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Tag Archives: spinach

Chickpea, spinach and onion curry (Vegetarian, but don’t tell anyone.)

10 Apr
Curry sunbathing

Curry sunbathing

I really like this recipe. It’s very easy. Secondly for those of us who like to pretend to be healthy every once in a while, this isn’t the wort recipe in that regard, it’s actually pretty good. And if it isn’t please don’t shatter my illusion.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks in Doha, and the spices down here are brilliant, so whenever I cook here I like to use them wherever possible.  Also the red onions are fantastically sweet and are a joy to cook with. They lack the harshness that most raw onion has at home. I used a curry powder mix that you can buy in the Souq here. It’s cumin/chilli/coriander etc. As always use whatever you can find easily. Or you could make up your own, there are plenty of recipes online.

Ingredients: (Makes three very generous portions- 4 normal ones.)

2 tablespoons curry powder mix

1 tablespoon Garam Masala

oil of your choosing- enough to make the spices into a loose paste

1 red onion

1 tin chickpeas

1 tin tomatoes

1 bag of fresh spinach

Method:

Heat a pot, before adding the oil, fling the spices in and let them toast for a short while. Probably best to stir them around a bit so nothing catches. When you start getting their aroma, add in the oil. (The proportions above make a punchy curry. Feel free to reduce or increase the spices.)

Before this mixture catches, which can happen very quickly, throw in your chopped red onion. Fry this at a gentle heat until it softens, you don’t want it to get too much colour. Then add in the chickpeas and toss them in the spicy oniony goodness. Add in the tin of tomatoes and let it bubble away gently. It’s not a bad idea at this point to scrape the bottom of the pot for any of the spices etc that may have stuck during the frying stage.

I left this bubble for about 15/20 minutes while some brown rice cooked. With about 5 minutes to go I flung in the spinach and let it wilt.

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Pichet, Trinty Street, Dublin 2

2 Apr

Apologies for the lack of posting in recent weeks- I had the small matter of some exams to do. They are now over and back to blogging!

 

I finally got to eat in Pichet last night. Since it has opened I have heard nothing but good things, and often from people who are tough to please.

 

Upon arriving the staff really made an effort to welcome you to the restaurant, a little touch but it made us feel that we weren’t just another cover to them. The restaurant surroundings are very pleasant, and made for an enjoyable setting for the evening. The early bird menu ended up enticing us all, but I must mention that at something € mid-forty region the tasting menu could be superb value also.  Bread was served with balsamic and olive oil, which I always appreciate as a non butter-eater.

 

I started with the terrine, which had a wonderfully soft texture and was packed full of flavour. It was served with a nice wedge of toasted bread and a few salad leaves. The fig purée provided a nice hint of sharpness to the terrine.  My dining companions went for the spring onion risotto (which they said was delicious- and was quite a generous portion). My better half went for the celeriac velouté, which came with a tortelloni of short back ribs, which apparently was also very enjoyable.

 

Two of us opted for the short back ribs for our main course. They were incredibly tender, and came with a horseradish mousseline and some wilted spinach topped with some superb onion rings. They worked very well together, but I would have liked more of the mousseline and spinach.  The roast chicken was the other choice at the table and was incredibly flavoursome and succulent.

 

Desert was by far the stand-out course. Two of us opted for the white chocolate mouse, which came with raspberries in syrup, cubes of raspberry jelly and the best sorbet I have tasted. It was also raspberry. This redeemed my faith in sorbets after a hideous raspberry sorbet experience recently. You will hear about that soon. The other desert that was chosen was salt caramel ice cream with various accompaniments. Approving noises were made with regards to this also.

 

Dinner was rounded off with a very good espresso. A nice touch to round off the very strong service was being asked did we want our coffees with or after desert. It is nice not to get chased out of a restaurant at an early bird sitting. Equally when we enquired about sides with our mains, they said we would probably be fine- rather than the nearly obligatory up-sell.  With regards to the wine-list, there is some very good value.

 

You won’t go wrong in Pichet. The food and service are very strong.  It certainly lived up to its reputation. I look forward to returning.

 

 

Chicken Pasta Bake

23 Sep

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

350 g pasta (Penne, shells or similar)

380 g chicken (cooked or raw)

200 g  mushrooms (cut into quarters)

4 blocks (technical term) of frozen spinach/ half a bag of fresh

250 ml of cream

60 g cream cheese

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

cheddar

 

This recipe was the product of a few factors last weekend. Leftover cooked chicken, a very cold evening and a desire to cook something incredibly straightforward. Bonus about this recipe is that it doesn’t create mountains of washing up.

 

Firstly heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

 

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil.  Add the pasta and cook until very al dente. If you are using frozen spinach, start thawing this out in a small pot with a tiny drop of water. When the spinach is cooked- drain all liquid from the pot.

 

I had to supplement the cooked chicken I had, so heat some olive oil in a pan and add the raw chicken, cut into small cubes/strips. After the chicken has sealed, add in the mushrooms and fry until the chicken is golden and cooked.

 

To the same pan add the cream, cream cheese, thawed/fresh spinach, garlic and mustard along with the leftover cooked chicken if you have any. Heat until it bubbles and is well combined. When the pasta is cooked sufficiently, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the sauce mixture to it and stir well until all is combined.

Spread into an oven dish and cover with a generous grating of cheddar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

 

Enjoy.

 

On a side note- thanks to all who have subscribed. If you haven’t please do! I would really appreciate people sharing these recipes, tweeting  or telling friends and family- share the silver chicken word!

 

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto

9 Sep

Ingredients: Serves 2:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

25g butter

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

150 g of Arborio rice

150ml white wine

500ml stock

4 x asparagus stalks (chopped)

8-10 x button mushrooms (chopped)

1/2 bag of washed spinach

Parmesan to serve.

Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, and can be adapted for any season by varying the ingredients. The basic recipe is the same no matter what you put in, so if you wanted to change it, you would substitute your preferences in for the vegetables I have listed.

I would like to deal with the hype about how risotto is insanely difficult to make or it can go wrong easily.  It is an easy dish to make, but I feel there are three success factors.  First, have all your ingredients, stock etc, measured and ready to go, so that you can concentrate on the cooking. As many of my friends will testify, this is not my normal style of cooking- but I feel it pays dividends here.

Of course by cooking I meant stirring. You need to constantly stir the risotto. Do this gently, but make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan and mixing thoroughly. Thirdly, have the risotto at a constant low heat so that when the liquid is added it is just bubbling gently.

 

First heat the olive oil and the butter in a deep pan. After they have heated add the onion and sweat it off, until it softens a little. At this stage add the garlic and fry for another while. Before the garlic gets too coloured, throw in the chopped mushrooms and asparagus and toss in the mixture. I recommend chopping these into bite-size pieces. Fry for a minute and then add the rice. Make sure everything is well mixed. Continue to cook for another minute while the rice lightly toasts, but make sure that you stir constantly so that it doesn’t stick.

Next add the white wine. I would advise buying a whole bottle- not a small one- this way you get to pour yourself a glass while cooking and have one with your meal.

Stir until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. If it smells a little acrid, don’t worry, the alcohol will burn off leaving a great flavour in the rice.

At this point add in the first third of the stock- I would recommend vegetable or chicken. Keep the risotto barely bubbling and stir until all the stock has been absorbed and the mixture is thick and slightly heavy to stir.

Add in another third of the stock and repeat the process until the stock is absorbed. Add in the final remainder of the stock and repeat.

As the final third of the stock is close to being absorbed- add in the spinach and stir in. Once the mixture has thickened sufficiently, turn off the heat and serve into heated bowls immediately. Serve with some grated parmesan and that glass of wine.

For the carnivores amongst us, you can serve this risotto alongside some grilled meat. I recently enjoyed it with some steak. Another option is to shred some cooked chicken in at the spinach stage- and just heat the chicken through.

Enjoy.

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