Archive | May, 2013

Asparagus and my Roasted Crispy Chicken with Braised Spring Vegetables Recipe

20 May


Spring, From asparagus and artichokes to peas and broad beans, spring brings a fresh crop of sweet, versatile vegetables that brighten any meal.


The short-lived season, spanning just six to eight weeks, makes it the most eagerly awaited springtime food.
The arrival of asparagus heralds the beginning of summer’s succulent salads, and the end of the wintry brassica’s reign. Long considered a delicacy, in the past asparagus has been prized as highly as oysters or truffles.

Here are ten facts about this sweet-stemmed springtime vegetable:
1. Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
2. Asparagus first came to Britain with the Romans. It thrives as a wild plant, and with its high tolerance of sandy, salty soil it will grow along riverbanks, shores of lakes, and coastlines, leading to much argument as to where it actually originated.
3. Asparagus also comes in shades of purple and red, which turn green only when cooked.
4. Sizes range from slender, young ‘sprue’ asparagus to thicker-stemmed, jumbo-sized ‘kitchen’ grades.
5. It takes about three years for asparagus plants to become established, and even longer to reach a fully productive state.
6. In the UK, asparagus is traditionally grown in the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, and East Anglia.
7. Asparagus is considered a difficult food to pair with wine – it contains methyl mercaptan, a sulphur compound, which tends to give wine a vegetal or metallic taste. Try pairing asparagus with cool-climate wines that have pronounced herbal flavours to counteract this.
8. Top accompaniments for asparagus are butter, parmesan, hollandaise and vinaigrette, eggs, bacon or pancetta.
9. White asparagus is grown by creating mounds of soil around the growing spears, hiding them from the light and resulting in their blanched, pale look. It is particularly labour-intensive to harvest, as experienced eyes are needed to spot the spear tips in the soil.
10. In Thailand and Vietnam asparagus is known as măng tây, which means ‘European bamboo shoots’.
Prepping asparagus .
Because asparagus is grown in sandy soil, rinse the spears — especially the tips — with cold water. Snap off the woody base of each spear by bending the spear a few times to find a place where it breaks easily. This is usually around the bottom third of the spear and where the woody part starts to turn tender. If desired, scrape off the scales on the spears with a vegetable peeler. This gives the spears a smooth, clean look and is especially beneficial for tough or fat spears.

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Braised Spring Vegetables

Ingredients : serves 4

For the chicken:
4 Pieces of Skin-on Bone-in Chicken Thighs
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
2 Large Shallots, peeled and halved
4 garlic cloves peel on no need to remove : smashed
4 sprigs rosemary
8 sprigs thyme
Salt & Pepper to season

For the spring vegetables:
1 knob of butter
olive oil
150 ml white wine
150 ml organic chicken or vegetable stock
I clove garlic pealed and smashed
2 large shallots diced
500g asparagus
400 g fresh peas and broad beans removed from shells (frozen can be used too)
2 little gem lettuces, sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
good-quality extra virgin olive oil


1: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2: in an oven proof dish make a bed out of the rosemary,thyme, halved shallot and garlic , pat dry the chicken pieces , season and place on top of its herby bed and dress with olive oil, cook in oven for aprox 20/25 mins until skin is crispy and cooked through.

3: prepare your peas, broad beans and asparagus (tip for asparagus see above ) for blanching

4: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt so it tastes as salty as the ocean.
5: Prepare a large bowl of ice water
6: Put veggies in the boiling water for max 2 mins !!! Not any longer
7: Drain vegetables and transfer them to the ice water. Swish them around in the water until cool. Drain and pat dry .( blanching like this intensifies the the colour and flavour)


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8: Slowly heat the butter and a good lug of olive oil in a pan add the diced shallot and garlic , cook until translucent NOT COLOURED !
9: slowly pour in the wine & stock. Turn up the heat and add the blanched vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper. simmer for 5 minutes or until tender

10: now add the little gem lettuce just to wilt ,Taste, correct the seasoning . Ready to serve

11: to serve . Divide the braised vegetables on to hot dishes with all its juices then carefully place the roasted chicken thighs on top , dress with good extra virgin olive oil 😋


This dish can be made for a quick midweek meal or for a wonderfully delicious dinner party , still flummoxed or nervous and want to try this I can come and cook it for you ! 😃🔪🍴

For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call :
0031(0) 642297107

Blueberry and chilli molasses-glazed belly of pork with whipped feta, yoghurt and cumin salad

3 May

Blueberry and chilli molasses-glazed belly of pork with whipped feta, yoghurt and cumin salad.

This recipe is originally made by Silvena Rowe, I just love her passion of middle eastern herbs and spices , this dish sounds sickly sweet but the feta and cumin salad cuts through the sweetness of the blueberry molasses to utterly compliment it . A totally fantastic dish to try for pork belly lovers 😉


Less than 30 mins
preparation time
Over 2 hours
cooking time
Serves 4
For the belly of pork
• 800g/1lb12oz lean belly of pork
• 800ml/1 pint 8fl oz rich chicken stock
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp fennel seeds
… • ½ tsp crushed cardamom
For the blueberry molasses
• 350g/12oz frozen blueberries, defrosted
• 125ml/4fl oz water
• 2 tbsp caster sugar or honey
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ½ tsp mild chilli flakes
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
• 55g/2oz feta cheese, crumbled
• 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2 Baby Gem lettuces, leaves only
• ¼ tsp cumin seeds
• ¼ tsp black sesame seeds

Preparation method
1. For the belly of pork, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
2. Place the pork belly in a deep roasting tin and pour over the chicken stock – it should come about half-way up the pork belly.
3. Scatter over the spices, cover the tin with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 2-4 hours, or until very tender.



4. Remove from the oven, drain off the liquid and let the meat cool completely.


5. For the blueberry molasses, place the blueberries and water in a food processor or blender and blend to a purée.

6. Place the purée in a saucepan and add the sugar, lemon and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-60 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more chilli if you like a little more spice.





7. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9. Remove the thick layer of skin and fat from the pork belly and discard. Place the pork in a clean roasting tin and glaze the top and side of the meat with the blueberry molasses.


8. Place the pork in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the top is caramelised and slightly crisp.

9. For the salad, whip the feta, yoghurt and ground cumin together in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then place in a clean bowl with the salad leaves. Mix well, then sprinkle with the cumin and sesame seeds








10. Cut the pork into squares and serve with the salad






This recipe is an absolute must! If still not sure or scared to do it yourself I’m offering my services as private chef and will come and cook it for you.
For More info please mail or call :
(0031) 0642297107
For callers outside the Netherlands please omit the 0 before the 6.

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