Chicken with peppers

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Pollo con peperoni – chicken at its most supreme

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Supper last night and I was in the mood for chicken…and for pasta…and I had some cream left over and a red pepper…so it had to be this dish…simple and such a refreshing change.

INGREDIENTS

400gm chicken fillet cut into strips

1 large red pepper deseeded and cut into strips

100 ml olive oil

2 small red onions peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic peels and finely chopped

Teaspoon of dried red chillies

100 ml white wine

Salt and black pepper

8 cherry tomatoes quartered

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

150 ml soured cream – single would be fine too

METHOD

Heat half the oil in a large deep pan – a non stick wok with a lid would be dandy – or a stainless steel casserole pan. Add the onion and fry gently over a lowish heat for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from pan into a bowl and put to one side.

Add the remaining oil – add the chicken – raise the heat to medium and brown the chicken for around 6-8 minutes.

Return the onion to the pan with the garlic and the dried chilli.

Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the red pepper slices.

Season with salt and black pepper. After 4 minutes stir in the tomatoes. 

Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for around 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream. Add the chopped parsley and after a minute or so – serve with pasta.

A colourful southern Italian dish with more flavours than you could imagine.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Cannellini and Chorizo One Pot

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This is a perfect mid week supper – simple and satisfying with sufficient zing to warm up your engine!

 

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INGREDIENTS for 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken breast cut into chunks
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
Splash red wine
275g chorizo, thinly sliced
1 x 400g  can chopped tomatoes
200ml  chicken stock
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful chopped fresh coriander
Crusty bread or a good warm flat bread, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat half of the  oil in a large pan. Add the chicken, grind over some black pepper, and fry, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2.  Add a little more oil to the pan, then fry the chorizo until crispy, add to the warming plate with the chicken.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, celery and chilli and cook for five minutes in the juices left over. Add a splash of red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Add the can of chopped tomatoes to the pan with the vegetables, stir and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes, then add the stock and bring back to the boil.
  5. Add the browned chicken, the cannellini beans and the crisp chorizo and half the chopped coriander – simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through –  no lid. Season, to taste, with a tiny bit of salt if needed and a little more ground black pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining chopped coriander and serve with crusty bread.

This went down well last night and was hoovered up very happily by the family.

 

 

Winter’s warming glory…

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Winter's warming glory...

Often the simplest things in life are the most beautiful. The things we take for granted – golden leaves, a sparrow’s song, ripening berries peeping through hedgerows , snow drops peeking out from under the soil where they have slept peacefully during the dark drear months of winter.

And so it is with food – often food stuffs we overlook or turn our nose up at can provide delectable surprises. Inexpensive and warming when the wet weather whirls its way through our world.

Take the humble tin of corned beef. I loathed it as a child – all my sandwiches on school trips seemed to contain nothing else but slabs of it  and I found it hard to swallow. I remember my Granddad telling me tales of WW1 and life in the trenches when frequently the only dish on offer was tinned ‘bully beef’ as he called it. Sounded grim!

The stuff sold in cans gets its name from the corns, or grains of salt, that are used to preserve it. The beef is chopped up and preserved with salt – sometimes it was brine – and canned with beef fat and jelly. When I was young there seemed to be too much of the jelly for my liking! Today most of the corned beef in cans  comes from Uruguay or Brazil.

It was first mentioned in 1621 in a recipe of one Robert Burton in his ‘Anatomy of Melancholy‘ -clearly he too had been getting corned beef sandwiches too often in his packed lunch!

Anyway, he writes ‘ Beef…corned, young of an Ox.’ He also mentions that you could get corned pork . Corned beef in many parts of the world refers to salt beef – a wonderful cut from the brisket – we used to eat a lot of it when we lived in New Zealand. Corned beef in the UK means the stuff that comes in those trade mark rectangular cans with the pesky winding key opener.

The Irish eat a lot of it apparently, especially on St Patrick’s Day – a combination of corned beef heated through with cooked cabbage. And of course there is the traditional corned beef hash which improved my opinion of the stuff when my folks made this stew in my early teens. Great with lashings of brown sauce. Corned beef also gets used in lots of pasties sold in the chains of high street bakers.

But, my favourite way of eating it – and I have made this for many a long year, going back to my thrifty student days, is a Corned Beef Chilli.

I cannot explain how good this dish is – and I know some folk out there will be grimacing or even switching to another blog at this point – which is a pity – because, as I said to begin with – the simplest and often the cheapest dishes are the best. Right, assuming you are all still with me….! The recipe!

For 4

1 can of corned beef chopped into chunks.
1 red onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
3 chillies deseeded and chopped – I use 2 red and 1 green
2 x 400gm chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
A bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)

500 gm rigatoni pasta (for some odd reason, it goes far better with pasta than rice – believe me.

In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and pan fry the onions, garlic, chillies, and cumin seeds.

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Let the onions soften, then add the tinned tomatoes and bring to a good simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes on a low heat.

Then add the corned beef and stir around gently. Now add three quarters of the bunch of coriander chopped. Stir again. Let it simmer whilst you cook your pasta. It can happily sit there for another 40 minutes or so, getting thicker and hotter.

Serve the pasta in bowls and spoon over the corned beef chilli. Add a sprinkle of chopped coriander to each bowl.

It is like no other chilli you will have tasted and everyone for whom I have cooked it has been amazed at the flavour and deliciousness of this dish.

Thanks, Bonnie, for the inspiration. A wonderful painting to go with a wonderful winter warmer of a meal!

Coriandered tomatoes in cream

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Coriandered tomatoes in cream

Supper had to be swift tonight. I was hungry. I had tomatoes. Manzanos – but baby plums would be fine. In a large frying pan in olive oil I added around 150 gm of superb toms. Then a clove of garlic chopped very finely. I added three strips of smoked bacon chopped up roughly. All fried gently for about 10 minutes. Next a teaspoon of dried rosemary and a large handful of chopped fresh coriander. The pasta was popped on – rigatoni. 400 gm.

Into the tomato mix I added a tub of single cream – 250 ml.

I let it warm nicely and blend together. Pasta was then drained and added to the tomato mix. By all means sprinkle some grated parmesan on if you wish. A simple and satisfying and superb supper.

Scintillating. I told you I was in a hurry.

Life is good, lunch proved it today…

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Life is good, lunch proved it today...

And it was really so simple. As are all the best things in life. I bought some marvellous kiln smoked salmon from a local farm shop and served it with a salad that was light, but satisfying and sexy, as all the best salads are. Pea shoots, baby spinach, rocket and lambs lettuce formed the bed to which I added halved cherry tomatoes, sliced fennel and baby buffalo mozzarella balls. I drizzled my own salad dressing over, lightly – 3 tbsps olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp og dijon mustard and a little salt and black pepper.

We had a little olive and sun dried tomato focaccia on the side and the flavours overall were immense. Just sitting here waiting for supper now – neck fillet of lamb in red wine with mint. Wood fire is roaring away and all well with the world – well this particular corner of the world. Happy Wednesday.

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Garlic soup…Mmmm!

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Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Garlic soup...Mmmm!

How healthy were we last night! This is a really filling soup full of goodness, yumminess and all round smugness. And easy to do – although a soupcon of patience is required – excuse the potage pun.

Ingredients – enough for 4 or 5

6 red peppers, halved & deseeded
8 decent tomatoes – halved and seeds removed
3 cloves of garlic, skin on
600 ml of chicken or vegetable stock
50 gm bread crumbs
1 tbsp paprika
Bunch of coriander

Pop your red peppers and garlic on a baking tray and place in hot oven until skins start to blacken – about 15 minutes.

Remove garlic to one side – place peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film. After about 10 minutes or so, remove and skin – the skin will come off easily. Doesn’t matter if odd bit of black doesn’t – all adds to the flavour! Pop in a blender – blitz and add to a deep pan. Then blitz the toms – add to the pan. Pop the garlic out of its skin and add to the…yes…you guessed….pan! Add the breadcrumbs, half the coriander and the paprika. Then the hot stock. Stir well.

Bring to a low simmer and leave for about 15 minutes to warm right through. Check seasoning – mine needed none. Stock should give it all the salt it needs. Serve with more chopped coriander and a little more bread. We had some cold salami on the side too. Wonderful, warm and a tonic for weary winter bones.

Note to self – Must make this more often!!

Cordero al chilindron…

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Cooked this again last weekend for some good friends – here is the recipe from June in case you missed it!

From Alfredo's With Love

Cordero al chilindron...

Ok. I’m back in the saddle. I was walking by mid day yesterday and compus mentus by 4 pm-ish. I had to do something to stop me feeling any more sorry for myself so I went for a dish for supper that, were anyone ever to ask me – what would your last dish be – this would be a strong contender. I normally do it as a supper dish for lots of folk – but I thought – sod it – let’s do it for me for a change! So, by 6pm I was back in the kitchen and a rush of well being and harmony poured over me. Today, I feel a little iffy again – but I am getting there. Anyway – enough about me – it is the food that is centre stage here!

This is a dish I came across in Spain Quixotic Donkeys years…

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Rocket fuelled Lazy Light Lunch…

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Rocket fuelled Lazy Light Lunch...

Busy Saturday doing lots of little really…so needed a light lunch that would tidy us over until supper – friends coming round so afternoon shopping trip to Salisbury was on the cards. Had a gorgeous ciabatta loaf which I sliced and grilled lightly on one side, then rubbed with babe Spanish tomatoes split in half – the shells I then pushed into each slice. I topped them with some sexy serrano ham, slivers of salty, sweet and tangy parmesan. Then a little rocket, some more olive oil and voila – a simple, yet just right lunch – I adore rocket – it just adds that pepperiness to such dishes and makes them even more appealing.

Saturday Supper Part Deux – Med Eggs…

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Saturday Supper Part Deux - Med Eggs...

I used to love egg and chips for supper as a child – in fact I still do…who doesn’t…but these eggs, with a mediterranean twist, are just a wee bit posher, yet still simple. I will give you the ingredients for one person and then you can multiply it to your heart’s content…this is a very social dish.

Olive oil & vegetable oil
2/3 potatoes, par boiled for 15 minutes – I used Maris Pipers
2 spring onions, chopped quite finely
A good handful of cherry or baby plum tomatoes, sliced
1 good free range or organic egg
Fresh rosemary – a good tbsp chopped roughly
1 clove of garlic chopped finely.
Black pepper and sea salt

Once the potatoes have cooled – I leave them for about 15 minutes or so in a sieve over a pan – slice them into rounds-some may split but that does not matter. In a really serious splash of olive oil, pan fry the potato slices until starting to brown – be patient and turn gently with a spatula – great word that – spatula…love it! Add a few grinds of black pepper and sea salt.

Then add the spring onions, garlic, tomatoes and rosemary. Continue to fry gently for about another five minutes – at this stage you could also add some slices of serrano or parma ham if you felt so inclined and in a more meaty mood.

In another frying pan, heat a splash of vegetable oil and fry the eggs until the white sets but the yolk is still unctiously runny. I used eggs from  Old Cotswold Legbars last night – a favourite of mine – so tasty and deep golden. And their shells are a rather funky pastel blue colour!

Serve the spuds in a dish and slide the egg on top…I split some of the white doing this…as you can see above…blast…so take care…but, hey , it still tasted wonderfully wonderful! I love a little zing with this dish- so I also threw a few slices of red jalapenos on mine.

The eggs, olive oil and rosemary just meld so well flavour wise. A great Saturday supper….or indeed anytime!

The picture below is of the ingredients making friends in the pan…..Happy Sunday to you all!

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Monday magic… of the tomato variety…..

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Monday magic... of the tomato variety.....

Tonight was one of those nights when an experiment worked, and worked so well, I wanted to freeze time. The flavours were simply exquisite. I used one of my favourite base dishes of pan fried plum toms with rosemary and cream…and added to it. You know by now, well I know that you know that I know, that I like to fiddle with recipes…so here we fiddly well go!

For 4 folk who may have been working in the garden all day…

Two decent punnets of baby plum tomatoes – mine were from Spain and as sweet as a smile from Marilyn Monroe.
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
250 ml of single cream
5 or 6 slices of serrano ham – or prosciutto would be fine
1 slice of smoked bacon
A good handful or more of baby spinach and rocket, chopped
Black pepper
Olive oil

400 gm of pasta – rigatoni or fusilli

Pop a good tablespoon or two of oil in a frying pan. Heat and then add the tomatoes. Add the garlic after a minute or so, then chop off with scissors quite a lot of rosemary into the pan and then add the sprigs too.

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Let them cook for about 15 minutes or so on a low heat until they give when pressed with a spoon. Flatten them a little with a slotted spoon – but don’t break them open too much.

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In a second pan, fry the smoked bacon finely chopped. When cooked, add in the serrano ham chopped and allow to crisp a little.

Cook the pasta – I always use rigatoni for this.

Add the bacon and ham to the tomato mixture, then add the cream. Heat gently and after two or three minutes, add in the spinach and rocket. Grind over some black pepper. Stir for about 5 minutes until it wilts into the cream sauce.

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Drain the pasta and then pop a portion into each of the 4 bowls – then spoon over the tomato mixture.

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I cannot express how wonderfully dreamy and gorgeous this dish is. It is…believe me…….no……don’t….make it for yourself!

I had been gardening all day today trying, as I mentioned in the last post, to get it tidied before this weekend’s belated birthday celebrations for my son and daughter. In the process, I discovered that there were lots of blackberries lurking wistfully below my sage plants and rosemary bushes. So, I picked them! And happily my rhubarb had coped with my absence and soldiered on, producing several fine stems which I duly cut…but with love. I poached the chopped rhubarb lightly and then popped them and the blackberries in a low gratin dish. I knocked up a crumble mix using plain flour, porridge oats, some crushed pecans, pumpkin seeds, butter and brown sugar. The result was stultifyngly superb though I say it myself!

I think part of the secret of the crispy buttery top was cooking it for 40 minutes on 180 degrees then switching the oven off, removing the crumble and after about 10 minutes returning it to the cooling oven whilst we ate the main course.

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Anyway it was fruitastic and even better because it all cane from our garden. I drank a cold pinot noir from Alsace whilst cooking, and a lovely bottle of shiraz with the meal itself. I listened to Bob Marley on the record player, then the Pet Shop Boys ‘Disco’. I felt good… and I felt as if I was back where I belonged……in my kitchen!

And here was the mellow aftermath in Alfredo’s after our meal…my home from home…

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