Super-healthy mid-week meal that also fills you up.
Fish Chowder – to serve 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into big chunks
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 x 400 tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- splash of soy sauce
- 410g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 500g plump white fish fillets, in big chunks
- a handful of parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dry the potatoes in kitchen paper and tip into the hot oil. Cook them covered over a medium to high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden. Add the onion and garlic and cook for another few minutes on a fairly high heat until the onion has browned.
Stir in the tomatoes, the tomato purée, thyme and soy sauce, and let it bubble for couple of minutes. Stir in the beans and some seasoning, then sit the fish on top, pushing it down into the sauce. Don’t stir it though or the fish will break up. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.
Wine Suggestion: Try an Albariño from Rías Baixus in Spain which should have plenty of acidity and flavour. This is a very trendy wine at the moment, and subsequently not cheap, but they are interesting wines and usually worth the bit extra.
(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)
Posted in Fish, Food, Healthy | Tagged 300 calories, 5:2, Cooking, fast diet, Fish, Food, Healthy, Recipe | 2 Comments »
This roast chicken was inspired by Darina Allen, who had a new method for keeping the Chicken skin moist – using butter soaked muslin. It works excellently so we’re converts to this technique!
Traditional Roast Chicken with Stuffing and Gravy – to serve 4
FOR THE STUFFING:
- 45g butter
- 75g chopped onion
- 75-100g soft white breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (we used parsley and thyme)
- a little soft butter
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/gas 4.
Make the stuffing: sweat the onions gently in the butter until soft, then take off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs and some seasoning. Leave to cool.
Season the inside of the chicken, then half-fill with the cold stuffing. Put the rest of the stuffing into the neck end.
Weight the chicken and calculate the cooking time (15 minutes per 450g and 15 minutes over).
Melt 4 tsp butter and soak a large piece of muslin in the melted butter, cover the chicken completely with the muslin and roast for the calculated time. You can take the muslin off for the last 10 minutes if you want the skin really brown.
Check that the juices are running clear when pierced with a skewer, then leave to rest.
To make the gravy: spoon off any surplus fat from the roasting tin. De-glaze the pan juices with the stock and use a whisk to to stir and scrape the caramelised bits from the bottom of the tin. Boil it up well, season and thicken if you like (we like it runny).
Serve with greens and mash.
Wine Suggestion: Oaked white wines go well with roast chicken with Chardonnay being the obvious pick. We were a little extravagant and had a superb Chardonnay / Auxerrois blend from Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace. It’s a Vin de Table as Chardonnay is not an authorised grape for the region and as the wine is all about texture, minerality and structure , pushing the boundaries a lot, you could argue it is controversial on tasting as well; we thought it superb and thought provoking. As it opened up in the glass over the meal it worked better and better, matching flavours, complimenting them and adding nuances. The wine: Zind Z010 (obviously 2010 vintage, but Vin de Table wines are not allowed to say anything about vintage or region on the label).
Posted in Chicken, Food | Tagged Cooking, Food, Gravy, Recipe, Roast chicken, Stuffing, Sunday roast | Leave a Comment »
This was really elegant and luxurious and the fennel and parsnip combination was unexpectedly delicious.
Fennel & Parsnip Soup – to serve 8
- 50g butter
- 175g onion, diced
- 450g parsnips, peeled and diced
- 450g fennel bulb, finely diced, keep the fronds to garnish
- 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
- 125ml milk
- 125ml cream
Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onion, parsnips and fennel and stir well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a circle of baking paper and and the saucepan lid. Cook on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes or until soft but not coloured.
Heat the stock and add, simmering for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender. Add the milk and cream.
Blend until smooth and taste for seasoning. Serve sprinkled with the reserved fennel fronds.
(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)
Posted in Food, Soup, Vegetarian | Tagged Cooking, Fennel, Food, Parsnip, Recipe, Soup, Vegetarian | Leave a Comment »
Capturing the summer season with fresh basil Pesto and aubergines. Serve with a simple green salad for a great starter.
Aubergine and Pesto Medallions – to serve 4
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into 5mm-thick slices and finely diced
- 85ml olive oil
- 1 aubergine (about 400g), cut into 8 x 1.5 cm thick slices
- 2 tbsp Pesto
- 16 small bocconcini, halved or a large ball of mozzarella, diced
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
- 8 small basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Put the diced tomato on a paper towel-lined plate.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the aubergine slices. Cook for 5 minutes; don’t worry if the oil disappears. Turn the slices over and add the rest of the oil if you need it. Cook for another 5 minutes, and drain on a plate covered with paper towel. Blot the top of the aubergines with more paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and transfer the aubergine slices onto it. Divide the pesto between the slices and spread. Spoon some of the diced tomato onto each slice (you might have a bit too much).
Arrange the mozzarella on top of the tomato. Sprinkle with Parmesan, season with salt and black pepper, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Drain again on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Wine Suggestion: You could go for either a light red with a bit of acidity, such as an Italian Barbera, or a textural white, like a good Vermentino.
(Original Recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion, Lantern, 2009.)
Posted in Food, Vegetarian | Tagged Aubergine, Basil. Tomato, Cooking, Food, Recipe, Starter, stephanie alexander, Vegetarian, Wine suggestion | 1 Comment »
We made this when we visited Australia earlier this year from a great cookbook by Stephanie Alexander, her Kitchen Garden Companion. They go great with some new potatoes tossed with sour cream and dill for a main course.
Salmon Fishcakes with Dill – makes 8 or 24 little ones
- 300g salmon fillet, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 30g breadcrumbs (roughly 1 thick slice of bread)
- 30g marinated goat’s cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tbsp chopped dill
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 20g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Pour the cream over the breadcrumbs and leave to soak for 5 minutes.
Pulse the salmon, cream-soaked crumbs and goat’s cheese in a food processor until combined, but not reduced to a paste. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in egg yolk and dill, then season with the salt and some pepper. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Wet your hands and divide the mixture into 8 large or 24 bite-sized fishcakes. Roll the fishcakes in the flour.
Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry the fishcakes for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook as they are better if they stay a bit moist.
Wine Suggestion: Try to find a top-quality Australian Verdelho, with a few years of age on it. It should have mellowed and developed a honey character alongside the fresh acidity and white floral character.
(Original Recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion, Lantern, 2009.)
Posted in Fish, Food | Tagged Cooking, Dill, dinner, Fishcakes, Food, Recipe, Salmon, salmon fishcakes | 3 Comments »
A colourful spring side dish that goes really nicely with roast lamb. You can cook the beans in advance and just warm through with the tomatoes and balsamic when you’re ready to serve.
Tomato & Balsamic Green Beans – serves 6-8 as a side dish
- 650g green beans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Trim the beans and cook in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and cool under running cold water. Store in the fridge until needed.
Heat the oil in a pan, then add the tomatoes and fry gently for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Season well, then splash in the balsamic vinegar. Warm through, then tip the beans into the pan. Stir well, then cover and warm through for a few minutes.
Posted in Healthy, Side dish, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged Balsamic Vinegar, Cherry Tomatoes, Cooking, Food, Green beans, Recipe, side dish, Vegetarian | 5 Comments »
Leek & Pancetta Quiche – serves 4-6
- 200g pancetta lardons
- olive oil
- 2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 100g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
- 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
FOR THE PASTRY:
- 200g plain flour, plus a bit extra
- pinch of salt
- 100g butter, at room temperature, cubed
First make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a large bowl. Then using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour, lifting the mixture up and dropping it back into the bowl. Keep doing this until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then mix in 2-3 tbsp of cold water. Bring the mixture together and knead lightly on a floured surface until you have a smooth ball of pastry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.
Oil a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
Roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface until about 3mm thick. Line the oiled tin with the pastry and leave some hanging over the edges, then prick the base with a fork. Chill for another 10 minutes.
Line the chilled pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5-8 minutes or until golden. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife.
Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a large frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until coloured and almost crispy. Add the leek and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft and cooked through. Drain to remove any excess oil.
Mix the eggs and cream together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, stir in the leek mixture and add the parsley. Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case, sprinkle the top with the leftover cheese and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden and set.
Allow the quiche to cool for a bit before serving.
Wine Suggestion: We tried a lovely Bott-Geyl Pinot d’Alsace which worked superbly. A great combination of Pinot Blanc 35%, Pinot Auxerrois 35%, Pinot Gris 15% and Pinot Noir 15% (vinified as white wine). Rich and complex but with the freshness and texture to balance the quiche perfectly.
(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course, Hodder & Stoughton, 2012.)
Posted in Food | Tagged Cooking, Food, Leeks, pancetta, Pastry, Quiche, Recipe | 1 Comment »