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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

 

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Burnt Chestnuts

We can’t help but associate chestnuts with December when everyone’s in holiday mood. This side dish would complement any banquet and would even work well on the big day as an alternative to carrots and sprouts (not that there’s anything wrong with them). Another great idea from Sabrina Ghayour.

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Burnt Chestnuts, Tahini Yoghurt & Herb Oil – serves 4

  • 1.5kg beetroot, roasted and peeled, quartered (roast beetroots wrapped in foil for between 45 to 90 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife)
  • 200g vacuum packed cooked chestnuts

FOR THE YOGHURT SAUCE

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 100g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp warm water

FOR THE HERB OIL

  • 15g dill
  • 15g coriander
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

TO GARNISH

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • toasted nigella seeds

Arrange the beetroot quarters over a large platter.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, then dry fry the chestnuts for a couple of minutes on each side or until slightly blackened. Arrange the chestnuts on the platter with the beetroot.

Make the herb oil by pouring boiling water into a bowl and immersing the dill and coriander in it. Leave to blanch for 1 minutes before draining and then cool the herbs by running under cold water.

Blitz the herbs in a blender with the squeeze of lemon juice, the lemon zest, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Blend to a smooth mixture, adding more oil to loosen if needed. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the yoghurt sauce together and add enough warm water to make a smooth sauce. Drizzle the yoghurt sauce over the beetroot. Spoon over the herb oil and sprinkle with the toasted seeds to garnish.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Roasted Cod with Wild Thyme & Pul Biber

Thick pieces of cod look so pretty when scattered with dried herbs and chilli flakes. Also an opportunity to use our new fish bone tweezers – interesting what excites us as we get older! This is a simple but very tasty idea from Sabrina Ghayour’s book ‘Feasts’.

We served this with some rice, greens and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Wine Suggestion: this dish begs for a Greek Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini. A white that should always have a savoury profile, stony minerality and citrus freshness and a complimentary nature with the thyme and Aleppo pepper. If you’re fortunate to find one with “Nykteri” mentioned on it then this should be just as fresh as it is picked at night, and yet with a few months in oak fuller and deeper in flavour.

Roasted Cod Loins with Wild Thyme & Pul Biber – serves 4

  • 4 cod loins (about 200g each)
  • garlic oil
  • 4 tsp dried wild thyme
  • 2 tsp pul biber chilli flakes (Aleppo pepper)
  • finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put the fish fillets onto the paper and coat each piece generously with garlic oil. Sprinkle over the wild thyme, pul biber, lemon zest and plenty of sea salt flakes and black pepper.

Roast for 8-12 minutes depending on how thick your fish is, or until cooked through. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

 

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Veg Stew with saffron, curry & parmesan cream

It’s not too often that we taste something that is nothing like anything we’ve had before but that’s what happened with this dish. A deeply savoury, packed with umami flavours, and very satisfying veggie dish. We were a bit suspicious of the Parmesan cream but it’s exactly what the stew needs to enrich it. Great stuff!

Wine Suggestion: This is a great match for a dry Oloroso Sherry with it’s nuttiness and umami characters playing an extra chorus alongside these interesting flavours in the stew. If Sherry is not your thing look for a good northern-Rhône white; our current favourite is the Domaine Coursodon Etincelle, an unclassified Roussanne-Viognier blend that is textured, purfumed and complex.

Vegetable stew with saffron, curry & Parmesan cream – serves 4

  • 4 cloves of garlic, save one clove and finely chop the rest
  • 1 onion, diced
  • olive oil or butter for frying
  • 200g celeriac, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • Parmesan rind
  • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 slices of multigrain bread
  • a handful of mixed herbs, e.g. flat-leaf parsley, basil or dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes

FOR THE PARMESAN CREAM

  • 100g mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp finely grated Parmesan

Fry the onion in the oil or butter over a low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the celeriac and chopped garlic, turn up the heat and fry for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes, spices, tomatoes, cheese rind, 600ml of water and plenty of seasoning. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut edges on the slices of bread. Sprinkle the herbs on top and fry in oil and/or butter in a frying pan until golden.

Combine the mayonnaise and Parmesan in a bowl to make the Parmesan cream.

Remove the cheese rind from the stew and season with the miso, honey, chilli flakes and check for seasoning.

Serve the stew with the fried bread and Parmesan cream on the side.

(Original recipe by Ylva Bergqvist in Olive magazine, Christmas 2018.)

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Cheesy Jacket Potatoes with Sweetcorn & Roasted Peppers

Weeknight dinners in our house largely consist of dishes constructed from whatever happens to be lying in the fridge after the weekend. We rarely go shopping mid-week and consequently rarely waste food. This week we had some tinned El Navarrico Piquillo peppers which we had used in a paella. These are fabulous, but not cheap, and don’t keep for long once opened. We used them to stuff some jacket potatoes with a bit of cheddar cheese, the last of the chives in the garden and the dregs from a tin of sweetcorn leftover from sandwich filling for school lunchboxes. Serve with any salad leaves you have in the fridge drawer. Also a suitable filling for a quesadilla!

Wine Suggestion: a juicy Garnacha from Spain to match the mid-week casual dinner and the smoky Piquillo peppers

Cheesy jacket potatoes with sweetcorn and roasted peppers – serves 4

  • 4 x 200g floury potatoes – roosters work well
  • 175g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g sweetcorn, either defrosted if frozen of drained if from a tin
  • 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar or tin), diced
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • lightly dressed green salad, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Pierce the potatoes a couple of times with a fork and rub all over with a little olive oil and salt. Bake for about 1 hour, until soft.

Taking care not to burn yourself, cut the potatoes in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the potato from the middle but don’t break the skins. Put the scooped out potato into a bowl.

Use a fork to mash the potatoes, then add 100g of the cheese with the sweetcorn and roasted pepper and mix well. Season to taste and stir in the chives.

Arrange the potato skins on a baking tray and scoop the potato mixture into them. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Serve with some extra chives over the top and a green salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Nevan Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin was on every restaurant menu when we were kids. Not so much now, but still a much-loved French classic.  You can also still find it on many set menus in France – La Formule – and rightly so.

Wine Suggestion: As this is a classic French dish we would suggest going French with the wine too. For something decadent, a good red Burgundy, our choice would be Gevrey-Chambertin; for the thoughtful choice a really good Beaujolais, like Domaine Rochette’s Morgon Côte du Py; or something a little rustic and country: Côtes du Rhône. This last was our choice tonight with the excellent Coste-Chaude Madrigal CdR Villages Visan.

Coq au Vin – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta cubes
  • 150g small button mushrooms
  • 12 small pickling onions or small shallots
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 8 chicken pieces (a mixture of thighs & drumsticks), bone-in but skin removed
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 300ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 bouquet garni

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over a medium heat in a large, deep, frying pan. Fry the pancetta, mushrooms and onions for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan. Season 1 tbsp of the flour and put onto a plate. Dust the chicken pieces with the flour and shake of any excess. Fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Add the brandy, take off the heat, and light with a match to cook off the alcohol.

Remove the chicken from the pan and add to the vegetables and pancetta. Add the remaining 3tbsp of flour to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine, stock, redcurrant jelly and bouquet garni. If it seems too thick you can add a little more water.

Return the chicken, pancetta and veg to the pan, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40-45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with potatoes and seasonal veg.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

 

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Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Noodles with shiitake mushrooms & scallions

We can think of nothing nicer to eat than a bowl of slurpy noodles. Perfect for a speedy lunch or snack.

Wine Suggestion: a friend has suggested that there are brilliant saki matches for dishes like this that play with the umami but we’ve not tasted enough to suggest which one. However, we really liked a couple of wine options: a Lustau dry Oloroso, a Deux Montille Rully Blanc or a Tyler Pinot Noir from California. In each case they have a wonderful textural vibrancy that this dish needs.

Udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms and spring onions – serves 2

  • 125g dried egg noodles
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 200g shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • few coriander springs, leaves picked
  • 2½ tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt generously and cook the noodles for the time given on the pack. Drain and run under cold water, then stir through a few drops of sesame oil and groundnut oil to stop them from sticking.

Heat the oils over a high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to soften. Add the scallions, nam pla, soy sauce and noodles. Heat stirring until the noodles are glazed with the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire Macdonald and Jenny Stringer, Quadrille, 2013.)

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