Chicken, Vegetable and Tomato Casserole

This casserole, or something similar, was somewhat of a staple in our house when I was growing up usually served with new potatoes or a creamy mash and a green vegetable but it is equally good served with just rice.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil

8 chicken thighs on the bone with the skin on (skin removed before serving)

Salt & pepper

2 rashers of streaky bacon finely chopped

2 medium onions finely chopped

2 large carrots finely chopped

2 sticks celery finely chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 glass white wine

1/2 pint chicken stock (Stock cube is fine)

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato & Chilli Sauce (Mild or Hot)

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

Fresh parsley – about 4 tablespoons when chopped

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200ºC then heat the oil in a large fire resistant ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt & freshly ground black pepper and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes until the skin is crisp and the thighs browned all over. Set them aside.
  2. Add the bacon cook until crisp and also set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the pan and then add the onion and garlic and gently cook until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes more.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the glass of wine stir and loosen any juices that are stuck to the pan. Reduce the wine by half.
  4. Lower the heat and add the stock and the tomato sauce. Warm through.
  5. Return the chicken and bacon to the casserole and stir in the fresh thyme leaves and 2 tablespoons of the fresh parsley. Cover with a lid and put the casserole in the oven, reducing the heat to 180ºC after 10 minutes and allow to cook for at least 45 minutes. Check about half way through the cooking time to make sure the sauce is not evaporating too quickly and add a little more stock or water if necessary. The chicken should be tender and falling off the bone when it is done.
  6. At the end of the cooking time remove the chicken thighs from the sauce with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Take of the skin rand remove any bones, trying to keep the chicken pieces as whole as possible. Check the sauce for seasoning and then return chicken to the sauce and pop back in the oven for a few minutes to ensure thoroughly heated through.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

Courgettes Parmigiana Style

The traditional “Parmigiana” is made with aubergines but I urge you to try this version as it really is quite delicious.  The courgettes soak up very little oil which makes it a much lighter dish, whilst still incredibly satisfying and it is a brilliant way to use up a glut of courgettes if you grow them! It also freezes well.  If you can, try to cook the courgettes on a griddle or barbecue it is so much better.  If not a heavy bottom frying pan will do fine.

Ingredients

6 large courgettes

Olive oil for frying courgettes

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato & Chilli Sauce (Mild)

250g of buffalo mozzarella

2 large handfuls of parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 handfuls of dried breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Slice the courgettes lengthways but on a slight diagonal about 1/2 cm thick. Heat your griddle pan, barbecue or frying pan, until really hot. Brush each courgette generously with olive oil and cook on both sides until lightly charred. Unless you are using a nice wide barbecue you will most likely have to cook them in batches
  2. As each batch is cooked remove them and immediately season generously with ground black pepper and salt while they are still hot
  3. Tear up the mozzarella into small pieces about the size of a walnut. Warm through the tomato sauce in a small pan.
  4. You need a large oven proof dish, earthenware is preferable but not essential. Start with a layer of your courgette slices, then smear over a layer of sauce and dot it with mozzarella. The number of layers will depend on the size of your dish but I usually go for about three ending up with a layer of tomato sauce and mozzarella.
  5. Combine the parmesan with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle this over the top of your final layer.
  6. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for half an hour until crisp and golden on top. I like to serve this with an undressed green salad and crusty bread but if you want to make this dish go further it can be served with pasta.

 

 

Chinese Style Salmon with Tomatoes

Ingredients

400g boneless salmon fillets skinned, cut into roughly 4cm square pieces

1tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons of plain flour

3 tablespoons of groundnut oil

1 tablespoon of thinly sliced garlic

1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger root

2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots

4 tablespoons of finely chopped spring onions

2 tablespoons of Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)

1 tablespoon of light soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato Sauce (Mild or Hot)

A handful of fresh coriander leaves

Method

  1. Season the salmon pieces with salt & pepper then dust the salmon in the flour, shaking of any excess
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan until nice and hot (note you don’t want it smoking hot though). Keep on a medium flame and add the salmon pieces and fry for about 3 minutes turning half way through so they brown nicely on both sides.
  3. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Pour off oil leaving about a tablespoon in the pan and add the garlic, ginger & shallots and stir fry for one minute add two tablespoons of spring onions just for the last few seconds, reserving the remaining onions for the garnish.
  5. Quickly add the rice wine, soya sauce, sugar and about 3 tablespoons of water then stir in the tomato sauce and simmer the mixture for five minutes.
  6. Carefully lower the salmon pieces into the sauce, spooning a little of the sauce over the fish and continue to simmer gently until they are warmed through.
  7. Sprinkle on the remaining spring onions and some fresh coriander leaves and serve with a bowl of plain rice.


Shakshuka

There are 100s of different recipes for Shakshuka out there, Yotam Ottolenghi has several different versions himself, but here I have just provided a simple paired down version which can be easily rustled up for a fabulous brunch or a one pot supper.

Ingredients (Serves Four)

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion halved and thinly sliced

2 red peppers red cut into strips

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato & Chilli Sauce (Mild or Hot)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

A handful of spinach or Swiss chard

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Salt and black pepper to taste

6 free-range eggs

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or so until soft.
  2. Add the peppers and cook very gently on a low heat for about 15 minutes
  3. Add the cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook in for about a minute
  4. Pour in the sauce and just a little water, add the fresh herbs and then continue to cook gently for a further 10 minutes. The sauce should be very thick.
  5. Sprinkle over the spinach then make little wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon and gently crack eggs into each on then season them with salt and pepper and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on a gentle heat until the eggs are just set – about 7-10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with a little more fresh coriander and serve with good crusty bread.

Mediterranean Style Fish

Ingredients (Serves Two)

200g haddock or cod fillets skinned (or monkfish)

1 onion halved and finely sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato Sauce (Mild)

2 tablespoon of capers

75 g pitted black olives – cut in half

2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Method

  1. You will need a frying pan with a lid for this recipe. Heat the oil in the frying pand and sauté the onion until translucent
  2. Add the Chilli Gourmets sauce, the capers and the olives and warm through gently.
  3. Place the fish on top of the tomato mixture and spoon a little of sauce over the fish
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid.
  5. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque and firm.
  6. To serve put half of the mixture on each plate and scatter with chopped parsley. Accompany with rice or new potatoes,

Patatas Bravas

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 I am no expert on Spanish food but I have eaten and made plenty of Patatas Bravas. Often they are served with or without the addition of garlic mayonnaise and very good they are too.  However I would urge you to give this version that incorporates the mayonnaise into the sauce, a try (a recipe taught to my brother by a Spanish chef in Brighton).

Ingredients

1 kg waxy potatoes

Extra virgin olive oil

Light olive oil for shallow frying

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato Sauce (Mild or Hot)

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of Maldon salt

Pinch of Pimentón paprika

120ml of mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper

2 green cayenne chillies finely sliced

Method

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl of cold water. If you have time to leave them for an hour or two then do so but if not just drain & dry thoroughly when you are ready to start cooking.
  2. Pour some extra virgin olive oil into a large, non-stick frying pan so that you have about 1cm in the bottom. Fry the potatoes in a single layer for 2-3 minutes. You want them to remain firm and to not take on any colour at this stage. Drain the potatoes, dry on paper towels and set to one side.
  3. Crush the garlic and stir this together with the ground white pepper into the mayonnaise.
  4. Heat the tomato sauce through and reduce it by 1/3 being careful not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the garlic mayonnaise. Warm this sauce through gently just before serving making sure it does not split.
  5. When you are ready to make your tapas heat a little of the light olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and then shallow-fry the potatoes in a single layer for 4-5 minutes, turning them regularly, until crisp and golden brown. Drain the potatoes and dry them on paper towels.
  6. Spoon the potatoes into your serving plates, sprinkle with the Maldon salt & then drizzle over your warmed sauce – dust with a pinch of Pimentón and top with the chopped green chillies.

It is really important to serve the Patatas Bravas immediately whilst they are still nice and hot

This quantity should be enough for four people, maybe more depending on how many other tapas dishes you are serving.

Lamb and Pork Meat Balls with Spaghetti

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If you get yourself a packet of really good tasty sausages you can just remove the skins roll the sausage meat into walnut sized balls and hey presto you have meatballs. If you want to do this just follow the instructions from number four below. However I would urge to try this recipe the result is a succulent melt in your mouth meatball, they are a real crowd pleaser. If you are cooking for a lot of people make smaller meatballs and double up on the sauce!

Ingredients

250g lamb mince

250g pork mince

1 large onion very finely chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

½ a large bunch flat-leaf parsley finely chopped

1 tsp rosemary chopped

50g grated parmesan – plus extra to serve

60g ground almonds

1 beaten egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

60 ml of white wine

1/2 pint of beef stock

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato & Chilli Sauce (Mild)

Method

  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a small frying pan and sauté the onions & garlic until translucent. Remove from the pan spread then on a plate and leave to cool.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the lamb and pork mince, the parsley, rosemary, grated parmesan, ground almonds and the cooled onion and garlic mixture. Combine thoroughly. Stir in the beaten egg and season with salt & pepper.
  3. To check the seasoning take a thumb size piece of the mixture form into a ball and fry until cooked through and taste it. Be careful not to over season as the sauce will also add flavour but the meatballs should be seasoned enough to eat on their own.
  4. Now make all your meat balls rolling them into balls about the size of a walnut with your hands – the mixture should make about 40.
  5. Heat the oil in a large fireproof casserole dish and fry the meat balls in one layer until they are golden brown. Remove the meat balls and set aside.
  6. Turn up the heat and add a glass of wine and stir to loosen any juices stuck to the pan, reduce the liquid by half.
  7. Add the beef stock and tomato sauce and warm through. Now return the meat balls back to the casserole stir through and cook in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Check halfway through the cooking and add a little water if the mixture is reducing too quickly.
  8. At the end of the cooking time remove the casserole from the oven and leave to sit with the lid on whilst you cook your pasta.
  9. When the sauce and meatballs are ready, top the pasta generously with sauce and meatballs, sprinkle on some shaved or grated parmesan – whichever you prefer.