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Makings Of You

Weekday meals are sometimes, not always, a total argh! I sometimes find myself thinking about what on earth I am going to feed these kids for supper as I am throwing them out of the car at the school gates and driving to wherever my work has taken me that day. I have pretty much given up asking Rufus or Tilda in the car on the way to school as their stock answers are “Sushi!” (Tilda) or “Duck and pancakes” (Ru). Now far be it for me to quash the culinary musings of my 6 and 9 year olds but even I am not up to making Sushi and Pekinging a duck after 4pm on a Wednesday.

Hence my recipe Chicken in a Pot. Oh yes its the antithesis of the children’s demands yet just as delicious and also means I just chuck everything in a pot and leave to simmer while I run around the flat, dealing with the usual end of the day dramas and chaos. Feel free to call it something a bit more glam like, Chicken a la Pot de Stock.

Chicken in a Pot

This is a staple in my house. It’s perfect on a week day when I have rushed home from work having picked up the kids. It is my favourite kind of cooking, throw everything into a stockpot and leave alone for an hour or so.

Ingredients

 As you can see, this is more of a guide then a recipe

  • 1 whole free range chicken
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • A selection of chopped veg, carrots, onions, kale, or greens, tomatoes Pretty much whatever you wish to add that is handy in your veg box
  • A few cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
  • A sprinkle of spices, I used sumac, mustard powder, chilli powder
  • A teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • A big pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover the chicken just over halfway)

Place all the ingredients in a stockpot, place on a medium high heat until the stock begins to gently boil. Lower the heat to low and put on the lid. Leave for half an hour then turn the chicken over and give the veg a little stir. The chicken should be cooked within an hour.

Place a fork between the leg and the body of the chicken and if you can pull the flesh off easily then the bird is cooked. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 15 minutes

You can fork the chicken apart and serve this with a ton of buttery mash or some rice.


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Always In The Back Of My Mind

I’m sitting outside a little cafe in Islington, with the dog asleep at my feet drinking some very lovely Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, trying to figure out where to begin with the last two weeks of work and life. I have been juggling designing wedding flowers, recipes and helping organise and working on ScandiFeast. What a wonderful weekend that was. I will be posting photos very shortly.

From time to time I am invited to foodie events. I try to pick and choose the ones which I feel I have a strong interest in. Also childcare is obviously a factor so if I am going to go out of an evening, it pretty much has to be something that I can justify forking out for childcare.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe Spice Namaste to spend an evening with Cyrus Todiwalla. Now I am not going to turn that down! Cyrus and his wife are wonderful hosts. They always make you feel like you are eating in their home. Cyrus spent the evening demoing and feeding us Lamb dishes. He talked about the small hold farms where he sources the lamb from and we also met an Irish now farming in the midlands sheep farmer and he gave a brilliant talk about the typical day of a sheep farmer. You could tell he totally loved his work.

One of the things I learnt was that lamb sales were lower then chicken, pig and cow. Oh and also its a generation thing. If you are over 40 then you would quite easily make lamb your meat choice but the younger generations don’t know how to cook it! That I found weird. Shoulder of Lamb, rub with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, shove in the oven for a few hours…Dinner!

Cyrus made the most delicious canapés with cuts of the lamb that you wouldn’t necessarily choose. Lamb breast was so tender and delicious. Oh and he made burgers with lamb mince and stuffed a piece of blue cheese inside before frying. He also seasoned the lamb mince and invited us to eat, lamb tartare. I cannot explain how delicious the raw meat was. So sweet and perfectly seasoned. He flash fried in minutes cubes of simply spiced lamb loin. It was tender and pink and blew away any myths that lamb has to be cooked for a long time.

I left stuffed and vowing to quiz my butcher about all the different cuts he can supply.

I leave you with a Cyrus recipe for blue cheese stuffed lamb burger and also a diagram showing you all the different cuts of Lamb and how to cook them. I found it really useful I hope you do too. I’m heading off to get some cuts of Lamb for the BBQ tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

BlueCheeseStuffedLambBurger LambSheekKebabswithFruitWalnuts

BLUE CHEESE STUFFED LAMB BURGER

By Cyrus Todiwala

“Burgers might be an American invention or creation but the Kebab or Kavaab is very Indian, Persian, Turkish, Lebanese and so on. In India the burger would be actually a kebab of sorts.

I simply had to devise a burger with spices. It is simple to put together and just shows what you can do if you think just a little bit differently. So be brave and create – perhaps you will make many more combinations and bring out the best in the lamb you buy. Enjoy!”
Makes 6 burgers
Ingredients:

  • 675g lamb mince
  • 1 finely chopped medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic                                                                                                                                                                                                1 x 2inch piece minced fresh ginger
  • 1 slender type minced green chilli (seeds included)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin powder
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper

 

For the Stuffing:

  • 150g Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • Rolls or bread, to serve

Method:

  • In a large bowl gently mix all the burger ingredients together. Divide into 6 evenly–sized burgers.
  • In a small bowl blend the stuffing ingredients together and shape into equal-sized balls to stuff the burgers.
  • Make an indentation in the centre of each burger with your thumb and fill with a ball of the cheese. Make sure the cheese is completely encased when you form the burger.
  • Cook on a prepared grill or barbecue for 6-8 minutes on each side or until any meat juices run clear.
  • Serve with your favourite bread or rolls with some sliced tomatoes, onion and lettuce and some relish.

 

By Cyrus Todiwala 2015 for www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk


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Don’t You Worry Child

Gosh well its been a crazy few weeks. I can’t believe how busy I have been with work and kids and divorce rubbish and Christmas and New Year and well you know..

November flew by and I think my son spent half of it wearing his Halloween costume! We finally  extracted Rufus from his Giraffe Costume after nearly 2 weeks of solid back to back wearing.  He finally allowed it to go into the washing machine when assured Giraffe would not get dizzy. Tilda did the honours holding the offending piece of material away from her muttering “this is sooo going in the wash”.

Halloween done and dusted and then we were hurtling towards Christmas. My ultimate favrouite time of year. I know I have said it before but my god I just love it. Its not just the food and the best excuse ever to spend 3 days cooking, baking and prepping for the best roast dinner ever. Its the fairy lights and the tree and children’s excitement. It is palpable..Plus the best threat ever for bedtime best behaviour…”Father Christmas is watching you”…Admitedly I do kind of start using that threat around the end of October. I took a ton of photos of the Christmas festivities and will upload them very soon.

Recently I was invited to meet an Atomic Kitten whip up some fabulous Florida Grapefruit inspired dishes. Liz McClarnon was really lovely and funny and what a great afternoon. We had a little segment the grapefruit competition and then Liz demoed 3 recipes, A Florida Grapefruit Fajita Platter with a fresh and sunny salsa, Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts and also a fresh Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet. All delicious and different.

All really simple to make and delicious. I learn’t loads about this delicious fruit. I know everyone thinks Grapefruit is bitter and needs to be slathered in sugar. I remember my mother religiously slicing hers in half every morning and shaking spoonfuls of sugar over it then placing it under the grill.

Florida Grapefruit however is sweet and juicy and easy to peel and delicious. Its in season from November to March/April.  Don’t get the ones from Cyprus or Turkey or wherever. It was a lovely afternoon and brought a bit of summer to a dreary winters day.

I leave you with a few photos of the event and also Liz’s recipes.

Have a wonderful Weekend.

Rachelle x

Liz chopping 2 copy Grapefruit segments copy Florida grapefruit salad copy Florida grapefruit fajitas copy Eating sorbets copy Liz and florida grapefruit fajitas copy

Liz McClarnon’s Florida grapefruit recipe

Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 slices pancetta
2tbsp olive oil
2 small knobs butter
4-5tsp honey
1 Florida grapefruit, peeled and segmented by hand (not a knife)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Bag of salad leaves
150g goat’s cheese, sliced
Method

1. Fry the pancetta in 1tbsp of the oil in a pan until nice and crispy, then place onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

2. Wipe out the same pan with more kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil. Add the remaining oil, 1 small knob of the butter and about 2-3tsp honey. Mix it up a little, then add the Florida grapefruit segments to the pan (they need to be in their original segments and not cut to prevent them falling apart when cooking). Stir and make sure they are coated and caramelised (that should take about 4 min), then add 1tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Put the segments to one side so you can use the pan again.
4. To the pan, add the remaining knob of butter, the remaining balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the remaining 2tsp honey, the pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and heat through for about 2 min.
5. Make up the salad: cut the pancetta into bite-sized pieces. Place the salad leaves onto four plates, then add the caramelised Florida grapefruit, the goat’s cheese, the pancetta and pour over the dressing to serve.

Per serving

341kcal

12g protein

26.4g fat

10.6g saturates

14.5g carbs

14.2g sugar

1.5g fibre

1.4g salt

22mg vitamin C

0.2mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit fajitas platter with sunny salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

4tbsp squeezed Florida grapefruit juice

4tbsp fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt and pepper

1tsp all-purpose seasoning
2tbsp olive oil

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
450g lean beef, cut into strips
8 tortillas
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed

120ml reduced-fat sour cream
75g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sunny salsa:

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 mild chillies, seeds removed and finely diced

Fresh chopped coriander

½ Florida grapefruit, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch of salt

1tsp lime juice and water

1. In a large food bag, combine the Florida grapefruit and lime juices, salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning and 1tbsp of the olive oil. Add the beef, seal the bag, and squeeze the marinade together so that it covers the meat. Put in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

2. Add all the Florida salsa ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet pan. Cook the peppers and onion until soft and brown, then add the beef strips and cook until browned. Place in a serving dish together.

4. Heat the tortillas according to the pack instructions.

5. Slice the avocado lengthways and place in a serving dish and put the sour cream grated cheese in dishes

6. Place everything on the table so everyone can dig in.

Per serving

721kcal

42.2g protein

27.5g fat

9.8g saturates

79.9g carbs

18.2g sugar

9.8g fibre

2g salt

158mg vitamin C

0.6mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet

 

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g sugar

Juice of 5 Florida grapefruit plus zest of 2

Juice and zest of 5 limes

1 bunch finely chopped mint, plus sprigs to decorate

Method

1. Put the sugar in a pan with 275ml water and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 min. Leave to cool.

2. In a bowl, mix the cooled sugared water with the Florida grapefruit and lime juices and zest, and the chopped mint.

3. Transfer to a freezer-proof dish, cover and pop into the freezer for 2 hours, stirring it about 3-4 times during this time.

4. Serve in glasses, decorated with fresh mint sprigs

 

Per serving

156kcal

0.4g protein

0.1g fat

0g saturates

40.8g carbs

40.7g sugar

0g fibre

0g salt

25mg vitamin C

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