Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Hump Day in a hurry!!!

Hey lovely people!

So it's Wednesday and that means it's food & drink time. Today I am feeling a bit under the weather so it's very much a no makeup and pyjama day, and I really don't want to move off the couch for too long so I'm feeling quite inspired by Jamie Oliver's concept of 15 minute meals. With that being said, I don't want a boring old run of the mill dinner, I want some good grub... So here is what I've narrowed my choices down to:

Golden Chicken, Braised Greens & Potato Gratin

For the gratin
800g potatoes
3 onions
olive oil
1 organic chicken stock cube
½ bunch fresh sage
100 ml single cream
30g Parmesan cheese

For the chicken
4 x 120g skinless higher-welfare chicken breasts
few sprigs fresh rosemary
2 rashers smoked higher-welfare streaky bacon

For the greens
200g baby leeks
200g baby spinach
200g frozen peas


Method
Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Oven grill on high • Food processor (fine slicer) • Medium lidded pan, high heat • Large high-sided roasting tray, high heat • Large frying pan, medium-high heat

Start Cooking
Finely slice the potatoes in the processor, then tip into the medium pan and cover with boiling water and the lid • Peel the onions, finely slice in the processor, then tip into the roasting tray with 2 tablespoons of oil, crumble in the stock cube and season with salt and pepper • Tear in the sage leaves and stir regularly, adding a splash of water if they start to catch

On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper and the rosemary leaves, then fold the paper over and bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin • Put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until golden and cooked through • Drain the potatoes well in a colander, then tip into the onion pan, stir together and arrange in a flat layer • Pour over the cream, then finely grate over the Parmesan and pop under the grill on the top shelf

Halve the leeks lengthways, rinse under the tap, then finely slice • Put into the empty lidded pan on a high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often • Finely slice the bacon and add to the chicken pan, tossing regularly • Stir the spinach and peas into the leeks and once the spinach has wilted and the peas are tender, pile on a board or platter with the chicken and bacon on top • Serve with the gratin.


Pork Tacos, Spicy Black Beans & Avocado Green Salad


For the pork
350g skinless higher-welfare pork belly
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 heaped teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

For the beans
olive oil
1 good pinch cumin seeds
spring onions
cloves of garlic
1 x 400g tin of black beans

For the salad
1 fresh red or green chilli
2 little gem lettuces
½ a bunch fresh coriander
1 ripe avocado
1 large ripe tomato
1 eating apple
low-salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lime

To serve
Lingham's chilli sauce
4 tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
8 corn taco shells

Method
Ingredients out • Large frying pan, medium-high heat • Medium frying pan, medium heat

Start Cooking
Cut the pork into 1cm dice and tip into the large frying pan with the fennel seeds, paprika, salt and pepper, and stir regularly • Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the cumin seeds into the medium frying pan • Trim, slice and add the spring onions, squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, then stir in the beans and their juices, and simmer

Finely slice the chilli, lettuce and most of the top leafy half of the coriander, then halve, destone, peel and chop the avocado, along with the tomato • Toss and pile all this on a platter, coarsely grating or matchsticking the apple on top • Ripple a little chilli sauce through the yoghurt in a small bowl

Stir, mush and season the beans to taste • Drizzle the salad with a little soy sauce, the extra virgin olive oil and lime juice, then toss together • Drain the fat from the pork pan, then serve everything straight away, with a pile of taco shells and all the other elements, sprinkled with the remaining coriander leaves.

So there are two pretty delicious looking and sounding recipes for a fast and efficient "hump day" dinner. But of course, it would be a shame not to include a little alcoholic tipple to wash down all of that scrummy food now wouldn't it??? So on that note I have chosen another easy recipe, one that won't take too long off the couch just like the dinner options above.

Wicked Champagne Cocktail

3-4 pomegranates 
caster sugar, optional
1 bottle Champagne, chilled 

Method
You can use good Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) rather than Champagne for this recipe, and quite honestly, you'd never know the difference. Also, you get great results from puréed peaches or even strawberries instead of pomegranates, but I always think it's best to stick to what's in season.

First of all, cut your pomegranates in half and take their seeds out. The easy way to do this is to hold one half of a pomegranate cut-side down in your hand and bash the top of it with a spatula so the seeds come tumbling out – make sure you've got a bowl underneath to catch them all!

Whiz the seeds for 5 to 10 seconds in a food processor, pour through a sieve and you'll have some lovely pomegranate juice. If the pomegranates are particularly sharp, feel free to stir in a little sugar to sweeten, although I usually don't.

All you need to do is put about 5cm of pomegranate juice into a Champagne flute, then top it up with your Champagne.

You should by this time, be well and truly stuffed... and if not... then maybe a little dessert would go down a treat. But to save yourself the added hassle of having to cook a delicious dessert from scratch, you should just take this little short-cut and buy yourself one of these bad boys:


This is of course a Gü Pud, of the Chocolate Mousse variety. If you haven't already tried it then OMG you are in for a treat. It is a rich intense dark chocolate ganache mousse and it will be the only mousse you will ever eat again!

Anyway, after all that food you will no doubt be stuffed and will most likely want to to lie down and rub your belly. But it was sooooooooo worth it eh???

Take care lovelies. x

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