Jen's Kitchen offers a fresh approach to home cooking with exciting recipes and blog posts that emphasise hands-on cookery using local and organic produce.

Roast Chicken with Celeriac Chips

I’m a big fan of jointing my own chicken and putting all the pieces in separate bags in the freezer for using at various stages.  It’s a bit of a job to do it initially (I try do three of four together- makes the mess worthwhile).  Also it gives me an excuse to get some crispy chicken skin on the go.  Mmmm.  This recipe uses legs, but could work just aswell with thighs, but I might allow two thighs per person.  You need to serve it with the salad as the dressing balances the intense sweetness of the honey glazed celeriac.

Roast Chicken with Celeriac Chips

Ingredients
1 large celeriac
2 tablespoons of honey
5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoon of semolina
2 free-range chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)
A small bunch of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
1 lemon, half zested and juiced
A pinch of caster sugar
Green salad, to serve

Roast Chicken with Celeriac Chips

Method
Heat the oven to 180°C. Peel and slice the celeriac into 3cm x 7cm chips, or just chunky chip size. Toss in a bowl with the semolina then the honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season well.
Roast Chicken with Celeriac Chips
Heat a frying pan to high, preferably one that you can use in the oven too.  In other words- no plastic handle. Rub the chicken legs with olive oil, season, then fry skin-side down for 3 minutes or until golden.

Add the celeriac chips under the skin side up chicken, then roast in the oven for 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through and the chips are golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, finely chop the thyme, then shake in a lidded jar with the cider vinegar, the lemon zest and juice, caster sugar and remaining olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the green salad being served with the chicken and chips.
Roast Chicken with Celeriac Chips

Divine.

Bowl Food- the facts behind the fancy

Bowl food is a thing,  and not just cornflakes with lots of milk and a dash of sugar.  Many “posh” restaurants from London to New York have been experimenting with food served simply in bowls.  But even closer to home.  When was the last time you went out to a restaurant and had the same type of crockery for the entire meal? A ha.  Told you. (& takeaway doesn’t count!)

Bowl Food

Slate made an appearance in the last 5 years as a food receptacle, as have wooden boards.  I always try to think of the poor kitchen porter with has to clean all of these dishes! When I worked in Thorntons on the Green all of the delph was hand washed, and then rubbed with a cloth dipped in vinegar to remove all the finger prints.

And some restaurants- albeit the posher ones have bowls and dishes the likes no average kitchen has ever seen or used. There’s even a twitter account @wewantplates set up to “showcase” the more absurd “plates”.

Bowl Food

And have you purchased your set of Coupe dishes?? Have you NOT? (It’s kind of a bowl- and kind of a plate!- and no, I’d never heard of one either).  John Lewis (a homestore retailer in the UK) now sells more bowls than plates.  Seriously.

But why is the home bowl eating becoming a thing? I can understand the enthusiasm in restaurants- talking points/ showcasing local pottery aswell as produce/ more money than sense- you decide.  I think it’s the homely aspect of this kind of eating.  We’ve moved away from the formal dining room and settings.  Most dining is more casual.  I might be the only person left (along with my mother) who uses tablecloths.

But rest assured if you come for dinner- you’ll still get it on a plate.

Unless it’s breakfast- porridge comes in a bowl 😉

Bowl Food

 

 

 

 

Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding

I just love bread and butter pudding. And we have some gorgeous panettone bread left over to use in the best way possible- this recipe is as good with brioche as with panettone.  And really if push comes to shove, it’s good with any old white batch loaf type- just remove the crusts. Sure you can’t make it ALL into breadcrumbs…. and using up leftovers is COOL these days.

Bread and Butter Pudding

 

Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding

Ingredients:
8 thick slices panettone crusts, cut into 2.5cm cubes
50g butter, melted
300ml cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons dark rum (if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
75g chocolate chips
2 tablespoons caster sugar
20g Icing Sugar
Method:

Bread and Butter Pudding

Beautifully light panettone bread

Preheat oven to 180oC. Place bread in large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons melted butter and toss. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread begins to colour, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Cool. Brush your baking dish with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Broken pieces of panettone tossed in melted butter

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl. Add rum, vanilla, and salt; gradually whisk in warm cream. Stir in bread cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Soaking in the egg custard

Mix chocolate chips into custard mixture. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and set in centre, about 35 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm, with some freshly whipped cream. Divine.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Best to get the photo before it disappears!

My Favourite Fish Curry

One of my “aims” for 2017 is to cook more fish.  And eat more fish! I call them aims as I don’t like the word resolution.  Monkfish is one of my favourite fishes to eat and prepare, and is perfect in this gorgeous fish curry by Rick Stein. I’ve tweeked it slightly, but it’s a nice recipe to use as it’s quick to prepare with readily available ingredients.

Rory preparing the monkfish in demo during my time in Ballymaloe.

Monkfish is one of the ugliest fishes in the seas. And has an enormous extendable stomach that enables the fish to eat prey almost to it’s own size.  It also has what looks for all the world like a fishing rod with a teeny fish on the end of it.  It dangles this over it’s mouth and simply uses it to fish for fish.  Of course as luck would have it- there was NO monkfish to be found ANYWHERE in Waterford.  So I substituted it with some lovely fresh cod.  I tend not to use cod as it’s been fished to death, excuse the pun.  But any port in a storm.  Same quantities apply.

A little extra note on Kaffir Lime- The leaves of this citrus plant are widely used in Thai cooking for the perfume that they give the dish.  But a zest of lime is an adequate replacement.

Monkfish Curry

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

75g green curry paste

400ml can of coconut milk

175ml water

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of muscovado sugar

4 kaffir lime leaves or 1 pared strip of lime zest, cut into very fine shreds

1 lime, juice only

100g new potatoes, cut in half if large

50g aubergines, quartered

12 raw, unshelled, headless prawns

350g monkfish fillet, cut across into slices 1cm thick

2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded finely
Fish Curry
Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the green curry paste and fry for 5-6 minutes, until the ingredients begin to separate from the oil and it starts to smell aromatic.

Fish Curry

Looks awful- smells great

 

Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves or zest, lime juice, potatoes and the aubergines, if using. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes and aubergines are tender.

Fish Curry

Meanwhile, shell the prawns and de-vein them if fresh. Cutting each one in half lengthways.Mind you if they are frozen, like mine were, then simply toss them in on top and let the diner beware. I would advise the first option for a non family dining event!

Fish Curry

Add the prawns to the pan with the monkfish. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Stir in the shredded basil and serve with some rice of your choice. Divine.

Fish Curry

 

 

Happy Birthday Missy

You may or may not know that horses always have their birthday on the 1st January. (In the Northern Hemisphere- 1st August in the Southern Hemisphere)

first show

My very first show- I had no gloves, no jacket, no clue!

That means Missy is the grand old age of 16 this week.  And she doesn’t look a day over 12! And although the rule of the January 1st only really applies to thoroughbreds, it’s easier to apply it to all horses.

Pims 770

Who could resist this face?

And although the journey has not been smooth, still isn’t in fact, the bumps in the road are often quite hard, and sore.  I love her immensely. And although I have other equines, she’s the special one.

Missy

What are we up to today Mum?

I often describe loving horses as a disease.  For which, thankfully, the only cure is spending lots of time with them.  And even if I’m away for a while, with work or just life, she always whickers for me on my return.  It may be that she knows I’ll bring bribes, it may be that she recognises me and wants attention. Whatever it is (and please don’t burst my bubble-) I love it!

Missy Double Bridle

I love riding her in the double bridle!

I love the friends I have met through my interaction with horses.  We ALWAYS have something other than the weather to talk about.  And we can talk about it for hours.  And hours.  Believe me. Weeks even! And we all at different levels (yup I’m the worst!) and all have different horse types.  But we all have the same problems. Loading.  Stable stains. Weight issues.  The list is endless!

missy first pic

Jordan with Missy- The mare doesn’t look very impressed!

 

So.  My RESOLVE, as opposed to my resolution, with Missy, is to try to compete a little more.  And go more places with her.  Even if it’s not to compete. Apart from Bonmahon beach (not going there again :O)

 

 

Taking time out

It’s always such a mad rush to get everything done in time in the run up to Christmas. Then- nothing. And that’s a good thing. Except my body decided to tell me to stop, completely stop as I succumbed to a really nasty head-cold which has left me feeling exhausted and rough in the extreme.

It’s been strange to not be baking into the small hours of the morning and then getting up early to start all over again.  So we’ve been staying in, reading, watching films and generally doing nothing.  Mind you, after a couple of days of leftovers it was lovely to make soup yesterday.  Pea soup with some of the Christmas ham diced into it. Even more delicious than I remember it.

Pea Soup

Pea Soup

Sometimes it’s the plain and simple that tastes the best.  Except for that last scrap of Christmas pudding that I’m saving for a special moment- not so plain and not so simple.  But I think because I only make it once a year- it tastes so good.

Tomorrow I’ll head further back into the kitchen.  I plan on making a pannetone. Takes two days- but I’m looking forward to it already.  And I have some pastry to use up…..

But for now it will be walks on the farm and a little gentle cooking.

Swan on the lake

Alternative Christmas Desserts

Some people just can’t stand Christmas pudding. I’m a fan though as it’s a once a year treat. With the Enid Blyton lashings-of-cream-and custard type scenerio. But in reality a lighter pudding would be more successful!

This Lemon souffle is not a souffle in the true sense of the word, but it is light and therefore the title conveys the texture adequately.

Cold Lemon Souffle

 

Ingredients

2 leaves of gelatin

60ml Rum

3 eggs, separated

225g caster sugar

Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

250ml cream

330g condensed milk

Blueberries to decorate

 

Method

Soak the gelatin over the rum in a bowl and let it soften for 5 minutes; then put the bowl over a small pan of simmering water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and sugar until very thick and light. Beat in grated lemon rind and juice.

With clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Whip half of the cream.

Stir the dissolved gelatin into the lemon mixture, then fold in beaten egg whites, milk and whipped cream.

Pour into individual dishes, or one large one and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream to serve on the side. If wished add some blueberries to the bottom of the dishes for texture and colour.

Serves 6 to 8.

Another favourite, that is VERY last minute, but so easy it literally takes seconds. The most important thing is to buy REALLY good quality ice cream!

Roasted Raspberries

Ingredients

Fresh Raspberries, about 100g per person

Icing Sugar

Ice Cream to serve

Method

A very simple dish, with just 2 ingredients, that needs just 10 minutes to cook.

Heat your oven to 200oC, and put your raspberries in an oven proof dish.  You will be presenting the dessert in this dish so it’s best to use a respectable one!

Very heavily sieve icing sugar onto the raspberries, until you cannot see any of the ruby red colour of the fruit.
Copyright Jeni Pim
Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the sugar had almost dissolved and when stirred, the fruit is breaking up.

Serve immediately over some really nice vanilla ice cream.
Raspberries
Divine!

 

Simple Starters for Christmas Day

This year, as we are getting a little older, a starter seems like a good idea. Before when the kids were young, we use to just about get them to the table, after dragging them away from their Christmas presents before they gobbled their dinner and shot off again to build the taj mahal out of lego!

I’m going to attempt a cupcake made of brioche, with a topping of whipped chicken liver pate.  I’ll let you know how I get on!

  • Something light but tasty to get the gastric juices flowing is a simple salad with black pudding and apple. To make it really special, stick a scallop on top!

Ingredients:

150g smoked salmon

200g tub soft cheese (I use Philadelphia)

1 tablespoon crème fraîche, only if you have some

juice half a lemon

small bunch of chives, chopped

Method

Chop the salmon into small pieces. Tip the soft cheese, crème fraîche (if using) and lemon juice into a food processor, season generously with black pepper and blitz to your liking. Add the smoked salmon and pulse a few times if you want the paté chunky or blitz some more if you want the paté smooth and pink.

Stir the herbs into the paté and spoon into a large or four smaller bowls and serve with warm toast as a starter or with breadsticks as a dip.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Men

My sister in law is Finnish, as you know. And quite frankly she makes the best gingerbread in the world. But for those who wish to have a gluten free treat- here’s my gluten free version.  And even though we manage to make and consume a gargantuan amount of gingerbread in our house- apparently Nuremberg, Germany is the official Gingerbread Capital of the world!

Gingerbread Biscuits

Ingredients

350g Gluten Free Plain Flour plus extra for rolling out

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

125g soft butter

175g light soft brown sugar

1 large egg

4 tablespoons of golden syrup

Method

Mixtogether the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of your food processor.  Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar.

Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together.  Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 1800C.  Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Roll the dough out to approx 3 mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.  Stick the trays into the freezer for ten minutes before baking for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Decorate as wished!  Gingerbread upside down double as reindeer!
IMG_3630

All singing and dancing Vegetables!

Honestly the veggies don’t have to be “The norm”.  But there’s nothing wrong with just having some carrots, parsnips and Brussels sprouts.

The much maligned Brussels sprout is a member of one the cabbage families grown for its edible buds. This leafy Green vegetable is typically 2.5–4cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages.  The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium and may have originated and gained its name there.   According to the English food writer Jane Grigson, they are first mentioned in the city of Brussels’s market regulations in 1213.

Here’s two alternatives to simply chopping and boiling for your green veggies. Both can actually made up until the final plating the day before.  And although you’ll be busy Christmas Eve, Christmas day will be a bit easier.

Lemony Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

450g Brussels sprouts, trimmed

150g diced pancetta (Italian bacon),

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

200g coarse fresh breadcrumbs

1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method       

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts

Remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts; set aside. Halve the sprouts; set aside.

Cook the pancetta, stirring often, until browned around the edges about 4 minutes.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer this breadcrumb mixture to paper towels and let cool slightly. Toss in a medium bowl with the diced chilli, thyme, and lemon zest.

Increase heat to medium-high and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in same frying pan.  Add reserved halved Brussels sprouts; season with salt.  Cook, tossing occasionally, until deeply browned all over, 5–8 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add reserved leaves and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss to combine. Cover pan again and cook, tossing occasionally, until leaves are bright green and just wilted, 4–5 minutes. Uncover; add the remaining lemon juice.

Transfer Brussels sprouts to a platter, drizzle with more oil, and top with reserved breadcrumb mixture (reheat breadcrumb mixture if needed in a small pan)

Do Ahead: Breadcrumb mixture can be made 3 hours ahead; store uncovered at room temperature. Brussels sprouts (without leaves) can be cooked 2 hours ahead; store covered at room temperature. Reheat before adding leaves.

 

Kale Gratin
Curly Kale, Purple Kale & Cavolo Nero-2015-01-12 16.45.56
Ingredients:

A couple of slices of country ham or prosciutto

200g coarse fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

200g finely grated Parmesan

2 bunches kale (about 450g) and stems removed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

450ml whole milk

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Place ham on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20–25 minutes; let cool and break into pieces.

Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan; toast over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 10–15 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme and ¼ cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Mix in ham and set aside.  You can put this in a container at this stage and store in the fridge for a couple of days.

Cook the kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let cool. Drain and squeeze dry with paper towels. Coarsely chop greens and place in a large bowl.

Heat remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to bowl with greens; set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 200°C.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and very pale brown, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, ½-cupful at a time; add the grated nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 5–8 minutes. Whisk in remaining ¾ cup Parmesan. Add béchamel to green kale and mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer this mixture to a pie dish and top with breadcrumb mixture; place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to preserve your oven!). Bake until gratin is bubbling, 15–20 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving. Divine.

Kale gratin