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. Continue reading


Chicken with peppers and tomatoes in a cream, rosemary and basil sauce

This was my attempt to do one of those dishes that seem to crop up on most Italian restaurant menus.

I never know if they are authentic Italian cooking or not, but I suspect the latter.

Anyway, I mashed up some garlic, salt and rosemary in a pestle and mortar until I had a paste and sliced some red pepper into batons.

Then I halved some baby plum tomatoes and cut some skinned chicken breasts into small cubes.

I heated up some olive oil and quickly sautéed the peppers and tomatoes before adding the chicken and turning it over in the oil. Then I added the garlic and rosemary paste, some black pepper and a splash of white wine.

This was simmered for 15 minutes, until the chicken was cooked. Then I added some single cream and shredded basil leaves, stirred this in and added in some previously cooked fresh egg fusilli.

This was served with more black pepper and grated pecorino cheese.

Beef and peppers in black bean sauce

This was a real success. It is one of the dishes that I like to order in Chinese restaurants and I fancied making it for myself.

I used a couple of those minute steaks that you occasionally see but rump also would work well.

I sliced the meat thinly and marinated it for about half an hour in Shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, sugar and light soy sauce.

The other ingredients I used were one red and one green pepper, sliced into strips, a small bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced into short lengths, beansprouts, a few quartered chestnut mushrooms, two crushed garlic cloves, a heaped tablespoon of black bean sauce and some cornflour paste.

i heated a wok and added some sunflower oil. When this was hot I threw in the peppers, garlic, mushrooms and spring onions, stirring them so they cooked without burning.

Then I added in the beef with its marinade and cooked this for about a minute before adding the beansprouts and black bean sauce.

I carried on cooking for another minute and then added in the cornflour paste, which thickened the sauce almost immediately.

I had already cooked some noodles, which I tossed in sesame oil and served the beef and peppers on top of the noodles.

Chicken breast with peppers, olives and tomatoes

Last night’s dinner was a simple but really tasty dish that was designed to use up some peppers that had been around a while.

The sauce was onion, speck and garlic sweated down in olive oil with chunks of red, yellow and green peppers, chopped fresh tomatoes and thyme.

This was cooked until the sauce was reduced and the peppers soft and then I added some olives to warm through.

I fried a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in olive oil and put them in the pan on top of the sauce to keep warm while I cooked some green tagliatelle.

The chicken was then served on top of the pasta and sauce.

Dead easy and really tasty, with lovely Mediterranean flavours.

Chicken with cashew nuts and peppers

We eat a lot of stir-fry dishes with noodles, or occasionally rice, and they are all quite similar.

The challenge is to have enough variations to stop them becoming dull and samey.

I tend to do this by using different vegetables and different flavours. This variation had a kind of Thai or Vietnamese twist, using oyster sauce, nam pla (fish sauce) and some chilli paste, with chopped mint and coriander as herbs to be added at the last minute.

I fried off the chicken first, removing it to one side before frying the cashews in the same oil and leaving them to drain on some kitchen paper.

Then, in clean oil, I fried ginger, garlic and onions, before adding the diced peppers and the chicken and cooking this for about five minutes or so, before adding in some fish sauce and oyster sauce with the chilli paste and letting it cook for a minute or two longer so that the chicken was cooked through.

Then I returned the nuts to the pan and added the chopped herbs and some chopped spring onions.

I added in the cooked noodles and mixed them before serving, topped with deep-fried shallots.