Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

My wife asked me to cook this for dinner tonight.  It’s something I made up some time ago but had forgotten about. It’s pretty easy to cook and doesn’t take too long.  The prep takes about 15 minutes and it takes about the same amount of time to cook.  It tastes better if you do the prep early so the chicken has time to marinade. I do it about 3hrs before I want to eat but it isn’t essential, it just makes it more flavoursome.

I buy the ingredients from Waitrose because not all supermarkets stock chicken that is truly free range, and their own brand pesto is very good.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken breasts
500ml Crème Fraiche
Waitrose Green Pesto
Garlic
Dried chilli flakes
Olive oil.

Cut the chicken into cubes and put into a big bowl. Sprinkle over some chilli flakes, I use about half a teaspoon, but do yours to your taste.  Crush or finely chop as much or as little garlic as you like, I love it so I use about 4 cloves and I also use one of those garlic crushers.  Pour over some olive oil, not too much, about a tablespoon or so.  You don’t want too much oil when you transfer it to the pan.  Give it a good mix up so all the chicken is covered in the oil, chilli and garlic. Leave it to marinade for a few hours if possible.

To cook:

Warm up a bowl in the oven that’s plenty big enough to hold the chicken and the crème fraiche. Heat up a shallow frying pan and when it’s hot add the chicken and fry until cooked, then put the cooked chicken into the warm bowl from the oven and put it back in the oven to keep warm while you do the sauce.

Using the same frying pan, pour in all the crème fraiche and 3 big teaspoons of the pesto, about half the jar.  The pesto keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks after it’s opened so it won’t go to waste.

Heat up the crème fraiche and the pesto until its nice and hot, pour over the chicken in the bowl, and its ready to serve.  I usually serve it with some fresh vegetables and homemade chips.

If you try this, let me know how you get on?

The Simplest Pasta Dish In The World

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Food

I made this for dinner tonight.  I first ate this dish in an Italian restaurant and loved it, tried making it a few times myself and because it sounds so simple, I was surprised it took a few goes to get it right, but now I have, I will share it with you.

But, to like this dish you need to LOVE pasta, LOVE garlic and LOVE olive oil, obviously it helps if you buy good quality oil and only use it for dressings or dishes such as this.

Ingredients
(Serves 2)

Any pasta (I use spaghetti)
3 Cloves of Garlic (I told you that you need to love garlic!)
Dried or fresh Chilli, as much or as little as you can handle.
6 tablespoons of good quality Olive Oil

Once the water for the pasta is boiling, throw in the pasta and get another saucepan for the oil.  Put the oil in the pan, add the dried or fresh chilli.  If you are using fresh, make sure its very finely chopped. If you’ve got a garlic crusher, crush the garlic.  If you havent, again, chop it as finely as possible and add that to the oil as well.

Gently heat the oil. You DO NOT want to burn the garlic as this will make it bitter, so keep the heat low so the flavour of the garlic and chilli infuses into the oil.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and put it back in the pan, add the oil and make sure you get as much as the garlic and chilli in too.  Stir it in well and serve it immediately.

It’s that simple and takes 10 minutes.

Easy Main Course Or Starter

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Food

This isn’t one of my recipes and to be honest, I cant remember where I got this one from so my sincere apologies if I am infringing any copyright laws.

Its dead easy, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare, can be prepared in advance and just slung in the oven when ready. It doesnt get any easier than that does it?  The dish contains butter nut squash, and even people who say they don’t like squash, have loved this, so give it a go.

I normally buy all the ingredients at Waitrose as they usually have the Haloumi cheese, but I know you can get it in Morrisons too. Also, don’t waste money on expensive balsamic vinegar, get a cheap bottle.

The ingredients are:
(SERVES 4)

2 Butter nut Squash
4 Romano Peppers
2 Red Onion
1 block of Haloumi Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Black Pepper

If you have never cooked squash before, you can leave the skin on but I always cut it off.  Once you have done that, cut the squash, peppers and onion into rough large chunks, better too big than too small.  Put it all in a suitably sized metal oven tray, pour on some olive oil, some black pepper and give it all a good mix up so its all coated with the oil & pepper.

Put it in the oven on about 180 (electric fan oven) and whilst thats cooking, cut the haloumi cheese into cubes.

After about 30 – 40 mins the veg should look almost cooked, take the veg out of the oven and add the haloumi cheese and pour over some balsamic vinegar. I love balsamic vinegar, so I put on quite a lot, but do yours how you see fit.

Give all a good mix up again and put it back in the oven until the haloumi starts to go brown and then its ready to serve.

You can serve it on its own in a bowl as a starter or as a main.  We usually have it with diced herb potatoes. Bloody lovely.

If you try it, let me know how you get on?

A Lovely Dressing.

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Food

We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night and as a starter I wanted to cook an Asparagus dish. Normally I have Asparagus as part on my main course, shallow fried in a little olive oil, black pepper and garlic, just cooked long enough so the spears start to go soft, but not too long so they go limp!

I decided to look on the BBC website and found a recipe that sounded simple and interesting.  But once I read the instructions, I didn’t quite get it and asked my wife to read them too and, like me, she found them a little confusing. One of the ingredients for the dressing was Oranges but the instructions didn’t really tell you what to do with them, for that actual dressing mix.

So I decided that I would buy the ingredients and make it my own way.  It turned out very nice, especially for a 1st attempt but it did take some modifying as I made way too much of it and used far too much Ginger, so here is how the finished version ended up being made.

1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar.

3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

1 Red Chilli, finely chopped.

Small piece of Ginger, finely chopped.

Juice of 1 Orange.

I put the oil, vinegar and juice in a bowl, chopped the chilli and ginger, put them in a pestle & mortar and ground them together, added them to the bowl and let is brew for about an hour before we ate and it tasted lovely, but just make it to your taste.

Also, the only downside was that it didn’t really coat the asparagus very well as they were already coated in oil from the shallow frying, but it was still nice. So maybe next time I might cook the asparagus in hot water or make the dressing for a salad or something different, or just dip in some crusty bread!

If you give it a go, would you be kind enough to let me know how you got on and what you had it with?

3 wines & Eastern Promise.

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Drinks, Food

I use to work with a bloke and we nicknamed him ‘Turkish’ because he always failed to do anything on time, so we reckoned he was full of ‘eastern promise’.

He popped up in conversation on Tuesday as I was in a town in Hampshire called Petersfield having lunch with 2 friends.  We went to a very small Turkish restaurant in Bakery Lane, which unfortunately doesnt show up on Multimap, otherwise I would have posted a link.  But its an alleyway that runs from the car park behind Waitrose into the town centre.

The food, the prices and the service were amazing and it wasnt a one-off because this was my 3rd visit to the place.  I think its called Fez, but its the only Turkish place in Petersfield so you wont end up in the wrong place!

The first wine we had was a Californian Merlot.  I am not a fan of Merlot or Californian wine, so I wasnt really looking forward to this but it really was very pleasant indeed.  Especially as it was lunchtime so I didn’t want anything too heavy.  Not sure if its available in the shops, but as usual, here is a snapshot of the label

Unfortunately it was the last bottle and the waiter persuaded us to try a bottle of Turkish red wine.  Alarm bells started going off with me but when he promised to exchange it if we didn’t like it, we agreed to try it and again, I wasnt disappointed but before lunch I had also had 2 G&T’s so maybe I wasnt in the best shape to judge.  that said, I think I would try it again.

Last night I had dinner at a friends and she brought out an absolutely beautiful bottle of Italian red from Tuscany. She buys all her wine from Laithwaites online, so again, I don’t know if this is available in the shops.  It was so smooth, lovely taste and here is a link for it

http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/DWBase/jsp/templates/article/productDetails.jsp?productId=prod890481