Basil chicken and a busy mother

I have been super busy lately. I am really trying to get everything organised at home. I think I am doing a great progress and I feel pretty relaxed that we won’t have any last minute rush. I also got a brand new macbook pro as  a present from my husband so blogging is a lot easier now as I don’t need to use our desktop upstairs but can use a computer in any room. I still have to say that me staying at home instead of working made a big difference to our move and allowed us to proceed slowly but steadily.

basil chicken 2

Anyway, enough about the move and back to the food. I made this simple but tasty basil chicken last night. One good thing of having a child is that you start cooking a lot simpler food. As a young couple I think we have really cooked quite exotic meals and tried all sort of interesting new twists in our dinners. I, however, have to admit that back to basic is not too bad, in fact simple flavours are refreshing. As my daughter still cannot eat any dairy or soy I use creamed oats (Oatly oat cream) in cooking. I was a bit suspicious if it would work but now I have to admit I prefer it over regular cream or even soy cream firstly because it does not make me sick ( my body cannot stand pure regular cream, it never had) and secondly it has this fantastic naturally sweet flavour so actually it gives a soft delicate taste to every sauce. My daughter loved the creamy chicken I made last night and kept on asking more and more to taste whilst I was still cooking. She also had it today for lunch and ate with a great appetite. My dear husband loved it too and requested more so I think I will cook it again very soon.  I chose red onion as it is sweeter. Also chicken thighs are better for this sauce, a bit fattier and more flavoursome than breast filets so I recommend those. Oat is super good for you so this oat cream for cooking is just amazing and worth trying!

Perfect basil chicken for busy mothers.

For four people:

1 red onion

4  chicken thighs (skin off)

200ml oat cream (soy and regular cream works if you prefer them)

1 bunch of basil

hint of salt, black pepper, white pepper and paprika

1. Dice the onion and cook it until golden.

2. Add chicken and cook until almost fully cooked.

3. Add oat cream and basil leaves as whole.

4. Spice it with salt, white and black pepper and paprika.

Serve with salad or rice.

Bon appetite!

Mainokset

Easy Minestrone soup- Helppo Minestrone keitto

WP_20131101_005This is one of Rachel Khoo’s recipes. As usual I did not follow the recipe religiously but decided to add something and leave something out, but I would say this minestrone soup was inspired by Rachel’s Khoo’s soup that can be found in her book ”The Little Paris Kitchen”.  This soup belongs to the Provençal cuisine and is perfect now when the winter is approaching and houses are cooler (at least here in England). The secret of this delicious soup is the ”pistou”, it gives such a wonderful touch for it and of course you need  a proper loaf of French country style bread on side! My dear Aussie husband almost licked her soup bowl last night as the soup was so tasty, so you should try to make it too! By the way I love the small Creuset soup bowls that you can see in the picture. They are fantastic. The soup stays warm for ages and also you can put them to the oven and cook small portions of soup like onion soup in them. They are visually gorgeous too, don’t you think?

Soup:

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

500ml chicken stock

500ml vegetable stock

3 tbs tomato puree

1-2 tbs sugar

sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 red capsicum

1 carrot

1 zucchini

1 can of Green giant beans in tomato sauce (or white beans in tomato sauce)

1 portion of pasta (1cm bunch of dry pasta) -I used corn and rice pasta to keep it gluten free.

50ml dry white wine

1. Cut the onions and garlic. Fry them until golden brown.

2. Add chicken and vegetable stock.

3. Add tomato puree, sugar, thyme and bay leaf.

4. Add the cut carrot, capsicum and zucchini and let it simmer.

5. Add gigantic beans and their sauce. Add the wine.

6. Finally add the pasta (fold the long ones to smaller pieces) and cook until Al dente.

Pistou:

bunch of basil

3 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1. Puree until it is pesto like consistency.

Serve the soup with the small bit of ”pistou” on top -yum! Bon Appétit!

Tämä resepti on Rachel Khoon. Kuten yleensä, en seurannut ohjetta orjallisesti vaan sovelsin lisäämällä jotakin ja jättämällä jotakin pois. Toisin sanoen, tämä resepti on Rachel Khoon innoittama ja antoi minulle inspiraation luovasti soveltaa hänen mainiota minestrone keiton ohjettaan. Koko ohjeen salaisuus piilee mielestäni ”pistou” pureessa (hieman kuten pesto), joka tarjoillaan keiton silmänä ja antaa viimeisen silauksen herkulliseen reseptiin. Ohje on helppo ja nopea, juuri sopiva työpäivän jälkeiseen kiireiseen kokkailuun tai kotiäidin minuuttiaikatauluun. Tämä ihanainen keitto tulee luonnollisesti tarjoilla ranskalaisen maalaisleivän kanssa! Kuvassa näkyvät Creuset keittokulhot ovat ehdottomia suosikkejani. Keitto pysyy niissä lämpimänä pitkään ja  kulhot voi myös laittaa uuniin ja niissä voi kypsentää esimerkiksi yksittäisiä sipulikeittoannoksia.  Kulhot ovat visuaalisesti myös kauniita, eikö?

Keitto:

1 sipuli

2 valkosipulin kynttä

500ml kanalientä

500ml kasvislientä

3 rkl tomaattipuretta

1-2 rkl sokeria

muutama oksa timjamia

1 laakerinlehti

1 punainen paprika

1 porkkana

1 kesäkurpitsa

1 purkki kreikkalaisia giganttipapuja (voipapuja) tomaattikastikkeessa tai sitten vaaleita papuja tomaattikastikkeessa

1 annos pastaa (1cm nippu kuivaa spagettia) Voit käyttää maissi tai riisipastaa gluteiinittomaan ohjeeseen.

50ml kuivaa valkoviiniä

1. Pilko sipuli ja valkosipuli. Ruskista sipulit pannulla.

2. Lisää kana- ja kasvisliemet.

3. Lisää tomaattipure, sokeri, timjami ja laakerinlehti.

4. Lisää pilkotut porkkanan, paprikan ja kesäkurpitsan palat.

5. Lisää pavut ja viini.

6. Viimeiseksi lisää pasta ja keitä siten, että pasta on juuri al dente.

Pistou:

nippu basilikaa

3 rkl oliiviöljyä

2 valkosipulin kynttä

1. Soseuta kunnes on sileää sosetta.

Tarjoile keitto pienen pistou silmäkkeen kanssa -herkullista! Bon Appétit

812d3852-8118-4370-a76e-04e3f8544826_jpeg

Pia’s Mediterranean Sandwiches

My boss took me to this amazing pub in Islington London called ”The Elk in the Woods”. It was a funny small cosy pub, didn’t look anything special, but when I saw the menu I was happily surprised -it looked fantastic! In fact, everything on the menu looked delicious. I ended up ordering the halloumi-hummus-carrot-beetrot-olive sandwich and to be honest it was probably one of the best sandiwiches I have ever eaten. A few days later I had to test and cook that kind of sandwich at home. It was excellent and my sweet Aussie man loved it too (we had it again for breakfast on the following day!). Here you can find the recipe, it asks a bit of work but is worth every minute spent in the kitchen!

Buns or baguette

1/2 onion

1 can of black olive slices

bunch of basil

2 carrots

1 cooked beetroot

1/2 packet of halloumi

1 packet hummus

salt and black pepper

good quality olive oil

1. Grate the carrot and beetroot and mix them together. Cook them in olive oil in the frying pan. (do not be careful with oil for it gives an amazing flavour, so use heaps), add salt and black pepper. After the mixture has been cooked, put it on a plate to wait.

2. Cut the onion, cook it slowly in the frying pan until golden, then add the olive slices, cook for a while (5min).  Add salt and pepper. Whilst cookin this, finely chop the basil. Take the onion-olive mixture away from the pan and mix it together with the chopped basil in the bowl and leave it wait for the sandwich building.

3. Cut the halloumi into small slices (3x3cm slices) and cook it in olive oil in the frying pan. After they have been cooked put them on a plate to wait.

4. Cut the baguette or buns  into halves (2 per person). Cook them in the olive oil in the frying pan.

5. Build sandwiches: First put hummus on the top of the cooked bread (on both of the halves). Then on the other half put the carrot-beetroot mixture, then halloumi slices on the top of that and then olive-onion-basil mixture on the top of that. On the other half put only hummus and a bit of the olive-onion-basil mixure.

6. Serve with wine or beer -these sandwiches are heavenly!

Butternut squash couscous

It’s been a while since I wrote a recipe in my blog. I added a review of ”Simply Scandinavian” cookibook I was asked to write and I added it into my pages. Relocating to London took some time, but now we’ve settled down and I can say from the bottom of my heart: I love London. The supermarkets are wonderful, I can find whatever I need to from Thai to Japanese. This internationality makes cooking so much easier when one doesn’t have to hunt ingredients for certain dish with cats and dogs.

For me as a Finn, using pumpkins in cooking is not familiar. To be honest it was last year when I actually tasted pumpkin served with meat. Of course I have eaten pumpkin pie at Halloween, but that’s about it. Anyway, my new beloved ingredient is butternut squash. It goes well with a risotto, couscous even with a roast too. I did vegetarian risotto using butternut squash and it was tasty. The following recipe is a couscous which can be a vegetarian or chicken one, you decide. The secret part of it is the butternut squash, which gives sweet flavour and betrays replacing the meat if needed.

1 mid size butternut squash

2dl couscous

3 tbs pesto (green)

rocket salad

cherry tomatoes

(2 chicken breatss sliced, if wanted)

black pepper

salt

olive oil

1. Peal and cut the butternut squash. mix cubes with some good quality olive oil, black pepper and salt. Cook teh cubes on a baking tray in the oven for 20min so that the cubes become soft and brownish.

2. Cook the couscous. Boil 2 dl of water add the couscous, put the lid on and let it rest for 5-10 min.

3. Half  the cherry tomatoes.

4. Add 3 tbs of pesto into couscous and mix it well. Add cooked butternut squash cubes, cherry tomatoes, rocket salad, salt and pepper into couscous. If you want to have a non-vegeterian version add the cooked chicken slices.

Enjoy, this is a healthy and fresh tasting dinner!