Sunday, 31 May 2015

Recipes for the Women's World Cup 2015

Brazilian feijoada was the first dish featured on this blog's World Cup 2014 celebration

The FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 is being hosted in Canada and begins next Saturday, 6th June. An initial 24 teams from nations around the world will contest the event. While women's football/soccer is often unjustly scorned by many male fans, there is no doubt there will be a great deal of top quality entertainment provided throughout the tournament with some very skillful players on show.

Beef stuffed bell peppers represented Bosnia in 2014

Food of course plays an integral part in a large sporting event of any type. Last year, when the men's World Cup 2014 was being played in Brazil, I ran a feature on this blog incorporating traditional recipes from many of the participating countries, each creation given my own special little twist. I thought about doing similar for the Women's World Cup in Canada with different dishes of course but then I came up with an alternative option.

This beautiful tapas platter was the Spanish dish for World Cup 2014

What I am going to do is look at some of the matches taking place in the World Cup and create in each instance a fusion dish to hopefully represent both participating countries. I think this affords a great opportunity to devise new recipes I would probably never otherwise have considered and I hope to find at least a few which work well enough that I'll want to prepare them again and again.

Spicy meat and potato hotpot was the featured dish from Cameroon

I will publish each dish a couple of days or so before the relevant match takes place, allowing anyone who likes the idea plenty of time to assemble the necessary ingredients and prepare the dish to enjoy perhaps while watching the particular match. It may be a means of adding extra interest and fun to the occasion, especially if your country is involved in the match and you are having friends over to enjoy the occasion as a group.

Canard au vin (duck in wine) was my French dish for World Cup 2014

The first recipe will be published this coming midweek and will be dedicated to the opening Women's World Cup fixture which sees the hosts Canada take on China. It will feature typically Canadian and Chinese ingredients, hopefully blended together in an attractive and tasty fashion. Want to see what I come up with for this match and more? Why not follow this blog by e-mail via the option in the right hand margin and be notified as soon as the posts are up?

Sole meuniere was the dish prepared to represent Belgium for Brazil 2014

Regardless of who ultimately lifts the trophy, let's hope we see a great spectacle, enjoy some great games and see women's football elevated as a result to new levels of popularity, all the while enjoying some great food of many different types from a variety of countries and cuisines around the world.

Chacarero Chileno was my dish created for Chile in Brazil 2014

Mini Spanish Tortilla with Chorizo

Traditional Spanish tortilla in mini form with black olives and chorizo

A Spanish tortilla is normally at least an inch think, consisting of potatoes and onions in an egg base. It is often cut in to wedges - like pizza - before being enjoyed either hot or cold by a number of people. This recipe is different in that is designed to serve only one person and incorporates a couple of extra typically Spanish ingredients in the form of chorizo and black olives.

New season Jersey Royal potatoes


6 baby new potatoes
1/2 red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
Olive oil
3 eggs
Salt and black pepper
6 slices Spanish chorizo, 1/2 inch thick
4 black olives, pitted and halved
2 or 3 basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced, to garnish

Red onion half is thickly sliced


Wash the potatoes and add them unpeeled to a pot of cold, lightly salted water. Bring to a simmer for fifteen minutes, drain, cover and leave to cool completely.

Cooked and cooled potatoes and red onion added to small frying pan

When the potatoes are cool, pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil in to a small, non-stick frying pan and gently heat.

Mini potatoes and red onion are gently sauteed in oil

Put the potatoes and onion in the pan and gently sautee over a medium heat until the onion strands are just softened.

Eggs are broken in to a bowl and seasoned

Break the eggs in to a bowl and season with some salt and black pepper.

Eggs are lightly beaten with a fork

Beat the eggs with a fork until just combined.

Beaten egg is added to sauteed potato and red onion

Make sure the potatoes and onion are fairly evenly spread around the pan before pouring in the beaten egg.

Spanish chorizo

Make sure you do use Spanish chorizo and not Mexican, as the latter is neither cured nor cooked.

Sliced chorizo and black olives

Cook the tortilla over a medium heat while your grill/broiler is brought up to a high heat.

Egg in tortilla is almost but not quite set

When you can see the egg is almost but not quite set all the way up to the top, lay the chorizo slices and black olives on top at regular intervals.

Chorizo and black olives are added to almost set tortilla

Put your frying pan under the hot grill/broiler for about a minute, until the egg is completely set.

Tortilla has been finished off setting and cooking under a hot grill/broiler

Slide the cooked tortilla on to a serving plate and garnish with the sliced basil.

Tortilla is plated and garnished with fresh basil

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hot and Spicy Vindaloo Chicken Wings

Vindaloo spiced chicken wings with naan bread

This is a nice and easy recipe but no less delicious or enjoyable. The sauce used is supposed to be a stir frying or casserole sauce but it works perfectly well used in this way for roasting chicken wings in the oven. You can use sauce that comes in a glass jar like this one or in a foil pack.

Vindaloo stir fry sauce

Ingredients (Serves Two)

12 chicken wings, tips removed and separated at remaining joint
3 tablespoons vindaloo stir fry sauce
Little bit of vegetable oil for greasing roasting tray
2 mini garlic and coriander (cilantro) naan breads
3 or 4 large mint leaves, rolled and thinly sliced, to garnish

Vindaloo sauce ready to be used as marinade


Start by getting your oven on to preheat to 210C/425F/Gas Mark 7. Spoon the vindaloo sauce in to a large bowl, comfortably capable of containing all the chicken wings. Be sure to use a glass or stone bowl, as the sauce would permanently stain a plastic one.

Chicken wings are added to vindaloo marinade

Add the chicken wings to the bowl and use your hands (it really is much easier) to stir them through the sauce and ensure even coating. Lightly oil a large roasting tray and lay the wings skin sides up on the tray in a single layer. If necessary, use two trays - don't have any of the wings overlapping.

Vindaloo sauce marinated chicken wings ready to be roasted

Put the tray in to the oven for thirty minutes.

Vindaloo roasted chicken wings are left to rest

When the wings come out of the oven, they should be left to rest for five minutes before they are plated. This will allow them to be enjoyed much more juicy and tender.

Divide the wings between two plates, heat the naan breads per the instructions on the pack, cut in half and serve alongside. Garnish with the shredded mint leaves.

Vindaloo chicken wings are plated for service

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spicy Turkey Steak Naan Sandwich

Curry spiced turkey steak sandwiched between two mini naans with mini poppadoms

A few weeks back on this blog I shared a recipe for a turkey burger with naan bread and potato wedges. This recipe is an even quicker and easier to prepare variation on that dish but proved equally delicious. It's a perfect dinner recipe for one of those nights where you don't have a lot of time to cook but still want to enjoy a tasty home-cooked meal.

You could of course simply fry the spiced turkey breast steak but I honestly believe griddling is a better option in a number of ways. It is quicker as the cooking temperature is much higher, it is healthier, as less oil/fat is contained in the meat due to the ridges in the pan, and it is definitely the way to go for better presentation in many instances. If you don't have such a pan, you can pick them up at a fairly reasonable price - especially on the likes of Amazon - and if you care for it properly, it will last you for many years.

Turkey breast steak

Ingredients (Serves One)

6 ounce turkey breast steak
2 teaspoons medium curry powder
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil (alternatively, vegetable or sunflower oil - never use olive oil for griddling)
2 handfuls mini poppadoms
2 mini naan breads
2 teaspoons mango chutney
Freshly chopped mint leaves to garnish

Curry powder is scattered over turkey breast steak


Lay the turkey breast steak on a plate and scatter over the curry powder.

Curry powder is massaged in to trukey breast steak

Use your fingers to massage the curry powder gently in to both sides and the edges of the steak. If time permits, cover and leave for an hour to dry marinate.

Oiling turkey breast steak for griddling

Start your griddle pan heating on maximum heat until it is smoking hot. This will take a few minutes. Pour the oil carefully over the steak and turn it over a few times, ensuring it is fully coated.

Starting to griddle curried turkey breast steak

Carefully lay the steak on the dry griddle pan. It should not be moved during cooking, other than to turn it over half way through.

Griddling turkey breast steak on second side

The time your turkey steak takes to cook will depend upon its thickness. This three-quarter inch thick steak needed three minutes each side. Use cooking tongs to turn it, rather than a spatula.

Mini poppadoms

When the turkey steak is done, lift it to a plate and leave to rest for five minutes. You can use part of this time to plate the mini poppadoms and heat the two mini naan breads per the instructions on the pack.

Griddled and rested turkey breast steak is laid on one mini naan bread

Lay the turkey steak on one of the heated naan breads.

Mango chutney is spread on curried turkey breast steak

Spoon the mango chutney on to the turkey steak and spread it out evenly.

Spicy turkey naan bread sandwich is assembled

Sit the second naan bread on top of the turkey steak, plate your sandwich with the mini poppadoms and garnish with the sliced mint leaves.

Spicy turkey breast naan sandwich is plated with mini poppadoms

Monday, 4 May 2015

Quick and Easy Roast Chicken and Veg

Simple roast chicken and Mediterranean style vegetables

Roast chicken with an accompanying assortment of vegetables is a huge favourite of millions of people. It is not, however, a dish which is usually practical for many people to make during the week as it normally requires considerable time spent preparing the vegetables and a combined preparation and cooking time of at least a couple of hours. That is where this recipe is so different, requiring minimal preparation and a cooking time of only half an hour. The specific vegetables used in this instance also make it a particularly healthy option.

Vegetables and chicken for roasting


14 ounce/400g supermarket tray mixed Mediterranean style roasting vegetables*
1/2 pound/225g skinless chicken breast strips
Rapeseed or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Shredded basil leaves to garnish

*If your supermarket doesn't sell trays of vegetables like this, you can buy some quick and easy to prepare vegetables such as bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and courgette/zucchini and simply assemble a similar combination in an oven roasting tray

Mediterranean vegetables are oiled and seasoned


Start by getting your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Remove the film lid from the tray of roasting vegetables. Season with the dried basil and oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle liberally with rapeseed/olive oil and use your hands to lift and mix the vegetables to ensure they are all evenly coated in the seasoned oil.

Chicken is added to tray of vegetables

Add the chicken pieces to the tray of vegetables and again turn them through by hand. Place the foil tray on a more substantial oven tray and cook in the oven for half an hour. Remove with a slotted spoon to a serving dish and garnish with the freshly sliced basil leaves.

Chicken breast strips are carefully turned through vegetables