Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lemon Sole with Peas and Pea shoots

I love fish..I love food...

This recipe is easy peasy!! sorry about the pun.
In half an hour you are serving up a delicious meal fit for kings.
Lemon sole with a buttery lemony caper sauce.

Serves 2

2 lemon sole filleted
Organic rapeseed oil
2oz of butter
Tablespoon of capers
1 whole lemon
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Frozen peas
Pea shoots
Purple sprouting brocoli (enough for two people)

Put oven on 160*C /325*F/ gas mark 3

1.On a baking tray lightly flour and add freshly ground salt and black pepper.
Add your lemon sole fillets and evenly coat each side with the flour, leave to one side.

2.Fill two medium saucepans with cold water and place on hob to boil, add some freshly ground salt to the water.

3.In a large frying pan add your tablespoon of oil and 2 oz of butter.
When starting to sizzle without burning add two fillets squeeze some juice of a lemon into the pan fry for 3 minutes turnover and do the same for the other side your fillets should be slightly crispy and golden colour.
Place fillets on a warm plate in the oven, then do the same process for your other fillets add more butter if needed.

4.Whilst your second batch of fillets are frying add your peas to boiling water and purple sprouting broccoli.

5.After no more than 6 minutes of frying place second batch of fillets onto warm plate in oven.
Add more butter and lemon juice to frying pan with your chopped capers and fry gently.
Drain peas and broccoli, season and add your pea shoots to your cooked peas and mix together lightly.

6.On warm plates place your lemon sole fillets, then your PSB, peas and peashoots.
Drizzle over your buttery sauce.
And there you have a delicious colourful meal that takes no more than half an hour to prepare and cook.
A taste of spring and the sea on a plate.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto is another of our favourite comfort foods.
It is time consuming, but worth the effort.
That gorgeous  creamy yet intense flavour is so comforting,it is so straight forward to cook the only snag is you must keep stirring your rice so it doesn't dry out too quickly.
My recipe will feed 4 people for a main, and has been adapted over the years from several different risotto recipes, I don't even think about measuring anything!

Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4
Litre of chicken or veg stock
1 oz of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove of finely chopped garlic
1 large finely chopped onion
300g of risotto rice
175 ml of dry white wine
100 g of chopped fresh field mushrooms
25 g of mixed dry mushrooms.
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
100 g of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a measuring jug add your dry mushrooms and add 150ml of boiling water and leave to one side.

2.Get a small saucepan and add your litre of stock and bring to a gentle simmer.

3.In a heavy based pan add your olive oil, butter, onions and garlic, fry gently for roughly 15 minutes to soften. Then add your rice and stir so that you create a lovely coating over the rice without burning.

4.Add your wine to the rice and stir continuously, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5.Start to ladle/ spoon your stock into the rice add your seasoning at this stage and your fresh mushrooms and keep stirring.

6.Keep the heat down to a simmer because you don't won't to over cook your rice on the outside, after 15 minutes add your dried mushrooms and put half of the mushroom liquid in with your veg stock.
I don't put all the liquid in from the dried mushrooms because you will get some grit in the bottom of jug.
But the liquid helps to give the risotto that lovely intense flavour.

7.Keep adding your stock and taste rice to see if cooked/if you need more stock just add some boiling water to the rice.

8.Once cooked remove from heat, add a nob of butter and some Parmesan, taste to see if more seasoning is needed, cover with lid or foil and leave for 2/4 minutes.

Get your warmed plates and serve your risotto quickly.
I served mine with warm olive bread and loads of freshly grated Parmesan.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Chilli Peppers Update!

I said back in January when I started this blog,that I would start my chillies early and I sowed some seeds in an electric propagator last week of January.
Here's how they are doing so far.

In the black pots are Banana Chilli (sweet pepper)
I have not grown these before.
Apparently they are often used for pickling and are delicious stuffed.
I  really like the look of the pepper and they are sweet, the longer they ripen the sweeter they become.
I will move them to a grow bag and sheltered sunny spot in a weeks time.

The chillies in the red pots are a Hot Pepper (cheyenne).
I have grown these before with success, these chillies are great for frying and salsas,amongst lots of other things.
Although quite hot, I find you still get that lovely sweetness, and for milder dishes I pick them green.
Again I will move these into a grow bag in a weeks time.
I am starting to harden them off outside during the day.

I had to put these pictures on of my Piris  shrub, I have never seen it look so beautiful, full of flowers and the bees are loving it.
As you has seen with my other pictures not the greatest of photographers, and I can't blame the camera!
But I hope you can understand  the pleasure I get when I walk out into my garden and see this fabulous shrub covered in these stunning bell shaped flowers with bees bums sticking out from within!!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Marinated Lamb Chops with Aubergine stacks

I do love lamb chops.
And I like to marinate mine in some olive oil balsamic vinegar smashed garlic and seasoning.
Then after a couple of hours or less depending on time I pop them under the grill for 6 minutes each side, I like mine slightly pink, but the fat has to be dark and crispy .
Here is a recipe that I do quite often it is relatively simple to create and everything is done in the oven with very little fuss.
Ingredients you will need
For 2 persons.

2 to 4 lamb chops depending of size and cut
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Clove of garlic smashed
Salt and ground black pepper.

1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
 Olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

For your Aubergine stacks

1 Aubergine
Olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Block of halloumi cheese cut into slices

1.Preheat the oven 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

Make the marinade for your lamb chops.

In a bowl add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 1 clove of garlic smashed, salt and black pepper.
Mix all ingredients together and brush over the lamb chops cover in cling film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

2.Slice your peppers and place in an oven tray add a glug of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper give a good stir making sure all your peppers have a reasonable coating of olive oil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.

3.Slice your aubergines and season with salt.
Heat a frying pan or even better a griddle pan if you have one.
Brush your aubergine slices with olive oil and when pan is hot add your aubergine and cook for a couple of minutes each side so that they have a bit of colour.
Cook your slices in batches and then leave to one side while you prepare your halloumi.

4.Slice your halloumi cheese enough to make two stacks roughly four slices for each stack.
On a lightly greased oven tray with a food stacker if you have one start to alternate your aubergine and cheese, season each layer  with salt and freshly ground pepper as you go.
Use you larger pieces of aubergine for the base of your stacks and place in the oven with your peppers and cook for 10 minutes so the cheese starts to soften and brown.

5.With the peppers and aubergine stacks in the bottom of the oven, put your grill on and place lamb chops under the grill and cook for 6 minutes each side. I like my lamb pink so adjust the times according to your  taste.

6.On warm plates place your peppers, aubergine stacks and lamb chops, drizzle with the juices from your lamb.
I  served mine with freshly chopped coriander added to natural yogurt.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

I haven't posted  recently because the weather has been so beautiful and we have had some work done on the outside of house  which then needed to be painted so our days off have consisted of nipping up to the allotment for a spot of weeding and checking the rabbits haven't polvolted onto our veg plot again !! and painting.

The last couple of days I have been hankering for Boeuf Bourguignon so I decided to cook it last evening.
I like many would be cooks, am a huge Julia Childs fan and have cooked Boeuf Bourguignon several different ways, but to me, hers is the best by far I have just adapted some things.
It takes alot of preparation and no rushing, the beef needs to be in the oven for at least 3 hours to benefit the full richness of flavour  and you will appreciate the effort that you put into the meal because you really get the individual flavours coming through from the onion,carrots mushrooms and subtle herbs.

So at 3pm in the afternoon I started cooking.

This recipe has been adapted from Julia Childs mastering the art of french cooking
Serves 6 people.

Boeuf Bourguignon

6 slices of free range streaky bacon cut into pieces
3lbs of lean beef for slow cooking
2 carrots sliced
1 medium sized onion sliced
2 tablespoons of flour
1teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
1tablespoon of olive oil for cooking
3rd of bottle of red wine ( I used Bordeaux)
2 cups of beef stock ( I used kello organic beef stock)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
sprig of fresh time
1 bay leaf crumbled
18 small onions you can use more if you wish
1 lb of fresh mushrooms
knob of butter

For your braised onions
Knob of butter
Bouquet garni
Salt and pepper
1/2 glass of stock/wine/water

First put oven on to 220 C/425F gas mark 7

1.Place a hob friendly casserole dish on your hob and add olive oil once the oil is hot add the bacon and saute for 2/3 mins.
Then remove bacon from casserole dish onto a side dish.

2.Cut your beef into roughly 2inch cubes and add to the casserole dish which should be nice and hot.
Brown your beef in batches and add to your cooked bacon.
Once you have browned all your meat you can then add your sliced carrots and onion to the casserole  and saute until nice and brown.

3. If you have an excess of fat in pan drain a little off, then add your cooked bacon and browned beef in with the carrots and onion and season with salt and pepper.

4.Sprinkle on the flour and make sure that the beef is lightly coated.

5.Put casserole in middle of preheated oven for 4 mins remove  toss the beef and return to the oven for another 4 mins, this gives the beef a little crusty coating.Remove the casserole from oven and reduce heat to 160C/325F/gas mark3.

6.Add your wine and beef stock and make sure the beef is completely covered. Add your garlic, herbs and tomato paste stir and bring to a simmer on top of your hob. Place the lid back on casserole and return to lower part of oven and allow casserole to simmer gently for 2/3 hours (meat should be very tender at this point).

7.While the casserole is cooking, you can prepare your onions.

Place a small saucepan on a med heat and add your nob of butter and melt.
Then add your peeled onions whole , add either 1/2 cup of water or stock (I used some of the left over beef stock) , bouquet garni, salt and pepper.
And allow to simmer stirring occasionally for 40 mins, don't allow stock to dry out, add more stock if necessary.
You can do your onions well in advance and then leave to cool, remove bouquet garni.

8.Slice your mushrooms and in another pan add some butter and gently fry your mushrooms until soft and slightly brown in colour leave to one side.

9.Now Julia Child's recipe  when the beef is nice and tender would pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve over a pan and then washes out the casserole dish.
Then returns the beef and bacon.
 I skip that and just add the braised whole onions and mushrooms to the casserole give a quick stir and place back in oven for another 15 mins.

I served mine with mashed potato  some french beans, and crusty bread and  chopped fresh  parsley to decorate. You can enjoy this tasty casserole with traditional boiled potatoes and greens what ever you prefer.
Oh! and a Glass or two of French Red wine

Bon App├ętit!