Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Pot Au Feu alla Olle de Carne

Autumn is in full swing and I am craving a hearty Beef broth with lots of vegetables, just like the Costa Rican Olla de Carne. But. Since I cannot get hold of the kinds of vegetables that are prominent in Central America, I adapt my version to a European style in a kind of French Pot au Feu.

2 large slices of Beef shin
1 Onion, studded with 3 cloves
1 large garlic clove
10 peppercorns
2 tsp sea salt
A bouquet garni featuring; a celery stalk, parsley and coriander stalks and 2 bay leaves
Root vegetables:
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled and halved
1 turnip, cut into 8 pieces
1 corn cob, cut into 4 rounds
8 new potatoes, peeled, left whole if the right size

So, I'm starting with a clove studded onion, a bouquet garni, a garlic clove and salt and peppercorns.
Leaving some of the skin on the onion gives the broth a nice colour.

To this I add the Beef shin and cover with cold water.
Now I bring it to a simmer, cover and simmer quietly until the meat releases from the marrow bone. This takes about 1 hour and a half,

Meanwhile I can prepare my vegetables,
Carrots, Parsnips, a turnip and a corn cob are cut into large chunks, I left the potatoes whole as they are just the right chunk size already.

Once the meat is cooked to tender but not falling apart, I take it out and leave to cool, before cutting into large chunks. I remove any bits that don't look beautiful in the finished dish, like the sinue or connective strands or any fatty bits.
The broth is then strained into a clean pot and the vegetables added. First the carrots, potatoes and turnip, followed by the corn and parsnip after 10 minutes.About another 10 minutes quiet simmering and all the vegetables should be tender to a bite, yet not falling apart.

The meat can now rejoin the pot, heated though and it's ready to serve.
In Costa Rica, Olla de carne is served with a bowl of rice. I like that, so that's what I will do. But a hunk of crusty sourdough bread would also be nice.
A little sprinkling of parsley or coriander will look and taste great as it's served.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Aguadito Peruvian Chicken Soup

This ancient Peruvian Chicken Soup is said to bring the dead back to life. 
Well here is my recipe.

Serves 4 (4 weightwatchers smart points)

2 chicken breasts (about 400g) sliced 
1 corn cob cut into 8 cobettes
1 potato, quartered
1 red pepper, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 courgette, in large dice
1 litre chicken stock
1 big bunch of fresh coriander
1 fresh chilli pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Juice if one lime

Heat the chicken stock and first add the carrots, potato and corn cobettes.
After about 10 minutes simmering add the peppers, chicken and courgettes. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. 
In a blender mix the coriander, chilli, lime and garlic with some of the hot broth from the cooking pot. 
Add this gorgeous green smoothie to the broth just before serving. 
You can also add some cooked rice into the serving bowl, but I left it out. 
Enjoy this wonderful soup. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

White Fish Ceviche

Ceviche is a dish of cured seafood in citrus juices. There are many varieties in Middle and South America, with everyone's version slightly differently spiced and varying ingredients used. I love them all, but this is my favorite mix. 

200g very fresh white fish (such as cod, sea bass or lemon sole), diced into 1 cm cubes
Juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon and 1orange
1 shallot, finely diced
1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely diced
1tsp sea salt
A few coriander leaves for garnish

Simply mix the curing marinade together and pour over the fish. Leave to sit in the fridge for 2 -3 hours. Then serve with tortilla chips or plantain chips. To make it a more complete dish, Avocado and sweet potato also makes a nice accompaniment. 
Bon apetit!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Quick Protein Bread

This bread is based on eggs and quark (a zero fat dairy product) the added ingredients are kinda up to you. Seeds and kibbled nuts, cracked wheat, wheat germ, almond flour, linseed, chia and all things that are good for you can go in. A little bit of bread flour will help bind it all together. 

300g Quark
5 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp sea salt
3 tbs strong bread wholemeal flour
2 tbs weatgerm
200g of your selection of nutty and seedy goodies, coarsly ground

Preheat the oven to 160C. Mix together the eggs, quark and baking powder before mixing all the other ingredients into the batter. It will end up like a cake mix texture rather then a dough. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment and pour in the mix. Sprinkle seeds on top of you like. Bake for 90 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before turning out to cool down. Eats well with lovely homemade spreads. I made Sundried Tomato Butter and a Herb and onion Quark spread.
To store it, place in a bag and keep in the fridge. (Warm it up in the toaster)
You will be surprised how delicious this bread is. And full of goodness!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sichuan Beef Noodles

500g diced shin of beef
12 small shallots, peeled, left whole 
100ml shao shin rice wine
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tsp rock sugar
1 cassia bark stick
2 star anise
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
5 Sichuan peppercorns
3 -5 dried long red chillies
1 tbs Chinese chilli bean paste
500ml water
Fresh noodles
Spring onion, sliced at an angle
Extra chopped fresh chillies

Fry the shallots until nicely coloured, add to a sturdy slow cooking pot. Fry the diced beef in the same pan until nicely coloured, too. Add to the pot. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is fork tender. 
Heat the noodles over steam or microwave quickly just to warm them up. Place into a bowl and sprinkle over some beansprouts. Ladle over the beef and broth and garnish with spring onion and extra chillies. 
Enjoy this warming, unctuous hug in a bowl. Be happy!

Friday, 22 April 2016

No Name Chicken

If you've ever been to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao in Thailand, you may have come across these delicious deep fried snacks. The recipe appears to be a bit of a secret, but I have finally managed to uncover it.
I am tempted to keep it a secret, just for the fun of it, but hey. It isn't really that difficult to figure out. 

Ingredients: (makes about 18 No Names)

150g tempura batter mix (you can make your own of course)
1 egg
150ml sparkling water
A selection of vegetables, peanuts and chicken all diced up quite small.
I used onion, bok choy, peppers and soy beans. But any soft vegetables are good.
Use as much as it takes to fill the batter with goodies. 

Heat oil for deep frying in a suitable pan. Drop a tiny bit of batter in the oil, to see if it starts frying. Once it does drop spoonfuls carefully into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. The fritters will fry away happily and turn them self around as they cook, if they have enough room to move. However you can give them a little hand if they don't. 
Once they have an appetising golden brown colour they are ready to be fished out with a slotted spoon and placed on kitchen roll to drain any excess oil.
They must be served with sweet chilli sauce. 
Careful! Leave them to cool a little before you take your fist desperate bite ;)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Cod & Clams

This dish is very loosely inspired by Bacalao en salsa verde. It is more light and fresh and almost like Moules Mariniere. I think it's very delicious and I want to share it with you. 

1 piece of fresh cod filet about 350g
500g frozen or fresh small clams
1 small bunch of parsley
1mug of frozen peas
5 garlic cloves, sliced
100ml white wine
50ml olive oil
1tbs Plain flour 
Salt and pepper

Add the flour with a good seasoning of salt and pepper to a bowl. Cut the cod into 1inch chunks and toss it in the flour until coated all over. 
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the cod prices carefully for a couple of minutes. Turn them once (carefully not to break them) then fry for another 2 minutes. 
Now take the pan of the heat and take the cod out and place on a plate, waiting to join the pan again later.
Now add the garlic to the oil in the pan. Heat until it sizzles but don't let it brown. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Now add the peas and bring back to a simmer. Next add the parsley and let it come back to a simmer.
Then the clams can go in. They will literally open instantly. Once open, add the cod back in and cover with a lid to let the heat and flavour mingle for just a couple of minutes. 

As soon as everything is nice and hot, ladle into warm bowls and serve with some crusty bread to soak up all the wonderful juices. 

Bon Apetit! Enjoy this one!

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