“Lamb, Saffron, Dried Lime and Cumin Spiced rice” from “Sirocco”

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Tom: Oooo. Yum! This is kind of like a biryani.

Kirstin: It is, isn’t it? I forgot to take a picture of this with all the bits and bobs. Apologies as it looked so very pretty.

Tom: The lamb is very juicy!

Kirstin: Ah yes. That will be the two hours of cooking beforehand which I didn’t realise until quite late. Oooops!

Tom: This is really great. I could really see this at a party too.

Kirstin: I could tell you were going to like this as you kept coming into the kitchen to see how things were going. And you’ve been hovering next to the oven for the last 20 minutes.

Tom: So Miles, you like paella. This is a bit like it. Do you like it?

Miles: I really like this! The lamb is yum!

Ella: I really like this too! It tastes delicious!

Kirstin: Another winner. And very good for parties, provided you you take the two hours into consideration beforehand. And so pretty too!

“Lamb, Saffron, Dried Lime and Cumin Spiced rice” from “Sirocco”

“Wholegrain Basmati Rice Greek-Style Salad” from “Sirocco”

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Here in the U.K., we celebrated the Queen’s 90th Birthday this weekend. This was her second birthday this year, because her actual birth date is 21 April, but when you’re the queen, you get two birthday celebrations: one for your birth date and another for when the weather is better. (I just did a bit of research and this is the ACTUAL reason.)

It’s good to be the Queen. Obviously.

So why am I nattering on about the queen and what does it have to do with the Greek Rice Salad pictured above? Well, for those of you who pay attention to these sorts of things, Queen Elizabeth II is married to Prince Phillip, who himself is of Greek heritage. We got invited to a Street Party to celebrate the queen’s birthday, so I decided the perfect thing to bring to it would be this Greek Salad.

It would have been perfect, except for the fact that I hadn’t planned it it taking more than nine hours* (not a typo) to make the cake for the cake competition at the party. The cake got done, but I ran out of time to make the Greek Rice Salad before the party began, so we had to have it for dinner instead.

Once we settled down to dinner, it got a thumbs up all around. It is exactly what it says on the tin– Greek salad (tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, red onions, feta and seasoning) combined with rice. It’s a winner.

Tim accused me of putting in more feta than was called for, but actually I followed the recipe, so it was the right amount. It would be the perfect thing to bring to a street party or family picnic. Anything where attending with a salad in your arms was required.

It was also delicious the next day for lunch. A bit of liquid had pooled in the bottom of the tupperware container, but a quick mix with a spoon fixed that.

Would I make it again? Indeed I would.

 

*(If you’re wondering why said cake took nine hours, here’s a picture. The blue cake is blueberry and the red cake is raspberry, all covered in buttercream.)

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“Wholegrain Basmati Rice Greek-Style Salad” from “Sirocco”

“Chicken and Wild Rice”

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Anna: There is really only one thing I need to say about this recipe. That is: Isabella ate four plates of it. Four plates in one sitting. That is two plates for each year of her life. “Yum!”, “Yummy!”,  “Mmm, chicken!”…. “More please”. In the interest of balance I need to disclose that Louis reluctantly ate only one plate. Peter and I ate what little was left after Isabella had finished her chicken-and-riceathon (“Chicken and rice in my tummy!”) and it really was rather moreish. Not four plates worth, but perfect for a night in watching scary Scandi subtitled drama on the sofa.

“Chicken and Wild Rice”

“Cajun Rice & Barbeque Chicken Burrito” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_6994Andrew (15): Is this a Jamie Oliver recipe?

Maureen: Indeed it is.

Tim: What’s with the feta cheese?

Maureen: Jamie said to use feta cheese on the burritos. What Jamie wants, Jamie gets. I know it’s a bit strange, but I started thinking about it, and feta isn’t unlike the crumbled cheese they use at Wahaca, so I went with it.

Nicholas (12): I think it’s good.

Andrew: Me gusta!

Maureen: It’s appropriate that you would use Spanish to describe how much you like this dish, since we are having burritos.

Tim: The spciy rice is good.

Maureen: It’s a variation of the cowboy rice we like so much, though in this case, you use pre-made rice. This is because the recipe was sponsored by Uncle Ben’s, which strikes me as a bit strange, but there we are. Despite use the pre-made rice, it’s made significantly better with the addition of fried peppers and onions. Yum.

Nicholas: We should definitely have this again.

Andrew: I agree.

Maureen: The only change I made is I didn’t make it with leftover turkey tossed in barbeque sauce, since we didn’t have any turkey. So I fried up some chicken with fajita seasoning, like I usually do, and that worked a treat.

Tim: Huzzah for burrito night.

Maureen: Indeed.

 

If you’d like to watch the original video, see it here:

“Cajun Rice & Barbeque Chicken Burrito” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

A Roundup of Dishes from “Food52 Genius Recipes”

With only two days left in May, I thought it might be useful to do a roundup of four dishes I’ve done out of “Food52 Genius Recipes.” I’m going to write about them in the order of preference.

Grilled Cheese [Sorry. No picture.]

We had this twice over the course of the month and both times the sandwiches were eaten before I could take a picture. I suppose that tells you everything you need to know. While I’m still not sure you need a proper recipe for a grilled cheese, the “Genius” aspect of this was to spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread, rather than the traditional butter. By doing it this way, there’s less risk of burning the bread. I’m not sure how this method is a genius method over my usual way of making grilled cheese, which is to spread Lurpak spreadable butter on the outside of the bread. I might have to make grilled cheese again, with one sandwich using the Genius method and the other to use my own and see what works better. Either way, grilled cheese is ALWAYS a win for lunch.

Would I make it again? Obviously yes, though I’m still not sure about the method.

To try it yourself, click through this sentence to see the Genius Recipe on Food52 for Grilled Cheese.

Wild & White Rice Salad

IMG_6839This is simple personified. In fact, I made it even simpler by buying a basmati rice and wild rice mixture and using that. Score one for the home team. Aside from the rice, the other ingredients are red onion, celery and parsley, and the dressing is a mixture of oils with blasamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Like I said, simple personified. I made it one night to go with our barbeque meal. I quickly demolished the leftovers the next day for lunch, when they were even tastier. Some times simple really is better.

Unfortunately, this recipe isn’t posted on Food52 for some reason, so you can’t click through this sentence to see it yourself.

Basic Hummus [Sorry. No picture.]

This recipe is out of one of my favourite cookbooks, “Jerusalem”, which we reviewed on this site in May 2014. I already knew what I was getting into when I made it again. Forewarned is forearmed: This is a TOTAL faff to make. I’m still undecided as to whether the faff is worth it. I suppose it is, but only just. It takes a full 24 hours of planning and patience, given that you have to soak the chick peas overnight, and then there’s multiple steps to make it happen. While the hummus was delicious, it does take a fair amount of dedication. Also you should know that you end up with a vat of hummus. Okay, maybe  it’s not a vat, but it felt like it, given that the bowl I filled was about 10 times the size of the usual hummus container I buy at our local supermarket. After three days, we’re still trying to finish the hummus and we’re not even close yet.

Would I make it again? Maybe for a party, when I could be assured that we would eat through it all. Otherwise, maybe I’ll try it again but make only half of it. I’ve made it before and I’ll make it again, but every time I ask myself, “Do I really want to dedicate the time to getting this finished?” Some times the answer to that is yes. Some times, the answer is no.

To try it yourself, click through this sentence to see the Genius Recipe on Food52 for Hummus.

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini

IMG_6873This is yet another “Genius Recipe” from a book we’ve reviewed here, this time it’s from Moro. We reviewed Moro just this past January, though we didn’t try this recipe.

Usually I am a sucker for roasted butternut squash, so I approached this recipe with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Listen, I love roasted butternut squash so much that I made the Jerusalem version for our Christmas lunch, even though it didn’t really go with the rest of the dishes (though my vegan friend Anne and I HOOVERED it up and there were no leftovers.)

But this one just didn’t stack up, unfortunately. It just wasn’t as good as the Jerusalem recipe, which I know and love ardently. Given that the rest of the family is less enthused about the vegetable [read: They don’t really like it] this went over like a lead balloon.

You win some, you lose some.

To try it yourself, click through this sentence to see the Genius Recipe on Food52 for Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini.

A Roundup of Dishes from “Food52 Genius Recipes”

“Mejadra” from “Jerusalem”

 

Disaster! I forgot to take a picture of this! Sorry, loyal readers. Suffice it to say, it’s not that photogenic a dish anyway, but it is very tasty.

Maureen: Ottolenghi calls this the ultimate comfort food. Do you agree?

Andrew (14): What’s it called?

Maureen: To be honest, I have no earthly idea how to pronounce it. But it’s spelled m-e-j-a-d-r-a. We could just call it the lentil-rice-fried onion dish.

NIcholas (11): Hmm. Interesting.

Maureen: Good interesting or bad interesting?

Nicholas: I think it’s good interesting, but I’m not 100 percent sure.

Maureen: I think it’s delicious, and given this is the third or fourth time we’ve had it, I think we can call it a success.

Tim: Was it difficult to make?

Maureen: To be honest, Kirstin and Anna don’t call him “Faff-Olonghi” for nothing. This was definitely a bit of a faff, which you don’t really figure out until you’re halfway through making it. I had to fry the onions in batches, which took way longer than I thought it would, in addition to making the lentils and the rice.

Tim: Yes. I remember that was the case the last time I made it.

Maureen: Despite that, though, this is delicious and a good thing for Meat Free Monday. I also know from experience that it’s excellent leftover, too. Another win from Jerusalem.

To make this yourself, find the recipe on the Guardian website by clicking through this sentence.

“Mejadra” from “Jerusalem”

“Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice” from “Jerusalem”

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Want to try this at home? Please do. The New York Times very helpfully “adapted” the recipe (though I couldn’t discern what they changed), so click through this paragraph to get the recipe.

This dish is a winner in so many respects: delicious, flavourful, easy, one pot (quick cleanup), and no exotic ingredients (bar one, more on that later). We’ve had this several times since I got “Jerusalem” last year and it’s been a winner every time.

The picture above doesn’t really do it justice (yet again), but it really is a great dish. It’s not very quick– it takes about an hour to cook– but the most elaborate prep needed is to slice the onions. Most of the time the dish is doing its business alone on the stovetop.

We all (boys included) love it. It’s not plain by any stretch of the imagination– cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks certainly ramp up the taste factor– but it’s not too exotic for them. In any case, you can tone it down at the end with a bit of greek yogurt.

Finally, a word on the use of barberries. They are, thankfully, optional, as barbarries seem to be difficult to source. At least they were difficult for me, as neither the local health food shop, which has all manner of spices available, or any of the three local supermarkets (Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and the Cooperative) had them. I just did a quick search on Ocado and all they have is barberry-coloured thread, not barberries themselves. You can use currents, though, which is what I did as you can find those anywhere.

Would I make this again? Definitely. I’ve already made it several times, and I plan to make it more times again.

“Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice” from “Jerusalem”