Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken Rice

Inspired by a meal I never ate in Singapore

On my travels in Thailand there were some anti government demonstrations that closed down all the airports. I had to travel overland through Thailand and Malaysia to get to Singapore to make a flight. The trip down was great fun and met some great people along the way, who were all in a similar position to me. So really felt like a bonus as I got to visit Kuala Lumpur and see parts of Malaysia. Also I got to visit my friend Alan who was living in Singapore at the time. This is the most incredible city for food - every corner is overflowing with amazing places to eat, every kind of food imaginable - super extra bonus food!

Alan's friends insisted on taking us to eat 'Chicken Rice' that she'd always had growing up. After some driving we arrived at the place only to discover it was closed, we found something else equally delicious to eat in an old golf club. The idea of the dish however never left me. This recipe is based on what I think chicken rice would have been like!

1 chicken
2 onions - peeled and halved
3 carrots - peeled and halved
2 sticks of celery - halved
1 thumbs length of ginger finely sliced
6 cloves of garlic gently crushed
1 red chili finely sliced
2 cups of rice (I used basmati) but any fragrant rice would be good
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 scallions finely sliced

1) Put the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, ginger, garlic and chili in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer gently covered for about 2 hours.

2) Remove chicken and veg from the pot. Discard pieces of ginger, celery and most of the garlic.

3) Add the rice into the stock then bring to the boil. Simmer until the rice is cooked. 

4) Meanwhile shred the chicken, and chop up the carrots.

5) When the rice is nearly cooked add back in 4/5s chicken, carrots and add in the soy sauce. Serve scattered with some scallions and the remaining shredded chicken.

Perfect for a grey wintry day - oh yes! This dish is only a little Asian but very delicious

Sunday, November 14, 2010

French Onion Soup

Oniony Goodness

Onions and garlic both have great medicinal properties. What better way to enjoy them coming into colds and flu season, than in a rich and dark french onion soup and topped with melty guyere - in case you were feeling too virtuous!  

A big thanks again to Des Moriarty for the lovely photos

Serves 4
About 8 medium size onions
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
½ pint white wine
1 pint beef stock
1 tsp worcester sauce
1 small baguette 
Grated Guyere cheese or cheddar or conte

Peel the onions and chop them in half from root to stem. Then slice them thinly into semi-circles. Finely chop the garlic. Melt some butter and olive oil in a large pot and fry the onions and garlic with the sugar until everything has started to caramelise and turn a nice brown colour about 15 minutes.

Add the wine and stock and simmer for about 40 mins on a low heat. Add Worcester sauce, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. When done, cut the baguette into slices, 2 or 3 per person and flash them quickly under the grill to toast on both sides. Grate the cheese. Ladle the hot soup into flameproof bowls and float the toast on top of the soup. Top the toast with the grated cheese and place under the hot grill until the cheese is melter and a bit bubbly. Serve with plenty of black pepper.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Clam Linguine

Warm and clammy

I can't believe how long I have left it to blog this recipe! This was the main course at the dinner party we had back in August and its now November, shame on me! Lucy has been holding the fort on the blog front recently as I seem to be going through a cooking drought, and have, embarrassingly, cooked a number of things recently that were NOT Delicious!

this recipe definitely is not one of those. This was perhaps one of the most delicious things I have cooked with pasta and I think blogging it now might help me get my food-mojo back! Onwards and upwards!

Recent Clam related activity: I was in California in September and when in San Francisco sampled their famous clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. The bowl was not really my thing, but the chowder was spectacular. Then in Monterey I ate 'steamers', a bowl of steamed clams, which made me want to cook with clams again and reminded me that I still had not blogged this recipe. I also like saying the word 'clams' in an American accent... 'Claaaaaaaayms'... oh the hilarity!

Clam linguine (Serves 10!)

1kg fresh clams ( i got ours at Kish fish near Smithfield)
10 shallots, finely chopped
white wine
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500ml cream
100 grams butter
glug olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
enough linguine (i used a packet and a half!!)
Parmesan cheese
freshly chopped parsley

Melt the butter along with the olive oil in a large pot. Add the shallots and garlic to the butter, cover and saute for about 10 mins or until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, start cooking your linguine. add the (washed) clams to the shallots and pour in 2 wine glasses of white wine. Simmer for 5 -8 minutes or until all of the clams have opened. If there are any that have not opened, throw them away as they could make you and your guests sick (I was a bit paranoid about this happening!). Add the lemon juice at this point. When the linguine is cooked, drain it but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the cooked linguine into the pot with the clams and mix it well. If it looks a bit to dry or starts to stick together add a little of the cooking water from the linguine. Garnish with chopped parsley and some lemon wedges but serve the Parmesan on the side as there is a school of thought that says Parmesan should not be served with seafood pasta dishes, weird huh?

This was absolutely delicious and went down a storm with our 10 guests. Its also nice for the 'stick a pot on the table and let everyone dig in' style of dinner parties.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tomato Chutney

This ain't no Ballymaloe Relish - they've got that secret recipe in a secret vault, inside a pelican, inside a safe, inside an iceberg in the North Pole! 

But this is a lovely relish - If you can resist the temptation of testing some, in the one month it has to be left to mature on the shelves. I made this after I worked an incredible week of 16/18 hour days - and thought my brain was inside out. Producing a large quantity of lovely things in jars was very soothing to my mind.

1kg ripe tomatoes chopped
450g white onions finely chopped
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 red chillies
3 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
4 tsp black mustard seeds
4 cloves
4cm piece fresh ginger, grated
300g sultanas
200g dark brown sugar
600ml malt vinegar
couple of sprigs of rosemary
10 cloves
Olive Oil
8 jars & lids - sterilised - I boiled them in a big pan of water, to clean and sterilise them. Then I baked them in a hot oven for 15/20 minutes just before they were ready to be filled. 
Grease proof paper
Rubber bands
Pretty lids
A big huge pot
Throw everything except the vinegar into your huge pot. Then add half the vinegar. Season. Bring this slowly to simmer - giving a good stir every now and then, to help dissolve sugar evenly. 

 Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the rest of the vinegar. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring often until thick. 

Remove jars from hot oven and spoon chutney into them. Allow to cool.

Place a disc of waxed paper on top of the chutney and seal with airtight lids or Cellophane and rubber bands. Store for a month to allow time to mature. It should keep for up 6 months. Keep in the fridge after opening and use within 1-2 months.

This is great with cheese, I won't lie and say that I've eaten it with anything else but cheese at this stage. It would be wonderful with cold meat. macaroni cheese, pies or cold plate. Also great little things to give away as gifts. I might knock up a special Christmas batch soon - you have been warned friends and family! 

AND once again a big thanks to the lovely Des Moriarty for the pictures!