Chili and Rice

As I attempt to recreate the nommiest of my fellow Nom Bloggers dishes, I am shocked at how I never attempted this before.

Ingredients:

Red and Orange Pepper
Tomato Paste
Can of Mixed Pulses
Basmati Rice
Oregano
Garlic
Jar of Pasta Sauce
Chicken Stock Cube
Carrots
Celery
Tin of Sweetcorn
Tabasco Sauce
Red Onion
Cumin Seeds
Steak Mince
Butter
Oil

Rice:

* Measure 2 cups of rice into a sieve and rinse well, really well.  Allow to drain.
* Boil the kettle
* Put a knob of butter in your rice pan, crumble your stock cube into it as it melts, stirring it all in.
* Dump your now clean rice and stir well until it’s all gleaming with buttery-stock goodness.
* Keep stirring and frying for a few moments.
* Add 2 and a half cups of hot water to the rice and stir it all around well, ensuring none is sticking to bottom or sides of the pan.
* Taste the liquid for salt and add if necessary. When it’s boiling, put on the lid and move to lowest heat. Leave it alone for 25 minutes. Alone, I said!
* Have a peek and sneak some out and try it. If it crunches, put the lid back down and leave for another 5 minutes and then check again.

Red Chili:

* Chop all your veg, fairly small.
* Open the tins of mixed beans, drain of the icky stuff, fill with water and shake and rinse the beans. Then rinse again and again.
* One more time for luck. In your chili pan, blob some oil in and throw in the onion, carrots and celery, frying until translucent.
* Add the mince, stirring it to break it up until browned.
* Add a squeeze of tomato paste, stirring it into the meat.
* Add your garlic and stir.
* Add your herbs, spices and tabasco sauce now and stir again.  Be careful! Add a little, stir well and then taste. Only after that add more if you think it needs it!
* Add the jar of sauce and mix well.
* Add the beans and rest of the vegetables and stir.
* Bring back to the boil and give a good stir.
* Turn the heat down and let simmer for at least half an hour, keeping an eye on it to make sure doesn’t dry up.

Dish up the rice, slop some of the chili on top and add some grated cheese to finish!

Italian Style Pork Stew

The ingredients appearing in this dish are:

5 Pork steaks – diced quite large
1 Courgette – diced
1/3 Marrow – diced
2 Sticks of Celery – diced
4 Baby Sweet Orange Peppers – diced
1 Red Pepper – diced
3 Cloves of Garlic – crushed
1 Large Jar of Pasta Sauce – I used a tomato and chargrilled vegetable one
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

      

Having prepared our guest stars, I poured some olive oil in a large casserole dish, chucked in the squished cloves and added some salt and pepper.  Then I introduced the pork to the dish and made sure all the chunks were coated in the oil and because that was so much fun, I did the same with the vegetables.  It smelled wonderful and looked very pretty.

Unfortunately, the prettiness did not last long as the jar of sauce was added and everything was giving a stir, trying very hard not to slop things out the dish. I went a bit mad with the water, thinking that there wasn’t enough sauce.

A rather horrible problem occurred at this stage.  Apparently, the lid we had was not the lid for this dish so we cracked on using tin foil.

And into the preheated oven, the dish went.  Approximately 170 degrees which caused another panic until I found what gas mark that was!  It stayed in for almost two hours with me occasionally panicking and having a poke and a stir.

This, like the ugly duckling in the story, turned into a swan.  A particularly tasty swan.

It was served with crusty bread, mashed potato with cheddar and mashed swede, carrot and sweet potato.

Lessons learned:

Buy more sauce!
Don’t panic and use lots of water.
Make sure you can find the right lid.

Great things about this dish:

It seems like you could get away with whatever vegetables you wanted.
Really easy to do – chop, mix and leave.
Really tasty!

Would serve four hungry people easily.

Coffee Cupcakes

Regularly purchasing these delights from ‘Insert Random Good Cause Here’ events led to a mild addiction. Then Nom fu arrived, giving me just cause to beg and plead for the recipe and attempt them for myself.

These are yummy, scrummy light cupcakes with a deliciously more-ish buttercream frosting, at least when the lovely lady who bakes them for charity makes them.  I can almost hear the sniggering from the peanut gallery, for who on this planet could foul up a simple cake recipe? However, I shall be unafraid of the deceptively simple looking recipe, I will be resolute at attempting this without electrical aids … I WILL make yummy, scrummy cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
6oz Butter
6oz Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
2tbsp Coffee, dissolved
3 Eggs, whisked

Frosting
2fl oz Semi-Skimmed Milk
1lb 1oz Icing Sugar, sifted
2tsp Vanilla Extract
4oz Butter, at room temperature
2tbsp Coffee, dissolved

Other
Muffin Tray
Paper Cases
Many, many bowls

Cupcake Method:

  • Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl.
  • Gradually, add the eggs and the now cooled coffee, a little at a time with 1tbs of flour and beat well. Mwahahahaha!
  • Fold in remainder of flour.
  • Half fill paper cases and place in muffin tin.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until firm. Oven = Gas mark 5
  • Allow to cool before adding frosting!

Frosting Method:

  • Beat the milk, butter, coffee and vanilla extract with half the icing sugar until smooth, gradually add the rest of the icing sugar to produce a smooth buttercream.
  • Using diverse means such as spatula, spoon, piping thing and/or psychic powers, cover the top of your now cool cupcakes with the buttercream, to create visually appealing cupcakes, not just tasty ones!

Notes:

  • Have many, many BIG bowls
  • Possibly not enough icing sugar as my frosting was a tad runny
  • I tried to stretch the mixture out to 14 which resulted in some smaller, delicate cupcakes so probably best to stick with 12.

Paella

Lots of ingredients :

Ingredients

170g/6oz chorizo, cut into thin slices
110g/4oz pancetta, cut into small dice
3 tsps crushed garlic
1 large onion, finely diced
1 red pepper and 1 orange pepper, diced
1 tsp soft thyme leaves
¼ tsp dried red chilli flakes
570ml/1pint paella rice
1 tsp paprika
125ml/4fl oz dry white wine
1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock, heated with ¼ tsp saffron strands
3 chicken breasts, diced and browned
15 small scallops
110g/4oz frozen peas
8 cherry tomatoes, deseeded and diced
125ml/4fl oz olive oil
12 raw prawns
450g/1lb squid, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
5 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Method:

In your secondary frying pan, seal and brown off your chicken pieces in some olive oil.
In your main pan, heat half the olive oil and add chorizo and pancetta, fry til crisp. Add garlic, onion and peppers and fry until soft.
Add thyme, chilli flakes and rice and stir until the rice is coated and glossy.
Add the paprika and wine, heating until it bubbles.
Add your hot chicken stock and saffron mixture and the chicken pieces and cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes.
Add your peas and tomatoes and continue cooking gently for another 10 mins.
Whilst your first pan is on the last ten minutes of gently cooking, use your secondary pan to heat the rest of the olive oil, adding garlic and prawns for a couple of minutes before dumping the prawns into your paella (by dumping, I mean delicately removing them from the oil and garlic, not slopping the whole lot in.  That oil and garlic needs to stay in your secondary pan for …)
The squid, which now gets gently fried in the oil and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes. And add to the paella!
Fry your scallops, and just for fun, add those to the paella as well!
Sprinkle your cut parsley over the top and serve!
Very nice with green salad and warm ciabatta rolls!

Notes:

Don’t stint on the saffron! Hence the not very golden colour.
Squid = very chewy! Be careful, an extra 30 seconds will make it as good as chewing gum
Portions and containers = don’t do a 6 person dish in a small dish!
Don’t forget the paprika!