Thursday 31 October 2013

Butter Bean Bacon and Autumnal Squash Stew

I love dried beans, and with the weather really getting more troublesome with cold temperatures and even colder rain, I like to stock up and just have them around for really comforting dinner. I’ve also been trying my hand at bread making so this is an excellent accompaniment. I never knew that butter beans were lima beans. I used to think I hated lima beans as a child. I think it must be because when I was a child they came in a can and were green. Who knows, but my recipe for the lima beans now is amazing and I love it. Either I know how to cook them now or I was just a silly child. Probably both. I generally don’t soak my beans as I like the idea of having a pot cooking all day, but if you’re pressed for time and have the time to soak them in advance, I would soak them over night. This serves about 5 depending on your hunger levels. Enjoy!

500g hard squash (butternut, pumpkin, red kobacha etc..)
400g dry butter beans
100g streaky bacon (about 6-8 rashers)
1 large onion
1 stick celery
1 green pepper
4 cloves garlic
2-3 litres of water
2 tbsp. bouillon powder (stock cubes work too)
1 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste

To Start:
Peel and dice your squash. Be careful with this; use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting surface.
Dice your onion, celery, bacon and green pepper and garlic. (The garlic can be smashed and stay whole as it will be cooked for a long time it will just disintegrate).

To Cook:
Heat a large pan on high, and add the bacon. Stir it around and encourage it to get crispy. 5-6 minutes.
Next add in the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Stir around for a few minutes (you may need to add oil depending on how fatty your bacon is)
Add the beans, water, pepper (no salt yet) and bouillon cubes and bring up to a boil.
Once at a rolling hard boil, turn down to a low-med heat (small boil).
Cook for about 2-3 hours, or until beans are completely soft and cooked through.
Salt to taste and serve hot with fresh bread.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Cajun Style Dirty Rice

Sometimes things can never make you feel as happy as things from back home. Now, while I'm not quite Cajun, I am close enough in Texas. I used to make this dish (maybe not so traditionally) all the time for my roomates and friends who would come over. I have never made it with the chicken livers before but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It gives it a really lovely depth of flavor. I'm a sucker for offal so this was just up my alley. It's really simple to prepare, and you can use any leftover rice that you have. This recipe serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are! Enjoy!

250g lean pork mince
200g chicken livers
3c. cooked rice
1 stick celery
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (If you don't have this add equal parts, cayenne, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper)
1 tbsp. oil
1c vegetable stock (maybe less, eye it)
Fresh parsley

To Start:
If you haven't boiled your rice, boil your rice according to the instructions.
Dice finely, peppers, onion, celery and garlic.
Dice the chicken livers to a mince and set aside.
Heat the oil in a hot pan and add the pork mince to brown.
Next add in the onions, celery, pepper and garlic.
Fry down for a few minutes until the peppers and onions have softened.
Add the chicken livers and stir around until thoroughly cooked. About 5 minutes.

To Finish:
Add the hot rice and mix thoroughly, along with the Cajun spice, and about a quarter of the stock)
Simmer on the stove for a few minutes.
Mix around and add more stock to combine ingredients.
When everything is warmed through, taste for seasoning then add the parsley.

Friday 25 October 2013

Cod in Tomato Thyme Sauce

This is the simplest recipe to make when you're in a hurry. It's also really healthy for you if you're watching your calories! I know a few people who don't like fish that have really enjoyed this. This rich tomato sauce is a lovely compliment to the white flaky fish. You can add any herbs you want but I think fresh thyme goes the best here. Don't skimp on the garlic either! Serves 2-3. Enjoy!

400g white fish such as cod, haddock etc..
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
½ tbsp. olive oil
Few sprigs fresh thyme (1 tsp. dry thyme will work as well)
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Dice your onions, chop your garlic and get a pan hot.
Heat the oil and saute the onions for a few moments.
Next add the garlic, and tomatoes, and thyme.
Bring to a bowl then down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. (trust me simmering does the world of good)

To Finish:
Add the brown sugar
Place the fish pieces in the sauce.
Spoon over some of the sauce onto the fish pieces.
Cover and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Serve over toasty brown rice.

Friday 11 October 2013

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

I loved smoked haddock (the undyed kind of course). I was looking for some inspiration for a dish and I came across kedgeree which was surprisingly British to my knowledge. It's traditionally served as a brunch dish but I decided to give it a go as a dinner option and it worked out great! I really love the combination of egg and smoked haddock, it's almost like a very non-traditional Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon! Either way, I think anyone should try this because it's dead easy, and you can use smoked salmon if you cant' find the haddock. Just skip the poaching process and flake it in at the very end with the eggs. As a dinner this fed 2, but you could easily double it, or serve it at a brunch and make the portion smaller! Enjoy.

200g basmati rice (1c.)
150g undyed smoked haddock
1 onion
½ c. red pepper diced
½ c. frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs - Soft boiled
300ml milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3-4 cloves
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
handful fresh coriander
handful fresh parsley
1 medium tomato

To Start:
Begin by poaching the fish in the milk, mustard seeds, cloves and bay leaves. Poach for about 15 minutes then set aside.
Bring the eggs and a small pan up to boil, boil for 4-5 minutes, turn off and take the eggs out and put them in ice water. Set aside

For the Dish:
Dice the onion and peppers.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan until hot, toss in the onions, red pepper and garlic. Toss around until fragrant.
Add the curry powder, turmeric, coriander and rice and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Stirring constantly.
When the onions are soft add two cups of water, half the coriander and parsley and bring up to a boil, place the lid on and turn down to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

To Finish:
Remove the haddock from the poaching liquid and flake.
Peel the eggs and cut into quarters.
Dice the tomato.
When the rice is done take off heat, add the fish, the rest of the herbs, half the eggs, tomatoes and frozen peas. Mix thoroughly being careful not to smash the rice.
Serve when hot and garnish with the rest of the egg.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples

I love pork tenderloin, it couldn’t be more simple and delicious. When paired with roasted apples it is a treat for the senses. I do mine very simply by searing in a hot pan and roasting in the oven. This is when a meat thermometer becomes very handy. I like my tenderloin with an internal temperature of 150C I think that allows for a medium cook and the meat still be plenty cooked but maintaining all the moisture. This serves 3, but tenderloins vary in size so get one that will suit your family and keep a look out on the temperature in the thickest part. Enjoy!

600g pork tenderloin
2-3 apples
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt + pepper
Fresh thyme leaves

To start:
Take your tenderloin out about 30 minutes before you want to cook, this helps the meat get to room temperature and will cook properly through.
Heat the oven to 190C or 350F and on a clean surface spread out a few sprinkles of salt, and the thyme leaves and some of the oil, roll the entire tenderloin in it to cover it thoroughly with salt, thyme and oil.
Heat the rest of the oil in a pan until very hot. Sear the tenderloin on all sides, place on a pan with some chunks of apples and roast for about 40-45 minutes, checking the temperature towards the end.