Posts Tagged With: Party

Chicken & Chorizo Stew – A Cold Nose Dish

Project4_Page000Yes, it’s that time of year again where the nights are getting darker, the bikini’s are firmly locked away in their summer drawer and we are all freezing are bottoms off when we open our front doors to head to work in the mornings.

It’s stew time!!! And I have the perfect one for those that want warmed-up cold noses and one-pot-wonders. I present to you, Chicken & Chorizo Stew!

This dish is good. And why wouldn’t it be? You’re pairing chicken with a fiery Spanish pig sausage for God’s sake! Definitely, a greater love story than Twilight… Match made.

Chorizo packs a great deal of flavour and it works really well with the delicate chicken. This stew has a slightly smoky, spicy flavour and the chicken ends up falling off the bone; moist and succulent!

It’s also super for winter dinner parties. I made this last year (yes; last year. Worst. Blogger. EVER) and it was for a dinner party with some friends. The dish was delicious and convenient because once you have done the prep and done the simple steps outlined below, there really is little else for you to prepare but maybe a green salad and opening a few bottles of red wine.

So warm up those noses, sit back and enjoy!

Difficulty: Easy

Prep and cooking time: 95 minutes

Price:  €16

Music I listened to: 

Instead of listening to music, I watched a few episodes of “Friends”. Ah, it never gets old.

Wine I drank: Pinot Noir

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

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  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g chorizo, cut into ½ cm slices
  • 850g-1kg chicken pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, trimmed and diced
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Sea salt  and black pepper

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 170˚C/330°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Gently fry the chorizo until it starts to brown and the oil has turned all lovely and red. Remove the chorizo from the casserole dish to a clean plate.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add half of the chicken pieces. Brown them on all sides for about 3-4 minutes and then remove them to the plate with the chorizo. Brown the other half of the chicken in the same way and remove to the plate as well.

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Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and then the onion, garlic and celery. Fry until soft. Add the wine to the pan and let it boil for a few minutes,

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Now add the tomatoes, chicken and chorizo.

While the casserole is coming to the boil, add the pepper pieces, paprika and the potatoes to the casserole and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then transfer to the oven for an hour.

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Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to let the top brown.

Serve with a lovely green salad and a spicy Rioja Reserva to wet the pallet!

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Categories: Chicken, Main Course Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colours, Cake, Bears & Birthday Baby

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Tomorrow I am going to help my friend bake a colour extravaganza.

It’s going to mega. Epic even.

There will be layers;  6 vibrant and dynamic layers.

There will be icing between each of these layers. This icing will be rich. This icing will be smooth, sweet yet buttery and creamy at the same time. This icing will then cover this 7 tiered stairway to heaven like a cloak of heroism. It will hug and kiss these vibrant levels in an embrace of gooey greatness.gummi

Then there will be gummy bears. Haribo gummy bears.

We shall pellet gun these bad boys to this tiered frosted pile of grandness and there they shall lie… Like insects stuck in a web. Stuck in this gooey mass. And there they will remain.

Finally, at the top of these immense colour blocks of deliciousness will stand tall and proud; the number 1…

My 1 year old Goddaughter better like rainbow cake.

Categories: Desserts, Loves, Life & Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pigging out! Fillet of Pork Wrapped in Parma Ham with Spinach, Prune and Pine Nut Stuffing

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I really love a bit of pig. It’s so versatile. Each part of the meat tastes different and you can do so much with it. I know some people are not hot on pork because the little brat can get stuck in between your teeth and it can be rather chewy. But there is a piggy option that won’t cause these little quandaries…

I present you with pork fillet. Ta-dah!

So this recipe is not actually mine. The gravy I added to it is mine but not the stuffed pork recipe. My friend gave me this free supplement cookbook that came with The Irish Times one Sunday and it had this recipe in it. It’s by a lady called Domini Kemp and she created it specifically for dinner parties when the host desires as little leftovers as possible. Now when I made this, it was just for me and my mother (who eats sparrow sized portions. No joke) so we of course had leftovers. However, I know how yummy this dish is and the plates would have been licked clean if we had more mouths to feed that night.

If you are not completely sold on pork yet, give this a go. It’s good and tender and the stuffing is lovely as it has so much flavour with just the right amount of prunes to add a bit of sweetness.

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes if doing it all in one go and not prepping it the day before you want to serve it.

Price:  €21

Music I listened to: 

I actually cooked this meal while watching re-runs of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’… never gets old!

Wine I drank: Pinot Noir

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:Project_Page000

  • 1 pork fillet
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 smoked streaky bacon rashers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 130g stoned and chopped prunes
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 slices Parma ham
  • Pork stock (optional if you want gravy)
  • Glass red wine (
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • Big knob butter
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

For the gravy (optional):

  • 150ml red wine (approx)
  • 200ml pork stock (approx)
  • 1-2 tsp cornflour

Method

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/360°F.

Slice the pork in half, lengthways but not all the way through. Put it between two sheets of clingfilm and bash the life out if it with a rolling pin so you turn it into one large rectangle of flattened fillet.

Now make the stuffing; gently sweat the onions in the olive oil until soft. Turn up the heat and add the rashers. Fry until brown and crispy.

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Add the garlic, spinach, chopped prunes and pine nuts and sauté until the spinach wilts. Keep the heat turned up so that any water from the spinach evaporates. See ya H2O… Project2_Page000Season and set aside to cool.

Once the stuffing is completely cold, you can stuff the pork and leave overnight, ready to cook. If you’re cooking it straightaway, then it’s ok to stuff the pork while the stuffing is still warm. It won’t poison you.

Spoon the stuffing in a straight line down the middle of the pork, then roll the pork and wrap it up with the Parma ham, all nice and snuggy like. Tie at intervals with a string down the length of the pork fillet.Project3_Page000If you want to make a gravy, put some water with pork stock and a little red wine into the roasting tin and place the pork fillet on top of it. It will make a yummy gravy.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up the butter in a saucepan and gently seat the shallots until golden brown.Project4_Page000

Take the pork out of the oven and add the buttery shallots to the roasting tray and some more stock and wine if necessary and smear the fillet with the redcurrant jelly. Baste with the juices, season with black pepper and roast for another 20 minutes.

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So basically, the pork is roasting for 40 minutes in total.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving. At this point, I thicken the gravy with a little cornflour in the roasting tin over the hob on a low heat. You just want it simmering. Stir gently and once thickened to your liking, take off the stove. Serve it with the delicious pan juices or gravy and whatever accompaniments you desire. My personal preference is roasted parsnips, carrots and potatoes.

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Mmmmmmmm, stuffed pig…

Categories: Main Course Dishes, Pork | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Avocado & Cucumber Mousse with Cherry Tomato & White Truffle Oil Salsa

I never really understood why some people dislike avocados. Yes, yes I know; each to their own. But to me, they are just so damn delicious. They are creamy and nutty in flavour, so versatile and scrum-diddly-umptious in sandwiches, dips, salads etc, etc.

I’m not going to bore you with the nutritional facts of avocados because there are just so many positives and reasons to prove how unbelievably good they are for you. Yes, I can hear some people say ‘but they are so high in fat’?! Alright, they may contain 25% fat but this, my calorie conscious friends, is indeed the right fat. Ever heard of monounsaturated fat? Did you know this fat is good for you? Yep, it is! It basically reduces the bad (LDL) cholesterol and boosts the good (HDL) cholesterol. This fat is just so ‘fat-astic’!!!

(Ok, I’m sorry. I’m even face-palming myself right now for subjecting you to that pun. I’m sorry. Please forgive me).

So, here we have a recipe for Avocado & Cucumber Mousse with Cherry Tomato and White Truffle Oil Salsa. This is loosely based on a Mary Berry dish. Her example was more of a guideline really. I have changed the quantities, added different ingredients and of course, decided to add the divine white truffle oil to the salsa.

This starter is lovely, pretty and also a classy dish that is perfect for dinner parties! It’s made ahead so you don’t have to worry about preparing anything later but the salsa. It’s subtle in flavour but the truffle oil really accentuates the creamy, nutty taste of the avocado, the freshness of the cucumber and the sweetness of the cherry tomato salsa. Yummy!

So don’t delay! Get your ingredients ready and guac ‘n’ roll!!!

(Jeez, I’m really sorry again. I have a pun problem. I’m receiving treatment for it).

Difficulty: Easy – Medium

Prep and cooking time:

Mousse: Once cucumber has been drained with salt, prep/cooking is about 30 minutes then leave to set for at least 6 hours.

Salsa: 5 minutes

Price:  €10

Music I listened to: 

‘Supermassive Black Hole’, Muse

‘All My Days’, Alexi Murdoch

‘Brand New Day’, Joshua Radin

‘Mr. Brightside’, The Killers

‘Let Go’, Frou Frou

Wine I drank: Chenin Blanc

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

The Mousse

  • ½ cucumber
  • Packet of gelatin
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and roughly chopped (remove any dark bits)
  • 100g/3.5 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 100g/3.5oz low-fat fromage frais or sour cream
  • 3 tbsp of good light mayonnaise
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 75ml warm chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • Salt

The Salsa

  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and roughly chopped (remove any dark bits)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white truffle oil
  • 280g/10oz organic cherry tomatoes, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

Method

Grease the sides of 4 ramekins with a little oil. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthways. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and chop up into very small dice. Put the cucumber in a sieve over a boil and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. The salt will dehydrate the cucumber to remove some of the liquid. Leave for about an 1 hour.

Follow the instructions on the box for your packet of gelatine. It should be about 11g-15g per packet and you only need 1. If for some reason you don’t have any instructions, the normal way of preparing the gelatine is to put it into a bowl and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of cold water on it. Leave to sponge for about 10 minutes. Once sponged, stand the bowl in a pan containing a little boiling water to dissolve the gelatine.

Now, put the avocado, cream cheese, fromage frais, mayonnaise and lemon into a bowl and blend with a handheld blender or put into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the gelatine into the warm stock and mix together. Pour into the bowl and blend again until mixed thoroughly. Stir in the diced cucumber with the dill and then season with some salt as desired.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight until firm.

So, it’s about an 1 hour before you want to serve your smart, little starter. Make your salsa! Mix all the salsa ingredients into a bowl and lightly season (if necessary). Cover and ignore this colourful goodness for an hour in order to let the flavours infuse.

Hour is up and it’s starter time! Run a thin knife around the ramekins, then tip the mousse onto a plate and shake to release from the ramekins.

Serve with the salsa.

Classy!

Categories: Starter Dishes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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