Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Crepes with Vanilla Cream and Maple Syrup

Receita em Portugues clique AQUI.

Here you are something to celebrate about, easy peasy to do pancakes (crepes) I made these on a non stick frying pan. This I offered to my family as a New Year treat breakfast ...Obviously with a steaming cup of coffee...but I am sure you know how to make the

Recipe Ingredients:
  • 6 soup spoons of plain flour
  • 3 soup spoons of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 soup spoons of vegetable oil
  • about 1 and 1/2 glass of milk (consistency should be of gravy)
  • a dash of vanilla essence
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 glass of chilled fresh double cream
  • 2 tea spoons of sugar
  • 1 dash of vanilla essence (or a scraping of vanilla seeds from a split pod)
  • 3 drops of lemon juice
In a jug put the flour and the sugar in, whisk it together. Make a little well and pour the oil and the egg, star whisking it and as it starts to get pasty add milk little by little always whisking it, last add the vanilla essence whisk once more and it's done.

Place the non stick frying pan in the fire, once hot reduce fire to just bellow medium, pour a drop of oil and with a dried tissue spread that oil evenly on the whole area of the pan, then with the jug pour in the center of the pan the liquid until it fills 2/3 of the area then stop spread the rest by inclining the pan and going around motion always over the fire until liquid sets. Once it sets let it cook it takes about 2-3 minutes on each side, to flip with a spatula lift the side of the pancake enough to get your fingers in then with your hands (fingers) pull it up gently without ripping it and flip it to the other side. Then once cooked is ready for the filling...which you can just add sugar and lemon, or just syrup or chocolate sauce or fresh cream or many many more combos.

I used a vanilla whipped cream with maple syrup. To make this pour one cup of chilled fresh cream into a bowl and start whisking it once is half way through add the 2 tea spoons of sugar the lemon juice and whisk a little more then the dash of vanilla essence (remember at this stage you van also add liquor like Tia maria (coffee flavour) or baileys (caramel flavour) cointreau (orange flavour) see ...your only limit is your cap full will suffice. And that is that.

Obviously there is many many more fancy stuff you can do with pancakes, I know a few maybe I'll tell you later.... ;)

Picture in the reverse order of making process:

Monday, 29 December 2008

Cod Spinach "En Croute" with (Yasai Katsu style) Curry Sauce & Rice

Receita em Portugues clique AQUI

This was my main meal for my birthday, all freshly made by "mois", cod with spinach and Charlotte "en croute" with an Asian twist and also a celery rice and chunky curry sauce.
I have to put two recipes here as the rice and fish are two separate things combined hare in this dish, however the rice can be eaten on it's own as a recipe or with items such a grilled chicken breast marinated in garam masala, or grilled fish and many other things....same applies to the fish as it can be accompanied by potato parsnip mash incorporated with a couple of tea spoons of mustard with mustard sees, and so on.

Fish recipe ingredients: (feeds 10)
  • 10 fresh cod fillets (portions)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 8 Charlotte's (finely chopped)
  • 2 hands full of spinach leaves about 100grs (roughly chopped)
  • 2 hands full of bread crumbs about 50grs
  • 2 soup spoons of chopped almonds
  • one hand full of almonds with skin (finely chopped)
  • 2 soup spoons of olive oil
  • 2 large (mild) finely chopped chillies (previously de-seeded and de-veined)
  • 1 tea spoon of cumin
  • 1 tea spoon of turmeric
  • 2 soup spoons of port wine
  • 1/2 lemon juice
Lay the fish in non stick oven trays, then sprinkle them with a little pepper, salt, paprika and lemon juice, and leave them to marinade. While that is happening place a wok or frying pan on the stove and put the oil inside once very hot add the onions and the garlic, cook these until golden brown stirring occasionally. Once that is achieved add the cumin, turmeric, almonds and chopped chillies cook for a further 3 minutes, lastly add the spinach, and cook this until the spinach is reduced (should be about 2 minutes more.

I a bowl place your bread crumbs and add then the mixture to the crumbs to for a paste, if too dry you can always add a little melted butter. Lay this paste over each of the fish to completely cover the top, and they are ready to go in the oven (gas 200c) place a foil leaf over the fish over the first 10 minutes and take it off over the last 5 minutes, all together 15 minutes should suffice to cook well the fish.

The accompanying rice and curry sauce (as promised) has been inspired by one of Wagamamas dishes Yasai Katsu Curry, menu item number 72.

Recipe Ingredients: (for 6 people)

  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 courgette (finely diced)
  • 1 chilli (finely sliced, de-seeded and de-veined)
  • 8 Charlotte onions (finely diced)
  • 1 soup spoon of mild (or medium) curry powder
  • 1 tea spoons of cumin
  • 4 sticks of celery heart (finely diced)
  • 4 soup spoons of olive oil
  • 1 soup spoon of turmeric
  • 1 glass of water
  • 2 spoons of plain flour
  • pick some of the celery leaves and a garlic clove (to be cooked with the rice)
  • 500grs rice (basmati)
Place a pot with water on the stove and some salt, once boiling add the celery leaves and 1 garlic clove sliced + 500grs rice. Cook this until done (about 10-12 minutes). Rinse in boiling water and drain...but while rice is cooking do the sauce.

For the sauce place a wok or large deep frying pan on the stove with the olive oil in, once very hot add the Charlotte, garlic, chilli, cumin, curry and celery cook these for about 7-10 minutes. Then add the courgette and the turmeric and cook for a further 5 minutes. Separately mix about 2 full soup spoons of plain flour and a full glass of water, pour this into the frying veg and will make a thick curry sauce.. if too thick add more water if too thin mix a little more flour and water and add it slowly to thicken sauce further.

Serve rice (oval shape) and pour about 1 & 1/2 serving spoons over the rice to cover it all (see picture) as a serving idea.

This is me cutting my Birthday Cake

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Chocolate and Almond Mousse with Port

Every year (normally) I have my family around for my birthday. As my birthday is so close to xmas (27th) I ask them to come along and I celebrate by cooking for them something made by me entirely, so no peeking is aloud (into other peoples recipes), I can take past experiences in restaurants and cafés, and come up with my own thing.

So this birthday I decided to spoil them a little, well I do that every year... So I made for main course a Cod Fillet "en croute" with an Asian twist (Indian) and a plain rice portion with a special hot curried sauce (this inspired by Wagamamas, just the rice not the fish), and for desert I made a dark chocolate and almond mousse with an almond and port digestive base.

But on this post I will only provide you with the desert recipe, as I'll do another posting with the main meal, to make things simple. This desert was enough for 10 people.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 250mls double cream pots (one for the almond one for the chocolate)
  • 8 chocolate squares ( dark chocolate cocoa from 30% to 50%)
  • 9 Mcvites digestives (other brand will do)
  • 2 soup spoons of Port Wine
  • 1 + 1 teaspoons of almond essence
  • 1 hand full of almonds (about 50grs) with the skin (chopped)
  • 2 soup spoons of denmerra sugar
  • 1 + 1 + 1 soup spoon of butter
  • some white sugar
In a bowl crush all the digestives add one (full) spoon of butter, half of the almonds (chopped) a tea spoon of white sugar, one tea spoon of almond essence and the port, mix this very well and should be enough to place one soup spoon of this mixture into each one of the 10 ramekins, after doing that press mixture down with a flat object I used the bottom of a small glass.

On two separate bowls pour each of the creams and whip them until they are Chantilly, but remember to half way before that happens to add a tea spoon of sugar to each cream part, set them aside for a little while, while you do the flavouring.

Put two little pans on the stove one with a little water and a bowl inside that (bain Marie) inside the bowl put the 8 pieces of chocolate once hot enough the chocolate will become very soft, add now one soup spoon of butter mix well it starts to go harder and darker, remove bowl from heat and add one egg yolk and mix well, pour this mixture into one of the bowls of whipped cream and fold gently, once well mixed set it aside.

On the other pan, put a (full soup) spoon of butter, and the remaining almonds, let them sizzle for about 3 minutes them add the denmerra sugar and and a soup spoon or two of water, let this continue to boil until is near caramelized but not caramelized as such. Let this cool briefly than pour it into the second bowl of whipped cream but not directly into the cream, let it cool a little more, than fold int into the cream adding also a tea spoon of almond essence.

Spoon both types of cream into the ramekins two have two halves each colour (see picture), then decorate top, i did the chocolate side with chocolate shavings, and the almond part with a little more chopped almonds and refrigerated these for 30 minutes.

It was a great success with the guests. You can also use instead of port amaretto (almond liquor) I did not try but I bet would be nice too.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Merry Xmas - Xmas Dinner

I would like to share my xmas dinner pictures, and maybe release some recipes for the stuff I cooked, however there aren't really any recipes as such, as this food is very simple.

As you can see above the dish comprises of nut loaf, roasted potatoes, sweet roasted potatoes, apple sauce, Yorkshire puddings, Brussels sprouts, boiled carrots, roasted parsnips, roasted chicken and thick gravy.

The table was arranged as you can see below, very Christmas like and also with crackers. You always need crackers at the Christmas table, the kids love it ...well I love it too.

The Brussels and carrots are only boiled, the parsnips, roasting potatoes and sweet potatoes, are just placed in a tray with a little olive oil and goes to roast in the oven for about 40-60mins.

The chicken I crushed some garlic (3 cloves) salt (1 tea spoon) chili (2 finely sliced) a little olive oil a pinch of black pepper and paprika (1 tea spoon), crush all of this together until you get a paste. Rub this paste all over the outside of the chicken and also on the inside, also get a lemon and press it against the balcony with the palm of your hand while rolling it at the same time, this releases the juice inside the lemon, when the lemon feels bruised (soft) prickle all the lemon with a sharp fork, so that juice can be released, insert lemon inside the chicken.
This works as the lemon gets hot the liquid inside gets hot and it expands having no where to go but out of the wholes you made with the fork which as the chicken cooks gradually adds lemon on the inside...clever hum!!!! I learned this one with my mum, when I was a young one lol.

Yorkshire puddings, again very easy to do, just make a batter as if you were doing pancakes (just do not add sugar) add a pinch of salt and black pepper instead. If you don't know the ingredients they are:

1 glass of plain flour about 1 & 1/2 glasses of milk one egg, the pinch of salt and pepper, beat it all together, put a muffin tray with some a spoon of olive oil in each cup space, heat this until very hot (200c) then pour the pancake liquid inside each cup about 2 thirds full, it will bubble as you do this, place it right back in the oven and watch them grow, let them go golden brown ...easy peasy.... merry Xmas.

Charlotte Pomodoro Spaguetti + Garlic Granary Bread

This is a very simple recipe that I've made just after Xmas, as my birthday is the day after and I could not be bothered to do anything more complex.
It is a Charlotte Spaghetti Pomodoro with granary white Garlic Bread, simple yet delicious recipe.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 8 Charlotte onions (finely diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 glugs of olive oil
  • 4 soup spoons of butter
  • 1 tea spoon of dried oregano
  • 1 can of rich plum tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 full soup spoon of tomato paste
  • 2 white baguette with granary (other baguette will do, sliced diagonally)
  • 400grs pasta 100% durum wheat
Put some water boiling with some salt and a little veg oil (veg oil is used so that when you cooking pasta the water doesn't foam up), stick the 400grs of spaghetti in the water and cook for about 10-15 minutes, you want the pasta cooked "al dente" which means cooked but still fairly firm.

While this is doing put a wok or frying pan on the stove pour the oil inside and once very hot add the chopped Charlottes + half of the garlic. Let this cook stirring occasionally until very golden brown, at that stage add the tomato (both the can and the paste) + half of the oregano and one spoon of butter, this should now cook for approx 10 minutes.

While that is doing in a ramikin mix the remaining butter + garlic and oregano, mix this until an omogeneous paste is achieved butter the sliced baguette on both sides and put this in a preheated to 200c oven cook for about 5-7 minutes.

then is just a matter of assembling it all in the plate, see picture...I also added some parmesano greated cheese on top.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Continental Chicken with Chorico Rice

I made something similar to what I used to eat as a kid in Portugal, however with a twist, I used about 200mls of stout.

Recipe Ingredients:
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 200mls of stout
  • 1 egg white (whipped to peak) 1 egg yolk (mixed with a couple of milk spoons)
  • 150grs sliced chorizo
  • 500grs long grain rice
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 400grs of chicken thighs skinless and boneless (I took skin and bones myself ... cheaper)
  • 4 olive oil spoons
Place on the stove on high heat, pour the olive oil in + the pepper and salt to taste + paprika. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and let it cook till golden, once it reaches this stage add in the chicken chopped into cubes + chorizo (saving 8 slices) and stir continuously until all sealed, once fully sealed add the stout, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 7-10 minutes.

While that is doing, place another pan with water and a little salt, once the water is boiling put the rice there cooking, once cooked drain the rice and rinse with boiling water, then once drain again put the rice with the chicken mixture, and fold until well mixed, then add to this the beaten egg white and fold it in.

Pour this mixture onto a Pyrex tray to go in the oven which you previously heated to 200c. On the the top brush the egg yolk. Place all in the oven and leave it for 15 minutes, until golden brown on top. Then serve it, put some salad if you want (I put some with balsamic vinegar) eat it and enjoy it.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sausages w/ Broccoli & Cauliflower Gratin and Roasted Garlic Potatoes

How beautiful this dish is....However is so simple and easy to make that I would challenge you to make it. This dish is made of three parts: Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin, Fresh pork Sausages and finally Roasted new potatoes.
Recipe Ingredients:
  • 300grs Cauliflower (obviously do more if you want, separated into pieces)
  • 300grs Broccoli (obviously do more if you want, separated into pieces)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of grated cheese
  • 1/2 glass of warm water with plain flour well dissolved
  • 300mls of milk (approx)
  • 1 soup spoon of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic (1 crushed, 1 pureed)
  • 3 soup spoons of olive oil
  • Seal Salt and black pepper (and a little nutmeg)
  • enough sausages for all guests
  • 1kg new potatoes
Cut new potatoes if big in half or three parts if very small leave them whole, important is that the pieces are all of identical size, boil them until just fully cooked. Place them in a bowl with the pureed garlic and a pinch of sea salt (also you can sprinkle some paprika) and toss these, set it aside. Now put some water in a pan take it to the fire and place in the pan the broccoli and the cauliflower put a lid on and let it cook until nearly fully cooked but still very firm. While this is doing is time to do your bechamel.....very easy ...put the milk in a pan with the butter, until this one fully melts at this stage add a pinch of salt a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, also add the water with the flour always mixing to not form lumps, once is fairly thick the consistency of gravy add the 1 cup of cheese again stirring and this should take it to the next level consistency of heavy gravy. And that is it your bechamel is made. Now spread the (veg) cauliflower and broccoli into a Pyrex tray, and pour over to cover all of it them top it up with the left over 1/2 cup of cheese (before pouring the bechamel you can sprinkle a little salt over the veg as these ones were cooked with no salt). Put the coated potatoes in another tray and stick both the potatoes and the veg trays in the oven (previously heated to 200c) leave it all there for 20 minutes, to brown. Meanwhile in a pan put the olive oil the crushed garlic and some paprika heating and, once hot fry shallow fry the sausages (previously butterflied) until golden (remember these sausages can be vegetarian) in my house I done half and half (half veg sausages and half turkey sausages) as my wife is a vegetarian. Assemble as in picture above, and you can if you wish also make some nice gravy. Find bellow pictures, the the cooked dishes separately.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Prawn Egg Tortilla (also known as spanish omelet)

Recipe Ingredients (for the omelet):

  • 1 large red potato (thinly sliced and part-boiled)
  • 6 baby plum tomatoes (other tomatoes with do sliced)
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 small green pepper (sliced thinly)
  • 5 eggs (mixed)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 250grs king prawns (cooked and pealed)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 soup spoons of olive oil (maybe a little extra)
  • 1 tea spoon sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
This one is very straight forward to do, really easy. Place a non-stick frying pan on the stove, gas on high, once really hot place the par boiled potato slices in the oil with a little salt and pepper, until golden brown on both sides (so you need to turn them occasionally).

Once this is done set them aside, add a little extra oil to the pan, and once again hot, add the onion, pepper, garlic and paprika cook until the onion is semitransparent (about 5 minutes) now add the tomatoes and the prawns cook until the tomatoes are partially cooked and the prawns are very hot (about 3 minutes), empty the pan contents and also the potatoes that you had set aside + the parsley into the bowl that contains the five mixed eggs, give it a stir, and pour back into the non stick pan that is still on the fire, reduce fire to medium-high, start folding gently until the egg is not longer liquid but still moist, once this is achieved stop folding and let it cook on one side till golden brown.

Then flip it to the other side, if you good do it like a pancake if not use a plate to aid you turn the omelet over. Once cooked on both sides serve it with some wedges and mixed leaf salad (or anything you like). I believe I already have posted how to do potato wedges, just look through my blog.. Any questions ask...please enjoy.

Chicken Curry Risotto

Fantastic risotto I wanted to combine two different types of foods and managed to successfully do just that with this dish.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 400grs chicken thighs (de-boned and skinned, diced)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas (you can use fresh ones too)
  • 1 red pepper (other colours will do like orange or yellow, not green though| diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 large carrot (thinly sliced)
  • 400grs basmati rice (long grain will also do, but be aware is likely to cook faster)
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 soup spoon of premixed curry powder medium hot (choose your preference, so mild or hot or very hot will do too)
  • 1 soup spoon of turmeric
  • 1 tea spoon of cumin powder
  • 1 pint of vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 tomato can (chopped)
  • 1 soup spoon of tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 3 soup spoons of olive oil
You start by putting the onion; garlic; pepper; cumin; turmeric; curry powder and salt & pepper, in a pan where you heated till very hot the olive oil. Cook all of his until the onion is semitransparent, at this stage add the carrot and the chicken (you can add a little more olive oil if to dry and a few drops of water) cook until the chicken is sealed.

At this stage add the rice always stirring cook for a further 2 minutes at this stage add the tomato tin, peas and the tomato paste, keep cooking and stirring occasionally so it doesn't get stuck, as it get dry add a little stock, keep cooking and stirring and repeat the process until all stock is gone the whole thing should last about 15-18 minutes never let the mixture get to dry as risotto is supposed to be slightly sloppy, also remember if not enough the stock to keep all with the right consistency add water (the reason why I say this, is because there are many varieties of rice even within the basmati range, some rices soak more liquid that others, never do this with precooked rice as this is rubbery).

Once all is cooked add the coriander (chopped) give it a stirr, turn the cooker off, put a cloth over the top of the pan and the lid over the cloth and let it rest for about 3 minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Fettuccine al Fungi - spinach and egg fettuccine with mushrooms and cream

Receita em PORTUGUES Clique AQUI

Please check this out a simple fantastic spinach and egg fettuccine al fungi.

Recipe Ingredients (feeds 4) :

  • 400grs fettuccine "verdi & Uovo" mix green and egg
  • 250grs mushrooms (I prefer brown organic, sliced)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 soup spoons of brandy
  • a soup spoon full of parmisiano (parmesan) cheese (or similar)
  • 2 heaped soup spoons of grated cheddar cheese.
  • 1 soup spoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 half onion (chopped finely)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 tea spoon sweet paprika
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 soup spoons of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove (crunched)
  • 250mls fresh cream
Very simply put some water boiling and ad one glug of normal oil to the water + some salt and the crushed garlic clove, add then the fettuccine, and cook it for 7-10 minutes you want it "al dente" I mean cooked but still semi hard the pasta.

While that is doing, on a wok or large frying pan put in the olive oil, the garlic and the onion, cook these until very golden. Now add the paprika and cook for one minute more, then add the sliced mushrooms, once they are cooked which will take approx 3-4 minute add the brandy and leaning the pan at a 30-45 degree angle ignite the brandy (flanbéing it), this will give it a smoky flavour and also brandy although will contain no alcohol as it has been consumed by the flames, so is a safe food for kids too.

After that add the cream and let this heat up again until nearly boiling, dissolve the egg yolks with a little milk about 3-4 soup spoons full in a glass, pour this mixture into the cream always stirring this will start to thicken up the sauce then add the parmesan and the cheddar which will thicken up even more, both the sauce and the pasta will be done roughly at the same time.

So drain the pasta drizzle a little olive oil over it and toss it then serve (preheat the plates if need be if you ant it to stay hotter) and pour over the pasta a couple of servings spoons. To decorate it you can do either of these three: sprinkle some sweet paprika on top of the sauce or sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and drizle in a circle a little extra virgin olive oil around the parsley but still on the sauce or sprinkle a little more parmesan cheese and freshly grind some black pepper over it too... they will all look quite impressive and add to the taste too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Spinach and Carrot Soup

This is a great winter starter as is so easy to make yet, so satisfying. I had some mix from the croquettes, left from yesterday, just to remind you they were boiled and mashed potato, carrots and onion. But obviously I don't expect you to have left overs, so you can use fresh ingredients, and here they are:

  • 4 large potatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 1 large onion (minced)
  • 3 large carrots (2 cut into chunks one very thinly sliced)
  • 300grs spinach leaves (washed)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 glugs of olive oil
in a pan put the oil and put it on the stove let it get very hot, then add the garlic, two carrots in chunks and the minced onion, let them cook stirring occasionally until the onion is golden at this stage add the potato and about 2 litres of water + the salt and pepper to taste. Let this cook until the potatoes are cooked through you can check this by stabbing the potato with a fork or sharp knife, and the potatoes should offer virtually no resistance to penetration, if so get your hand blender out and blitz it until you achieve a thick sauce if you want the soup more liquid add a little more water, but make sure you retest for salt.

Let it get to the boil point again and now add the remaining carrot thinly sliced + the spinach you may add a little more olive oil if you like the stuff. turn the fire down and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes and it's done, plate it and if you like it posh you can toast some bread cut it into cubes put a hand full in the centre of the bowl of soup and drizzle a little circle of oil around the cruttons.

I was too hungry and didn't bother with that lol :)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sesame Croquettes with Corn Dogs

Today you don't need a recipe for this as is so easy to do, is what I call a mess around dinner.

I boiled some potatoes, some onions and some carrots, then I mash them all together adding some seasoning salt & pepper rolled some small portions of these into croquette shapes, passed them through some beaten egg and some bread crumbs with sesame seeds, then fried them slowly in vegetable oil.

accompaign I done some corn dogs my way, in a bowl a couple of spoons of coarse corn flour a couple of plain flour a little paprika and chilli powder + some salt and pepper, add to that an egg and a couple of spoons of beer to make a batter then dip some plain cocktail sausages in the batter and fry it immediately, after golden drain on some kitchen paper and serve them with the croquettes and some salad of your own taste....however my wife heated some baked beans and it was delicious too like that. You decide :)

Friday, 5 December 2008

Charlotte and Mushroom Penne Pasta Gratin

Receita em PORTUGUES clique AQUI

This was a quick and easy recipe I made to make use of some Charlotte onions that I had in a bag and needed to use before getting spoiled.... ***WARNING**** Very easy and cheap to make.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 20 Charlotte onions (remember these are small onions, pealed and cut in halves)
  • 10 medium mushrooms (halved and sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger minced (the size of two garlic cloves)
  • 2 large carrots (half and sliced very very thinly)
  • 1 plum tomato tin (chopped)
  • 2 soup spoons of tomato paste (in a little water)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 soup spoon of butter
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 2 soup spoons of plain flour dissolved in water
  • 4 soups spoons of grated cheese + 3 soup spoons of grated cheese (any mature cheddar will do)
  • a soup spoon of oregano
  • 400grs of penne pasta (other durum wheat pasta will do)
  • 5 soup spoons of olive oil
It looks like quite a lot of ingredients but really isn't and is really easy and cheap winter food.
Put a pan of water with a little salt and a soup spoon of oil on the stove till is boiling, them put the pasta in and boil until cooked "al dente" which should be around 10 to 12 minutes, once done let in drain in a colander.

Now you need to make two sauces, a bechamel and a tomato one. Start by the tomato one as takes longer. So in a pan on the heat pour the 5 spoons of olive oil the pinch of salt and black pepper plus the minced garlic and ginger, let these cook until golden, as soon as that happens add the onions and the carrots, continue cooking stirring occasionally until the onions are semi transparent, at this stage add the mushroom the tomato tin the tomato paste in a little water, and let this all cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Five minutes before the tomato sauce is done start doing the bechamel and start preheating the oven to 200c. To make the bechamel sauce put on another pan the milk the butter a pinch of salt and black pepper plus the pinch of nutmeg, wait until very hot by this time the butter has melted, add in one go the flour that you previously fully dissolved in some water, always stirring so that it doesn't get lumps, once it thickens add the 3 soup spoons of grated cheese, this will thicken the sauce even more.

Now compose the dish by pouring the pasta into the tomato sauce , mix well, then pour this into a large Pyrex tray, smooth it down with the back of a serving spoon, then evenly pour the bechamel sauce over the tomato and pasta, so that it evenly covers the whole of the pasta, over this with your hand sprinkle the remaining grated cheese, and finally on top sprinkle the oregano and grind some black pepper. Stick this in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until golden brown on top and serve.

this is a lovely vegetarian dish I invented years ago but is always popular in my house, for meat eaters just add a side of plain grilled chicken breast with some melted butter, lemon juice, garlic and parsley poured over the chicken. (or fish well whatever you want :) )

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Enchiladas My Way Chicken and Vegetarian

Receita em PORTUGUES clique AQUI

Above you can see the enchiladas i made the small dish is the Vegetarian the large one is the Chicken, this was an easy and cheap recipe to satisfy two different food requirements here in my house, which means you can indeed make this very versatile recipe in either vegetarian version, meat or both like I did.

For this I used....

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of plain tortilla wraps (or you can make your own)
  • 1 large pepper (cut into thin strips)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin strips)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 hot chili thinly sliced
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • a tea spoon of cumin
  • a soup spoon of oregano
  • 2 medium or 3 small chicken breast slice into thin strips (for the meat ones)
  • 250grs of Quorn mince (for the vegetarian ones)
  • Bechamel sauce (I always make mine but you can buy made if you want)
  • 2 large spoons of tomato concentrate (diluted in water to form a thick cream)
  • 2 large tomato paste (to add to sauces)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Very very easy to make in a wok pour some olive oil, place on the stove until very hot, add then the 1/2 pepper, 1/2 onion, 1/2 garlic, salt and pepper and 1/2 cumin and half of the sliced chilli, cook until the onion browns a bit and then add the oregano and the chicken, always stirring make sure the chicken strips are well sealed, once sealed then add the 1/2 tomato tin and one large spoon of tomato paste.

Let this cook for about 7 minutes, then assemble the Enchiladas: Put a row of filling about one third from the edge on top of that a couple of spoons of bechamel, wrap the soft tortilla around the sauce and lay it in the tray to go in the oven repeat process until the tray is full. Then on top spread some more bechamel sauce and put a line of tomato cream along each roll then sprinkle some oregano and grated cheese, than goes in the oven for about 20-25 minutes gas 200c, until golden brown on top, then serve with some grated carrot and some sliced spring onion or a salad of your choice.

For the vegetarian one exactly same thing just replace the chicken with vegetarian mince (Quorn).

I make the Bechamel sauce as follows: put some milk in a pan add a knob of butter some salt and some pepper (black freshly milled) the also a little nutmeg, once nearly boiling put a couple of spoons of plain flour in a glass and add water til about half of the glass, with a little whisk, mix it well until there are no lumps, pour it all into the hot milk and whisk constantly until thickens up, don't worry if not to thick yet as now you add a hand full of grated cheese, continue to whisk and you should get the most perfect bechamel (the milk you use should be about half a pint 250-300 mils. *tip if to thick add a little more milk while stirring, and if to liquid add a little more flour mixed in water*

Enchiladas My Way Chicken and Vegetarian

Chicken and vegetarian wraps in tortilla pancakes, with bechamel baked ...

See Enchiladas My Way Chicken and Vegetarian on Key Ingredient.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Pork Sticky Rib Rack with Courgette Bulgar

I was really hungry for a nice piece of meat but also wanted to balance it out with some veg, so I combined two very different things that ended up complimenting each other perfectly. Sticky pork ribs and vegetarian courgette Bulgar.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Bulgar
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large yellow pepper
  • 300grs Bulgar
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 spoons of tomato paste (with half glass of water)
  • 1/2 can of tomato (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 bay leafs
  • some olive oil
  • 1 full pork rib rack
  • 2 spoons of Maple syrup
  • 1 tea spoon of chili powder
  • 1 tea spoon of smoky paprika (or normal is you prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 soup spoons of sesame seeds
  • a pinch of garlic granules (or a fresh minced garlic)
I started with the pork rack in a cup mix the: syrup, chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic. With your fingers rub it on thickly on the rib rack on both sides, then use the sesame seeds and sprinkle them on both sides too.... Stick the rack on a tray on a metal rack so that it cooks well on both sides, gas mark 200c for about 40-60 minutes depending how crispy you want it.

While that is doing let's do the Bulgar.
In a pan with boiling water add a glug of oil some salt and pour the Bulgar in, it will take about 10-15 minutes to cook depending how coarse you buy your Bulgar, while that is doing you prepare the veg, peel and slice the carrots, dice the courgette the onion yellow pepper and mince the garlic, put a wok or a large pan on the stove and add a couple of glugs of olive oil, once hot add the onion, garlic, pepper and the bay leafs.

Cook until onion starts to brown, at this stage add the carrots and the courgettes + the 1/2 can of tomatoes and the tomato paste and water, also some salt and pepper to taste.
Let this cook for 20 minutes and once is done, in a colander rinse the Bulgar with boiling water drain well and pour it into the sauce, giving it a good stir to mix well, cover the pan with a lid and let it rest for about 5 minutes more (no cooking now just resting) so that the flavours can be absorbed by the Bulgar.
serve it all together and I guarantee you a great meal.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Golden Slices (or Eggy Bread)

Receita em Portuguese clique AQUI

It has been a little while that I have not made something sweet, well here is a treat for you cheap and easy to make. Eggy Bread (also known as golden slices), this can be a way of using bread that is a little old.

Ingredients for Recipe:
  • Half a loaf of bread
  • 1 glass of milk
  • 2 soup spoons of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • a mixture of two soup spoons of sugar and a tea spoon of cinnamon
  • a plate with some absorbent tissues
  • a frying pan with a finger deep of oil
This is so darn easy and so tasty, (however quite fattening therefore only have it once in awhile). In a soup plate put the milk and the sugar well mixed, on another plate the three eggs (beaten), place the frying pan on the stove until the oil is well hot, quickly deep a slice of bread in the milk both sides, don't leave it in or absorb a lot of milk, them bathe it in the egg, both sides too and place it in the pan, repeat the process on another slice, once it fries (seals) on one side turn it to the other side, to seal that too even if is not yet golden, as the idea is to seal the egg so that it does not absorb the oil, as you just want to cook in it not eat it. Once both sides are sealed then, yes let it get golden brown on each side, pull it out making sure all the oil drains and place it on the plate with the paper tissue, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on both sides of each slice, then just keep repeating the whole process until the whole of the bread is gone. And that is all, just call your kids but don't get distracted as if you do by the time you look back all the slices are gone lol.

If the beaten egg plate gets to low or the milk and sugar plate you can always add more.....but it is that easy!!!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Seafood & Chicken - Turmeric Rice

This recipe is a little expensive, but it doesn't have to be as you can replace certain food elements with other cheaper ones, like cheaper prawns and instead of fresh squid use crab sticks and so on.
But even when I say a little expensive, is not as expensive as you may think the whole cost could be between 7 or 8 pounds and feeds 6-7 people so about one pound something per person, well worth it though.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 large red chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 large red pepper (medium chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (1 minced, 1 crushed)
  • 6 large mushrooms (medium sliced)
  • 1 medium fresh squid (cleaned around 250-300grs, strips sliced)
  • 250grs fresh uncooked prawns (cut in halves)
  • 2 medium chicken breasts (no skin, diced)
  • enough rice for four people around 400-500grs (I used Basmati)
  • 1 tin of tomato (chopped) pomodoro
  • 1 tea spoon of medium hot curry powder
  • 2 soup spoons of turmeric powder
  • 1 chicken stock cube (I used OXO)
  • 2 bay leafs
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • optional a cinnamon stick


Place two pans on the heat one half filled with water, one glug of oil, the crushed garlic and one bay leaf plus salt. The other one with, two glugs of olive oil, the minced garlic, the bay leaf some salt and pepper.
Once the one with the water is boiling add the rice and let it cook should take 10-12 minutes to be fully cooked, once cooked put it in a sieve and rinse it with boiling water and set it aside to drain.

the one with the old, add the chopped onion, pepper, chilli, and the curry powder, once the onion is translucent add the chicken and the turmeric, now it tends as is cooking for it to dry a bit, so you can add a little water, always stirring to seal the chicken so it stays nice and soft, once the chicken is fully sealed add the tomato tin, again always stirring, if it continues to get a little dry you can add more water (or stock or white wine), but at this point add the stock cube (crumb it before adding it) let this cook until the chicken is fully cooked.

at this stage add the mushrooms, the prawns, the cinnamon stick and the squid, it literally only takes 3-5 minutes for these to cook, as you just want them cooked, any longer and they will be rubbery. Once that is done remove from the fire add the mixture to the rice, fold it in until all is well mixed and let it stand for about 2 minutes, and is ready to serve.

if you require more taste and colour you can also add when putting the mixture with the rice a big bunch of chopped parsley...the only reason I did not is that I suffer with too much iron in the blood and parsley is full of it, so although I can eat it I should not abuse. Hope you enjoy this as much as i and my family did.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Mama que "Rico" Penne Pasta and Olives

A really easy and economical recipe for every pasta lover out there, this is something I do make a lot of time in my house. And my kids always love it, so does the wife as this is vegetarian.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 Spring Onions thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 small pepper (red if possible) chopped
  • 1 large handful of black olives pitted cut in half
  • 1 large bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • 1 can of pomodoro tomatoes chopped
  • 200grs pomodorino (fresh tomatoes, baby pomodoro, any sweet baby tomatoes will do) cut in halves
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • enough olive oil
  • 2 soup spoons of tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 400grs penne pasta (or any other durum wheat pasta you like)
  • 200grs grated cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large carrot (very thinly sliced)
  • 200grs green round beens roughly chopped

Just cook the pasta until it is "aldente" which means virtually cooked but still quite firm (little trick pasta tends to foam when cooking if you add a little oil to the water it virtually eliminates the froth, this applies to any pasta including spaghetti).

On a separate pan put some olive oil, them put in both onions chopped9the spring and the normal one) also add the chopped red pepper, as well as the minced garlic add also some salt and pepper and let this cook until the onion is semitransparent (about 10 minutes) then add the olives, carrot, green beans, chopped tomato, the pomodorino tomatoes and the tomato paste with a glass and 1/2 of water, taste and add more salt if needed.

Cook for another 15 minutes, however after the fist 10 minutes add the cooked pasta so that it gains the flavours, thus the reason to be aldente, if the sauce gets too dry you can add more water or if you prefer a couple of glugs of red wine, maybe some you forgot to drink.

Lastly add the chopped parsley stirring it in well, plate it and garnish it with the grated cheese on top, mature cheddar will suffice or if you really posh add some real parmesano cheese, and a little more black pepper freshly milled.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Pork and Pineapple Skewers and Potato Grattin

Receita em PORTUGUES Clique AQUI

Above you can see in raw part of a simple yet very efficient recipe, I purchased a couple of pork cutlets and I wanted to feed 4 people, but I didn't want to do the conventional grilled pork with chips or mash, but also I didn't want to do anything laborious. So I decided to do skewers, and being quite partial to sweet and sour, and with influences from gammon steak...I decided to do pork and pineapple skewers and for the accompaniment just potato onion and tomato, grattin.

So I cut the two chops into squares, also got a tin of pineapple and cut them into chunks as you can see on the photo, prior to putting the pork on skewers I marinated it in a little port, paprika, chilli powder and lemon juice, salt and black pepper of course, after letting it marinade for 30 minutes I put them on a skewer with the pineapple and left it marinading again while preparing the potatoes.

For the potato dish, you need one onion, eneugh potatoes for four people (5 large ones should do), peel and cut both the potatoes and the onions very thinly then boil the sliced potatoes for about three minutes, on a tray put a little olive oil and smeer the bottom of it to cover it, then cover the bottom with a layer of potatoes then you leithal some chopped tomatoes to cover the potatoes, then spread some onions to cover the tomato, then sprinkle some salt black pepper and some slithers of garlic, repeat the process, and finally cover it with a third layer of potatoes, cover all of that with some foil and place it in the oven for 40 minutes, after that take it out remove foil cover it with greated cheese and sprinkle some oregano, dried or fresh either will do. Back in the oven for 15 minutes more (gas 200c all the time).

Ten minutes away from them being cooked you should heat very well a grill pan and drizzle a little oil and start cooking the skewers, browning and turning around and so on until all sealed in then cook until fully done.

Serve it on a plate and you're easy you don't even need a recipe and again under a £5.00. Don't say I never helped you. :)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Cheesy Meat Balls

Receita em Portugues clique AQUI

I needed to make something fast the day before yesterday as we were all hungry and I had left it too late to cook dinner as had been working on making a menu on a PC for a friend and time passed very quickly, so I decided on a traditional recipe and added a little surprise inside.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 500grs minced beef
  • 60grs bread crumbs (I used old bread and crumbed it)
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tea spoon chilli powder
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • a little bunch of parley
  • 600grs rice
  • 2 bay leafs
  • some olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Some cheddar cheese
  • 2 soup spoons of tomato paste
This recipe was very fast and very easy to make, is not fattening at all and the garlic and chilli help the blood circulation, and at this time of the year I suppose it is welcomed, also was very cheap to make.

For the rice just put it in boiling water with a crushed garlic clove inside and a couple of spoons of olive oil and salt to taste, after 10 to 12 minutes is cooked depending on the rice you using (I like basmati) once cooked rinse it in a sieve with boiling water and drain it ready to plate.

For the sauce I chopped the onion very finely and the remaining two garlic cloves one to add to the mince the other for the sauce. The meat balls were made as follows, I put the mince in a bowl adding to it the egg (whole) the bread crumbs, one spoon of the chilli powder, one garlic salt and pepper to taste, and mixed all with my hands until was all blended in, then I cut the cheese into little squares and making a little disk in my hand with a portion of the disk mixture I placed the cheese square in the middle, folded the meat around and rolled it into a ball and set it aside until all the meat was spent.

Then in a pan I put some olive oil, let it get hot and added the chilli, onion (diced), bay leafs, garlic, and the meat balls swirling the pan around from time to time until the balls were sealed (you can see this as they turn from red to brown) at this stage I added the tomato a small glass of water and the tomato paste, I let this cook for 20-30 minutes, obviously only started making the rice 10-12 minutes before the rest was ready, so all comes out at same time, and on the last 1 minute of cooking of the balls I added the parsley chopped. As simple as that.

Now you can use spaghetti if you prefer, I do but the family wanted rice and I had to go with the majority.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Rico Almond and Coconut Biscuits

Receita em Portugues Clique AQUI.

One other day I made a spaghetti carbonara my own recipe ,and used 3 egg yolks to achieve a velvety cream, I was however left with 3 egg whites, I know I already made a cake here on the blog to use egg whites ...well this is one more way of using them and is so easy I beg you all to make them really, maybe with some alteration add some dried figs or anything they are great (I invented them today) with other left overs I had in the cupboard.

Picture on the left shows them still in the tray after cooking on the non stick Teflon, which is a great idea for cookies/biscuits, especially if they have no "grease" as this ones take no butter oils or margarine's..nothing....

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 100grs ground almonds
  • 100grs rice flour (fine)
  • 50grs coconut (dessicated)
  • 4 spoons of self raising flour
  • 1 tea spoon of baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 250grs of sugar
  • (optional lemon zest and or vanilla essence)
  • some whole almonds with skin.
  • a little of thick granulated brown sugar

This is soooooo easy you must really make and please spread the word on my blog address to others I am making all this economical and good recipes but so little views I am finding it frustrating that not many people are benefiting from them.

Here it goes, in a bowl mix the egg whites with the sugar beat it so hard that it becomes a very dense white cream, then throw in all the dried stuff all well mixed, fold it in with a spatula until homogeneous, then with two spoons shape each biscuit and put them on a tray preferably with a Teflon sheet, if not grease it and flour it, or anything else you do for them not to stick. Place and almond in the center of each and some brown granulated sugar on top, bake in the oven (180c) for 17-20 minutes depending on the oven, take them out let them cool and eat them all without sharing them joking share them with your loved ones ...and maybe send me some too :)


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Rico - Tried and Tested Recipes

Hi my name is Rico (short for Ricardo) will regularly add more food content to this blog, all my recipes are tried and tested, as I make them and eat them as well as my family, so I wouldn't give you something that is not good.

Recipes published here, will try to conform to the following criteria:

-Easy to create or bake.
-Will be nutritious, wholesome and healthy as well as economical too.
- Will be varied and inventive, mostly created by me.
-Occasionally I will treat you to some indulgent ones. But just as a treat. lol :)
- If I use other blog recipes will be to pey homenage and I will definitly link it, appreciated if the same is done for mine.

I will try to respond to all comments made, and visit their owners, however I run a no strings attached blog here when I comment on other blogs I do not expect to have them come here the same way I don't accept if I am commented on that the person will expect my visit to their blog, no commitments, but as I said I will try.

I also want this opportunity to say, thank you al that have continuously vsited me and new people visiting me you are the reason why I am here, I am not here just to get numbrs or self publicise, I am here for real friends and real opinions and to be nice to all. THANK YOU ALL :) xx

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