2 celery stick chopped
  • 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
  • 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
  • Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Parmentier Potatoes:

  • 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

 

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Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 190c

 

  • In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.

 

  •  Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.

 

  •  Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.

 

  • In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.

 

  •  Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.

 

  •  Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.

 

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  • Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.

 

  •  Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.

 

 

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Cauliflower, leek and chorizo gratin with a parmesan crumb topping.

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So, this is my new blog. What do you think?

I thought what a better way to kick start it off but with a recipe that went out on last Friday for one of my regular shows I do for BBC Radio Leicester, “Food Friday” which I have done for a few years now. It’s on my friends show, that of course is the lovely Mr Ben Jackson. I love cooking on “Food Friday” as I love being able to help people think of ideas for the weekend. I normally do something seasonal, inexpensive, fridge raids/leftovers and family friendly recipes. You get the gist.

This dish is a simple recipe for a family of four all put together in one dish.It’s using seasonal ingredients at its best with a little something extra.

You could also have this as a side dish or starter in smaller sized dishes (how I have shown on the pictures). It’s a dish you really don’t need to be accurate with ingredients. You can play around with it a little, i.e if you don’t want to have the chorizo in it, its also great as that lovely parmesan crumb on top gives a special crunch. It would make a great dinner party dish that doesn’t have you slaving in the kitchen too.

It really is a super, simple supper that is inexpensive to make.

Click on this link to hear to me showing Ben and our listeners just how fabulous and easy it is to make.  

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Half way point!

Ingredients:

Depending on how big your dish is, this is based on serving 4 people in a 25cm gratin dish.

Gratin mix:

  •  1 whole head of cauliflower including using some of the leaves. Florets broken apart and sliced downwards to the stalks.
  • 1 leek sliced thinly
  • 1/2 chorizo ring ( approximately 100g ) chopped into smaller cubes
  • cheddar cheese grated, I used a mature British ( approximately 60-70g )
  • A sprig of thyme, if the leaves are quite large, chop them finely. My herbs are from my garden so I didn’t need to and just stripped off the leaves.
  • 300g carton of double cream ( you may not need to use it all, don’t cover the gratin mix with it )
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few knobs of Unsalted butter
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Crumb topping:

  •  2 slices of bread ( a few days old ) I used wholemeal which gives more flavour
  • 2 spring onions chopped roughly
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesan ( Parmigiana reggiano ) grated some in the crumb mix and some for on top

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At the finish, bubbling away nicely

 

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 180c fan.

 

  •  Blanch off your cauliflower until just starting to soften.

 

  • In the meantime, in a blender/processor blitz together the ingredients for your topping.

 

  • In your chosen dish place a layer of cauliflower at the bottom. Then layer up with your leeks, chorizo, garlic, cheese and thyme. Then finish with cauliflower again on top.

 

  • Pour over your double cream and place your knobs of butter on top. Pop in the oven for 15 mins until things are starting to bubble and brown. Take out and put your crumb topping on. Place back in the oven for another 10 mins.

 

  • When golden brown onto, serve with perhaps some crusty bread, a nice salad and a lovely red wine.

 

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Diving in!

 

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Wheres that red wine and crusty bread?

Singapore stir-fried noodles with king prawns

I have a couple of Dishes that I always cook for myself be it every week or at least every other week and this recipe is one of them. I love eating all types of Asian cuisine but this is a great one to do if you don’t want to break the bank balance and order a takeaway.

  You may not have all the store cupboard ingredients in at first, but once you do have them in, you can use them for other recipes I will be doing or have already created, so they won’t go to waste and will last for a long time.

  This dish can be cooked in 10 minutes (15 if you include the prep), it’s a super quick, simple recipe that has lots of flavour in there of you. 
 If you are one of these people that when you order a Chinese takeaway you choose a chow mien dish and then put curry sauce on top of it, well this is the one for you! 

  This recipe can be cooked at any time of year and also is so great for using up any odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge. Perfect for a Friday or Saturday before you do a shop for the next week ahead. 
 A Frugal takeaway made at home… A “Fake-away” 



Singapore stir-fried noodles with King Prawns:






Ingredients:
( Serves 2 approximately)
  •    A good handful of king prawns ( I normally would say at least 8 per person but I love Prawns!) I tend to buy a 225g frozen packet of raw or cooked ones as they are more economical. Just defrost thoroughly first.
  •  1/2 250g pack of  Singapore noodles ( thin type )( I buy mine from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
  •  2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or groundnut oil
  •  2 Cloves of garlic chopped finely
  •  Thumbsize nail amount of fresh Ginger grated or chopped fine
  •  half a red chilli chopped finely
  •  1 small onion sliced
  •  2-3 Chestnut mushrooms or shitake sliced
  •  1 small carrot sliced thinly
  •  1/2 red pepper sliced lengthways 
  •  1/2 yellow pepper sliced lengthways
  •  1/4 celery stick sliced thinly on an angle 
  •  2-3 Chinese leaves sliced or you could use pak choi or even both( Again mine are from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
  •  A good handful of Bean sprouts ( Wang Fung Hong as they are in bigger packs )
  •  2-3 spring onions sliced diagonally 
  •  small handful of chopped coriander to finish
(Stir fry sauce):
1 tbsp light soy sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
1 tbsp oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
1/4 chicken stock pot
1 tbsp Chinese hot and spicy curry sauce concentrated paste ( Mine was from Wang Fung Hong ) you can use a mild or medium curry powder if you can’t find
pinch of caster sugar 
150 ml of water
Method:
*  Cook noodles to packet instructions and rinse under cold water to cool, if you don’t, they stick.
  •  In a wok add your oil and start to fry off your sliced onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms for a minute or two until starting to colour and soften.
  •  Add your Garlic, ginger and chilli but be careful not to burn, stir and then add in  the sliced peppers, and stir for about another minute.
  •  Then add in your prawns, chinese leaves or pak choi or both and continue to toss the ingredients around the wok.
  •  Start to add in your sauces i.e. soy, oyster, chicken stock and just make a little area by moving the veg away in the wok and pop in your curry paste, using a spoon stirr in the paste, add water and start to coat all the veg.
*  Add in your noodles, stir, add then spring onions and coriander plus if it needs a little extra of any sauces. Serve in a bowl and enjoy.





Shepherds Pie




Nowadays we use mince in our shepherds pies, however back in Victorian times they would always use up their leftover roast meat as a frugal way of living. It must have been some treat back then as it still has a certain endurance about it every time I eat it. The same with a cottage pie also, which if some of you aren’t aware, that is used with beef mince or in this case would have been leftover from your roast the previous day.
 I love doing this and creating different recipes with the leftover meat than just putting it cold into a sandwich for lunch the next day. 
  This way definitely gives more flavour I feel to the dish, a deeper earthier taste. Plus it brings a coarse texture that can be more appealing to others also. Plus it’s less fatty. 
This meat was taken from just a fore leg of Lamb, a bit like a large shank that I managed to buy and I got two huge parts of the leg for only £8! Down from £21! What a bargain!
  So you see my readers, not always is a roast an expensive dinner, it’s looking for that bargain first and it’s also what you manage to get out of it. 


Shepherds pie

(Using leftover Roast Lamb)





Ingredients: (Serves 4 approximately )
Mash: 
  • Roughly 6 floury potatoes such as Maris piper, wilma or marfona peeled and cut into even size chunks.
  • 100 ml double cream 
  • a good size knob of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
Meat mixture:
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • approximately 400g leftover Roast Lamb meat coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1/2 leek sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 celery stick finely chopped 
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a small sprig of thyme
  • Any gravy/juices/stock saved from the joint, use for a sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a good splash of red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon/merlot or Cotes du Rhone
  • a few splashes of Worcester sauce
  • a few grinds of cracked black pepper
  • Salt if needed or if too strong tasting, use a pinch of caster sugar to even out.

Method:
 * Boil potatoes in a pan of boiling water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes adding the ingredients to it. Set aside.
  • preheat oven to 190c 
  • In a hot frying pan pop in your rapeseed oil and fry off your onion for about 2-3 minutes. Then add your celery and carrot and fry off for another minute.
  • Add in your leeks to the mixture, fry of for a further minute and then add in your garlic and thyme.
  • Add your chopped meat, gravy/juices,tomato puree, Worcester sauce, wine, pepper stir and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Taste as you go along and you can add more wine or water as you wish if it becomes dry.
  • When the mixture is reduced down to a gravy like sauce and the meat is tender again pop into a pie dish, top with your mash and roughen the mash with a fork.
  • Then place into the oven for another 20 minutes or when the topping is golden brown and bubbling at the edges. 

*  Serve on its own or with some green vegetables and a glass of red. 







Jerk style chicken with peach and cucumber salsa

What is it with Diets in January? I like creating healthy recipes and eating them, don’t get me wrong but why is it that when as soon as New years Eve is out of the way, people seemed to have consumed so many calories over Christmas, they must be the size of Brazil by now! 
 I don’t actually eat that much over Christmas, maybe the wrong type of foods yes but never anymore than normal really. I can’t afford much more! I say eat in moderation, have a balanced diet. Plus that way you get a wide range of foods and with the added cheeky treat.

  So I thought my readers I’d share a recipe I did back in the summer of last year that isn’t super healthy but has a lot of benefits in it thats better than a Pork pie…Ooh any of that left?
  This Jamaican marinade has so many different versions all over the world, from Grandmas recipe that has been passed down the years in a Caribbean household to such as my recipe here which I have created. Some may argue it isn’t a true Jerk recipe but its one I have been doing for sometime now and it never fails to impress people. 
  With Jerk recipes, some are dry and some are wet. I have gone for the more wet and sticky version so be prepared as you wont be able to eat this elegantly.

    The many times I have done this dish, I’ve served it with wedges, sweet potato, rice and coleslaw, ( not all at once) however it was now time for a real fruity kick of a salsa and you can’t get more refreshing than this with the added cucumber. The coconut oil adds a real sheen and added class to it. You could even use fresh coconut in there, finely grated or sliced.
  A comforting dish still for January but with some added healthy Oomph as well.



Jerk style chicken with a peach and cucumber 
salsa:




Ingredients:
(Serves 3 people)
Chicken:
–    3 Chicken drumsticks, 3 thighs
  • 3 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
  • 1 Medium sized Red Chilli finely diced, more if you like it really spicy
  • Thumbnail size of Fresh Ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  •   1 Tbsp Soy sauce 
  •   1 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
  •   2 Tbsp of good quality Jerk seasoning ( depending on how powerful the seasoning is)( I used Spice Kitchen’s
  •   Spritz of Lime
  •   Sprinkle of caster sugar
  •   1 tbsp of Rapeseed oil
Salsa:
  • 3 peaches Peeled and diced
  •   3 inch size of cucumber peeled,de-seeded and finely diced
  •   1/2 red pepper 
  •   Half a red chilli finely chopped and de-seeded
  •   Handful of fresh chopped coriander
  •   1 tsp- 1 tbsp of Coconut oil, depending on how much it 
  •     A good squeeze of fresh Lime juice ( no more than half )
  •   A good squeeze of Fresh Orange ( no more than a quarter of a large orange )



Method:
*  Place all marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix together
  • Make some score lines in your chicken and add to your marinade, working it into he chicken. Cover your bowl and leave in the fridge from 6 hours up to 24 hours if you can. (The longer the better)
  • Chop all ingredients for your salsa and set aside in the fridge
  • Pre-heat oven on 190c-200c
*  Check if your chicken looks a little dry, add a bit more of rapeseed oil, not too much as the chicken has skin on.
  • Pop your Chicken into the baking tray/dish of your choice and pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until all cooked through and sticky on top.
*  Serve with your Salsa and your ready.