Tag Archives: side dishes

Roasted Potato Wedges with Crushed Fennel Seeds and Peppercorns

Hello everybody. I was going to write a short update on why I’ve not blogged for so long. but I’ve changed my mind, at least for now. It would be so long-winded, I’ll bore you to death. I have posted a little on Instagram just in case you want to know.

So, to get us going again, I’m posting a throwback and a very simple thing I do when I put something on the grill, typically a piece of chicken or fish. Incidentally this is one of J’s favourite way of cooking potatoes. I wasn’t too keen on fennel seeds (almost a scandalous idea when you live in Malta). However J does these so well – I was converted.

Continue reading Roasted Potato Wedges with Crushed Fennel Seeds and Peppercorns

Recipe: Beijing Rice

Chinese Fried Rice (8422)

This is one of the simplest recipes you can imagine. It’s tasty, salty (my weakness in food; don’t let my sweet tooth fool you) and made with pantry ingredients. I just love this stuff. I saw this first on Chinese Food Made Easy but it was J who suggested we try it after we both arrived home one evening after a very tiring day.

I bought the book primarily because I wanted to learn how to cook Chinese food, or a version of it, at home, without resorting to unnecessary trips to the takeaway. The good thing is that we don’t do that often, but once in a blue moon I do get that annoying urge for something very salty. Instead of rushing out to get food containing who-knows-how-many-extra-grams of salt, which quite frankly I don’t need and I would guess other unmentionable things, J and I opt for this either alone or as a side. It definitely hits the spot.

Serves 3 to 4 as a snack or side dish.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rapeseed oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup thai rice, cooked
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • a sprinkle of fresh coriander

Heat up a wok, or a non-stick pan over very high heat and add the vegetable oil into the pan. (You must work quickly but carefully from here on, so take a deep breath and go for it.) Add the beaten eggs and scramble them for a couple of minutes.

Next add the rice and stir well to break it up. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry everything for a few more minutes. Everything is practically already cooked so you don’t really need more than five minutes I would say.

Pour in the soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and spring onions. Give the rice another good mix and serve immediately. Sprinkle some coriander on top of each serving.

Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy, HarperCollins, 2008.)

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta and Chilli

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta from Takes 5 (7556)Before I write anything else I have this to say: to all those working in bakeries and kitchens, hats off to you! You are my heroes! Now, I would be lying if I told you we didn’t bake anything in the last two weeks (I baked once in the past 14 days)! I did promise myself not to, until it cools down a bit. I kinda like this weather though (I hate the heat – there I said it, but please don’t hate *me*) because my fridge is stocked with as many fruit and veggies as it can hold. And after running errands all morning I bought a seasoned roast chicken because I just couldn’t face the stove. I have plenty of leftovers and will make some salad wraps for dinner later today. Nice and easy. But…

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7557)The reality is I cannot avoid cooking a hot meal for too long and I don’t think I can handle eating cold salads everyday for however long this heatwave is going to last. So I came across this recipe which I really really like: something new from Takes 5 by James Tanner. It’s a book I have liked ever since it was published three years ago I believe, well worth the money. I have cooked from it time and time again, and some of the recipes have become part of my off-the-cuff list of dishes. Not to mention what a lovely person James is: apart from being a great chef (we all know that), his heart is in the right place. James’ new book is finally out now, and here at C&T we are very happy about it. Until our copy arrives and we will wait eagerly by the door just in case the doorbell is not working properly and we miss it, we made this recipe with minor changes* which we had with grilled steak.

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7547)Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7548)

  • 4 leeks, washed and cut into 1cm pieces* (James uses baby leeks)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar*
  • 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar*
  • 450ml water
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 200g ricotta
  • pinch of salt*
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil*

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7550)Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7551)

In a large pan, pour in the vinegar, sugar and water. Bring to the boil and add the chopped leeks. Bring to the boil once more, then cover the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the leeks turn soft. Remove the leeks from the pan and drain (you don’t need the liquid).

Turn the grill on to high. Using the sharpest knife you have (taking care it doesn’t go on your fingers) cut the already chopped pieces of leeks in half and place them on a baking tray or tin. Top them with the dried chilli and chunks of ricotta. Grill for 5 minutes until the ricotta turns a little golden.

Sweet and Sour Leeks with Ricotta (7558)

I will try this with some glazed ham, when the weather’s cooler. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Adapted from Takes 5 by James Tanner, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2010.)

Honey-glazed carrots.

Glazed-Carrots-(5156)

This is such a simple side dish which can be prepared in minutes, when you’re in a hurry or you need just one more thing for supper. J really likes it and although it’s not one of my favourites I can honestly say that I do need to eat veggies more often!

You just need to have at hand some carrots, usually one or two per person, a knob of butter (around 25g) and two tablespoons of honey. All you need to do is to wash and peel and chop the carrots. To avoid chopping you can even use baby carrots. (Fresh please – not from the tin.) Drop the butter in a very hot pan and tip the carrots in. Stir well and cook for around 10 minutes, depending on how al dente or not you like your vegetables to be. Finally add the honey and leave to bubble for another 5 minutes.

If you like you can season with salt and pepper but since this is meant to show off the sweetness of the carrots I wouldn’t suggest using too much. A quick and easy recipe – just what you need when you have guests at home…

A note for those who don’t like honey – you can also use some dark brown sugar in it’s place. Around 2 tablespoons will do.

Enjoy!

Rob x