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These ribs are cooked in the oven before going on the barbecue so they are meltingly tender. They go great with some coleslaw and a jacket potato.

Drink suggestion: As this dish has a sweetness to it we looked to a lager with a bit of bitterness instead. Taking the recommendation by Justin from our local store (Sweeneys D3) of the Samuel Adams Boston Lager, this was deeply smooth and complex, with a well-balanced hoppy bitterness and clean, lingering finish. The hints of malt added a hint of sweetness which helped accentuate the pork flavours, so well suggested. A beer we’d overlooked for no apparent reason, but one we’ll revisit again.

Barbecued pork ribs – serves 4

  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs, trimmed and sinew removed
  • 330ml can of beer

FOR THE SPICE RUB:

  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paparika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

FOR THE BARBECUE SAUCE:

  • 100ml American mustard
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar

Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a bowl, then lay the ribs in a large roasting dish and massage all over with the rub.

Pour the can of beer into the roasing tin and cover with foil. Leave to marinate for an hour or so but make sure they’re back to room temperature before you start cooking.

Preheat your oven to 150C/130C fan, then put the roasting tin with the ribs in to bake for 2 hours. Leave to cool slightly.

Make the sauce by putting the mustard, honey, bourbon, cider vinegar and brown sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to melt the sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

When you’re ready to eat, put the ribs onto a hot barbecue and allow to colour for a couple of minutes on each side. Use a pastry brush to glaze the ribs with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. When the sugar starts to caramelise, brush them again and barbecue for another couple of minutes until thoroughly glazed.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking By Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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This is a nice simple marinade for chicken thighs, perfect for sunny evenings.

Wine Suggestion: A good match with a nice, dry Provençal rosé. Tonight, one Jono’s work has commissioned from Chateau Vignelaure, the “Ode to Joy Rosé”. The name is inspired by Beethoven’s famous symphony which was written to celebrate the end of war and desperation, but with the current pandemic dragging on and effecting all our lives also celebrating hope and better times ahead from this as well. We’ll happily celebrate this with this wine as it’s delicious and tastes of a joyful summer.

Herby lemon chicken thighs – serves 6

  • 12 boneless chicken thighs with the skin on
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Put the chicken thighs into a shallow dish, then add the olive oil, preserved lemon, garlic, herbs and lots of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat then cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge for 15 minutes before cooking.

Cook on a hot barbecue for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Serve with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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We’re a bit nervous cooking chicken from raw on the barbecue but it’s fine so long as you take your time. You also need to cook the wings before you brush on the glaze. This is so they don’t burn on the outside before cooking all the way through.

Start a day ahead with the brine and you’ll have the perfect party dish for the barbecue. Oh, and you’ll need napkins.

Wine Suggestion: With such big, burly flavours on the glaze and in the spirit of a fun, messy dish we’d suggest a similar style of red wine to match. Zinfandel, Grenache or similar. Tonight Pikes Los Compañeros, a juicy, Shiraz-Tempranillo blend from the Clare Valley. Brambles and plums with a cool kick of spice on the finish. A new barbecue favourite.

BBQ Chicken Wings with Korean Glaze – serves 4-6

  • 20 large chicken wings, jointed in 2 (get your butcher to prep these for you)
  • 200g table salt
  • 2 litres of water
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 80ml rice vinegar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 50ml Sriracha hot sauce
  • 50ml tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp gochujang chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20g butter

FOR GARNISH:

  • 2-3 scallions (green parts only), shredded
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

To make the brine, put the salt into a large bowl, then add the water and whisk until the salt disolves. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and chicken wings. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, remove the wings from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Make the glaze by putting all of the ingredients into a small pan and bringing to a simmer. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, then set aside until needed.

Put the chicken wings onto a hot barbecue and cook for 10-12 minutes or until browing on both sides. Now coat the chicken wings with the glaze using a pastry brush. Cook for another few minutes, turning, until slightly charred.

Put the chickin wings onto a large warm platter, then brush generously with extra glaze and rest for a minute before serving. Scatter over the shredded scallions and toasted sesame seeds and eat with your hands.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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We like to have soup for lunch but tend to get out of the habit in the summer months. This one is suitably summery and really captures the flavour of courgette.

Courgette and mint soup – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 6 courgettes, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 750ml veg stock
  • 150ml crème fraîche, plus a bit extra to serve
  • a small bunch of mint leaeves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then cook the onions withs ome salt for about 10 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add the courgettes and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil for a few minutes. Whizz the soup until smooth, then stir in the crème fraîche and mint, then whizz again. Season.

Serve in warm bowls with some extra crème fraîche and mint leaves to garnish.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, June 2020.)

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A summer day of torrential rain showers, so we retreat inside and cook this comfort food instead. We love barbecues but a nice change for today.

Don’t be afraid to get a good char on the aubergines when frying them, it really helps to flavour the chilli. We like to serve this with all of usual chilli sides – rice, coriander, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and grated cheddar cheese.

Wine Suggestion: A wet weather red wine with this … The Bee Side Grenache by Domaine of the Bee in Roussillon. Deeply coloured and full-bodied. This is, significantly, not heavy and has a real panache alongside refined, spicy tannins that suit this wet summer evening and our smoky aubergine chilli.

Smoky Aubergine Chilli – serves 4

  • 3 aubergines, diced (not too big)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • sour cream or yoghurt
  • steamed rice

Toss the diced aubergines with 2 tbsp of the oil and plenty of salt in a large bowl.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the aubergine in batches for 4-5 minutes, it should be browned and charred. Scoop out onto a plate and set aside.

Add the other 2 tbsp of oil to the pan along with the onion and some salt, cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the peppers, spices and chipotle paste. Stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and a full tin of water.

Add the aubergines and beans, season well and simmer gently for 40 minutes until thickened.

Stir in the coriander and serve with lime wedges, yoghurt/sour cream, steamed rice and any of the other suggstions above.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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This is good with some spicy barbecued chicken, it’s a bit like the celery sticks and blue cheese sauce you get with chicken wings.

Blue Cheese Slaw – serves 4 as a side

  • 75g hard blue cheese
  • 100g sour cream
  • 50g mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4-6 celery sticks, shredded
  • 1 green pepper, finely sliced
  • ½ a red onion, finely sliced
  • a few chives, finely chopped

Crumble the blue into a large bowl. Stir in the sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard.

Season and add a squeeze of lemon juice. You can whizz until smooth if you like at this stage but we didn’t bother.

Fold in the celery, pepper and onion and scatter over the chives to serve.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush and Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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We’ve been a bit quiet on here because we’ve been spending our evenings outside in the sunshine. This week looks less promising weather-wise so we should get all the recipes we’ve tried posted.

Wine Suggestion: We’d pair this with a current favourite, from Sartarelli’s side project, the Colline Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from the rolling hills of Marches, Italy. Fresh and lightly floral, the green apple and pear flavours emphasise the lovely fresh broad beans and the hints of sage and green almonds match the cream and chilli.

Broad beans, mint & chilli pasta – serves 2

  • 200g podded broad beans (we use frozen)
  • 200g pasta e.g. penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, remove the seeds and finely slice
  • 1 lemon, zested, plus 1tbsp of juice
  • a knob of butter
  • 30g Parmesan or pecorino, finely grated, plus some extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp double cream or crème fraîche
  • a large handful of mint, roughly chopped

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 2-3 minutes, depending on their size. Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon, then rinse under cold water to cool. Pop the beans out of their skins and set aside.

Bring the water back to the boil again and add some more salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, skimming off any scum from the surface of the water.

Meanwhile, warm a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil, scallions, garlic, chilli, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes without colouring.

Add the butter and broad beans and season with black pepper. Stir to coat the beans in the sauce and crush a few of them with your spoon. Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the beans. Add an extra couple of spoons of pasta cooking water if you need, then the Parmesan. Toss until the sauce is creamy and glossy, then pour in the cream, followed by the lemon juice and mint. Season to tate and serve in warm bowls with some extra cheese.

(Original recipe by Rosie Birkett in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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Barbecued watermelon is a revelation for us as it really intensifies the flavour. This combination with prawns, feta and chilli is total winner! Serve as a starter at your next barbecue. Another fab idea from Chasing Smoke.

Wine Suggestion: This dish has a real affinity with a juicy, youthful Grenache, be it a Rosé or a lightly chilled red like tonight’s Rubus by Jesus Romero. Made at 1000m above sea-level in the rural, far south of Aragon, Spain this is all cherry, blackberry and spice; seriously gluggable.

Grilled watermelon and prawns with feta & chilli – serves 4

  • 12 whole prawns in the shells (buy 16 if they’re small)
  • 2 thick slices from a large watermelon
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rings (if you cut of the stalk and rub the chilli between your hands the seeds will fall out)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250g feta
  • a small bunch of mint, leave half the leaves whole and chop the rest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp roughly crushed black pepper

Take a small pointy knife and cut and cut down the back of each prawn, when you see the digestive string gently pull it out with the tip of the knife. Leave the prawns in a bowl in the fridge until ready to cook.

Cut the watermelon into 8 large wedges, leaving the skin on.

Mix the chilli slices with the vinegar and salt and set aside.

Light your barbecue and get it up to a high heat.

Brush the watermelon with some olive oil, then put on the hottest part of the barbecue for 1-2 minutes on each side or until charred. Remove to a platter, then grill the prawns for a 2-3 minutes on each side, depending how big they are.

Add the prawns to the watermelon, crumble over the feta, then scatter with the mint leaves.

Stir the olive oil, black pepper and chopped mint into the marinating chilli and drizzle over the platter.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Aroudn the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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This is pretty much a meal in a brioche bun, don’t skip anything as it all comes together perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: Given the weather and the dish we cracked open a Domaine of the Bee, Bee Pink Rosé from Roussillon. A blend of Grenache and Syrah this had the obligatory red fruit flavours we expected but the thing that made it work so well with the food was the wonderful texture and hints of thyme. An accidental but fortuitous match.

Barbecued Chicken with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado – serves 4

  • 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tsp mild American mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

TO SERVE:

  • 4 large brioche buns
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Bash the chicken thighs between sheets of baking paper or cling film until about 1cm thick.

Put the chicken into a shallow dish with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss the chicken until coated in the herbs and oil.

Mix all of the mayonnaise ingredients together and sesason to taste.

Cook the chicken on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Add the bacon to the barbecue and cook until crispy, it will only take a couple of minutes. Once cooked, leave the chicken and bacon aside to rest.

Add the brioche buns to the barbecue and char briefly.

Peel and slice the avocados (don’t do this in advance or they will discolour).

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of each brioche bun and top with 2 chicken thighs. Add layers of tomato, bacon, avocado and lettuce, then spread the top half of the buns with the rest of the mayonnaise, sandwich together and serve.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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These are super tasty, especially with the quick pickled onions and some naan breads from the takeaway.

Wine Suggestion: Cline Cellar’s Sonoma Coast Viognier; a wonderfully fresh, stonefruit flavoured wine with a soft acidity. Rich and flavoursome to match the flavour depth of salmon and spices. This is dry with low residual sugar levels, however it has juicy, fruit flavours carrying the chilli and paprika well and complementing the ginger and lime.

Tandoori Fish Skewers – serves 8 (easily halved)

  • 8 salmon fillets, skin removed (about 125g each)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, grated
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • veg oil for brushing

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED RED ONIONS:

  • 2 small red onions
  • 125ml water
  • 125ml white white vinegar
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

TO SERVE:

  • warm naan breads
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 long green chilli, finely sliced
  • lime halves
  • sweet chilli sauce

You can start the pickled onions about an hour ahead. Slice them finely and put into a bowl.

Put the water, wine vinegar, fennel and cumin seeds, salt and sugar into a small pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this hot liquid over the onions and leave to cool, then cover the bowl and leave in the firdge.

Cut the salmon fillets into large chunks. Put into a bowl with the garlic, ginger and lime juice and mix well.

Put the yoghurt into a bowl, then mix in the spices and some seasoning. Add the spiced yoghurt to the salmon and mix gently, then leave to marinate in a cool place for about 20 minutes.

Thread the salmon onto skewers, brush the barbecue witha little veg oil, then cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred.

Serve the skewers on warm naan breads with pickled red onions, coriander and green chilli sprinkled over. Serve with some lime for squeezing over and sweet chilli sauce (we served with our hot pepper jam).

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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It’s very rare that we cook a brunch like this but we’re glad we tried this one. Buy top qulity sausages, bacon and eggs and you will have a feast!

Smoky beans, mushrooms, sausages, bacon and eggs – serves 2 (generously!)

  • 1 tbsp veg oil, plus a bit extra
  • 4 chipolata sausages
  • 4 bacon rasheres
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced or torn into pieces
  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, don’t drain as you will use the liquid
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
  • a few dashes of Tabasco (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Heat a large heavy pan over a medium heat, then heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil.

Fry the sausages for 5 minutes, or until golden, then push to one side. Add the bacon and cook until godlen and crisp. Remove the sausages and bacon to a warm plate when they’re cooked through.

Add the mushrooms and a little more oil if needed, then fry until golden, scraping up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove to the plate with the sausages and bacon.

Tip the cannellini beans and their liquid into the pan, then add the tomatoes, garlic granules and dried thyme. Bring to a simmer, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Add the paprika, sugar, worcestershire sauce and some seasoning, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened.

Nestle the sausages into the beans, then make two gaps in the mixture and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the eggs are set. Top with the bacon and mushrooms and serve with some Tabasco if you like.

You will need toast or crusty bread to mop it all up.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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This recipe is from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. They have memories of cooking potatoes in bonfires as children and how delicious they tasted. They really are delicious and if you’ve made the effort to light your barbecue you may as well throw a few potatoes in the embers too.

Baked potatoes with charred spring onion sour cream – serves 4

  • 4 baking potatoes, about 250g each

FOR THE SOUR CREAM DRESSING:

  • 8-10 scallions
  • 300g sour cream
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp flaky sea salt
  • black pepper
  • zest and juice of half a lemon

Wrap each potato in tin foil and place in the embers of your barbecue or campfire. Leave there for about 45 minutes or until a metal skewer goes in easily, turn them over a couple of times as they cook.

Meanwhile, char half the scallions on the grill for a few minutes on each side or until charred. Remove from the heat and finely chop.

Finely slice the green parts of the remaining scallions and set aside to sprinkle over at the end. Cut the remaining white parts into small pieces and stir into the sour cream along with the charred scalllions and the rest of the ingredients.

Remove the cooked potatoes from the fire and remove the foil. Cut each one down the middle and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and fill with the sour cream mixture. Spinkle over the green scallions and some black pepper before serving.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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This is perfect for mid-week – tasty, healthy and just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: The hot and sour flavours pair well with dry Rieslings, like the exhuberant Domaine Bott-Geyl Les Elements. Apples, zesty lemon, a hint of apricot and a taut freshness.

Hot and sour aubergine with sticky rice – serves 2

  • 150g sushi rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 100g green beans, halved
  • 1 red chilli, shredded, plus extra to serve

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

Fry the onion and aubergine in the oil in a wide shallow pan with a lid until golden and softened. Stir it every few minutes.

Mix the sugar and vinegar together, then add the soy sauce and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour and stir to dissolve.

Add the beans and red chilli to the pan and cook for 4 minutes with the lid on. Add the liquid mixture, stir and continue cooking for another 2 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with the rice and some extra soy sauce and chillies on the side.

(Original recipe by Kate Calder in Olive Magazine, June 2012.)

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We’ve done this a few times this week. It’s a great side for a barbecue and it looks after itself in the oven while you organise everything else. Make it while you can still get local asparagus.

Roasted balsamic asparagus & cherry tomatoes – serves 4 as a side

  • 350g asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard
  • 330g pack cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50g feta, crumbled

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

Put the asparagus and cherry tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic. Season, then toss together. Bake for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked through. Sprinkle over the feta to serve.

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This is a side dish really, but we had it mid-week as a main with some takeaway naan breads. Highly recommended! A halloumi version of the traditional paneer dish.

Wine Suggestion: An unoaked, dry Chardonnay like Domaine Ventenac’s Carole from Cabardès in southern France, which is light and fruit forward would be an ideal choice. Easy going but with layers of flavour and textures just like the dish itself.

Saag halloumi – serves 4 to 6 as a side (half to serve 2 as a main)

  • 500g spinach
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala, plus extra to serve
  • 2 blocks of halloumi, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200ml double cream
  • ½ lemon juiced

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spinach for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain well, leave to cool, squeeze out the liquid with your hands, then finely chop.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger into a blender with 1-2 tbsp of water and whizz until smooth.

Put the turmeric, cumin seeds, garam masala and lots of seasoning onto a plate. Roll the pieces of halloumi in the spices to coat all over.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, then fry the halloumi until crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn it until a nice crust has been formed, this will help prevent sticking. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion purée to the same pan, plus any spices remaining on the plate and some seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes until the raw smell has gone and they have started to colour. Add the spinach, halloumi and double cream, and cook for another 5 minutes to thicken and warm through. Season with the lemon juice and sprinkle with garam masala before serving.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, May 2020.)

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There should be some good value asparagus around by now and this is a very tasty way with sweet potatoes.

Roasted sesame sweet potatoes & asparagus – serves 3 as a side

  • 750g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1½ tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
  • a bunch of asparagus, snap off the ends and cut in half
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

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

Put the potatoes into a large roasting tin and toss with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, fish sauce and 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Roast for 20 minuts or until tender.

Add the asparagus, 3 tbsp of water and ½ tbsp of soy sauce. Roast for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and serve.

(Original ricpe from BBC Good Food)

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Kids activities are back on which means we spend a few weeknights dropping off and picking up rather than cooking. So we’re on the hunt for more dishes like this, minutes to make but healthy and delicious; flavoursome and light at the same time.

Wine Suggestion: This dish partners really well with a fruity, youthful and dry Riesling.

Chicken meatball tom kha gai – serves 2

  • 4 chicken sausages (we bought ours in M&S)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus some whole leaves to serve
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50g flat rice noodles
  • 400ml tin coconut milk (you could use half-fat if you like)
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, discard the woody outer leaves and finely chop the inside
  • 50g mangetout, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Remove the skin from the chicken sausages and put the insides into a bowl. Add 1 tsp of the ginger, the chopped coriander and half the chilli. Mix well and form into 10 small meatballs – wet hands help with this.

Cook the noodles according the packet, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Bring the coconut milk and stock to a simmer in a large saucepan, then add the rest of the ginger and chilli with the lemongrass and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken meatballs and simmer for 3 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes.

Gently stir in the lime, sugar and fish sauce, divide the noodles between 2 warm bowls, then ladle over the hot soup and meatballs, finish with the coriander leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2018.)

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We definitely have a bit of a thing for Asian-style greens and rice. And while it may seem like you need another dish on the side, you really don’t, it’s just a bowl of healthy, delicious things. Having said that, this would also be great on the side of some white fish.

Wine Suggestion: Anthony Girard’s La Clef du Recit Menetou Salon is a star here. A Sauvignon Blanc grown on Kimmergian clay-limestone, this has a depth, texture and body that belies the grape a little and a wine that we think gets better with a few years in the bottle … if you can wait that long. Don’t worry if you can’t though, it’s delicious from release too.

Asparagus with ginger & garlic – serves 2

  • 12-16 spears of asparagus, snap off the woody ends and slice on the diagonal into 4cm pieces
  • 2-3cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into very fine matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 80ml water
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put your wok over a medium-low heat and add the sunflower oil. When warm, add the ginger and cook briefly until fragrant.

Add the asparagus, garlic and chilli and toss, then pour in the water and turn the heat to high. Cook for a minute, then add the oyster sauce. Toss well to coat the asparagus and cook for about 30 seconds or until tender but with a bite.

Remove from the heat and season with some black pepper, you shouldn’t need salt.

Serve hot over rice.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing, 2008.)

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If you like peanuts, you will love this! Better than takeaway and almost as quick.

Wine Suggestion: It’s almost a cliche to suggest Riesling with Thai food, but in this case a good, dry Riesling is a great match. A favourite, the Korrell Slice of Paradise Riesling from the Nahe in Germany, a vibrant, fruit-forward and dry wine came to the rescue.

Thai chicken & peanut curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Panang or red curry paste
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (if you’re using dried leaves, soak them in warm water for a few minutes before cutting)
  • 100g roasted peanuts, blended to a paste with 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • basil leaves, to garnish

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat.

Add the curry paste and stir-fry, then add 125ml of the coconut milk.

Turn the heat to low, then add the chicken and stir slowly until well blended.

Add 250ml more coconut milk, then stir in the sugar, fish sauce and lime leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.

Stir in the peanut and coconut milk paste and the rest of the coconut milk.

The curry should be sweet, spicy and a little salty. Taste and adjust with sugar or salt if needed.

Serve with rice and garnished with the basil leaves.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Somi Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake, Bay Books, 1994.)

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It’s a very long time since we’ve had a pub lunch but if we could have one we’d probably order something like this!

Wine Suggestion: A classic combination like this cries out for a Muscadet. Domaine de la Chauviniere’s is super-fresh and almost saline, dry but soft and approachable with hints of grapefruits and melon with a green edge. It has a good body without any weight, so effortless next to this dish.

Prawns, soda bread and lemon mayonnaise – serves 4

FOR THE SODA BREAD:

  • 1 handful of oats
  • 375g plain flour
  • 10g salt
  • 7g bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml buttermilk

FOR THE LEMON MAYONNAISE:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 400ml sunflower oil

FOR THE PRAWNS:

  • 4 litres of iced water
  • 7 tbsp salt
  • 1kg shell-on prawns
  • bay leaves (optional), scrunched a bit
  • lots of ice

Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4.

Start by making the soda bread. Dust a baking tray with a few oats.

Sift the plain flour into a large bowl with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the centre and gradually pour in the buttermilk, gently turning the mixture over in the bowl with a large metal spoon. You need it all to come together in a sticky mass that you can form into dough but try not to mix it too much.

Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it. Shape into a round and slash a deep cross in the top. Put the loaf on the baking tray and sprinkle the top with a few more oats.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until crisp all over and it should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool on a wire rack while you make the mayonnaise.

Use a whisk to combine the egg yolks, a pinch of salt and the mustard in a bowl and season with a little pepper. Start adding the oil, just a few drops at a time, whisking into the egg mixture. Very slowly increase the amount of oil that you add each time, whisking thoroughly after each addition. When the mayonnaise has started to hold it’s shape you can add the oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly.

When all of the oil has been added, you should have a thick, wobbly mayonnaise. Add lemon zest and juice to taste and season again salt and plenty of black pepper.

Pour the iced water into a bowl and season with 4 tbsp of salt.

Bring 4 litres of water to the boil in a large saucepan, then add 3 tbsp of salt. Add the prawns to the boiling water and bring back to the boil. Cook for about 2 minutes or until bright pink and just cooked.

Drain and tip the prawns immediately into the iced water. Leave for 10 minutes, until very nicely chilled. You may need to add more ice if it melts. Drain the prawns and serve with the bread and lemon mayonnaise.

(Original recipe from Home Cookery Year by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2020.)

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