Category Archives: Dinner

Chicken Tagine with Spinach, Olives & Preserved Lemons

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Whale received multiple Moroccan themed ingredients and a tagine for her birthday so naturally this is the result. On a side note we’re also going to Marrakech in the summer. I’m sure you could do this without using a tagine – a large casserole dish would probably suffice. Recipe modified from a gorgeous book – The Food of Morocco.

Ingredients

Marinade

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 clove crushed
good pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp of lemon juice

Tagine

4 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
3 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pickled lemons, quartered
few strands of saffron
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
good handful spinach
200ml chicken stock
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
handful pitted olives
large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Make up marinade in a large sandwich bag (or a plastic bowl). Add the chicken, give a good squidge around and stick in the fridge for a few hours.

When ready to cook, put the saffron in 2 tbsp warm water. In a large frying pan sweat the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic for and sweat for a further 2-3 minutes. Tip half the onions into the tagine (put the other half to one side) add the chicken stock and saffron water, then layer over with lentils and spinach.

In the frying pan fry the chicken with the cinnamon and turmeric then once sealed add on top of the spinach, with the preserved lemon quarters. Stick the tagine in a cold oven and put on 160oC/320oC/gas mark 3 for 45-60 minutes. 5 minutes before serving take the tagine out, top with the remaining onions, olives and chopped coriander and stick back in the oven. Serve with a side order of tagine bread (recipe to come).

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Carrot & Chickpea Burgers

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I don’t know about you but when faced with a bag full of carrots and not much else I struggle to think of anything other than ‘soup’. However a quick browse on the BBC Good Food website unearthed these burgers. They’re a little more faffy than standard chickpea burgers but they stuck together better than any I’ve previously made so I thought I’d share the method.

Makes 6-8 burgers

Ingredients

350-400g carrots, grated
400g tin chickpeas, drained/rinsed
1 onion, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbsp tahini or hummus or maybe even…smooth peanut butter?
1 egg
80-100g breadcrumbs (1 thick slice of bread, grated)
1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
flour

Method

If you have a food processor (which I don’t!) add 1/3 of the carrot, the chickpeas, onions, garlic, spices, hummus/tahini/peanut butter and egg and blitz to a paste. If you don’t have a food processor stick them in a large bowl and use a stick blender to blitz. If you don’t have a stick blender then maybe this recipe is not for you…!

Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the remaining 2/3 of the carrot for approx. 10 minutes. Add to the paste in the bowl  along with the breadcrumbs and stir together. Get a large plate and cover with a layer of flour. Use your hands to form the carrot mix into patties (eurghk, I hate that word) and place on the flour. Handling gently, flip over and coat the other side in flour.

Using the same frying pan, to save on washing up obviously, fry up the burgers for a few minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Serve with salad, chutney, flatbreads, mayo, whatever!

No picture ’cause we too greedy. Sozz.

 

J

Meen Molee [South Indian Fish in Coconut Milk]

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Very quick and very straightforward. I made this, just about, after coming home from an 80 km bike ride with feet I couldn’t feel and hands I couldn’t stop shaking. And it still turned out alright. So it can’t be that hard…! Adapted from Mighty Spice.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
2.5cm ginger
2.5cm fresh turmeric (use a teaspoon of ground turmeric)
1 large onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
500g white fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
400ml can coconut milk/cream
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp curry powder
handful of green beans
1 carrot, peeled into slivers

Method

Mince the garlic, ginger and turmeric together into a paste. If you have one use a mini blender, but I don’t so I made do with a stick blender, a large mug and a little oil.

Fry up the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the paste and tomato and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the fish. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots and beans then continue until fish is cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Sorry, no piccy. Wouldn’t have been able to hold the camera probably…

Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese Risotto

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For some reason risotto has never really appealed to me. This recipe has made me change my mind. And look, two posts in two days! Shocking.

Serves 4-5, or 2 with plenty of leftovers!

Ingredients

1 medium-large butternut squash, cubed (2cm)
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
1.2l vegetable stock
150ml white wine
100-150g blue cheese (we used Danish Blue)
few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup of peas
salt, pepper, basil, oregano

Method

Heat the oven to (200°C/400°F/gas mark 6). Coat the bottom of a roasting tin with some oil, couple of sprigs of rosemary and a sprinkling of black pepper. Add the butternut squash and turn over to coat. Stick in for 20 minutes or so, giving a good shufty every now and again.

Meanwhile heat up a tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Gently soften the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Stir often so that the onions do not brown. Add the rice and stir well, the rice needs to just gently heat up before you can add the liquid. Stick the kettle on to boil and make up the vegetable stock. After 2 minutes, add the wine – stir well to allow the rice to soak it all up. As the pan dries out somewhat, add a small amount of the stock (around 100-200mls at a time). Wait for the liquid to be nearly all soaked up then add another 100-200ml.

Keep adding stock like this and stir frequently. After half the stock has been added, throw in the herbs. After around 20 minutes, check to see if the rice is soft. Turn off the oven, take out the butternut squash and mash half, returning the other half to the oven to keep warm. Stir in the mashed butternut squash, peas, most of the cheese and heat thorough – you may need a drop more water depending on how saucy you like your risottos. If the rice needs a bit more time to cook, carry on adding small amounts of hot water until cooked, before adding the squash, peas and cheese. Don’t be afraid of adding more water if necessary – it’s really important not to let the risotto boil dry.

Serve in a bowl with a few cubes of butternut squash and crumble over the rest of the cheese. Enjoy your warming winter grub!

Picture to follow…!

J

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

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aka Jelly’s Miraculous Return from being a massive lazy bum.

So, I’ve been terribly rubbish and awful with not posting for like 6 months so I do apologise about that. Here’s a proper tasty, easy peasy cold January kind of a recipe. Adapted from BBC Good Food. Totally customisable to your taste.

P.S. Happy New Year!

Serves 4 very well, 5 quite well and 6 well

Ingredients

3 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
hefty sprinkling of thyme
300-400g minced beef/lamb
100g puy lentils
1 cup of peas
flour to thicken, if necessary
1l stock (beef or vegetable)
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
3 large potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
150g yoghurt
salt and pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground paprika
few handfuls grated cheese

Method

Heat some oil in a large/deep saucepan. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes then throw in the garlic, thyme and carrots. Cook for 5 more minutes before adding the mince, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once fully browned add the lentils and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until nicely thickened – add flour if necessary.

Meanwhile stick all your potatoes in another large saucepan. Boil until soft, then drain and mash with the yoghurt. Season to taste, add the peas and stick in a large casserole dish. Cover the meaty mixture with the mash (if you’re feeling fancy you could pipe it, but if not just stripe with a fork). Stick in the oven (180°C/350°F/gas mark 4) until the mash begins to crisp then add the cheese and cook for a further ten minutes.

Picture soon to follow…!

Scrummy Pie

See, told you so.

J

Beef-Flavoured Vegetable Red-nang

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You’re thinking: what. the hell. is this.

Well, it’s the product of an over-zealous trip to the market combined with my desperate lack of anything useful to do with my time now I’ve broken up for summer. It is simply a twist on an Indonesian curry we first tried at Canteen on Clifton Street a while back. It makes a nice change from a standard Indian curry – using some interesting new ingredients such as tamarind. Note that the beef flavouring is optional – beef stock could easily be substituted for vegetable or chicken if you prefer. This recipe is based on the Beef Rendang in the Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries book – well worth the investment – but with some substitutions and alterations because I’m cheap and didn’t have half the fancy ingredients. I can promise it still tastes amazing – and makes a great lazy lunch.

George gave it a 9/10. Can’t argue with that!

PS. The RED-nang refers to the fact it has everything red in it.

Ingredients

2 medium red onions
3 red peppers
3 garlic cloves (+ 1 tsp paste if you have it)
50g chunk of root ginger (+ 1 tbsp paste if you have it)
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 cube of beef stock in 300ml boiling water
1 tin of coconut milk (400ml)
1 cinnamon stick
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 curry leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tamarind paste (approx equivalent to a finger-sized piece of dried – reconstituted)
1 cup of lentils (approx)
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 2cm cubes approx
handful of spinach
pinch salt and pepper

Method

Slice the onions and peppers into thin strips. Fry in the sunflower oil over a medium heat until soft. Add in the garlic, ginger and pastes if you have them. Fry for another 2 minutes before adding the chilli flakes, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

Pour in the whole tin of coconut milk along with the stock. Throw in the cinnamon stick, curry and lime leaves, sugar, soy sauce and tamarind paste. Simmer whilst preparing the sweet potato. Add in the sweet potato and the lentils and simmer for around 40 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft and the sauce is slightly thickened by the lentils.

Throw in the spinach and stir through.

Serve with whatever you fancy: rice, naan, flatbreads. It freezes well, so makes a quick, easy and satisfying lunch heated from frozen.

Summer Chicken Tray Bake

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Inspired from a recipe in the Hairy Bikers “Hairy Dieters” book. Their recipe included chorizo (75g, thinly sliced) which would have been a fabulous addition, alas none was to be found in my house. This is a really pretty and straight-forward dish and would make a great centre-piece for people to help themselves, on its own or accompanied by a leafy salad.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

4-5 chicken breasts (approx 600-700g) deeply slashed every inch or so
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
500g new potatoes, cut into inch cubes if large/left whole if small
8 whole garlic cloves, in their skins
4 large tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges
10 or so sundried tomatoes, halved
handful asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano/mixed herbs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 peppers (colour of your choosing!) cut into 1cm thick strips
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Stick onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt, drizzle with a little oil (I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes) turn everything over with a spoon or similar implement. Roast for 20 minutes. Mix the paprika, turmeric and oregano and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts on a board, season all over with ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the oven, sprinkle over half of the spice mix, shake/turn to coat. Add the sundried tomatoes (and chorizo if you’re lucky enough to have some!). Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the spice mix – open up the slices and try to get some in if possible. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the tin from the oven. Holding one corner (use oven gloves, obviously) tip the tray ever so slightly so the juices run down to the opposite corner. I recommend tipping it slightly away from you as if there are any spillages at least it will go toward the relative safety of the top of the oven and not all over you and the floor! Spoon the juice back over everything – concentrate more on the chicken. Add the pepper strips around the chicken.

Return the tray to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for ten minutes. Remove and lay the asparagus spears over the top of everything. Return to the oven one final time for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Stab a couple of the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked through and serve.

J

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