It was a Saturday. Something strange had happened. I fancied something other than curry for tea! Not sure Kit was so impressed with this idea!
However not all was lost…
I still wanted that hit of spice!
We were going to be having curry. We had bought 3 chickens especially. To be honest I think the thought of taking the meat off 3 birds was not appealing to me on this particular day. I think a bout of ‘Can’t be arsed’ had come over me!
As well as three chickens I had also put a load of chickpeas into soak the night before so I had to incorporate those in some way.
I had been making some seasonings a couple days previously and knew that I had some surplus ‘Ome Made Portuguese Rub-a-Dub-Rub. And that was all the inspiration I needed! “One Pot Portuguese Chicken”.
One Pot Portuguese Chicken
This really is a simple recipe and whilst it’s cooking you can go about and enjoy your day rather than slaving over a hot stove.
You don’t have to use three chickens! The recipe below is for one. You can also use whatever vegetables you fancy.
You will need;
- One Large Chicken
- 165g dried chick peas (soaked overnight, boiled for 10 minutes and drained)
- 4 large potatoes quartered
- 4 large carrots cut into chunks
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 bulbs garlic chopped
- roughly 120g mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ‘Ome Made Portuguese Rub-a-Dub-Rub (or Piri-Piri seasoning or mix up a little paprika, cumin and chilli) mixed with a little oil to make a paste.
- Roughly 1 1/2 litres chicken Stock (you could use a little less and add a glass of red wine or as we did a splash of Port!)
- 4 tomatoes chopped
- Big handful of fresh coriander chopped
- Seasoning to taste
Take a large roasting pan or anything oven proof that all your ingredients will fit in. Put all the ingredients except the chicken, spice mix, stock, tomatoes and coriander in your roasting pan. pour over the stock so that it almost but not quite covers your vegetables.
Rub the spice mixture all over your chicken and place it on top of your vegetables. Cover the whole pan with a couple layers of tin foil and place in a preheated oven at 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Take out of the oven. Turn the oven up to 220°C/200°C Fan/ Gas Mark 7. Remove the tin foil and stir in the tomato and fresh coriander. Check for seasoning. Place the pan back in the oven for approximately 30 minutes for the chicken skin to crisp and colour a little.
Remove from the oven and let sit for twenty minutes. The chicken will just fall off the bone. Try serving with some steamed rice and some good crusty bread.
Easter Thai Time!
So for Easter Sunday this year we decided to have Thai.
We were having friends and Family around for Dinner so we decided to keep it simple.
So of course it had to be Thai Fishcakes and the ubiquitous Thai Green Chicken Curry. These were complimented by some nice crunchy pickled vegetables, cucumber sauce and Thai sweet chilli sauce.
The fishcakes were made a couple of days beforehand and re-heated in the oven for 35 minutes beforehand, they reheated really well and saved time on the day. The Thai green curry paste was also made in advance to save time.
Unfortunately there are no pictures of the Thai Green Chicken Curry (I’ve put one in of a previous creation) but I’ve included the recipe anyway for anyone that wants a go.
First up the pastes. These will make more than you need but if you fry them in some oil and put them in sterilised jars they will keep in the fridge for six weeks or so. By the way if you’re one of those Veggie or Vegan types you can omit the shrimp paste.
Thai Green Curry Paste
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or two level teaspoons ground coriander)
18 small, hot green chilli peppers
2 stems of lemongrass
3 tablespoon galangal sliced (or ginger)
1 tablespoon kaffir (if you can get them, normal if not) lime zest
30g/1oz coriander (if you can get it with the root on add that too)
6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
60g/2oz shallots or onion chopped
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground white pepper (yes you can substitute black but white gives a truer and better flavour)
Add all the ingredients (starting with the hardest first) into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste adding a little oil if necessary.
Thai Red Curry Paste
10 – 15 dried red chillies (soaked in hot water for twenty minutes or so)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 stems lemongrass sliced
6 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
60g/2oz shallots or onion sliced
3 tablespoon galangal or ginger sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
add all the ingredients into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste as above.
Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)
this makes approximately 22
375g/13oz white fish (haddock, cod, Pollock!)
1 large squid tube
1/4 portion of red curry paste (roughly a tablespoon)
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon softened palm sugar or dark brown sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves soaked in hot water
55g/2oz yard-long beans (or any round green bean) cut into thin slices
1 small egg beaten
Prepare the fish and squid taking the bones and skin off the fish and removing the backbone, beak and intestines from the squid then rinsing. Roughly chop and process the fish in batches into a smooth paste. CurlyE was helping me with this – “Urgghhh! that looks like snot!” to be fair he was right! Mix in the other ingredients with just enough egg to bind without being sloppy.
Form the mixture into balls using about a dessert spoon of mixture for each one (having a bowl of cold water and keeping your hands wet will stop the mixture sticking to your hands). Flatten your balls into disks about 5mm thick.
place the fishcakes on greaseproof paper on a tray (if all the ingredients were fresh and not previously frozen they can be flash frozen at this stage).
To cook from fresh deep fry for approximately 3 minutes, from frozen give them about 4 – 5 minutes.
We love pickled vegetables in our house. They make a lovely side dish to all South East Asian food. Even a bit of poached chicken on some plain boiled rice is livened up and made into a tasty refreshing dish with the addition of them.
The choice of vegetable is up to you. In this instance we used baby sweet corn, onion, carrot strips, white cabbage and some green beans. We also did one jar with some sliced chilli in, some like it hot! The pickling liquor is quite light, so these will not keep for months but they should keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.
To make your pickling liquor you want roughly 50/50 vinegar to water, some sugar to taste and some bits n bobs in it to flavour (Lemongrass trimmings, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger or whatever takes your fancy).
Simmer the mixture for 20 – 30 minutes until the sugar has melted and the flavours have infused the liquor.
Prepare your veg and place in a colander over a bowl. sprinkle with salt, give it a toss and leave for 20 minutes to draw some of the water out. after twenty minutes give the veg a rinse, drain and then put in clean jars (sterilised if not using within a week). Strain your vinegar liquor while still hot and pour over the vegetables to cover. It will be ready after 24 hours.
Sorry it’s not much of a recipe but it’s just one of those things I do on the fly!
Sweet Chilli/Cucumber sauce
In a pan put 175ml/6 fl oz water, 250g/9 oz sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 175ml/6 fl oz white vinegar. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
Put 1/2 of the above mixture in a serving bowl, add a dash of fish sauce and light soy sauce. Finely dice some cucumber and add to the sauce. And that’s the cucumber sauce done.
To the remaining vinegar mix in the pan add 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes or a couple of finely diced fresh red chillies and two teaspoons of strawberry or raspberry jam. Bring to the simmer again and cook until the jam has dissolved, that’s your sweet chilli done.
Thai Green Chicken Curry
Enough for 6 – 8 people
30g/1oz fresh coriander
1 generous tablespoon green curry paste
4 kaffir lime leaves (soaked in water if dried) shredded
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 400ml can coconut milk
6 – 8 chicken breasts sliced (roughly 1 kilo/2.2lb)
1 heaped teaspoon dark brown sugar or a couple lumps of palm sugar
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of fish sauce
some Thai basil leaves shredded
2 Thai red chillies thinly sliced
juice of two limes
Blitz the fresh coriander in a food processor. Heat some oil in a large pan and add the curry paste, fresh coriander, lime leaves and the spices. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring so the mixture doesn’t burn. Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and if necessary enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the simmer and cook gently, covered for approximately 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with some plain rice or noodles and a little pickled veg and mango salad on the side.
Dice a whole mango and place in a serving bowl. Add a dash of vinegar, black pepper, a sliced red chilli and a sprinkling of soft dark brown sugar. Top with some toasted and crushed cashew nuts before serving.
So that was our Easter Sunday Dinner. It might not have been traditional but it was damn good!
Oh… yes there was dessert but it was just a boring old trifle… and erm…. the custard didn’t set… whoops!
The trifle was a bit sloppy but that wasn’t going to stop me!
Chicken Tandoori seems to be quite popular in our house at the moment. It makes a nice Sunday roast!
We use a whole chicken… well actually three!
The leftovers of course go into the Kids school pack-up and they make a rather nice curry (Chicken Tikka Massala Madras hot is a favourite!)
Of course you don’t have to do three chickens, you don’t even have to do a whole chicken! Chicken joints work just as well and of course you can even do Tikka with just the breast meat.
I do recommend that you try doing a whole chicken though, it needs a little longer cooking than if you do joints but the flavour is great and the marinade keeps the meat nice and moist. And of course as a center piece on the table it looks amazing.
I’m not going to give a full on recipe because my way is rather long winded and… top secret. I will suggest some ingredients that you can add to make it a little special though.
The easiest way of doing this of course is to buy a jar of Tandoori paste and add yoghurt and lemon juice to make your marinade.
My method is this (For three chickens)
1 tablespoon mild curry massala (’Ome Made in our case)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 level tablespoon dried mint
Big chunk of ginger (3’’ by 1’’)
Lots of garlic, roughly 9 cloves
Couple of green chillies
Big handful of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Fry your spices (not the chilli) gently in a quite a bit of oil to make a paste.
Blitz or finely chop your ginger, garlic, green chillies and coriander.
Mix all the marinade ingredients (apart from the Kashmiri Chilli) together.
Now you need to skin your chicken, this bit always grosses out the Kids! You could leave the skin on but the marinade tends to slide off and the skin doesn’t go crispy so it’s not particularly nice.
Once you’ve skinned your chicken score it (SEVERRN! Sorry!)
Now rub the Kashmiri chilli powder into the chicken, if you have some gloves to wear, I would. The other option is a freezer bag!
Slap on the rest of the marinade and give your bird a good massage (That’s the chicken!)
The chicken can now be left to marinate for up to 24 hours or for as long as you have (I’ve given it 30 minutes before and it’s still been lovely).
To cook preheat an oven to 225ºC (200ºC if using fan assisted).
Put the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn down the temperature to moderate about 170ºC. The chicken then needs to be in for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or if your doing three about two hours. Test the chicken is done by testing with your usual method. The joints should be nice and flexible and easily pull away from the bird.
Let the Chicken rest for 20 minutes or so and then pull apart or carve to serve.
We like to serve ours with some Tomato, Onion and Mint salad, Pilau rice, Naan bread and lashings of Tandoori Yoghurt Raita.
Proper finger lickin’ fun.
I can’t wait for the weather to turn drier and warmer so I can do Whole Tandoori Chicken in the smoker and BBQ…
Soup… We absolutely love it in our house. Not the tinned variety of course. It has to be ‘Ome-made! And it’s so easy to make. You take your favourite ingredients sweat them off in some butter add some stock, cook for a bit and then blitz. Not leek and potato soup though, that can’t be blitzed. That’s completely breaking the rules, that has to be… ‘lumpy’.
If you make your own stock it’s even better. Even if it’s chucking the bones from the leftover roast chicken in a pot and boiling for an hour, you will be left with a nice base for a soup. Of course if your one of those non-meat eating types you can make a stock from those manky left over carrots at the back of the fridge any veg trimmings and some onion. If you roast the veg for 20 minutes or so you’ll get more flavour and a deeper colour to your stock too.
So heres a recipe for a soup I made the other day along with a recipe for some cumin, ginger and garlic croutons. If you don’t have the croutons with this soup I suggest putting the spices used to flavour them in the soup. Although this recipe has chillies and spices in it it is no way spicy. If you prefer it spicier just up the amount of red chili in the recipe.
Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup
1 medium onion roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
200g (a large baker) potato cubed
700g sweet potatoes (4 small or 3 medium)cubed
1 large carrot diced
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or extra black if you haven’t)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon mild curry massala (or curry powder)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 litre of stock
2 medium sized red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Ground black pepper and salt to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add both types of potato and carrot to the pan along with the white pepper, salt, curry massala, allspice and thyme. Gently sweat all the veg off for a further 10 minutes stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.
Add your stock which should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately forty minutes or until all the veg is cooked through and soft. Take off the heat and carefully blitz with a hand blender, blender or food processor.
Put back on the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The soup will be ready after 20 minutes.
Cumin Ginger & Garlic Croutons
8 slices white bread
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and black pepper
Cut the bread into cubes and put in a shallow roasting/baking tin.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garlic, cumin and ginger. Give the croutons a good toss and then sprinkle a little more olive oil on them and toss them again.
Put in an oven preheated to 165°C on fan setting (185°C for conventional)the croutons will take 30 – 40 minutes but you need to regularly check on them and give them a shake or turn every 10 minutes or so.
Once the croutons are cooked they can be used straight away. Once the croutons are completely cool they can be put in a sealed container where they should be good for up to five days.
Happy soup making!
you may have noticed that there are a few references to slow cooked smoked meats on the Blog. You wouldn’t be wrong.
I recently acquired a big American style smoker/BBQ and it’s been getting a fair bit of use.
I love proper American food, I’m not talking McD****ds or K*C here but big hunks of meat coated in secret dry rubs and cooked slowly for hours on end. Pulled Pork, sticky ribs, slow cooked brisket even a humble chicken simply seasoned and cooked in the smoker for three hours is transformed into something remarkable.
And then served with sour cream, chilli sauce, bbq sauce with a multitude of different “slaws” to go with it, quality.
I even like a simple beef burger, ‘Ome made of course! Given the right treatment, a nice cheese or two to top, gherkin, onion, tomato and some nice crisp iceberg and some lovely, mustardy mayonnaise (which has to dribble down your chin!) and of course a good squirt of ketchup. Burgers can, and should, be good and a real treat to eat.
Anybody remember a certain burger I created?
So yes there maybe some recipes for smoked meats or BBQ food on the Blog, that doesn’t mean that a conventional oven can’t be used. However I can recommend getting a smoker, it is such an enjoyable and slightly addictive way of cooking!
So Kit has to go to the emergency eye clinic, turns out she has got viral conjunctivitis, not nice.
Hmmm, was going to be chicken & mushroom lasagne for tea, made with some ‘Ome smoked chicken (done at the same time as the lamb for Easter).Thinking about it though seems as our house is ‘house of the lurg’ at the moment maybe a nice warming smoked chicken & sweetcorn chowder might be in order. There is nothing like a soup made with real chicken stock to kick those pesky virus and bacteria into touch!
Chicken & Sweetcorn Chowder (Serves 4-6)
You will need:
Leftover roast chicken (approximately 300g or two good handfuls, it doesn’t have to be smoked!)
Chicken stock (Boil up the bones from the roast chicken if you’ve had time. You want about a pint)
Milk or cream
sweetcorn (frozen or tinned)
Cooked potato (either leftover new potatoes or dice up a large baker and boil for 20 minutes)
Melt some butter, about 125g, in a pan. Add some chopped garlic (1 or 2 cloves) and some onion (1 medium sized). Fry gently for a couple minutes.
Add a tablespoon of flour to the pan and stir for a minute to help cook the flour out.
Add some stock (if it’s hot it will blend with the flour better and you will void lumps), a bit at a time and keep stirring to make a smooth paste. Once you’re at this stage you should be able to add the rest of the stock with no problems. Keep stirring until the sauce comes to a simmer (if it does go lumpy you can always get the hand blender in there or put in a liquidizer).
Add your chicken and potato and let that heat through for 10 minutes. You can then add the sweet corn and either a couple tablespoons of cream or about 1/4 pint of milk. The soup should be a nice thick consistency, if it’s too thick thin with a bit more stock or milk.
Season with pepper (ground white works best) and salt to taste. I also add a generous pinch of paprika (you could use smoked).
You can add some finely chopped fresh parsley or chervil if you have any.
After ten minutes the Chowder will be ready.
Serve with some nice crusty bread for a lovely comforting meal.