Sunday, 18 March 2012

a single's Sunday roast

Back in the day when I was a non-single, Sunday roasts were a fairly regular occurrence and the other day I realised that I don't think I have had a Sunday roast since starting my solo journey, so I thought "Gosh dang, on Sunday I will cook myself a Sunday roast". And what a perfect Sunday it was for a roast, it started to rain just as I started to cook and a dreary kind of day is the best kind of day for a comforting roast.

I now think that Sunday roasts will again be a regular occurrence in my life.

1 chicken Maryland, skin on

1 small potato, peeled
1 carrot (I used purple carrot cause I love it)

1/2 brown onion, cut in to wedges
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a cup of peas
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Olive oil
1 cup of salt reduced chicken stock
1 mushroom, diced
Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Cut your carrot in to quarters and lay on a small baking tray along with the wedged onion and a about 3 sprigs of thyme. Place your chicken Maryland on top of the carrot and onion, drizzle some oil over the top of the chicken, some leaves of thyme removed from the sprigs and a good crack of salt and pepper. Take the peeled potato, cut in half and then make lots of thin slices across the top but don't go all the way through as you want the half to stay intact, place on another tray lined with some baking paper and drizzle a little bit of oil over the top. Place both the chicken and the potato trays in the oven, have the chicken tray on a higher rack than the potato. Cook for around 30 minutes.

Once the chicken is done, put the peas on to cook. Turn the oven off and remove the chicken and potatoes plate them along with the carrots. Take a fry pan, put it on a high heat and place all of the chicken juices, onion, garlic, oil and thyme from the baking tray in to the pan. As this starts to cook add the diced mushroom. Cook this off for a couple of minutes and then tip in the cup of salt reduced stock. Bring this to the boil so that the gravy starts to reduce. When you use stock in an instance where it will be reduced I always recommend using salt reduced stock because as the stock reduces it becomes stronger in flavour and if you don't use the salt reduced kind than your sauce will be very salty. Whilst cooking the gravy mash up the garlic cloves if they are still whole and remove any twigs from the thyme. De leaf another 2 thyme sprigs and add the leaves just before the gravy is finished. Once you are happy with the consistency of the gravy remove it from the heat. Now drain your peas and plate them and then tip the gravy over the chicken and vegetables and serve.

Monday, 12 March 2012

chorizo & tomato stew with cous cous & poached egg

My favourite thing about this dish is the fact that it has cous cous in it - only because whenever I use cous cous I have an excuse to say "cous cous, so nice they named it twice". I have no idea where I heard this but it is one of my favourite food related sayings, it is right up there with "lentil as anything". Aahhh, small things amuse small minds but funny little sayings like this really make me happy.

This is one of those dishes where you can just use whatevs - if you don't have ground cumin then use curry powder - if you don't have cous cous then use rice. It is a great dish for those slap together meals when you don't feel like doing the supermarket mission.

1/2 chorizo, cut into small pieces
1/2 small brown onion, diced
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of stock powder (any flavour)
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 a 400g can of tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 a cup of cold water

1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of basil leaves, roughly shredded
1 tablespoon of natural unsweetened yoghurt
1 free range egg
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1/4 cup of cous cous
1/4 cup of boiling water

Start cooking the chorizo in a pot on a medium heat, if you are using a non-stick pot you won't need any oil but if it is a normal pot just use a tiny drizzle to stop the chorizo from sticking. Once the chorizo is starting to brown add the onion and garlic and continue stirring until the onion starts to turn opaque. Add the stock powder and spices, the mixture will become quite dry so keep stirring for about 30 seconds and then add 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pot. Now add the 1/2 can of tomatoes, cold water and the sugar, turn the heat down so that the mix is gently simmering and cook for about 15 minutes or until you reach the desired consistency for your stew.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Once boiling reduce so that the water is simmering. Crack the egg on to a small place, spin your the simmering water and slowly slide the egg into the water. Cook the egg for around 2 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking. Once cooked, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain.

In a bowl place the cous cous and the boiling water, cover with a lid, plastic wrap or plate and set aside for 5 minutes. Cous cous is so easy, all you have to remember is equal parts cous cous to equal parts boiling water.

Remove the stew from the heat and stir through half of the shredded basil and the tablespoon of yoghurt. Serve the stew straight on top of the cous cous that should now be ready, place the poached egg on top of the stew and sprinkle the remaining basil leaves over the top. Add a good crack of salt and pepper and you are done.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

roasted cherry tomato, goat's cheese & anchovy pasta

I know there are a whole heap of you already turning your nose up to the anchovy but you got to back up and leave your judgement at the door. I understand that some folks don't like biting in to a mini fish fillet on their pizza but when you use anchovies in a sauce they pretty much melt away and leave behind a lovely salty goodness.

If you know me you will know that I have a love for anything that is tiny or miniature, which is why I think this pasta is so rad, other than the fact that it tastes awesome, but also because its full of baby tomatoes and teeny tiny fish fillets. Yay for loving little things.

This is another recipe in which you can mix and match things up, if you really hate anchovies you could use proscuitto or chorizo instead, or if you don't have any goats cheese you could use feta or bocconcini. 

1/2 a punnet of cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/2 a teaspoon of brown sugar
1 clove of garlic
50 grams of goats cheese
15 basil leaves, torn
3 anchovy fillets
1/4 packet of wholemeal spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix the olive oil, sugar and garlic in a bowl until it becomes 
 a paste, add the cherry tomatoes and coat them thoroughly. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and tip the cherry tomatoes and mixtures on to the tray and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked and caramelised.
Put on a pot of water and bring to the boil for the pasta and start cooking it about 7 minutes before the tomatoes are finished. Please keep an eye on your pasta as you don't want it to be soggy and overcooked. Whilst the pasta is cooking, put the goats cheese, torn basil leaves, anchovy fillets, a drizzle of the oil from the anchovy can and a good pinch of salt and pepper in to a large bowl. Once the tomatoes are cooked put them straight in to the bowl with the cheese and anchovies. Mix everything together and ensure you mash the anchovies up so that they blend with everything well.

Drain your pasta, leaving it a little wet still. Place in to the large bowl and mix together with all other ingredients and voila, you're done.