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Archive for July, 2011

Helllooooo 😀

Hope you are all good!  How bloody quick are these weeks flying in?  I wish time would slow down a bit.  Anyone found the formula for squeezing extra hours into the day yet?  I’m honestly grudging the hours I spend sleeping, feeling I could be doing something more productive! 

“Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror.  It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.”  Martin Amis, Money

(Note – I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s on my To Be Read list after a quote like that!)

But that’s enough about me…

Last week, I spoke about the Honey Mustard Chicken recipe I made.  Here it is, in all it’s splendour.  It’s an excellent midweek meal, and one I have made twice already (in the space of about a month).  I got it from the BBC Good Food Website (see the original recipe here).

The thing I like most about this recipe (apart from the taste), is that I can bung everything into one dish and get on with other things.  The first time I tried it, I used parsnips, as per the recipe, and cooked it on the hob, in my big soup pot.  This time, however, I used carrots (there were no parsnips), and made it as a casserole. 

I only had 2 chicken breasts on this occasion (which was fine, as I was only cooking for two), but kept all the other ingredient measures the same.  I now have a lovely tub of honey mustard carrots in the freezer, which I will serve with the Steak & Ale Pie I intend to make tomorrow (and will post about next week!)

Heres is what I did:

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

3 carrots, cut into even sized sticks

2 onions, diced

300ml vegetable stock (I used a veg Oxo cube)

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp clear honey

1 tsp dried rosemary 

First, I preheated the oven to 180 degrees.

In my casserole dish, I placed the carrots, onions and chicken.  I seasoned well with salt and pepper, and sprinkled over my rosemary.

In a jug, I mixed together the stock, mustard and honey.  The picture goes for your eyes, doesn’t it?

I poured the liquid into my casserole dish and gave everything a good stir.  It’s now ready for the oven; I let it bubble away for 1 ½ hours 🙂

I served this with some potato & swede mash and a helping of marrowfat peas.  Delish.

This is a good, hearty, cheap meal.  I’m sure you could serve it with something fancy (like my Boulangère Potatoes, perhaps? 😉 Or what about couscous?) if you are out to impress.

Oh… remember when I said “that’s enough about me”?  I lied.  I just want to thank everyone who wished me luck on my Philosophy exam.  I passed! 😀  Now, when I drunkenly ponder the meaning of life, I can pretend to have substance behind my words. 😉

Have a lovely week everyone x

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Hellooo, how has your week been?

I was intending to post a Honey Mustard Chicken recipe, but I forgot my USB cable to get the photos off my phone (doh!  Next week, I promise).  No matter… I came across some pics of a Parmesan & Mushroom risotto I made a couple of months back.  How did that one manage to slip my bloggy grasp?

Risotto is one of my favourite things to make.  I don’t regard myself as a particularly excellent cook, but I can make a good risotto (so I’ve been told).  I think alot of people think it’s hard, when it’s not.  It requires effort, in the stirring, but it’s certainly not hard.  

As much as I love to cook, I’m notorious for overcooking pasta and undercooking rice; things that novice cooks are confident doing!  So I’m thrilled that I can at least get this right…

My friend Heather tried my Chicken & Chorizo and absolutely adored it… “De-fu**in-licious” were her exact words!  😛 so I hope this one creates a similar response!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

300g arborio rice

250g mushrooms, sliced

100g parmesan cheese, grated (plus an extra handful for sprinkling on top when it’s ready)

1 onion, diced

1 tbsp parsley

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 glass white wine

1 litre chicken stock

knob of butter, for frying

I fried the onions in the butter until they went translucent (around 5 mins), then added the mushrooms.  After a further 5 mins, I added the risotto.  I like to toast the risotto slightly, before adding liquid to it (only for a minute or two).

I added my herbs and vinegar, then the wine.  Next, I poured in my first ladle of stock.  Stirring continuously, I let it absorb into the rice, before adding my second ladle. 

I repeat this process until the rice is “al dente” (around 25 mins).  There was still a ladleful of stock left at this point.  But I’d rather have too much stock than not enough!  I turned the heat off and added my parmesan, then stirred it all in to create creamy, cheesy wonderment… mmmmm.

I sprinkled with some extra parmesan and served with garlic bread for Michelle and her friend David, before they went to watch Kylie perform in the SECC (two nights in a row, might I add!).  I’m sure this is a good meal for soaking up the alcohol haha 🙂

This is a fabulous mid-week meal, but wouldn’t look out of place in a more formal setting.  If people want to think risotto takes lots of craft and skill… then let them (and prepare to impress!) 😉

Of course, you can substitute the chicken stock for veg if you want to make it Vegetarian, but unless they’ve invented Vegan Parmesan, that’s as far as it stretches (ok, I’m sure you could substitute for a Vegan cheese too; I can’t vouch for the taste though!)

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and I’ll see you next Wednesday! 😀 x

 

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Helloooo 🙂

I hope you are all well!

In my last post, I spoke about how I would blog every Wednesday from now on.  And what happened?  I missed my first Wednesday!  Normal service has resumed, however.  I was just too busy last week, getting prepared for the T in the Park festival.  Yes, we had a wonderful time, thanks for asking! 😀

(Everyone apart from my Bro, who is taking the pic!)

Today’s recipe is one that I made up myself, after browsing many (hundred) chilli recipes and deciding which ingredients I liked best.  I’m not a big fan of spiciness; this is a nice, tame version that would be good for children!

You may think I’m weird for what I’m about to say… but I’ve only ever eaten chilli once before.  Even then, it was only a small bit, with the kidney beans picked out.  I’m so sheltered!  Colin is a fan of chilli, so I made it my business to get it learned!

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

500g lean beef mince

2 large onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 sweet pointed peppers (any peppers will be fine though, I just thought they looked good)

250g mushrooms, sliced

2tbsp chilli powder

2tbsp dried oregano

1tbsp ground cinnamon

2tbsp paprika

3 bay leaves

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, drained

3tbsp tomato puree

1tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar

150ml (1/2 pint) beef stock (I used a stock cube)

1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

First I browned the mince, then added the onions.  After 5 mins, I then popped the garlic, mushrooms and peppers into the pot. 

Next, I added my herbs & spices, my tomatoes, puree, brown sugar, Worcester sauce and stock. 

I seasoned it well, with salt and pepper.  In went the bay leaves, then I simmered for 1 hour (stirring occasionally).

Next, I removed the bay leaves and put my kidney beans into the pot for 10 more minutes.

I served this with brown rice and a little side salad.  Very healthy indeed!  I could be doing with some healthy food after all that crappy (and hideously overpriced) festival food.

I really enjoyed this chilli, and would recommend it to anyone who is tentative, like me, about spicy food.  I have two tubs of it in the freezer, and I plan to have one of them over a baked potato, with a sprinkling of cheddar over the top… mmmh!

Next time, I’m going to replace the kidney beans with normal baked beans, like my big Brother’s girlfriend Lindsay does with her chilli.  Aside from that, the recipe will stay the same; Colin said it tastes like chilli, so thats good enough for me!

See you next Wednesday 🙂 x

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