Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken Risotto with Mushroom and Spinach

There's something comforting in a bowl of creamy risotto and since we haven't had a bowl since winter, I decided to make this for Sunday Dinner. Yes, risotto requires a lot of continuous arm movements and in my view, this is so worth the effort!

Ingredients serves 4
Part 1:
3 garlic cloves, diced finely
250g mushrooms (I used a combination of fresh portobello and shitake)
250g chicken thigh fillets, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Part 2:
1 red spanish onion / brown onion, diced finely
3 garlic cloves, diced finely
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock (temperature hot)
40g Borsin (garlic and chives cheese)
200g spinach leaves
olive oil

  1. In a wide stainless steel pan, add the ingredients from part 1 in the following sequence: Add oil and stir fry garlic until fragrant. Brown chicken fillets and add mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once it is cooked, set aside in another bowl
  2. In the same wide stainless steel pan, add the ingredients from part 2
  3. Set your stove to medium low heat, add oil. Stir fry onion and garlic until fragant. Add rice and mix well with onion and garic
  4. Add a ladel of the chicken stock to the mixture and stir rapidly around the pan. Once the stock is almost absorbed, add another ladel of stock and stir rapidly around the pan. Continue this sequence until all the stock are absorbed
  5. Add Borsin to the rice and mix well. Add the stir-fry chicken and mushrooms and mix well.
  6. Turn off the heat, add all the spinach leaves and mix well
  7. Serve in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately

Linguine with Ricotta and Rocket by Stephanie Alexander

The 'Kitchen Garden Companion' by Stephanie Alexander which was gifted to me by my husband for Christmas has been my constant (almost daily) companion on the couch as it inspires me with delightful recipes catergorised according to the produce in one's garden. Since I am currently growing rocket, I decided to try this recipe.

This is a very delicate and gently flavoured pasta dish which is delicious and oh-so-easy to put together. This is also suitable for vegetarians (not vegans as it uses Ricotta made from cow's milk).

Ingredient (serves 4)

400g dried or fresh linguine or fettuccine
50g butter
250g fresh ricotta, crumbled
2 cups loosely packed rocket leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Bring a deep saucepan of well-salted water to the boil over high heat. If using dried pasta, dtop into water and wait 8 minutes before making the sauce. If using home-made pasta, drop into water as you add rocket leaves to frying pan

  2. Melt butter in a large non-stick frying pan over mediaum heat. When foaming, drop in ricotta. Stir gently but don't try to break up the lumps

  3. Drop in rocket leaves and stir to coat with buttery juices. Cover with lid for 45 seconds - 1 minute. The leaves should just be wilted, not collapsed. Remove from heat and season very well with salt and pepper

  4. Drain pasta in a colander over a sink and give it a good shake, then tip into the dish. Tip over sauce, add parmesan, toss to mix and serve at once

    Bircher muesli with Summer fruits

    I am one of those people who need breakfast and cannot function with it. Whenever I'm staying in a hotel, I will take my time to enjoy the array of choices laid out at breakfast time. Besides the hot dishes, I find myself checking out the Bircher muesli which I love - it's healthy, gives you loads of energy and cleans out of your insides too!

    Therefore, I thought I might try my hand at making my own! After trawling through different recipes, I have combined the elements that I love (to ensure that it is idiot proof) and here it is:

    Ingredients (serves 2)

    1/2 cup rolled oats in a deep mixing bowl, soaked in 1 cup water & juice from 1/2 lemon (refrigerate overnight)
    2 tbsps best quality vanilla yoghurt
    1 tbsp best quality honey
    1 green apple, core and grated or slice thinly into matchsticks
    4 strawberries, sliced thinly
    1 handful of blueberries
    1 handful of whole almonds
    1 handful of prunes (optional)

    1. Take your soaked roll oats out of the fridge and mix  in the yoghurt, honey and grated apple until well-combined
    2. Serve the mixture in individual bowls and top with the remaining ingredients. Served immediately
    Notes and Tips:
    Adapt this recipe to suit your tastes or whatever you have lurking in the pantry. Add some shredded coconut, diced dried apricots or currants, seasonal yummy fruit like mango. The combination is endless!

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Lamb Shanks in Rich Tomato and Red Wine Sauce

    There's something heart-warming about the natural robust flavours of lamb shanks. It's hearty, delicious and filling...that's my kind of a meal! This is one of our family favourites and it is cooked in one pot, quite literally. It's so simple - set your slow cooker on high, plonk in all the ingredients and cook it for 7 hours. In the meanwhile, you could be out shopping, catching up with family & friends, working, etc and when you get home, you will be greeted with the aromas that will immediately get your taste buds going!

    Ingredients(serves 2 very hearty meals or 4 main meals)

    2 large lamb shanks
    2 carrots, chopped into chunks
    1 celery, chopped into chunks
    1 red spanish onion, chopped into chunks
    4 large tomatoes, chopped into chunks
    1/2 cup lentils, no soaking required
    4 cloves of garlic, skin removed
    2 long sprigs of fresh rosemary / 4 tbsps of dried rosemary
    4 small sprigs of fresh thyme / 2 tbsps of dried thyme
    1/2 cup fresh parsley

    400ml of tinned tomato soup (I like the RED brand)

    1/2 bottle of red wine
    4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. Set your slow cooker on 'High' while you prepare all the ingredients. Do not worry, your slow cooker will not crack or explode
    2. When all the ingredients are ready, add them all into the slow cooker. Cook in on 'High' for 7 hours
    3. Serve on a bed of rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or on its own

    Tip: This meal keeps very well. In fact, the flavours continue to develop 24 - 48 hours after it's been cooked!

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Pasta with Chorizo and Summer Harvests

    This is a 2 pot pasta meal. One pot for cooking the pasta, the other pot for cooking the ingredients and assembling the meal. All the fresh ingredients excluding the carrots and onion are from my Kitchen Garden.

    Here's a quick, easy and yummy meal guaranteed to fill you up! I will be surprise if there are leftovers. Here's what you need:

    Ingredients for 2

    2 small lebanese eggplants
    2 medium sized carrots
    10 sage leaves
    20 basil leaves
    1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes
    1 red onion
    1 pkt of spicy spanish chorizo
    1/4 block fresh parmesan (not out of a bottle please)
    4 tbsps Balsamic Vinegar
    Penne Pasta
    2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce (optional)

    Step by Step Instructions

    Prepare all the vegetables by chopping them into bite size pieces.
    Keep the sage whole and roughly tear the basil, not chopped!

    Over a high heat, add chorizos to large stainless steel pan. This will release the yummy oils which are essential for the flavours of this meal.

    When oils are released and chorizos are slightly crunchy, add sage and eggplants. Stir them around to ensure that the oils coat them thoroughly.

    Add the carrots, onions and lightly squeeze the cherry tomatoes. Stir them through thoroughly.

    Add balsamic vinger and stir in well.

    Once the pasta is al dente, turn off the heat to the stainless steel pan. Add pasta and add basil leaves. Stir well.

    Using a micropane to grate the parmesan.

    Stir everything thoroughly and serve. Add 1 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce upon serving if you like the extra kick!