Basque chicken

Basque Country sits in the Pyrenees and straddles parts of France and Spain. Read more about Basque culture here.

This recipe is easy to make, but takes one-and-a-half hour in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit/ 170 Celsius/ gas mark4.

Basque Chicken Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
1 chorizo sausage, sliced into thin slices
2 chicken breasts
3 large garlic cloves through garlic press
1 red pepper
100g French beans (optional, I only added these because they were to hand)
l large onion chopped
4 tsp parsley
1 cup rice (uncooked)
3 cups chicken broth
l tsp Italian seasonings
l tbsp olive oil or more for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  1. Fry the onion, garlic and chorizo slices gently in the oil until the onions are translucent and the chorizo becomes soft. (The chorizo adds a great colour)img_20170728_164136477.jpg
  2. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of an oven-proof dish with lid and add the fried mix and the rest of the ingredients.
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  3. Place in the middle of the preheated oven for 1.5 hours. Do check in between to make sure that the rice is getting to dry. In that case add more water.
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I served ours with a mixed salad from the allotment.
You could experiment a bit. Use a spicy chorizo or add different vegetables. I’m sure the Basques won’t mind.
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Spanish Country Salad

The hot weather demands a nice simple salad.
The more recipes I write, the more I realise that many recipes are not really country specific, but are just dictated by the foods that are typically available in the region.
This Spanish Country Salad recipe  seems like many Mediterranean ones. It seemed like a Spanish version of the French Salade Niçoise.

Throwing together potatoes, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, onion, tuna and olives, with a quick splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar, it was very quick and simple to make, and beautifully light and refreshing on a hot summer day. I served it with a Mediterranean bread.

Give it a go!

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Steamed artichokes with lemon butter sauce (Southern Europe)

This recipe has been claimed by French and Italian friends, so I am going to be flexible in its origin.
Globe artichokes are typically grown in warmer Mediterranean climes, but they also grow quite well on our British allotment.
Here’s today’s harvest:

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For a light lunch, I followed this recipe. Very easy, just steam for half and hour or so (until the bottom petals pull away easily.
I didn’t bother cutting the top third off, as the recipe suggests.

Eating artichokes is very much a hands-on affair. It’s slow, slightly messy and very sociable!
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Bon appetit or buon appetito!

Country Pork Chops, French style

img_20170616_185727.jpgI had pork chops and wanted to make something slightly different, and this recipe certainly hit the spot. It’s quick and easy to make too!

Just fry the pork chops on both sides until nearly cooked through, then set aside to make the sauce.

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For the sauce just add the ingredients and reduce the sauce until thickened. Then return the chops and cook for a further few minutes.

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The combination of red wine vinegar, brown sugar, prunes and olives gave it a lovely and rich sweet-and-sour flavour. I’m sure we will have this again.
I opted to serve it with new potatoes and home-grown broccoli.

Give it a try!

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Bauernfrühstück (Germany)

This is really another potato omelette version, this time German style. It is my husband’s birthday and I fancied making a fry-up of some kind for breakfast.

I found this video with an old DDR (German Democratic Republic) recipe. No German language skills required. 😉

I used our own eggs, laid by our favourite Cream Legbar hen Ginger. It’s her way of wishing hubby a happy birthday.


The recipe is very easy to make, the ingredients are cheap and hubby really liked it. So a winner all round!

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Sorry about the shortness of this blog, but gotta dash. Things to do, people to see…

Real Spanish omelette

I suppose the title should be “Real Catalonian omelette”, but sticking with the EU theme I decided to use Spain. Apologies to my Catalonian friends

For us at home “Spanish omelette” has always meant throwing everything you can find in the fridge in the frying pan with a few eggs – peppers, peas, sausages, oh and yes, a few potatoes too.
So it was a surprise to find that a real Spanish omelette only has very few ingredients: Potatoes, onions, oil, parsley, eggs and seasoning. The recipe is from the BBC Goodfood page and can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 500g new potatoes
  • 1 onion, preferably white
  • 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 6 eggs

Method

  1. Scrape the potatoes or leave the skins on, if you prefer. Cut them into thick slices. Chop the onion.img_20170512_165349991.jpg
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the potatoes and onion and stew gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are softened. Strain the potatoes and onions through a colander into a large bowl (set the strained oil aside).
  3. Beat the eggs separately, then stir into the potatoes with the parsley and plenty of salt and pepper. Heat a little of the strained oil in a smaller pan. Tip everything into the pan and cook on a moderate heat, using a spatula to shape the omelette into a cushion.

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  4. When almost set, invert on a plate and slide back into the pan and cook a few more minutes. Invert twice more, cooking the omelette briefly each time and pressing the edges to keep the cushion shape. Slide on to a plate and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

The huge amount of oil freaked me out a bit, and I used tons of kitchen towel to gat rid of access oil. I suppose in future I might try parboiling the potatoes rather than frying them … although that may not be the Spanish way!

I should have used a smaller frying pan for the actual omelette because it came out much thinner than in the recipe picture.
Still nice though.

I prefer omelette cold, but today we had it hot with asparagus and salad.

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Karelian pasties – Finland

These are little open pasties that are sold everywhere in Finland, supermarkets and cafes a like. But they are always best when baked at home.

Dough

200ml water

1 ½ tsp salt

400ml fine rye flour

100ml plain flour

(1 tbsp vegetable oil)

 

Filling:

300ml pudding rice / or I sometimes use Arborio rice too

1500ml full fat milk

2 ½ tsp salt

 

1 egg

 

Butter (melted) & milk

 

Method:

I often prepare the filling the night before so it has cooled down to use in the morning.

Bring the milk to boil, add rice and boil about 15 minutes. It will still be a little bit runny when turning the hob off but it will settle, once cooled down a bit add the salt.

To make the pasty mix plain flour, rye flour, water and salt together – if it feels very dry little bit of oil can be added although I never do. Transfer the dough to well-floured surface and roll it into a long sausage shape. With a knife cut approximately 25 slices. Roll each one into a ball. With a rolling pin roll each one into a thin round shape, approximately 12 centimeters wide. It’s useful to cover other dough balls with cling film or a dish so they don’t dry too much.

Once you are ready to assemble the pasties and the filling has cooled down mix one egg into the filling.

To assemble to pasties put filling in the middle of each round shaped wrap, leave space on the sides. Then lift the sides to make an oval shape open pasty – with your fingers pinch the pasty to encase the filling.

preparing

Melt butter and mix little bit of milk in.

Bake in 300℃ (or any high temperature if your oven does not reach this) for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Once Karelian pasties are baked they are hard, when you remove them from the baking sheet brush them with the melted butter / milk mixture and pile together in a dish with a lid. Leave for 15 minutes to soften the pasties.

They can be served on their own, or with any topping you like.

ready

 

Schnitzel (Germany/Austria)

Schnitzel can be made with different meat – veal, pork, chicken or turkey. (Probably more exotic meats too)

I’m ashamed to admit that this German had never cooked Schnitzel before – but today was the day. I had planned to buy chicken breasts, but then I was tempted by pork chops … thereby turning Hühnerschnitzel into Schweineschnitzel.

Here is the recipe I followed.
Making Schnitzel was easy enough. Tenderising the meat by bashing it flat to a thickness of 5mm was fun and very therapeutic. I don’t have a tenderiser, so I used a rolling pin. Keeping the meat between sheets of waxed paper is important, as the meat gets quite sticky.
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Breading the meat was no problem: egg mix – flour – egg mix – bread crumbs.

I used plenty of oil for frying. Because the meat is so thin, it only takes a few minutes to cook. Don’t let the oil get too hot, so the breadcrumbs don’t burn.
I decided to serve my Schnitzel with fried potatoes and asparagus from our allotment.

Guten Appetit!img_20170505_174832827.jpg

Letcho – Hungarian sausage and pepper casserole

Today it’s Hungary’s turn. Letcho turned out to be a lovely, rich and warming dish. I followed this recipe.
I cheated only slightly by using a Polish Kielbasa sausage. It’s just easier to come by with a Polish shop just round the corner.

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I cooked it slowly for at least an hour. The addition of tomato paste, ketchup and paprika really makes it very rich and tasty. And extra points for being so colourful!
I recommend this meal. It’s easy and quick to make, and the ingredients are cheap.

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Give it a try!