I love Beef Wellington! Quite frankly anything inside (or outside, for that matter) puff pastry tends to meet with my approval. But Beef Wellington is hard work. Something I tend to let hard-working chefs cook for me in exchange for money. But I wanted to evoke the Wellington-ness of this classic and make my own easy version using burgers. I’m not sure if I can call this dish Wellington at all but I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that these were d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. And really easy. Nothing the mere mortal cook can’t make.
One of the staple foods of Portugal is salted cod or ‘bacalhau‘, as we call it. It may well be THE staple food. The tradition of eating salted cod is at least 500 years old and we pride ourselves in preparing salted cod in hundreds of different ways. Literally hundreds, and some claim thousands. Cod is the only fish the Portuguese don’t eat fresh and somehow the tradition has stuck to the point that buying fresh cod in Portugal is hard if not impossible but buying any other fresh sea creature that can be eaten is easy. We love our fresh fish but we wouldn’t have our cod any other way!
Nothing can go wrong when you use pulled pork in a dish. Nothing.
And this is no exception. I wanted to use leftover pulled pork (which freezes really well, by the way) without making the usual sandwich with slaw on a brioche bun. I remembered my favourite breakfast in one of my favourite London breakfast places – The Breakfast Club in Hoxton. I always have the same and even though their menu is extensive I just can’t resist their Chorizo Hash Browns. It’s a potato, onion and pepper ‘hash’ with chorizo, eggs on the side and feta as an optional extra. It really works! So I thought if I used pulled pork instead of chorizo it should still work. Oh and it worked. It really really worked.
If you ever find yourself throwing away the bones, skin and remains of a roast chicken, roast chicken thighs or wings, stop! Approximately one hour separates you from that moment and a delicious chicken broth that will feel like a warm hug.
Throw those bones, skin and chicken debris in a pan with a few vegetables and olive oil, add water and small pasta, let the heat do its magic and you will be suitably rewarded. It really is that easy.
This is an essential recipe to have. Tomato sauce can be used in an infinity of dishes from pasta sauces (on its own or with other ingredients, like cream), meatballs, pizza, roasted or braised meats, stews and even fish dishes. This one is really easy and can be frozen. That means that you can make a batch and divide into individual portions for freezing and use as you need it.
Green eggs (called ‘green’ because of the parsley) was something I used to eat all the time as a child. They are strangely addictive and if you think 3 eggs per person (what you find within a man-sized omelette) is a lot, think again. That’s 6 halves per person and I unashamedly admit that is a normal portion of green eggs for me.
In my daily commute, I eat a lot of shop-bought pots of yoghurt with a fruit compote at the bottom and a textured granola of some sort on top. I tend to do that on days I am avoiding a heavy load of carbs, like bread or toast, in the morning. They are usually ok, but never quite make to the ‘delicious’ standard. So I decided to play with some ingredients to make my own version at home and I am really pleased with the result. It is definitely worth a post and I encourage you to try it. As with most of the recipes I post here it was really easy to make and it put a smile on my face when I ate it. Even though it is nearly ‘carb-free’ (or at least bread-free), it is indulgent enough and a really nice way to start to your day. Or you can have it as a dessert, albeit of the healthier kind. Also, don’t restrict yourself to the nuts, seeds or fruit I used here, there are endless combinations and possibilities.
This tortilla is based on a Nigella Lawson recipe from the book Nigella Express. As always, Nigella has managed to come up with something incredibly delicious and make it really easy.
I used to live with a Spanish girl when I came to England and she taught me to make the ‘perfect’ tortilla, but I have to say that version is hard work (though very good). I wanted something simpler that would satisfy my urgent Saturday afternoon tortilla craving and I turned to one of my safest cookbooks for inspiration on how to do something yummy quickly. But as it was the weekend I had plenty of time to add a few steps and ingredients and make my own version of Nigella’s express Spanish omelette.
Soups are my thing. I grew up with a bowl of soup at the start of every meal (lunch and dinner). I love eating them, I feel comfortable making them and I am always swapping ingredients around. That is what I did to get to the best carrot soup I have cooked so far. This soup is like velvet and tastes fantastic. And it’s a soup for all occasions, casual or fancy. The cheesy croutons are a little luxury that give it a bit of interest. Alternatively, a little swirl of cream should also impress your guests if you are not in the mood to make croutons (although these are really easy!). Or just have it on its own, believe me it is still a treat.
The other day, a friend and I were discussing making rice. I get the impression that rice is often touch and go for a lot of people. They have heard lots of different versions of what works and what doesn’t work and often don’t understand why it never turns out quite right. Even on Masterchef, a cooking TV competition with super-skilled contestants, I have seen rice fail.
Because I cook it often, over the years I managed to perfect a way to make a loose, fluffy and tasty rice that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, without thinking too much about it (even though my skills do not come close to any of the talented people that cook on TV!).