Monday, 29 September 2014

Chicken Stock

I try to not just throw out the bones and skin of a roast chicken (recipes here and here) but to make a light chicken stock with the left-overs.

bones and skin of 1 roast chicken
garlic and herbs from inside the chicken
1 onion
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 celery stick
2 litres of boiling water
any left-over juices from the roasting tray

optionally any or all of these:
1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
fennel fronds/herb

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and lightly boil for 20-30 minutes. Drain through a sieve or colander. (I didn't forget to add salt, BTW.) Use for soups or risottos or anything else you can think of.

Fennel Chicken

I've almost finished the lovely organic veg from our friends at Rowanbank now but there were still a few things left today: wee fennel bulbs including the lovely herby fronds, tomatoes and potatoes. Add to that a free-range chicken and you have a Sunday roast dinner on a Monday night. Not bad, not bad at all!

(serves 4 - 6)

1 free range or organic chicken (approx. 1500-1750 grams)
1 lemon
sea salt
black pepper
1 whole bulb garlic, julienned
olive oil

vegetables for 4-6 servings:
fennel bulbs with fronds
cherry tomatoes
fennel seeds, optional

Season the chicken inside and out with pepper and salt. Place the fennel fronds, garlic and lemon inside. Cook in a preheated oven at gas mark 5/200 °C for a total of 90 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Parboil for 10-12 minutes in salted water. Drain and leave to dry. Drizzle with olive oil. Slice the fennel, season with pepper and salt and drizzle with olive oil. After 45 minutes add the potatoes, fennel and fennel seeds (if using) to the roasting tray and cook for approx. 25 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Mix all the vegetables and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Pierce the chicken thigh. If the liquid runs clear the meat is cooked.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Porcini Risotto

Included in our organic haul was at least 500 grams of chard, Swiss, red, yellow and orange, which I turned into a warm salad. You can find the recipe here, look for 'variation'. To accompany this I opted for risotto. Not having any fresh mushrooms I made my first risotto using only porcinis. Very satisfying!

(serves 2)

150 g arborio rice
1/4 red onion
1/2 celery stick
1 garlic clove
500 ml vegetable stock
200 ml porcini stock
150-175 ml dry white wine
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
50 g freshly grated parmesan
10 g butter

Boil 200 ml of water and soak the porcinis for 30 minutes. Remove the porcinis and reserve the stock. You'll use it when making the risotto. Coarsely chop the porcinis and set aside.

Now make your risotto as described here. After the wine has been absorbed add the first ladle of porcini stock and, since I used home-made, unsalted stock, season the rice with salt. Once you've used up the porcini stock, start adding the vegetable stock. Once the rice is cooked to your liking add the chopped poricinis and season with black pepper. Stir in the parmesan and butter. Cover and leave for a couple of minutes. Serve in warmed plates.

Cooked Salad of Green Beans and Hard Boiled Eggs

Last weekend, we were given a heap of organic veggies by our friends from Rowanbank and have been eating really well all week. Normally I sauté green beens with onion and garlic before adding stock and/or tomatoes and serving them as a vegetable side dish or salad. Today I fancied doing something a wee bit different and steamed them instead. While the salad was marinating I hard boiled some eggs for no specific purpose. Not having had any lunch I decided to add a couple of the egss to the beans. The result was icredibly morish. I could have eaten the whole lot by myself!

500 g green beans
2 hard boiled eggs
fabby vinaigrette
dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Top and tail, then wash the beans. Cut them into 2-inch pieces, place into a steamer, season with pepper, salt and oregano. Bring some water to the boil, place the steamer on top and cover. Steam the beans for 5-8 minutes until just tender turning them occasionally. Place into a large bowl and dress to taste with the vinaigrette. Leave to cool but mix them every so often so prevent the beans from cooking further. Chop up two hard boiled eggs and gently mix with the beans. Eat slightly warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Vanilla Ice Cream with Blackberry Sauce and Pistachios

Today, we bought some blackberries but when we got home we realised that they were very soft and on the cusp of going off. We had to eat them quickly. So I came up with this easy dessert.

(serves 4)

200-250 g blackberries
maple syrup
unsalted pistachios, chopped
vanilla ice cream

Puree the blackberries adding maple syrup to taste. Spoon over four portions of vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios.