Day 4 of my current blogging101 course is to write for your ideal reader. I’m a bit late starting this post as I’ve been trying to work out just who my ideal reader is. I discussed it with the Other Half and his answer was the truest so far ‘a girl a lot like you’. I’ve always said I write for myself and if anyone else enjoys it, that’s a bonus. The more I thought about it, the more I realised he was right. I’m writing to a younger version of me, trying to get across that cooking is a lot simpler than people think so just crack on and have a go. Fortunately, the next post I had planned was ideal for this, a simple sausage casserole, the ultimate comfort food.
I haven’t baked bread for ages, over a year at least. Returning to part time work has given me a little more time and this week I put that to use and made a hearty sausage casserole (post coming soon!) accompanied by some nice fresh bread. The Other Half reckons this is the best bread I’ve made yet. It was based on a recipe from Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno.
This is another Pinterest inspired recipe (you can follow me here) and was really tasty. Small Person and the Other Half had seconds so it definitely goes in the ‘try again’ pile. I served this with mixed roast veg but when I do try this again it will be with home made pasta. There are a number of tweaks I’ve thought about and I’ll list these at the end of the post. You can find the original recipe here.
4 small chicken breasts
1 tblsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Splash of white wine
6 tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil, chopped (I used a pack of Co-Op fresh herbs)
First of all the chicken, it is always good to cover the chicken with cling film and beat it to an even thickness when it’s being pan fried and this was no exception. Fry in the olive oil over a medium heat until browned on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and keep somewhere warm.
Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and scrap any bits of chicken up along the way. Add the garlic and fry lightly for two minutes before turning down the heat and adding the tomatoes. They need to be cooked until they are breaking down to make the sauce, this took about twenty minutes. Now stir in the butter until all combined then add the chicken back in. Also add half your fresh basil, stir and heat the chicken through for 5 minutes or so. Once ready to serve stir in the rest of the basil.
This was delicious but, due to the fresh tomatoes, not quite as quick as I hoped. One speedy tweak might be to use tinned tomatoes (plus a little sugar or syrup) instead of fresh.
Other tweaks I thought about:
Frying bacon or pancetta with the chicken
Adding finely sliced onions before the garlic
Dredging the chicken in flour before frying
Adding a dash of balsamic vinegar at the end (before the fresh basil)
Trying a mix of fresh and sun-roasted tomatoes
Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas or to let me know what you think of my tweak ideas.
I got invited to cook the starter for Christmas day as the in laws were cooking the main course (roast beef for a change) and instead of the usual soup, I found a recipe in my slow cooker book that I decided to adapt. This became roast peppers with chorizo and cherry tomatoes.
3 red peppers, halved lengthways
1 chorizo ring, roughly chopped
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
4 spring onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Lay the peppers on a baking tray and add the chorizo and spring onions, then push the cherry tomatoes into any gaps until the peppers are fairly full. Sprinkle over the garlic and paprika before drizzling over the balsamic vinegar and season to taste.
Bake for about 40 minutes at Gas Mark 5. This is bit of a guess as I cooked this in the middle oven of an Aga but I will try this in my own oven and update accordingly.
I let this marinade overnight which certainly didn’t hurt it and the Other Half had some cold the next day. A half pepper is ideal for a starter but this could also make a main meal if served with a salad.