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Tag Archives: Rachel Khoo

A Chicken Dish Fit For A Wino

Last week on the way to work I was pulled over as part of a drink driving campaign by the police (as in don’t drink drive, of course) and breathalysed. I’m pleased to report that I passed with flying colours and absolutely no alcohol present in my system. Star driver right here! Were I to be pulled over tomorrow morning however, I’m not so sure I’d be feeling quite so smug. I delved into The Little Paris Kitchen today and made chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce with some fluffy white rice for dinner. Considering this dish only contains half a glass of wine, the pairing of the winey sauce with aniseed tasting tarragon really intensifies the boozy taste leading you to think there is an obscene amount of wine contained in the sauce. Luckily there wasn’t, meaning I can sleep easy tonight knowing I’m perfectly legal to drive in the morning. Don’t drink and drive kids! I’ve not been doing a great deal of cooking this last week or so, we’ve been busy buying our very first home and going through the intense highs and lows of waiting for everything to be finalised. When you come home from work exhilarated that your offer on the dream house has been accepted, it’s hard to stop jumping around like a frog on acid for long enough to cook anything more testing than an oven pizza. I won’t go on for too long, as I’m fairly certain I’ve been boring everyone I know with how much we love this house and what we plan to do with it, but readers, it was truly love at first sight. I knew as soon as I’d seen it that no other house would match up so its no understatement to say that I would have fought tooth and nail to ensure we got the house. Thankfully I didn’t have to resort to violence of any kind, and we should be moving in in the New Year – celebrate good times come on! Whether I will have time for cooking then is a concern that brings me out in a cold sweat at night, as there is a lot of work to be done on dream house and this blog may turn into a DIY and home makeover blog, horror of horrors. I shan’t let it happen! If there are tummies to fill and books to cook from, then I will be there, cooking in a kitchen last renovated in the 1970’s while covered in paint and plaster.

Now that the excitement has died down a little, I feel more capable of cooking. The Little Paris Kitchen has a lot of recipes that I want to try but with fussy pants home I’m trying to play it safe and go with recipes I think he’d like, and LPK has very few of those things in it. He’s not a big fan of French food and now he’s not a fan of chicken and mushrooms in white wine sauce. It does sound very much like a Chicken Tonight jar of sauce, but the homemade sauce takes a bit of time resulting in a silky smooth, flavourful sauce that packs a winey punch you’d be hard pushed to find in a jar. Too much of a punch for The Boyfriend, but I enjoyed it and certainly wouldn’t turn it down if offered again. It’s the perfect store-cupboard sauce if like me you always have flour, butter, cream, wine and lemons in the house. I used to be a massive div when making sauces from scratch and they would always end up lumpy, but then I learnt the most obvious of cookery skills, following basic instructions. Simple but so easy to overlook, at least in my case anyway. Basically, if the recipe says to add the liquid gradually, heed this advice instead of chucking it in all in one go as you will only end up with a lumpy mess. No one wants to eat a lumpy mess. This much I’ve learnt, professional chefs writing cookbooks know better than me how to make sauces. In other Cookbook Neglector news, my Christmas cake is continuing to be fed a healthy diet of brandy once a week. I’m not sure how much I’m meant to use, it could be a really boozy cake by the time I’ve finished with it, but hey, it is Christmas after all. I’m just itching to ice and decorate it but will have to bide my time until its completely and utterly rat-arsed. Only then can I blanket it in a snug duvet of marzipan and icing before its devoured slice by slice over the festive period. I just hope it’s worth all this time, effort and brandy!

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Southwestern Sunrise

I know that us Brits are very proud of our breakfast legacy what with the fry up known around the world as an English breakfast and most people being partial to a bacon sandwich at the weekend, but I’ve got to be controversial and say the Americans do breakfast better. You can get your fried goods there, sure, but on top of that they can also offer pancakes, waffles, muffins, hash, Florida orange juice, fruit platters, smoothies, proper coffee, granola, bagels, and a ridiculous amount of options for the humble egg. Even the cheap places to grab breakfast avoid instant coffee, such is the culture there for a decent, strong cup of Jo. They know what they’re doing when it comes to the most important meal of the day, that much is clear. I had planned on having today’s recipe for breakfast, but by the time I’d cleaned the house and gone to the gym it was early afternoon, so we’ll call it lunch. My lunch then was from USA by Sheila Lukins and is called Southwestern Sunrise and is one of the many options for eggs in the book. It’s definitely the tastiest thing I’ve eaten that only takes 2 mins to prepare and also packs a pretty healthy punch. You just chop up some red pepper and avocado, pop them into a ramekin, top with a raw egg and grated cheese then pop in the oven until the egg is cooked. Dollop with some sour cream, sprinkle on some coriander and you’re done. Totally delicious and extremely simple. The only tricky bit is getting the egg cooked to the point where the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny, a point that I missed and ended up with solid yolks. It still tasted good though, and I’d rather that than runny egg whites which have the same consistency as snot. The flavours of this make me summon up an image of New Mexico and the name of the dish really does have me thinking about a beautiful orange sunrise over the water starved landscape of the Southwest. I’ve never been mind, but I’ve seen enough movies and read enough books set in the USA to get those images. And Man vs Food has shown me that this is the sort of food you’d find in this part of America, although my portion was certainly a lot smaller than the ones Adam Richman gets served! The recipe called for Monterey Jack cheese but cheese is something the Brits really do do better, so I stuck with cheddar. All this recipe needs to make it perfection would be the addition of salsa to give it a spicy kick to really get your morning going with a bang.

The other night for dinner I delved into my new book The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. If you saw her on TV a few months ago, then you’ll know that as well as being a cracking cook, she’s also adorable, has lovely shiny hair and knows how to pull off a pretty tea dress. Fine qualities in a woman! For my first attempt from this book, I made meatballs in spicy sauce with Alsatian pasta, which sounds much more like a French dish when you replace the word meatballs with boulettes de viande. According to adorable Rachel, the Alsace region of France is well known for its pasta, hence this suspiciously Italian looking recipe. Luckily, the spicy sauce is very French, what with it containing red wine and a bouquet garni, as well as cornichons, which are really just tiny pickled gherkins. The meal was really flavoursome with plenty of crunch from the gherkins, and the sauce had a deep wine flavour that went well with the meatballs which were made from beef mince and sausage meat. I think this book is going to quickly become a favourite of mine, the pictures of the food are beautiful and I love that she cooks these gorgeous looking creations in her teeny tiny kitchen in her teeny tiny Parisian flat. If she can create culinary delights in a kitchen the size of a broom cupboard, then what excuse do I have for not trying with my nice spacious kitchen? French food is looking to be the way forward for me.

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Books, Breakfast, Cooking, Food, French, Lunch

 

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