Friday, 30 October 2009

Thai update!

I was very disappointed with the ol’ Beef Masaman curry the other day – so that recipe is not going up on the blog! The spicy noodles are a dish I do regularly but will post when I have made them that little bit different. So tonight will probably be some sort of Thai salad with garlic King Prawns!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Chicken Thai Green Curry

Yes, I know, there are plenty of recipes out there but I think mine takes some beating – well I would, wouldn’t I !! It has, of course, been extensively honed and fashioned into what Mrs H. approves of!

The secret is a good paste – I don’t have to time to make mine from first principles but you don’t need to if you get a good one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp of Vegetable oil
  • 2 plump chicken breasts – deskinned and boned
  • One large onion – chopped
  • 2 ½ Tbsp of Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 2 Tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce
  • 1 small pack of Coconut cream – not creamed coconut!
  • 500ml of good chicken stock
  • 7 Kaffier lime leaves
  • 2 Tbsp of Palm sugar
  • Pinch of salt (if required)
  • 1 small red Bird’s eye chilli (if required)
  • Vegetable of your choice – bamboo shoots, French beans, broccoli etc etc
(Serves 2 or 3)

Fry the onion in the oil until soft then add the breasts, chopped into 2cm chunks. When just cooked, add the paste and stir continuously until it is fragrant and has covered all of the meat. Add the remaining ingredients (except the vegetables) stir and simmer for about 40 minutes – allowing the sauce to reduce slightly. During the simmering process, check the chilli heat to see if it is up to scratch! You don’t have to ad the veg! Just serve with boiled rice if you prefer…..

Monday, 26 October 2009

The week ahead.....!

In a ‘fit of peak’ I have decided to go Thai this week. No, I’m not going to talk stangely and wear man dresses. (Mind you….) I’m going to turn into a Thai Kitchen slave. (Calm down Mrs.H and Hils, don't get excited, it's not that kind of slave!) So, this week we will have, amonst other things:

  • Thai Curry – Masaman, Green and Red
  • Beef Rendang
  • Thai Beef Salad
  • Phad Thai
  • Chicken Spicy Noodles
  • Tiger Cry

Oh, deep joy!

Crab with Mango, lime and chilli

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp of palm sugar
  • 1 green bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 tsp of ground dried shrimp
  • 300gm of fresh white crab meat
  • 20gms of chopped mint leaves
  • 20gms of chopped coriander leaves
  • 4 small shallots – sliced in rings
  • 1 green mango – halved, peeled and sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes – for garnish
  • 1 large green chilli – thinly sliced at an angle

(Serves 4)

This dish is fabulous! It has a ‘clean’ taste, typified by lots of Thai dishes. You may want to add another small chilli if you like your food spicy but don’t add too much as it will ‘kill’ the dish. I suggest that you mix all of the ingredients soon before you serve. If you want, you can prepare the mix and leave out the crab until the last minute.

So there you go – put the lime, fish sauce, sugar and chopped chillis into a bowl and allow to infuse – taste and adjust with sugar or lime (the proportions I have given should work perfectly, however!). Chop all the other ingredients and mix up (less the crab) in a large bowl. Make sure the shallot slices are separated into rings. When you are ready to server, mix the crab in bowl with the shallots etc and add the ‘sauce’. Mix well. Enjoy – I know you will!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Crab with lime, chilli and linguine

I love crab meat – especially the white stuff! This probably dates back to my early years when my mother used to bring a fresh crab home from the docks in Fleetwood – and other food delicacies. In fact my father’s favourite food was Dover sole, Lobster and Scallops – now I know where I get the taste from…

Anyway, I digress, This dish is fresh and tasty and with warm pasta – is a decent autumn starter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 250gms of White Crab Meat
  • Juice of 2 lines and their zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 chopped red chilli
  • 1 tsp of sugar syrup
  • 1 cup of chopped spring onions
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • Linguine – cooked – enough for 4 small servings

Mix all of the ingredients (except pasta and crab) in a bowl and allow to infuse. Cook the linguine and when drained, mix in with the crab and citrus mixture. Serve straight away and enjoy. This could serve 2 people as a main meal or 4 as a starter. I will post up soon another Thai version of this with Mango…..

Monday, 12 October 2009

Venison and Smoked Pancetta Meatballs with Curly Kale and Parsnip Mash and Red Onion Gravy

One site I love is The British Larder.

On Friday I cooked this recipe and it went down a storm :-

http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/venison-and-smoked-pancetta-meatballs-with-curly-kale-and-parsnip-mash-red-onion-gravy/

The pancetta must be thick enough so it does not break apart. The meatballs can be prepared in advance and put in the oven when you want to serve up. Enjoy!

Beurre Blanc (Nantais) Sauce - Revised!

Or should it be called Beurre Nantais? (by virtue it has cream in it as a stabilising influence)

After a lot of trial and effort, I have now perfected this recipe – and it works perfectly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of dry white wine
  • ¼ Cup of white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp of cream
  • 8oz of Unsalted (or slightly) butter – cubed
  • Salt to taste.

Add the shallots, wine and vinegar to a pan and simmer until reduced until you get about 15% of the liquid left.

Stir in the cream and reduce a little – this is what stops the sauce separating! Now whisk in about 1oz of the cubed butter and when mixed, do another 1oz. Repeat until completely infused and you have a creamy sauce. Season the sauce with salt to taste. This sauce whould not separate and can be prepared in advance of that fish meal you promise your guests!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Chicken Breast with Beetroot Sauce - Farewell Floyd!


As a tribute to Keith Floyd, I thought I would dust off a copy of ‘Floyd on France’ that I had on the shelf. Like a lot of people, Keith managed to get me to raise my level of cooking back then. Maybe, even subliminally, I really love a glass of wine or 2 whilst cooking in the kitchen….. This dish was my first real dinner party dish that made people raise their eyebrows – it looks different but tastes great. (I have copied the reciped exactly as in the book)

The inspiration for this has come about from 'A Slice of Cherry Pie' blog and 'Back to the Chopping Board' blog.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Small Chicken breasts – boned and skinned
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Butter
  • 1 shallot – finely chopped
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 1 medium beetroot – cooked and pureed with its own weight in butter
  • 150ml (5fl.oz) double cream
  • Fresh Chervil and julienne strips of cooked beetroot to garnish

Season the chicken and sauté gently in butter for about 4 minutes on each side. Keep warm and covered.

Boil the shallot in the wine until almost reduced to nothing. Now stir in the beetroot butter into the remaining wine and shallot until melted. Add the cream until you have a smooth consistency and a bright purple sauce. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

There should be a little juice from the chicken that has been resting: pour thid into the sauce. Then slice each breast into thin scallops and reconstruct into its original shape. Pour a little sauce on to each plate, lay the chicken on top of the sauce and decorate with strips of beetroot and chervil.

Oh, by the way - don't serve it with dauphinoise potatoes - just too much! I think crushed new potatoes would be much better.

Decent Jus for Lamb etc

I have another go at making a decent jus for a rack of Lamb last night (less strong than the red wine sauce) Basing the sauce on the principles that I used on a Beetroot sauce (A Keith Floyd marvel and I’’ll post after this!)

Mrs H was a happy and I must admit that I thought it was pretty good – considering that most of the time I am a little disappointed with my meat sauces, unless there is a fluke on the evening. One day I will have the time to boil up a load of veal bones!

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot – finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
  • 200ml of red wine
  • 500ml of decent lamb or beef stock
  • Fresh salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of redcurrant jelly
  • 1 knob of slightly salted butter

In a frying pan, fry the shallots and garlic in the red wine until almost reduced to nothing (but still liquid) Then add the stock and butter and simmer again and reduce by a half. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture into a clean pan. Taste then season with salt and pepper and reduce further until the required consistency is achieved. If I have been searing the lam or beef in a pan, I will add the misture to the pan to deglaze the pan of the tasty bits! Any juices from the meat from resting or from the oven can be mixed in as well. Serve in a small boat or around the meat.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Au revoir to my wasitline...

OK, that’s it! - I'm definitely on a diet - 3 weeks of great food! But its taking it's toll on my waistline.

I’m now back to normality, and some cooking - hopefully some of the places I have been to will have inspired some dishes and others have taught me what NOT to eat – one being Carpaccio of pig’s trotter. (more of that later)

Best meal – probably at Le Chateaubriand in Paris – I’ll give you an overview. I know that some people get a little hot under the collar when we say the French can cook (well they can) but I think its merely a case of numbers. What I mean is that everyone in France loves food and there are a lot of chefs / cooks. So the chance of you getting a good meal in France is higher than the UK (and also the chance of a poor one as well!)