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This is full of warm spices, healthy and very satisfying. A great meal for mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: This goes beautifully with elegant Grenache, like Roc des Anges’ Unic from Roussillon in the south of France; quite ethereal and fresh, particularly given the warm sourthern France location. Almost like a warmly spiced Burgundy. If you can’t find something like this then a lightly oaked Chardonnay comes a good second best.

Spinach rice with spiced salmon – serves 2

  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 70g brown basmati rice
  • 375ml vegetable stock, made with 2 tsp of bouillon powder
  • 160g baby spinach, roughly chopped

FOR THE SALMON:

  • ½ turmeric
  • ½ ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (or mint)
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp toasted almonds

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onion and ginger for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the spices and cook for 30 seconds, then add the chilli, garlic, pepper and rice. Stir briefly, then pour in the stock. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. If there’s liquid left simmer without the lid for a few minutes to let it evaporate. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until wilted.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and heat the grill.

Mix yoghurt with the turmeric, ground coriander and fresh coriander. Spread this mixture over the salmon and transfer to the foil-covered sheet. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Top the rice with the salmon fillets and scatter over the almonds to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Fig Jam

Jono acquired five trays of figs from one of his customers, much to the approbation of Jules who said he had to find something to do with them! This fig jam used most of them and there was a smaller batch of rather good chutney. A good call too, as we’ve had repeat requests for jam from friends who’ve been given a jar. It is easily scalable, so while the recipe is for 1kg of figs, we used 4kg to make just over 5kg of jam.

Jono now believes he is allowed to get loads of figs when there is a glut again next year.

Fig Jam – makes roughly 1.3kg of jam

  • 1kg figs, remove the stalks at the top and roughly chop
  • 2 fig leaves, cleaned (we took two from a neighbour’s garden – with permission)
  • 500g jam sugar (with pectin)

Put the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir well to combine. Put the pan over a low heat and let the sugar dissolve, then increase the heat slightly and bring to a gentle simmer. 

When the liquid starts to be released from the figs, turn the heat up a little again and stir often to stop the jam sticking to the bottom of the pan. Simmer rapidly until the jam reaches 105°C (You will need a jam thermometer to check this. If you don’t have one the other option is to put a few saucers in the freezer. To check if the jam is ready, put a tiny spoonful onto the cold plate and see if it runs. If it doesn’t, it’s ready. If it does try again using another cold plate in a few minutes). 

Remove the fig leaves and pour the jam into sterilised jars. Cover immediately with the lids. The jam will now keep for up to a year, but it’s highly unlikely to last that long!

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishing, 2019.)

 

Yes it really is this vibrant in colour. This dish marries a sweetness from the two vegetables with a contrasting and complimentary earthiness from the cumin and pungent garlic to form a harmonious whole; neither sweet, nor overtly earthy. We like it a lot.

Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash – serves 4

  • 500g sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 500g carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 25g butter

Put the sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic into a large pan of salty water, bring to the boil and cook for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Add the toasted cumin seeds, butter and seasoning and roughly mash. 

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

A recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi published in the Guardian last October. We were looking for a recipe to use a pork belly joint and this was suitably Autumnal. A rich and complex dish that was full of flavour and umami textures. We put the pork under the grill at the end to crisp the crackling up. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: try a youthful and finely textured Shiraz/Syrah with this dish. Nothing too powerful and rich, avoid burly tannins and look for refinement and persistence on the finish. Two suggestions are the Parker Coonawarra Shiraz from Australia, or the Jerome Coursodon St Joseph Silice. Neither are the top wine from their respective wineries, and both are youthful, but the combination of attention to detail in the vineyard and winery mean that they have the quality of their siblings but aren’t as concentrated and taught … making them so enjoyable in youth. And that is what this dish needs.

Roast pork belly with apple, soy & ginger – serves 4

  • 1 whole boneless pork belly joint (800-900g)
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 40g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 90ml soy sauce
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml unsweetened apple juice (we used Llewellyn’s Premium Irish Apple Juice)
  • 70ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 medium Pink Lady apples, cored and cut into quarters
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 185C/165 fan/gas 4½.

Use a sharp knife to score the pork skin in a diamond patter, your butcher will happily do this for you. Rub a teaspoon of sea salt flakes into the skin and push it into the slashes.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium heat, then fry the onion for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, star anise and bay leaves, and cook until lightly coloured, about 3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, stock, apple juice, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns and bring to a simmer.

Take the dish off the heat and set the pork on top, making sure not to get the skin wet.

Put the dish into the hot oven and roast for 90 minutes, then remove and arrange the apples around the pork. Stir to coat them in the liquid but careful not to get the skin wet. Return to the oven for 30 minutes or until the pork is crispy and golden (if you need it to crisp up a bit, put it on a tray and flash briefly under the grill).

Lift the pork out onto a board and rest for 15-20 minutes before carving into 1½-thick slices. Spoon the apple mixture into a large serving dish and lay the pork on top. Sprinkle with the scallions to serve.

(Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in the Guardian, 12 October 2019)

This is a great canapé and couldn’t be simpler. A lovely idea from Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo’s Our Korean Kitchen. We will happily do this many times.

Wine Suggestion: A good dry riesling is required, but with a richness of fruit. Our favourite at the moment is Weingut Korrell’s Paradies vineyard dry Riesling from Kreuznacher in the Nahe region; poised and elegant, rich and dry. The hints of lime match the scallop dish so well.

Scallops with Salted Sesame Oil – serves 6

  • 8 scallops, the scallops in our fish shop had the roes removed, but it’s fine to leave them on
  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

FOR THE SALTED SESAME OIL

  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Cut the tough white bit off the side of each scallop.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Thread 2 scallops onto 4 small wooden skewers (you can soak these for a bit before using to stop them burning).

Lightly season the scallops skewers with salt and pepper.

When the pan is very hot, add the skewers and fry, without moving, for 1 minute. Flip over and cook for another 40 seconds. Add the garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice and fry for just 10 seconds, then remove from the heat.

Serve with the sesame seeds and chives scattered over and the salted sesame oil for dipping.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

This is a delicious Persian accompaniment that goes with almost anything. We know that as we initially served it as a starter with pitta breads, then proceeded to have it on the side with the main course, and for lunch the following day with something else. It’s hard to describe how good it is. 

Spinach & yoghurt with walnuts – Maast-o-esfenaj – serves 6 to 8

  • 250g spinach leaves (cut off any chunky stalks)
  • 500g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 big handfuls of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus a bit extra to garnish
  • best olive oil, for drizzling
  • flatbread, to serve

Simmer the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. When cooled, drain well and chop finely. 

Put the spinach into a large bowl with the yoghurt, garlic and walnuts (keep a few for decorating), sumac, a small drizzle of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and black pepper. Mix well. 

Serve the mixture on a flat plate, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle over some extra sumac and the reserved walnuts. 

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo has been on our bookshelves for ages. We take it down occasionally and remind ourselves that we should really go and get some Korean ingredients. At last we have bought gochujang chilli paste, gochugaru red pepper powder and a big bottle of roasted sesame seed oil, so we can get cooking. This beef dish could not be simpler and the flavours are fab.

Wine Suggestion: as we’re pretty new to Korean flavours we had no idea what to match and just opened what our guests had brought along; the Olianas Cannonau (Grenache) from Sardinia. A lovely wine which was both subtle and elegant, and heady with spice and warm sunshine; very well balanced. Plus it was a delight with the Bulgogi stew.

Korean Beef & Vegetable Stew – bulgogi jeongol – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 quantity marinated beef, see below
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 1 litre good quality beef stock
  • 1 tbsp gochujang chill paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ an onion, finely sliced
  • ½ a red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ a courgette, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 50g enoki or shitake mushrooms
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

FOR THE MARINATED BEEF:

  • 450g beef sirloin, cut into very thin bite-size pieces
  • 1 Asian or 2 regular pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • ¼ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1½ tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Start by marinading the beef. Put all of the ingredients, except the beef, into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl then stir in the sliced beef. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the noodles in a bowl of water according to the instructions on the pack, about 30 minutes.

Put the beef stock, gochujang paste, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and garlic into a pan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, arrange the onion, red pepper, courgette, carrot, mushrooms, and most of the scallions in a pile around the edge of a large pot with a lid, and put the raw marinated bulgogi in the middle. Drain the noodles and tuck these in beside the beef.

When the beef stock has come to a rolling boil, put the vegetable pan over a high heat and pour in the hot stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is cooked through.

Just before serving, mix it all together in the pan and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and remaining scallions.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015.)

Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb

This is a whole plateful of deliciousness form Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Simply. We have loved all of her books but we’ve already cooked more out of this one than any of the others. The recipes are simple but truly delicious. This is great just served with rice.

Wine Suggestion: this dish really suits a velvety, medium bodied red with a few warm spices on the nose: Rioja, or similar made from Tempranillo makes a fine candidate. If you can find a good one and cellar it for a number of years (or be lucky enough to find one in a wine shop with age) then you’ve got your match. A hidden gem that always surprises in it’s value is the Dehesa la Granja from Castilla in Spain. The winemaker usually releases what they consider a Crianza at between 7 to 9 years of age .. and it’s a bargain.

Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb neck – serves 4-6

  • veg oil, for frying
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, bashed and finely sliced
  • 800g lamb neck fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 heaped tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt flakes, crushed

Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in vegetable oil to coat the base. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until softened, but not coloured, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Add the lamb, turmeric and pepper and stir to coat. Make sure the meat is sealed on all sides but you don’t need to brown it.

Add the salt, then pour in boiling water to just cover everything. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 2½ hours. Stir occasionally and add more water to keep it barely covered if needed. You want the sauce to thicken and reduce by the end. 30 minutes before the end, taste and season with  more salt if needed.

Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

This is the sort of lunch our daughter likes after she’s run around a Camogie pitch for a couple of hours. It’s also good if you’ve been standing in the cold at the side of the pitch!

Honey-mustard hot dogs – serves 4

  • 50g grated emmental
  • 50g grated cheddar
  • 3 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 sausages
  • 4 brioche hot dog buns

Cook the sausages, we do them on the barbecue but whatever way you like will be fine.

Meanwhile put the emmental, cheddar, mustard and honey in a bowl and stir to combine.

Heat the grill to high.

Split the hot dog buns and fill with a sausage, then top with the cheesy mixture. Put on a baking sheet and flash under the grill for a minute or two to melt the cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

This is restaurant-style risotto which is packed full of lobster flavour. The shells are used to flavour the stock and it’s finished with a delicious reduction, the kitchen smells amazing! We associate risottos with Italy but this is proper French food, full of butter and brandy. Recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France.

Wine Suggestion: This is a rich dish that needs a wine that is fresh and flavoursome as opposed to something equally rich. Our go to wine would be an oaked Chardonnay in this case, but it doesn’t work as well as you’d think. A toasty Champagne or good bottle fermented sparkling with good age on lees is a fine choice though, and tonight we had treat of the Champagne Valentin Leflaive cuvée CA/15/40. A new project by Olivier Leflaive from Burgundy made with 100% Chardonnay from Cramant and Avize, 45 months on lees and only 4g dosage. An exciting debut and a good match to boot.

Poached Lobster Risotto – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 1 cooked lobster
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • fresh tarragon sprigs, to serve

FOR THE LOBSTER STOCK AND REDUCTION

  • lobster shell, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of tarragon, roughtly chopped
  • 1.5 litres fish stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Cognac
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Remove the meat from the lobster and keep the shell for the stock. Slice the body into chunky slices and keep the meat from the claws as chunky as possible. 

For the stock, put the lobster shell in a large pot with the onion, garlic and 20g of the butter. Cook for about 5 minutes over a medium heat, then add the wine, tomatoes, tarragon and stock and bring to the boil. Add salt and simmer for 40 minutes. Pass the stock through a fine sieve over another pot and throw away the solid ingredients. Put 200ml of the stock aside for the reduction and keep the rest warm over a low heat. 

Heat the oil in a pan, add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir until glistening with the shallots and oil, then add the wine and let it bubble until absorbed. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this until the rice is al dente, then season. 

Meanwhile, put the reserved 200ml of stock into a saucepan with the Cognac and bring to the boil. Cook until reduced by three-quarters, then whisk in the rest of the butter (30g) to make a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Heat a tbsp of butter in a frying pan. When it’s foaming, add the lobster meat and warm it through. Serve the risotto topped with lobster and spoon the reduction around it. Finish with some tarragon sprigs. 

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

Yoghurt & Spiced Roast Salmon

A genius way for cooking salmon by Sabrina Ghayour, nicely charred on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. We stuffed this into warm tortillas with coriander leaves, finely sliced red onion, fresh tomatoes and a dollop of yoghurt. A week night feast made in about 20 minutes. Delicious!

Wine Suggestion: Find a light, dry Alvarinho/Albariño and you’ll be a happy camper. Spain and Portugal are the likely sources but don’t forget little gems coming new areas too. For us tonight the Forrest Estate Albariño from Marlborough NZ. We suspect we’ll see much more of this grape from here in the future.

Yoghurt & Spiced Roast Salmon – serves 4

  • 500g skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 cm cubes

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime and a decent squeeze of the juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Heat the oven as high as it will go. Don’t be nervous, our oven goes pretty high and this method worked perfectly.

Line a baking tray with paper.

Put all the marinade ingredients into a bowl, season with plenty of black pepper and maldon salt. Toss the salmon in the marinade until well coated, hands are best for this.

Spread the salmon over the lined baking tray and cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

Yoghurt & Spiced Roast Salmon

We served this tasty potato dish with feather blade steaks braised in port and it would be good with other roast or braised beef dishes.

Potato, Onion & Horseradish Gratin – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g butter
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • a bunch of fresh thyme, remove the leaves from half
  • about 900g of large floury potatoes, sliced very thinly (a mandolin or food processor is best for this)
  • 4 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 300ml beef stock

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Heat the oil and 25g of the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Meanwhile, put the stock into a saucepan with a small bunch of thyme and bring to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a clean pan and keep warm.

Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl with the thyme leaves. Melt the remaining 75g of butter and pour this over the potatoes and season well. Toss with your hands to coat the potatoes in the butter.

When the onions are cooked, stir in the horseradish sauce. Spread a third of the potatoes over the base of an ovenproof dish (20cm square is about right). Spread over half the onions and a third of the beef stock. Cover with another third of the potatoes, followed by the rest of the onions and a final layer of potatoes on top. Pour over the remaining stock, then cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or until golden.

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishing, 2019.)

 

Feather Blade Braised in Port

Feather blade is such a good value cut of meat and delicious when cooked low and slow. A great dish for the colder months. Serve with potato, onion & horseradish potatoes and some greens. You can make this in advance and reheat before serving.

Wine suggestion: As this is cooked with Port we’d suggest a dry and full-bodied red wine from Portugal if you can find it. As we’d used Quinta de la Rosa’s Ruby Port for this idish it was approriate to drink their Tinto

Feather Blade Braised in Port – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 feather blade steaks (about 200g each)
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • 2 carrots, halved crossways
  • a bunch of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 star anise
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300ml port
  • 1.2 litres of beef stock
  • a little flour to thicken the sauce if you like

Preheat the oven to 140C/120 fan/gas 1.

Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof, casserole dish. Season the steaks with salt, then sear in the oil until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Do this in batches if you need so the pan isn’t overcrowded. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, carrots, leek, a small handful of the thyme, bay leaves, start anise and peppercorns and fry for 10-15 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Add the tomato purée and port and simmer for 15 minutes or until the port is reduced and syrupy. Add the beef stock and bing to a gentle simmer. Return the meat and any juices to the pan, then cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Gently remove the steaks from the pan, then strain the sauce into a clean saucepan (discard the veg). Bring the sauce to a fast boil and reduced by about half. We thickened the sauce a little with some flour too but you don’t have to do this. Put the meat in the casserole dish to keep warm while you reduce the sauce. To serve, pour the reduced sauce over the meat in the casserole dish and cover with the lid. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, check the seasoning, then serve.

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019.)

Sweetcorn, Black Bean & Avocado Salad

A lovely salad which is perfect for using the fresh corn cobs that are in the shops around now. We served with barbecued chicken but it would be great with loads of things. Another great idea by Sabrina Ghayour.

Sweetcorn, black bean & avocado salad – serves 5 to 6

  • 3 fresh corn cobs
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ a 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely chopped (we didn’t have these but we added some lime zest instead)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ a small red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ a small green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • about 30g of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp of mayonnaise
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Cook the corn cobs in lots of boiling salty water for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool, then drain again.

Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs in strips.

Put the corn in a large bowl with all of the other ingredients and season well with Maldon sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

Pan-fried Figs in Parma Ham

Jono bought a ridiculous amount of figs this week. He got a “good deal” and so we’ve spent all weekend trying to use them. There is lots of fig jam and chutney but we also loved this little starter by Sabrina Ghayour.

Wine Suggestion: this is such a good tapas dish with the play of salty ham, sweet fruitiness and a layer of rich fat. To match we went with a Sanchez Romate Fino someone had given us and were very happy indeed.

Pan-fried figs in Parma ham – makes 16

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large figs, quartered
  • 1 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 8 slices of Parma ham (or Serrano ham), halved lengthways into long strips
  • top quality balsamic vinegar

Put the oil in a small bowl and stir in the lemon zest and heaps of freshly ground black pepper. Rub this oil on the cut sides of each piece of fig. Sprinkle the za’atar over the figs, then wrap a pieces of ham around each one, overlap so that the pieces are almost covered by the ham.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil and fry the figs on both cut sides for about a minute or until the ham crisps up and browns. Serve on plates with some aged balsamic vinegar drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2016.)

Fresh Tomato Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup

The perfect soup for a glut of ripe tomatoes, there’s not much point otherwise as the forced imported ones won’t have enough flavour.

Fresh tomato soup – serves 4

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g very ripe tomatoes
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche, plus extra to serve if you like
  • a few basil leaves (only if you have them!)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 15 minutes or until very soft.

Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes,  chicken stock and some seasoning. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard the herbs, add the crème fraîche and whizz until smooth. Check the seasoning and serve with some extra crème fraîche if you like and a few basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2016.)

Turmeric Chicken Kebabs

Turmeric Chicken KebabsWe’re total suckers for a new cookbook and therefore just couldn’t live without Simply by Sabrina Ghayour. We cooked a few dishes last weekend and they were all great. It’s an Indian summer in Ireland too, so it was great to do barbecue and drinks in the sunshine. We’re now on the hunt for more recipes using fresh turmeric.

Wine Suggestion: This works perfectly with a goood Rioja Reserva, especially if it has a few extra years in the bottle. There is something about how Tempranillo becomes all velvety and aromatic with a few years aged in oak, plus a few extra in the bottle that really works for warm spices and smoky barbecue flavours. Our treat was the Muga Reserva from 2001 which was excellent but it doesn’t need as much age as this, just nice fruit so choose what is at hand.

Turmeric Chicken Kebabs – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • sweet chilli sauce, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 5cm piece of fresh turmeric, scrubbed and grated (wear gloves!)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 generous tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Put all the of the ingredients for the marinade in a container and mix together. Do be careful as the turmeric is bright yellow and will stain anything it comes in contact with.

Cut the chicken breasts lengthways into 3 long strips. Stir into the marinade, then cover the container with a lid and put into the fridge. We did this in the morning and the chicken was really delicious by the time we cooked it that evening. Sabrina suggests 30 minutes to an hour or overnight, so no panic if you’re short on time or want to get ahead.

Get your barbecue going and get it nice and hot.

Thread the chicken onto kebab skewers, we prefer to use metal ones but wooden ones are fine, just make sure you soak them for 20 minutes before using. You can thread individual pieces onto short skewers or put a few onto a longer skewer.

Cook the chicken over a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through (alternatively you can cook these in the oven on a tray lined with baking paper at the highest setting for 10-12 minutes or until cooked). Serve with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

 

Roast long-stemmed Broccoli & Lemon Pasta

This is simplicity itself and the roasted lemon, garlic and broccoli really pack it full of flavour. Perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: perfect with an unsung Italian white from the Abruzzo region: Pecorino.

Roast long-stemmed broccoli & lemon pasta – serves 2

  • 300g long-stemmed broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, skin on
  • ½ a lemon, zested
  • 200g short pasta, we used penne
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated, plus a bit extra to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the broccoli into a bowl with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with Maldon sea salt and black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat then spread over an oven tray.

Wrap the garlic clove in tinfoil and add to the tray along with the zested lemon half. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain but keep a cup of the pasta cooking water.

Squeeze the roasted lemon into the empty pasta pan, then add the zest and squeeze the garlic from it’s skin into the pan. Mash together, then tip the pasta back in with the Parmesan and a good splash of the cooking water. Stir over the heat for a minute, then add the roasted broccoli and toss. Serve with more Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2016.)

Marinated Figs with Mozzarella & Prosciutto

A fig salad for lunch; tasty indeed. It’s fig season, so they shouldn’t cost the earth and this is a great combination.

Marinated figs with mozzarella & prosciutto – serves 2

  • 4-6 figs, quartered
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 50g rocket
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • a small handful of basil leaves

Whisk the vinegar with the mustard, then gradually whisk in the olive oil, honey and seasoning. Put the figs on a plate and spoon over the dressing, then leave aside for 20 minutes.

Spread the rocket, mozzarella and prosciutto over a platter. Spoon over the figs and the dressing and finish with the basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2018)

 

Green Hummus

Green Hummus

Really fresh and tasty. A lovely recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour (our new favourite thing!). We served with toasted pittas. Leftovers great for lunch the next day.

Green hummus – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and reserve ¾ of the brine from 1 of the tins
  • juice of ½ a lemon, you might need a bit more
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 30g of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 30g of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 15g of tarragon, leaves picked, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • warm pitta bread, to serve

Put the chickpeas, reserved brine, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, coriander, tarragon, tahini, some sea salt and black pepper, in a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, you might like to add more lemon juice. Serve in a bowl garnished with the nigella seeds and with some of your best olive oil drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)