Posts Tagged 'cooking'

Home; and eating well

Back home after a stint on airport/airline/cheap hotel food and I made myself a cottage pie. It’s a fantastic dish for that “home” feel.

I now have a full belly and a glass of red wine.

Happy days.

Christmas Stollen Pudding

A new dessert (new to me) is now in my cooking repertoire, Christmas stollen pudding.   A little while ago I posted about how I was going to make stollen, which I did. The recipe I used produced 2 loafs one of which I used today to make Christmas stollen pudding, its a kind of bread and butter pudding but using stollen.

Its ridiculously easy;

  • take you loaf and cut it into chunks
  • mix together 2 eggs, 300mls (1 1/4 cups) of milk and 300mls of thick cream
  • Pour over the stollen pieces and bake for 40mins at 350f (180c)

Then enjoy.

Here’s how mine turned out;

Korma chameleon, healthier take on a classic

Originally my blog was going to be mainly about movies and food, as I’ve been struggling to blog much lately, or find time to read the blogs of others I thought I would go back to the roots a bit and do a couple of food posts.

First up is the Korma that could have been. I would love to tell you how wonderful this recipe worked out, but instead I’ll just tell you how to make it better, along with telling you what you need. Straight off the bat, apologies for the photography, my kitchen isn’t blessed with studio lighting and anyone who can make a korma, served with basmati rice on a white plate look amazing is a better man than I.

It should serve 4 and take approximately 30 mins to make.

You will need;

  • Chicken (4 breasts) cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • 4 tbs sunflower oil
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 500g natural yogurt
  • 50g ground almonds
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • basmati rice

A token shot of some of the ingredients;

I didn’t bother putting the chicken in this picture, as raw chicken wouldn’t add much value, but this should give you a visual idea of the amounts of each required.

  • First you need to heat 2 tbs of the oil in a suitably sized pan (suitable to hold all your ingredients by the end) add one onion (chopped) and the garlic for 2-3 mins.
  • Add another tbs of oil and then the garam masala and cayenne, continue cooking for about a minute, this is when the kitchen starts to smell good and it should look a little something like this;

  • Add the chicken and cook for another couple of minutes, then stir in the yogurt and the almonds.  Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked;
  • Meanwhile (as you may see in the background of the pic above) slice the remaining onion as thinly as possible and fry in the remaining oil till brown and crisp. Once ready remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • When ready to serve stir through the coriander, and serve on a bed of basmati rice with the crispy onions on top

Things to remember 

I used a recipe from BBC Good Food, which if you dont use is a fantastic resource for recipes etc, however it doesn’t recommend any seasoning throughout the recipe and if certainly needs it, add some before it gets to the table.

I used 1% yogurt to try and be healthy. Dont. Your Korma needs to be creamy, although this was ok, it wasnt as good as it should have been and this was the main reason. Also don’t dump the whole pot in then realise you need 500g and the the pot is 750g.

Roast Pork & Crackling

Having been an ex pat now for 3 years one of the British things I have been unable to recreate in North America is a good portion of crackling when roasting pork. This is mainly because finding a cut of pork that has enough fat still on there has been difficult.  When I did spot a piece in the butcher, it had to be bought.

I am happy to say that I managed to cook up some crackling worthy of a mention on the 6 o’clock news. To quote Felecity Cloake it was exactly like it should be and ‘a blistered top, as dry and crunchy as an autumn leaf, hiding a layer of yielding creamy fat beneath’.

Felicity’s blog post in the Guardian discusses crackling in a bit more detail ( well a lot more detail actually) and this Jamie Oliver recipe I used as a bit of a guide too. However I really did a bit of a mix of different methods to get my end result.

I could actually feel my arteries tighten as I chowed down so perhaps I’ll wait another 3 years before I do it again.

crackle rind

Weird food combos; Chicken and shellfish

Due to work commitments at the moment I don’t get the chance to cook for myself.  I know that for some people that’s great, and every once in a while I enjoy it too, when I go out for a meal is an obvious example.  On the whole however I enjoy cooking and it’s a bit weird that for the last month I have been unable to prepare anything for myself.

Thing is the food has been a pretty high standard, you never know when you are heading off on a job like this whether or not you’ll get a chef who has a bit of pride in his work or one that just wants to deep fry everything and get back to his paper.  Except the other day I had chicken breast stuffed with scallops, sounds like it might be nice, but it wasn’t.

 It just means that I had a chicken breast that tasted of shellfish rather than chicken.

I’m not sure what the chef was thinking or if he just had some scallops to use up.  Sure prawns and chicken in a stir fry are great, I’ve had some tasty paellas before that have poultry and shellfish,  but this was just plain wrong. 

Fingers crossed I don’t encounter anymore crazy combos before I get home.