Cheesy Chicken Meatloaf

My Mum was recommending to try this recipe for ages, but for some reason I always dismissed it. Maybe because we are not really big sandwich or appetiser fans, which this recipe is particularly good for. One day, something took over me and I decided to have a go, and I didn’t regret it. I think it’s brilliant recipe and I only wished I discovered it earlier. It takes no time or effort to prepare, and as a result you’ll have the most succulent, tender and delicious meatloaf. Of course, it is great sliced in sandwiches, but you can also have it on its own with just salad, or with added any grains/pulses/roasted vegetables. Also, it’s perfect dish to take with you to the picnic or beach.

VERY MOIST CHEESY CHICKEN MEATLOAF

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

600g chicken fillets, cut into small chunks

1-2 onion (depends on the size), finely chopped

2-3 carrots (depends on the size), grated

3 tablespoons semolina

2 eggs

200g mild cheese (Cheddar, Edam, Leicester or any other hard mild cheese), grated

salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Fry the chicken pieces with olive oil until all juices run clear and chicken ready, set aside.
  2. Add more oil to the same pan and fry chopped onion, followed by carrots, until it’s cooked and translucent.
  3. Transfer in the food processor, or using a hand blender, mix it all until preferable consistency. I like to keep it a bit chunky, not completely puréed, so I’d just pulse a few times. If the mixture looks a bit dry, add few tablespoons of water.
  4. When you are happy with the consistency, transfer it to the bowl (if you are using food processor) and add the remaining ingredients, season and mix it all well, then pour it into the prepared loaf tin (you might want to butter the tin first).
  5. Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for 30-45 minutes.

 

 

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Salmon Kedgeree

A kedgeree is often thought of as breakfast here in the UK but I prefer mine as a main course. Lots of kedgeree recipes use cold smoked haddock – which is delicious – but I had only smoked salmon on hands, and this substitution didn’t disappointed. It’s a quick dish, it’s easy, it’s filling … but most importantly it’s delicious and good for you.

Salmon Kedgeree

SALMON KEDGEREE

Ingredients:

300g cooked brown rice

50g butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder

200g frozen peas

4 eggs

225g smoked salmon, cut into chunks or flaked

4 spring onions, finely shredded

bunch of fresh coriander/parsley, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lime

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, heat up the oil, butter and add the onion. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the spices and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  2. Add cooked rice and peas, splash of water (if required), cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the peas are cooked.
  3. Meanwhile cook the eggs how you like them (I personally prefer soft-boiled or poached).
  4. When rice is done, mix in the salmon, spring onions, coriander and lime juice. Taste, season it and top with the halves soft-boiled eggs.

Salmon Kedgeree

Saffron Chicken, Chickpeas & Fennel Casserole

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Even though it is summer, I do crave for some comfort food but a lighter version. This one is comforting but yet refreshing and zingy at the same time! It is not the prettiest looking dish but you’ll forget the look when you will taste it 🙂 Ideally, use a large heavy bottom/cast iron pan with a lid for it.

SAFFRON CHICKEN ,  CHICKPEA  & FENNEL CASSEROLE

(Adopted from Belinda Jeffery)

Ingredients:

2 large onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bulb fennel, sliced

3 celery sticks, chopped

1 fresh chilli pepper, finely chopped

3 bay leaves

2 pinches saffron threads

1-2 cinnamon sticks (you can skip this if you don’t like or not sure about the taste)

6-8 chicken pieces (thighs, legs, on a bone)

1 can (400ml) chopped tomatoes

1 can (400 ml) chickpeas

green olives handful

Juice & zest of 1 lemon

salt, pepper to season

Olive oil

Method:

1. On a medium heat in a large heavy bottom pan warm up the olive oil and sauté the chopped onions for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and chilli, cook for another 2 minute. Then add chopped fennel and celery and continue cooking for 8 minutes. Crush gently the saffron  between your fingers to release extra flavour and add to the vegetables followed by cinnamon sticks (if you are using it). Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

2. Push the vegetable to the side of the pan and place the chicken pieces in a pan, let them brown a little, then cover them with the vegetables, pour the chopped tomatoes on a top, then fill up the can from tomatoes half full with cold water and add to the pan, followed by drained chickpeas (everything should be just covered with water).  Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with the lid and let everything gently bubble for 25 minutes.

3. After 25 minutes, take off the lid, turn the chicken pieces around and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes without the lid. Close to the end of cooking add the olives and lemon juice and zest of the lemon. Adjust the seasoning.

Serve with steamed rice, couscous, naan bread or anything else you like 🙂

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Tomato Tart

Hi Guys, sorry for my absence, – things got a bit hectic recently. Also, we had our dear friends from Italy staying over for a while, so were busy entertaining. Italian inspired, here is the Tomato & Mozzarella Tart for you. This is very simple yet extremely tasty tart made with rich shortcrust pastry, topped with slice of mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, and enriched with olive oil and basil leaves.

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TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA TART

Ingredients:

150 g mazzarella (sliced)

4 large tomatoes (sliced)

2 tablespoon good quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)

basil leaves

salt & pepper

For the pastry:

115 g plain flour

50 g butter or margarine

1 egg yolk

salt

Method:

1. To prepare the pastry, mix together the flour and salt, then rub in the butter and the egg yolk. Use a splash of cold water to make the dough to come together, kneading lightly on a floured surface. Wrap in a clining film and chill in a fridge for about 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C. remove the pastry fro the fridge and allow about 10 minutes for it to return to room temperature. Roll out into 20 cm round. Press into the base of a 20 cm flan dish or tin. Prick all over with the fork and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until firm but not too brown. Allow to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C.

3. Arrange the mozzarella slices over the pastry base, then spread the basil leaves. On top, arrange a single layer of the sliced tomatoes, overlapping them slightly. (I found if I place ingredients in this order, basil releases much more flavour).

4. Scatter the garlic on top, drizzle with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are well cooked. Serve hot.

Sweet Potato & Cashew Nut Tart Tatin

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This is one of my favourite use of polenta. It is an unusual take on on a well known Tart Tatin, using polenta as a base and Indian spices as a perfect partner. It works well, providing a mild base and more powerful, rich curried topping.

SWEET POTATO & CASHEW NUT TART TATIN

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

600 g sweet potatoes (cut in cubes)

1 red onion (cut in cubes)

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon black onion seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon malt vinegar

70 g cashew nuts

200 g polenta

salt,pepper to taste

Plus: 22sm springform tin

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly brush the inside of a springform tin with oil. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil , add the sweet potato and cook for 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, add the spices and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add sugar and vinegar, stir over a medium heat for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained sweet potato and cashew nuts, string to coat everything evenly. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, pressing down lightly.

3. Bring 800 ml of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add polenta, string constantly with the whisk. Cook for a few minutes, stirring until thickens, then remove from the heat and season well with salt and pepper. Spread it evenly over the vegetables in the tin with the palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the polenta is firm and beginning to shrink from the side of the tin. Leave to stand for 2 minutes then run the point of the knife around the edge and turn out onto a plate.

4. Serve the tart hot as a main course, with a fresh tomato salad or any of your favourite greens, or as a side dish with the meat main.