24 January 2015

Cod, mash, chermoula

Start with the oven at 150C. 

Once hot put in the cherry tomatoes. Then peel and boil the potatoes for the mash and then prepare the North African chemoula. 

Dry the cod with kitchen paper, put them in a plastic bag with some flour, shake and take them out. They only need to b lightly dusted. 

Finish the mash with lots of butter and olive oil. Fry the cod in about 5 mins in a lightly oiled pan. Serve as shown.

Chermoula: there are many recipes, but we prefer the one that Amanda Ursell published in the Times. Roast 1 table spoon of sesame seeds, 2 tea spoons of cumin seeds and 2 tea spoons of fennel seeds in a dry pan. Grind them in a pestle. Mix them with a bunch of fresh parsley and a bunch of fresh coriander, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of paprika powder, some orange zest and enough olive oil to make a thickish dressing with the blender.

15 January 2015

'Homemade' lasagna (2 portions for now and 14 for the freezer))

With 'homemade' we mean that this is not store-bought lasagna (that has lots of carrots and is quite sweet). Yes, we did go to the store to buy:

3 red paprikas, 
140 gr grated Comté cheese, 
a 125 gr package of mixed grated Italian cheeses (Provolone piccante, Mozzarella, Pecorino and Formaggio Stagionato), 
2 (400gr) pots of Barilla Bolognaise sauce, 
2 packets of chilled ready made Béchamel sauce (66 cl in total) and 
2 packets of 'fresh' (i.e not the dried variety) lasagna sheets and 
a 400 gr tin of peeled tomatoes. 

On our way back we stopped at the market where an English butcher sells excellent chili hamburgers. They release hardly any fat and we used 6 of them instead of minced meat (750 gr).

Back home we halved the paprikas, removed the stems and seeds and grilled them under the grill till blackened. 

We pre-heated the oven at 200C and started slicing 4 onions, that were softened on a low heat. 

Then we added the contents of the 2 pots of Bolognaise sauce and the tin of tomatoes. We revved the skin from the paprikas, cut them finely and added them to the sauce, with 2 sprigs of rosemary, 6 sprigs thyme and 4 sprigs fresh oregano from the garden (homemade!) and heated the sauce on a very low heat for 20 mins.

In the meantime we turned the hamburgers into their original shape: minced meat and fried it till done and mixed the meat with the sauce. Removed the herbs!

Then we buttered a 30x36 cm baking tin and covered its bottom with (slightly overlapping) lasagna sheets. We covered them with one half of the sauce, then poured the contents of one packet of béchamel sauce over it, followed by another layer of lasagna sauce.

Then the last half of the sauce went in and the other packet of Béchamel. 

Finally a third layer of lasagna sheets, which were lightly covered with egg yolk. Then the grated cheeses and into the oven for 40 mins.

Sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't (half an hour) and the best thing is that after serving 2 portions you are left with enough to enjoy it on 7 more occasions! 

Just let the rest cool, the cut into portions and freeze them!

13 January 2015

Creamy chicken and wholegrain mustard and mushroom sauce

To accompany 2 leftover chicken legs we made Ottolenghi's sauce :

1 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
Some thyme sprigs from the garden
200g mushrooms, halved
1 tsp paprikapowder
200ml chicken stock from our freezer
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
80g double cream
8 small gherkins, cut in half lengthways
Some parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Some tarragon leaves, roughly chopped (in the garden they were frozen, so we used dry ones from a pot)
Put the oil in  a large sauté pan on medium heat. 

Add the butter, onion and thyme, and saute for five minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms, cook for eight minutes, until they take on a little colour, then add the paprika, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Stir, cook for a minute, then add the stock and mustard. Cook for five or so minutes, to thicken the sauce, stir through the cream and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more; if the sauce needs further thickening, reduce the sauce. 

Off the heat, stir in the gherkins, parsley and tarragon, and serve piping hot – mashed potato or plain boiled rice would make a very happy partner, but we didn'tl.

1 January 2015

Fresh lobster

Buy or catch a lobster. 

Fill pan with 4 liter water, half a bottle of white wine and 1 liter chicken stock, add 2 onions (halved), thyme, rosemary, 1 diced leek, 2 laurel leaves, 2 crushed garlic cloves. salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.

Put in the lobster, head first. Boiling time: 1 min per 100 grams.

Cut in half. Serve with mayo...

Don't forget to use the leftovers to make a delicious lobster stock!