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Lamb & Mint Samosas

Once you’ve got the hang of making samosas you can do batches and freeze them. Bring them out when friends come around, brush melted butter on and bake … easy. Here you can see a Beetroot & Feta version on the left and Lamb & Mint on the right. We’ve decorated them with different seeds to help tell the difference. Our guests went home wanting to make them for themselves – and they promptly did. No better indorsement we think.

Lamb & Mint Samosas – makes 18-24

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds) or sesame seed to garnish, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the cumin seeds and fry for a minute. Add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until golden, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the lamb mince and break up with a wooden spoon. Fry for 8-10 minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, garam masala, ginger, chilli & salt.

Continue to cook the the mince until starting to brown, then tip into a dish to cool. Add the mint just before you make the samosas.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the lamb mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the lamb mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds or sesame seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion or sesame seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

Paella Mixta

Paella Mixta

This is not an authentic paella recipe but we guarantee it will remind you of days in the sun. It’s made in the oven from start to finish and all you have to do is add the ingredients in the correct order.

Wine Suggestion: Spanish influenced wine it has to be. If it’s baking hot try a dry, Garnacha Rosé, though for us tonight it had to be red as it was cool and wet. The choice was a little left-field as it was from Teruel, an old, abandoned wine region (caused by the de-population of country areas during their civil war) being rehabilitated by a couple of young winemakers making their own way. The Bodegas Jesus Romero Quercus is garnacha, tempranillo, syrah and a little cabernet franc planted in poor, stony soils with excellent drainage and elevation near Valencia. We are really impressed each time we taste this, and a good match for the dish too!

Paella Mixta – serves 4

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 pinches of saffron
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g paella rice
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut in half
  • 200g chorizo, sliced
  • 85g frozen peas
  • 150g raw king prawns
  • 250g mussels, cleaned and throw away those that won’t close when tapped
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • a small handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Put the onion and garlic into the base of a large, shallow, ovenproof pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, then toss to coat. Put into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the onion has started to brown. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overdo.

Meanwhile, put the tin of tomatoes, the chicken stock, the smoked paprika and saffron into a saucepan and heat until piping hot.

Remove the onions from the oven and stir in the rice, chicken, chorizo and hot stock mixture. Season and return to the oven for 20 minutes (uncovered).

Gently stir through the peas and arrange the mussels and prawns on the top. The mussel hinges should be facing downwards. Arrange the lemon wedges around the edge and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the mussels have opened and everything else is cooked. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened. Scatter over the parsley and serve. Finger bowls and napkins essential!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

Georgian Kidney Bean Salad

We try so many recipes but it’s rare that we find one that’s like nothing we’ve had before. This is different and definitely recommended by us.

Georgian kidney bean salad – serves 2

  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of dill, chopped

Toast the fenugreek, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and crush with a pinch of sea salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes or until soft and browned. Add the beans and warm through.

Mix 1 tbsp sunflower oil, the sherry vinegar, sugar, crushed spices, herbs and salt and pepper, together in a bowl. Stir through the beans and serve warm or cold.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

Creamy tomato, courgette & prawn pasta

There was lots of panic buying in Dublin when we went into lockdown but actually we were able to get pretty much everything, except orecchiette! After four orecchiette-free months we’ve finally got our hands on some. To celebrate we really enjoyed this simple pasta dish with locally grown courgettes.

Wine Suggestion: our choice tonight was a southern Italian white from Fiano made by Michele Biancardi in Puglia. Hints of honey, white flowers and a salty tang this wine speaks of the southern sun, and fresh breezes off the Adriatic seas. Travelling in a glass, when we can’t do it yet physically.

Creamy tomato, courgette & prawn pasta – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 large or 400g baby courgettes, sliced
  • 400g orecchiette pasta, or any other small pasta shape
  • 2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
  • good pinch of sugar
  • 200g raw prawns, peeled
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • small pack basil, leaves only, torn

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add the courgettes and cook until starting to soften.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette according to the timing on the pack.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and some salt and pepper to the pan, then simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Add the prawns to the sauce and stir until they turn pink. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce along with the crème fraîche. Simmer for another couple of minutes to warm through, then add the basil before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

Sweet Beetroot Pickle

This is so simple and far superior to the jars you buy in supermarkets (though we do like them too). The flavour of the earthy beetroot really shines through.

A good thing about pickling your own beetroot is that you can source/grow different types and they’ll all have their own character; this one was less red in colour and a touch more peppery than the usual supermarket variety. We’re on the lookout for golden beetroot next to see what happens there too.

Sweet pickle beetroot – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4-6 beetroots (about 300g)
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 125ml red wine vinegar
  • 125ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C/180 fan/Gas 6.

Sprinkle the salt into the bottom of a roasting tin and place the whole beetroots on top. Bake for 30 minutes, then pierce with a sharp knife to see if they’re tender all the way through. Keep cooking until your knife goes through easily. It could take 15 minutes more or longer depending on the size of your beetroots.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then trim the ends and peel off the skin – you will need gloves. Cut each beetroot into 8-10 wedges and put into an airtight container.

Heat the remaining ingredients together and bring to the boil. Pour over the beetroots, including all the spices, and seal the container. Leave to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.

You can eat the beetroots the following day or leave them longer for the flavour to develop. They should be good for a month if you don’t open the container. Once opened you need to eat within 2 weeks which should not be a problem!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014)

Classic Prawn Cocktail

Some might say retro, but make this and you’ll have to admit it is a classic! This is not the authentic recipe, but it makes the best version we’ve come across so far by using Heinz salad cream and pink peppercorns.  You can make the prawn mix up a few hours in advance and leave it in the fridge.

Wine Suggestion: pink with pink … you just have to! Tonight something different, the Les Prunes Blanc des Mandó from near Valencia. Quite possibly Spain’s best answer to a dry, savoury, Provençal rosé … and a useful 11.5% abv.

Prawn cocktail – serves 6

  • 450g small cooked prawns (frozen ones work well but defrost thoroughly, drain well,  and pat dry with kitchen paper)
  • 200g salad cream
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • little gem lettuces
  • 1 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed (or 2 tsp paprika if you don’t have the peppercorns)

Mix the salad cream, ketchup, lemon juice and Tabasco in a large bowl, then fold in the prawns.

Finely shred the lettuce and use to line individual bowls or a platter. Spoon the prawns over the top and scatter with the crushed peppercorns or paprika.

(Original recipe from Feast by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)

Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

Spring Radish & Tomato Salad

The radishes growing in the garden are all ready at the same time and we’ve been looking for recipes to use them. This is Ukranian salad from Olia Hercules’ book – Mamushka. Olia suggests you need bread alongside to mop up the dressing at the end and we couldn’t agree more. Crusty and white we think works best. Nice as a side dish or as a light lunch.

Spring radish & tomato salad – serves 4

  • 4 small cucumbers, or 1 large (we used baby cucumbers)
  • 2 beef tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of radishes, sliced
  • ½ a bunch of dill, chopped
  • 100ml natural yoghurt, diluted with ½ tbsp water
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Slice the cucumber and tomatoes directly into the bowl, so that you catch all the juice. Add the radishes and dill and mix well.

Season the yoghurt really well with the salt and pepper, then stir through the salad. When you’ve finished the salad you will be left with a puddle of pale pink dressing which should be mopped up with some bread.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

Oregano Pesto

Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

Courgettes with Broad Beans and Walnuts

We can’t resist all the courgettes at this time of year, and even less so if they’re multi-coloured. This is a really tasty side dish that we make with frozen broad beans but of course use the fresh version if you have them. A great side to bring a bit of sunshine to any meal.

Courgettes with broad beans & walnuts – serves 4

  • 8 baby courgettes, sliced on the diagonal into 4 or 5 pieces (you can also use medium courgettes but cut them in 4 lengthways, then slice)
  • 200g podded broad beans, (about 1kg unpodded weight)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 walnut halves, roughly chopped

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 50ml olive oil

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar and olive oil together with some seasoning.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the broad beans and cook for 2-3 minutes (if you are using frozen baby broad beans they will only need a minute). Drain and run under cold water, then remove the skins.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgettes and cook over a medium heat until golden on all sides – about 5-8 minutes.

Add the broad beans, season with salt and pepper and warm through for 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vinaigrette. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Pomegranate & mint raitaServe this with lamb kebabs with cumin and coriander or any Indian dishes.

Pomegranate & Mint Raita – serves 4 to 6

  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500ml Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint leaves

Roast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, then put into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind.

Spoon the yoghurt into a dish, then mix the cumin, salt, sugar, mint and pomegranate seeds. Keep a few pomegranate seeds and mint leaves aside aside to garnish.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

Lamb kebabs with cumin & coriander

Delicious Indian kebabs cooked over charcoal. We’ve had an Indian theme going on all week at our house. Serve these with raita and naan breads.

Wine Suggestion: a juicy, easy red with an open texture and something with Syrah/Shiraz and or Grenache strikes a good balance with spices that match the smokey, warmly spiced kebabs. Tonight was the Secateurs Red, a Cinsault Shiraz Grenache blend from Swartland which we’ve not had for a while and I’m not sure why, it was delicious.

Lamb kebabs with cumin & coriander – serves 4

  • 600g lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Bash the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt to make a paste.

In another bowl mix the oil with the ginger and garlic paste, the spices, 1 tsp of salt and the lemon zest and juice. Pour this marinade over the lamb and mix well.

Thread the lamb onto skewers and barbecue for about 10-12 minutes. Rest for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

Shepherds Pie

If you’ve got left-over roast lamb and gravy, then this is the dish for you. Rich, delicious, comforting, and better than the regular mince version if you ask us. Based on a recipe from the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork.

Wine Suggestion: This works with a vibrant Syrah or Shiraz. A juicy fruity core, fine tannins, and hints of pepper spice are what you’re looking for. We went for the Killikanoon Killermans Run Shiraz from the Clare Valley in Australia – full bodied but no heaviness. The Clare Valley often surprises us with how fresh and European it is despite the proximity to the equator … lots of flavour and tannins and yet delicate, with a refreshing finish.

Ballymaloe Shepherd’s Pie – serves 6

  • 25g butter
  • 110g onion, chopped
  • 25g flour
  • 450ml stock and leftover gravy (top up whatever gravy you have to with stock to get 450ml in total)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 450g cooked lamb, chopped very finely

FOR THE MASH:

  • 900g unpeeled mashing potatoes e.g. Kerr’s Pinks
  • a splash or two of full-cream milk (or cream if you happen to have some)
  • 50g butter

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the onion and cover with a piece of greased paper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove the paper and stir in the flour, then cook until lightly browned. Add the stock and gravy and bring to the boil. Add the tomato purée, parsley, thyme, and season well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir the chopped lamb into the sauce and bring to the boil. Taste and correct the seasoning, then scrape the mixture into a large dish.

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with plenty of salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain off two-thirds of the water, cover again with the lid, then steam over a low heat until cooked. Peel off the skins and mash while hot. Beat in the butter and some salt and pepper. Now add a few splashes of milk or cream until you have a nice consistency for spreading over the lamb.

Cover the lamb mixture with the potatoes and score the top with a fork.

Bake in the hot oven for about 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling and serve with seasonal veg. It has to be peas with pie for us.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

 

Aubergine and Cherry Tomato Curry

This is delicious and so simple. A perfect summer curry. Serve with yoghurt and naan bread. It’s versatile too as it is lovely on its own with some rice, or as a side, or part of a larger feast.

Wine Suggestion: a light grenache red is our pick, either a simple Spanish bottle such as Bodegas Monfil in Cariñena or something more sophisticated like Domaine Cébène’s ex Arena from Faugeres.

Aubergine & cherry tomato curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4cm ginger, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 large aubergine, quartered, then cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan with a lid.

Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until soft. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add the cherry tomatoes, then cover with the lid and leave over a low heat for 10 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.

Stir in the salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, tomato purée and sugar. Mix well, then add 150ml warm water, then the aubergine. Stir to coat the aubergines in the tomatoes, then cover again.

Cook for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat or until the aubergine is tender and soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.

Season to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

Beetroot & feta samosas

These are so simple to make and you can stash them in the freezer and cook from frozen so great for a snack or starter with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve tried these with a few different wines and prefer them if the wine is chilled. Quite a few whites worked really well, but interestingly the best combination was a chilled red made from Grignolino from the Piedmont in norther Italy. Light bodied and yet dry with hints of (in balance) pippy bitterness and structured, light tannins. From a bottle a friend brought over and made by Olim Bauda; a nice discovery.

Beetroot & feta samosas – makes 18-24 samosas

  • 400g fresh beetroot
  • 200g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds), to garnish

Boil the beetroot until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, this can take an hour or more depending on what size they are.

Trim the beetroot and peel off the skin (you might like to wear gloves), then roughly mash.

Put the mashed beetroot into a hot frying pan over a medium heat and heat for 5 minutes to remove excess moisture, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the feta, scallions, coriander, green chilli, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and salt.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the beetroot mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the beetroot mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

 

Indian Summer Salad

Try this on the side next time you make a curry. It’s fresh, crunchy, delicious and also slaw-like, so would be good in a naan bread with some spicy chicken or lamb.

Indian Summer Salad – serves 6 (easily halved but the leftovers are ok for a day in the fridge too)

  • 3 carrots, grated
  • a bunch of radishes, very finely sliced
  • 2 courgettes, very finely sliced
  • half a small red onion, finely chopped
  • a small handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Put the carrots, radishes, courgettes, onion and mint into a large bowl.

Mix the white wine vinegar, Dijon and mayonnaise and salt & pepper together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

(Original recipe by BBC Good Food)

Couscous with Courgette, Fried Onions & Herbs

It’s courgettes with everything in our house this week, not that we’re complaining! We had this couscous as a side for a barbecue and the leftovers were great for lunches. Also a good recipe for using up any herbs you have, you don’t have to stick to combination suggested, one or two would be fine.

Couscous with courgette, fried onions & herbs – serves 6

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, grated
  • 300g couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • small bunch mint
  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch dill
  • handful rocket, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions gently until softened, then increase the heat and let them crisp up a bit.

Put the courgettes,  couscous, and chickpeas into a large bowl and pour over the stock. Cover tightly with clingfilm an set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the mint, coriander and dill together.

Fork the couscous to separate the grains then use to stir in the lemon juice, fried onions, scallions, herbs, rocket and plenty of seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

Hot Smoked Trout & Dill Spaghetti

A lovely weeknight treat and so easy and quick to make. We used Barbecued Rainbow Trout from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny but any hot smoked trout or salmon will work perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: this works with lightly / judiciously oaked Chardonnay which gives structure and a touch of butteriness but retains the fruit and texture; your choice.

Hot Smoked Trout & Dill Spaghetti – serves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g frozen petits pois
  • 100g hot smoked trout or salmon (see above), remove the skin and break into bite-sized chunks
  • a small packet of dill (about 25g), remove any thickish stalks and roughly chop
  • 3 tbsp of crème fraîche

Cook the spaghetti in loads of boiling, very salty water, for a minute less than the time given on the pack. Add the frozen petits pois and cook for another minute, then drain and return to the pan. Reserve some of the pasta water to thin the sauce.

Stir the hot smoked trout, dill, crème fraîche, salt and lots of black pepper into the pasta. Add a couple of tbsp of pasta water to the pan and toss everything together over a very low heat. Keep adding pasta water until you have a silky sauce, then serve in warm bowls.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

Buttery Rice with Toasted Vermicelli

A very simple and effective way to pimp up your rice.

Buttery rice with toasted vermicelli – serves 4

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 35g unsalted butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50g spaghetti, roughly broken into 3cm sticks (or you can use 50g vermicelli wheat noodles)
  • 520ml hot water or hot chicken stock

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then set aside to soak in a bowl of water for at least an hour. When the rice has soaked, transfer it to a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for 15 minutes or so.

Put 25g of the butter and the cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until deep golden. Stir in the rice to combine well, then add the water or stock and 1½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pan tightly with tinfoil, followed by the lid. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave aside for 15 minutes, still covered.

Remove the lid and dot with the extra butter, then set aside for another 10 minutes, covered.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wrigley, Ebury Press, 2020)

Barbecued Prawn Kebabs with Harissa & Couscous

A healthy, weeknight dish with lovely flavours. Another recipe for using up bits and bobs you may already have which is our primary motivation for cooking mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh white or a crisp, dry rosé would be our choice for this dish. We had a glass of the Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Rosé from Ventoux (and quite Provençal in style) and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Barbecued prawn kebabs with harissa & couscous – serves 4

  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved lengthways, then each half quartered into 4 chunks
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 200g couscous
  • 400g raw prawns
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2 tsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • juice ½ lemon, plus wedges, to serve
  • handful mint leaves, roughly chopped

Put 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured, they’ll fall apart and that’s fine. Scoop them out of the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the same pan, add the cumin seeds and toast for a few minutes until they smell good. Tip the carrots into the pan and season, then cook for a few minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, then pour over the couscous and 400ml hot water. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, get your barbecue going. Put the prawns, cherry tomatoes and softened onions in another bowl, season, then stir in the harissa. Thread the prawns, tomatoes and onions onto metal skewers (you can use wooden ones either but you need to soak in water for 20 minutes first). Barbecue the kebabs for a couple of minutes on each side, or until the prawns are cooked through.

Mix the tahini, yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice and seasoning to make a sauce. Fork the mint though the couscous, transfer to a platter and place the skewers on top. Serve with the sauce and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)