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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Finely chop onions, garlic and tomatoes. Toss together with sugar, coriander, parsley, white wine vinegar and season well.