Thursday, 30 January 2014

Peri Peri Spatchcock Chicken, Chunky Coleslaw & Fries

Let's face it, nobody wants to be exiled to the kitchen when entertaining friends, that is why I love this dish.  Practically all the preparation can be done in advance i.e., Marinate the chicken over night, chunky coleslaw ( which can be made up to 2 hrs before) and I hasten to add, cheat with the fries.  Trying to keep on a more healthy tip, I'm not too keen on deep frying anything.  Problem solved as I have found these, Sainsburys own 'Lightly spiced fries' at £1 that can be just popped in the oven.  Hey Presto, this meal always has my guests cooing with delight and smacking there lips as I present it at the table. 

The Grumpy Greek and I love this 'Peri Peri' chicken we also love our piggy sized portions which allows me my 'Lazy Leftovers' for the following day.  ENJOY x

marinade for one medium chicken

100 ml olive oil

50 ml red wine vinegar

1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
3 large red chilies, finely chopped (these are milder or you can use birds eye chilies instead for a real kick)
1 sweet pointed red pepper finely chopped
7 garlic cloves, blanched for 2 mins then roughly diced
dash of chilli infused oil (optional)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt crystals

Place in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 4 to 5 mins

Blitz together in a food processor and set aside to cool


Pre heat oven at 220 c

1 med chicken, washed and dried

Remove back bone with poultry scissors or a sharp heavy knife (please be careful) 

You can use bamboo skewers (soaked in cold water for 30 mins, see photo below) if you wish but these sometimes get in the way when it comes to fitting the chicken in the griddle pan

Place chicken in a roasting tin and pour over cold marinade now rub in on both sides. Breast side up, cover in foil or cling film and place in fridge over night.

Next morning, turn chicken over, spoon marinade over underside of chicken, cover and return to fridge until you are ready to cook it.

Heat a griddle pan, season chicken well on both sides

When griddle pan is hot, place chicken breast side down for 2 to 3 mins giving the odd press to ensure an even colour, flip bird over and repeat on the other side

Place in oven uncovered for 15 mins at 220 c, 

Turn oven down to 190 c, baste chicken, loosely cover with foil and return to oven for a further 30 mins basting every 10 mins

All ovens are different, so make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the juices run clear.   Remove from oven, tightly cover with foil and a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 to 15 mins for a perfectly tender, moist chicken.

Cook fries according to packet instructions but make sure they're crispy

Chunky Coleslaw
Make this at least 2 hrs before devouring.

1/4 white & 1/4 red cabbage, medium sliced
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
1 med onion, finely sliced
handful finely chopped curly parsley, reserving a little for garnish
3 to 4 Tbs mayonnaise
1 & 1/2 Tsp creme fraiche
season well with S & P

Turn the cold water on ( you'll thank me in a minute) and with your clean hands mix all the ingredients together.  Now you'll be covered in mayonnaise but you won't get it all over your taps when you rinse your hands. 

Cling film & place in the fridge till your ready to serve.

Lazy Leftovers

Peri Peri Chicken, chunky coleslaw and wild rocket sandwich

Monday, 27 January 2014

Tuscany Style Ribollita

In the afternoon the skies darkened, the temperature dropped and the rain set in. It was time to cosy down with a bowl of something hot, healthy and rustic. Sometime ago one of my neighbours made this fabulous dish for me and I have been cooking it ever since for the Grumpy Greek and I.  I am a big fan of organic produce, this ensures the vegetables are seasonal allowing the flavours to speak for themselves.

So here goes - this is my version of that wonderful Tuscany dish 'Ribollita'.

For the Ribollita
200 ml olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 med courgettes, roughly chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins cannellini beans
1 small packet cherry tomatoes of your choice, I used a mixed pack of red & yellow
1/4 size piece of a celeriac (optional)
1 med fennel bulb, quartered
1 med Cavolo Nero (black cabbage)
1/2 med Savoy cabbage
400 g  potatoes, I used Anya potatoes boil first then cut into large chucks
500 ml vegetable stock
1 level desert spoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste
freshly grated pecorino cheese or a mature cheddar will also do the trick
garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Garlic Bread
 1 french stick
1/3 packet of softened butter
dash of olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
Mix butter, olive oil & garlic together well with a fork.
Slice the French stick diagonally in approx. 6 cm pieces but leave the loaf intact by not cutting right to the bottom.  Wrap loaf in tin foil.

Preheat the oven to 200°, put your potatoes on to boil for 20 minutes.  

On a baking tray toss the fennel and celeriac in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, roast for 10 minutes   Then add the courgettes and tomatoes to the baking tray and cook for a further 10 minutes remove to cool down. 

Whilst the courgettes and tomatoes are roasting.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pan, add the onions and cook gently until they are soft. Add the celery, carrots, garlic and season. Cook these gently for 10 to 15 minutes over a low heat until it starts to turn golden, occasionally stirring.

Add the tin of tomatoes, vegetable stock, sugar and simmer gently for five minutes. In a bowl mash one tin of cannellini beans and add to the saucepan, also add potatoes, Savoy, Cavolo Nero cabbage and remaining tin of whole cannellini beans, give it a good stir 

Finally add all your roasted vegetables (including those fabulous juices) to the pot and stir in gently

Pop your garlic bread in the oven for roughly 10 to 12 minutes when you open the foil it should be golden and crispy to the touch, if not just lightly open the foil and return to the oven for a further five minutes. 

Serve in large bowls, topped with the coarsely grated cheese, parsley and two chunks of 
garlic bread.  ENJOY x

Dom's rustic bread

As my dear friend Dom of Belleau kitchen was with us on Saturday, there was no need to buy a French stick.  Whilst I was whipping up my Tuscany delight, Dom made this incredible bread which he laced with the garlic butter.

My Grumpy Greek is forever asking why I always make more food than is necessary? Well, the answer is my darling - It's always great to have Lazy Leftovers for lunch. Sunday was a lazy day and I had almost a portion of Ribolitta still in the pot, so I added 1/2 a kettle of boiling water, 1 vegetable stock cube, simmered it for 10 mins, blitzed it, served soup with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Dom was kind enough to make us an extra loaf, which I reheated and served with the soup . Yummy.

Lazy Leftovers

Saturday, 25 January 2014

moroccan breakfast

today my neighbour Dom from Belleau Kitchen came over for a day of cooking and fun and we started with this delicious Moroccan style breakfast.  It's influenced a little by an ottolenghi recipe but as usual i've adapted it for what I had in the fridge and what we like.  I made my own ras el hanout because it's just so easy and I also made a very quick hollandaise sauce which isn't shown in this picture.

moroccan breakfast
it may seem a little complicated but actually it's really simple, there's just a few stages.

ras el hanout
1/2 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

4 large firm tomatoes - cut into six
2 medium courgettes - thick slices (unless you're The Grumpy Greek who likes them thinner)
3 medium potatoes - cut into wedges
1 large green pepper - cut into wedges
1 green chili - thinly sliced

quick hollandaise
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon white whine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
85g melted salted butter

to make the ras el hanout simply combine all the spices in a bowl (you can grind the cardamom and any other spices if you like) - this will keep in a jar for up to 8 weeks - set aside

to make the veg, par boil the potatoes for 10 mins and then dry roast them for 10 mins on 180C - set aside (this can be done in advance)

put the tomatoes and courgettes in a roasting tin with a little olive oil and seasoning and roast for 10 mins - set aside

put the peppers in a bowl and drizzle with olive and sprinkle generously with salt then heat a griddle pan and griddle on each side for 7 mins until beginning to soften and colour - set aside, now quickly griddle the courgettes and chili to give them a little colour

to make the hollandaise place the yolks, mustard and vinegar in a bowl then using a hand-held blender gradually add the melted butter as you whizz... it will start to thicken and should be creamy and smooth

fry your eggs as you like them - this dish is nice lovely with runny yolks!

to assemble, place all the veg in a large bowl and sprinkle over a heaped teaspoon of the ras el hanout and one teaspoon of white wine vinegar and combine gently with your hands so the tomatoes don't break, adding salt and pepper to taste

heap on a plate, lay your egg on top, scatter fresh rocket over the dish and then drizzle with the hollandaise