Aspiring domestic goddess, though progress is being hampered by two adorable children. Join me for a hard earned cup of tea whilst I share with you my latest cooking exploits. Luckily I have a mostly willing family and friends who are willing to try, taste and tell me what they think. Come right in and enjoy!
I have really looked forward to blogging for #babel14, or DMB14, the Day of Multilingual Blogging. Last year, I blogged in English and French about Banana Cake, and this year I decided to go for something more savoury. I have been watching the wonderful Tom Kerridge on BBC television here in the United Kingdom and I so want to cook everything that he has made so far. I tried his dish for Lush Lemon Pepper Chicken and it tasted absolutely amazing. It was also very easy to make.
I adapted the original recipe by substituting thyme for rosemary. I was also a little concerned that my potatoes wouldn't cook so to make sure I cut some of the bigger ones in half.
I served this with shredded cabbage and leek, which I sautéed in some butter with seasoning. Definitely lush!
There is a French translation of this recipe and you can find it here.
Lush lemon pepper chicken, adapted from 'Best Ever Dishes' by Tom Kerridge
Ingredients For the marinade
4 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, peeled, grated
3-4 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
2 lemons, zest and juice
For the lemon pepper chicken
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed, each breast scored three or four times using a sharp knife 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, thinly sliced
700g/1½lb baby new potatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, to serve
For the marinade, mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
For the lemon pepper chicken, rub some of the marinade into the chicken, getting into the slashes you have made. Then place the chicken breasts in a bowl and pour over the remaining marinade. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to two hours.
When the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Put the sprigs of thyme and lemon slices in the bottom of a roasting tray. Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray, slicing them in half if necessary if you think there are some that are too big. This will enable even cooking. Then place the marinated chicken breasts on top of the potatoes. Give the chicken a final coating of marinade and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes and the chicken are cooked (the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when pierced in the thickest part with a skewer).
Cover the roasting tray with aluminium foil and set the chicken aside to rest for 10-15 minutes. Just before serving, scatter over the parsley.
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Il y a une versionanglaise decette recette. Vous pouvez le trouverici.
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Lushpouletdepoivre au citron, adapté de'Best Ever Dishes'parTomKerridge
Pour la marinade
4 cuillères à soupede miel liquide
2 cuillères à soupede moutarde de Dijon
3 gousses d'ail, pelées, râpées
3-4cde poivre noir concassé, au goût
2 citrons, le zeste et le jus
Pourle pouletdepoivre au citron
4ospoitrines de pouletsans peau, chaque seina marqué troisouquatre foisl'aide d'uncouteau bien aiguisé4-5brins de thymfrais
Pour la marinade, mélanger tous lesingrédients de la marinadedans un bolet bien mélanger.
Pourle pouletdepoivre au citron, frotter un peudela marinade dansle pouletmarqué, puis placer lespoitrines de pouletdans un bolet verser sur lereste de la marinade. Couvrir le bolavecune pellicule de plastiqueet réfrigérerau réfrigérateur pendantau moins 10 minutesetjusqu'à deux heures.
Quand le pouletmarinéa, préchauffer le four à200C/400F/Gas6.
Disposer lesbrins de thymetde tranches de citrondans le fondd'unplat à rôtir. Versez lespommes de terredans leplat à rôtir, puis placer lespoitrines de pouletmarinéessur le dessusdespommes de terre. Donnezle pouletunrevêtement finaldela marinadeet assaisonnerau goûtavecle sel et lepoivre noir fraîchement moulu.
Rôtipendant 30-35 minutes, oujusqu'à ce que lespommes de terre etle pouletsont cuits(le poulet soit bien cuitlorsquele jus soit clairquand il est percédanslapartie la plus épaisseavec une brochette).
Couvrir leplat à rôtiravec du papier d'aluminium etmettrele pouletde côtépour se reposerpendant 10-15 minutes. Juste avant de servir, répartissez dessusle persil.
I don't make enough cakes for this blog, or for anybody or anything, really. And I should, because I have really enjoyed pottering around in my kitchen, whisking and tasting and creating something that looks ever so pretty. And whatever else I make and do, baking is the biggest challenge; it's a scientific thing; no hurling of a bit of this and a bit of that, hoping that something amazing will take place. Oh no, it's 'get the scales out' time. And be prepared to take the consequences if you stray too far from the path.
However, there was a little straying that took place here in terms of the ingredients for this recipe. In my Hummingbird Bakery cook book, this started out as lemon and raspberry, but I decided to ring the changes by turning this into a blueberry cake, for blueberries and cakes are lovely. I'm thinking blueberry muffins, yum.
There are some significant adaptations to the original recipe therefore, and it doesn't really bare too much resemblance to the original. I substituted yoghurt for the original buttermilk, as I have a memory of a lemon cake made with yoghurt which was completely delicious. I also tripled the lemon zest content - If a cake is going to be lemon cake, then it has to be lemon. I don't want you to think that this 'zings' with too much lemon; it doesn't. It 'sings'. Just the way I like it.
I don't like making icing with the usual full fat cream cheese. It's too unstable and I think it turns frosting to liquid without too much sleight of hand. I prefer Mascarpone. It is far more well behaved and I love the creaminess it beings to frosting. The frosting below is ample for this cake -you could frost the sides if you wanted, but I decided on less is more and left the remainder of the frosting to be devoured by a passing Lola, or Finn, or dad.
Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake
Cuts into 10 - 12 slices
For the sponge
110g unsalted butter, softened
380g caster sugar
320g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
320ml natural yoghurt
zest of three lemons and the juice of one
3 large eggs
salt to taste
80g blueberry jam
For the frosting:
I tend to eyeball and taste frosting to get it to the consistency that I want, but it goes a little bit like this:
150g unsalted butter, softened
250g mascarpone cheese
500g icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest of a lemon
A handful of blueberries
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line two large cake tins with greaseproof paper.
Make the sponge by creaming the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, putting a couple of spoonfuls of flour in with the last egg to prevent the mixture from splitting.
Add the zest and the lemon juice and mix until combined.
Lastly, add the flour and the baking powder and the yoghurt alternatively, taking care not to overbeat. Mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the frosting by gradually mixing the butter, the mascarpone, the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice and together on a low speed with the electric whisk until combined and there are no large lumps of butter and the icing has lost its grainy texture.
Once the sponges are cool, assemble the cake by placing one layer on a large plate.
Spread with a layer of blueberry jam and top with 3-4tbsp of frosting, smoothing out with a palette knife.
Sandwich the second layer on top and frost the top of the cake (and the sides if you want).
Decorate with a few blueberries, some lemon zest and a sprinkling of icing sugar.
Day 4 of my blogging marathon. I am posting every day this week because who knows when I will be able to post again once I am back at work. Who knows if I will ever be able to cook again let's be honest, let alone take pictures of it and then blog about it. Anyway, in the spirit of running my freezer down so I can stock them in the lead up to Christmas full of cut price whoopsies and mark downs, I have been scouring the lower echelons of the freezer for something to defrost and cook. Lo and behold I found pork chops, which I quite like but they don't really do for some of the others in the Lola and Finn household, especially dad, who has pronounced pork as tasteless on many occasions. And, in all fairness to him, he is probably right. I think pork can be quite disappointing, especially supermarket pork, which this was. So, a quick Google turned up a Rachael Ray recipe which I thought would be great for ramping up the flavour a bit. I adapted the recipe to what I had, my adaptations listed in red, below. The notable change I made was leaving the sauce chunky by not blitzing the peppers in a food processor. I preferred the idea
Have to give a big shout out to Manchego rice by the way. I bought some Manchego cheese from the supermarket ages ago because it was a whoopsie, and after using it once, it was starting to look a bit sorry and dried out in the fridge. Some vigorous grating later and it was given a new lease of life, as was the rice, which was really tasty. Lola has confessed that she could probably eat buckets of the stuff.
Pork Chops with Chorizo and Pepper Sauce with Manchego Rice, adapted from the original recipe by Rachael Ray, which you can find here.
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad generously
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1/2 tablespoon paprika or smoked sweet paprika, half a palm full ( I used paprika 'picante')
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound chorizo, casing removed, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, 4 sprigs (I used a tsp of dried thyme)
1 (16-ounce) jar pequillo peppers or roasted red peppers, drained (I used 250g of frozen peppers, defrosted)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, a couple of generous handfuls
1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine, eyeball it (I used white wine)
Manchego Cheesy Rice:
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups white rice
3 cups chicken stock
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup grated Manchego cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Season the chops with paprika, salt, and pepper. Place chops in skillet and sear meat to caramelise, about 2 minutes each side.
Start to cook the rice (the actual method for the rice is below)
Transfer the chops to a baking sheet and place in the oven to finish off, 8 to 10 minutes, or until meat is firm to touch, but not tough. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest covered with a piece of aluminium foil for a few minutes.
While the chops are in the oven, return the frying pan to the cook top over medium heat. Add the diced chorizo and cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes or until the chorizo starts to release its paprika tinted juices. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cook meat and onions for about 3 minutes.
Add the wine to the chorizo and onions and stir, then add the chopped peppers. Cook another minute or two or until the peppers are heated through.
Place a chop on each dinner plate and top with the chorizo-roasted pepper sauce. At this point, the rice should be ready to add the cheese and parsley to (see below):
Manchego Cheesy Rice:
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add rice and toast in butter for a couple of minutes.
Add stock and bring rice up to a boil.
Cook the rice until it is tender and liquids are absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff rice with fork, then stir in the parsley and cheese. Season the rice with salt and pepper, to taste.
If I was having one of those bonfire type gatherings, this would be my food of choice, because it is easy to scale up or down, looks as well atop a jacket potato as it does on some fluffy rice, and warms your bones as you stand out watching hundreds of thousands of pretty sparks shoot across an inky sky. Of course, some carefully chosen alcohol would also keep you warm against the cold, but it doesn't keep your hands warm as you wrap your hand around the glass, whereas a bowl of this stuff warms you inside and out, and tastes splendid.
Buffalo. I am not deliberately trying to be fancy. The fact is, it was at the back of the freezer, almost in the permafrost (I need to defrost the freezer) and I bought it because it was cheap. In reality, this is how I acquire the vast majority of some of the weirder ingredients in my freezer - if it has a yellow sticker, then it will be bought for some point in the future, and as far as the buffalo is concerned, that point has now been reached. You could obviously use diced beef; It would still be tremendous.
I kept the chilli reasonably tame because of Lola and Finn who aren't fond of eating anything which feels like it should be on fire. You should be far more liberal if fire eating happens to be your thing.
If you cook this really slow, you should produce unctuous chunks of beef which you theoretically cut with a spoon, and like most dishes of this nature, it is amazingly good the day after. And if you really go for it you could freeze vats of the stuff to be eaten on another random winter night, minus fireworks, when you need something to defrost your bones.
Buffalo Chilli, loosely based on any recipe or any version of chilli or a stew that I have ever made.
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad, plus 1 other, generously
1 chipotle chilli
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 peppers - I went for all red - diced
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 fresh green chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
800g diced buffalo (or diced beef)
3 garlic cloves
250ml beef stock
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
3 x 400g tins of kidney beans
1 tbsp. fresh coriander stalks
Soak the chipotle chilli in a few tablespoons of water until it is soft. Whilst this is happening, you should crack on with the rest of the method.
Heat 2 of the tbsp. of oil in a suitable pot/pan that will be big enough to take all the ingredients later on.
Add the onion, the peppers, the chilli, the coriander stalks and the celery with some salt and saute until soft but not coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the rest of the oil into the pan and then add the meat. You should cook the buffalo until it is well browned; consider doing this in a couple of batches as you want the beef to brown, not steam. Add the chopped garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook the garlic only until fragrant and then add the beef stock. Deglaze the pan with the stock and bring it to the boil.
Return the pepper mixture to the pan and add the herbs and spices.
Add the tomatoes and the kidney beans and some seasoning. You will need a good amount of seasoning so don't be shy.
Lastly, remove the chipotle chilli from the soaking liquid and chop finely. Add this and the soaking liquid to the mixture and stir well.
I simmered this, covered with a tightly fitting lid, on a really low heat for a couple of hours, checking it now and then to ensure it wasn't boiling dry. After a couple of hours gentle simmering, I removed the lid and raised the heat to reduce the sauce to the consistency that I like.