Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 49: Butternut Squash Soup

The Recipe
2tbsp butter (optional)
1 butternut squash, cubed
1 large potato, cubed
1 carrot, cubed
1 onion, cubed
150g bacon, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 liter chicken stock
2.5dl (~1 cup) cream
chili to taste
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of curry

Turn on the oven to 175C and bake the squash for 1 hour (poke some holes in the skin to allow steam to get out) - this will make it a lot easier to get the skin off.

In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.

If necessary, add the butter to the bacon fat and cook the potato, carrot, onion and squash for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Add bell pepper, bacon and cream and heat up. Season according to taste.


The Verdict
A bit of an experiment. I've never actually made butternut squash soup before, but I've had it a few times and always loooooved it. This was pretty good for a first attempt, and definitely worth making again just as-is, but I think I want to play around with the tastes a bit more. Baking the squash ahead of time should make it a bit sweeter, so I want to see what it's like if I don't do that first. I also want to try making it with coconut milk rather than cream.

But definitely something I want to make again. Even DH complimented it :)

ETA: I've now tried it again, and trying to peel the butternut squash without baking it first is a hassle and a half! Not sure it's worth it.
Substituting the cream for coconut milk is an excellent change though! It was even better than last time :-) Could do with a bit more bacon, bell pepper and chicken stock though. But really, really, really good :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week 45: Baked Chicken Parmesan

The Recipe
450g chicken breast
1 400g jar of your favourite pasta sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
chili flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
50-60g croutons
1/4dl fresh basil
125g mozzarella, divided
~1 dl grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 175*C.

Coat an ovenproof dish with olive oil, chili flakes and garlic. Put the chicken on top (cut the big pieces in two if necessary) and pour the pasta sauce over.
Sprinkle the fresh basil on top and cover with half the mozzarella and half the parmesan.
Add a layer of croutons and finish off with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is done. Serve with pasta.

The Verdict
This was very much a 'plan B' recipe when my original idea fell through. Fortunately it worked really well - quick and easy to prepare, so great for an evening where I didn't really feel like cooking, and I'd found a really good pasta sauce so the spices meshed perfectly. Even DH complimented the dish, which is rare for something involving chicken. Definitely something I'll make again.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Week 36: Cider-glazed salmon

The Recipe
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 cups fresh apple cider (non-alcoholic) or apple juice
2 salmon fillets
Salt
½ cup cream

In a large pan, melt butter and add onion and cider. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove and discard onion.

Add salmon to pan. Spoon a bit of liquid over them. Cover and simmer (gently! otherwise they get dry and tough) for about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness until desired done-ness. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Raise heat to high, add salt and simmer, stirring frequently until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream. Stir well to combine. Boil, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, utnil the mixture darkens to a pale golden caramel and is reduced further.

Place the salmon plates and top each with a spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.

The Verdict
I'm in the very strange situation that I can say that this tasted good... but I just didn't like it. The sweetness of the cider worked well with the salmon, and the onion gave it a nice twist. ... it just wasn't for me.

I have no clue how that even works *shrug*.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 35: Picnic Cake

The Recipe
250g soft butter
250g sugar
3 eggs
75g coconut flour
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g chocolate, chopped
1 small can pineapples (220g)

Nib sugar ("perlesukker" in Danish). Ordinary sugar can be used as a substitute.
Nut flakes.

Drain the pineapples, reserving about half the fluid. Put pineapples and fluid into a blender (or similar) and pulse until it's turned to mush.

Mix together butter and sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Add eggs and mix. Add remaining ingredients, including pineapple mash.

Pour into a greased ovenproof dish (~20cm x 25cm). Sprinkle sugar and nut flakes on top.

Bake at 175C for 40 minutes or until done.

The Verdict
Really delicious cake... but then, I'm likely to love anything with chocolate and nuts ;)
Easy to make, so will probably be a stable in my repertoire from here on.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 31: Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

The Recipe
(Serves 3-4)
~1lb chicken - thighs or breasts
Salt and pepper
1 tsp oil
1 cans (~14oz / 400g) coconut milk
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tbsp cold water

Salt and pepper each chicken piece.

Heat oil a large pan to medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Add next 9 ingredients to slow-cooker (coconut milk through garlic) and stir to combine. Add chicken and stir again to coat chicken. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow-cooker and shred, discarding any bones or tough bits.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Mix thoroughly, add to the slow-cooker and stir. Add bell pepper and stir again.

Return the chicken to the slow-cooker and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or naan.

The Verdict
Almost too spicy for my DH. I think I'll cut down on both the curry powder and chili next time I make it - perhaps just 1tsp curry and 1/4tsp chili.

Otherwise we both really liked it! It needed a bit more salt when serving, and would probably have been better with dark meat instead of white (I used 2 chicken breasts), but I really liked the spices. Definitely something I'll be making again.

Week 30: One Pot Fajitas Pasta

The Recipe
3 tbsp oil
2-3 chicken breasts, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced (I used a red, a yellow and an orange)
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
4 cups milk
4 cups penne pasta
1-2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded (didn't have any, so I used gouda with chili)

Heat oil in a LARGE pot over high heat (I underestimated how large and had to move to a bigger pot half way through - you need one that fits 5 liters at least). Add chicken and cook until just browned, then take the chicken out. (You may want to do this in two batches in order to cook rather than boil the chicken.)

Add bell peppers, onions and garlic, cooking until the onion is translucent.

Return chicken to pot and add spices, stirring until evenly coated.

Add milk and pasta, stirring constantly to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Add cheese and mix until melted.

The Verdict
The original recipe had one full tablespoon of both cumin and chili, but even I felt that might be a bit much. 1 tsp of each seemed more reasonable for most people, and I just added some chili flakes to my plate when serving.

But it was really good! I liked it a lot, and it was super-easy to make. Definitely something I'll make again!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 29: Huevo Rancheros

The Recipe
(Serves one)
2 tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
2 eggs
Salsa
Shredded cheese
1/3 can beans.

Heat oil in a pan until hot. Cook tortillas for about 20 seconds on each side, until it puffs up and turns slightly brown. Dry on paper towels.
Fry eggs on the pan until the whites are settled, but the yolk is still "smiling". Set aside.
Briefly heat the beans in the pan, if you prefer warm beans to cold.

Assemble the rancheros: Tortilla, salsa, beans, avocado slices, eggs, shredded cheese, tortilla. Top with more salsa and sour cream if desired.

The Verdict
Really easy and really good :) But then, I think pretty much anything with avocado and salsa is good ;) I needed a quick and easy dinner yesterday, and this fit the bill perfectly. Tasted great too :)