Sunday, 10 October 2010

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.

Food. I can't be arsed this week but nevertheless...

I'm sitting here devising recipes for the week and doing my food shop online with a full belly. I had a continental brunch of meats, breads and cheeses and the thought of eating anything else this week combined with my cheese sweats is making the task a little challenging.

I love Autumnal food but it's all quite heavy and rich (Well, mine is anyway) so thinking of light suppers to balance the menu out a bit is also tasking.

So here's what I've came up with so far...

Roast Chicken with Grappa and Sweet Potato Mash

You may have guessed from my previous posts that I love Italian food and I bet that my recipes would make my Italian friends weep but I do love Italian ingredients and love to bastardise versions of traditional dishes. I apologise in advance... Also if you don't have any grappa in the house, just substitute it for some white wine.

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 good pinches saffron strands, crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 6 chicken breasts, with bone and skin on
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large sweet potatoes , about 1.5kg/3lb 5oz peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 150ml/¼ pint full-fat milk
  • 140g taleggio cheese, broken into chunks
  • 8 tbsp grappa (Italian brandy)
  • 4 handfuls seedless red grapes                                                                                                          
  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the flour in a large bowl with the saffron and some seasoning. Coat the chicken breasts in the flour mix, then shake gently to remove any excess.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy roasting tin, then quickly brown the chicken all over. Cover the tin with foil, then roast for about 20 mins until the chicken is crispy and golden, then removing the foil for the final 5 mins of cooking time.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pan for about 15 mins or until tender, drain well, return to the pan, then mash. Place the pan back over a low heat, season, then mix in the milk and taleggio. Stir constantly, allowing the cheese to melt gently and create a smooth, creamy texture.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, put the tray back on the hob and add the grappa and grapes. Warm through, then remove from the heat and flambé by lighting with a taper or long match (SAFETY FIRST PEEPS!). When the flames die down, return to the heat and simmer for about 30 secs.
  5. To serve, place 3-4 tbsp mash in the middle of each plate and sit a chicken breast on top, then spoon over the grapes and juice.  

Balance this out with...

Hot and Sour Soup with Tofu

Right, I cook for Vegetable-arians all the time and love the challenge. If you find the idea of tofu offensive like some of my more carnivorous companions, substitute it for some cooked chunks of chicken.


  • 1-2 tsp of any sort of Thai curry paste
  • 750ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 stick of lemongrass , bashed to bruise it
  • 1 lightly bashed bird's-eye chilli
  • 1 small sweet potato , peeled and cubed
  • 2 shallots , peeled and quartered
  • 8 button mushrooms
  • 1 block of firm tofu , cubed
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lime , juiced
  • a handful of coriander                  
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil with the curry paste, lemon grass and chilli, add the sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the shallots, mushrooms and tofu and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and coriander.

Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle Sauce

You could substitute the seasoning with any off the shelf Tex-Mex marinade. We're lucky enough to live beside a fantastic Mexican grocers.

  • 2 red onions , one thickly and one thinly sliced
  • juice 2 limes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 8 fat garlic cloves , unpeeled
  • 6 medium plum tomatoes , halved
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste (we used Discovery, available from Waitrose)
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 pork tenderloins , about 500g each
  • coriander sprigs and warm soft tortillas (flour or corn), to serve                           
  1. Place the thinly sliced onion in a bowl with juice 1 lime, half the oregano and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Dry-fry the whole garlic in a non-stick pan until blackened on both sides, about 8 mins, then peel. Heat the grill. Arrange the thickly sliced onion on a baking tray with the tomatoes, cut-side up. Season and grill until blackened, about 8 mins. Tip into a bowl with the garlic, chipotle paste, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp sugar and remaining lime juice. Season and whizz in a blender until smooth. Gently heat through in a pan.
  3. Rub the pork with the remaining chilli powder, oregano, sugar and seasoning. Grill for 5 mins each side until cooked. Serve sliced in warm tortillas with some sauce, the pickled onions and coriander.  
                      Sex this up with some Dead Good Salsa

  • 2 onions , finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 peeled and seeded tomatoes 
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 6 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 225ml white wine vinegar                                                                                                          
  1. Finely chop onions, garlic and tomatoes. Toss together with sugar, coriander, parsley, white wine vinegar and season well. 

The rest of the week will consist of my Secret Ragu, Lentil and Cumin Soup, Thai chicken curry which I'm sure I've blogged before...haven't I?


  1. Your recipes sound delicious. We have terrible trouble getting Nipper to eat 'proper' food. We're at the stage now where we have to cook seperately for him. He'll eat turkey dinosaurs, chicken kievs, fishfingers and sausages. Won't touch meat in any other form. Won't eat any veg unless it's in the guise of a potato waffle or a chip. I'm at the stage where I can't stand the site of any of them anymore. My daughter is allergic to several fruits and veg so mealtimes are really tricky. In fact trying to work out what to cook each day is the bane of my life.

  2. Those recipes look delicious!
    Stopping by and following from Me The Man and the Baby blog hop.
    Hope you'll visit me and have a great week ahead!

  3. @ Tilly: I don't want to sound like an idiot but have you tried taking all of those things out of the house? I know it's a fight and you worry if they don't eat anything. Oh Daddy used to be in the forces and can be pretty strict with some things around here. I didn't believe him (and thought he was a bit cruel!) when he said, if he's hungry...he'll eat it. Much love. x

    @Betty: Thanks for stopping by Betty. I look forward to reading your blog. xx

  4. We had Nipper on a really strict food regime for months and months from around the age of two. He was allowed to choose his own breakfast but then could only eat what wewere having and no snacks at all, no juices, no treats, no puds unless he ate the meal. Basically he would eat breakfast and then go hungry (with inumerable tantrums!) until breakfast the next day. No kidding this went on for months and months. When we told the paediatrician at Nipper's preliminary assessment back in June he was horrified that Nipper hadn't been referred to someone to look into this. We think it's a taste and texture problem related to his Asperger's. Every now and again you might get something a little different past his lips but it's quite rare and we have to be careful not to upset the applecart in terms of where we've managed to get to with it so far.


Thanks for taking the time to comment!