“Turning the Tables” and a tasty tea

I’ve not posted in a couple of days as things have been pretty hectic round here. It was the boy’s fifth birthday party on Saturday so we were getting prepared for that and then afterwards – recovering.

Friday started off relaxing enough with a visit from my friend Jo and her daughter. We caught up over coffee and some of the mint chocolate cookies I made and froze for later the other day. Jo has a lovely blog called Binds You to Me where she writes about family and interiors(and lots of other stuff) and makes me jealous with her impeccable taste and gorgeous home. She brought me an amazing book as a present “Turning the Tables” which contains recipes and reflections on food and cooking by fabulous women like Angela Carter and Miriam Margoyles. It brought back fond memories of childhood when my mum’s bookshelves were full of books from feminist publishers, few of which sadly survive today. I’m looking forward to reading it and attempting some of the recipes.

Later on Friday was taken up by making up party bags for Saturday’s festivities and then suddenly realising it was nearly 5.30 and we hadn’t thought about tea*. The recipe below (so simple it barely qualifies as a recipe) is a quick and tasty tea that we quite often fall back on. If you don’t have chorizo, smoked streaky bacon would be nice too.

*A note on the use of the word tea – tea is used here in the good Scottish sense to denote the evening meal.

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Pasta with chorizo and tomatoes

  • 200g chorizo, chopped into small pieces
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Garlic purée or a crushed clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Long pasta – spaghetti or similar
  • Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil

Fry the chorizo in a little oil until it has begun to crisp at the edges.
Add the tomatoes to the hot pan along with the garlic.
Allow to cook down until the tomatoes are collapsing and you have a sauce-y consistency. Add the balsamic and let it cook off.
If the sauce is a little dry looking then add some of the hot pasta water.
Once the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the sauce in the pan. Toss it around until it’s all coated and then serve with plenty of Parmesan and black pepper.

 

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Sunny food for a (mostly) grey day

My older boy is at his dad’s this weekend so it’s very quiet at our house. After my brioche breakfast me and the baby boy had a lazy morning while his daddy caught up on some sleep.

The dull grey skies brightened up a little in the afternoon so I gently persuaded Barry that a weekend constitutional was in order. We (I?) decided we’d do a walk we’ve done before that takes us past the many fantastic food shops our part of the city has to offer.  If there’s one thing my husband enjoys almost as much as walking it’s looking in loads of shops. He’s a very tolerant man.

I put the baby in the carrier where he promptly fell asleep and we set off. We took the subway four stops and set off walking back. First stop was Lupe Pinto’s deli where we picked up some gorgeous chorizo which inspired our evening meal. I looked at the authentic paella pans and promised myself one at a later date. I mused over how long it would take me to use up the smoked paprika I had at home so I could justify buying some that comes in a pretty tin.

We visited most of the other food shops along the way and I hope to blog about them in future. Barry picked up a couple of second hand books which dulled the pain of window shopping somewhat and we made it back to the amazing Cottonrake bakery near our house as they were closing. We were just in time to get their last chocolate torte (for me) and a sausage roll for Barry to have as a late night snack (although he was a little disappointed they’d sold out of their stornoway black pudding ones).

Chicken and chorizo paella

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100g dried chorizo cut into little cubes
  • A teaspoon of garlic puree or a couple of crushed cloves
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size
  • ½ -1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika, depending how spicy you like things (or 1 teaspoon normal paprika if you don’t have smoked)
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 750ml hot chicken stock
  • 200g paella rice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges to serve with it

In a large, shallow, heavy based pan (or a paella pan if you have one obviously!), fry the onion in the olive oil till it’s soft, next add the chorizo, the garlic and the chicken.

Cook until the chicken is sealed, then stir in the paprika, the tomatoes and the peppers.

Pour the rice in and stir it round so it’s evenly distributed.

Put the pinch of saffron into the hot chicken stock and let it begin to colour it.

Pour the stock into the pan and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is just tender, usually about 20 minutes. Give it the occasional stir if you like but if it sticks a bit don’t worry – the crusty bits from the bottom of a paella are highly prized by those in the know. Add more liquid if you need to.

Sprinkle a bit of parsley over once the rice is done and serve with lemon wedges on the side and some decent bread.