My ’empty’ Fridge

14/01/2013 § Leave a comment

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‘Empty fridge’, I thought to myself. I was hungry, cold, tired and to top it off I had ‘no food’ in the house. I sat down and contemplated braving the cold weather to go and get some food or waiting it out until I HAD to leave the house to go to work, and grabbing something on the way, ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and all that. I tried to wait it out seeing as the weather wasn’t exactly appealing but I couldn’t enjoy my time relaxing whilst I was hungry now could I?

I looked through my fridge once more and to my delight, found a pack of chicken thigh fillets. Lovely, it was a start I guess. I decided to start browning these off and to see where my mind took me. Adding a few onions, some paprika, cayenne pepper, a little chicken stock, I was onto something good here! The final dish was a beautiful and rich tomato and chicken curry affair, which I happily munched down with a few flat breads, homemade of course!

Paprika Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thigh fillets (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 2 onions (sliced)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 330ml chopped tomatoes (around a tin)
  • 100ml Crème fraîche
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • half a teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  1. First off in a large pan, brown the chicken pieces until slightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until soft, around 5 minutes should do.
  3. Add the spices, ginger and season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring so the spices don’t burn.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan and add the warm chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes add the Crème fraîche and continue to cook for another 15 minutes on a low heat.
  6.  When ready to serve, sprinkle chopped coriander on top and enjoy, even better with some cardamom flat breads! *https://everythingfoody.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/cardamom/

Cardamom

08/01/2013 § Leave a comment

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Cardamom. Neat little fragrant pods filled with tiny black seeds. Useful for a number of things, not just for throwing into your rice to give it some flavour. These pods can be used for anything from breads and curries, to spicing up alcohol or adding a twist to your favourite deserts.

Related to Ginger, Cardamom has an intense aroma, the small green pods house a small number of black seeds (usually around 10) which can be removed and ground if needed. Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice weight wise, beaten by Saffron and Vanilla. But don’t let it shock you, you don’t need much of it!

In South Asia, Black Cardamom is used in curries whilst the green pods are used in spiced tea and deserts. We are more used to seeing it being used as a garnish for rice though…

Some simple but delicious recipes to try with Cardamom:

Cardamom Panna cotta

  • 200ml milk
  • 200ml cream (whipping cream will give it a lighter texture, but double can be used)
  • 3-4 cardamom pods, depending on how strong you want the taste.
  • sugar to taste, around 50-60g
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  1. Put everything apart from the gelatine leaves in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Whilst the mixture is infusing, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
  3. After it has infused, bring the mixture back up to the boil and add the now drained gelatine leaves to the mixture, stirring constantly for a minute.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into desired moulds. Leave out until room temperature then chill in the fridge for 4 hours.
  5. Serve with fresh fruit, peaches, strawberries or raspberries and a simple coulis. Top with chopped nuts.

Cardamom Flatbreads (makes 8)

  • 250g plain flour
  • 150ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  1. Sift the flour, salt and cardamom into a large bowl.
  2. Add the oil and water and mix until a dough forms.
  3. On a floured surface knead the dough until it becomes smooth and it stretches easily. Basically you are working the gluton in the flour. This should take around 6 minutes. Cover and leave to rest.
  4. After 15 minutes, roll the dough out into a cylinder and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece until they are around 3mm thick, leave to rest for another few minutes.
  5. Cook each flatbread in a hot dry griddle pan for 45 seconds each side, or until nicely browned and crisp. Done!

*Inspired by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s flatbread recipe

Spiced Arancello

I made this for my family as gifts this christmas, and it went down a treat! Unfortunately  we also found out my girlfriend is allergic to Cardamom through this recipe (she was fine don’t worry!).. I sadly had to finish the left over Arancello all by myself… it’s a tough life huh?

  • 500ml vodka
  • zest of 3 oranges
  • zest of half a lime
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 cardamom pods (bashed)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 300g sugar
  1. Add the zest and spices to the vodka and leave in an airtight container to infuse for around 5-7 days, shake every 2 days.
  2. After a week, heat 400ml water with 300g sugar until it has all dissolved, add this to the vodka mixture and allow to infuse for another 5-7 days, shaking every 2 days.
  3. Bottle the mixture and give to friends and family or keep it for yourself for a unique addition to your alcohol collection. Great over ice or mixed with lemonade/soda water.

And there you have it! A little in site into the humble Cardamom pod. Would be great to hear from you, did you try any of these recipes? What do you like to use cardamom in?

Cardamom information sampled from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamom#Traditional_medicine

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