Archive for September, 2007

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Roast potatoes

September 30, 2007

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Cut 6 medium potatoes into 1-1.5 inch chunks, then par-boil for ten minutes until soft. Drain the potatoes (keeping the water) into a sieve and shake them about in the sieve a couple of times, to loosen the outsides. This will give you extra crunchy bits when they are roasted. Drizzle 2 tbps of fat (see ‘Tips’ below) into a large roasting tin and place in the oven for 2 minutes to heat the oil.

Remove the tin from the oven and add the potatoes, stirring and turning until they are all well coated with the fat. Cook for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes, until they are crispy and golden.

Tips:
– the best ever fat for roast potatoes is goose fat, followed by duck fat. If you’ve roasted one of these birds before and kept the fat then use this
– the other superb fat for roast potatoes is half butter, half olive oil. The butter creates a super-rich taste, and the olive oil stops the butter from burning
– save the potato water to make a really tasty, wholesome gravy
– keep the skins on for extra fibre

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Vegetable Nut Roast

September 26, 2007
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Vegetable nut roast

When I was trying to come up with a nut roast recipe, this was the other on my shortlist. It has a much higher nut content than the cheese and tomato version. This also makes it more crumbly, but also gives it more of a crunch, and a definite nuttiness!

Recipe for vegetable nut roast
600g mixed nuts: peanuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts
100g mixed seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
225g tin of green lentils
1 medium aubergine
2 sticks celery
1 medium carrot
1 medium courgette
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
100g brown bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons mango chutney
50g cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

First, put half the nuts in a blender and whizz until they are in fine, 1mm chunks, then whizz the other half until they are a little finer and put into a large mixing bowl.
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Finely chop the onions and garlic, then gently fry them in a large frying pan. Chop the aubergine into 1cm cubes and add to the pan with the herbs, spices and seasoning and cook until soft.

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Meanwhile grate the carrots, celery and courgette and then add to the pan and cook together for about 10 minutes.

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Stir in the soy sauce, mango chutney and egg and then add the drained lentils, nuts and breadcrumbs and mix it all together evenly. Then transfer it all to a large silicon loaf tin, top with the grated cheese and cook at 190°C for 45 minutes.

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When it’s cooked, let it cool for a couple of minutes, then carefully turn out onto a chopping board, where it can be sliced to serve.

Tips:
– If all the grating and chopping is a pain, you can cheat by chopping it in a food blender – it saves load of time. The end result will be smaller pieces than if you had grated it, but that really doesn’t matter in the finished nut roast.

– If you or any of your diners think nut roast as a main course is not manly enough, it can also be served as a delicious side dish with pork or chicken, or any other meal you fancy putting it with (this made it much more palatable for Mr Rice).

– This nut roast freezes really well. Just cut the slices to the size you want, then wrap carefully and tightly in cling film. Re-heat it in the microwave with some extra grated cheese instead of cheese on toast!

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Home made Cajun chicken nuggets

September 22, 2007

I once heard someone dismiss chicken nuggets as ‘juvenile food’, which made me laugh at the time. Like frozen burgers, fish fingers or baked beans, chicken nuggets are no doubt used by many parents as quick and convenient for teenagers. In addition to this, they are also consumed by students for the same reason. Hence the ‘juvenile’ moniker. The pre-packed versions are processed, full of chemicals and salt and contain the dreaded ‘reformed’ meat.

But the great news is that -like burgers – chicken nuggets are so easy to make yourself, and so much healthier, that the frozen, pre-made variety should be banished from your mind forever. And they can be as sophisticated, healthy and adaptable as any other meal you care to create.

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Recipe for home made cajun chicken nuggets
2 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 egg
100g brown breadcrumbs
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp Cajun spice
1 tsp parmesan
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil

Gently heat the oil in a large frying pan. Into a blender add the garlic clove and whiz until finely chopped, then add the breadcrumbs, paprika, sea salt, Cajun spice and parmesan and whiz again, until it is all well chopped and blended. Transfer onto a medium plate or large, low-sided bowl. Gently beat the egg and transfer into large, low-sided bowl. Put the flour onto a plate and then arrange each ingredient in the following order on your work surface: flour, egg, breadcrumbs.

Chop the chicken into 1 ½ inch pieces, then coat each piece in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, and drop into the pan four or five at a time. The oil should be hot enough to make the nuggets sizzle as they hit the pan, but keep the heat low enough that the nuggets are cooked through by the time the breadcrumbs are golden brown. When cooked on one side, turn to cook the other, then put each batch in a bowl in the oven until they are all done. Serve with salad, mayonnaise and ketchup.

©Katheryn Rice 2007

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Ginger & Lime Cheesecake

September 18, 2007

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Something this heavenly shouldn’t be so easy, but it really is. I urge you to make it for someone who deserves it! The original idea for this cheesecake came from my mum when, many years ago I called her one evening for help with an idea for a pudding for a boy I fancied. She told me the basic recipe, which I wrote on a corner of the newspaper, with the phone wedged between my cheekbone and my shoulder. And of course the boy in question* couldn’t resist temptation when it was so beautifully presented to him on a plate.

I don’t know where the scrap of paper is anymore but I don’t need it these days, as I have tinkered with this recipe so many times, it is etched into my mental memory banks for good.

Even the coldest heart will melt when a slice of this dessert passes through their lips, so get cooking!

Recipe for Ginger and Lime Cheesecake
2 packets of ginger biscuits
75g butter
3 balls of stem ginger, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp ginger syrup
250g tub mascarpone cheese
200g tub cream cheese
400g can condensed milk
juice and zest of 2 limes

First, the cathartic bit: put half the ginger biscuits into a strong freezer bag, seal it up tightly and then smash the biscuits to smithereens with a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and do the same to the other half of the biscuits, so they are reduced to a pile of crumbs, with perhaps a few larger pieces in for extra bite. Be careful during the smashing session that you don’t make a hole in the bag. If this happens, put the biscuits into a new bag and carry on.

In a large pan melt the butter slowly, then add all the biscuits and stir thoroughly until the butter and biscuits are well combined and moist.

The tin you will need for this cheesecake is a high-sided 9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin. I usually use silicon for all my baking, but have never had the balls to try it with this in case the base breaks when being removed from the tin. This cheesecake needs a solid tin, so my advice is to avoid silicon for this recipe.

Grease the tin and then tightly pack the biscuit base into the tin and at least ¾ of the way up the sides of the tin too. It’s really important to do this, as this will hold the cheesecake together, and allow you to serve it without the tin.

When the base is well pressed into the tin, drizzle the ginger syrup over the base and scatter the stem ginger pieces on the bottom so they are evenly distributed.

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Then put the base in the freezer to set while you make the filling. Leave it for at least half an hour, but an hour is best.

Get a large mixing bowl and add all the cheeses and the condensed milk. Whisk it all together until it is completely smooth. Then add the lime juice and zest and whisk again until it is fully combined. You can taste the mixture at this stage and add more lime juice / cheese / condensed milk to suit your taste.

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The base is set when it is really hard and cold. It will not be this hard or cold when you serve it, but it needs to reach this state to be properly set. So, when it’s set, simply pour / spoon the mixture into the base, until it is about 1cm from the top of the base (NOT the tin). Don’t overfill it, or it won’t work. Then put it back into the freezer to set.

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You can leave your cheesecake in the freezer for 1 hour to 2 weeks, depending on when you plan to serve it. If your cheesecake has been in the freezer for more than 2 hours, you will need to get it out 1 hour before you want to serve it. It’s also important to take it carefully out of the tin as soon as you get it out of the freezer. This is when the base will be at its most firm, and therefore the least likely to break. To remove it, pass a knife very gently around the sides, separating the base from the tin. When it is all loosened, gently release the clip holding the bottom of the tin in place, and slowly put it onto its serving plate.

*yes, of course it was Mr Rice.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Cheese & Tomato Nut Roast

September 12, 2007

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Nut Roast is something I have been thinking about making for a while. I’ve eaten ready made ones before, and possibly eaten it at a restaurant once or twice, so it’s always been in the back of my mind to conquer at home. Nut Roast is potentially very healthy and balanced, being made of nuts (protein and fibre) and vegetables. I expected the main challenge to be how to make it tasty, so I decided to experiment with the additional ingredients.

This recipe relies on cheese and tomato to add depth to the nut flavour. These additional ingredients also help to keep the roast moist throughout cooking.

Recipe for Cheese and Tomato Nut Roast
250g mixed nuts (peanuts, cashews, walnuts are the best)
50g pumpkin seeds
50g sunflower seeds
6 shallots, finely chopped
440g tin chopped tomatoes
1 egg
100g cheddar cheese
50g parmesan
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp sage
½ tsp thyme
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 lemon, zest & juice
salt & pepper for seasoning

Place all the nuts in a large frying pan and toast gently for five minutes or so until golden. Then grind them with the seeds in a food processor until they are finely chopped but still a bit chunky, so you will still get a bite. Put all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until all is well combined. Then add the nuts, and stir thoroughly again, until everything is combined.

Transfer the mixture into a large silicon loaf tin. Cook on the top shelf of the oven at 180°C for 50 minutes, until the roast is firm and golden brown, remove from the oven and top with the cheddar and parmesan, then cook for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

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© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Chocolate brownies & white chocolate blondies

September 5, 2007
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Chocolate brownies and white chocolate blondies

This mountain of chocolate brownies and white chocolate blondies (brownies made with white chocolate) is one of a trio of the best desserts I have made so far. They were as crunchy, chewy, sweet and chocolatey as they could be and they went down very well indeed.  

I have already posted my healthy chocolate brownies recipe, but this is the full fat, full sugar version, which my eating companions insist I post, so here it is:

Recipe for chocolate brownies
1 pack of dark chocolate drops
50g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
110g butter
2 eggs
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g brown sugar
25g demerera sugar
¼ tsp salt

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl over a pan of hot water (a bain marie). Make sure the bottom of the bowl stays out of the water, so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Stir it together until it is all blended, then simply add all the other ingredients and stir again until completely mixed. Finally, add the chocolate drops, give a quick stir and then transfer to a square silicon tin and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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To make white chocolate blondies, just replace the 50g of dark chocolate and packet of chocolate drops with white chocolate.

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When it’s cooked it will be springy to the touch, but remember that the skewer test does not apply here, as you want the end result to be sticky and moist, not clean and dry like a cake. They will be crispy on top and gooey inside. Let the brownies cool a bit in the tin, then cut into pieces – as small or big as you like.

There are so many varieties of chocolate brownie recipe around that much as I love this recipe, I have decided to try some of the others I have come across. Keep an eye on my new ‘chocolate brownies’ category for my latest brownie experiment.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Mr Rice’s Halloumi and Chorizo Sandwiches

September 1, 2007

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Mr Rice is getting into the high protein, lower carb way of eating, and he cleverly used this as a basis for these no bread, high-protein sandwiches.

Halloumi and Chorizo both have very strong flavours, but rather than clashing, they go very well. The salty, chewy cheese really teams up well with the tangy, chewy meat. I think what makes it works so well is that the flavours are equally sttrong, so rather than one dominate the other, they both get their message across. The houmous underneath smoothens everything out, and it’s all wrapped up in a crispy lettuce leaf. Maximum protein and minimum carbohydrate.

Recipe for Mr Rice’s Halloumi and Chorizo Sandwiches
½ pack of Halloumi Cheese
8 slices of Chorizo
4 crisp lettuce leaves
½ tub of houmous

Slice the halloumi into cm thick portions and cook on both sides under a medium grill. Grill or fry the chorizo slices. Assemble as follows: lettuce, houmous, chorizo, halloumi.

Fold the lettuce around the topping and tuck in.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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