Reidbury's Kitchen

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


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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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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.


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Chorizo & Chickpea Stew

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew, Nigella Lawson

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew, Nigella Lawson

Sometimes you just want something warm and comforting to eat. And, given how cold it’s been recently in old London town, Sunday night was one of those times. And what’s more warm and comforting than something involving sausage and beans. Fair enough, Nigella’s Chorizo and Chickpea Stew is a fancy sausage and beans, but it’s still broadly the same!

This recipe is, yet again, from her wonderful Kitchen book. Full recipe and image credit can be found on the BBC site here.

I did enjoy this recipe, but I would make some changes next time I make it. The flavours are classic and work brilliantly, but I did want to add a bit of spice so I added a small amount of Hot Chilli powder. I think I’d actually increase the heat even more – the chorizo is spicy, but there’s a lot of sauce and the addition of some chilli flakes might pep it up even further! The other thing I would do is switch out one of the tins of cherry tomatoes for a regular tin of chopped tomatoes. The sauce remained quite watery (despite me adding less water than the recipe prescribed), so I think I’d use chopped tomatoes to bulk this up a little. But I would definitely recommend keeping one of the tins as cherry tomatoes, as they keep their shape during the cooking and add a really nice texture and flavour to the stew.

Finally, it’s worth noting that for two of us, I halved the bulgur wheat it states in the recipe below and there was still loads left!

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Chorizo and Chickpea Stew (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g spaghettini or vermicelli, torn into 3cm lengths
  • 500g bulgur wheat
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sea sat flakes (or 1 tsp regular salt)
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350g chorizo, cut into coins then halved
  • 4 tbsp amontillado sherry
  • 100g dried apricots , snipped into pieces with scissors (optional – I hate them so didn’t include)
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes, drained, plus 1.5 cans tap water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Coriander (optional – I didn’t have any, so didn’t include)

Method

Warm the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat. Fry the pasta bits in the oil for a minute, stirring, until they look like slightly scorched straws, then add the bulgur wheat and stir for another minute or two.

Stir in the cinnamon and the salt, then pour the water into the pan. Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil, then turn down to the lowest heat, add a lid, and leave for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, put another thick-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, add the chorizo pieces and fry until they start to release orange oil. Then add the sherry and let it bubble away.

Add the apricots (if using) along with the chickpeas (or beans) and canned tomatoes. Half-fill each empty tomato can with water and swill it out into the pan. Put on a high heat to bubble for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the bulgur wheat and, if there’s any to hand, some chopped coriander.


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A Great Start To The Day – Turkish-Style Eggs

Turkish-Style Eggs, Delicious Magazine February 2013I’m not really a breakfast person – I tend to be pretty useless for a good 90 minutes after waking up (some would argue longer), and food is the last thing on my mind. But then I also think there’s nothing nicer than a Brunch, particularly one on a Saturday morning involving a cup of coffee, something with eggs involved and ‘Saturday Kitchen’ on the telly. I saw this Turkish-Style Eggs recipe in last month’s Delicious Magazine (Feb 2013) and it’s wonderful. So much so I’ve also had it for dinner. It’s extremely quick to cook and the flavours always seem to hit the spot. There’s not many things that I always have in the fridge – I’m not really that organised. But chorizo lasts for ages and it’s one of my Reidbury Kitchen staples – I use it a lot with pasta, but since trying this recipe it’s more often earmarked for this dish!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10

Turkish-Style Eggs (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Half a small onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Chorizo, chopped (the recipe doesn’t specify quantity but I used about 2 uncooked chorizo. I’ve also used half a cooked chorizo ring too and it worked fine, but you need less cooking time than the uncooked version)
  • 225g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh thyme, chopped
  • Fried breadcrumbs (optional, but recommended!)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

Method

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan, then gently fry the onion and chilli.

Add the chopped chorizo and fry until crisp.

Add the chopped tomatoes, season and add the chopped parsley and thyme.

Make 4 hollows in the mixture and crack 1 egg into each.

Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the egg whites have set.

Serve scattered with fried breadcrumbs, if using.

Grab a cup of coffee, bagsy the sofa and start your day off right!


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Surf and Turf…And A Cake

A few recipes to include today, given my lack of blog updates for a while! First up, two steak dishes to compare.

The first steak recipe we cooked was Steak with Chimichurri from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.3 of the BBQ section). It’s a pretty straightforward recipe that works as well on a griddle pan as it would on a BBQ. Cook the steak for 2 minutes a side on a searing hot pan (with just a little olive oil rubbed over) and serve with the Chimichurri which incudes paprika, cumin, garlic, red onion, red wine vinegar and some coriander. All emulsified with olive oil. I did enjoy this dish but felt the chimichurri was a little powdery due to the cumin and paprika. I’d be interested in researching other chimichurri recipes to see if I can improve on this a little. But the sauce works really well with the steak and I served with home made wedges. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Steak with Chimichurri. Olive Magazine, June 2011

The next steak recipe was the simply titled Spicy Fillet Steaks from Delicious Magazine, September 2011 (p.88). I don’t often eat fillet steak, preferring the flavour of rump, but decided to stick to the recipe and pushed the boat out on fillets! Again, the steak is cooked simply on a searing hot griddle pan (2 mins a side) and then left to rest for 10 minutes. During this 10 mins you create the sauce by using the same pan as you cooked the steaks and adding garlic, fennel seeds, sun-dried tomato paste and chilli. To turn these flavours into a sauce you add some balsamic vinegar, red wine and beef stock and allow to reduce. By this time your steaks have rested and you can add in their juices to the sauce. The recipe suggests serving with rocket – I’m still not keen on this, so I went for the old faithful. Yep, home made potato wedges! (Worth noting there was a gap of a couple of weeks between cooking these two recipes!). Somehow that sauce is greater than the sum of its parts – very fiery and rich and works amazingly well with the steak. I can see why fillet works well here as you get the texture of the cut, but the sauce packs in the flavour that is often lacking with fillet steak. Amazing, and one for the repertoire. KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Spicy Fillet Steaks. Delicious Magazine, September 2011

Up next was a recipe that Paul cooked for us, Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs from the p.32 of the ‘£5 Supper for Two’ supplement with Olive Magazine, September 2011. The recipe only had 7 ingredients but it worked really well. Simply cook some potatoes in boiling water and drain, then fry in oil until golden. Remove from pan and add some onion and green chilli, before adding chorizo and paprika. Once cooked, add the potatoes back into the pan and serve with a fried egg on top. Great comfort food, stuff you’d often have in your fridge and very tasty. Nom nom nom. KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10.

Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs, Olive Magazine Supplement, September 2011

Another recipe Paul cooked recently was Linguine with Garlic, Prawns & Spinach from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ (p. 104). A nice pasta supper with fresh flavours (lemon, parsley and cherry tomatoes) in addition to the ingredients in the recipe title. Very enjoyable but I found it strange that the recipe only used the zest from the lemon and no juice – think I’d add a bit of juice next time and increase the amount of spinach to give this recipe a bit more oomph! The prawns, however, were really juicy and full of flavour and were definitely the highlight. KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Linguine with Garlic, Prawns and Spinach. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

I cooked another recipe from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ book recently too – Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce (p.150). You can’t beat butter, lemon and chicken as a flavour combination (my own roast chicken uses lots of butter and lemon – surprise, surprise, it’s Nigella who inspired me!) and it works really nicely in this recipe. Unfortunately I had a slight issue when making this dish – the first stage is to coat thin pieces of chicken in seasoned flour and fry in a pan before removing and keeping warm. You then proceed to make the sauce in the same pan by deglazing with some lemon juice and stock, and adding parsely and butter to create a creamy texture. However, the floured chicken was catching on the pan so there was a slightly burnt layer over the pan that, when I deglazed, made the sauce really, really bitter and burnt tasting. I tried to sieve but to no avail! So I effectively had to make a sauce from scratch which meant the chickeny bits from the pan that add so much flavour were lost. Boo! I’ll make this again but with a more careful eye! KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

Given I’ve been feeling unwell over the last week I decided to cook two things with a view to making me feel better! So first up was a simple soup – Summer Veg-Box Soup from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.44). Dead easy to make – fry spring onions and courgettes in oil (I upgraded to garlic oil to add further flavour). Add some orzo pasta before adding frozen peas, frozen broad beans and veg stock and allow the whole thing to bubble away. I got a bit carried away with adding extra orzo, so it turned out being less liquidy than it should, but that’s what I was after anyway. Serve in a mug with warm bread and I instantly started to feel better. Yum. KB rating 8/10.

Summer Veg-Box Soup. Olive Magazine, June 2011

And finally, what else can cheer you up when you’re feeling grotty? Tea and cake. It’s a winner, so I decided to make a Victoria Sponge from 101 Teatime Treats (p.10). I hadn’t made one before, but now I am the proud owner of 2 cake tins I felt it was time. I had a slight worry when the oven started to smell like scrambled eggs, but turns out I was being paranoid and the end result was very good indeed given it was my first attempt. Buttercream and strawberry jam, with a mug of tea, completed the treat. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Victoria Sponge. 101 Teatime Treats


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Pretty much pasta…

A few meals cooked this week, of which a couple are Reidbury’s tried and tested favourites! In addition to the recipes that follow I should admit to a takeaway curry (featuring my new obsession – paneer cheese in ‘Mottor Paneer’ form. Paneer cheese with peas – shouldn’t work but somehow it really does) and one night of 5 types of cheese and a good bottle of red…First up this week in the genuine cooking stakes – Sicilian Sausage Pasta from Delicious Magazine, July 2011 (p.34). A relatively simple pasta recipe that I hadn’t tried before. It works well as a ‘I’ve just got in from work, don’t want to reduce myself to a takeaway…what can I conjure up myself’ recipe. It uses sausage meat (easily squeezed from their cases), tomatoes, lemon, chilli, creme fraiche and Parmesan to create a fresh pasta sauce. Enjoyable but it felt a little thin on the ground with regards to taste – I think i’d up the chilli quota next time. Good meal to create when you’re a bit tired and uninterested. KB rating 6.5/10. PR rating 7/10.

Sicilian Sausage Pasta. Delicious Magazine, July 2011

Next up was a Reidbury favourite, Pasta with Sausages, Mustard and Caramelised Onions from Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’  (p.12o). This has been cooked numerous times in the Reidbury kitchen and we often have a chorizo ring in the fridge for this very purpose. There’s something amazing about the chorizo oil that works so well with onions, mustard and pasta and it’s a nice feel good recipe as it’s so simple but tasty. Easy to knock up in about 15 minutes and not too much chopping if you’re feeling lazy. The recipe advocates the use of wholegrain pasta which I actually prefer – but Paul is harder to convince! KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Pasta with Sausage, Mustard and Caramelised Onions. Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’

Last recipe this week was another Reidbury favourite. Definitely in our top 3 homecooked meals at the moment – Harissa Chicken Kebabs with Spring Fattoush and Couscous, from Olive Magazine, April 2011 (p.66). There’s something about this recipe that means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The harissa chicken is straighforward enough – chunks of chicken breast marinated in harissa and olive oil. But somehow grilling this on skewers makes the chicken really flavourful and moist. The spring fattoush incorporates cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onions, mint and toasted pitta bread with a simple dressing of garlic, oil, sumac and lemon juice. Served with simple couscous and the whole meal is amazing! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10.

Harissa Chicken Kebabs with Spring Fattoush. Olive Magazine, April 2011

Finally Paul and I went to Su Sazzagoni in Victoria Park for dinner on Friday. I really enjoyed the honest, Sardinian ambience and menu and particularly enjoyed the Spritz aperitif (currently one of my favourite drinks – either dry white wine or prosecco with Aperol and sparkling water – usually served with lots of ice and slice of orange). Out of 4 dishes (2 starters and 2 mains) only one really stood out – Paul’s simple-sounding starter of pasta with sausage. I did enjoy both of my dishes but felt a little disappointed – the seafood skewer didn’t have enough flavour and the prawns were mushy. My main of tuna was lovely but the bland salad didn’t offer enough contrast. I would go back again but I’d stick to their pasta and pizza rather than the grilled seafood as I’d been advised previously.