Korean Style Beef Kebabs

I’ve no idea about Korean food, but Ken Hom says these are Korean style so I’ll take him at his word. Either way, these tender kebabs are divine, and should you have the ingredients to hand (I had to shop for the mirin and the spring onions) are a snap to make. I couldn’t taste the pineapple juice in them, but I think it does add to the underlying sweetness and apparently helps tenderize the meat.

Enough to serve 4 with rice and salad

  • 450g steak – rump steak, sirloin or even frying steak
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic

Chop the steak into chunks roughly 1 inch x 2 inches. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour on top of the steaks in a non-metallic bowl. Leave to marinade for about an hour at room temperature.

Thread onto kebab sticks (either metal or if using bamboo, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes prior to using) and preheat your grill. When your grill is hot, put the kebabs in and cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

동. 즐기다, 즐겁게 시간을 보내다.

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Pan-fried Bream & Chickpeas with Thyme, Chilli and Garlic

Or…. nom nom, nom, nom nom nomm

Taken and adapted somewhat from the occasionally useful Nigella Bites from the brilliant TV series of the same name (from some time ago, actually, I still have the original episodes recorded onto VHS, not available to watch on 4od, dammit) This IS a 20 minute dinner, a quick and easy dinner; a dinner made entirely while I was on the phone gossiping. The quality of the ingredients and the recipe elevates it above purely fast food, I hope, however it is still cooking with your eyes closed. When you set it down in front of your intended though, it becomes seduction food. Firstly because it is light but very tasty and secondly it goes in a sort of pile. Which looks more like restaurant food than anything else you do.

I can hear you telling me that the one you wish to seduce doesn’t like fish, or chickpeas or thyme or something. Just ditch them. Because food fussiness isn’t very sexy and this is delicious. Now you’re telling me that you don’t like the chickpeas, or the anchovy in the sauce (you’ll never be able to taste the anchovy – I swear) or whatever. Well, there’s nothing I can do about that except try and persuade you to at least give it a go, after all, there is no accounting for taste…

For the chickpeas:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas – approximately one third of the liquid reserved
  • half a red chilli,roughly chopped
  • leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
  • half an onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 30ml olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a small saucepan. Put the reserved liquid, and the remaining ingredients in a hand blender and swish into a paste. Tip the paste into the saucepan with the chickpeas and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes with the lid on.

For the fish:

  • 2 fillets of sea bream
  • 1 anchovy fillet and a couple of tsp of oil from the jar you bought them in
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • splosh of white wine
  • 5g butter
  • approx 30 ml olive oli
  • salt and pepper

Okies, now. Take your anchovy fillet, your clove of garlic and your thyme leaves and some salt. Sit them on top of eachother on a chopping board and with a sharp knife, chop them down until you get a sort of anchovy, garlic, thyme paste. Chop them past the point you have merely very very fine dice, chop them past the point you think you have chopped enough, keep chopping until you no longer have individual parts. The sharper and larger the knife the better for this job.

Take your fish fillets and cut three small diagonal lines in the skin side of the flesh by pinching both lengths toward eachother with your thumbs and just slashing them with a sharp knife. Over a medium flame, heat the oil until sizzling and put your fish in, skin side down. Cutting into the flesh will encourage to lie flat and crisp up, so leave them until they do crisp. You do not need to turn the fish until the skin has crisped. This should take 4 or 5 minutes and depending on the thickness of the fillet, may be enough to cook them almost through, so bear this in mind when you turn it and maybe only cook for a moment on the other side.

When the fish is done, remove to a warm plate and add your anchovy paste and the oil from the anchovies to the pan, still over the heat. There should be a sizzling noise, but keep your eye on the pan because your garlic may start to brown. Before it does this, put in your slosh of wine and stir, to combine the wine, oil and garlic/anchovy. When the sauce starts to reduce down and bubble, put in your butter and with a magiwhisk, or even a fork frankly, whisk the butter in. A dash of pepper and you’re done. Serve the fish on the chickpeas and put some green veg with it, then pour the sauce over the fish.

Maybe Lebanese Chicken

I have read many recipes that claim to be Lebanese chicken. This is probably not too authentic. But it is very nice.

To serve 2/3.

  • 2 poussins. Or 1 normal size chicken.
  • 8 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus a teaspoon or so to sprinkle over
  • tbsp paprika
  • tbsp cumin powder
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 4 lemons, plus extra to squeeze over

You will need a large pair of sharp scissors for this job. Up to 24 hours before you plan to eat, combine juice, parsley and spices in a bowl. Cut the chicken up through the middle of the breasts, and discard the breastbone, if possible. If you can’t, you can’t. Flatten the chicken out. Spread the mixture over the chicken, massaging over all over the flesh, both sides. Leave for as long as you can and ensure that your chicken is out of the fridge for at least an hour prior to putting in the oven.

Preheat the oven to gas 6. lay the birds flat in a roasting tin, and cook the chicken for 40- 50 mins, turning once until it’s cooked. If you have one larger chicken, you could be looking at 75 minutes. You will know when its done because the flesh will pull easily away from the bones. It’s  easier to eat birds of this size with your fingers than knife and fork,  so pile onto a big plate and share.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder in Thyme, Ginger and Garlic Marinade

I think plain roasted meat is all very well, but at this time of year when memories of overeating rich festive meals are not a totally dim and distant memory, I think it pays to flavour up your meals a touch, and ring the changes. I also know I’m going to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, so I want something that is going to taste good in a salad. When I found myself chopping the garlic and thyme, I just wanted another dimension, so I decided to add fresh ginger. Do ginger and thyme get on? They get on like a house on fire!

For the marinade:
Juice of one lemon
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Tsp thyme leaves
Glop of Olive Oil
1 square inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Either, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothish. OR, put all the dry ingredients into a pestle and mortar until you have a sort of paste and then mix in the lemon juice and olive oil.

Preheat the oven, gas 2 or so, and take your lamb shoulder. Stab it several times all over and then pour over your marinade, massaging in all over with your hands. Leave to sit in a non metallic dish for a while. Put the lamb in a large casserole or roasting tin big enough to hold it. If you don’t have a lid that fits, covering completely with foil is ok. Depending on the size of your shoulder, you will want to cook it slowly for between 2 and 4 hours. About halfway through your estimated cooking time, uncover, and baste with the juices and cook for the remainder of the time without a lid. When its cooked, by which I mean by falling off the bone, leave it covered in a warm place for 20 – 30 mins. I’m having mine with quinoa, grilled halloumi and sautéed courgettes, but roasties, broccoli and a gravy made from the juices would be just as perfect. Apologies for the blurry pics, steamy kitchen and camera still not fixed!

Aromatic Fried Chicken

This isn’t fried chicken like your standard unlucky-fried-kitten. Theres no batter, for one, and its not deep fried. In fact, I finished it off in the oven because despite following the recipe, my chicken wasn’t cooked through after the time given. Still, apart from that little hiccup it was easy. And it tasted divine. I thought given the ingredients it might be a bit spicy, but it was very mellow. From my point of view anyway. Serves 2/3. I cooked mine for two and had enough for leftovers – its perfect picnic or packed lunch food, or indeed for breakfast (shhhh). This vietnamese dish was adapted from Ken Hom’s Hot Wok. Which is a book I intend to cook from far more often. This has got a fair bit of salt in it, so if you’re watching your salt levels, cut it down a bit.

aromatic fried chicken

  • Mixed pack of free range chicken drumstick and thigh portions
  • 3 tbsp ground nut oil

for the marinade:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garic cloves, crushed
  • 75ml thai fish sauce
  • 75ml white rice wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 2 red or green chillis,  seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • flour for dusting

Stick all the marinade ingredients except the flour into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and put in the chicken portions, rubbing the marinade in well. Leave the chicken to sit in its little spicy bath for at least an hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to gas 7. Drain the chicken of any excess marinade and toss in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a wok or a frying pan over a high heat., and when hot, pour in the oil. Keep heating until the oil is slightly smoking and then turn down to low. Put the chicken in skin side down  and slowly brown over a medium low heat for 10 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for ten minutes. If the joints are not done yet, like mine, finish in a hot oven for another 10-15 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately with some rice.