I’ve had a funny week this week, been distracted and my food focus shifted on to less interesting things, hence the delay in this post appearing. But here it is, and I hope you enjoy it. I’ve gone a bit Nigel Slater heavy this week, been watching his programmes on the telly and reading more of the kitchen diaries, which are just wonderful. He really inspires me and I am often shocked at how something so simple on paper and with minimal effort to make tastes so amazing.
Saturday: Chicken curry Nagore style
Sunday: Roast chicken w/ black pudding and sage
Monday: Crab, lime and avocado salad
Tuesday: Creamy mushrooms w/ wild rice
Wednesday: Trout wrapped in parma ham
Thursday: Orzo w/ courgettes and parmesan
Friday: Chicken and spinach filo pie
Chicken curry Nagore style
For the spice paste:
4 tbsp fresh coconut, grated
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 whole dried chillies
25 fresh curry leaves (from Indian grocery shop or atr a push you can use dried)
For the curry:
6 tbsp olive orsunflower oil
3 green chillies
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
2 medium white onions, halved and finely sliced
1 tsp turmeric
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 whole chicken, (about 1.5kg) skinned and portioned into 10 pieces (drumsticks, thighs, wings and halved breasts)
120 ml coconut milk
4 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
In a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the coconut, stirring until it browns. Then add the cumin, coriander and fenugreek seeds, the peppercorns and dried chillies. Continue to stirfry for 3 minutes. Then add the curry leaves. Stir for about 30 seconds then remove from the heat and leave to cool. In a spice grinder or pestle and mortar add your toasted mixture and grind to a fine, slightly oily powder.
Put a large pot on a medium heat and let it get hot, then pour in the oil. Drop in one whole green chilli. Stir and allow the skin to blister slightly. Then add the garlic and ginger. Fry for a couple of minutes, until the garlic just starts to brown. Tip in the onions and sauté until soft and golden. Now add the turmeric and the spice paste and mix thoroughly then cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing the tomatoes into the sauce. Add the remaining green chillies, slit lengthways, and season with salt to taste.
After giving this mixture a good stir add the chicken and brown the meat for about 10 minutes. Pour in 400ml of water and stir well. Now add the coconut milk and coriander. Stir, cover and cook over a low heat for 35 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through and tender. Serve immediately with rice and other side dishes if you like but can also just be scooped up with nann bread.
Roast chicken w/ black pudding and sage
1 medium sized chicken,
115 g black pudding, skin removed
2 tbsp fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
25 g softened butter
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Carefully push your fingers under the skin of the chicken at the neck end and loose the skin from the flesh, careful not to tear it. Mix your black pudding and 1 tbsp of the sage leave and then stuff this mixture into the pocket you have just made between the skin and the flesh. Pull the skin back down over the end of the bird and smooth your stuffing out gently with your fingers so it cover the whole crown. spread the softened butter over the breast and thighs and put into a roasting tray. Sprinkle on the remaining sage and put into the over for about 90 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins. The juices from the pan can be deglazed with stock or white wine to make a lovely gravy (add a little cornflour if you like to thicken it). Serve with buttered new potatoes, peas and any other veg you like.
Crab, lime and avocado salad
300 g mixed brown and white crab meat
2 thin spring onions
1 red chilli, deseeded
Half a cucumber, about 10 cms
2 small or 1 medium to large ripe avocados
sliced ciabatta bread
For the dressing:
1 tbsp palm sugar (alternatively golden caster sugar)
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
handful of coriander leaves, chopped
If you are up for it get yourself a cooked crab and pick all the meat out, I quite enjoy this but it is fiddly and takes time. Ready dressed crab is widely available at supermarkets and fishmongers so use that instead. Finely chop your chilli and srping onions. Peel the cucumber and scrape out the seeds then dice into small cubes. Remove the avocado from the skin and again dice into small cubes. Mix all these ingredients together and set aside.
Make up your dressing, by combining the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then add the coriander at the last minute.
Toast your ciabatta then rub with the cut side of a lime to release a little juice and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Add your crabmeat to the avocado mixture, then pour over the dressing and gently fold using a fork to mix. Dish up and serve with your ciabatta on the side. This is a light supper for 2 so if you are hungry then double up the ingredients.
Creamy mushrooms w/ wild rice
900g mixed wild mushrooms (2/3 chestnut and button and 1/3 chanterelles, ceps, morels and any other unusual mushrooms you like), sliced depending on size into bitesized pieces
50 ml sour cream
25 g butter
For the white wine sauce
25 g butter
25 g flour
150 ml milk
150 double cream
50 ml white wine
Make your white wine sauce first. melt the butter in a heavy based pan, then add the flour and whisk together, cook the flour out for a minute or so before adding your milk and cream gradually and whisking well to ensure no lumps form. Cook this over a medium heat until it begins to thicken, then add your white wine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep cooking until you get a nice thick pouring consistency then set aside.
Put your wild rice on to cook according to the packet instructions.
Melt the butter in a large pan and then add your mushroom (button and chestnut first, then after about 1 minute the rest saving the most delicate for last). They should be all soft when ready, then take them out to a separate dish and add your white wine sauce into the mushroom pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the mushrooms back in along with any juices in the bowl. Let them bubble away for a few minutes then turn off the heat.
Strain your rice when it’s cooked and put onto plates. Stir the sour cream through your mushroom dish, you don’t have to use all of it so add a little first and then if you want more it’s up to you. Taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve alongside the wild rice.
Trout wrapped in parma ham
4 trout fillets
Parma ham, enough to wrap each fillet with around 8 slices
Fresh sage leaves
handful of chopped parsley and a lemon wedge to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
Lay 2 slices of the Parma ham, overlapping vertically on a board, and put a sage leaf in the middle. Then lay your trout fillet horizontally on top, you should have a cross shape. Place another sage leaf on top of the trout and a knob of butter , then wrap your Parma ham around the trout leaving the ends hanging out and secure with a skewer.
put all your fish parcels into an oven proof dish which si just big enough so that they are quite snug and put into the oven for 15-20 mins. Once cooked dish up sprinkled with parsley, a squeeze of lemon and spoon the butter juices from the dish on top.
Orzo w/ courgettes and parmesan
300 g Orzo (type of pasta)
150 g pancetta, diced
1 large onion, medium chopped
250 ml white wine
4 small courgettes
50g parmesan (good quality and nutty or even grana padano), coursely grated
Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 8-9 minutes, must be al dente. Then drain and set aside.
Fry over a medium heat the pancetta along with the onion in olive oil for 10-15 minutes until the pancetta is nice and browned and the onions soft, make sure you stir regularly. Turn up the heat and add the wine, then simmer until it is reduced by half. Cut the courgettes lenthways and then into thick slices and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes until the courgettes are tender. Stir in the drained Orzo and your parmesan and gently mix through before serving.
Chicken and spinach filo pie
200g bag of spinach
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
175 g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 pack filo pastry
Wilt the spinach in a large pan with a couple tbsps of water, then tip into a colander and leave to cool. Once cool, squeeze out excess water then roughly chop up. Mix with the sundried tomatoes, feta and chicken and taste then adjust seasoning if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
Unfold the filo pastry and take one sheet off and brush with some sundried tomato oil then drape oil side down into a loose bottom 22cm round cake tin, allow the pastry to hang over the edge. Continue to do this until you have 3 layers of pastry. Then put your filling in the centre and gather up the overhanging leaves of pastry and pull into the centre and scrunch up, making sure all your filling is well covered. Brush with a little more oil and bake for about 30 mintues until crisp and golden brown. Serve with a fresh salad of your choice.
(Credit: Nigel Slater, Good Food Magazine, Madhur Jaffrey, JJMoola’s Kitchen)