Honey Mustard Chicken

Honey Mustard Chicken (2)

While we’ve been in the UK we’ve missed eating our own home reared chicken, but we have 2 fantastic butchers nearby and are able to buy organic chicken and eggs too. A luxury, but I’d rather eat meat less often and enjoy good quality, properly reared meat that hasn’t been pumped full of chemicals.  I often buy a whole chicken which gives me more options…roast, soup, portions to freeze and eat later.

I had been saving our favourite part of the chicken which is the thigh.  I much prefer dark meat and when it’s cooked with the bone and skin, the flavour is better. In my humble opinion at least! Big Man is happy to eat chicken simply grilled or roasted, I enjoy extra flavours or sauces, so this was a dish to keep us both happy as I cooked the chicken in the base for the sauce, then served it on the side when the dish was complete. Having said that, I think he ate his share!

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • 8 chicken thighs (or your favourite joints)
  • 2 glasses of white wine (plus one for the chef). Use chicken stock or water if you don’t cook with alcohol
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons of English Mustard (according to taste)
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 level teaspoon of cornflour

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and put into a deep baking tin. Mix together all the other ingredients (except the cornflour) and pour over the chicken. If you have time, leave it for an hour or so before cooking, turning the meat in it once.

Honey Mustard Chicken (4)

Cook at about 200 degrees (Gas 6 approx) for around 45 minutes, basting and turning the meat once or twice. Check that it’s cooked by piercing a thigh with a sharp knife to see that the juices run clear.

Drain the sauce off into a small pan and keep the chicken in a low oven while you finish the sauce. Add the cornflour to a few tablespoons of cold water, mix well and stir into the sauce. Heat gently until it thickens to your liking and serve with the chicken.

I made double the quantity and used the leftover chicken which I stir fried with courgette, bacon and mushrooms, then added the rest of the sauce and a little cream and served with pasta. Waste not, want not!

Honey Mustard Chicken Pasta (3)

Advertisements

Not long now…

Yes, it feels to us like this renovation business has been going on forever, so I dread to think how it feels for you my patient readers. But we’re so very close to to finishing our own place. Not totally you understand, a home can’t be created in a month or two. That takes time, love and memories. But the construction is almost there.

By Wednesday the bathroom will be fully installed. It will have gone from this…

Scary, scary, scary...

To this…

Kitch & Bath Abr 2013 (4)

To finished.

The kitchen will be complete too, so I’ll show you what they look like soon.

In the meantime I’ll recreate a simple cold charcuterie dish we ate with my parents over Easter.  A platter of prosciutto, salami, pancetta, coppa covered with baby rocket, toasted pine nuts,shavings of fresh parmesan and tomatoes then drizzled with olive oil. Perfect for sharing.

Easter Sunday (8)

As I say…not long now!

Crispy Pork Belly with Stir Fried Cabbage and Mushrooms

Another easy recipe from my Gok Wan Cookbook. You do need to plan ahead, just to make sure the pork is good and dry before cooking, but other than that, it’s a doddle.

Crispy Pork with Chinese Spiced Cabbage (1)

Ingredients

  • 1 pork belly (or piece, mine weighed about .75kg)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • Sea (kosher) salt

For the vegetables (a Chica recipe!)

  • About half a savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 6-8 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • Soy Sauce
  • A teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Light soy sauce

Dry the pork belly well with kitchen paper, prick the skin all over with a fork and score the meat and skin with cuts about 5cm apart.

Rub the skin with the vinegar and lemon juice and rub the neat with the Chinese Five Spice powder, the pepper and some salt. Rub the skin with salt and leave overnight (uncovered) on a grill tray with an oven tray underneath in the fridge or a cool place.

Return the pork to room temperature before cooking (about 2 hours in the kitchen). Heat the oven to 170 degrees C/325 F/Gas 3 and cook for about 40 minutes on its rack. Turn the oven up to high and cook for a further 25 minutes until the skin is crispy. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. As you can see, mine didn’t crisp all over and I recommend popping it under a hot grill to sort this out. Or just eat and enjoy!

For the veggies, heat a little oil in a wok (I used a mixture of sesame and sunflower) and put the garlic, ginger, cabbage and mushrooms in and stir fry over a high heat until the cabbage starts to wilt.  If you like the cabbage softer, add a tablespoon or two of water and cover and cook gently for a few minutes.  Add a few dashes of soy sauce to taste and serve.

Chinese Leftovers Soup (1)

Leftover veggies can be added to stock, throw in a handful of noodles (I used angel hair vermicelli), spice it up with chili sauce and serve as a delicious next day leftovers soup. Add any leftover pork if you have it and don’t want a vegetarian soup, your choice.  Two meals for the price of one!

Chinese Spiced Aubergines & Cast Iron Excitement

Don’t you just love it when something you want falls into your lap? Well, sort of. Best buddy Ria had been raving about a book she had recently bought by Gok Wan. It seems he makes programmes about making women look and feel good about themselves but as I had not been in the UK (previously at least) and seen his programmes, he was unknown to me. Then, it seems, he bought out a cookbook. As you do. I was very doubtful about the whole thing but got to look at her book which he had written based on his experiences as a young man working in his father’s Chinese Take Away Restaurant. Home cooking made speedy, and Ria had successfully cooked and  thoroughly enjoyed several recipes so I threw away my scepticism.

5 Spice Aubergines MAin

A few days later I was wandering round a Car Boot Sale, a particularly British institution I think, and someone was selling a brand new copy of the book for a couple of pounds. Cleary a sceptic like me (but unconverted) so I snapped it up. Well…I’ve already cooked several recipes from this book and every one has been tasty and easy. Even Big Man, who is not a particular fan of Chinese Food, has commented on the wonderful flavours each dish has. A result!

Here’s a vegetable dish that I made (inspired by a recipe for Braised Aubergine with Pork from the book) and served with noodles, no meat needed, the texture of the aubergines is wonderful and filling too.

Ingredients (per person as a main course or for two as a side dish)

  • 1 aubergine cut into cubes
  • Half a pepper, cut into slices
  • Half an onion sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice
  • Water (about 200ml)
  • Sesame or vegetable oil for frying
  • Fresh chili (optional) I used dried as that’s what I had available
  • Finely sliced spring onion to garnish

Add a little oil to a wok or large frying pan and fry the onions on a medium heat until softened then add the aubergine, peppers and garlic. Turn up the heat and cook until the aubergines start to char at the edges.  Add the 5 spice, soy sauces (and chili if using) and then pour over water until the vegetables are about half covered. Stir gently, turn the heat down, cover with a lid or foil and simmer until the aubergines start to turn pulpy and the peppers are soft. Stir once or twice during cooking (about 10 minutes). Most of the liquid will evaporate and the sauce will be slightly sticky.

Sprinkle the spring onion over the aubergines to serve.  Wonderful with rice or noodles. Who needs a book to tell you how to dress to feel good about yourself when you can eat food like this and feel amazing?!

If you’re still craving Asian aubergine dishes, take a look at Rosemary’s beautiful Spicy Aubergine with Beef.

And before I wish you all a beautiful rest of the weekend, what do you think of the fabulous cast iron fire surround some pals gave to us? They of the lace and fabric are now giving us an amazing Victorian original which came out of their home during a refurb. Love that we’re using so much beautiful “preloved” stuff in our Down By The Sea Home.

DSC_0068

Finally, a gratuitous pup shot. Well…it is the weekend.

DSC_0065

Lamb & Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – The Colours of Spring on a Plate

Broad Beans to me mean spring. Perhaps because in Spain we would normally be harvesting our own from early spring. That beautiful vibrant green of the inner pod is the colour of new life springing from the earth. It’s enough to make you start writing poems about daffodils and wandering lonely as a cloud.

Well, it’s enough to inspire me to cook with them and the discovery (yes, at heart I’m a country girl who normally reaps what she sows) of frozen broad beans has been very exciting for me. Add to this the delightful recipes of Mr Yotam Ottolenghi and his Jerusalem cookbook (again) and I had no choice but to make his Meatballs with Broad Beans and Lemon.

Meatballs with Broad Beans Main Photo

Enough waxing lyrical and on with the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 350g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions cut into 2cm segments, at an angle if you want to be fancy
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • Salt & black pepper

For the meatballs

  • 300g of minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g fresh breadcrumbs (I used a little less and it was fine)
  • 2 tablespoons each of chopped flat leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander plus about ½ tablespoon of each to finish the dish
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of baharat spice mix (I had to make mine but it was easy)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped capers (I couldn’t find any but it was still tasty without)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Makes about 20-24 meatballs about the size of ping pong balls

Place all the meatballs ingredients into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste and mix well with your hands. Form into small meatballs and sear them in batches with some of the olive oil until browned. Remove from pan and wipe the pan clean.

Blanch the broad beans in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes then run under cold water. Remove the skins from about half the beans and discard the skins. Keep the beans separate from each other.

Lamb & Beef Meatballs (2)

Heat the remaining oil in the pan you used previously and add the thyme, garlic and spring onions and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, 80ml of stock, a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Now add the meatballs and remaining stock, cover and continue to simmer for about 25 minutes. This can be made ahead but as they cool, the meatballs will continue to absorb the stock. If necessary, add a little water when reheating. Before serving taste for seasoning, add the remaining herbs, lemon juice and the shelled beans.  Delicious with rice.

It’s a fabulous dish to make for guests as it can be prepared ahead and pulled together at the last minute. I do confess to having been outraged at having to buy all the herbs I would normally just step outside my back door to pick. But..buying or picking, it’s a stunning dish and well worth the little bit of effort you have to put in.

For another beautiful Ottolenghi meatball dish, check out my recipe for Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander.