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

Spicy Sausage Patties with Lettuce Wraps

These meaty morsels are bursting with flavor and are perfect served wrapped in crisply cold lettuce leaves.

1 lb. good-quality pork sausage meat
1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 green chili, deseeded and chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
2 scallions, finely sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbs. vegetable oil
iceberg lettuce and/or pita breads, to serve

In a large bowl, mix together the sausage, ginger, chilis, garlic, lemon zest, scallions and cilantro. Form into small, flat patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Remove them to a warm plate and serve with lettuce and pita bread.

Makes 16 patties

 

Linguini with Chili, Crab and Watercress


This quick and satisfying pasta dish is full of goodness and flavor.


2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 scant tbs. Maldon or other sea salt
1 large red chili
2 lbs. undressed crab meat
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 lb. linguini
handful fresh parsley, chopped
handful watercress leaves, roughly torn

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

With a pestle and mortar pulverize the garlic with the salt to make a smooth paste. Add the chili and crush again. Tip in the crab meat and olive oil, then mix gently.

Salt the pasta water and cook the pasta according to the package directions. drain and tip into a large bowl. Add the crab mixture, parsley and watercress. Toss and serve.

Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main course.

 

Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

 

Reminiscent of the classic Chicken Marbella, but using pork, this wonderful recipe requires and overnight marinade, so plan ahead and enjoy.

1 pork shoulder, diced for a stew
1 1/2 cups dry white wine or vermouth
3/4 cup pitted prunes
scant 1/2 cup pitted olives
1 tbs. capers
4 tbs. dried oregano
2 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
good grinding of black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Put the pork in a large freezer bag and add the wine, prunes, olives, capers and their juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and squish everything together well. Chill overnight, then take out of the fridge 1 1/2 hours before cooking.

Heat the oven to 325°F. Tip the pork and marinade into a heavy-based casserole that comes with a lid. Add the stock, cover and cook for 2 hours. Check half way through and if there seems to be too much liquid, remove the cover and continue cooking.

 

 

The Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts

Keep these on hand for drinks parties and everyday nibbling.

2 1/4 cups mixed raw nuts
2 tbs. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. Maldon or other sea salt
1 tbs. butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350°F and spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer to a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Serve warm or keep in an airtight container.

Risotto Bolognaise

Arborio rice is simmered until tender in a lovely meat and tomato sauce in this delicious risotto.

1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery stalk, halved
1 clove garlic, peeled
handful fresh parsley
6 rashers bacon
4 anchovy fillets
3 tbs. butter, plus 1 tbs. extra
1/2 tsp. regular olive oil
8 oz. ground beef
1/2 cup Marsala
1 x 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tbs. tomato paste
2 tbs. whole milk
2 quarts veal or beef stock
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups risotto rice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

Heat the oven to 300°F. Put the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bacon and anchovies into a food processor and whiz to a fine mash.

Heat 3 tbs. of   butter with the oil in a deep Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Tip the contents of the food processor in and cook 5 minutes to soften. Add the meat and brown, breaking it up as you go with a wooden spoon. Add the Marsala, tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, 2 cups of stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, clamp on the lid and bake for 1 hour.

Once the sauce is out of the oven, fish out the bay leaves, then put on a low burner . Heat the remaining stock. Stir the rice into the sauce. Stir in a ladleful of stock until it is absorbed. Repeat this process until the rice is tender. It should take 18-20 minutes.

Stir in the cheese and serve with a little more sprinkled on top.

Serves 6-8

Easy Salmon and Posh Mushy Peas

This is a marvelous way to eat salmon. The saltiness from the bacon pairs wonderfully with the simply prepared salmon and the tender mushy peas.

2 rashers bacon
2 salmon fillets
1 small clove garlic
2 cups frozen peas
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. sour cream or creme fraiche

Put the kettle on to boil. Using scissors, snip the bacon into a skillet and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Season the salmon and add to the skillet. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, or to your likeness.

In the meantime, put the peas and garlic clove (unpeeled) into a jug and pour over boiling water. Leave for 3-4 minutes, then drain, peel the garlic clove and place the peas and garlic clove in a blender. Whizz until chunky, then stir in the butter, sour cream or creme fraiche and season. Serve alongside the salmon.

Serves 2

Sardinian Couscous with Clams

Fregola is a large, round Italian pasta that is similar to Israeli couscous and can be substituted in this wonderful recipe.

2 – 2 1/2 lb. clams
2 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbs. tomato paste
3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry red vermouth
1 1/3 cups fregola
3 tbs. chopped parsley, plus more of sprinkling

Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water to remove any sand. Discard any that do not close or are cracked.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot that has a lid. Cook the shallots until softened, a minute or two, then stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato paste, stock and vermouth. Stir in the fregola, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until the fregola is tender.

Drain the clams and tip into the pot. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes at a fast simmer until the clams open up. Discard any that don’t. Sprinkle in the parsley and ladle into warmed serving bowls. Top with a bit more parsley, to serve.

Serves 4

Peanut Brittle with Art and Soul

Sweet and salty all at once, this easy confection is fast and fun to make and share.

1 cup caster sugar
1/3 plus 1 tbs. golden syrup
60ml water
1 cup salted peanuts
2 tbs. softened butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Tip the sugar, golden syrup and water into a heavy saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Adjust the heat and boil vigorously for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts, followed by the butter, vanilla extract and baking soda. Pour onto the prepared pan and spread out with a wooden spoon. Allow to cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.