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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

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.

 

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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)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

 

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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)

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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)

 

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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)

 

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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)

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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)

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Mustardy Greens

We came across this side dish when looking for something to cook with spring greens. Super easy and delicious!

Mustardy Greens – serves 4

  • 300g spring greens, remove the central spine from the leaves and roughly shred
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Bring 250ml of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add the spring greens and peas, bring back to a simmer, then cover and cook for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then return to the pan and put back over a low heat.

Stir in the butter and mustards and season well with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spiced Salmon Skewers with Parsley Oil

We started these kebabs from the Falastin cookbook on the barbecue and then finished in the oven. Oh my goodness, they’re delicious. This is the best cookbook we’ve bought in ages!! You can make the parsley oil and marinade the salmon well in advance.

Wine Suggestion: to avoid fighting the spices we opened a La Source de Chateau Vignelaure Blanc from Provence. A blend of Vermentino, Semillon and Sauvignon it was uncomplicated joy in a glass; pure freshness with light fruits and a textured core.

Spiced salmon skewers with parsley oil – serves 4

  • 800g salmon fillet (no skin & bones), cut into 4cm chunks
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 3½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved lengthways, then each half quartered into 4 chunks
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, quartered into wedges, to serve

PARSLEY OIL:

  • 40g parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut off the ends, then remove the skin and cut between the membranes to release the segments

Put the chunks of salmon into a large bowl with the cardamom, cumin, paprika, turmeric, sumac, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, ¾ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix to coat the fish, then leave in the fridge for at least an hour but it will be fine made earlier in the day and cooked when you need.

Put 1½ 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.

To make the parsley oil whizz the parsley, garlic, oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper in the small bowl of a food processor for about a minute, or until, smooth. Add the lemon segments and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 230ºC and get your barbecue going (if you don’t want to barbecue you can use a well-greased griddle pan).

Put a tomato onto 4 long metal skewers, then alternate chunks of salmon with pieces of onion. Finish with another tomato at the end.

When the barbecue (or griddle) is smoking hot, add the skewers and grill for 3-4 minutes, turning so they’re charred on all sides. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment and put into the preheated oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked.

Drizzle over the parsley oil and serve the lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020)

 

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Corsican Veal and Olive Stew

We were lucky enough to find some rose veal from Broughgammon Farm in County Antrim. These guys do online delivery but we were able to pick some up from the McNally Family Farm in North Dublin. They also do fabulous goat and free range pork. This veal stew by the Hairy Bikers has fab flavours and the herbs, fresh tomatoes and white wine make it relatively light so perfect for this time of year with extra sunshine and warmth.

Wine Suggestion: from the Tuscan coast is a rising star, Biserno, who at the top end are making some stunning and expensive wines. However to kick off their range their Insolglio del Cinghiale which is a blend of 1/3 Syrah with Cabenet Franc, Merlot & Petit Verdot making up the remainder is a true gem. All the quality of the top wines with the refined Cab Franc shining bright but also with quite an open and expressive Syrah as the core.

Corsican veal & olive stew – serves 4-6

  • 1kg rose veal shoulder, cut in 4cm chunks (we bought two packs of diced rose veal, the cut was leaner than shoulder but it worked perfect)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta or streaky bacon lardons
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml white wine
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1 piece of lemon zest
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 200g fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g green olives

Dry the veal with kitchen paper, then toss in the flour and plenty of seasoning.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the veal in batches until well browned on all sides. Add another tbsp of oil between batches. Set the browned veal aside.

Heat another tbsp of oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the pancetta/bacon and fry over a medium high heat until browned and crispy. Add the onions, celery and carrots, then reduce the heat a bit. Fry these gently for about 10 minutes or until starting to soften and colouring slightly.

Add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then add the veal. Deglaze the frying pan with some of the wine, then pour this over the veal. Add the rest of the wine, the chicken stock, lemon zest, herbs and plenty of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and olives and cook the stew for another 30 minutes, uncovered to reduce the sauce if needed. We served with new potatoes.

(Original recipe from The Hairby Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Ferran Adria's Bolognese

An easy Bolognese that is super tasty and feeds a crowd from one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. Despite having never eaten at his table we completely respect him as this is all about depth of flavour and comfort which says more about his food values than any prettily displayed dish. You should have enough sauce to serve over 20 people so don’t be put off by the large quantities of butter and oil, it makes for a rich and delicious sauce. We’ve made this many times to stash in the freezer but this is the first time we’ve remembered to take a photo.

Wine suggestion: As Ferran is Spanish we went for a red from the same country, the Dominio de Tares Baltos, a Mencia with juicy black fruits, subtle and gentle spices and a vibrant freshness.

Bolognese Sauce – makes 2.5kg (serves many people!)

  • 225g butter
  • 1.2kg beef mince
  • 350g pork sausage meat
  • 500g onions, finely chopped
  • 150g celery, finely chopped
  • 400g carrots, finely chopped
  • 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12g tomato purée
  • 1.6kg tinned chopped tomatoes (4 x 400g tins)
  • a pinch of sugar

Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and let it melt before adding the beef mince. fry until browned, then add the sausage meat. Cook for another few minutes, then season well with salt and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring, until golden brown.

Put another large pan over a low heat, then add the olive oil. Gently fry the chopped onions, celery and carrot until softened, about 12 minutes.

Add the meat to the vegetables and stir well to combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Season again with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for 90 minutes, or until the meat is really tender.

Serve with pasta and grated Parmesan of course.

(Original recipe from the Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adrià, Phaidon, 2011.)

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Croque Madame

This is a cheat’s version of the French classic and makes a great brunch/lunch.

Croque Madame – serves 2

  • 4 large slices of sourdough
  • Dijon mustard
  • 100g grated gruyère
  • 4 slices thick-cut ham
  • butter
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs

Spread the sourdough with a thin layer of mustard on one side, then fill the sandwiches with half the gruyère and the ham. Spread the outside of the sandwiches with butter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the sandwiches on both sides until golden.

Mix the crème fraîche with the rest of the gruyère and spread over the top of the sandwiches. Put under a hot grill until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown.

Serve with a fried or poached egg on the top.

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

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Aubergine, Chickpea & Tomato Bake

Absolute deliciousness from Sami Tamami and Tara Wigley. You could definitely eat a plate of this as it is, but we had it tonight with a barbecued leg of lamb. You can prep it in advance and cook when needed.

Aubergine, chickpea & tomato bake – serves 4 to 6

  • 5 medium aubergines (about 1.25kg), trim off the tops, use a peeler to peel of strips of skin so you have stripy aubergines, then cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp tomato purée
  • 2 green peppers, cut in to 3cm chunks
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g to serve
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1½ cm rounds

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the aubergine slices into a large bowl and toss with 75ml of the olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Spread the slices over the baking trays and bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes. They should be completely softened and lightly browned.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C fan.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large sauté pan, then cook the onion for about 7 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, cinnamon and tomato purée and cook for another minutes. Add the peppers, chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, sugar, 200ml of water, 1¼ tsp salt and and plenty of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, or until the peppers have cooked through. Stir in the coriander and remove from the heat.

Spread half the tomato slices and half the aubergine over the base of a large baking dish. Pour over the sauce, then top with the remaining aubergine and tomato slices. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of olive oil, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle over the remaining coriander to serve.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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BBQ Lamb with Courgettes, Mangetout & Feta Salad

We love this time of year when all the local produce arrives in dribs and drabs. Last week our local farm shop had little courgettes and mangetout – the excitement!

Wine Suggestion: a lighter, youthful red with medium, dry tannins and freshness for the lamb. A young Sangiovese from a good vineyard or good cru Beaujolais come to mind straight away.

BBQ lamb with courgettes, mangetout & feta salad – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 small lamb chops or cutlets
  • 2 small courgettes, sliced into rounds, about 1cm thick
  • 200g mangetout
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • small handful basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 25g feta, crumbled

Season the lamb chops all over with black pepper and fine sea salt. Mix a tbsp of the olive oil with the chopped thyme and brush over the lamb.

Heat the barbecue and cook the chops for a few minutes on each side, we don’t mind them rare in the middle but we like them to be well-seared and crispy on the outside. Remove to a plate, and leave to rest, covered in foil.

Brush the courgette with a little oil and season. Cook these on the barbecue (if you have a griddle pan you can set it on the barbecue and cook them on this so they don’t fall through the bars). You might need a couple of batches.

Meanwhile, cook the mangetout for a couple of minutes in boiling salty water, then drain and tip into a large bowl with the courgettes.

Mix the vinegar, mustard, chilli flakes, mint & basil together to make a dressing. Toss the veg in the dressing and crumble over the feta to serve. Pile onto plates with the lamb chops.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Classic Basil Pesto

Basil has come into season and is plentiful so we had to make a pesto. There’s likely to be a second batch next week too! We make pesto in a pestle and mortar but you could also use a food processor.

Pesto – enough to serve 4 with pasta

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 25g Parmesan

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

Pound the basil in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the basil 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.

(Original recipe from the Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017).

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Broad Bean Carbonara

There has been so many broad beans on our plates in the last couple of weeks, not that we’re complaining, we adore them! The frozen ones are hard to beat as they tend to be small and sweet.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a well made Chardonnay with a deft hand with oak and fresh acidity depending on what you have at hand; Burgundy, Jura, Baden, Stellenbosch, Macedon, Santa Cruz, etc.

Broad bean carbonara – serves 2

  • 85g pancetta (we had bacon lardons which worked perfect)
  • 100g podded and skinned broad beans (put the beans in boiling water for a minute, then refresh under cold water, the skins will slip off easily) – if you’re buying in pods you will need about 400g
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 200g parpardelle pasta (we used tagliatelle but you could use whatever pasta)
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt it generously.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta/bacon for about 8 minutes or until crisp.

Beat the egg yolks with the cream and season generously with black pepper.

Cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain, but save a bit of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the broad beans and pancetta in the frying pan. Add the egg and cream mixture and stir to coat, you may need some of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Add half the Parmesan and toss through the pasta, then serve in warm bowls with the extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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