Before I even start this blog entry, I’m going to apologise to any Spanish people reading this. This recipe is not a traditional paella and even more heinous is the fact it contains…chorizo – one of my favourite foods – but something that no Spanish person would ever consider adding to a traditional paella! So please excuse a Brit for combining some of has favourite Spanish flavours into one dish. The recipe title may be better described as a spanish inspired surf-and-turf risotto….but then I probably risk insulting the Italian’s risotto, so let’s just crack on.
The recipe here serves two greedy portions, and could easily feed three with a few accompaniments (ciabatta with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil, a few designer rocket leaves etc.)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 chicken breasts
100g chorizo cut into chunks – not finely sliced
180g paella rice (Arborio rice – the one used in risottos will also work if you can’t get paella rice)
4 rashers of streaky bacon – cut into small pieces
10 king prawns
1 onion – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
800ml chicken stock
1 pinch of saffron
1 tsp smoked paprika
200g frozen peas
Cut the chicken breasts up into small pieces and fry in a little olive oil over a medium heat until cooked and starting to get a golden touch.
Take the chicken out the frying pan and set aside. Then add the onion, garlic, chorizo and bacon and fry until the onions have softened. You will not need to add any oil, as the chorizo will start to ooze its oils after a couple of minutes and the bacon has more than enough fat in it. You may need to turn the heat down after a couple of minutes so the chorizo doesn’t crisp too much but the onion is just cooked enough and has absorbed some of those vibrant, orange colours and flavours.
Whilst the onions and pork is cooking, add the saffron to the chicken stock and allow to infuse for a few moments, before adding 3/4 of the liquid to another large shallow pan with paella rice and smoked paprika. It should take about 20 minutes to cook over a low-medium heat.
With 10 minutes left to go, most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the paella rice should be soft with a golden yellow colour. Add the remaining stock with the prawns and frozen peas. Turn up to a medium heat.
In the final 5 minutes, stir in the cooked chicken, chorizo, bacon, onion and garlic and wait for the last of the stock to be incorporated, then it’s ready to serve!
I wanted to make something sweet this weekend, and then conveniently stumbled across this recipe for orange and fig muffins. As a huge fan of fig-based food (except fig rolls – who eats those?) I had to give this recipe a go.
Having cooked dinner for a friend last week including figs with greek yogurt and honey for dessert, I learnt that being a fig fan is more of a minority than a majority (given the amount of left overs). So apologies if you aren’t a massive fig fan; however these muffins are deliciously light, fruity and sweet so please try at least once.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes
175g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
Zest and juice of 1 orange
200g fresh figs, stalks discarded, chopped into 1cm pieces, plus 1 whole fig for decoration
2 tbsp clear honey
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. If you have muffin cases, line 8 holes of a deep muffin tin or 12 holes of normal sized muffin tin. If you don’t have any muffin cases, grease the muffin tin holes well with butter and dust lightly with flour.
Place the softened butter in a large bowl with the sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs and sifted flour a bit at a time (I did it in three turns) and fold in. The idea is that the flour doesn’t go everywhere and you’re not beating all the air our the mixture.
Finally fold in the orange zest and chopped figs and ensure evenly distributed.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – if not using muffin cases fill to near the top of the brim of the muffin tin hole. Place a final slice of fig on the top of each muffin. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top. You can check the muffins are cooked by piercing with a knife and checking it comes out clean.
Whilst the muffins are cooking, heat the honey and orange juice in a small pan over a gently heat until slightly reduced – it takes about 5 minutes.
Once the muffins are out the oven, drizzle over a little of the orange syrup over each muffin (which will seep through the muffin infusing flavour). Leave for about 20 minutes to cool down before turning out and gorging.
I realised that I’ve not been particularly vegetarian-friendly in the blog thus far, and as a fan of some veggie food, I felt the need to correct this. The weather has started to get cooler as Autumn draws in, so I’m craving more warming, hearty meals. So this week, we have my take on a nut roast. Depending on how hungry you are it serves up to 6 people, with a side of steamed veg, roast potatoes (is there a better way to cook potatoes?) and freshly made tomato-based sauce.
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 beetroot (pre-cooked from a vac-pac on the veg aisle) grated
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
115g chestnut mushrooms – finely sliced
175g cooked brown rice
115g brown breadcrumbs
55g finely chopped almonds
55g finely chopped Brazil nuts
115g grated Cheddar cheese
2 medium eggs
1tbsp fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a large loaf tin or another deep baking dish.
In a large frying pan, melt a knob of butter of drizzle with a dribble of oil (sunflower will do – nothing fancy) to stop the butter burning. Gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots, beetroot for 5 minutes until everything is softened. Then add the mushrooms and continue to fry on a medium heat for another 10 minutes or so until the mushrooms have reduced in size and softened.
Whilst the veg are frying, boil the brown rice in a large pan until cooked (usually takes about 15 minutes). Drain the rice and then stir in the onion and veg mix to the pan along with the breadcrumbs, ground nuts, cheddar, eggs, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish and cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour until well cooked on top.