Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Easy Roast Potatoes

Most everyone loves roast potatoes, and they are usually a favourite part of any traditional Sunday lunch or dinner. However, roast potatoes really do seem like more of a special occasion potato to me because of the labour involved in preparing them. Peeling, parboiling, and cooking them for just the right amount of time in a really hot oven isn't always the easiest thing to do when you are in a rush - particularly on a weeknight. So how to enjoy the taste of this wonderful potato dish without the hassle?  

Let me share a little secret with you - 

New potatoes make gorgeous little roasties! They taste great with just about anything and kids love them because they are "kid sized". Plus they are so easy to prepare they are perfect for even those nights when making dinner feels like the proverbial last straw.

To generously serve four, all you need is:-

About three to four cups of washed or scrubbed new potatoes, skin on
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Make sure they are nice and dry before you do this so the oil will coat them. Heat the oven up to about 375 to 400℉ (about 190℃).

In a small dish, mix together the oil, garlic salt, pepper and rosemary (if using). Pour this mixture over the new potatoes and toss with your hands to coat them thoroughly.

Carefully place the baking sheet in the oven (these little guys are prone to rolling off) and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, gently turning them once half way through. They are done when they are lovely and golden brown with a crispy skin outside and a soft, creamy centre within.  

Serve with anything you like, and enjoy the compliments! If you do have any leftovers (which I have personally found is a very rare occurrence) cool them to fridge temperature and mix them with some celery, red pepper, some finely chopped hard boiled egg and a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise to make a really different but amazingly delicious potato salad.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Tofu Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce

It’s Meatless Monday again, the one day a week we are all encouraged to give up meat. Of course, it doesn’t have to be Monday, but giving up meat one day a week can make a real difference to your health and to the environment. It’s well worth trying, and if we all participate it will make a huge difference to the collective health of our bodies and our world.

Hoisin sauce is a thick, tangy sauce made with soy beans, sweet potato, garlic and chilli so it is perfect for Meatless Monday. I have to confess I wouldn’t want to try to make it from scratch, so I buy it ready-made from my local grocery store. They do an own-label version that is really delicious, but many other brands market this tangy sauce including Sharwoods and Amoy. Be sure to check that your brand is vegetarian, but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t and I have tried quite a few!

This is only the second recipe I’ve developed using tofu. I was really hesitant about using it at first, but my son loves it and has encouraged me to persevere. I find the ready prepared marinated brands are especially easy to use and really delicious. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand or in the garden. I had a lot of beans ready for harvesting so I used those, along with a yellow pepper, some cabbage and carrots from the market to add colour. If you want to make this extra-healthy, choose brown rice for its extra vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Of course, you could also serve this on a bed of noodles if you prefer.

2 cups rice
about 1 cup ready to use Tofu
(I used one that comes already marinated in soy and ginger)
2 tablespoons oil, sesame if possible
a couple handfuls of green beans, topped, tailed and cut in one to two inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
half a small cabbage, shredded
½ cup Hoisin sauce
one bunch of scallions, finely chopped

Prepare the rice according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium to high heat. Stir fry the beans, pepper and carrots for a few minutes, stirring pretty much constantly so they cook evenly. Toss in the tofu and cabbage and continue to stir fry for about three to four minutes, then stir in the Hoisin sauce and scallions and cook for a couple minutes more.

Drain the rice and divide between four plates. Serve the stir fry on top of the rice.

Have a great Meatless Monday! 

Friday, 27 August 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Friday Night Burgers

When I was a kid, we almost always had hamburgers on Friday night. They were my Dad’s favourite comfort food, and a great way to start the weekend. Mom would cook them inside in the winter, but as soon as it was warm enough Dad would fire up the barbecue and cook them outside. I can still see him standing on the deck wearing the ‘Dad’ apron I bought for him. I don’t make hamburgers every week, but from time to time I’ll make them on a Friday in memory of my parents and the fun times we had on those Friday nights.  Now I’m making memories with my husband and son, and they love hamburgers too. 

My hamburger recipe is a really simple one. I love reading about all the amazing burgers folks make these days with new and different ingredients but honestly, when it comes to burgers, I like mine pretty plain and simple with nice seasonings and fresh toppings. 

It’s important to start with really good quality, ethically raised ground beef without too much fat in it. I like to get the kind that has five percent fat or less.  Fresh breadcrumbs make a difference too. Please don’t bother buying breadcrumbs in the store – just grate your own bread or English muffins to make wonderful bread crumbs. I prefer to use fresh bread, and you can always grate some up in advance and store them in the freezer. 

The secret to the seasoning in my burgers is Montreal Steak Seasoning. It’s not very good for you because it is high in salt, but they do a low salt version if you are on a salt restricted diet.

This recipe makes four burgers, but if I’m cooking for more folks or those with really hearty appetites, I just double or triple it up.

1 pound good quality lean mince beef
¼ cup finely chopped fresh onion 
¼ cup freshly grated breadcrumbs
(I prefer those made with English muffins for hamburgers.)
1 egg
1 generous teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. It’s easiest if you use your (spotlessly clean) hands to do this. Be sure to remove your rings first – it’s awful trying to get mince beef out of them! (Sadly I’ve forgotten more than once.)

Shape the mixture into four patties and cook in a frying pan or on the barbecue until no pink remains inside. (If you are one of those folks who likes their burgers medium to rare, please, please, please be sure to buy very, very fresh meat from a very reliable source. Personally I’ve always avoided lightly cooked ground meat – steak is fine, but ground meat is more likely to pick up the germs that need to be well cooked away, especially if you are serving anyone who is younger, older or immune compromised.)

Serve the cooked patties on fresh burger buns with your favourite condiments. Be sure to include some freshly sliced onions and tomatoes if you like them and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Sweet Thursday at Simply Sweet Home

sweet Thursday

Jerri over at Simply Sweet Home is hosting Sweet Thursday today and she has very kindly featured my Healthy Eton Mess. (Unfortunately the link to it on her site isn’t working at the moment but I’m sure it will be fixed soon.)

Sweet Thursday is all about fruity desserts this month so click HERE to go on over and get some great recipe ideas as well as linking up your own favourite fruity dessert recipes!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Cafe @ Eventi - The Kimpton Eventi in New York City

Sometimes you just stumble upon something so refreshing, it catches you utterly by surprise. That is what happened to us when we visited the new Kimpton Eventi Hotel on the Avenue of the Americas in New York a few weeks ago.

We were keen to visit the Eventi knowing it was Kimpton’s newest property in New York. We are big fans of the Kimpton Hotel brand, of their wonderful properties, their business ethos and the great service they provide.  The Eventi lived up to all our expectations – in fact it kind of surpassed them. We had a King Suite on the thirty-something-th floor (I stop counting after 29, both in terms of age and building elevations) with a great view over the Chelsea District of New York.  Because they had only opened a few weeks previous, I expected some teething problems, but there simply were not any in our experience.

The understated, modern décor was absolutely beautiful and the staff were attentive and helpful. They were most apologetic about the fact that their permanent restaurant was not open, and in fact we pretty much decided that we would not eat there as it sounded as though things really were not finished at all. But our last night in New York we were tired, it was raining and we really did not want to go out, so we headed to the in-house restaurant called The Café at Eventi.

The Café is not a permanent installation, and is due to be replaced by a multi-level ‘Food Parc’ for casual dining and the multi-level Bar Basque Restaurant with a authentic Basque restaurant highlighting seasonal, sustainable ingredients. I’m so glad we went early enough to be able to experience this temporary café, because it was ever so much more than that.

We were alone in the café, and could see much of the building works that were going on outside – including a terrace featuring a huge screen several stories high to broadcast concerts and the like. The screen was not yet in place, but we could see the structure that would hold it. It was massive.The décor, although unfinished, was clearly going to be spectacular.

While the restaurant and menu might be temporary, it was the site of one of the finest meals of our holiday. My husband and I had the Crispy Fried Rock Shrimp Tempura served with a sweet chili dipping sauce to start. Beautifully presented in an edible basket, these juicy, lightly battered rock shrimp had a sauce with the perfect level of spiciness. 

Our son enjoyed the BBC Chicken and Jack Cheese Dumplings, toasted corn bread and crispy Vidalia onions. I loved the presentation of these, and having tasted the dumplings can honestly say they had the potential to become quite addictive! 

While our son enjoyed the Eventi burger which arrived perfectly cooked to order for his main course, my husband and I ordered Steak Frites. Now my husband and I are a chef’s nightmare as I like my steak done on the more done side of medium, and my husband likes his medium rare. This was one of the few times both our steaks arrived perfectly cooked and although steak frites may be a simple dish, the Café at Eventi took it to a whole other level.  This was a grilled six ounce fillet mignon with a white truffle béarnaise sauce and herbed French fries. It was exquisite –just the comfort food we craved on that last evening of our holiday. The side of green beans we ordered was the perfect foil to this wonderful dish, and there were plenty of them for us to share.  For dessert, a beautiful portion of crème brulee and a simple plate of cookies served the three of us – and were the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

I must apologise for the quality of the photographs in this post, along with the fact that there are none of the main courses, but I had not thought that I would be writing about a dinner in a temporary Café! in fact I had to borrow a camera.

The menu we had said “The Café @ Eventi - The Best Kept Secret in Town” on the front. It sure was! I had no idea we would have such a wonderful meal, and I have great expectations for both the Food Parc and the Bar Basque which I hope to be able to visit very soon. In fact, I kind of wish there was some way for them to keep the Café too – it was just so damn good it seems a shame to lose it. However, from the quality of our experience I’m confident that all the good stuff we enjoyed at the Café will some how be rolled up in the two new venues at this great hotel.

I’m not sure of the opening dates for the Food Parc, although ‘September’ is mentioned on their website, and I believe the Bar Basque opens in October. But whenever it might be, whatever dining facilities they are offering, if you find yourself in New York City anywhere near the Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) and West 29th Street, do visit the Eventi and sample the delicious dining experience they offer. I'm sure you will be very glad you did.

The 21st Century Housewife was not paid or compensated in any way for this post.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A Delicious Combination

I’ve been really into chicken and almonds lately – inspired I think by a wonderful chicken and almond salad sandwich I had at The Cheesecake Factory when we were on holiday a few weeks ago in Boston. I can’t get this delicious combination out of my mind and it has led to some great recipe inventions, two of which I will share with you here.

I make it a habit to keep cooked chicken breast in the fridge or freezer as it is useful in so many recipes. Just brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at about 375℉ or around 190℃ for about 30 to 40 minutes until no pink remains inside. Cool quickly and refrigerate promptly and they will keep for two to three days in the fridge. If you want to keep them for longer than that, you should freeze them as soon as they are cool.

This first recipe is my homage to the Cheesecake Factory’s chicken salad sandwich, although I do serve it as a salad most of the time. Of course, you can also definitely make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken entirely and adding extra apple and almonds – great if you have both vegetarians and non-vegetarian guests at the same meal!

Chicken and Almond Salad
To serve four people as a main course (six as a starter) you need:-

about four cups of shredded iceberg or Romaine lettuce
2 chicken breasts, finely chopped
2 cups seedless (or de-seeded) red and green grapes, cut in half
2 green skinned apples (preferably Granny Smith)
2 red skinned apples (any crisp and crunchy type will do nicely)
1 cup almonds
2 tablespoons apple juice
about ¼ cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s Extra Light)
salt and pepper to taste

Core and dice the red skinned apples. Core the green ones too, but only dice one of them. Toss in the apple juice to keep from going brown. Reserve the other one to cut in slices for the garnish.

In a large bowl, combine the chopped chicken breasts, grapes, drained diced apples, almonds and mayonnaise. Mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the lettuce between four plates (or six if serving this as a starter) and top with some of the chicken salad. Garnish with sliced apple as shown in the photograph.

I also got to thinking about how I could work the chicken/almond combination hot and it brought to mind a dish my Mom used to make years ago using chicken livers and toasted slivered almonds. From there I got to thinking about using chicken breasts (because I really don't like chicken livers - or any liver for that matter!) and my recipe kind of evolved from there.

Chicken and Almond Stir Fry
This dish is really quick and easy to make, and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. You can buy almonds already toasted, but if you can’t find them in your local store, simply heat some flaked almonds over medium heat in a non-stick pan and keep them moving using a heat safe spatula until they are all lightly toasted. (Don’t look away for even for a second or they will burn!) Remove from the pan as soon as they are toasted.

Using brown rice makes this recipe even healthier, as does choosing a low sodium soy sauce. One piece of advice, be sure you make lots of this - everyone I serve it to wants seconds! (The recipe below serves about four adults, but it is easily doubled.)

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
(You can use any light vegetable oil, but sesame oil does give a lovely flavour.)
2 cups green beans or asparagus (or a combination of the two), prepared and cut in pieces about two to three inches long
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I like to use chicken breast for this, but you can use dark meat if you prefer)
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups rice
½ cup toasted flaked almonds plus more for garnish

Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain and set aside, keeping warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the onion. Stir fry for two to three minutes until it begins to soften.  Add the red peppers and green beans or asparagus, continuing to stir fry until they become tender-crisp (about 2 to 3 minutes). Stir in the rice, cooked chicken and soy sauce and stir fry just until heated through.

Add the almonds and stir through.  Serve in warmed bowls or on warmed plates, with a few extra almonds sprinkled on top if you like. 

Watch this space for more recipes with a chicken and almond theme - I can't seem to get this delicious combination out of my mind! 

Monday, 23 August 2010

Meatless Monday- It's Time to Join In!

Time Magazine recently published an article by Dan Fastenburg about Weekday Vegetarians, people who only eat meat on the weekends. It cuts their meat consumption and helps the planet without involving that intimidating last step, the one that often defeats the most enthusiastic would be vegetarian – the last hamburger or bacon sandwich.

Dan writes that Graham Hill, founder of the website Treehugger.com, has for the past year, been encouraging people to embrace partial vegetarianism. Hill tried for years to adhere to a strictly vegetarian diet, but time and time again he found himself unable to. By deciding eat a meatless diet during the week, he substantially reduced his meat consumption and his carbon footprint, as well as feeling ethically better about the animals involved. To find out more, please click here.

I particularly liked Hill’s premise that “If all of us ate half as much meat, it would be like half of us were vegetarians.” It’s true, and it makes sense. Individually, being a vegetarian is hard, but if we all do a little bit, we can make a difference.

Graham Hill has taken the Meatless Monday idea that one step further by eliminating meat from his diet five days per week, but the movement to cut out meat even one day a week has made a huge difference all on its own. More and more people are joining in and saying no to meat one day a week, usually on a Monday, cutting their meat consumption and benefitting their health and the environment.

But is that enough? Dan Fastenburg discusses in his article how it is difficult to convince people to completely embrace vegetarianism, and how you reach a plateau. You have a base of strict vegetarians, and it’s hard to get people to join them – but anyone can give up meat for a day or more a week, knowing that they can eat meat on other days. He quotes Peter Singer, a philosopher and author, who says, “People should go further, but it’s progress in the right direction.”

More and more, as Fastenburg explains, the goal is “simply to get people to eat less meat”. Being a partial vegetarian is an achievable goal for just about everyone. Whether you embrace Meatless Monday, or go a step further and become a weekday vegetarian like Graham Hill, every contribution makes a difference.

Schools, restaurants and even bloggers are embracing the movement to decrease meat consumption. Many schools mark Meatless Monday or another day of their choice with completely a vegetarian menu and a number of chefs are featuring menus that either eliminate meat or feature it as only a small part of the meal. Some restaurants offer a Meatless Monday dish, and vegetarian menus, even in traditionally meat-oriented restaurants, are offering more choice and becoming more creative and appealing. Many bloggers (including myself) feature a Meatless Monday recipe or article every week on their websites, and the press are showing a great interest in this new movement.

Too often the changes suggested to improve the environment seem too vast or unachievable, and this results in people doing nothing, but giving up meat for a day or more a week is both easy and achievable. It’s great for kids, helping them learn more about their food and where it comes from, as well as environmental issues. It also encourages variety in our diets, which in our post-modern world sometimes suffer from lack of time and inspiration. 

So if you haven’t already begun reducing your meat consumption, join the thousands of others like me who are marking Meatless Monday today, or simply choose to say no to meat another day this week.  There’s loads of recipe inspiration on the internet for easy to prepare, delicious and satisfying meatless dishes using common ingredients you already know and love. Or treat yourself to a great vegetarian cookbook and start experimenting.

Go on - it’s an easy, achievable step, good for you, your environment and the world. One person really can make a difference, and today, that one person can be you!

Friday, 20 August 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Pork Tenderloin with Apple Balsamic Gravy – A Cook Once, Eat Twice Recipe

The recipe makes enough to serve at least four - but don’t worry if you have leftovers. They taste lovely the next day in the recipe for Fajitas I’ve posted below this one. In fact, sometimes I double this recipe just so I have extra leftovers for the fajitas! If you do double the recipe, be sure to use two roasting pans so everything cooks evenly.

You do have to cook just a little bit on the second night, roasting up the peppers to go with the fajitas, but it’s nothing too onerous. However if you’d rather you can do it the first night in a separate pan in the oven and save them for the second. Be sure to cool and refrigerate them promptly.

This dish has one of the nicest gravies I think I have ever invented. The apple and onion melt together to flavour it beautifully, and the Dijon mustard gives it a lovely tang. It’s a great summer dish because tenderloin cooks pretty quickly, so you won’t have to have the oven on for much more than an hour.

There is a fair amount of vinegar in this recipe, but don’t worry, it makes it taste absolutely delicious. When it combines with the apple and onion it gives a wonderful depth of flavour.

2 onions, red if possible
2 red skinned eating apples
2 pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup apple juice
about ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon fresh or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 generous tablespoon redcurrant or cranberry jelly
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the 2 tbsp cider vinegar and olive oil, and marinate the tenderloin for at least an hour in the fridge.
Peel and quarter the onions, reserving one half of one onion.  Core the apples and quarter them, again reserving one half of one apple.

Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan and arrange the apple and onion quarters around it. Pour the marinade over to coat everything. Cook in the oven at about 375 or 190 (about 170 for a fan oven) for about 40 to 50 minutes, turning the apples and onions halfway through.

Meanwhile, finely chop the reserved half onion and half apple. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and sauté the chopped onion and apple over low to medium heat. You want them to cook slowly so they almost “melt” as they become tender. To do this you need to keep sautéing them over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour.

When the apple and onion are very soft and have cooked together, turn the heat back up to medium and add the balsamic vinegar. Let it all bubble away for a minute or so.

Sprinkle the flour over top and stir into the apples and onions. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, just to cook the floury taste away. Gradually add the apple juice, stirring after each addition. Now gradually add the chicken stock, stirring constantly, until you get a nicely textured gravy. (You may need slightly more or less than the half cup.)  Stir in the mustard and thyme, and then blend in the cranberry or redcurrant jelly until you have a fairly smooth gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Check that the pork is cooked through, and when it is, slice and serve with the gravy. This is delicious served over mashed potatoes and/or with some broccoli on the side.

Refrigerate any leftovers promptly and save them for:-

Yummy Tenderloin Fajitas

Leftover sliced tenderloin from the first night
1 red onion, peeled and cut in eighths
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 orange pepper, de-seeded and sliced
(It goes without saying you can vary the colours here, you just need 3 peppers!)
1 zucchini, ends removed and sliced in sticks
2 tablespoons olive oil
as much of 1 red chili, seeds removed and finely sliced, as you would like
(My family like it mild, so I add very little, but if you like it hot, go for it!)
large flour tortillas
1 cup of grated cheese (optional)
salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole for garnish

Place the onion, peppers and zucchini in a large roasting dish and drizzle the oil over top. Stir with your hands to coat the veggies with the oil. Bake at about 375 or 190 (about 170 for a fan oven) for about half an hour, stirring halfway through.

When the vegetables are nearly cooked, slice the tenderloin into small strips or pieces and place in a small roasting pan. I like to put about a tablespoon of water in with the pork, cover firmly with aluminum foil and heat gently in a low oven, turning occasionally until warm through – but if you are in a rush you can use a microwave. Just be sure to keep the meat warm once you have heated it.

Serve the tortillas, pork and vegetables in separate warmed dishes so everyone can assemble and wrap their own fajitas. (If you have a warming tray or plate that you can put on the table it really helps.)

Serve grated cheese, if using, salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole on the side.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

An Old Favourite with A New Twist - Piccolino Restaurant and Bar

There are some restaurants that you come back to time and again, firm favourites that you rely on when entertaining or when you fancy treating yourself to something you just know is going to be good. For us, one of those places is Piccolino, just off London’s Regent Street in Heddon Street’s restaurant quarter. My family and I go there often, and we always receive a warm welcome. Recently my husband and I went there on a Friday night and were delighted to see that Piccolino had updated their menu, adding some great new additions to their traditional favourites. We enjoyed it so much that we returned on the Sunday night with our son!

I’m a huge fan of their new Pear, Pecorino and Parma Ham Salad served on a bed of rocket and garnished with pine nuts.  It can be served as a starter or as a larger main course, and the flavours are just wonderful. If I were to visit for lunch, this is definitely what I would order.

We also love their Fritto misto, fried seafood and asparagus with a positively addictive garlic mayonnaise dip that can also be served as a starter or a main course. 

 Unlike some other restaurants, Piccolino know the importance of keeping their old specialties – like their amazing Pasta Carbonara and Trofiette – as well as introducing new dishes. You can see why we love their Trofiette, a pasta dish in a light cream sauce served with chicken and spring vegetables.

The chef at their Heddon Street branch is also wonderful at cooking and presenting fish and one of the specials when we visited last weekend was Cod on a bed of pea risotto with a light tomato dressing. Beautifully cooked and presented, there was not a single bone in the delicately flavoured cod, and the risotto was perfectly al dente.

Piccolino also have a really tempting dessert menu which includes a baked limoncello cheesecake garnished with candied lemons, panacotta with strawberries and basil and many decadently delicious chocolate desserts including a chocolate fudge pudding with vanilla ice cream that is utterly heavenly. They also offer seasonal specials, and on the Friday my husband and I succumbed to their beautiful strawberries and ice cream – their pistachio ice cream is probably the best I have ever tasted. We were good though, and shared - it was the perfect finish to a lovely meal.

Although there are several other locations in the United Kingdom, we have only ever visited the Heddon Street branch of Piccolino, and over the last three years it has become a family favourite. If you find yourself near Piccadilly Circus, do walk up Regent Street towards Oxford Circus and seek out the Heddon Street restaurant quarter on the left hand side.Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just want to share a great family meal, Piccolino is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Balsamic Glazed Tenderloin with Risotto

When I visited the Good Food Show I discovered some lovely balsamic vinegar glazes by Imaginative Cuisine which are marketed online by JR Watkins UK Limited on their website The Very Best Food.

I was particularly taken with Balsamico’s cherry and fig balsamic glazes. The cherry glaze is lovely on duck and I found a really lovely way to use the fig flavour glaze with pork.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamico Rich Balsamic Glaze
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1¼ cups risotto rice
4 to 5 cups chicken or pork stock
1 cup frozen peas
2 pork tenderloins
1 large onion, peeled and cut in eighths
2 red peppers, cored and cut in large pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons Fig flavour Balsamico Rich Balsamic Glaze

Place the pork, onions and red pepper in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and cook in the oven at 375 F or 190 C for about 25 minutes. 

Glaze the pork, onions and peppers with the Balsamico Glaze and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes more until no pink remains inside. Remove from the oven, cover and allow to rest for ten to fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the risotto rice and cook, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the stock, a bit at a time, stirring until absorbed after each addition, until the risotto is al dente. Stir in the peas and allow to heat through.

Carve the tenderloin and serve with the red peppers and onions alongside the risotto.  

The 21st Century Housewife was not paid for this post.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Meatless Monday - Delicious Vegetarian Hash

This recipe is a real all-rounder. It’s meatless, nutritious, doesn’t cost much and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. It is also really delicious comfort food that doesn’t take long to prepare.

Nutritionally eggs are no longer considered to be the “bad guys” anymore, and it is pretty much universally acknowledged that there is no need to limit the number of eggs you eat as long as they are part of a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat - unless you have health conditions that have caused your doctor to recommend otherwise. The nutrition in eggs - they are high in protein, vitamins and minerals, but low in calories and saturated fat - pretty much outweighs their cholesterol content. 

You can use just about any veggies you have in your fridge or garden for this. You do need some form of potatoes to give the dish body. If you don’t have any leftover new potatoes it is well worth cooking fresh ones for this dish, or you could slice leftover baked potatoes in nice chunks as long as they are still pretty firm. 

The quantities are pretty flexible; the ones I have listed would feed two adults generously and it is easy to adjust the recipe to feed more. Feel free to use frozen vegetables if you have not got any fresh, but try to thaw them a little first to keep the cooking time short.

1 to 2 eggs per person ( I always use two!)
about 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup peppers, finely chopped (I like to use red and/or yellow ones)
1½ to 2 cups leftover new potatoes, sliced in half (or threes if they are big ones)
1 cup green vegetables in bite size pieces (whatever you have to hand - green beans, zucchini, peas) OR 1 cup frozen peas, corn or mixed vegetables in small pieces, slightly thawed
salt and pepper to taste, or a bit of chilli powder if you like things spicy

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion gently for a few minutes until it is beginning to soften and go slightly golden. Add the chopped peppers and sauté for a bit longer.

Turn up the heat a bit and stir in the potatoes. You can add a bit more oil here if necessary.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to brown. Add the green veggies (or frozen veggies) at this point and continue to stir fry. Add the seasonings.

Meanwhile, in another pan, fry the eggs.

Serve the fried eggs over the potato and vegetable mixture.