Life’s a Journey not a Destination

As Aerosmith beautifully sings this quote, is one of my favourites.

So is food, it’s not a matter of learning how to combine two or more ingredients together, develop a recipe, cook it, eat it and you’re done. I like to think of it as an on-going journey that takes self-belief, creativity and food passion into a world of challenges and personal growth.

So how can we make this journey an enjoyable one? Last week we talked about being confident in the kitchen is key for success.

But how is this confidence built?

Jas please tell us what the kitchen is all about first of all?

“The kitchen is about food preparation and service, whether in the professional kitchen or at home. I always do my best to explain this by comparing it to a simple electricity circuit. It needs three main components to come alive; Life, Earth and Neutral. If one of them is not connected, then we won’t have light. Same happens with the kitchen, if food is missing then you can’t cook. If preparation isn’t done, then you can’t eat and if neither food or preparation is done, you can’t service! Sounds simple, right? I will explain in more detail each of these main components in the blogs to follow.

Now confidence, throughout my tough journey in the kitchen so many lessons were learnt and so many moments were cherished and that’s why I’m here today. Confidence is built through spending time in the kitchen and do things over and over again. Never giving up and believing in your own masterpiece even when giving up is the only choice!”

Job done! Apron on, hands washed, full-on motivation and ready to chop-chop!!

Have a lovely day folks 🙂

Rob

 

Advertisements

Spaghetti al Salmone – How to flambé a pasta dish

Ingredients – Serves 3

  • 500g Spaghetti
  • 200g smoked Salmon
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 115ml Double Cream
  • 240ml Vodka
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sunflower oil

    spaghetti-al-salmone-ingredients-jpg
    ingredients

Method

  1. Prepare a medium pot full of water and turn it on a high heat. When it starts to boil, add your pasta, oil and salt. Give it a stir every now and then.

    penne-al-salmone-3-jpg
    add pasta when water starts to boil
  2. Prepare a large frying pan on low heat and in the meantime peel and slice the onion and garlic.
  3. Add a dash of oil to the frying pan, add onion and garlic.
  4. Start slicing the salmon into long strips and add it to the pan. Leave it to cook for 10 mins.

    penne-al-salmone-4-jpg
    slice salmon into long strips
  5. Add vodka to the pan and by tilting the pan slightly forward, the alcohol touches the burner and fires up the pan. Watch it on video at 7:05 for a better explanation. Please be very careful if you are trying to do this! Let it reduce by ¾ and let the flames go out by themselves, that’s the alcohol burning out and giving flavour to the dish.
  6. Add the cream and give it a gentle stir.
  7. Drain your pasta and add it to the sauce.

MMmmm I can smell it from here!! Enjoy 🙂

Confidence in the Kitchen

13-1

One major thing that puts people off from being more active in the kitchen, is confidence.

Jas shares this little feedback which I’m sure lots of us can relate to:

“I have been working in the kitchen for the past 18 years now and as much as many mistakes were done, big lessons were learnt throughout the whole process. One lesson has stood out and I now believe that confidence in the kitchen is key.

In the past I passed through moments where I’m sitting on the sofa watching some cooking programs or watching food pictures and I will be astonished in what other chefs and cooks can do whilst my self-belief and confidence will start to go down, but then I return to the kitchen for work and everything will be ok, I feel home again.

So my advice to you, whether you’re looking to be a professional chef or just an amateur, will be to not let these moments fool you and play games with your mind.  Whilst you are in the kitchen you will do more than what you will see.

I will share some step by step tricks of the kitchen in the blogs to follow.” 

Thanks for that Jas, we look forward to know more and be more confident when putting our aprons on and start preparing that yummy dish..

Rob

 

Roast Chicken with Boulangère Potatoes and Vegetables

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • 500g Potatoes
  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 Sausages (we used Maltese sausage but you can choose your preference)
  • 2 white Onions
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • Fresh Rosemary & Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 2 Chicken stock cubes
  • Salt & Pepper

12-2

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven on mark 5.
  2. Prepare a small pot with water on medium heat, when this boils up add the chicken stock cubes.
  3. Start peeling potatoes, onions and garlic. Slice potatoes and onions about 1cm thick, leave the garlic as whole. Place all in a large bowl. Add fennel seeds, salt and pepper to the bowl. Use your hands to give it a good mix.
  4. Prepare a large roasting dish to place potato mix. Add the carrots on top, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and place the sausages by either side of the dish.
  5. Pour the stock all over, place the whole chicken on top of the veggies and put straight into oven. Leave it to cook for 45mins to 1hr.

Important note:

BASTING – To get a nice tender cooked chicken with a golden crusty skin, make sure you baste it. This is done every 12-15mins throughout cooking time by pouring chicken juices over all of the meat in the dish so it can keep moist. Watch how to do this in the video at 09:50.

When BBC celebrity chef, James Martin, met Rob & Jas

image

It was a great day out when we decided to visit the annual royal horse racing at Ascot Racecourse, London back in 2014. The day got even better when we managed to steal some of James Martin’s time to introduce our vlog and blog idea of home cooked food. He really liked the concept and promised that he will be promoting it whenever it comes live. We shared some common interests and with great enthusiasm here we are now, two years later and robandjas.com is proving to be a very exciting project. We are still improving and finding better ways to deliver this concept along the way and for this we thank you for all of your fantastic support!

Let us keep cooking, give you more ideas and teach you some tricks of the trade by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

See you soon!

 

Mary had a little Lamb, little did we know!

Is one of my favourite red meats and is an excellent source of protein!

I can say all lamb cuts can make great dishes, being it the shank, the neck, the shoulder or the leg. The shank and leg are great for a Sunday roast which goes down extremely well with some homemade mint sauce, whilst the neck is just perfect for a delicious stew just like what’s featured in this week’s recipe.

Slow cooking lamb is the trick for it to be nice and tender. This week’s recipe takes about 2hrs in total to be completed so make sure you accommodate time for that. However, you will have 1hr30mins of simmering so in the meantime you can do some other chores on the list.

As Jas explains in the video, this is a great recipe for freezing so once you make up your mind to go for it, make sure that you do it in a large quantity. It will still take the same time for cooking and frozen portions will make up for those ‘not-knowing-what-to-cook’ days or when time is very limited. Defrost frozen stew overnight in the fridge and make sure you thoroughly re-heat before eating. Taste and texture are not lost by doing so, which I find great!

We would really love to hear it from your side, so please scroll down and leave us any comments at the bottom of this page.

Rob

 

Best Lamb Stew Recipe

Ingredients – Serves 3

  • 540g (180g x serving) diced Neck of Lamb (tell the butcher to dice it for you)
  • 1 Onion
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 4 Carrots
  • 3 Potatoes skin on
  • 1 Leek
  • 6 Mushrooms
  • A handful of frozen Garden Peas
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes (polpa)
  • 1 carton Tomato juice (passata)
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste (kunserva)
  • 115ml cooking Red Wine
  • Fresh Rosemary and Thyme
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

10-1

Method

  1. Prepare a large pot on high heat and add a dash of oil.
  2. Add the chopped lamb and give it a gentle stir. Let it cook until it gets a nice brown colour.
  3. Start chopping onions and carrots into large chunks. Meanwhile keep on giving the lamb a stir so it gets cooked from all sides.
  4. Once lamb is all brown, add onions, carrots, rosemary and thyme.
  5. Chop the leek and garlic into chunks and add to the pan.
  6. Prepare mushrooms by chopping them roughly and leave them on the side for now.
  7. Add the tomato paste (kunserva), give it a good stir and let it cook until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Wash potatoes and chop into chunks, leave on the side for now.
  9. Add the wine to the pot once tomato paste is cooked well and let it cook until reduced by half.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, potatoes and give all a stir. Bring it to the boil and then leave it to simmer for 1hr – 1hr30mins. If stew gets too thick, you can add water as you go along.
  11. Add the mushrooms and frozen peas 10mins before stew is ready. Add some salt & pepper if you wish, bring it back to the boil and back to simmer again for about 5 mins.
  12. Grab a piece of your favourite bread and enjoy!