Tag Archives: Rustic

Chicken with Rice (Paella)

Chicken with rice and peppers
Chicken with rice and peppers

This is a simple version of a paella, which I originally cooked for an informal dinner party which included someone who didn’t like seafood. Some prawns and mussels can be added to give you a more authentic Spanish paella but this simple recipe is tasty as it is and it’s become a family favourite.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbls Olive Oil
  • 150g Chorizo, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 yellow pepper (Bell Pepper, for our American readers) thinly sliced.
  • 225g of Paella rice
  • Pinch of Saffron strands, in a couple teaspoons of boiling water (this helps to release the flavour, allowing it to mix with the rice).
  • 6 tbsp White Wine
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 600ml hot Chicken Stock

Method

  1. Divide each breast into 4 pieces
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy based pan
  3. Quickly fry the Chorizo slices, this releases their deep paprika flavour into the oil, pop on a plate after a few seconds of sizzling.
  4. Brown the chicken breasts in the oil and lift with a slotted spoon and pop on the plate.
  5. Fry onion for 5 mins until translucent
  6. Add the garlic and rice and fry for 3 mins. Add the saffron and water and stir through.
  7. Add the wine to rice and stir until it’s absorbed.
  8. Put the chicken back into the pan with the rice and add the pepper slices.
  9. Season and add stock.
  10. Bring back to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more water if required.
  11. Add the peas and chorizo and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

Garnish with some lemon slices, serve and enjoy…….

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Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup

The cold weather is starting to set in and I’ve started making a hearty and warming soup on a Sunday afternoon, last week I asked the kids which flavour would they like me to make and the unanimous answer was Tomato. It’d been a while since I made it, so I readily agreed. As it’s winter getting good flavoured fresh Tomatoes is nigh-on impossible, so I substituted a good tinned variety.

This soup can be the base for a “Tomato and Basil” or a “Cream of Tomato” , by adding, of course some shredded Basil leaves during cooking or a good swirl of cream after serving.

It’s also ‘souper’ to dunk a big chunk of the Cheese Soda Bread in…

Ingredients

  • 5 X 400g Tins of Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium Carrot,  finely diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 ltr Chicken Stock, fresh or pre-packed. If you used pre-packed check the seasoning before adding extra salt
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Add the diced onion and carrot to the oil into a a good sized heavy based pan and sautee for 5 minutes or until soft and slightly coloured
  2. Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for a further minute or so until the vegetables are coated and coloured red
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock and bay and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 45 mins.
  5. Once the soup as cooked, remove the bay leaves and blitz until smooth, I use a hand blender in the pan to do this, but you can use a food processor (although I’d let it cool a little beforehand).
  6. Check the seasoning and serve

Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream or a dollop of Creme Fraiche to give it a touch of extra pizazz..

Cheese Soda Bread

This is a variation of my classic Irish Soda Bread, a little jazzier and possibly it’s slightly posher brother! It’s ideal if you want something different for a dinner party or to impress a member of the opposite sex with your culinary skills during an intimate little soiree…

It’s also good to just make and eat yourself!

  • 260 gm Strong White Flour
  • 80 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk
  • 125 gms of  fresh Parmesan, finely grated.
  • 1/2 tsp English Mustard powder
  • 5 or 6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt and mustard powder together in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix, sometimes I find doing this a bit at a time help to ensure the cheese is evenly distributed.
  4. Make a well in the ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  5. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  6. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top, decorate with the rosemary sprigs and pop it in the oven.
  7. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a rich and hearty home-made tomato soup.

I’ve used Cheddar instead of Parmesan before, however I needed to use a food processor to break the cheese up and distribute it thru the dry ingredients.

Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Was sitting on the sofa on Saturday, thinking back to some of my old staple recipes and I remembered that I regularly made Soda Bread.

An old Irish rustic standard, and exceptionally easy to make. I wonder why I stopped making it…..

Ingredients

  • 170 gm Strong White Flour
  • 170 gm Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 290 ml Buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F/Gas Mark 6).
  2. Mix the  flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and combine to make a dough.
  4. Pop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently kneed for a few minutes, then make a round shape.
  5. Carefully lift the dough and put on to a lightly floured oven sheet. Cut the recognisable cross onto the top and put in the oven.
  6. After 30 mins, when the beard is golden, test to check if it’s cooked by tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool cut into thick slices, add butter or spread and dunk into a good home-made soup or top with your favourite preserve…