Thursday, 29 January 2009

Things I have been cooking as of late...

Winter is a lovely time to dig out the stews, soups and roasts. Especially when you've got a great glass of wine to go with it (my current favorite is Piccini Chianti Riserva, 2005. Can currently get it for £6.99 at Sainsbury's, normally £9.99, goes especailly well with tomato-based pasta dishes and game).

Last week, I made a fantastic venison stew, based on an old favorite recipe from Waitrose, the recipe calls for chicken stock, but I prefer to use lamb – it gives it a more intense flavour. I do love Waitrose though - it's one of the few local places I can get the more particular ingredients that I can't from the local Sainsbury's, without having to trek out to the crowded Borough Market.

I have also gotten back into my bread making, embarking on flatbreads for breakfast, that don't need any proving. It's quick and delicous on a cold winter morning. I mix in cumin seeds and a pinch of salt crystals for texture and taste, of course you can make the recipe how ever you wish - I even had raisins suggested to me as a sweet alternative. I'll find the recipe this week and copy it out for you all soon!

Also the usual comfort foods, like Minestra and Brodu – another Maltese recipe, a broth full of vegetables and chunks of chicken, recipe below.

Brodu Tat-Tigeg (Maltese Chicken Broth)

Serves 4

5 chicken drumsticks (preferbly free range)
1 onion (roughly chopped)
1 large carrot (peeled and sliced into half-centimetre rounds)
1 large potato (peeled and chopped into large chunks)
1 courgette (peeled and sliced into half-centimetre rounds)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
small bunch of flat leaf parsely, chopped finely
a handful of peas
100 g small shell pasta (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pan, place the drumsticks and onion and pour in cold water, enough to submerge up to about 5 cm above. Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour.

Then, add the potatoes, carrots, parsley and tomato paste, stir through and simmer for about 10 minutes, and the peas and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season well with salt and pepper.

At this point you might want to take the chicken out, strip the meat off and add back into the pot if you don't want it on the bone. Alternatively, take it out all together and serve cool after the broth with cheese and bread.

Add pasta if you like and cook according to the packets instructions (usually about 10 minutes in the rapidly simmering broth). Serve.