Reidbury's Kitchen

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


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Spiced Bulghar Pilaf with Fish

Spiced Bulghar Pilaf with Fish

Spiced Bulghar Pilaf with Fish

I’m trying to be a bit healthier in my food options at the moment, and I took a look on the Good Food website for low-ish calorie dinner options with fish. There’s so many to choose from, but I narrowed the options down and Paul suggested he was in the mood to try Spiced Bulghar Pilaf with Fish. The ingredients list made this sound quite Middle Eastern and I expected the bulghar wheat to be full of flavour given the fish is not massively seasoned (just a bit of salt, pepper and lemon). Unfortunately I was disappointed with the end result. I kept tasting this as I cooked it, and realised early on that the flavour was mostly coming from the cumin seeds, but even then it was quite bland. Perhaps the rose harissa I used wasn’t as spicy as it should’ve been (although the jar was freshly opened, so I don’t know how true that is), or perhaps my expectations were too great, but overall I felt like it needed more heat. I added Ras el Hanout spice mix AND some chilli powder, along with more lemon but in the end I was still disappointed. Also, you cook the pilaf in a pan and then add the fish on top to cook through – as expected, the pilaf started to burn onto the bottom of the pan before the fish was cooked! Another challenge. But, Paul did like this dish so maybe I just personally didn’t get on with it…

KB rating 5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Spiced Bulghar Pilaf with Fish (serves 4)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (I personally thought this was too much)
  • 2 tbsp harissa (I added another tbsp in addition to the listed amount)
  • 200g bulghar wheat
  • 6 dried apricots, chopped
  • 700ml weak chicken stock (made with one stock cube)
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 4 firm white fish fillets
  • 4 thin lemon slices

Method:

Heat the oil in a lidded flameproof casserole dish. Tip in the onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the carrots and cumin, and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir through the harissa, bulghar and apricots, pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir through until just wilted. Arrange the fish fillets on top, add a slice of lemon on each and season. Replace the lid and cook for 8 mins, keeping over a low-ish heat.

Turn heat to low and cook for 7-8 minutes more until the fish is cooked through and the bulghar is tender. Season with pepper and serve.

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Beans and Greens Salad

Beans and Greens Salad, Olive Magazine April 2014

Beans and Greens Salad, Olive Magazine April 2014

For someone who enjoys cooking so much, I tend to be very lazy when it comes to making an effort on side dishes. I don’t really know why, but it’s something I’d like to focus more on. I decided to start this by making a salad I saw in Olive Magazine (April 2014 issue) to serve with the Greek Chicken Flatbreads I posted here. Whilst Beans and Greens Salad doesn’t necessarily sound the most exciting, it really does taste far more interesting than you’d think. It’s very fresh and zingy and works well as a side dish or, I reckon, brilliantly on its own if you added a bit of feta or chicken to bulk it up.

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Beans and Greens Salad (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 100g green beans, blanched and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli, chopped into small pieces and blanched
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Good handful of baby watercress
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil

Method:

Put the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the vinegar and mustard together, then whisk in 3 tbsp olive oil and season. (I took the lazy option in making the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a clean jar, and shook it vigorously until everything was combined!). Add to the salad, toss everything together. Serve with crusty bread if preferred.


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Greek Chicken Flatbreads with Tzatziki

Greek Chicken Flatbreads with Tzatziki, Olive Magazine May 2014

Greek Chicken Flatbreads with Tzatziki, Olive Magazine May 2014

I’ve been a bit absent of late, but I’m going to try and get back into the habit of posting a couple of things a week. I do have flurries of cooking, but I also seem to have flurries of posting the recipes too! I need to be better at writing these posts and focus on doing little and often! Anyway, since the weather here in London has taken a nicer turn over the last few weeks, I thought I’d post a recent recipe I tried from the May edition of Olive Magazine – Greek Chicken Flatbreads with Tzatziki. This is really simple to make and quite healthy, but it is full of flavour and definitely one I’ll be doing again. The only change I’d make is having some kind of chilli sauce to serve with this. After eating the first wrap, I felt something was missing, and Paul was spot on when he said it needed a kick of heat. I had some hot chilli sauce which worked perfectly, but reckon sweet chilli sauce or fresh chillies would work here too. I ended up serving this with a zingy salad (post to follow in a few days), but it worked on its own.

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

Greek Chicken Flatbreads with Tzatziki (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and half zested
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 warmed flatbreads
  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • Tomato and red onion slices, to serve

Method:

Whisk 1 tbsp olive oil with the lemon zest, oregano, half the garlic and season. Coat the chicken in the marinade, and then griddle for a few minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through.

To make the tzatziki, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, remaining garlic, cucumber, mint and season. Spoon the tzatziki onto the breads, add the salad and top with the chicken.


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Tomato Tarragon Dressing – A Sauce for Steak

Tomato Tarragon Dressing, Gordon Ramsey Healthy Appetite

Tomato Tarragon Dressing, Gordon Ramsey Healthy Appetite

Reidbury Kitchen is a big lover of steaks, and there’s a couple of classic sauces that are part of my repertoire that go really well with a nice chargrilled cut of beef. This one is from Gordon Ramsey’s book ‘Healthy Appetite‘ and is part of a recipe he does with a beef roast. Given there’s only two of us in our house it’s often easier to just do steaks, so bear in mind that this recipe makes enough for 6. I often half it and there’s still enough left over. And I would argue ‘Dressing’ isn’t the best description for this. It’s more like a salsa. I serve this with a chargrilled fillet steak, homemade chips and some kind of green salad.

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

Tomato Tarragon Dressing (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 500g ripe plum tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Few dashes of Tabasco
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • Large handful each of tarragon and flat leaf parsley

Method:

Cut each tomato in half and squeeze out the seeds. Finely chop the place and place in a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for the herbs, and mix well.

Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 20 minutes, or until ready to serve.


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Lemon Buttermilk Chicken with a Piccata Sauce

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken with a Piccata Sauce, Olive Magazine February 2014

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken with a Piccata Sauce, Olive Magazine February 2014

As mentioned in my last post, I am currently in the process of familiarising myself with the new Reidbury Kitchen. I had unpacked all my kitchen stuff on the first day, but remembering where I’ve put everything is quite a different matter! But I have to say, it’s all starting to feel like more normal now and, as my boyfriend stated the other day, the newly located Reidbury Kitchen is knocking out a few classics! That comment came off the back of this recipe I tried from the latest Olive Magazine (subscribe here – it really is worth it)!. It’s another of those recipes that doesn’t sound that interesting, but it is somehow far greater than the sum of its parts. I find skinless chicken breasts can be quite bland and boring as far as meat goes, but the marinating time really improves the texture and flavour of the chicken. But I’d say it’s the sauce that really pulls this whole meal together – zingy, fresh and works really well with the panko-crusted chicken.

The recipe below doesn’t really talk about a carby serving suggestion, just the chicken with some baby gem lettuce and a dollop of mayo. Erm, no. That’s not how I roll. So I added some buttered new potatoes and I’m glad I did! Given how nice this dish was, and that it was pretty simple to make, I reckon this might be one that becomes part of my permanent repertoire.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Lemon Buttermilk Chicken with a Piccata Sauce (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 peeled and bruised and 1 finely chopped
  • 80g panko breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 banana shallot, sliced
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • Small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 20g salted butter, chilled and cubed
  • Baby gem lettuce, to serve
  • Mayonnaise, to serve
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

Put the chicken breasts between two pieces of baking parchment or cling film and, using a rolling pin, batter the crap out of them so they’re flattened to approx 1cm in thickness. Put in a ziplock bag and add the rosemary, buttermilk, 2 tbsp lemon juice and the bruised garlic cloves. Season well, make sure the chicken is coated in the buttermilk mixture and leave for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess before coating in the breadcrumbs.

Heat 0.5cm oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken for 6-8 minutes until golden and cooked through, turning once. Remove and put on kitchen towel, sprinkle with a little salt and keep warm. Clean out the pan and then add another tablespoon of oil.

Add the shallot and chopped garlic to the pan and fry until golden. Add the stock and simmer until reduced by half. Stir through the remaining lemon juice with the zest, parsley and capers.

Finish the sauce by adding the butter and swirl in. Season and serve the chicken with the piccata sauce, gem lettuce leaves and a dollop of mayo. Oh, and the potatoes if you’re following my advice!

 

 

 

 


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Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style

Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style, 'The Fast Diet Recipe Book'

Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style, ‘The Fast Diet Recipe Book’

So as you will probably know by now, I’ve been half-doing WeightWatchers for a while and lost half a stone. But since my trips away to Spain, New York and Scotland, I got firmly out of the habit of point counting. And now I can’t be bothered with it. Meanwhile Paul has been on the 5:2 (or Intermittent Fasting) diet for about 3-4 months and has lost over a stone. So I decided to convert. And I think I must be the only person who seems to have put weight on doing this. It’s only my third week though, so hopefully my body will catch up soon!

There’s so much media attention on the 5:2 at the moment, with magazines, newspapers and websites dedicating space to appropriate ‘5:2’ meals. But really it’s just a super low calorie diet – women reduce their calorie intake to 500 calories a day for 2 days out of 7, and men have 600 calories. There’s some dishes already in this blog that would work really well on the diet – notably the Thai-Style Steamed Fish recipe here and I thought it’d be pretty easy to find recipes through the normal channels. But then I found myself in Waterstones, and one thing led to another, and I left the shop somehow with The Fast Diet Recipe Book which is the official 5:2 diet recipe book. And it’s absolutely brilliant – I thought it’d be a bit of a compromise somehow, but I found myself flicking through in the shop and actually wanting to try recipes on my non-starve days! Buy the book here

One of the first recipes I tried was Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style and it was excellent. It actually ends up being quite a plateful, so psychologically I felt like I was getting a good deal. Lots of flavour, and only 195 calories. Definitely a dish I’ll do again, on both my fast days AND my feast days!

Finally this recipe requires Szechuan pepper, and it’s a pretty key component. But Waitrose let me down and were out of stock. Instead I bought Wayanad pepper which sounded interesting – “intensely spicy with a slight citrus flavour” – and I thought it’d work well. It did, but I would like to try this again with Szechuan peppercorns should I find them.

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

Calorie Count: 195 per person

Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style (serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small chicken breast, skin on (approx 110g)
  • A little olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a cucumber, sliced lengthways, deseeded and cut on the diagonal into crescents
  • Handful of coriander, including finely chopped stalks
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Half a teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorns, crushed (see comment above)
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced diagonally
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce (80g)
  • Lime wedges to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 190C/375F.

Oil the chicken breast lightly before seasoning with salt and pepper (skin to be removed after cooking). Bake, covered, in oven until cooked through and juices run clear – about 20 mins. Allow to cool.

Tear chicken into shreds and place into a bowl with cucumber, most of the coriander and mint.

Make the dressing from the Szechuan pepper, fish sauce, sesame oil, spring onion, lime juice and seasoning. Combine with chicken mixture and serve on shredded iceberg lettuce.

Garnish with lime wedges and remaining coriander leaves.