Chicken Parsnip Apple Thing

Tonight we were due to have sesame chicken salad with spinach and ginger dressing, but it just wasn't the weather for a fresh salad, especially with the clock change and stuff. Something more in the nature of a winter warmer was called for. So I took some things that were hanging about:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 breast fillets of chicken
  • chicken stock
  • 2 tsps mango chutney, no lumps
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 large Bramley cooking apple
  • 1 bunch chives

Cooked the onion and parsnip in the oil until the onion was soft. Added the spices and the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces. Cooked until the chicken was seared, added enough stock to cover, the chutney and lentils. Stewed slowly on top of the stove until the parsnip was cooked and the lentils turned to mush. Added the apple, chopped but not peeled, and stewed again until the apple had softened completely and made a thick sauce – helped by occasional vicious stirring. Added a bunch of chopped chives at the end to give a bit of a lift.

Sweet, tart, warming. Because of the apple sauce content it was hot hot hot, beware initial mouthburns. Might up the carb and spice content a bit more next time, I'm starting to feel hungry again. No idea what the calorie count was, but it can't have been too high. If I wasn't looking out for that, there'd have been some creme fraiche and crispy fried onion garnish on the top.

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Texan Dollies

One to make the fillings hurt. From olive February 2004. No nutritional info given, but you wouldn't really want to know, would you? Great to take to office bakesale days. Because you could have one, but if you had them at home you wouldn't stop.

  • 300 gms crushed digestive biscuits
  • 150 gms unsalted butter, melted
  • 150 gms chopped walnuts
  • 100 gms chocolate chips, milk or plain
  • 75 gms sultanas
  • 200 gms dessicated coconut
  • 600 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 50 gms plain chocolate

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 3.

Mix biscuit crumbs and butter. Press into the base of a lightly oiled baking tin about 20cm square and at least 5 cm deep.

Cover the base with the walnuts, chocolate chips, sultanas and coconut. Pour over the condensed milk and spread evenly.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until light golden. (They emphasise the oven must be no hotter than Gas Mark 3 and the cake should not be overbaked.) Let it cool overnight in the tin.

Melt the plain chocolate and drizzle over the top. Once it has set, using a very sharp knife, cut into 25 squares, easing gently out of the tin.

Make sure you don't use a good non-stick pan or the sharp knife bit will be a bugger. So don't line it with foil or anything either. You could substitute things easily – dried cherries or cranberries for the sultanas; pecans or hazelnuts or chopped brazils for the walnuts. I think the coconut probably has an important part to play in texture and holding everything together, I'm not sure if you could use anything else.

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Chandrika’s Garlic Mango Pickle

Following on from the mango wraps, the same article in olive February 2004 included a raw mango pickle which looked, um, lively.

  • 1 medium green unripe mango, washed
  • 1 small head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 3 tbsps salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 0.5 tsp hing / asafoetida
  • 3 tbsps black mustard seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil

Cut the mango into small chunks, leaving the peel on, and discard the stone.

Mix everything together and put in a jar in a cool place for about a week. Will keep in the fridge for about another month.

I wouldn't put this in a jar with a metal lid. I suspect it would develop quite a bit of sauce as it matured, and would be sour and crunchy. Totally unlike the cooked sweet mango chutney you can buy, more like the lime pickle end of things. I've got everything in the house except the mango, am tempted to just pop out for a moment …

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Mango Salad Wraps

There's a recipe in one of the Moosewood books I've always liked, where you make little one-bite wraps with spinach leaves, filling each with pinches ot peanuts, toasted coconut, and chopped raw limes. This is a grown up version of that, it sounds well fiddly to make but deeply yummy. Serves 4, no nutritional info given. From olive, February 2004.

  • 6 small chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 cm root ginger
  • 3 mild red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsps roasted salted peanuts
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 4 tbsps palm sugar (or light muscovado)
  • 2 heads bok choi or lettuce
  • 2 firm not too ripe mangoes, finely sliced lengthways
  • Half a fresh coconut, shaved into shreds with a potato peeler
  • Handful fresh basil, Thai if you can get it
  • 4 spring onions, finely shredded lengthways
  • 2 limes, halved

Blast the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies in a food processor until well chopped but not mushy.

Crush the peanuts, keeping some texture.

In a pan, heat 200 ml water, the shallot mixture, the peanuts, shrimp paste, fish sauce and sugar. Boil hard, stirring, for 15 – 20 minutes until thick, dark, sticky and glossy.

Lay out everything on a platter, with the sauce in little bowls.

Take a leaf of bok choi or lettuce, lay on a slice of mango, spread with peanut sauce, add coconut, basil and onions. Squeeze with lime juice, roll and eat.

You'd have to be careful what bok choi you got, so there was a lot of leaf to white stalk. Spinach might be just as good as lettuce. Having to slice the mangoes that way round means no cheating and buying pre-prepared, you could do that but you'd have to rethink the physical structure of the wrap to allow for cubes of mango. It would mean you could have riper mango, though. This has the potential to be really, really sticky – get lots of wetwipes.

 

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Baileys Marzipan Charlotte

More sickly ghastliness from Baileys. Do like marzipan, though …

4 servings

  • 200 ml Baileys
  • 24 savoy sponge fingers
  • 100 ml milk
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 100 gms natural marzipan, cut in very small cubes
  • 3 leaves / 10 gms gelatine, soaked in plenty of cold water
  • 4 glass tumblers or lightly oiled tea cups

Cut the sponge fingers to fit the glasses and arrange around the edges, cut side uppermost.

Milk milk, cream and Baileys, put HALF in a saucepan and heat until simmering.

Add marzipan and gelatine, remove from heat and mix well. The marzipan should melt in a couple of minutes. Whisk to incorporate.

Put in a bowl and add the remaining half of the liquid.

Pour into the glasses. Keep pushing down the sponges until they soak up the mixture and stay in place.

Chill, overnight if poss.

Turn out by dipping each glass in warm water for a few seconds until loosened.

 

Savoy – looks like they mean the slightly crispy ladyfinger biscuits, rather than trifle sponges. You could easily increase this, but I don't think making one big one would work, you'd lose the ratio of sponge to mixture and it would get well icky. It would look quite odd on the plate just as it was turned out, what could you trim it with? You wouldn't really want more cream. Maybe a dried fruit or cranberry compote? Something with a bit of sharp in it.

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Beetroot-cured salmon

We always have salmon over the holidays. Smoked, whole baked Crusader style with cinnamon and dried fruit, cold decorated with citrussy mustard jellied mayonnaise, or Russian pie with rice, hard-boiled eggs, dill and puff pastry. I like it with horseradish, too. We love beetroot as well, best of all being Russian beetroot caviar with garlic, prunes and brandy.

I've never tried making home-cured gravadlax, but this looks like an interesting place to start. From Good Food December 2005. Says serves 8 with leftovers, the calorie count is 306 per serving but that's based on 12 servings.

  • 2 skin-on salmon fillets, about 3lb in total
  • 8 oz caster sugar
  • 5 oz seasalt flakes
  • 3 oz fresh horseradish
  • 3 medium raw beetroot, grated but not necessarily peeled
  • 1 bunch dill, chopped

SALAD

  • 1 frisee or oak leaf lettuce
  • 4 medium beetroot, cooked, peeled and diced (that would be one vacuum-pack of pre-cooked)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • drizzle olive oil

DRESSING

  • 1 200ml tub creme fraiche
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp fresh horseradish
  • handful dill fronds, chopped

Check the salmon fillets for pin bones. Mix up all the other ingredients to make the cure. Lay out a double-thickness of cling film and spoon on some of the cure. Top with one piece of salmon, skin side down. Add most of the rest of the cure. Sandwich together with the other piece of salmon, skin side up. Add the last of the cure, wrap up tightly. Put in a container (like a roasting tray), and weight. Keep somewhere cool (fridge or garage if it's cold enough) for at least 3 days or up to a week. Check every day, pour away surplus liquid, turn the salmon, and re-weight.

On the day, unwrap the salmon and brush off the remaining cure. Slice into thin slivers. Mix up the dressing and toss the salad.

The salmon will now keep in the fridge for a week and can be used as smoked salmon.

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Bang Bang Turkey

This is a noodles and meat variation on the Gado Gado salad, with a peanut dressing. From Good Food, December 2005. Another recipe from Ainsley Harriott, who in the same article posited the wacky Asian Fish with butter. This looks a bit more ethnically traditional, and would be a tasty way of using up cooked turkey. 4 portions at 351 calories per serving.

  • 6 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsps dark soy sauce
  • 125 gms thin rice noodles
  • 8 oz cooked turkey breast, shredded
  • 1 small iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, matchsticked
  • Half small cucumber, halved, deseeded, matchsticked (doesn't say peeled)
  • 4 spring onions, shredded

Put the peanut butter in a bowl and add the chilli and soy sauce. Stir in 4 tbsps boiling water until well combined and runny.

Soak the noodles as per packet instructions, drain.

Toss everything together, drizzle the sauce over. Serve with extra soy if you like.

It's the same method of making the peanut sauce as in the Gado Gado, but more simplistic – no fish sauce, no lime juice. If you weren't having anything else with it, you could add some extra calories with some fresh roasted peanuts. And I think a chilli-garlic sauce instead of the sweet chilli would make it a bit more interesting. When I've had Bang Bang in yer bog-standard Chinese restaurant, it's usually served as a tossed salad with the meat neatly laid on top and then the sauce.

 

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