Chicken and prawn xinxim

Yet another Diana Henry recipe today from A Bird in the Hand, and it’s a spicy one!

I’d never heard of xinxim before but it sounded like an interesting recipe and I’m absolutely delighted that I tried it. The whole dish was a spicy delight – I’m not sure why, but it seems that added ground nuts to curry type dishes really works well (I’m thinking of the peanut stew which we made a while back).

Chicken Gumbo

After the tasty jambalaya we made a short while back, it seemed appropriate to make some chicken gumbo as a follow up. None of our recipe books really have much in the way of creole recipes, so we went with a recipe we found on the BBC Good Food website.

Things didn’t get off to a good start when the online shopping delivery didn’t come with any okra (they tried to offer us some pak choi as an alternative – clearly the person who packed our shop had no idea what okra was!).

I was also a bit worried when I started to read some of the comments under the recipe which said that it was bland and unauthentic. There was no need for concern though. I made the whole meal for 4 for just the two of us (some comments suggested that the recipe was a bit measly in terms of portions) and the quantities seemed to work out just right. I was a bit heavy handed with the spices too – “just in case” – and it all seemed to come together really nicely. The flavours seemed (to my British palate) pretty authentic and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

The recipe suggested serving with some rice or bread – Mark had brought home some freshly baked rye bread which, when smeared with lashings of butter, complemented the whole thing beautifully.

Slow Cooked Sticky Lamb and Vegetables

More Nigel Slater inspired food for a Sunday afternoon. This is one which takes a while to cook, but is well worth.

In short, you brown the meat (Nigel uses oxtail but we used some cuts of lamb on the bone) then add some celery, onion and carrot chopped into biggish chunks. Before browning the meat, toss it in a mixture of flour, mustard powder and cayenne pepper.

Next add the best part of a bottle of wine and some herbs, stick a cover over and leave in the oven for 2 hours. We also added some orange peel on Nigel’s suggestion.

End result is as you’d expect – the wine reduces to a sweet and flavoursome sauce and the meat is so soft it falls off the bone. Delicious and obviously goes well with buttery mashed potatoes to mop up the juices!

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Another chance to try out the cast iron casserole cookware, this one. It’s also a chance to get well on our way to five-a-day when it comes to vegetables. It’s another recipe which is relatively easy and the only stress comes from waiting for it to be ready. I took the cheat’s route and used tinned chickpeas, rather than cooking my own as Nigella suggests (yes, this is another recipe from How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food (Nigella Collection)).

The house smelt amazing whilst this was on the stove, but the end result was a little disappointing. Nigella does suggest adding a stock cube if you think it’s not strong tasting enough and I reckon it would have benefited from this – or possibly just from far more Harissa.

On the plus side, we have left overs so I get some Moroccan chicken and vegetable soup for my lunch tomorrow!