Sunday, April 27, 2008

neil perkin's basque chicken

A taste of Spain now, courtesy of Neil Perkin. Neil is a marketing and strategy cheese at IPC Media, the publisher of lots of magazines and websites. He blogs at Only Dead Fish

'I'm not the greatest cook in the world (which says a lot for how easy this recipe is) but this dish is an absolute dinner party fave. It's been on heavy rotation amongst my friends enough times that everyone must have had it at least twice (and no-one's complained - yet). It's based on an old Delia recipe and these amounts are enough for four people. You'll need:

1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (or 8 pieces bought separately)
2 onions
2 red peppers
About 50 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Olive oil
About 150 g of chorizo sausage
Brown Basmati rice
275 ml Chicken stock (Delia would use the giblets, I use Oxo)
A bit of white wine (about 170 ml)
1 level tablespoon tomato purée
A dash of hot paprika
Tomato puree
50 g of pitted black olives
Half a large orange
A big casserole dish with a lid

To prep...peel and cut the orange into wedges, chop all the black olives in half, measure out 225 ml of the rice in a meauring jug, chop 2 gloves of the garlic, drain and chop the sun dried tomatoes into centimetre wide pieces, skin the chorizo and chop that into centimetre slices

Then...season your chicken pieces well. Chop the peppers in half, remove the seeds, and cut the halves into strips. Chop the onion into strips as well. Heat up a good splash of the olive oil in your casserole on the hob until it's good and hot and then brown the chicken pieces four at a time until they're a golden colour on both sides.

When they're done take them out, leaving all the flavoured oil behind in the casserole, and put them on a plate to the side. Add a splash more oil and get it hot again before adding the peppers and the onions and stir them around to cook for about five minutes. Next add the garlic, dried tomatoes and chorizo and give it another stir for a minute or two.

Then add the rice so that it gets covered in the oil, and then add your wine and the chicken stock, tomato puree and add the dash of hot paprika. Get it to simmering point and put the chicken pieces on top of it, put the orange wedges amongst them and then sprinkle over the olives. Ideally you need to have all the rice under liquid as it will soak it up as it cooks. Lastly, put the lid on and cook it at 180C or gas mark 4 for about an hour - this provides ample time to chinwag with your friends over a nice glass of Rioja.

An hour later, serve it up, take all the plaudits, and drink lots more rioja. Enjoy.'

Friday, April 18, 2008

chris hambly's frutte di mare

Another Italian dish, this time from Web Strategist Chris Hambly.
Chris is the founder a distance learning company based in London UK, which he now manages through his creative web development company Audana.
Chris is also the founder of Mediacamp the new media unconference, and blogs at

take it away Chris...

'Frutte Di Mare means Sea Fruits so get your seafood taste buds wrapped around this.

Also bear in mind, like all great cooking, the ingredients change, just like Chinese whispers can change the meaning of text, so feel free to adapt this to your own needs, that's what I did and do each time.

OK so you are going to need.

Red Onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Moscatel de Valencia (a very sweet wine)
Green Chili
Tomato Passata (tinned toms are fine)

So first take half the red onion and chop it really fine:
The next step is to plenty of the olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and "sweat off" the onions. The secret here is not too hot, do not burn them but get ALL the water out of them, as in ALL the water, "sweat" them off...

While that is doing you should prepare some water for the pasta which should be as salty as the Mediterranean, so get plenty of salt in there. I usually add a lot of salt, some of you may prefer less than me, but hey I'm a salt nut.

Next job is to "sweat off" the tomatoes, and add a tiny amount of green chili and some capers.

You hear me say "sweat off" a lot in this recipe, this is vital in lots of dishes like this. Italian food is oil based not water based (this is one of the key areas some people get wrong), you really need to get all that water out.

Have patience take a bit of time (sip some wine while it's doing)
until the water really has ALL gone. Only the ingredient remains with the oil. Looks delicious already, and the tomatoes at this point have become sweet, if you do not sweat correctly they do not become sweet, they have that sharp taste still.

So now that you have the basic sauce prepared (easy eh), you can get on with washing the seafood.
I have crab sticks, mussels and squid as my seafood, that's a good taste and not too strong in flavour, also the texture is good, firm. Most stores sell this in packs, but you can mix this up from a good fish shop.

So next up is that "special touch", adding some of that deliciously sweet white wine. I like to use dessert wine, very sweet and thick in texture.

Throw plenty in with the seafood and sauce. Again you must "sweat" this down a little, not too much as the seafood will become hard, so don't add too much.

Pasta should be prepared Al Dente, you know, firm to the bite, do not get it all soft and bloated, it is best with texture. This is another key area some people get wrong. Pasta should be textured, firmish.

Lastly you drain the pasta (DRAIN ALL WATER) and mix together,
Note the colours will vary a lot from dish to dish, so don't worry about that but do take note of the textures and amounts.

And lastly get that wine, and enjoy the delightful taste of Chris Hambly's version of Frutte di Mare.

I'd love to hear about it if you do try this version, send a comment in.

Have fun and, always take your time, never rush food, cooking and eating is to be made special.'

Thursday, April 17, 2008

eaon pritchard's beef braciole

Eaon is an interactive creative generalist, currently Head of Channel Development with London based digital agency Weapon7. His popular advertising/marketing and pop cuture blog is Never Get out of the Boat

'Here's my take on an Italian/American classic dish.
Famously featured in that great episode of Everybody loves Raymond where Deborah and Marie compete over who's braciole was the best, and Ray has to choose (between mother and wife!).
It's also cropped up in a couple of episodes of The Sopranos.
The correct name for the dish is Braciole however its been Americanised into Brijole over time.

Purists would say do it all on the hob, however this douchebag chef is happy to stick it in the oven.

Beef Braciole/Brijole

Serve with your favourite pasta or gnocci with a rocket and parmesan salad.

1 lb beef / 8 steaks approximately 1/4 inch thick
8 slices of prosciutto
1 packet pine nuts
Big pile of grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
8 garlic cloves, chopped
Bunch of fresh flat parsley, chopped
Olive oil
3/4 cans imported Italian tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato puree
2 bay leaves
Bunch of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 celery sticks, chopped chopped fine
Red wine
flour spread on a plate for dredging
salt & pepper to taste
Serves 4.

1.Pound steaks with a meat pounder until 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt & pepper. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each one and sprinkle evenly with with the crushed pine nuts, cheese, garlic and parsley. Roll up the slices and tie with kitchen string or fix with a cocktail stick..

2.Heat a good glug of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dredge the braciole in flour shaking off any excess, then place in the pan. Cook until browned on all sides then remove and place in a baking dish.

3.Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add a couple of glasses of red wine and cook until most of liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Pass the tomatoes, with their juices through a seive into the pan. Half fill one of the tomato cans with water and add to pan. Add tomato puree, turn heat to low and cook at a simmer for about 10mins.
Add the sauce to the baking dish with the braciole, mix in the basil, place in a low ish oven (about 120-150) and bake for 2 hours (or until the beef is tender and crumbly).
Top with mozzerella with 20 mins to go if you like,
Serve with the pasta or gnocci and salad.'