Wednesday 23 January 2019

Ricotta Gnocchi with lemon & sage butter

Ricotta Gnocchi with lemon & sage butter

  • 300g ricotta
  • 40g finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 190g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 15 sage leaves
  • Couple pinches of salt

Place the ricotta, Parmesan, flour, eggs and 1 tbsp of lemon zest into a bowl, mix thoroughly to form a soft dough.  Place the dough onto a lightly flour dusted surface.  Cut the dough into 2 pieces and roll out each piece into a 40cm rope length and cut into thumb size pieces.  Place the pieces onto a lightly floured tray or plate until ready to cook.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.  Whilst doing this melt your butter in a large frying pan and add the sage and remaining lemon zest, keep an eye on the heat as you don't want to burn the butter.  Add the gnocchi to the pan of water, it will only take around 5 minutes, however no need to time as you will know it's done when the gnocchi floats to the surface.

By the time your gnocchi has cooked the sage should now be crispy.  Drain the gnocchi and add to the frying pan, we basically want to fry it until we get a nice brown crispy edge to it.  Once done, bowl up, drizzle over the remaining butter from the pan and top with the sage leaves.  This recipe should serve four.

Whilst you can eat the gnocchi as is, I served it on a bed of rocket along with some fried chorizo and drizzled some oil from the cooked chorizo over the top of the gnocchi, I think this really adds to the overall dish.  The gnocchi was so easy to make, as this was my first attempt I had made mine a bit on the large size, hence I now suggest a thumb sized piece.  We both really enjoyed this, with the ricotta as opposed to using potato, it made for a lighter dish and I will certainly be making this again.

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 2 chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1 tin of black beans (or kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander
  • Good few handfuls of grated cheese
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic pwder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 450ml chicken stock

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the flour and whisk through over the heat for around a minute.  Add the remaining seasonings (don't have your head to near the pan as you will get a hit of the chilli!!) and stir through until combined.  Gradually whisk in the stock, continue to whisk in order to remove any lumps.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.

Whilst the sauce is thickening, heat some oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  You can add a few grinds of black pepper to the chicken or even some taco/fajita seasoning, for an extra hit of flavour.

Once the chicken has cooked and the sauce is done, we are now ready to assemble our enchiladas.  Coat each tortilla with some of the enchilada sauce.  Put a line of beans down the middle of the tortilla, top with some of the red onion, chicken and cheese then roll until you have a fat cigar shape which you place into an oven proof dish along with the other enchiladas.  You want a dish that the enchiladas just fit into, that way you ensure they don't open up whilst being cooked.  Drizzle any remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas, top with more cheese and cook in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for around 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and gooey.  Garnish the enchiladas with some chopped coriander and serve.

We had the enchiladas with some cheesy nachos, topped with sour cream and salsa and of course some freshly made guacamole.  Don't be put off by the amount of chilli powder in this recipe, it does even out in the cooking process, trust me!  Also when adding some sour cream that will have a cooling effect.  However if you are a real heat fiend you can always add some chopped jalapenos to the chicken and bean mix to really spice it up.

Whilst I dare say it myself, these are some of the best enchiladas I've had, the sauce is so quick and easy to make and if you have any leftovers it can be stored in the fridge for a few days or if you have made up a batch, freeze whatever is left, but believe me, this sauce wont hang around for too long, especially once your friends and family get to try it!

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Sausage balls with a mushroom and blue cheese sauce

Sausage balls with a mushroom and blue cheese sauce
  • Pack of 6 quality sausages
  • 450ml beef stock
  • 250ml double cream
  • Large handful of crumbled blue cheese
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • Handful of chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Large knob of butter
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable/Rapeseed oil

Remove the skins from the sausages and divide each sausage into 3 and roll each piece into a small ball.  Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and cook the sausage balls, turning every so often until they are evenly browned.  Remove any excess fat, pour in the stock, bring to the boil and let it reduce down slightly.  Add the cream and mustard and season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes.  At this stage add a large knob of butter to a medium sized pan and heat until the butter has melted and starts to sizzle, add the mushrooms and give a good stir to ensure the mushrooms get a good coating of butter, season with plenty of black pepper and a good few glugs of Worcestershire sauce stir again and leave to cook on a low to medium heat.

After the sausage balls have been cooking for 20 minutes, remove them from the pan and place onto a warm dish.  Turn the heat up under the frying pan, add the blue cheese and the mushrooms (which should have absorbed the liquid from the pan and be nice and dark), stir through and leave to bubble away away until the sauce thickens.  Prior to serving, add the chopped chives and return the sausage balls to the pan and mix well.

This is my first recipe of the New Year and what a one to start with!  Pretty straightforward which is what I like, packed full of flavour and a good hearty dish to boot.  I served this with a good helping of creamy mashed potato but it would go equally well with pasta, especially as there is plenty of sauce.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, let me know what you think.

Sausage balls with a mushroom and blue cheese sauce