Chilli Rellenos

27 07 2011

 To make  really great chile rellenos you need to balance three ingredients just right

The first and most important is the chile. The pod has to be of the right size, thick fleshed, and with the right heat level. You want something along the lines of a large Jalapeno or Poblano because it has these characteristics. Here in Ireland I often find it difficult to get large chillies so often use those long Romesco peppers that you can get in some supermarkets, because the heat in these isn’t much more than a bell pepper I often chop up a jalapeno or two and mix them in with my stuffing.

Next the stuffing, you want to use a cheese that will melt well and has just the right strength of flavour, I personally like to use asadero  as it is a traditional Mexican cheese and goes well with the chillies. The basic recipe calls for just cheese but I often like to mix things up a bit and throw in some shrimp some lightly fried lardons… delicious!

Finally, the batter must be light and with just  the right amount of salt and black pepper to enhance the combination, but not detract from the flavors of the chile and stuffing. A great chile relleno captures the unique TexMex flavours of the USA

Ingredients

  • 8 Jalapeno or Poblano chillies, roasted, peeled, and de-seeded.
  • 8 sticks of asadero or mozzarella about the size of a finger.
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup flour, plus more for the chiles
  • Oil, enough to cover 1½-inches deep in a skillet

Method:

Prepare chile pods. Peel and deseed the chiles. Remove the seeds by cutting a slit in the pod from just below the stem and slice about half way down the chile. Stuff the pods with the cheese, but don’t force things. The open edges of the chile must still come together. Hold the edges together with toothpicks.

Next, prepare the batter. Beat the egg whites with salt and pepper until stiff. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks, add salt and flour and mix well.

Fold the yolk mixture into egg whites just enough to mix. (Use quickly, as this batter will separate.) Roll chiles in flour to coat. Dip chiles into batter. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. If oil is hot enough, this will only take a few minutes. Turns chile once, then drain on several layer of paper towels.


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Prawn and coriander wanton rolls with sweet chilli sauce

29 03 2011

These prawn and coriander wanton rolls are deceptively simple to make but your guests will think you have been slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.

The trick to keeping this simple is to buy the wanton wrappers as opposed to struggling along making your own, there are very few things that really aren’t worth the effort of making myself but these pretty much top that list.

This recipe works best if you get decent sized prawns such as king prawns or tiger prawns but if you can only find the tiny ones than you can always mince them and mix the coriander into the mixture.

 

Ingredients:

1 pack of wanton wrappers

1lb king pranws/tiger prawns

Bunch of coriander

1 red bell pepper

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

Method:

Shell and clean the prawns before butterflying them down the centre, place the prawns to one side and season with a small pinch of salt and black pepper

Beat together the 2 eggs with about 1 tsp of milk to form an egg wash

Place 1 piece of prawn and 1 coriander leaf onto the center of each wanton wrapper, I like to add a slice of chilli to each wrapper as well but this is completely optional.

Brush the edges of the wanton wrapper with the egg wash and either roll up or fold into little triangles.

Fry in hot oil until the wanton wrappers are golden brown and crispy -about 2 or 3 minutes, drain on kitchen paper and serve whilst piping hot.

 

Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce:

There are plenty of good quality sweet chilli sauces that you can buy from the supermarket these days however I still prefer to make my own.

Ingredients:

4 serrano chillies, minced

4 Thai (birds eye) chillies, finely chopped

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water

1/2 cup Rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Finely Minced Garlic

1/2 teaspoon Sweet paprika

1 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1 tablespoon Fresh lime or lemon juice

Method:
Remove stems from peppers and prepare as specified either mincing or chopping

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the chillies, sugar, water, vinegar, garlic, paprika and salt. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens to a light syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce and lime or lemon juice. If you want a thicker sauce still you can stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of flour mixed in with some water towards the end of the simmer. Cool to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cooled sauce to a tightly sealed jar and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.





Popcorn Shrimp with Marie Rose sauce

4 12 2010

 

 Who doesn’t love the taste of sweet slightly salty shrimp with rich tangy marie roase sauce? 

Well it is even better when the shrimp are breaded in a delicious seasoned crumb and the sauce is homemade.

I taken the liberty of changing the marie rose sauce a little bit by using a 50/50 mix of Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise as I just find it to be a little bit too heavy otherwise, the tabasco is completely optional but the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce are essential to my mind.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

500g white bread crumbs / panko

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 lb small frozen shrimp/prawns

1tbsp milk

Vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper

Method: 

Beat together the eggs and milk in a small bowl

Combine the Breadcrumbs, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, and 1 teaspoon Pepper in a separate bowl.

Pat the shrimp dry with kitchen towels, then season with salt and pepper. (if the shrimp are wet, the egg won’t stick to them)

Dip the shrimp into the egg  and shake off any excess.

Coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Once all of the shrimp have been coated once repeat the process again including dipping them in the egg, this will help ensure a good even coating.

Heat the oil in a large heavy based sauce pan until a small piece of bread goes golden

Ad half of the shrimp to the oil and fry until golden brown, stirring often to prevent sticking this will probably take about 2 minutes.

Remove the fried shrimp from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Serve with the Marie Rose sauce and wedges of lemon.

Marie Rose Sauce

4 tbsp good quality tomato ketchup

2 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Dash of tabasco sauce

Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup and yoghurt and add in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, add tabasco to taste – simple 🙂





Homemade Guacamole

1 12 2010

 No party would be complete without some sort of crisps or chips and something to dip them into.

 For me that “something” has to be guacamole and I’m not talking about the rank tasting plastic tubs of crap that most is sold in most supermarkets and that personally I wouldn’t give to my chickens. I like guacamole to have texture and flavour as opposed to just being green coloured mush.

So here is my recipe for great homemade guacamole

Ingredients:

2 ripe hass avocados 
1 tomato
1 onion
1 handful of coriander
2 spring onions
2 jalapeños
Juice of 1 lime
pinch of cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
2 cloves of garlic

Peel and chop all of the ingredients other than the avocados. This garlic and onion should be as fine as you can get them and the tomato should be in a fine dice with the seeds removed, you can also deseed the chillies if you so wish.

Take the skin off of the avocados and ensure that you keep one of the stones.

Using the back of a fork mash the avocados until you have a nice salsa like consistency with some definate chunks of avocado left intact.

Mix the avocado in with the rest of your chopped ingredients and the lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a little extra coriander.

Take the avocado stone that you kept hold of and pop that into the middle of the bowl holding the guacamole, this will help to keep the avocado from going off quite so quickly. Cover the bowl in clingfilm ensuring that there is as little air trapped under it as possible.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.





Fresh and Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Cucumber Dressing

30 11 2010

This recipe is for one of my party favourites; a mixture of smoked and fresh lime marinated salmon is combined with a wondering cucumber, creme fraiche and dill dressing that is fantastic on melba toast or with a nice light salad of crisp leaves and some new potatoes.

Ingredients:

500g smoked salmon

500g fresh salmon

300ml creme fraiche

Juice of 3/4 limes

1 cucumber

1tbsp pink peppercorns

2/3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Fresh dill

Method:

First things first you need to remove the skin from your fresh salmon and cut it into small cubes of about 1/2 inch.

Place the fresh salmon into a bowl and squeeze in the juice of 3/4 limes ensuring that you have enough to cover the salmon, as with ceviche the lime juice is going to “cook” the fresh salmon.  Cover the bowl with some cling film and set aside for at least 3 hours.

When the fresh salmon is suitably marinated you can start to prepare the rest of the dish; cut the smoked salmon into the same size cubes as before and place into a clean bowl.

Drain the liquid from your fresh salmon and mix in with the smoked salmon. Set aside in the fridge for the time being.

Cut the cucumber into 4 lengthwise and remove the seeds and discard, cut the flesh of the cucumber into small cubes and place into a bowl with enough white wine vinegar to cover the cucumber and add in a good handful of fresh dill.

Cover the bowl and pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes before draining off the vinegar.

Take the salmon from the fridge, again discarding any liquid that has come off of it and add in the cucumber and dill.

Mix in the creme fraiche and the pink peppercorns, you can also add some more dill for extra colour.

Refridgerate if you are not serving immediately.





Mini Chicken & Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

29 11 2010

Continuing on with my selection of top party foods for the festive season I have decided to post my recipe for delicious mini chicken satay.

Obviously the satay marinade can be used with whatever you want but in this case I have chosen bite size pieces of chicken and beef so as to make the skewers easier to hold and eat.

These chicken and beef satay sticks are particularly good served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce for which I have also included my recipe.

I know that a lot of people like to include peanuts or peanut butter in the marinade itself but I prefer not to. Not only is this recipe better in my opinion but it is also safer for people with nut allergies as they can still enjoy the marinated skewers and can avoid the dipping sauce.

Satay:

12 skinless chicken thighs  or breasts cut into bite size cubes

1kg  flank steak cut into bite size cubes or thin strips

 Marinade:

250g lemongrass

2 shallots or 2 small onions

6 cloves garlic

4/5  fresh red chilies

4 inch piece of fresh ginger

2 tsp turmeric

4 Tbsp ground coriander

4 tsp cumin seeds

6 Tbsp dark soy sauce

8 Tbsp fish sauce

4 Tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil

10  Tbsp brown sugar

Method:

Soak the wooden skewers in water over night so that they don’t burn, if using metal skewers this step is not needed.

Cut the chicken and beef into pieces and place into 2 separate bowls

Peel the onion/shallots,the garlic cloves and remove the woody section from the lemongrass.

Place all of the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and blitz until everything is combined together and you have a suitable consistency for a marinade.

Try a little of the marinade to make sure that it tastes ok,  the main tastes you are looking for are salty and sweet with the chilli in the background. Adjust accordingly.

Pour equal amounts of the marinade over both the chicken and beef ensuring that all of the pieces are well coated.  Cover the bowls and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour ideally a whole day.

When you are ready to cook thread the meat onto the skewers ensuring that you leave space at the bottom of the skewer for them to be picked up.

Cook the meat under a hot grill or ideally on a BBQ.  Depending on the thickness of the meat used you will need to cook for between 10 and 20 minutes turning every 5 minutes or so.

If you have any left over marinade at the bottom of the bowls you can baste the skewers each time you turn them.

Serve immediately with the spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:

225g sugar free smooth peanut butter

60ml rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp ponzu sauce / lime juice

1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp hot chilli sauce (or to taste)

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

60ml sesame oil

2tbsp water

Handful of peanuts to garnish

Method:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until you a sauce with a nice thick consistency.

Crush the whole peanuts and scatter over the sauce as a garnish along with a few red chilli flakes





Pigs in blankets

26 11 2010

Pigs in blankets are  great, they make a perfect accompaniment to your turkey on Christmas day, they are great as a starter and make an excellent festive finger food.

I understand that in North America pigs in blankets are little Vienna sausages in pastry not dissimilar to a sausage roll, well these aren’t them.

In the UK pigs in blankets are a chipolata sausage wrapped in a piece of bacon and roasted in the oven and typically most people would have them only at Christmas time.

The trick to serving great pigs in blankets is to make sure you use the best meat that you can afford, there is nothing worse than pigs in blankets made from the cheapest nastiest frozen sausages wrapped in watery bacon full of preservatives.

In recent years I have started using olive oil infused with sage, rosemary and garlic when I cook my pigs in a blanket, all three flavours go great with pork and just really help to lift it to another level.

To make 24 pigs in blankets you will need:

24 good quality pork chipolatas

24 rashers of good quality bacon, I prefer to use maple smoked bacon but it is up to you.

500ml of extra virgin olive oil

24 rosemary stalks with leaves till attached (optional)

12 sage leaves

2 garlic cloves

a handful of rosemary leaves

Method

The first thing you need to do is infuse your olive oil with the rosemary, sage and garlic flavours, I tend to do this well in advance so that you really get the flavour of the herbs coming through in the oil, ideally 2 weeks to 3 weeks minimum.

Bruise the herbs so as to help release their essential oils and drop them into your bottle of olive oil along with the garlic which should be roughly crushed.

I tend to remove approximately half of the oil from the bottle before doing this both to allow for displacement and also so as to have oil to hand to help dislodge any stray herbs that get stuck to the neck of the bottle.

Refill to the top with oil and place in a cool dark place for as long as possible.

Wrap each chipolata in a rasher of bacon, you might want to flatten the bacon out with the flat of a knife

when each pig is safely in it’s blanket I like to secure them, you can use a couple of cocktail sticks but  I like to be a bit fancy and use a woddy stalk from some rosemary sharpened into a skewer.

Lay your pigs in blankets into an oven proof dish and drizzle with the infused oil, if you have any sage leave left over I like to scatter these over before popping the dish into a preheated oven at 185 c for about 35 minutes.








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