Weekly menu 7

Another week, another menu – yum, yum, yum 🙂  Enjoy!

Saturday: Chicken w/ peppers, chorizo and chilli
Sunday: Lasagne
Monday: Crispy breaded salt and pepper haddock w/ lettuce salad and chips
Tuesday: Chicken couscous
Wednesday: Caramalised garlic and tomato tarte tatin
Thursday: Beef stroganoff w/ sauteed potatoes
Friday: Mushroom risotto

Chicken w/ peppers, chorizo and chilli
Ingredients
For the chicken:
4 red peppers, deseeded and cut lengthways into eight strips
350 g cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm slices
1 chicken, approximately 1.5kg
400 ml white wine
40 ml olive oil

For the sauce:
2 or 3 large shallots, finely chopped
6 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice only

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Place the peppers and chorizo in a large casserole dish or roasting tin and put the chicken on top. Pour the wine over it, then drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 1 hour then remove the foil or lid and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Place all the sauce ingredients into a bowl, mix well, then season with salt and pepper.

Once the chicken is finished pour the sauce over the chicken while it’s in the pot and take to the table to serve with salad or rice.

Lasagne
Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 pinches dried oregano
300g minced beef
1 tbsp tomato pureé
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
30ml red wine
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
50ml milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sheets of lasagna sheets (fresh or dried doesn’t matter)

For the cheese sauce:
25g butter
25g flour
300ml milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
60g Cheddar cheese, grated
30g parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 210°C/gas 7. Heat the olive oil in a hot pan.  Grate the onion and carrot and crush the garlic before frying together. Season with the bay leaf, a pinch of oregano, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Allow the onion to soften before making a well in the centre of the pan. Place the mince in the middle of the pan and stir to break it up. Add the tomato puree and allow to cook out for 30 seconds. Continue until all the meat has browned nicely. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Leave to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally add the milk, turn off the heat and set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, first melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir to form a paste. Over a gentle heat add a third of the milk, whisking to prevent any lumps forming. Add the rest of the milk a third at a time, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Allow the sauce to cook out for another minute before adding the Cheddar cheese. Stir and remove from the heat.

Spoon half of the meat sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and place 3 pasta sheets on top.  Next, pour in just under half of the cheese sauce, and spread evenly using a spatula before spooning the remaining meat on top.  Add the final layer of pasta and use the spatula to pour over the remaining cheese sauce.

Finish with the grated Parmesan and sprinkle with another pinch of oregano.  Add a light seasoning of salt and pepper before cleaning the edges of the dish and placing in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with salad.  If you don’t like the idea of cheese sauce in your lasagna, then you can use the normal bechamel sauce.

Crispy breaded salt and pepper haddock w/ lettuce salad and chips
Ingredients
300g haddock fillet, skin on
500ml groundnut oil
4 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
8 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp dry-toasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
shredded lettuce leaves, thin carrots strips and sliced fresh chillies to serve

Method
Rinse the fish in cold running water and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.  Cut into 4cm/11/2 inch slices and set aside.
Heat the groundnut oil in a medium pan or wok to until a cube of bread dropped in turns golden brown in 15 seconds and floats to the surface. Meanwhile, put the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into separate bowls.

Put the ground Sichuan peppercorns, chilli flakes and salt into a small bowl; stir to mix, and set  aside.

Dip a piece of the fish in the flour, then shake off any excess flour. Dip into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs. Coat all the strips in the same way; then, using a slotted spoon, carefully lower one batch into the oil. Be very careful when deep-frying. When the batter turns golden brown, lift the fish out and drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Cook all the fish in the same way.

Sprinkle the spice mixture over the fish, toss well, and serve immediately with chunky chips and your shredded lettuce leaves, carrots strips and sliced chillies

Chicken couscous
Ingredients
110 g chopped almonds
100 ml olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
1 tsp harissa paste
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 x 5 cm cinnamon sticks
good pinch saffron
1.3 litres chicken stock
2 tbsp runny honey
400 g couscous

Method
Place the almonds in a large casserole dish or saucepan with a lid on a high heat and cook, tossing frequently, for 2–3 minutes or until they are lightly browned (don’t let them burn), then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the casserole dish, still on a high heat.  Season the chicken and add the harissa paste to it, then give it a good stir to coat all the pieces before placing in the hot oil (you can add more harissa if you like). Fry, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until browned all over.  Reduce the heat to medium–low and add the remaining olive oil, followed by the onions, garlic and cinnamon stick. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring, for 6–8 minutes or until the onions are soft and lightly browned.  Add the saffron to the dish or pan, along with the stock, and stir in the honey. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the couscous, cover again and cook for a further 3 minutes or just until the couscous is soft, then stir in the toasted almonds, taste for seasoning and serve.

Caramalised garlic and tomato tarte tatin
Ingredients
For the caramelised garlic:
4 bulbs garlic, cloves peeled but left whol
olive oil, for frying
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme, finely chopped

For the tomatoes:
olive oil
1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthways

For the pastry:
320 g ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
250 g feta cheese, crumble
thyme, to garmish

Method
For the caramelised garlic, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the garlic cloves in a small pan with water to cover and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes then drain and dry the cloves and the pan. Return the garlic to the pan along with a glug of olive oil and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add 200ml water and balsamic vinegar and boil for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  When most of the liquid has evaporated from the garlic cloves. Add the sugar, herbs and salt, and continue to fry until the cloves begin to turn light brown. Remove from the heat.

For the tomatoes, while the garlic is cooking, pour a glug of olive oil onto a large plate and mix in the brown sugar and plenty of salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, into the oil mixture and make sure each face is well
covered.  Heat olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and transfer the tomatoes, cut side down, into the pan. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until they start to go sticky, then remove from the heat. Transfer the cloves to the frying pan and arrange around the tomatoes.

Place the ready-rolled puff pastry sheet over the tomatoes and garlic, tucking the edges of the pastry neatly into the pan. Brush with the beaten egg then place in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

Take a large heatproof serving plate and place over the pan. Protecting your hands with oven mitts and holding the plate and pan firmly together, carefully flip the pan and the plate, then lift off the pan. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and garnish with a thyme sprig or two. Serve with rocket or watercress.

Beef stroganoff w/ sauteed potatoes
Ingredients
For the beef stroganoff:
75g butter
1 onion, finely sliced
150g button mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp smoked hot paprika
110ml beef stock
500g beef fillet, cut into strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml brandy
200ml soured cream
2 tbsp flatleaf parsley

For the sautéed potatoes:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, finely chopped

Method
Heat a frying pan until hot, then add half the butter. When foaming, add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until just softened.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato purée, mustard and paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the beef stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season the beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a separate frying pan and add the remaining butter. When foaming, add the beef and fry for 2-3 minutes on both sides, until browned all over..Add the brandy and carefully allow to flambé in the pan.  Add the soured cream to the onion and mushroom mixture and mix well.

When the flames have subsided, add the beef to the soured cream and mushroom mixture and cook for one minute. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the parsley.

For the sautéed potatoes, heat the oil in a frying pan until hot, then add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until tender and golden-brown all over. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the onions. Stir gently to combine.

To serve, place two spoonfuls of the sautéed potatoes onto each plate and spoon equal portions of the beef stroganoff alongside.

Mushroom risotto
Ingredients
1 1/2 litres chicken stock, hot
1 handful dried porcini mushrooms
Olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400 g risotto rice
75 ml vermouth or white wine
Sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 large handfuls wild mushrooms (try shiitake, girolle, chestnut or oyster), cleaned and sliced
A few sprigs fresh chervil, tarragon or parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp butter
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
Extra virgin olive oil

Method
Heat your stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low simmer. Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour in just enough hot stock to cover. Leave for a couple of minutes until softened. Take out of the stock and chop them, reserving the soaking liquid.

In a large pan, heat a glug of olive oil and add the onion and celery. Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes, then turn the heat up and add the rice. Give it a stir. Stir in the vermouth or wine.  Keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice. Now pour the porcini soaking liquid through a sieve into the pan and add the chopped porcini, a good pinch of salt and your first ladle of hot stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.

Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get a dry griddle pan hot and grill the wild mushrooms until soft. If your pan isn’t big enough, do this in batches. Put them into a bowl and add the chopped herbs, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using your hands toss everything together.

Take the risotto off the heat and check the seasoning carefully. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan. You want it to be creamy and oozy in texture, so add a bit more stock if you think it needs it. Put a lid on and leave the risotto to relax for about 3 minutes.

Take your risotto and add a little more seasoning or Parmesan if you like. Serve risotto topped with some grilled dressed mushrooms, a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

(Credits: James Martin, Jamie Oliver, Ching-He Huang, Gordon Ramsey, Rachel Allen)

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