Spanish chicken with chorizo and potatoes
Much as I love to have a pan bubbling away on the stove, I often feel that the most stressfree way to feed people is by taking the oven route. When I'm frazzled, I firmly believe that the tray-bake is the safest way to go. Enjoy the easefulness of the oven: you just bung everything in, and you're done. I think I'd go to the supreme effort of laying on a green salad as well but, other than that, you may kick up your flamenco heels and enjoy the fiesta.Serves 6
2 x 15ml tablespoons regular olive oil
12 chicken thighs (bone in, with skin)
750g chorizo sausages, whole if baby ones, or cut into 4cm chunks if regular-sized
1kg new potatoes, halved
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
grated zest 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Put the oil in the bottom of 2 shallow roasting tins, 1 tablespoon in each. Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil, then turn skin-side up, 6 pieces in each tin.
Divide the chorizo sausages and the new potatoes between the 2 tins. Sprinkle the onion and the oregano over, then grate the orange zest over the contents of the 2 tins.
Cook for 1 hour, but after 30 minutes, swap the top tray with the bottom tray in the oven and baste the contents with the orange-coloured juices.Making leftovers right
tortillasYou can reheat what remains (removing the bones from the chicken first) within 2 days, maybe with some canned chopped tomatoes, sherry and orange juice, but my absolute favourite final destination for this dish is a quesadilla. When I was last in Kansas, that shining city of lights, I breakfasted on a chicken, pepperjack and potato quesadilla (as one does) and it inspired me. So, just get as many soft flour tortillas as your leftovers command, take the bones out of the chicken, dice the meat along with the chorizo and potatoes, and stir in some diced, shredded or grated cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, all are possible), dollop some of the mixture into each tortilla, fold, then griddle or fry. Make sure the chicken is piping hot. This makes for a splendid hangover-banishing breakfast or near-instant supper, the sort you chow down on while watching something compellingly bad on TV.Vietnamese pork noodle soup
I couldn't contemplate a section of speedy suppers without a noodle soup. Nothing can give succour as fast as a bowl of noodles in flavoursome broth. This is good for chowing down and for slurping and for keeping body and soul together when your stomach's empty and your day's been full.
In extremis, I am more than happy to use frozen chopped ginger and chilli, which are kept in my deep-freeze for just such an eventuality (not so infrequent).Serves 2 - 4
, depending how hungry you are
275g pork fillet, cut into thin discs and then fine strips
2 x 15ml tablespoons lime juice
2 x 15ml tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
2 x 15ml tablespoons fish sauce
250g ramen noodles
1 x 15ml tablespoon garlic oil
6 thin or 3 fat spring onions, finely sliced
1 x 15ml tablespoon chopped fresh (or frozen) ginger
1 litre chicken stock (good-quality cube or concentrate is fine), preferably organic
175g baby pak choi, torn into pieces
2 teaspoons chopped red chilli
Put the strips of pork fillet into a bowl and add the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce, but don't let this stand for more than 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and then refresh in cold water. Heat a wok or a deep, heavy-based frying pan, then add the garlic oil and fry the spring onions and ginger for a minute or so. Add the pork and its liquid to the wok, stirring as you go.
Cook the meat in the pan for another 2 minutes, then make up the chicken stock with boiling water, add the hot stock to the pan and bring to the boil.
Check the pork is cooked through, then add the beansprouts and baby pak choi. Add water if the soupy base has evaporated too much - about 125ml of freshly boiled water should do the trick, but you may not need it.
Arrange the drained noodles equally in 2 large or 4 small warmed bowls, ladle over them the pork and vegetables, and finally the soupy stock. Scatter the chopped chilli on top and serve.Maple pecan bundt cake
This is the cake that emblematically scratches that Domestic Goddess itch: it's feelgood food (for cook and eater) by way of some simple stirring. The nutty syrupy filling is simply forked into being; you could make the cake batter with no more equipment than a bowl and a wooden spoon. But I'm afraid even my alter ego, the Domestic Goddess, is lazy, so I use an electric mixer. But beware the processor here: it's easy to overmix as you blitz, and while a dense sponge is good, a rubbery one - clearly - is not.
Not only do I love making this cake, but I get a rare feeling of calm contentment just seeing it on its stand on the kitchen surface. Then there's the eating of it, a greedy slice alongside a mid-afternoon mug of coffee, which produces nothing less than a surge of body-and-soul-bolstering joy. Now, this is what a weekend is for . . .Cuts easily into 12 slicesfor the maple pecan filling:
75g plain flour
30g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
150g pecans (or walnuts), roughly chopped
125ml maple syrupfor the cake:
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g soft unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
250ml crème fraîche or sour cream
1-2 teaspoons icing sugar, for decoration
flavourless oil, for greasing
1 x 23cm bundt tin
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Using flavourless oil (or a squirt of cooking spray) grease your bundt tin, and leave upside down on newspaper for the excess oil to drain out.
Make the filling for the cake by mixing together the 75g flour and 30g butter with a fork, till you end up with the sort of mixture you'd expect when making crumble topping. Then, still using the fork, mix in the cinnamon, chopped pecans (or walnuts) and maple syrup, to form a sticky, bumpy paste. Set aside for a moment.
For the cake, measure the 300g flour, the baking powder and bicarb into a bowl.
Now, cream the butter and sugar (i.e. beat well together until light in texture and pale in colour), then beat in 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture, then 1 egg, then another tablespoonful of flour mixture followed by the second egg.
Add the rest of the flour mixture beating as you go, and then finally the crème fraîche or sour cream. You should expect to end up with a fairly firm cake batter.
Spoon just more than half the cake batter into the oiled bundt tin. Spread the mixture up the sides a little and around the funnel of the tin to create a rim. You don't want the sticky filling to leak out to the sides of the tin.
Dollop the maple filling carefully into the dent in the cake batter, then cover the filling with the remaining batter. Smooth the top and put the tin into the oven for 40 minutes, though it's best to check with a cake tester after 30 minutes.
Once cooked, and the cake tester comes out clean where it hits the sponge (obviously, any gooey filling will stick to the tester), let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes in its tin, then loosen the edges with a small spatula, including around the middle funnel bit, and turn the cake out onto the rack.
When the cake is cold, dust with icing sugar by pushing a teaspoonful or so through a tea strainer.make ahead note
Can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and store in airtight container. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.freeze note
The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
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