So I took a little bit of a break over the summer (okay, and half of September as well). The weather in London was great, one of the nicest summers since we moved here, and just when it got a little cool in late August, we went to the US to visit family and friends, and enjoyed a little more sunshine at the same time. By the time we got back, it had warmed up here and we had a lovely trip to the Isles of Scilly, where I drank a lot more cider than wine (in fact, I’m not sure I had any wine at all). But now back to the wine drinking!
My partner and I have stopped eating red meat (he had done so once before, for about six months until the call of bacon lured him back), so this week I selected a meatless recipe that will go well with red wine (technically it’s vegan but not the way I prepared it). The recipe can be found at the kitchn and was really tasty – the caramelized onions really added a wonderful flavour.
Continue reading Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions
I may have discovered my new favourite way to have chicken with this week’s recipe, Chicken Tinga Tacos from alexandracooks.com. Hot and spicy, the chicken was great wrapped in a flour tortilla with a little soured cream and guacamole. I admit I was a little skeptical that the chicken would cook through in 25 minutes, but it did (confirmed with a thermometer). Relatively quick and easy when you’re in need of a Mexican food fix.
I think the linked recipe is just about perfect and the only thing I’ll do differently next time is reduce the sauce a bit more before adding the chicken. I also tasted frequently when adding the peppers – they’re pretty hot, so it’s best to add a little at a time rather than everything at once. While they may not be widely available, that chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the UK or ordered online (note to self: bring more back next trip to the US!). One further helpful hint – it took me some time, once we moved here, to figure out that cilantro and coriander were the same thing, after numerous fruitless attempts to find cilantro in the local supermarket.
Continue reading Chicken Tinga Tacos
Well, it’s been a little longer since my last post that I had intended and I’ve had some time to think about what I’ll be doing with this site going forward. Not a big change, but selecting a single wine with each dish, and focusing on picking the wine first. I’ve built up a bit of a collection from a variety of places, so it doesn’t make sense to include the price or where I bought it, as it may not be readily available. Most are reasonably priced, however, although we do have a few bottles for special occasions.
That being said, this week’s recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, with some modifications. Primarily, substituting crème fraîche for the heavy cream and mushroom liquid (from reconstituting the dried mushrooms) for white wine.
I can’t say this was a huge success, but I’d certainly make a variation of this again (using the white wine, a different mix of mushrooms, some fresh parsley and more crème fraîche).
Continue reading Pasta with Whiskey and Mushrooms
I think I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t cook a lot of red meat at home – and after this week’s attempt, I think I need a bit more practice. I grilled a marinated steak accompanied by a salsa verde – the recipe can be found at The Italian Dish. I’m a bit on the fence about the marinade, maybe because I prefer steak seasoned with salt and pepper and not much else, so the other flavours overpowered the steak itself. The salsa verde was a different story – potent but addicting. I’ve eaten it with all sorts of things over the last few days and still have parsley and anchovies in the frig, so I may be making more very soon.
I marinated the steak for about 24 hours, but next time would probably skip the marinade and go right to the sauce.
Continue reading Grilled Marinated Steak with Salsa Verde
More often than not, when I cook fish at home, it’s in the oven in a packet, which means a super quick clean-up and no lingering fish odors. For something a little different, I decided to pan fry it in butter, paired with puy lentils, another recipe from Epicurious.
The herb butter, with tarragon and chives, added a creamy richness to the dish, while the mustard and lemon juice gives it a bit of zing. Good flavours that go well together. The pan frying really gives a nice colour to the salmon and wasn’t as smelly as I feared!
Continue reading Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter
Like a lot of people, our go-to Friday night dinner is often pizza, especially after a long work week when we’re both tired. We’re fortunate to have a good place right around the corner that delivers, but I do like to make it myself sometimes. The crust is the most difficult part to get right and that’s the what I change the most from one time to the next, so when I saw this recipe for pizza dough in the NY Times, I thought I’d give it a shot. It uses 00 flour, typically used for pasta, and I’ve not seen that in other dough recipes in the past. For the toppings, I followed the related recipe for Pizza Margherita.
Another tricky things for me is stretching the dough and I’ve often resorted to rolling it out, usually with pretty mediocre results, but I found this video which was really pretty helpful and this is the technique I used. Another challenge with making pizza at home is getting the oven really hot, so I did let it pre-heat at the highest temperature for a good hour, as recommended in the NY Times recipe. All in all, I was pretty pleased with the result and will use the dough recipe in the future.
Continue reading Pizza Margherita
With Easter almost here, I thought I’d try a lamb recipe this week (and also because I wanted to have a few more red wines on the list). I don’t tend to eat a lot of lamb and I think this is the first time that I actually cooked it. All in all, it came out well (done, that is) and so with a second try at half the oven time, it came out perfectly. The rosemary, thyme and garlic went wonderfully with the lamb.
The recipe is from Epicurious, a terrific resource, and can be found here. As noted above, I reduced the oven time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and the chops were pink and juicy. If you like your more well done, then I’d stick with the 10 minutes.
Continue reading Herb Roasted Lamb Chops
Last week was British Pie Week here in the UK and although I’m a little late to the party, here’s a chicken and leek pie recipe that I tried, compliments of Nigel Slater via BBC Food. The recipe can be found on here on the BBC website.
One of the first cookbooks I bought when I moved to the UK was Nigel’s Real Food, so I knew this was the right one for me when I found it.
It’s probably more of a pasty than a traditional pie (what we Americans would call a pot pie) as it’s made with two sheets of puff pastry with the filling in between and then baked on a baking tray rather than in a pie tin. Easy, tasty and a good way to use up the leeks I keep getting in my veg box!
Continue reading Chicken and Leek Pie
I’ve been living in London for over ten years now and at this point, there are few things that I really miss, food-wise, from the US. In part because most are more readily available than they were when we first got here – good burgers, for one. I have been craving pasta with hot Italian sausage, which I’d make occasionally back in the US, but hot Italian sausage is not readily found in the UK. So, with the powers of the internet, I found a few recipes and adapted them to make my own. Fortunately, for this recipe, the starting point was to remove the sausage meat from the casing, so I didn’t actually make sausages, just seasoned the pork, then browned it, added onion, tinned plum tomatoes and some more herbs.
To me, this is the perfect comfort food and as it turned out, was just what I needed because as I was taking this photo (possibly before or after, it’s a bit of a blur), well let’s just say, tile floor: 1, red wine bottle: 0.
Fortunately, the bottle was already on the floor and just fell over, so while there was a big puddle of red wine and broken glass, splash damage was kept to a minimum.
So I cleaned it up and then ate the whole bowl of pasta. And a little more. And then I felt better. And that’s what’s so great about comfort food.
Continue reading Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage
For this week’s post, I was looking for an easy recipe that I could match with red wine, which I admit I much prefer to white. We rarely eat red meat at home, so we’re building up a collection and I’m always on the look-out for something that will go well with red wine. This has been on my list for a while, and comes from David Lebovitz’s site. It’s a website I’m particularly fond of, and not just because he lives in and writes about one of my favourite cities, Paris.
It’s easy and quick enough to make during the week. I served it with a celeriac purée and steamed flat beans which, along with the shallots, came in this week’s veg box.
Continue reading Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots