Spatchcocked chicken, potatoes, gratin, Sunday dinner, a photo by La belle dame sans souci on Flickr.
I think that I’ve said before that roast chicken is my favourite meal and I know that it is definitely the Sunday meal I cook the most frequently.
However, the basic roast does get a bit repetitive so I like to ring the changes.
This wasn’t a proper spatchcocked bird, because I split it along the backbone instead of along the breastbone. I did this because sometimes the breast seems to dry out when the meat is on the outer edge of the flattened bird.
Anyway, I roasted it with olive oil, the skin side sprinkled with Aleppo pepper flakes, salt, pepper and dried thyme, with chunks of potato under the chicken, which was on a rack.
This was served with a gratin of aubergine and courgettes in a rich tomato sauce, topped with grated Manchego cheese.
I prepared the dish by coating the sliced vegetables in flour and frying them in olive oil. This helps ensure that the texture of the aubergine is soft and creamy and the courgettes are also soft. The sauce was made in the same oil, with chopped garlic and shallots and a carton of chopped tomatoes, herbes de Provence and chopped parsley, with salt and pepper to taste.
A simple enough Sunday meal, but deeply satisfying and full of Summery Mediterranean flavours.
Pimenton-marinated loin of pork, white asparagus and patatas bravas, a photo by La belle dame sans souci on Flickr.
This was a kind of experiment, using the sort of flavours that you have with chorizo, but with roast pork.
I used a piece of skinned and boned pork loin which I stabbed all over and marinated for 24 hours in a mixture of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, sweet paprika and smoked piccante pimenton.
It smelt really good and the cooking aromas were excellent but the flavours didn’t really get that deep into the meat. I suspect that you would need to marinate it for a lot longer to really get the spices right into the meat.
However, it was a nice piece of pork, and there was flavour around the edges of the meat.
I served it with patatas bravas, i.e fried potatoes with a spicy tomato-based sauce, and white asparagus.
To drink, we kept the Spanish theme going and we had a bottle of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range 2008 Vinedos Barrihuelo Rioja Crianza, which turned out to be a rather nice wine, with good oak, nice soft red fruit flavours and a nice structure.
A nice Summery dish for the warm weather that has finally arrived.
The seafood was king prawns, marinaded in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, Scotch bonnet chilli, garlic, shallot, chopped coriander, salt and pepper.
I first sautéed some lardons of pancetta in a pan with olive oil until they were beginning to crisp up and then added some chopped fresh tomatoes and carried on cooking until these began to break down
Then I added the king prawns and their marinade and cooked them for a bit, adding a small glass of white wine to help make a sauce.
Finally, just before serving, I added in some ready-coked cockles and warmed them through.
I’d already cooked some fresh egg gemelli and everything was mixed together and served.
Well, these dishes are not actual Fuchsia Dunlop recipes but are very much influenced by the recipes in her book “Every Grain Of Rice”.
The chicken was breast meat, marinated in a paste made from rice wine, cornflour, light soy sauce, sugar and a little salt. It was fried in a hot wok with some sunflower oil and then I added chopped garlic, ginger and the white parts of some spring onions and fried for a bit more. Then I added a tablespoon of chilli bean paste, some rinsed black beans and some sliced red and green pepper and cooked this for a few more minutes before adding some water and reducing the heat until the chicken was cooked.
It was garnished with the finely-chooped green parts of the sprint onions.
The beansprouts and choi sum were blanched in boiling water and drained. They were then added to a wok with hot oil that had been seasoned with a few fried Szechuan chillies and some Szechuan peppercorns.
To this I added some Chingkiang black vinegar, some thinly-sliced red and green peppers and a splash of sesame oil.
These dishes were served with plain fragrant rice.
All in all, a pretty successful meal that showed how you can use the principles of a style of cooking to create your own dishes that are in the spirit of the originals.
This was a nice piece of meat, the central part of a nicely trimmed pork tenderloin, which inspired me to do something Italian-influenced. The idea came from Saltimbocca alla Romana, which is made with small veal escalopes with sage leaves and slices of prosciutto crudo, cooked in butter and served with a Marsala sauce.
My interpretation of this was to wrap the pork inside slices of slices of prosciutto which had sage leaves on top of them.
This was then roasted in a 170C oven for 35 minutes in a mixture of olive oil and butter.
While the meat was resting, I made a simple sauce with a tablespoon of flour stirred into the pan juices on the hob and with a large glass of Marsala added in and reduced slightly to make a nice sauce.
The accompaniments were steamed spinach, honey-glazed carrots and plain baby new potatoes. To drink we had a bottle of Barbaresco, a Piedmontese wine made from the same Nebbiolo grape that is used in Barolo, but which is somewhat cheaper.
So, we have finally moved house and I have a brand new kitchen. It is a huge improvement over our previous kitchen and I have taken the opportunity to spend money on lots of new shelves so that my pots and pans are readily accessible.
We have also bought a huge new fridge/freezer, which is an absolute joy.
Finally, after ten years, I now have a separate gas hob and electric fan oven again. Brilliant!
I’ve been cooking quite simple things recently, because we are waiting for a plumber to come and plumb-in our dishwasher and I don’t feel like creating huge amounts of washing up, so here are a few photos of the things we have been eating.
I’ve been cooking a lot of oriental things recently so I thought that I’d do something French for a change.
I bought a whole chicken and jointed it, it is better value doing this than buying chicken portions most of the time.
I used the breast and wing pieces for this dish and saved the legs for something else.
First I coated the chicken in seasoned flour and fried it in olive oil until the skin was crisp and then removed it from the pan.
Then I added a few crushed and chopped cloves of garlic and a finely diced onion and fried those until they were soft, using extra butter in the pan. Then I added some quartered chestnut mushrooms and cooked them. Finally, I flamed off some marc de Bourgogne and added a glassful of Noilly Prat and some chicken stock.
This was allowed to come to a simmering temperature before I returned the chicken to the pan. This was then covered and left to simmer for about 15 minutes.
To finish the dish off, I adjusted the seasoning and added in a handful of chopped tarragon and parsley and some single cream. This was left to reduce slightly while I finished off the potatoes and some baby courgettes which were sautéed in olive oil and a little butter.
When the sauce was thickened a bit, everything was ready to serve. Chicken and tarragon is one of those classic French marriages of flavours, and the brandy, cream and Noilly Prat makes the sauce rich and unctuous.