Recipe: Toad in the Hole

Hello Brummies

If you suddenly found yourself single in the last week or two you will be surprised to learn that you are not the only ones.  February is statistically the most popular for the breaking up of relationships. Maybe it is the thought of Valentine's day and all that lovey-dovey stuff that breaks shaky relationships.

So Chef Nick has something to cheer you up.  Good stodgy comfort food idea for a winters night.  I think we can kick the diet into touch now, can't we?  Yup, and open the bloody wine while you are at it.

You will need:

  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml of milk.  I would recommend full fat for this.  You will taste the difference.
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Two good quality butchers sausages.  Can I recommend Aubrey Allen of Coventry.
  • Half an onion
  • Sticky brown sugar
  • Sweet red wine, like Mavrodaphne
  • Instant gravy (yeah, don't judge me)

Equipment:

  • Sauce pan
  • Oven proof dish
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Tongs
  • Green chopping board
  • Sharp veg knife
  • Baking tray
  • Pan stand or nice thick wooden board

Method:

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees.  Place your sausages on a tray and bake for ten minutes or until they are just starting to brown a little.  At the same time add two die-sized cubes of lard to a baking dish and place it into the oven next to the sausages.
  2. While they are baking, place a green chopping board on a flat work surface over a damp cloth.  Finely slice half an onion.  Heat some oil in a sauce pan and add the onion.  Fry it until it is golden brown.  Add two heaped tablespoons of brown sugar and allow it to melt into the onions.  Add 125ml of red wine.  You don't need me to tell you what to do with the rest of it...
  3. Make up some instant gravy in a jug, make sure it is nice and thick.  Add it to the sauce pan.  Stir it in and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
  4. Remove the sausages from the oven and set them aside.  Turn your oven up to maximum so the oil in the baking dish gets very hot.
  5. Measure out the flour, oil and milk.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the milk and oil.  Mix them well and slowly mix in the flour until you have a nice smooth batter.
  6. Now the dangerous bit, please use extreme caution. Using a thick dry oven cloth remove the baking dish with the oil and place it on a pan stand or wooden board.  Add to it enough batter mix to fill it a quarter way (or slightly less).  Add the sausages using the tongs.  Carefully place it back in the oven and cook for a further ten minutes at 200 degrees.

Do NOT open the oven for ten minutes, or it will deflate.

Go listen to Morrissey or something.

7.  Now check the pudding by standing well back and opening the oven door an inch.  If it looks risen and nicely brown it is good to eat.  If not, give it another ten minutes.  As long as you keep the heat in the oven, or can see it through a window, you will be fine.

 Remove the Toad in the Hole from the oven using great care.  Place your oven dish on a cool plate and pour the gravy over the top.  Serve it up with the rest of the bottle of red wine.

Now, give Chef Nick a smile.

Enjoy!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Deep South Ribs

Good day to you Brummies, and welcome back.

An announcement.  As you may be aware, Birmingham Favourites is slowing down it's production.  This is for several reasons. Firstly, we agree that it has served it's purpose in getting the ball rolling, in highlighting the best of the city.  Secondly, we all need to move on to other projects. [Nicely put - the Ed]

But, as it stands, you will be getting one post a month from me, henceforth.

Anyway, crack on, Chef..

So, today we are doing ribs again.  But better this time.  Now, for a good rib recipe, avoid the 'Mommy-bloggers' on Youtube, with their Stepford-perfect kitchens.  You need the Hillbillies,  You know the ones I mean:  bad teeth, dungerees, loaded shotgun propping up  a propane tank, mirrored shades.  The guys who look like a casting call for Deliverence.  There are your guys. Check out the Barbecue Pit Boys on YouTube.

You will need:

  • One rack of pork ribs per person
  • Salt and whole black pepper corns
  • Bay leaves, one palm full

For the sauce:

  • One can of tomatoes
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • One onion, finely diced
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic and tomato puree

Finally, kit:

  • One baking tray
  • Metal foil
  • One saucepan and a spatula.

Cooking time, two hours.

That's all.

Right kids, set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  Remove your ribs from the packet and carefully rinse them under the tap. You may have to cut off any excess membrane from under the ribs.  Place the ribs in the tray.  Add a liberal sprinkle of salt, throw in a handful of black peppercorns and the same amount of bay leaves.  Add a pint of water and cover tightly with the foil.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for two hours.

When you get up to one and a half hours, start on the sauce.  Take a saucepan and add a little oil.  Add the finely chopped onions and fry them until brown.  Add three tablespoons of brown sugar and allow it to caramelize into the onion.  Now add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and one of Dijon mustard.  Stir it in well. Mind your eyes, the fumes can be potent.  (Why not add a glug of Jack Daniels?)  Add the tomatoes and bring to the simmer.  Once they are bubbling away, add a tablespoon of tomato and/or garlic puree.  Stir in well and allow to simmer for five minutes.

Grab a thick, dry oven cloth.

Remove the ribs from the oven.  Carefully remove the foil, allowing the steam to escape.  Remember, steam burns hurt like hell.

Drain off the water and scrape off the Bay leaves with a knife.  Now slowly pour the sauce over the ribs, rubbing it on with the spatula.  Make sure it is nice and even. Replace the metal foil tightly over the ribs and place back in the oven for a further ten minutes.

Now go play your banjo for a bit.

When the ribs are ready, remove the ribs from the oven and use oven tongs to move them to your plate.  I always serve them with coleslaw or chips.

Now, they taste A-freaking-mazing.  Remember to keep paper towels handy.

And enjoy, Birmingham.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Toasted Spicy Nuts

Hey Birmingham

How is the Christmas shopping going? Anything wrapped yet

I have found a new recipe that is more addictive than crack.  To compliment your drinks, try Spicy Toasted Nuts.  Furthermore, they are really easy.

You need the following equipment:

  • One baking tray
  • One mixing bowl
  • One spatula

And the following ingredients:

  • One big bag of mixed nuts
  • Two tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • One tablespoon of paprika
  • Half a teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix them well with the spatula.
  3. Pour them into a baking tray, lined with grease-proof paper and place in the oven.  Spread them out a bit.
  4. Bake them in the oven for five minutes then turn them over with the spatula.
  5. Bake for another five minutes then pour them into a bowl.  Allow them to cool and serve

They taste amazing, make you very thirsty, but they go great with beer or cider.

Enjoy your party!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Thai Salmon Fishcakes

In the on-going party season you need to sometimes give something slightly bigger than scrawny chicken wings.  Especially when there is that much alcohol floating around.  I will be straight with you, that fish cakes take a bit of work, but you can freeze them, and defrost them on the day you need them, so plan ahead.

For equipment you need the following:

  • saucepan
  • colander
  • green chopping board
  • small knife
  • lime zester or fine grater
  • juicer
  • three bowls
  • large mixing bowl
  • grease proof paper
  • small ice cream scoop

Ingredients:

  • four large potatoes
  • two salmon fillets
  • two limes
  • three red chillies
  • plain flour
  • two egg whites
  • breadcrumbs
  • Thai seven spice

Firstly take your green board and place it over a damp cloth on a clean surface.  It is going to get a lot of use today.  Peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the pan. Add boiling water and cook until they are soft.

Next add the Salmon fillets to a baking tray and bake for twenty minutes at 180 degrees.  While they are cooking, take the lime and grate off the zest into a bowl.  Juice the remaining lime.  Now take the chilli and slit them lengthways.  Remove the seeds with the knife tip.  If you miss so much as one you are playing fish cake-Russian-roulette with your mouth.  Which can be fun if you have my warped sense of humour, but I digress.  Now dice the chillies very finely

Drain the potatoes and crush them up in a bowl.  Remove the salmon from the oven and slice it from the skin - throw that bit away.  Crumble the salmon into the potatoes, add the lime zest, juice and red chilli.  Now add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir the mixture up really well.  Let it sit in the fridge for half an hour or it will be too hot to handle.

Clear some space on a table, and lay down some grease proof paper.  And right about now, you want to switch on your fryer.

Using the ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of fish cake mix and place them on the paper.  Then, you can mould them into shape with your hands.  Set up three bowls, one with flour, one with egg whites and water mixed, and one with breadcrumbs and a little 7 spice. One at a time, roll them in the flour, then the egg white, and then the breadcrumbs.  Place them in the fryer carefully.  Repeat, until you have three balls in the fryer.  Fry them for about a minute, and repeat.

Drain them carefully and place them in a bowl.  And serve with any dip that you like.  I recommend homemade tartar sauce or Thai sweet chilli dip.

Enjoy the party, kids.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Southern Fried Chicken Wings

 

Hello noble people of Brum,

Well the party season is just around the corner, and you seem to have the drink end pretty much sorted out.  But what about party food?  Nibbles and buffet food?  We need that too or people will be trollied by the first hour.

Let's start with an old favourite.  Chicken wings are cheap, cook easy enough and are pretty tasty.  But if you add a dash of the deep south, they become a whole lot more.

You need:

  • One red board
  • One meat cleaver or very sharp knife
  • one baking tray
  • three bowls
  • a deep fat fryer

And the ingredients:

  • Chicken wings, as many as you want, really
  • Plain flour
  • Two egg whites and a little water
  • White breadcrumbs and southern fried chicken spices

Take the red board and place it over a damp cloth on a clean work top.  Make sure it is really secure for this one.  Take your cleaver or big-ass knife.  Cut the chicken wing at the pivot joint.  They sometimes take a little sawing so be very careful.  Seriously, now.

Add them to the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.  You may wish to check them with a knife for any pinkness.  Allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.

Take three bowls, add the flour to the first one.  Then separate two egg whites from the yolks and add the whites to a bowl.  Stir in a little water to dilute them.  In the last bowl, add a fifty-fifty mix of dried breadcrumbs and southern fried chicken spices.  You can buy these from the foreign foods section of most food stores.

Dip the wings into the flour first, then the egg white, followed by the breadcrumb mix, and add to the fryer basket.  Fry for about a minute and allow to drain.  Shake them a little and add them to a bowl.

I serve them with a dip, such as Thai sweet dipping sauce.  Or blue cheese dressing.  That's just yum.

That's it, give it a good.

Enjoy the party season, Brummies.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Cocktails with Nick: Mojito

Hello  Brummies, is it five o'clock yet?

Fresh out of Havana comes one of my all-time favourites.  The Mojito has a unique flavour, sweet and fresh, yet deep and mellow at the same time.  It is rum based, and everyone has their favourite.  I like Morgan's Spiced Rum, as it has a kick, and the spices add layers to the flavour.

So you start with a nice thick based glass.  You also need a muddler stick.  If you don't have one, just use the end of a rolling pin.  And a bar spoon.  Right, that's the kit.

For the ingredients you need:

  • Rum.  I recommend Appleton’s, Havana Club or Morgan's Spiced.  Bacardi, at a stretch.
  • Sticky brown sugar, nice and dark.
  • Fresh mint, nice big leaves
  • Fresh limes
  • Ice for crushing
  • A mixer, such as 7up or sugar syrup

Take a nice, wide, thick-based glass and, using the bar spoon, add a spoonful of brown sugar.  The darker and stickier, the better.  Add four or five large mint leaves. Carefully crush the mint into the sugar, this releases the flavour.  Cut a lime into wedges and add three to the glass.  Now crush them in too.

Add the rum, and we are talking 50ml as a bare minimum.  Make it 70ml, what the hell.  And stir well.

Take some ice cubes and crush them into tiny little pieces.  Pour them into the glass.  Decorate the edge of the glass with a wedge of lime placed over the ice and a few mint leaves arranged in a fan shape around the edge.

Enjoy, amigos. Hasta Manana

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here. #ChefsTable

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Cocktails with Nick: Cosmopolitan

Hello you lovely Brummie people,

Let's get this show on the road shall we?  Clear some space, grab some clean glasses, because it is Cosmopolitan time. This drink of choice dates back to the days when Dorothy Parker and her cohorts would write a short column for Vanity Fair in the morning and then retire to the bar for lunch, and get kicked out about three in the morning.  In more recent years it became popular with Candice Bushell's alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw, who brought it to the attention of a new generation.

Ingredients

  • Vodka  (Smirnoff is fine, but have you tried Chase Vodka from Hereford?)
  • Triple Sec  (A typical brand is Cointreau but you can also use Grand Marnier for a deeper, richer flavour)
  • Cranberry Juice
  • One fresh lime
  • One fresh orange

Equipment and glassware

  • One two-part Boston shaker
  • One strainer
  • One knife and green chopping board
  • Crushed ice
  • Regular ice
  • and one cigarette lighter (I will explain in a minute)

Right, let's do this thing.

  1.  Take one clean martini glass and place it on a dry surface. Crush some ice and fill the glass with it, and leave it to cool.
  2. Take one lime and cut it lengthways in half. From one half cut a wedge and cut an indent into it so it will hold on to the side of the glass.
  3. Cut a thin slice of orange zest. That's all you need of it, put it back in the fridge.
  4. Fill the glass half of the Boston Shaker with ice.
  5. Take one spirit measure, add 35ml of vodka, 15ml of Triple Sec and  25ml of Cranberry juice to the shaker.
  6. Grab the half of lime and squeeze it into the shaker, using a juicer, or in your hand if you want to look all strong and masterful.
  7. Place the metal half of the shaker over the top and push it down hard and then place one hand on the top of the shaker and half on the bottom. Shake it like a pro, go on!
  8. Remove the crushed ice from the glass and place the lime wedge on the side. Place the shaker on the work top with the metal half at the bottom and the glass half at the top. Using the strainer to hold back the ice, pour the drink into the glass.

Now the final touch.

Take the orange zest and give it a quick wave under a flame from the cigarette lighter. Hold the flame over the glass and squeeze the oils from the orange over the drink. They will ignite as they hit the flame. It is perfectly safe [so he says – the Ed] and adds a bit of theatre to the drink.

To see this done properly (It is hard when you are holding the camera yourself) click this link here

And serve to the person of your choice, with one eyebrow slightly raised.

Next we are doing Don Draper's favourite cocktail, the Old Fashioned.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here. #ChefsTable

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Recipe: Potato and Cauliflower Curry (Indian month)

Good morning, fine folk of Birmingham.  Did you enjoy your Sunday lunch? Got any leftover roast potatoes and cauliflower? Great, I have just the quick recipe for you.

The last curry we did was a bit of an  epic, but this one will be much quicker to put together. Half the work is done already.

You need:

  • Several roast potatoes per person.  How many depends on how hungry you are.
  • Several florets of precooked cauliflower.  The same applies.
  • One large onion.
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • One tin of chopped tomatoes
  • One chopped green chilli
  • Ground cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Curry powder

Take a green chopping board and place it on a counter over a damp cloth.  Then start by finely dicing the onion, garlic and de-seeded chilli. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling chillies.

Take a wok or frying pan. Add a little oil and heat.  Then add a teaspoon of curry powder and stir it into the oil.  Once the curry powder and hot oil have mixed, add the onion, garlic and chilli.  Cook these off until they are soft and golden in colour.

Next add a teaspoon of Cumin and one of Tumeric.  Once these have blended in, add the tomatoes and stir them in until they start to bubble a little, add the potatoes and cauliflower.  Stir in well, and cover the vegetables well with the sauce.  Now cover with a lid and allow the curry to simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Occasionally stir it and check that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

Take a taste, is it spicy and full of flavour?  If not leave it a little bit longer.  If it is too spicy, add a little lime juice. Too bitter? Add a little sugar.

After 30 minutes it should have thickened up somewhat and be ready to eat.

Serve with rice, if you like, and/or naan bread.  You will definitely need natural yoghurt to take the sting out of the chilli.

And that is it.  Enjoy!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Lamb Curry with Bombay Potatoes (Indian month)

Feeling ready for a challenge?  This is a recipe that has been a bit of a work in progress over the last week.  It combines a lot of flavours  and takes over an hour and a half to prep and cook. [But I’m sure it’s worth it – Ed.]

You need the following:

  • Two lamb steaks per person
  • Flour for coating and frying
  • Red or white onions
  • Baby button mushrooms
  • Freshly chopped mint
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • pureed ginger
  • pureed garlic
  • pureed chilli
  • pureed tomato
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Canned coconut cream
  • Green pepper (optional)

For the Bombay potatoes:

  • New potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • One green chilli, de seeded and finely chopped.

For the rice you need:

  • Rice

So, let's do this thing..

You need one small frying pan on heat with a little oil. Fill a dish with flour.  Take a red chopping board, placed over a damp cloth, on a counter.  Dice the lamb into small cubes, and coat it thoroughly in the flour.  Wash your hands and open a window for ventilation, this is where it tends to get a bit smoky.

Fry your cubes of lamb in the oil, until they are all brown on all sides.  Transfer the lamb to a clean plate and set aside.  You can also cover it to prevent contamination by insects and other yucky things. Leave your small pan in the sink to soak with loads of washing up liquid and water.  It will come off easy later.

Take a green chopping board, set us as before. Peel the onions and chop them into wedges.  Take the mint, wash it and remove the leaves, then chop them very finely. Wash the button mushrooms carefully under the tap. Cut the green pepper into strips.

Next, prep work for the Bombay Potatoes...

Rinse the new potatoes in the sink and set them aside.  Boil the spinach leaves in a small pan of water until they wilt.  This kills all the germs and nastiness.  Drain the leaves and transfer to a saucer.

Take half a white onion and dice it very finely on the green board.  Next, de-seed and finely chop the green chilli.  Set all of this aside on a plate. So, that is all your prep work done.  Wash your hands after working with chillies!

Next, take a great big wok or deep cooking pot.  Add a little oil and place on heat.  First add the onion wedges, turn them over and allow them to soften.  Add the mushrooms and stir them in.  Again, let them soften of their own accord.  Add the Lamb and mint next.

Then one tablespoon of garlic puree, one teaspoon of ginger puree, one of chilli and one of tomato.  Stir it all in and allow it to melt.  Add the tin of tomatoes and allow to simmer for five minutes.  Meanwhile, open the can of coconut milk and spoon one spoonful over the kernel (that is the thick white gloopy stuff.  Throw the transparent liquid under it away - you don't want to drink that.  (It is a laxative!)

Stir in the coconut cream and add the mint.  Now add a tablespoon of natural yoghurt.  Reduce heat and allow the curry to simmer gently.

While the curry is doing it's thing, boil a pan of water and boil the new potatoes until they are soft.  Poke them with a knife to check they are soft right through to the middle.  Drain the water and transfer the potatoes to a deep dish.  and crush them up, using a potato masher or a fork.  I prefer a fork, as you don't really want to mash them up too much.  Put a small frying pan on heat with a little oil.  Add the onions, spinach and chillies.  Mind your eyes for chilli vapours, they sting like hell.

Once they have softened and browned a little, add the potato and stir in.  Adding a teaspoon of yoghurt is optional.  And that is your Bombay potatoes sorted.

Boil another pan of water (hey, just rinse out the pan you have already used, save on the washing up).  Add two-thirds of a cup of rice per person.  Bring it to the boil and allow it to simmer until the rice is soft.

Taste the curry, it should have just a nice tang to it.  And the lamb should be just soft enough.  It generally takes about an hour to cook.  Add the green pepper finally, just to give it a little crunch.

Drain the rice and add all three elements to a bowl, and serve for each person. I really hope you enjoy this new challenge (to me, anyway), and let's keep pushing those culinary boundaries at home.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Italian Sausage and Chips

 

Happy Monday, people of Birmingham.  Had a fun Birmingham Weekender with the Rugby?  Did you look around Grand Central yet?  So it is time for the curtain to drop on Italian month, for this year.  I hope you enjoyed it and learned some interesting and diverse things.  I know a lot of it was slow cooking things that took hours.  So, to wrap up, I thought I would leave you with something quick and very simple for a Monday night supper.

Per person you need:

  • Three decent quality sausages
  • Two good-sized potatoes
  • Half an onion
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A piece of lard, the size of your thumb.
  • Peel your potatoes and cut them into small fries.  Dice your onion, peel and slice the garlic.  Place the lard in a baking tray and place in the oven.  Set your oven to its highest level and let the lard melt and bubble.  After nearly ten minutes it should be ready.  Reduce the heat to 180C.

Add your chips, sausages, onion and garlic.  Stir in well.  Sprinkle with parsley and oregano.  Bake for ten minutes, then turn the chips and sausages over.  Bake further until everything is nice and golden brown.  Remembering to use an oven cloth, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the contents to a plate.  And serve.

There you go, a nice easy dinner, Italian style.

Ciao, Bella!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Slow Braised Alpine Rabbit

Welcome one and all to the latest of the Italian series of recipes.

As I noted at the start, a lot of Italian food reflects the coldness of a mountainous environment.  After the war, food was scarce, and unusual meats had to be hunted down.  In the Alpine region, which suffered the longest, Rabbit was often a staple diet.  Another was Polenta, a maze meal that can be roasted, baked or fried and has a neutral flavour.  It is very cheap to make, and sustained many families throughout the hard post-war years.

Rabbit is available from most good butchers in the UK, although you may have to pre-order it.  It tastes just like chicken, but a little richer. I am giving this recipe a danger rating of three severed fingers.

So, to start, you need:

  • One Rabbit, dead, skinned and gutted.
  • One slab of Polenta
  • One handful of baby button mushrooms
  • One lemon
  • Two tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Chicken stock
  • White wine
  • Plain flour

First, take a red chopping board and put it over a damp piece of kitchen paper, on a work top.  Make certain it is stuck down fast.  Take a meat cleaver or heavy knife and CAREFULLY cut the rabbit into quarters.  Take a hot pan and add a little oil to it.  Coat the rabbit in flour and fry gently until it is golden.  Add it to a deep baking tray.  Move the red chopping board to the wash up area.  Replace it with a green board.  Chop up your Polenta into roast potato sized pieces. Chop the celery into smaller pieces, and the lemon into quarters.

Pan fry or deep fry the Polenta just until the edges turn golden and crispy.  Add it to the tray.  Add the celery and the lemon.  Wash the mushrooms to remove any loose soil and grit, then add them to the tray.

Boil a kettle and add the boiling water to a deep bowl.  Cut a cross into the top of each tomato and place them in the bowl.  After a minute the skin will peel off.  Once they are peeled, add them to the tray.

Add a small glass of white wine and half a pint of chicken stock poured evenly over the Rabbit, Polenta and vegetables.  Cover the whole tray tightly with metal foil and place in the oven.  Bake it slowly for three hours.  After each hour, add a little chicken stock if it is going dry.

By the time it is cooked it should be tender and falling off the bone, ready to enjoy.  Just be aware that rabbit bones are smaller and more brittle.

Enjoy a good, Alpine, autumn/winter night's supper.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Salmon Arrabbiata Risotto

Hello people and welcome to the second instalment of Italian recipe month. To offset the rainy start to Autumn, we have something tasty from the shores of the Amalfi coast.

For two people you need the following:

  • Two Salmon steaks
  • Prosciutto Ham (one slice per steak)
  • Risotto rice (two cups per person)
  • One white onion
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • White wine (250ml for two and two glasses to drink)
  • Chicken stock (one pint)
  • Half a tin of tomatoes
  • Chopped red chillies
  • Tomato puree

We start with the veg prep.  Take a green chopping board and place it over a damp paper towel on a work top.  Peel and finely chop your onion and the garlic. Move them to a plate together and now chop your red chillies, very finely.  Keep or remove the seeds, depending on how brave you feel.  Move the chillies to another plate.

Now take a shallow saucepan or a frying pan and add a little olive oil.  Sweat off the onion and garlic until they are translucent and slightly brown, but not too brown.  Add the rice and stir in well until it too becomes translucent.  Remove from the heat.  Heat your chicken stock slowly on the hob until it is steaming, but not boiling.  Add the white wine to the rice and stir in, and continue to heat gently.  It should evaporate quickly.  Now take a ladle and spoon the stock into the rice, a little at a time.  Keep stirring and the rice will expand quickly.  It will also soak up all the stock, so you need to keep adding it a little at a time, making sure the pan does not go dry.

Next we make the Arrabbiata sauce (it is Italian for angry, by the way).  Very simple, take a saucepan and add a little olive oil.  Fry off the chillies (beware of the fumes, they hit you like CS gas).  Add half a tin of tomatoes, whatever seasonings you like, and two tablespoons of tomato puree.  Bring it to the boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and allow it to reduce.

Set your oven to 180C and allow it to pre-heat.  Take a baking tin and place a piece of baking foil in  the middle of it.  Drizzle a little oil over it to prevent stickiness.  Next, wash your hands thoroughly.  Now carefully wrap each salmon steak in the ham, tightly.  Drizzle a little oil over the salmon and place it in the oven.

Bake the salmon for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the Salmon.  As it cooks, the ham will shrink and tighten around the salmon.

Take a plate and cover the middle with risotto rice.  Flatten it down a little, then place the Salmon on top.  Cover the salmon with a few spoons of Arrabbiata sauce.

I have a little broccoli with mine, but it is optional.

Ciao, et buon appetito!

By chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Bacon 'Jam' Burger

Our chef Nick continues the BBQ series with very special jimmy burgers!

Happy Tuesday everybody!

Ready to try a new way to sex up your burger?  Well step this very way.

We are making Bacon Jam, which is nothing at all like fruit jam, but has a similar process of manufacture.  It is very simple, but oh my, it does pep up the burger very nicely.  But first we need the burger.

Wash your hands, we are going to get messy.

For one individual burger you need a palm full of minced beef, of good quality.  Literally enough to fit in the palm of your hand.  Half an egg white and a quarter of a tea-cup of white breadcrumbs.  Add to this a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Mix it well with your hands and roll it into a ball.  Then twist your palms in opposite directions to make the burger patty shape.  Set it aside in the fridge to grill later.

But the burger itself isn't the star of the show today.  Set up a sauce pan and the following ingredients:

  • Two white onions, peeled and finely diced
  • Five tablespoons of thick brown sugar
  • 150 grams of Pancetta or finely chopped bacon
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Garlic puree

Take one sauce pan and add a little oil.  Put it on the heat. Start by gently frying off your onion, just enough so it goes golden brown.  Add all the sugar.  Stir it in until it melts.  Reduce heat to prevent burning.  Now add the bacon and stir it in well.  Once the bacon is visibly cooked, add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

Next, add four tablespoons of maple syrup.  Slowly continue to cook the jam until it reduces.  Stir it well, or it will stick. Finally add half a teaspoon of garlic puree and stir in well. Continue to stir until the contents reduce to a sticky,  jam like consistency.

Grill your burger until it is brown on both sides.  Add cheese to the top if you like.  Add tomato or onion on top if you like.  toast your burger bun lightly and place on a plate.

Add the bacon jam to the base of the bun.  Place the burger over this and the cheese over the burger.  Melt the cheese under the grill and add the tomato if you like.

And that, dear readers, is your Bacon Jam burger.  Burger King missed a trick or two, don't you think?

Catcha laters, sweet potatoes.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Nutrition: Salad Days

After the spells of grey skies, rain and below average temperatures, Birmingham welcomes the long-awaited summer sunshine and warmth when it arrives. People often report not having much of an appetite when the sun is beating down on them, and that’s probably why salads are often synonymous with summer; they can be a healthy, light and refreshing alternative to a stodgy burger and fries or meaty BBQ.

I find salads to be a really versatile dish, whether it’s consumed as a side or a main meal, and when you consider the vast array of delicious foods on offer at our local food store or market, no two salads ever have to be the same. Here’s a few of my favourite homemade salads that I’ve been indulging in over the past couple of months.

I’m not a fan of rocket lettuce which is a very popular leaf to include in salads, so I’ve been using spinach as the base of most of my salads. It’s pretty tasteless so it allows the flavours of all the other ingredients to really come through.

Not everyone enjoys including fruit in their salad, but I say the more the better. I know it’s ‘trendy’ to eat avocado these days, but I genuinely love this fruit which is full of healthy fats and adds great texture to your salad.

Oily fish is full of omega 3 fats which are important for heart health and I’ve always enjoyed including salmon, especially smoked salmon in my salads but I recently happened on a recipe which suggested combining mackerel and satsuma/clementine segments - I’m so glad I tried it, it’s now one of my favourite salads!

My kitchen is full of cooking gadgets and my latest purchase is the spiralizer. It’s so much fun preparing salads with this and my favourite vegetable to spiralise is a courgette; I’ll lightly stir-fry it and include it in a salad

We’re often warned against salad dressings because of being calorie-laden, and in some cases their high sugar and high salt content can get in the way of our health efforts. A simple way to add flavour to a salad is the use of balsamic vinegar, with its sweet and tangy properties and only 14 calories per tablespoon. I however love combining balsamic vinegar with a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil for a simple, healthy dressing.

I could go on with different ideas for salads, from using whole-wheat pasta to pulses, but I’ll leave it there.

Words and photos by Colleen Campbell.

Colleen Campbell writes a lifestyle blog (http://forcailini.blogspot.com) and is a Registered Nutritionist and the owner of nutrition consultancy, NutriShion (www.nutrishion.co.uk).

You can connect with her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more health and nutrition tips.

Recipe: Greek Lamb Burgers

For  the #ChefsTable series during August, our chef is bringing you recipes for the BBQ season - inside or out! Well, you have got to love the British weather.  Always keeping us on our toes.  There I was, with a lovely barbecue menu planned out and it keeps raining.  So, instead, we are going with a barbecue-adaptable menu, which you can use, depending on the weather, with either a grill or al fresco.

We are starting with something I came up with while flicking through old photos of my Malia days.

You need:

  • Minced Lamb
  • One egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Freshly chopped mint
  • Garlic powder
  • Gyros spices, if you have any
  • Oregano
  • Cucumber
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Beefsteak tomato
  • Halloumi cheese (optional)
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

Oh, and a bread cake. (I’m from Yorkshire, and we call them bread cakes, OK?)

Take one big mixing bowl and place it on a dry worktop.  Wash your hands very carefully, between your fingers and right up your wrists.

Per burger you need enough lamb mince to fill the palm of your hand, half an egg white, and a quarter of a teacup of fine, white breadcrumbs.

To this, add half a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of finely chopped mint, half a teaspoon of Oregano, and, if you have any, Gyros spices.  These are the same that the Greeks use in their kebabs. If you wish, crumble in some Feta cheese.

Now, kneed it well into a ball, and divide up into burger sized balls, and flatten down on a red chopping board, or a plate. That is your burger sorted.

Next up, you need the Tzatziki.  This will be going inside the bun, under the burger.

Take a cereal bowl, add a teaspoon of chopped mint, a tablespoon of grated cucumber, half a teaspoon of garlic powder.  Now for the shameless product placement - you need Total Greek Yoghurt for the best Tzatziki.  It is thick, creamy and totally delicious.  The rest are like thickened milk by comparison.  Add a good tablespoon and mix it well. Grill your burger until it is brown on both sides.  Lamb is relatively safe to eat medium rare.  After grilling on both sides, add your Halloumi cheese to the top and grill it until it starts to brown at the corners.  Now grill your bun until it, too, is golden brown.  Don't take your eyes off it, they burn very quickly.

Cut a nice thick slice of Beefsteak Tomato.  These tomatoes are the business, you can do so much more with them than standard size tomatoes.

Now, to assemble your burger, spread the Tzatziki over the base.  Place the slice of tomato over this, and then place the burger on top.

That is pretty much all these is to it.  If you like, serve it with chips or a small Greek salad.  Yummy.

That’s it for today, next week, we are doing regular burgers, but with one very special ingredient.  Stay tuned.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Slow Roasted Vegetarian Baguette

 

When I was just checking back through my posts the other day I noticed that I had, for months, made one glaring omission. I had included no vegetarian food.  None, nil, nada.  So I thought I had better make amends and come up with something that will rock your world. For this you will need:

  • Half a Ciabatta, exactly like the one we used in the steak sandwich.
  • Two large portobello mushrooms.
  • Onion chutney
  • Stilton cheese - enough to cover the mushrooms
  • Dijon mustard mayonnaise
  • Two halves of pepper.  Any colour you like.  I mix and match for visual impact.

Set your oven at 180 degrees centigrade.  Remove the cores of your mushrooms and place them in a baking tin with a little oil and black pepper for seasoning. Roughly slice the peppers and add them to the baking tin.  Now bake the whole tray for twenty minutes. When the time is up, take out the tray.  Add a teaspoon of onion chutney to each mushroom, and cover with Stilton.  Place it back in the oven. Now switch on your grill. Cut the ciabatta in half and split it into top and bottom halves, using a bread knife carefully. Toast the inside of the ciabatta under the grill then switch it off. Take a small dish and make a 50-50 mix of Dijon mustard and Mayonnaise and spread it over the toasted side of the bread. Remove the baking tin from the oven. Using a green board, cut the mushrooms into two semi-circles and place them on the bread.  Over and around these, add the peppers. Place the lid on the bread and serve. Quick and easy for a change, eh? Enjoy! And that concludes American month.  Next month, we are doing burgers.  Real, proper home-made burgers.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Philadelphia Cheese Steak

Chef Nick Gilmartin continues this month's American cooking series.

Hola Amigos!

Fancy something quick, meaty and satisfying that you can eat on the go?  Step this way.

American sandwiches are not like the little triangles we get over here. They are big, half-loaf things stuffed full of meat and vegetables.  And boy, do they hit the spot.  The one mainstay of every street corner food cart is the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. 

We're making two of them, right?  Introduce a friend.  Hell, introduce a Vegetarian. You need the following:

  • Two rump steaks, as thin as you can find.  Then mallet them so thin you can fit them under the door.
  •  One ciabatta loaf
  •  One onion, pick any colour
  •  Two handfuls of mushrooms
  •  Mayonnaise
  •  Dijon Mustard
  •  Worcestershire sauce

Oh, and cheese, mustn't forget that.  Grated cheddar on this occasion.  But why not try Stilton?

As for the kit, you will need one very thick based frying pan, one small frying pan, tongs, one red board and one green board.  And one very big, dangerous mallet.

Right, to kick off, wash your hands!

Place a damp cloth on a worktop.  Now place the red chopping board on that.  Take your pieces of steak and spread them out over the red board.  Take a mallet and CAREFULLY beat them to a pulp, minding your fingers. [box type="alert" style="rounded"]Important safety tip.  Wear shoes for this.  If you drop a mallet on your toe, it will hurt.  A lot [/box]Move the steak on to a plate and liberally coat it in Worcestershire sauce.  Now leave it aside.

Peel and thinly slice the onion.  Thinly, being the operative word. Slice the mushrooms to the same thinness and sweat them off in the small frying pan.

Heat the thick frying pan with a little oil.  We need a thick one to stop the steak from burning.  Using your tongs, place the steak in the pan and fry it off for about a minute either side.  This is why it is sometimes called minute steak by the French. Once it is cooked, move it on to a yellow chopping board, or a wooden one.  Slice it into strips.  Take the onions and mushrooms off the heat and leave aside.

Fire up your grill. Take your ciabatta, and cut it into two halves then slice it carefully into two sides, top and bottom.  Place it under the grill and allow it to toast - that's as opposed to burn - please keep an eye on it!  Now take it off the heat. 

Take a small dish and make a 50-50 mix of Dijon mustard and Mayonnaise.  Add a little cracked black pepper and lemon if you like.

Spread the mustard mayo over the base of the bread.  And over the top, if you like.  Over this, you spread the onions and mushrooms and place the steak on top of that. Finally cover the whole thing with lots and lots of grated cheese.

Place it back under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble and melt.  Now place the lid over the top, and serve up, on its own or with chips or French fries (the difference being the thickness) and a dip pot of mustard mayo.  Because it's awesome.

And that is really it.  Simple, tasty and quick.  Enjoy

Have a nice day!

More American recipes here.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Chicken & Ribs

So today we are moving on to something a bit more elaborate.  It also takes a few hours to bake the ribs, so set you can leave them to let them do their thing.  So, first and foremost, you need the following:

[Note: This recipe takes most of the day.  Either do the prep work before you leave for work, or do I the night before]

  • One full rack of ribs.
  • Two chicken breasts.
  • Two large baking potatoes.
  • Two tomatoes.
  • Two large Portobello mushrooms.
  • Stilton
  • Onion chutney.
  • Flour, one egg and breadcrumbs with seasonings.
  • Lemon juice

For the dry rub you will need:

Two tablespoons of brown sugar, one teaspoon of chilli flakes, one teaspoon of paprika, one of oregano, one of salt, one of pepper and one of garlic powder.

For the marinade, on this occasion, I am using Paul Newman's sticky barbecue sauce, because I am a huge advocate of his products. You can make your own, but I don't want this recipe to take any longer - you will be starving!

Start by washing your hands, and then take a damp cloth and place it on the work top.  Place a red meat chopping board over that.

The morning before dinner, you need to take the ribs  out of their packaging.  Give them a good rinse under the cold tap and place them on the red board.  Take a sharp knife and cut off any excess skin and sinew off the bottom.  Place your ribs in a baking tin or on to a plate.  Start by pouring the juice of a lemon over the ribs.  Now take all the dry rub ingredients and mix them well in a dish.  Sprinkle them carefully and evenly over the ribs and rub them in with your fingers.  Make sure you spread it out well over the ridges in the ribs. 

Cover it with cling film and leave it in the fridge for a minimum of four hours and nd get on with your day.

About two hours before dinner, take out the ribs.  Remove the cling film and replace with metal foil.  Set your oven to 160 C and place the ribs on the middle shelf.  Now leave them there to cook for a minimum of two hours.

Take two baking potatoes, prick them carefully with a knife, and wrap them individually in metal foil.  Place them in the oven on the shelf above the ribs.  Now you have a couple of hours to fill.

About two hours later, switch on your deep fat fryer and your grill.  Take your red chopping board and place in on the worktop, over a damp cloth.  Take your chicken breasts and split them through the side, to butterfly them, like we have before.  Just cut far enough to leave the two halves attached. Place the chicken under the grill and leave until it is cooked on both sides.  It should be all white, with no traces of pink when your cut into it. 

Take three bowls.  Into the first, place two tea cups of flour.  Into the second, break an egg and whisk it up with a little water.  Into the third, add a fifty-fifty mix of bread crumbs and southern fried chicken seasoning.  Mix them up well.  

Using tongs, place your butterfly chicken into the flour first.  Pack it around well, and then dip it into the egg mix, again, making sure it is well coated. Finally, dip it into the breadcrumbs and seasoning.  Make sure it is well covered.  Now place the chicken in the fryer for a minute until the coating turns a nice golden brown.  Take the chicken out of the oil and drain off the fat and leave them somewhere warm until the ribs are ready.

Next, the mushrooms and tomatoes.  For this you need a thick, flat oven pan.  Boil a kettle and place the boiling water into a deep dish or container.  Using  a small knife, cut an X shape into the top of each tomato.  Place them in the boiling water, carefully and leave them for a minute.  Remove them with tongs.  Notice how the skin has stretched back from the cut you made?  So, now you just peel the skin straight off.  Place it in the oven pan.  

Take your large mushrooms and give them a quick rinse under the tap.  Pull out the core of the mushroom.  It will pop out fairly easily.  Place one teaspoon of onion chutney in the middle of each mushroom, and cover it with some crumbled stilton.  Place the mushrooms into the oven pan with the tomatoes and place in the oven.  They take about fifteen minutes to cook at most.

Now, you need large plates for all of this, so warm a couple.  We're nearly there.

Take out the ribs, and coat them in the marinade.  God bless Paul Newman.

Place them back in the oven for a further two minutes, under the foil.  Finally remove the ribs and cut the rack into two halves.  For each person, you get one half rack or ribs, one piece of southern fried chicken, one nice big jacket potato, one tomato and one mushroom.

Trust me, you won't need dessert.

Enjoy! 

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Also in the series: Meatloaf

Recipe: Meatloaf

Hello one and all,

After a well-earned break on the coast, I am back in the kitchen. This month we are taking a brief look at American cuisine.  Now there is simply too much of it to cover in a single month, even region by region it would take several months. So we are starting with the North East coast kicking things off with a traditional American Meatloaf.  Now to get the definitive recipe is impossible, every household does it different.  But I had a look through about ten recipes and came up with something workable.

For two people you need:

  • One and a half kilogram of pork and beef mince, mixed.
  • Half a pepper
  • One onion
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Streaky bacon
  • Oregano and Seasonings
  • Four egg whites
  • Breadcrumbs.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato and garlic puree
  • Four large sweet potatoes
  • Butter
  • Beef stock
  • Flour
  • Jack Daniels marinade or whatever you prefer
  • Right, this is a messy one.  You have been warned.  
  1. Start with a mixing bowl, and crack open the eggs.  Using the egg-shell halves, separate the egg whites from the yolks, and place the whites into the mixing bowl.  
  2. Add two tea cups of breadcrumbs and then the two fist sized balls of minced meat, one of pork and one of beef.  
  3. Now peel and dice one onion very, very finely and add it to the bowl. Dice the handful of mushrooms and half a pepper, add two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, one tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoonful of garlic puree.
  4. Set your oven to pre-heat at 180c.
  5. Take one large double-handed pan, like the one we used for paella and spread a little oil over the base, just to prevent stickiness.  Next wet a cloth and spread it out on a work top and place a red chopping board over the top of that.  Open the streaky bacon pack, lay out the bacon strips in a star formation, four pieces for each meatloaf. Then, using a pastry brush, spread the Jack Daniels marinade over the meatloaf.  
  6. Next, wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and warm water and dry them well.
  7. Go back to the mixing bowl and mix the hell out of the ingredients, right to the bottom.  Make sure all the breadcrumbs and egg white combines thoroughly and that everything is evenly mixed.  Take a good few minutes to bind it all together.  If the mixture seems too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a little water.
  8. Now form two fist sized balls of meat out of the mix.  Place each one in the middle of a bacon 'star'.  Now fold up the edges of the bacon right to the top and carefully turn them over and place them onto the pan.
  9. Wash your hands again to get all the mix off and you can add the mixing bowl to the washing up.
  10.  Add a third of a cup of water to the base of the pan and cover the whole thing with foil.  Place in the oven and cook for an hour at 180 degrees..
  11. Right, boil a full kettle of water.  Put the red chopping board in the sink and replace it with a green chopping board.  Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, put them into a pan and add the boiling water.  Heat them on a hob until they are soft.  Now is a good time to take care of your washing up so far.
  12. Add 200 ml of beef stock into the smallest sauce pan you have and heat it slowly, stirring in plain flour until it thickens.  Whisk it well to avoid lumpiness - be brisk with the whisk!  Add some Worcestershire sauce to give it a kick, and some Jack Daniels marinade.
By now the sweet potatoes should be soft.  Drain off the water and place them into the (clean) mixing bowl.  Mash them down with a potato masher, add salt, pepper and two tablespoons of butter.  Mix it all well, then set aside.

I think you have time to pour a drink now.

Once the hour is up, take three plates and warm them in the oven for a few seconds.  Using a thick, clean oven cloth, place them on a work top.  Add a good ladle of mashed potato to the middle of each place.

Carefully take the pan of meatloaf out of the oven and place it on a pan stand or wooden chopping board. Using an oven cloth and great care, peel back the foil.  Be very wary of the steam, if it burns, it hurts like hell. Use a pallet knife and oven tongs to place the meatloaf on top of the mashed potato, very carefully.  Pour the gravy around the edges of the plate, and serve.

And enjoy!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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Recipe: Catalan Chicken with Patatas Bravas

Now the Mediterranean weather is very much upon us, I have the perfect Spanish recipe for a warm summer night.  This one is my new favourite.  It goes nicely with a jug of Sangria and some olive bread.

Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas are two things that seemed destined to go well together.  We are talking roasted chicken and potatoes in a rich tomato sauce.  What could be simpler? 

You need the following:

  • Four chicken thighs, legs or two chicken breasts, depending on how many you are serving. (As an option you can also include flour, one egg, breadcrumbs and chicken seasoning to Southern Fry your chicken).
  • Four large potatoes
  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • One red onion
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • 125 ml of Spanish red (plus another 125 ml to drink while you are cooking)
  • Tomato puree
  • Some thinly sliced Chorizo sausage

For the vegetables you need:

  • Red peppers, courgettes and Aubergines or whatever you like. 
  1. To start, preheat your oven at 200 C.
  2. Place your chicken thighs and legs in a deep baking tray, coated in a little oil and seasoning, and cook for 30 minutes or until the core of the chicken has reached at least 75 C.  Also, check the centre for pinkness or blood.
  3. After the chicken has cooked for about 20 minutes, you can start on your potatoes.  Peel them and chop them into the size of small roast potatoes.  Boil them in a pan of lightly salted water until they are soft inside but are still holding their shape.  This should take about five minutes.  When they are soft, drain the water through a colander and shake them in a circular motion.  Leave them to cool for a minute.
  4. By the time the chicken is cooked, check they are cooked through to the middle.  If so, set them aside on a plate.  Drain a little of the chicken stock remaining in the tray, into a small dish and set aside.  Place the potatoes in the baking tray that the chicken has just vacated and give it a little shake side-to-side.  Shake a little oil and seasoning over them and place them in the oven at 200 c and allow them to cook for 20 minutes or until they are brown.
  5. If you wish to southern fry your chicken, now is the time.  Switch your fryer on full.  Take three bowls and a pair of kitchen tongs.  In the first bowl, place two teacups of flour.  In the second, place one beaten egg and half a cup of water, mixed well.  In the third one, place a 50-50 mix of bread crumbs and southern fried chicken seasoning, available for any foreign food section of your supermarket.  Once your oil is hot, take your tongs and pick up the first piece of chicken.  Roll it around, firstly in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs and seasoning, making sure it is well coated.  Set it aside on a plate, and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken.  Then deep fry all the chicken for thirty seconds to a minute, making sure the surface goes golden brown. Anyway, that is optional.  For a truly Catalan flavour, add powdered Almonds to your chicken seasoning mix
  6. Moving on, peel and slice the onion and garlic.  Take a hot, deep pan, the same one you used for the Paella, and place it on a medium heat with a splash of oil.  Fry the onions and garlic until they are golden brown.  Add your chorizo now.  Add the remaining chicken stock and 125 ml of thick red wine.  Continue to fry for a minute then add the two tins of tomatoes and a tablespoon of puree.  Now reduce the heat and cook the tomato mix slowly.
  7. By now your potatoes should be nice and brown.  Remove them from the baking tray and pour them into the tomato mix, around the edges of the pan.  Use the tongs to place them if you prefer.
  8. Add the chicken to the middle of the pan.  Make sure the chicken and potatoes and nicely coated in tomato sauce.  Reduce the oven heat to 180 c.  Cover the pan in tin foil and place in the oven for a further fifteen minutes.

Now, for the vegetables, as a side dish.

  1. Slice and core the peppers, slice the courgettes, and/or the aubergines.  Some just use peppers, either diced or just cut in big chunks out of the side.  Place them in an oven proof dish or pan.  Cover with a little oil and seasonings.  Place them, uncovered, in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
  2. To set the table, place knives, forks, spoons, one bread board to serve as a pan stand and even bread if you like.  This dish goes nicely with olive bread, as I've just found out.

After twenty minutes the vegetables should be softer and the tomato sauce should be bubbling away nicely.

Using a very thick, dry, kitchen cloth, take your pan of Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas and place them on the pan stand on the dining table.  Offer around the bread and serve up with a big serving spoon.

And that rounds off our month of Spanish food.  It has been quite a challenge for me, and in doing so I have learned some amazing new recipes to pass on. 

Muchas Gracias!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.

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