vineri, 31 mai 2013

Creamy chicken with asparagus & tarragon

500g baby new potatoes, halved, 4 skinless chicken breasts, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 large onion, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 350ml chicken stock, small bunch tarragon, 175g asparagus, trimmed, 3 tbsp reduced-fat crème fraîche

Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 8-10 mins until tender, then drain and keep warm in the pan. Season the chicken with ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Gently fry the chicken with the onion and garlic for 5 mins until both are lightly browned. Turn over the chicken once and stir the onion regularly.
Pour over the stock, add 2 sprigs of tarragon and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 mins, then turn the chicken, add the asparagus and cook for 3 mins more. Chop the remaining tarragon.
Stir the crème fraîche and tarragon into the pan with the chicken and heat through, stirring, for a few secs. Serve with the new potatoes.

vineri, 24 mai 2013

Spinach Tagliatelle with Ham-Mushroom Sauce

salt and pepper, 1 pound spinach tagliatelle, 1/4 cup EVOO, 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped, 1/4pound chunk pancetta or guanciale, cut into 1/4-inch dice, 1/4pound chunk prosciutto cotto or other mild ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice, 3/4pound ground veal, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 large bay leaf, nutmeg, for grating, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 cup chicken stock, 1/2cup dry white wine, 1/2cup whole milk, 1/2cup freshly grated grana padano or parmigiano-reggiano (a generous handful)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a dutch oven, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and prosciutto and cook until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble in the veal (I use a potato masher). Cook until lightly browned. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf; season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Partially cover and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine and milk; simmer at a rapid bubble, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Add the pasta, reserved pasta cooking water and cheese to the sauce; toss. Serve in shallow bowls.

vineri, 17 mai 2013

Pork & sage ragu with penne

1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 finely chopped onion, 100 gr diced prosciutto, 450 sausage meat, 2x400 gr cans chopped tomatoes, 125 ml cream, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, 500 gr penne rigate, lemon rind, chopped parsley, shaved parmesan

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion and the prosciutto for 2-3 minutes, add the sausage and cook for another 5 minutes. 
Add the tomatoes and brig to a simmer. Reduce heat, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until the sauce reduces slightly. 
Add cream and sage and cook for further 5 minutes. 
Meanwhile cook the pasta following packet indications. Drain.
Add the pasta to the sauce, and toss to combine. Top with lemon rind, chopped parsley and shaved parmesan.

vineri, 10 mai 2013

Old Fashion Rhubarb Trifle

It's my first time cooking with rhubab and the result was delicious.
Thank you Delia Smith for the recipe...

700 g fresh rhubarb, 110 g golden caster sugar, plus a little extra, if needed, grated zest and juice 1 orange, 50 g pecans, 6 trifle sponges, 3 tablespoons marmalade, 120 ml Sercial (dry) Madeira, about 275 ml freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 x 6 g packets vegetarian gelatine powder, 350 g ready-made fresh custard, 200 g Greek yoghurt, a little pouring cream (optional), to serve

You will also need an ovenproof baking dish measuring 19 cm square and 5 cm deep, and 6 individual serving bowls or 1 large trifle bowl with a capacity of 2 litres.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C.
To prepare the rhubarb, cut it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks and add these to the baking dish. Then sprinkle in the caster sugar, together with the zest and juice of the orange.
Now pop the whole lot in the oven without covering and let it cook for 30-40 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape. At the same time, place the pecans in the oven and put a timer on for 7 minutes to toast them lightly, then you can either leave them whole or chop them roughly. While the rhubarb is cooking, slice the trifle sponges in half lengthways, spread each half with the marmalade, then re-form them and cut each one into 3 little sandwiches. Now arrange them either in the individual serving bowls or the large trifle bowl. Then make a few stabs in the sponges and sprinkle the Madeira carefully over them, then leave it all aside so it can soak in.
When the rhubarb is cooked and has become completely cold, taste it - if it is a bit sharp, add a little more sugar. Take a draining spoon and carefully remove the chunks of rhubarb, placing them amongst the sponges. Now pour all the juices from the dish into a measuring jug and make this up to 510 ml with the orange juice.
Next, pour 225 ml of this into a small saucepan, scatter the gelatine over, whisk it and leave it to soak for 5 minutes. Then place the pan over a gentle heat and whisk everything until all the gelatine has completely dissolved - about 2 minutes. Bring the mixture to boiling point, then return it to the remaining juice in the jug and give it all another good whisk.
Now pour it over the sponges and rhubarb. When it is completely cold, cover it with clingfilm and leave in the fridge till completely set. The last thing you need to do is whisk the custard and Greek yoghurt together in a mixing bowl, then spoon this mixture over the set jelly. Now cover with clingfilm again and chill until you're ready to serve.
Don't forget to sprinkle the toasted pecan nuts over just before serving, and, although it doesn't strictly need it, a little chilled pouring cream is a nice addition.

vineri, 3 mai 2013

Chocolate cherry cookies

225g dark chocolate, chopped, 125g unsalted butter, softened, 200g soft light brown sugar, 2 eggs, beaten, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 150g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 100g desiccated coconut, 150g natural coloured glacé cherries, washed, dried and chopped, 2 tbsp whole milk, 6 tbsp icing sugar

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water or in the microwave.
Cream the butter and soft light brown sugar until pale and light. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and then add the vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt over the mixture. Add the coconut, cherries and milk then combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm.
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cover two solid baking sheets with baking paper and tip the icing sugar into a bowl. Scoop a heaped tsp of the cookie dough into the palm of your hand and roll into a smooth ball roughly the size of a small walnut. Roll the cookie in the icing sugar to coat thickly and put on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough, keeping the cookies spaced well apart. Bake in batches on the middle shelf of the oven for about 12 minutes until the top is firm but not crisp. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets.

miercuri, 1 mai 2013

Ham and mushroom turnovers

250ml milk, 1 tbsp each butter and flour, mixed to a paste, plus extra for dusting, 140g button mushrooms, cut into quarters, 1 tbsp olive oil, 140g ham, chopped into small pieces, 85g leftover cheese, cut into small pieces, 1 tbsp chopped herbs - tarragon, parsley and chives all work well, 500g block puff pastry, 1 egg, beaten

The first thing to do is to make a thick white sauce that will be the base of the turnover filling. Bring the milk to a simmer, then add the butter and flour paste. Whisk the paste into the simmering milk and allow it to boil for 3-4 mins, whisking gently all the time to prevent it from catching. You should now have a very thick white sauce. Cool the sauce in a bowl. 
Fry the mushrooms in the oil for 3-5 mins until golden, then leave to cool.
Place the ham, cheese and mushrooms into a bowl, then gradually add the white sauce until everything is well coated. Finally, add the herbs.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin and cut out 4 saucer-size rounds (about 18cm wide), re-rolling the trimmings if you need to. Brush the edges of each round with beaten egg. Spoon the mixture onto 1 side of each round, then fold over and seal the edges well. The turnovers can now be frozen for up to 1 month. Brush the turnover with the remaining egg, then chill for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place the turnovers on a baking sheet and bake for about 35 mins until puffed up and golden. Leave to cool slightly and enjoy warm.