Thursday, 27 September 2012

Satay chicken with peanut sauce - Gordon Ramsay style

This make enough for two for a main meal with some lovely steamed veggies, or could be as a starter for 6 (using skewed chicken), adapted from a Gordon recipe.

The Ingredients 
The peanut sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded if you prefer
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp crushed ginger
  • 4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp dark sweet soy sauce
  • 100 ml (3.5fl oz)coconut cream
  • 50 ml (1.8fl ozwater

The satay chicken

  • 500 g (17.6ozchicken thighs, skinned and deboned
  • 3 shallots, peeled and coarsley chopped
  • 2 garlic cloaves, peeled and coarsley chopped
  • 3 cm knob of galangal (or root ginger) peeled and grated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and white part finely chopped
  • 1 cm knob of tumeric root peeled or 1tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp xylitol 
  • 1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 0.5 chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil or groundnut oil for brushing
The method
  1. For the satay skewers; slice the chicken into thin strips and set to one side.
  2. Grind together the shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, turmeric and the remaining spices in a food processor or a pestle and mortar until you have a rough paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, xylitol  and pepper. Add the fish sauce and chilli and combine. Mix the paste with the peanut oil and add to the chicken, tossing to coat well. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight - this is in an ideal situation or if your like me leave it an hour cos you didn't read the instructions properly beforehand - it still tastes good.
  3. Brush the griddle pan with oil.
  4. Get the griddle pan very hot and then stick the chicken in. Baste the chicken with oil occasionally during cooking.
  5. Grill the chicken until it has cooked through and has begun to pick up a few crispy brown-black spots, about 5–7 minutes, turning frequently.
  6. For the peanut sauce; place a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil followed by the shallot, chilli, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 2–3 minutes until the shallots are softened and the oil begins to take on the red colour of the chilli.
  7. Add in the peanut butter and stir, breaking it down. It should start to melt. Now add the tamarind paste and dark soy sauce and stir well. Pour the coconut cream and water into the saucepan and stir for 3–4 minutes, until the peanut butter has been incorporated into the satay sauce.
  8. Simmer the mixture on a low heat for around 1–2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Serve warm with the chicken.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Banana Bread - The Vegan Way

Using my fav banana bread recipe, I wanted to see if I could make a vegan version just as an experiment. And I am happy to say it worked and you don't even notice the absence of the eggs.

This recipe makes a a 1.5 lb loaf, roughly. 

The Ingredients
50g sultanas 
50g soya spread
75g xylitol
63g Molasses (unrefined sugar cane, I used Billingtons) 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
93g plain gluten free flour (Doves Farm)
1 tsp GF baking powder
63g ground almonds
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp xanthan gum
0.5 tsp salt
175g mashed banana
90ml soya buttermilk 
1 extra tablespoon of soya spread

I made the buttermilk by putting a teaspoon of cider vinegar in soya milk 5 minutes before I needed to use it.

Billington’s sugars are all unrefined which means they have been simply made by pressing out, cleaning and crystallising the juice from the sugar cane. Unrefined sugar is better than refined sugar, but its still sugar :) You could make this with just xylitol, but its wouldn't have the same toffee richest that complements the banana so well, its the molasses that gives it this richness. 

The Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180c (GM4).

Line your loaf tin, ideally with a paper case. I made one from greaseproof paper and a few less than expert snips of the scissors and folding. If you are making muffins as well - pop the cases in the muffin tray. 

Cream the butter/spread with the xylitol and molasses, once its well mixed it will look like wet sand. I used an electric whisk. Once I had done this I realised I needed a bit more spread to get the right consistency, so I mixed in another tablespoon of soya spread, together with the vanilla. 

Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. 

Add the mashed banana to the butter/sugar mix, you can mix in quickly using the electric whisk.  

Add the banana mix and the buttermilk alternately, mixing well with each addition. 

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin. 

Bake for 30-30 minutes. You know its done when a skewer in the middle comes out clean. 

Cool on a rack or at least try to, it smells so good, you might have to leave the house while they cool to stop yourself eating them! 

It works well as a loaf, but probably works best as muffins, has an amazing taste! 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Moroccan Meatballs (Quick and Slow)

This is has been adapted from Leon's Classic recipe, which I have discovered can be enjoyed however much time you have to cook.

The long way round (being true to the original recipe)

Serves 6

The meatballs
1.5 GF pitta bread (or gluten free breadcrumbs)
120ml Lactose free / soya milk (or you can use water)
1kg minced lamb
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Small bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves of garlic (chopped or pressed)

The sauce
30 ml olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x 800g tins of chopped tomatoes
1.5 tbsp harissa*
Handful of basil (chopped)
Handful of parsley (chopped)
Salt and pepper

*You can get harissa paste from supermarkets. But, I got dired harissa from The Spice Shop in Notting Hill, which you mix with olive oil and I understand it has a better taste and is more spicy.

The Method
Rip the pitta into piece and soak in the milk or water for 10 minutes  (you can do the same with the bread crumbs, if thats what you are using).

Put the bread into a mixing bowl, add the mince, parsley, mint, oregano, garlic and seasoning and mix together.

Roll the mixture into balls (approx. 20g each)

On a griddle pan brown the balls quickly for 5 minutes, turning to make sure the browning is even all over.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a big saucepan, and fry the crushed garlic.

Tip in the tomatoes, harissa and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced.

Put in the meatballs and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes with a lid on.

Stir in the herbs just before serving and any other seasoning, should you want it.

I usually have this with rice.

The shortcut (tasty meatballs in half the time)

Serves 3

The meatballs
6 gluten free sausages

The sauce

30 ml olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp harissa
Handful of basil (chopped)
Handful of parsley (chopped)
Small bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper

The Method
Take the skins off the sausages and shape into balls - generally 3-4 balls per sausage

With a small amount of oil start to fry the meatball in a large frying pan. Make sure to turn them frequently.

While the meatball are frying, you can start making the sauce.

Add oil, harissa, garlic in a large saucepan and let the oil heat up.

Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomatoes, the dried and fresh herbs.

The meatballs will take 10-15 minutes to cook depending on their size.

Once they are done, add them to the sauce and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve with rice.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Workshop @ Recipease

I had a chance to go to Recipease to learn how to make Mexican Street Food.

Recipease is Jamie Oliver's Shop-Cafe-Cookery School. It is a nice environment to be in, quite cosy but at the same time, enough room to for about 20 people, in pairs to cook comfortably. It feels welcoming and homely and the demonstrators (or Food Champions as Jamie likes to call them) are friendly, helpful and enthusiastic.
Our shops - Recipease by Jamie Oliver 
Our goodies
Of course, you are learning to make Mexican street food dishes using Jamie Oliver recipes. But seeing as I'm a fan of Jamie Oliver - not a problem :) I would say, almost as a word of warning, there is a lot of chill involved!
As in other workshops I have been to, you cook in pairs - but this time I was with a friend this time, so it was not scary but a delight to be able to share the cooking. The recipes are demonstrated in stages, making different elements of each dish at the same time - think Jamie's 30 minute meals at a slightly slower pace. As you are cooking in pairs, it doesn't feel like you are working too hard, even though there is a fair amount to do, you do have time to enjoy it. All the ingredients was fresh and lovely and making enjoyable and well deserved eating at the end.

We made fish ceviche (fish cooked in the acid of lemon, limes and tomatoes - the first time I have made or eaten this, gorditas (delicious little fluffy tortillas) and  tender chipotle chicken in a soft taco wrap and a Mexican salsa verde. All cooked and eaten in two hours! The tortillas and tacos can easily be made gluten free, to make the whole meal gluten and lactose free.

We went to a 8 o'clock lesson, which means you are eating after 9.30, which feels a bit late, but didn't stop me enjoying it. But, if I were to go again, which I would happy do, I reckon it would be better to do a lunchtime lesson, starting at 12.00 - which is much better timing.

On learn a lot in the a short period of time and you get emailed the recipes the next day. The recipes are generally easy to do, between two once they have been demonstrated, in such a short space of time, you don't focus on detail or precision, which I guess matches Jamie's style and somehow it works. You rely on two people's memory to remember what to do and you can always ask a food champion. It all feels rather informal and relaxed, which means its easy to enjoy yourself and the time just flies by.
There are lots of different short workshops on offer... and you can buy vouchers as well - great for presents - mine was in fact a much appreciated birthday present!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Vegetarian Paella

I started making this when I was a vegetarian and liked it so much, I haven't progressed to adding any fish or meat. This is suitable for veggies, vegans and those who are gluten and lactose intolerant.

Serves 6

The Ingredients
1/4 tsp saffron threads
6 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic either chopped, or use a garlic press
2 red pepper (deseeded and sliced)
1 large aubergine cut into cubes (or you can use a couple of courgette)
225g risotto rice
600ml vegetable stock
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
115g mushrooms
115g french beans halved
1 tin of pinto beans
salt and pepper

The Methods
Place the saffron and 3 tbsp of hot water in a bowl and put to the side for later.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (paella pan or wok).

Add the onion and cook stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, peppers, aubergine and cook again stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until well incorporated and coated in oil.

Add the stock tomatoes, saffron, season to taste.

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.

Stir in the mushroom, french beans and pinto beans (drained).

Cook for a further 10 minutes and then serve.