Tag Archives: lemon

BBQ Spices

5 Jul

BBQ Spice

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that as a South African, albeit one living in the UK, Barbecuing (braaing) borders on religion.  Commandment number 1 – Whenever the weather presents an opportunity meat will be thrown onto flames and charred until done.  Which is great and delicious, but sometimes well – excuse me a sec while I duck out of lightning range – it can get a little boring. Seeing as there is no wriggle room in commandment one and seeing as it has been a truly lovely summer thus far I had to find someway to spice things up – I hope you enjoy.  With all three of these all you need to do is add  some of the spice to taste to your chosen hunk of meat and then grill – and if the weather isn’t being kind – they work just as well in the oven.

Lemon & Lime Pepper – works beautifully on fish or chicken

L&L INGTo start take:

  • the zest of three limes
  • the zest of three lemons
  • 1/3 cup of black pepper corns
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

L&L ZestedHeat the oven to 120°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

L&L DriedMix the pepper and the zest together and bake until the zest is completely dry – about an hour should do it.

L&L GrindAdd the salt to the lemon/pepper mix and then grind.  You can use a mortar and pestle  – this will take an eternity or a coffee/spice grinder.  I have this beautiful old coffee grinder the BH gave me while we were still in Taiwan.  It started life as a coffee grinder, but is now dedicated to grinding spices.  Grind it all up and store in an  air tight jar.

Apple Spice – Brilliant on Pork

This is one of those spice that just kind created itself while I was staring at some pork loins.  I turned to the spice cupboard to find some inspiration and knocked over the fruit bowl.  I love it when stuff like that happens.

AP INGTo start take:

  • two or three apples
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 table spoons of Szechuan Pepper
  • 2 table spoons of ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

AP DriedHeat the oven to 120 °C.  Finely – like use a mandolin finely – slice the apples and place on foil or parchment paper.  Bake the apples for about an hour and a half and then turn off the oven and leave the apples in the oven until it has cooled or overnight.  Process the apples until they have been broken down into tiny pieces.  Mix the apple with all the other ingredients for the apple spice and grind into a very find powder.

Cajun Rub – Perfect on EVERYTHING from potato wedges to steak

So this is the first spice mix I ever made and nothing else has ever quite matched up.  It is used on almost everything in our household and it’s simplicity itself.

Cajun ING

To start take:

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seads
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 table spoon of salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of hot smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme.

Cajun cumin toastingToast the cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan until the seads are just starting to brown and pop.  Add to all the other ingredients for the Cajun rub and then grind together in a spice grinder. For the best potato wedges ever – cut your potatoes into wedges and place in a large bowl.  Add oil to taste and a teaspoon or three of the Cajun rub.  Toss to coat and bake the wedges at 200°C for about 40 minutes – potatoes perfected!

Salmon en Croute

18 Aug

So the BH hasn’t been feeling well for the last two days.  Not well as in running a temperature of 39°C and unable to eat ANYTHING except for BRAT – Bananas, Rice, Applesauce  and Toast.  That’s two whole days of really boring cooking.  I tried gamely to eat the same things in sympathy, but I’m afraid I cracked this evening.  I needed both real food and to actually cook something that had more than one ingredient.  The problem was I needed to cook for one and in looking after the poor invalid I didn’t have time to go to the store, so I had to make do with what was in the fridge or freezer.  My needs being the mother of this creation, I give you my first attempt at an individual Salmon en Croute.  I don’t think it will be the last either.  This is honestly one of the easiest dishes I’ve put together and maybe it was the two day BRAT diet, but damn – it was tasty.

Take:

  • 2 fillets of lightly smoked salmon
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 100 gm of spinach leaves
  • 200 gm of cream cheese
  • 1 tps paprika
  • the zest of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 egg (to make an egg wash)

If the salmon still has the skin on carefully remove with a really sharp knife and cut each fillet in half then preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the cream cheese filling, add the cheese, spinach, lemon zest, paprika and salt and pepper to taste into the bowl of your food processor.

Process until smooth and creamy.  If any visible spinach stalks remain, remove them before continuing.

Now we get to assemble.  Roll out a piece of pastry until it’s large enough to cover the fish.  Then place two heaped tablespoons of the cream cheese filling in the centre of the pastry and place the salmon on top.

Brush the sides of the pastry with egg wash and then fold the two longer sides in. Then fold the two short sides in, so the pastry completely covers the fish and the filling.

Score the top on the pastry to allow the steam created from the cooking salmon to escape and place on a baking tray.  Brush with the remaining egg wash and bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown.  Seriously rich, seriously good!

Slow Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

10 Jul

Everyone needs a recipe that turns out perfectly EVERY TIME.  A recipe that you can trust to take care of itself.  A recipe that you can prepare in advance and then pretty much ignore until it’s time to serve it.  This is the recipe I serve when family are coming over and I’d rather spend time with them than time in the kitchen.  The truly great thing about slow roasting the chicken this way is that the wine and stock keep it beautifully moist while the butter crisps the skin up to an amazing golden brown.  It does take time though.  Two and a half hours in the oven, but it honestly only takes about ten minutes actual work.

For the Stuffing take:

  • 300gm minced pork
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 Tbs of thyme leaves
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 finely chopped onion

For the Chicken take:

  • 1 medium whole chicken
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 100ml of chicken stock
  • 100 gm butter (softened)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs of thyme leaves
  • 1 head of garlic (cut into eighths)
  • 1 onion (cut into wedges)
  • 10-15 new potatoes halved ( I couldn’t fit these in the picture attractively, sorry)

Preheat the oven to 160°C.   To make the stuffing,  add the mince, thyme, lemon zest, onion and egg to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, after washing your hands, get stuck in with your fingers and mix it all together.  Fill the cavity of the chicken, making sure you’ve removed the giblets.  Depending on how big the bird is, you might have some stuffing left over.  If you do this makes an awesome burger or delicious meat balls.

In a separate bowl mix the lemon zest, thyme for the chicken and the butter together, until well combined.  Then stick your fingers beneath the skin at the neck of the bird and loosen it.  Take the butter put it in the space between the skin and the chicken breast.   Rub whatever is left on top of the chicken.

Is is possible to take an attractive picture of an uncooked chicken?  I don’t think so.  Ah well, put the chicken in a roasting tin and add the wine, the stock, the garlic and the onion and cover tightly with tinfoil.  Put it in the oven and roast for an hour.  Wash your hair, have a glass of wine, read a good book, don’t worry about the chicken.  When the buzzer goes, remove the foil and add the lemon, cut into wedges to the tin.   Pop it back in the oven uncovered and continue roasting for another fifty minutes.  Paint your nails, have another glass of wine, call your BF.  When  the buzzer goes turn the oven temperature up to 200°C and continue roasting for another half hour.

Take the chicken out the oven and await praise and adulation.

Mini Cheesecakes with Lemon Curd

24 Jun

So a while ago I celebrated my birthday and wanted to take some nibbles to work for my colleagues. Now work nibbles are a tricky thing.  You need something that will transport easily, that won’t be too fussy to eat and something that doesn’t require plates or cutlery.   All of the above screams CUPCAKES, but cupcakes are so done, aren’t they? Besides I wanted cheesecake.  I love cheesecake.  If  cheesecake isn’t available by the bucket load in the afterlife, I’m not going. Besides it’s my party and I’ll eat cheesecake if I want to.

So I hauled out my favourite baked cheesecake recipe and miniaturised it.

For the Cheesecake:

  • 4 Tbs (60gm butter) melted
  • 175 gm digestive biscuits
  • 500 gm creme fraiche
  • 500 gm ricotta
  • 175 gm caster sugar
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1tsp lemon essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 raspberries and 12 Blueberries

For the Lemon Curd:

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 Tbs (60gm butter)cut into about 10 cubes and chilled
  • The juice and zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 150 gm sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 °C .  Then crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor (or however you wish) into a fine crumb and mix with the melted butter to make a crust for the cheesecakes.

Line two 12 hole  muffin tins with cupcake cases and divide the crumb mix evenly between the cases and press it down using the back of a teaspoon until it is compacted. Place the muffin tins in the fridge and allow  to rest.

Put the ricotta, creme fraiche, caster sugar, lemon zest of one lemon, lemon essence and honey in a large bowl and beat until smooth with a hand mixer or with a spoon.  Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until each egg is very well incorporated before adding the next egg.

Take the muffin tins out of the fridge and fill the cases by spooning the cheese mixture on top of the biscuit crust. Put tins into the oven for 30-35  minutes until the cheese cakes resemble the ones below.  At the half way mark, rotate the tins to ensure even results.

Don’t worry about the cracked, sunken tops.  That’s what’s going to hold the lemon curd for us.   To make the lemon curd, put a heat resistant bowl in a pot of water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl and bring to a medium heat.  Add the sugar, lemon zest and juice and the eggs to the bowl and whisk.

Whisk constantly at a slow, steady pace.  After a while, about ten minutes, the mixture will thicken noticeably.  The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the butter, one piece at a time.  Wait until each piece has melted before stirring in the next one.

Now allow both the cheesecakes and the lemon curd to cool and then spoon a teaspoon or so of curd into the hollow of each cheesecake, smooth and top with a berry or whatever else takes your fancy.  Easy to eat, easy transport and DELICIOUS.

Lemon French Toast with Cherry Sauce

27 May

I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how much I adore brunch.  Putting a proper cooked breakfast on the table shouts weekend, but I suppose because Monday to Friday it’s muesli, I like to show off experiment a lot more at the weekend.   Unfortunately, I had to dash out the door early on Sunday morning, so there wasn’t much too much time to muck about in the kitchen, so it had to something quick and easy, but something that still yelled weekend.   Weighing those up, it had to be French Toast. 

I had also been to a farmer’s market on the Saturday where I had foolishly bought my body weight in cherries.  Now I LOVE cherries and when I have them in the house I find excuses reasons to put them in EVERYTHING.  Now I suppose I could just have served them with the French toast, but that would hardly be blogworthy now would it?

For the sauce take:

  • 250gms of  fresh cherries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2tsp corn flour
  • 4 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 300 mls of water

For the toast take

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 a slightly stale loaf of your favourite bread
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 1 tsp lemon essence
  • the zest of one lemon

Pit and halve the cherries and add to a small sauce pan with the sugar and cinnamon.  Add the corn flour to the water and mix thoroughly then add to the saucepan.  Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Allow the sauce to reduce until thick and gorgeously syrupy.

Slice the bread  and then beat the eggs, milk, lemon essence and zest together in a large flat bottomed bowl.  Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and then dip the bread into the egg mixture allowing it to soak up some of the egg mix.

Fry the egg dipped bread  in the oil until golden brown and delicious on both sides and then serve with the cherry sauce.

For added awesomeness, serve with some greek yoghurt or creme fraiche. My idea of heaven is to use this.

Chicken Pie

27 Feb

Sorry, it’s been a while since I last posted.  Time  has not been my friend this week and speaking of weeks, this week is British Pie Week!  Now my better half, BH, has a more than serious little pie addiction.  In fact I still believe one of the reasons “we” chose to settle in the UK is how readily available pies are here.  You’re smiling and saying she must surely be joking, but this is a man who spent an entire road trip in search of the perfect chicken pie.

It of course, had to be a chicken pie.  The chicken pie is to savoury pies what the apple it to sweet, the pie standard if you will.  The judging criteria were strict, that it had to be tasty went without saying. The pastry had to be fluffy and light. There had to be more filling than sauce and solid chunks of chicken rather than tiny shredded bits. Potatoes, peas and any other ingredients used to bulk up the filling were a strict no-no.  The final factor was that it had to be awesome hot as well as cold.  The winner, by the way was the Steam Whistle Stop Shop in Sedgefield.  Below is my attempt, not to recreate the winning pie, but to meet all the criteria and kick its arse!

First rustle up some ingredients.  In the interest of saving time at a later stage, I always make enough filling for two pies and freeze half.

  • 1 kg of chicken, I use both thigh and breast meat (cut into chunks)
  • 1 pkt of bacon (sliced)
  • 1 punnet mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 1 carrot (finely diced)
  • 1 stalk of celery (finely diced)
  • 1 leek (finely diced)
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • the juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 gms of flour
  • 1 heaped tsp of paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 heaped tsp of salt
  • 500 mls of chicken stock
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 150mls of white wine
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

First add a good glug of olive oil to a deap pan and fry the bacon until cooked, but not crisp.  Set the bacon aside in a bowl and fry the mushrooms in the bacon fat.  Put the cooked mushroom in the  bowl with the bacon.  Then add the salt, dried thyme and paprika to the flour and dredge the chicken chunks in it.  For maximum shaking fun and minimum mess, I like to do this in a zip lock bag. Fry the chicken pieces,  on a medium heat, in batches until GBD, that’s golden brown and delicious!

Set the chicken pie chunks aside in a separate bowl to the mushroom and bacon.  Now look at your pan.  The flour has left it looking crusty and impossible to clean, right?  Don’t despair.  This is what’s going to make the tastiest sauce ever.   Lower the heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan.  Stir until all those browned bits dissolve into the wine.  Add the onion to the wine and let it soften for about 5 mins.  Then add the rest of the aromatics, the leek, carrot and celery, cover the pan and cook for about 10 mins. Add the left-over dredging flour and slowly stir in the chicken stock, lemon juice and zest.  Add the bacon, mushrooms and chicken back to the pan and allow to simmer for about ten minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cool.

While the filling is cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C and then cut the pastry sheet in half and roll out two circles.  Line a greased, floured pie tin with one of the circles and, once the filling has cooled, fill the pie pan with half the filling. (Freeze the other half. )

Brush the pastry with egg wash and top the pie with the second circle of pastry.  Crimp the edges, cut a few “breathing holes” into the pastry and brush the top pastry with egg. Use the left over pastry bits to cut out shapes to decorate the top of the pie and pop it into the oven for 40 mins.

Once the pie is done, take it out of the oven and serve it with something fresh like a tomato salad and green peas to make you feel less like crying when you think of your cholesterol levels.

So, how did my pie compare?  Well thanks to the holy trinity of lemon, thyme and wine invoking memories of roast chicken, BH was impressed with the taste.  Adding bacon helped with this criterion, because bacon makes EVERYTHING taste better.  We scored well on chunks and the lack of bulking ingredients.  I’d like to take credit for the fact that BH liked the GBD pastry, but my friends at Jus-Rol, get credit for that.  In fact it was almost a clean sweep, but we were disqualified right at the end as there was insufficient judging material to judge the pie cold.  I guess I’ll just have to make another one, but I think that’s the way BH wants it.  Can I claim a moral victory?

Tarte Tatin

5 Feb

I am constantly amazed by the number of different ways  we have come up with to combine apples and pastry.  From danishes and strudels to pies and tarts and all the crumbles, buckles, crisps and cobblers in between, we seem to have a serious soft spot for this scrumptious little pairing .  The moment the weather starts turning chilly I have a deep set need to throw some spices at apples, cover them in dough and fill the house with the smell of them baking. I definitely get this from my father.  Now sometimes I can spend the whole day mixing, chilling and rolling pastry.   On these days I’ll spend hours  macerating fruit in sugar and spices to create that perfect pie, but lets be honest, most days, like today with the snow piling up and a couple of good DVDs waiting,  I just want a quick fix.   In this instance a crumble will usually satisfy, but when friends are coming over it has to be a Tarte Tatin.  It’s just as easy to throw together, but the difference is , well, it sounds French!

So to start, take:

  • Six Apples
  • 1 Packet Puff Pastry
  • 4 Tbs of Butter
  • 150 gm Caster Sugar
  • a Splash of Vanilla
  • a Sprinkle of Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  • the Zest of one Lemon
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon

The hardest part of making this is peeling and coring the apples.  Once this is done, turn the oven on to 180 ° C and then melt the butter in a pan.  Add all the apples and let them bubble away for few minutes. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir.  Then sprinkle the sugar into the pan and leave it to slowly melt and caramelise.  You want to finish up with soft apples and a gooey toffee sauce.

This is where I deviate from the traditional Tarte Tatin. Rather than baking it in the pan I used to caramelise the apples, I transfer it to a pie tin.  Not really sure why I do this, I just always have.  I put the cinnamon stick in the middle of the pie tin and then place the apples around it.   Then I grate the zest of a lemon over the whole lot.  This sounds like an easily skip-able step, but please don’t.  This is what brings the dish to life.

Roll out the pastry into a roughly round shape just a little larger than the pie tin you’re using.

Then place the pastry on top of the apples and tuck it in around the edges.  This can be made a couple of hours before your guests arrive and then popped in the oven while you’re eating your mains. Bake for about 25-30 mins until the pastry is puffed up and golden.  Leave it to rest for about 10 min and then run a knife around the edges of the tin.  Place the plate you’re going to serve it on on top of the pie tin and turn out the Tarte Tatin. Serve it with a sprinkle of icing sugar and a dollop of cream or custard.

So, to misquote Matt Damon,”How do you like them apples?”

This one’s for you Dad.

Makin’ Mayo

29 Jan

I spent about eight years living in the East and I loved it.  My Better Half, or BH, and I were based in Taiwan which has a really rich culinary history influenced heavily by both China and Japan.  I learnt so much about food while living there.  I learnt to  deep fry basil for chicken dishes and what a godsend panko crumbs are and how the dinky little  bottles of soy sauce you buy in the west are never going to cut it if you’re going to really COOK with it.  I learnt what rice is really supposed to taste like.   I learnt to hate the cho tofu stand lady.

Most importantly I learnt to become self sufficient in the kitchen.  Unless I wanted to make a really long journey through insane traffic to that one specialty store that might possibly have pesto at an exorbitant price, I was going to have to make it myself.  The same went for curry sauces, pasta sauces, pie crusts, baked beans,  pastry and chocolate peanut butter cups.  Now that I’m back in the west, I must confess to buying all these in the store again.  The one thing I won’t buy anymore though, is mayo.

Despite its  reputation for being fickle  homemade mayonnaise is one of the easiest things to make.  It also knocks the socks off of any store bought variety AND it makes use of ingredients most of you have in your cupboards right now.

  • 2 egg yolks ( I freeze the whites and use them for meringues)
  • 1 heaped tsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 500 ml of vegetable oil
  • a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper

Now the joy of these ingredients is they don’t have to be exact.  It you don’t have white wine vinegar, use cider vinegar.  Hot English mustard works just as well as whole grain.  Play with the flavours until you find the mayo that works for you.  I like  adding about 25 gm of a hard sharp cheese like  Pecorino Romano to give it a really nice savouriness.

Add all the ingredients except for the oil into a large bowl and break out your hand mixer.  You can of cause use a food processor, but cleaning one bowl is easier than cleaning a food processor.  If you’re trying to build upper arm strength, you could also try doing this with a whisk. Mix all the ingredients together to start the emulsion and then very slowly, drop by drop start adding the oil.  Put the oil in a squeezey bottle.   Using one of these helps control the amount of oil you’re adding.

Once you are confident the emulsion is holding, you can the oil a little faster.  Keep on adding the oil until you’ve used it all.  If at this point you find mayo a bit on the thick side you can thin it down with a tablespoon or two of boiling water. Oh, please remember, that although this is delicious, it is made with raw eggs, so keep in the refrigerator, and those with impaired immune systems, the elderly, expectant mothers and  very young children should probably steer clear.   Enjoy!

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 :-)

Primal Perks

Passionately sharing info about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb diet and lifestyle

With All My Affection

A Montreal Lifestyle Blog

Mrs Stanton's Makes

Bake. Craft. Review. Create.

China through the Eyes of a Chinese-American.

Trying to make my difference in the world by teaching English in underdeveloped China for the next two years as a Teach for China Fellow.

Carlygrey

Photography and Adventure - Greater Things to Come

The epicurean kitten

Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance, Epicurus

Whole to the Core Blog

Being fit and healthy. Living the Abundant Life

Kate's Travel Tales

A technological advance on quill and ink on parchment in airmail envelopes

Love.Food.Asia.

the taste of asia

alifemoment

Colourful Good Food & Positive Lifestyle

adorable life

eat,craft,travel,love...in short live your life and njoy

MY FRENCH HEAVEN

Food, Photography & Joie de Vivre

Nourishing Jessica

People who love to eat are always the best people

LOOK WHAT I MADE ...

A handcrafted life is a happy life.

Leni & Viv

Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Food Inspiration from Our House to Yours