Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Grilled Turkey Sandwich and Fries - My Alternative to the KFC Chicken Double Down

Grilled Turkey Sandwich and Fries

I have to admit that all I know about the KFC Chicken Double Down is that which I have read in the online press. That is more than for any other reason that, to the best of my knowledge, the nearest KFC to where I am presently living is the one outside Glasgow Central Station and that would make it a very long journey just to sample some fast food! I must admit to having been surprised by the publicity generated simply by the launch of a fast food product but it at least gave me the idea for this grilled turkey sandwich, with homemade fries and garlic mushrooms. I decided to make it a turkey recipe as opposed to a chicken recipe, simply to make it a little bit different to most similar productions.

Ingredients (Per Person)

2 x 1/2lb turkey breast fillets
2 rashers of bacon
2oz low fat cheddar cheese (or other suitable hard cheese)
1 large potato
6 to 8 small button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of dried sage
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A little sunflower oil


The first step in this recipe is to attend to the fries. The potato should be peeled, then sliced and chopped in to the shape of fries. Very importantly, the fries should then be dried as much as possible in kitchen towel before being submerged in the frier for around four minutes, until they show only the first signs of beginning to colour. They should then be removed from the fryer, drained on some more fresh kitchen towel and allowed to cool before being placed in a Tupperware container and refrigerated for at least half an hour.

I cooked the turkey breast fillets here on an indoor, standard kitchen grill. They would probably at least look better cooked on an outdoor grill but that is not always practical in Scotland in April! They should be lightly rubbed with sunflower oil on both sides and grilled for around four to five minutes each side, depending on their thickness. The bacon should be added to be grill for around a minute each side towards the end of the cooking time.

When the bacon has been added to the grill, the cold fries should be re-added to the fryer for their last two to three minutes of cooking time. The olive oil should then be added to a small saucepan and brought up to a medium heat before the peeled garlic clove is grated in to it and the sage also added. The closed cup mushrooms should be quartered and also added put in to the pan. Note that the mushrooms should be cooked for no more than a couple of minutes, as the idea is more to heat them through and flavour them with the oil and garlic than cook them in to mush.

Assembling a Grilled Turkey Sandwich

When the turkey and bacon fillets and rashers are ready, they should be taken from the grill and the bacon rashers placed atop one of the turkey fillets. The cheese should then be grated and added on top of the bacon before the second turkey fillet is finally placed on as the top of the sandwich. The fries should then be well drained and added to the plate along with the garlic mushrooms for service.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Steak, Rocket and Red Onion Sandwich with Real Chips

Steak Rocket and Red Onion Sandwich with Real Chips

A steak sandwich is very often served on its own, either as a lunch dish, or perhaps even as an impromptu snack. Equally, however, a steak sandwich can make an excellent dinner when served in this fashion with real chips and does not take overly long to prepare. Also, when making a steak sandwich such as this, it is the cheapest cut of steak which should be used and nothing as elaborate as fillet or sirloin.

The recipe for making the chips which accompnay the steak can be found on several locations on this blog or simply by clicking here. I will therefore provide below instructions only for cooking the steak sandwich.

Ingredients (Serves Two, along with the Chips)

1/2lb slice of steak (often sold as sandwich steak)
12" French style stick loaf
1/2 red onion
Generous handful of fresh rocket leaves
2 tbsp horseradish sauce
A little sunflower oil for frying


Although using a steak mallet would be akin to sacrilege on a piece of quality steak, tougher and cheaper cuts of steak which we are going to use for making sandwiches can well do with a bit of a beating prior to cooking. The fibres in the flesh are much tougher than in quality cuts of steak and even proper cooking and resting procedures can do with a little assistance in breaking them down. A reasonable amount of force (don't overdo it!) should therefore be used to pound the steak evenly across its entire surface.

A little sunflower oil should then be added to a non-stick frying pan and brought up to a very high heat. The steak of course can also be grilled or griddled, in which case it should be the steak which is lightly oiled. The steak should then be fried - depending upon its thickness - for around a couple of minutes each side.

While the steak is cooking, the bread stick should be halved in two horizontally and the horseradish sauce spread evenly over each half. The rocket leaves should then be added to the bottom half of the roll.

When the steak is cooked, it should be removed from the pan, set on a warmed plate and covered with foil to rest for a couple of minutes. The red onion should then be sliced and the pieces quickly fried in the juices of the steak.

The rested steak should be cut to size as required and the pieces placed atop the rocket leaves, with the hot onions added last of all. The top may then be added to the bread, pressed down firmly and sliced in half to be served with the hot chips.

Steak/Meat tenderiser Mallets on

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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Polish Kielbasa with Caramelized Onions, Sauerkraut and Crispy Potato Pancakes

Today's post on, "What Should I Have for Dinner Tonight?" is the latest guest post. It is my pleasure to introduce a meal prepared for us by Mary Bishop - who writes very successfully for under the pseudonym, Tierney O'Hara. Mary (Tierney) has not only prepared this meal for us but even gone to the bother of preparing settings and drinks accompaniment suggestions.

Without further ado, I will hand over to Mary - in whose own words this wonderful and delicious recipe appears...

Polish Kielbasa with Caramelized Onions, Sauerkraut and Crispy Potato Pancakes

It's late and I'm tired and hungry. I want something that is filling, that is easy to prepare and something that exists in my pantry or refrigerator right now. I throw on some sweat pants and a tee shirt because on this rainy day, I want comfort - in my clothes and in my food.

The pantry yields a large can of sauerkraut, a new bag of yellow onions and three pounds of russet potatoes. A quick look in the fridge says I have dry vermouth sitting on one shelf and a jar of Plochman's Kosciusko mustard on another. A six pack of Stella Artois sits cold and golden next to the mustard, and there are a couple of eggs still left in the carton. I open the freezer door to take a look see, and a loop of Polish sausage just about calls my name.

It was then I knew exactly what I should have for dinner tonight:

Polish Kielbasa with Caramelized Onions, Sauerkraut and Crispy Potato Pancakes

Preparation is simple, cost is minimal, calories? I didn’t count them, but I suggest you eat this meal on a day when you’ve skipped lunch.*


16 ounces Kielbasa
16 ounce can of sauerkraut
2 large onions
2 large eggs
5 medium potatoes
2/3 cup dry vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste


Cut the Kielbasa into about 10-12 pieces on the diagonal. Place them into a non-stick skillet and heat on low. As the sausage cooks, the fat will seep out of the sausage and into the pan to add incredible flavor and color to the onions and the sauerkraut. After about five minutes, put the heat up to medium and add the two onions which have been cut into a large dice. Cover.

Next get your box grater and place it into a large bowl. Remove the skin from 5 potatoes and rinse and dry them. Grate the potatoes and when done, spill out the darkened water. Then add about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of flour, 2 eggs and salt and pepper. (Don’t add grated onions or garlic as they will soften the pancake and it won’t be crisp.)

Heat a second non-stick pan to medium. Lightly grease the pan with vegetable oil and using a large serving spoon, drop potato batter on to the hot surface. Cook until the edges are very brown, and then flip. Keep warm in a hot oven by placing them on a rack over a cookie sheet.

After about fifteen minutes, remove the lid from the sausage and onion pan and stir. Continue to stir to color the onions with the caramelized juices that have accumulated in the pan. Let the mixture cook until the juices have almost evaporated, then pour in the vermouth. Stir again, then push the sausage and onions to one side of your frying pan. Add in the can of drained sauerkraut and cover again. Let simmer on low until you are ready to serve.

On the next damp, rainy day when you are tired and hungry and you just don’t know what you should have for dinner –cook up this quick and simple peasant meal and I promise you that you will love it.

*Okay so it isn’t the healthiest meal but it’s not the worst either. Sauerkraut is low in calories and good for you as are onions and potatoes. The Kielbasa today is quite lean compared to years ago and my favorite Hillshire Farms brand has an unbeatable flavor. You can’t have a smoky sausage with hot mustard and a crispy, potato pancake without a beer, can you? I think there’s a law that says you can’t...

More Polish Cooking Recipes and Ideas

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Friday, 2 April 2010

Fillet of Pork Tenderloin with Sweet and Spicy Chilli Sauce

Pork Fillet Tenderloin with Sweet and Spicy Chilli Sauce

Fillet of pork tenderloin is unquestionably my favourite cut of pork and one of my all-time favourite cuts of meat. Although it is possible to cook a fillet of pork tenderloin in the oven, I actually prefer to pan-fry it. This allows me to watch it cook and monitor its progress, so that I know for a fact that it is cooked to perfection.

Pork Fillet TenderloinThe first step to preparing this recipe is to prepare the Sweet and Spicy Chilli Sauce. The way in which I like to do this is to prepare it in bulk and freeze it in manageable proportions which can be later defrosted as required. It is very quickly and simply made with a base of one large can of tomatoes and additions of onion, garlic, red chillies, courgette (zucchini,) sugar and seasoning. The link below is to the full sauce recipe in text and pictures.

Sweet and Spicy Chilli Sauce

I have served the sauce warm as opposed to hot (in a temperature sense) with this meal, so preparing the sauce in the first instance, covering it and setting it aside while the other ingredients are prepared should be just about right.

Firstly, the pork tenderloin should be put on to cook. I simply brought a little sunflower oil up to a medium hot temperature in a non-stick frying pan before frying the tenderloin for eight to ten minutes each side. This will vary dependant upon the thickness of the tenderloin but it should be remembered that pork must never be served under-cooked.

The Brussels sprouts should be prepared for cooking while the pork tenderloin is frying on its first side. When the pork tenderloin has been turned, they should be added to some boiling, salted water and simmered for eight to ten minutes, depending upon their size.

When the sprouts are ready, they should be carefully drained through a colander and - if desired - may be lightly buttered before being plated up with the pork tenderloin and the sauce as shown above.

A Note about Brussels Sprouts

Although Brussels sprouts are one of my favourite vegetables, I am aware that they are in general one of the least popular. If you perhaps have trouble getting your family to eat Brussels sprouts - or even are not so keen on them yourself - you may find the book featured below on both and to be of interest. It examines not only how nutritious Brussels sprouts are but a great many delicious ways in which to cook them in order to enjoy them at their very best.

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