Thursday, March 24, 2011

Butter Chicken

I saw Gordon Ramsay on the telly a while back when he was going to India and getting back to cooking authentic Indian food.   All the dishes he was cooking up looked fantastic, plus I'm a fan of Indian food.  So I decided to buy the book and haven't been disappointed since.  The curries and dishes from the book in my opinion are better than take aways any day.  (At least the ones I've had, I'm all for trying new places)

One night I was in the mood for an Indian dish, so I pulled out my Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape cook book and flipped through the pages.  My mouth was watering at every recipe.  I decided on Butter Chicken because I've made it a few times before and it's really tasty!!  Even though there is a lot going on the flavors are amazing and it's worth the time letting it marinate.

Butter Chicken
Serves 4

800g boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 cm knob of ginger peeled and finely grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot or mild chili powder
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
75ml natural yogurt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin

1.5 tbsp ghee or melted unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 cm fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
2 cardamom pod, seeds lightly crushed
3 cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
1tsp garam masala
1tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp hot or mild chili powder
250 ml tomato puree
1 tbsp lemon juice
40 g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
1 tbsp chopped coriander to garnish

Place the chicken in a bowl and add the garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder and lemon juice.  Give a good mix and cover with cling film chilling for 30 minutes.  Mix together the yogurt, garam masala, turmeric, and cumin and add to the chicken, making sure each piece is well coated with all the yumminess.  Cover again and chill for 3-4 hours to let the flavors make some love. 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.  Put the marinated chicken pieces on a grill rack set on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes.

For the sauce, heat the ghee or utter in a pan and add the garlic and ginger.  Fry for a minute or so then add the cardamom, cloves coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chili powder.  Stir well and fry for 1-2 minus until they give off a lovely aroma.  Stir in the tomato puree and lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes.  Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir well to coat.  Finally, add the butter (that's why they call it butter chicken) and cream and stir continuously until the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth as silk.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Transfer to a warm bowl and serve hot over rice, garnished with chopped coriander.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Squid Stuffed With Shrimp

I love squid whether is fried, sauteed, baked, get the idea and I love trying new dishes.  So I put those two together and found a great dish to make.  I got The Silver Spoon Italian cook book for Christmas from my wonderful girlfriend and have been using it quite often.  Maybe she was getting bored with my meals and thought I needed some inspiration...haha (totally kidding)  With 1200 pages and over 2000 recipes I won't run out of meals to cook anytime soon.  So this is where I adapted the recipe from and add some changes to it.  

Squid Stuffed With Shrimp
3 large squid cleaned
300g/11oz cooked shrimp peeled and chopped
1 medium sized potato chopped (peeled if you like, I kept the skin on mine)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1/4 cup of double cream
1 cup of passata
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped (separated)
1 tsp dried basil

Boil the potato until fork tender, drain and mash with fork or potato masher.  Cook the squid tentacles in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and chop.  Mix together the mashed potato, tentacles, shrimp egg yolks, 1 tbsp parsley, and bread crumbs in a bowl and season with a little S+P.
Spoon the mixture into the body sacs of the squid, making sure not to overfill them, and close with toothpicks (I didn't have any and it started to squirt out but no big deal).

Heat EVOO in a large frying pan, add garlic and cook for a couple minutes until browned, then remove.  Add the squid to the pan and cook over low heat for about 25-30 minutes.  Stir the cream into the passata, add the remaining parsley and basil and pour over the squid heating through.  Taste and add seasoning if needed.

I served mine over whole wheat pene.  Buon Appetito! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mom's Sloppy Joes

I remember way back in middle and high school the great food that was served....just a bit of sarcasm.  Sloppy Joes especially with the meat in some red sauce steaming in the tray waiting to be spooned onto a small, flat, tasteless bun by the lunch lady.  This song reminds me of it oh so well.  I never let my taste buds anywhere near that chow.
Now on the other hand my mom's Sloppy Joes were fantastic.  With my dad working long hours and my mom going back to school we had these regularly because they are really easy to whip up and delicious.
When I was home last my mom gave me a copy of the family cookbook.  We have a large Italian-American family and it was my Aunt Loretta's idea to compile a list of everyone's favorite home made recipes to share and put them into a little book.

This has some great recipes in it.  No it's not for sale, just something that was passed around the family...but that gives me an idea for a future one!  So this is where I got the Sloppy Joe recipe from.  This recipe actually came from a cousin about 30 years ago and has been passed around to many family members but I call it mom's. 

Mom's Sloppy Joe's
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
About 1 tbsp Olive oil
Shredded cheddar cheese to top it off

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Throw in (not literally) the ground beef and cook through.  Add the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, S+P and give a good stir.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Since I like to do everything from scratch I even made my own rolls.  I've visited and tried many dishes from this site many times and have never been disappointed.  This is a great recipe for home made buns/rolls.  I tested one right out of the oven because I had to see how it tasted, I let it cool of course but just a little.  It was really good so I scarfed the rest of it down.  No more store bought buns for me.
I like mine with cheese but you can leave it out if you want.  I also served it with some chips (that's what they call them here in England)/potato wedges and a nice cold gin and tonic.  Be sure to have plenty of napkins...why else would they call them sloppy?