Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pasta with Chorizo and Pomodorino Tomatoes

In the spirit of trying to ease myself back into the world of blogging, I bring you this recipe which I made on Sunday night as I am currently in a hotel room in Leeds typing up notes from my various interviews.  It's a perfect quick and easy weeknight supper, and I wish I was eating it right now instead of an M&S salad!

I've been going through a raging chipotle and chorizo phase recently, and have found myself making this simple pasta dish at least once a week for the past month. It's quick to make (though slow to simmer!), delicious and requires very little effort. Choose a pasta that holds its sauce well; this is not one for spaghetti!

The slow cooking really brings out the sweet, smokey flavour of the chipotle and chorizo, and I love the bursting cherry tomatoes which are a relatively new discovery. In my mind, Sainsbury's makes the best ones, though all are reasonable.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 large eschalion shallot, finely chopped
30g chorizo, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
400g tin of pomodorino (cherry) tomatoes
1/2 tsp ancho chilli
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 glass red wine
salt and pepper to taste

350-400g pasta, depending on how hungry you are!

Heat a medium-sized sauce pan on low heat and add the chorizo. When it starts to melt, add the shallot and slowly fry until the shallot is translucent. The fat from the chorizo should mean that you don't need any additional oil. Next, cook the garlic with the chorizo and shallot for about a minute before adding the pomodorino tomatoes, chilli powders and red wine.

Turn the heat down low, and simmer for as long as you can possibly bear; the flavour improves over time. I try to leave it for about an hour, but sometimes hunger gets the better of me.

When the sauce tastes rich and smokey, put some water on for the pasta, add a large pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook your pasta as per the instructions on the bag. I like Fiorelli as it holds the sauce beautifully, but go with whatever takes your fancy.When the pasta is cooked, serve up and pour the sauce over it. I find it doesn't really need Parmesan (and I'm a Parmesan fiend) but feel free to add some if you like the extra flavour.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sweetcorn Fritters

Oh lordy, has it really been that long? 10 months to the day. And I said the same thing last time I failed to update too. Live gets in the way sometimes...

It's been a busy and fairly dramatic 10 months. I won't bore you with the details, but a new home and two new jobs in the space of a year (and that was just the start of it it) has certainly kept me on my toes. But! It's nearly spring. The sun keeps peeking out and I'm gradually considering coming out of hibernation. We're about to have our kitchen demolished to make way for something hopefully less decrepit, but I thought I'd go for one last hurrah and make use of it before it goes. Crappy old kitchen you have served me well, with your doors falling off their hinges, sticky drawers, rattly old oven and lights that won't work. 

Anyway, enjoy! A quick and easy starter, or a delicious lunchtime snack shoved in a pitta bread with some salad and loaded up with delicious coriander lime yoghurt!

For the fritters
200g tin of sweetcorn
20g fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 shallots
3 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
125g plain flour
5 free range eggs
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp ancho chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

For the yoghurt sauce
200ml fat free yogurt
20g coriander
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove

To make the yoghurt sauce,  pour 200ml yoghurt into a mixing bowl. Finely chop the coriander and add to the mixing bowl along with the juice and zest of a lime. pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and then crush in one clove of garlic. mix together thoroughly so the olive oil emulsifies with the yoghurt, and transfer to the fridge until ready to use.

To make the fritters, drain the sweetcorn, then transfer contents of sieve to a large bowl. Finely chop the shallots and flat leaf parsley. Add to the sweetcorn and crush in the garlic. Finely slice the spring onions and add those in too. Add the cumin, chipotle, ancho, salt and pepper then mix all the ingredients together. 

Break the eggs into the mixing bowl and add the flour and then stir until you have a batter and all the ingredients are evenly distributed. 

Pour a little oil (about a dessertspoon) into the bottom of a frying pan and heat until the oil begins to smoke a little. Add three separate dollops of batter to the pan (about 6cm in diameter and 1.5cm high) and cook each side for a couple of minutes, until golden and the fritters hold their shape. Transfer to an oven tray lined with foil. Repeat until you have used up all the batter - I found I made 16 fritters. You will need to add a drop more oil each time as it burns off rapidly as each set of fritters cooks.

Turn the oven on to about 150°C and bake for 15-20 minutes. If you want to eliminate the baking stage you can deep-fry the fritters, but I prefer to adopt a slightly healthier and less greasy method. 

Serve warm, 2-3 fritters per person, and spoon the yoghurt sauce on top.