Tag Archives: Cookery

Quick Pickles

This recipe for Runner Bean Pickles appeared in the recent series of River Cottage which focused on vegetarian dishes. I’m more or less repeating it here verbatim (original at the Channel 4 website) but it’s also worth saying that this quick pickling method appears to be worth trying with other veg. The secret is to shoosh the veg around in a plastic bag with some seasonings (salt being important for drawing out the vegetables’ natural juices), then press out as much air from the bag as you can and weigh down the contents with maybe something like a plate with a can on top. Wait a couple of hours and bobs-yer-uncle, quick pickle.  I’m certainly going to give it a try.

Runner Bean Pickles

1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp golden caster sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch of chilli flakes
150g runner beans, destringed and cut into 1cm pieces on an angle

Method

  1. Put all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag and shake to combine.
  2. Add the beans and give the bag a really good shake to ensure the beans are thoroughly coated in the spice mix. Roll the bag up to remove excess air, weight it down (as mentioned above) then set aside for about 2 hours.
  3. Before serving drain off the water that has been drawn from the beans.

This pickle is fresh and sharp and goes perfectly with cheese.

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British and U.S. Equivalents

Separated by a common language, sometimes following recipes in the US / UK can prove difficult if you’re apparently not familiar with the ingredients mentioned.  Here is a simple run-down of equivalents that I hope will help.  Please let me know, by leaving a comment below, if you come across any more and I will include them.

BRITISH VERSION                       AMERICAN VERSION

Aubergine                                        Eggplant

Beans, Broad                                   Fava Beans

Beans, Soy                                       Edamame

Beef, Flank Steak                           London Broil

Beef, Rump Steak                          Beef, Top Round

Bicarbonate of Soda                      Baking Soda

Caster Sugar                                    Granulated Sugar

Cheese, Emental                            Swiss Cheese

Clotted Cream                                No equivalent  (The closest equivalent to this would be to use stiffly whipped heavy cream)

Coriander                                         Cilantro

Cornflour                                         Cornstarch

Courgette                                         Zucchini

Cream, Clotted                               No equivalent  (The closest equivalent to this would be to use stiffly whipped heavy cream)

Cream, Double                                Heavy Cream

Cream, Single                                  Half and half cream

Cream, Whipping                           No equivalent  (Whipping cream has the consistency of single [half and half] cream but with a higher fat content it can be whipped into peaks)

Digestive Biscuits                          Graham Crackers or similar

Flour, Plain                                     All Purpose Flour

Flour, Strong                                  Bread Flour

Flour, Wholemeal                         Flour, Wholewheat

Gelatine                                            Gelatin

Glucose Syrup                                 Light Corn Syrup

Golden Syrup                                   Corn Syrup

Icing Sugar                                       Confectioners’ Sugar

Madras Curry Powder                     Curry Powder

Mince (meat)                                    Ground meat

Mincemeat (for cakes)                    No equivalent  (A ‘preserve’ or mix of finely chopped fruits like apple, raisins, sultanas and citrus peel, with shreds of suet – often used in ‘Mince Pies’)

Pastry Case                                         Pie Shell

Pine Kernel                                         Pine Nut

Plain Flour                                          All purpose flour

Polenta                                                 Cornmeal

Salad Onion                                         Spring Onion, Scallion

Self-raising flour                                No equivalent  (Substitute All Purpose Flour with a raising agent)

Swede                                                   Rutabega

Tomato Puree                                    Tomato Paste

Vanilla Essence                                  Vanilla Extract

Vegetables:  Beans, Broad                 Fava beans

                              Beans, Soy              Edamame

                               Courgettes             Zucchini

                               Swede                     Rutabaga

Whipping Cream                                Heavy cream  (Whipping cream has the consistency of single (half and half) cream but with a higher fat content can be whipped into peaks)

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Creamy Parsnip and Squash Bake

SERVES  8    PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes + cooling    COOKING TIME: 1 hr 10 mins

Easy to prepare

INGREDIENTS

425 mls / 15 fl oz  (approx 2 US cups)  double (heavy) cream

1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped

2 thyme sprigs, one stripped of leaves

butter, for greasing

500g / 1 lb 2 oz parsnips (about 4 large)

500g / 1 lb 2 oz butternut squash (about 1/2 a large one)

25g / 1 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

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Method

Place the cream, onion or shallot and the thyme sprig in a small pan.  Slowly heat to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Strain, discarding the onion and thyme.

Heat oven to 160C  / 325F  / Gas 4  /  (Fan oven 140C  /275F).  Rub the bottom and sides of a gratin dish measuring about 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 in) with butter.  Peel the parsnips and trim the ends.  Peel and scoop the seeds out of the squash.  Thinly slice the vegetables.

Layer the parsnip and squash in the dish, pour over the infused cream, then scatter with the thyme leaves and Gruyere cheese.  Bake for 1 hour until golden and a fork slides easily into the veg.

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Get Ahead:  Leave the bake to cool, then cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days.  To reheat, place in a 220C  / 425F  / gas 7  (fan 200C / 400F) oven for 15 minutes.  If the top starts to brown more than you’d like, cover with foil.

This recipe first appeared in the December 2007 Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine

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Buttery Caraway Carrots

Incredibly simple – utterly delicious.

 

SERVES 8  /  PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINS  /   COOKING TIME:  10 MINS

Easy to prepare

1 Kg / 2lbs 4 oz carrots (about medium-sized)

25 g / 1 oz butter

1 tsp caraway seeds

Small handful of chopped parsley

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Peel the carrots and trim off the ends.  Cut in half lengthways, then cut on the diagonal into slices about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick.

Place the carrots in a steamer basket and steam for 5 – 7 minutes until softened, or place in a heatproof bowl with a little water and microwave on ‘High’ for 3-5 minutes.

To finish the dish: Gently heat the butter in a frying pan.  Tip in the caraway seeds and cook for 30 seconds until they start sizzling.  Add the carrots and stir into the butter until glossy and heated through (about 3 minutes).  Toss through the parsley and serve.

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THESE CAN BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE:

Cook the carrots up to 2 days in advance, leave to cool, then cover and store in the fridge.  Reheat in pan, finishing with butter and caraway seeds as above, just before serving.

 

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Glazed Apples and Pears with Shallots

SERVES 8     PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES    COOKING TIME: 1-1/2 HOURS

Easy to prepare

Ingredients

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 small eating apples

4 small pears

900g / 2 lbs shallots (unpeeled weight)

1 tbsp olive oil

50g / 2 oz butter

6 tbsp quince or redcurrant jelly**

bay leaves to decorate

METHOD

Put the lemon juice into a large bowl.  Peel the apples and pears, leaving the stalks on, then toss in the juice. 

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil.  Lower in the apples and pears, then cover and poach for 30 minutes or until the fruit just gives to a sharp knife.  Peel the shallots while you’re waiting.

Heat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas mark 5  (170C fan oven).  Add the oil and butter to a small roasting tin, then add the drained apples, pears and the shallots.

Brush the fruit with a layer of the quince or redcurrant jelly **(cranberry jelly would work equally well)** and roast for 1 hour until softened and golden.

Turn the pears and apples around in the fat a few times during cooking, brushing twice more with the glaze.

Serve spooned around the turkey, decorated with bay leaves.

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This recipe has been very slightly adapted from a recipe that first appeared in the December 2007 Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine.  The photograph is from the same source.

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Citrus Chicken with Chilli New Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For the citrus chicken

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest only
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli new potatoes

  • 1kg new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli paste, or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 bag mixed green salad leaves, to serve

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Method

 

1. For the citrus chicken: lay the chicken fillets between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to flatten them out to about 5mm thick.

2. In a large, shallow dish, mix together the lemon and lime juice and zest, olive oil, coriander and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Add the chicken fillets and coat thoroughly in the marinade then cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

4. For the chilli new potatoes: parboil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 7-10 minutes. Drain well then cover with a clean, dry tea-towel to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool slightly then cut into diagonal slices.

5. Melt the butter and oil together in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and the potato slices and fry for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp and golden-brown.

6. To cook the chicken, preheat a griddle pan over a high heat (you could also cook the chicken over the hot coals of a barbecue).

7. Place the chicken fillets on the griddle pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until charred on the outside and cooked through.

8. Serve the citrus chicken with the chilli new potatoes and green salad alongside.

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Baked lemon and garlic chicken with pilaf rice

Lemon and garlicThis recipe apparently has a silly amount of garlic in it but don’t be put off and don’t be tempted to reduce the quantity.  When garlic is roasted it loses its pungency and instead takes on a mellow sweetness that works well with the lemon flavour.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 chicken (approx 2.25 kg / 5 lbs) cut into pieces: breasts, thighs, drumsticks etc

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

125ml (4 fl. oz) white wine

20 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon

1 large sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

300ml (1/2 pint) chicken stock

For the rice

25g (1 oz) butter

1 small onion (about 125g / 4 1/2 oz), peeled and chopped

300g (11 oz) basmati rice

750 ml (1-1/4 pints) chicken or vegetable stock

To serve

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), gas mark 3.

Heat a large casserole or saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chicken pieces, skin side down and cook on both sides until golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour off and discard any excess fat.

Add the wine and garlic cloves and boil for 2 minutes.  Next add the lemon zest and juice, the herbs and the stock.  Bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

To cook the rice: melt the butter in a casserole or saucepan that is large enough to accommodate all the rice (bearing in mind that it will swell).  Add the onion and season.  Cover and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until it crackles, then add the stock and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil then transfer to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just cooked so that it is slightly al dente and all the liquid absorbed.

Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve the chicken with the rice in shallow bowls and sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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Adapted from a Rachel Allen Recipe

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