Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Punjabi Chicken Vindaloo

 I am a huge fan of curry, I just love those old fashioned flock wallpaper restaurants called the Taj Mahal or The Last Viceroy, wonderful. I have tried dozens of different recipes I have even been fortunate enough to spend an evening in my local Indian Restaurants kitchen to learn a little more and this is my tried tested old faithful recipe for what I think is the best way of making a Vindaloo.

I start by marinating Chicken Breast in Black Pepper and White Wine Vinegar and a glug of Oil and Lemon juice, put it into the fridge and start making the curry.

I take a tbsp of cumin seeds 1 tbsp of Coriander seeds and a tbsp of mustard seeds and put them in a hot dry pan to toast. Make sure you don't burn them and then empty into a mortar and pestle and grind them into a powder.

Add a glug of vegetable Oil to the pan and 3 tbsp of Ghee and add 2 Onions cook them on a high heat until they start to brown, turn down the heat and add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 4 fresh chillies seeds and all.

Keep stirring and add 1tsp of Tumeric, 1 tsp ground Ginger, 1 tsp of Pimenton Picante, 2 tsp of Chilli powder and 2 tbsb of Garam Masala and a tbsp of dried Coriander

Cook through around a minute and add a ladle of Chicken Stock, then 2 tins of chopped Tomatoes and around a pint of the Chicken Stock bring it to the boil then turn down to a simmer and put the lid on so that the lid is partly ajar.
Now cook this very gently for at least 3 hours and then using a hand blender blitz around half the curry.and add 4 cubes of chocolate

Now get a griddle pan scorching hot and add the Chicken breasts so they are charred on the outside and then add to a roasting tin and put in a preheated oven at 210c for 20 minutes. Take them out and let it rest for at least ten minutes, carve into chunks and add to the Curry, squeeze in the juice of half a Lemon and sprinkle with Fresh coriander and Parsley.

Amazing the chicken is juicy not stringy I serve with a simple Raita Chapatti and Rice

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bullfighters Beef

This was something a little different for Sunday Lunch took 3 hours which was a good excuse to drink rather a lot of wine whilst snacking on toasted Almonds!!

I am doing a dinner party next week on Friday so  I was in the the Butchers and these huge chunks of Chuck Steak were begging me to make them mine! I called it Bullfighters Beef because I cooked them the same way I would Rabo de Torro, let me tell you so good a rich reduced sauce and you could cut the meat with a spoon, heaven.
To start the dish fry off in the Casserole dish some finely chopped Carrots and Onion on a low heat so it softens but doesn't brown in a little Olive Oil.

Take the Meat out the fridge an hour before you start cooking, season some flour on a plate and dip the Meat in it and shake off any excess.

In a very hot skillet add some Olive Oil and sear the Meat to brown all over and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with Red Wine and have a glass yourself, very important! When its reduced add to the Onion and Carrots put the meat in and add a pint or so of fresh Beef Stock, a sprig of Rosemary and Thyme and a couple of Bay Leaves and Season. Bring to the boil put a lid on sealed with some Tin Foil and place in the Oven pre heated at 160c cook for 3 hours.

Your whole Kitchen is by now filling with the most mouthwatering aromas.

At the end of cooking take out the meat out carefully so that it doesn't break up and with a hand blender Blitz the sauce to mush up the Carrots and Onion return the Meat for another ten minutes and return to the Oven.

After ten minutes take out of the Oven set aside the Meat and put the Casserole Dish on the hob at it's highest heat and reduce for around 15 minutes. I added a drop of Port to enrich the Sauce and at the end of reduction a knob of Butter to give a gloss to the sauce...Heaven, Serve with chopped Parsley and as I did Pomme Puree glazed Balsamic Onions Peas and Carrots. What a joy

Friday, February 15, 2013

Salmon en Croute

I was thinking what I could make and saw this rather retro dish on The Good Food Show cooked by the master Michelle Roux so I thought I would give it a go.

It's a lovely and easy Dinner Party dish, although mine looked more like a hot water bottle than a fish!
It is actually Salmon with Spinach and Salmon Mouse wrapped in Puff Pastry, Got to say was delicious  and the Salmon was perfectly cooked.
I took two sheets of ready made puff pastry and rolled them out, Placed one of the sheets in a Roasting tin, A flat baking tin would have been better but I haven't got one! and put a large piece of Salmon skin side down on one of the sheets and cut around in roughly the shape of a headless Fish, Tin wasn't big enough to fit the head!

I had cut off a small piece from the Salmon earlier and skinned a small slice a couple of inches across and put it into the food processor with a little cream a drop of Fish stock and blitzed to a Mousse seasoned and using a knife spread over the Salmon.

I had already cooked some Spinach which I had drained and put this on  top of the Mousse, then after brushing the bottom layer edges of Pastry with Egg wash placed the other sheet of Pastry on top.

Scored and cut out a decorative Fish made from the leftover Pastry, but I could have done a better job, brushed the top with Egg wash and placed in the oven at 200c for 30 minutes

Whilst this was cooking a got a small pan scorching hot and added a glass of Noilly Pratt and let it reduce, then added some Fish Stock and finally some Cream and let it reduce. Finished the sauce with fresh chopped Dill and Parsley and a knob of Butter, Yummy and perfect with the fish.

It was to die for, really easy and the Salmon was perfect, I was worried it would overcook but it didn't you have absolutely got to try this I am sure you will enjoy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Poulet a L'estragon

 I have been reading Elizabeth David recently , how inspirational! To think she wrote in the 1950's and 1960's a time in post war Britain when Olive Oil, Aubergines, even Courgettes were unheard of. She was very much a pioneer in bringing the colours tastes and aromas of the Mediterranean to our table.
Such an endearing character , a National Treasure. Her writing is beautifully crafted , there is a Waugh, Woodhouse style to it which is wonderfully nostalgic and a pleasure to read.
I was very keen to attempt Poulet a L'estaragon, as Elizabeth David puts it "Tarragon has quite a remarkable affinity with Chicken" beautifully put and so true

Taking a plumb Roasting Bird I made a stuffing for the cavity of Garlic a handful of fresh Tarragon chopped and mixed it into about 100gm of Butter added some salt and Pepper and put in the cavity along with a hot stabbed whole Lemon.

Generously covered the bird with Olive Oil and Seasoned well. Put the bird into a preheated Oven at 200c on its side, after twenty minutes baste and flip to the other side after a further 20 minutes put the bird Breast side up for another 25 minutes.
After the hour and five minutes take the bird out of the oven and add a ladle of flamed Brandy over the whole Bird and return to the oven for five minutes.

Take the bird out and tip it up to let all that Tarragon butter run into the juices in the tray and set the bird to one side covered in tin foil to let it rest.

Spoon off any excess fat and add a wine glass or so of fresh Cream, and stir, I then tipped into another pan and reduced, added a splash of Madeira and some fresh Tarragon.

The result is sumptuous it lifts a basic Roast Chicken into a dish of Escoffier proportions. I was surprised how good it was, definitely in my top ten favourite dishes.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Prawn & Pea Risotto

 I based this on Jamie Oliver's Recipe but I substituted the vegetable stock for a Prawn shell stock which has gigantic flavour, of course with a Vegetable stock you have a white risotto which looks pretty but lacks the full seafood flavour.
I bought some fresh Tiger Prawns from the market, shelled them and put the shells and heads in a pot to which I added Water and a Bay Leaf to make the stock. Simply bring them to a boil for ten minutes add a little tomato puree some Salt and Pepper and then take off the heat and blitz with your hand blender. Sieve the Stock into another Pot and bring back to the Boil and reduce slightly.

I added some Olive Oil to a hot skillet and added a Clove of chopped Garlic and a finely chopped Onion and let cook stirring all the time, Then added the Risotto rice and cooked for a minute or so until they were slightly translucent added a glass of Noilly Prat turned the heat down to a high simmer until the rice was almost screaming and added a ladle at a time of stock, making sure each ladle had properly absorbed into the rice, in all this takes around 15 minutes.

I had reserved a couple of Prawns with heads and Shell to garnish the dish I put them into the simmering stock to cook gently.

For the Peas cooked for a couple of minutes in Chicken Stock and Butter then mashed half of them and added the cooked and mushed Peas at the end of cooking along with some chopped Mint and Parsley, Jamie used Basil, and the juice of one Lemon and the peeled Prawns all only takes a minute or so and served.

A really flavoursome dish, I had a chilled bottle of Chablis with this and some crusty Bread

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chicken & Mushroom Pie

Next to Fish & Chips, Pies are about as British as you can get. Chicken & Mushroom Pie has always been a childhood favourite and to be honest I usually use leftover Roast chicken but I thought as I had a couple of Chicken breasts I would use them instead. Good as they were I would have to say it would be better with some leftover roast Chicken as well!

I marinated the Chicken Breasts in some Lemon olive Oil Black pepper and a sprig of Thyme and a crushed clove of Garlic for an hour or two.

Then in a hot skillet with a little Olive Oil fried off the chunks of Chicken Breast with a chopped clove of Garlic, after a few minutes added some Button mushrooms, Portobello Mushrooms would be better, just didn't have any, after 3 or 4 minutes added some plain Flour and gave a good stir. Then added a splash of White Wine and some Chicken Stock that I had added some dried Mushrooms too earlier.

Using a slotted spoon I took out the Chicken and Mushrooms and put them in a Cazuelas as I don't have a proper Pie Dish, added some milk to the pan and increased the heat and let it reduce, seasoned well and added a sprig of Thyme and some fresh Parsley.

When it comes to puff pastry who can really be bothered making it from scratch... I used a frozen ready made Puff Pastry rolled it out pretty thin, so it would be crispy, cut out the odd Leaf for decoration, and after adding the reduced sauce to the meat, put some egg and Milk wash over the pastry and around the rim of the dish, cut some holes in the Pastry to let the steam escape and crimped the edges of the pastry around the lid as best I could.

Put the whole thing in a preheated Oven at 200c for 30 minutes. I have to say it wasn't half bad, could be improved, I think a bit of Spinach in the Pie would be nice. The thing about Pies there are no rules put whatever you fancy in the Pie, But do make one once in a while, They are the ultimate comfort food on a cold day!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roast Vegetables with Balsamic

I was watching The Good Food Show on television and saw an interesting recipe for a roasted Vegetable Tart Tartin, excellent I shall make that for a healthy Supper, use up all those vegetables I hadn't used from Sunday Lunch, Then I realised I hadn't any puff pastry and lets face it life is simply to short to be bothered making it, so I decided to just have the roasted Vegetables and rather glad I did!
I cut in half a Fennel bulb, A beef Tomato,  and a Red Onion, chopped into pieces a courgette and Aubergine, and Carrots Threw them into a roasting Tin and gave a generous glug of quality Olive Oil and a splash or two of Balsamic mixed them together with my hands
Sprinkled with Salt flakes quite generously Black Pepper and fresh Thyme
Put the whole lot into a preheated oven at 200c for an hour.... Do you know they were truly excellent, really enjoyed with some Crusty bread and a bottle of Red !!