Monthly Archives: January 2014

ANOTHER TAKE ON RICH RAGU WITH CALAMARATA PASTA (serves 4-6)

Some nights I crave (in the biggest possible way) something like this! It has to be pasta, and that pasta has to be weighed down with something rich and luscious. There is no better combination of flavors and textures then a meaty pasta and sauce, (and of course a glass of good wine completes the picture of what my craving looks like!).

ragu with calamarata pasta

ragu with calamarata pasta

I discovered a new dry pasta that I have become addicted to, and look for ways and excuses to cook it as much as possible. When I was shopping in the pasta section of the infamous Eataly (read more on this wonderful Italian market HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!) in NYC the for the very first time, I had never seen so many varieties of pasta since being in Italy. I choose a few different brands to try out and my very favorite was the Rigorosa brand. It is dense and chewy in the best possible way.

Bucantini

My favorite dried pasta brand, Rigorosa (love their Bucatini)

I now stock up on it every time I visit, but since I eat pasta more than I go to NYC,  I was very happy (and surprised) to discover that my mediocre supermarket stocked another brand that I also bought in Eataly. It is made by Garofalo and my favorite is their calamarata pasta, (or calamari pasta – aptly named!). It sops up sauce like no other and has a great toothsome bite. There is nothing remotely wimpy about this pasta and I would feel confident serving it to a table of hungry giants.

calamarata pasta

calamarata pasta by Garofalo

It handled this ragu marvelously, and if you can scour out a good thick-ringed brand of pasta like this, you should try the recipe too. It is served with a ragu, and this one, as with most of the ones I end up making, was determined but what I had to go with my big can of tomato puree (and you will see, I didn’t have much!). It was simple, but bursting with flavor and there wasn’t a scrap of leftovers!

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You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 lb streaky bacon  – cut into pieces (I use a scissors)

4 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine (or red is just as good if you do not have white on hand)

1 cup grated or finely chopped carrots

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 cup whole milk

1lb good quality big tubular pasta like Rigatoni or calamarata. A big shell type or fusilli would be great too.

Method:

1 – Put the oil in a big saute pan (big enough to hold the complete dish) and on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

saute onions with garlic in butter and oil

saute onions with garlic in butter and oil

2 – Add the chopped bacon and turn heat up to high/medium. Cook until bacon starts to get crispy (could take up to 15 minutes), stirring frequently.

*Put water on for pasta and when it boils, cook according to instructions. When you drain the water, reserve about 1 cup in case you need it for later in the finished dish, and do not rinse the pasta under cold water. You will be trying to time the pasta to be cooked at the same time as your sauce*

add the bacon and cook until crispy

add the bacon and cook until crispy

3 – Add the butter, carrots and tomato paste and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until half of the wine evaporates.

add tomato paste and carrots

add tomato paste and carrots

4 – Add the tomato puree and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for about a 1/2 hour.

add tomato puree

add tomato puree

5 – Add the milk and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add milk

add milk

6 – Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper flakes if you would like. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently. Add some hot pasta water if you desire a “looser” sauce.

serve with parmiagiano reggiano

serve with Parmigiano Reggiano

I served this with a good grating of Parmigiano Reggiano but you can eat it alone or with whatever you like!

HAVING PEOPLE OVER?? – The SIMPLEST Roast Chicken Dinner & EASIEST Dessert In The World (Serves 4, just double for 8!)

Having people over but you don’t have much time, talent or energy?? This is the dinner to make, and it is fool-proof, (I know this from experience). The is nothing better than a crispy (but moist!) roast chicken with a little pasta or mashed potatoes (or mashed parsnip or carrot!) and simple berries and fresh cream for dessert.

Crispy Roast Chicken in a Mushroom Broth - sumptious!

Crispy Roast Chicken in a Mushroom Broth – sumptuous!

  This sort of dinner party is the best kind as you will do little cooking and lots of socializing. It also makes the house smell heavenly (is there anything better than the smell of roast chicken!) and there is something so festive about a couple of crispy golden-skinned chickens on the center of a candlelit table!

My Roast Chicken Quest...

 A simple Roast Chicken can be served with anything (here it was roasted with fingerling potatoes)

The weekend is coming and you should think about serving this to your friends with lots of good wine. I made the chicken special by adding mounds of different kinds of mushrooms. They did all the work in the flavor department and I was free to spend time setting a nice table and generally just hung out being social (instead of being tied to the kitchen). The only other thing was dessert, and choosing to serve fresh fruit and cream is not only a big cheat, it is a refreshing ending to a rich meal (recipe at the end, pretty self-explanatory).

there is nothing better than fresh ripe berries in clouds of whipped cream

Fresh ripe berries in clouds of whipped cream (and a dash of chocolate shavings)

Hope you are inspired and tempted!

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*This is a good blood type A recipe – use mushrooms from this list; abalone, enoki, maitake, Portobello,Shiitake, tree oyster. Omit the pepper and chili flakes and no cream in dessert*

You will need:

1 (or 2) 4lb chicken (organic if you can)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper and optional cayenne pepper flakes for seasoning

1 onion (2 medium if cooking 2 birds) – diced (any kind will do)

2 lbs mixed mushrooms (3 lbs if cooking 2 birds) –  (I used white, crimini and shiitake) – quartered or halved depending on the size

a sprig or two of fresh rosemary

3 cups chicken broth (or water and good quality bouillon cube) (up to 4 1/2 cups for 2 birds)

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Put all prepped veggies into bottom of pan, along with rosemary sprigs and 2 cups of broth.

Place all veggie and seasoning into bottom of large pan or roasting pan. Add the broth.

Place all veggie and seasoning into bottom of large pan or roasting pan. Add the broth.

2  – Season the chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using) and rub with 2 tbs olive oil. place on top of veggies and place in preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour add the last cup of chicken broth (or water) to pan. When you cut between the leg and the body and the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Place the seasoned chicken on top and pop into the oven

Place the seasoned chicken on top and pop into the oven

This chicken can be carved and served with a big meaty pasta with the broth or with some mashed potatoes and a veggie like simply boiled peas or carrots.

Cook for about 1 hr, 20 mins

Cook for about 1 hr, 20 mins

Time for dessert: Berries & Cream

Choose whatever berries you like or that are available and good – about 1/2 cup per person.

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

Put about 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a big bowl and add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of confectioners sugar (helps the cream thicken faster) and beat with whatever mixer or whisk you have until it is thick and billowy.

whip cream

whip cream

Serve!

Yum!

Yum!

The BEST ASIAN TURKEY MEATBALL SOUP & FUN IN THE SNOW! (SERVES 4)

This made a fantastic Sunday Lunch but would make an equally fantastic Sunday Dinner. Fast, tummy-warming and oh so delicious!

hc

Asian Turkey Meatball soup with yummy Rice Noodles

I have been getting a little sick of snow lately, but after watching my kids and their friend whooping it up on the giant sledding hill in the park yesterday, I decided there could be worst things to deal with (like later in the summer when I am complaining about the sweltering heat!).

htf

 Ide & Marie-Lyse (Oh Joy!)

Before going out in the snow however, I had to make lunch. This is the one meal on the weekend that I would forgo if I didn’t have kids to feed. I am content with a crust of bread with a slice of cheese or even a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, but when the kids ask me “what’s for lunch?” I am compelled to fulfill my motherly duty and feed them! I was so lucky yesterday because I has some ground meat leftover after making a big batch of wontons the night before. I didn’t have much else, so I made a very light soup but added the ground Asian-spiked meat in the form of meatballs and bulked it all up with some rice noodles. I find I can be pretty ingenious when I’m desperate!

Ide

Ide (oh rapture!)

It was so good, satisfying my soup-loving daughter and my rice noodle-loving son in one big bowlful! My friend picked us all up afterwards, and our kids played in the snow until their faces were numb and the sun started to disappear for the evening. I was happy to see that our teenage children had not outgrown the pleasures of rolling around in the snow.

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*This is also a great Blood Type A diet recipe (omit the pepper flakes and black pepper if you are very strict, and stick to olive oil)*

You will need:

3/4 lb ground turkey

3 scallions – finely chopped

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

2 tbs mirin (sweetened rice wine – found in the Asian section of your supermarket or specialty shop)

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tsp freshly grated ginger root (I use my zester for this job or the finest side of your grater)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 medium sweet onion – finely diced

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

1 med/large carrot – thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

3/4 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

6 cups chicken or veggie broth (or water and good quality bouillon cube)

sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbls oil (olive, canola, veggie or safflower oil)

1/2 lb rice noodles (I use Roland Pad Thai Rice Stick Noodles)

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put the ground turkey in a medium bowl and add the next 6 ingredients on the ingredient list. Mix together well (use your hands!). (you can do this earlier and leave in the fridge covered to save time later).

mix seasonings with ground turkey

mix seasonings with ground turkey

2 – Make and cook the meatballs: Put the flour on a plate or a shallow bowl and coat the palms of your hands with some oil. Make meatballs be rolling in your palm into a ball and then roll lightly in flour. Place on plate as you go. Make the meat balls on the small side – small enough to be able to pop one in your mouth

Deliciously flavored meatballs

Little meatballs

3 – Add 2 tbs oil to a baking sheet and place in hot oven for about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove and add the meatballs in a single layer. place back into the oven and cook for 10 minutes. remove and turn each meatball and cook for a further 5 minutes. Take out of oven and set aside.

4 – Put saucepan or medium soup pot on medium heat and add about 2 tbs olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, carrot and about 1/2 tsp salt to the pot and cook for another 3 minutes or so.

5 – Add the broth (or water and bouillon cube) and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn down heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the meat balls and continue to simmer for another 5 minute. Turn off heat.

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand (In my opinion these are the best brand of rice noodles commonly available. They hold up and don’t get gluey and sticky like other brands (Thai Kitchen and A Taste of Thai to name but a couple). If in doubt – go for the plainer and imported variety.

6 – While soup is simmering, put water on for the rice noodles and cook according to package instructions. When you drain, rinse with cold water and leave in colander until ready to add to soup, (if the noodles start to stick together, just re-rinse under cold water).

hktf

Brothy cockle-warming soup!

To serve: Divide rice noodles between four bowls and ladle soup with meatballs on top. The hot soup will warm up the noodles instantly. Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper flakes and more salt and pepper to your taste.

Whoa!

Whoa!

Happy Birthday Dante!

Dante Alighieri by Luca Signorelli

Dante Alighieri by Luca Signorelli

AMAZING – Creamy Chipotle Chicken with Rigatoni Pasta (serves 4-6)

This past Friday night I did not know what I was going to make for dinner. However, I did know it had to include chicken fillets and kale as these were the only two real ingredients left in my kitchen. This is where my trusty pantry staples and creativity would have to kick in as I wasn’t really in the mood for boring old chicken breast and kale!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

I came up with an unlikely combination, and it turned out to be one of those dishes that was an instant hit. I had a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks and decided they either needed to be thrown away soon or used in this dinner. I opted for the latter and added them to my sauce with some cream (to cut the heat) and it was the perfect combination.

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

If you don’t know what chipotle pepper in adobo is, you can click here to find out more. But basically, it is a smoked jalapeno pepper that has been stewed and then left to marinate in the stewing liquid. The sauce is made up of a combo of different spices like other peppers, oregano and cumin with tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. The whole thing is canned and the peppers continue to marinate until they are used. It is hard to use a whole can at one time but they keep forever in the fridge which is why I had them on hand and used them in experimental desperation!

What's in the can!

What’s in the can!

The kale could have been a harsh veggie for this dish, but finely chopping it and cooking it down made it work very well with my big pasta noodles. Everyone knows chicken breast is a bit like tofu; you have to work with it to make it taste good. I think immersing it in this lovely smokey sauce did wonders to improve its flavor.

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan Kale (also called dinosaur kale)

I had no idea it would be this good and when I was told I had better have  recorded this recipe, I had to scramble for a piece of paper and write it down before it left my sieve for a head forever. Here it is, and I hope you give it a try!

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You will need:

2 or 3 tbls olive oil

4 boneless chicken breast fillets

1 onion – diced (any onion you have)

3 garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 bunch Kale – finely chopped (whatever is available in your supermarket or green grocer)

2 chipotle peppers with 1 or 2 tbs of adobo sauce (depending on how much heat you like) – Chopped

1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth

3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream

1 lb Rigatoni Pasta or other large pasta (I use Barilla brand)

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put heavy saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. When it is hot, season the chicken lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the chicken on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.

season, then sear chicken

season, then sear chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. You may need to add another tbs of oil. Add cilantro and chopped kale and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and mix together.

saute onions, add seasonings

saute onions, add seasonings

3 – Add broth and stir and bring to a boil. Add the cream and chicken. When it boils, turn heat off and place lid on pan. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

*Put the water on for the pasta and cook pasta according to instructions. Time the pasta to be cooked when the chicken is cooked and sliced and back in the sauce (step 4). Do not rinse the pasta with cold water. When it is drained it should immediately go into the cooked sauce. Reserve some cooked pasta water in case you need it later in the finished dish.

Slice Chicken

Slice Chicken

4 – Remove from oven and slice the chicken. Put chicken back into the sauce and add the drained hot pasta. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may also want to add more cream of some hot pasta water if you want to loosen the sauce to your liking.

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Serve in shallow warmed bowls or plates.

THE WEEKEND CHEF – SAVORY CREPES & SWEET CREPES FOR DINNER (SERVES 6)

You say CREPES, we say PANCAKES! Yes, what American’s know as crepes, we called pancakes and we really only ate them on “Pancake Tuesday” This was the Tuesday before lent when there was 40 days of penitential observance ahead! This was a day in Ireland when every mother spent her evening doling out dozens of pancakes until bellies were fat and hunger was overly sated. Our weekend chef wanted to make it “Pancake Tuesday” this past Saturday, and there were no objections!

crepe with lemon and sugar - the only way I ever ate "pancakes" growing up

crepe with lemon and sugar – the only way I ever ate “pancakes” growing up

My son has the full reign of my kitchen on Saturday night for the entire of 2014, and the rule is that I go along with whatever he wants to make. The only thing I told him to keep in mind is that he should really go for dishes where the basic recipe opens up a wide range of possibilities. This was a perfect example.

delicate crepes can be a manly dinner!

delicate crepes can be a manly dinner!

The crepe is the perfect crowd-pleaser as even the most opposing palates can be pleased at the same meal. This thin spongy and light fried batter can be filed with pretty much anything you like; from savory to sweet stuff. My son decided to go from savory to sweet with a mushroom cream filling for dinner (with the option of chicken for the ones of us who can’t live without meat!),  followed by berries in a cloud of fresh cream for dessert. All I can say is that this boy of mine will be a good catch!

lots of wonderful mess

lots of wonderful mess

He couldn’t believe how easy it was to make the batter (so we have had crepes every morning since last weekend with a sprinkle of raw sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice). He now also knows how to make a mushroom cream, which is one of the most versatile sauces/condiments in the world. It can be served on its own like here, or thrown into any number of stews or casseroles as an enricher ( yep, a made-up word), or used as the backbone of a hearty lasagna or other pasta dishes.

I haven’t even mentioned how much fun was had in the kitchen with everyone begging for crepes faster than he could make them and watching him get better and better with every flip of the spatula – a yummy Saturday night indeed!

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Mushroom Filling Recipe:

2 lbs mushrooms – thinly sliced (I used a combination of white, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, however feel free to use your favorites or whatever you have on hand)

3 tbls unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method:

1 – Slice the mushrooms

prep veggies

prep veggies – My son chopped an inordinate amount of mushrooms!

2 – Add the butter to a large saute pan and place over medium/high heat. When it has melted, add the mushrooms and fry for 10 minutes. Turn heat up if they feel liquid-y. Place lid on pan and turn heat down and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes until very soft.

Make mushroom filling

Make mushroom filling

3 – Add the cream and turn heat up. Let it bubble, while stirring for about 3 minutes. Turn heat off and add salt and pepper to your taste and a squeeze of lemon juice. This will keep in the fridge for 5 days and is a handy thing to freeze!

Crepe Recipe (makes 24)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 egg

2 1/2 cups milk

2 tbsp. melted butter

Method:

Place all ingredients for creps into a bowl

Place all ingredients for crepes into a bowl

whisk unbtil well-blended. Set aside for a 1/2 hour

whisk until well-blended. Set aside for a 1/2 hour (or can be left in the fridge for up to two days)

fry crepes

Put heavy pan on medium heat and lightly grease with oil (Use safflower, canola or veggie oil) Put 2 tbls of batter into pan and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin-film of batter. Fry crepes for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

add filling

Add filling – this is a mushroom cream filling with some chopped fresh Italian parsley

Fill with whatever you like, from savory to sweet.

This was one of the fillings on offer last night: mushroom cream with chicken

Roll up, and devour!

PORK WONTONS (serves 4-6 OR 55 to 65 wontons)

There is something so satisfying about making wontons and I think everyone should try doing it at least once – I guarantee, you’ll be hooked once you do. Before you know it, you’ll be having massive Wonton Parties with all sorts of self-proclaimed non-cooks wanted to stand side by side with you in the kitchen!

wontons with a great dipping sauce

wontons with a great dipping sauce

The only thing hard about making these is the time factor, but if you have help you can eliminate anything strenuous about this dish altogether. There is no real cooking, save for frying the wontons, and they are fantastic to make for a crowd. You just stand in the kitchen with your glass of wine and fling wontons at your guests as they come off the pan!

good wrappers

Good wrappers  – I like this brand of wonton skin; they can be found in the veggie section of your supermarket (usually with the tofu). they freeze well also so they never go to waste.

Saturday evenings are pretty relaxed in our house. There is the prospect of sleeping in the next day so lazing around in the kitchen cooking with the family, chatting and watching movies or listening to music is something we look forward to doing together. This past Saturday we all made wontons and it was one of the highlights of the weekend (the next day was pretty great too as our Weekend Chef was on duty – which I will post next!).

pork wontons

Pork Wonton

Make wontons – you won’t regret it!

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for the wonton filling:

you will need:

oil for frying (use a high smoking oil like vegetable or canola)

1 lb ground pork (if you can find/afford organic – even better)

3 cloves garlic – very finally chopped

4 scallions – chopped

1 tbs freshly grated ginger root

1 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp fine sugar

wonton skins/wrappers (about 70 – this might mean buying two packs but they freeze very well for months so it’s not a waste!)

for the Dipping Sauce:

6 tbs soy sauce

3 tbs mirin

1 tsp sesame oil

2 scallions – finely chopped

mix seasonings with ground pork

1 – mix all ingredients for the wontons together in a big bowl until very well combined. (Of course omit the oil for frying and wonton skins!)

make dipping sauce

2 – whisk all the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the wontons (instructions below)

work from 3pm and clockwise to 12 noon!

1 – work from 3pm and clockwise to 12 noon for assembly: line a number of wrappers on a board and place a little bowl of water beside your right or left hand. Using a small teaspoon, place a small dollop of meat in the middle of the wrapper. Wet all the edges with water with your finger and fold away from you into a triangle. Fold the two bottom sides into the wonton and fold down the top triangle to the middle. Turn over placing on floured plate or board as you go.

set on a plate as you go

set on a plate as you go

Cook the wontons:

fry wontons on medium heat

Place saute pan on medium heat and let it warm up. Add about 2 tables of oil and when it is hot add a layer of wontons and fry for about three minutes per side

fry until crispy on both sides and meat is cooked - about 6 to 7 minutes

When you turn them over to fry on the other side, place the lid on the pan. Fry until crispy on both sides and meat is cooked – about 6 to 7 minutes – Don’t worry, after a few batches you’ll get the hang of it. Serve or keep warm in the oven as you go.

wontons served with dipping sauce and sauteed greens

wontons served with dipping sauce and sautéed greens & shiitake mushrooms

Chicken Tikka with Zesty Relish-Infused Rice & Cucumber Salad (serves 4)

I was getting a little weary of “winter-y” type food and so last night decided that our dinner had to remind me of the sunnier days ahead. I know it is only January but when I turned the page on the calendar I immediately started thinking about Spring and what I wanted to plant in my garden this year. Herbs came to mind and then I longed for something FRESH! Here is what I came up with!

chicken tikka with relish-infused rice and fresh cucumber salad - So darn good!

chicken tikka with relish-infused rice and fresh cucumber salad – So darn good!

Tikka is from Indian and Pakistan but when I think about Tikka I am reminded of the great popularity this type of dish has enjoyed in London and countrywide, resulting from the British Raj that began way back in the mid  1800’s. As conservative as the food is in England (up to lately anyway) unbeknownst to them, they were at the forefront of the trendy “fusion” movement, combining their foods with that of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The tikka refers to a type of cutlet and in general it means a piece of meat (chicken comes to mind), that is easily skewered on a kebab. But, tikka comes with the possibility of a great masala (this is the word for “curry” in India) or some sort of spicy fresh marinate that is bound together in a yogurt base. Yogurt (and sour cream) is a great partner of anything spicy because it cools everything down and gives nice balance to a dish. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most popular dishes in England.  A BBC statistic reports that at least 18 tonnes of chicken Tikka Masala is eaten across the country each week, served by Britain’s more than 15,000 Indian restaurants – now if only they could double that number and get rid of places like McDonald’s it might help their growing obesity crisis!

Limes make this relish pop with zestiness!

Limes make this relish pop with zestiness!

It was so refreshing to be zesting limes and chopping cilantro. I figured if I made the kebab, rice would be the obvious accompaniment. I decided to add lots of the relish to the rice to make it interesting and colorful and it was perfect for mixing into the diced cucumbers also. When I made this I realized all of the possibilities with the relish and cucumbers and how these little side dishes could be mixed in or served with so many other things besides the kebab. The kebab marinade is pretty standard and I know for sure there are many variations according to tradition and what you have available. Pretty much any spice mixed with the yogurt and lime juice would work so don’t limit yourself to my recipe.

fresh cilantro

Fresh Cilantro (called Coriander in Europe by the way)

I have a feeling that this recipe will prompt many more Tikka-inspired dishes in the near future, so watch out! Oh, and forgot to say that there wasn’t a scrap of food left on anyone’s plate after dinner – says it all right there!

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*This Recipe is Suitable for a Blood Type A Diet. The ingredients are either neutral (chicken, yoghurt) or beneficial (onions,garlic). You could make it “more” beneficial by using firm tofu with the same marinade and cooking method (less cooking time) and also substituting the cucumber and using finely chopped romaine lettuce instead. *also omit the hot pepper and cayenne pepper if you are very strict*

You will need:

4 chicken breasts –  sliced into 8 cubes per breast (more if a little bigger)
1 English cucumber – diced
1 cup plain yoghurt (or sour cream)
2 limes – juiced
Fresh ginger about 1 inch –  peeled and finely chopped (if you don’t have fresh ginger substitute with 1 tsp ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 tsp. Garam masala (found in spice section of your supermarket)
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper powder or flakes
1 tsp. Turmeric
Salt to taste
For the Relish
1 large onion – roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro  – roughly chopped
4 scallions (green onions) – roughly chopped
1 jalapeno or hot chili pepper – roughly chopped
1/4 cup water
2 limes – juiced
1 tbsp. fine sugar
Salt to taste
Cooked Basmati Rice (stove top: 2 cups rice and cook according to package instructions OR Rice Cooker: 3 cups rice-cooker measure and cook according to the instructions of your rice-cooker).
*Skewers for the chicken*
The chicken is cooked on skewers and you can do one of two things: use metal skewers or use wooden skewers. If you use wooden skewers you will need to soak them in water for at least an hour before using. This stops them from burning up on the grill whether on the barbecue or under the grill in the oven.
Method:
Marinade:
Put all ingredients for marinade into a smal bowl

1 – Put all ingredients for marinade into a small bowl

Whisk together

2 – Whisk together and mix well with the cubed chicken and place in the fridge until ready to skewer (can be made up to 6 hours earlier)

Relish:

Whizz relish ingredients in a food processor

1 – Whiz relish ingredients in a food processor

Set aside until ready to mix into rice, and cucumber salad

2 – Set aside until ready to mix into rice, and cucumber salad

Rice:

toss cooked rice with 3/4 of the relish

1 – When rice is cooked add 3/4 of the relish and mix together.

Cucumber Salad:

Toss diced cucumber with 2 tbs of relish - taste for addition of salt

1 – Toss diced cucumber with 2 tbs of relish – taste for addition of salt. set aside (can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Drain off any excess liquid before serving.

Chicken Tikka Kebabs:

skewer chicken and place on grill or under grill in the oven

1 – skewer chicken and place on grill or under hot grill in the oven

Grill chicken and remove from skewers (or leave on skewers for serving)

2 – Grill chicken and remove from skewers (or leave on skewers for serving). Chicken will cook in 4 to 6 minutes per side.

SERVE!

SERVE as above or as in the first picture (I added a little relish and sriracha sauce to some leftover yogurt and dolloped it onto the chicken)