the recipe sharer

Archive: Dec 2012

Mexican chicken bake

This is very easy and very popular!

Serves 4

3/4 cup short grain rice
1&1/2 cups canned red kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
3&1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1&1/4lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut through into halves
12 oz bottle spicy taco sauce (I use a brand called “La Victoria Red Taco Sauce, medium. Available in all supermarkets)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Lightly grease a deep round 8&1/2 inch ceramic casserole dish.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil add the rice and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

In the prepared pan combine the beans and 1&1/2 tbsp of the cilantro, then add the rice and toss together. Lightly press the mixture so that the beans are mixed into the rice and the mixture is flat.

Heat the oil in a a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken thighs for 3 minutes, then turn over. Add the taco sauce and cook another 3 minutes.

To assemble, spread half the cheese over the rice. Arrange the thighs and sauce on top in a star shape, sprinkle with the 1&1/2 tbsp cilantro, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese is melted and slightly browned – remove the foil for the last 5 minutes.
Cut into four servings with a knife and scoop out carefully, keeping the layers intact.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.


Best Caesar Salad dressing

This recipe is great as it par-cooks the egg for those who are worried about salmonella!

Serves 4 to 6

1 large egg
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp anchovy paste to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Immerse the egg in a small pan of boiling water. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it for 10 minutes.
Remove the egg from the water and let it cool for 10 more minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. While the motor is running, add the lemon juice, anchovy paste and pepper and process to combine.
Crack the egg, then spoon it out of the shell into the food processor feed tube.
Pulse the egg with the other ingredients until combined.
Add the oil in a small steady stream until emulsified.
Whisk in 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
Taste for seasoning, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the salad.

Remaining ingredients of a caesar salad 

Chopped Romaine lettuce
Grated parmesan cheese


Glazed orange-hoisin chicken

This is one of our family favorites. It’s also very popular with children because of the sweetness and stickiness the orange marmalade creates, but the hoisin and fresh ginger give it a sophistication.

It’s great straight out of the oven, at room temp and even cold the next day. Terrific for picnics too.

Serves 4


3 tbsp hoisin sauce (Available in the Asian food aisles)
1 tsp chile paste with garlic (If you can only get chile paste, that’s fine too, but add a couple of cloves of minced garlic)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dark or toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup Dundee-orange marmalade

3 to 4lbs chicken quarters

2 tbsp finely chopped scallions
orange slices

1/ Combine all the marinade ingredients except for the marmalade in a large bowl. Add the marmalade and whisk the marinade well. Taste for seasoning.

2/ Add the chicken quarters to the marinade and coat all the pieces evenly. Cover and marinade the chicken for 30 minutes to 2 hours in the refrigerator, turning the pieces once or twice.

3/ Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the chicken quarters skin side up in a large shallow roasting pan and roast for 50 to 55 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Baste with the juices once or twice while it is roasting.

4/ To serve, remove the chicken from the pan and degrease the drippings. Arrange the chicken on a large serving platter, spoon some sauce over it, and garnish with scallions and orange slices.
Serve immediately.

Advance preparation

This recipe can be made 1 day ahead, refrigerated and served chilled or prepare it up to 2 hours ahead through step 2 and refrigerate.


Linguine with gorgonzola, spinach, walnuts and basil

This is a wonderful and very pungent dish with the strength of the gorgonzola buffered by the cooked linguine and sweetness of the balsamic vinegar.
Make sure to add the spinach just prior to serving so it just wilts nicely (This picture is taken pre-spinach!)
For a nice addition try this with a sliced ripe pear!

Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish

1/2 lb linguine (regular , spinach or a mixture or both!)
1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar  It’s worth spending the money
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, washed and cut into slices
4 oz Italian Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled (DON’T be tempted to buy pre-crumbled cheese, it sucks!)
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
4 scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the linguini until it’s al dente, drain and put into a large serving bowl.

To prepare the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.

Mix the vinaigrette with the warm pasta, gorgonzola, walnuts and scallions and just before serving, toss through the spinach.

Szechwan Slaw (CleanCuisine)

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 11.01.11 AM

I intend to make this as a side on Christmas Eve alongside the crown roast of pork  This is delicious and tangy with the freshly grated ginger giving it a real fresh and clean taste. It’s also great with a piece of broiled salmon as a very low fat meal

Serves 8

The Szechwan Dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
salt to taste

The salad

3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 large red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 lb snow peas, sliced thinly and diagonally
1/8 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

To prepare the dressing

In a bowl combine the vinegar, canola, sugar, ginger, red chile flakes, cilantro and salt. Set aside

To prepare the salad

Toast the almonds until golden brown and they start to smell great! You can use a toaster oven or regular oven. It should take about 7 minutes  at 350F. Set aside to cool or do in advance.

Combine the red and green cabbages, red pepper, scallions, carrot, snow peas and sesame seeds.

Fifteen minutes before serving time, toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing, as this allows the flavors to meld while keeping the crisp vegetables intact.

Compote of glazed shallots

So delicious, pink hued and dead simple to make. This style of cooking draws out the fragrance and sweetness of the shallots and they look like jewels on the plate. You can also replace the red wine and red wine vinegar with cider and cider vinegar.
Lovely to accompany a steak or roast of beef.

Serves 8

1&1/2 lbs (approx 24) small, even sized shallots, peeled and left whole. (The ones that split into twins count as 2.)
2 fl oz red wine vinegar
14 fl oz dry red wine
1 tsp sugar

Use a wide, shallow heavy saucepan with will take the shallots in one layer, then simply place all the above ingredients except the sugar in it and bring everything up to simmering point.

Turn the heat down to it’s lowest setting and let the shallots simmer (just a few bubbles breaking the surface) for 1 – 1&1/2 hours.

Turn the shallots over at half time and 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time sprinkle with the sugar.
You should end up with tender shallots glistening with a lovely glaze.

If your heat source is not low enough, you may need to use a diffuser. if it’s more convenient you can cook the shallots in advance and gently reheat them before serving


Sauteed caramelized fennel

Serves 4 to 6

4 medium-sized heads fennel
1 oz butter
1 rounded tsp granulated sugar
10 fl oz medium cider (I use the non alcoholic, non sparkling cider)
2 fl oz cider vinegar

You will need a wide saucepan with a lid., about 9 to 10 inches in diameter into which the trimmed fennel will fit snuggly.

To prepare the fennel bulbs, first cut off the leafy fronds and reserve them for a garnish.
Now trim off the green shoot by cutting diagonally to make a V- shape.
Then slice off the root part at the other end, keeping the bulb intact and remove any tough or brown layers then slice across each bulb to cut it in half

Place the fennel in a fan steamer set in a saucepan with 1 inch of boiling water under it.
Cover and steam for 10 minutes then remove them from the steamer, throw out the water, wipe the inside of the pan with kitchen paper and return it to the heat.

Next, melt the butter and sugar in the saucepan and when it starts to foam, stir it around the pan until the sugar dissolves, then add the fennel, cut side down.
Keeping the heat fairly high, brown it for about 5 minutes then turn the pieces over and brown them on the other side for another 3 minutes.

Now combine the cider, cider vinegar and a little salt and pour this into the pan, then keeping the cut side of the fennel facing upwards, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
After that, turn the fennel over again, then continue to cook for a further 20 – 25 minutes. (this time uncovered)
Watch carefully during the last 10 minutes and test to see if it is cooked by inserting a skewer.

When the fennel is tender enough, raise the heat so that the remaining juices reduce to a glaze.
Shake the pan carefully to give an even coating of the caramel glaze.
Now transfer the whole lot to a warm serving dish with the cut surfaces upwards and scatter with the chopped fennel fronds as a garnish


Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil

Although this is a simple dish, made primarily with pantry ingredients, it’s one of the tastiest fast meals you can have. I have made it when people turn up at the last minute for dinner and it always gets the “wow” factor. The main thing here is to have good quality ingredients. Pay the extra for the good olive oil and the best parmesan cheese. It’s worth it

Serves 4

1 lb spaghetti
12 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of your best olive oil
1&1/2 cups chicken broth
1 heaped cup of finely chopped Italian parsley
freshly ground black pepper
1&1/2 tbsp salt
lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Peel the 12 garlic cloves. Mince 6 of them and set aside.
Slice the remaining garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and very gently saute the sliced garlic until golden brown, stirring. Take the skillet off the heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the salt. Add the spaghetti and cook until just al dente (DON’T overcook as you are cooking the pasta again later)
Drain the pasta and put into a large pot or skillet. Add the chicken broth to the pasta and simmer, stirring, until most of the chicken broth has been absorbed.
Add the heated olive oil with the sliced garlic to the pasta and the chopped parsley and minced garlic and toss thoroughly.

Divide the pasta evenly among heated bowls. Pour any remaining broth over the pasta and serve with generous amounts of grated parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.

Curried lentil soup with yoghurt and cilantro

The perfect weather for warming, filling soup in front of the fire!

serves 4       220 cals per person

1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion (you can use the frozen pre-chopped onions too)
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1&1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (Cayenne pepper)
3 cups chicken broth
1&1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1lb package of vacuum packed steamed lentils (most markets sell these now)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/3 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup 2% reduced-fat Greek yoghurt

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the oil, swirl to coat and add the onion. Saute the onion for about 5 mins, add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 1 minute.

Add the curry powder and red pepper cooking for another 30 seconds stirring constantly.

Add the chicken broth, vinegar and lentils. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil
Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Place half the lentil mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of the blender, secure the lid on the blender and place a clean towel over the opening on the lid. Blend until smooth. This prevents the lid exploding off the top due to the increased build-up of steam in the blender.

Add the blended mixture, spinach, salt and pepper back to the original pan of soup and stir until the spinach wilts.

Stir in 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro and serve. Top each serving with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and sprinkled cilantro.

Spaghetti with Singapore prawns sauce

This is fairly spicy, depending on how much Thai curry paste you put in.
I love it with spaghetti. This would use 1lb cooked spaghetti for 4 people.

1&1/2lbs raw, deveined prawns, (not too large)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 oz mushrooms, sliced,
4 tbsp chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 heaped tsp grated fresh ginger
1&1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1&1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp red This curry paste (I only used 1 tsp, and it was hot enough for me!)
pinch of five spice powder
10 fl oz coconut milk
salt and pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan, put in the mushrooms, green onions, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes.

Add the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, red curry paste and five spice powder and stir well.

The add the coconut milk, a little more salt and pepper and the prawns.

Simmer gently for a few minutes until the prawns have turned pink and serve on a bed of spaghetti, rice or rice noodles.

This sauce can be doubled or trebled, but watch the red Thai curry paste amount. You shouldn’t double that necessarily!