For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking . Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully. I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans. If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!
ingredients | serves 4 | easy 3T olive oil 1T butter deboned, skinless chicken thighs 1 onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced 2t paprika 5 thyme sprigs, leaves only dried mixed herbs dried oregano 2 medium carrots, grated 200ml chicken stock 100ml cream 1 can chopped tomato fresh parsley, roughly chopped 1/2t salt black pepper
Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half. Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes. Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.
Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
With a little one year old running around the house, learning to walk and playing inquisitive games, time is sometimes of the essence. Meaning little time to cook something very amazing that generally takes more than an hour. This is where my trustworthy pressure cooker comes into play. My INSTANT POT. Most likely one of the best purchases i have made since i started cooking. Using the pressure cooker, meat cooking time is cut by less than half, and since the machine does all the work I have my hands free to focus on other little things as I pot around the kitchen or run after my daughter. For this recipe I used chicken breast, which generally isn’t the most tender part of the chicken but the pot changes this reality completely and you are left with tender, pull apart chicken…perfect for this delicious one pan pie, topped with crispy phyllo pastry…
ingredients | easy | serves 6 4 chicken breasts 2C chicken stock 4 sprigs thyme 1/2t fine salt 3T olive oil 2T butter 1 white onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped 5 extra thyme sprigs, leaves only 3 leeks, sliced diagonally 1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced or halved 2 zucchini, sliced in half and chopped 1 large carrot, grated 2T all purpose flour 1.5 chicken stock 1/2C milk 1/4C cream 1/2t onion seeds 1/2t dried oregano 1/4t mustard seeds 1/2C frozen peas salt pepper 1 roll phyllo pastry 1/2C butter, melted (you may need more depending on the size of your skillet)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the chicken breasts into the pressure cooker. Cover with the two cups chicken stock. Add the thyme & salt. Cover the pot with the lid, seal the vent and set the time to 35 minutes on high pressure. Let the machine do the rest. In a large oven proof skillet, heat the olive oil & butter until melted. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, grated carrot, leeks & zucchini and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and stir well, while cooking on a low heat. Just bubbling. Leave to cook for about two minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the thyme and garlic and cook, while stirring for about two minutes. Now add the spices and season with salt & pepper. Set aside. Manually release the pressure of your cooker. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breast from the pressure cooker. Place the chicken breasts on a plate and using two forks, pull the meat apart. Bring the vegetable mixture to a gentle simmer and add the pulled chicken to the skillet. MIx. Pour the milk & cream into the skillet and stir to combine. Add the peas and cook for about three minutes. Add more cream or milk if you desire. Flatten the top of the mixture by using a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool while preparing the phyllo pastry.
Roll the pastry out on a flat surface. Cut the pastry in blocks, about 10x10cm. Brush one sheet with the melted butter and place a second sheet on top. Brush the second sheet with butter. Fold the four sides together and place on top of the chicken mixture, like a flower. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and butter until you have covered the top of the chicken mixture.
Place the skillet into the oven and bake until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp. About 20 minutes.
Serve the pie with basmati rice and a salad of your choice.
Gravlax, traditionally Nordic, is a dish consisting of salmon that is cured by using sugar, salt & dill. It is served with bread or boiled potatoes and a dill & mustard sauce. There are, however, many different gravlax recipes, personalised through taste and preference. Pernod is another great ingredient to use when curing salmon. It adds a beautiful, mild aniseed flavour to the fish very similar to that of fennel. The recipe is easy and the process and time well worth it. The quality of the salmon is really important here so get your hands on the best you can find from a trusted fishmonger. This is a starter portion. For a main meal simply double up the recipe.
ingredients | serves 4 | easy (starter portion for four) 600g salmon fillet, skin on 1C coarse salt 1C granulated sugar 1/2C fresh dill 1 large cucumber 3T coarse salt 1/2C cream cheese, room temperature 2T lemon juice 1/2t black pepper 3-4 oranges, sliced and skin removed fresh chives, garnish fresh dill, garnish 1t white sesame seeds (optional) 1t black sesame seeds (optional)
how to do it Lay the salmon fillet skin side down in a large dish. Mix the sugar, salt & dill together and spoon this out onto the salmon. Cover the fillet well with the salt & sugar mixture. Wrap the dish tightly with clingfilm and place into the refrigerator overnight. Peel the cucumber with a julienne peeler, discarding the centre. Place the cucumber strips into a sieve over a bowl and strew with the two tablespoons of coarse salt. Leave to stand for about one hour. (This will remove excess moisture from the cucumber.) Rinse the cucumber well under running water and dry on paper towel. Mix the cream cheese, black pepper & lemon juice in a bowl. Add the cucumber ribbons and mix gently until well combined. Slice the oranges into rounds and remove the skin with a sharp knife. Remove the salmon from the fridge and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the fillet dry with towel paper and lay it flat on a work surface. Slice the fillet into thin strips, against the grain. Arrange the citrus onto a large plate. Place the gravlax on top and serve with the cucumber & cream cheese mixture. Garnish the dish with the fresh herbs and sesame seeds.
I am always thinking about the next dish, using food that was left over from the previous day / evenings’ meal. I cooked a beautiful large pork belly on Sunday, which obviously cannot be devoured by only two people. Please don’t think I didn’t try. With my very simple three ingredient shortcrust pastry that I made ahead of time on Sunday evening, this dish was on the table in almost no time at all. I often make two batches of shortcrust pastry as it freezes really well. Thus saving time when you quickly want to whip up a tart or quiche. This is also a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies! I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to savoury tarts. It really depends on what you like and what you have on hand. Quiche is the perfect dish for using all the vegetables that are really just lying around in your fridge and then adding an egg custard to a very simple tart shell. Thank me later.
ingredients | 1 standard size tart | easy for the tart shell 225g plain flour 100g butter, chopped pinch salt 1/4c cold water
Place the flour, salt & butter into a food processor and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. (You can also do this by hand by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.) With the processor running, slowly add the water until the dough comes together so that it can form a ball without crumbling. (You do not have to use all of the water and can add more if necessary.) Dust your work surface with flour and gently knead the dough by pushing it back and pulling it forward again. Repeat this for about three minutes. Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Should you wish to freeze the dough, place the wrapped disc into a freezer bag or freezer container, date it and freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Dust a flat work surface and roll the pastry out to fit your tart tin. Grease a tart tin with non stick spray. Press the dough into the tart tin and into the sides. Trim the edges with a sharp knife. Dock the pastry with a fork a few times and place a large piece of baking paper on the pastry shell. Fill the shell with uncooked rice, beans or baking weights. Place the shell into the oven and blind bake for 12 minutes. Remove the pastry and gently remove the baking paper and weights. Place the pastry back into the oven for a further ten minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (Keep the tart shell in the tart tin for baking the quiche later.)
For the filling 1/2 white onion, chopped 2tbs olive oil 2tbs butter 1tsp chopped garlic 300g cooked, pulled pork or any other meat like chicken, bacon or sausages 300g zucchini, half sliced and the remaining half chopped 100g onion marmalade 1.5tsp dijon mustard 5 sprigs thyme, leaves only 100g grated parmesan (optional) 1/2tsp salt grind of black pepper 3 large eggs 1c cream, full fat 1/2c milk, full fat
heat the oil & butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook until glossy. Add the chopped zucchini & garlic and cook for one minute. Add the cooked pork or your choice of protein and cook for about two minutes or longer if your meat is uncooked. (Cook until the meat is fully cooked.) Add the thyme, salt & pepper, stir through and cook for one more minute. Put the tart tin on an oven tray and sprinkle the base of the tart shell with the parmesan. Turn the heat of the oven up to 175 degrees C. Break the eggs into a large jug, add the cream, dijon mustard & onion marmalade and whisk until combined well. Spoon the meat & zucchini mixture into the tart shell. Pour the egg custard into the tart shell and very gently stir move around with a fork. Place the sliced zucchini on top and gently, taking care not to spill the egg custard, place the tart into the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until the egg custard is set and the top has browned lightly. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for about fifteen minutes before slicing into wedges.
Serve the tart with salad or tossed, buttered greens.
Mince is just one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer as there are so many wonderful dishes i can cook using it. Good, easy and quick food is really what I am after most days. Not because i don’t have enough time or because I am lazy but merely because I also want to spend quality time with my family. I served this dish with basmati rice although mash will also make a wonderful accompaniment to soak up all the wonderful, flavourful juices. And if you prefer a mixture of beef and pork mince, you are welcome to make that change. I, however, only had beef mince on hand. You might think the meatballs are fairly plain, considering what i added to the meat, but it works really well as the sauce is wonderfully fragrant.
ingredients | serves 4 | easy 500g mince meat 1/2 onion, finely chopped 1tsp minced garlic 1/2c fine breadcrumbs 1 egg 1tsp salt black pepper
place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. using your hands, roll balls almost the size of a golf ball. set aside on a baking tray covered with baking paper.
curry cream sauce 2tbs Olive oil good knob of butter 1/2 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 2cm ginger, grated 2tsp mild curry powder 2tsp turmeric 1tbs brown sugar 2tsp fish sauce 1/2 tsp onion seeds 1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional) 1 can chopped tomato 1 can coconut milk bunch fresh cilantro spring onion, sliced at an angle salt to taste black pepper to taste
method Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside. Blitz the canned tomato until smooth. Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion until glossy. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, & onion seeds and cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomato and fish sauce, stir it through and cook for one minute. Season with salt & pepper. Add the chilli flakes now, if using. Slowly pour the coconut milk into the skillet and bring the mixture to a light boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook on low for about ten minutes, turning the meatballs once. Remove the lid and cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced, turning the meatballs halfway through cooking. Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the dish. Garnish with sliced spring onion. Serve with basmati rice of mashed potato and a side dish of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.