Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Year's Eve Spicy Smoky Shredded Chicken

A la Amy, this is shredded chicken for fajitas and tacos with flavourings done by me :)

6 chicken breasts
1 can of tomatoes
2 cartons of passata

Put this into the big metal pan and put it into the oven at 150 degrees for about four hours, then shred up the chicken with the back of a spoon and mix well into the tomatoes.


1 onion
2 red peppers
1 red chili, deseeded
a good squeeze of garlic
scant teaspoon of smoked paprika
scant teaspoon of chipotle
1 cup of chicken stock

Cook the above ingredients on the hob and add in the shredded chicken, combining so the flavours soak in together. Take it off the heat and let it go cold so it can go in the fridge if you're not using it straight away. If you do do this, it can be eaten cold or put into the ceramic crockpot and baked through til piping hot, and then served from the crockpot at the table.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Macaroon tarts

These were made every Christmas for my mother by my Aunt France, who of course gave me her name.

Rub 30z margarine into 30z self raising flour to make a pastry - roll out and cut into rounds and press down into a shallow bun tin.

Spoon some jam into each case (preferably red jam).

Whip 2 egg whites until stiff and then add almond essence, 3oz caster sugar, 2oz ground almonds and fold together.

Spoon in on top of the jam and bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

Amy & Nick's Wedding Cupcakes

175g softened unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 medium eggs, beaten
Generous tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 generous tablespoons of rosewater

For the decoration:
You can go all out here or leave them plain, it's your call, but for the ones we did...
Rosewater icing paste, made with rosewater and icing sugar, to a runny consistency (but sticky - it's going to be used for glueing things to the cakes)
Vanilla sugar
Plain sugarpaste fondant icing, white, rolled out and cut into stars
Edible glitter

Make the cakes by creaming together the butter and sugar, adding the beaten eggs one at a time and then folding in the sifted flour. Finally add the vanilla and rosewater and spoon into cake cases (this makes 12). They need exactly 14.5 minutes in our oven at 180 degrees but you know the drill, and your oven, better than mine.

When they're hot out of the oven, sprinkle liberally with vanilla sugar. When they're cooled make the rosewater paste and use it to stick on star shapes cut from the sugarpaste fondant icing. Give everything a liberal dusting of icing sugar and edible sparkles et voila - 12 wedding cupcakes. Now repeat this ten times. :)

The Cuban Cure-all (spicy black bean soup)

This was made from memory with no real idea of quantities after watching Nigella's Christmas Kitchen in the throes of a hangover in a hotel room. With no pen to write anything down.

Serves 2 extremely hungry people or three if you've got lots of bread.

1 medium sized chorizo ring, peeled and chopped into thick slices
1 red onion
1 red pepper
Good slug of garlic
4 tomatoes
tsp cumin
tsp chile ancho
tsp chile chipotle
spring onions
3 cartons of black beans, drained
fresh coriander
half a lime (juice)
chicken stock

Chop the chorizo and stick it into a heavy based pot, and let the oil cook out slowly. When it's looking interestingly chewy add the peppers and onions along with the garlic and let them soften. Next add the tomatoes and spices, cover and leave it for about ten or fifteen minutes, however long you can bear it. Add the beans and just enough stock to barely cover, put the lid back on and give it about ten. Then mash slightly so the beans go into the water and thicken everything up, add the lime, coriander and sliced spring onions, and serve with a good splodge of sour cream and some nachos.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mexican beany cheesy wraps

Here is how to make the dinner (which is cheesy beany rice which we'll eat with some wraps):

Ingredients -

1 big onion, chopped finely
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 courgettes, diced
1 pack of sliced chorizo (it's in the fridge), cut up
1 carton of passata
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of pinto beans, Mexican bean mix or black beans - whichever we've got
small can of refried beans
250g rice (basmati)
500ml (ish) of chicken stock
garlic paste
chile ancho
chile chipotle
mild chili powder
grated cheese

To serve:
Freshly chopped coriander
soured cream
Sliced spring onions

To begin:
10 minutes: Chop the vegetables all ready.

5 minutes: Using the big metal pan, start by frying off the chorizo til it crisps up a bit. Use some oil because it's not as fatty as usual. DON'T let it burn or the whole dinner will be buggered up :)

5 minutes: Add the chopped onion and allow it to soften, and then follow that with a really good squeeze of garlic. Stir it through. Keep everything on a medium to low heat so it doesn't catch.

10 minutes: Add the peppers and courgettes, along with a scant teaspoon of chile chipotle, a teaspoon of chilo ancho and a teaspoon of mild chili powder (the mild chili powder is just in a regular Schwartz spice jar, the ancho and chipotle are in the metal pots). Give it all a good stir, make sure it's not sticking and put the lid on for about ten minutes to let it all soften together.
20-30 minutes (depending how long you've got): Add the passata and the drained pinto and kidney beans. Give everything a good stir and then put the lid back on.

2 minutes: Stir in the refried beans. Really keep an eye on this now because it's going to start going goopy and you REALLY don't want it to stick.

15 minutes: Add the chicken stock and the rice and REALLY stir it well. Put the lid on and hover, because it has a tendency to stick quite a lot at this point.

When the rice has sucked all the liquid up and is soft, it's ready for you to turn off the heat, stir in lots of cheese and the chopped coriander, and put the lid back on to keep it hot and make it all go gloopy (nomnomnom). If for any reason there is more liquid than you anticipated and the rice has all cooked, just leave the lid off for a few minutes and stand over it, stirring occasionally, for it to reduce down. It doesn't want to be rigidly dry but if it's too sloppy when the cheese goes in it will basically be like soup :)

The timings are only approximate so don't worry about them too much. DO chop everything FIRST though because as you know this pot sticks a lot and you need to be focusing on that rather than hurrying to chop things in time.