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March 21

Gnocchi

This recipe is a bit of a blast from the past. My great grandmother used to make gnocchi on a regular basis. My favourite was to fry left over gnocchi with butter in the morning for breakfast.

6 large potatoes peeled and chopped into cubes
Plain flour (keep the bag around, measurements are not exact for this bit)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of nutmeg

Preparing the dough

Boil the potatoes until soft, remove from water and mash them until smooth. Let the potatoes cool a bit until it's ok for you to put your hands in the mixture. (From experience, putting your hands in hot potatoes is a bad plan. Ouch!) Spread a little flour over a work surface and place your lump of potato mash in the middle. Form a volcano shape with the potatoes and put the egg yolk, 1 cup of flour and the nutmeg in the middle. Knead the mixture until all of the flour has been absorbed.

It helps to have an extra set of hands for this bit as adding flour becomes difficult when your hands are all sticky with dough. Keep adding flour until the dough holds together and looks similar to a bread dough.

Making the Gnocchi

Pull off a fist sized ball of dough. Roll the dough into a long string about as thick as your finger. Use a butter knife to cut off little chunks. Place the chunks onto a floured tray. (Repeat until all the dough is used up.) Place the trays in the fridge to set for 30 mins.

After 30 mins...

Boil some water and place the gnocchi in the boiling water. When the gnocchi are ready they will float to the top. Fish them out with a slotted spoon. I always have a pan brushed with butter waiting, so that I can do a whole batch and place them in the oven without the gnocchi drying out.

Serve with any number of sauces....plain tomato works a treat!

February 5

Hotpot

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I discovered the most amazing dish, the chinese clay pot. It's a complete meal in one dish. It was so good I went around the corner to buy a pot.

I've included the rough ingredients below, but given I didn't speak Cantonese, i'll have to give making something a shot before I give you the actual measurements etc. Through sign language I managed to get some rough instructions...i'll let you know how it goes.


Ingredients
Rice
1 chicken breast (chunked)
1 chopped green onion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons shao sing rice wine
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
2 pakchoi leaves
1 chopped chili

October 9 | Comments (0)

Lamb wrap

Anyone who knows me, knows I love wraps. The best bit is you can fill them with just about anything. So tasty.

For the lamb:
2 large lamb steaks (cut into chunks)
2 table spoons of honey
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (diced)
1 splash of olive oil.

Feta mixture
1 package of feta (cubed)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1 cucumber (diced)
250ml of plain yoghurt
2 cloves of garlic (diced)

1 package of wraps

Add the lamb and associated ingredients into a ziplock bag and let it sit at room temperature for 1hour. Remove from bag and grill. Whilst the lamb is grilling, mix the ingredients for the feta mixture. Place the lamb and feta mixture into a wrap and serve. You can also use pita for this...we just couldn't find any nice ones.

September 18 | Comments (0)

Plum Chicken

Another hotpot favourite, get a nice french loaf to serve it with. A great way to use the fruits of summer, if you don't have peaches and plums available...pears and apples taste just as good. I wanted to try removing the fruits and chicken and reducing the sauce to a syrup...but I didn't have time unfortunately. Next time.

4 chicken legs
1 cup white wine
4 peaches (halved stones removed)
4 plums (halved stones removed)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/2 cup water
Olive oil
4 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon pepper
1 pinch chili powder

Pre-Heat your oven to 200C (Gas 7or 8).Heat a little olive oil in an oven proof frying pan or pot, and place your chicken skin side down in the pan once the oil is hot. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken, add the onions and garlic and sweat them down. Add in the chicken and put in the white wine to burn off the alcohol. Add in the rest of the ingredients and a 1/2 cup of water. Place in the oven, uncovered for 25 mins (or until the chicken is cooked through), remove from heat and serve.

September 4 | Comments (0)

Squash

In North America spaghetti squash is really easy to find, here in the UK it's nearly impossible. Imagine my delight when our local waitrose began stocking this amazingly tasty but difficult to find squash. It's really easy to make and is a great substitute for spaghetti if you're on a diet and not allowed to have carbs. Personally I like it plain, with a little butter!

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise...and remove the seeds (like you would a pumpkin). Place on a roasting tray, middle up and bake it in the oven for 30-40mins at 400C or gas mark 6. When it's ready the squash will be soft (but not mushy). Use a fork to scrape out the inside of the squash, the strands will come out easily if you've cooked it properly. Add a little butter and serve. You can also add a tomato sauce.

September 4 | Comments (0)

Balsamic lamb

Another great summer dish. Not one of my better photos though...it's becoming more difficult with the light fading fast in the evenings.

6 lamb chops
3 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of rosemary
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Put all the ingredients (except the chops) into a blender and blend until very smooth. Then put the liquid and the chops inside a zip-lock baggy to marinade for a few hours. Grill or pan fry to desired pinkness.

August 31 | Comments (0)

Lemon Chicken

This is a great dish if you've got a little time as it takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook. It goes wonderfully with a salad and some new potatoes.

4 chicken legs
2 cups of chicken stock (using stock cubes is fine)
1 lemon (sliced)
2 cloves of garlic
3 Rosemary stalks
Olive oil

Pre-Heat your oven to 200C (Gas 7or 8).Heat a little olive oil in an oven proof frying pan, and place your chicken skin side down in the pan once the oil is hot. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients, ensuring that a little garlic is placed on each piece of chicken. Place in the oven, uncovered for 25 mins (or until the chicken is cooked through), remove from heat and serve.

August 10 | Comments (0)

Lamb steak

Ok, so it isn't really pesto...since it's missing the pine nuts and parmesan, but it's close. I like to leave the lamb marinade for a bit, but you can just stick it straight on the grill if you're in a hurry.

For the pesto
Handful of Flat leaf Parsley
3 cloves garlic
1 splash of olive oil.

3 lamb steaks

Grind up the pesto ingredients with a mortar and pestle until the oil is a bit creamy. Smear the lamb with the mixture and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Grill.

August 8 | Comments (0)

Grilled Cheese

Sliced white bread (thicker the better)
2 Tomatoes (sliced)
150g cheddar cheese (grated)
1 package of streaky smoked bacon

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches.

Grill or fry your bacon. On one half of your bread, spread out the grated chedar cheese, on top place the tomato, the grilled bacon and the second slice of bread. Heat up a fying pan at a low temperature. Butter the top side of your sandwiches, flip them over and place them in the pan. Now butter the top side again (which was the bottom side). When the frying side is golden brown, flip it over and fry the other side until the cheese has melted. Hopefully this make sense.

Heart attack on a plate...but hey it tastes great.

August 4 | Comments (0)

Asian salad

Again, this one tastes better than it looks. Some things were just never meant for the camera. This recipe is great for picnics or any event that you have to prepare something the day before. Just make sure you keep it nice and cold. I personally don't like left over chicken, so you might want to do the chicken the day of serving...it'll be less rubbery.

2 small packages of medium egg noodles
3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 large chunk of ginger (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 carrot (sliced)
15 mangetout (topped and tailed)
1 courgette (sliced)
1 chicken breast diced
1 splash of vegetable oil

It doesn't matter if you don't do all of this at the same time, as the salad tastes best cold anyhow.

Put your noodles on to boil. They'll cook in about 4 minutes, strain and mix in a small amount of oil so that the noodles don't stick together. Put them in a bowl and place them in the fridge. Whilst your noodles are cooking, add some oil to a frying pan and fry your diced chicken breast. After the chicken starts to turn white add about 3/4 of the ginger and garlic and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Fry until the chicken has cooked through and remove from the heat. In yet another pot, fill the bottom with enough water to steam your vegetables. Place all of the vegetables in a steamer and steam until the vegetables are soft, but still have a bit of a bite. Make sure you put the carrots on the bottom as they'll take the longest.

Mix together the remaining garlic, ginger, soy sauce, cooking wine and honey in a small pan over a low heat. This will make your dressing. Cook until you can't smell the alcohol from the wine, it should only take a few minutes.

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix it all together.

August 1 | Comments (1)

Burgers

Ok, so the picture doesn't look that good...but damn are these tasty. Nothing says summer like burgers. I only wish I had a proper BBQ on my patio. Again thanks to my local butcher I have access to great organic meat. Lovely.

1 pound of ground steak
1 dash of paprika
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Mix all of the ingredients together add the breadcrumbs slowly so that it soaks up the egg. Break up the giant meat ball into 6 smaller meat balls and press flat with your palms. Grill until cooked through. Easy.

July 31 | Comments (0)

Bulgarian chicken

Very very simple to make, it only takes about 20 minutes and it's amazing!

6 chicken thighs (skin on)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons of honey
1 dolop of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Use a frying pan to brown the chicken in the olive oil. WIth a motar and pestle grind the rest of the ingredients together. When the chicken is brown on all sides, smear the mixture on top of the chicken skin, remove from the burner and place it into the oven for 15-20minutes. Serve with a greek salad, or sauteed mushrooms.

July 28 | Comments (0)

Grilled snapper

Our new roof terrace has been providing us with ample opportunity to use our grill outside, which means we can cook more fish without stinking up the flat. I like to keep grilling as simple as possible. A little salt, pepper (perhaps stuff it with some lemons and light herbs such as parseley) and put it on the hot grill. Lots of people try to overdo fish with lots of sauces. I think that just ruins the taste of the fish.

Grilling like this reminds me of Essaouira, where fresh fish is grilled at stands along the ramparts of the walled city. It's hands down one of the most wonderful experiences you can have...choose your fish, put it on the grill. The catch of the day dictates what's available. The fish is so fresh that you don't need to add anything to it, the natural salt from the sea is enough to season and the charcoal gives it an extra bite. It's been a few years now since we've visited, perhaps its time to return.

July 25 | Comments (1)

risotto

Serves about 6 people (or 2 very hungry people that need to take lunches the next day). You can replace the asperagus and mushrooms with just about anything that's seasonal. We also do a chicken and porcini risotto that's divine.

About 1.1 litres/2 pints of chicken stock (Make your own if you can, it tastes better. Otherwise cubes will do.)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 onions (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
400g of risotto rice
2 glasses of dry white wine
Pinch of salt and black pepper
70g of butter
115g of parmesan cheese (more the better!)
8-10 shittake mushrooms (cut into chunks)
10 spears of asparagus (cut into pieces)

Heat the stock. In another pan sweat (at a low heat) the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the onions are clearish. Then add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will fry and when it looks translucent add the wine and stir. Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add 1 ladle of hot stock and your salt. Turn down the heat so that the dish is simmering.

At this point you'll want to add your mushrooms and about 10 minutes later add the asparagus.

Keep adding ladles of stock. Make sure you allow each ladle to be absorbed before adding the next. It'll take about 15-20 minutes for the rice to cook through, taste some to make sure. It should be soft but still firm.

Remove it from the heat and add in the parmesan and butter. Stir and serve!

July 24 | Comments (0)

Pizza

I love pizza! Whether the crust is thick or thin, it doesn't really matter to me, i'll leave the pizza in-fighting to the Italians. If you make too much dough, just wrap it in saran wrap and you can freeze it. Make it with any toppings you want, i'm sure you've got your own favourites.

The dough
650g/1lb bread flour
4 tablespoons of honey
7g sachet yeast
Pinch of salt
400ml/11fl oz warm water

Make the dough: mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl make a ant hill like structure with a well in the middle. Mix half of your warm water with the yeast and honey and mix it together until the yeast has disolved. Add it to the flour mixture, and mix it with your hands until the moisture has been absorbed. Gradually add the water, mixing well to form a soft dough. Don't worry if it sticks to your fingers, just add a little more flour until you can handle it without it being sticky.

Flour a cutting board and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth, form into a round ball and put it into a clean bowl. Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1h or so. It'll likely double in size.

The PIZZA!
8 plum tomatoes (or any kind you have) (cubed)
2 cloves of garlic (sliced)
1 splash of olive oil
4-5 leaves of fresh basil (sliced)
200g of feta cheese (crumbled)
1 pizza dough recipe

Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas 9. Add all of the tomato and garlic to a roasting tray, splash with olive oil and place in the oven for 30mins. Once roasted, remove from the oven (don't turn the oven off, you'll need the heat) and put 1/4 of the tomatoes and garlic into a blender. Blend the ingredients, this will be your sauce. Roll out the pizza dough until it is flat and round, smear the sauce on the base, add the remaining tomatoes, crumble the feta and add the basil. Put it into your oven, right on the rack (or use a pizza tray) for 5-7 minutes.

July 19 | Comments (0)

grilled trout

With fish, it's always best to keep it simple. The only way you can do it better than this, is over the fire while you're camping.

2 whole trout (gutted)
1 bunch of flat leaf parseley (roughly chopped)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Heat your grill and rub it down with olive oil, this will help to prevent the fish from sticking. Whilst it's heating, put a handful of salt and a handful of pepper into a grocery bag. Add the fish and shake it around until the fish is well seasoned. Let it sit for 5 mins, the salt will help take the water out of the fish, and make it better for grilling. Take the fish out of the bag, scrape off any excess salt, and stuff the inside of the fish with the garlic and parseley (you won't eat this bit, it's just for flavour). Place on the grill, and cook on each side until the meat is flakey but still firm. Serve with a salad and some french bread.

July 12 | Comments (0)

chicken

It sounds a bit weird, but it works. Depending on how hot you like your food, you can add more or less chili (or just keep the seeds in).

500g cubed chicken
250ml plain yoghurt
1/2 lime, juice
1 dash paprika
1 small chili, deseeded
1 clove garlic

Add all of the ingredients except the chicken into a mixer. Blend until smooth and the garlic has been chopped into tiny little bits. Put the mixture into the bowl and add the chicken, get in there with your hand and mix it up...making sure that all the chicken bits are covered in the mixture. Place the chicken pieces on a hot grill and grill until done. Serve as a main or add it to a salad.

July 10 | Comments (0)

padthai

This recipe is all about preparation. A classic Thai dish, and there are a hundred variations on a theme. Ours is based on a mixture of a version a friend gave us from her cooking course in Thailand and from the amazing recipe book Hot Sour Salty Sweet. Although it's street food and it's supposed to be quick, the preparation takes some time so start early. If you're making it for friends you can prepare much of it and put it in the fridge, ready for when you pull out the wok.

2 limes, cut into quarters
2-3 chicken breasts (cut into very small pieces)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 table spoon rice wine vinegar
1 table spoon of water
1 table spoon of soy sauce
1 table spoon of fish sauce
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 carrot (grated)
1 small chili (diced and seeds removed)
1/2 pound of narrow rice noodles, soaked in warm water and drained
1/2 pound of bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
3 scallions, trimmed and cut into smallish pieces
small chunk of ginger (diced)
2 to 4 tablespoons of coriander leaves

Start by chopping your chicken breast into very small pieces and placing it in a small bowl. Add the sugar and the juice from a lime and mix it all together. In another small dish, mix the rice vinegar and water, soy sauce adn fish sauce. In yet another small bowl beat your eggs with the salt, only lightly. Put all of your ingredients by the stove, as you'll need them quite quickly in succession.

Put your wok over a high heat, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and coat the bottom. Add the garlic, ginger and chili and stir fry lightly for a few minutes. Add the chicken, and stirfry until the chicken is lightly pink in the centre. Add the 3/4 of the scallions and fry for a couple of minutes and then add the eggs. Let it cook until the egg mixture sets around the chicken, then mix it up and transfer to a seperate plate.

Place the wok back on the heat, add the rest of the oil and coat the sides of the wok. Toss in the drained noodles and stirfry for a few minutes and sear the noodles against the sides of the hot wok. They'll gloop together (gloop = technical term), worry not they'll eventually seperate. Move the noodles around to form a well in the middle of the wok, add your grated carrot and beansprouts and remaining scallions. Stir fry for a few minutes, stiring and pressing the mixture down against the bottom of the wok, then add the soy sauce mixture. Fry for another few mintutes, and then add the chicken/egg mixture back into the wok. Stirfry all together for a few more seconds, add in the coriander, give one stir remove from heat and serve onto individual plates. Some people add peanuts at this point, but I just like some lime juice squeezed over top.

July 9 | Comments (0)

tri-couleur

In honour of the world cup final I thought I'd make a sandwich that would represent both teams. It's a bit of a strech, but I settled on a french baguette filled with the red (tomato), green (avocado) and white (mozza) of the italian flag. Lots of passion in this one!

For the sandwich:
2 vine tomato (sliced)
1 avocado (Sliced)
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella (Sliced)
1 small baguette

For the spread:
10 fresh basil leaves
1 glug of olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 clove of garlic

Add all of the ingredients for the spread into a blender/mixer (or mortar and pestle) and blend until smooth. Cut your baguette in half and then cut each half length wise. Smear both sides with the spread. Put the each piece face up on a cookie sheet (or grilling tray) and place under the broiler until the bread starts to turn brown and the oil starts to bubble. Remove from the oven and place the other ingredients on one side of the baguette. Add the top of the baguette and serve.

July 6 | Comments (0)

wrap

Presenting...another after work meal idea that only takes about 20mins to prepare and cook. This recipe makes about 4-5 big wraps and feeds two people comfortably (I've usually got a couple left for lunch). The picture doesn't do it justice, that said it's not a pretty meal...just filling, healthy and tasty.

500g extra lean ground beef
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 shallot (diced)
Drop of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 small block of cheddar cheese (grated)
3 tomatoes (diced)
Peppers (if you like them)
4 leaves of lettuce (or bag of mixed lettuce)
Dash of green pepper tabasco sauce
Dolop of plain yoghurt/wrap
Package of tortillas X 6ish

Preparing the beef:
Put a small drop of olive oil in the bottom of a frying pan and use a paper towel to smear it around coating the bottom of the pan. Add the shallot and the garlic and fry until the shallot is soft. Add the beef and the spices and mix all the ingredients together, fry until the beef is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Preparing the wraps:
Lay a tortilla flat on a plate (you can heat the tortillas briefly in the oven, I never bother as i'm always in a hurry). Add a dolop of plain yogurt and on top a dash of green tabasco sauce. Smear the mixture around tortilla leaving about 1 inch from the edge clear. Add your beef and the rest of the ingredients (as much as you want to fill the tortilla when folded). Fold up the tortilla and eat immediately. If you don't know how to fold a tortilla follow these instructions.

We also do a variation on this meal with chicken. Just cube your chicken very small and fry in a similar way - minus the cumin (add a bit of lemon juice and some oregano instead).

June 29 | Comments (0)

sarnie

This sandwich is great as both a main meal and as a quick lunch time snack. The key, like any good recipe is in it's ingredients...and most importantly the steak. Get the best you can and you won't be disapointed. Luckily we've got one of the best buchers in London not far from where we live. H.G. Walters stocks some of the best meat around and they've got a wonderful bunch of butchers. They'll cut just about anything you want, and they have a lot of pride in the work they do. If you've got the time, and you're in west London...swing by.

Ingredients
2 x 115-150g/4-5oz sirloin/rump steak, 1cm/½in thick
Mixed leaf salad
Parmesan cheese (block)

For the tomato salsa:
1/2 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
Splash of olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced
350g/12oz baby plum tomatoes
Splash of balsamic vinegar

To serve:
4 thick slices of sourdough bread, or thick french loaf

You'll need to start by making the salsa. Heat a splash of olive oil in frying pan. Add the onion, garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Whilst it's cooking, slice your bread and set it aside, then slice 10 to 12 thin pieces of parmesan cheese and set that aside aswell. Add the tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar to your pan cook until the balsamic has reduced and your tomatoes have burst.

Season your steaks with salt and pepper on both sides and put it on the BBQ or Grill for 1 minute on each side. Pull them off the grill and set aside.

Putting together your sarnie:
Place some tomato salsa on the base of your bread and spread it around, then place your mixed salad on top of the salsa. Place the steak slices on top of the salad and place the pamesan on top of the steak. Spoon over the remaining salsa. Add the final slice of bread, and slice in half to serve.

Like most of the food I make, it's quick, tasty and a firm favorite in our house.

June 28 | Comments (0)

Gai Yang

Grilled chicken with hot and sweet dipping sauce, otherwise known as Gai Yang or Ping Gai. A dish from north-eastern Thailand/Laos, usually cooked in markets and served with a bag of sticky rice. We've made this dish a few times, usually takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook, but the longer you marinate the chicken the better it tastes. This is a great dish for a party, as it tastes great both hot and cold. Pull out the BBQ and make your neighbours jealous with the smell coming from your backyard. Serve with a sweet chili dip and a quick cucumber salad, dressed simply with yoghurt, malt vinegar and pepper.

You can find all sorts of versions using Google. Our slightly adapted version comes from Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alfrod and Naomi Duguid. They've got a website, although it could use some work. It's a shame they haven't spent as much time on their site as they have on their books. Anyhow, here's the recipe.

Marinade
2 tablespoons of black pepper corns
5/6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of chopped corriander
Pinch of salt
2/3 tablespoons of thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

3 pounds of chicken thighs or legs (about 10 to 12 pieces)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl (not the chicken though), then pour the contents into a large zip-lock bag. Now add your chicken to the bag, seal and shake, i've found this is the best way to get an even coating. If you need to use more than one bag, just make sure you split the marinade evenly. Leave the chicken sit in the bag, in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Heat your grill or fire up the BBQ, place chicken on the grill with the bone side down and grill it until it turns brown (usually about 7-8 minutes). Turn over the chicken and cook until golden on that side aswell and until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Hot and Sweet dipping sauce (taken directly from the book, forgive me copyright gods)
1/2 cup of rice or cider vinegar
1/2 cup of sugar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoons of dried red pepper flakes

Place the vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat to a boil. Add the sugar, stirring until it has completely dissolved, then lover heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5 mins. Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, pound or mash the garlic and salt into a smooth paste, stir in pepper flakes and mix well. Remove vinegar mixture from the heat and stir in the garlic paste. Let it cool to room temperature. Makes about 1/2 cup of sauce (about enough for 2/3 people).

I love this type of food, the kind reminds us of our travels to Thailand. Simple food, designed for quick lunches on the go.

June 23

tomato sauce

Everyone has their own special recipe for tomato sauce, including me. I've got a couple of variations based on the amount of time I have when I get home (which during the week is limited). This one takes as long as it takes your pasta to boil. Serves about 2 people and doubling the recipe works fine if you need to serve more.

1 tin crushed tomatoes (I use tinned for speed. If you've got a bit of extra time, use ripe cherry tomatoes.)
1 splash of olive oil (use extra virgin if you've got it)
1 splash of red wine
1 pinch of pepper
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of white sugar
1/4 cup of ripped basil leaves (if you don't have fresh basil, dried is fine)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
200g dried pasta (or fresh if you have)
Grated parmesan - enough to sprinkly generously

1. Put your water on to boil for your pasta.
2. Add a splash of olive oil andyour chopped garlic to a deep frying pan, and heat. Get it to the point where the oil is pretty hot...but don't let the garlic take on any colour. (I find a good way to test, is to flick a bit of water into the oil...it'll sputter if its hot enough.)
3. Once the oil and garlic have had a minute or so to heat up, add in your tomatoes.
4. Your water should be boiling by now, add your pasta.
5. To the oil, garlic and tomatoes add the wine, pepper, salt and sugar.
6. After about 2 min, reduce the heat and let it simmer until you're ready to strain the pasta.
7. Just before you're about to strain the pasta, rip up your basil and add it to the sauce.
8. Strain the pasta and then add the pasta and sauce back to the pot mixing it together, then serve piping hot.
9. Sprinkle some parmesan or pecorino cheese on top.

If you want, add in some italian sausage (you'll have to pre-fry the sausage as the recipe is so quick)...it's a nice addition. Put them in as you're adding the tomatoes. * I cheated in the recipe above and added parseley as I only had dried basil...still looks good though.

June 21

grilled chicken

Need a quick after work dinner? This won't take you more than 1/2 hour to prepare and cook...it doesnt' get better than this. While the chicken is grilling I put some pitta in the oven to warm and quickly put together a yoghurt, garlic, tomato and cucumber salad to accompany the meat. Very tasty.

Lets get started....

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspooon of dried chili (you can use a little fresh chili if you have it)
1/2 lemon
8 boneless chicken thighs (use chicken breasts if you want, i just like the juicy brown meat)

1. Mix oil, onions, parsley, cilantro, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, turmeric and chili in a food processor until thoroughly blended.
2. Cube chicken thighs (or breasts) and place in a large glass dish. Cover with your blended mixture and get stuck in with your hands to make sure the chicken is covered.
3. Heat up your grill, make sure it's piping hot. BBQ would be great for this as well, but i'm thinking a medium heat would be better. You can skewer the meat or just place it on the grill (as i've done) either work.
4. Grill the chicken for 6-7 mins, or until it's cooked through.
5. Serve and squeeze a little lemon on top.



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Work

I am a Planning Director at Critical Mass in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At the moment I'm focusing on the luxury market. I also work on Forkd with my friends at Isotoma.

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