Chicken Sausage Casserole (4)

img_7525

Sausages are great winter comfort food. Nothing better than ‘bangers’ ‘n mash with onion marmalade and a good gravy.  I like them in all their guises – the circular Cumberland sausage from the UK, chorizo, merguez, kielbasa, Italian sausage and the lighter and less fatty chicken sausage. Better still it is relatively easy to find them gluten free. This hearty casserole uses an Italian chicken sausage with fennel and kale from my local supermarket but probably any sausage could be substituted though I would try and find a type that had some extra flavor like herbs or spices. It is a filling dish as it includes cannellini beans, red lentils and kale – a winter winner!

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2 rashers of bacon

1 pound of chicken sausage

2 sticks of celery – cut into 1 inch slices

2 carrots – cut into 1 inch slices

1 cup of chicken broth

1 can of cannellini beans

1/2 cup of uncooked red lentils

5 oz. baby kale

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion. Let soften and brown slightly before adding the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes.

While the onion is cooking, in a separate frying pan, cook the bacon until nice and crisp, remove from pan and when cool enough cut it into thinnish strips.

Then, sear the sausages on all sides (this will add more flavor to the dish). Then cut into bite size pieces.

Add the celery and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook for a couple of minutes till they slightly brown, then add the bacon, sausage pieces, broth, cannellini beans, lentils and kale.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra broth if you need it but the casserole is meant to be thick rather than soupy.

 

 

Advertisements

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Blended Rice and Mushrooms with Garlic and Herbs (4)

img_7523

Lovely, healthy mixture with the ingredients cooked separately then combined at the end. The chicken breast is amply sprinkled with lemon pepper – one of my favorite new spices (Simply Organic brand – you may have to order it online). The rice is a blend of rices – white, brown, wild and red (quite easily found in the supermarket) and the mushrooms are cooked with garlic, parsley and thyme.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 x large chicken breast – poached and cut into small bite size pieces

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and lemon pepper

1 cup of rice blend

1 1/2 cups boiling water, seasoned with salt

8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 x large garlic cloves – grated

1 tbsp. fresh parsley plus a little extra for garnish – finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh thyme – finely chopped

Place chicken breast on aluminum foil in a baking dish, pour over the lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of oil, season with salt and a good sprinkling of lemon pepper. Cook in oven for around 30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Cut chicken into small bit seize pieces.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice and mushrooms.

Bring the rice to a boil, stir, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for a further 15 minutes.

Place the other tbsp. of oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in a frying pan. When just sizzling add the garlic (do not let garlic brown) and let cook for a minute or two then add the parsley and thyme and cook a further couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so until mushrooms are cooked but there are still some juices left in the pan.

To assemble, place rice in a big mixing bowl. Add the chicken pieces followed by the mushrooms, herbs and their juices. Mix all together and season to taste. I added some of lemon juices from the poached chicken to moisten the mixture. Place in a nice dish, garnish with parsley and serve immediately, maybe with a tossed green salad.

Chive Omelet (for 1 person)

IMG_7496

Very, very simple to make and I love the subtle flavor of the chives – an ingredient that you may not have thought of putting in an omelet. I am always very careful when I eat eggs in restaurants because powdered eggs, which many establishments use, can contain gluten – a little known fact. I usually opt for poached eggs which I know are real eggs. I prefer to eat my eggs at home and am particularly partial to scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and this chive omelet which goes well with a green salad.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs – beaten

12 chives – finely snipped with scissors

Heat oil in a frying pan.

Add chives to beaten eggs and stir together.

Pour into the hot frying pan and let cook (as the eggs cook I use a spatula and tip the pan so the runny eggs in the middle of the pan move to the edge and get cooked).

When the omelet is nearly fully cooked fold the sides into the middle and flip it over to finish off.

 

 

Jo’s Thai Pho Bowl (4)

IMG_7488

This is, without doubt, the most authentic Thai dish I have created. By tasting and re-tasting each step of the way I think I have come up with a recipe that tastes really genuine and using fresh lemongrass made all the difference.

Lemongrass seems quite tough even when you have taken off the outer layer, but I read that if you chop it into fine slices and then process it in a food processor (my thanks go to http://www.thespruce.com for this information) it will add a great flavor and also be edible.

It is important to use good rice noodles that don’t go too soggy (I use Annie Chung’s brand). You can cook this recipe with either small pieces of chicken or tofu.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and white pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 ‘thumb’ of ginger (measured from base of thumbnail to bottom joint) – grated

1 x 6 inch piece of lemongrass – peeled and chopped

1 x 13.5 oz lite coconut milk

16.2 fl. oz. chicken broth

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2tsp. fish sauce

8 oz. chicken tenders – cut into small bite size pieces

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

2 handfuls of frozen peas

4 oz. rice noodles

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and white pepper in a cast iron Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion and let brown a little before adding the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two until you can smell the flavors.

Place the chopped lemongrass in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk and whizz together then add to the onion mixture along with the rest of the coconut milk, chicken broth, lime juice, fish sauce, chicken tenders and cilantro.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes before adding the peas and rice noodles.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so until noodles are tender and serve immediately.

Smoked Mackerel Salad with a Lemony Mayo (4 as appetizer, 2 for entree)

IMG_0594

Smoked mackerel is full of Omega 3 and can be found in some, but not all, supermarkets. It usually comes in two varieties – peppered and un-peppered. Personally, I find the peppered variety too overpowering. This salad is substantial and packed with all sorts of goodness – hard-boiled eggs, roasted beetroot, baby spinach, and a sprinkling of a chopped shallot. Added to this is a delicious dressing made of raw egg yolks, oil and  lemon juice with a little salt and lemon pepper for seasoning. Lemon pepper is a good addition to anything lemony and I rub it over chicken before roasting it. Consuming raw eggs make some people nervous so dilute some mayo with some lemon juice to get an approximate effect. Toss the spinach and a couple of tablespoons of the dressing together and leave for half an hour for the dressing to soak in before assembling the whole platter.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

DRESSING

2 egg yolks

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt

Lemon Pepper

Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl, whisk in the oil followed by the lemon juice and season with salt and lemon pepper (I use Simply Organics brand).

SALAD

2 medium beetroots – roasted

2 hard-boiled eggs – cut into quarters

5 oz. baby spinach

1 fillet of smoked mackerel – skin removed and cut into smallish pieces

1/2 a shallot – finely chopped

Roast the beetroots in their skins in aluminum foil in the oven for an hour or more until they are tender. Let cool, take the skin off and dice.

Hard boil 2 eggs

Toss the spinach together with 2 tbsp. of the lemon dressing and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Compose salad by first arranging the dressed spinach on a salad platter.

Add the other ingredients and drizzle over the rest of the dressing.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Salmon and Asparagus Tray Bake (4)

IMG_7431(1)

Really easy but quite sophisticated tray bake – love these all-in-one meals. The key to getting everything cooked to the right degree of tenderness is in the sizing of the ingredients. So, four wild salmon steaks of roughly the same size – not too thick if possible (a thicker salmon steak will mean larger pieces of potato and longer bits of asparagus), a bunch of asparagus with the tough ends cut off and then cut into thirds, new potatoes cut into quarters or smaller depending on size and compared with the thickness of the asparagus and half a good size onion. Toss all except for salmon in a lemon juice/olive oil mixture with the remains poured over the salmon steaks. About 25 minutes later all is ready (and if you cook the dinner on unbleached waxed paper there will be little clean-up!).

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook for 20 minutes and check for doneness.

Line a baking tray with unbleached waxed paper

4 wild salmon steaks

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 oz. thin asparagus spears – hard ends cut off and then cut into thirds

10 oz. new potatoes – quartered at least, if not cut into sixth’s or eighth’s

1/2 a good size onion – sliced and then the slices separated

Place salmon steaks on parchment paper – evenly spaced apart.

Whisk together lemon juice and seasoned oil.

Toss asparagus, potatoes and onion in a bowl with the lemon juice/oil mixture.

Arrange around the salmon and pour remains of juices over salmon.

Check for doneness after 20 minutes and cook a little longer if necessary until salmon is cooked through, asparagus is not too soft and potatoes and are not too hard.

 

ingredients are

 

Red Cabbage with Pears and Dried Cranberries (4)

IMG_7421

Probably not a combination you have thought of but it works well and is naturally a little sweet because of the pears and dried cranberries. I layered this dish starting with cabbage then onions then I sandwiched the pear slices and cranberries in the middle before adding another layer of onions and finishing with cabbage on the top. The addition of apple cider vinegar keeps the cabbage looking red and a little broth provides enough moisture for the mixture to braise in the oven either in a lidded dish or an ovenproof dish covered with aluminum foil.  Goes well with pork.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 smallish red cabbage – sliced quite thinly

1 large onion – finely sliced and then the rings separated

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of chicken/vegetable broth

2 pears – peeled, quartered and sliced

A good handful of dried cranberries

Place half the cabbage on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Cover with half the onion.

Pour over 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup of broth.

Add a layer of pears and sprinkle with the cranberries.

Follow this  with the rest of the onion, top with cabbage and pour over the remaining vinegar and broth.

Cover the dish and cook in oven for 45 minutes