Chorizo!

Here’s what I love right now: Chorizo! I feel like it’s an exclamation, potentially akin to cheers before downing tequila… ahem… Anyway, what I love about it is that it’s got a kick and adds such a depth of flavour to dishes. I particularly love adding it to pasta at the moment, it’s great for warmth in winter and combining it with lots of beautiful colours is much needed on these dark, cold days.

 

Chorizo! Pasta

3 chorizo sausages, roughly chopped

1 large brown onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red capsicum, cut into strips

200g frozen spinach

2 cans of crushed tomatoes

1 tsp smokey paprika

1/2 tsp chili flakes (or less if you want!)

1 tsp sugar

400g pasta shapes

Heat a small amount of oil in a frypan, when hot, add chorizo and fry until lightly browned and crispy, remove from the pan. Put a large pan of water on high heat and bring to a boil, this is for the pasta. Add onion to the frypan and cook until soft, add the capsicum and garlic and fry for 30 secs. Add tomatoes, chorizo and spinach, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 mins. When your large pan of water comes to the boil, add lots of salt and cook for the amount of time specified on the packet. Add chili flakes, sugar, paprika to tomatoes. When pasta has finished cooking, drain and combine with the sauce. Serve in bowls with a generous helping of grated parmesan

 

And hey! guess what! You can follow me on twitter now- @eachpeachclaire doooo itttt

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C is for Cookies

I’m back!! I finally have in my hot little hands a new laptop so now I can share with you all what I have been cooking recently. Given that it’s winter, lots of comfort food has been on the menu, particularly necessary when your student flat is the same temperature as outside.

However, to get started again with a bit of a chocolatey bang would be a great idea don’t you think? When I was in the midst of exam blues, my impulse shipper came out to play. Personally, the book I bought I think of more as an awesome investment, rather than a silly purchase. I bought the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi. I kinda wish someone had snapped a picture of my face getting home in the middle of a raging Southerly to find this amazing book on my doorstep. I couldn’t stop grinning, I didn’t go to the gym like I was supposed to, I just stuck my head in this amazing book and read for hours. I was up nearly all night reading, it’s that good.

If you haven’t heard of Christina Tosi before, then you should know that she is a baking genius. She takes the things you loved as a kid and reinterprets them and increases the awesomeness of them. It’s so much fun! I tried making her Chocolate Chocolate cookies. Anything with that title is gonna be good right?

So first off you make a chocolate “crumb”

Yes, I know what you are thinking, this does look a lot like dirt… But seriously, this is the most delicious dirt you will ever eat, if you have tried eating dirt before then let me know how it compares. One of the things that is great about Tosi’s recipes is the salty sweet balance. There is a good amount of salt in all the recipes and that makes them more incredibly more-ish.

When you have made this crumb, you can start on making the cookie dough. The dough includes glucose syrup, which I’ve never used before and it is so much fun to play with. It’s like clear toffee before it has set. Word of warning though, if you get any on the bench or something, clean it up super fast cos it becomes very hard to get off. The dough also has melted chocolate in it, which makes for a very wet dough. I was gonna try taking a photo of it, but the dough was all over the place and all over my hands, so I thought it may be wiser to leave the camera out of this sticky mess.

Another trick from the book I tried today was refrigerating the cookie dough before baking. What do you know, it makes a huge difference! The cookies turned out crisp on the outside and fudgey near the centre. They do also live up to their name, very much chocolate chocolate.

Cookies! Perfect for a rainy afternoon in front of the fire watching a movie.

 

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Gnocchi with leeks, blue cheese and walnuts

My apologies for the long time between posts, things have gotten a little hectic. This has mostly been due to the fact that my laptop was stolen a few weeks ago, from my flat, while I was in it. Pretty terrifying. I was in the shower and came out and my laptop was gone. This has been endlessly frustrating meaning that I have not had a computer to use for study or research etc etc. and that there have been very fitful nights’ sleep, which all up contributes to a state bordering on meltdown most of the time.

A dish for times like this is gnocchi. These little potato dumplings give you a warm hug and make you feel like things are going to be ok. And cheese, cheese just screams comfort whether it be a cheese toastie, Mum’s macaroni and cheese or cheese scones with a cup of strong tea. I haven’t been a blue cheese fan for very long, something about that pungent taste and the fact that it contained blue bits really put me off. I am starting to be converted though and feel rather proud that I voluntarily included it in a dish.

Gnocchi with leeks, blue cheese and walnuts Adapted from Cuisine Magazine Issue #152

Serves 4

2 tbsp oil

1 leek, cleaned and roughly sliced

1 packet of gnocchi

a good handful of walnuts

about 100-150g blue cheese (any kind you want, pick your fave)

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

Put a large pan of water on to boil, when it comes to the boil, add plenty of salt. While you are waiting for the water, heat your oil over a medium heat, add leek with a pinch of salt and cook slowly, stirring every so often to get leeks that are soft and melt in your mouth. When the water has boiled, throw in your gnocchi and catch them with a slotted spoon and immediately put them in the pan with your leeks. Add walnuts, blue cheese and spinach to the leeks and gnocchi and mix until the cheese has gone all melty.

Oh yeah, use a big pan when you’re cooking the leeks… I use my big, non-stick wok with a flat base. Yeah, a wok, I pretty much use it for everything, seriously one of the best things I have ever purchased… pasta sauces, stir fries (duh), curries… You name it, I would try and cook it in my wok!

 

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Kedgeree

Gotta say, this is one of my favourite dishes, how could it not be? The individual components are fantastic- smoked fish, hardboiled eggs, spiced rice- and when they come together it’s sublime. Surprisingly, given the amount of butter in this dish, it’s light, but the butter does give it a real comfort food feeling. And speaking of butter, David Lebovitz, who writes one of my favourite food blogs, has just written a damn good post on what he eats. He is a butter lover, not afraid to hide it.Reminds me very much of one of my favourite sayings “everything in moderation, even moderation”. So, yup, this dish has lots of butter, and what?

On the night I made this, I had bustled up to Mum and Dad’s with the purpose of doing some study, lugging textbooks with me (catcall along the way “Hey girl, that’s a really big book”. Well yup, yup it is). This is great food for when you’re studying, it’s quick to whip up, and you can grab a steaming bowl and curl up with your books.

Kedgeree- Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef

Serves 4

250g rice

1 bay leaf

a small handful of peppercorns

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

150g butter

2 heaped tsp curry powder

375g smoked fish

6 hardboiled eggs, sliced into wedges

Juice of 1 lemon + Lemon wedges to serve

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt it well. Add rice, bay leaf and peppercorns and boil, stirring occasionally, until the rice is nearly cooked. Drain well and remove bay leaf and peppercorns.

In a large pan or wok, melt butter over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Then add the curry powder and cook for a minute, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, fish and rice to the pan, heat through, then gently fold in the hardboiled eggs. Serve in warm bowls with lemon wedges.

Delicious. Next time I make this, I’m gonna try making it more fragrant, not quite sure how I’ll do this yet, but maybe playing around with spices added to the rice when it’s cooking, or making my own curry powder. Also, I’ll add something green and herby, lots of it.

 

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Chicken Noodle Soup

In these days of Southerlies, a flat so cold I can see my breath when I wake up in the morning, and frustrating assignments, there is only one thing that can keep me going: Chicken Noodle Soup!

Here’s the good news: If you can boil water in a pan, you can make this soup! Seriously, that’s pretty much all it takes. Also, this makes HEAPS, yay, which meant that I could have chicken noodle soup for lunch and dinner the following day and the next day too, happy, frozen girl. The recipe I used had no vegetables, so I added some, because it feels bad bad bad to have a meal without veggies. I urge you all to make this and keep warm and rugged up.

Chicken Noodle Soup Adapted from Made by Hand by Julie Le Clerc

serves 6

1L liquid chicken stock

750 mL water

350g (ish) chicken mince

250g rice vermicelli noodles

2 bunches of bok choy, washed and chopped

3 spring onions, sliced thinly

Good handful of coriander, roughly chopped

Chili sauce (I used Huffman’s Hot Sauce- hooray!), soy sauce and lemon wedges to serve

Put chicken stock and water in a large pan or wok and bring to the boil. Once boiling put in chicken mince and boil for 5 minutes, breaking up the mince if it goes clumpy. In the last couple of minutes of cooking add in the rice vermicelli and the bok choy. When cooked, divide into bowls, sprinkle with spring onion and bok choy. Serve with soy sauce, chili sauce and lemon wedges, let people add as much or as little to their taste.

The chili gives some heat and the soy sauce adds to the depth of flavour and I love that the spring onion, lemon and coriander give a little ray of lightness, dee-lightful. This soup is so warming, nourishing even. It warms you from the inside out (effect is heightened of course if you add lots of chili harhar), I think at this time of year we all need some nourishment, so grab some soup, wrap up in a blanket and grab your favourite book- wonderful.

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