Thai Carrot and Peanut soup

A simple healthy soup that has spice and sweetness to it. You can adjust the spice to suit your taste.

1 1/2 pounds of carrots

1/2 white onion

3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of thai garlic chilli paste

2 cups of stock

1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large sautee pan with some olive oil and put in the onion sliced along with the minced garlic cloves and sautee for 2 min. Then chop the carrots into half inch pieces and place them into the pan along with 1 tablespoon of the chilli paste and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sautee for another 5 min make sure not to burn the onions and garlic.

Then put the stock into the pan cover and simmer for 30 min. Once the carrots have become tender transfer everything into a blender and puree untill smooth. Add another tablespoin of the chilli paste and peanut butter and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm topped with shredded basil on top.

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Chicken Caccaitore

A savory chicken dish that is easy to prepare and great for the colder months of the year.

4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken legs

1 sliced onion

1 sliced red bell pepper

8 oz of sliced mushrooms

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomatoe paste

1 cup of white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon italian seasoning

1 tablespoon capers

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley and thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix chicken with a bit of oil along with the paprika, italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

Next in a large skillet over high heat, put in oil and once heated place the chicken skin side down and cook for about 4 min untill brown and turn over and repeat. Take the ckicken out and let rest.

Throw in the onion and peppers and cook untill soft then add the mushooms. Then add the garlic and cook for 1/2 min. Now add the tomatoes and tomatoe paste along with the wine and cook stirring well for about a min.

Next add the broth along with capers and stirr well. Finally add the chicken back and bring to a simmer. Now place in the oven to braise for about 50 min uncovered untill chicken is cooked though and tender.

Once cooked simply serve over a bed of rice and top with the fresh parsley and thyme and enjoy.

Olive Tepenade

This is a spread made from olives and is great on bread or use to stuff poultry and fish. I use anchovies as they give a savory and umami taste to the dish. You can leave this out if you would like.
1 1/2 cups pitted, brine-cured olives( i like kalamata olives)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy filets, minced
3 tablespoons capers rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh parsley

To make this dish simply put all ingredients into a blender and puree untill a paste adding the oil at the end. Top with a bit of freshly diced parsley You can make it as smooth as you like or leave a few chunks in. Serve on toasted ciabatta bread

Honey mustard glazed pork chops with pan roasted red potatoes.

A pork chop that is still moist inside with a little bit of sweetness from the home made honey mustard is a great dish for the colder months. The honey mustard can be bought however a freshly made one does taste better.

4 bone in pork chops( about 3/4 inch thick)

1 oz brown mustard seeds

1 oz yellow mustard seeds

1/2 oz celery seeds

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup honey

1 pound red skinned potatoes

4 oz butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Rosemary

4 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

First heat up water in a pan big enough for the potatoes. Bring to a boil and put the potatoes in. Leave for about an hour untill tender.

Next in a small saucepan on a low heat put the vinegar in along with the mustard seeds and celery seeds. Mix and cook untill all liquid has been absorbed. Take off heat and made honey stir well and chill.

In a cast iron pan or sautee pan heat up the oil and 1 oz of butter untill hot. Salt and pepper the chops on each side. Place the pork chops in and sear each side for about a min. Then place 2 oz of butter into the pan along with the garlic and rosmary and bast the pork chops. To do this grab a spoon and just keep scooping the butter up and pouring over the chops. Do this each side for about 2 min.

Remove the chops from the pan and place on a baking sheet. Put a tablespoon of the honey mustard on each chop covering the top of each one. Place into the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Cook for about 5 -6 min.

Now grab the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a sautee pan over high heat with oil and 1 oz of butter. Sautee untill crispy and brown on the cut sides. Finely chop some rosemary along with garlic and toss in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the potatoes on a plate along with the chops and enjoy

Zucchini fries

A healthy and delicous alternative to regular french fries.

Cut a pound of zucchini into long strips about a quarter of an inch thick. Next place them into salted water and let them soak for 30 min. This will help them become crispy. Take out of the water and pat dry and lightly toss them in flour.

Heat up oil in a pan to 350 degrees and fry the zucchini for about 2 min untill golden brown. Take them out and drain off the oil and lightly salt them and enjoy.

Mushroom and Saffron Risotto

mushroom-risotto-horiz-a-1800-768x512355436202.jpgRisotto is an Italian rice dish made with aborio rice. It is rich and creamy and while it does take a bit of time to make rissotto, it is well worth the effort.

Many restaurants do make it but because of the time it takes to make correctly, they do not make it the best way. To save time restaurants tend to par cook the rice which lets the rice get gummy and gives an inferior product. This is one dish that is better made at home.

This recipe serves 4

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup vermouth (or another dry white wine)

1 medium shallot (about 1/2 cup or 1/2 small onion, chopped)

3 tablespoons whole butter (divided)

1 cup of portabella mushrooms

1 pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

1 tablespoon Italian parsley (chopped)

Kosher salt (to taste)

Pepper(to taste)

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Firstly in a saucepan over low heat put the stock in so it is warm when you add it to the rice. Next in a large sautee pan add oil and 1/3 of the butter and cook the onion untill soft. Then add rice, stir and cook for 1 min.

Next add the wine and stir untill liquid is absorbed. Once that is done you will add a ladle of stock at a time untill it is absorbed ensuring you keep stirring the rice. You will repeat this with the stock for about 20 min untill the rice is tender but still has a bite to it.

Now cook your mushooms in a pan with a bit of oil adding some salt and pepper with a pinch of the parm cheese.

Now add the mushrooms and saffron to the rice and stir. Add the lemon juice( this helps brings all the flovors together). Finnally add the cheese and remainder of the butter and stir well. ( It should be a smooth and creamy texture now, if it is too thick add a little stock or hot water)

Transfer to a plate and top with parsley.

Honey and Saffron Panna Cotta

homemade-caramel-panna-cotta-recipe-with-saffron-540x54069_540_540_s_c12018960263.jpg

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and then set in molds. Its an easy dessert to make at home and will impress the whole family. This version uses honey and saffron as flavoring but pretty much anything can be used.

Makes 8 servings

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of honey

7 cardamin seeds

2 pinches of saffron

In a small pan over low heat put the water and gelatin in untill disolved. Then over medium heat put all the ingredients into a medium pan and bring to a gentle boil stirring to make sure everything is well mixed.

Now pour the gelatin mixture into the cream mixture and whisk. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 min.

Next strain the mixture into a bowl to remove the cardamon seeds and saffron. Now divide the mixture into 8 ramakins and chill for 2 hours untill firm.

To serve dip the ramakins into warm water and turn upside down onto a plate. They should slid out onto the plate. Drizzle a little honey on top and enjoy.