Wednesday, 18 January 2017

CHICKEN WITH TOMATOES & CRISPY CHORIZO

Our family new year's resolution is to each choose 4 new restaurants and so then this year we try 12 different places to eat. We planned to start this weekend however the weather was so miserable, we decided to stay at home, have a pyjama day and cook. I had several chicken breasts to use up so found this recipe on Jamie Oliver's website, you can used leftover roast chicken if you have it instead. This took around an hour and serves 6 people although I was only cooking for 3 people.

Ingredients for 6 people:

1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1kg ripe mixed colour tomatoes (I just used red cherry tomatoes), chopped
1 fresh red chilli (optional), sliced and deseed
A few sprigs of oregano, leaves chopped (I used dry)
Olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon of sweet paprika
2kg free range poached chicken (I used poached chicken breasts)
200ml chicken stock
4 fresh quality chorizo sausages, chopped (around 400g)
1-2 heaped tablespoons of creme fraiche
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds, crushed



If you are using uncooked chicken breasts, start by poaching the chicken in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes. Once it is all cooked through, slice the chicken into chunky pieces or if you are using an actual chicken, pull the chicken off the bones.



At the same time, blacken the peppers under a hot grill and then place in a bowl and cover with cling film to steam for 15 minutes. Apparently after 15 minutes, it should be really easy to peel off the skin. This wasn't the case for me, maybe my skins weren't black enough. Anyway it didn't really matter. Chop into chunky strips and set aside.




Slice the onion, tomatoes and garlic. Halve, deseed and chop the chilli and then pick off the oregano leaves and cut.

Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for a few minutes before adding the garlic, tomatoes, paprika, chilli and most of the oregano. I left out the chilli as my daughter is not keen on too much spice. Cook for around five minutes or until beginning to soften.







Add the chicken to the pan with the stock and the peppers. Leave to bubble for 25 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and is thick and glossy.



Place the fennel seeds into a pestle and mortar and bash until crushed. I don't have a pestle and mortar so tried to use the back of a teaspoon. It didn't really work so I just left it.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a second frying pan over a high heat. Skin the chorizo sausages and slice the meat into bite size pieces. Add to the pan along with the fennel seeds.



Cook for about 5 minutes or until dark, golden, crisp and smelling fantastic!



Mix together the chorizo and the chicken and add a good slug of olive oil and season. Stir in a big dollop of creme fraiche, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and scatter over any remaining oregano leaves.




Finally serve with either fresh baguette, jacket potatoes or warm tortillas. We went for the latter with a scattering of cheese and rolled it up like a fajita - delicious!!




I don't cook many Jamie Oliver recipes as I find them too complicated and they often need so many different ingredients however this was a success. I didn't follow it exactly i.e. I left out the chilli, I used basic cherry tomatoes, dried oregano, chicken breasts rather than a proper chicken and I didn't have a pestle and mortar......and guess what, it didn't matter! This recipe actually worked really well and we all enjoyed it and it was a very pleasant change to have something other than our usual pasta. It did take a while to cook but it wasn't complicated and I think next time I won't bother to blacken the peppers, I will just fry them with the onions. With this in mind, I might be doing some more Jamie recipes in future....that is if I have time to cook!!!

Monday, 16 January 2017

CREAMY BROCCOLI AND BACON SPAGHETTI

The only cooking I have been doing recently is pureeing fruit and vegetables. My little girl is nearly 6 months old and just like her mummy, she has a real interest in food. I am trying to cook everything fresh so I have been so busy stocking up the freezer. I look forward to the time when we can all eat the same things, not that I want to wish this time away, my baby is growing up too quickly as it is.

Anyway gone are our weekends of visiting museums and going out for supper. We managed a night out on Friday to see Wicked at the theatre and ate at a fantastic Turkish restaurant in Victoria called Kazan. Unfortunately I forgot to blog it so we will have to go back. Anyway the rest of the weekend we stayed at home and I finally had the time to make some home cooked meals for us.

This recipe is from Delicious magazine, I follow them on Instagram and end up liking pretty much all their posts. This took about 20 minutes to cook.

Ingredients for 4 people:

400g spaghetti
1/2 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 streaky bacon rashes, roughly chopped
100ml half fat creme fraiche
5 free range egg yolks

To serve:
Grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese


Prepare all the ingredients such as chopping the onion and bacon, crushing the garlic and cutting up the broccoli. The florets need to be bite size, mine were too big! 

In a large frying pan, heat a glut of olive oil and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and bacon for around 7-10 minutes until the bacon is crisp. When it is ready, take the pan off the heat.




Meanwhile bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions, mine took 10 minutes. 3 minutes before the end, add the broccoli to the pan. Once it is ready, drain in a colander and drizzle with a little olive oil, then return to the saucepan.



Add the bacon mixture to the pasta and then thoroughly stir in the creme fraiche and egg yolks. 




Serve with a good grinding of black pepper and a sprinkling of grated cheese.


This was very quick and easy to make and it was absolutely delicious. I loved the light creamy sauce, the saltiness of the bacon and the crunch of the broccoli. My husband, daughter and I were all big fans and I was particularly happy to be having an "indulgent" meal that included green veg. Another time, I might substitute the broccoli for mushrooms although not when my daughter is round - she hates them!

Monday, 26 December 2016

STICKS N SUSHI, CANARY WHARF

I love all the Christmassy things to do in London such as Winter Wonderland, Kew Gardens Christmas Trail, the pantomimes, the Christmas lights and especially all the pop up ice skating rinks. This year we went back to the one at Canary Wharf which was a great success as it had a cover - essential with the unpredictable English weather. My daughter Arabella suggested we eat at Sticks n Sushi which was quite a surprise as we had taken her to Zuma for my birthday and she had announced the food was better at Subway!!

Sticks n Sushi was founded 22 years ago in Denmark by three half Danish and half Japanese siblings. They serve a combination of traditional sushi and yakitori sticks from the grill using high quality fresh ingredients. It sounded right up our street as I love sushi and my husband Pascal loves yakitori sticks.

We arrived after a strenuous hour ice skating and were shown to a spacious table at the back which suited us perfectly as we had plenty of room for Olympia's pram. The menu is vast and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed as to what to order. The waiter was extremely helpful and friendly and I have to say there was a great cosy ambiance in the restaurant despite it being pretty big.

Anyway we had some delicious salted edamame beans whilst we decided what to order - it all looked so good.


So the reason Arabella chose this restaurant is because she had been recently and had "rice crispy covered sushi" this actually translates as Ebi Bites which are prawn tempura, miso aioli, chilli, lime and coriander. I was only allowed a couple of them as the little piglet wanted them all to herself and they were excellent - we nearly ordered another portion! I can understand why Arabella was such a fan.


We also had Crispy Ebi sushi rolls which were prawn tempura, avocado, spicy sauce and sesame - these were incredible as well - in fact we ate them so quickly we forgot to take a photo!

My other favourite was the Tuna Tartar with tuna, avocado, goats cheese, pine nuts, soy sesame, cress, spring onion, chives and nori chips. It was AMAZING! I was surprised how well it worked as goats cheese isn't very Japanese but it did. It was better than the tuna tartar at Zuma. Pascal and I were fighting over it.


We had some California rolls which are always a favourite of mine and these didn't disappoint.


Pascal always likes a bit of meat so we had the Beef Tataki with smoked cheese, chives, almonds, Yuzu-Kosho and spicy gamo. These were good but pretty spicy!


Of course we had to have some sashimi so we chose to have the soy cured salmon with marinated red onion, shiitake, dill and miso mustard - this was ok but not my favourite , the fish was fresh but I wasn't mad about the flavours together , it was a bit too much - when I go next time I would substitute this for another tuna tartar.


I did however love the cauliflower served with sesame and black truffle sauce. It made a nice change to have cauliflower and the sauce was subtle yet flavoursome.


Finally we had some yakitori sticks - we ordered a selection called Man Food and it consisted of chicken meatballs, pork belly, chicken with teriyaki, spare ribs, panko duck breast, Emmental cheese and bacon all served with edamame beans, rice and a chilli dip. I mainly ordered these for Pascal but we both enjoyed the meat ones especially the pork belly and the chicken meatballs however neither of us were a fan of the Emmental cheese and bacon - it just did not work with the other flavours. Plus we didn't rate the ribs very highly. We both concluded we preferred the sushi side of the menu.



We could have eaten more but we decided to stop and finish off our meal with Krispy Kreme donuts - my new obsession. Overall we loved Sticks n Sushi and will definitely be back. There are currently restaurants in Wimbledon, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Cambridge. I would love them to open one in Fulham! My favourite dishes were the Tuna Tartar and Ebi Bites but I expect there are many more gems on the menu to try.....my new year's resolution might be working my way through it all!

Sticks N Sushi

1 Crossrail Place
London
E14 5AR
Tel: 0203 141 8230

Square Meal

Sticks 'n' Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 25 December 2016

SPECK, SPINACH & TALEGGIO PASTA

Another day, another pasta recipe. I should really turn this into a pasta blog with all the pasta we eat! My husband and daughter are pasta addicts and would eat it every meal if they could - thankfully I like it too. Plus this recipe is super easy and quick which is essential when you have a little baby....or are just busy. At the moment I can see why so many people choose convenience food, it is just so much easier, however the taste is far inferior. There is nothing like home cooked food and this took 15 minutes in total.

Ingredients for 4 people:

375g dried pasta
100g speck slices
150g Taleggio cheese, cut into small cubes
150ml double cream
125g baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Parmesan to serve



Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according the the packet's instructions. Mine took 10 minutes.


Meanwhile cut the cheese into cubes and speck into slices.


A couple of minutes before the pasta is ready, add the spinach, a handful at a time and then drain when ready.



Return the pasta and spinach to the pan and place over a low heat. Add the cream, speck and taleggio to the pan and slowly stir until all mixed and the cheese is melted.




Serve with a generous grinding of black pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan.



This was really delicious although one word of advice - don't add salt until you have tasted - the speck can be quite salty! Once again, we all really enjoyed this, even Arabella who isn't the biggest fan of spinach. If you can't buy speck and taleggio, you can use mozzarella and ham instead - both will work well. Another easy and tasty pasta dish.

Nutrition Facts Widget Image

Saturday, 24 December 2016

LEEK, LARDON & GARLIC MUSHROOM PASTA

I have lots of recipes at home that my elder daughter Arabella will hate as they include mushrooms, aubergines or courgettes - her three worst vegetables. I respect the fact she doesn't like these ingredients however if she then announces she dislikes something else, I tell her she is only allowed three items on her list so she has to swap one - this usually means that she will eat the offending item!! Anyway as she was away last weekend, I decided to cook this mushroom pasta dish for my husband and I. It is a simple waitrose recipe that took around 20 minutes.

Ingredients for 4 people:

300g fresh pasta - any shape
250g mushrooms, sliced
500g leeks, sliced
250g lardons
A large knob of butter
2 tbsp of grated Parmesan
150g mascarpone
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of chives, chopped



Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened.




In another frying pan, fry the lardons for around 10 minutes until cooked.




When they are both ready, tip into a large bowl.

In the same frying pan that you used for the leeks, add the remaining butter and then fry the garlic and mushrooms for around 7 minutes.



Once they are ready add to the bowl of leeks and lardons and then stir in the mascarpone, the chives and the cheese.



Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet's instructions. Mine took around four minutes.



Drain the pasta and toss with the mushroom, leek and lardon mix.



Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and enjoy.



Every time I have leeks I am reminded of how much I love them and once again they didn't disappoint. This is very warming and wintery - perfect for this time of year - a great quick midweek supper, if you like mushrooms that is!

Nutrition Facts Widget Image