Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, 'What Katie Ate'

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli, ‘What Katie Ate’

The only good thing about the weather here in the UK at the moment is the opportunity to indulge in comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful combination at the best of times, but the addition of chilli and salami just tipped me over the edge! I actually had been up for making mac n cheese since I had something very similar at Pizza Express recently that had Nduja sausage melted into it. God, it was good. So I was hoping I could recreate the chilli, meaty kick by following this Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli recipe in ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies – buy the book here.

When I made this I was a little concerned that the creamy sauce seemed very thin, but it did end up working out as it should – so don’t be afraid. I also recommend getting salami from the deli counter so it’s in one piece and you can cut it up into good sized chunks (rather than spindly little slices), and definitely roast the tomatoes as per the recipe. The sweetness that they add to this dish was a perfect addition! And the recipe says it serves 6 – and it’s a pretty whopping portion size, so it’s certainly a great dish to cook for a crowd.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g macaroni
  • 250g salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 60g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • Large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping and to serve
  • Large handful grated pecorino, plus extra for topping
  • Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 – 1tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional) – I didn’t bother
  • 80ml white wine
  • Handful basil leaves, torn
  • Crusty bread rolls and a green salad, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C fan, 180C, gas mark 4.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, then increase the oven temperature to 180C fan, 200C, gas mark 6.

Half-fill a large saucepan with salted water, add a glug of olive oil and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes until just al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook at this point). Drain and rinse under cold water, then transfer to a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add another glug of oil and stir to coat the macaroni evenly, then add the salami and roast tomatoes. Stir again and season with a little salt and lots of pepper, then set aside.

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Portion of Macaroni Bake

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat a little, then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan, pecorino, nutmeg, dried chilli flakes, cream and truffle oil (if using), and season with a little more pepper. Mix together well, then pour over the macaroni mixture in the casserole dish, along with the white wine, and toss to coat well. Stir through the basil leaves, then scatter a generous amount of extra Parmesan and pecorino over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling, golden brown and crispy (if you like, place the dish under a hot grill for a minute or two to get an even crispier topping).

Serve piping hot with extra grated Parmesan, crusty rolls and a green salad on the side.

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Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast, Delicious Magazine January 2014

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast, Delicious Magazine January 2014

One of the downsides of my new kitchen is that there is only space for a tiny fridge, and no freezer. This will be rectified in the longer term when we convert the garage to a kitchen, but for now it means that we’re having to plan meals like students! Deciding each day what we’ll eat and picking up the relevant ingredients on the way home! However, I have to say I’m quite enjoying the new way! Last night I knew we had quite a lot of potatoes to get through, so I flicked through Delicious Magazine and saw the recipe for Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast. Usually I’d have skipped over it, but because of the potato bombardment I thought it’d be a nice, easy midweek dinner. My concern was mainly around the dryness of the recipe – with only a bit of butter to aid the roasting, there really isn’t any moisture added to the dish. I was fully expecting to knock up an emergency batch of gravy (via granules of course!), but this dish was brilliant as it was. Really, really easy to make – melt butter, pour over ingredients and roast. The apple reduces down and adds a little bit of moisture, and the serving suggestion states to serve as it is, with a bit of English or Dijon mustard. I fully support that!

The one thing I would say about this recipe is that the quality of the sausages is really important. The recipe itself suggests free-range sausages, and I would definitely recommend paying a bit more for good bangers!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7.5/10.

Sausage, Apple and Potato One-Pan Roast (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 8 free-range pork sausages
  • 3 large baking potatoes (or about 900g potatoes), unpeeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
  • 2-3 braeburn apples, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 20g unsalted butter, melted
  • A few fresh thyme sprigs
  • 10-12 fresh sage leaves

Method:

Heat the oven to 210C/fan 190C/Gas 6.5. In a large roasting tin, toss the sausages, potato chunks and apple wedges with the melted butter and a generous amount of salt an freshly ground black pepper. Make sure everything is coated in the butter and has enough room in the tin to go golden.

Roast in the top third of the oven for 35 minutes, adding the thyme sprigs and sage leaves after the first 20 minutes and turning everything over at the same time. When the sausages, potatoes and apples are golden and caramelised, serve straight away making sure everyone gets a few crispy sage leaves. Serve with English or Dijon mustard.


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Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash

Gammon with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root Veg Mash, Delicious Magazine February 2010

Gammon with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root Veg Mash, Delicious Magazine February 2010

The British weather continues to tease – going from “quite warm for this time of year”, to full on freezing, windy and grey “ooh, maybe we should put the heating on”. And it’s causing me problems – the first being that I never seem to be appropriately attired, and the second being that I’m never that sure what I want to eat. But the other day I was absolutely dead set on something – gammon. And not a posh gammon joint. I wanted gammon steaks! I really think gammon steaks are very underrated – they’re cheap, quick to cook and tasty! It’s just like a massive slice of bacon, and that can only be a good thing. I dug through some back issues of Delicious Magazine and found something that sounded perfect, Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash. It definitely hit the right spot as it was warming, cosy comfort food that was simple to cook but delicious to eat. I’d highly recommend!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.

Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 400ml whole milk
  • 6 fresh flatleaf parsley stalks, plus 1 handful leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 large shallot, halved
  • 1 small swede, cut into chunks
  • 500g floury potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 40g mature cheddar, finely grated
  • 30g butter, plus a knob for frying
  • 20g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 gammon steaks

Method:

In a small pan, bring 350ml of the milk, with the parsley stalks, bay leaf, peppercorns and shallot, just to the boil. Set aside for 15 minutes to infuse, then discard the solids.

Meanwhile, put the swede in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, then add the potato and cook for a further 15 minutes, until tender. Drain.

Mash the root vegetables with a masher. Warm the remaining milk and half the mustard in a pan on the hob, then fold into the mash with the cheese. Season and keep warm.

To finish the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, slowly stir in the infused milk and remaining mustard until smooth. Return to the heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until thick. Add the parsley leaves and season.

Heat the oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the gammon for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with the mash and sauce.


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Lo-Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Another starve day, another recipe from The Fast Diet Recipe book. And the more recipes I try from this book (available to buy here), the more impressed I am. And thankfully the 5:2 diet is starting to show results now – not really on the scales, but definitely on my waist line. I found some old jeans last week that I put on in a rush that fit perfectly – and all day I actually thought they were my ‘fat’ jeans. Turns out they are the ones I bought when I lost weight last year and have been a little snug since…until now! So there you are, a little ‘win’ in the Reidbury Kitchen!

So the recipe is Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero and all I can comment on is the end taste…because, for once, I didn’t cook. The boy did! And he did so without causing himself, or anyone else, any damage which suggests that the recipe was relatively straightforward. Anyway, the taste – oooooh it was good! There’s something about meatballs that feels like a treat, and not diet food anyway. But this recipe was  full of flavour and really didn’t feel like a skinny option in any way. And I didn’t even miss the carbs – the cavolo nero was hearty enough that it worked nicely as a substitute.

I would definitely recommend using cavolo nero if you can find it (rather than another cabbagey type thing) because the texture and flavour are both quite robust and blend well with the sauce. But if you cant get it, then cabbage or kale would work OK.

I’m actually planning on doing this recipe again – even if it’s not a starve day!

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Calorie Count: 264 per person

Lo Lo Meatballs with Cavolo Nero (serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 200g lean pork mince (or turkey mince)
  • Half a medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for spraying

For the tomato sauce:

  • Oil for spraying
  • Half a medium red onion, chopped
  • Half a garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g fresh tomatoes, skinned and deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200ml water
  • Chilli flakes, to taste
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

For the cavolo nero:

  • 200g cavolo nero, steamed
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Sea salt

Method:

Place the mince in the bowl with the onion, garlic, carrot, oregano, egg and salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into 12 small meatballs.

Spray a large pan with oil and fry over a medium heat until gently browned (around 4 mins) and set aside.

For the sauce, spray the same pan with oil and fry the onion until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes (tinned and fresh), puree, sugar and water along with the chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Simmer til reduced and glossy.

Add the meatballs and oregano, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with the steamed cavolo nero, dressed with a light squeeze of lemon and a scatter of flaked sea salt.


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Hot Chorizo, Avocado and Mozzarella Salad

Hot Chorizo, Avocado and Mozzarella Salad,Olive Magazine, July 2013

Hot Chorizo, Avocado and Mozzarella Salad,Olive Magazine, July 2013

This weekend was particularly hot. In fact London had its hottest day of the year. But it’s a little known fact that my flat is hotter than the earth’s core. True fact. As I write this I feel like I’m sweating from my eyeballs. This flat is so hot normally that we don’t put our heating on at all until December, and only then have it on for 2 hours a day until Feb. Factor in abnormally warm temperatures and we slowly bake! But I must be honest here, I do love the fact that summer has made a proper appearance in 2013!

Anyway, the nuclear temperatures has meant that I’m not in the mood for heavy food. And as such interesting salads have really tickled my fancy recently. Whilst I subjected my other half to a veggie salad recently, this time I went for something I knew would win him over. Step up Hot Chorizo, Avocado and Mozzarella Salad from the July issue of Olive Magazine.

Dead easy to make, not too many ingredients and packed full of complementary flavours, I would highly recommend this for a light dinner. Really tasty – although if you add chorizo to anything I think you’re on to a winner. And add some lovely crusty bread to mop up the juices, and it’s heaven!

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Hot Chorizo, Avocado and Mozzarella Salad (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 8 mini chorizo sausages (I used 3 medium sized ones, cut up)
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Crusty bread, to serve

Method:

Griddle or fry the sausages until cooked through and then cut in half. Briefly sear the tomatoes in the same pan, adding a bit of seasoning, until they start to wilt.

Halve the avocado then scoop pieces out with a spoon straight onto a platter. Tear the mozzarella and add to the platter. Add some rocket then the tomatoes and chorizo. Whisk the vinegar, mustard and 2 tsp oil, season and spoon over the salad. Eat with crusty bread.


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An Absolute Winner – Pork Bun Cha!

Pork Bun Cha

Pork Bun Cha

There’s not much I can say about this recipe, other than the fact it is AWESOME! Take a look at the ratings Paul and I give this dish, and you’ll see what I mean! I looked online and found this recipe here.  I had no expectations of what this recipe would turn out like – all I knew is that it’s low calorie, low in fat and full of healthy green things. Given I’m trying to kick start myself to get ‘summer body ready’ (given the current weather, I’mn not sure why I’m bothering though), I just wanted something tasty. And goodness me is this tasty. It’s also the softest, tenderest pork I’ve ever cooked, and I’m notoriously bad at accidentally over-cooking pork. The way I’d describe this dish is a warm layered noodle salad. With a kickass sauce that’s packed full of flavour and heat. (Go easy when you pour it over at the end, otherwise you’ll set your face on fire). The bottom layer is cooked rice vermicelli noodles, middle layer is fresh veg and the top layer is the marinated pork. Top off with the fire sauce.

Given that I love Vietnamese and Thai food, I had practically all the ingredients in the cupboard anyway so strangely it’s quite a ‘cupboard staple’ recipe that I am certainly going to do again. The only thing to get is fresh mint and coriander. Finally, it’s worth noting that whilst this is a recipe for 2 people, there was a lot of sauce left over. I’m quite happy with that as I’ll no doubt use it up soon re-making this dish or a slight variation of it. But you may want to consider halving the sauce recipe if you don’t intend to use it up somehow.

Fresh, zingy and virtuous – what’s not to love?!

KB rating 10/10. PR rating 9.5/10

Pork Bun Cha (Serves 2)

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, peeled of its woody outer leaves, then very finely chopped
  • 3 lime leaves, finely chopped (I only had dry ones which worked fine)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • 200g pork fillet, cut into medallions and bashed out to form thin, flat discs

For the sauce (see comment above re: quantity):

  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (I went for Birds Eye Chilli)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 100ml fish sauce

For the salad:

  • 100g thin rice noodles (I went for rice vermicelli)
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
  • Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 6 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
  • 12 large mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped

Method:

Place the lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, turmeric, sugar and fish sauce into a mixing bowl and mix together. Rub the pork with the mixture and leave to marinade for 30 mins.

To make the sauce, combine the garlic, chilli and sugar in a mortar or food processor and pound to a fine paste. Add the lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and 50 ml water and stir to blend.

Put the noodles in a bowl with boiling water to cover. Let stand until al dente – around 10 mins. Divide the noodles between 2 bowls. Mix the salad ingredients together (apart from the herbs) and top each bowl of noodles with salad.

Heat the oil in a griddle on high until it is almost smoking. Throw on the pork and grill for 3 mins or so until the meat has charred nicely and is just cooked through. Top each bowl with the pork.

Finish by topping each bowl with the herbs and serve with a few tablespoons of the sauce poured over. Leave the rest on the table for people to flavour to their taste.

Full recipe credit: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/tv-show/cook-yourself-thin-recipes/pork-bun-cha-recipe


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Pan Roast Cod with Chickpeas, Piquillo & Chorizo

Pan Roasted Cod with Chickpeas, Piquillo and Chorizo, Olive Magazine, April 2013

Pan Roasted Cod with Chickpeas, Piquillo and Chorizo, Olive Magazine, April 2013

So with Mother Nature still not making her mind up if it’s actually Spring or Winter my body doesn’t seem to know what type of food it’s after. But having seen this recipe in the the April 2013 edition of Olive Magazine it seemed to tick the right boxes. Add in the fact that Paul is pretty obsessed about anything involving chorizo and chickpeas and I knew I wouldn’t be far from a winner. The dish was really tasty, but I did forget to add the sugar at one point which would really have helped offset the vinegar! Oops. Also, the chickpeas don’t really get time to be cooked, so I’d probably change the recipe around a little to allow the chickpeas time to bathe in the sauce.

And prepare to use every pan you own… there has to be an easier way to cook this without using as much cookery paraphernalia as you’d find in an average John Lewis. I’m yet to find it…but I will!

The final thing I’d say is NO WAY would this serve 4 people. The fish, yes. The stew, hell no. There’s 200g of chickpeas in there. That’s half a tin – between 4 people. Pffff. Double up the sauce stuff if you want happy people around your table. If you want an eighth of a tin of chickpeas each, then go for your life. And never invite me round for dinner! ;o)

PR rating 8.5/10. KB rating 8.5/10

Pan Roast Cod with Chickpeas, Piquillo & Chorizo (Serves 4 allegedly, but it doesn’t. See above)

Ingredients

  • 4 sustainable cod fillets (skin on), approx 150g each
  • Sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 finely sliced and 2 bruised
  • Olive oil
  • 230g jar piquillo peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • Sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 200g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 100g cooking chorizo, diced
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 80g black olives (it said nicoise olives. I didn’t really know what they were so went for bog standard black ones)
  • 2 sprigs lemon thyme
  • Butter
  • Spring onions, finely sliced to finish
  • Sourdough toast, to serve

Method:

Sprinkle the cod lightly with sea salt. Cook the sliced garlic gently in olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the piquillo peppers, then season with salt, pepper, a pinch of paprika and the sugar. Sweat gently for a couple of minutes (the pepper mixture, not you), add the vinegar, and boil until reduced by half. Stir in the chickpeas and remove from the heat.

Gently cook the chorizo in a little more olive oil in a separate pan for a few minutes until crisp, then scoop from the pan.

Pat dry the cod with kitchen paper then add to the chorizo pan, skin-side down. Add the sprigs of thyme, bruised garlic cloves and a large knob of butter. Keep cooking, basting the fish every so often with the frothy oil and butter. When the fish is almost done, remove two-thirds of the cooking fat, add back the crisp chorizo and olives, then warm through gently.

Quickly fry the cherry tomatoes in a pan (yes another one), with a drizzle of olive oil until starting to burst. Add to the chickpeas and heat everything through.

Take the cod from the frying pan and tip the chorizo/olive mix and cod resting juice into the chickpeas.

Serve the cod on top of the chickpea stew and serve with toasted sourdough, sprinkled with the sliced spring onions.

Get someone else to wash up.