Barbequed Chicken with Chili-Aioli

chicken-1I woke today to a pleasant surprise – Delivery of my very own barbeque!
Barbequeing brings back fond memories of my childhood in Sweden where everyone barbeques as soon as the sun manage to stay up for more than a few hours. We did a lot of barbequeing in my family, at one point I think we had something like three DYI barbeques built with bricks scattered around the garden.
This is the first thing I cooked on the Weber. Gutsy flavours for sure but that’s what you want sometimes.I pared it with quite a heady Marsanne which worked quite well. Could also go with a medium bodied red wine.

This makes enough for about 3-4 persons.

Ingredients for the Barbequed Chicken:
700g chicken breast fillets
2 garlic cloves
1 lime
Half a red chili
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp smoked paprika powder
A few dashes of Tamari soy sauce
Salt (smoked sea salt if you have it)

Preparing the barbequed chicken:
Start by preparing the marinade. Press the garlic cloves and the lime into a bowl. De-seed and finely chop the chili. Mix in the chili and the rest of the ingredients.
Cut the chicken fillets into 2 cm big cubes. Put them into the marinade, mix around to make them all coated by marinade. Put some cling film on top of the bowl and marinade in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours, preferably more. Take it out about once per hour and mix it around a bit.
Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to start cooking it.
Thread the chicken pieces on skewers and barbeque for about 6-10 minutes. Turning the skewers halfway through.

Ingredients for the potatoes:
750g Jersey Royal potatoes
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
5 black peppercorns

Preparing the potatoes:
Put a pot of water on to a rolling bowl. Add about a small handful of sea salt to it. You want the water to be quite salty, a bit like sea water. Leave the skin on the garlic but crush them a bit with a chef knife. Add the garlic to the pot with the thyme and peppercorns.
Add the potatoes and let them boil for 15 minutes.
Drain and let cool.
When you are ready to barbeque put the potatoes on and turn them regularly. They will be ready in about 6-10 minutes.

Ingredients for the chili-aioli:
2 egg yolks (in UK I recommend Burford Brown Clarence Court eggs), at room temperature
2 garlic cloves
1 – 2 limes
250 ml groundnut oil (or any other neutral oil), at room temperature
0.25 tsp red chili paste
Salt (smoked sea salt if you have it)
A bit of cayenne pepper

Preparing the chili-aioli:
Press the garlic and one of the limes into a glass bowl. Add salt and pepper, egg yolks and chili paste. Whisk together with a balloon whisk.
Slowly add the oil first to ensure that the emulsion is forming, whisking constantly. Whisk until all the oil has been incorporated.
Check for seasoning and some cayenne pepper if it’s not hot enough. Add more salt, pepper, lime juice if needed.


Jersey Royal Potato Salad

It’s Spring and the arrival of Jersey Royal potatoes is a true delight.
Here I turn them into a quick and easy potato salad for a weekday supper. Serve the potato salad for instance with a few slices of prosciutto crudo.

This serves about two as a main course.

Ingredients for mayonnaise:
2 medium egg yolks (free range please)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 pinches of salt
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
300 ml groundnut oil (or other unscented oil)
1 lemon

Ingredients for the potato salad:
750 g Jersey Royal potatoes
A few salad onions

Preparing the mayonnaise:
With a balloon whisk – Whisk the egg yolks, mustard, salt and cayenne together in a glass bowl. Gradually, at a very slow trickle, whisk in the oil. This early stage is the most delicate and if you do not mix in the oil very slowly the mayonnaise might curdle.
When you mixed in about half the oil, whisk in the lemon juice from half the lemon to thin it down. Continue adding the oil, you can add it quicker at this stage, until it’s all incorporated.
Check for seasoning and correct with more salt, cayenne or lemon juice if needed.

Preparing the potato salad:
Boil a pot of water, add about a small handful of salt and then the potatoes to the boiling water. They will take about 15 – 20 minutes until tender. When done, drain and place on a tray to cool down to room temperature.
When they potatoes have cooled down, cut them into bite sized pieces and add to a bowl. Thinly slice the salad onions, as much as you prefer, and toss it together with the potatoes. Add some salt and pepper and mix well with a healthy dose of the mayo.

Mains, Pasta

Pasta with Chorizo

chorizo_pastaThis is one of those pasta dishes that I make time after time again since it’s so tasty and satisfying, and quick enough to make on a weeknight.

I can really recommend San Marzano D.O.P tinned plum tomatoes if you can get hold of them, they are amazing.

This recipe makes enough for two to three persons.

Ingredients for Pasta with Chorizo:
250 g dried pasta (fettuccine or tagliatelle)
100 g chorizo, diced
250 g mushrooms, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 – 2 normal sized red onions, chopped
1 (400 g) tins of Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
5 fresh plum tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 tsp of tomato puree
1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 – 1.5 tsp hot smoked paprika
About 5 – 10 basil leaves, torn
1 tsp dried oregano
1 – 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (plus extra for garnish)
40 g butter
Olive oil
Sea salt (preferably Maldon)
Black pepper

Preparing Pasta with Chorizo:
Put a large pot of water on the hob for the pasta.
Heat some olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Sweat the onions for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Add the diced fresh plum tomatoes if using and then the tinned plum tomatoes and the tomato puree. Add the oregano, cayenne pepper and chili flakes. Let the sauce boil for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
Heat another frying pan over medium to high heat, add a bit of olive oil and then saute the diced chorizo. After a few minutes add half the butter. When the butter is melted transfer the chorizo to the sauce using a slotted spoon. Add the mushrooms to the frying pan and saute them off, season with a bit of salt and pepper, add the rest of the butter to the mushrooms. When the mushrooms look finished add them to the sauce together with the butter and juices. Add the smoked paprika to the sauce together with the parsley and basil.
Boil the pasta.
Drain pasta when it’s al dente and toss with some extra virgin olive oil (this prevents the pasta from sticking). Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine (alternatively poor the sauce on top of the pasta in the bowls).
Serve the pasta in warmed bowls. Grate over some parmigiano reggiano, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil, a bit of milled black pepper. Add some chopped parsley and a few basil leaves.


Steak with Potato Wedges and Sauce Béarnaise

Ingredients for the potato wedges:
3 medium to large sized potatoes per person (I used Maris Piper)
Handful or so of fresh rosemary twigs
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Two garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt (preferably Maldon)

Preparing the potato wedges:
Bring a pot of water to the boil and put in the thyme sprigs and garlic gloves (with their skins on but crush them a bit with a knife).
Turn the oven on to 200 C. Peel the potatoes and slice each one into six wedges. Put the wedges into the boiling water and let them boil for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain and discard the thyme and garlic.
Put the wedges on an oven tray, drizzle olive oil on top and mix them up a bit so they are all covered by oil. Turn the wedges so that the sharp edge is facing upwards. Season with salt and pepper. Tear off as rosemary leaves and distribute evenly over the potatoes.
Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes turn the oven to grill, 225 C, to get a nice crispy exterior. After about 5 minutes under the grill the potatoes should be ready.
Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar if you need to keep them warm.

Ingredients for the salad:
Rocket salad leaves
Baby plum tomatoes

Preparing the salad:
Cut the tomatoes in two, combine with the rocket leaves. Dress with the vinaigrette.

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:
50 ml Champagne vinegar
150 ml extra virgin olive oil

Preparing the vinaigrette:
Make sure that the oil and vinegar is at room temperature since this makes it easier to form the emulsion. Whisk the vinegar and oil together in a bowl until a good emulsion is formed. Season with salt and pepper. It’s better to prepare the vinaigrette 1-3 hours before needed to let the flavors meld.

More to follow…

Mains, Pasta

Pasta Puttanesca

IMG_0235Pasta Puttanesca is a tasty pasta sauce originating from Rome.
I use a fairly traditional recipe with some of my own tweaks. What pasta to have it with is varying for me, but normally it’s penne, rigatoni, spaghetti or linguine. It’s a great and quick everyday pasta sauce.

This makes enough for 4 persons as a main course.

Ingredients for Pasta Puttanesca:
500 g dried pasta
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
2 (400 g) tins of Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp of tomato puree
3 fresh plum tomatoes, skinned and diced (optional)
150 g pitted black olives, thickly sliced
1 to 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
About 5 – 10 basil leaves, torn
1 tsp dried oregano
1 – 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
Sea salt (preferably Maldon)
Black pepper

Preparing Pasta Puttanesca:
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the chili flakes, cayenne, garlic and anchovies to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have disintegrated. This will take about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and dried oregano if using and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. This will take about 15 minutes. At this stage you can also put the pasta in the pot so it’s ready at about the same time as the sauce.
About 5-10 minutes before the sauce is finished add the basil, olives, capers and parsley if using.
Also check for seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain pasta when it’s al dente and toss with some extra virgin olive oil (this prevents the pasta from sticking). Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine (alternatively poor the sauce on top of the pasta in the bowls).
Serve the pasta in warmed bowls. Grate over some parmigiano reggiano, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil, a bit of milled black pepper. Add some chopped parsley and a few basil leaves.


Cooking loin of lamb en sous vide

Cooking sous vide (french for “under pressure”) has long been used in the professional kitchens. A few years ago people started mentioning it on food blogs and books were released on the topic.
The idea with sous vide is that you cook whatever food you are cooking in a low temperature water bath for a certain amount of time. Since the temperature is relatively low it’s very hard to overcook things. When cooking meat en sous vide we are after a perfectly cooked piece of meat from edge to edge without any of the doneness gradient which we would get if cooking it in a more traditional way. Another pro with sous vide cooking is that the food can be cooked in advance and then reheated or seared to get a nice caramelized surface.
Meat will be cooked at around 58 degrees C for medium rare, fish at lower temperature, say 45 degrees C.
Sous vide can be done at home. All you need is a big pot (it needs to be big to ensure that the water temperature doesn’t drop when food is added) and a termometer (preferably digital).

This “recipe” is for loin of lamb cooked sous vide.

What you need:
A bit pot (say 8 – 10 litres or so)
Termometer (preferably digital with a cable sensor)
Bowl of ice water

Loin of lamb

How to make it:
Take the loins out of the fridge so that they reach room temperature.
Start by filling the pot almost to the top with water. Warm the water on the hob with the termometer measuring the temperature. If you have a gas hob then you might need a heat diffuser to ensure that the temperature from the flame is low enough. When the water reaches 58 C then adjust the heat on the ring to keep it there. Let the temperature stabilize for about 20 minutes.
Trim the loins of fat and silverskin. Brush lightly with olive oil then wrap tightly in all purpose plastic wrap. Twist the ends and then tie them tightly.
Put the packaged loin into the pot and let it cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from pot and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Remove plastic wrap and move to air proof container, transfer to fridge until needed.
Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are ready to sear it so that it reaches room temperature again. Heat a griddle pan over high heat, add some rapeseed oil and then sear the loins briefly on all sides. Remember that the meat is already cooked so you just want to give it a seared exterior.
Let the meat rest for a few minutes covered by tinfoil and then serve.


Chorizo and butterbean stew

This is an easy and delicious rustic stew.

Ingredients for the stew:
350 g butter beans
225 g cooking chorizo
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
175 ml red wine (preferably Spanish)
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
Tomato puree
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon
Olive oil

How to make it:
Cut the chorizo and garlic into thin slices. Put the olive oil and garlic in a pan over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the chorizo and cook until the slices are lightly browned on all sides. Add the chopped onion and continue to cook until the onions are soft. Add the red wine and cook until the wine has reduced to almost nothing.
While the wine is reducing chop up the plum tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and a bit of tomato pure. Add the beans, thyme and some chopped parsley as well. Season with salt and pepper. Let the stew simmer for a good 15 minutes until it’s nice and thick.
Check for seasoning and squeeze some lemon juice into the stew if you think it needs some acidity.
Spoon the stew into bowls, scatter some chopped parsley on top and serve with a nice toast of bread.

Mains, Soup


It’s been really hot in London this week, so a perfect time to do the first proper recipe from “The French Laundry Cookbook” that I got last weekend. Gazpacho!

I made the balsamic glaze the day before making this and it was really easy, the only thing to keep in mind is to keep the heat very low. I used my diffuser which made it a lot easier but the glaze still started to bubble a bit after 2 hours on the hob so I had to move it to one half of the diffuser to keep the temperature. All in all the cooking of the glaze took about 2,5 hours. After the glaze was done I stored it in a little squeeze bottle in my cupboard.
This soup was truly amazing… bursting with flavours. First you got tomato and cucumber, then the heat from the cayenne and the onions and finally the sweetness from the balsamic glaze.
Perfect for a warm summer night in the beginning of July.
We enjoyed the soup with some bread sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and then lightly toasted under the grill.
The wine was a kiwi Chardonnay that worked very well with the soup. Since the soup is quite powerful and spicy you need something like a buttery and big (think New World wines) Chardonnay with quite low acidity to match it.

Ingredients for the balsamic glaze:

500 ml balsamic vinegar (I used Aceto Balsamico Di Modena)

Preparing the balsamic glaze:

Heat the vinegar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from the liquid. Place the saucepan on a heat diffuser and let the liquid reduce very slowly (it shouldn’t simmer) for 2 to 3 hours, until it has reduced and thickened to a syrupy glaze. There should be approximately 1/2 cup of glaze. Keep the glaze in a squeeze bottle at room temperature for garnishing: if the glaze is too thick, warm the bottle in hot water to loosen the glaze.

Ingredients for the gazpacho:

240 ml chopped red onions (about 1 medium sized red onion)
240 ml chopped green bell pepper (about 1,5 medium sized green pepper)
240 ml chopped English cucumber (about 1 cucumber)
240 ml chopped and peeled tomatoes (about 4 medium sized tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
60 ml tomato paste (I couldn’t find tomato paste so I around 2 tablespoons tomato pure instead)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
90 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
710 ml tomato juice (I used 750 ml because that’s what was in the bottle)
Sprig of thyme

Preparing the gazpacho:

1. Mix all the ingredients except the balsamic glaze together in a bowl or other container, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, remove the thyme and blend all the ingredients in a blender until the gazpacho is smooth. You will have about 2 quarts. For a smoother texture, strain the soup to yield about 1 quart. Refrigerate the gazpacho until ready to serve.

To complete: Ladle the cold soup into bowls and squeeze dots of balsamic glaze over the top.

Mains, Pasta

Pasta salad with chicken breast

This is a pasta salad that I keep returning to and I cook it pretty much all year around, biased towards the warmer months of the year though.  It’s best in the summer when one can barbecue the chicken.

Ingredients for Pasta salad with chicken breast:
4 chicken breasts
400 gram penne
1 red onion
1 red chili
500 gram cherry tomatoes
100 gram mozzarella
20 or so black pitted olives
Olive oil
Half a pot of basil
4 cloves of garlic
White wine vinegar

For the butter:
200 gram room tempered butter
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp black pepper
1 shallot

Preparing Pasta salad with chicken breast:

Preparing the chicken:
Start by preparing a simple marinade for the chicken. Mix one part of white wine vinegar and three parts extra virgin olive oil. Chop the garlic cloves finely and mix with the oil and vinegar. Add some chopped basil as well.
Put the chicken filets in a bowl or oven dish and poor the marinade over. Cover with cling film and leave the chicken in the fridge to marinade for an hour or so.

The butter:
Chop the shallot very finely. Mix it with the butter, vinegar and black pepper in a bowl. You can also add some pressed garlic if you want. When it’s all mixed put it on a piece of greaseproof paper and make into a roll. Put the roll in the fridge so the butter becomes more solid again.

The salad:
Finely chop the red onion. Cut the chili lengthwise and take out the kernels. Chop the chili finely as well. Cut the olives in chunks if you want. Put everything in a bowl and tear the mozzarella in pieces to put in as well. Mix everything a bit.
Cook the pasta and let it cool if you want to serve a cold pasta salad or cook it later if you want the pasta to be hot. Mix the pasta with everything else in the bowl.

Turn on the oven at about 150 C (for fan assisted oven). Put some of the shallot butter in a frying pan and let the chicken fillets fry for a few minutes on each side. Then put the frying pan in the hot oven and let the chicken cook for about 15 – 25 minutes or so.

When the chicken is finished put the chicken fillets on top of some salad on the plate and then put a slice or two of the butter on top of the chicken.