Thursday 16 July 2015

What we've been eating this week....2

Thanks mostly to the holidays, things have been going well in our household. The man of the house is doing very well on his crutches, and the holidays have given me the time to cook all sorts of things. At times I've felt like a '50s housewife: all cooking, cleaning and washing. But with a few mod cons: like a dishwasher, fan bake, Annabel Langbein, a clothes drier and the internet.  

This is one of my favourite Annabel Langbein recipes. The caramelised onions are great, and the pastry is super easy and useful for all sorts of pies.  I served ours with a pickled radish and celery salad and some tasty bread. 

Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tart

Flaky Pastry
2 cups high grade flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
220g cold butter
quarter of a cup cold water

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Grate the butter and shake through the flour. 
Add the water, mixing just until the dough forms. Wrap in plastic food wrap and chill until required. 
Caramelised Red Onion
3 large red onions - thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablepoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 170 deg. C. 
Mix the onion with the oil, sugar, vinegar and seasoning. 
Spread in a roasting dish and bake for 45 minutes. The caramelised onions will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. 
To make the tart:
Cut the pastry in half and roll out one of the half into a rough circle. Re-wrap the unused half and return to the fridge for later use. Spread the onions onto the pastry leaving a border around the edge. 
Sprinkle with about 100g of crumbled goat or sheep feta. Fold the edges over and bake at 180deg. C for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.   

Having not had chicken for a little while, a special on boned chicken thighs led me to this delicious chicken casserole. I made plenty and used the left over pastry half to make a pie later in the week. 

Easy Chicken Casserole
serves 4 hungry people with accompaniments, or 2 to 3 people with enough left over for a pie

6 boned, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
half a leek - white part only, finely sliced
2 to 3 small sticks of celery including the leaves - finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic - finely sliced
6 small sprigs of fresh thyme
about 3 cups of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons corn flour mixed with 4 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 200deg. C fan bake.
In a heavy based, oven-proof fry pan heat half the oil and soften the celery, leek and garlic. 

Put the vegetables aside and without cleaning the pan, add the second half of the oil and brown the chicken in batches. 

Add the vegetables back into the pan and enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil on the stove top, then place in the oven and cook for an hour. 

Take from the oven and immediately add the cornflour and water mixture, stirring constantly. Return to the oven or heat on the stove top until the mixture boils in order to cook out the cornflour. Test the seasoning and add more salt if required. 

We served ours with roasted pumpkin and parsnips, and baked potatoes with butter and sour cream. 

Here is the pie I made using the left over chicken casserole and the unused half of Annabel Langbein's pastry. Just roll out the pastry, cover half with the left over chicken mixture, fold the pastry over and press the edges shut with a folk. Bake at 200deg. C until golden brown and crispy. 

Our Little Miss made the flower decoration for the top of the pie. Use a little water to brush the top and stick the decoration down. 

Since the weather has been thoroughly cold I decided to stick to the comfort food theme with this Braised Beef dish. It is also super simple to make and requires no looking after while it is cooking. 

Braised Beef with onions
serves 4 hungry people with accompaniments or enough for 2 and another meal later!

800g beef shin fillets or similar stewing cut of beef
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic - finely sliced
about 3 cups of beef stock - either liquid or made with stock powder (we had run out of the real stuff, so settled for the powdered Maggi product made and water, which was surprisingly ok!)

Preheat the oven to 200deg. C fan bake. 
In a heavy based, oven proof fry pan, heat the oil and brown the beef. I left the pieces whole, but you can cut them smaller if you wish. Set the beef aside, then fry the onions and garlic until they start to colour. Add the beef back into the pan and pour in enough stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil on the stove top, then cover the dish with cooking foil and cook in the oven for 2 hours. At this point take from the oven, check the moisture levels; there should still be plenty of liquid; then remove the foil cover and return to the oven for an additional hour of cooking. At the end of the extra hour the meat should be very tender and falling apart. 
Check the seasoning and add more if required. If you have used a stock powder or seasoned liquid stock it is unlikely the braise will require any additional salt. 

I served our braise with roasted pumpkin, baked potatoes and sauteed kale and bacon.

I hope these dishes have given you some good winter meal ideas and wherever you are, you are warm, dry and in the company of your loved ones. Happy cooking xx

1 comment:

  1. You have had a busy time. Love the way to caramelise the onion in the oven!!