Weekly menu 43

I’m back! I know I disappeared for a couple of weeks but that just means I owe you a week so put it on my tab! This week is British sausage week – hoorah, so kicking off with a lovely sausage casserole. Thursday tapas feast is courtesy of Jamie’s 30 minute meals so although it looks like a lot to get done, it’s not that much and very easy.


Saturday: Sausage and Guinness casserole
Sunday: Roast chicken w/ chilli stuffing and coconut gravy
Monday: Sambar with rice and roti
Tuesday: Black pepper beef stir fry
Wednesday: Carrot and ginger soup
Thursday: Tapas feast
Friday: Easy seafood lasagna

Sausage and Guinness casserole

1 tbsp vegetable oil
16 good-quality pork and herb sausages
2 large onions, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
330ml bottle Guinness
300ml beef stock, hot
250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, to garnish
Basmati rice, steamed and roti (you can buy in most supermarkets) to serve

Heat the oil in a large casserole or deep, wide frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook for 6-8 minutes, until browned all over. Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, celery and bacon to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes, until softened. Stir in the flour and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the Guinness, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, until reduced. Add the stock, bring back to the boil, then return the sausages to the casserole with the mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and season to taste. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the sausages are cooked and the sauce has thickened. Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potato and savoy cabbage.

TIP: To freeze and reheat: Cover and freeze half the casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours or until completely thawed. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until piping hot.

Roast chicken w/ chilli stuffing and coconut gravy

1.6 kg chicken
olive oil, for baking

For the chilli stuffing
3 large handfuls coriander
50 g desiccated coconut
4 long green chillies, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 limes, juice only
2 tsp brown sugar

For the coconut gravy
1 tbsp green curry paste
250 ml light coconut milk
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar

To serve
roast potatoes
steamed Asian greens

For the chilli stuffing: put the coriander, coconut, chilli, garlic and ginger into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Stir in the lime juice and brown sugar and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. With your fingers, carefully loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken and down to the thigh area. Put half the stuffing under the skin, spreading it to cover the breast and thighs. Put the remaining stuffing inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with string.

Put the chicken, breast side up, in a large roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200C/gas 6 and roast for another 40-50 minutes or until juices run clear. Rest for 10 minutes before carving, reserving the juices for the gravy.

For the coconut gravy: heat a small saucepan over a medium heat, add the curry paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, pan juices from the roasting tin, the fish sauce and brown sugar.

Carve the chicken onto plates with a little of the stuffing and serve with roast potatoes and steamed Asian greens. Pour over the coconut gravy.

Sambar w/ rice and roti

2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp yellow split peas
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 dried red chillies

200g split pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal)
6 curry leaves
100g tamarind pulp
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red chillies
1 medium aubergine, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
¼ butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
50g okra, washed, dried and trimmed
4 tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red chilli powder

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and carefully roast all the ingredients for the masala. When the spices begin to smell very fragrant and are nicely roasted, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely. Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to grind the spices into a powder. Tip into a small bowl and add enough water, about 3-4 tablespoons, to form a thick paste with a slow-dropping consistency.

Put the tuvar dal and curry leaves into a medium saucepan and cover with 1½ litres of water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat slightly and leave to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

Soak the tamarind in 200ml of hot water for 20 minutes; use your hands to break down the block into smaller pieces. Strain the mixture through a sieve and discard the husks and seeds.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the mustard, fennel and cumin seeds and the dried chillies. Cook for 1 minute or until the spices become very fragrant. Add the aubergine, butternut squash and carrots, stirring well to coat the vegetables in the spices. After 2-3 minutes add the turmeric, salt and tamarind water to the pan and bring to the boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.

Add the okra, cooked lentils, ground masala spice, chopped tomatoes, ground coriander and chilli powder to the pan and stir well. Add more water to the pan if necessary. (The sambar should be quite thin in consistency.) Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes until the okra is just tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Just before serving, stir through the chopped coriander and ghee or butter. Serve the Sambar hot with freshly steamed rice and warm roti.

Black pepper beef stir fry

250g beef sirloin, fat removed and meat cut into 5mm slices
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp groundnut oil
2cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
300g mix of sliced mangetout, broccoli, sugar snap peas, baby pak choi, red cabbage, ribbons of carrot (made using a carrot peeler) and baby spring onions
A dash of light soy sauce or to taste

For the marinade
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 pinches of ground black pepper

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl, then add the beef and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for 20 minutes to marinate, then remove from the marinade (retaining this) and dust with the cornflour.

Heat a wok over a high heat, and when it starts to smoke, add half the groundnut oil. Add the ginger and stir-fry for a second or so, then add the vegetable mix and toss together in the wok. Add a drop of water to create a little steam for cooking the vegetables. Cook for 1 minute and transfer to a plate.

Place the wok back over the heat and add the remaining groundnut oil, followed by the beef. Let the meat settle for a few seconds, then stir in the wok for 1–2 minutes. Tip in the stir-fried vegetables and toss together with the beef. Season further, to taste, with light soy sauce, then transfer to a serving plate and eat immediately.

Carrot and ginger soup

600 g carrots, peeled and cubed
2 large garlic cloves, skin removed
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
A knob of butter
1 cm ginger
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
5 shallots, diced
1 litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
100 g yogurt
Chopped herbs, of your choice

Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the carrots and garlic in a small ovenproof dish or roasting tin. Add the honey, cumin and seasoning, and mix well. Roast in the oven until soft and caramelised.

Take a saucepan and melt the butter, add the ginger, potato and shallots and cook until soft. Add the roasted carrots and mix stir. Add the stock and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Using a stick blender or food processor blitz until smooth, check seasoning and leave to cool slightly.

Finish by adding a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Tapas feast

For the tortilla
250g baby new potatoes
1 small red onion
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves of garlic
½ a small bunch of fresh rosemary
8 eggs
A large handful of prewashed rocket, to serve

For the chorizo
250g good-quality semi-cured whole chorizo
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey

For the peppers
100g Manchego cheese
1 ciabatta loaf
50g blanched almonds
A small bunch of fresh thyme
Red wine vinegar
1 x 450g jar of whole peppers

For the Manchego
100g Manchego cheese
100g Spanish cured meats, such as pata negra
Runny honey, for drizzling
Instant or quality ground coffee
A handful of black olives
Optional: a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano

For the anchovies
1 x 100g pack of marinated or dressed anchovies, from chilled section
A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon
150g cherry tomatoes
Smoked paprika, for dusting

For the seasonings
Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

To start: Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Put a medium ovenproof frying pan (approx. 26cm) on a high heat and a small frying pan on a low heat. Turn the grill on to high. Put the standard blade attachment into the food processor.

Tortilla: Chop the potatoes into 1cm chunks. Put them into the medium ovenproof frying pan with a lug of olive oil and toss. Halve, peel and roughly chop the red onion. Once the potatoes have a good colour, add the onions to the pan along with the fennel seeds and mix well. Tossing the potatoes occasionally while they cook.

Chorizo: Slice the chorizo into 2cm rounds. Put into the small frying pan with a splash of olive oil and toss occasionally until golden and crisp.

Peppers: Trim off the rind from the Manchego, then crumble into the food processor with a handful of torn up ciabatta, 50g of blanched almonds, the leaves from the bunch of thyme, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a swig of red wine vinegar. Whiz up until fine, then stuff inside the peppers – no need to pack it in. Once full, put them into a baking dish. Scatter any remaining breadcrumbs over the peppers. Top with the remaining thyme sprigs, drizzle with olive oil, then put on the middle shelf, under the grill, for 8 minutes. Rip the remaining ciabatta in half and take to the table.

Manchego: Lay the slices of cured meat on a board alongside the large wedge of Manchego. Drizzle a little honey over the cheese, then sprinkle over a pinch of ground coffee. Scatter a handful of black olives and a few leaves of thyme or oregano (if using) over the meat. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle lightly with pepper and take to the table.

Chorizo: Lightly crush 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic with the heel of your hand or the bottom of a saucepan and add to the pan.

Tortilla: The potatoes should be lovely and golden by now, so turn the heat down to low. Crush 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the pan. Pick most of the rosemary leaves into the pan and stir. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Chorizo: Carefully drain away most of the fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon of it behind. Add the red wine vinegar and runny honey and leave to reduce down to a really sticky glaze. Keep an eye on it, giving the pan a shake every so often so it doesn’t catch.

Tortilla: Taste the potato mixture for seasoning, then crack the eggs directly into the pan and gently stir with a wooden spoon to create a marbled effect. Turn the heat up to medium. Once the eggs start to set around the sides, scatter the rest of the rosemary leaves on top and put under the grill on the top shelf for 3 to 5 minutes, or until set, golden and fluffy.

Anchovies: Put the anchovies into a nice serving bowl. Finely chop a few sprigs of parsley and sprinkle over. Finely grate over the zest of ½ the lemon, then drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Halve the cherry tomatoes and pile them next to the anchovies with a bunch of cocktail sticks.
The idea is to get everyone to make their own skewers. Add a pinch of paprika and take to the table.

To serve: Take the tortilla and stuffed peppers to the table. Pop a large handful of rocket next to the tortilla. Take the pan of sticky chorizo to the table.

Easy seafood lasagne

1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
150g low-fat soft cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
650g mixed seafood such as prawns, mussels, squid and haddock
1 tbsp cornflour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
8–10 dried lasagne sheets
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for 4–5 minutes until soft. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, sugar and oregano, mix well and leave to simmer for 2–3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, mix until thoroughly combined and season well. Then remove from the heat and mix in the seafood.

In another saucepan, add the cornflour and a little of the milk to make a paste. Mix until thoroughly combined, then pour in the rest of the milk. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken, and lump free. Then, add half of the grated Cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese has completely melted and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.

In a baking dish, place a layer of the seafood mixture, then cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat this process until you have used all the seafood mixture, being sure to end with a layer of lasagne sheets. Pour the cheese sauce over the top.

Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Half way through the cooking time, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and the chopped fresh parsley. Once the cheese has browned slightly, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a fresh green salad.

(Credits: Delicious magazine, Gordon Ramsey, How to Cook in High Heels, Ching-He Huang, Bill Granger, Jamie Oliver, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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