Tag Archives: comfort food

Chicken, Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

11 May

CCC Stew ServedI need to admit right away that there isn’t terribly much skill involved in this recipe.  In fact all you need to get it right are some chopping skills and a good dollop of patience. Although it’s an easy recipe, it’s not a quick one.  In fact it does take quite a bit of time, but when it’s a blustery, rainy day outside it is a recipe that is very soothing, both to prepare and to eat. You know how stress reliving punching a punching bag and imagining your boss/landlord/noisy neighbour/the guy who cut you off on your way to work’s face can be.  Well with this recipe there is an awful lot of chopping and trust me imagining the face of you boss/landlord/noisy neighbour/the guy who cut you off on your way to work under your knife is ENORMOUSLY stress busting.

CCC Stew INGTo start take:

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • two small chorizo sausages
  • 2 tins of chopped tomato
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 2 onions
  • a few garlic cloves (to taste)
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3-4 courgettes
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper and smoked parika
  • Fresh Thyme (to taste) and a Bayleaf or two.

CCC Stew ChickenRub the olive oil into the chicken breasts and season them with salt and pepper.  Heat your largest wok and place the the chicken skin side down in the pan.

CCC Stew Crisp ChickenCook on both sides for ten to fifteen minutes until the juices from the chicken clear and the skin is golden and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan, but leave the oil that has been rendered from the chicken in the pan.

CCC Stew OnionsFinely slice the onion imagining your boss/landlord/noisy neighbour/the guy who cut you off on your way to work’s face under your knife.

CCC Stew GarlicChop the garlic into really fine pieces and then add both the onion and the garlic to the wok with the chicken oil and cook over a low heat until soft and translucent.  This should take about 5-10 minutes (Did I remember to mention the  patience as well as chopping skills needed for this ? )

CCC Stew Softened OnionsAdd the smoked paprika to the onions and leave to simmer and then chop the rest of the vegetables.

CCC Stew LeeksChop the leeks and celery into very fine pieces.

CCC Stew CarrotsDice the carrots.  Each of these ingredients adds a beautiful level of flavour to the dish, the carrots add a soft sweetness and the celery a delicious pepperiness.

CCC Stew with Bay LeafAdd these ingredients along with the bay leaf to the onion mix and allow it to all soften together.

CCC Stew ChorizoChop your chorizo, courgettes and red pepper and add to the vegetable mix in your wok and cook on a slow heat to let the flavours mingle (about 10 mins)

CCC Stew TomatoOpen your tins of tomato and your chickpeas, add them to your veggie mix.

CCC Stew BoilBring your stew to the boil and allow it to thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken and let it cook over a low heat for about half an hour.

CCC Stew Served

Serve with rice, cous cous or mashed potato!  Enjoy.

 

Vappumunkit/May Day doughnuts

5 May

What is it about other peoples’ food that is so much more exciting than your own?  In this spirit,  I have invited a guest blogger to share a little something from her native land.  So please rattle your keyboard keys together and give a warm welcome to Laura!

CD Finished

For whatever reason, there’s a tradition in Finland that we make doughnuts for May Day. In my family we made them ourselves every year and it was an integral part of the May Day celebrations. We followed a recipe cut from the food section of a Finnish Seura magazine, with a few tweaks of our own. I think the recipe must be at least 25 years old, maybe more. The doughnuts were often eaten with sima, a mead-like non-alcoholic drink we also made ourselves.

The recipe is easy to follow, but you should reserve about three hours to make these doughnuts, although that allows an hour for the dough to rise. It’s a big dough so you’ll get a lot of doughnuts out of it.

CD IngIngredients:

  • 5dl milk
  • 50g fresh yeast/20g dry yeast
  • 1 1/2dl granulated sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 8-16g ground cardamon (depending on how much you like cardamon)
  • 100g butter
  • 14-15dl plain flour
  • oil for frying the doughnuts.

Heat the milk to 37 Celsius if using dry yeast or 45 Celsius if using dry yeast. Add in the yeast, making sure that it is fully dissolved if using fresh yeast.

 

CD Warmed Milk

Whisk in eggs, sugar, salt and cardamon. Gradually add in about two thirds of the flour.

CD Mixture

Knead in softened butter and continue kneading while you add more flour.

CD Dough

The dough is done when it comes off your fingers rather than sticking to them. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or a sheet of greaseproof paper and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough should double in size.

CD Dough Risen

Once the dough has risen, sprinkle flour onto a clean surface or a baking mat. Scoop out some dough and cut with a knife dipped in flour to suitable chucks. Roll these into balls and set on a baking sheet to wait.

CD Dough Balls
Fill a pan with a flat base with the cooking oil and set to heat. The oil should ideally be about 2-3 inches deep. The oil is hot enough for the frying when a dollop of the dough rises to surface immediately. Depending on the size of the pan, you can cook 4-5 doughnuts at a time. To make ring doughnuts, push two fingers from opposite sides of the ball of dough to make a hole and widen it as desired. Gently lower the doughnuts into oil to avoid splashes. When the underside has turned golden brown, flip the doughnuts to cook the other side.

CD Frying

If the doughnuts begin turning dark too quickly, turn down the heat. Fish out the cooked doughnuts with a slotted spoon and set to drain on some kitchen roll. When the doughnuts have cooled for about a minute, roll them in a bowl with sugar and set them aside.

CD Golden Brown

If you’re not intending for all the doughnuts to be eaten immedialy, leave some unsugared. If you store sugared doughnuts in a plastic container, the sugar will melt. To sugar doughnuts after they’ve cooled down, pop them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to warm them slightly and then roll them in sugar.

CD End Pic

As a variation, you could make doughnuts filled with jam. To do this, make a depression in the dough balls before cooking, insert some jam and then pinch the edges close. Be sure to do this well, though, to prevent the seam from opening during the cooking. Alternatively, you can pipe jam into cooked doughnuts. If you make doughnuts with apple jam, try adding some cinnamon into the sugar you roll them in.

The cooled cooking oil can be sieved and re-used for similar purposes.

Thanks Laura,  these were AMAZING!  Please give them a bash and please enjoy!

Blueberry and Pistachio Pancakes

27 Apr

BPP FinishedThe BH and I have had a bit of a trying year.  We’ve both changed jobs AND we’ve bought a house.  Add to this a missing camera charger and you have a very guilty me apologising for the HUGE hiatus in my blogging.  That said this weekend rolled around and to both of our absolute surprise and wonder, there was nothing planned.  I’m not going to lie, we were both more than a little shell shocked by this and for a while just stared at each other, not really sure what to do.  Then, thankfully, sloth instinct kicked in and pancakes and old episodes of the X-Files were the order of the day.  Now I must confess, I simply can’t resist the urge to mess with pancakes, these however are my current favourites.

BPP IngTo start take:

  • 500gms self raising flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder (you want them to be really light and fluffy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 gms butter
  • 1 litre milk
  • 200 gms blueberries
  • 100gm roasted salted pistachios
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla essence if you prefer)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (optional)

BPP Melting ButterMelt the butter in a small sauce pan and allow it to cool.  Then add  the milk to the butter.  Beat the eggs and add these along with the vanilla bean paste to the melted butter.  You want to make sure the butter is cool and you add the milk before you add the eggs otherwise you’re going to be eating buttery,  vanilla flavoured scrambled eggs, which I don’t think will taste as good as it sounds.

Sift BPPSift together your flour, salt, baking powder and sugar (if you’re using it) in a large mixing bowl.

BPP BatterThen slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mix and whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump free. BPP Chopped PistachiosRoughly chop your pistachios and wash and dry your blueberries.  Put these in two separate bowls next to your griddle or frying pan.

BPP FryingHeat your pan or griddle and using a paper towel, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the pan/griddle.  Using a soup ladle, spoon a circle of batter on to your griddle pan and then top with blueberries and pistachios.  When the batter bubbles, turn your pancake over and cook on the underside.

BPP Frying 2

Sorry, I just love the colours of the pistachios on the batter, so you’re being subjected to another photograph.  Place the pancake in a warming draw or oven on a low heat and repeat the process until you have used all the batter.

BPP YumDrizzle your pancakes with honey, you can use any syrup that takes your fancy, but there is something about the pistachios and blueberries that just really works with honey, and enjoy.

 

Mished Mash Potato

8 Apr

TPT with eggOn some weekend mornings you wake up feeling a little more delicate than you should.  We won’t go into any detail why, but your head is tender, loud noises hurt and for some unfathomable reason you are STARVING. On mornings like this you need coffee and you know your day is going to consist of trashy TV and sitting on the couch. Period.  On mornings like this I NEED Mished Mash Potato, a dish that is greasy, salty, stodgy and amazingly restorative.  There isn’t anything too technical with this recipe, but if your head can stand it, there is a bit of chopping.  If you don’t think you can do in in the morning, do your chopping the night before (before you go out) and have everything ready to just pop in the oven.

TPT IngTo start take:

  • about three potatoes per person
  • 2 eggs per person
  • bacon (as much as you think you need, usually 1 pkt for two people)
  • Half an onion (very finely diced)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 smallish chorizo per person
  • 1 glug of Olive oil
  • 1tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 grind of black pepper

TPT Diced Potato

Preheat your oven to 200 °C and chop your potatoes, peel on, into about 1cm-ish cubes.  Put the ruler away, this is not an exact science, besides you’re feeling delicate.

Diced IngVery finely dice your onion and roughly chop your pepper into strips and combine with the potato.

Chopped Chorizo

Slice each Chorizo in half and then thinly slice and do the same to the bacon.

MixedMix the bacon and chorizo with the potatoes and add a tsp each of smoked paprika and dried thyme and add a good glug of olive oil and a grind of black pepper.  And with all that chorizo and bacon, you don’t need to add any salt.

TPT baked

Place all the ingredients into a lined baking dish and bake for about forty minutes.  The potatoes should be soft and the bacon and choritzo nice and crispy.  At the 35 minute mark or there abouts poach your eggs.  Now trust me on this, even if you like your egg yolks hard, leave them on the soft side for this.  Once the eggs and the potatoes are done, make a nice pile of potato on a plate and top with that lovely, runny egg.  Cut into your egg and let the yolk make an amazing sauce.  Sit back and enjoy the laziest day ever.

TPT Egg yolk

Mmmm Cookies

2 Feb

OM - finCookies are good for you.  No, Seriously they are! They make you smile and smiling boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure and it relieves stress.  Don’t believe me, look here .  The added benefits of these cookies is that they are also packed full of fruit, nuts and oats, so you see you have NO excuses for not making them.  These are also the best smelling cookies I have ever made, so if you ever need to fill the house with baking , this should be your go to recipe.

OM  - IngTo make 24 cookies take:

  • 1 cup almonds (or any nuts of your choice)
  • 100 gm of plain flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 170 gm of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of apricots (of any dried fruit of your choice)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla (essence, extract or paste)
  • a pinch of salt

OM - almondsPreheat the oven to 180°C.  Place the almonds on a baking tray and gently toast for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Allow them to cool slightly and then chop roughly into small chunks.  Toasted almonds have a much better flavour and will make a massive difference to the taste of your cookies.  While the nuts are toasting chop your apricots into raisin sized pieces.

om - creamNext cream your butter and sugar together until completely combined and fluffy. OM - vanilla

Add the egg and beat well and then add the vanilla and mix.  Scrape down the sides of your bowl and mix it again.

OM - flourAdd the baking soda and salt to the flour and fold into the butter mix. OM - oatsAdd the oats and mix well to combine. OM - chocolateThen add the toasted nuts, the apricots and the chocolate chunks and mix again.  I’m not going to lie to you, at this stage the best way to ensure everything is mixed in properly is to use your hands.

OM - ShapedOnce everything is mixed well, roll the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball and then flatten them into cookie shapes on a lined baking tray.  If the cookie dough is being uncooperative, it helps to wet your hands with a splash of water.

OM - bakedBake in the preheated oven for fifteen minutes until golden, brown and delicious.  Leave on the tray for a minute or so and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Pour your self a glass of milk and smile.

Chicken Cacciatore

21 Jan

Image

So the 21st of January 2013 is supposed to be the most depressing day of this year.  It’s cold and gloomy outside and it’s still months before it’s going to warm up. Payday is still days away and with most of us stretching ourselves thin over Christmas, making things better with some retail therapy isn’t an option.  AND we’ve all been dieting since the start of the year and let’s face it people depriving yourself of chocolate is going to make you feel just a little bit glum. My solution is the culinary equivalent of a hug; Chicken Cacciatore.  Now mine isn’t an authentic recipe, but it’s yummy and warming and it’s packed with tons of veg, so you’re not even really breaking the diet.

Image

To start take:

  • 800gm of chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • two large or four small carrots
  • two sticks of celery
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • an onion
  • a pepper
  • a punnet of mushrooms
  • a clove or two of garlic
  • a stalk of rosemary
  • a bay leaf or two
  • about 50gms of flour seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and dried thyme
  • olive oil

Image

Dice and saute the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and peppers in the olive oil until softening.  Slap your forehead and take out the chestnut mushrooms you bought especially for the dish, but then forgot to photograph for the ingredients picture.

Image

Cut the mushrooms in half and add them to the veg mix and blame blue Monday for your forgetfulness with a sigh.

Image

While the veg is softening, add the seasoned flour to a ziplock bag and piece by piece coat the chicken pieces in the flour.  I tried, by the way, to take an attractive picture of raw chicken, but I just don’t think it’s possible. Sorry. Image

Remove the veg from the pan and add a splash more olive oil and then brown the chicken in the pan. Image

Once the chicken looks yummy, open the can of tomatoes and chuck the tomatoes on top of the chicken.  Add the veg from earlier, the two bay leaves and some chopped rosemary (to taste.)

Cover the lot and let it simmer away filling the kitchen with steamy deliciousness, which is almost as good as a hug, for about half an hour. Image

Pop it on top of some mashed potato and feel better. You deserve to.

You Can’t Hurry Bread

2 Dec

BR buttered

You can’t hurry bread,

No, you just have to wait

She said bread don’t come easy

It’s a game of knead and wait.

Well let’s be fair, bread and love are remarkably similar.  When done properly they both fill you with warmth and make all that is bad disappear and like all good things they take time to get right.  In as much as my twenty-five year old self would have loved to tell  my fifteen year old self to be patient and that love would happen, my thirty-five year old self would love to travel back to my twenty-five year old self standing over a loaf that only a dwarf would be happy to eat and tell her that it would all be okay.  One day.

You see bread has always been a bit of a problem for me.  I never quite got the hang of the kneading, proving, rising, waiting quasi-religious steps that other people took for granted.  My bread has always been a heavy let down.  There was even the time I tried to make a sour dough starter from scratch.  It looked good, had the right texture, but it was sour .  No, seriously, so sour it got spat out and we couldn’t eat it.  I’ve heard every joke about my bread breaking plates and being used as doorstops and yet, while I could manage some really tricky culinary tasks, bread has managed to elude me.  Then about two months ago I had a revelation.  I was eating a calzone and the corner was light and fluffy and soft and EVERYTHING bread should be.  So I took the  pizza dough recipe I had used for the calzone and tried to make bread with it.

It worked.

I tried again and it worked again.

I tried it the third time and wouldn’t you know it, it worked again.

I now have my very own bread recipe steps that I’m sticking to with all the fervour and zeal of the newly converted.  And as is the want of the newly converted, I’m sharing it with you.

BR IngI’m always amazed at how few ingredients bread needs; take:

  • 500 gm of bread flour
  • 2 tps of quick yeast
  • 1 Tbs of sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • a grind of salt to taste
  • 200mls of lukewarm water and
  • oil for kneading

Add all the dry ingredients into your food processor and process for five  seconds until completely combined. With the food processor running slowly add the eggs and then the water.  Process for about a minute until you have a thoroughly combined, wettish dough.

BR doughPlace the dough on the surface you’re going to use to knead.  Do NOT flour the surface, instead wipe it down with some oil of your choice, I like olive oil.

BR kneaded doughKnead the bread dough for ten minutes.  I set a timer to ensure I’m not lazy about it.  When you’re done kneading you should have a springy,smooth ball of dough. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with cling film.  Leave in a warm place to rise for just over an hour or until doubled in size.

BR risen doughOnce the bread has doubled in size place it back on the kneading surface and knead for a further minute.  Shape the dough into the shape you want for your bread or place it in a loaf tin.  At this stage preheat your oven to 200°C.

BR dough in panCover the tin with the clingfilm and leave for about forty-five minutes to prove.

BR proved

Then place the bread in the oven and bake for forty minutes.  When you remove the bread from the oven and tap on its bottom, it should make a hollow sound to indicate it’s ready.

BR bakedRemove the bread from the load tin and allow the bread to cool slightly for about five minutes before you cut it.

BR cutSlice the bread and serve hot with lashings of butter.

Rocky Road Fudge

25 Apr

Sometimes, when it’s been raining for too long, or payday is far away, or your relationship is yo-yo-ing, or as in my case, your family is miles away and it will be forever before you get to see them again, or any other time when life is in a teeth kicking mode, you NEED something that tastes of your childhood.  Something that will take you back to the kitchen giggles of when you were first discovering a love of cooking.  For me, it’s Rocky Road Fudge.

One bite into the soft, sweet marshmallow balanced with the crunchy roasted nuts, just held together with chocolate and I’m ten again.  This is one recipe I don’t really muck about with, I do my best to keep it exactly the way I first made it.  The only concession I make to the fact that I’m no longer ten, is that I now use two thirds dark chocolate.  The really great thing about this recipe is that it requires no special ingredients or equipment and it’s both quick and easy to make.  Making it perfect for the little ones.

Take:

1 tin of condensed milk

300gm of chocolate

2 cups of mixed nuts (I like hazel, walnut and almond)

150 gm of marshmallows

1 splash of vanilla essence

Before you begin, line a rectangular dish with baking paper and grease it.  Then put the nuts on a baking tray and let them gently toast at 180°C for about 15 – 20 mins.  Keep an eye on them to prevent them from catching.

While the nuts are filling the house with the scent of . . . well . . . nuts,  chop the chocolate in to even sized chunks so that it will melt evenly.

Before you melt the chocolate mix the nuts and marshmallows into a bowl.  I must confess to a little lie at this point, there is one other thing that I’ve changed since childhood.  I now use mini marshmallows.    We used to spend an eternity snipping regular sized marshmallows into bits, but honestly why do it if you don’t have to.

Now melt the chocolate.  If you’re working with a little one, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave.  I prefer melting it in a glass bowl over water because it makes me feel like I really know what I’m doing.

Once the chocolate has melted, quickly whisk in the condensed milk and the vanilla and then scrape the chocolate mix on top of the waiting marshmallows and nuts.  Using a wooden spoon, mix them all up together.  The sound of this, the nuts mixing together, is where this dish apparently got its name.  Once the marshmallows and nuts are evenly coated, pour into the lined dish and press down with the wooden spoon.

Now it the time to practice your patience.  Pop it in the fridge and leave it for at least an hour, until it has set.   Then pull it out of the tray using the parchment paper and slice into fudge sized bites.

Now, if we’re going to be honest, these babies, while munchish and morish, are never going to win any beauty awards, but display them on a on a glass stand and let their taste win the hearts of even the chews-iest of folk.  Because, trust me, they will.

oh.four.one.

the port elizabeth blogger

The Banting Cook

Banting recipes – low carb, sugar free and gluten free. Banting recipes I have tried - those that have failed and those that have been a success! I am not a dietician, I'm just a gal who loves to cook banting food, and keep it as good as possible! Obviously all recommendations throughout this and other posts are not intended as an alternative, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medical treatments or advice. The reader takes full responsibility for counting nutritional information such as carbs, while trying any and all recipes :-)

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