Spanish rice with chorizo and peppers, topped with a duck egg

A pretty simple supper dish here. I used calasparra rice, which is used in Spain for Paella and which is becoming more widely available in the UK these days, but you could use ordinary long grain rice.

I cut some mini chorizos in half and fried them in olive oil with some lardons. When these were cooking down nicely and releasing colour and flavour into the oil I added in chopped red and green peppers, a sliced leek and a crushed clove of garlic and allowed these to soften.

Then I added 1 measuring cop of calasparra rice, a teaspoon of smoked pimenton dulce, black pepper and some powdered saffron, with a small amount of salt (the chorizo and lardons are already salty). Then I added two measuring cups of boiled water and simmered it until the rice was cooked.

Then, I fried off a couple of duck eggs in olive oil and that was it.

Fuchsia Dunlop’s braised pork with potatoes

I love Fuchsia Dunlop’s book Every Grain Of Rice and this recipe comes from it.

You will need;

500g boneless pork (I used loin steaks, but she recommends shoulder)
2 spring onions
3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chilli bean paste
20g peeled and sliced fresh ginger
750ml Water or stock
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
300 grams floury potatoes cut into chunks

I also used an optional extra ingredient; three carrots cut into chunks.

Cut the pork into pieces. Rinse thoroughly under the hot tap. Separate the green and white parts of the spring onions. Crush the whites slightly with a rolling rin or cleaver. Cut the greens into 3-4 cm sections. (n.b. I cut the spring onions up into smaller pieces because I thought that they would be nicer to eat that way)

Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a medium flame. Add the chilli bean paste and fry until it smells wonderful and the oil is richly red. Add the ginger and spring onion whites and continue to stir-fry until you can smell them too. Then add the pork, stock or water and Shaoxing wine and bring to a boil.

Turn the contents of the wok into a saucepan, partially cover and simmer for an hour or so, until the pork is tender.

Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan, return to the boil, then simmer for another 20 minutes or so until they are tender. Adjust the seasoning if necessary (but should be quite salty already). Serve scattered with the spring onion greens.

I also cooked some Chinese cabbage with Chingkiang vinegar and plain rice to accompany the pork.

The cabbage is so simple.

Blanch sliced Chinese leaves in boiling water for about a minutes and drain. Heat oil in the wok and add the cabbage. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and then add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of Chingkiang black vinegar, salt to taste and thicken with some potato flour made into a paste with water.

Mandarin and mascarpone trifle

How to make a nice easy dessert without much effort at all.

You will need;

4 ready-made trifle sponges, madeleines or some stale Victoria sponge
1 tin of mandarins in light syrup
1 small tub of whipping cream
1 small tub of mascarpone
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 small glass of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, or sweet sherry at a pinch
grated chocolate or cocoa for dusting

Whip the mascarpone, cream and vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks

Put the sponges into a bowl and soak with the syrup from the mandarins and the Grand Marnier, add the mandarins and then top with the mascarpone and cream.

Cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until required.

Before serving, dust with grated plain chocolate or cocoa powder.

That’s it.

A 15 minute supper

It is often said that people eat convenience food because they don’t have the time to cook anything. Well, this took me about 15 minutes to make from start to serving.

First, I added three cloves of finely chopped garlic to two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. This was then heated so that the garlic began to sizzle without burning while I boiled a kettle of water for the pasta and opened a tin of chopped tomatoes.

While the pasta was cooking, I added the tomatoes to the garlic and oil, stirred and seasoned them and let them simmer. Then, I chopped up a handful of basil leaves. When the pasta was cooked, I drained it and added it to the sauce, along with the basil. Once it was nicely coated in sauce, I served it, topped with freshly-grated parmesan cheese.


Chicken breast with wild garlic sauce, mushrooms, leeks and new potatoes

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, grows all over the place and it is a nice thing to pick a few leaves for your own use. The leaves have a lovely mild garlic/chive flavour and you can also use the white flowers in salads. Anyway, I found some growing at the weekend and picked about a dozen or so leaves to use on Sunday.

The dish I made was pretty simple. There were some pan-fried chicken breasts on a bed of leeks cooked in a mixture of water and butter with a few sprigs of thyme, some new potatoes and some mushrooms sautéed in butter in the pan which I afterwards I used for the chicken, returning the mushrooms when the chicken was done, but the thing that brought it all together was the sauce I made from the chopped wild garlic leaves, wilted in butter and then poached in cream.

To complete the sauce, I deglazed the sauté pan I used for the chicken and mushrooms with a splash of white wine and added this to the cream and wild garlic and then added a couple of tablespoons of the leek cooking liquid.

The sauce was seasoned and reduced slightly and then spooned over the chicken breasts.

Roast chicken glazed with pomegranate molasses and lentils with onions

A Middle-eastern kind of Sunday dinner.

I roasted a chicken in olive oil and for the last 20 minutes of cooking, I glazed it with a mixture of honey, Aleppo pepper flakes and pomegranate molasses.

I served the chicken with basmati rice, a crisp mixed salad, cacik and lentils cooked with onions, garlic and cumin.

The lentils were pretty straightforward too. They were the brownish disc-shaped ones, not Puy lentils and they were cooked in salted water until soft, with some sliced onions, chopped garlic and powdered cumin that had been sautéed in olive oil and butter. They were finished off with some lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Pear frangipane tart

This is a lovely classic piece of patisserie and not at all difficult to make, especially if you use a processor.

Frangipane is made with ground almonds, using the following ingredients.

100g ground almonds
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g softened unsalted butter
1 large egg, plus one egg yolk

Put the dry ingredients and butter in the processor and mix until the butter is amalgamated, then add the eggs and process until everything forms a paste. This is ready for use and can be set aside until required.

Butter a 9″ loose-bottomed tart ring and line it with thin plain pastry, which you should prick all over with a fork. My pastry was made in the processor using 120g plain flour, 90g unsalted butter, 2 eggs and a pinch of salt, which was left to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before rolling out.

Chill the pastry case again and then spread the frangipane across it.

Finally top with peeled, halved and cored pears that you have made cuts across and bake on the middle shelf of the oven, preheated to 160C for an hour.

Leave the tart to cool slightly and carefully remove it from the tart ring.

At this point you can, if you wish, glaze it with some sieved apricot jam or quince jelly, thinned with hot water.

This is nice at room temperature served with whipped cream, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream. A glass of sweet dessert wine is also nice with it.


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