Peppers and Chorizo

Time is tight at the moment. So, I could have made this quicker. On the other hand, I’m not sure that going the long way round isn’t sometimes a reward in itself. That is unless you hate cooking.

I was just going to make a spicy red pepper sauce to serve over some cooked chicken, which is why I peeled the peppers in the first place. If you’re going to make a sauce you don’t really want the skins hanging about. But then I had an unexpected third for dinner and needed something a bit more substantial. Plus I had some chorizo hanging around so this just seemed like a nice way to go with  it. Eventually served with chicken and rice and enough for 3/4 as a side dish. You don’t have to char and then peel the peppers if you don’t want to.

pepperchorizo

  • 4 peppers, red or yellow or both. green are NOT suitable for this dish (or many that I can think of)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • half a hoop of chorizo, chopped into pound coin size chunks
  • small red chilli, finely chopped
  • half glass of white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Right, so, if you’re going to peel the peppers, follow these instructions. Its really not the end of the world if you choose not to, but its quite an enjoyable little job and you get a better dish. Slice the peppers into long strips, about a centimetre wide.

In a pan, heat some olive oil and slowly cook the garlic and chill and chorizo until the chorizo browns slightly and begins to release its oil. Add the pepper slices and cook, stirring occasionally over a medium heat until the peppers begin to soften. Season and slosh in the wine and bring to a simmer. Then turn down the heat and cook very slowly for around 20 minutes. Serve.

pepperchorizo&chicken

Spaghetti Vongole Bianco

Or spaghetti with clams (as opposed to a clams in a red sauce, which is made with tomatoes).

This is quick and it is easy, but my fresh clams were not particularly cheap. Recipe to serve 2 greedies.

vongole

  • 1 kilo fresh clams (I got palourde clams, but if you have the luxury of choice, the smaller the better)
  • 300g spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • handful of parsley, very, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • olive oil

An hour at least before cooking, you have to purge your clams in cold salted water, apparently to get the sand out and  immediately discard any cracked ones, or ones that are open and won’t close.

Ok, so, the trick is to time this so your pasta and clams are cooked at the same time. For this purpose, I am assuming your pasta cooks in ten minutes. So get the pasta on as per the instructions on the packet and heat the oil in a wide, lidded pan. When the olive oil is warm, add your chilli, garlic and half the parsley. Cook for about a minute over a medium – low heat. The garlic must not brown. Add your white wine and bring to a hard simmer and cook for 3 or 4 minutes and then put in your clams and put the lid on the pot. Cook for around 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to encourage the clams to open. As soon as the clams are all open, remove the lid. The pasta should be cooked by now, so drain it off. Stir in the remainder of your parsley into the clams, and pour the clams and the sauce over the pasta, mixing well. Pick out any clams that didn’t open and discard them. Scoff.

Brown Stew Chicken with Yard Style Gravy

I’ve been poorly with a bad head cold this week (not the flu, if you are a male reader) and I haven’t been able to taste anything at all. This has understandably taken the edge off any enthusiasm I had for cooking  but last night, despite my infirmity, I had guests so I had to cook. I wouldn’t have minded just dumping a takeaway menu in front of them and asking them to make their own arrangements while I went to bed in all truth, but people generally expect free grub and company out of a dinner invite so I manned up with a curry. Another Levi Roots recipe, this time from his Reggae Reggae cookbook (one of the few savoury recipes within not requiring a dose of his Reggae Reggae sauce, which I have never tried, but feel slightly reluctant to – surely there must have been Jamaican cooking before Reggae Reggae Sauce?) Anyway, I fear the Lemsip has driven me off the point. I wanted an easy curry. This is an easy curry. Rated as ‘Wow, delicious!’ and ‘Really, really very good’ by my fellow diners, I reckon it tasted just fine . I just cannot vouch for it personally, you understand. Serves 4-6

brownstewchicken

  • 16 pieces of chicken thigh, drumstick or breast, skin removed.
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp all purpose seasoning
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • knob of butter

Put the chicken in a non metallic dish, sprinkle over the lemon, salt and pepper and the all purpose seasoning. Use your hands to rub everything into the chicken flesh and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

In a large, deep flameproof casserole dish, add about half a centimetre depth of your vegetable oil and heat over a medium flame until its very hot, and then add your chicken in batches of four or five pieces at a time. Cook until browned on each side and leave on a plate while you finish the rest of the batches. When the chicken is all done, pour out most of your oil and leave just a small bit coating the pan. Retuen the chicken to the pot, along with any left over juices or seasoning mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Stir them all together until well combined and then add 450 ml water. Cover, and bring to simmering point. When simmering, remove the lid and cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve with rice.

Hot & Sweet Glazed Pork Chops – North European Stylee

This was not my recipe. I have tweaked a touch, but the thanks and credit belong to the brilliant Eclectic Cook blog for such a delicious dinner. I’ve changed only three things, though. I’ve added thyme, and also salt and pepper to the glaze (although I’ve managed to hold back on crushed garlic, shallots and calvados. Such restraint.), I’ve changed the cooking method, because I’m fairly sure that when Eclectic Cook talks about ‘on the grill’ she means a barbecue, or outside thing, rather then my domestic ‘broiler’ (its been way too cold to cook outside since about.. June here), I’ve also given my chops a bit of a head start with the glaze. Hopefully, they are no less fantastic for these changes.They don’t look much the same, and I found the taste to be far subtler than I expected, but in a good way.Sadly, the photography here is nowhere near as good. Serves 4 with veg.

sweet and sticky glazed chops

  • 4 pork chops
  • 250ml apple juice (not from concentrate)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp runny hunny

chop glaze

Around an hour beforehand, make up your glaze and either shlop it into a large freezer bag with the chops or put the chops in a deep bowl and cover with the marinade.

When you’re ready to go, preheat the grill and get your chops. Shake off the excess of any glaze, but not too seriously, you will be basting. These chops will caramelise (burn) very easily because of the sugars in the honey, so cook it under a slow-medium heat. Put them under your grill and cook for a few minutes, baste, turn the chops, baste, cook for a few minutes, baste, turn, baste, cook for around 17 -20 minutes. Alternatively, especially if 4 chops doesn’t fit in your grill, preheat the oven to gas 6, brown the chops under a medium heat for a few minutes on each side. When brown, put in a roasting dish or oven tray, pour a few tablespoons of marinade over the chops. Cook for 7 minutes, turn over and do the same. Take out of the oven. Scoff.

‘Homecoming Lamb’

I am no lover of the black stuff, so this was an interesting challenge to me. I brought the accompanying book to Caribbean Food Made Easy, and it was one of the first recipes in. When I saw Levi make it on his show, I saw how delicious it looked, and so decided to give it a shot myself. I was hoping for not Guinnessy, but treacly, warming, spicy, slightly bitter and unctuous. I got it, kind of, but I had to make a couple of tweaks because the recipe as was did not really offer me that. Levi says serve with Rice & Peas. Fair enough, I might in future but I fancied not-particularly-caribbean-mashed potato tonight which suited it amazingly well.  It was delicious. I’d be very happy if someone cooked this when I came home. Serves 2.

guiness

  • 4 lamb steaks, around 500g in total
  • 45 ml groundnut oil
  • 125ml Jamaican stout, or Guinness mixed with 1&1/2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 75ml just boiled water
  • mint sprigs, to garnish

For the spice paste:

  • the leaves stripped from 3 good sprigs of thyme
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 spring onions, green part only, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli (1/2 scotch bonnet is suggested, but I’m too scared- if you do go down the scotch bonnet route, remove all the seeds and chop wearing gloves)
  • 6 allspice berries
  • juice of 2 limes (I had to use lemons, in all sincerity, due to my imagining I had limes when in fact I used them with thai fishcakes). Lemons were ok. Obviously limes would have been better.
  • salt and pepper, a fair amount
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Firstly, the book says to simply put all the spice paste ingredients into a pestle and mortar and pound into a paste. I’m normally quite willing to go along with the technique  in a recipe but this advice is just making work for yourself. Firstly, if you have a blender, put everything in there and whizz until you have a smoothish paste. If you do have to use a pestle and mortar, then what you should do is add all the dry ingredients first and grind it as finely as possible and then add your liquids and grind further until you have your paste. It’s just better that way. When you do have your paste, rub it into your lamb steaks and leave in a cool place for at least an hour. Overnight in the fridge is best.

When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a heavy based pan that comes with a lid. When the oil is hot, add the lamb steaks, put the lid on and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Swirl out the bowl with the  water and at the end of the 5 minutes, add the watered down marinade. Put the lid back on and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add your stout, to which you have added your sugar and cook for a further 8 minutes on a medium high heat. Now, supposedly the sauce is ready, but it was still very thin for me at this stage. So what I did was remove steaks to warmed plates, and turned the heat right up on the sauce for around three-four minutes whilst I mashed the spuds and drained the peas to give the sauce an opportunity to reduce down. Serve the sauce over the lamb and scoff.