Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

We’re not sure when Ceasar salad fell off the radar but it was resurrected by us on a Saturday night and tasted as good as ever. Particularly with roast chicken and chips.

Caesar Salad – serves 4

FOR THE CROUTONS:

  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • half a baguette, cut into small cubes

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, crushed
  • 4 good quality anchovies mashed with a fork (we like the tins of anchovies in olive oil by Ortiz)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium heads of romaine lettuce
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Bash the two garlic cloves and put into a bowl with the cubed bread and olive oil. Toss with your hands to coat with the oil, then scatter over a roasting tray and bake for about minutes or until golden.

Put the egg yolk into a bowl and whisk in the lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and mustard. Start adding the oil, drop by drop to begin with and then you can progress to a slow stream, whisking all the time until emulsified.

Toss the lettuce and Parmesan together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat the leaves, then scatter over the croutons to serve.

(Original recipe form Avoca Salads by Hugo Arnold, Avoca Ltd, 2007)

Best-ever Oven Chips

Best-ever Oven Chips

We don’t really like to deep fry at home and so only really have chips in restaurants. But at last Barney Desmazery, from BBC GoodFood, has come up with a recipe for oven chips that actually works! We might have to cook steak now at the weekend to celebrate.

Best-ever Oven Chips – serves 4

  • 1kg large Maris Piper potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp white or malt vinegar
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp cornflour or potato flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • small pinch of cayenne pepper

Cut the potato into chip shapes (you can cut of the round ends and keep them all oblong and tidy but we didn’t bother).

Put the chips into a pan of cold water with the vinegar added and bring to the boil. Simmer for 6-8 minutes or until just cooked and tender, then drain very carefully so they don’t break up. Leave to cool completely (you can now put them in the fridge for a day or two until you need them).

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 9.

Pour the oil into a heavy baking tray or shallow roasting tin and put into the oven to heat.

Mix the flours with the baking powder, cayenne and some salt in a shallow dish. Gently toss the chips in the mixture to coat. Remove the pan from the oven and lay the chips in a single layer. Gently turn the chips over to coat in the fat, then roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chips again, then roast for another 10 minutes. Turn once more and cook for a final 10 minutes or until crisp and a deep golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Monastery Soup

Monastery Soup

The second Bulgarian recipe we’ve cooked from Black Sea by Caroline Eden and one of the best soups we’ve had in ages. We think it’s the combination of sweet peppers and parsnip with the spicy broth that makes it so good. Serve with a good slick of olive oil and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Monastery Soup – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large red or yellow pepper, diced very finely
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 parsnip, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 700ml veg stock
  • a tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • a tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • flat-leaf parsley & mint, chopped (to serve)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or crème fraîche (to serve, optional but good)

Warm the sunflower oil in a large pot, then add the pepper, onion, parsnip and carrot with some salt. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Add the paprika, chilli flakes, garlic and some black pepper and continue to cook for another few minutes. Add the stock and beans and turn up the heat. When the soup starts to boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through (try one of the carrots). Remove from the heat and divide between warm bowls. Sprinkle over the herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. A spoon of sour cream on top is also really good.

(Original recipe Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018)

 

Spicy Dalboka Mussels

Spicy Dalboka Mussels

We cooked these mussels on Friday night form Caroline Eden’s ‘Black Sea’. A book that is as good to read as to look at. The recipe is Bulgarian with the mussels cooked in a spicy tomato soup. You will need lots of crusty white bread to go with.

Wine Suggestion: This pairs superbly with a good new world Pinot Noir, ideally from a producer that values freshness. If you can push the boat out a bit we’d suggest a Felton Road from Central Otago or a Tyler from Santa Barbera but tonight it was Newton Johnson’s Felicite from Hermanus to equally good effect.

Spicy Dalboka Mussels – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 500g mussels, scrubbed and beards and barnacles removed (chuck any that don’t close tightly when tapped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder/pul biber (Turkish pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 10 pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a decent handful of spinach (or lovage when it’s around)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of dill, chopped
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-based casserole, then sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, paprika and peppercorns, then the stock, vinegar and tomatoes – simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to hight and add the mussels, spinach and salt. Cover and steam for a few minutes or until the mussels have opened (don’t eat any that haven’t opened).

Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice and herbs. Serve in bowls with lots of crusty white bread.

(Original recipe from Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018.)

Nigel’s Bolognese

Nigel's Bolognese

We love cookbooks that divide recipes up by the month of year. You can pick them off the shelf and get some instant inspiration that suits the weather conditions and what’s available. This is how we came to make this spaghetti bolognese, from Nigel Slater’s original Kitchen Diaries, on a cold night in January. We don’t usually add mushrooms to our Bolognese but they were really good here. Serve with some sort of long pasta (or penne if that’s what you’ve got) and loads of Parmesan.

Wine suggestion: we really enjoyed Michele Biancardi’s Ponteviro Primitivo from Puglia with this: wonderfully fresh and with a herbal spice as opposed to jam which appeals to our tastes.

A really good spaghetti Bolognese – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 70g cubed pancetta
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large flat mushrooms (about 100g), finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g beef mince
  • 200ml passata
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml stock
  • a nutmeg
  • 200ml full-cream milk or cream
  • spaghetti or tagliatelle (to serve)
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then stir in the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook. When they have softened a bit, add the mushrooms, tuck in the bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring now and then.

Turn the heat up and add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Leave to cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottom starts to brown, the stir again and leave to colour.

When the meat is well browned, add the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of the nutmeg and some salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a bare bubble. Partially cover with a lid and leave to cook for 60-90 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a bit of extra liquid if it looks dry at any point.

Gradually add the milk/cream, then continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve with the pasta and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from

 

Red Onion, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pizza

We’ve been experimenting with our new Ooni Pro pizza oven. This is the very first pizza we made and it turned out pretty good. The recipe is by Gill Meller (of River Cottage fame) and we’ve since seen that he’s working with Ooni – a match made in heaven!

Wine Suggestion:  a joyful red, preferably Italian to match the mood. Tonight the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, but we’ve equally enjoyed wines from Abruzzo, Piedmont and Sicily to name a few with pizzas like these. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy or alcoholic though – light to medium bodied.

Gill’s Favourite Pizza – makes 3 large pizzas

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (good ones!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

FOR THE BASE:

  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 320ml lukewarm water

FOR THE TOPPING (PER PIZZA):

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 or 3 thyme springs, leaves picked

To make the sauce, heat a medium pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes,  half a tin of water and the bay leaf. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the base, put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Combine the yeast and water in a jug and whisk to dissolve. Pour this over the flour and allow the machine to run for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. You can also knead by hand but it will take a lot more effort and about 10 to 12 minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 3-4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9½ (or if you have a pizza oven you can get it going).

Heat a baking sheet or pizza stone inside the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back, then left it rest for a few minutes. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll each ball out thinly. Remove the hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven and lay on the pizza dough. Top the pizza as quickly as you can. Gill suggests tomato sauce followed by mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, blue cheese and thyme. Trickle some olive oil over the top and season well. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serve straight away and repeat with the remaining dough.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

Pan-fried sprouts with soy & hazelnuts

Here’s something different to try if you’re running out of Brussels Sprout inspiration. We’re a bit over the bacon and chestnut embellishments – they all seem a bit too Christmassy now.

Pan-fried sprouts with bay, soy, hazelnuts and sherry vinegar – serves 4

  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g Brussels sprouts, remove the outer leaves and halve them
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 50g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • parsley, to serve

Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil when the frying pan is hot. When the butter sizzles, add the sprouts and bay leaves, and shake to coat in the fat. Turn the heat down a bit and fry for 4-5 minutes or until starting to colour.

Add the chopped hazelnuts and toast for 2-3 minutes or until everything has turned golden, add a splash of water if browning too quickly.

Add the soy sauce, sherry vinegar and honey. Continue to cook until the heated through and the sprouts are tender.

Scatter some parsley over to serve if you have it.

(Original recipe by Thomasina Miers in the Guardian, 10th December 2019.)