Jimmy Stewart’s Chicken and Wild Rice

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Jimmy Stewart’s Chicken and Wild Rice

In my birth country, Germany, we do have a saying “Wer die Wahl hat – hat die Qual” (loosely translated: “He who has a choice – has the agony” and this quote was very appropriate for us last night.

It was dark quite early outside, the heavy Monsoon rain was pelting down with gusto, streets were nearly empty and we needed something light to cheer us up.

What better choice than looking into Jo’s extensive film library and choosing a film for us to see. We had not seen a film with Jimmy Stewart, one of the Hollywood greats of yesteryears, for some time, but now we had the problem of choosing one for this evening from a selection of the following films:
Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, Bell, Book and Candle, Anatomy of a Murder, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and How the West was Won, etc.

In the end we chose “Anatomy of a Murder”, a well-acted and well-directed Courtroom drama by Otto Preminger, which we had seen quite a few times before – and it still had not lost his appeal!

But, when Jo took out the disk from its case he found an article he had kept for a long long time, one of Jimmy’s favourite chicken recipes, which apparently Jimmy liked to cook in his own kitchen. We decided to re-create this dish (although Jo does not eat chicken!) for me, and hopefully you, to enjoy.

I more or less stuck to the original recipe. I only added one or two items in order to give it a little bit of “umpf” and instead of using Wild Rice, as favoured by him, I had to use best quality Basmati Rice, since Wild Rice was not readily available here.

Hopefully you will like this preparation – as much as I enjoyed eating it.

For 2 hungry people or for 4 on slight “diet” you will need:

Ingredients

4 x chicken drumsticks

1 x green capsicum (or half green/half red) (chopped)
3 x sticks of Celery (chopped)

1 x large onion (chopped)
2 x large red chillies (chopped)
100 x gr Champignons (Button mushrooms) (sliced)
1 ½ x cup of Rice (half cooked)
Butter
Flour
1 x cup of chicken broth
½ x cup of dry white wine
Breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

And this is how I made it:

In a pot cook chicken pieces, celery, peppers, onion, red chillies, salt and pepper covered just above all this with water.

Cover and cook over low heat for app. 1 hour (or until meat is tender).

After this time, add the pre-cooked rice (drained).

Now make a sauce consistent of butter, flour and ½ cup of chicken stock and ½ cup of wine.

Cook, stirring constantly until thickened.

Add the sliced mushrooms and stir.

Butter a casserole dish – and add all your chicken/rice mixture.

Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and bake in pre-heated moderate oven for 45 – 60 minutes.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

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Pancakes Surprise

……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..

Pancakes Surprise
(Pancakes filled with –tinned- Tuna fish and a variety of vegetables)

We all had this situation at one time – you are in need to relax after a hard day at work and now ready to sit down and watch a nice film. No cooking that evening for once. And then the doorbell goes and friends from out-of-town ‘pop in’ to say ‘Hello’. Here go all the beautiful plans for that evening, but soon the joy of seeing these good friends takes over.

Of course they stayed for supper, which was very nice. But what to do? A look into my (nearly barren) fridge – big shopping day was ‘tomorrow’ – and into my larder (store cupboard) and I came up with the idea of serving my faithful standby ‘pancakes surprise’.

These are savoury pancakes filled with all sorts of delicious items like here with Tuna and various vegetables and another one with very spicy Quark.

My friend and I quickly went to work in the kitchen while the men caught up with the latest news. But soon we were able to join them for a drink of our delicious Sula wine from the Nashik region of western India, 180 km northeast of Mumbai.

For 2 people you will need:

For the pancakes
125 g flour
¼ l milk
2 eggs
Salt (to taste)
Some butter to fry the pancakes

For one of the fillings:

Some Butter
1 Tbsp flour
¼ l milk
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tin of Tuna fish (in water)
2 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
250 g assorted vegetables (here I used finely grated carrots, peas, cauliflower)

Here is how I do this “… my way”

Make medium sized thin pancakes and keep warm.

Now heat butter, add flour and whilst stirring all the time, cook this until smooth. Add the cold milk bit by bit – keep stirring – ; bring to boil and add spices.

Add the vegetables (I only blanched the cauliflower florets) to the Béchamel sauce and slowly cook for a few minutes.

Add drained Tuna and Capers, salt, pepper and lemon juice – bring once again to the boil for a couple of minutes.

Take an ovenproof dish and using a small piece of soft butter smear this all over the inside of this dish.

Take some of the Tuna/Vegetable filling and spoon all over the pancake – continue until all the pancakes are filled. Roll each one up tightly and add to the ovenproof dish.

Bake in the pre-heated oven by 180 C for 20-30 minutes or until the pancakes are really golden brown.

N.B. Most vegetables can be used here, depending on your imagination and what you have in your larder.

Here is how I do this “… my way” (Part 2)

Before our friends arrived I had already made our own Supper ready to be enjoyed later on. I thought I will share this one with you as well – it’s so easy, quick, delicious but very filling.

I made:
3 large thin ‘dosas’ (Pancakes) using whole wheat (Atta) flour, egg and milk

When they were done I used up my home-made Quark by adding to this salt and pepper (to taste), Lots of Spring onions, finely chopped, 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder, a generous helping of our beloved Lingham’s Chilli Sauce (it all depends how much heat you can take), mixed all this well and spread this mixture evenly over all 3 pancakes. Added one on top of the other and then rolled all this tightly together. With a serrated knife I cut our portions.
No need to keep in oven. Any left overs keep well in the fridge for the next day when I heat this up until just warm.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

THAI STREET FOOD – PEANUT NOODLES


“……… I DO THIS MY WAY! …..”

For so many years now JS and I have been to Bangkok at least 3-4 times a year. It’s a relative easy (and very economical) flight from Kerala via Singapore.

And even though we always stayed in our lovely hotel and enjoyed Chef’s wonderful food besides the many lunch/dinners we relished at various other special places for us, I still joined our friends to try Bangkok Street food occasionally. And before some of you might disapprove, let me tell you, I have never ever been sick once – knowing of course where to eat helps. Some places were recommended by local friends, while some I found of my own accord.

Last time we were in this vibrant city was for their water festival “Sonkran”. The ‘Sonkran’ of this year is over and yes, we missed not being there with our friends and participate in the fun.

I too used to buy occasionally my Street food like they did, sit on some steps in front of one of those huge shopping centres and watched the spectacle, mainly children (of all ages!) getting soaked.

So here today I like to share with you this quick, simple and delicious recipe, my own version of “Peanut Noodles

For 2 people you will need:

100 gr medium egg noodles (or more if you are hungry)
1 x Tbsp Oil
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 or 2 x large onions, sliced
½ x of 3 different coloured Capsicums, seeded and roughly chopped
½ x of a medium sized Courgette, also roughly chopped

150 gr unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

Now for the dressing

4-5 Tbsp Oil (I like to use Olive oil here)
Grated rind and the juice of 1 x lemon (to taste)
1-2 x red hot chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
Some fresh chives, snipped (or Thai Basil)
2 x Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Here is how I do this “… my way

Cook noodles, drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in wok; add onions, garlic and all the remaining vegetables.
Cook appr for 3-5 minutes until they start getting brown and soft, but be careful, you do not want the vegetables too soft.
Add peanuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
In small bowl whisk together oil, grated lemon rind and 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, chilli, chives (or Thai Basil), Soya sauce and Balsamic vinegar (to taste). Add salt and pepper.

Now toss the drained noodles into the onion/garlic/peanut etc. mix and heat through.
When ready to serve add dressing, stir nicely to coat everything and serve garnished with fresh chives.

NB: you can also use spaghetti, if egg noodles are not available.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

I DO IT MY WAY! HUNGARIAN GULYÀS

“……… I DO IT MY WAY! …..”

I am pretty certain that most of us have a favourite ‘comfort soup’ – for some it is chicken soup, for others a nice vegetable soup, but for me my absolute No 1 soup is “GULYÀS”.

This ‘love affair’ goes back quite a few decades now and I can never get tired of this.

For you who are not familiar with this deliciousness: GULYÀS is actually a soup! And what is generally referred to as Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás) is in fact known as Pörkölt in Hungary which in fact is a One-pot dish, (sort of stew) and that’s why we can find cubes of potatoes in this dish. And as our Hungarian friend in Vienna assured us, a Pörkölt has absolutely nothing to do with Gulyás.

A few years ago JS decided literally on the spur of a moment to take me to Vienna for my birthday, a city which neither of us had been to previously. We spent two glorious weeks there, seeing “the sites”, visiting friends, etc. But the highlight of our stay was a visit to the “Wiener Staatsoper” to see a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” – no question about it, this was my most happiest birthday!

Our friends, Katharina and Sandor (who is a true Hungarian!) ‘wined and dined’ us royally during our stay, but when Katharina learned of my passion for a ‘Hungarian Gulyás Soup’, she of course cooked a splendid version of her husband’s traditional Soup for us. Thank you, my friends!

Like most traditional recipes one can seldom find the same one in two households. Every family for generations will put their own little ‘tweak’ to this dish.

And once I started writing the recipe here, floods of (nice) memories came back from quite a long long time ago.

The nearest big city to my hometown Bonn is of course Cologne. And it was and still is quite common to quickly drive or take one of the super trains to this city for Lunch, Shopping or Dinner.

And there one can find one of the famous Restaurants called “Pusztahuette” on the “Neumarkt’ which only serves one dish, and one dish only – yes, you guessed it “Gulyás (Soup)”. This restaurant is still going strong even after nearly 50 years!!! They also sell Gulyás in tins to take home and if you take your own container to this restaurant they fill it with the Soup to be enjoyed at home. Oh, how often I went there with friends for a most enjoyable meal.

Because I started to live around the world, I had to come up with my very own version of this wonderful “Gulyás” which today I like to share with you. And so, although it is not quite like the original recipe, my version is nevertheless most delicious. Maybe you will give it a try one day.

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg of pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 x Tbsp of Vegetable oil
3 x cloves of garlic, minced
2 x big onions, sliced
2 x Capsicum, I like to use 2 different colours, sliced finely
2 x medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
2 x tsp of caraway seeds
2 x tsp of marjoram
3 x Tbsp concentrated tomato paste

A very generous shot of dry red wine
3 x tsp of paprika, mild
3 x tsp of paprika, hot
1 x Tbsp of “Lingham’s Chilly sauce” – (if liked!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 – 4 x cups of water

And this here is how I do it.

Heat oil in large/wide pot.
Add meat, few pieces at the time, and brown slightly before taking it out again and keep aside.
Now add sliced onions, sliced garlic, and the capsicums, stir and let also brown very slightly.
After some time add the meat, tomato paste, the 2 types of paprika, marjoram and caraway seeds, stir well.
After 5 minutes add the water, cover your pot and let this simmer until meat is NEARLY tender.
Now add your red wine, stir, and also add “Lingham’s Chilly Sauce” and the grated potatoes.
Stir, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes maximum.

How to plate

Fill your soup cups or soup plates with this delicious fare. Sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion greens over this and finish everything off with a dollop of Crème fraîche.

N.B. Here are some tips which I learned over the years out of sheer necessity, i.e. non-availability of certain items.

If you cannot get decent Paprika use 2 types of chilli powder, one for heat and Kashmiri powder for colour.

This dish is equally delicious made from beef.

I like to add the grated potatoes, they give the Gulyás body – remember, this is not a thin soup at all.

That’s it – enjoy!

Namaskaram
Carina

TILAPIA IN A LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE

This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.

Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.

Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.

So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!

For 2 people you will need the following:

For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper

For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

And here is what you do:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.

To plate:
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.

That’s it – all done. Enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

Pollo con limón

Translating a Quote from my home country, Germany, which goes as follows “… it does not always happen as one wants or has planned”. This applies to our desire to travel to Europe on another 1-month long trip to countries we have already visited many times in the past and also to new countries, which are on our “bucket list”.

But since my health still does not allow me to travel so far abroad, I have decided to ‘visit’ those countries through my kitchen, i.e. trying to bring you easy recipes from those places.

So I am starting off with Spain. This was triggered by a telephone call from our friend Francesca in Madrid. And since we had taken our girls some time ago for a long family holiday to Madrid, we have very fond memories of some of the delicious, but so simple, dishes eaten in either our favourite ‘Bodegas’ or in the homes of some of our friends.

Francesca’s Mama one day made for us an easy Chicken dish for Lunch. And it only took her 45 minutes before we were able to sit at her table, accompanied by a chilled Cava ‘Segura Viudas’, lots of chit-chat and lots of laughter. Oh yes …… those were the days!

Pollo con limón

What you need: (for 4 people you can use 8 or more Chicken drumsticks)
8 x Chicken drumsticks, washed, dried and kept aside
500 g x Chorizo, skin removed and sliced
12 x (or more) Potatoes, peeled and cut like thick chips
2-3 x decent size red (for colour) Capsicum, halved, cleaned and cut into strips
Some lemon slices (skin removed)
2-3 x Cloves of Garlic (pounded slightly)
1x Bunch of Spring onions (the green part only) cut into small rings
Some Olive oil
Salt and black pepper (to taste)

How to make this dish

In a large pan heat the Olive oil, add the earlier prepared chicken drumsticks and brown those from all sides, take out and keep aside.

Now add the also earlier prepared potatoes and fry those lightly – add some salt.
Next add the Capsicum and Garlic and fry those too for a few minutes only. Now add the chicken drumsticks.
Turn down your heat and cook all this for appr. 30 minutes.

Before serving your “Pollo con limón” add all your Chorizo slices and fry for 5 minutes with your sliced lemon.
To serve, sprinkle the Spring onion greens over your Chicken and add some more Lemon halves.

That’s it – all done. Ready to be enjoyed.

Namaskaram,
Carina