Chicken in a Pot with Lemon and Orzo

Here is happiness in a pot!

1 chicken (approx. 4 lbs.)
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium carrots
2 medium leeks
1 tbs. olive oil
2 lemons
2 tsp. dried tarragon or thyme
2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
6 1/3 liters cold water
1 cup orzo
6 tbs. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
fresh grated Parmesan, to serve

If time permits, allow the chicken to sit on a cutting board for abut 40 minutes before cooking, then season well. Peel the carrots and cut them into 3 lengths, then into batons. Cut the leeks into 2″ rounds. Heat the oven to 350°F .Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch Oven and add the chicken, breast-side down. Brown over a high heat for 3-5 minutes then turn breast-side up.

Take the pan off the heat and grate the garlic and lemon zest around the chicken. Add the tarragon or thyme and give it all a stir in the oil. Scatter in the vegetables, followed by the salt and chili flakes then squeeze in the juice from the lemons.

Pour in the cold water and bring to a boil. Clamp on a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Take the pot out of the oven and sprinkle in the orzo, pushing it under the liquid and give everything a stir. Cook for another 15 minutes, by which time the orzo should be plump and tender.

Let the pot stand uncovered for 15 minutes, then stir in 4 tbs. of the parsley. Using 2 forks, gently pull the chicken away from the bones and discard them. Stir everything again and ladle into warm bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the Parmesan.

Serves 4-6

Pasta with Anchovy Sauce

Called Bigoli con Salsa in Italian, this savory sauce is perfect with any type of pasta, but works especially well with long, robust pasta such as bucatini.

2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
12 anchovy fillets in olive oil, finely chopped
1 tbs. butter
tiniest pinch ground cloves
1 tbs. water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 lb. bigoli, bucatini, perciatelli or linguini
1 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a low heat for abut 10 minutes, or until you have a golden mush. Add the brown sugar and let the mixture cook another minute. Add the anchovies and stir until they begin to melt, then stir in the butter and cloves followed by the water. Gradually add the milk. When it has all come together, remove the pan from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in an abundant amount of salted water according to the package directions. Remove 1/2 cup of the water and drain.

Tip the pasta into the sauce and add enough of the reserved water to make a sauce. Sprinkle in most of the parsley, then spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Serves 8

Pink Picante Shrimp

If you don’t have pink peppercorns or can’t find them, simply use white one.

1 tbs. pink peppercorns, plus more to crush to decorate
1 tbs. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds, or seeds from 8 pods
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 egg whites
1 1/2 lb. raw, peeled and cleaned shrimp
2 tbs. vegetable oil

Crush the peppercorns, salt, cardamom seeds and paprika in a mortar and pestle until you have a nubbly mixture. Or you can grind them in a spice grinder.

Hand-whisk the egg whites until they are foamy, but not stiff. Dip the shrimp in the egg whites, then toss them with the peppercorn mixture.

Heat the oil a large pan and stir-fry the shrimp for 5-7 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove to a dish and sprinkle with more crushed peppercorns to serve.

 

Serves 6-8

Split Pea Soup and Frankfurter Soup

You can use either green or yellow split peas in this hearty and warming soup.

1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick celery
1 clove garlic
2-3 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground mace
2 1/4 cups split peas
5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
8 hot dogs

Peel the onion, carrot and garlic, then cut into rough chunks along with the celery. Put everything in a food processor and blitz to finely chop.

Pour the oil into a large saucepan and add the veggies. Cook them for 5-10 minutes, or until soft but not colored. Stir in the mace. Tip in the split peas and stir in the oil for a few minutes before adding 5 cups of the stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Add more stock if the soup seems too thick.

Cook the frankfurters on a griddle, cut them into pieces and add to the soup.

Serves 6

Chocolate Chip Chili

Who knew that chocolate does a wonderful job at enhancing chili?!! This feeds a crowd, but can easily be cut in half or a third. The oven does all the work for you making it ideal for entertaining.

3 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and minced
4 tbs. vegetable oil
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. dried chili flakes
10 chorizo sauasges, sliced
3 lbs. cubed beef
4 tbs. tomato paste
4 tbs. tomato ketchup
4 x 400g cans red kidney beans
3 x 400g chopped tomatoes
4 tbs. dark chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 300°F.

In an oven-proof casserole that has a lid, cook the onions, garlic and fresh chili in the oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cardamom pods, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chili flakes for 1 minute. Add the chorizo and cook until their oils run, then stir in the beef.

Add the tomato paste, ketchup, beans and chopped tomatoes. Swirl out a tomato can with water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and stir in the chocolate chips. Clamp on the lid and bake for 3 hours. Check along the way and add more water if needed.

Serves 12

Cranberry and Soy Glazed Cocktail Sausages

These savory morsels are just the ticket for your holiday drinks party or any other time of year.

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
4 tbs. cranberry sauce
5 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. dark brown sugar
juice of 1 clementine/satsuma
juice of 1 lime
50 cocktail sausages

Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir together the chili sauce, cranberry sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, clementine juice and lime juice in a roasting tin. Add the sausages and toss well.

Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until the sausages and burnished and sticky.

Lamb with Rosemary and Port

This effortless supper for 2 is a jot to make and delicious to eat.

1 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp.Worcestershire sauce
2 lamb steaks
1 tbs. butter
1 sprig rosemary, needles finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup port

Mix together the olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, then brush the mixture over both sides of the lamb. Season well.

Heat a heavy skillet over a medium heat and cook the steaks for 3 minutes per side, or to your liking. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Add the butter to the pan and when it has melted, stir in the rosemary and garlic for a minute. Pour in the port and bubble into a sauce. Transfer the steaks to serving plates, add any juices that may have accumulated from them to the pan, then pour the sauce over the steaks to serve.

Serves 2

 

Irish Oaten Rolls

When you fancy fast, fuss-free and fabulous rolls for supper, here is your new go-to recipe!

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats, plus a little more for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup Guinness or other stout
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey

Heat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

In a jug, combine the Guinness, buttermilk, oil and honey. Pour into the dry ingredients and combine. The mixture will seem runny at first, but it will soon thicken and get mouse-like.

Using a spoon or a 2″ ice cream scoop, drop 12 rounds onto the baking sheet. Dust each with some oats and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Italian Roast Chicken with Bell Peppers and Olives

 

This is an adaptation of the original recipe which calls for roasting a whole chicken, then cutting it up to serve. By using chicken thighs, the cooking time is reduce to half.

6-8 chicken thighs
3 leeks, trimmed and cut into 3″ logs, then halved lengthwise
3 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, deseeded and cut into strips lengthwise
2/3 cup pitted olives
1/4 cup olive oil
4 rosemary sprigs

Heat the oven to 400°F. Tip the leeks, peppers and olives into a roasting tin. Toss in the olive oil and roast for 10 minute.

Nestle in chicken amount the veg, season everything well, add the rosemary sprigs and roast 30 minute more, or until the veg are tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Emergency Brownies

Brownies anytime are a treat, but when you need them FAST, here is your recipe!

4 tbs. butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs. golden syrup or maple syrup
3 tbs. all-purpose flour
3 tbs. cocoa
1/4 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks

Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the butter, sugar and golden or maple syrup in a saucepan and warm gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.

Fork together the flour, cocoa and salt, then beat into the saucepan. Whisk the egg with the vanilla, then stir into the pan. Finally fold in the walnuts and chocolate.

Spread the batter into a 5 x 7″ aluminum pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are coming away but the center is still a little soft.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool 20-30 minute before eating.

Serves 2