This is a doddle to whip up after work and it’s not a bad chilli for very little effort. Serve in warmed tortillas with some rocket and sour cream or in a baked potato.
Cheat’s Chilli – to serve 4
- 500g minced beef
- 350g jar of tomato and chilli sauce (we use our own tomato sauce which we always have a supply of in the freezer)
- 400g tin of red kidney beans
Fry the mince in a non-stick pan until well browned. Pour in the sauce, then fill the empty jar about a third full of water and rinse out into the pan. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the meat and heat through for about 5 minutes or until the beans are hot and the sauce is thick.
Posted in Beef, Food | Tagged Beef, Chilli, Cooking, Easy, Food, Recipe, red kidney beans, Tomato Sauce | Leave a Comment »
This is a really simple recipe for using up leftover chicken and is easily adjusted to suit what you have in the cupboard. We seem to serve almost every pie with peas and this was no exception.
Wine Suggestion: This went perfectly with a glass of Domaine Saint Denis, Macon-Lugny 2010; a great little white burgundy that has much more presence and character than others from this area in the Mâconnais achieve. I think this has something to do with the extra care that is made in the domaine’s vineyards and it really shows – delightful round flavours and a structured mid-palate of minerally apple fruits. A wine to look out for and really versatile with food. If this domaine is hard to find, look out for a St-Véran, or Pouilly-Fuissé instead!
Leftover Chicken & Veg Pie – serves 3-4
- 350g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, chopped quite small
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4 sliced mushrooms
- 400ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp flour
- fresh herbs, chopped (tarragon or parsley would be good or use 1 tsp dried)
- 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the carrot, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the carrots and onions are almost soft.
Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two before adding the chicken stock. Stir continually until the sauce boils, then turn down the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the veg is completely cooked through.
Add the cooked chicken, along with your herbs and plenty of seasoning. Stir briefly to heat through then transfer to a pie dish.
Brush the rim of the pie dish with the beaten egg. Then cover the dish with the pastry sheet and trim off any excess. Decorate the top with some leaves made from the pastry scraps and brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until well browned.
Posted in Chicken, Food | Tagged Chicken, Cooking, Domaine Saint Denis, Food, Leftover chicken, Mushrooms, Pie, Recipe | 2 Comments »
We love and are fascinated by the spices, flavours and textures of the Middle East and Africa and this dish captures all of this perfectly. The spices match the freshness and zing of lemon, the lamb contrasts with the smooth hummus and some crisp flatbreads give crunch and texture. The freshness of the herbs balance the warming spices to produce a pleasant mix of warm and cool ingredients, still comforting despite the crisp autumn evening.
A meal in itself or a wonderful mezze / starter to share.
Wine Suggestion: We’d drink a white that has texture and freshness but not too crisp or conversely heavy. The Pinot Blancs from Alsace fit the bill perfectly as they have a bit of perfume and hints of spice as well as attractive light stone fruit flavours.
Hummus kawarma with lemon sauce – to serve 6
- 1 quantity of hummus (see recipe below)
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in the oven or fried in a small amount of unsalted butter
For the kawarma (lamb)
- 300g neck fillet of lamb, finely chopped by hand
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp dried za’atar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
For the lemon sauce
- 10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ¼ tsp salt
To make the kawarma, put all the ingredients apart from the butter and oil in a bowl. Mix well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.
Just before cooking the meat, combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl.
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat in 2-3 batches and stir-fry for a couple of minutes per batch (the meat should be slightly pink).
Divide the hummus between 6 serving dishes and spoon the warm kawarma over the top. Drizzle over plenty of lemon sauce and garnish with some more parsley and the pine nuts.
Basic Hummus – to serve 6
- 250g dried chickpeas
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 270g light tahini paste
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 100ml ice cold water
Wash the chickpeas well and put into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.
Drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the chickpeas and the bicarbonate of soda. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and skins, for between 20 and 40 minutes or until very tender (you should be able to crush them between your thumb and finger but they should not be mushy).
Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Process to a stiff paste; then, with the machine running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1½ tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and mix for about 5 minutes or until you get a very smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)
Posted in Food, Lamb | Tagged Cooking, Food, Hummus, Lamb, lemon sauce, Mezze, Recipe | 3 Comments »
An easy version of Peposo which works a treat and reheats perfectly. The peppercorns are very much the star of the show rather than the seasoning.
Wine Suggestion: Regional foods are generally complemented by the wines of the same region so go for a good Tuscan wine that will be able to stand up to this rich stew. We had a Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Maremma.
Hunter’s Stew – to serve 4-6
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1kg stewing steak, in big chunks
- 3 onions, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 250ml red wine
- 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
- 1 whole tube of tomato purée
In a large saucepan, with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and brown the beef well.
Season with plenty of salt, then add the onions, garlic, and peppercorns and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and reduced.
Add the remaining ingredients, cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 2 hours, stirring regularly.
Check the seasoning after 90 minutes and add a bit of water if necessary. If it is too liquid you can remove the lid for the last 20-30 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before serving with potatoes or polenta.
(Original recipe by Domini Kemp in THE IRISH TIMES Magazine, September 21, 2013.)
Posted in Beef, Food, Italian | Tagged Beef, Cooking, Food, Italian, Peposo, Pepper, Peppercorns, Recipe, Stew | Leave a Comment »
This was no effort at all to whip up on a Saturday for brunch. We were a bit concerned when we saw the quantity of peppercorns, but they work superbly and give much less heat than expected.
Peppercorn Eggs & Ham Baguette – to serve 4
- large baguette, cut in 4 and sliced in half
- good quality olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 55g unsalted butter
- 8-12 large eggs
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns, cracked in a mortar
- a handful of basil leaves
- 4 slices of good quality ham or prosciutto
- 2 large tomatoes, cored and sliced
Scoop out the dough from the slices of baguette to make room for the filling. Pour olive oil over each slice and rub with the garlic clove. Put the slices on a tray and toast under a grill on both sides.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan and whisk the eggs. Add the cracked peppercorns and tip the mixture into the pan. Tumble and push the eggs around the pan with a flat wooden spatula (think half scramble, half omelette).
Remove when still soft as they will continue to cook, and season with a little salt. Put a few basil leaves on the base of 4 baguette slices, then add the ham, the tomato and finally the egg, finishing with the top pieces of baguette.
(Original recipe from Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.)
Posted in Brunch, Food | Tagged baguette, Brunch, Cooking, cracked peppercorns, Eggs, Eggs & Ham Baguette, Food, Recipe | Leave a Comment »
This is a really lovely moussaka which rates as one of our “comfort” dishes. We especially like roasting the aubergines in the oven rather than frying them which always seems to require vats of oil. The combination is a classic and is not difficult, but it does take a little time to bring together. It is always well worth it.
Wine Suggestion: We’ve been inspired to drink wines from the Eastern Mediterranean with this and have found that top Lebanese wines, like Chateau Massaya, with their bramble and plum fruits plus velvety spices work very well indeed.
Moussaka – to serve 6
- 2 aubergines, sliced 1cm thick
- olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1½ lb (675g) lamb mince
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 skinned, seeded and chopped tomato
- 2-3 tbsp tomato purée
- a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- a few tbsp dry white wine
- Parmesan (optional)
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL
- 1 pint (600ml) full-cream milk
- 1 onion, peeled and stuck with a couple of cloves
- bay leaf
- 2oz (55g) unsalted butter
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil on both sides then put on a baking tray in a single layer and roast until soft. You will either need to do this in batches or on two trays. They should take between 10 and 20 minutes but don’t let them get too brown.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another few minutes, then add the mince and fry for 5-10 minutes or until well browned. Season and add the cinnamon, then add the chopped tomato purée and chopped parsley. Stir well, add the wine and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the wine has been absorbed.
While the meat is simmering make the béchamel. Put the onion, bay leaf and milk in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for 20-30 minutes with the lid on and reheat just before starting the sauce.
Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a small pan. Just as the butter starts to foam, add the flour and stir gently for a few seconds. You want a thin bubbling base – if the butter hasn’t amalgamated with the flour, add a tiny bit more. Bubble for a couple of minutes or until it turns a pale biscuit colour. Add about half a cup of the hot milk and whisk hard until the mixture becomes thick. Add more milk and repeat – it will take longer to thicken each time.
Cook the sauce more slowly and stir with a wooden spoon – add more milk until you get the right consistency. You want the sauce to be thick but not solid. Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring often. Season and grate in a little nutmeg about half way through.
When the sauce is ready put alternate layers of aubergine and meat sauce in a deep baking dish or roasting tin, staring and ending with a layer of aubergines. Pour a thick layer of béchamel over the top; you might not need it all. Sprinkle over some grated Parmesan if you like then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until brown on top.
(Original recipe from Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.)
Posted in Food, Greek, Lamb | Tagged Aubergine, Cooking, Food, Greek, Lamb, Moussaka, Recipe | 1 Comment »
This works really well as a starter portion for 6 people. Make sure you use top quality fresh extra virgin olive oil from the most recent vintage. We buy fresh olive oil made by the Tuscan wineries Capezzana and Selvepiana. They’re not cheap but they taste fabulous when only the best olive oil will do.
Wine Suggestion: The iron rich Cavolo Nero requires something minerally and iron rich too, but you need to avoid wines with too much weight. We’d suggest trying the Gulfi Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a red from Sicily that is a blend of Frappatto and Nero d’Avola which combines an earthiness and power with a joyful fruit and fresh acidity giving the wine personality and depth without excess weight.
Farfalle al Cavolo Nero con Olio Nuovo – serves 6
- 1.1kg cavolo nero leaves
- sea salt and black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 250ml extra virgin olive oil (see comment above)
- 250g farfalle
Remove the stalks from the cavolo nero but keep the leaves whole. Blanch the leaves in a generous amount of boiling salted water along with 2 of the garlic cloves for just a few minutes. Put the blanched garlic and cavolo nero in a food processor and pulse to a coarse purée. In the last few seconds, pour in around 75ml of the oil to make a fairly liquid purée.
Crush the rest of the garlic with 1 tsp sea salt and stir into the purée with another 75ml of oil. Season to taste.
Cook the the farfalle in plenty of salted water, then drain. Add the pasta to the purée and stir until evenly coated. Pour in the remaining olive oil and serve with some grated Parmesan.
(Original recipe from The River Café by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Ebury Press, 1995.)
Posted in Food, Italian, Vegetarian | Tagged Cavolo Nero, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Cooking, Farfalle, Food, Gulfi, Italian, Pasta, Recipe, Sicily | 1 Comment »