When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!
This is a labour saving broadcast on behalf of the mini chopper…
The multitude of curry and pasta sauce dishes require chopped something or other – onions and garlic usually being top of the list. If these dishes feature abundantly in your weekly menu repertoire, do yourself a big favour and invest in a mini chopper; they do the job quick/fast, are small and compact to clean, and will set you back less than twenty quid. I use mine at least four times a week and after two years it is still going strong. A bargain!
Really, I should now place an add here, where you can buy a mini chopper and I will earn 50p out of each sale! Though I will resist – go online and find your own. ;)
On to the recipe…
The sun is at last shining, the kitchen is warm… The bananas that I purchased with healthy virtuous intentions were going brown. Like many, I’m trying to tackle and eliminate waste, though the thought of banana bread did not thrill me!
So what else can you do with overripe bananas? The options usually veer towards the sweet end. If you are more of a savoury fan here is an option for you – curry!
There are quite a few ingredients/flavours that work well with banana – cardamom, cinnamon and coconut being key players. This recipe I made up utilises all three flavours with your bananas and some gentle spice. I made the curry with chicken, although I reckon it would be very good with fish too, and I shall definitely try it with duck. A light, spicy, fruity summer curry…
Chicken, Banana & Coconut Milk Curry with Cardamom
Mash bananas and mix with lime juice, this will stop them turning brown – a mini chopper is great for this job!
Heat oil In a large pan. Add chopped onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. Reduce heat to low and sweat for 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and opaque.
Turn up heat to medium and add the cardamom seeds, cinnamon, coriander and cumin powder, stir and cook for a minute or two until the spices become pungent. Then add the chicken pieces. Cook until the chicken is sealed and very lightly coloured.
Add the banana/lime mixture and pour in the coconut milk. Whack up the heat until the mixture starts bubbling, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take off the lid and stir in the garam masala, leave uncovered and simmer for another 15 minutes to reduce slightly.
Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve with rice or breads.
As we head deeper into September, the autumn chill has lead me to think about warming food. So, for lunch, I’ve replaced salads with a big bowl of steaming soup. I thought I’d try my hand at the Chinese restaurant classic of chicken and sweetcorn soup, being as the sweetcorn season is at its height and spring onions are coming to an end.
Forget the sweet gloopy version of this soup you may have tried in the past, which is usually laden with sugar and corn flour, this healthy simple recipe delivers an impact on flavour and is perfect for a cold day.
Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup Recipe
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
2 chicken thighs (skinned)
2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
1 inch knob of ginger, sliced into thick rounds
5 spring onions
Small bunch of coriander
1.5 litre chicken stock (or water)
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or a can of sweetcorn, drained.)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp soy sauce
tsp ground white pepper
Sesame oil to garnish
Add your stock, chicken, ginger, garlic, coriander and soy sauce to a large pan. Take three of the spring onions, bash with the flat of a knife to loosen, roughly chop and add to the pan. Bring up to a boil, remove any scum that comes to the top using a ladle, cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
While the soup base is simmering, pulse the sweetcorn in a processor until roughly chopped. Finely slice the two remaining spring onions. Mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of the simmering stock or water.
After 20 minutes, remove your chicken with a slotted spoon, set aside and leave to cool a little. Then, using two forks shred the meat from the chicken and discard the bones.
Strain off your stock, and discard the herbs and vegetables – they have imparted their flavour. Put the strained stock back in the pan on a gentle heat.
Add the sweetcorn to the pan and bring up to a boil. Remove any scum that comes to the surface with a ladle. Add your cornflour mix and stir. Stir in the shredded chicken and white pepper.
Slowly stream in the beaten egg, stirring continuously.
Serve garnished with the sliced spring onion and a few splashes of sesame oil.
This simple recipe, inspired by a street food dish I regularly ate in Thailand, really brings out the best in chicken livers, marrying their rich, iron meatiness with sweet, sour and savoury flavours. At around a £ a pound for fresh chicken livers, this dish is exceptionally frugal, yet provides full on, complex, balanced flavours.
The trick is, not to overcook the livers! They really just need searing and then a little steaming in the piquant ingredients added to this dish. Overcook the livers, and you may as well eat paper mache, albeit in a good tasting sauce. Though don’t fret, they are very easy and quick to cook, as is this dish – give it a go, you’ll be surprised at how good it tastes.
Spicy Chicken Livers Recipe
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
400g chicken livers
6 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
1 red pepper, sliced (I used a long romano pepper)
2 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of a lime
1 teaspoon sugar
1 red birdseye chilli
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish.
First of all, deal with your livers. Give them a rinse under the cold tap and dry on kitchen paper. Remove the white connective sinew and cut the livers into large bite size pieces.
In a large wok or frying pan, heat the oil until it begins to gently smoke. Add the garlic until it just colours, then add the sliced onion and chilli, stir frying for a minute until the onions just start to colour.
Add the chicken livers and stir fry for a minute, until they lose their deep brown/purple colour and become lightly pink.
Now add all of the other ingredients – fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, sliced pepper, mushrooms and spring onions. Stir fry all of the ingredients for a minute or two until the pepper just loses its crunchy edge.
Serve with mixed peppery salad leaves, such as watercress, rocket and spinach, or boiled rice.