Tag Archives: chorizo

Vegetable Soup, or a variation on Minestra

Minestrone (0397)Spring has truly arrived on this little island. The Sun was out beautifully this morning and it was a lovely day. Temperatures are so mild during the day, but we still need to keep the jackets out for the evenings. It’s the perfect weather. Not too warm, not too cold.

During the past few days I’ve been feeling as if I had a nasty fall packaged with a good blow on the head, leaving me with a headache and some bumps, lumps and scratches. Said fall could have been a result of a serious lack of concentration. My mind could have been somewhere else. It could have happened…

Continue reading Vegetable Soup, or a variation on Minestra

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Coffee Date #2

Coffee at the Old Spitalfields Market (0467)C&T has by now become quite the fixture in my life. I find myself thinking about new recipes and reviews continuously, especially when I’m doing the usual mundane things, which most of the time are house chores. Stirring a soup in the kitchen is also included in this list, although funnily enough it’s not as boring as it seems for me. Anyways, all this is to tell you that I feel I haven’t had a proper catch up with you in ages.

A few months ago, I registered for a couple of online short courses with WordPress. One of the writing tasks was exactly like this – a kind of coffee chat/date, and I’m thinking about making it a series on this blog. I’ll try to post them regularly, although not that often as to become mind-numbingly tedious! That’s not my plan at all. I don’t keep a journal for various reasons, however this format of blog writing could serve me well.

Continue reading Coffee Date #2

Pizza

Pizza (8031)

During the past few weeks I made quite a number of pizzas, reason being I’m still testing out my oven. I didn’t want to bake before making sure I wasn’t about to burn anything. A couple of friends whom I visited last Saturday are still waiting for a lemon drizzle cake. And this morning, when I actually had some time on my hands, I ran out of sugar, so the cake just has to wait. My mum came over for a short visit though and we made some pizzas for lunch.

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Recipe: Chicken and Chorizo Casserole

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8724)

My idea of a rainy afternoon is having loads of good books to read, sipping a hot chocolate on the couch with a thick throw, or two. No radio, no movies, no nothing. Just some peace and quiet. That’s how I spent yesterday afternoon, and by the looks of it that’s how it will be today. I am one lucky lady I know. My idea of a comforting meal after such an afternoon is something like this recipe. It’s a breeze to make and full of flavour.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8717)

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8716)

This is actually my take on two recipes from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris and Mireille Guiliano’s The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. I read Lunch in Paris in two days; you could say I devoured it, but that would sound silly. On the other hand, the latter was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t think I was going to like such a book, but honestly, I really enjoyed it. The recipes are simple, delicious, fresh and flavourful and it’s not about low-fat this and low-fat that, and margerine and saccharine. Yuck. You use butter and there’s chocolate in their too. Lovely. Hold on, I hear you say. Are you on a diet? Are you now into low-fat fad? Eh? The answer is simply: nope. I *do* need to lose some weight, yes, but what I’m really into is variety.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8723)

Fact is I get bored very easily. I’m also not into any trend, because trends come and go, and quiet frankly I find it hard to keep up. I’m not running a restaurant. I cook at home, like most of you do, so I don’t need to constantly come up with new stuff. I eat everything and I’m willing to try anything, as long as it’s good edible. Please also note that I’m not into palpitating cobra hearts or bird nests. Those things are for Mr. Bourdain; definitely not for me.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8720)

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8722)

So give me a hearty but light meal any day and you’ll make me very happy. Fish or chicken are easier on me than red meat, especially in the evening. As much as I like grilling steak I don’t sleep well if I have that for dinner. When I’m not baking this is the kind of food I like to cook. By the time the pan is simmering on the hob or baking in the oven, all by itself, I can do the washing up without stressing myself to death, lay the table, light a candle perhaps and relax.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8718)

Please don’t let the not-so-short list of ingredients intimidate you. I promise you, this is painless and cheap. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8 large chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 100g chorizo, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped or crushed
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • half a large lemon, cut in half
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 75ml chicken stock
  • 800g polpa di pomodoro (plus some water to get to the bits of tomato on the sides and bottom of the can)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato concentrate
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

In a large pan heat the oil and butter over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken, salt and pepper and brown the chicken on both sides. Brown in batches if your pan is not big enough to fit all the thighs at once. Remove from the pan, set aside in a warm bowl.

In the same pan add the chorizo, onions, paprika and garlic cloves. There is no need to add more oil here as the chorizo will release its own. Give everything a stir, scraping the bottom of the pan and allow the onions to turn opaque. Now add the celery, leek, lemon and its juice and yellow pepper.* Cook for around 5 minutes, making sure to coat the vegetables well with the juices from the pan. Add the chicken thighs back in.

Pour in the chicken stock, polpa, tomato concentrate, salt, pepper, sugar and thyme. Give the contents of the pan a good stir again. Cover and let it simmer for around an hour over medium-low heat.

Chicken Thighs and Chorizo (8726)

Serve with basmati rice.

*Alternatively you could add around 4 large potatoes, cut into chunks or quarters with the vegetables, and serve it with some crusty bread, omitting the rice.

Enjoy! What is your favourite one-pot meal?

Rob x

(Adapted from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris, Summersdale, 2011 and Mireille Guiliano’s The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, Simon & Schuster, 2011.)

Rachel Khoo’s Pistachio and Prune Cake

Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6872)OK…for the last few weeks the weather drove me insane. On a recent visit to Malta one of my friends said that there is always a grey cloud over the UK. There has been some windy and rainy weather around this Spring, and let me tell you, it can get to you after a pretty dismal winter. J loves stormy weather because it makes photos look good. He’s right of course. But that doesn’t make you want to go out for a picnic, does it? Mmm?

Today though, the Sun’s finally out once more. Great for all those lucky tennis fans in Wimbledon, and also good for the rest of us mere mortals, watching the action on the internet! For a taste of the grass, out with the boots and in with the flip flops, good food, an ice-cream or two, a picnic basket and off we go.

For an outing such as this it’s always good to opt for food which is very easy to make and very portable. I find that simplicity and portability always work well together and the following recipe was just that. While waiting for Rachel Khoo’s next book I made her cured sausage, pistachio and prune cake, from her charming third publication The Little Paris Kitchen, changing absolutely nothing from the original recipe. Removing the pistachio shells was the biggest faff and to be honest their taste got kind of lost in the end. I thought the smoked sausages were quite chewy, but the saltiness was what the cake needed. Mademoiselle Khoo said that salami would work well here and I know for a fact that friends who have tried it with cured chorizo, loved it.

Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6863)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6864)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6867)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6869)Jarlsberg Muffins and Savoury Cake (6877)The Little Paris Kitchen (6865)I tried it again with dates and walnuts, two ingredients found perpetually found in my pantry, and I bet it would also work well with whole toasted almonds. That would certainly give it a more Mediterranean feel.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 15g baking powder
  • 150g cured French sausage (or whatever you can find – chorizo or cured Maltese sausages are good options), chopped in little cubes
  • 80g pistachios (or toasted walnuts or almonds), shelled and roughly chopped
  • 100g prunes (or dates), roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 50g plain runny yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper

Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Measure out all the the flour, baking powder, cubed sausage, pistachios and prunes, and give them a good mix in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until they turn pale. Add the milk, olive oil, yoghurt, salt and pepper and whisk again.

Now, making sure not to overbeat, slowly add and fold the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Remember: some lumps in the batter is a good thing.

Pour this lovely cake mixture into your diligently prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

I like this best when served with a fresh salad. Picnic anyone? What’s your favourite picnic food?

Rob xx

(Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, Michael Joseph, 2012.)

Kale.

Kale-Salad-(5420)

I really like kale. Pity that I only discovered it a few months back. I’m really not a vegetarian at heart but veggies are good for you, or so they say, so I make an effort. Especially when it comes to salad options. Too much of a good thing is…well…not good. You know what I mean. I grew tired of the same old salad leaves that I bought a bunch of kale on a whim without knowing what to do with it. When I opened the fridge I had the answer. I chopped up some garlic, one shallot, a few grams of cured chorizo, a red pepper, a yellow one and tossed them in a pan with some olive oil. I washed the kale, added it to the pan, heated it up with the rest of the ingredients, placed everything in a large salad bowl, seasoned it with pepper and added some toasted almond flakes. It makes one good side dish, and it’s so quick that you can make it while you chat to your friends in the kitchen.

Ham-and-Kale-(5423)

Enjoy!

Rob x

Easy breezy pasta and rice.

Puttanesca Revisited (7034)

The school year has started and with it the gloomy weather. I don’t mind it really – better than the scorching heat. I’m no meteorologist (even though I’m known among friends to be quite the tornado buff), but seems to me that the colder weather is on the way, and this means one thing: baking party! I woke up hellishly early this morning and managed to do quite a few things, including baking some breakfast muffins and devoured one (yes…just one) while pottering about in the kitchen. Lately I’ve been into cupcake mode again so after I write this I’m off to chocolate cupcake heaven. I will not keep any recipes for myself, don’t worry.

Cumberland-Sausage-in-Tomato-Sauce-(4522)

In the meantime though I humbly wanted to offer a few tips to busy bees who have no time to cook. If rice and/or pasta is your thing then don’t fret and see if you like either one or both of the following. One is a classic puttanesca sauce. You need anchovies for this so I would give it a miss if they’re not your cup of tea. The other is something quick which you can throw together with some rice. (And no, I won’t go into how-the-pasta-got-its-name topic. It’s a classic story for a classic pasta dish. Some would even say it’s vintage.)

For Pasta alla Puttanesca you need the following ingredients, and will give you 3 to 4 servings.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 30g anchovy fillets, drained from their oil and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or peeled very finely
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
  • 500g spaghetti (or fettucine, I prefer the latter)
  • 400g polpa di pomodoro
  • 200g olives
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • pepper, to taste
  • about ¼ or so of pasta water
  1. Prepare the pasta water and let it heat up well to almost boiling point, or better still have some boiling water from the kettle to hand. You can cook the pasta while you are preparing the sauce.
  2. In a wide pan pour the olive oil on medium heat, and add the anchovies. Cook for around 2 minutes or until the anchovies have almost disappeared into the oil. Add the garlic and chilli and stir.
  3. Pour the tomatoes, tip the olives and capers and stir until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add pepper to taste. You don’t need salt here – you get plenty of that with the anchovies and capers, so go slow on that if you still think that you really need some!
  4. Reserve a quarter cup full of pasta water before you drain the spaghetti. Before serving, add the water to the sauce to thicken it slightly. Add the sauce to the pasta, toss and enjoy.

The second thing I find most convenient is a plain passata to which you might add some fresh basil and Cumberland or Chorizo Sausages. I don’t add any chilli here because the chorizo is already spicy. I make it a point to add a teaspoon or so of dark brown sugar to the sauce and a touch of Worcestershire (how you pronounce this is up to you – they are still undecided here anyway!) Toss this with rice and you have a heart-warming something after a day’s work. So uncomplicated, you don’t even need a recipe…and please…spare me the jokes!

Enjoy!

Rob x