Jan 21 2013

Chicken Teriyaki (Asami)






My name is Asami from Yokohama in Japan. I just recently joined the Alpha Dog Food blog as a new recruit and this is my first posting. Here in Japan, we also use food for love and romance – and we don’t mind being a little adventurous!

Thank you Kate for helping with my English. For this recipe I give you a very easy to make Chicken Teriyaki that will make a special supper for you and your lady. I really hope you enjoy it and I will make some more recipes for you soon.

If you are a lady, over 18, who would like to join the team and blog here, please see the ‘new recruits’ page in the links above.




The ingredients and measures below are plenty for two people. To make things easier, try to find chicken thighs that are already boned or ask your butcher to do it for you.

  • 4 boned chicken thighs (use breast if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp light/medium soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • sufficient noodles for 2 people


How To Cook It

If you haven’t already done so, remove the bones from the chicken thighs.

In a large bowl, mix together the honey, soy sauce, mirin, sake, ginger and garlic.

Place the chicken thighs in the marinade and mix/cover the meat thoroughly with the sauce. Transfer the chicken to the fridge for 1 hour.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan. Dry the skin side of the chicken thighs on some kitchen paper, so the skin will crisp up when fried. Place the chicken thighs in the frying pan, skin side down, over a medium heat. Fry until the skin is browned. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you may need to fry the chicken in batches – don’t crowd the pan.

Turn down the heat to low, then turn the chicken over to fry the other side. Pour the sauce used to marinate the chicken into the pan. Simmer on a low heat for five minutes, then increase the temperature and cook until the sauce becomes thick.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.


How To Serve It

Cut the chicken into slices and arrange on the plate next to a nest of noodles. Pour the thickened Teriyaki sauce onto the chicken. Garnish with a little raw chopped spring onion or mix a little sliced green cabbage into the noodles. This dish can look even more attractive on black plates if you have them.

If you have never tried it before, maybe serve with a small glass of Sake but otherwise, serve with a dry white wine such as Italian Frascati.




Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki


Dec 13 2012

Alternative Christmas Dinner (Kate)




Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!


Civet de Sanglier is a ragout of wild boar slowly cooked in red wine – or to put it more simply, a red wine stew. It is a recipe that can be used for a tough shoulder, leg or fillet of boar – or any other larger game such as venison if you prefer. In Provence, this would be called a “Daube de Sanglier“.

Being game, it’s an ideal alternative as a Christmas or Boxing day meal if you are looking for something a little bit different to the traditional turkey or want something that can be prepared in advance and simply heated up when it is required.





For a main course for two, use the measures below.


  • Leg/Shoulder of boar cut into 1 inch pieces (500-700g      is plenty)
  • Bacon lardons (small packet)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A cup of mushrooms (your own favourites – I use      button mushrooms for this)
  • 1 bottle of robust red wine
  • 1 small glass of Cognac
  • 2 Tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 Tablespoon of flour
  • Herbes be Provence (dried), bay leaf and fresh      parsley (a good handful)
  • Butter & olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


How To Cook It

Use a deep thick pan or casserole dish with a lid.

Place a knob of butter and good glug of olive oil in it and then add the bacon lardons. Warm up on a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Put the onion and the carrot in, cut into small’ish chunks rather than thin pieces. Cook for a couple more minutes then add the garlic cloves (whole).

Turn up the heat to ¾ (not all the way to full on) and add the cubes of meat – you must keep stirring regularly so that nothing burns or sticks. Add a little more olive oil if necessary.

After about 5-10 minutes, reduce the heat and sprinkle in the flour and stir in making sure it turns brown but doesn’t burn (I usually take it off the heat to do this and then return it to the heat when all the flour is well mixed in).

Then add the tomato puree, mushrooms and herbs du Provence and mix in

Add the Cognac and the bottle of wine so that all the meat is covered (top up with a little water if necessary to cover it). If you don’t need to use all the wine to cover it, put the remainder in a glass and drink it while you are cooking!

Add a good pinch of salt and black pepper, bay leaf and the fresh cut parsley.

Turn up the heat to bring the wine up to boil, stirring continuously.

After a couple of minutes reduce the heat to low, put the lid on and gently simmer for at least 2 hours – check regularly to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan or reducing too quickly. Cut the celery into slices no thicker than the width of your little finger and add in about an hour into this simmering stage. Take it off the heat when it is at a consistency you like (a good thick stew that’s not runny).

As with all stews it will taste better the next day so allow to cool properly and then put into the fridge until required (try not to leave it in any longer than two days).


How To Serve It

Roast some vegetables – parsnip, potatoes, large peppers, etc. See the picture below of my roast veg before they go into the over. Just drizzle some olive oil over and cook at 180 degrees until they are done to your liking.

Alternatively, some ribbon pasta or rice is just as nice with this.



I had it with chestnuts and small chunks of strong French and Spanish (Chorizo) sausage in with it once in Corsica. Stronger taste but nice. You would add the sausage in at the same time as the bacon lardoons, the chestnuts at the same time as the celery.


Civet de Sanglier

Civet de Sanglier


Roast Vegetables

Roast Vegetables

Nov 20 2012

Dutch Mussels (Breeda)


Hey, I’m Breeda from Holland and I’m a new recruit here on Alpha Dog Food – this is my first post.

I promised that I would add a couple of traditional Dutch recipes and today I’m gonna tell you about our equivalent of the French Moules Mariniere – ours is mussels with saffron and ginger and you can make it for either a starter or a main course. It’s great for a romantic meal with your lady because eating with your fingers is always that bit more sexier don’t you think. This recipe comes from a 15th century manuscript so it’s been tried and tested for a while.

If you are a lady over 18 and interested in joining in on Alpha Dog Food yourself, take a look at our ‘New Recruits’ page on this blog.





For a light main course for two, use the measures below (reduce by half to make it a starter). Try to fnd the largest mussels you can (New Zealand green-lipped mussels are just the best).


  • 1 kg (about 2 lbs) of large mussels
  • 2 handfuls chopped parsley
  • 1 onion chopped as finely as you can
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A handful of grated fresh ginger (or ½ teaspoon of ground ginger if you don’t have fresh)
  • 4-5 threads of saffron crushed (try to buy it already crushed you don’t need much – a pinch or two)
  • ½ litre of dry white wine (about a pint)
  • A small cup of water
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


How To Cook It

Clean the mussels if necessary (remove any beards, outer debris or materials from the shells), in cold water.

Put a tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onions until soft.

Add the mussels to a large saucepan (one with a lid) with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the salt and pepper if you are using it. Allow to cook over a medium-high heat for a moment or two until it begins to sizzle.

Now add the white wine, water, onions, saffron and ginger (mix it all together first and give it a good stir) and put the lid on the saucepan, returning to the heat, shaking occassionally.

Once the mussels have opened (this should take just a few minutes) remove from the saucepan and put the mussels (still in their shell!!)  into a bowl – use a slatted spoon so that the broth drains back into the saucepan. Throw away any mussels that have not opened.

Reduce the broth by about ¼ over a medium-high heat then add the knob of butter  and stir in well.


How To Serve It

Place a portion of mussels in a wide bowl and pour some of the broth over them. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the mussels and serve with crusty bread, a side salad and a glass of white wine.




Mussels with Saffron and Ginger


Nov 16 2012

Quick Coq au Vin (Sally)


French cuisine is sometimes accused of being too fussy or over the top but if you know any woman who likes France or all things French, a quick way to her heart is to cook a traditional rustic Coq au Vin and invite her around for a candlelit supper with some crusty French bread and – given its Burgundian heritage – a nice bottle of Pinot Noir wine.


Coq au Vin is a classic French chicken dish cooked in red wine and is absolutely delicious. It’s also great ‘comfort food’ in the winter. Some recipes can get complicated and take a long time to cook (and involve old cockerels and putting their blood in the sauce!) but here’s a quick and relatively simple way –for a man! – of cooking it that can be prepared in advance and reheated later so that you aren’t spending loads of time working in the kitchen instead of paying attention to her.


Let me know in the comments below how you get on with it or, if you have any questions, leave them below and I will answer them for you.


Have a great weekend,





The ingredients and measures below are plenty for two people. I recommend blanching the bacon in hot water first to reduce the saltiness of the dish. Use the best quality, freshest ingredients you can.

  • 3-4 slices of thick bacon (smoked ideally) cut off the rind but leave a little fat on – or use a small packet of lardons
  • 12 small pearly onions peeled and left whole, 1 small red onion sliced
  • 12 button mushrooms (trimmed, peeled, cut in half – or used tinned ones if you want to cheat)
  • 2 good size chicken thighs and 2 legs, on the bone with skin left on (add a couple more thighs if you’re hungry!)
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 1 ½ large glasses of good quality red wine and the same amount of chicken stock
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley, 2 bay leaves
  • 2 knobs of butter (salted butter is OK if you are not adding salt)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A little pepper to taste (imho you don’t really need salt with this dish but that’s up to you)


How To Cook It

Put the bacon into a saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into strips.

Brown the bacon on medium/high heat in the olive oil for about 5 minutes in a pan that is big enough to hold the chicken. You ideally need a pan with a lid. Remove the bacon, set aside. Keep the bacon fat/olive oil in the pan, reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions for a few minutes until slightly brown. Remove the onions and set aside with the bacon.

You may need to add a little more olive oil if the onions soaked it all up. Just a dab.

Working in batches if your pan isn’t big enough to hold all of it, add the chicken, skin side down first. It’s best to work in batches of say 1 thigh and 1 leg if you don’t have a big enough pan as trying to cook too much meat in too small a pan is always hard work. Brown the chicken well, on all sides. Try and get the skin quite crispy but without burning it. Halfway through the browning, add the garlic and the pepper.  You don’t need to cook the chicken all the way through at this stage – just focus on getting a brown and crispy skin.

When it’s brown enough to your liking, spoon off any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Add back the bacon and the onions. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken, bacon and onions to a separate plate. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic cloves, and throw away.

Add the mushrooms to the remaining liquid and turn the heat to medium/high (boil but don’t go mad so that it’s splashing everywhere or sticking to the bottom of the pan). Boil quickly, stir occasionally, and reduce the liquid by half to three quarters until it becomes thick and saucy. Lower the heat, stir in the butter. Return the chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with the sauce.


How To Serve It

Although everyone seems to think that white wine goes with chicken, I would suggest a decent bottle of red Burgundy to go with this. See the link here for some ideas as to which one. Keep the serving simple – a small portion in the centre of a plain plate with a little fresh chopped parsley on top. Serve with some crusty French bread with butter and that’s all you need. If you really want some vegetables with it, go for French green beans as a side dish or put some baby carrots in at the same time as the mushrooms go into the sauce when cooking it.

I think this dish tastes even better if left to stand for a day. You can cook this in advance – say, the night before – let it go cold, cover and put in the fridge for 24 hours then reheat in the oven the following evening when you are ready to serve up. If you want to be a philistine I suppose you could microwave it instead but she will be far more impressed if she sees you pulling it out of the oven!



I’ve put this particular approach up because I think it’s easy for a man (or any inexperienced cook) to put together and it’s a quick approach. There are lots of variations on this dish that involve longer preparation time and even longer cooking time. You can find one of my favourite longer recipes for it here. Kate tells me she likes to put a tablespoon of Tio Pepe (very dry sherry) in hers just before serving it up, some put a tablespoon of brandy in it.


Coq au Vin