Sticky sweet chilli ribs with garlic dip and potato wedges

 

After having spent the morning stressing to the airport and sitting on a plane for a few hours and then braving the shops in Malmö’s newest (and much hyped) shopping centre, there was only one type of supper I wanted – a comforting one.

So we had some sticky succulent ribs, crisp potato wedges and a homemade garlic dip. Yum!

My method for making ribs is really easy, I only cook them in the oven. Some people prefer to boil the meat first, so please feel free to to that. I find, however that if you just leave them enough time in the oven you can skip that step and save yourself some washing up.

Spare ribs with sweet chilli marinade, serves 4

1,5-2 kg spare ribs

100 ml sweet chilli sauce

100 ml mild olive oil

4 garlic cloves, pressed

3 tsp sambal oelek

a few splashes Worchester sauce

salt, black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the marinade and season to taste. Place the ribs, meat side up, on an oiled baking tray. Brush on top with the marinade. Place in a 200C oven for 30 minutes. Turn over the ribs and brush on top with the marinade. Add some salt and pepper and cook for another 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and turn around once more, adding another layer of the marinade. Cook for another 5-20 minutes for a nice finish. Cut up and serve. 

Garlic dip, serves 4

300-400 ml Greek yoghurt 

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

4 tbsp mild olive oil

2-3 tsp dried herbs

salt, black pepper

Mix. Leave for about 15 minutes to develop the flavours, before serving. 

 

Dinner with chewy lemon cake as dessert

A while ago now I had my ex flatmates and their girlfriends over for dinner one weekday. I didn’t have time to prepare the supper the day before so I went shopping at lunch time and used some wellknown recipes for the dinner, but since  I wanted to try something new as well I baked a chewy lemon cake I had wanted to try for quite a while.

To start with I made Julia Child’s stuffed mushromms, served with dressed rocket and fresh baguette.

Next course was chicken thigh fillets with sambal oelek and basil, served with potato wedges and steamed broccoli.

For dessert I made the chewy lemon cake and served it with lightly whipped cream and fresh raspberries. I found the recipe on the Swedish food blog Pickipicki and it was just as popular as I expected it to be. It is chewy and gooey but light and fresh at the same time

Chewy lemon cake, serves 8

After Pickipicki’s recipe

2 egga
250 ml caster sugar
150 g melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 lemon
150 ml flour

Beat eggs and sugar fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice. Add vanilla and melted butter. Fold in the flour and pour into a greased springform. Bake in 150C oven for about 35 minutes. Serve cold, dusted with icing sugar together with lightly whipped cream and fersh raspberries. 

Chicken drumsticks with za’atar marinade

I discovered the lovely herb blend za’atar on my trip to Syria about a year ago. It consists of sesame seeds and dried thyme, but depending on the blend it can taste quite different. I bought a large bag of my favourite blend, a special blend a Damascus spice wholesaler made so it is probably one of the best you can get.

I love to cook with this blend and have used it in a few different dishes. Last week I marinaded drumsticks in a mixture of za’atar, lemon juice, Japanese soy, olive oil and garlic for about 48 hours and the cooked chicken was lovely and moist and coated of a golden layer or the marinade.

I used dried limes (also purchased in Syria) and whole cardamom pods to flavour the rice, which is popular in the Middle East. Once drained and the spices removed I sprinkled some sumac on it for extra flavour. The sauce is a simple mix of creme fraiche/soured cream, sambal oelek and fresh lime juice.

If you don’t want to eat the chicken with rice for supper the drumsticks work well on a picnic as well.

Chicken drumsticks with za’atar marinade

6 chicken drumsticks

4 tbsp za’atar

1/2 lemon, the juice

2 tbsp Japanese soy

2 whole garlic cloves

1/2 olive oil

salt, black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large ziplock bag and shake to combine. Leave in the fridge to marinade for at least 24 hours, but preferrably 48. Cook in a 200C oven on a rack with a tin foil covered roasting tray below for about 20 minutes.

Weekday wonders: pasta bake with broccoli, spring onions and sambal oelek

Pasta bake. Not a single Brit I have met has had a positive experience from a pasta bake. Bad memories from school dinners, or what is it about?

Where I went to school it was one of the few dishes I could actually enjoy a little. Most lunches consisted of a tiny bit of whatever was on offer, because you had to try it, and crispbread with butter and barbecue spice (classy, I know) to not die from hunger in the afternoon.

I promise you though, that this type of pasta bake is miled apart from school dinners and is not boring at all. It is a super easy weekday supper and instead of making a bèchamel I make a creme fraiche based sauce which I like to hot up a little with chilli sauce or in this case, sambal oelek.

To make this dish even better, choose nice dried pasta instead of the cheap ones on offer. I highly recommende De Cecco, which I always use.

Pasta bake with broccoli, spring onions and sambal oelek, serves 4

500 g De Cecco pasta

375 g broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 bunch spring onions, chopped

300 ml creme fraiche

1,5-2 tbsp sambal oelek

salt, white pepper

about 300 ml grated cheddar

Cook the broccoli florets in salted water for just a minute. Pick them up with a slotted spoon and leave to drain. Add more salt to the boiling water and then add the pasta. Cook for 3 minutes less than it says on the packet. Drain and rinse with hot water to get rid of the starch. 

Heat up the creme friache in a small saucepan and add the sambal oelek, salt and pepper. Add about 1/3 of the cheese and let it melt into the sauce. Mix the sauce and the pasta and pour the mixture into buttered ovenproof dish. Distribute the broccoli, scatter the spring onions on top and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes in 200C oven.

Warming chicken soup with beans and mushrooms

I like to eat soup at least once a week when it is cold outside, but mostly I stick to smooth soups, but it is about time I venture into different soups as well.

This chicken soup is perfect to use up leftover chicken and very tasty, warming and filling. I added some sambal oelek for heat and flavour, and although I made this with homemade chicken stock it works just as well with a stock cube or concentrate.

Chicken soup with beans and mushrooms, serves 3

1 carrot

1/2 onion

2 celery sticks

1 tbsp mild olive oil

500 ml chicken stock, homemade if possible

400 g tinned plum tomatoes or tomato chunks

400 g tinned borlotti beans

2 tsp sambal oelek

1 garlic clove

3 tbsp cream

1 tbsp maizena

7 sliced, fried button mushrooms

1/4 chicken, cooked and the meat shredded

salt, white pepper

To serve: grated parmesan

Peel the carot, rince the celery and peel the onion. Place it all into a food processor and mix. Heat up the olive oil in a 3 litre sacue pan. Add the minced vegetables and fry for a minute or so. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir occassionally. Rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil again and cook for a few minutes. Add sambal oelek and garlic, then cream and maizena. Then add the fried mushrooms and the chicken meat. Let it all heat up. Serve with grated parmesan.

Chicken thighs with sambal oelek and basil

Once again, I am promoting chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. I like that this meat always come with skin that you can crisp up. It is also a lot cheaper than chicken breasts, but the main advantage for me, is that the meat is so much juicier, and it is almost impossible to end up with dry meat on a chickn thigh.

This dish is perfect as a weekday dish or even a casual dinner party dish if you prefer, as the cream adds a little pinch of sofistication. I am certainly pleased with the combination of basil and sambal oelek, it really works!

Chicken thighs with sambal oelek and basil, serves 3

800 g (ca 6) chicken thighs

butter/oil for frying

1 large leek, sliced

300 ml single cream

3 tsp sambal oelek

2 tsp Chinese soy

1 garlic cloves

a splash of concentrated chicken stock or 1/4 stock cube

salt, white pepper

a bunch or fresh basil, chopped

Brown the chicken thighs on high heat in the fat, until gold and crispy skin. Transfer to a plate. Fry the leek in the same frying pan until it has some colour. Place it in the bottom of a greased gratin dish. Place the chicken fillets on top, skin side up. Mix cream, soy, sambal oelek, garlic and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it thicken while stirring. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil. Pour the sauce into the gratin dish and place it in a 200C oven for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the chicken is cooked through. A lot of meat juices will make the sauce thinner, which I quite like. If you want a thicker sauce pour it back into the saucepan, add thickening granules and let it thicken for a few minutes and pour it back into the dish to serve. Serve with potato wedges or rice and steamed broccoli.