What better Saturday night treat? Crispy chicken, stir-fried vegetables & a quick fire chilli glaze. So much better than any takeaway.
Chicken & Chorizo Orzo
Chorizo often creeps its way into my comfort food and go to recipe for a couple of reason one is its long shelf life I always have a couple stashed in the fridge and the other is because I simply adore its flavour and the flavour it imparts on any dish it is cooked with. For example, the flavour it can bring to a simple pan-fried chicken breast is phenomenal. Simply chop the chorizo warm it through in a dry pan until it releases those flavoursome orange tinted oils, remove from the pan then fry a butterflied chicken breast seasoned simply with salt & pepper in the oil until cooked through. Top with cheddar cheese and pop under a hot grill to melt the cheese. Yum!
This brings me to my chicken & chorizo orzo which is the type of bolstering comfort food I love. The orzo gets all sticky and gives the whole dish a velvety texture, the chorizo gives bright bold flavour and the chicken cooks in the steam released from the whole dish and the skin in the final 15 minutes in the oven with the lid off makes the skin really crisp up and bronze. Truely comfort food at its best. It also helps that it is very easy on the washing up. Check out the recipe below.
Christmas: The Countdown
It has been a long and dark year. One which most of us will be glad to see over and look forward to a brighter 2021. I feel it is the lack of celebrations through 2020 that are making me feel so strongly that this years Christmas celebrations will be more important than ever. Christmas has always been an important event, at least to me, anyways. It breaks up and brings brightness to the bleak mid winter, something which I feel we all need amped up this year. There is a Danish and Norwegian word that sums up the feeling of the seasonal period perfectly and that hygge. It is a word used to express feelings of comfort, coziness and contentness. These are all the feelings that these cold dark nights bestow upon me. I love the coziness of a cold dark night, the house illuminated with fairy lights and the flicker of tea light candles as wind, rain, snow or sometimes even a combination of all three pelt the windows and of course a bowl of something soul soothing and comforting to eat from a bowl on the couch.
This year from today the 11/12/2020 the recipe of the day will be a festive recipe on the countdown to Christmas. These recipes will look at side dishes to accompany the main feast, cozy recipes on the lead up to the big day, sweet treats and snacks and of course all those other eating opportunities in between.
Below are just a few of the recipes available in the Christmas recipes section.
pecan caramel cheesecake
I’m not sure whether I have ever met someone who didn’t like cheesecake and I’m not sure whether I want to. What’s not to love, right? I love a no-bake cheesecake, but I do think that a baked cheesecake has the edge that wins for me. It’s a little bit like instant coffee vs going through the whole process of grinding your own beans and making a proper coffee. Most of us by far prefer the flavour and taste of a real coffee and why not. Although I am sure due to convenience you will find a jar of instant coffee in every coffee lover’s kitchen. I think we can be a little like this when it comes to cheesecake no-bake cheesecakes are a great dessert for those experimenting with their first desserts and those short on time. Baked cheesecakes take a bit more work and that’s ok. They are worth it. Honestly, they sound more daunting than they are. Often words like bain Marie can scare people or the cooking steps and stages but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Firstly, a bain Marie simply means a water bath so all we have to do for this is wrap the cheesecake base in kitchen foil to prevent water from getting into the cheesecake. Place it in a roasting tin and pour water from a recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake, simple.
The next step that can be off putting is all the warnings in recipes about baked cheesecake tops cracking. Firstly, I say “Big Deal” who cares if the top cracks it’s not the end of the world. It isn’t ruined and often the topping will disguise it even if it does. So fear not. I have found the best way to prevent the top cracking is to allow my cheesecake to sit for an hour after its baked in a switched off oven. The reason I do this is because one of the main reasons for cheesecakes cracking is the extreme temperature changes and living in Ireland my kitchen most of the year isn’t very hot and taking it straight from the oven to the kitchen counter will shock it and create cracks so instead I let it rest for an hour in the oven after baking then transfer to the kitchen counter to cool completely. If it is very cold in my kitchen after the hour I open the oven door fully and let it cool completely in the oven with the door open.
One other important factor to keep in mind when making baked cheesecakes, and one I wish I had known about when I made my first baked cheesecake is that it should still have wobble when shaken after it has been baked.
I hope you enjoy the recipe below as much as I do.
Essential Lockdown staple recipes
Below are a couple of recipes I have put together that may help those in lockdown. Even though these recipes use basic ingredients you would never know that from the from the final products. I think we can eat well if we have some of the essential staples and certainly in my house these recipes are essential. I mean, fresh bread and pasta can open up a world of eating opportunities. Both of these recipes rely on plain flour, instead of using the usual specific flours required for these recipes, which most of us will have in the house already. So I do hope that these recipes will mean that you may be able to make less trips to the shop. Please stay safe and avoid going out as much as possible.
Emergency No-Knead White Bread
This bread has a soft aerated interior and a ciabatta/sourdough like crust. Most no-knead breads need to sit and rest for at least 12 hours to get a full rise, this bread, however doesn’t require as long it can be baked after two hours. The reason I decided to invest time in a bread recipe that was a no-knead bread and pretty quick to make is so that it was more accessible to everyone such as the elderly, who may not be capable of kneading bread or for parents who may not have the time to knead bread. Using hot water in the bread makes then yeast get straight to work and work overtime. The bread rises in a parchment paper lined mixing bowl for two reasons. Number one is that it is a wet sticky dough and it prevents it sticking to the bowl and secondly it means it can be transferred to the cooking vessel without losing all the air bubbles within. The bread is cooked in a very hot oven in a casserole pot or as other may know it a dutch oven with a lid on for the first thirty minutes this lets the bread steam giving you that lovely soft interior. For the remaining fifteen minutes in the oven it gets cooked without the lid allowing the bread to develop that crusty exterior and go golden brown.
My simple pasta again just like my bread utelizes plain flour as most of us will have this in our homes already. The dough is a soft easy to knead dough. You do not require any fancy equipment to make this, a rolling pin is used to roll out the dough. If you are unable to knead and have a mixer with a dough hook this could be used instead.