Orange and mustard marinated chicken, with salad and new potatoes

I had the lovely Phil (not Jonjo O’Neill!) over for dinner and a spot of Doctor Who (episodes 1-3 of The Seeds of Death) yesterday evening and so I had another riffle through Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume and found this tasty little recipe that seemed nicely summer-y and light. It came out rather well and is nice and tasty – I might use a stronger mustard next time, and I added a chopped red chilli which isn’t in the original recipe but other than that it’s delicious as is.

Serves 2

2 chicken thighs per person
2 tablespoons of olive oil for brushing

For the marinade:

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
150ml of fresh orange juice
1 medium red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

For the salad:

Mixed leaves – ideally something peppery like rocket and watercress
½ an avocado, peeled and diced
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
½ a red onion, peeled and finely sliced
A handful of mangetout, sliced into 1cm slices
50g of feta cheese, crumbled

New potatoes, quartered and boiled until tender.

Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a small jug.

Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and pour over half the marinade. Cover and marinate for as long as possible. (The recipe says overnight, but I was only able to marinate it for four hours, but that seemed to work fine.)

Pre-heat the oven at 200.

Before cooking remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and drain. Pat dry with kitchen roll and brush with olive oil. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side, until evenly browned.

Transfer to a roasting dish, pour over a little of the reserved marinade and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or so, until cooked through.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, boil the potatoes and gently toss the salad. Use the reserved marinade as a salad dressing. (The recipe says to whisk in another tablespoon of white wine vinegar, but I found that the marinade worked fine as it was so I didn’t bother.)

Serve the chicken with the dressed salad and potatoes. Delicious – light, citrusy, summery and full of flavour.


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Rhubarb and honeycomb ice cream

As yesterday was gloriously hot I decided to drag out my ice cream maker and make some fresh ice cream. I love a bit of rhubarb and I thought that the tartness of the rhubarb would contrast nicely with the sweetness of the honeycomb.

Obviously, I had to make the honeycomb first and I followed this recipe here:
(without dipping it in chocolate!)

350ml of single cream
4 drops of vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
110g of caster sugar
150ml of double cream

2 large stalks of rhubarb, washed and chopped into bite-sized chunks
50ml of white wine
30g of caster sugar

Honeycomb – as much or as little as you like

In a medium saucepan combine the rhubarb chunks, white wine and 30 g of caster sugar. Heat gently and bubble, stirring regularly, until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes mushy and liquid is reduced. Set aside to cool.

Whilst the rhubarb is cooling, make the ice cream.

Place the single cream and vanilla essence in a pan and heat to just under boiling point.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until fluffy, then whisk into the hot cream.

Place the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Leave to become cold.

Whip the double cream until thick but not stiff and fold into the custard.

I then spooned the ice cream mixture into my ice cream maker. Once it’s in the bowl, start the motor and drop in the rhubarb mixture and the pieces of honeycomb.

Churn for half an hour. The ice cream maker churns and thickens the ice cream and chills it as it goes.

Once the ice cream has thickened and is semi-frozen, transfer it to a tupperware and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.


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Lamb and pistachio kebabs with tomato, pomegranate and Sumac salad, with pomegranate dressing and potato moutabel

On Tuesday evening I had the lovely Figgy over for dinner and three more (frankly blood-spattered) episodes of The Walking Dead and Alberto had work to do in the evening so I was cooking for the three of us. As I had the day off work I figured I could do something that might take a little longer to prepare. I flicked through my cookbooks and found these two lovely recipes in the book Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume, by Silvena Rowe. The kebab recipe recommends serving it with the tomato salad and I added the moutabel recipe that I’ve cooked before. I good combination and the kebabs are a very summer-y dish that was suitable for the hottest day of the year. (so far!) I also used my time off to make some home-made ice cream – rhubarb and honeycomb – for dessert. I’ll blog that next.

Seves 6 (so it says – I ended up serving the three of us whilst barely scaling it down at all. We had three kebabs each, which was fine for me and Alberto but proved a little too much for Fig.)

For the kebabs:

900f of lamb mince
½ a bunch of freshly chopped parsley
2 red onions finely grated (grating onions makes my eyes water even more than chopping them so I used the grater attachment on my mixer to do the hard work – more washing up but fewer tears!)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g of pistachios, chopped
¼ of a teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
½ a teaspoon of paprika
½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper
¼ a teaspoon of ground cloves
½ a teaspoon of ground corinader
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg
Olive oil for brushing

Before starting to mix everything I ran the lamb mince through my food mixer to make the mince even finer.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil in a large bowl. Mix for 10 minutes or so until smooth and well combined. (I ran the whole lot through the food mixer, which also helped to chop the pistachios into smaller pieces that I’d been able to manage with my mezzaluna.)

Split the mixture into 12 equal amounts. (As I was using slightly less I made 9 kebabs) Shape into sausage like kebabs, stick a bamboo skewer through each one and then pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes or so./

Brush with olive oil and grill for 15-20 minutes or so, turning occasionally for even cooking, until golden brown.

For the tomato salad:

6 ripe plum tomatoes
Seeds of 1 pomegranate (I found that the best way to get the seeds out of the pomegranate was to do it in a bowl of water. The juice doesn’t squirt everywhere, the pith floats and the pith sinks so it’s easy to collect the seeds and discard the rest.)
1 teaspoon of ground sumac
½ a teaspoon of ground cumin
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

Slice the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds and combine.

In a small bowl mix together the sumac, cumin, olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Pour over the salad and gently toss.

For the Moutabel:

2 medium baking potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
2 tablespoons of tahini
2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of ground cumin

Boil the potatoes until tender.

Drain and mash.

Add the tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice and cumin and mix well.



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Moroccan lamb shank with tomato and chickpeas

On Monday might I fancied a lamb shank. This was partly inspired (oh, alright, completely inspired) by the fact Alberto had a couple of lamb shanks on Sunday evening and it made me realise that I a) hadn’t had one for a while and b) that I really fancied one. Fortunately there was one, lonely looking shank on the butchery counter at Sainsbury’s. Ideal.

I cobbled this recipe together to create something with a Moroccan feel, but without following any particular recipe. I was only cooking for me, so it’s one lamb shank and the recipe is scaled for one. You can easily scale it up though. I cooked it for about two and a bit hours in the end. I did it all in a large saucepan on hob as it didn’t seem worth getting the tagine out just for one shank.

Serves 1

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lamb shank
1 440ml tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium red onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, two peeled and sliced, two left unpeeled and dropped into the stew
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
400ml of lamb stock
1 220ml tin of chickpeas

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the chopped onions and garlic for 5-6 minutes, until softened and starting to colour.

Add in the dry spices and stir well to ensure that the onion is well coated.

Increase the heat, pop in the lamb shank and fry for 3 minutes or so, until browned all over.

Add the tomatoes and enough of the stock so that the shank is almost completely covered. Stir well to combine. Add the thyme sprigs and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down low and simmer for about two hours.

Check regularly to ensure that the stew is not losing too much liquid, adding more water if required, and turning the lamb occasionally if it is not entirely submerged.

After two hours add the chickpeas, stir in well and continue to cook for a further half an hour.

The sauce should be reasonably thick but not too dry, and nicely tasty with the combination of spices and the richness of the balsamic vinegar. I served it with buttery cous-cous and roasted butternut squash chunks.


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Thai-style turkey meatballs with leek, lemongrass and green curry paste, served with Thai green curry and noodles

I had the lovely Fig over for dinner and zombies last night and was at a bit of a loss as to what to cook. The oven is currently out of action and so I’m left with just the hob and grill. Of course this is no problem as I’ve got loads of hob-only recipes… except that when you can’t cook things in the oven, that’s all you want to do! So I was tossing around ideas whilst at work in the afternoon and my colleague Matthew suggested Thai turkey meatballs and the idea appealed! I kind of made this up as I went along so some of the quantities are a bit vague but it all worked rather well.

Serves 2

For the meatballs (makes 10)

500g of lean turkey thigh mince
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
2-3 teaspoons of Thai green curry paste, to taste (this is tricky – as you are adding the paste to raw meat, you can’t then taste test to make sure that you haven’t over/under-spiced it. Just guesswork I’m afraid. I opted for about 2½ teaspoons and that seemed about right)
½ – 1 egg, beaten, to bind

For the curry:

(Obviously, you can use whatever you like really, but I opted for…)

1 fat garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, de-seeded and thickly sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Thin slices of butternut squash
½ a medium aubergine, diced
440ml of coconut milk
2-3 teaspoons of Thai green curry paste (to taste!)

Noodles to serve.

Place the turkey mince, lemongrass, leek and green curry paste in a large bowl and mix well. I usually start with a wooden spoon and then move on to using my hands to get it really well mixed together. Add some egg to bind and when it is well mixed shape into medium sized balls.

You don’t want your balls to be too big or it’ll be difficult to cook them through without burning the outsides. However, you also don’t want balls that are too small. I managed to make 10 suitably sized balls from the mix.

In a large saucepan or frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat. Brown the balls all over and then reduce the heat and cook, slowly, for 10-15 minutes or so, turning regularly to avoid sticking or burning, until cooked through. The low heat means that the balls cook evenly and, hopefully, do not burn on the outside.

Whilst the balls are cooking heat some olive oil in another frying pan and add the sliced onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until the onions soften and start to colour.
Add the sliced pepper, diced aubergine and sliced squash. Cook for a minute or so and then add the green curry paste.

Stir well to combine and then add the coconut milk.

Stir well and then simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened a little and the vegetables are cooked through.

Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente and then drain.

Serve the meatballs on top of the noodles, with the vegetable curry poured over the top.

Very tasty, if I do say so myself. (Fig did say so too, so it’s not all self-recommendation!)


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Japanese-style pork

I fancied a stir-fry last night and so flicked through my Big Book of Wok and Stir-Fry and found this recipe. It looked tasty, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s quick and easy to do and the resulting dish is tasty. It’s a bit ‘veg light’ though so I added some sliced red pepper to the recipe. That seemed to work.

Serves 2

300g of pork fillet
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
115g of French beans, trimmed and sliced
1½ teaspoons of sesame seeds
½ a teaspoon of sesame oil
Salt and pepper
½ a red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

For the marinade:

3 tablespoons of Shoyu or Tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
3 tablespoons of mirin
Finely grated zest of ½ an orange
Juice of ½ an orange
1 tablespoon of clear honey
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh ginger
¼ of a teaspoon of salt

Diagonally slice the pork across the grain, very thinly, and then cut into 4cm lengths.

Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade, stirring well to mix in the honey. Add the pork, mix well and leave to marinate for an hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.

Heat a wok over a medium heat, and add the groundnut oil.

Stir fry the garlic for a few seconds and then add the beans and pepper, and stir fry for a further couple of minutes.

Add the pork and marinade, increase the heat to high and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, until the pork is cooked and the beans and peppers are tender and the pork is cooked through.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and then add the sesame oil. Cook for a further minute and then serve.


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Tagine of duck with dates, honey, tomatoes and orange flower water

Last night I had the lovely David over for some dinner and Doctor Who and, as the day was a bit overcast and unsummery I fancied a tagine and so flicked through my recipe books until I found one that looked tasty. I’ve amended it and fiddled about with it bit and it came out rather well. (If I do say so myself!)

Serves 2

2 duck legs
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
A knob of butter or ghee
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced
150g of moist, stoned dates
2 cinnamon sticks
2-3 tablespoons of clear honey
½ teaspoon of ground corinader
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of ground paprika
1-2 tablespoons of orange flower water
1 tablespoon of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
300ml of chicken stock
1 x 440ml tin of chopped tomatoes

Pre-heat the oven to 180.

In a pestle and mortar pound the garlic and ginger into a paste

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and heat the olive oil. Add the ginger and garlic paste, chopped chilli and cinnamon sticks and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to colour.

Add the duck breasts, skin side down, and cook for a couple of minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy. Turn over and brown the other side for a couple of minutes.

Then add the onion slices and cook for a further minute. Pop in the dates, stock and tomatoes then add the ground coriander, cumin and paprika. Stir well to combine.

Bring to the boil and then transfer to a tagine, (or large casserole dish.) pop the lid on and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes add the orange flower water and ¾ of the chopped coriander and parsley. Stir well and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or so.

Serve with buttery cous-cous. (I topped the cous-cous with some lightly friend pistachio nuts.) Sprinkle the remaining chopped corinader and parsley over the top.

Tasty and slightly spicy from the ginger and chillies, I was certainly pleased with this one.



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Duck with black beans and broccoli

I fancied a little stir-fry on Saturday evening and so I flicked through my Big Book of Wok and Stir-Fry cookbook until I found this tasty little recipe. I had altered it a little by sticking in some mange tout and petit pois and by slightly cheating and using some pre-made black bean sauce, rather than following the recipe and using proper black beans. I’ll detail the recipe as listed, although with the additional veg.

Serves 2

2 duck breasts
2 tablespoons of salted black beans (or tablespoons of black bean sauce)
1½ tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
200g of tenderstem broccoli
3 tablespoons of groundnut oil
2½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin shreds
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 handful of mangetout, sliced in half diagonally
100g of petit pois

Remove the skin from the duck and discard. Slice the meat into 5mm strips.

Soak the beans in cold water for 30 minutes and then drain.

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Ensure that the broccoli florets and slender and slice any particularly fat ones in half along their length. You don’t want any chunky florets as they won’t cook properly in the time.

Heat the wok over a medium heat and add the oil. Fry the ginger, garlic and chilli for a few seconds to flavour the oil. Add the duck and cook for 2 minutes, until sealed all over. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the beans (or black bean sauce), broccoli, red pepper and mange tout. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Return the duck to the wok, along with the peas and the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 3 minutes more and then serve with boiled rice.



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Beef and peanut massaman curry

I had the lovely Phil over for dinner and Doctor Who last night (Sylvester McCoy Sword and Sorcery Epic Battlefield, for those who are interested!) and so I cobbled together this little recipe. I was experimenting and the end result turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. (although, to be fair, Phil did say so too!) My starting point was to use up some of the excess of salted peanuts that we have left after our Eurovision party. Online searches for ‘… and peanut curry’ recipes (thank god that the BBC recipe collection is still there for the time being.) turned up quite a few massaman curry results, and, as I have some massaman curry paste in the fridge, it seemed like a good choice.

Phil likes things quite spicy. I like some spice but not too much, so regular checking and adjusting accordingly is the order of the day. I always make about 350ml of stock, despite only using 250, so I’ve got extra to add if required to dilute the spice a bit!  The amounts listed here were just right for us – spicy enough for Phil’s palate but not so spicy that I was reduced to hiccups and heartburn for the rest of the evening!

The version I’ll list here served two (with a bit left over) but you can easily scale it up.

3 tablespoons of olive oil
400-450g of beef, cut into thin strips
2 medium red onions, peeled and thickly sliced
6 new potatoes, cut in half (the new potatoes I used were really quite small – use as many as you see fit. If they’re too large you may want to cut them into quarters.)
1 leek, thickly sliced
A handful of mangetout
1 red pepper, de-seeded and thickly sliced
1-2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced
1 lemongrasss stalk, finely chopped
1 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 teaspoons of massaman curry paste (or to taste – adjust the seasoning during cooking)
440ml of coconut milk
200-250ml of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of tomato pureé
Juice of 1 lime
A good handful of salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 -2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh coriander
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.

Cook the strips of beef until browned all over and then remove from the pan and set aside.

Pour away half of the oil in the pan and then add the remaining tablespoon.

Fry the garlic, lemongrass, chilli and ginger for a minute or so over a medium heat. Then add the onion and leek, and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the massaman curry paste and stir well to combine. Return the meat to the pan and stir well so that the meat is well coated in the paste.

Add the liquid – first the stock and then the coconut milk. Stir well.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for half an hour. (Check regularly to make sure that the liquid isn’t reducing too much. The end result should be fairly liquidy – not too dry, but not a soup either!)

After half an hour, add the chopped tomato, tomato pureé, potatoes, lime juice and red pepper slices.

Check both the seasoning and the spiciness and, depending upon how you like it, adjust either or both accordingly.

Stir well and simmer for a further 15 minutes or so.

After 15 minutes add the mangetout and chopped peanuts and stir in the chopped coriander.

Cook for a further 15 minutes and then serve with boiled basmati rice.

Delicious! (not the best photo, but seeing as I nearly forgot, you’re lucky that there’s one at all!)


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Cicchetti con la ricotta e lardo

These were rather tasty and very easy to do. Alberto pronounced them ‘amazing’ and they were certainly popular. The recipe is also from the book Cicchetti and the author goes to some lengths to explain what lardo is, and how it is different from lard, and finally, how you can’t get it in this country and will have to use thin slices of pancetta instead! In the end I used thin slices of proscuttio, as that’s what I happened to have to hand. The end result worked very well though.

(In case you were wondering lardo is apparently, wafer thin slices of cured pork back fat.)

Makes 24

24 crostini (the recipe says that you can use slices of baguette instead of crostini and this is what I did.)
270g of ricotta
250g of walnuts, chopped
Salt and black pepper
45g of thinly sliced lardo or unsmoked pancetta cut into small strips or squares

Mix the ricotta, chopped nuts, salt and pepper and spread over the crostini.

Fry the lardo/pancetta/proscuttio pieces until crispy and top each ricotta crostini with a piece.


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