Lemon Chicken with Fresh Coriander

Got this recipe from the Telegraph – no pictures but wanted to record it as a favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 20g fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh green chilli, stalk removed, then finely chopped (deseed if you prefer it less hot)
  • The juice of 1½ lemons
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked from their stems, washed, dried and finely chopped

Directions:

Put the ginger in the food processor with two to three tablespoons of water and blend to a paste.

Put the garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper in a pestle and mortar and pound together.

Season the chicken pieces well all over with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of the olive oil in a shallow, heavy-based pan, add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Put the garlic and spice mixture into the still-hot pan (you may need to add a little more oil) and stir to release their flavours. Add the ginger and chopped chilli and stir-fry for a minute or so.

Add the chicken pieces and any juices that have been released, then add eight tablespoons of water and the lemon juice. Stir, then turn up the heat and bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove the lid and scatter the chopped coriander over the top. Serve with spiced basmati rice.

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Tuiles aux Amandes (French Almond Tuiles)

During a recent Christmas cookie-baking party, my French friend made this delicious recipe for Tuiles aux Amandes (or Almond Tuiles). It was my first time trying these cookies, and they were great – very delicate and quick to make. I also have a soft spot for anything almond flavored, so we started off on the right track. 🙂

The cookies are meant to have a curved shape made by letting them dry on a rounded object like a rolling pin. The French word “tuiles” means “tiles” and the curved shape of the biscuit is meant to evoke the curved terracotta roof tiles along the Mediterranean. They are often used by chefs as garnish for custards or ice creams.

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
50g plain flour
Few drops of vanilla and almond extracts
35g butter, melted
50g flaked almonds

Directions:

Melt the butter and let it cool.

Beat the egg whites with sugar until mixture forms soft peaks.

Fold in the flour, vanilla/almond extracts, and melted butter.

Drop Rounded teaspoons of the mixture evenly spaced onto a lined tray. Spread mixture into thin discs with a small knife.

Sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake near centre of the oven for 4-5 minutes or until golden with brown tinge at edges.

Remove cooked tuiles quickly using a metal spatula. Curve each biscuit over a rolling pin or other curved object. Leave to dry for a few minutes so it adopts a curved shape.

Remove and place on a drying rack to fully cool.

Store in airtight tin to keep crisp.

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Pecan Puffs

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It’s Christmas and one of my favorite parts of this time of year is the near constant presence of Christmas cookies at the office, parties and home (and the [almost] guilt-free manner in which I consume them!) I typically spend Christmas at home in Colorado, where my mom has a few staple cookie recipes that we make for the family each year. These usually include: classic Spritz cookies, Scandinavian Krumkake (for which she has a special iron cooking pan), Santa’s thumbprint cookies (so cute and a childhood favorite), sugar cookies decorated with Christmas-y colored icing, and the cookies of which I’m writing about in this blog post – Pecan Puffs. Pecan Puffs are my absolute favorite, and therefore I decided to make them myself in London this year. They crumble and melt in your mouth at the same time, while the delicate powdered sugar makes them look like mini snow balls to throw at someone.

I made my batch of Pecan Puffs at a friend’s place in London – we also made a really nice French cookie called Tuiles aux Amandes. I’ve put that recipe up here.

Pecan Puffs

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
2 T sugar
1 cup pecans
1 cup flour
Confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F (150 C).
Creme butter until soft.
Add 2 T sugar to the butter and blend until creamy.
Measure, then grind in a nut grinder, 1 cup pecans.
Sift before measuring – 1 cup flour.
Stir the flour and pecans into the butter mixture.
Roll the dough into small bite-sized balls.
Bake on a greased baking sheet for 30 minutes at 300F (150C).
Roll while hot in confectioners sugar.
Place back in oven for a minute to glaze.
Cool.
Makes 40 – 1 1/2 inch balls.

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The spread of cookies we made in London – Pecan Puffs, Tuiles aux Amandes, and Banana Oat Chocolate Chip.

Thanksgiving in Florida

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American traditions – as a self-proclaimed food aficionado and general lover of eating there is not much better than a holiday which revolves around these things! Since I’ve been outside of the States for more than six years and living away from home for another six, I’ve only spent a handful of Thanksgivings with my actual family, as tradition dictates, but have enjoyed a number of “Friendsgiving” productions that have been quite successful! Last year’s was particularly nice – with a number of people congregating at the Italian and my apartment in London. This year, however, I was lucky enough to fly back to the US to spend the holiday with my family – in Florida!

Sarasota, Florida was a nice meeting place this year for our family that is spread out amongst a number of cities. My aunt lives in Sarasota, and this fact paired with the sunshine and the beach made it a very attractive Thanksgiving destination location! My mom, sister and brother and I all stayed in a rented apartment one block from the beach and with a nice big dining table. We spent Thursday morning cooking our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. All the classics were there, and we also had a really nice green bean dish with Teriyaki sauce as a veggie side. My mom calls them “Fancy Green Beans”. J I’ll include this recipe as it was something new on our Thanksgiving table and it was very delicious!

Overall it was a wonderful Thanksgiving and we even got to end the holiday with a walk on the beach – a bit of a departure from our usual family get-togethers in Colorado where there is more snow than sand!

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Fancy Green Beans

  •  2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • ½ cup whole cashews
  • ½ cup red bell pepper (julienne)
  • ½ cup thin onion wedges (purple or white onion)
  • 1 ½ lbs fresh green beans
  • 2 T Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil

Combine together the Teriyaki sauce, honey, and melted butter and put aside.

In large pot boil water, add 1 T lemon juice and 1 ½ lbs fresh green beans. Cook 3-4 minutes.

Drain beans and plunge in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Saute the red pepper and onion in 2 T olive oil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine everything together. Can refrigerate and microwave before serving.

IMG_0464.JPGOur antipasti of cured meats, olives, and cheese.

IMG_0468.JPGThanksgiving cocktails! Sparkling wine, white wine, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and fruits.

IMG_0484.JPGSweet potatos with pecans and brown sugar.

IMG_0490.JPGThe main event – Turkey!!!!!

IMG_0487.JPGStuffing – yum yum

IMG_0488.JPGCranberry sauce

IMG_0492.JPGOur Thanksgiving table

IMG_0502.JPGAnd my Thanksgiving plate! So good.

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Berry Delight

This is one of my favorite dessert recipes. I used to request my mom make it for my birthday each year when I was a kid. It’s great during the summer months because it has lots of fresh berries, although I will eat it just about any time of year! It’s also a fairly simple recipe to put together – just make sure you don’t accidentally substitute salt for the sugar in the crust recipe (I learned the dangers of this the hard way during a dinner party a few years back…I won’t my mince words – it was a disaster!!)

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Berry Delight

Ingredients:

1 can Eagle Brand Milk (sweetened condensed milk..very thick and sweet)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 pint fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
2 cups crushed graham crackers (or sugar cookie of choice)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Whip milk and lemon juice, fold in berries.

Make the graham cracker crust: Mix the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar together. Press into pan, bake crust at 400F (200C) for 5-8 min. Cool crust.

Pour the condensed milk/berry mixture into the graham cracker crust. Refrigerate.

One recipe is good for an 8×8 square pan.

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Lasagna al Pesto (Lasagna with Pesto Bechamel)

Lasagna al Pesto (Lasagna with Pesto Bechamel)

This is a great lasagna that is fun to assemble and delicious to eat. It includes a recipe for Bechamel (Besciamella in Italian), which is basically a white sauce made of flour, butter, and milk. Bechamel is used in a number of different dishes, and in Italy it is very frequently found in lasagna. In fact, Bechamel is used in the most basic, classic lasanga recipe. Bechamel is also found in a number of French dishes, although adding a pinch of nutmeg to the sauce is typically Italian.

Ingredients:

500gr of lasagna pasta sheets
2 1/2 jars of pesto (190 gr per jar)
1l of milk
100gr flour
nutmeg
60gr of butter

Directions:

Besciamella (Bechamel sauce):

1) Melt butter in a pot under low heat.
2) Add flour and mix until it becomes a sort of dough. Simmer it at very low flame until it becomes golden.
3) Add 1L hot milk
4) Blend / mix the milk into the dough (using a hand-held mixer)
5) Add a pinch of salt and nutmeg
6) Cook 8-10 mins until the sauce is moderately liquid

Lasagna:

1) Cook each sheet of lasagna pasta in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Make sure you continuously stir the water so the pasta sheets don’t stick to each other.
2) When cooked, place the pasta sheets on a plate so they don’t touch each other, preventing them from gluing together.
3) When the Bechamel sauce is ready, mix it with the pesto to obtain the pesto-Bechamel sauce.
4) Spread a thin layer of the pesto-Bechamel sauce onto the bottom of your baking pan. Then layer with the pasta sheets, the diced mozzarella and slices of the smoked cheese. Repeat with another layer of the mixture, sheets, etc.
The final layer should be the pesto-Bechamel sauce. No cheese should be poking through or it may burn.
5) Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 200C (392 F). Serve warm with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

*Alteration – can add sauteed spinach to the Pesto-Bechamel sauce

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Light(er) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Halloween is quickly approaching which means I’ve entered into my annual pumpkin-obsession stage. From about mid-October to early December I am pretty solidly in this stage, consuming everything from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ravioli. Of course the annual must-have is pumpkin pie for thanksgiving, although I’ve also experimented with a few other pumpkin-based desserts such as pumpkin cupcakes and this year’s masterpiece: pumpkin cheesecake bars.

This recipe is good because it is a lighter version of the traditional pumpkin cheesecake bars, which are absolutely delicious but very heavy. It uses light cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and very little sugar. Indeed, I feel I must put in a warning that the final product has only a hint of sweetness due to the limited sugar used. It goes very well with ice cream, for those who want that extra bit of sweetness alongside the pumpkin. I also topped mine with a candy corn (near impossible to find in Britain…very kindly brought over by a friend from New York!) to give it a particularly Halloween feel!

Light(er) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (80 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) butter

Cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) unrefined or granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1⅓ cups (310 grams) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup (54 grams) plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Combine flour, powdered sugar and room temperature butter until coarse crumbs form.
  2. Put into greased pan (can also line pan with wax paper to avoid sticking) and bake for 15 minutes at 350F (176C).
  3. Remove from heat until filling is ready. Reduce oven to 300F (150 C).

Cheesecake:

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients and mix just until combined.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 35 minutes at 300 F (150C) or until the middle of the cheesecake bars appears set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan.
  5. Open the oven door and let the bars cool completely before removing from the oven. This is to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
  6. Cover and store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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