Month: September 2013

Roast chicken with butter and thyme

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Everyone loves roast chicken! Cripsy skin, moist juicy meat – you cant really ask for more.

Roasting a chicken is not as scary as some people think, as long as you know a few tips before cooking it, its as simple as can be.

Top tip – choose the best chicken you can afford. The value ranges are usually pumped full of water, which runs away when cooking and results in dry meat with wrinkly skin. Yuk. Go for a slightly smaller one if you need to, free range or at least higher welfare birds are the best. And if you are feeling flush go for an organic, free range corn fed, you really will notice the difference.

Ingredients

1 chicken
1/2 bunch fresh thyme – lemon thyme works very well too – leaves picked and chopped
5 garlic cloves
100g butter, softened
1 Lemon
1 onion – chopped into large chunks
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 190.

Take your chicken out of its wrapping and undo any strings holding it together. By opening the bird up like this you will allow the heat to circulate inside the cavity and cook quicker and more evenly. Crush or grate a garlic clove into the butter, add the thyme and mix well, season with salt and pepper.

This butter is going to make the chicken taste amazing and create some gorgeous juices that will keep the breast moist. You need to get your hands dirty now, lift the skin from the breast and work your fingers in between the meat and the skin gently, creating pockets under the skin on each breast. Try not to break the skin when doing this but if you do, its not the end of the world.

Push about 2/3 of the butter into the pockets, spreading it out as much as you can, leaving a layer of herby butter under the skin across the top of the bird. Spread the rest of the butter over the legs and some on the outside of the breast too. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cut the lemon in half and place one half inside the bird. Add the other 4 garlic cloves and then place onion pieces into a roasting tray. Plonk the chicken on top of the onion. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges and place around the chicken. Now just pop it in the oven!

Roasting times vary by size but a medium chicken will take around an hour and a half. You will know its cooked through when you can pierce the skin on the thigh of the chicken and the juices run out clear. I will post a recipe for gravy using the onion and lemon pieces another day. 

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Leave the chicken to rest. Place it on a plate, cover with foil and just leave it for at least 15-20 minutes. I often leave it while I’m doing the roast potatoes, which can be up to an hour. It will be fine. It will benefit from being left alone. Trust me.

Enjoy!  

Roast Chicken with Butter and thyme

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Holiday Time!

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Hello everyone! Mr T and I have been married for 2 years next Tuesday, and to celebrate we are off to Barcelona for a few days.

I’ve never been and cant wait to try some proper tapas! Mr T has (being the gem that he is) booked us onto a cooking course on our first day, where we will go to the market, pick ingredients up and then be taught to cook some authentic spanish dishes! I will post a report when I’m back.

One more recipe to come today, roast chicken with butter and thyme..simple, impressive and oh so tasty! Watch this space!

 

See you all soon! xx

Risotto

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I love risotto. There is something so comforting about the texture of it, all soft and creamy. I like to play around with different flavours, but the base is always the same. Sometimes just a simple white risotto will do so I’ve given the recipe for that, but while I was writing I remembered the latest risotto I made so I’ve add that at the bottom. Two for the price of one!

Two tips;
1) Top chefs and probably all Italians would recommend using Arborio or Carnaroli rice for risotto, but in reality any short grain rice will do.
2) Stock. You can use veg or chicken stock, or if you were doing a seafood risotto, fish. Again, some may balk at this idea, but you CAN use a stock cube. Of course, if you want to make fresh stock, then by all means do, but seriously, you don’t have to!

Once, when I had a craving for a risotto, I scoured the cupboards and all I had was pudding rice and chicken oxo cubes. And the resulting risotto was glorious. But don’t tell anyone – you’ll ruin my rep…

Ingredients – Basic Risotto

Serves 4 as a small meal/starter or 2 hungry people as a main!

Rice – around a handful per person
Stock – I use about a litre of stock, give or take. Have it in a saucepan on the hob next to you the whole time – it needs to be hot
1 onion – finely chopped
White wine – around a glass
100g butter
100g parmesan
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Put a small amount of olive oil into a heavy based pan – I use a cast iron casserole pan usually  – and add a knob of butter. The olive oil will stop the butter burning. Add the finely diced onion and sweat until its translucent and soft. You don’t want it to brown.

Add your rice and coat in the oil and butter. When the rice starts to look glossy and almost a little translucent at the edges, add the wine and let it sizzle. Keep stirring. When the alcohol has burned off (you will be able to smell the difference) add a ladleful of stock. Keep stirring.

Soon, the rice will have absorbed a lot of the stock. Add another ladleful. Keep stirring. When it starts to look ‘thirsty’ add another ladleful. Keep stirring (are you sensing a theme here?!)

Keep adding stock a ladleful at a time and remember, keep stirring! The process of cooking the rice will take around 20 – 30 mins, but perhaps longer, depending on the amount of rice, type of rice etc. Just keep stirring it and give it time. The stirring breaks down the starch and gives the risotto a beautifully creamy finish.

When the rice is almost cooked through, but still has some bite to it, add the cheese and beat it in. Then, the important part. Turn the heat off. Add the remaining butter and beat it within an inch of its life. Then put the lid on (if you don’t have a lid, cover the pan with tin foil) and LEAVE IT ALONE! Leave it for about 5 minutes. When you lift the lid off the risotto will be creamy and delicious! Season with salt and pepper if needed (it might not need the salt as stock cubes tend to be quite salty) and serve with a  little grated parmesan if you like. Amazing.

Asparagus Lemon and Mint Risotto

Make your risotto as above, but while adding stock and stirring, cook some sliced asparagus in the stock until its cooked but still crunchy. When you get the point of adding the cheese and butter at the end, throw in the asparagus pieces (I also add some peas sometimes as in the photo below) some grated lemon zest and finely chopped mint. Its fresh, zingy and utterly delicious. Serve with shaved parmesan.

asparagus risotto

Prawn and Sweet Potato Curry

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I made this recipe up one friday when my step children were coming over for the weekend. They love curries. I wanted to make something healthy, tasty and easy, with fragrant spices as opposed to searing heat. I decided to throw some spices together that I had in the cupboard and they worked well together, but feel free to experiment!

Ingredients

Serves 4

Raw King Prawns ( I use 2 packs – you can increase/decrease as you see fit)
1 large onion
1 piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp mustard seeds
Ground cumin – 2 tsp
Ground coriander – 3 tsp
Garam masala – 2 tsp
2 sweet potatoes
A few handfuls of Spinach
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk / Coconut cream
Fresh coriander – 1 bunch
Oil

To serve

Rice
Naan bread
Whatever you want!

Method

Chop the onion, peel and chop the sweet potato into small pieces – about 1cm. Grate the Garlic and ginger.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, throw in the mustard seeds and heat til they start popping (they will add a lovely nutty note to the finished dish – try not to burn them!) add the garlic and ginger, stir for about 10 seconds, then add the onion.

Cook for about 8-10 mins on a medium heat, stirring to make sure they don’t catch. Add the spices and stir again, add a splash of water if it looks dry. Add the sweet potato chunks, stir well and cook over a medium heat until the sweet potato softens – about 10 mins depending on the size of your sweet potato.

Add the tin of tomatoes and coconut milk, turn up the heat and cook til it bubbles. Add the raw prawns, spinach and fresh coriander – use around 2/3 of the bunch, including the stalks. The prawns are done when they are pink which will only take about 5 mins. Test for salt and add if needed.

Serve with rice and naan garnished with some fresh coriander, with a wedge of lime on the side if you like. I often make my own version of chapattis, which I will post a recipe for another day.

I love this curry, and so did the kids, they often ask for it now and its become a staple in Rod’s Kitchen. On a good day I can get it done from start to finish in 20 minutes, but I’d say 30 is probably a better estimate. Still, a delicious curry in less time than it takes to get a takeaway? Can’t knock it!

Curry

Scallops with chorizo and pea puree

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So…here is the first recipe I will be posting to Rod’s Kitchen. We recently had family over for dinner and I wanted a starter that was impressive and tasty but also quick and fairly simple to put together, allowing me more time drinking prosecco and nattering!

What I will say before starting is try and find scallops that are fairly evenly sized. It takes seconds to overcook a scallop and when they are past that point they are like little rubber bullets! If you had varying sizes you may find you end up with some over and some under, so do your best to find them around the same size. Oh, and dont bother with those little ones, they are better in a chowder or stew, get the big’uns!

Ingredients

Serves 4

12 Scallops – 3 per person
8 inches Chorizo Sausage (approx half of one of the large ones you can buy) 
2 cups frozen peas
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil – plus extra for drizzling
Pea shoots to garnish 

Method

First of all, cook your peas briefly in boiling water. You just want them to defrost and come up to temperature. Drain them, but reserve some of the cooking water for blending – around half a cup. Using a hand held blender, blitz to a smooth puree, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Add the creme fraiche at the end, stir through and season – make sure you use plenty of black pepper! Set aside and keep warm.

Slice 3 rounds of chorizo per person – around 1/4 inch thick. Cut the rest into small cubes. Heat a frying pan to medium – high and add your chorizo. cook until crispy all over – around 4 – 5 mins, then set aside with some of the oil that will have come out of the sausage – its a beautiful colour and tastes lovely!

Wipe out your pan and add the olive oil. Pat your scallops with kitchen roll to ensure they are dry and season with salt. When the oil is shimmering, place your scallops into the pan in a circle. Cook for about a minute, in fact, by the time you have put the last scallop into the pan, the first one will probably be ready to turn over. Turn and cook for another minute, or until a beautiful golden crust has formed. Remove them from the pan and rest while you plate up – they will continue cooking in the residual heat.

Spread the pea puree onto a plate, add the chorizo slices and then the scallops. Sprinkle the diced chorizo evenly over the scallops and dress with pea shoots, a little of the chorizo oil and some more olive oil if you feel it adds to it.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Scallops and chorizo

An introduction!

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Hello Readers!

As this is my first post (and indeed my first attempt at blogging) I thought I should give you a brief introduction.

I am not a man called Rod as the name Rod’s Kitchen might suggest. No, in fact I am a 28 year old female called Mrs T. I live in the UK, in Kent with my husband, his 2 children every other weekend and our cat Maggie-May when she deigns to grace us with her presence. I love to cook and have often been asked for recipes and tips by friends and family – especially after my numerous pictures of food on instagram, twitter and facebook!

I do hope you enjoy my blog. I am open to suggestions on how to make it better and would love to hear if anyone has tried my recipes. Enjoy!