Chicken Fajita Bowls

January 22, 2014

I have talked about Mexican bowls before here, and got the idea from Liberty London Girl. We eat them a lot. It’s a great Friday night supper when you want tasty food and a night on the sofa. We both prep everything then pile our bowls up and watch a movie.

At the moment we are making efforts to be healthy so we switched up our bowl ingredients this week and I think we found a new favourite meal. It’s a bit more work and I have to admit that I didn’t cook this my husband did…

You need (for 2);
2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
(fajita seasoning made to this recipe)
150g brown rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red/green pepper, chopped in strips
1 tin red kidney beans
1 large avocado
plus
olive oil
chicken stock
salt and pepper
2/3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

served with salad;
leaves, cucumber, pepper and sweetcorn

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1. Make your fajita seasoning, make a big quantity so that this is done for next time. This way you don’t have to buy the packet stuff unless you’re feeling lazy. Then smoother your chicken and cover in cling film until you’re ready to cook.

2. Made your guacamole; we like to mash ours in a bowl with a fork so it’s fairly chunky, then we add lime juice, salt and pepper and chilli flakes.

3. Make your kidney beans, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add 1/4 of the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the beans and 100ml of stock and cook for 10 minutes until the beans are soft then mash the beans – add more stock if necessary.

4. Cook your rice, we boiled brown rice for 15 minutes. I like it to have bite.

5. Fry off the rest of your onion and peppers in some oil until they begin to caramelise, put to one side.

6. Finely cook your chicken, we just brought a George Foreman grill which I was so against as I hate having lots of appliances in the kitchen but I have to say I love it especially for cooking chicken. Otherwise to keep this healthy grill your chicken for 5-7 minutes.

Then chuck it all in a bowl.

Amazing.

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Fava Dip

January 7, 2014

Another gorgeous Ottolenghi recipe… this dip is like a wetter humous and was so delicious. A bit of faff but worth it in my opinion.

You need;
3 large onions
300g yellow spilt peas
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp tumeric
100 ml olive oil plus extra to serve
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
25g fresh chives finely chopped
35g capers roughly chopped

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1. Quarter one of the onions and place into a medium saucepan, add the spilt peas, bay leaves and turmeric and cover with cold water before bringing to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook this for 1 hour or until the peas are soft and only just holding their shape.
Strain the peas, discard the bay leaves but keep the water and onions.

2. While the peas are cooking chop the remaining onions into half inch thick slices, and saute them with some oil for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown, sweet and caramelised. Set these aside.

3. Reserving 100g of the cooked peas, put the rest into a food processor and blend with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and 3 tsp of the cooking water, blitz until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and fold in the peas you set aside half the chives and onions. Serve in a bowl before topping with the capers remaining onions and chives finish with a final drizzle of oil.

We served with some flatbreads and the spiced aubergines and crispy cous cous cakes.

This is from Yotam Ottolenghi…  and they are really good!

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You need;
1/2 tsp saffron thread
275g couscous
30g barberries
4 tbsp caster sugar
140g Greek yoghurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
20g fresh chives, chopped
100g feta, crumbled into 1cm chunks
Salt and black pepper
About 4 tbsp clarified butter or ghee

Put the saffron in a large bowl and pour over 500ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for a few minutes, then add the couscous. Stir with a fork, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the barberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Add 120ml water, bring to a light simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat. Once cool, drain the barberries and dry on kitchen paper.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then add the yoghurt, eggs, chives, feta, barberries, one and a quarter teaspoons of salt and some black pepper. Mix well and then shape into firm round patties about 1.5cm thick and weighing 55g each; press and compact them well, so they don’t disintegrate.

Heat two tablespoons of clarified butter in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and fry the patties in batches, adding more butter as needed. Cook each batch for five minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden-brown. Transfer to kitchen paper. Serve at once, while they’re still warm.

This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, you know it’s going to be good.

There is some prep required ahead of time, this is well worth doing the night before then making this amazing tikka malasa for dinner becomes super easy.

Don’t be put off by the long ingredients list, it’s mostly spices you probably have.

You need;
For the chicken tikka
675 g boneless, skinless chicken, thighs or breasts, cut into 2.5 cm chunks
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
¾ tsp chilli powder
6 tbsp whipping cream
½ tsp garam masala
3 tbsp sunflower oil

For the masala
4 tbsp sunflower oil
140 g onions, halved and finely sliced
1 tbsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
4 tbsp yogurt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and very finely chopped
350 ml chicken stock
¼ tsp garam masala
4 tbsp coriander leaves

The day/morning before eating;
1. For the chicken tikka: Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and rub in 1¼ teaspoon salt and the lemon juice. 
Prick the chicken pieces lightly with a knife and rub the seasoning in again, then set aside for 20 minutes.

2. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, whipping cream and garam masala.
Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, though longer will not hurt.

curry

 3. For the masala: Pour the sunflower oil into a large, preferably non-stick, lidded pan and set it over a medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onions. Stir and fry until they brown, for 6-7 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry, stirring, for a minute.

4. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and paprika.
Stir for 10 seconds, then add a tablespoon of yogurt. Stir and fry until it is absorbed.
Add the remaining yogurt in this way, a tablespoon at a time.

5. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until they turn pulpy.
Add the stock and ¼ teaspoon salt, and bring to a simmer.
Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should turn thick.

6. Stir in the garam masala and coriander leaves, taste and add more salt if you need it. Shortly before you eat, heat a non-stick frying pan and cook the chicken pieces. (the recipe says to grill, I found this quicker and easier but grill is probably best if Madhur says so!)

8. When the chicken is cooked, reheat the sauce and fold in the chicken. Serve with fluffy white rice and coriander.

chicken

Seriously better than any takeaway… I love this and make it a lot.

I haven’t written a recipe recommendation for a very long time… Mostly because I haven’t cooked anything blog-worthy or much at all. My poor husband has done far more than his far share over the last 7 months, trying to get me to eat proper food when all I have wanted is plain or comfort.

Finally about 6 weeks ago (more or less) I did start to want proper food again, like vegetables and salad. It’s so nice to feel better again because although all I wanted was toast or potato it certainly didn’t make me feel good.

So anyway, I saw this post on How Sweet Eats and have been obsessing over feta since our little jaunt to Greece, after years of hating it it’s back in my favour.

plate

I changed it a little just to use what I had at home.

You need;
1 pack/block feta cheese
2-3 tablespoons of creme fraiche
juice of 1/2 a lime
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
lots of salt and pepper

1. Cut up the feta into small chunks and add the creme fraiche then using an electric whisk mix it up.

2. Add the lime juice and oil, mix some more until smooth, and season to taste.

3. Enjoy however you like, I took How Sweet Eats advice and had a bruschetta with some warm tomatoes and more salt.

feta

Delicious!

A few weekends ago I was sick, really run down, the weather was awful too. Luckily I knew just what medicine I needed… a big bowl of comforting onion soup…

I had never made it before, it takes a long time but it’s so worth it, and I really enjoyed pottering around the kitchen when it cooked. 

frenchonionsoup

Serves 4 smallish portions…

You need;
80g butter, plus a little extra for the toasts
4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml medium cider
600ml good-quality beef stock
Dash of calvados or other brandy
8 slices of baguette
1 clove of garlic, halved
100g Gruyère, grated

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pan over a low heat. Add the onions, season and cook, stirring regularly, until caramelised and deep brown. (Once they’ve softened, you can turn up the heat a little, but keep an eye on them.) This will probably take between 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your nerve.

2. Stir in the flour and thyme and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, then add the vinegar and a third of the cider, stirring and scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the rest of the cider and the stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour. Meanwhile, heat the grill and rub the baguette slices with the cut side of the garlic clove. Brush with melted butter, and toast on both sides.

3. Add the brandy to the soup and check the seasoning. To serve, ladle into ovenproof dishes and top with 2 croutons and a mound of cheese. Grill until golden, then serve immediately.

Recipe from The Guardian

Everyone needs to make this sauce, you will never buy ready-made pasta sauce again!

This recipe is from the Square Food Foundation from the pasta course I did last year, I highly recommend it for the basics!

You need; (for two)
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, minced
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
sprig or two of thyme
1 bay leaf
olive oil
salt and pepper 
a little sugar

I absolutely love making this… the smells from the start will make your mouth water…

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1. Using a heavy saucepan, sweat the onions in a little olive oil until soft. Then add the leaves from the sprig of thyme and add to the onions along with the bay leaf. Next add the garlic, stir briefly and cook a little longer. Finally add the tomato puree, stir and cook a little longer.

2. Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Add about 1tsp of salt and some black pepper.
For this sauce to be its best you need to cook this sauce for perhaps 3 or 4 hours on a very low heat. I mean very low!
However I have from time to time made it and cooked for a little over 30 minutes and it’s still great, not quite as good but still worth it.

3. Taste the sauce and add a pinch of sugar if it is particularly sharp; sometimes tinned tomatoes need a little extra sweetness.
To stop it sticking, you will not only have to stir it occasionally but also, until the final half hour, add a little water every so often to prevent it getting too thick and reduced before it has had the time to become sweet and concentrated in flavour.

sauce

The finished sauce should be dark red, silky textured and delicious. 

It can be used as a base for pizza or a spaghetti sauce or with meatballs. I had some with some shop bought ravioli last night and it was delicious.

pasta

A staple for sure… I plan on making a bit pot this weekend and cooking it for hours for my fridge.