Sunday, April 27, 2014

Roast Chicken Wings with Lemon and Cracked Pepper

For the past few months I've been completely obsessed with chicken wings.  It's like a never-ending addiction that just won't go away.  Fried chicken wings are delicious, but aren't necessarily great for the waistline so I've taken to roasting them in the oven instead.  I love this simple recipe because the chicken wings get all sticky and caramelized and they are ever so flavorful.  Slightly better for the waistline and every bit as tasty!

Roast Chicken Wings with Lemon and Cracked Pepper
Adapted from Kitchen Diaries
by Nigel Slater
also found on Kitchen Flavours 

12 large chicken wings
1 large, juicy lemon
5 bay leaves
1 heaped tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste

Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6 or 400F.  Put the wings into a roasting dish, halve the lemon and squeeze it over them, then cut up the lemon shells and tuck them, together with the bay leaves, between the chicken pieces.
Put the peppercorns in a mortar and bash them so they crack into small pieces. They should still be knubbly, like small pieces of grit rather than finely ground.
Mix the peppercorns with the olive oil, then toss with the chicken and lemon. Scatter the salt flakes,without crushing them, over the chicken. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once. The chicken should be golden and sticky, the edges blackened here and there. Enough for 2.
Theme: What's In Your Picnic Basket?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lemon-Mustard Potato Salad

 This is one seriously good potato salad.  The potatoes are roasted in a bright and tangy lemon-mustard dressing then tossed with arugula, thin strips of bell pepper and toasted nuts.  This salad screams of fresh bright flavors and is satisfying enough to serve as a main course. We loved the combination of flavors and textures and I will definitely be making this again. 

Lemon-Mustard Potato Salad
Recipe Adapted from Feel Good Food
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
grated zest of 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1-1/2 pounds baby red skinned potatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
4 cups arugula (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup walnut pieces or sliced almonds, toasted

Notes: I used spinach instead of arugula and pecans instead of walnuts.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.  Line a heavy rimmed sheet with parchment paper.

For the Dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.  Remove 3 tablespoons of the dressing and reserve.

For the Salad: Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss until coated with dressing.  Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast until golden and tender, about 40 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together the reserved 3 tablespoons dressing, the bell pepper, and the arugula.  Arrange on a platter.  Spoon the roasted potatoes on top and sprinkle with the nuts.  

Cook's Note: To taste the walnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven until lightly toasted, 6-8 minutes.  Cool completely before using.

Per Serving: Calories 290; Protein 6g; Carbs 32g; Dietary Fiber 5g; Sugar 3g; Total Fat 16g; Sat Fat 2g; Sodium 477mg

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slater's Classic Bangers and Mash

We're celebrating Classic British fare over at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week so I cooked up a batch of Bangers and Mash.  The term "bangers" derives from a time when sausages were made with more water and had a tendency to explode if not cooked carefully.  Nigel has a few cook's tricks I've shared below to keep your sausages from splitting or exploding. 

My family loves a classic sausage and potato dish and this dish was well loved by all.  The flavor of the onion gravy marries perfectly with the sausages and mashed potatoes.  I'm also a fan of adding a little mustard to the sausages for a little more flavor.  A delicious and quick meal that the whole family enjoyed!

Classic Bangers and Mash
Recipe adapted via The Guardian
by Nigel Slater
Serves 4

Lightly brown a couple of decent butcher's sausages per person in a little fat or oil in a heavy pan (I prefer cast iron). Push them to one side and cook a peeled and quartered onion for each person, broken into layers, on the other side of the pan. Keep the pieces of onion quite large. Once they are deep gold and caramelized, sprinkle over a generous dusting of flour and allow to brown very lightly. Pour in about 125ml of rich stock per person, bring to the boil, season, then simmer for 20 minutes. To make the mash, boil the potatoes (I used medium potato per person) in lightly salted water or steam them till tender enough to mash. Use a thick slice of butter per person (I also added a couple tablespoons of mascarpone cheese), and beat till light and fluffy. Serve with the sausages and onion gravy.

Cook's Trick: Cooking sausages slowly will stop them splitting and allow a good, sticky coat to develop on their skins. Once the sausages are nicely browned you can let them finish cooking in the gravy. After crushing the potatoes with a potato masher, beat them again with a wooden spoon to incorporate some air and make them light and fluffy. Keep the onions in large pieces and let them cook slowly, allowing their edges to caramelise before adding the flour.

For a little Twist: Stir a little grain or smooth Dijon mustard into the sauce. Use Madeira or dry Marsala in place of some of the stock. Add a couple of sage leaves to the sauce. Mushrooms, quartered and fried off in a little butter and stirred into the gravy, would be something to consider, as would a little grated horseradish root.

Theme: Fit For A Brit!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nigel Slater's Smoothie in a Bowl

We've started cooking with someone new over at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  We will be cooking the recipes of British cook, Nigel Slater, for the next six months.  I'm still waiting to receive my copy of Tender in the mail, but I found this recipe for his Smoothie in a Bowl online and I couldn't resist it.

I'm all for sipping a smoothie on the go, but I'm definitely a fan of this Smoothie in a Bowl because I'm all about those toppings and garnishes. So many possibilities!  In fact, I'd say this would be a very good dish to keep in mind when entertaining.  Blend up the fruit.  Pour the mixture into a pitcher. Then set out lots of different toppings and garnishes: yogurt, berries, sliced bananas, granola, nuts/seeds, etc.  I think everyone would really enjoy customizing their own bowl!

Smoothie in a Bowl
by Nigel Slater
recipe via
Makes 2

1-1/2 cups blueberries
1 cup raspberries or strawberries
1 banana
To serve: extra banana, berries, toasted oats, nuts, yogurt

Blend berries with one banana until desired consistency.  Pour mixture into two bowls.  Garnish with slices of banana, berries, oats, nuts, and a dollop of yogurt.  Enjoy!