Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Asian Salsa Verde (a thrifty way to use up tired herbs)

This is a super simple quick way to use up those floppy herbs in your fridge. I made this the other night in what I can only call a rather successful fridge raid. I had leftover roast beef, all rare and lovely and some very sad looking thai holy basil. The Thais rule when it comes to zesty explosively flavour packed dressings on salads so I went that way inspired, and it bloody worked! You don't have to go East with this, it would be just as amazing with more familiar herbs, but the point is that you chop  up all the herbs really fine, mix them in with some friends, and spoon onto some meat/fish of some description. If veggie you could char some cauliflower and that would be wowser too. 

Makes enough for sploshing on two people's dinner: finely chop half a bunch of thai holy basil, a handful of coriander, one lemongrass stick (hard outer layers and end chopped off), two cloves of garlic and a red bird's eye chillie and the zest of a lime. Put in a bowl with two tablespoons of fish sauce and the juice of the zested lime, along with a splash of non-flavoured oil.* Mix it all up and spoon onto anything from a pork chop, to a grilled bit of fish and really bring it to life. This is soooo good with left over roast beef, very quickly stir fried with some noodles and a load of green veggies.

I've always been a fan of thrifty cooking, something about the smug glow of self-righteousness or something, and avoiding discovering mouldy herbs rotting in your fridge is always nice. 

* A more European combo could include parsley, tarragon, garlic, lemon zest and juice and extra virgin olive oil, but make sure you season it really well, in the 'Asian' version, the fish sauce is all the salt you need. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Chicken & Harissa One Pot (tray) Wonder

Camping but not camping
Oh how I feel bad about complaining about my tiny kitchen...that tiny kitchen was knocked down a month ago and oh how I long for my tiny kitchen again! Now I have a teeny tiny house, which is getting smaller by the minute, the husband assures me it will get bigger again (the builders come every day and do stuff outside but I can't help thinking this might be a nasty trick), and for now I am making do with enough space to stand in and that is all. The flip side is that  clever husband has managed to literally transplant the kitchen into our living room, so even though there is only enough room for a couple of hobbits (to be fair, I am roughly hobbit sized) I still have my oven, sink, dishwasher and hob. I say hob, but what I really mean is the CAMPINGAZ 200S!!! It's pretty sweet, it has too settings, high and very high, and after a bit of adjustment I'm getting used to it. 
Crap pic, but you get the idea. 

Cramped conditions call for easy cooking, more specifically one pot wonders. Nothing better than a delicious dinner that involves ramming a few key ingredients into a roasting tray and slamming in the oven. This is one of those. 

Feeds 2, but oh so easily doubled, tripled etc. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Rub two free range chicken legs all over with a tablespoon of harissa each. You can buy it but if you can, make it (recipe here) as it keeps for ages and is so good in and with lots of things. You can cut some slits in the chicken to really let the flavour in. Put the legs in a roasting dish and add 8 cloves of garlic (skin on). I tend to tuck the garlic under the chicken, using the flappy bits as a weirdo kind of blanket for the garlic to stop it burning. Also add a couple of handfuls of baby potatoes, a big handful of cherry tomatoes, some thick wedges of lemon, season very well and pour over a glug of olive oil, giving it all a rattle/turn in the pan to coat. Throw it in the oven and once the chicken skin has gone all delicious and crispy you're done, between 30 and 40 minutes depending on how big they are. Give it all a shake halfway through to brown the spuds evenly and break up the tomatoes a bit. I served this with some spring greens tossed in butter and caraway seeds (TRY IT).

There were no leftovers and only one roasting tray (and one saucepan for the veg)  to wash up so I'm declaring it a success. Even if you have a massive kitchen, you should still cook this.