Weekly menu 48

Wow, only 4 more weekly menus to go to the end of the year! Warming, rich flavours, comfort by the bowl full. The pasta with chicken livers is delicious and liver is really healthy and cheap too, so do try it! A perfect cheats pasta soup using ready made tortellini is also worth a try, surprisingly tasty believe me, and you can don’t have to use veggie tortellini you can use a meaty one if you prefer.

Enjoy! 🙂

Saturday: Nasi goring w/ lime sugar barbecue chicken
Sunday: Roast pheasant with braised chicory, quince purée, caramelised walnuts and wild mushrooms
Monday: Tortellini soup
Tuesday: Sausage and bean stew
Wednesday: Pasta ribbons w/ chicken liver sauce
Thursday: Fish stew
Friday: Chicken and cashew nut stir fry

Nasi goring w/ lime sugar barbecue chicken
For the barbecued chicken
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp crushed white peppercorns
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 lime, juice only
500g skinned boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 2.5cm/1in strips

For the spice paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped
50g shallots, roughly chopped
25g roasted salted peanuts
6 medium-hot red chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp blachan (shrimp paste)
1 tsp salt

For the nasi goreng
300g long-grain rice
sunflower oil, for frying
6 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 large free-range eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tbsp light soy sauce
5cm piece cucumber, cut into quarters lengthways, sliced
8 spring onions, trimmed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the barbecued chicken, mix the crushed garlic, crushed white peppercorns, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice together in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To cook the chicken, thread the marinated chicken pieces onto parallel pairs of the soaked bamboo skewers (this helps to stop the pieces from spinning around as you turn them).

Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Grill the chicken skewers for 6-7 minutes, turning regularly, until golden-brown and caramelised on the outside and cooked through (no trace of pink should remain). Slide the barbecued chicken off the skewers, cut into chunks and set aside.

For the spice paste, blend all of the spice paste ingredients in a food processor to a smooth paste.

For the nasi goreng, cook the rice in boiling, salted water for 12-15 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until just tender. Drain, rinse well with boiling hot water from the kettle, and drain well again.

Spread the rice out onto a large baking tray and set aside until cold (but do not refrigerate).

Heat 1cm/½in of the sunflower oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden-brown when dropped into it. Add the sliced shallots and shallow fry, stirring now and then, until crisp and richly golden-brown. Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on plenty of kitchen paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside until cold and crisp. Beat the eggs in a bowl with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat, pour in one-third of the beaten egg and cook until it has set on top.

Flip the egg over, fry it for a few more seconds then turn it out onto a chopping board or plate, roll it up tightly and set aside until cold. Repeat the process twice more with the remaining egg.

When the egg rolls are cold, slice them into thin strips. Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking hot. Add two tablespoons of the oil left over from frying the shallots, then add the nasi goreng paste and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

Add the tomato purée and ketjap manis and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the cold cooked rice and stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Add the barbecued chicken pieces, fried shallots and strips of omelette and stir-fry for another minute. Add the soy sauce, cucumber and most of the spring onions and mix together well.

To serve, spoon the nasi goreng onto a large warmed platter. Sprinkle over the remaining spring onions and allow people to help themselves.

Roast pheasant with braised chicory, quince purée, caramelised walnuts and wild mushrooms

For the quince purée
110g sugar
500ml water
40g butter
½ lemon, juice only
500g quince, peeled, cores removed, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelised walnuts
vegetable oil, for deep frying
100g caster sugar
100ml water
handful walnuts, shells removed
sea salt flakes (preferably Cornish sea salt), to taste

For the braised chicory
1 large onion, chopped
15g salt
70g butter
1 litre water
pinch chicken bouillon powder (or pinch chicken stock cube)
20g sugar
1 bouquet garni
4 large chicory, any discoloured outer leaves removed
110g finely sliced smoked bacon lardons
50g garlic purée (made by pounding 50g garlic to a paste in a pestle and mortar)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pheasant
4 x 175g pheasants breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp oil
110g unsalted butter
200g wild mushrooms, washed
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2-3 tbsp water, as necessary

For the quince purée, heat the sugar, water, butter and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is well combined. Add the quince and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and continue to simmer until the quince has softened. Strain off the liquid, reserving a little of it.

Transfer the drained quince to a food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Pass the purée through a fine sieve, loosening the strained mixture with a little of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Place the quince purée into a clean saucepan, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cover with cling film until required.

For the caramelised walnuts, preheat oil to 190C.

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until dissolved.

Add the walnuts and bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to cook until the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 110C (use a sugar thermometer to check this).

Remove the walnuts from the syrup using a slotted spoon and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Fry the walnuts until golden-brown, then remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with sea salt.

For the braised chicory, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Place the onion, salt and 50g of the butter into an ovenproof saucepan. Fry the onion, stirring well, until softened. Add the water, chicken bouillon, sugar, bouquet garni and chicory and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and transfer to the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once cool, drain the braised chicory and slice into thin strips. Squeeze out any excess water.

Heat the remaining 20g butter in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lardons and fry until browned, then add the cooked chicory and continue to cook until the water has evaporated. Add the garlic purée, stir well, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.

For the pheasant, increase the oven temperature to 200C/gas 6.

Season the pheasant breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat the oil and a knob of butter in an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Add the pheasant breasts, skin-side down, and fry until golden-brown.

Turn the pheasant breasts over and transfer the pan to the oven. Continue to cook the pheasant for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the pan, leaving behind the pan juices, and set aside to rest. Add the mushrooms to the same pan the pheasant was cooked in and fry in the resting juices until softened, adding a splash of water to deglaze the pan if necessary. Stir in the chopped parsley, then stir in the remaining butter until melted. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, place some of the braised chicory into the centre of each of four serving plates. Smear a line of quince purée alongside using the back of a spoon. Place one pheasant breast on top of each portion. Spoon over the mushroom, in their sauce. Garnish with the caramelised walnuts.

Tortelinni soup

1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ltr vegetable stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
200g frozen mixed peas and beans
250g pack fresh spinach and ricotta filled tortellini
handful of basil leaves
grated parmesan, to serve

Heat oil in a pan. Fry the carrots and onion for 5 mins until starting to soften. Add the stock and tomatoes, then simmer for 10 mins. Add the peas and beans with 5 mins to go.

Once veg is tender, stir in the pasta. Return to the boil and simmer for 2 mins until the pasta is just cooked. Stir in the basil.  Season, then serve in bowls topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan and slices of garlic bread.

Sausage and bean stew
3-4 sausages
butter, for frying
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, finely diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks chopped separately
1 knob butter
1-2 tbsp tomato purée
400-500 g tomato passata
1 handful crusty bread, plus extra to serve
1 splashes balsamic or red wine vinegar
400 g can haricot beans, drained
sugar, to taste
olive oil, for drizzling
sliced roast chestnuts, to serve

Cook the sausages in a non-stick frying pan until browned and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

In a separate pan, melt a little butter and sweat the onion, garlic and carrot until soft and lightly coloured. Halfway through, add the cumin seeds and about 1 tablespoon of the chopped coriander stalk. Stir the tomato purée and butter into the veg. Add the passata and a dash of water and cook for 5 minutes, until thickened a little. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and add to the tomato mixture.

Deglaze the sausage pan with a splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar and a little water, scraping up any solids. Add any bits and juice from the deglazed pan to the hot pot.

Tear up a few pieces of bread, add to the hot pot and cook until they are soft and beginning to dissolve. Add the beans and heat through. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and add a little sugar to taste, if desired.

To serve, spoon the mixture into mugs or bowls, sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and roast chestnuts. Accompany with lots of crusty bread.

Pasta ribbons w/ chicken liver sauce

50g unsalted butter
1 small onion, cubed
400g chicken livers, cleaned, cut into small cubes
30g dried porcini (ceps), soaked in water for 20 minutes, then drained (reserving the water)
1 tbsp tomato purée
50ml Marsala or dry white wine
300g dried tagliatelle
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp truffle oil
50–100g Parmesan, freshly grated

For the sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for about 5–7 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the chicken livers, stir them around in the hot butter and fry for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the drained porcini, tomato purée and Marsala. Season with salt and freshly ground black peppers. (Add a little of the reserved soaking water if the sauce is too thick.)

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and mix with the sauce. Stir in the truffle oil and sprinkle each serving with freshly grated Parmesan.

Fish stew

4 tomatoes
1 litres fish stock
about 3 tbsp olive oil
500 g small potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
2 carrots, finely sliced
300g halibut fillets, skin removed, cut into 3cm squares
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium-hot green chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
200 ml dry white wine
4 sprigs coriander, leaves only
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 lemon, juice only

Using a sharp knife, score the tomatoes with a cross over the skin at the base. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and blanch the tomatoes for 10 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking and to allow the skin to come away. Peel the tomatoes then cut them into quarters and remove the seeds. Set aside.

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan and leave to simmer.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a deep, lidded frying pan for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and layer one-third of the sliced potatoes in the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix the onion and carrots in a small bowl and season with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. Scatter some of this mixture over the potatoes and then top with half of the fish.

Season the reserved tomato quarters with salt and pepper and mix with the chopped garlic and green chilli. Top the fish with half the tomato mixture, then pour in the white wine.

Make another layer using half the remaining potatoes. Cover with the remaining onion and carrot mixture, then a layer of fish and the rest of the tomato mixture. Top with the last of the potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Pour the hot fish stock over the layers and press down with a wooden spoon or spatula. Put the lid on the pan and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Chop the coriander and parsley leaves and add them to the pan with the lemon juice. Cook for a further minute. Serve hot

Chicken and cashew nut stir fry

For the chicken
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch sea salt
500g skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced
300ml groundnut oil

For the stir fry
1 onion, sliced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
3 tbsp chicken stock
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 large spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
sea salt and ground white pepper
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

For the chicken, place the egg into a bowl, add the cornflour and a pinch of salt and whisk well to combine. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat well in the egg.

Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

For the stir fry, pour off all the oil from the wok, except for one tablespoon. Reheat the oil over a high heat, add the onion and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the yellow and red pepper slices and stir fry for one minute, or until softened. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the stock and soy sauce. Simmer for another minute, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Stir in the spring onions and cashew nuts, season, to taste, with sea salt and ground white pepper and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

(Credits: Rick Stein, Michael Caines, Ching-He Huang, Aaron Craze, Tom Kime, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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