Friday, 15 September 2017

Mum's Mediterranean Rice

My Mum makes the best 'all in one' rice dish I have ever tasted (and I'm not just saying that because it's my Mum and I have to!!) It's rich, spicy, bursting in flavours and is the perfect dish for an al fresco weekend meal -one to share with family - especially on an early autumn weekend in the sunshine.

It was a surprise visit on our part - a quick phone call just before we arrived and Mum obviously invited us to eat with them. When we arrive she was in full swing in the kitchen with numerous bowls over every surface, each one loaded with prepared ingredients - from olives, to peppers, onion, tomatoes and herbs. The smell was amazing!

So having arrive just as cooking was about to commence, I had my camera, Dad and Andrew were off to sort out a stuck horse trailer (that's another story for another time!) so what else could I do but turn Mum's meal prep into a photo shoot and share the awesomeness (am I allowed to use that word seeing as I'm over the age of 8 year?) of this dish with you.

Recipe - Serves 4 (well)

4 Skinless chicken breast
8 floz whole grain rice (measured in a jug)
50g Kalamata olives - stoned and ripped in half
2 large peppers (yellow or orange)
2 onions
50g sun dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic - large and fat
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herds - mix of thyme, parsley, rosemary and oregano
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rich tomato paste
half teaspoon paprika - hot
3 or 4 fresh bay leaves - or 2 dried
275ml chicken stock
170ml dry white wine
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Before you can start to cook it's important to get everything prepared first. So....... cut each chicken breast into 4 large chunks. Peel the onions and cut into wedges (leave the root unbroken so the wedges stay whole) cut the peppers into long thick strips and peel and finely chop the garlic.

Measure out your rice, chop the herbs and cut up the sun dried tomatoes into strips it they are rather on the large size.

So once all that is done your ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 4

Set a large casserole pot over a medium to high heat and add half the olive oil. Once hot add the chicken and fry to seal on all sides. Remove from the pan and add the rest of the oil. Now add your peppers and onions. Cook for about four to five minutes - allowing them to catch on the edges. Next add the sun dried tomatoes and the garlic - move it all around to distribute the flavours and then add the rice. Stir the pan to get the rice coated in the oils and then add the tomato paste, the paprika and the chopped herbs.

Pour in the wine, along with the stock, give the pan a good shake and allow to come to the boil. Add a little salt and pepper, then place the chicken back into the pan, sprinkle the olives on the top and tuck in the bay leaves.

Pop the lid on and place in the oven for approx 60 - 80 minutes (check the rice after about 50 minutes it maybe ready it really depends on the variety of wild rice)

Whilst its cooking it gives you time to tidy up the kitchen and enjoy the garden with a glass of wine in hand.

Once cooked serve on it's own or with a green salad and maybe some diced feta. This is a very amenable dish and will sit quite happily in the oven (on a lower heat) until your ready to serve.

This was the best way to spend a late summer/early autumn - an informal late lunch, enjoyed out side with good wine, good food and excellent company.

Thanks Mum! - oh and in case you were wondering they did sort out the stuck horse trailer!!

Have a great weekend - here's the printable recipe
Love Lizx


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Pimms Fruit Salad

I don't like to just save the Pimms for watching tennis for two weeks in the summer - I'm happy to drink it all year round, but one of my favourite uses is to pour a good glassful over chopped red fruits to make a simple boozy pudding. If it's just adults partaking, then I will just slosh as much as I wish over the bowl of fruit, maybe stir in a little vanilla sugar to sweeten and then leave to marinate in a warm place for a few hours. But if I have a mixed group of ages I make up a hot syrup that helps remove the alcohol - best to be safe than sorry!

Recipe - serves 4

500g mixed red fruit - I used cherries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
70g Sugar
200ml Pimms
juice of a lime

Sprigs of mint to finish - optional

First prepare your fruit. Give it all a good rinse under icy cold water, then stone and half the cherries, hull and quarter the strawberries, check over the raspberries - remove any soggy ones - and finally remove any blueberries that are looking a bit green - these will be too sour.

As a rule try to always buy ripe but firm summer fruits, slightly soft or starting to look bruised will mean they will go bad very quickly - usually within a few hours - and the flavour will be poor and musty.

Set the fruit into a serving bowl, cover and leave in a warm place whilst you make up the syrup.

Warm a dry pan over the heat, when hot remove from the stove and pour in the Pimms. It will spit and sizzle as the alcohol is burnt off. Return to the stove, lower the heat and add the sugar along with half the lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into a cold jug. Once cool pout over the fruit and gently fold in. Taste and add the rest of the lime juice if you want a sharper taste.

Cover and again leave at room temperature for a few hours before serving. Garnish with a sprig of mint if you wish.

This fruit salad is perfect paired with ice white vanilla ice cream, or piled on meringues filled with whipped cream, or simply serve with pouring cream and a few shortbread biscuits.

This mixture is also perfect for a summer pudding. Simply place the fruit salad into a pan and warm over a medium heat until the blueberries burst and all the red juices of the fruit flow. Cut the crusts of a sliced white loaf, butter the slices on one side and use them to line a pudding bowl. Fill the centre with the fruit - including all the juices - pop a slice of bread on the top to seal and, using a tea saucer and a few weights, weigh the top down. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the juices to work into the bread and the flavours to marinate. Remove from the fridge a few hours before serving to allow it all to relax.

Turn out onto a plate to make a very impressive dessert. Serve with pouring cream.

Have a great day - here's the link to a printable
Love Lizx