Archive for the 'Chicken and poultry' Category

How to make Kung Pao Chicken


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* Go to the recipe for Kung Pao Chicken

One of the dishes we returned to time and again when we were visiting our friend Cristy in Beijing a few years ago was the popular Gong Bao Ji Ding or Kung Pao Chicken (also called Kung Po or Gung Po chicken). Traditional Gong Bao Ji Ding is a spicy Sichuan dish, the westernised version of which is often very different from the authentic Sichuanese version. I’m sure there are many variations of the dish within China, as well. But it’s not usual to add other vegetables like onions, peppers (capsicum) or cashews (or even pineapple?!).

I like to call it Gong Bao Ji Ding, because it has such a lovely ring to it, and apologies to Mandarin speakers the world over for my terrible pronunciation. Perhaps, as I’m erring towards attempting to cook an authentic version of the dish, I should also be trying to pronounce it correctly. But the truth is, I simply don’t know how.

There are very few main ingredients in Gong Bao Ji Ding – just chicken, peanuts and spring onions (green onions), really. But, as with many east Asian dishes, the complexity is in the many flavourings. Continue reading ‘How to make Kung Pao Chicken’

How to cook with truffles

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Go to the recipe for Pasta with white truffle
Go to the recipe for Eggs in cocotte with white truffle

On “schoolnights”, when everything happens at helter-skelter pace, it’s always a rush to get home from work, throw a meal together and do the day’s housekeeping before crashing into bed. If I’m lucky Waz has been on an early shift and we can share the evening duties.

So on the weekends we really like to give a lot more time and attention to creating lovely meals that we can enjoy eating at a slower pace.

I thoroughly respect the ideology of the Slow Food Movement – begun in 1986 to celebrate and enjoy local and regional cuisines. So when time permits I love to create meals that embody the Slow Food philosophy of creating the simplest of dishes, with the highest quality ingredients.

Chef Michelle and I recently treated ourselves with a whirlwind weekend trip to the centre of the white truffle universe – the Alba truffle festival in Piemonte near Turin, Italy. We ate a fantastic truffle meal at a Slow Food restaurant with some luscious local Barolo wine. We couldn’t believe our luck the following day when, while roaming the Alba hills, we ran into a local truffle hunter who sold us some white truffles that his little dog had just dug out of the ground. Continue reading ‘How to cook with truffles’

How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way

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Go to the recipe for Christmas duck

Let’s talk turkey. Actually let’s talk about something else this Christmas. Let’s talk turkey alternatives.

This is a first for Crash Test Kitchen. We’ve never done a Christmas episode before. So we thought we’d focus on two of the basic elements you want on your table: crispy roast potatoes and a lovely bird.

But instead of turkey, we’ve chosen duck. Continue reading ‘How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way’

Our roast chicken recipe: hot and fast

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Go to the recipe for hot and fast roast chicken

People do fuss over a roast chicken, don’t they? Doing all sorts of things like draping bacon over the fleshiest bits to keep them moist, mucking around poking seasonings under the skin, stuffing all sorts of things inside them to add flavour, even insisting that you have to roast a chicken breast-down in the pan and then flip it over part way through cooking.

In our opinion, if you keep the cooking simple, getting a good result can be reduced to one decision: buying a decent chicken in the first place. There’s been a lot of publicity about chicken welfare lately, with the focus being on battery laying hens and intensively reared, fast-growing meat birds that can hardly stand up by themselves.

In our house we haven’t gone down the full free-range route, but have settled on buying slow-growing birds that are fed better food in more spacious barns endorsed by animal welfare authorities. In the UK the scheme is called RSPCA Freedom Foods and no doubt there are equivalents elsewhere in the world. Continue reading ‘Our roast chicken recipe: hot and fast’

Duck a l’orange

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Go to the recipe (duck breasts)
Go to the recipe (whole duck)

When I found whole duck on sale at our local supermarket, I got very excited. And I remembered that we had an episode up our sleeve not yet launched on the wider Crash Test Kitchen viewing public.

Friends and family were coming over for dinner this week and I had planned to do a simple roast chicken – but I had never cooked a whole duck before, and I want to have one next Christmas. So this would be the trial run.

It might be a tad retro, but duck a l’orange remains synonymous with birds that swim. A while back we did a show for the Word of Mouth blog that involved duck breasts and a recipe by Stefan Reynaud. Recipe-wise, what I’ll detail here is how we did the breasts-only version shown in the video, and how I handled the whole bird – a Gressingham duck in our case. Continue reading ‘Duck a l’orange’

Partridges with bread sauce


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Autumn is game season, and in years past I’ve indulged in wild meaty delights such as pheasant and woodcock (I think it was). I’ve fantasised about getting out in the woods with my wellies and peacoat, dogs yapping along the muddy tracks while I take a few shots at the woodland foul as the beaters scare them out of the brush. But I never really thought it would happen.

And it didn’t, exactly. But this did: our friend Richard was lucky enough to be taken on a game shoot recently and, lucky for us, his kitchen was being refurbished at the time, so we ended up with two lovely, bright-eyed fresh partridges trussed up in a plastic bag to do with what we would.

Continue reading ‘Partridges with bread sauce’

Stock while-u-don’t-wait


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Making stock is easy enough – bones, vegetables, herbs, seasoning, then simmer simmer simmer. For a long, long time. And therein lies the problem – can you afford to be housebound for eight hours or so while you wait for all that boney, marrowy, veggie goodness to leach out?

We’ve heard some people talk about making stock in a pressure cooker. You can cut the cooking time down to an hour and a half, maybe less, which should fit in nicely with your TV watching. But do you have a pressure cooker? No, neither do we. But we do have a slow cooker, or crock pot, as featured in our last episode. In this latest instalment of our Adventures in Slow Cooking we find another way to put it to good use. Continue reading ‘Stock while-u-don’t-wait’

Going, going, tarragon chicken


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Go to the recipe for tarragon chicken

Here’s an episode we prepared earlier. We’ve been doing a few shows for Word of Mouth (WOM), the blog of Observer Food Monthly magazine here in the UK. A lot of you probably didn’t know about these CTK specials, as they were posted only at WOM and didn’t go out in our feed.

It seemed a shame that some of you might miss out, especially the great number who subscribe to CTK via iTunes, so we’ve decided to repost them here for your enjoyment. Even if you’ve seen the episode before, you can now download it to your iPods, Apple TVs and what-not. Continue reading ‘Going, going, tarragon chicken’

Rice to the occasion


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Lenny is a whiz with fried rice. Last time she made it I was well impressed, to the point that I would eat it over stuff from a Chinese restaurant any day.

And that’s saying something. I reckon it’s really hard to replicate the flavours of your better-than-average Chinese takeaway. Maybe it’s down to MSG, which in some Asian cultures is literally known as “taste” (oh, if only you could buy good taste in powdered form). We’ve got nothing against MSG, really – it’s either in the food we buy or it isn’t – but we don’t have it in our kitchen, and don’t have any idea how, or how much of it, to use. Continue reading ‘Rice to the occasion’

We larb turkey


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The leftover Christmas turkey was on its last legs, and sandwiches had long since lost their appeal … time for what Lenny calls a “flavour changer”.

Larb is a simple Laotian dish of spicy mince (usually pork or chicken) that is eaten with sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice. In Laos the rice comes in a little hopper-style basket made of bamboo and woven grass. The lime and chili flavours are heaven together, and ground rice powder adds a bit of crunch. Continue reading ‘We larb turkey’