Guinea fowl supreme

One tray bakes are a very easy way of cooking dinner. All you need to do is chop your ingredients, put it in the oven and relax. I love gamy birds. Game is very lean meat so it may dry easily, which is good to be aware of. It has it’s distinctive flavour, some more, some less. Guinea fowl has a very mild flavour, so if you’ve not tried game birds before it might be a good one to start with. In addition to the usual vegetables I use for my one tray bakes, I thought beetroot and sweet potato would also be great accompaniments, with their earthy flavours going well with game. Also, bacon goes well.

serves 2
2 guinea fowl breasts
1 large raw beetroot, peeled and chopped to small cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped to small cubes
1 pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 courgette / zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped into large pieces
4 chestnut mushrooms, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 plum tomatoes
4 thin smoked streaky bacon
few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
salt
black pepper
olive oil

1. Heat oven to 180° / 355°F. First, place the guinea fowl and the prepped beetroot and sweet potato in the tray, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme leaves. Roast for 15 minutes.

2. During the first stage, prepare all the other vegetables. After the first 15 minutes of cooking time, add all the prepared ingredients. Drizzle with some more olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.

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3. Place the thin bacon rashers on top, and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.

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Slow cooked lamb shanks

This is my husband’s favourite Sunday roast. I must admit that lamb has never been my favourite meat, however when I cooked these lamb shanks for the first time I was completely sold. The meat literally falls off the bone. This is also one of the dishes I would cook when I want to impress guests. With this kind of dish, I would say the main challenge is timing of all the elements. The lamb itself will take a long time in the oven, but once they are cooked, they can be covered and put aside to wait. You can also see the links to the perfect accompaniments of roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding below.

Perfect roast potatoes
Yorkshire pudding
~~~~~
4 lamb shanks
100g plain flour, seasoned with salt / black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
500ml red wine
500ml chicken stock
1 onion, sliced
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves

1. Heat the oven to 160°C / 320°F.

2. Coat the lamb with the flour.

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3. Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and fry the lamb for about 5 minutes, turning until browned all over.

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4. Add all the other ingredients. Liquid should pretty much cover the meat. Because of the size of the dish I use, I have to use double the amount of wine and stock than in the recipe, to cover the meat.

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5. Place in the oven, and cook for 3 hours.

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6. Remove the shanks. You need to be careful when handling them, as they are now so soft that the meat will fall off very easily.

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7. Sieve the liquid into a pan.

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8. Reduce the cooking liquid by boiling, uncovered, to about half, to get wonderful gravy that’s full of flavour.

Smoked cod with mustard and kale mash

This cod dish is pretty good, easy cooking for those days when you’ve been working late, and just want to quickly get on with it when you get home. Cod itself can normally be quite a tasteless fish in my mind, and buying it smoked makes a nice change. I might also swap it to smoked haddock, which works well too. I would say this recipe can work for anything between 2-4 people, depending on the diners’ appetite!

3 medium to large potatoes
300ml vegetable stock
3 handfuls of chopped kale
2 large smoked cod fillets
25g butter
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
salt
black pepper

1. Peel and cut the potatoes into fairly small chunks. Place in a pan, and boil in the stock for 5 minutes, covered with a lid.

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2. If the chopped kale pieces are large, you may want to chop them more finely. Stir in the kale and butter, and lower the temperature to simmer. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

3. Place the fish pieces on top of the potato – kale mixture. Simmer gently, steaming the fish for 7-8 minutes.

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4. Carefully remove the fish. Coarsely mash the potatoes and kale together, and mix the mustard in. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Chicken Kiev meatballs

These chicken meatballs are a hybrid between Chicken Kiev and Chicken nuggets. They are in fact perfect served with BBQ sauce (click here for my homemade recipe). The garlic and parsley butter inside keeps it tasty and moist too.

650g chicken breasts
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2-1 tsp black pepper
~~~~~
Garlic and parsley butter
100g butter
2 garlic cloves, squeezed
handful of parsley, finely chopped
~~~~~
Coating for the meatballs
1 dl plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
2 eggs
4 dl breadcrumbs

1. Prepare the butter first. It might be a good idea to prepare it in advance, because first you’ll need it to get soft, and once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together you’ll need to leave it in the fridge to get hard again. Once you’ve mixed all ingredients together, roll in in a log inside cling film, and put in the fridge to harden. Once hardened, cut into discs, and quarter the discs.

2. Place all the chicken meatball ingredients in a food processor, and blend to a fairly smooth mixture. Take a handful, press a whole in the middle, and place a piece of the butter in the middle. Bring back to a ball, covering the butter all around.

3. Prepare the coating ingredients. On one plate / bowl, place plain flour with the spices and mix. On another the egg and on one more the breadcrumbs. With the breadcrumbs, first place about half the amount on the plate / bowl, and add more as needed. First, place each meatball in the flour mix, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.

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4. Once the balls are ready, heat some vegetable oil in a pan. Fry for about 15-20 minutes in medium-high heat, turning around, until golden brown all around.

Salmon en papillote

En papillote cooking is an easy, mess-free and quick way of cooking food. You basically place all the ingredients per portion inside one parcel, which each diner will then have.

serves 2
2
salmon fillets (about 125g each)
6 tbsp frozen
peas (3 tbsp on each portion)
1/2
leek, sliced (split in two parcels)
4 tbsp
crème fraiche (2 tbsp per parcel)
2 tbsp tarragon or parsley, finely chopped (1 on each parcel)
dash of
black pepper
dash of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. Remove peas from the freezer. The fish will cook quickly, so it might be better if the peas have defrosted a little bit.

2. Take 2 large non-stick baking parchment sheets. Place the salmon pieces on the sheets, at around 1/3 from front, leaving 2/3 at the back, so that you will be able to fold it on top. Season with salt and pepper. Add the leeks, peas, crème fraiche and herb.

3. Bring over the baking paper, to cover the fish. The front edges should be together. Roll until it reaches the fish. Then roll the ends. The parcels are now sealed, which means the fish will cook in it’s own  juices / steam.

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4. Cook in the preheated oven for 7 minutes.

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BBQ beef ribs

My recipe is for oven baked ribs, however if you want to grill yours on a barbeque you can still follow the marinating and BBQ sauce steps. This recipe will give you tasty, as well as nicely tender meat, which comes off the bone easily.

serves 2

Marinade
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, squeezed
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp oregano
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp onion powder
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~600g beef ribs
BBQ sauce (click here for homemade BBQ sauce recipe)

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Pour the mixture over the ribs, and rub onto the meat, so that all of the ribs are coated. Let marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

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2. Heat oven to 120°C / 250°F. Place the ribs in an ovenproof dish, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 3.5 hours.

3. Check the meat, and if it’s tender, switch the oven to a grill setting, medium to high temperature. Pour away the liquid (mixture of fat and cooking juices). Completely remove the foil that was covering the meat, and brush the ribs with the barbeque sauce. Place under the grill for 5 minutes, until the sauce gets sticky.

 

Chicken stir-fry

When you’re on holiday, eating out every day, you start feeling like you’re ready for that home cooked food again. And you know that coming back after being away for a couple of weeks, work will be pretty busy. This stir-fry dish is great, because I always make a really big portion that will last you for several day, whether you want to take it as lunch to work, or have it waiting at home for dinner after getting home late. This is one of my husband’s all time favourite foods that I cook, so it’s a winner all around. Packed with vegetables and other healthy ingredients, it’s also great at boosting your immune system.

2 large chicken breasts

1 carrot

1 green pepper

5 medium chestnut mushrooms

1 brown onion

1 courgette / zucchini

300g bean sprouts

100g green beans

150g mangetout peas

100g baby corn

3 small green chillies

a thumb size piece of ginger

100g cashew nuts

4-5 garlic cloves

150g dry noodles (I use vermicelli)

50ml groundnut oil

50ml toasted sesame seed oil

50ml dark soy sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

I tend to chop all ingredients beforehand, because the actual cooking phase will be quite quick, and you won’t have time to chop the next ingredients. I usually have two containers; on box number 1 I put all the ingredients that require slightly longer cooking time, and box 2 the ingredients that will be added a little bit later.

1. On box no1, peel and slice the carrot in match-like sticks. Chop the green beans in about inch size pieces. Rinse and drain well the mangetout, and add to the box. Finely chop the chillies, and peel and finely chop ginger, and also add the cashew nuts to the box no1.

2. For the box no2, deseed and slice the pepper. Slice your onion and mushrooms, and cut the courgette into strips like the carrots. Cut the baby corn into pieces, and finely chop the garlic.

3. Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Heat the groundnut oil in a large wok, and add the chicken. Stir around for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, then add the ingredients from the box no1. Fry, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the ingredients from the box no2 and stir. You’ll want to fry everything for about 5 minutes again. While doing this, boil some water, and pour over the noodles. You only want to soak the noodles (if using vermicelli) for 3 minutes. Do check the packaging for how long you need to soak the type of noodles you’re using. Drain the noodles well.

5. Add the bean sprouts to the wok, stir in for couple of minutes, then add the noodles. Add all the remaining liquid ingredients over the noodles, this will help you separate and stir the noodles into the rest of the dish more easily.