Tag: red pepper

yet another risotto


Actually, that’s unfair, because we haven’t had a risotto in ages. But we did last night.

We bought a pack of chicken thighs in Aldi last week. Pete manfully skinned and filleted them on Saturday, and they’ve been stowed in the freezer (yes, for this was just *before* PumpkinGate) for stir fries or whatever; the cats had the skin, with much enjoyment but no gratitude *at all*, and I slung the bones in the baby slow cooker with some water, with a view to soup making. But then, after the Graet Pumpkin War of 2014, soup was already well over-catered, and I couldn’t freeze this stock either.

I reboiled the bones yesterday, and it made a lovely gelatinous stock. Which seemed absolutely ideal for a risotto, especially as there were little shreds of chicken as well. So I strained the bones out, and rinsed them off with boiling water, to get every drop of chickeny goodness from them, and then topped that up to a pint*.

Sliced a leek and a red pepper, and set them to saute off in a little olive oil and butter. Then added 5oz of Arborio rice and stirred it round to coat it, and then started adding the stock bit by bit, stirring all the time. During the process, I discovered that making risotto is yet another thing that doesn’t go with  watching Borgen with subtitles; no wonder it’s taking me so long to get through it. I digress.

When about 75% of the stock was added, I seasoned with salt and black pepper, and when all the stock was absorbed, I added half a block of feta cheese and stirred until it was melted.

And I can tell you that, although a bowl of risotto in those quantities (we halved it, obviously) doesn’t look much, it’s plenty, and it was delicious.


*This is one of the few recipes I still cook in imperial – easier to remember the mantra of 1 pint / 5 oz.

butternut squash, red pepper and feta quichelings

squash, pepper and onion quichelets

I had a party to go to last night, and wanted to make a contribution to the festive board. Looking at the ingredients in the fridge and freezer,  I settled on squash and red pepper filo parcels. There was no feta in the fridge, but no matter – I hurtled up to Jacksons to buy a block, to find that the normal budget one had been replaced with an oak-aged one, at over twice the price. Still, time beggars can’t be choosers, so I paid me money.

The squash went in the medium slow cooker for about 5 hours, with a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout, and about half a glass of white wine. A brace of slightly wizened peppers (one red, one yellow), were sliced thinly, together with an onion similarly sliced, and placed in the baby slow cooker for about three hours. I added some olive oil and cumin seeds to these. The filo pastry was removed from the freezer.

At about 5.30, I descended to the frozen wastes of the kitchen to make the things; I mixed the ingredients together, with about half the block of the fairy dust feta cheese, diced into small cubes. I oiled a baking tray, opened the filo, and started. And darlings – a disaster. The pastry had been in the freezer a fair while (understatement), and had completely dried out. Pete hurtled back to Jacksons, but filo had they none. Indeed, ready made shortcrust had they none. By now it was 5.50 – scream.

So into the food processor went 8 oz plain white flour, a good pinch of salt, 2.5oz of baking marg and 1.5oz of Trex (I really do recommend Trex for pastry, it makes a lovely short crumb). Added a tiny dribble of cold water, then summoned Pete to roll it out. as he is much better than I at such things. In the meantime, I beat a couple of eggs and stirred them into the squash mixture, along with some black pepper.

Into the oven (preheated to 180C fan) went about 20 baby quiche, and we watched them with some trepidation. They had about 20 minutes, so I even got time to cool them a bit before our lift arrived. And readers – they were gorgeousI shall make them, or something similar, again.

Although they weren’t the filo parcels I was hoping for …


chicken and red pepper risotto

We haven’t had a risotto for ages, for some reason.  The carcass of the last chicken we had, about three weeks ago, was stuffed in the freezer; I pulled it out and stuck it in the slow cooker to make stock, and there was a surprising amount of meat on it, which we put in a little brown bowl in the fridge, and Pete declared it suitable for a risotto.

Cardinal rule of risotto for two: 5oz risotto rice, 1 pint liquid.  As I had the chicken stock, I used half a pint of that, and topped it up with cider.  Chopped one red onion and one red pepper, sautéd them with some olive oil, added rice, then stock bit by bit, and some seasoning.  Chicken went in about 5 minutes before the end. Delicious!

[makes note to self that we need more risotto rice]

lazy chicken team waste

the supermarket run

So called, because it was cooked up with all the stuff left over from our camping trip to Wales with our friends.

I had a pack of chicken thighs, so they were chopped up and browned off in some groundnut oil, then put in the slow cooker.  Then I fried off some onions in the oil, added a chopped aubergine and courgette, and a sliced red pepper.  I’d bought some “lazy” spices for the trip – jars of garlic, lemongrass, chilli, that sort of thing.  So in went garlic and harissa.  Then the juice of 1.5 lemons (there was a half in the fridge) and a lime, as we had heaps of citrus fruit left.

All into the slow cooker, left on high for about four hours, then turned down to low for the last two.

Served it with rice.  Lovely.

chicken stir fry

ingredients for a stir fry

Using up: spring onions, red pepper, the last bit of courgette, half a lemon

The thing about a stir fry is you can lob pretty much anything in it, but you need to have it all ready before you start.

So, as you may see, I chopped four spring onions, a red pepper, a small piece of courgette.  Garlic and ginger were whizzed in the most useful kitchen gadget known to (wo)man.  Pete chopped up a red chilli.

Out of the larder came sesame seeds, and I had a tub of cold roast chicken in the freezer that was pressed into service – I marinated that in some shoyu and a teaspoon or so of sesame oil for about 20 minutes.

Into the wok went the sesame seeds, garlic and ginger for a minute or so, then added the white bits of the spring onion, the pepper and courgette.  Stir fried till done, then added chicken and marinade, the lemon juice and a teaspoon of five spice powder.  Oh, and a dribble of honey.

Left it to bubble while we boiled up some noodles, and realised it was a bit thin, so mixed up a teaspoon of cornflour with some cold water, and hurled that in.

Drained noodles and put them in the wok, mixed it round a little.

Served into bowls, then sprinkled with the chopped chilli and the green bit of the spring onions.

pasta bake with red pepper

pasta bake with red pepper

Using up: a red pepper, mozzarella

We’re off for a week’s holiday on Friday (hurrah!), so meals this week are going to be quite odd, I suspect 🙂

Here’s one of our standby meals; we eat this kind of thing often.

Cut one red pepper in half, remove the seeds and pith, cut into thin strips.  Chop 3/4 of a courgette (I wanted the last bit for a stir fry) into dice, ditto an onion and some garlic (whatever you feel appropriate – we like *lots*).  Sauté these in some olive oil slowly until the veg are softed – you want a nice silky feeling for the peppers.  Add a chopped dried chilli if you like such things; we do.

Boil some pasta – conchiglie are nice for this; they’re the ones that look like conch shells.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and hurl it into the veg pan, and stir it all together.

Then decant into an ovenproof dish, and top with a mozzarella, cut into cubes.  Some basil or parsley works really well on the top too.

Bake for 25-30 minutes on gas mark 6.