Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And for my next trick, I'd like to...

Being a lady of leisure sure is interesting. It has taken me a while to work out my routine and fill my days but I believe I have adapted with remarkable ease and aplomb. Much to Mr Kitty's chagrin, I haven't taken to cleaning like a fiend (us Kitty-folk aren't really built for that kind of thing) but the one thing I have really upped - if that's at all possible - is cooking. He isn't complaining about that.

This week alone I have cooked a roast turkey with Nigella Lawson's double potato halloumi bake, osso buco and risotto alla milanese, chicken cacciatore, pea and ham soup and oatmeal butterscotch cookies. Lots of wonderful things for the cold weather. Luckily I have also started walking daily in an effort to counteract the amount of food consumed.

In addition to the vast amount of food above (much of which has made it's way into our freezer for days when I can't be shagged cooking) I have also made two new things that I wanted to share with you. Both are from Donna Hay Magazine - recently revived as an obsession with me. I liked it before, now I have time, I LOVE it.

The first was from the 50th anniversary edition and is perfect for the cold weather we are currently experiencing. It's the "Make and freeze" recipe of chorizo and beans. I also noticed that fellow blogger Sydney Shop Girl has also made this wonderful concoction. It's marvellous for winter warming dinners, and Donna suggests you make this, freeze it in small portions and then use it as a filling for pies or with pasta.

Mr Kitty absolutely adored this. He stood over the stove eating it from the pot. I was lucky to get any into the freezer, if we are being honest, but I did get some in and pulled it our for dinner a few nights ago. Not feeling the love for pasta with it, I decided to use the mini Le Creuset cocottes I bought while we were overseas and make a kind of huevos rancheros. It was amazing.

Here is my recipe, using Donna's as a base (note, I have made a few changes).

Chorizo and beans

2 Tablespoons olive oil (I omitted this as the chorizo gives off enough oil)
2 chorizo, sliced
1 red onion, sliced (Donna says two but mine was large)
4 cloves of garlic, sliced (omitted in the Kitty household as Mr Kitty doesn't like it)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 sprigs oregano (I omitted this and used thyme instead as that's what we have growing in our garden)
2 x 400g tins chopped tomato
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 x 400g white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil (if using) in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the chorizo and fry until some of the oil renders (this is what I did instead of using the oil) and then add your sliced onion and garlic if using. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden and tender. Add the chilli, paprika, oregano (or thyme), tomato and sugar. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beans and balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

You can serve it at this point with crusty bread, according to Donna, and it will feed 8 people. Or you can freeze it in smaller portions (once you have prized the pan out of your husband's mitts) and save for a rainy day.

Huevos Rancheros, Kitty Style

4 eggs
1/4 of the bean and chorizo mix above
Butter or olive oil for greasing

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. For two people for dinner you will need four small dishes or two slightly larger ones and two eggs per person. Grease your dish with a bit of butter or olive oil then fill with the bean and chorizo mix to a depth of about an inch making a slight depression in the middle for the egg (this part is an art, not a science). Crack an egg into a cup, checking it's okay, and then slide it gently onto the bean and chorizo mix. Repeat until you have used all the dishes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cover with foil, slide into the oven and bake until the eggs are set (depending on your oven and how you like your eggs done this should be somewhere between 8 and 12 minutes). Remember they will continue to cook once they come out of the oven. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread. Serves 2 for dinner. It's one of the easiest dinners I know how to make (other than scrambled eggs) and it's really easy and delicious.

The second dish (?) I wanted to share with you is in the current issue of Donna Hay (June/July 10) and is from the article on inspired classic slices. There is nothing better than a nice piece of slice with a hot cup of tea on a cold day. I showed Mr Kitty the article and asked him to choose one as there were too many fabulous options for me to be able to make a decision. He chose the jam coconut slice and it was a fabulous selection. It does take a little while to make as you have to bake it, cool it and then pop it in the oven again but I guarantee it is worth the effort.

Jam Coconut Slice, Donna style

1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 cup (80g) dessicated coconut
2 cups (300g) plain flour
200g butter, melted
1 cup (320g) raspberry jam (I used Bonne Maman, but use the best quality one you can)
3 cups shredded coconut
2 egg whites lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the sugar, dessicated coconut, flour and butter into a bowl and mix until combined. Press into the base of a lightly greased 20 x 30cm tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly then spread the base with jam.

For the coconut topping, place the shredded coconut and lightly beaten egg whites into a bowl and mix well until combined. Spread over the jam and bake for a additional 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely in the tin before serving (I'd say a good six hours to allow for a smooth cut). Makes 18 slices.

Kitty xx


amy said...

Hi Kitty, I totally hear you on getting the cooking mojo happening - I'm not sure if it's the fact of having my Housewife Fridays back or the chilly, lazy weekends (or maybe it's the depleted finances which prevent us from going out) but I've been cooking up a storm as well.

I'm swooning over your Le Creuset cocottes, *love*

Chorizo & beans looks like something we'd definitely be devouring in quick time, I think I'll have to give that a go. I've got some chorizo in the freezer in need of a use - its a sign!

I do love a good coconut jam slice as well. Yours looks very tasty. I have a similar recipe, one of my Mum's or my nanna's - yummo.

Happy cooking!


Not Quite Nigella said...

Well done! Looks like you're definitely spending your time well. They both look lovely and something you'd definitely want to come home to! :)

Sydney Shop Girl said...

Hello Kitty
I love the Le Creuset!

Thanks for the mention :-) The pies using Donna's chorizo and beans is my favourite dish of the season so far.

Love the slice!

SSG xxx

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Loving the cocottes Amy. They are more useful than I could have imagined. One of the best purchases of the trip so far.

NQN - it's a wonderful recipe, and I don't need to sell you on the wonder of having stuff in the freezer! So handy!

SSG - I think I have to make some more to have a go at the pies. Mr Kitty liked it so much I don't think we have enough left, but he has heartily encouraged me making this again so I will give the pies a go!