Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chicken and Cider Hotpot

This wonderful recipe came from my Sainsbury 2014 Calendar. There are a couple of things that I would do differently with this recipe. First, I should have browned my chicken a little longer, second I would use 2 apples instead of one and third I would use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Other than that, the recipe is pretty easy and it all goes in one pot. The 3rd section of the recipe does not say to stir the pot, but I found after about 10 minutes it was sticking so I stirred mine. I should have waited until the end to add the bacon, but I followed the recipe. I used Hornsby's Hard Cider (the dry version), but Stella would work if you can get it. Just make sure that whatever cider you do use is a dry one. Here is the recipe as printed.

Chicken, Bacon, Leek and Cider Hotpot

1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 chicken thighs
150g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced thickly
4 Tbsp. plain flour
250ml dry cider
500ml chicken stock
1 red apple, peeled, cored and diced
600g baby potatoes, quartered
28g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
100ml crème fraiche

Heat oil in large, shallow ovenproof casserole. Place chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper, skin side down into dish and cook 3-4 minutes, until sin is crisp and golden. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove and place to the side.
Tip bacon into pan and cook for 5 minutes until crisp, remove and place to the side. Stir in onion and leek and cook 5 minutes until tender. Stir in flour, cook 1 minute then pour in cider and stock.
Bring to gentle simmer and cook 3 minutes before stirring in apple, potatoes and 1 Tbsp. parsley. Top with chicken thighs and scatter with bacon. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook 30 minutes over medium heat, until chicken is tender.
Stir through crème fraiche. Heat through 1 minute and top with remaining parsley. Serve.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Tetley - Leeds


 The Tetley was right across the street from our flat in Leeds and I took many pictures of it from our balcony. When we first arrived in Leeds, the building was undergoing a renovation and it opened at the end of November as a museum, art space, bar and restaurant. We finally ate there just days before leaving Leeds, we decided we owed it to the wonderful staff working there. We had visited once before and had a beer at the bar, while the manager explained the menu and beers to us. We decided to go back one afternoon to share a sandwich for a light snack.

 We sat on the bar side, a large open space with plenty of tables, and ordered at the bar. We decided to share the Drunken Grilled Cheese and Roasted Artichoke w/Sage Sandwich (5.50 pounds) and a side of Proper Chips for 3 pounds. The food was amazing, that grilled cheese would be pretty hard to top and the chips were crispy and hot. The staff was very good and very accommodating. The Tetley beers were good too!
They are located on Hunslet Rd. Leeds. LS10 1JQ 0113-320-2323

Friday, January 24, 2014

Herby Chicken and Butter Bean Soup

I came across this recipe in the February 2014 edition of BBC Good Food. I made a few changes to the recipe, but I'm sure it's pretty close to the original. I know I complained some about how hard it was finding ingredients for my recipes while in England, but the same thing happens here. When I went to my local Price Chopper, there were no butter beans! If you need black beans, pinto beans, baked beans or pork and beans, then Price Chopper is the place to shop. I ended up at Hy-Vee where they actually carry butter beans and I was able to make the soup. This is a good soup, especially when the weather is so cold. Serve it up with a nice green salad and some warm bread.

Herby Chicken & Butter Bean Soup

4 chicken thighs
1.5 liters chicken stock
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
3-4 sprigs each rosemary, sage and thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 tsp. each ground cumin and coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, remove meat from bones and shred.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large sauce pan. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes until starting to carmelize. Add carrots, herbs and spices and stir for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the stock, shredded chicken and butter beans, cook, covered for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender and blitz the soup, leaving partly chunky. Add thawed peas, heat through and serve.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Proper Pancakes w/Caramelized Apples

Dan and I said while we were in England, a person could make a lot of money by opening up a pancake house there. Of course the English love their traditional breakfast, but some proper pancakes every once in while wouldn't kill you. We actually found a place that served pancakes on Sundays the last weekend we were there, but they were served on ice cold plates and cold by the time they reached us. The flavor was good, but how hard is it to warm a plate? I came across a recipe for pancakes while we were in England, but the serviced apartment we stayed in did not have all the proper tools for cooking. I bought certain things, which we then donated to a thrift shop on our departure, but I knew I could not keep buying kitchen items for a 3 month stay. I decided to work on the recipe and this is what I came up with. They are really good! No need for butter or syrup to top these because the caramelized apples are perfect as a topper.

Proper Pancakes w/Caramelized Apples

for the pancakes:
135g/ 4 3/4 oz. plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. caster sugar
130ml/ 4 1/2 fluid oz. milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste
Cooking spray

for the apples:
1 apple, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Lightly whisk milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla paste in medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and beat with a fork until batter is smooth. Let stand a few minutes. Heat a non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. When the pan is heated ladle batter into pan and flip when the top bubbles. The batter may seem thick, but that is what you want. Place finished pancakes in warm oven until ready to serve. (Also warm plates in the oven.)
When the pancakes are prepared, add butter, apples and brown sugar to same pan. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Serve apples on top of pancakes.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Handmade Burger Co. - Leeds

The Handmade Burger Co. in Trinity Leeds serves up a pretty good burger. They are similar to Nando's Chicken Restaurant - Leeds , in that hybrid fast-food restaurant style of being seated with menus, ordering at a window and having the food brought to you. The night that we ate there, the service was outstanding, much better than some of the better places in town. The burgers are char grilled, grass-fed, Scottish beef and are really good. They have over 40 choices, so the options are pretty limitless. I ordered the American Cheese Burger (8.25 pounds) which came with Swiss cheese, onion rings, handmade gherkin & American mustard relish, mayo, lettuce, tomato and red onion. Dan had the Avocado and Bacon (7.95) with crushed avocado, smoked bacon, handmade burger relish, mayo, lettuce, tomato and red onions. We ordered a side of Fresh Cut Cajun Spiced Chips for 3.35, which were nice and crispy. For the chips we ordered 3 dipping sauces for 2.25; chipotle-mayo, garlic-mayo and blue cheese-mayo. The blue cheese-mayo was not good, but the other 2 were. We drank a couple of ice cold Stellas for 3.55 a piece. All in all, not a bad place to eat.
They are located on the top floor of trinity Leeds Unit R5b trinity East Leeds LS1 5ER.

Kirkstall Abbey - Leeds

Kirkstall Abbey, the ruins of a Cistercian Monastery founded in 1152 and surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539, one of my favorite places to visit in Leeds.

Watch for the upcoming BBC 7 part series of Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell as the chapter house, seen in the 2 following photos, turns into a library of exploding books.



M & S Woodfired Margherita Pizza

One of our favorite things to eat while in Leeds, were M & S Woodfired  Margherita Pizzas. We typically picked one up at the little M & S Food store outside of the Leeds' train station on our way back from a weekend trip. They are located in the fresh food aisle along with other pizzas, but we found that the flavors of this pizza were very to close to the pizzas from our home favorite Pizza Bella. The crust is chewy and thin topped with a light tomato and basil sauce. Which is then topped with buffalo mozzarella and roasted Sicilian cherry tomatoes. Twelve minutes in the oven and dinner is ready, brilliant! We will definitely miss this quick pick me up.