Monday, September 18, 2006

Chargrilled chicken breast with balsamic onions

Since my girlfriend absolutely adores chicken, it is our meat of choice on a regular basis. It is also very convenient since it is cheap and very easy to cook. I saw this recipe on tv (BBC I think) and decided to try it at home and steal it for my own if it was any good. Turns out it is pretty tasty so I felt obligated to share this with my friends and family.

2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

2 large potatoes
2 large carrots
knob of butter
1 scallion (spring onion)

6 button mushrooms, whole
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
knob of butter

1 large onion
1 tsp oil
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar

Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut into finger-long sticks and put into a pot of boiling water (slightly salted). When tender (not fully cooked), drain the water and put into a bowl with cold water to stop them from overcooking.
Fry the mushrooms in butter and garlic until ready and keep warm in the oven while the rest is prepared.
In a saucepan fry the onion in oil until clear and soft (2-3 minutes) then add the balsamic vinegar and let simmer until the onion caramelizes (4-6 minutes). When ready simply remove from the heat and put into a bowl on the side.
For the chicken, heat up a frying pan (grill pan if you have one) and add a little oil. Clean chicken breasts and season with salt and freshly ground pepper and grill them on the pan until ready.
While chicken is grilling, remove potatoes and carrots from the cold water and fry in butter in a saucepan. When nearly ready, add scallions to give taste.
Place potatoe and carrot stick in the centre of the plates (arrange neatly), put chicken breast on top and place 3 garlic mushrooms around the plate. With a spoon, draw a circle with the onions around the whole plate, distributing generously.
The sweetness of the onions combines perfectly with the flavour of the mushrooms and chicken, to complete the experience, of course it is recommended to open a nice bottle of wine and light some candles to set the perfect mood. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Henry's Seven 2003 from Henschke

A fantastic red wine from a great producer. I discovered this one in the Corkscrew winestore in Dublin.

Grape varieties:
Shiraz 67%
Grenache 28%
Viognier 5%

Recommended vintages:
2004 (Great) - drink in 2006-2008
2003 (Great) - drink in 2006
2002 (Exceptional) - drink in 2007
2001 (Excellent) - drink in 2006

This wine is very deep color with intense fruit aromas (plums and raspberries) and oak. The texture is smooth, the white grape (Viognier) giving great silkiness, structured with nice tannins and a good long finish.
This wine has been sealed with a Stelvin screw cap to prevent cork taint and give ultimate freshness.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fondant potatoes

Fantastic with any fish or meat dish and a very versatile dish, the fondant potatoes are such a tasty version of baked potatoes.

2 large baking potatoes
sour cream
olive oil
salt & pepper
(any other spice for variety)

Parboil the potatoes until tender (not fully cooked), peel them and slice in thick slices. In a bowl mix all other ingredients and add potatoe slices and mix thoroughly. Place slices into a muffin tray or anything else to give them a shape and pour the leftover mixture over the potatoes. Bake in the oven until soft, remove from muffin tray and place on a plate and serve.

Steamed Hake with baby vegetables

Since my girlfriend absolutely adores fish, I try to cook as much fish as I can and it is about time that I put one of my recipes down on paper. Among my favourite fish to cook are; monkfish, catfish, whiting, blossom and hake.

Hake (Lýsingur) has white flesh and comes in long fillets, ideal for easy home cooking. One of my favourite recipes is an infusion of polish influence (horseradish) and it goes fantastically with almost any vegetable that is in season.

200-300g hake (1 large fillet)
2-4 teaspoons (to taste) horseradish relish
1 cup whipped cream
salt and pepper

2 cups fish stock
150g sugarsnaps
1 pack baby corn
1 bunch baby carrots
1 small leek
1 crushed garlic clove
50 ml cream
50g cold butter
thyme for seasoning

Skin and cut the fillet in half. Fold the horseradish relish and cream together (don't stir, be gentle) and spread on one side of the fillet. Season well with salt and pepper and roll each fillet up so it looks like a rolled up mattress, with the horseradish cream in the middle.
Put fish stock in the bottom of the steamer, with baby carrots and baby corn. Crush garlic clove with the palm of your hand, place it in the fish stock and sprinkle with thyme. Bring to boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Place hake rolls in the top section of the steamer and steam for 5 minutes (or until ready).
In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté sugarsnaps until tender. Generously sprinkle breadcrumbs over the sugarsnaps and let rest.
When the hake is ready, remove it from the steamer (along with the vegetables-throw the garlic away), add the cream to the stock and reduce well until it is a bit thicker. Stir in the cold butter just before serving.
Place sugarsnaps in the centre of the plate, arrange baby carrots and baby corn on top. Gently put the hake roll on top and drizzle everything with the sauce.

Serve with chilled white wine, fondant potatoes (see next recipe) and freshly baked bread (absolutely necessary to soak up all the lovely sauce on your plate)!
I cooked this for Kasia today, much to her delight and we hope that you will be able to enjoy it as much as we did.