Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sweet Potato Chips

Jamie and I often have a version of these at Bar 163, and they're fantastic. They're also so, so easy to make, and people are always super impressed with them. I made them a couple of times for Harry and he was particularly keen: he decided I should sell them, and eventually made me my own advertisement:

That dedication right there? That's how good they are. 
- sweet potatoes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

That's literally it. Peel your sweet potatoes and chop into long-ish strips so they're vaguely chip-shaped, then put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, give it all a good stir and bung it in the oven at 220°C for 30-40 minutes.

When they're crisped up nicely, sprinkle with more salt and pepper then put them in a bowl to make them look pretty. Then eat. ENJOY.

I also sprinkled mine with rosemary before putting in the oven. Because I'm fancy.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

3 Ways to Make Garlic Bread

I make garlic bread a lot. Like, once or twice every week. We have it with risotto. Or with pasta. Or with savoury rice. Or with stew, sometimes, or vegetable bakes... You get the picture. Anyway, I end A LOT of posts with 'serve with garlic bread' and it's in millions of pictures - and I recently realised I'd never actually blogged a recipe for it. My bad!

The basic recipe is the same for all three variations, all that differs is how you put it together and cook it. It's the easiest thing, and I promise once you've had it shop-bought garlic bread will never seem the same again.

- butter: enough to cover however much bread you have.
- garlic: one clove per person.
- drizzle of olive oil
- squirt of lemon juice
- handful of chopped parsley (or a good sprinkle of dried)
- salt and pepper

Chop the garlic as finely as you can and stick everything in a bowl. Mix it up. THAT'S IT. Told you it was easy.

Now, the different kinds...

1. This is my favourite sort, and the easiest.
Grab yourself some part-baked bread (tesco usually has 4 batons for £1, and it freezes like a charm). Cut open and spread with your garlic butter. Bake according to the instructions on the bread packet.

2. This is great if you haven't got any of the part-baked bread, but do have general bread.
Slice your bread, but not quite to the bottom. This way all the butter stays in better, and it's fun ripping it when it's cooked (if you have ready-sliced bread, don't worry, keep reading). Use your garlic butter to spread your slices on both sides then press them together, before wrapping it all up in tinfoil and baking at 200°C for about 20 minutes.

3. This one's for if you have some time on your hands. It will impress, though!
Make yourself some pizza dough. Spread with your garlic butter (not quite to the edges) and cook at 220°Cfor 10-15 minutes, until it's all golden.

ALSO, any of them can be made gluten free. For the first two, quarter a few slices of gluten free bread and then cook in exactly the same ways. For the third, use gluten free flour. It actually couldn't be easier.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Oooh. Red Wine Risotto

Okay. I admit it. I really like cooking with alcohol.

I blame my mother. 

But this  risotto is pretty awesome. Normally, you make risotto with white wine, which is lovely and mellow. This risotto is made with red wine instead. I had this mad idea to make risotto with red wine a while ago. I googled it, and it turns out other people had the same idea. So I decided to just go for it, make up a recipe and see what happened. And what happened was pretty successful. The red wine becomes the dominant flavour, whereas normally the white wine tends to form the back drop to whichever other flavours you choose to add. And it went down well with the housemates, so yknow. I think it works.

I made this quite a while ago, but I think it serves about four people. We ate it with lots of Bryony's  excellent garlic bread.

What you need: 
1 Aubergine
Olive oil
3 Cloves of garlic
1 Leek
300g Risotto rice
1 Very large glass of red wine
2 Oxo cubes
1tsp Dried rosemary
1/2 tsp Mixed herbs
1/2 tsp Pesto
2 tsp Wholegrain mustard
1 handful of Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Goats cheese to serve

And what to do:
1. Roast your aubergine. Chop it up into small pieces, place in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Stir it all around and place it in the oven at 180C. It'll take about half an hour to roast.
2. Chop the onion and the leek. Melt about 25g of butter in a large pan with some olive oil over a low heat, then add the onion and leek. Let it cook for about four minutes, then crush your garlic (or chop it up very finely) and add it to the pan for a further minute or so. Then add your risotto and stir it in to the onion/garlic/leek mix, coating it in butter and oil so it becomes shiny.
3. Now add the red wine and let it simmer and reduce. Once it has, you can either make up some stock with the oxo cubes and add this gradually, or just crumble the cubes into the risotto and gradually add hot water as youre going along. I tend to do the second, Bryony generally does the first but it's up to you.
4. Add your herbs and your pesto and your mustard, and stir it all through. Then let it all simmer as the rice cooks, adding more water or stock as it evaporates. 
5. After it's been cooking about half an hour, check on the aubergine, and once it's ready add to the risotto. 6. Keep stirring the risotto, and once the rice is cooked add the parmesan cheese and most of the chopped fresh herbs.
7. Serve sprinkled with goat's cheese and herbs, with garlic bread on the side.

Give it a go if you fancy something slightly different to "normal" risotto...