Monday, February 23, 2009

Sausage, Pears and Onions

One of the foods that reminds me so much of baseball games and Boston is "sausage, peppers and onions". Well it's been years since I've lived in Boston and it's not quite baseball season yet, so I decided it was time to make this dish a bit more winter and a bit more London.

The great thing about british pork sausages is that you can find really high quality, lean pork sausages of all different flavors. I'd suggest using either plain sausages or pork and apple sausages for this recipe. Pears are one of the few fruits grown in Britain that can still be found in February and red onions bring a bit of color to this dish

Sausage, Pears and Onions
1 tsp olive oil
6 lean pork sausages
1 red onion chopped into 1/4 moons
2 pears cored and sliced

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) In a roasting dish or large frying pan heat the olive oil and fry the sausages until they are brown on each side (about 5-10 minutes) Add the onion and pears to the pan and place the whole pan into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the contents of the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Friday, February 20, 2009

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup

I recently bought a container of coconut oil at my local health food store. Originally I thought I would use it for baking only; cookies, cakes and the like, but as it turns out the coconut oil seems to have been used for everything but baking! I've used it to make hand cream after reading that it was very good for moisturizing the skin overnight. I've used it to make Thai curries and in hot chocolate. Yesterday I used the coconut oil to fry onions in for a lentil soup with a bit of an Indian twang. I love the very slight hint of coconut that this soup has, but if coconut isn't you thing or you can't find the oil, butter will work well too, and the spices are so strong that you won't miss the coconut.

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 onion minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup split red lentils
4 cups of water
1/3-1/2 yellow pepper minced

In a large pot heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin and chili powder to the mixture and stir until the spices are mixed into the oil. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Add the pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Blend the soup well. If needed add more water to the soup to thin it.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nutmeg and Chili Chocolate Souffle

In the spirit of Valentine's day I've decided to make something rather sinful, which apparently boasts aphrodisiac qualities.

This souffle has 3 distinct tastes. Nutmeg which is tasted first, has been though of as an aphrodisiac for centuries. It's believed in Eastern cultures that nutmeg increases both sex drive and fertility. Chocolate, the strongest flavor in this dessert, is a stimulant that mimics endorphins, giving an overall sense of well being and excitement. Chili, the last flavour undertone, is thought to release endorphins giving the body a natural high.

Nutmeg and Chili Chocolate Souffle
50 grams (half a regular sized chocolate bar) dark chocolate. Do not use bakers chocolate.
1/2 chili pepper
3 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
unsalted butter to coat ramekins

Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees C (200 degrees C if conventional oven.) Butter 2 large ramekins or 4 small ramekins. In a food processor pulse the dark chocolate and the chili until a course powder forms. Melt the chocolate mixture in a double boiler or in the microwave. Separate the eggs. Put the whites in a large bowl and the yolk of the egg back into the food processor. Whisk the egg whites until they form a soft peak (about 5 minutes using an electric egg beater) Add the sugar to the egg whites and whisk a further 2-3 minutes. Mix the melted chocolate with the egg yolks in the food processor. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white. Add a pinch of nutmeg to the mixture and pour into the buttered ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lemon Chicken with Chickpeas and Artichokes

When I talk with my dad about the food he ate growing up he always mentions that there wasn't much food to go around, and yet he probably had the healthiest diet of his life in those "lean" years.

Since money was always in short supply in his family, family dinners weren't heavy on meat --it was just too expensive. My father's mother often supplemented other sources of protein such as beans into the meal to "stretch" the meat.

This dish is made in the spirit of my father's family dinners. It is an incredibly simple one pot meal which combines different protein sources, is quick to make and full of flavor.

Lemon Chicken with Chickpeas and Artichokes
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion finely sliced
2-3 chicken breast cut into cubes
1/4 tsp cumin
1 can of chickpeas drained
1 can of artichokes in brine
1/2 lemon cut into thin slices

In a non stick pot, heat olive oil and saute onion and chicken for 5 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the chickpeas, brine from the artichokes, cumin and lemon to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil then turn down the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the artichokes to the pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the artichokes are heated through. Serve with rice and vegetables

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes