Tuesday, 24 May 2016

'Dirty' Risotto




Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish where the white rice gets a "dirty" colour from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, (bell) pepper, celery, onion (the so-called Cajun Holy Trinity of ingredients and spices. Most common in the Cajun regions of southern Louisiana and Mississippi it can apparently also be found in other areas of the American South.

I’ve never had Dirty Rice so I don’t know if this recipe, adapted from one by Giada De Laurentiis (an Italian American TV chef whose culinary work is as oft criticised as lauded - as is often the case with ‘celebrity’ chefs it would seem) tastes like it. It appealed to me though: risotto (natch) with lots of meaty and savoury elements. Heart, oozy, and basically very tasty.


‘Dirty’ Risotto
serves 3


750ml chicken stock
15g butter
190g Italian sausage, removed from skin & crumbled
85g pancetta cubes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ orange bell pepper, diced
1-2 tbsps jalapenos (from a tin), de-seeded & finely chopped
75g mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
150g Arborio rice
90ml dry vermouth
25g Parmesan cheese + extra to serve
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley



In a small pan, heat chicken stock to a simmer and turn right down to keep warm.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a large saucepan and when it starts to foam brown the sausage meat and pancetta over a medium-high heat, breaking the sausage down so it resembles coarse mince.


When nicely browned and starting to caramelise add the vegetables, turn the heat down and cook over a low heat until the veg has softened.


Turn the heat back up to medium high, stir in the rice and keep stirring for a minute to allow the rice to lightly toast.


Turn the heat up to high and pour in the vermouth: it will bubble up angrily - keep stirring until it has almost absorbed. Turn the heat back down again to medium-low.

Add a ladleful of stock to the rice and stir occasionally until it has absorbed. Repeat, a ladleful at a time, ensuring each is almost absorbed before adding the next.

Once the rice is tender and the texture of the risotto is quite gloopy, turn off heat and stir in the cheese. Cover and leave off the heat for 5 minutes then stir in the parsley.

Serve with a rocket & cherry tomato salad on the side and a little parmesan and parsley scattered over.






Read More »

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken & Black Bean Soup



Back when we got the slow cooker we’d decided to have a slow cooker meal at least once a week if we could and so I had been pinning quite a few slow cooker (or crockpot) recipes onto my Pinterest boards.

This is adapted from one of those, originally seen on skinnytaste.com - I hadn’t used the slow cooker enough myself yet to have the confidence to devise recipes myself. I needed to get used to it a bit more first. This though seemed like an excellent recipe to try out cooking chicken with. I love a hearty soup anyway and with a bit of zing and spice it is right up my alley.

This makes quite a lot of soup so we froze some of it. It is also healthy and good for you plus you can add more veg, such as sweetcorn, to bulk it out a little if you like. We served this with some sliced avocado and a little low fat soured cream but you could also add some broken up tortilla chips if you like for a bit of crunch.


Crock Pot Chicken and Black Bean Soup
serves about 6


2 tins black beans, rinsed and drained
900ml chicken stock
2 tins / cartons chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, finely chopped
85g tinned diced jalapenos
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried ancho chili
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp onion powder, finely chopped
¼ tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp chipotle en adobo paste
2 skinless chicken breasts
½ cup chopped coriander, divided
2 spring onions, finely chopped
cut limes, for serving
½ medium Haas avocado, sliced
sour cream, for serving (optional)


Take one can of beans and place in a blender along with 500ml of the chicken stock; blend then add to the slow cooker.


Add the remainder of the beans and chicken stock into the slow cooker along with tomatoes, red pepper, diced jalapenos, cumin, ancho chilli, garlic, onion powder, oregano, chipotle, chicken breast, and half of the coriander.


Cook in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

At the end of the time remove the chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks. Place the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker.


Add most of the chopped spring onion, most of the remaining coriander and adjust the salt and cumin (and maybe add a pinch of cayenne if you want it a little spicier), to taste.


Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining coriander and spring onion plus lime wedges, avocados, and sour cream if you like.









Read More »

Friday, 20 May 2016

Long Overdue Eating At Home Catch-Up Part 2

And so here we are, on to Part 2.... and yes, I am aware that it has been nearly six months since Part 1. But Baby's first Christmas happened. And then his first birthday. And then there was the small matter of planning the best wedding of 2016. All have now passed though and frankly I need something to distract me from the post-wedding blues. And so here I am.

One thing I noticed while putting this post together is that a couple of the meals look suspiciously similar to some posted in Part 1. Which  is correct. Similar however, not the same. What happened, if anyone is bothered, is that I cooked a couple of things again with tweaks. The chilli chicken and mushroom risotto for instance? The first time I think I made it with bog standard basil pesto whereas the second time I made tarragon pesto. And the spicy beef and tofu? More like an oil-less Mapo Tofu the second time around. And still I failed to write up recipes for them. Oh well, there is always next time...


Braised lamb shanks with baked polenta & gremolata



BBQ steak with garlic-herb butter, potato gratin & asparagus 



Chicken & mushroom risotto with tarragon pesto



Spicy Sichuan beef & tofu



Duck breast with sour cherry sauce & mini gratins



Pork chop, chimichurri & sweet potato mash



Double Swiss & green chilli relish burger



Braised pig's cheeks with garlic mash



Pasta bake



Chicken pot pie



Sweet & sour chicken noodles



Hamish's superfood salad



Baked Spanish rice with chicken & chorizo



Mushroom & truffle linguine



Chicken, prune & olive tagine



BBQ bone-in ribeye, corn & mustard potato salad



Hamish's bacon & pea risotto



Chicken & broccoli pasta bake with toasted almonds



Thai chicken stirfry



Read More »

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Long Overdue Eating At Home Catch-Up Part 1


I have previously posted periodic "round-ups": collections of photos of things I have eaten, home and away where either I was remiss in posting or, if I'm completely honest, just couldn't be bothered or forgot to write up a recipe. I knew that an 'at home' version of such a post was well overdue but I have to say that I'm shocked to discover that the last time such a post was written was actually over two years ago in August of 2013. Blimey.

As you can imagine then I have bloody stacks of photos where I want to document good food we have eaten but haven't actually got a recipe file to go with it: and so what I had thought would be just the one catch-up post may indeed become two or more. I'll get started then: some of the titles may be a little, erm, vague but I have the memory of an amnesiac goldfish a lot of the time these days so you'll have to bear with me.


Burger with tomatillo salsa & luchito mayo



Steak & blue cheese tagliatelle


Cod in saffron & tomato sauce



Griddled tuna with stirfry veg & noodles



Hamish's chicken & asparagus pasta



Teriyaki salmon with pea & broccoli fried rice



Lamb ragu, pappardelle & gremolata



Cheese & tomato on sourdough toast



Bacon, pea & leek farfalle



Lamb & polenta with mint sauce & green beans



Chicken, broccoli & black bean



Loaded potato skins



Spicy tofu & beef



Lamb & aubergine stew with roast carrot couscous



Hot smoked salmon & broccoli fusilli



Tarragon chicken



Cod & spinach curry



Spiced salmon with herby couscous



Egg & potato curry



Chicken katsu curry




Roast chicken, potato gratin & petis pois a la francais



Thai chicken curry



Salmon, fennel & pesto



Chilli chicken & mushroom risotto with pesto



Barnsley chop with Ni├žoise vegetables



Beef massaman curry



Christmas dinner, 2014


So that takes us neatly up to the end of 2014... this year to follow soon!




Read More »