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Chermoula Chicken

28 Sep

This is an excellent traybake-style recipe from Rosie Sykes new cookbook The Sunday Night Book. With prep that is front ended and could easily be organised in advance the most demanding part is making the aromatic chermoula paste and then you’re ready to rock.

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The North African chermoula is a blend of toasted spices and fresh ingredients which means the end result is fragrant and delicious. I used a pestle and mortar, which is always satisfying, but a food processor would work too. After prepping your paste just combine with chicken thighs (bone in or out), red onions and new potatoes and then leave covered to marinade in the fridge until you’re ready to cook or pop in the oven.

Serve with flatbreads or rice. This recipe gives three good-sized portions and like most marinated meats it is even tastier the next day in a wrap or flatbread.

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You will need;

10 chicken thighs, skin on
12 new potatoes, halved lengthways
2 red onions, cut into wedges
12 baby plum tomatoes, halved
Salt
1 cup of water

Chermoula paste
1 tsp cumin seeds, briefly toasted
Half a lemon
A good handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
A good handful of coriander, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Half a red chilli, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
Half tsp salt
6 tbsp light olive oil

Method

  • If cooking straightaway preheat your oven to 190 oC/ Gas mark 5
  • Allow your toasted cumin seeds to cool and then roughly chop to reduce the size a bit, pre-pestle action
  • Juice the lemon and then finely chop the remaining skin and flesh
  • Now smash/blend all the marinade ingredients together except the chopped lemon.
  • Once it starts to look like a paste add your chopped lemon (keep 1tsp back for later) and the salt
  • Keep bashing/blitzing and slowly adding the olive oil until you have a loose smooth paste.
  • Place your chicken, onions, and potatoes in a roasting tray, sprinkle with salt and the remaining lemon and then massage the paste into the mix making sure the thighs have good coating.
  • Arrange the ingredients so they nestle alongside one another, making sure the chicken thighs are skin side up.
  • Pour a cup of water around your artfully arranged chicken and veg and roast for half an hour.
  • Check what’s happening at this point and move everything about a bit, if it looks a little dry add some more water.
  • Scatter the tomatoes over the mixture and then return to the oven for 20 minutes more.
  • You know you’re done when the chicken is crispy and the potatoes are cooked through and there is a sizzling sauce around everything.
  • Re the sauce, if you want more than is left, remove the chicken and veg to a warm plate and add a little boiling water to your roasting tin. Over a low heat whisk to get all the yummy caramelised bits together to create a delicious sauce to pour over your chicken.
  • Finally scatter a few roughly torn coriander leaves over the top before you scoop up the crisp fragrant chicken, spiced potatoes and sweet onions with a warm flatbread.

 

 

 

 

 

Romanos meet marinade

11 Sep

Sexy Roman peppers are often sweeter than your average pepper and lend themselves brilliantly to roasting and marinating. This simple recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s, Ottolenghi The Cookbook, offers big flavours with just a few ingredients.

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Romanos ready for roasting

Combining fresh herbs, garlic, oil and vinegar the warm peppers bathe in the marinade for a couple of hours resulting in a fantastic lunch or starter. The creamy mozzarella can be omitted to make this a vegan dish. Serve with focaccia or rustic style bread (the crusts are great for soaking up all the herb flavoured juices).

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Allow 1 Romano pepper per person.

This recipe serves 6

You will need

  • 6 Romano peppers
  • 120ml olive oil
  • Small handful of parsley and coriander, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 200g mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Preheat your even to 180oC
  • Arrange the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the peppers for roughly 10 minutes
  • While the peppers roast in the oven prepare your marinade
  • Chop parsley and coriander (reserving a small amount to garnish at the end) add olive oil and vinegar and crushed garlic to a shallow dish
  • When the peppers are cooked place them in the marinade, taking care to spoon the liquid over the peppers
  • Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and leave to marinade for 1-2 hours
  • When you’re ready to serve them arrange on a plate and roughly tear the mozzarella over the top.
  • Spoon the remaining dressing over the peppers and mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top and serve with crusty bread, essential for all those delicious juices.

Apple cinnamon compote

9 Sep

Apples are a staple in our house but there always seems to be a few which end up lurking at the bottom of the fruit bowl uneaten. They can’t help it, they just aren’t as pretty as the others. Rather than let them go to apple heaven unfulfilled I slice and bake them (skin on) with a little maple or agave syrup and cinnamon. They don’t take long and with the addition of some dried cranberries, soaked just enough to soften, they are delicious as a topping on yoghurt or porridge. Plus you get two of your five-a-day (or is it eight now?) in before lunch.

If you like, get fancy and add in some toasted nuts or seeds for extra texture but I tend to be a compote purist and don’t like messing with the simplicity of these four ingredients.

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You will need:

  • 3 or 4 apples (don’t worry if they are a little overripe or bruised) cut into wedges and lightly dressed with lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A handful of dried cranberries soaked in a little hot water and drained.

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160oC
  • Arrange your apple wedges on a small baking tray tray or dish
  • Squeeze the lemon over the apples
  • Combine with the syrup
  • Sprinkle on the cinammon
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes (keep an eye on them so they don’t disintegrate)
  • Whilst they cook soak your cranberries in hot water for 20 minutes
  • Drain you cranberries.
  • Spoon the apples and cranberries over your yoghurt or warm porridge, delicious!

A fish pie for Autumn

8 Sep

There is a change in the air and the apples that were on my tree are now windfalls. With crisp mornings and dark nights coming closer it’s time to pull out the comfort recipes which will cosy up your evenings.

This fish pie, based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, is simple to make and combines both fresh fish, and lots of great vegetables so you can be guilt free. However you could add cream to your béchamel sauce and extra cheese to your topping if you are not worried about the calories!

I used cod, smoked haddock and salmon but whatever you have available works, prawns, pollack, or trout will be delicious in any combo. Some supermarkets sell a fresh fish pie mix which is perfect for this recipe. If time is limited feel free to cheat on the mash and use a pre-prepped root/sweet potato mash.

The beauty of this dish is that it’s choc full of veggies so you don’t need any other accompaniments.

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Salmon and haddock with crumbled feta, spinach, peas and a dill béchamel

Serves 4

You will need:

  • 400/500g mixed fresh fish, chopped into large chunks
  • 300g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 100g fresh or frozen peas (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pint milk semi or full fat
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 750g mixed root vegetables eg. sweet potato, carrot, peeled, diced, boiled in salted water and mashed
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 oC
  • Butter your pie dish
  • Peel, dice, and boil your root vegetables in salted water, cook till tender and then mash till smooth, leave to cool
  • Arrange your cubed fish along the bottom of the dish
  • To make your béchamel; melt the butter in a small saucepan, add your flour and, using a wooden spoon, combine to make a roux (this is almost like a dough) keep it moving and cook gently until opaque.
    Gradually stir in your milk, get ready to switch to a whisk as the sauce will thicken quickly and the goal is something smooth and velvety.
    Once you have added all your milk season the sauce and stir in half your dill and the mustard, leave to cool
  • Add the spinach and peas to the béchamel sauce and spoon over your fish
  • Crumble half the feta cheese over your sauce base
  • Carefully spoon on the mash, crumble the remaining feta over the top and then bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling at the sides.
  • Garnish with the remaining dill and serve.
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Sweet potato mash fish pie with crumbled feta

Academy Espresso Bar

6 Sep

On the edge of Barry’s growing bayside community, Academy Espresso Bar is the perfect fit for this new district. Housed in the historic Pumphouse it blends eclectic style with the industrial heritage of the building. The space is calm and contemporary, the staff friendly and attentive with their signature t’s stating WORK HARD and be nice to people!

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By day Academy serve excellent coffee and brunch, with the ubiquitous but delicious, sourdough and avocado a menu staple. The crowd are a relaxed mix of dog walkers and gym goers (Snap fitness is on the doorstep), mums, dads, kids and workers.

By night Academy has a very different vibe, more urban bar than suburban coffee house. It hosts a variety of excellent pop-up street food vendors on the terrace to accompany their craft beer and cocktail selection. This collaboration offers an ever-changing menu alongside the artisan platters that Academy’s kitchen serve from Thursday to Saturday night. Rocking an inspiring range of tattoos the night crew are excellent hosts for a top evening. There’s even a regular event for live music fans.

Like many non-central bars and restaurants Academy opens 7 days a week as a coffee house, and as a bar/eatery Thursday to Saturday till 11pm. Academy have managed to get the right blend between coffee shop and bar, with the addition of pop ups their offering is kept fresh, fun and different, worth a visit wherever you are in the capital.

For info on openings and events check out Academy Espresso Bar

 

Orzotto

20 Jun

 

Something between a pasta and a risotto Orzotto is a fab summertime comfort dish when it’s still raining in June!

With baby peas, fresh parsley and pesto it’s light, quick and simple to make and stores well for packed lunches or even picnics (if it ever stops pouring down).

I found this great supper in this month’s Delicious Magazine. It uses store cupboard items, although granted Orzo pasta is not a super common pasta but larger supermarkets have it, but not always in the pasta aisle. I found this brand at Asda and it was pretty good quality (not that I’m an Orzo expert btw).

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To make it vegetarian just omit the pancetta and use veggy stock. You could also make it with dried porcini and chestnut mushrooms which would be equally delicious.

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You will need:

A largish heavy bottomed pan
2tbsp Olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
I clove garlic (optional)
260g Orzo pasta
500ml Chicken or Vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lemon
200g frozen Petit Pois
2 tbsp Classic pesto (either make your own see previous posts or shop bought)
Plenty of flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion (and garlic if including) till soft add the pancetta and fry till it has taken on some colour.
  • Stir in the orzo as you would rice in a risotto and coat with the oil in the pan. After a couple of minutes pour in the stock.
  • Stir and simmer on a lowish heat, keep stirring occasionally. Test regularly until it is just tender (around 8 mins).
  • Add the lemon juice and the frozen peas and simmer a little longer.
  • Remove from the heat and stir through the pesto and most of the parsley.
  • Serve with an extra sprinkle of parsley, parmesan shavings and a grind of black pepper.

Baked chicken curry

16 Jun

This is a super easy standby chicken curry from one of Hugh FW’s books.  Its a quick whizz of ingredients followed by a slow bake in the oven to create a deliciously rich and fragrant chicken curry. I’ve used chicken thighs as they carry the spice flavours really well and they’re also pretty cheap. The curry has creamy coconut milk which tempers the spices and makes it family friendly too.

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You will need:

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground ginger or 1inch piece of fresh ginger roughly chopped
1 lge onion roughly chopped
3 lge cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 lge green chilli roughly chopped (remove seeds if you want to take down the heat)
3-4 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
1.2kg chicken boneless chicken thighs
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin coconut milk
Salt & pepper

Ok so the longest part of this is organising your spices but it’s definitely worth it.

  • First grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder then roast them in a dry frying pan. Tip them out.
  • Next quickly season then sear your chicken thighs in the frying pan. Lay the chicken in an ovenproof dish and lets move on to the sauce.
  • Tip all your spices into the frying pan and cook for a few minutes.
  • While this is happening put your onion, ginger (if using fresh), garlic and chilli in to a food processor and whizz away till they form a rough paste. If it looks a bit cludgy add a small amount of water.
  • Next tip the onion mixture into the pan with the spices combine and cook for a few more minutes the mixture will start to look dryer and come together so it’s more like a traditional curry paste.
  • Now give the tomatoes a whizz in the same food processor pour onto the spice paste and then pour in the coconut milk mix together. Season with a tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper.
  • You should now have a rich creamy sauce ready to pour over your chicken and get baking.

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  • Pop in the oven for about 45mins on 180C. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander leaves and serve with fluffy basmati.

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Papa Poulet…or Poulet Saute au vinaigre

17 Jun

Some quality french cooking for the best Dad in Chez Davies. I saw Henry Harris cook this yesterday on Saturday Kitchen and instantly thought, winner! The recipe is from the bbc website. It takes a little time but is definitely worth it. All my family loved the deep flavours which come from the slow cooked chicken with rich tomatoes, white wine, and mustard tamed with cream and subtle tarragon. I used a whole chicken which I then jointed into thighs, breast, legs, and drumsticks but you could equally use pre-portioned chicken thighs and legs. Bones equal flavour so please make sure you leave them in. I served ours with very buttery mash and some roasted celeriac and rosemary. This will serve 4 (2 adults and 2 hungry children!)

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz free-range chicken
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, blanched and skinned
  • knob of butter
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50ml/2fl oz red wine vinegar
  • 125ml/4fl oz white wine
  • 500ml/18fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 250ml/9fl oz whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

Preparation method

  1. If using a whole chicken, cut it up and divide the breast into 2 sections. You should end up with around 10 pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350C/Gas 4.
  3. Heat a splash of oil in a large, wide, lidded, oven-proof pan.
  4. Season your chicken and fry until golden.
  5. Meanwhile, quarter the skinned tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Keep the pulp.
  6. Dice the tomato flesh into a small dice and put to one side.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan and set to one side.
  8. Tip out the fat and add the butter. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for two minutes to cook out the purée. Add the garlic and tomato pulp and cook for a further minute to dry out the pulp.
  9. Add the vinegar and reduce until it has all but disappeared. Add the wine and reduce in volume by a third. Then add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer.
  10. Taste to check the seasoning, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as necessary.
  11. Return the chicken to the pan, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven.
  12. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  13. Lift the chicken from the pan and set aside and keep warm.
  14. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a clean pan and bring back to a boil.
  15. Whisk in the mustard and stir in the cream, then simmer and reduce to thicken slightly.
  16. Check the seasoning a final time and then add the diced tomato and tarragon.
  17. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Focaccia

4 Mar

It’s been a funny day. What started with deep-sea fog hanging over the village and loosing me my dog whilst out on a walk, ended with glorious sunshine and a heat normally associated with April or May. With the outbreak of spring weather I was inspired to get cooking. Today’s recipe selection was fairly eclectic including a fruity chilli courtesy of Thommi Miers, Madeira cake and homemade bread, but most importantly focaccia. This recipe will give you less of the cake-style focaccia you buy in the supermarket and more of a doughy bread studded with rosemary and steeped in fruity extra virgin olive oil.

To make your basic dough follow this recipe, feel free to embellish your focaccia with any topping or additions you like. Sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, olives and pine nuts are all fantastic individually or combined. My focaccia is your starting point with just rosemary sprigs pushed deep into the dough and a sprinkle of sea salt.

You will need:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • Half pint of tepid water
  • 1.5 sachets of dried yeast
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Half tbsp salt
  • Extra virgin olive oilFor the top
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Sea salt

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.

Grease a 20cm square brownie tin or a baking sheet if you prefer a round focaccia.

Place all your dry ingredients together in a large bowl, you can make your dough by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook. Slowly add your warm water to the centre gradually bringing your dry ingredients together. Keep combining until you have a sticky dough mixture. This is where some elbow grease is required. Take your dough out of the bowl and on to a lightly floured surface. (Don’t introduce too much extra flour though) keep pushing, turning and kneading the dough until it becomes springy, smooth and elastic. If you use a mixer this will be pretty easy but don’t get smug at some point you will need to get your hands dirty! Shape the dough into round ball and place in bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove. This will take about an hour.

Once your dough has puffed up nicely get your baking tray or tin ready, grease lightly with oil then place your dough on top. Push and spread your dough out across the tray, stretching it out. When you are happy with the shape pour several glugs of oil onto the top of the dough. Push the oil into the bread with your fingers and then stud the top of the focaccia with your chosen topping or rosemary sprigs.

Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for about 30 mins keep an eye on the top so it doesn’t burn. Don’t worry if your focaccia looks a bit knobbly that’s part of the charm. I add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt at the end to boost the finished flavour.

Cacciatora comfort

24 Feb

This needs a little forethought but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s a slow cook well worth waiting for, cacciatora transforms the humble chicken thigh into a rich, hearty meal packed with deep flavours that will satisfy the coldest soul this February. This Jamie recipe from Jamie’s Italy works brilliantly with cannellini or butter bean mash, and is an excellent supper party staple.

You will need

  • 2kg Chicken pieces ( thighs and legs work well)
  • 8 Bay leaves
  • A couple of sprigs of Rosemary
  • 3 cloves of garlic ( crush one, slice two)
  • Half a bottle of Chianti
  • Some flour
  • Olive oil
  • 6 Anchovy fillets
  • A handful of green or black stoned olives
  • 2 tins of plum tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

Season the chicken with salt  and pepper place in a large bowl cover with the red wine . Add the bay leaves, rosemary and crushed garlic. Cover and leave to marinate at least overnight (This marinating is the key to your end result having a rich intense flavour, so if time is short do this the night before so it ready to cook the next evening.) The next day you chicken will be deep purple in colour this is what we want.

Preheat your oven to 180c ( gas mark 4). Drain your marinated chicken keeping the liquid. Dry the chicken with kitchen paper then dust each piece with some seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan. Fry each pice so the outside begins to brown and crisp up. Remove the chicken pieces and put to one side.

Now cook your sliced garlic in the same pan. As soon as it starts to turn colour put in the anchovies, tomatoes and olives. Stir to break up the tomatoes and then slide the chicken pieces back into the sauce.

Once bubbling nicely cover with a well fitting lid and then leave to bake in your warm oven for about one and a half hours. You may find a layer of oil on the top after cooking. Skim this off before serving. The cannellini bean mash couldn’t be simpler. Drain and rinse a tin of cannelini beans. In a small saucepan heat some olive oil with a bruised clove of garlic. Pour this flavoured oil over your beans and mash roughly. This recipe will feed a hungry six just make sure you supply copious amounts of Chianti to make this a true Italian experience.

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