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Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage

Nothing fancy here but might be the break you need from all the Christmas festivities. Minimal effort required!

Wine Suggestion: a light red wine was our choice today; the Domaine Bellier Cheverny Rouge, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from the Loire in France. Earthy and fresh plums and cherry flavours with fine, light tannins.

Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage – serves 2

  • 150g linguine
  • 25g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • a handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

Cook the linguine in loads of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until very soft and golden and the any liquid has pretty much disappeared.

Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the sage and cook for another minute. Season generously.

Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom pan with the lemon juice, Parmesan and enough of the reserved water to make a sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is coated.

Serve with a bit of extra Parmesan over the top if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2015)

Cauliflower & chestnut soup

Got chestnuts? We made this with a vac-pack we still had in the drawer from last Christmas. A really delicious soup and perfect for using a post- or pre-season chestnut surplus!

Cauliflower & Chestnut Soup – serves 4

  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 250ml milk
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 200g pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 25g grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add the cauliflower, milk and stock, then bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

Add the cream, season well, and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chestnuts, then blend with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste and serve with shaved Parmesan, lots of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Spanish rice with pork & spinach

Another great one-pot dish by Diana Henry – one our absolute favourite food writers (we might have said that already). Don’t be tempted to stir the rice, it’s not a risotto.

Wine Suggestion: this dish goes with juicy Spanish reds with a good option being the Finca Antigua Syrah from La Mancha. While not a traditional grape variety for Spain, Syrah is increasingly seen and seems to take on a local twist which we find works really well; creamy with warm spices.

Spanish rice with pork and spinach – serves 6

  • 350g pork fillet, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 chorizo, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 300g bacon, cut into meaty chunks (you might have to order a piece of bacon from your butcher)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 300g paella rice
  • 1.2 litres hot chicken stock
  • 650g spinach
  • 1 lemon

Season the pork. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan and quickly brown the pork until cooked through, then set aside.

Reduce the heat and add another 3 tbsp of the oil and the chorizo and bacon. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the onions and peppers and cook over a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, paprika and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the rice. Stir the rice into the juices (this is the only time you will stir it), then add the stock and season. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until there is only a little liquid left and the rice almost tender.

Meanwhile, wilt the spinach in the last tbsp of oil and season. Scatter the spinach over the rice and tuck in the pork pieces. Check for seasoning, then reduce the heat to its lowest, cover and leave for 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and serve.

Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

Brussel sprout & smoked cheese gratin

We need no encouragement to eat more Brussels sprouts, but we will certainly be making this dish again from Nigel Slater’s Greenfeast. It is super indulgent and would work well in small portions as a side dish – though we just had huge platefuls for dinner.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh and young Chardonnay with a hint of oak  would be our choice. Tonight the Domaine Ventenac, Les Dissidents Préjugés from Cabardès in the Languedoc, made in large oak barrels (20hl) and grown on clay; crisp with mineral textures and a round vibrant core. A wine to help break the prejudice some people have for this grape.

Brussels sprouts, smoked mozzarella and dill – serves 3 (or more as a side dish)

  • 300g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
  • 40g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g dill, chopped
  • 250g smoked mozzarella, cut into thick slices
  • 250ml double cream

FOR THE CRUMBS:

  • 40g butter
  • a handful of coarse breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped dill

Heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.

Warm the butter and olive oil in a shallow pan, then add the sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. They should turn bright green. Stir in the dill and season with black pepper.

Put half the sprouts in a baking dish and add most of the mozzarella. Put the rest of the Brussels sprouts and cheese over the top.

To make the crumbs: warm the butter in a shallow pan, add the crumbs and cook until golden, then stir in the dill. Pour the cream over the sprouts and cheese and top with a layer of breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast: autumn, winter by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

 

 

Chicken & Ham Lasagne

Chicken & Ham Lasagne

This is a good crowd pleaser and you can also freeze it so if you are fewer in number make two lasagnes in smaller dishes and save one for later.

Wine Suggestion: Rich and savoury; this goes really well with southern Rhône whites and our favourite, value option is the Chateau Pesquié Terrasses Blanc, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette & Grenache Blanc. With floral hints, layers of citrus and a backbone of stonefruit flavours this is round, rich and fresh in equal measures; just what this dish needs.

Chicken & Ham Lasagne – serves 8

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ a medium onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 140g sliced smoked ham, cut into strips
  • 200g young spinach leaves
  • no pre-cook dried lasagne sheets
  • 200g ready-grated mozzarella
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated

Put the chicken in a medium saucepan with the onion, bay leaves and wine. Pour over just enough water to cover, about 200ml. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle simmer, then poach gently for 15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Lift the chicken out onto a board and strain the liquid into a jug.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to keep the sauce smooth. When all the milk has been added, continue with the chicken cooking liquid. When all the liquid is added, continue to cook and stir for a few minutes or until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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

Cut the chicken into small chunks and stir into the sauce. Add the ham and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted. Spoon a third of the mixture into the bottom of a 3-litre lasagne dish. Top with lasagne sheets, then repeat the layers twice more, ending with lasagne. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan and season with black pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the lasagne is soft and the topping well browned.

TO FREEZE: Assemble the dish but don’t bake it. Leave to cool and cover with a double layer of foil, then freeze for up to 2 months.

TO COOK AFTER FREEZING: Remove the foil and cover with cling film. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Remove the cling film, cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 or until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Haricot Beans with Rice & Onions

Another dish made for no other reason than half a bag of fresh dill in the fridge, threatening to go to waste. This is a big bowl of buttery deliciousness and the perfect comfort food for a cold night.

Wine Suggestion: to match the cold and damp evening, and this comfort food you need to look at a comforting, juicy red; tonight the Altosur Malbec, a wine that genuinely outperforms its pricepoint.

Haricot beans with rice and onions – serves 2

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into thin rings
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g white long-grain rice
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 x 400g tin of haricot beans, drained
  • 60g butter
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a handful of chopped dill

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic, then the onions, and leave to cook over a moderate heat until soft and golden. Remove from the heat, scoop out the onions and keep the pan for later.

Wash the rice in warm water, then drain and transfer to a saucepan and pour in water to cover by 2cm. Add salt, the cloves and the peppercorns, then bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer, then cover tightly with a lid and leave for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a further 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in the onion pan, then cook the cumin seeds and turmeric for a minute or until fragrant. Add the beans and heat through.

Fork through the rice, check the seasoning and pick out the cloves. Stir in the dill and divide between two bowls. Spoon over the hot beans and top with the fried onions.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast: autumn, winter by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

 

Veggie Breakfast

Vege breakfast

This is a variation on a brunch dish from Jamie Oliver’s Veg book. Honeyed halloumi, chopped salad, yoghurt, tahini and soft-boiled eggs & dukkah. Jamie also suggests figs and black olives but we couldn’t find figs anywhere this weekend so we made do with some grapes instead and a plate of toasted sourdough. It definitely improved our morning and we’ve made honeyed halloumi for breakfast and dukkah on everything since.

To make your own dukkah mix 50g blanched hazelnuts, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds and 2tbsp sesame seeds in a bowl. Spread over a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes at 180C/160 fan or until toasted. Pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor just to chop the nuts.

Veggie Breakfast – serves 4

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves mint
  • 1 ripe beef tomato
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • 225g halloumi cheese
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp runny honey
  • 4 ripe figs, quartered –  or other fruit
  • 8 black olives, destoned
  • 1 tbsp dukkah (see above)
  • flatbread or toasted sourdough

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then put the eggs in and cook for 6½ minutes, then drain and peel under cool running water.

Chop the lettuce, mint, tomato and cucumber together on a board. Drizzle over the yoghurt and tahini and squeeze over the lemon juice, then continue to chop and mix until fine. Season with salt and black pepper.

Slice the halloumi lengthways into 4, then fry in 1 tbsp of oil over a medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and turn the cheese until coated all over. Remove to a plate and drizzle with the honey.

Halve the eggs and sprinkle with the dukkah. Arrange the fruit and olives together on a plate.

Serve warm with some toasted sourdough or flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Veg by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2019.)