I could take EssexEating’s taunting Tweets on the subject no more. I needed a crispy, cheesy tortilla fix on the quick.
A big pile of cheesy chips like this reminds me of my student days. I would microwave for an instant result, but when I have time I like to bake this so the tortillas have a hollow, crisp edge. I’ve made this one have the pretence of a real meal by adding a protein and a veg but let’s not kid ourselves: this falls squarely in the ‘treat’ category. Ticks loads of feel-good boxes though.
Chicken tortilla melt:
2 chicken breasts, chopped very small
1 pepper, diced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
A large bag of tortilla chips, whichever flavour you like
Piles of cheddar cheese
Get your oven on as hot as it will go. Get a frying pan on the hob to pretty hot.
Toss the pepper and chicken in the spices with a pinch of salt and pepper and fry in a little oil. Once the chicken has coloured all over remove to one side. The chicken’s going in the oven too so it can be a tiny bit under.
Scatter a baking tray with tortilla chips and top with cheese. Add a layer of chicken and peppers, then repeat the layering until you’ve used everything up. Try and save some cheese for later.
Place in the oven and bake for 3 – 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. Out of the oven top with the remaining cheese (the combination of melted cheese and barely warm cheese is really interesting). Grind over some black pepper and serve with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
This dinner was made super-fast by the addition of two dead handy ingredients: Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Onion Curry Base and Patak’s Balti paste. This wiped so much time off the cooking, all I was waiting for was the cauliflower to get tender. The Waitrose onion curry base is particularly great; sweet, spicy and tender onions, garlic, ginger and chilli in a jar sweated down. Look out for them.
Quick cauliflower dhal:
Half a jar of Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Onion Curry Base
Half a jar of Patak’s Balti paste
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tin green lentils, drained
1 tablespoon double cream
Heat a little oil in a deep pan and add the onions. Cook for a minute and stir in the curry paste. Add the cauliflower and cook for another minute stirring to coat the cauli in the pastes.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. After five minutes add the lentils and continue cooking until tender. Just before serving stir through some cream.
Back when discussing the perfect jacket potato, I hit on my least favouritest food ever: BAKED BEANS (the ones from a tin). I really don’t care for them, the smell makes me gag. But everyone else in the house loves them. Who’s right?
I quite like jacket potatoes, but the observant among you will note I’m more of a roast potato man. To my mind a jacket should be crisp and earthy on the outside, yet fluffy and yielding inside. Is there any other way? Mrs. RP is an absolute fiend for the jak pot however, and could have them every day.
Something else that divides the Roast Potato household is BEANS. BAKED BEANS. I have a rabid, horrific hatred of them. It’s the one food I will turn over tables rather than eat. Even the smell brings me out in a bilious fit. They’re one of Mrs. RP’s favourite foods. This gives me an idea… see next post.
Anyways, I’ve prepared baked potatoes the same way every time: slap a bit of oil on, s&p, bake for a bit. I’d never questioned it. Very un-Heston of me. But then the Guardian comes along comparing tons of methods. Felicity Cloake tries out a few, and summarises her perfect pot. So I tried it.
It was quite good – I still don’t think it’s there. By placing it directly on the rack, you lose that chunky callousy bit which I really like. And somehow the skin goes a bit papery. I prefer mine a little thicker. It’s tasty though, but needs a little work. Give it a try, see what you think. Or, how do you do it?
Perfect jacket potato:
1 large Vivaldi potato per person
A shedload of Maldon salt
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly, and don’t bother drying. Roll in salt and pop in the oven straight on the rack.
Bake for 1 hour, until tender inside. Don’t serve with beans.
I had half the dough left over from pesto pizza, and it occurred to me that I’d never made one of my favourite Italian foods: calzone. That lovely folded pizza, like a Cornish pasty spending a gap year travelling.
I was bowled over by how tasty it was. It really was great, especially when paired with a zingy mustardy salad.
For the dough (makes 2 x 30cm pizzas; I used half for two calzones):
500g strong bread flour
100g fine polenta
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7g dry yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil
300ml lukewarm water
100g chorizo, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 tin tomatoes (a good brand will help you a lot here)
6 pieces baby mozzarella
A few thyme leaves
In a jug mix the yeast, oil, water and sugar together and leave for a few minutes while you get on with the other dry ingredients.
For the pizza base, bring the flour, polenta and salt together in a bowl. I use a food mixer which makes the next stage dead easy.
Pour the wet mix into the dry and let a dough hook do its work for about 5-6 minutes. If you’re doing it by hand push and knead it together until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp teatowel and leave somewhere warm for an hour – it should double in size.
When the dough has risen, pre-heat the oven as high as it will go. If you have a pizza stone, get it in now. Otherwise a cheap but conductive metal tray will work.
Fry the chorizo in a hot dry pan until one side colours. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the peppers have softened slightly. Remove the ingredients to one side with a slotted spoon, leaving the oils behind. Add the tomatoes and thyme to this pan, keeping the heat very high. Let it bubble down and reduce until thick then remove from the heat.
Push the dough into a thin, round shape on a floured surface. Go as thin as you can. Spread some tomato puree over half the calzone, dot with mozzarella and add half the chorizo/pepper mix. Spoon over a little more tomato sauce, then fold the calzone over, crimping the edges.
When it’s ready take it to the oven. The pizza will bake for anywhere between 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your base and the temperature of your oven. (Quicker is better). Serve with a green salad.