Tag Archives: food

Another fantastic Jamie recipe

Jon’s been off all this week being a proper house-husband. He’s tidied, he’s washed, he’s DIYed, he’s shopped and he’s cooked.

In the same manner as all those old school sitcoms where the mother asks the husband or the children what they want for dinner and all reply in a careless manner “whatever”, I was asked the day before yesterday for my preference for that night’s dinner. As I didn’t want to have to answer “whatever”, I grabbed Jamie’s 30 minute cookbook and I had a quick look… Lots of pasta, maybe a curry… Until something caught my eye: Piri Piri chicken.

We love Nando’s, we go there quite often (maybe more often than we should) but somehow I had a feeling that Jamie’s piri piri was going to be different to the one we’ve come to know and love so  much. So that’s what I chose!

I must say I didn’t cook any of it, I only helped Jon a bit with the potatoes.. So if someone has to comment on the ease/difficulty of the recipe, it would have to be him. All I can say is that everything was delicious and we will be making those potatoes again!

So here we go:

Piri piri chicken:

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 large chicken thighs, preferably higher welfare, skin on and bone in
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 6 sprigs of thyme

For the sauce:

 

  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 bird’s-eye chillies (We didn’t use any chillies)
  • 1tbsp sweet smoked paprika (we used half sweet paprika, half spicy paprika)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2tbsp white wine vinegar (we used Sherry vinegar)
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • A bunch of fresh basil
Put the chicken thighs on a plastic chopping board, skin side down, and slash the meat on each one a few times. Drizzle with olive oil and season, then put on the griddle pan that is heating up, skin side down. Cook until golden underneath, then turn over. Wash your hands.
Peel and roughly chop the red onion and add to the liquidiser with 2 peeled cloves of garlic. Add the chillies (stalks removed), 1tbsp paprika, the zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ a lemon. Add 2tbsp white wine vinegar, 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce, a good pinch of salt and pepper, the bunch of basil and a swig of water. Blitz until smooth.
Slice the peppers into strips and add to the griddle pan. Turn the heat down to medium and keep moving the peppers around.
Pour the piri piri sauce into a snug-fitting roasting tray. Lay the peppers on top and put aside. Add the chicken to the roasting tray with the sauce. Scatter over the sprigs of thyme, then put the tray into the middle of the oven.
Put the chicken up to the top shelf of the oven to cook for around 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Awesome potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 fresh red chilli (We didn’t use any chillies)
  • A bunch of fresh coriander
  • 50g (1¾oz) feta cheese

Wash the potato and sweet potatoes and halve lengthways. Put them into a large microwave-safe bowl with ½ a lemon. Cover with clingfilm and put into the microwave on full power for 15 minutes.

Finely chop the red chilli and most of the coriander on a board, mixing as you go. Add the feta and keep chopping and mixing.

Check the potatoes are cooked through, then use tongs to squeeze over the cooked lemon. Add the coriander mixture from the chopping board and mix everything together. Season, then take to the table.

We also made a normal salad with feta cheese.. We didn’t make Jamie’s one, because I don’t like rocket…

The whole recipe can be found here 🙂

I recommend it 100%. It was yummy!

My latest favourite recipe

I already mentioned this recipe on my last post, however, as I cooked it again last night, I wanted to put here my own adapted version.

Spiced Fish Soup

Ingredients for 4 people (or serves two people for two days, which is what I do)

• 5 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil
• 2 ½ tablespoons brown mustard seeds
• a handful of fresh curry leaves
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1 teaspoon medium curry powder
• 1½ teaspoons chilli powder
• 2 teaspoons turmeric
• 2 large thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
• 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 handfuls of basmati rice
• 600ml water
• 600g fish (I get “Fish Pie Mix” from the Fish Tesco counter -Salmon, Cod and Haddock- and some prawns too)
• 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• juice of 2 limes

In a big pan, heat up the oil and add the Spices (mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric and curry leaves). Cook for a few minutes, but be careful because after a couple of minutes the mustard seeds will start jumping like popcorn everywhere. Put a lid on when this starts to happen and cook for another minute or so. Next add the onions, garlic and ginger (I put the garlic and ginger in a garlic crusher for better results – see picture below). Continue cooking until the onions are soft. Then add the rice and water (put the rice in first, give everything a good stir and then add the water). Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add your fish and the coconut milk with a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice.

It’s so easy to make. The only “difficulty” lies in getting all the ingredients ready first. Then you just chuck them all in a pan and it’s done.

I took the time to take a few nice pictures of all the ingredients as I was getting them ready, but completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Doh! Have a look at the piccies:
Vegetable oil Finely chopped onions Garlic
Vegetable oil                  Finely chopped onions                     Garlic

Fresh ginger   Crushed garlic and ginger
Fresh ginger                                        Crushed garlic and ginger

Mustard seeds   Cumin
Mustard seeds                                     Cumin

Garam masala   Mild chilli powder
Garam masala                                    Chilli Powder

Curry Powder   Curry leaves
Medium Curry Powder                     Curry leaves

Prawns   “Fish Pie” Mix
Prawns                                                 Fish Pie Mix

Rice Coconut milk Water
Basmati Rice                                      Coconut milk                 Water

Salt   Pepper
Salt                                                        Pepper

                              Limes
                              Limes

In defense of Jamie Oliver

Spain is a very ground breaking country in cooking matters. We have world reknown chefs and everybody has heard of the amazing qualities of the Mediterranean Diet.

The problem is that I was anything but interested in cooking when I was in Spain, so I never watched any programmes by these amazing chefs like Arguiñano, Arzak, Adriá, etc.

I have only started being interested in cooking since I am in England (and even more in particular, since I am living with Jon) Thank god (and only god knows why) there are hundreds of cooking programmes in the UK. It seems as if the British try to compensate for their bad cooking reputation by saturating day time and weekend television (and even some prime time, like The F Word) with cooking programmes. I don’t know about any other countries like France or USA, but I dare say that the UK has got more celebrity cooks than Spain (from Ainsley Harriot, Gordon Ramsey and Antony Worral Thomson, to Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein and Nigela Lawson)

However, one of the most famous ones outside the UK (apart from Ramsey) is Jamie Oliver, due to all the good work he’s been doing to improve the quality of the school meals and because he is probably the chef that most cooking programmes has had on telly. Some of these programmes have even reached the Spanish shores and are shown (dubbed into Spanish) in Spanish television.

jamie-oliver-cooking-002.jpg

So a lot more people than I would have thought know him. Even my mum knows him. The problem is that if you compare him to any Spanish cook, Oliver may not be the most skilled, inventive or even “higienic” of them all.

It’s a shame that some people won’t look past that. At the end of the day, recipes are to be followed, improved and changed to taste, and it will be you cooking them, so to label him as unhigienic simply because they don’t show a close-up of him washing his hands every five minutes, I think that’s a bit mean. He makes simple, easy to cook dishes and that works for me. Simple as that.

This past weekend I have cooked two of his recipes, and I must say that both of them were gorgeous, outstanding.
The first one (we have renamed it “spiced fish soup“) is the most delicious and tasty fish soup that I have tried in my life. And the second one (monkfish wrapped in bacon) was simply gorgeous and not difficult to make at all.

So from here I just want to “defend” Jamie Oliver a bit, as he is not getting the most deserved publicity from other fellow Spaniards (and who cares if he’s a dick or if he has a bit tongue, or else… Arguiñano used to go on live telly completely high on cocaine and people simply found it “funny”…)

Cooking Spanish food!

I’ve been on the Spaniards forum for more than a year now. I didn’t have great beginnings there, but bad things are easily forgotten and I’ve kept on participating more and more with time. I’ve been quite addicted to it in the last few months, and I must admit that I’ve met some very nice people there.

Well, the thing is that as Spaniards living abroad, we all are always trying to “connect” with those little details that we miss the most about Spain, and the most recurrent topic is always food. And I love food, that is a fact, so I don’t really need much encouraging or challenging in order to get in the kitchen and practice!

It all started with the simple and basic: Jamón and Queso Manchego. I’ve been able to find some Jamon Serrano in tesco but it’s really not worth it. It’s far too pricey and it’s not even a very nice one. However, I have found some proper, real extra mature Queso Manchego:

Queso
Bought from a local Spanish food importer – Quite good value for money!

Then there was a craze about Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelettes = potato and onion omelette). Everybody in the forum, and I mean everybody, was making them and posting their pictures. And of course, I wasn’t going to not take the challenge!

Tortilla
Quite proud of how well this one turned up!

Then someone reminded me of “Arroz a la cubana” which is a dish that my mum used to make a lot for dinner when I was little. It consists of rice (boiled and fried with garlic and german “frankfurt-style” sausages) with tomato sauce (similar to passata, but sweeter) and a fried egg on top. I remember this dish very well, it was one of my favourite ones as a child. So I decided to try my luck.
What a disaster. I think the problem was that the ingredients were all wrong. I couldn’t get the right sausages, the rice was basmati and the passata was tasteless! (how much I miss “Fruco“!)

Arroz a la cubana
Not even looking that apetizing!

And last but not least, my latest creation has been “croquetas”. This is a very traditional Spanish dish. It’s basically made to take advantage of chicken left overs from roasts or casseroles, etc. The ingredients are: chicken leftovers, onion, flour, milk and stock. You’ll also need a couple of eggs and breadcrumbs. The theory is very simple and I had watched my mum making these for years and years, however, something, somewhere went wrong and I could simply not shape the “dough” into the croqueta shape. Nonetheless, they were super tasty and were highly enjoyed. I will just need some more practice to get the consistency of the dough just right!

 

Croquetas
They are supposed to be rounder and homogeneous!

 

Apart from all these, I have also cooked “estofado de cordero” (lamb stew) and Spanish-style rice, although you could never call it paella, it was quite tasty and nice. Let’s see what typical recipe I try next!

Loch Fyne, a fine seafood restaurant

Fish and chips, fish fingers or fish cakes are mostly the only fish-based dishes known to your average English person. You could include tinned tuna or salmon, maybe smoked mackerel and prawns as well. But no, English people are not great “fish-people”. Me however, coming from the south of Spain (where my mum goes almost everyday to the fish market to buy real, fresh fish), am used to eating all kinds of different types of fish and seafood very often – or at least, I was!

I’ve been a few times to the Loch Fyne Restaurants and I’ve always had a very good experience. Most of those times I’ve been with family and, I don’t know why, I always had the preconception that it is a very expensive restaurant. But it is not. They always have special offers, set menus, vouchers, etc, and if not, you can always have just one main dish and go home!

Jon and I have gone to one near home today (we were actually surprised how near home it actually is!) and had the lot: starter, main dish and bottle of wine (we would have gone for pudding as well had we not been sooo full!) We both had Mussels for main dish. I had had mussels for starter before and knew they are delicious, but the size of the starter is not huge, so nothing had prepared me for the surprise that was expecting me when I saw the main dish! It was huge! It was, basically, a pot full of mussels.

lochfyne2130808_450x300.jpg

I had already had squid for starter, so I was feeling pretty much full. I have to say it. I must admit it… I couldn’t finish my meal! I was beaten by mussels! I left about ten or twelve, that may not seem like many, but it is… oh yes, especially when you’ve already eaten like two hundred!

The Loch Fyne we went to today was the one in Cobham. I must say that for a busy Sunday lunchtime, and having turned up without a reservation, the service was very good. Definitely somewhere to go to again!