Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Thin Chocolate Tart

I delivered a presentation earlier at uni about my dissertation proposal and since my research revolves around food, I felt the right thing to do was to bring food. So, I baked a batch of man brownies and they were very well-received as well as my proposal. I scored my brownie points. Yay!

As I was baking, I received a rather disturbing text from my mom: "Mike, can you please text me your full name and date of birth?". Was this some sort of a test? or has my mother forgotten me? I provided her with the information nonetheless. I still love you mother.

Moving on... I baked this thin chocolate tart on the weekend and I thought of sharing it with you. I normally stay away from making pastry, not because I don't like pastry, I love pastry, but pastry doesn't really like me. I have cold hands which supposedly perfect for making pastry (but a very warm heart if you must know).

This tart is easy to make, including the pastry base, believe me. The tart looks like a giant chocolate digestive biscuit. I totally forgot to take a picture of it when it was still whole. The crumbly biscuit-like base is covered with delicious orangey chocolate sauce. I also added some frangelico (hazelnut liquor) to the topping, and I think I don't need any excuses to add more deliciousness.

Off to the cinema now. Have a good night/morning/afternoon wherever you are.

Thin Chocolate Tart
Recipe by Stéphane Reynaud

200 g plain (all-purpose) flour
100 g caster sugar
50 g ground almonds
1 pinch salt
120 g butter, cubed and softened
1 egg yolk

for the chocolate topping:
1 orange
50 g butter
150 ml pouring (whipping) cream
140 g dark chocolate

Start by making the pastry by sifting the flour, sugar, ground almonds and salt. Add the cubes of butter in stages. Add the egg yolk, work the pastry using your palm to give a crumbly texture. Shape it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, chill for an hour. Roll the pastry out on a sheet of baking paper to make a very thin circle 2mm thick all over. Cook in a preheated 180 C oven for 10 minutes - the pastry should be a nice golden brown.

For the chocolate topping, zest and juice the orange, add to the butter, cream and chocolate, melt all of these together and coat the tart. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Slice into wedges.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spiced Chocolate Cake with Macerated Raspberries

The rules for this months Random Recipe Challange set up by the wonderful Dom at Belleau's Kitchen are to choose the 18th book on your cookbook shelves, and then select a recipe at random.

...and the 18th book on my shelve is... gourmet food for a fiver by Michelin star chef, Jason Atherton; and the recipe I picked at random is spiced chocolate cake with macerated raspberries.

If you're into chocolate, you'll love the richness of the cake. Gently spiced with cinnamon, ginger and allspice, it is beautifully moist and very easy to make.

At first, I was terrified when I got the book simply because I thought the recipes will be overly complicated. But actually that wasn't the case at all. Many of the recipes are pretty accessible for home cooks and there are so many delicious recipes I cannot wait to try cooking and eating.

If you don't know, Jason used to work as the head chef at Gordon Ramsay's Maze in London's Grosvernor Square. It is one of the most delicious restaurants I've been to and no doubt the most expensive. I went there about a couple of years ago. Upon arrival we were welcomed with glasses of champagne and Chef Taster's in the maze bar. Following the champagne reception, we were then seated at the Chef's Table, located in the kitchen where the magic begins. We were then greeted by the head chef at the time (I cannot remember his name). We also had our own private waiter and a sommelier to fulfil our every need.

The 12 course (yes, 12 course) dinner was presented so beautifully and each dish was brought to the table and explained by the chef who created the dish. We were also given a tour of the kitchen which was really cool.

The most wonderful and memorable part of the evening for me was when the head chef came back to our table and asked if any of us would like to cook in the kitchen with him. I yelled with excitement, "ME!". He took me to the kitchen, I put on the apron and we cooked roasted sea scallops with textures of apples, butterscotch and bacon. It was my first experience cooking scallops and it was such an opportunity to learn from the professionals. The scallops were lightly dusted with curry spices and then pan-fried and finished in the oven. When cooked, it was placed on top of apple purée and topped with crispy bacon, thin slices of apples, coriander leaves and drizzled with butterscotch sauce...

I then had to bring the dish to the table and presented it to the rest of the guests. I also got to keep the apron which I still very often wear :)


roasted sea scallops with textures of apples, butterscotch and bacon

At the end of the meal, the bill for the six of us came up to just a little over £1,500.00 (USD $2,400.00). Fortunately, I didn't have to pay for it. My ex's parents did...

Spiced Chocolate Cake with Macerated Raspberries
Recipe by Jason Atherton
Makes 8 - 10 slices

200 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra to grease the dish
2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
200 g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
150 g caster sugar
5 large eggs, separated

Macerated raspberries:
250 g raspberries
3 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra to dust
3 lemon thyme sprigs, leaves picked

First, prepare the macerated raspberries. In a bowl, whisk the icing sugar with 3 tbsp of warm water until dissolved, then add the raspberries and lemon thyme leaves and toss gently. Set aside to macerate for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease the base and sides of a 23 cm Pyrex flan dish, 4 cm deep, with butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Sift the 2 tbsp flour with the spices and set aside. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and spiced flour. Let cool slightly then beat in the egg yolks until well combined.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold into the chocolate mixture, a third at a time.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for about 30 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out with some moist crumbs attached. Leave in the dish to firm up a little, the transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. The cake will rise and the top is likely to crack in the oven, then it will collapse slightly on cooling.

To plate: slice the cake with hot knife. Sift icing sugar over each slice before plating. Spoon some macerated raspberries on and around the cake and drizzle with some of the juice.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Asparagus and Pea Risotto with Watercress

I cooked this a couple of days ago and when I was just about to take a picture, my camera's battery decided to die. Great...

This was so delicious, it gave me pleasure to cook and eat it again. And I feel it's so selfish of me no to share the recipe with you.

The sweetness from the asparagus and peas nicely balance watercress' peppery taste in this creamy risotto. And the lemon juice, though not much of it, it's necessary to brighten up the flavours.

Have a great weekend.

I suddenly realised I've been eating a lot of peas and asparagus lately...

Asparagus and Pea Risotto with Watercress
Recipe by Me
Serves 2

2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
250 g arborio risotto rice
500 ml vegetable stock
6 green asparagus spears
a couple handfuls of frozen peas
a small bunch of watercress, reserving some for garnish
parmesan cheese
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Trim the ends off the asparagus spears and cut into thin slices. Sauté the spring onions in a pan over gentle heat in the olive oil, then add the rice, the dried thyme and allow the rice to become translucent. Add the vegetable stock to moisten, stir regularly and adding stock as it is absorbed for about 15 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt, pepper and parmesan. Add the watercress and butter, cook for further couple of minutes to let the watercress wilt a bit. The consistency of the risotto should be creamy. Serve on a plate and top with more parmesan, reserved watercress leaves, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Orzo Salad with Prawns, Petit Pois and Arugula Pesto

I know I've mentioned this before, but I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy being part of this food blogging community. I've 'met' many wonderful people whom now I call friends. It's my few minutes of the day I really look forward to. I've drooled over so many delicious recipes; learned more about food; laughed with you and also inspired by your personal experiences.

Part of my daily reading is Jenn's Food Journey. Jenn "the grill master" serves delicious offerings and it's like a torture reading her blog, knowing there is no way to grab the food from the laptop screen. She is very lucky to live far away from me because otherwise I'd find an excuse to stop by for dinner everyday... I promise to help with the washing up and I'll bring the beverages or dessert :)

When Jenn asked me to write a guest post on her delicious blog, I was absolutely flattered. I decided to share this scrumptious Orzo Salad with Prawns, Petit Pois and Arugula Pesto. It's packed with flavours and I think Jenn would enjoy it and I think you would too. To read the post, please head over to Jenn's Food Journey where you would also find many other wonderful recipes, like the must-try mustard roasted potatoes.

Thank you so much Jenn for asking me to do this. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Lemon Cake

This lemon cake is a French teatime favourite that Raymond Blanc has served at his restaurant, Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, for the past 25 years. His restaurant / cookery school is on my must-visit list. Hopefully sometime later this year, preferably after that financial windfall predictions from those double egg yolks on my previous post.

The cake is wonderfully lemony, inside and also outside with its sticky apricot-lemon coating. It's also very moist which I love. The texture is a little dense, but that's my fault for over-mixing the batter. It's still a pleasant to eat though.

Enjoy with a cup of tea.

Lemon Cake
Recipe by Raymond Blanc
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Parmesan Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs

This morning/nearly afternoon, I am treating myself to this delicious savoury parmesan pancakes served with scrambled eggs and watercress salad. I know what you're thinking and I ask myself the same question too, "where's the bacon?!". Next time I promise.

Anyway, 5 out of 6 eggs that I bought each have two yolks in it. Strange I thought and I just wanted to share this information with you. I googled "eggs with two yolks" and this is what I found:

"Double yolkers appear when ovulation occurs to rapidly, or when one yolk somehow gets "lost" and is joined by the next yolk... They're occasionally laid by a heavy-breed hen, often as an inherited trait" (source: poultryhelp.com)

Also apparently in old superstition, finding two egg yolks mean a marriage is coming up soon or a financial windfall. Interesting...

Have a nice day.

Parmesan Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs
Recipe by Jamie Oliver
Makes 6 pancakes

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
80 g parmesan, shaved plus extra to serve
50 g butter
olive oil
watercress, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Preheat the oven to 140C and put in a baking tray to warm. For the pancakes, combine the flour, milk, 1 egg and the parmesan in a bowl and season. Melt a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan. Ladle spoonfuls of mixture into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden. Keep warm in the oven.

Meanwhile, whisk 5 eggs and season. Heat a knob of butter in a pan until foaming, add the eggs and stir continuously in a figure-eight motion until just cooked but still quite runny; the eggs will continue cooking off the heat.

Serve pancakes and eggs with extra parmesan and the watercress dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pasta Salad Primavera

The theme for this month's Forever Nigella challenge hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake is 'Ciao Italia'. The selection of Italian inspired recipes from Nigella cookbooks are pretty much endless. When thinking of Italian food, my immediate thought is pasta. Of course, Italian food is more than just pasta, but I simply LOVE pasta. I could happily eat pasta every single day.

Then again, there are still so many pasta recipes to choose from. But since I am currently giving up meat for lent, I need to look for vegetarian options and this pasta salad primavera from Nigella's Feast which she described as 'eating proof that you can't have too much of a good thing' is just perfect.

I altered some of the vegetables from the original recipe to suit what I already have at home. I omitted the broad beans because I couldn't be bothered to remove the casings, pure laziness I'm gonna be honest; and I added more of the peas... frozen of course, don't be silly. I also replaced the mangetout with its fatter sibling, the sugar snap peas and because I couldn't find chives today, I used spring onions.

The beauty of this dish, next to its healthy-deliciousness is it can be made well in advance and leave it in the fridge in a Tupperware or something similar for easy pickings for a good few days though I doubt this will last that long. I'm gonna be out most of the afternoon and when I get home later I knew I have something tasty to eat...

Enjoy your weekend!

Pasta Salad Primavera
Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson
Serves 8

500 g Orzo pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500 g asparagus
300 g petit pois
180 g sugar snap peas
250 g fine beans
1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, and after draining the cooked orzo, rinse under cold water and leave to drain again. Tip the drained pasta to a large mixing bowl and stir through the olive oil to prevent it from clumping together.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, and add some salt. Meanwhile, snap the woody ends off the asparagus and then cut each stalk into a 2.5 cm pieces. Cook each vegetable in the boiling water until almost cooked through but with a bite (al dente). You have to taste as you go to get the timing right. Like Nigella, I also find it easier to cook each one in turn, placing a sieve, and refreshing under a cold tap.

Tip the cooked, refreshed and drained vegetables into the pasta and dress with the garlic oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest, and the finely sliced spring onions. Mix together and taste to check the seasoning, then decant into a bowl.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Happy (belated) St.Patrick's Day! I hope you had a fun day and the hangover's not too bad :)

I've been baking... Today is Red Nose Day here in the UK and this year we are doing few fun things to raise money for charity at work, like sponsored silence, wii games, giant jenga and a bake sale.

This Chocolate Guinness Cake will be on offer today, only if I can stop myself from having another piece, it's so treacly dark and absolutely delicious; along with a couple other favourites like Clementine Cakes and also Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

Anyway, I really gotta go now and sell some cakes. I'm gonna let Nigella tell you more about the cake. You can trust her, she's wonderful:

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices. There is enough sugar - a certain understatement here - to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it's perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.

Update: The fund raising event went really well. The chocolate Guinness cake was gone in seconds, followed by the chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. Overall, we raised over £300.00, so well done team!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Petit Pois a la Francaise

Petit pois a la Francaise is peas cooked in the French style. Is it just me or do you also think it sounds somehow better in French? The peas are cooked with spring onions, garlic, little gem lettuce, broth and butter...well, after all it is a French dish.

I use frozen baby peas here because it's convenient and the peas are picked at the peak of their season and immediately frozen, normally within a couple of hours to preserve their flavours and nutrients. So, nothing to feel guilty about using frozen peas.

At the end of the cooking, I encourage you to add just a little lemon juice to brighten up the flavour.
You could also add lardons and a touch of cream if you're feeling naughty but nice. 

The buttery peas and lettuce makes a great side dish to a Sunday roast, just make sure none of your guests have a phobia of peas (it's a real thing apparently). For me, I happily eat this with some plain cooked basmati rice. Bon appétit!

Petit Pois a la Francaise
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Cinnamon Plums with French Toast

Tuesday is definitely my breakfast day. On other days, my breakfast is normally just a cup of coffee. Not because I don't like eating in the morning... Let's not be silly, I like eating at any time of the day, you should really know that by now, but I like sleeping too. And let's not forget, there's always lunch, after-lunch snack, dinner and after-dinner snack... As horrible as it sounds, I don't mind missing that one meal.

But on Tuesday, I call it my study-day because today is the day when I am at uni studying, I have the day off work and since study time starts in the afternoon, I have the whole morning for myself and the extra time to cook breakfast.

I have some leftover stale brioche from the coconut bread pudding, so I recycled them into French toast and they are served with sharp and sticky cinnamon-y plum compote. The plums are cooked in sugar syrup made with cranberry juice, sugar and a cinnamon stick. Yum.

OK. I am off to learn something now... Have a nice day.

(I'm thinking...What's for lunch....?)

Cinnamon Plums with French Toast
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.
If you want to watch the video, click here.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Coconut Bread Pudding

The already delicious bread pudding is enhanced with coconut cream and a hint of dark rum. So, if you love the flavour of coconut, you will love this bread pudding. It's a lovely exotic tropical twist on a classic dessert. I wish there was a way to attach the aroma coming out from the oven because mouths will water once they smell the scent of this sweet pudding.

I use coconut cream here to make the custard, but if you can't find it, simply use good-old double cream and replace the milk with regular coconut milk which is more widely available. You can also certainly add raisins that have been soaked in rum or shredded coconut, it's up to you... All I need was a bowl and a spoon. Yum.

Coconut Bread Pudding
Recipe by Me
Serves 2-3

2 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons golden caster sugar
320 ml coconut cream
160 ml whole milk
2 tsp dark rum, optional
6 slices of brioche
icing sugar, to dust

Start by making the coconut custard. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until smooth and pale. Pour the coconut cream and milk into a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and gradually whisk into the egg mixture. Return the mixture into the saucepan and whisk in the rum. Cook gently on a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon lightly; do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 150 C. Cut the brioche into small slices and arrange in a 15 cm diameter round dish. Pour the custard evenly over the surface. Let it stand for 5 minutes to give the bread time to soak up all of those luscious custard.

Stand the dish in a roasting tin and pour enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for about 35 minutes until just set. When the pudding is ready, lift it out of the water bath. Dust the surface generously with icing sugar. Serve warm.

My new friend, Victoria at Mission: Food is the host of the Bread Pudding Club, so if you happen to bake a bread pudding soon and want to share your recipe, don't forget to visit her delicious blog.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Tagliatelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Parmesan

This is a quick and delicious pasta recipe I love. It's got a simple, silky, creamy sauce made with mascarpone cheese, cream, garlic, nutmeg and Parmesan (and butter)... Yes, yes, I know what some of you are thinking... but those ingredients indeed what make this dish so incredibly scrumptious.

If it makes you feel any better, there's also spinach... quite a lot of spinach here which is very good for us. It's very low in calories yet very high in vitamins and loaded with other nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent source of iron, as I've been told. Just think of Popeye!

I also read somewhere, I may made this up, I cannot remember... Cheese supplies a great deal of protein and calcium. So, I think this pasta is actually health food. Please don't take my words for it. However, you can certainly trust me when I tell you: it's delicious...

Tagliatelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Parmesan
Recipe by Jamie Oliver
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Roast Chicken with Goat's Cheese

Nothing beats the simplicity of a good roast chicken, with its salty, crispy skin, moist breast meat and tender dark meat (my favourite!).

This particular recipe is so simple and delicious. The carrots and shallots add lovely sweetness along with the garlic that became soft and sweet, the fragrant rosemary... and extra saltiness and also creaminess from the goat's cheese. Ah, so good!

The original recipe calls for Dutch carrots and French shallots, but I just used the regular kinds. I also added cubes of pancetta and I don't think I need any explanations for adding extra deliciousness. Right?

Serve with lemony couscous with chickpeas and well-chilled Riesling, and I am on my way to a delightful evening...

Roast Chicken with Goat's Cheese
Recipe by Stéphane Reynaud
Serves 6

1 free-range chicken
6 Dutch carrots
6 French shallots
6 garlic cloves
100 ml olive oil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 fresh Sainte-Maure goat's cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Cut the chicken into 8 portions (thighs, drumsticks, breasts and wings). Peel the carrots. Place the chicken in a roasting tin with the whole carrots, shallots and garlic cloves in their skins, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 45 minutes, basting the chicken regularly with its juices. Crumble the cheese over the chicken and bake for a further 15 minutes. Season and serve from the roasting tin.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

When I saw Nigella making this on TV, I knew I just have to try this. With her flirtatious look, Nigella lured me into the chocolate-peanut-buttery goodness...

Loaded with all the no-no's by dieticians (yes-yes by me), cheesecakes are nonetheless almost the irresistible dessert. I warn you, this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake is not for the faint-hearted. It's unashamedly indulgence. It's like eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in cheesecake form. Yum!!

The base of the cheesecake is rather thick, and that's because it's so delicious. The base is formed by a mixture of digestive biscuits, salted peanuts, dark chocolate chips and soft butter. See? I told you it's delicious.

For the cheesecake filling, obviously a generous amount of cream cheese, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, sour cream and smooth peanut butter. The cheesecake is then baked in the oven until it's just set with a hint of gooey-ness; or in the word of Nigella, the cake should have a hint of inner-thigh wobble...

The cheesecake is then topped with its glorious chocolate spread made by melting milk chocolate, sour cream and soft brown sugar together.

Well, I think it's time for another slice... gotta go now. I have cheesecake to attend to. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 10 - 12
For list of ingredients and instructions, click here.
If you want to watch Nigella in action, click here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Toad in the Hole

I'm not too sure about the origin of the name 'toad-in-the-hole'. Many suggestions on the internet are that the dish resemblance to a toad sticking it's little head out of a hole provide this classic British creation its somewhat unusual name.

For those who never heard of this, I can assure you that there are no toads, frogs or any other amphibious creatures involve in the actual dish. Instead, toad-in-the-hole always consists of good old British bangers (meaning: sausages) baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter made with eggs, milk and flour.

The secret I think to ensure the batter will puff up, brown and become crispy is to have the dish, the oil and the oven ferociously hot. I use goose fat because it has a high smoking point, which means foods can be cooked at a high temperature without the fat burning; and I just love the flavour of goose fat.

Light and crispy pudding with meaty and juicy pork sausages... Yum! Serve with onion gravy, or I also like mine with brown sauce.

Have a great weekend!

Toad in the Hole
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 4 - 6
For ingredients and instructions, click here.
If you want to watch the video, click here.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Spicy Sausage Patties with Lettuce Wraps (and all sorts)

These spicy sausage patties are great as little picky things to go alongside a drink. They've got nice kick to them that keeps you wanting for more. Serve with all sorts of condiments and you can create different variations of parcels. Lettuce, sour cream and cool salsa for a Tex-Mex twist; or Chinese-peking-duck-inspired route with hoisin sauce, spring onions and cucumber. I couldn't decide, so I had both. Yum!

Anyway, lent season starts in less than a week time. This year I plan to give up meat entirely and until few days ago I thought I can do that. But as I was eating these little bundles of goodness, I started to doubt myself. A recent survey among work colleagues, so far most people said that I shall fail, one laughed out loud about the idea of me giving up meat and one person said that I might fail (that one person is me). Interesting...

One last thing, an important note to self: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT under any circumstances, go to the toilet after chopping chillis without washing your hands... I cannot believe this happened... again.

Spicy Sausage Patties with Lettuce Wraps
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Makes 16 patties

400 g good quality sausages or sausage meat
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 green chilli, de-seeded and chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons English mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
Zest of 1 lemon
2 thin or 1 fat spring onion, finely sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander
1 x 15 ml tablespoon vegetable oil

to serve:
leaves from iceberg, escarole or little gem lettuces
pitta breads or flat breads, warmed
limes, cut into wedges

Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings into a bowl, and then add the ginger, chillis, mustard, garlic, lemon zest, spring onion and coriander.

Mix everything together thoroughly and then make small patties roughly a walnut sized amount and shape it into a fat, little disc.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the patties over a medium heat for about 3 minutes a side or until properly cooked through.

Transfer to a platter and arrange the lettuce leaves, flat breads and anything else you want to eat with them.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

My friend Mark refers to my Tuesdays as Michael's lazy day, because Tuesday is the day when I am off work and attend lectures at University. If you don't already know, I am currently doing a post-graduate course in media and cultural studies. I am really enjoying the course and now in the middle of planning a proposal for a dissertation. I can assure you that it'll be food related... more updates in the coming months as I'm probably gonna be stressed out closer to the submission date. But until that day comes, I'm gonna stay calm and focus.

Anyway, this term my class starts in the afternoon, so I have a bit extra time in the morning to cook breakfast. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, like making pancakes. After all, it is the morning. I don't function well before my second cup of coffee.

These oatmeal buttermilk pancakes are so good... I borrowed the recipe from Joshua at Cooking the Books. Joshua served his pancakes with maple syrup and bacon which are my favourite accompaniments for pancakes. But today, I am sorta going towards the healthier option, serving my pancakes with macerated strawberries and a healthy drizzle of rosewater sugar syrup, left from the sticky semolina cake; giving the pancakes a taste of Arabian morning...

I couldn't find buttermilk where I live and Joshua kindly suggested making buttermilk substitute by mixing lemon juice and skimmed milk which worked great.

As I am typing this, dinner is also nicely simmering on the stove ready to be digested later this evening, poached chicken with lardons and lentils. I think this morning has been a productive one, don't you think?

Have a great day...