Friday 29 January 2010

Recipe - Chicken breasts with onions, carrots and jalapenos

Regular readers of this blog have probably already figured out that I cook an awful lot of chicken breasts. I really like their versatility and how easy they are to cook. There are almost no end to the different dishes you can get out of them.

I'm afraid that I far too often that the easy route and use skin and boneless chicken breasts when I cook. This recipe however uses part boned chicken breasts with the skin still on. I must be honest and admit they normally taste more and keep juicier than their stripped cousins.

One of the things to think of when cooking this dish is to use a pan that is big enough to fit the chicken breasts and at the same time deep enough so that the lid can go on. I use my 280mm cast iron casserole pot for this. It is about 75mm deep so the lid goes on nicely.

There is something that feels right about cooking this with a cast iron pot but you can of course use a normal frying pan with a lid as long as it is big enough.

Ok, enough talk about chicken breasts and cast iron casseroles - let's head over to the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone in
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
Vegetable oil
2 onions, cut into slices
2 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
4 tbsp pickled sliced jalapenos (more or less to taste)
8 garlic cloves (more or less to taste), halved if you feel like it
60 ml cider vinegar
60 ml white wine
250 ml chicken stock

Combine the spices into a dryrub. Rub half of the dryrub into the chicken breasts.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Once heated, add in the chicken breasts skin side down and cook until nicely browned on both sides. This should take about 3 - 5 minutes per side. Once browned remove the chickens from the pan.

Add the onion and carrots and cook whilst stirring until the onion is browned, somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, let it cook for about a minute - still stirring. Add the rest of the dryrub, the vinegar, jalapenos, wine and stock.

Put the chicken back in, skin side up, and make sure to push it down well in the onions. Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer. Lid on and keep simmering very, very, gently for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked.

Serve with rice and perhaps some hot sauce on the side.


Tuesday 26 January 2010

Recipe - Cold Potato and Bockwurst Salad

New potatoes has always been one of my big favourites, especially if they are boiled the Swedish way with lots of dill. Once cooked I normally manage to eat a couple before they even make it to a plate. If there are some left over I quite often nibble them one by one until they're gone. Cold new potatoes rock! :)

If, against all odds, enough of them should survive until the next meal I quite often use the them to make a cold potato salad. Normally that means freestyling it in a proper way. I take what I got at home and try to mix and match to make some interesting combinations. There isn't really much you can do to ruin a potato salad and the combinations are almost endless. As you'll notice in the recipe below, there are no rules - just mix it together as you feel is right.

This time I used crème fraîche but you can just as well use mayonnaise, it's just a matter of what you got at home and what your taste tells you to do. As for the bockwurst, you should be able to find that in most supermarkets these days but replace it with hot dogs or something similar if you feel like it.

Having talked this much about new potatoes I'm feeling the craving rise so I better get this recipe sorted any myself down to the shops for some potatoes ;)

Boiled new potatoes, sliced fairly thinly
Bockwurst, sliced fairly thinly
Spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
Red onion, finely diced
Crème fraîche
German sharp mustard

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in enough crème fraîche to coat it all then stir in enough mustard to give it a bit of a kick. Season to taste.


Saturday 23 January 2010

Recipe - Fragrant Salmon served with a crispy salad and mini naans

I call this fragrant salmon since the spices, especially the coriander seeds, makes the entire kitchen smell so good while you're cooking.

Salmon is one of my all time favourites. Not only is it very tasty, it is also very versatile and fairly quick to cook. It can be made into a very quick and easy dish or you can spend some time and make something very fancy.

This time I just made a quick crunchy salad and had some mini naans with it but you could as well serve this with some wild rice, couscous or whatever takes your fancy.

This is a quick recipe so I shall keep my ramblings short too...

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cucumber, de-seeded and diced
Fresh coriander, chopped
1 red chili, de-seeded (if you're wimpy :) ) and sliced

4 salmon fillets, skin on
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
2 tsp whole cumin seeds

Mini naans, to serve

Combine all the ingredients for the salad and let the flavours mingle while you prepare the rest.

Pre-heat the oven to 190c.

Once the oven is heated drizzle the salmon fillets with the lime juice, rub with the spices and season.

Put some oiled tinfoil on a baking tray and put the salmon fillets on that. Cook in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes.

Serve with the salad and mini naans.


Wednesday 20 January 2010

Recipe - Frikadelle

I'm definitely no expert on German food but to me the frikadellen is the German equivalent of hamburgers. Kind of like what us Swedes have in pannbiff and the Danes in their hakkebøfs.

The thing that, to me, differs frikadellen from other hamburger versions are the crispy coating of breadcrumbs. That really sets them off compared to the others.

After some reading I think I can quite safely state that one of the 'secrets' behind good frikadellen is the mix of minced meat. Try to aim for 2/3 beef mince and 1/3 pork mince. 1/2 and 1/2 works too, but is less optimal. ;-)

I'm not sure if it is the right way but I use frikadellen both warm and cold. Cold frikadellen makes the start of awesome sandwiches. Add some pickled gherkin slices and strong mustard and you are well on your way to sandwich heaven.

Enough singing the praise of frikadellen, lets head over to the recipe...

Ingredients (makes enough for about 4)
500g minced meat (see proportions above)
3 slices of thick toasted bread
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, finely diced
A handfuls of curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried marjoram
Bread crumbs
Vegetable oil

Soak the bread in some milk for a couple of minutes. Squeeze out the excess milk.

Put the meat in a bowl and mix in the bread, egg, onion, parsley, mustard and marjoram. Season well. Mix all of this together with your hands.

With wet hands, mould the mix into palm sized frikadellen that is about 2.5cm thick. Coat all sides of the frikadellen in breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Fry the frikadellen until cooked through and golden brown, normally about 6 - 8 minutes on each side.

As you go along keep the fried frikadellen warm while you finish them all off in the pan.


Sunday 17 January 2010

Recipe - Lamb Pies

These small lamb pies are perfect winter food. Fairly quick and easy to make as well as tasty and filling. There's not much more you can ask for.

As always, freestyle this to suit you and your taste. Add and subtract ingredients to match what you got at home.

I think that this dish has a bit of a North African twist to it with the harissa and apricots.

I'm sure that you can make much neater and nicer looking puff pastry lids if you just take some more time and put in a bit more effort than what I did. They tasted ok at least. ;)

Ingredients (makes 2 pies)
300g diced lamb leg
Harissa paste
Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp oregano
70g dried apricots, chopped
1 ready rolled puff pastry sheet, halved
1 egg, beaten

Marinade the lamb in the harissa paste over night.

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the lamb until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and put to the side.

Cook the onion and carrot in the pan until they start to soften. Return the lamb to the pan and stir in the tomatoes, oregano and apricots. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Divide the mixture between two 400ml ramekins (or similar). Cover the ramekins with the puff pastry and cut a cross in the middle with a sharp knife. Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg.

Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the lid is nice and golden.


Thursday 14 January 2010

Recipe - Chargrilled Chicken and Sriracha Bacon Salad

At one stage or another I'm sure that most of us have tried to combine foods that are awesome in their right environment but doesn't go together at all. Ice cream and gravy anyone?

This time though I think I hit gold. Two of my favorites, bacon and Sriracha sauce, combined and working beautifully together. This recipe is for a salad but I can think of quite a few dishes to use it in. Bacon sandwiches with a serious kick being one of them.

Come on give it a go, marinate some bacon with Sriracha and cook it in the oven until crispy. Good enough to eat on its own.

Just adjust the ingredients in this recipe to fit the amount of people you're serving. Allow at least 1/2 - 1 chicken breast per portion.

Just to make sure - no, I have not tried to combine ice cream and gravy. It was just a very bad example.

Chicken breast
Smoked streaky bacon
Sriracha Sauce
Mixed salad leaves
Red onion, thinly sliced
Green pepper, cut into strips
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Parmesan, shaved

Pre-heat the oven to 220c.

Put the bacon strips in a freezer bag and coat liberally with Sriracha sauce. Make sure to mix well to cover all of the bacon. Let this marinade for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime heat a ridged frying pan until smoking hot. Cook the chicken breasts until done and they have a nice marking from the pan. Remove the breasts from heat and let them cool down. Once the chicken has cooled down, slice it into strips.

Line a grill pan with tinfoil and put the bacon on the grill. Cook in the oven until the bacon is crispy, turning half way through. Allow the bacon to cool down and then cut it into pieces.

Assemble all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl or on individual plates.


Monday 11 January 2010

Recipe - Winter Warmer Stew

No one living in the UK can have missed that we've been having some unusual weather. For those of you not living in the UK - it has been f**cking freezing (for the UK), with lots of snow.

Cold weather calls for comforting food and I think this recipe definitively comes in under that heading. It is fairly low on the amount of ingredients as well as the work you need to put in. However, it does take some time to cook so set out in good time.

The biggest problem I found with it was that it filled my flat with such nice smells that I wanted to eat it well before it was finished cooking. I resisted temptation, this time, and was rewarded with a very tasty stew and really tender meat.

As always, freestyle it. Add and subtract spices and vegetables to mix what you got at home.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped/minced
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
500g diced braising steak
500ml passata
250ml water

Heat the oil, cumin, chili flakes, and smoked paprika in a cast iron casserole pan or similar on a medium heat. Stir well and let this cook for about a minute.

Stir in the pepper and onion. Keep cooking and stirring until the pepper and onion starts to soften. Add in the meat and let it cook until the meat is browned on all sides.

Mix in the passata and water, season to taste. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let this simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Serve with rice and some white bread to mop up the sauces with.


Friday 8 January 2010

Recipe - Macaroni box / Makaronilåda

The English title of this recipe is a direct translation of the Swedish one. Another title could have been pasta bake but I kind of like the original title.

I consider this dish to be a complete and utter winter classic. With the current state of the weather here in England I started to think about what we used to be fed when I was a kid and we came in for dinner after a day out in the snow. This was one of the first dishes that popped up in my mind.

This is a great dish to have in your repertoire. It is quick and easy to make and you can freestyle it quite a bit. If you don't have lardons at home, use some smoked ham or bacon instead for example. If you got some lettuce or ingredients for a salad at home, serve that on the side. You could even make some garlic bread to pad out the meal a bit.

One thing, and I know some of you might object to this, that I must have with this dish is tomato ketchup. It just doesn't feel right without a good dollop of Heinz with it.

Ok, enough reminiscing about my childhood meals - let's head over to the recipe instead.


Linda, from with knife and fork, let me know about a competition for the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese over at The Cheeselover blog. She said in the comment that she thought I should enter this recipe. Who am I to question her judgement? ;) So consider this entered into the contest.


Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
200g macaroni, uncooked
1 onion, diced (red or yellow)
200g lardons
Olive oil
Grated cheese

Egg-milk mix
3 eggs
250ml milk

Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

Cook the macaroni as per the instructions on the package. Once cooked, drain and keep on the side.

In the meantime heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Sweat the onions for a couple of minutes before adding the lardons. Let this fry until the lardons are cooked and starting to crisp up. Mix in the macaroni and turn off the heat.

Pour the macaroni and lardon mix into a oven safe casserole dish of a suitable size.

Whisk together the milk and egg and season well. Pour this over the macaroni mix and finish off with a good layer of grated cheese.

Cook in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until the egg-milk mix has set and the cheese turns golden. You can always turn on the grill towards the end of the cooking to brown the cheese some extra.


Tuesday 5 January 2010

Recipe - Wild Boar Steaks with Potato, Parsnip and Chorizo Hash

This is my first post of the year so I thought I'd go a bit wild. Wild boar to be exact.

When you cook boar you can treat it as you would with pork. Wild boar is basically a pig that has been teased until it has flipped and gone wild. ;) The texture etc is very similar to pork, the main difference is that the flavour is a bit stronger.

I was originally going to serve it with a potato gratin but then I had another idea. I performed a quick inventory and realised that I had all the needed ingredients for what I was thinking of and my new side dish was close to being cooked for the first time. I must say that I really liked the flavour combinations I got together in this one.

I'm not giving any exact measurements for the hash, use the proportions and make as much as you think you'll need. To be honest, I could eat it as a main dish with maybe an fried egg or two to accompany it.

I guess I should wish you all a Happy New Year and move on to the recipe now...

Wild Boar Steaks
Olive oil

2 parts potatoes, diced into about 5 - 10mm dice
1 part parsnip, diced into about 5 - 10mm dice
1 part onion, diced
1 part chorizo, diced into about 5 - 10mm dice
A good amount of curly leaf parsley, minced
Olive oil

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Plunge in the potatoes and parsnips and let them par-boil for 2 - 3 minutes. Drain them and then quickly empty the sieve into a pan of ice (or really cold) water to stop the cooking process. Once they've cooled down properly, drain them again.

Heat some oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, pop in the chorizo and onion and let them sweat for a couple of minutes. Once the chorizo has released a fair amount of its oil add in the potatoes and parsnip. Let this fry until it all starts to crispen up, stirring now and then. Season to taste and stir in the parsley just before serving.

While the hash is cooking, heat some more oil in another frying pan. Season and cook the steaks to your liking. Let them rest for 5, or more, minutes before serving together with the hash.