Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Attempt #55: Pancetta hash with eggs & apple salad

One of the best thing that I love about Jamie's salad recipes is that you can replace or add new ingredients to them and they still taste wonderful! 

The result:
I replaced pancetta with bacon and watercress with spinach and I added zucchini into the recipe. But with the core or foundation of the salad being bacon, poached eggs and apples...whatever ingredients throw in or replaced will just further enhance the magical combination of this dish. 


Heat a wide frying pan and add a splash of oil. Fry the pancetta, ham and potatoes together for 10–12 minutes, tossing occasionally until the potatoes are cooked, golden and crisp. Divide between 2 plates.

Meanwhile, bring a wide saucepan of water to the boil and add a splash of white wine vinegar. Poach 2 eggs gently in the water for a couple of minutes, until softly set. Remove and place one on each plate of ham and potatoes.

Toss the watercress and sliced apple together and dress with a pinch of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of olive oil. Top the poached eggs with a little pile of salad and serve.

Serves 2


  • olive oil
  • 6 slices higher-welfare pancetta, cut into wide strips
  • 2 slices good-quality ham, torn into pieces
  • 500 g potatoes, cubed
  • 1 splash white wine vinegar
  • 2 very fresh free-range eggs
  • 1 large handful watercress
  • 1 red apple, very finely sliced
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice

Attempt #54: Spanish fish & chorizo soup

From this attempt, I realized that Chorizo and fish work so well together.  However, make sure the ingredients esp the fish and chorizo is of best quality.

Sprinkle pangrattato on top to add a lovely crunchiness to the soup and is well worth the little bit of extra effort. 

The result

Couple of things I discovered from this attempt:
1. Chorizo comes in both spicy and sweet ones. I have always only tried the spicy ones and for this recipe, I used the spicy one as well.
2. It is quite tricky to get a deliciously good shot of a tomato-based dish as most comes out looking yucky although it tastes absolutely great! :)  

Heat a large pan on a medium heat, add a good lug of olive oil, the sliced garlic, chopped chillies and chopped basil stalks. Fry everything together for a minute then add the sliced chorizo. Cook for another few minutes until the sausage starts to brown, then pour in the white wine, tinned tomatoes, rice and chickpeas. Season well and simmer for 10 minutes, until the rice is just about cooked. 

Meanwhile, put a frying pan on a medium heat to make the pangrattato. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and let it heat up for a minute or so, then add the breadcrumbs, flat-leaf parsley and lemon zest. Fry for a couple of minutes until it's all golden brown and crispy then put to one side. 
After the soup has simmered for 10 minutes, it should have thickened a little, so stir in about 200ml of hot water and bring everything to the boil. Cut each of the fish fillets into three pieces, then, carefully, so you don't get splashed by any of the hot liquid, place them and the prawns into the mixture. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the prawns are pink. 
When the fish is perfectly cooked, stir through the basil leaves. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each with a nice big spoonful of pangrattato. Serve with a few wedges of lemon to squeeze over the finished dish and enjoy all those gorgeous flavours!


olive oil
·      2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
·      2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
·      1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
·      1 iberico sausage, around 200g, sliced
·      ½ bottle white wine
·      2 x 400 g tinned plum tomatoes
·      1 handful basmati rice
·      400 g tinned chickpeas, drained
·      sea salt
·      freshly ground black pepper
·      2 bream fillets, fromsustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, skinned and pin-boned
·      2 pollock fillets, fromsustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, skinned and pin-boned
·      12 raw prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, peeled, tails left on
·      2 lemons, cut into wedges

·      For the pangrattato

·      2 handfuls breadcrumbs
·      1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
·      zest of 1 lemon

Attempt #53: Pork chops with prosciutto, apple & Stilton

Yummy, yummy yummy. And just put that calories scale away just this once.

The Result:

Definitely mouth watering….well, anyone who loves cheese will love this recipe. However, securing the prosciutto with a rosemary sprig was a little tricky. I couldn’t really get that done right hence in terms of presentation of the dish, it was a F. But taste wise, it was still an A+ to me! :) 


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Lay out 3 slices of the prosciutto so they overlap. Repeat with the rest of the prosciutto so you have 4 piles.

Put a frying pan over a high heat. Season the chops well with salt and pepper, then sear in the hot pan on both sides. Place a seared chop on top of each pile of prosciutto. Divide the sliced apple and Stilton between the prosciutto piles, on top of the pork.

Wrap the prosciutto around each of the pork, apple and Stilton parcels to hold it all in place. Secure each with a rosemary sprig. Place the prosciutto parcels on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Serve with mashed potato and cooking juices from the parcels.

Serves 4


  • 12 slices quality prosciutto
  • 4 higher-welfare pork chops, French trimmed and all fat removed
  • 1 small red apple, cored and sliced
  • 75 g Stilton cheese, crumbled
  • 4 small rosemary sprigs, to skewer

Attempt #52: Quick crispy chicken with tomatoes & broccolini

Jamie declared that this is really a quick and simple meal to make. I can now attest to that statement as not only it is that simple and quick to make, it is yummy yummy yummy.

Jamie suggested using olives, anchovies or sun-dried tomatoes to add a bit of saltiness and extra flavour.

The Result:

It was indeed a very yummy combination of ingredients but the chicken did not turn out to be ‘crispy’ per se. I used skinless chicken as suggested in the recipe and it got me wondering if one can crisp chicken without skin as this attempt did not give me crispy chicken although it had been sold/mentioned that way in Jaime’s recipe. Hence, I did some research after I attempted this recipe and generally, one got to either dunked skinless chicken in egg mixture, flour it or bread it to get it all crispy. Good learning though! J

And oh yeah, I used anchovies for the saltiness and it works really well.


Place a large pan on a high heat. Lay your chicken breasts on a board and cut three incisions into each one like fingers, going all the way through the breast but leaving about 1cm joined at the top. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus spears. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan, followed by the chicken, pancetta and asparagus. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken and asparagus are cooked through, turning halfway. Lift the pancetta on top of the chicken once golden and crispy.

Move the chicken, bacon or pancetta and asparagus to one side of the pan then throw in the tomatoes, olives, basil leaves and butter. Reduce to a low heat and add a splash of wine to help make a sauce. Leave to bubble away and thicken for a couple of minutes. Use tongs to divide the chicken, bacon or pancetta, asparagus and most of the tomatoes between your plates. Squash the remaining tomatoes, mixing them with the lovely juices in the pan, then drizzle over the chicken before serving.

Serves 2


·         2 x 120 g free-range, skinless chicken breasts
·         sea salt
·         freshly ground black pepper
·         1 bunch of asparagus
·         olive oil
·         4 rashers of higher-welfare pancetta
·         250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
·         5 black olives, destoned
·         a couple of sprigs of fresh basil, leaves picked
·         a small knob of butter
   a splash of white wine 

Attempt #51: Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut salad

I started my attempts with Jamie Oliver’s recipes last year out of one goal that is to test out if anyone can cook if we try. After 50 attempts (and counting), I can vouch for that and do believe that anyone can cook. We may not be great sous- chefs but with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly fresh ingredients, the meal can turn out to be pretty good if not decent.

Here’s a surprisingly yummy salad that anyone can whipped out in a matter of minutes – the combination of the ingredients were just perfect. 

The result:
As long as the pancetta is nicely fried and not burnt, the avocado and spinach leaves are fresh and you if have good quality pine nuts, this is simply one of the easiest and most delicious salads to make. 

Heat a frying pan and fry the pancetta slices till crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, lightly toast the pine nuts. 

Make your dressing by combining 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure your dressing is balanced – add a little more oil or vinegar if you need to. 

On serving plates, lay out the avocado. Sprinkle over the spinach leaves, pancetta and toasted pine nuts. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle over your dressing. Great served with some warm crusty bread and a lovely glass of wine.

(Serves 6)
·         12 slices pancetta
·         50 g pine nuts
·         balsamic vinegar
·         good-quality extra virgin olive oil
·         sea salt
·         freshly ground black pepper
·         6 ripe avocados, stoned, peeled and quartered
·         4 big handfuls baby spinach, washed