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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

We had Jess and Sergio over for dinner the other night to repay them for the Catalan feast… Finding it difficult to think of a classic British starter, without the fresh ingredients that I grew up with readily available, I decided to serve a miniature version of an English breakfast as a fairly small opener. It worked really well. I would have liked to have done  something really fancy with the presentation, opting instead, due to a severe lack of  inspiration, to keep things simple.

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 4 small sausages
  • 4 quails eggs
  • baked beans
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Method

Fry the tomato in a little olive oil at a high temperature. grill the sausage and bacon. Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil with the garlic for about 15 minutes, heat the baked beans. toast the bread and cut into circles, finally fry the quails eggs in a little olive oil for a minute or so, until the white is cooked. Assemble and serve immediately.

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Spanish food overload lead me to a small Chinese grocery store near our house. I easily found all the ingredients listed in this recipe from a Wagamama cookbook. Wagamama is a chain of restaurants in England that serves Asian food. I ate there in February and enjoyed every bite. It makes just enough for 2 people. Can I just say that this isn’t an advertisement, we just borrowed the Wagamama cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) Japanese or short-grain rice
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • oil (vegetable or otherwise)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger root
  • 1 large courgette, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shaoshing rice wine
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method

Cook rice until tender then set aside. The recipe recommends grilling the chicken, but I don’t have a grill, so I sauteed it in oil for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. Set the chicken aside.

In a wok or large pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the courgette, wait a minute, then add the wine and water. Bring all the ingredients to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the sugar and the oyster sauce.

In order to thicken the sauce you need to mix the cornflour in a cup with a few drops of cold water. It should turn into a paste. Take 2 tablespoons of the liquid in the pan and incorporate it to the cornflour paste. Then put the cornflour paste in the pan with the vegetables. Bring mixture back to a boil. At this point you should stir in the sesame oil.

Serve the rice on two plates. Cut the chicken into strips and place the strips on top of the rice. Pour the sauce on top and enjoy! Below are some pictures from the restaurant taken on our recent trip to London…


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Cooked a very simple, yet delicious Tuna Nicoise, salad for lunch. Found some great new potatoes to go with this and made a dressing with Dijon mustard.

Ingredients

serves 2

for the salad

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 4 small new potatoes
  • salad leaves
  • 1 tomato sliced into eighths
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced

for the dressing

  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

for the eggs

Place the eggs in cold water in pan. Bring to the boil and once boiling cook for a further 5 minutes for sof boiled and 7 for hard boiled. When the time is up, plunge the eggs into cold water to stop the cooking process.

for the dressing

2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Then add Dijon mustard to taste and a little salt and pepper. Then lightly dress your salad and assemble your ingredients.


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Huevos Rotos, or broken eggs, is a classic Spanish dish which I genuinely love. It is really simple, but relies on really good ingredients. The eggs should be free range and really fresh, the Jamon or cured ham, of good quality and of course, like all Spanish dishes, it is all in the execution. The most famous place to get this dish in Madid is at Casa Lucio’s on Cava Baja, La Latina’s most famous street. Casa Lucio serves huevos rotos to the rich and famous, Hilary Clinton, The King of Spain, Juan Carlos II and Will Smith to mention a few, not all at the same time I don’t think but who knows… The dish really varies from place to place, but I like to serve it with Jamon and Pimiemtos de Padron.

Ingredients

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 free range fresh eggs
  • 8 pimientos de padron
  • a few slices of jamon serrano
  • salt
  • olive oil

Method

Chop the potatoes into the shape you want. I went for fries, as a preference, some dice the potatoes, others slice into chips.

Meanwhile heat a large amount of olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, carefully put the potatoes in, as there is a risk of being burnt by the hot oil. Cook in the oil for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked and going crispy. Set aside. Now in another frying pan, heat a little olive oil on a medium heat in preparation for cooking the eggs. Fry the eggs for a few minutes until dine to your taste, spooning hot oil over the yolk to cook the white. I like the whites of the eggs to be cooked but the yolk quite runny so it drips down over the potatoes. When they are done, place them on top of the potatoes, and the “break” them with a knife and fork allowing the yolk to drizzle of the potatoes. Place some thin slices of jamon on top, garnish with pimientos de padron and serve immediately. Hope you like this classic Spanish dish.

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Beef Burgers

Decided to make burgers tonight for our friends… Bought some top quality beef from the market and added all of the trimmings. We have a pub quiz team, which often trades under the name Hamburgers and Guns, so it’s sort of in honour of that. Sometimes only a good ol’ burger will do. And for Nancy a taste of home. AMERICA YEAH.

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 1 kg beef,
  • 2 red onions finely diced
  • 1 red chilli (optional) finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Cilantro/coriander chopped  (optional)

Method

Fry the onions in olive oil on a medium heat for about 5 minutes or so until they go translucent. Set aside to go cold. This stops them from being crunchy when you bite the burger. Now make the patties, in a bowl add all of the ingredients and bind them together. Make into patties, not too thick otherwise it’ll be difficult to cook.

Heat some olive oil in a pan, when hot add the patties and reduce the heat to medium.Cook for about 10- 15 minutes or until they are cooked to your liking. Serve in a toasted bun with the salad and dressings of your choice. Anyway you know what to do, you’ve had a burger before.

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Macaroni Cheese

An old favourite and another taste of childhood. Sometimes I think that we get caught up trying to aspire to some sort of fine dining experience nightly, however, I think my favourite food is always peasant fodder. I mean, Spanish cuisine is all about simplicity, cheap, good ingredients cooked simply and well, from Fabada in the north, to Migas in the south west and Paella in the east. Anyway, I digress, but will definitely return to this topic. So anyway, mac and cheese… this is our take, and a classic version at that.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 250 grams elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Method

This recipe turned out fairly dry and if I did it again I would use less breadcrumbs and add more sauce and cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta in boiling water for roughly 7 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, make a roux by heat butter in a large saucepan until melted and slowly add the flour, stirring the whole time, until it begins to thicken. Add the milk in a slow stream, still stirring, until all liquid is incorprated. Continue stirring over heat for about 1 or 2 minutes. until sauce is thick.

Drain pasta and combine in a bowl with cheddar cheese and sauce. Stir together and pour into shallow baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top of the macaroni. Finally, cut 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter them on top of the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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Quiche Lorraine

We bought this flan dish last month, so I decided to make another quiche today. Decided to go “classic” and made Quiche Lorraine. I used general advice from Julia Child, but really kind of improvised, i.e I added some Cheddar cheese. The last quiche I made was good, but the advice I took was to add a layer of grated cheese to the base of the pastry, but on this version, I decided to incorporate the cheese into the mixture. For the pastry, follow our previous post. I like the simplicity of the recipe… there is no excessive whisking, just combine the ingredients and your good to go.

Ingredients

for the pastry

  • 175 g plain flour
  • 75 g butter
  • pinch of salt

for the quiche mix

  • 1 cup of double cream
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100 g of lardons

Method

Make the pastry, follow the instructions in our previous post for Spinach, Cheddar, Roquefort Quiche. Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Fry the lard-ons in butter for a few minutes, set aside and cool. Then mix together the cream, milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then pour the mixture on to the pastry base. Then evenly sprinkle the grated cheese and the lardons on top of the mixture. They should sink. Place on a tray in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes until you get a nice golden colour on top. Serve hot or cold with a nice salad.

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