Scallops & Chorizo and Chickpeas with Rocket & Sherry – Nigella Express

Nigella Express Scallops and Chorizo

I’ve had mixed results from Nigella Express cookbook. Some good, one inedible despite me loving all the ingredients, some ok. Maybe it’s me, this book has lots of great reviews on Amazon.  The Scallops & Chorizo was really nice, but given the cost of scallops I think it needs to be spectacular. The combination of chorizo and scallops definitely works but it’s missing something, possibly a hint of chilli ? The chickpeas recipe worked as long as you stir rocket in right at the end so it just wilts, and I may make this again but I didn’t think the chickpeas worked with the Scallops and chorizo, chickpeas are too robust.

Scallops & Chorizo

Ingredients

  • 110 grams chorizo
  • 400 grams small scallops (halve them to make 2 thinner discs if they are very fat)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Slice the chorizo into rounds no thicker than 3mm / 1/8 inch.
  2. Heat a heavy-based pan on the hob and, when hot, dry-fry the chorizo round until crisped on either side (the chorizo will give out plenty of its own oil); this should take no more than 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the chorizo to a bowl and fry the scallops in the chorizo-oil for about 1 minute a side.
  4. Return the chorizo to the pan with the scallops, add the lemon juice and let bubble for a few seconds before arranging on a serving plate and sprinkling with lots of parsley.

Chickpeas with Rocket & Sherry

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon wok oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 820 grams chickpeas (2 cans) drained and rinsed
  • 130 grams rocket (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon maldon salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
  • 60 ml cream sherry

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil and cumin seeds in a wok.
  2. Add the chickpeas, salt and sherry and give a good stir.
  3. When chickpeas have heated through turn off the heat and stir in the rocket until just wilted.

Grilled Cheese and Slaw – Nigella Express

Thought I’d give the Nigella Express cookbook another go and wanted something very easy for lunch. Basically this is a cheese toastie with quick coleslaw – I think it’s a bit of a cheat to fill two pages of a cookbook with this (unless it was a cookbook for beginners) when the recipe could be condensed into:
Make a cheese and tomato toastie and quick coleslaw
– use Chinese leaf instead of white cabbage and mix a little mango chutney into the mayo for your coleslaw.
– mix a little worcestershire sauce into some mayo and use in sandwiches instead of butter 

I was going to follow her instructions for the cheese toastie as I do have a griddle pan but decided weighing it all down and removing it all to check when it’s cooked was too much of a faff so I used my toasted sandwich maker instead.  The conclusion from our teen who is very fond of mango chutney was that it was too overwhelming in the slaw and he actually left his (my boys almost never leave food so he really wasn’t keen). Jon and I quite liked it but concluded 1 teaspoon of mango chutney rather than a tablespoon would be better. And what’s not to love about a cheese toastie 🙂

Nigella’s Sandwich Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 red apple, cored and julienned or coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot, julienned or coarsely greated
  • 100 g Chinese leaf, finely shredded
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp mango chutney
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Toss together the vegetables & fruit.
  2. Mix caraway seeds with mango chutney, lemon, mayo and salt, and pour this over the veggies.
  3. Mix carefully, then serve.

Chicken Schnitzel with Bacon and White Wine – Nigella Express

We’re all bored with eating the same limited range of meals so whilst I’m not working I want to vary family dinners. Since last nights Nigella Express dinner was good I thought I’d try another. I’m trying to work through the freezer as well and pulled out a potato gratin so I needed something to go with that and this looked suitable. This also looked nicer than it does in the photo. I used chicken breasts which I cut into thin slices rather than chicken escalopes so the pieces of chicken weren’t as tidy looking as in her picture. This was simple to make, although it did take longer than Nigella has said. Maybe she sears everything at a very high temperature ? The family consensus was this was good and worth making again.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic oil
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 4 chicken escalopes approx. 125g each
  • 100ml white wine

Instructions

  1. Put the oil in a frying pan and add the bacon.
  2. Fry till the bacon is crisp and the pan is full of bacony juices. Remove the bacon to a piece of foil, wrap it and set it aside for a moment.
  3. Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes a side, until there is no pinkness when you cut into a piece. Make sure the pan’s hot so that the escalopes catch a little, turning beautifully bronze.
  4. Remove the chicken to a serving plate and quickly crumble the bacon you’ve set aside into the pan, then pour in the wine, letting everything bubble up, and, finally, pour over the chicken pieces.

Pollo alla cacciatora – Nigella Express

I thought I’d best give my Nigella Express cookbook a few more tries and this sounded nice, plus it didn’t need any hard to find ingredients. I bought chicken thighs rather than fillets so had to fillet the chicken, I couldn’t get pancetta  cubes so cut up some streaky bacon instead and I used garlic and oil rather than garlic oil so I would estimate preparation took about 15-20 minutes. It cooks for 20 minutes, so still quite quick. I served it with green beans and plain basmati rice. This was good, I’ll definitely make this again and it looks nicer than in the above picture.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp garlic flavoured oil
  • 110g pancetta cubes, or lardons
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 450g chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 110ml white wine
  • 1 (400g) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 (400g) can cannellini beans, optional

Instructions

  1. Put the garlic oil into a pan with the pancetta, sliced spring onions and chopped rosemary and fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the bite-sized chicken pieces, stirring well and sprinkle in the celery salt. Pour in the wine and let it come to a bubble before adding the tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Put the lid on and let the pan simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, if using and add to the pan about 10 minutes before the end of cooking. When they have warmed through, you are ready to eat.

Salmon Escalopes with Watercress, Sugar-Snap Peas and Avocado – Nigella Express

I’m not going to bother typing up this recipe as I really won’t be making it again. It was perfectly edible but considering I like all of the ingredients it really wasn’t worth it. I felt I could use the same ingredients and make a nicer meal in the same time. The rice wine overwhelmed the salmon and the dressing didn’t really work for the salad, just lemon juice on the salad would have been nicer. Also Nigella calls for miniature sugar-snap peas! I don’t know what planet she lives on (mega rich with housekeepers to track down obscure ingredients across London presumably) but these are not stocked by my local very well stocked Waitrose (and my local store even has pea shoots available in the veg section).

Mustard Pork Chops – Nigella Express

I’ve had the Nigella Express book for about three years now and this is the first time I’ve cooked anything from it. I was trying to work out why I rarely use Nigella’s recipes for meals and I realised it was because her recipes have very few vegetables included or recommended. The other reason I suspect is because many of her meal recipes require you to buy all the ingredients as they aren’t store cupboard staples.

Her recipe for Mustard Pork Chops however is simple and I had most of the ingredients. I doubled quantities as I was cooking for 4 and I’ve included the sugar snap peasm salad and gnocchi in the instructions although obviously you can do veg of your choice. This was perfect for a mid week dinner and a recipe I’ll definitely make again. My teen boys were interested i knowing what the gnocchi was as this is the only time we use it and they were very definite that they liked it.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 250ml cider or white wine
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 150ml double cream
  • 500g gnocchi
  • 1 pkt sugar snap peas
  • 1 pkt rocket
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Parmesan shavings

Instructions

  1. Cut the fat or rind off the chops, and then bash them briefly but brutally with a rolling pin between two pieces of clingfilm to make them thinner.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the chops over a moderately high heat for about 5 minutes a side. Remove them to a warmed plate.
  3. Whilst these are cooking rinse the rocket and put into dish, squeeze lemon juice over it and sprinkle parmesan shavings on top
  4. Start the gnocchi cooking just before you start the sauce
  5. Pour the cider/white wine into the pan, still over the heat, to de-glaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so, then add the mustard and stir in the cream.
  6. Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each plated pork chop.
  7. Throw the cooked gnocchi into the sauce pan to absorb any spare juices before adding them to your plates.