Sunday Roast

IMG_4132Every time I’m in a new country I try to adjust to their habits in order to properly experience the country. Being food a big part of a country’s identity, and something I love, I usually start there!

In the UK there are a couple of things I became addicted to: English breakfast, scones with clotted cream and jam, and Sunday roast!

Last Sunday I decided to give it a go on a beef Sunday roast. Typically I’m not a big fan of gravy because it tends to cover the whole food and just “hide” the different flavours. So, I decided to do a mild gravy, almost fat free, with white wine and kale stock. It was really good!

Sunday Roast (serves 6)

Roasted Beef:

  • 1350 g of boned joint beef with a limited amount of fat
  • 2 big carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 6-10 tbsp of olive oil
  • fresh sage, salt and pepper

Gravy:

  • juices from roasting the meat
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 100 ml of white wine
  • 1 l of stock from boiling the kale

Vegetables:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 swede
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
  • salt and pepper
  • kale

Extra:

  • 6  Yorkshire puddings (I used frozen ones that you cook on the oven for some minutes before serving)
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 240ºC.
  2. Start by preparing the Roasted Beef.
  3. Peel the carrots and the onions. Slice the carrots in thick slices and cut the onions in halves and then each half in 6 pieces.
  4. Place the carrots and the onions on a large oven tray. Season with the washed thyme, rosemary and sage. Add the garlic cloves unpeeled and slightly smashed. Sprinkle with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Place the piece of beef on a chopping board and, using your hands, cover it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place it on top of the vegetables.IMG_4092
  6. Reduce the oven heat to 200ºC. Place the oven tray with the carrots, onions and meat on the oven and let it cook between 50 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The time of cooking will depend on how well done you want the meat and on your oven potency. I cooked mine for approximately 50 minutes in order to get it quite raw.
  7. You should baste the meat halfway the cooking and, in case the vegetables get too dry, add a bit of water.
  8. When the meat is in the oven start preparing the vegetables.
  9. Wash the potatoes and peel the suede, the butternut squash and the onion. Cut the vegetables in big pieces and wash them thoroughly.
  10. Place the vegetables in an oven tray. Season with some fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, salt and pepper. Add the 3 unpeeled and smashed garlic cloves, the olive oil and a splash of water.
  11. Cook the vegetables in the oven for approximately 35-45 minutes. Initially, this will cook at the same time as the meat. You can simply place the vegetables in the oven bottom.
  12.  When the meat is cooked, remove the tray from the oven and place the piece of meat on a chopping board. Let it rest for 15 minutes. After this time, cover it with some metal foil and a cloth to keep the temperature.IMG_4106
  13. After removing the meat to the chopping board, put a big pan on the hob and cook the washed kale on boiling salted water until the kale is tender.
  14. While the meat rests and the vegetables cook, start working on the gravy. Remove the carrots and the onions from the oven tray. Keep them in a warm place to be served with the roast.
  15. Keep around 5 slices of carrot on the tray. Place the tray on top of the hob on low fire. Mash the carrots and add the flour to this mixture. Add the wine and stir well. Then, add the stock and let it cook until it boils for a couple of minutes. IMG_4113
  16. Pour the mixture into a pan, making sure you scrap any remaining cooking juices from the tray, and add any other juices that the meat might have released while resting. Let it cook until the gravy gets the wanted consistency. Sieve the gravy into a bowl.
  17. By now, the meat will be cooked, rested and kept under the foil and the cloth; the carrots and onions will be ready to serve; the vegetables will be roasted and resting; the kale will be cooked; and the gravy finished. IMG_4111
  18. In case any of the ingredients is a bit cold just put it in the oven to heat for some minutes, while you cook or heat the Yorkshire puddings.
  19. Slice the meat thinly and serve the Sunday roast on the plates by placing 2 or 3 slices of meat in each plate, 1 Yorkshire pudding, roasted vegetables, carrots and kale. Pour the gravy on top.
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Spinach & Cheese Crêpes

IMG_1013My sister is a bit of a fussy eater and, as years went by, she developed a taste for more healthy food. This is something very odd in my family… Being Portuguese we typically love our meat and rich sauces.

Surprisingly, my mom adjusted a bit to these tastes and started cooking a vast range of vegetarian food. This dish is inspired on one of my mom’s dishes.

 

Spinach and Cheese Crêpes (serves 4)

  • 100 g of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 egg
  • butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 500 g of spinach baby leaves
  • 300 g of cottage cheese (in Portugal use requeijão)
  • 100 g of walnuts
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a bowl mix the flour with the milk, the melted butter and the egg. Make sure the dough is smooth by using the food processor, if needed.
  2. Grease a 20 cm non-stick frying pan with a small portion of butter. Heat the frying pan in medium fire and, after approximately 30 seconds, pour one ladle of dough on the frying pan. Make sure the dough covers the bottom of the frying pan by gently swirling the frying pan. The dough will immediately start to cook covering the base of the pan.IMG_0938
  3.  Let it cook until the crêpe separates from the frying pan when you swirl it gently. The base of the crêpe will look cooked with some golden bits. Flip the crêpe around and let it cook until the two sides of the crêpe are completely cooked.IMG_0944
  4. Repeat until you are out of dough. Place each crêpe in its serving plate.
  5. Peel and slice the garlic clove. In a frying pan cook the garlic with the olive oil in low fire. IMG_0964
  6. When the garlic becomes golden, add the washed spinach baby leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Stir gently making sure the spinach cooks evenly. They will become darker and tender.IMG_0972
  7. Place the cooked spinach in a bowl. Discard any excess grease left on the frying pan.
  8. Add the cottage cheese and the slightly broken walnuts to the spinach. Season and mix well. Save some walnuts and cottage cheese to decorate.IMG_0994
  9. Fill the center part of the crêpes with the spinach and cheese mixture. Close the crêpes by folding first one side in and then the other. Decorate with some cottage cheese and walnuts.

Lemon and Thyme Chicken

IMG_1169Autumn is definitely here…  It’s rainy and windy and, since I can’t change the weather, decided to embrace it!

So, I turned on the oven and cooked some chicken. It’s a very easy dish that you can prepare in 5 to 10 minutes and just pop it in the oven for a couple of hours. I cooked it quite slowly and let the heat and smell fill the house… It felt so good!

 

Lemon and Thyme Chicken (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken tights
  • 1 or 2 lemons juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of dry thyme
  • 2 thin slices of onion
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 175ºC.
  2. Peel the chicken and remove the extra fat that usually remains near the skin.
  3. Place the chicken in an oven tray.IMG_1114
  4. Pour the lemon juice on top of the chicken. You should get an abundant amount of juice since no other liquids will be added to the chicken and you are supposed to get a nice sauce after cooking.IMG_1122
  5. Slice the garlic and spread it evenly on top of the chicken.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in order for the seasoning to spread on the lemon juice.
  7. Sprinkle with the thyme and the onion.IMG_1135
  8. Cook for about 1 hour and a half to 2 hours until the chicken is completely cooked and golden. During the cooking time you should turn the chicken pieces so they get cooked evenly and irrigate the meat at least twice with the resulting lemon sauce.IMG_1140
  9. Serve the chicken covered with the lemon sauce and some fries.

Coq au Vin

IMG_1105This is a simplified version of the classic coq au vin. I used only chicken leg quarters cleaned of most fat, but besides that I tried to be as accurate as possible and I even seasoned the meat one day in advance which I typically skip!

My mum does this dish all the time and it is amazingly yummi with some smashed boiled potatoes.

 

Coq au Vin (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine (375 ml)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 bacon strips
  • 1/2 cup of water (optional)
  • 100 g of button mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel the chicken by pulling the skin from the tight to the legs. It should peel off easily and you can help by cutting any fat that might be holding the skin to the chicken meat. IMG_1041
  2. With a butcher knife cut off the bone in the top of the leg and discard it. Cut the leg away from the tight getting two pieces from each leg quarter.IMG_1043
  3. Peel the garlic and cut each clove into two or four pieces, depending on their size.IMG_1047
  4. Peel the onion and cut it in quarters. Save a quarter for later. Cut the remaining onion into chunks.
  5. Peel the carrots and slice them.
  6. Place the chicken, the onions, the garlic and the carrots on a big bowl. Fill with the red wine and season with salt, pepper and half of the parsley.IMG_1061
  7. Keep this mixture in the fridge until the next day. I kept it there for over 24 hours.
  8. On the next day, slice the remaining onion thinly. Cut the bacon strips into pieces. Cook the onion and the bacon in a large pan with the olive oil until it gets golden.IMG_1072
  9. Add the pieces of chicken with no sauce and let it cook for approximately 5 minutes. The idea is to give a first frying cook to the meat.
  10. Add the sauce where the meat was seasoning over night. Add the water in case you wish to dilute a bit the wine.IMG_1074
  11. Cook until it starts boiling and, after that, keep cooking in very low fire for approximately 1 hour and a half. Stir gently every now and again.
  12. Wash the mushrooms and cut them in half. Add to the chicken, with the remaining parsley, and let it cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed.IMG_1086
  13. Serve the chicken with the sauce and plain boiled potatoes.IMG_1088

4 garlic cloves

Yummi Breakfast

IMG_9376And finally my dissertation is finished! And I’m back to the land of the living! Feeling so relieved…

Yesterday night I was feeling shattered. So, I decided to cook one of my favourite things in the world… Breakfast!!!

Here are some nice tips for a rich weekend breakfast. I complemented it with some bacon & eggs! Yummi!

 

Roasted Tomatoes (serves 4)

  • 5 vine tomatoes
  • 6 leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180ºC.
  2. Wash the tomatoes and cut them in halves. Place them with the interior facing up on a oven tray.IMG_9320
  3. Wash the basil well and chop the leaves in small pieces.
  4. Peel the garlic and dice it thinly.
  5. Sprinkle the basil, the garlic and the olive oil on top of the tomato. Season with salt and pepper.IMG_9330
  6. Cook in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the sauce resulting from cooking the tomatoes.

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Mozzarella & Tomato Toast (serves 4)

  • 6 leaves of basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 2 tomatoes
  • olive oil and vinegar
  • salt, pepper and oregano
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180ºC.
  2. Wash the basil. Chop the basil and the garlic thinly. Mix it with the olive oil and sprinkle it on top of the bread.
  3. Put the bread slices on an oven tray.IMG_9342
  4. Wash the tomatoes and chop them in small pieces.
  5. Cut the mozzarella into slices and shred it into pieces.IMG_9349
  6. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes and the mozzarella and season with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano.
  7. Cover the slices of bread with the tomatoes and mozzarella and cook in the oven until the mozzarella becomes golden.IMG_9386

 

Lemon Mushrooms (serves 4)

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 150 gr of white mushrooms
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 5 sticks of parsley
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice the garlic and cook it in low fire with the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan.IMG_9395
  2. Wash the mushrooms well and slice them.
  3. Put the mushrooms into the frying pan. Add the lemon juice, the parsley and the wine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let it cook in low fire until the mushrooms shrink and cook.IMG_9398

 

 

Colourful Beef Stew

IMG_9027I’ve been cooking stews since ever… It was a lovely surprise to get to the UK and see that most people here also love a good stew!

I usually make simple stews with natural and healthy ingredients with a water and wine base. I have been trying new amazing vegetables that I usually don’t find in Portugal and having a lot of fun! Today, however, I went with a simple beef stew with some familiar vegetables.

 

Colourful Beef Stew (serves 3)

  • 225 g of potatoes
  • 225 g of courgette (zucchini)
  • 150 g of butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g of diced beef
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 150 ml of white wine
  • 250 ml of water
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200ºC.
  2. Peel the potatoes and dice them in large cubes.
  3. Cut the courgette in large pieces, approximately the same size as the potato cubes. IMG_8997
  4. Peel the butternut squash and cut into large pieces, approximately the same size as the potato cubes.
  5. Wash these vegetables and the tomatoes well.
  6. Peel the onion, cut it in half and then cut each half into six large pieces.IMG_9011
  7. Wash the garlic cloves. Smash them slightly without removing the skin. I usually do it by placing the blade of a knife on top of the garlic clove and pressing the knife with my hand (see the photograph under). In order to be safe, I advise you to use a blunt knife or a metal spatula.IMG_9007
  8. Use a casserole, a pyrex, or a large oven dish. Fill it with the potatoes, the courgette, the butternut squash, the cherry tomatoes, the onion, the garlic cloves, the diced beef and the washed parsley.
  9. Cover with the wine, the water, and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir in order for all the ingredients to mix.IMG_9014
  10. Cook in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Make sure you check the stew approximately every 20 minutes and stir it in order to make sure that the top ingredients don’t burn.IMG_9022
  11. Serve in soup dishes or bowls with a generous portion of the sauce and some bread.

Bruschetta and Garlic Bread

IMG_6155

On my pizza night I saved 1/3 of the pizza dough to play a bit! Baked some garlic bread  and a simple bread to make a bruschetta. For the dough recipe please check my Pizza Night post.

These are easy thing to do as a starter and they are quite tasty!

 

Garlic bread

  • a small ball of pizza dough
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 of a bunch of parsley
  • 1/4 red chilli
  • salt
  1. Heat the oven at 180ºC.
  2. Grease a plate or a small tray. Spread the dough using your hands.
  3. Chop the garlic, the parsley and the chilli thinly. In a bowl mix them with the olive oil. Season with salt.IMG_6082
  4. Spread this mixture on top of the dough and fold it as if it was a letter (one side to the centre and the other side on top).IMG_6115
  5. Put the bread in the oven and let it cook until the dough is cooked. It should turn gold and, when touched, the dough should start to get hard. Serve sprinkled with some parsley.IMG_6214

 

Bruschetta

  • a small ball of pizza dough
  • 1 big tomato
  • 15 black olives
  • olive oil, vinegar, salt and oregano
  1. Heat the oven at 180ºC.
  2. Grease a plate or a small tray. Spread the dough using your hands. Cook the bread in the oven.  It should turn gold and, when touched, the dough should start to get hard.
  3. Chop the tomato in small cubes and slice the olives.
  4. In a bowl mix the chopped tomato with the olives. Season with olive oil, vinegar, salt and oregano.IMG_6143
  5. Spread this mixture on top of the bread and it is ready to serve. You can do this recipe with any other toasted bread.IMG_6230