Saturday, 28 February 2009

Goose and Venison Curry

There was no Menu Plan Monday this week, as I was somewhat jet lagged from New York and the concept of planning meals frazzled my brain! I am also still slowly trying to empty my freezer before I move, yep that's right I have had an offer accepted on a flat, and although I know it could still all go pair shaped at this stage, I'm still preparing a little! Me a prospective home owner! Who'd have thought it!! Although I am very excited about the amount of space I'll gain its still a little scary, this step into the grown up world. All this has meant that the meals this week have been simple and quick to prepare.

One of the meals I liberated from my freezer was a goose and venison curry that my mother had made over Christmas and then given me a portion of to take back to London with me. She usually makes this curry with left over roast chicken but it was equally delicious with left over goose and venison. I served it with some green beans, as I needed the veggies, and rice with cardamom and star anise.

Chicken (or other left over meat) Curry
(Serves 2)

Left over chicken (or other meat)
1 onion, chopped
1 oz butter
1 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3tbsp/ 1 1/2 fluid oz water
1 dsp coconut cream

Mix all the spices with the water to form a paste.
Fry the onion and garlic until softened in the butter. Stir in the spice paste and fry very gently for 2 mins. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 mins.
Pour in some water and the coconut cream and cover and cook until the chicken is tender and sauce had thickened slightly.
Serve with basmati rice.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Naan Bread Pizza

The week before I went to New York I had a very busy week both at work and meeting up with people, as well as packing. I'm a real worrier when it comes to going on holiday and I have to check things a dozen times before I leave! That meant that the meals that I ate at home had to be quick and easy.

One of the meals I tried out was the Naan Bread Pizza from Nigella Express. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, using fresh mushrooms instead of jarred and mozzarella instead of fontina as I couldn't find any anywhere.

Naan Pizza (adapted from Nigella Express)

1 Shop Bought Naan Bread
2 tbsp tomato pulp or any tomato sauce
handful mixed mushrooms, chopped
handful spinach, wilted
half a ball of mozzarella
3 stalks thyme

Preheat the oven to 220C
Wilt the spinach by placing the spinach in a colander and pouring a kettle of boiling water over it.
Spread the tomato sauce over the naan, slice the mozzarella and place on top of the tomato sauce, sprinkle over the chopped mushrooms and wilted spinach.
Cook in the oven for about 5-10mins until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

New York

I have just come back from a weeks holiday in New York. I had a fantastic time, but completely forgot to take many photos. I really loved eating Bagels with Lox Spread and Hot Chocolate for breakfast, the best ones we had were from H&H Bagels at Broadway and 80th Street, but I can't find any Lox spread over here. I also tried New York Cheesecake and Red Velvet Layer Cake, both were delicious. One lunch time we also had an amazing salad from a salad bar, the range of choice was amazing. I went with my sister and we shared most of our meals as the portions were huge! I really loved New York and would love to go back some time.

I also did a bit of food shopping. I bought Chicken and Beef Broth, Velveeta to make macaroni cheese, onion powder, some Lays crisps and, finally, Goldfish crackers. They all arrived safely back in the UK!

First Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes and Pancakes with ham and maple syrup.

My addiction: Poppy Seed Bagel with Lox Spread

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pitta Bread

A couple of weeks ago, when I went home to see my parents, I made some Pitta Bread. My mother has a much larger kitchen than I do, and it is perfect for making bread, she also has an airing cupboard which is brilliant for the rising process. The Pitta Bread were so much fun to make, as they actually rose under the grill as I watched, there were lots of exclamations of ooooo, and I grabbed various members of my family to come and watch!

Pitta Bread before cooking:

In the oven:

All nicely puffed up and ready:

Pitta Bread (from Leiths Baking Bible)
(Makes 8)

15g fresh yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
150ml lukewarm water
250g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp polenta

Mix the yeast and sugar with 2 tbsp of warm water.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Tip the yeast mixture into the well and add olive oil and enough warm water to make a soft but not too sticky dough
Knead the dough by hand for 10 mins or by machine for 6 mins until smooth.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat in the oil, cover with oiled cling film, and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Place the dough in a lightly floured work surface and knock back by kneading for 30 seconds.
Divide the dough into 8 balls . Place the polenta on a plate and roll each ball in it. Roll the dough ball into rounds 12cm/5 in in diameter.
Heat the grill to its highest setting until very hot. Place the dough rounds on a greased baking sheet. This is done in two batches for 4 each.
Grill the dough about 7.5cm/3 in from the heat source for 2 mins per side or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.
The bread can be reheated if required before serving.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is here! The cook book recipe this week is Mushroom Naan Pizza from Nigella Express. I go on holiday in a week, so no menu planning from me next week. Instead I shall be in New York, and I must remember to pack that thermal!

Lunch: Lasagne and Salad
Dinner: Lentil Curry with Spinach, Creme Fraiche and Naan Bread

Lunch: Pork, Ginger and Spring Onion Sausage with Noodle Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore with Beans and Olives, Polenta Slices and Veggies

Lunch: Dim Sum Platter
Dinner: Mushroom and Spinach Naan Pizza (Nigella Lawson)

Lunch: Tartiflette and Salad
Dinner: Squid Ink Pasta with Courgettes and Creme Fraiche

Lunch: Quiche and Salad
Dinner: Goose and Venison Curry, Lentil Curry, Rice

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Spiced Pork and Lemon Pasta

On Thursday night I went to my oldest friends house for dinner. Its not often other people cook for me, other than in restaurants, so it was a lovely treat. I've know her for nearly 21 years which is not bad considering I'm only 24! It was lovely to have a catch up and a chat with her. She cooked this Spiced Pork and Lemon Pasta for me, which is absolutely delicious, and again because it was sausage meat rather than mince it didn't have that nasty grainy texture that I don't like!

Spiced Pork and Lemon Pasta (from Good Housekeeping Cookery Book)
(Serves 4)

8 thick pork sausages
500g pasta
100ml white wine
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
large pinch of dried chilli flakes
300ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp parsley
25 parmesan cheese

Remove the skin from the sausages and pinch the meat into small pieces. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add the meat and cook for 5 mins, stir occasionally until cooked and browned.
Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente.
Add wine to the sausage meat, bring to the boil and let it bubble, stirring for 2-3 mins until the liquid has reduced down. Add lemon juice and zest, chilli flakes and creme fraiche. season. Cook for 3-4 mins until reduced and slightly thickened.
Drain Pasta, add the sauce and sprinkle over parmesan.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Chicken and Potato Curry Puff

After yesterday's chaos, London seems to be closer to normal today. Most things were running and apart from the ice underfoot, the journey to work was pretty uneventful if slippy! I did get to leave work early yesterday as well. They closed the library at 5pm so that we could all get home safely, which was much better than trying to pick a path home through the ice in the dark. I arrived home to find the house being guarded by a giant snowman, taller than me. It made me feel safer that the house finally has some proper security!

Dinner last night needed to be warm and filling so I made a Chicken and Potato Curry Puff. Anything with puff pastry always makes me feel better. This recipe is based on Flaky Chicken Curry Puff from Beachlover's Kitchen. However, I made a few adjustments. I don't have the space to make my own pastry so I bought some puff pastry and used that. I also don't deep fry them, (I have a huge fear of deep fat frying) but bake them in the oven instead. I served it with some stir fried spinach and broccoli with garam masala, raita and tamarind sauce.

Chicken and Potato Curry Puff

500gm chicken breast, cubed
1/2 pound potato, diced
2 large onion, diced
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil for frying

Peel the potato and cut it into cubes, boil until tender. Set aside.

Heat a wok or frying pan with oil and add in the cubed chicken breast, potato and onion. Add the sugar and curry powder, mix well and fry until the chicken is cooked. Leave the cooked filling to cool on a plate.

Take the Puff pastry, I used the ready rolled sheets, and cut one sheet into four. Spoon the filling onto one half of each square of puff pastry sheet, and egg wash around the filling using a beaten egg. Fold the rest of the pastry over, and using your fingers crimp the edges together.

Egg wash the top and cook in the oven at 200C for about 20/25 mins or until golden brown.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Chinese-style Braised Wild Boar One-Pot

I was woken this morning by the radio DJ saying that all the buses in London had been suspended. When I stepped out of my house, this is what greeted me, a thick blanket of snow:

Many of the tube lines had also been cancelled, and it took me an hour and thirty minutes to get to work. I had been joking that although snow was forecast it would never settled in London, so it was somewhat of a shock to see all the snow, but it was really pretty. Apparently it was the most snow the South East had seen in 18 years. Last night, knowing of the impending weather and trying to warm up after wondering around the Chinese New Year Celebrations in China Town in the afternoon, I made a Chinese style one-pot dish.

I had some Wild Boar meat left over from a Casserole I made ages ago, and I decided to try something different with it. This is originally a Beef recipe but worked just as well with Wild Boar meat.

Chinese-style Braised Wild Boar One-Pot (adapted from Good Food Magazine March 2009)
(Serves 6)

3-4 tbsp oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
thumb sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1 green chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1.5kg wild boar casseroling meat, cut into large pieces
2 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
2 star anise
2 tsp light muscovado sugar
3 tbsp cooking wine/dry sherry/sake
3 tbsp dark soy sauce, plus more to serve
500ml beef stock
pak choi
basmati rice

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large shallow casserole dish. Fry the garlic, ginger, onions, chilli for 3 mins until soft and fragrant. Tip onto a plate. Toss the beef in the flour, add 1 tbsp more oil to the pan, then brown the meat in batches, it should take about 5 mins to brown each batch. Remove meat when browned.

Add the five spice and star anise to the pan, tip in the gingery mix, then fry for 1 min until the spices are fragrant. Add the sugar, then the beef and stir until combined. Keep the heat high, then splash in the wine or sherry, scaring up any meaty bits. Heat oven to 150C.

Pour in the soy sauce and stock (it won't cover the meat completely), bring to a simmer, then tightly cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring the meat half way through. the meat should be very soft, and any sinewy bits should have melted away. Season with more soy.

Nestle the Pak Choi into the pan and put back in the oven for 15 mins, or as long as the rice takes to cook, making sure they are submerged in the juices. Serve.

Menu Plan Monday

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is not too bad this week. Lots of warming hearty recipes, which is good given the amount of snow that arrived this morning! My cookbook recipe this week is Mushroom Lasagne with Hollandaise which is from Leiths Vegetarian Cookery Bible which I got for the bargainous sum of £10 this weekend. It has all sorts of delicious looking recipes in it waiting for me to try them out.

Dinner: Chinese-Style Braised Wild Boar, Rice, Pak Choi (Good Food Magazine)

Lunch: Ham, Cheese and Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Chicken and Potato Curry Puff, Salad

Lunch: Chicken Mayo Sandwich
Dinner: Out at an American Diner in London practising for New York

Lunch: Noodle and Dumpling Soup
Dinner: Sausage and Mash, Veggies

Lunch: Casserole, Bread Roll
Dinner: Dinner at a friends house

Lunch: Pitta Bread, Hummus, Artichokes, Salad
Dinner: Mushroom Lasagne with Hollandaise (From Leiths Vegetarian Bible)

Prawn and Pesto Pasta Salad

Sunday, 1 February 2009

No Knead Bread

Last weekend I made some lovely No Knead Bread. I live in a tiny bedsit and the kitchen area looks like this:

The white thing you can see in the bottom right under the towel is my bed! This means that baking bread is basically impossible, there's no room for kneading. So the No Knead Bread is perfect! This is the third time I've made it, but the first time in my room and it worked perfectly.

I only had a small casserole dish but this actually made the bread better as the loaf was taller. It was delicious and it tasted a little bit like sour dough bread. It also made fantastic toast which was really crispy. I am going to make some more this weekend hopefully.