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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

A great combination and nice to cook something meat-free on the barbecue. Serve with naan breads – we get ours from the local takeaway. You need to get started a few hours ahead.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing complex or too heavy with this so focus on pleasurable fruit and balance. For us tonight Umani Ronchi’s organic Serrano. A Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend from Rosso Conero, in the Marches. Youthful and vibrant which suited us perfectly for a summer barbecued dinner.

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste, we use Patak’s
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 300g paneer, cut into 18 cubes
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • naan breads, to serve

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

  • left over red onion from the kebabs (see below)
  • 1 large mango, finely diced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Put the yoghurt, curry paste, garlic, and ginger into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Add the paneer and peppers. Peel off the outer 2-3 layers of each onion wedge and add these too (keep the rest for the chutney), then fold everything together gently. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours, or if short of time leave at room temperature for an hour.

To make the mango chutney, finely chop the leftover onion and put into a bowl with the mango, tomatoes, chillies and mint and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set aside.

Get your barbecue on and hot, then brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent the kebabs from sticking.

Thread the paneer, peppers and onions onto kebab skewers and cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly charred.

Sprinkle coriander over the skewers and serve with the mango chutney and naan breads.

(Original recipe from Charred by Genevieve Taylor, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2019.)

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We often make this for lunch, and sometimes late breakfast. So simple but very tasty.

Baked feta with cherry tomatoes & garlic toast – serves 2

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g block feta, halved
  • 4 slices sourdough
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • a few leaves of oregano or basil, picked and chopped or torn

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

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of 2 small ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle some tomatoes into each and season with salt and black pepper. Set the pieces of feta on top, then top with the rest of the tomatoes, season again and drizzle with a little more oil.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Toast the sourdoubh and rub one side with the cut side of the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

Take the foil off the dishes, drizzle with the balsamic and sprinkle over the herbs. Serve the salad with the sourdough toast.

(Original recipe by Janinie Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2016.)

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Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

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

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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Breakfast, brunch or lunch; it’s delicious!

Grilled cheese & kimchi on toast – serves 4

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 200g kimchi
  • 120g cheddar, grated
  • 120g comté, grated
  • 80g mozzarella, grated
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Lightly toast the sourdough on one side until golden.

Mix the mayonnaise with the garlic and spread onto the untoasted side of the bread, then top with the kimchi. Mix the cheeses together and sprinkle over the bread, pressing down gently. Grill for a few minutes until melted and golden.

Serve sprinkled with coriander, scallions and chilli.

(Original recipe from Australian Food by Bill Granger, Murdoch Books, 2020.)

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A perfect lunchbox dish, keeping our December weekdays cheery.

Fried halloumi with oregano, orzo & pesto – serves 4

  • 350g orzo
  • 15g oregano, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, sliced
  • 200g plum cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful black olives, chopped
  • 140g tub fresh pesto

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and cook the orzo according to the pack instructions.

Meanwhile, mix the oregano in a small bowl with the oil and brush some over the halloumi.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the halloumi for a few minutes on each side or until golden.

Drain the orzo and mix in a large bowl with the tomatoes, olives and pesto, then season. Divide into lunchboxes, then top with the halloumi and drizzle over the rest of the oregano oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We have lovely friends who always bring a cheese course when they come to ours for dinner, and inadvertently we have ended up with a backlog of membrillo / quince paste. This is not a big problem as it keeps for ages, however it also gave us an opportunity to make this seasonal quiche from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Wine Suggestion: This demands a big, well-balanced, but oaky Chardonnay. Splurge if you can on good Jura, or a Meursault; or like us tonight an old friend, the Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay. Full-bodied to cope with the richness, and texture and fresh acidity to also cut through this and provide a counterpoint.

Membrillo and stilton quiche – serves 6

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 700g, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 250g top quality shortcrust pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 200g Stilton, for dusting
  • 75g mebrillo (quince paste), cut into 1 cm dice
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150ml crème fraîche

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

Toss the cubes of squash with the oil and ¼ tsp of salt and some black pepper, then spread over a baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once, until golden-brown. Leave to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5.

Roll the pastry out on a floured work service until roughly 3cm thick and big enough to line a 24cm quiche tin with some pastry hanging over the edge. Line the tin with the pastry and prick the base with a for, then put into the fridge for 20 minutes.

Line the pastry case with baking parchment, then fill with baking beans and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Spread the squash over the base of the pastry case, dot the Stilton between and sprinkle over the membrillo.

Put the eggs, cream and crème fraîche in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt and some black pepper. Whisk together, then pour over the squash and cheese, leaving some of the filling exposed. Put into the oven for 40 minutes or until set, then remove from the oven and rest before removing from the tin and breaking off the over-hanging pastry. Serve warm.

(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)

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Try this for a tasty weekend brunch dish. Serve with toasted sourdough for mopping.

Baked green eggs – serves 2

  • 100g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp finely grated gruyère
  • 2 eggs

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

Mix together the spinach, pesto, cream and some seasoning, and tip into 2 shallow ovenproof dishes.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.

Create a hollow in each dish with a spoon, then gently break in the eggs. Bake the dishes in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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The first thing to mention, is that this is not like the cauliflower in cheese sauce that we all know and love, but no less because of that. This dish is more set, more ‘eggy’ and has a distinctive tang from the soured cream. It also reheats particularly well, regular cauliflower cheese tends to split. So the verdict is that you should definitely give this a go – we served as a side with a dish of minty peas and lettuce and some baked ham. It could definitely work as a main either with a green salad or green veg.

Cauliflower gratin with soured cream – serves 4

  • a knob of butter, for greasing the dish
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 1kg when the leaves have been removed, cut into medium-sized florets
  • 350ml soured cream
  • 125g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 50g sunflower seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with butter, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the florets for about 6 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then steam dry in the warm pot for a few minutes and drain again on some kitchen paper to make sure no water remains.

Combine the soured cream, 100g of the cheese and eggs with the nutmeg, mustard and seasoning in a large bowl.

Put the drained cauliflower into the prepared dish, then pour over the soured cream mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, covering with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

Serve with the sunflower seeds scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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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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Spring Onion Quesadillas with Guacamole SaladWe really miss cooking for friends and family which is what we do almost every weekend (and some other nights too!). So instead of prepping for the evening we’ve been making more of an effort at lunch. Last week we had these unusual quesadillas outside in the sunshine, sure beats lunch at the desk!

Spring onion quesadillas with guacamole salsa – serves 2

  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 soft flour tortillas
  • 10 slices of jalapeño chilli (from a jar)
  • 85g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, halved, and peeled
  • small pack of coriander, plus extra leaves to serve
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into thin wedges (we used a bag of peppery salad leaves as that’s what we had)

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and run under cold water. Set aside to dry on kitchen paper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot dry pan until slightly golden, then tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Drizzle the scallions with a tsp of the olive oil and season. Griddle for a couple of minutes on each side until lightly charred.

We find it much easier to lay the ingredients over half of the tortilla then fold over the top and cook on either side but you can lay all the ingredients on one tortilla, then top with the other one, it will be trickier to turn though.

Lay the spring onions over each tortilla. Sprinkle over the jalapeños and the cheese, then fold the rest of the tortilla over and press together, brush the outside lightly with oil. Cook in the griddle pan for a minute or two on each side or until the cheese has melted and the outside is crisp.

Meanwhile, whizz 1 tbsp of oil, the avocado, lime juice, coriander and 1 tbsp of water together to make a dressing. Season, then toss with the cucumber and lettuce. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the coriander leaves.  Serve with the quesadillas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Fontina, Prosciutto & Sage French Toasts

One benefit from working at home is all the nice lunches we can make. Mostly using bits and bobs from the fridge. These French toast sambos are great and you can experiment with the filling, though we reckon cheese is a must.

Fontina, prosciutto and sage-stuffed French toast – serves 4

  • 8 slices of crusty bread
  • 300g fontina (we used Gruyere), sliced
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • a few sage leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • butter for frying

Put layers of the cheese, prosciutto and sage onto 4 slices of the bread. Cover with the rest of the bread to make sandwiches, then dip into the beaten egg, soaking on both sides.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the sandwiches. Press down on them as they cook until browned on both sides and the cheese has melted.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2014.)

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Cauliflower Cheese

I don’t remember not knowing how to make this, and therefore presume that everyone else does too. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t have it in your head. Sorry about the imperial measurements but that’s how my Mum taught me.

Jules’ Cauliflower Cheese – serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint of full cream milk
  • 3 large handfuls of grated mature cheddar cheese

Steam the cauliflower until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Start checking after 5 minutes and be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two over a medium heat.

Start gradually adding the milk, just a splash at a time at first, and stir continuously. Add some more milk every time it has been absorbed. Careful not to rush this or the sauce can turn lumpy.

When all of the milk is in the sauce, it is important to continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in 2 large handfuls of grated cheese and some salt and freshly ground white pepper.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and return to the pan to steam dry, then tip into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Put the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on the top.

 

 

 

 

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Creamy Quiche Lorraine

A quiche that wobbles, just set, is a wonderful thing and this almost oozes. It feels luxurious and decadent, despite having simple ingredients and we’d cook this in any season. We used a local flour mill, Dunany in Drogheda for a non-bleached plain flour which accounts for the colour in the crust. Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: our choice would be an Alsace Pinot Gris, or if you can find it a dry Muscat like Zind-Humbrecht’s Grand Cru Brand Muscat. Coming from the amazing Brand vineyard this is reliably dry and will redefine for you what Muscat is. Neither of us were fans of this grape, but as always, the right wine can change opinions.

If stuck open the latest vintage, but if you are able to wait a year, or two, or more this will reward you ten-fold. The musky spices, texture and flavours match the cream, cheese and pancetta in a way nothing else will quite achieve. Failing this a close second is a richer Pinot Gris, which may be easier to find.

Quiche Lorraine with butter pastry – serves 6

  • 200g cubetti di pancetta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250ml double cream
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 100g gruyère, coarsely grated

FOR THE PASTRY:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk

Make the pastry first by putting the flour and butter in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs then add the egg yolk and 2½ tbsp of iced water and whizz until it comes together. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Roll the pastry out thinly and use to line a 20cm x 4cm deep, straight-sided, loose-bottomed tart tin. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides. Chill again for another 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until cooked then drain on kitchen paper. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks, double cream and crème fraîche together and season.

Line the pastry tin with baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Trim off the excess party with a sharp knife.

Turn the oven down to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.

Scatter the bacon most of the grated cheese over the pastry base, add the egg mixture and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until just set and lightly golden. Leave to cool for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, April 2014.)

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Red Onion, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pizza

We’ve been experimenting with our new Ooni Pro pizza oven. This is the very first pizza we made and it turned out pretty good. The recipe is by Gill Meller (of River Cottage fame) and we’ve since seen that he’s working with Ooni – a match made in heaven!

Wine Suggestion:  a joyful red, preferably Italian to match the mood. Tonight the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, but we’ve equally enjoyed wines from Abruzzo, Piedmont and Sicily to name a few with pizzas like these. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy or alcoholic though – light to medium bodied.

Gill’s Favourite Pizza – makes 3 large pizzas

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (good ones!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

FOR THE BASE:

  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 320ml lukewarm water

FOR THE TOPPING (PER PIZZA):

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 or 3 thyme springs, leaves picked

To make the sauce, heat a medium pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes,  half a tin of water and the bay leaf. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the base, put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Combine the yeast and water in a jug and whisk to dissolve. Pour this over the flour and allow the machine to run for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. You can also knead by hand but it will take a lot more effort and about 10 to 12 minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 3-4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9½ (or if you have a pizza oven you can get it going).

Heat a baking sheet or pizza stone inside the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back, then left it rest for a few minutes. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll each ball out thinly. Remove the hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven and lay on the pizza dough. Top the pizza as quickly as you can. Gill suggests tomato sauce followed by mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, blue cheese and thyme. Trickle some olive oil over the top and season well. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serve straight away and repeat with the remaining dough.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Spaghetti Carbonara

We’re not in the least offended by a splash of cream in a carbonara but this is the traditional version made with nothing but eggs, pecorino and pancetta. The quality really matters when you’re using just a few ingredients so definitely go for the best you can find or afford.

Wine Suggestion: An Italian white like a Pecorino from the Marches springs to mind, but some of the fuller textured wines from Lugana or Friuli from the North, or a Greco from the South make a good alternative; a layered texture and freshness is what your looking for to match this dish.

Spaghetti all carbonara – serves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g pancetta lardons or guanciale
  • butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g pecorino (or Parmesan), grated

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

Meanwhile, put the pancetta into a cold frying pan and bring slowly up to a high heat. When the pancetta has started to release its fat, add a knob of butter and the garlic, then turn down to medium. Fry until the pancetta is browned but not too crispy or it will harden. Discard the garlic and keep the pan warm.

Beat the eggs with most of the cheese. When the pasta is done, drain it, and keep a few tablespoons of cooking water. Tip the pasta back into the hot pasta pan, but off the heat. Add the egg mixture and pancetta and toss everything together quickly. Season with plenty of black pepper and add a bit of water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2011.)

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Friday Night Tartiflette

Reblochon season begins in May so it’s time to indulge in a Tartiflette. If you want to try a sophisticated version then we recommend the Chicken Tartiflette we posted this time last year but it does take a bit of time and effort. This one is much quicker and almost as tasty.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest an oaked Chardonnay that has a good balance between fruit and texture, but not too tropical or oily. We quite often go for the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch, or one of the Javillier Bourgogne Blancs as we have good access to these and they over-deliver in quality, but there are many other options you could choose.

Tartiflette – serves 4

  • 500g new potatoes, sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 200g rindless streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 100g cheddar or gruyere, grated
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • 200ml cream
  • 200g Reblochon cheese, sliced into thin wedges

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Cook the potato slices in boiling salted water until tender – start checking after 10 minutes, then drain.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon bits until light brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Cook the onion in the bacon fat for a few minutes until softened then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Spread the cooked potatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Scatter over the onion and garlic, then the cheddar cheese, thyme and bacon. Pour over the cream, season, and top with the slices of Reblochon.

Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until browned and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad.

 

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Turnip & Gruyere Gratin

Turnip (or swede as some of you call it) gets a lot of bad press but we absolutely love it and even more so when cooked with lots of cream and cheese. Jono has declared this his favourite turnip dish and has demanded we cook it again.

Gruyère and turnip gratin – serves 4

  • 700g turnip/swede (the large, orange-fleshed variety)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 100g gruyère, grated

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas4.

Peel and thinly slice the turnip – a mandolin or food processor works really well for this.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil then add the turnip and cook for 4 minutes. Drain really well.

Whisk the cream, mustard and garlic together and season. Layer the turnip and mustardy cream alternately and sprinkle in half the cheese. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very tender, browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe, Olive Magazine, January 2017)

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Chicken parmigiana

This is an absolute crowd pleaser and should please most children and other fussy eaters. It is easy but there are  a few steps so leave yourself plenty of time. We liked this way more than we expected to! Good with garlic bread and a big salad.

Wine Suggestion: you mustn’t overwhelm this dish with a heavy, powerful wine. It can have character though and the youthful Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo was a good match. Unoaked and fruit driven this is a lighter red and all freshness and vitality. Other alternatives that work are light Pinot Noir, Gamay or Barbera.

Chicken Parmigiana – serves 4 (generously)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chop 2 and peel the other
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 chicken breasts (ask your butcher to butterfly if possible)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch sugar (optional)
  • 2 balls mozzarella, sliced
  • handful fresh basil leaves

Start by making the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until soft and translucent, then add the chopped garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the red wine. Allow to bubble until the wine is reduced by about half, then add the oregano and tomatoes and season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce at this point and season with a pinch of sugar if necessary, then continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes, without the lid, until the sauce is well reduced – you want it to be fairly thick.

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

Butterfly the chicken then put between two sheets of cling film and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Mix the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs, oregano and a few finely chopped basil leaves. Put half the flour onto a plate and season. Beat one of the eggs in a bowl and spread half the Parmesan mixture on another plate.

Dip each chicken breast in the flour and dust off any excess, then dip into the egg. Coat the eggy chicken in the breadcrumb & Parmesan mixture – pressing it firmly onto the chicken. Repeat this again with the next chicken breast. Now you may need to start the process again with the rest of the ingredients on fresh plates. Arrange the coated chicken on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.

To finish the dish you will need a large shallow oven dish that can take all 4 chicken breasts in a single layer. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub the dish all over with it. Spread the tomato sauce over the base of the dish, place the chicken on top and arrange the mozzarella over the chicken so it’s mostly covered. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and browned. Scatter some basil leaves over the top before serving.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Chicken & Egg by Si King & Dave Myers, Orion Publishing Co., 2017.)

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Broccoli, walnut & blue cheese penne

We almost always have a bit of leftover blue cheese in the fridge and much as we love a cheese board, we don’t tend to have them on weeknights. So here’s a simple weeknight pasta – broccoli, walnuts & blue cheese – yum!

Broccoli Walnut & Blue Cheese Pasta – serves 2

  • 200g penne pasta
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of chopped walnuts
  • 100g blue cheese e.g. dolcelatte, cubed
  • 1 lemon

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salty water and add the broccoli 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the walnuts for a minute.

Scoop 4tbsp of the pasta cooking water out and add to the walnuts before draining. Return the pasta to the pan and add the walnuts and blue cheese. Stir gently until the cheese melts. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Marsala honey pears with Gorgonzola & walnuts

A dessert and a cheese course all at once, solving the problem of which goes first. This is really delicious Autumn dish. Make sure you serve the creamy gorgonzola at room temperature. Marsala is a dessert wine from Sicily which is relatively easy to find, it also works well with figs – see Roast Figs with Marsala.

Wine Suggestion: naturally the Marsala from the recipe is a great match, look out for Florio or Pellegrino amongst others. Alternately a really good Sauternes emphasises the honey or a white Maury brings out the pears and all will work well with the Gorgonzola.

Marsala Honey Pears with Gorgonzola – serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pears, about 500g in total, cored and cut into eighths
  • 3 tbsp Marsala
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 500g ripe Gorgonzola – keep in a cool place but avoid putting it in the fridge if at all possible

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the pears for 3 minutes per side.

Mix the Marsala and honey together,  add to the pears and allow the mixture to bubble furiously, then transfer to a plate.

Add the walnut halves to the juices left in the pan and stir-fry for about a minute or until browned and sticky. Remove from the pan and scatter over the pears. Serve with the creamy slab of Gorgonzola on the side.

(Original recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)

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