Friday, 30 September 2011
It's been a while since I've featured a Chinese style stir fry on this blog and I was surprised myself to learn, looking back through my summary notes, that I have never featured one made with egg noodles. I was originally going to prepare this dish with beef but decided at the last minute to make it with turkey breast. You could use beef, chicken, pork, or even large prawns in exactly the same way, though from those ingredients only the chicken should be subjected to the velveting process. Do try to get fresh egg noodles if you are making this dish, as the dried ones which are reconstituted in boiling water simply do not work as well in a stir fry.
Today's recipe will make two decent servings.
1 bag of fresh egg noodles (just under 1lb in weight)
1/2 diced turkey breast fillet
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 tsp hot chilli flakes (dried)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
One egg white and 1 tsp cornflour for velveting the turkey
Velveting is a procedure used by Chinese cooks to help protect usually chicken from the high intensity heat of the stir frying process. It is achieved by essentially marinating the meat in egg white and cornflour (corn starch) prior to cooking.
Put the egg white in to a small glass bowl and add a teaspoon of cornflour and a pinch of salt. Stir well to form a smoothe paste. Add the turkey breast and stir well again to ensure the pieces are all evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for twenty to thirty minutes.
When the turkey is removed from the fridge, it should be drained through a colander or sieve. Stir it around well in the colander to try to drain off as much of the paste as possible.
Put about a tablespoon of oil in to your wok and bring it up to a high heat. Stir fry the turkey for a couple of minutes until it is evenly sealed and has turned opaque. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
The onion half should be halved again across the way and separated in to leaves. The bell pepper halves should be de-seeded and sliced in to half inch strips.
Add some more oil to the wok if required, bring back up to heat and stir fry the vegetables for around a minute, before adding the noodles and chilli flakes. You may of course choose to use a fresh red chilli, very finely diced, instead.
Stir fry the noodles and vegetables for a further minute before re-adding the turkey and the soy sauce for a final two minutes of cooking.
Taste the dish for seasoning, add what is required and divide between two serving plates. A fresh herb such as basil can be torn and scattered over the top if desired as a final garnish.
When you are making a stir fry, a proper Chinese wok is pretty much an esssential tool. If you do not have a wok, or your present one is past its best, below are a couple of options from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk which you may wish to consider.
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Pizza is a hugely popular creation. Tens of millions of pizzas are sold around the world, every single day, either in the form of fast food or as premade supermarket creations, which require only to be heated up at home. I have featured pizza before on this blog but wanted to show again how incredibly easy it is to make pizza from scratch at home. Today, we are going to prepare pizza dough, pizza sauce and pizza topping right from the stage of the basic ingredients.
Very Important Warning! This recipe can be hot and it is important that you know before you prepare it the strength of the chillis you are using. If you are in any doubt, or hot and spicy food is not your thing, simply substitute the chilli peppers with chopped bell peppers, or your own topping of choice. The bulk of this pizza recipe applies to any and all toppings.
If you are intending making your own pizza at home, the one thing which you will need above all else is a proper pizza pan. Improvisation is always possible but the results will simply not be truly authentic. Before we go any further, you may wish to take a look at some of these options for pizza pans currently available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I promise you, the modest investment is more than worth it and once you get the bug for homemade pizza, you will more than get your money's worth from such a purchase.
This pizza recipe is perfect for using up leftover roast chicken. If you had roast chicken for dinner last night and have leftovers to use, this is a great way to do so. Alternatively, you can buy a small piece of chicken and cook it for the purpose of making this pizza. A small supermarket breast quarter of chicken like the one below will easily make a couple of 12" pizzas and can be roasted in half an hour.
Ingredients per Pizza
8oz can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
1 garlic clove
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of salt
6oz plain/all purpose flour
1 tsp active dried yeast
4 fl oz lukewarm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2oz leftover roast chicken pieces
1 red chilli pepper
1 green chilli pepper
2oz pizza mozzarella cheese
2oz cheddar cheese
The pizza sauce should be prepared first. The simple reason for this is that the sauce must be cooled before being spread on the pizza dough. Otherwise, it will soak in to the dough and spoil the whole pizza. The good news is that the pizza sauce can easily be prepared the night before you are making your pizza, cooled and refrigerated.
Pour the tomatoes in to a small saucepan. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the pot. Season with the basil and salt. Bring to a simmer on a high heat before reducing to the lowest heat possible and simmering for around twenty minutes - stirring frequently - until a beautifully lush sauce is formed. Cover and allow to cool.
The pizza dough will require to rest for around an hour, so bear this in mind when preparing the recipe. It is vital that you also be aware that the dough can easily be over rested, so early preparation is not an option for the dough.
Put the flour, yeast and salt in to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine before making a well in the centre and pouring in the water and extra virgin olive oil. Stir with a spoon to combine and mix by hand to form a dough.
Kneading dough is fairly simple but is best explained by video rather than text. Take a look at this video below which explains the process perfectly.
Below is the pizza dough immediately after it has been kneaded...
...and after it has been rested.
Put your oven on to preheat to 450F/230C.
The chicken should be torn in to strips by hand, to the size you desire. This makes for a much better effect than cutting it with a knife.
Grate the cheddar cheese and finely chop the mozzarella. Slice the chilli peppers in to discs and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you are finished laying them on the pizza.
Very lightly grease your pizza pan with olive oil. Put the dough back on to a floured surface and knead the air out of it. Roll it out in to an approximate circle, slightly smaller than your pizza pan before laying it in the pan and stretching it carefully out from the centre to fill the pan.
Pour the sauce in to the centre of the dough and spread it out using a circular motion with the base of a ladle or large spoon. Be sure to leave a little border of around half an inch for the crust to form.
Mix the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses together and scatter evenly over the pizza, ensuring again to leave what will become the crust exposed.
Place the pizza in to the oven and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes, depending upon how crisp you like your base and crust. Remove very carefully from the oven and use a plastic spatula to transfer the pizza to a chopping board for cutting. Never attempt to cut the pizza while it is still in the cooking pan as this will irreparably damage the surface of your pan.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Smoked mackerel is a truly delicious eating fish. It is also very nutritious and the fact that it is bought ready to eat is ideal when the time available for preparing dinner any night is short. This is a very simple serving suggestion for smoked mackerel as part of a salad and you can find more ideas along similar lines here: Different Ways to Serve Smoked Mackerel
Ingredients per Serving
2 smoked mackerel fillets
2 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
Baby new potatoes, quantity as desired
3 cherry tomatoes
3 pitted black olives
1/2 oz butter
1 tsp freshly chopped mint leaves
Wash the new potatoes but don't peel them and add them to a pot of slightly salted cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for twenty-five minutes.
Put the egg in to a separate pot and add enough cold water to comfortably cover it. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to simmer for seven minutes. Take the pot to the sink and run cold water in it for twenty to thirty seconds, until the egg is cool enough to handle. Crack the shell all around by tapping the egg on a hard surface. Peel the shell away under running cold water and submerge the egg in a bowl of cold water to cool while the potatoes finish cooking.
The salad leaves used in this dish were bought from my local supermarket where they were labelled as an Italian style salad. They are a mixture of lollo rosso, radicchio and rocket (arugula). You can use any combination of salad leaves you desire, even if that just be simple lettuce leaves. Lay the leaves on half of the serving plate. Half the tomatoes and pitted olives and arrange on top of the salad leaves.
When the potatoes are ready, drain them through a colander and return them to the empty pot. Add the butter and the chopped mint leaves. Swirl the potatoes around gently to coat them evenly in the mint and butter before adding them to the plate. Take the egg from the water and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Quarter it lengthwise and add the quarters to the plate.
The skin should peel very easily away from the smoked mackerel fillets. It is best to do this before placing them across the salad and serving your meal.
Note that if you do have to buy a vacuum pack of smoked mackerel fillets which contains more fillets than you are using at the time, transfer the excess to a plastic dish with a lid and they will store in your refriegerator for a couple of days.