Tag Archives: chorizo

Guest Recipe | Bazooka Picnic Bombs

by Esther Walker



Picnics get a bit out of hand, if you ask me.

The whole point of eating outside, surely, is freedom from the petty bourgeois rules associated with eating inside. Isn’t it all about eating stuff freely, catching a frisbee with one hand and holding a sausage in the other?

So why do all picnics these days involve plates and cutlery? Why do people think that you can bring an assortment of shabbily-wrapped ingredients to the park and then “make your own sandwiches”? No, no, no. You have to be ingenious with picnics. Balancing a plastic plate on your lap heaped with warm coleslaw, a pre-cooked cocktail sausage from Marks and Spencer and an unbuttered slice of Warburton’s is not okay. You can’t just attempt to recreate your kitchen on the nearest bit of public ground that isn’t totally covered with dog poo.

The best picnic I’ve ever had was bought from the Bull and Last pub on Highgate Road and eaten on Hampstead Heath. We bought two mini pasties each, one Scotch egg to share, four bottles of cider and two small tubs of ice cream. Best. Picnic. Ever. No assembly required. No need to stack plates smeared with mayonnaise and ketchup, grass and ants back into plastic bags. Just roll all the packaging up, recycle what can be recycled and bin the rest.

So I’d like to share with you an idea for one ingenious item in your picnic basket this summer, called a Bazooka Picnic Bomb. It’s basically a potato salad inside a baked potato and it’s absolutely brilliant. My example bomb is made with creme fraiche and chorizo, but you can put whatever you like inside your Picnic Bomb – a more summery combination might be creme fraiche, chives and mint, or garlic and spring onions (if you’re not planning to kiss anyone at the picnic).

Anyway, the method remains the same whatever you put inside.

1 Take a large baking potato and prick all over. Put it in the oven for 1hr30min at 200C.

2 Remove from oven, cut in half and scoop out the insides into a bowl. Mix with your ingredients and spoon back into the empty shells.

3 Bring the two halves back together and wrap carefully in foil. Put back in the oven for 20 minutes.

4 Remove from oven and tie up with string to secure.

The only extra item you’ll require is a spoon. And, let’s face it: maybe not even that.

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Recipe | More leftover chicken ideas

That’s the best thing about roasting a fat bird on a Sunday night. It keeps you going for the rest of the week. Monday’s Japanese chicken and avocado salad was a punchy twist on a fairly middle of the road combo. Last night I took the meat off the legs and thighs (the best bits) and made a rather lovely stew. Totally basic but an utterly delicious midweek supper.

Chicken and chorizo stew

Serves 2

2 chicken legs and thighs, cooked and chopped into chunks
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 tin tomatoes
A pinch of chilli flakes
A handful of olives (I used green because I had them kicking about. Black probably better)
A few anchovy fillets, chopped
A few chunks of chorizo
A handful of chopped parsley
Olive oil, salt and pepper

– Sweat the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the peppers, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the peppers have softened.

– Add the tomatoes, chilli flakes, olives, anchovies, chorizo and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Stir through the parsley, check the seasoning and serve with rice or new potatoes.

What’s your favourite thing to do with leftover roast chicken?

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Recipe | Jerusalem artichoke and chorizo salad with anchovy dressing

This is a great winter/spring crossover salad. The red onion and chorizo sausage give the dish a punchy, sunny kick, while the heavenly Jerusalem artichokes remind us that the reign of the root vegetable isn’t over quite yet.

Serves 2

4 Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed

2 small chorizo sossidges, chopped into chunks

Half a red onion, peeled and finely sliced

Salad leaves – a mixture of crunch and leaf

For the dressing

4 anchovies

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons good olive oil

Salt and pepper

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– Slice the Jerusalem artichokes into rounds. Bring to a boil in a pan of salted water and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Drain and leave for a couple of minutes

– Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the artichokes until golden. Meanwhile make the dressing by mashing the anchovies with the garlic, then whisking in the mustard, then vinegar, then finally olive oil. Season with pepper.

– Remove the artichokes from the pan and add the chorizo, frying until crisp. You might be tempted to this the other way round, frying the artichoke in the chorizo oil. You can of course, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the vegetable with the flavour of the sausage.

– Arrange the salad leaves on a plate and top with slices of artichoke, chorizo and red onion, before spooning over the dressing.

What’s your favourite spring time lunch? How might you improve this recipe?

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New Year’s Eve

Whether you like it or not, new year’s eve is pretty much the one night of the year when it’s imperative that, above all else, you have a really good time. OK? It’s undoubtedly this ‘forced fun’ element that makes so many people resent the annual ralf-fest. It doesn’t help that it comes at the end of a solid week of over-eating and drinking, but we can’t blame the baby Jesus for being born exactly one week before the turn of the millennium.

Anyway, to steal a joke from Ali G, I digest. The point is, if we are to concentrate fully on having a really good time, it’s important that 1) we get to eat something that is special and delicious, and 2) that it is entirely fuss free. For example, I could write three completely new recipes. But, uh, hello, it’s new year’s eve. I’m too busy necking sherry and being a rude boy. So instead here are two recipes from the archives for starter and main, along with a new invention which really is a knock-out for pudding. And of course a new year playlist to shake your ass to whilst you cook. Happy New Year!

[See below for the magnificent Fiona Beckett’s wine suggestions].

Chestnut soup with chorizo and saffron cream

I know I only just posted this, but I can honestly say it’s one of my proudest cooking moments, and as far as NYE goes it’s ideal – you can do the soup ahead before reheating and doing the saffron cream at the last minute.

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Serves 6

200g whole Chorizo, cut into cubes

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 dried red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

400-500g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

1 tin tomatoes

1 litre chicken stock

2ooml double cream

a pinch of saffron

Olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the chorizo until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil.

Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until lightly caramelised and soft.

Next add the chopped rosemary, chilli and cumin and stir for a minute or so, before adding the chestnuts, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently heat the cream and saffron together until the threads have dissolved. Set aside and blend the soup until smooth.

Whisk the saffron cream over a medium heat until it is a little lighter, then serve the soup with a few chunks of chorizo and some of the cream.

Rolled shoulder of pork with pommes dauphinoises and red cabbage

You could equally do roast tatties here, but the beauty of these spuds are that you can cook them ahead and simply reheat. The red cabbage also benefits from being done ahead.

For the pork

1 rolled, boned, shoulder of pork, about 1.4kg

250ml cider

500ml stock

Salt, pepper and olive oil

Red cabbage

1 head of red cabbage

1 bottle cider

200ml balsamic vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

Butter

For the potatoes

6 Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes

300ml double cream

300ml whole milk

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

A few thyme leaves

A bay leaf

Nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Butter

You can do the cabbage and spuds a day ahead:

The cabbage then. Quarter the cabbage and remove the thick stalk from the centre. Slice the cabbage as finely as you can manage and sling in a saucepan with the cider, vinegar, cinnamon stick, a few knobs of butter and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to as low as you can, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for another half hour until dark and sticky.

The spuds. In a saucepan whisk the milk, cream, garlic and thyme. Grate in a little nutmeg, season and add the bay leaf. Heat until almost boiling, turn off the heat and leave to infuse for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the potatoes (don’t peel them). Butter an ovenproof dish. Slice the potatoes into discs and start to layer in the dish. Pour a little of the cream mix on each layer, before tipping whatever you have left over the top once you have finished. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Four hours before dinner, preheat the oven to full whack. Score the skin with a sharp knife several at 1 inch intervals or so. This helps to render the fat and get really good crackling. Season the joint copiously with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Put in the oven and turn the heat down immediately to 170C. Cook for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and pop on a warm plate to rest while you make your gravy. Degrease the pan by pouring off any excess fat, then put it over a fairly rigorous heat. Pour in the cider and the stock and simmer.

Pop the potatoes in the oven to reheat for half an hour, and warm the cabbage over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Taste the gravy for seasoning and serve with the pork, crackling, and vegetables.

Homemade Snickers ice cream

This was a slightly whimsical experiment that turned out surprisingly well. Very easy to do, and no ice cream machine required. Can be done at least a day ahead.

100g milk chocolate

50g sugar (3 tablespoons)

125 ml water

50g salted peanuts, roughly chopped

2 egg yolks

50g sugar

500ml double cream

Melt about 3/4 of the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and leave to cool (but not get cold).

Meanwhile whip the egg yolks and 50g sugar until light, then whisk in the cream. Continue to whisk until the cream thickens enough to slightly hold its shape.

In a non stick frying pan, whisk the other 50g sugar into the water until dissolved, then place over a medium heat until caramelised (don’t stir while this process is occurring). Once a golden brown, remove from the heat and gently toss in the peanuts. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before folding into the whipped cream, along with the melted chocolate. Roughly chop the remaining chocolate and fold this in too.

Transfer to an ice cream tub or something similar, and freeze. After 1 hour remove from the freezer and give a quick whisk. This prevents ice crystals forming, creating a smoother ice cream.

Leave for a further 4 hours minimum before serving. Keeps for a week.

Fiona Beckett’s Wine Suggestions

As James helped me out with my Ultimate Student Cookbook this year I reckoned I owed him one so when he suggested I should come up with some ideas of what to drink with his New Year’s Eve menu I could hardly refuse. Or rather I might have done if I’d looked at the menu but I rashly said yes first.

The soup is a real bugger for a start. It’ll slaughter any half way decent white so you either have the choice of red (a young Rioja, say) or – ta-daaaa – sherry which is rather appropriate as that’s what James says he’s been necking – er, sipping. A dry Amontillado or Palo Cortado I reckon would hit the spot nicely. You could also drink sherry with the Snickers icecream – cream sherry this time though a genuine Spanish bottle not Harvey’s Bristol Cream. PX if you have a particularly sweet tooth.
Which leaves the main course with which you’ll be devoutly relieved to hear I’m not going to recommend sherry but a good Spanish or Southern French red – something like a Gigondas from the Rhone or a Chateauneuf du Pape, for example. With all the cider in the recipe you could even drink cider but I guess most people wouldnt think that was sufficiently festive. And fair do’s it is New Year’s Eve . . .

Thanks Fiona, you’re a star.

To keep you company whilst you spend a happy hour or two in the kitchen, here is a little music:

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A White Christmas

This Christmas I challenged the readers of this blog to help me to rejuvenate what had become an all too methodical Christmas lunch. I wanted to eat something that went beyond our traditional and stale festive binge – nothing wildly different or controversial (I would never have been forgiven), but just enough to reinvigorate the day. There were some wonderful suggestions, from all over the world. Natasha’s fried carp with knedliky (Czech dumplings) sounded delicious but would have undoubtedly ended in a riot had it been served in favour of turkey. Alex, a Jewish friend, suggested latkas, potato pancakes eaten at Chanukah. Again, I was – I am – pathetic, and just didn’t dare produce these.

Some more conventional suggestions were embraced. However, after much deliberating I decided that, ambitious as I wanted to be with Christmas lunch, I didn’t really fancy the stress that would have undoubtedly been induced by attempting myriad dishes on Christmas morning. Doing turkey ‘n trimmings for 18 is stressful enough, so instead I dotted the various recipes around the festive period (there may still be time for more). They were all a complete delight. So thank you, everybody, for your truly inspirational input – you helped to make this Christmas much more fun.

Lambswool – with thanks to Nibbles for their suggestion

 

This is a medieval beverage, swilled no doubt by the gallon on high days and winter holidays. I tried it with ale, feeling that with cider (a more common variation) that it would just be like mulled cider. In truth it is probably nicer that way but it was still warming, aromatic and festive.

Makes 2 litres

6 Cox’s apples

25g butter

4 bottles good ale – Black Sheep or Landlord – otherwise good cider. White Lightning is excellent.

8 tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

Peel, core and quarter the apples. In a large cauldron, melt the butter over a fire that is not  newly ablaze, and yet has not lost all of its fervour, and add the apples and spices. Gently nurdle those golden orbs until lightly bronzed like the sultry curves of a Moorish maiden, then add the ale and the sugar. Stir well and heat until just below the point at which the bubbles breaketh the surface. Leave for the length of the second act of the Bard’s Twelfth Night and serve in warm goblets ye rapscallion ye.

 

Hot chocolate with chilli – with thanks to Ms. Alex

This is just the thing to drink on a cold winter morning. Chocolate and chilli are terrific bed partners – the chilli helping the chocolate to coat the throat with a deep warmth that trickles down all the way to your toes. Fight any resistance to this idea and give it a go. It’s fab.

Makes 6 mugs

200g good quality chocolate (70%)

1 dried red chilli, finely chopped and seeds discarded

100ml water

1l whole milk

4 tsp sugar

250ml double cream

A little extra chocolate for dusting

Break the chocolate into bits and melt over a low heat along with the water and chilli. Meanwhile warm the milk almost to boiling point. Once the chocolate has melted whisk in the milk and add the sugar. Heat for another couple of minutes while you whisk the double cream until softly whipped. Pour the hot chocolate into warm mugs, top with cream and a little grated chocolate.

Brussels sprouts with black pudding – with thanks to The Student Gourmet

Prepare the sprouts by discarding any grotty outer leaves, trimming the bottoms and cutting in half. Add to a pan of boiling salted water and boil for three minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water for 2 minutes. You can do this well ahead (I did it on Christmas Eve this year and the sprouts were as green and fresh as ever).

Heat some butter or goose fat in a large pan and add some chopped up black pudding. Fry until crisp, stirring occasionally, then add the sprouts and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve.

Chestnut soup with chorizo and saffron cream – with  further thanks to the mysterious ‘Nibbles’

This is an adaptation of a recipe from the Moro cookbook.

Serves 6

200g whole Chorizo, cut into cubes

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 dried red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

400-500g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

1 tin tomatoes

1 litre chicken stock

2ooml double cream

a pinch of saffron

Olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the chorizo until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil.

Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until lightly caramelised and soft.

Next add the chopped rosemary, chilli and cumin and stir for a minute or so, before adding the chestnuts, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently heat the cream and saffron together until the threads have dissolved. Set aside and blend the soup until smooth.

Whisk the saffron cream over a medium heat until it is a little lighter, then serve the soup with a few chunks of chorizo and some of the cream.

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Potato and chorizo omelette

Things tend to collect at the back of the fridge and next to the toaster. Bay leaves, now brown at the edge and lusterless (though still perfectly adequate for a stew); lone rashers of bacon, deemed too greedy to prod into a sandwich but now dried out and wasted; pots of yoghurt, half-used for a raita and forgotten about, and endless jars of mustard, as good as empty but saved for some future sausage-related crisis (ah, the joys of sending a porky depth charge into a moribund jar of Colman’s).

Eggs are the worst. I’ll use a couple for mayonnaise and forget the rest (I’m not, in truth, a big egg eater), only to realise that the same 4 have been collecting dust and spattered oil for a month. Supermarkets should really start selling things like yoghurt and eggs by weight and number – you can buy one spud, why shouldn’t you be able to buy just the one egg?

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Today a few odds and ends were turned into one of the best omelettes that I have made in a while.

Serves 1

1 potato

1/2 small red onion

A few chunks of spicy chorizo

3 eggs

A few slices of pickled green jalapenos

Cheddar cheese, grated

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Chop the potato into chunks and boil in salted water until soft. Drain and allow to dry.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the potato until crisp. Slice the onion and add to the pan. Cook until the onion has softened a little (though I still like a little crunch in a red onion) and add the chunks of chorizo. Season with salt and pepper and fry for another minute, again until the chorizo is just thinking about crisping up. Crack in the three eggs and stir to break them up. Add the jalapenos and cheese, cook for 1 minute, fold and serve.

The fridge will be a little emptier, your belly a little fuller.

What are the covert ingredients that hide like ninjas in the nooks of your fridge? Do you think supermarkets should make it possible to buy more ingredients by item or weight?

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