Date Archives April 2020

Chicken, chorizo & butterbean stew

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often make this when I don’t have much in the fridge because a can of butter beans, tomatoes and some chorizo are more than often hanging about patiently waiting for their moment in the lime light. Its also a delicious and quick stew knocked up and served with a fillet of lightly fried seabass and a wedge of lemon. One of my favourite comfort dishes (besides my Asian salmon) and perfect for sunny Sunday evenings.

I’d rate this a 1-2 on the easy scale so there really are no excuses…except veganism. And even then, you can make it for your grateful carnivore friends!

Serves 6 (or 4 with leftovers)

  • 6 free range chicken legs
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 spring rosemary, leave picked
  • 100g chorizo, diced into 2cm (ish) cubes
  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large glass red wine
  • Basil to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Heat a large, casserole dish on a medium high heat and add a tbsp of sunflower oil. Season the chicken legs and sear, skin side down until the skin is turning golden. Once golden and starting to crisp, remove and set aside on a plate.
  3. Turn the heat down to a medium temperature and slowly cook the chopped onion for about 8 minutes or until turning soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chorizo and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Chop the rosemary finely and add to the pan and stir well. Increase the heat a little and add the wine, letter it simmer and reduce down before adding the tomatoes.
  5. Stir well until combined and then add the chicken legs on top making sure they are not swamped in the liquid and their skin stays clear so they can get crispy.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. After this time remove from the oven. Remove a few of the chicken legs so you can get access to the sauce and add in the drained butterbeans and stir. Add the chicken back ontop and put back in the oven for 20 minutes until the chicken skin is really crispy!
  7. When ready to serve, scatter with basil and tuck in!

Sweetcorn Fritters & Smoked Salmon

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elieve it or not, I posted this recipe in 2012 and have been making fritters almost weekly. It’s such a faithful fritter recipe and can be paired with many ‘toppings’ for any meal time (see below). Feel free to even chuck in any leftover fridge ingredients such a diced chorizo, cubed feta or even some bacon if you feel like it. I’ve disappointingly ventured into courgette fritter making but always end up with a watery soggy mess. My pea, mint and black pudding fritters come a close second and Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower & Cumin recipe is a winner if you’ve not attempted them. ¬†However sweetcorn is the one for me.

I have been pushing for “Isolation Friday date nights” to become the new norm in our new anti-social life as I search desperately to find something to look forward to in the week and focus my creative mind on. This week was my turn and we “went”….beer tasting (in our living room)! It felt good to support my local craft beer store (Ghost Wale) which I’m ashamed to say I’d never been to before now. So I ‘click & collected’ 5 new beers and set up a flight of interesting beers.

Given we eat these fritters on a weekly basis, I was keen to indulge in a favourite comfort recipe to match our beers as we ate and drank away our Friday night after a pretty busy week working and destroying my leg muscles doing squats on the balcony!

These can be eaten for breakfast (top with smoked salmon, grilled chorizo, poached eggs, hollandaise etc); lunch snack with a salad or dinner as I’ve done here. Guacamole makes a great addition with some slices of grilled halloumi to keep it vegetarian!

Makes about 8 fritters

  • 300g frozen sweetcorn
  • 4 spring onions
  • Large bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli chopped OR 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 40g plain flour
  • 40g polenta
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g grated cheese (I use half cheddar, half parmesan)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Smoked salmon to serve
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 x can black beans
  • 1 x avocado, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, dressed and chopped
  • Creme fraiche OR Greek yoghurt to serve.
  1. Make the fritter batter firstly by bringing the corn to the boil in a saucepan and simmering for a few minutes. Drain well and leave to cool.
  2. Mix the spring onions, half the coriander, chilli, flour, baking powder, polenta, cheese and a seasoning of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Add about 1/3 of the sweetcorn to the bowl. Blend the other 2/3 in a food processor until chunky but blended. Add this to the mixing bowl and stir well.
  4. Mix in the 2 beaten eggs thoroughly until the mixture is a good thick batter.
  5. Assemble the black bean salad by draining and rinsing the black beans and adding them to a serving bowl. Add the avocado, the tomatoes, the other half of the coriander and some good seasoning. Squeeze over the juice of the lime and stir to combine.
  6. To make the fritters, heat a tbsp of sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan. When hot, add a few spoonfuls of batter at a time for each fritter into the hot oil and cook the fritters for a few minutes each side until they are golden on the outside but cooked through. Drain on kitchen towel once cooked. Continue with the rest of the batter.
  7. To serve, stack 2-3 fritters per person and top with some smoked salmon slices. Spoon over a dollop of creme friache or greek yoghurt and squeeze over the juice of a lemon and some cracked black pepper.
  8. Serve alongside the black bean salad!

Asian Salmon & Coconut Rice

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¬†first made this recipe in 2013 and have been cooking it almost weekly ever since. It’s become such a comfort dish and one that I always crave after a busy day. This rice would even make a great match to a sliced mango as an alternate breakfast!

The recipe hasn’t changed at all over the years but being one of top 5, it needed a revamp and certainly a new image from my student digs days where it offered a LOT of comfort. I have also had to finally admit that white rice makes a much better base for a creamy coconut rice. I will use brown, Thai, wild or any other wholegrain rice in my cooking normally as it has a tastier nuttier flavour and more bite than a bland white equivalent. However, the gelatinous nature of the white rice makes it an obvious choice here. Cook the rice as you would normally cook if you’ve a go-to technique just use coconut milk with a slight dilution due to its thickness instead. Secondly, do NOT forget that lime at the end – you will be amazed how vital that is and how it brings everything together.

This recipe also works well as a base for roasted, soy flavoured veggies or tofu for the vege and vegans.

Serves 2

  • 140g (approx) white rice
  • 1 x can coconut milk
  • 1 lime
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 knob ginger, grated
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 small handful basil, chopped
  • Green vegetables to serve
  1. Mix the soy, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger and the spring onions in a bowl. Add the salmon and leave to marinate for as long as you can – around 2 hours but I often only get time for 15minutes!
  2. Preheat the oven to 220.
  3. To make the rice, heat the can of coconut milk in a saucepan with half a can of hot water. Bring to the simmer gently (watch out as coconut milk will bubble over if not watched). Once simmering add the rice and simmer for about 8-10 minutes stirring often.
  4. Line a baking tray with foil and spoon a few tbsp of the marinade onto the lining. Add the salmon, sin side up.
  5. When the rice is a few minutes away from being ready, put the salmon in the oven for 7 minutes. Don’t be tempted to cook it for longer, this timing will give you just pink & cooked in the middle and a crispy soy skin.
  6. Check the rice is cooked – at this stage the majority of the liquid should have absorbed giving a creamy rice. If you’ve had to add water during cooking to stop it drying, just simmer the liquid off.
  7. Add the juice of 1 lime to the coconut and a handful of the coriander, saving a bit for serving.
  8. Remove the salmon from the oven. Serve each fillet on top of some rice with a spoonful of the marinade from the tin if left.
  9. I like to serve mine with roasted al dente broccoli.

Easter Lamb Shanks in Isolation

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appy healthy Easter where ever you are…likely and I hope at home.

I’ll breeze over the obvious and get straight to the recipe. Lamb at Easter is an absolute essential for me growing up. So two lamb shanks hidden in our freezer were a winner. I bought them back from a visit home to Wiltshire a few months ago so with some classic vegetables and a special bottle of wine from the archives, we indulgenced elegantly for Easter this year and talked relentlessly about how lucky we are.

The sun was just a bonus on a glorious Easter in our cosy Brixton flat. The balcony was showing at its best and the perfect setting for our late Easter lunch. This lunch feast is a simple one to put together with minimal ingredients.

Serves 2

Lamb

  • 2 x lamb shanks
  • 1 red onions, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly sliced
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 1 lamb/beef stock cube
  • 250-350ml red wine
  • Dill & mint to serve (optional)
  • Mint sauce to serve (optional)

Potatoes

  • New potatoes – enough for 2 appetites

Vegetables

  • A mixture of greenery. I used 1 leek, asparagus and a handful peas for 2 people.
  1. Start with the lamb. Preheat the oven to 160.
  2. Heat a little oil in a heavy based casserole pan (like a Le Creuset). Season the lamb shanks and then sear in the pan until browning on the outside – just a few minutes, don’t spend too much time here. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the pan and gently brown for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, carrot and rosemary and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the lamb back to the pan and increase the heat.
  6. Add the wine and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Crumble over the stock cube and then top up with boiling water until the liquid just reaches about 3/4 way up the shanks. Not fully submerged.
  8. Cook with the lid on for 1 hour then remove the lid and continue to cook for another 1 hour 30 minutes.
  9. About 30 minutes before the lamb is done turn the oven tup to 190. Cut the potatoes into halves and spread on a baking tray. Season and drizzle with some sunflower oil. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until golden and crispy keeping an eye on them.
  10. Once done, turn the oven off and let everything sit and wait while you finish the veggie. Boil the vegetables for only 2-3 minutes, drain and then season well and add a knob of butter.
  11. To serve, sprinkle some chopped dill and mint over the lamb and the potatoes.
  12. Enjoy!