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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Fig, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad

There are figs going cheap everywhere at the moment and we’re trying to find lots of things to do with them. This salad by Thomasina Miers is delicious and full of autumnal flavours.

Wine Suggestion: if you feel like wine with your salad choose a fresh, unoaked white. There’s plenty of options but we like Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier from the northern Rhone which sits nicely with all the components here.

Roasted red onion, fig, blue cheese & walnut salad – serves 4

  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 6 ripe figs, sliced in half widthways
  • 75g walnuts
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 head radicchio, finely shredded
  • 100g watercress
  • 120g blue cheese, we used Gorgonzola as we had some for another dish

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Scatter the onions over a large baking tray, season generously and drizzle with a tablespoon of the vinegar and olive oil to coat. Toss with your hands, lightly scatter with brown sugar, then roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the figs cut side down on a different tray, and season with salt, pepper, a little brown sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in the oven with the figs for another 10-12 minutes or until the figs are slightly softened and releasing their juice and the onions are crisp at the edges.

Drizzle the rest of the vinegar over the figs. Put the walnuts in a small baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Roughly chop.

Pour the juice from the fig roasting tray into a small cup, then whisk in 2-3 tbsp of oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Arrange the leaves on a large plate, top with the red onions and figs and dot around the cheese. Scatter over the walnuts and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe by Thomasina Miers in The Guardian.)

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Potato, Courgette, Chickpea and Rosemary soup

This is such a simple soup but it just tastes full of goodness. We loved it and we are loving Rachel Roddy’s cookbook – Two Kitchens – which is full of simple ideas that work perfectly.

Potato, chickpea, courgette and rosemary soup – serves 4 – Zuppa di patate, ceci, zucchine e rosmarino

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 medium courgettes, diced
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 800g tinned chickpeas, drained
  • grated pecorino, we used lots but as you please

Warm the olive oil and onion in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and cook until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute or two.

Add the courgettes and potatoes to the pan with the chilli flakes and stir until everything is coated in the oil.

Add the chickpeas,  1 litre of water and some seasoning.

Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are beginning to fall apart. Taste for seasoning and serve with the cheese.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens – Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, HEADLINE HOME, 2017)

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Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Capers and Olives

It seems like so long since we’ve cooked fresh fish, but tonight was the night. We’ve had Rachel Roddy’s book (Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome) for ages now but this has been its first outing (for reasons that we won’t bore you with here). This dish was everything we hoped for – quick for a Friday night but absolutely packed with all the flavours that this family loves. We served with couscous but rice or bread are also suggested. Well done Rachel!

Wine Suggestion: we were seduced by the Sicilian white, the Gulfi Carjcanti, a blend of Carricante and the ancient Albanello. Lively and herbal alongside a salty sapiness in the flavour making this a great wine to pair with seafood, let alone the olives, capers and tomatoes in this dish.

Fish in spicy tomato sauce with capers and olives (Pesce all ghiotta) – serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, remove the strings and finely dice
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500g fresh tomatoes, or tinned plum tomatoes drained of the juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional but sometimes good if using tinned tomatoes)
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 50g salted capers, rinsed
  • 60g olives – we used a mixture of green and black
  • 4 fish fillets (cod, bream or hake – we used hake), about 120g each
  • 1 heaped tbsp of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Take your fish out of the fridge and season it with a little salt.

Gently fry the onions in a deep frying pan, large enough to fit the hake fillets in a single layer later, until soft and translucent.

Add the celery and cook for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and chilli and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the capers and olives and simmer for another couple of minutes.

Take the pan off the heat, make a space in the sauce and arrange the fish fillets, skin-side down, in a single layer, then spoon over some of the sauce. Put the pan back over a low heat and simmer very gently, spooning more sauce over occasionally, until the fish is cooked through – watch carefully as it shouldn’t take too long. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from ‘Two Kitchens – Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome’ by Rachel Roddy, HEADLINE HOME, 2017)

 

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Orecchiette with Peppers, Raisins & Almonds

This is almost like a warm pasta salad. It’s delicious and really easy to put together.

Wine suggestion: if you feel like a glass of wine we’d suggest a Grüner Veltliner which compliments the sourness of vinegar, peppery rocket and other flavours in this dish.

Orecchiette with peppers, raisins & almonds – serves 2

  • 150g orecchiette
  • 100g roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins/sultanas
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds (toast them in a dry pan if you like)
  • 50g rocket

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

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

Drain the pasta and toss with the dressing, sultanas and peppers. Leave for 5 minutes then add the almonds and rocket  and toss together with a bit of seasoning if needed.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, October 2012)

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This veggie pasta dish uses shop-bought ravioli and the whole thing cooks in one pan in the oven. Couldn’t be simpler and really tasty on a night when time is short (which is every night for us at the minute).

Wine Suggestion: a lemony, fresh white like the Umani Ronchi Ca’Sal di Serra Verdicchio which is crisp and pure with lovely vibrant fruit. It tastes of summer which we’ve had a reprise of these last few days.

Creamy Lemon & Spinach Ravioli – serves 2

  • 250g pack spinach & ricotta ravioli (or another flavour if you prefer)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g baby spinach, chopped
  • 200ml hot vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp soft cheese, we used Philadelphia
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

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

Spread the ravioli over a baking dish and scatter over the peas and spinach.

Whisk the hot stock, soft cheese, lemon zest and juice and half the Parmesan together in a jug. Season well, then pour over the ravioli. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the foil, scatter over the rest of the cheese, then bake for another 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2019)

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Well hello there, we have been very quiet for the last few months while our new kitchen and other house renovations are happening. We had really hoped to be back to normal by now but we’re still kitchen hopping amongst are very generous (and patient) family & friends. So normal service will hopefully resume very soon and in the meantime here’s a fab recipe for a super rich ratatouille by Barney Desmazery for BBC Good Food. We served with some steak off the barbecue but it is also great on it’s own with some toasted bread.

Wine Suggestion: we love choosing southern French reds when eating this dish and find that Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre and Carignan (either on their own or as a blend) just work. Tonight it was the superb Faugères “les Bancels” from Domaine Cébène which is elegant, effortless and wonderfully long on the finish.

Ratatouille – serves 6

  • 3 red peppers, quartered and seeds removed
  • a handful of basil, separate the leaves and stalks (you will need both)
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 courgettes (any colour or a mix), roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • grilled sourdough, to serve

Put the pieces of pepper onto a baking tray and place under a hot grill until blackened. Tip them into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers, then cut into strips and toss back into the juices in the bowl.

Tie the basil stalks and thyme together with kitchen string.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the courgettes and aubergine for 15 minutes or until browned. It is easiest to do this in batches, adding a little of the oil each time.

Remove the courgette and aubergine from the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, then add the onion and cook for 15 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute. Scatter with sugar, then leave for a minute to caramelise before adding the vinegar. Stir in the cooked veg and pepper juice, season well, then pour over the cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Add the tied herbs to the dish, cover, and cook in the oven for an hour. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until reduced and jammy. Leave to cool until just warm, then stir through most of the basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rest of the basil over the top and serve with the toasted sourdough.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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