Saturday, February 28, 2009

Southern Style Deep-Fried Chicken

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 to 4 servings


2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
2 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
3 to 4 cups milk
2 1/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, for frying
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten


In a medium pan, place chicken and cover with milk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. This helps tenderize the meat, but is optional

In a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, using tongs, transfer chicken into pot, then pour in the milk. Bring milk to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low allowing to simmer until the chicken is cooked through entirely, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the milk, and place on a rack to cool. Allow them to sit until warm about 15 minutes, and then pat dry using a kitchen towel.

Heat vegetable shortening in a Dutch oven over high heat just until it's nearly at the smoking point around 325 degrees F.

In a large zip-lock bag, add salt, flour, cayenne pepper, shake to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat 1 egg.

Place each piece of chicken, 1 at a time, in the bag and shake to coat the chicken. Then dip chicken into the egg to coat. Place the chicken back into the flour to coat for a second time. Repeat this method on remaining 3 pieces of chicken.

Gently drop each piece of chicken into hot oil, allowing the skin to crisp and turn golden brown in color, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Chicken, Mushroom and Bacon Pie

Photograph by Lis Parsons


3 rashers streaky bacon, cut or scissored into 2.5cm strips
1 teaspoon garlic oil
125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced into 5mm pieces
250g chicken thigh fillets cut into 2.5cm pieces
25g flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 x 15ml tablespoon butter
300ml hot chicken stock
1 x 15ml tablespoon Marsala
1 x 375g (23 x 40cm) sheet all-butter ready-rolled puff pastry
Serving Size : Serves 2


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.

2. Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.

3. Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let this bubble away for about 5 minutes.

4. Take two 300ml pie-pots (if yours are deeper, don't worry, there will simply be more space between contents and puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one – by this I mean an approx. 1cm strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.

5. Cut a circle bigger than the top of each pie-pot for the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.

6. Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.

7. Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pigs in Blankets

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 50 pieces


2 cups plus 5 tablespoons self-rising flour
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated Red Leicester or Cheddar
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
50 pork cocktail sausages (mini hot dogs)

For glazing:

1 egg, mixed with a splash milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Measure 2 cups of flour into a bowl, add the salt and grated cheese and mix lightly with a fork. Pour the milk into a measuring cup to come up to 1-cup mark and then crack in the egg and add the oil. Beat to combine, then pour into the dry ingredients, forking to mix as you go. You may, at the end, feel the dough's either too dry or too damp: add either more milk or more flour and fork together again until you've got a soft dough that's not too sticky to be rolled out.

Break the dough into 2 pieces and roll 1 piece on a lightly floured surface. Scone dough is a dream to work with; in fact, I find it deeply pleasurable. Just roll as clumsily and heavy handedly as you like: no harm will come to it. You want a thin, but not exaggeratedly so, rectangle. A square wouldn't be the end of the world either, so don't start getting out the geometry set: this is the roughest of instructions.

Cut the dough into approximately 1 3/4-inch strips, and then cut each strip at approximately 2 1/2-inch intervals so that you end up with a collection of small, raggedy oblongs (I just cut each strip as I go, but it's probably more efficient to do the whole batch of dough at 1 time).

Take a cocktail sausage and put it at 1 end of an oblong at a slight diagonal and then roll up, pressing on the infinitely compliant dough to squeeze it shut, and then place on a nonstick baking sheet, or 1 lined with parchment. Carry on until you've finished all your strips and then get to work with the remaining dough. Three baking sheets should do it.

Now, dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg mixture and paint on the pastry for a golden glaze. Put in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, by which time they should be puffy and burnished. Remove from the oven and let cool a little before giving them to the children.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Fruit Fizz

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


1 tub sorbet in each of these flavors: lemon, mango, raspberry, blackcurrant, or indeed any flavor you fancy
1 bottle Prosecco, or fizzy white wine
1 lemon, zested, to garnish
1/2 cup fresh mint sprigs, to garnish


Fill the glasses with about 2 scoops of sorbet, each glass having a different flavor.

Top the glasses up with Prosecco, taking care that the fizz doesn't rise up and bubble over the top. Refill again once the bubbles have subsided, and then grate a little lemon zest over each glass and adorn with a small sprig of mint.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Raspberry and Lemongrass Trifle

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 8 servings


2 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 ounces lemongrass, 3 to 4 sticks, but in 1/2 lengthwise
16 store-bought ladyfingers
1 1/3 cups raspberries
3 to 4 tablespoons vodka
2 1/2 cups light cream
8 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream


Special equipment: medium-sized glass trifle bowl

Make a syrup with the water and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar by bringing them to the boil in a saucepan and boiling for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add the lemongrass and let it infuse for about half an hour.

Strain the syrup into a measuring cup, keeping the saucepan with the lemongrass to 1 side. Take out about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the syrup and put it into a pan with the raspberries. Bring it to a rolling boil and let it thicken slightly, mashing the fruit to make a jam-like consistency. Let it cool a little and then dunk the ladyfingers in the raspberry mixture and arrange them in the bottom of your bowl. Add the vodka and about 1/2 cup of the lemongrass syrup, depending on how much your ladyfingers absorb, and reserve the rest.

Meanwhile, to make the custard, heat the light cream in the syrup pan with the lemongrass until it is nearly boiling, take it off the heat and let it infuse for about 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl. Whisk the yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar together and pour into the cream in the bowl. Then whisk again and put the custard back on the heat in the cleaned-out pan. Stir until the custard thickens and then pour it over the trifle sponges. Let it cool.

Whip the heavy cream until thick but not stiff, and cover the custard layer. Use about 1 cup of the remaining sugar syrup to make a caramel by heating it in a saucepan until it turns a golden brown. Drizzle the caramelized sugar syrup over the layer of cream to decorate.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Linguine with Garlic Oil and Pancetta

Photograph by Francesca Yorke


2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
250g pancetta
250g linguine
Serving Size : Serves 2


1.Preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 8.

2.Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. While it's heating up, put the garlic olive oil in an ovenproof dish; I use an enamel Le Creuset one, measuring 30 x 20cm. Remove the rind from the pancetta and put it in the dish (to render down: you want as much bacony juices as possible) then dice the rest of the pancetta and add these cubes to the oil, smooshing them about with your fingers to make sure they're equally, if lightly, coated. When the water's boiling, put the dish of garlic-oiled pancetta in the oven then salt the boiling water and add the linguine; these should need about 10 minutes to cook. When the pasta's ready, drain it, reserving a scant cupful of the cooking water and

3.take the pancetta dish out of the oven. Tip the drained linguine into the dish and toss well, adding some of the pasta-cooking water, drop by cautious drop, for lubrication as you need it.

4.And that's it: I like this without parmesan, but a sprinkling of roughly scissored parsley, should you feel inclined, is always a good idea.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mustard Pork Chops

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 servings

I love the old French favourites, the sorts that evoke not the
supercilious waiter and theatrically-removed silvered dome of the big
name restaurants, but rather the small town bistro, all warm wood and
rough red.

This is possibly the easiest route to a proper, filling and yet
strangely delicate dinner. The pork is cooked for just enough time to
take away pinkness but ensure tenderness within, and gloriously
scorched without. The mustard, cider and cream add comfort and
piquancy. To soak up the gorgeous juices, and to serve as a
fantastically quicktime potato substitute, I serve up gnocchi
alongside. You could always add a little lemony fennel, sliced thinly,
or a green salad if you're in the mood. - Nigella


2 pork chops, about 1-pound total weight
2 teaspoons infused oil
1/2 cup hard cider
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1/3 cup heavy cream


Cut the fat or rind off the chops, and then bash them briefly but
brutally with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of cling film/plastic
wrap to make them thinner.

Heat the oil in a pan, and then cook the chops over a moderately-high
heat for about 5 minutes a side. Remove them to a warmed plate.

Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan.
Let it bubble away for a minute or so then add the mustard and stir in
the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over
each plated pork chop. If you're having gnocchi with, make sure you
turn them in the pan to absorb any spare juices before adding them to
your plates.

Cook's Note:

Wholegrain mustard

In wholegrain mustard, the seeds are not ground, but mixed whole with
other ingredients. Different flavors and strengths can be achieved by
using different blends of mustard seed species. Some variations have
additives such as sun-dried tomato mustard and chili mustard. - wikipedia

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 1 quesadilla


For each flour tortilla wrap:

Soft flour tortilla
1-ounce thinly sliced cured ham
3 coin-sliced slices pickled green jalapeno peppers from a jar, chopped
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 scallion, finely sliced
Few fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil (not extra-virgin)
You'll also need: good store-bought salsa of your choice (or you can make your own)


Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Cover tortilla wrap with the ham.

Over 1/2 only, sprinkle the chopped pickled jalapeno, the grated cheese and the chopped scallion. Scatter over the cilantro leaves.

Carefully fold the tortilla wrap in half, that's to say, fold the untopped half over the cheese so you have a fat half moon.

Lift this is up carefully and brush each side with the oil before putting it on the hot griddle; grill for a minute each side.

Using a steady hand and a wide fine spatula or fish slice, transfer the tortilla to a board or plate and cut into 3 triangles. Eat with some salsa on the side. And please feel free to play with the fillings as you wish.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chicken Schnitzel with Bacon and White Wine

Don't fret! Fancy name but sooo easy to make..shnitzel is just breaded veal cutlet, this is just a variation - Daphne


1 teaspoon garlic oil
4 rashers streaky bacon
4 chicken escalopes approx. 125g each
100ml white wine
Serving Size : Serves 4


1.Put the oil in a frying pan and add the bacon.

2.Fry till the bacon is crisp and the pan is full of bacony juices. Remove the bacon to a piece of foil, wrap it and set it aside for a moment.

3.Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes a side, until there is no pinkness when you cut into a piece. Make sure the pan's hot so that the escalopes catch a little, turning beautifully bronze.

4.Remove the chicken to a serving plate and quickly crumble the bacon you've set aside into the pan, then pour in the wine, letting everything bubble up, and, finally, pour over the chicken pieces.

Escalopes (also spelt as escallopes) are pieces of boneless meat which have been thinned out using a mallet, rolling pin or beaten with the handle of a knife. By thinning out the meat, it cooks quicker, which is helpful when preparing fast meals. - Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photograph by Lis Parsons


125g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
150g flour
30g cocoa, sieved
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, cold from the fridge
350g (2 bags) semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips
Serving Size : Makes 12


1.Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Melt the 125g dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.

2.Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.

3.Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. (I use my freestanding mixer, itself an odd source of comfort to me.) Add the melted chocolate and mix together.

4.Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.

5.Scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds – an ice cream scoop and a palette knife are the best tools for the job – and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.

6.Cook for 18 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.

7.Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4–5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Banana and Butterscotch Muffins

Serving Size : Makes 12
Photograph by Lis Parsons


3 very ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
250g flour
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g butterscotch (or chocolate) morsels


1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers.

2.Mash the bananas and set aside for a moment.

3.Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.

4.Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the beaten-egg-and-oil mixture, followed by the mashed bananas.

5.Fold in the butterscotch morsels, then place equal quantities in the prepared muffin tin – I use an ice cream scoop and a spatula – and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

White chocolate or dark chocolate morsels can be used in place of the butterscotch ones - Nigella

American Breakfast Pancakes

Photograph by Petrina Tinslay
Serving Size : 11 blini-pan-sized pancakes


225g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
30g butter, melted and cooled
300ml milk
butter for frying


1. The easiest way to make these is to put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. But if you do mix up the batter by hand in a bowl, make a well in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, beat in the eggs, melted butter and milk, and transfer to a jug: it's much easier to pour the batter into the pan than to spoon it. I like to leave the batter for 20 minutes before using it; and you may then want to add more milk to the mixture if you're frying in the blini pan, so that it runs right to the edges.

2. When you cook the pancakes, all you need to remember is that when the upper side of the pancake is blistering and bubbling it's time to cook the second side, and this needs only about 1 minute.

3. I get 11 blini-pan-sized pancakes out of this, maybe 16 silver-dollar-sized ones on the griddle.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, with 60 percent cocoa solids
2 eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins


Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.

Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering
water, melt the dark chocolate and 1 stick butter, then set aside to
cool a little.

In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand
whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the
mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by
which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey

Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make
sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 1 serving


1 pound spaghetti
2 cups cubed pancetta rind removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
4 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg


Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.

In another large pan that will fit the pasta later, cook the pancetta
cubes in the oil until crispy but not crunchy. Pour over the white
wine or vermouth and let it bubble away so that, after a few minutes,
you have a small amount of salty winey syrup left. Take the pan off
the heat.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, Parmesan, cream, and pepper. Cook
the pasta according to the packet instructions, but since you want it
kept al dente start checking it 2 minutes before end of the
recommended cooking time.

When the pasta is done, remove approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta
water before draining. Put the pan with the bacon cubes back on the
heat and add the drained pasta, tossing well to coat with the syrupy
pancetta. Take the pan off the heat again and add the eggs and cheese
mixture, swiftly tossing everything to mix. Thin with pasta water, if
needed. Grind over some more pepper and grate over the nutmeg to


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Butterscotch Fruit Fondue

Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 servings


* 3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 cup golden syrup
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* Splash vanilla extract
* About 2 1/2 cups cut fruit


Melt the sugars, syrup and butter in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.

Add the cream and vanilla, stirring together, and then take off the heat.

Divide the sauce between two cups or small bowls, and then arrange the
fruit on 2 saucers or on a plate, as you see fit.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Homemade Instant Pancake Mix and Blueberry Syrup

Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 15 pancakes of about 3-inches in diameter


Pancake mix:

* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 tablespoons baking powder
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Pancake batter:

* 1 egg
* 1 cup milk
* 1 tablespoon melted butter


For the pancake mix:

Mix the above ingredients together and store in a jar.

For the pancake batter:

For each 1 cup pancake mix, add 1 egg, 1 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon
melted butter. Do not overmix.

Heat a flat griddle or pan over medium-high heat.

Spoon drops of 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter onto the hot griddle
and when bubbles appear on the surface of the little pancakes, flip
them over to make them golden brown on both sides. A minute or so a
side should do it.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Eton Mess

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


* 4 cups strawberries
* 2 teaspoons caster or vanilla sugar
* 2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 1 packet individual meringue nests


Hull and chop the strawberries and put into a bowl and add the sugar
and pomegranate juice and leave to macerate while you whip the cream.

Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly
crumble in 4 of the meringues nests - you will need chunks for texture
as well as a little fine dust.

Take out about half a cupful of the chopped strawberries, and fold the
meringue cream and rest of the fruit mixture together.

Arrange on 4 serving plates or glasses or in a mound, and top each
with some of the remaining macerated strawberries.