So again I start this post with an apology for the lack of activity – I have no excuse, just a bit of laziness coupled with a couple of exhausting weeks has meant I haven’t got to the computer in a couple of weeks. But I am making a fresh start this week, getting back on the healthy regime and planning meals – which means looking for new recipes.
So rather than try and squeeze two small posts out of two poor weeks of cooking I thought I’d combine the last two weeks into one post. Starting with:
Week 15 – Chicken Chilli Nachos and Spicy Rice
Chilli Con Carne is one of those things I really wish I liked, so I spent a lot of time looking for alternatives. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Chicken Chilli so I thought I’d give this a bit of a whirl, however I didn’t really like any of the recipes I saw, so I made one up using the ingredients I had in my cupboards.
I coated small cubes of chicken breast in a mixture or paprika, cumin and chilli powder and left to settle. Whilst the chicken was marinating a bit I chopped onions, garlic and peppers and dropped them into a frying pan with oil until they softened, lifted the veg out and fried the chicken until it browned. Once the chicken had browned on all sides I added the veg back in, threw in a can of chopped tomatoes, half a can of cannellini beans and left to simmer. Whilst all that had been happening I had roasted 4 tomatoes, an onion and a chilli in the oven until they started to blacken a bit, then I blended this into a paste and added to the chilli let it all heat through.
Then I made the nachos using the same recipe I used in week 2 and then popped the chilli on top of the nachos and popped in the oven with grated cheese until the cheese melted.
I served this with a spicy rice which I made up by mixing cooked rice, tomato, chilli and a bit of the left over chilli sauce.
It was a spicy dinner but it was delicious – the nachos are a real favourite and the chilli was so flavoured with the addition of the roasted veg that it felt like a real treat to eat. One of these days I’ll get to Chilli Con Carne, but for now I’m satisfied!
Week 16: Lamb Tagine
My dish for week 16 was Lamb Tagine, because I’ve been on a bit of a health regime in 2012 (despite the slip ups over the last month or so) I’ve found that I’m enjoying adding sweeter flavours into my main meals – presumably to compensate for the lack of sweet treats. So I had stacks of dried apricots in the cupboard and wanted to find something new to do with them. I’ve been meaning to make a tagine for a while to be honest – hopefully if I make them often enough Mr Gem will buy me a proper tagine pot, I’ve been lusting after one for ages!
I used a recipe from BBC Good Food (I really think I deserve a medal for the amount I use that site!) and you can find the recipe I used here. The key to a good tagine is the spicing, and the best thing is you don’t need to buy all the individual spices because it all comes handily together in one little spice mix called Ras-el-hanout which you can buy from most major supermarkets and this is what creates the Moroccan flavours.
Essentially once you have all the ingredients its very similar to making a casserole. Start by browning the lamb, then add the vegetables to cook in the lamb juices. Add the lamb back in, throw in the spices and apricots and tomatoes and stock and whack it all in the oven for about an hour and a half. It comes out of the oven sticky and sweet and smelling amazing.
Ideally I would have served this dish with some cous cous, but I forgot to buy any so we had it with rice. And it was still delicious, and so easy to make.
So hopefully this long awaited post was worth it, but hopefully normal service will be resumed this week. Also having people around for dinner this weekend so I’ll probably have some kitchen nightmares to share next week!