Friday, 23 May 2008

Warm Chicken Salad

Summer is finally here! At least I hope it is, this time last year I can remember a coach trip to the beach in the lashing rain and freezing cold. This year however things are looking up, the sun has been shining and it's warm, that means out with stews and casseroles, and in with barbecues, cold drinks and salads.

Warm chicken salad (5)

Today I made a warm chicken salad to make use of some delicious Jersey Royal potatoes we had in our vegetable rack. These potatoes are unique in that they are only grown on the tiny island of Jersey which is the most southerly point of Britain, just 14 miles from the French coast. They enjoy Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which means they cannot be grown anywhere else, they have a very short season and are highly sought after for there unique flavour. The story goes that they were discovered in 1878 in a field of ordinary potatoes but, the potatoes from one particular plant were all kidney shaped, this become known as the Jersey fluke and it is from this plant that all Jersey Royals originate.

I wanted to make the most of them while they're around and so I found a recipe from the blog Fig and Cherry which looked fantastic, I followed it almost exactly except I have just returned from Spain with some delicious Chorizo sausage so I added some of that as well.

The Result?.... Well I was very impressed with this recipe, it looks great and the addition of toasted pine nuts add a wonderful contrast in texture and flavour, I will definitely be making this again. Next time though I think I will add crispy bacon and maybe a diced avocado. 

The recipe taken from Fig and Cherry can be found here.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Friday Thai-day, Thai Green Chicken Curry

Last Friday I finally got around to using a jar of Thai green curry paste that I've had in my cupboard for at least a year! I trawled the Internet for a recipe but found so many variations that in the end I just went my own way. My version is really very simple and absolutely delicious (good because I have enough paste for about ten more!) I don't know how authentically Thai this is but i'll be making it again and soon.
Mine was a chicken curry although I think it would be good with prawns as well.

I served this with Jasmine rice, it was the first time I'd tried it and I'm so glad I did, it's slightly sticky and just right with this kind of food.

Roughly this is how to make it
  • First fry a finely chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic until just softened but not brown.
  • Then add a chopped sweet red pepper.
  • followed by diced chicken, I prefer thighs but breast is fine, I allow 1/2pound per person.
  • Stir in a good dollop of Thai green curry paste. (sorry I can't be more precise, it really depends how hot you want it)
  • When everything is cooking nicely add a tin of coconut milk stir and simmer for about 20-30 mins.
  • Towards the end of cooking time add baby corn, sugar snap peas and fresh coriander, season with Thai fish sauce to taste. (this takes the place of salt)
  • Serve on Jasmine rice with fresh coriander and a wedge of lime.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Chocolate beetroot cake, a strange combination?

For anyone who has seen The Vicar of Dibley this recipe might remind you of Mrs Cropley, the character famous for her "interesting" recipes, Lard and fish paste pancake anyone?
Well when I first heard of putting beetroot in a chocolate cake I must admit Mrs Cropley came to mind!
That was a long time ago and ever since I first heard of chocolate beetroot cake, strange though it sounds I've been intrigued. There are quite a few recipes around so obviously there are a few people out there who think it's a good idea, rather than just one mad cook!
Anyway I finally got my chance to try it this week when we received three beetroot in our veg box.
The result was surprisingly good, it was very moist and certainly not disgusting, we ate the whole thing pretty quickly! Unlike in carrot cake however where there is no carroty taste at all, there was a definite hint of beetroot in the background, I think I might try this cake again substituting carrots for the beetroot as they have a milder flavour. Overall a good cake and worth trying.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Gruesome Grey Mullet

Although this picture looks a bit gruesome, like a fish spewing it's lemony guts, it is in fact a stuffed Grey mullet.Right now my culinary challenge is to expand my fishy horizons, there are so many fantastic looking fish out there that I have never tried So when I saw this Grey Mullet, even though I had never cooked or eaten one before I decided to buy it.
I was however assuming there would be plenty of information about it on the internet, as it turns out there isn't!
So I did what I do with a lot of fish, stuffed it with sliced lemon, parsley onion and butter and roasted it in the oven wrapped in foil.
It tasted great, I think this fish is highly underrated, it's a bit like Sea Bass and Silver Bream, oily and mild in flavour, well worth trying if you get the chance.

While I was looking at the fish stall I saw they were selling Catfish and a strange looking fish called a Garfish. If anyone knows what to do with them I'd love to know!