Thursday, 27 May 2010

Microwave Chocolate Cake

This one comes from my fellow expat Jo who has lived in Alsace since we graduated too many years ago. And she's a vegetarian, I have no idea how she manages to have an interesting and varied diet in this land of murderous carnivores........

She writes:

Yeah, just the thing for lazy buggers or when you get a surprise visit and haven’t got anything to give them with their cuppas. Dom’s mum gave me these recipes, hard to believe as she’s anything but a lazy cook.
200g butter

200g dessert chocolate

200g sugar

200g flour (self-raising if you have it, otherwise add a sachet of “levure chimique” (baking powder))

4 soup spoons of rum

6 eggs

Melt chocolate and butter for 2 mins, leave to stand for 2 mins

Stir in the sugar

Add eggs one by one whilst whisking

Add the flour and baking powder if you’re using it

Put in a buttered microwavable recipient

Cook (uncovered) for 11 mins on full power

Wait for 5 mins then turn out onto a cooling rack
And voilà!
So, I thought,measuring out quantities, bit of a faff, but at least it's all the same amounts.........mixing stuff together, also faffy, but if you have your other half sitting around talking b*llocks, which mine seems to spend a lot of his time doing, you obviously put him to work:
Decided to put only 5 eggs in as one of our chooks lays eye- wateringly large eggs which always have double yolks, these things are huge, bigger than the duck eggs! Also may have slipped up a bit with the rum bottle, 4 soup spoons didn't sound like much.......

Anyway, chucked it in the micro ondes and.......voilà:

And no, that's not custard, it's home made eggnog from my OH's colleague in Brussels. More than slightly alcoholic........

Friday, 14 May 2010

Mediterranean Lemon Chicken

Well I have been given some recipes to try for my lazy cook collection and this is the first of them from my friend Chrissie up in Brittany. She writes:

"Take the biggest baking tray with deepish sides you can fit into the oven and fill it with chicken thighs, drumsticks and smallish or halved par boiled spuds. Slosh over this plenty of olive oil and lots of 'herbs de Provence' salt and pepper. Lastly, cut a couple (we use four) lemons into quarters and squeeze them over the top of the chicken. Now, the fun bit. Put some hot soapy water in the sink 'cos you're going to need it. With clean hands (we do try) get in there and mix the whole lot together. Once you've done that and washed your hands pop the whole thing into the oven until cooked ! The house, by the way, will smell amazing!"

Sounds nice and easy, doesn't it? Obviously I didn't bother peeling the spuds or anything, parboiling them is enough of an effort. You can get ready peeled & cooked spuds here vacuum packed but didn't have any handy and as yesterday was yet another Bank Holiday here, I had to use actual potatoes......the rest of it was very simple though and the results were fantastic, tried it out on some friends they loved it too, nothing was left, not even the juice!

My friend Guy in this photo is highly qualified as far as eating goes, he once challenged a friend to see which of them could eat the most beef in a year, you'll find the journal of that year here, needless to say he won, being an insanely competitive person ........not sure how great it was for his health though.

So thank you, Chrissie, a great recipe, really easy to do and tastes fantastic! Oh and the kitchen does indeed smell amazing......

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Lazy stir fry

Well first of all a big thank you to all the people who have sent me easy recipes, I will be trying them all in the next few weeks to make sure they are indeed faff-free enough to be included here. Couldn't really get this across to my chef friend who was telling me about his "simple" sweet potato recipe last night, he was most offended when after a 10 minute explaination I told him it wasn't at all simple for us mere mortals...........

Anyway, today's recipe is something I eat a lot because not only is it easy, it's quick to cook as well. Get a chicken breast, chuck it in a frying pan, if you're feeling really keen, chop it up first but I often don't bother if I'm just cooking for me, it's easier to pull it apart in the wok once it's cooked. Maybe bung in some veg like peppers, courgettes and aubergines if you can be bothered to chop some up (they do come frozen ready chopped too, even over here) Fry it for a bit in oil, then chuck in something no kitchen should be without: sweet chili sauce.
This is available from all good supermarkets, except in France where we have to drive all the way to Bordeaux to a fabulous place called Eurasie (they even have a website here) where you can buy civilised stuff like Patak's curry paste and huge bags of ground coriander. No so in the local Leclerc where you're lucky to find such exotic foreign fayre as Marmite and lemon curd. Anyway, back to the sweet chili sauce which is fantastic for loads of things but I use it mainly in stir fries. Cook the chicken in it til it goes all nice and caramely (is that a word?), add a splash of soy sauce and there you are. Serve with rice or noodles (Eurasie do the lazy precooked version where you just open a sachet and chuck them in the wok, guess which ones I use.....). If you really want to push the boat out you can go to the trouble of opening a tin of bamboo shoots to chuck in , or beansprouts are nice too.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Easy curry

OK, so here's my first recipe offering, really easy curry. The secret to a good, tasty curry is cooking it for ages. And ages. Not the 20 minutes recommended in a lot of recipe books and on the back of Patak's curry sauces. Not that I'm dissing Patak's, they are great for lazy buggers like me......just ignore the instructions.

So you get some meat, I use pork a lot because it's really cheap and lamb isn't, at least not over here in La Belle France. Living here is why I have to make my own curry, the French as a nation are apparently allergic to spicy food. Get some onions, essential ingredient in just about every thing I cook. Fry the onions in some oil, doesn't matter what sort (maybe not engine oil though) for ages on a low heat til they're really golden brown, lots of people don't fry them for long enough.

Don't ask me how many "some" is, I don't do quantities, if you're the sort of person (like my dear husband) who feels the need to measure precise quantities of all ingredients and prepare them in little bowls like they do on Blue Peter, this probably isn't the blog for you. Once you're onions are a nice colour, add the meat in chunks, fry it for a bit then chuck in some curry paste. I tend to use the aforementioned Patak's, it's got all the spices you need in one place and there's no faffing about roasting cardamom pods and the like. Use the mild curry one then you can always chuck in some killer chillies later on unless you're catering for a bunch of lightweights.

Stir it all around for a bit, then add a load of water, and leave it to cook. For ages. Whilst you go and do something useful with your time like randomly surfing the internet or playing Lord of the Rings online. Even better, leave it to go cold after a few hours then fire it up again the next day. Keep chucking water in if it gets too gloopy. Then about an hour before you want to eat it, bung in a tin of tomatoes, or if you're feeling really keen, actually go to the effort of chopping up some tomatoes to put in. Then you can add some veg, whatever you like, prechopped frozen are often my légumes of choice.

And there you have it, job's a good'un, you can leave it bubbling away til your guests arrive, no last minute messing about in the kitchen, just stick the pot on the table, sprinkle over some chopped coriander (if you can be bothered) and hand them a ladle. You might have to go to the effort of cooking some rice, but then you can always get it in those handy microwaveable sachets these days..........