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Archive for the ‘Gluten-free’ Category

This is a delicious Persian accompaniment that goes with almost anything. We know that as we initially served it as a starter with pitta breads, then proceeded to have it on the side with the main course, and for lunch the following day with something else. It’s hard to describe how good it is. 

Spinach & yoghurt with walnuts – Maast-o-esfenaj – serves 6 to 8

  • 250g spinach leaves (cut off any chunky stalks)
  • 500g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 big handfuls of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus a bit extra to garnish
  • best olive oil, for drizzling
  • flatbread, to serve

Simmer the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. When cooled, drain well and chop finely. 

Put the spinach into a large bowl with the yoghurt, garlic and walnuts (keep a few for decorating), sumac, a small drizzle of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and black pepper. Mix well. 

Serve the mixture on a flat plate, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle over some extra sumac and the reserved walnuts. 

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

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Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb

This is a whole plateful of deliciousness form Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Simply. We have loved all of her books but we’ve already cooked more out of this one than any of the others. The recipes are simple but truly delicious. This is great just served with rice.

Wine Suggestion: this dish really suits a velvety, medium bodied red with a few warm spices on the nose: Rioja, or similar made from Tempranillo makes a fine candidate. If you can find a good one and cellar it for a number of years (or be lucky enough to find one in a wine shop with age) then you’ve got your match. A hidden gem that always surprises in it’s value is the Dehesa la Granja from Castilla in Spain. The winemaker usually releases what they consider a Crianza at between 7 to 9 years of age .. and it’s a bargain.

Turmeric & black pepper braised lamb neck – serves 4-6

  • veg oil, for frying
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, bashed and finely sliced
  • 800g lamb neck fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 heaped tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt flakes, crushed

Put a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour in vegetable oil to coat the base. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until softened, but not coloured, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Add the lamb, turmeric and pepper and stir to coat. Make sure the meat is sealed on all sides but you don’t need to brown it.

Add the salt, then pour in boiling water to just cover everything. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 2½ hours. Stir occasionally and add more water to keep it barely covered if needed. You want the sauce to thicken and reduce by the end. 30 minutes before the end, taste and season with  more salt if needed.

Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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Sweetcorn, Black Bean & Avocado Salad

A lovely salad which is perfect for using the fresh corn cobs that are in the shops around now. We served with barbecued chicken but it would be great with loads of things. Another great idea by Sabrina Ghayour.

Sweetcorn, black bean & avocado salad – serves 5 to 6

  • 3 fresh corn cobs
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ a 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely chopped (we didn’t have these but we added some lime zest instead)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ a small red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ a small green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • about 30g of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp of mayonnaise
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Cook the corn cobs in lots of boiling salty water for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool, then drain again.

Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs in strips.

Put the corn in a large bowl with all of the other ingredients and season well with Maldon sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

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Pan-fried Figs in Parma Ham

Jono bought a ridiculous amount of figs this week. He got a “good deal” and so we’ve spent all weekend trying to use them. There is lots of fig jam and chutney but we also loved this little starter by Sabrina Ghayour.

Wine Suggestion: this is such a good tapas dish with the play of salty ham, sweet fruitiness and a layer of rich fat. To match we went with a Sanchez Romate Fino someone had given us and were very happy indeed.

Pan-fried figs in Parma ham – makes 16

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large figs, quartered
  • 1 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 8 slices of Parma ham (or Serrano ham), halved lengthways into long strips
  • top quality balsamic vinegar

Put the oil in a small bowl and stir in the lemon zest and heaps of freshly ground black pepper. Rub this oil on the cut sides of each piece of fig. Sprinkle the za’atar over the figs, then wrap a pieces of ham around each one, overlap so that the pieces are almost covered by the ham.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil and fry the figs on both cut sides for about a minute or until the ham crisps up and browns. Serve on plates with some aged balsamic vinegar drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2016.)

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Fresh Tomato Soup

The perfect soup for a glut of ripe tomatoes, there’s not much point otherwise as the forced imported ones won’t have enough flavour.

Fresh tomato soup – serves 4

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g very ripe tomatoes
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche, plus extra to serve if you like
  • a few basil leaves (only if you have them!)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 15 minutes or until very soft.

Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes,  chicken stock and some seasoning. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard the herbs, add the crème fraîche and whizz until smooth. Check the seasoning and serve with some extra crème fraîche if you like and a few basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2016.)

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Turmeric Chicken KebabsWe’re total suckers for a new cookbook and therefore just couldn’t live without Simply by Sabrina Ghayour. We cooked a few dishes last weekend and they were all great. It’s an Indian summer in Ireland too, so it was great to do barbecue and drinks in the sunshine. We’re now on the hunt for more recipes using fresh turmeric.

Wine Suggestion: This works perfectly with a goood Rioja Reserva, especially if it has a few extra years in the bottle. There is something about how Tempranillo becomes all velvety and aromatic with a few years aged in oak, plus a few extra in the bottle that really works for warm spices and smoky barbecue flavours. Our treat was the Muga Reserva from 2001 which was excellent but it doesn’t need as much age as this, just nice fruit so choose what is at hand.

Turmeric Chicken Kebabs – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • sweet chilli sauce, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 5cm piece of fresh turmeric, scrubbed and grated (wear gloves!)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 generous tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Put all the of the ingredients for the marinade in a container and mix together. Do be careful as the turmeric is bright yellow and will stain anything it comes in contact with.

Cut the chicken breasts lengthways into 3 long strips. Stir into the marinade, then cover the container with a lid and put into the fridge. We did this in the morning and the chicken was really delicious by the time we cooked it that evening. Sabrina suggests 30 minutes to an hour or overnight, so no panic if you’re short on time or want to get ahead.

Get your barbecue going and get it nice and hot.

Thread the chicken onto kebab skewers, we prefer to use metal ones but wooden ones are fine, just make sure you soak them for 20 minutes before using. You can thread individual pieces onto short skewers or put a few onto a longer skewer.

Cook the chicken over a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through (alternatively you can cook these in the oven on a tray lined with baking paper at the highest setting for 10-12 minutes or until cooked). Serve with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

 

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Marinated Figs with Mozzarella & Prosciutto

A fig salad for lunch; tasty indeed. It’s fig season, so they shouldn’t cost the earth and this is a great combination.

Marinated figs with mozzarella & prosciutto – serves 2

  • 4-6 figs, quartered
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 50g rocket
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • a small handful of basil leaves

Whisk the vinegar with the mustard, then gradually whisk in the olive oil, honey and seasoning. Put the figs on a plate and spoon over the dressing, then leave aside for 20 minutes.

Spread the rocket, mozzarella and prosciutto over a platter. Spoon over the figs and the dressing and finish with the basil leaves.

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

 

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Creamed Carrots

This is a lovely side dish to serve alongside lamb koftas or something similar. We had it for dinner with just some brown rice and that was surprisingly good too.

Creamed Carrots – serves 4

  • 400g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely shredded
  • 3-4 small, hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan or in the oven, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 4 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
  • a good handful of coriander leaves
  • a squeeze of lime

Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and cook for a minute before adding the chopped chillies. Stir together for a minute then add the carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Stir the cream and yoghurt together and fold into the hot carrots with some seasoning. Immediately tip into a serving dish and top with the cashew nuts, coriander leaves and lime.

(Original recipe from Tender Volume I  by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2009)

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Chicken Fricassée with Morels

It’s bean a while since we’ve been in France, but when we were there we stocked up on dried morels (and ceps) at the Saint-Cyprien market, and bought as much wine as they would let us have at Domaine Labet in the Jura. Creamy mushroom sauce and chardonnay from the Jura is a magic combination! We served this with roast potatoes made with a variety called carolus from McNally Family Farm – they make amazing roasties!

Wine Suggestion: We were fortunate to find a couple of different vintages of Labet’s En Chalasse Chardonnay which comes from very old vineyard plots. Tonight we opened the 2015 which showed the effect of a warm vintage with a broad and lifted ripe apple character and hints of nuts and spices. More gentle acidity than usual but well in balance with hints of skin contact and phenolic textures on the palate.

Chicken fricassée with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried morels
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 90g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 100ml Noilly Prat or dry sherry
  • 130ml chicken stock
  • 300g full-fat crème fraîche

Soak the morels in 200ml of tepid water for about 15 minutes, then drain through a sieve over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Strain the liquid and keep 75ml for the sauce. Rinse the morels under cold water to remove any grit, then dry with kitchen paper and cut in half lengthways.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and fry the chicken, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn the chicken pieces over and continue to brown for a few minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then fry the shallot until softened. Add the morels and chestnut mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Add the Noilly Prat or sherry, the reserved soaking liquid and the stock, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and stir until melted into the sauce, then put the chicken back in, along with any juices on the plate. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019)

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Sorrel Soup

This is the sorrel soup from Rick Stein’s book, Secret France. It’s delicious and tastes just like soups we’ve had in France on our holidays, and are never quite sure what’s in them. We got bags of fabulously fresh sorrel from McNally Family Farm.

Sorrel soup – serves 4 to 6

  • 50g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 450g potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 litre chicken or veg stock
  • 250g sorrel
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion, garlic, leek and potatoes. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes or until softened.

Add the stock and the sorrel and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Blend until smooth.

Season with salt and lots of black pepper, then stir in the honey. Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of cream and the chives over the top.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019.)

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Cherry Tomato Risotto

We planted tomato plants in the garden during lockdown, and now we have cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. Last week we made roasted cherry tomato soup and this week it’s tomato risotto. It’s a good complaint!

Wine Suggestion: A risotto … made with tomatoes … it had to be Sangiovese. We chose a bright, fresh fruited Chianti made by Trudie Styler and Sting. The Tenuta il Palaggio, When We Can Dance Chianti just revels in pure, good quality fruit; joyful and unsullied by oak.

Cherry tomato risotto – serves 4

  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (we use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • grated Parmesan to serve

Put the tin of tomatoes in a food processor with 500ml of the veg stock and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and add the rest of stock, then bring to a gentle simmer.

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a gentle heat, then add the chopped onion and cook gently until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic & rosemary, then cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir for a minute until the grains are glistening.

Start adding generous ladlefuls of the tomato and stock mixture and stir gently until absorbed before adding more. When you have added about half the stock, add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Continue adding the stock until it is used up and the rice is al dente, it should take 20-25 minutes.

Cover the pot and leave for 1 minutes, then tear and stir in the basil leaves. Serve in warmed bowls with Parmesan grated over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Aioli

Otherwise known as garlic mayonnaise and a super handy condiment to have up your sleeve and infinitely better than most supermarket versions.

Aioli – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 250ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Put the garlic in a food processor with the egg yolks and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper (we prefer freshly ground white pepper).

Turn the food processor on and start drizzling in the oil, just a few drops at a time. When it starts to emulsify, you can start adding the oil in a slow, steady stream until you have added it all and you have a mayonnaise. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon to taste.

(Recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017)

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Paella with Runner Beans, Chicken & Prawns

We just can’t resist runner beans when we see them and were so glad to find this recipe which puts them to good use. Healthy enough for a weeknight too.

Wine Suggestion: for a dish with both chicken and shellfish we prefer textural white wines. With an extra umami-savoury element we find that Grüner Veltliner also complements the paprika and saffron here. Tonight a wine from a friend in the business, the Schloss Gobelsburg Langenlois Kamptal GV. Quite a ripe style but with backbone and finesse too.

Paella with runner beans, chicken & prawns – serves 4 (we halved successfully)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 225g paella rice
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 850ml hot chicken stock, with 2 large pinches of saffron added
  • 350g runner beans, peel down the sides with a vegetable peeler to remove any strings, then thickly slice into chunks
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 200g raw large king prawns

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and fry for 5 minutes. Push the onions to one side, then add the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes or until browned.

Stir in the rice and paprika, then pour in the wine and let is sizzle for a minute or two. Add the saffron stock, then stir in the beans and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the stock absorbed. You can add a bit more stock if needed.

Add the prawns for the last few minutes, they will turn pink when cooked. Season generously and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Courgettes with Mint & Ricotta

There was a little bit of leftover ricotta in our fridge, and some courgettes and mint in the garden, which improved Tuesday’s freezer dinner immensely!

Courgettes with mint & ricotta – serves 2 as a side

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large courgettes, sliced
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 35g of ricotta (or whatever quantity you have)
  • a small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Heat a large heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Heat half the oil with half the butter, then add half of the courgettes in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, don’t be tempted to move them as you want them to take on plenty of colour.

Turn the courgettes, then grate over some lemon zest, pour over half the lemon juice and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Leave for another 5 minutes or until very tender. Remove to a warm platter and repeat with the remaining courgettes.

Top the courgette with spoons of ricotta, drizzle over your best olive oil and scatter over the mint to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Vitello Tonnato

Well it’s the last day of summer on this side of the world but we’re still hanging on for a while longer. Vitello tonnato is a true holiday dish and one we can never resist when we see it on a menu – forever summer!

You need to cook the veal and make the mayonnaise the night before you wish to serve.

Wine suggestion: naturally this goes with a range of Italian wines, either white or youthful reds. Make sure they aren’t too lush though and keep a bit of acidity or else the caprrs will work against you and you’ll lose the delicate flavour balance. To push out of this comfort zone though we headed east to Greece and a new found favourite: Thymiopoulos’ Xinomavro Jeunes-Vignes from Naoussa. With hints of youthful Burgundy and Piedmont, touches of crunchiness, delightful earthy red fruits and plenty of class to match the dish.

Vitello tonnato – serves 6

  • 2 banana shallots, halved lengthways
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1 celery stick, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 200ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 600g rose veal fillet, trimmed of any fatty bits and sinew

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 198g tin tuna in sunflower oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, plus extra to season
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 50ml olive oil

TO GARNISH:

  • 2 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • roughly chopped parsley
  • 12 caper berries
  • lemon wedges

Put the shallots, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, wine and chicken stock into a large saucepan. Add 1 tsp of salt and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Place the veal into the stock, then turn down to a bare simmer and poach for 15 minutes, turning regularly. Remove from the liquid and set aside to cool. Keep 100ml of the cooking liquid for the mayonnaise.

When the veal has cooled, season it generously with black pepper and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Put in the fridge and chill overnight.

To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, tuna, capers, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice, mustard and sugar into a food processor. Season with salt and black pepper. Whizz until well combined, then gradually add both the oils and blend until smooth and thickened.

Add 2 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid and blend again to give a soft consistency, add a bit more if you need. Spoon the mayonnaise into a bowl, then season again and add some more lemon juice if needed. Cover the surface with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.

When ready to serve, slice the veal very thinly and arrange in overlapping slices on a platter and top with spoons of the tuna mayonnaise. Garnish with baby capers, parsley and caper berries, then season again with black pepper and a little salt. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

(Recipe from the Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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Bearnaise sauce

We rarely do the classic sauces, sometimes they look a bit intimidating. This Béarnaise is easily made and tastes superb, perfect for when only steak & chips will do. It will keep warm in the bowl while you cook your steaks.

Wine suggestion: Béarnaise is a slightly piquant sauce, so you have to make sure the wine you choose isn’t too acidic. Our choice was the Ridge Lytton Estate Petite Sirah. This is full bodied and richly plum flavoured with peppery tannins and very high levels of anthocyanins (colour and anti-oxidants). Crucially though it has only a medium acidity and so doesn’t fight the sauce. A rare enough grape, but in expert hands, wonderful indeed.

Béarnaise Sauce – serves 2

  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • a large sprig of tarragon, bruised
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • sea salt

Put the vinegar, black peppercorns, shallot and whole tarragon sprig into a small saucepan with 50ml of water, then bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, then strain and reserve the liquid.

Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water.

Put the egg yolks, a cube of butter and a pinch of salt into the bowl. Whisk together, then add half the reserved liquid. Keep whisking until the mixture comes together and starts to thicken, then gradually add all of the butter, one cube at a time. Make sure that the mixture has emulsified (and not separated!) before you add any more butter each time. If it becomes too thick you can add teaspoons of warm water to thin it.

When all the butter has been added, remove the bowl from over the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir in the chopped tarragon. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt, white pepper, or more of the reduced liquid if needed. Leave the sauce in the warm bowl (off the heat) and it will keep warm for about 30 minutes but keep stirring occasionally.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King & Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015.)

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Jamie's Coleslaw

A reprise of THE most visited blog post we’ve ever done! We thought it was worth highlighting again for that reason alone but it’s also a great coleslaw.

Jamie’s Favourite Coleslaw – serves 6 generously

  • ½ a white cabbage, core removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 small red onion, peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 2 red apples, washed and cored
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • some mayonnaise
  • 1 heaped tsp English mustard

Slice the cabbage as finely as possible or slice using a food processor. Then slice the onion in the same way and mix with the cabbage in a large bowl.

Julienne the carrots and apples with a mandolin or food processor or cut into matchsticks. Add to the bowl along with the chopped parsley, a few dollops of mayonnaise and the mustard. You can adjust the quantities of lemon juice and mayonnaise to how you like it. We just added the juice from one lemon and a few good dollops of mayonnaise. Season to taste and toss together.

(Original recipe from Cook with Jamie by Jamie OliverPenguin Books, 2006.)

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Green bean minestrone with fresh pesto

We make lots of pesto in the summer months and stash it in the freezer. Kids all love it and they seem to prefer vegetable soup with it too.

Green bean minestrone with fresh pesto – serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 70g pack cubetti di pancetta (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ l vegetable or chicken stock
  • 100g small pasta shapes, such as orzo or tiny letters
  • 150g green beans, cut into shortish pieces
  • 150g podded broad beans (frozen are fine)
  • 100g/4oz spring cabbage, shredded
  • 4 tbsp pesto

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then fry the onion ,garlic, carrot and celery, until softened but not browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta in the same pan over a low heat until the fat renders, then fry until browned but not crispy. Tip the pancetta into a sieve to drain off excess fat.

Return the vegetables and pancetta to the pan and add the bay leaf, lots of seasoning and the stock. Bring to a simmer, then add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the green beans and broad beans to the pot and cook for 3 minutes, then add the shredded cabbage. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon over the pesto before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Courgette Trifolate

We can’t be the only people living on courgettes at the minute. Not that we’re complaining, we love looking out for different things to do with them which is how we came across this little side dish by Jacob Kennedy. The cooking method is a bit different but the result is delicious, the lesser cooked bits taste really strongly of courgettes and you also get some browned pieces with a deeper flavour.

Courgettes with Parsley – serves 4 as a side

  • 600g courgettes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • a tiny pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes
  • about 20g of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Thinly slice the courgettes, 3-5mm.

Get out a large, wide frying pan.  It needs to be big enough to hold the courgettes no more than 2-3 layers deep.

Heat the pan until really smoking or at least very, very hot. Add all of the courgettes and shake the pan to settle them, leave for 30 seconds.

Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle with salt but don’t stir yet. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds, then add the garlic, chilli and some black pepper. Toss once, so the courgettes on the bottom are pretty much on the top and the garlic and chilli underneath. Leave for 15 seconds, then shake the pan and cook for another 15 seconds. Sprinkle with parsley and toss a few times to mix, then remove from the heat. Leave in the pan for a further minute to finish cooking, then serve hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Lobster Thermidor

We’re pretty sure this isn’t the classic recipe but it was a lovely meal to end our holiday at home. Tomorrow we both go back to work, but tonight it was deliciousness all the way. We served this with a classic green salad, home-made chips and a fabulous wine that we bought on summer holidays in France last year.

Wine suggestion: a decadent dish requires a similar wine. Vintage Champagne is often suggested for lobster and works well, so does a good Premier Cru white Burgundy. On the same level though is good Jura Chardonnay and so we opened our last bottle of Domaine Labet’s “en Billat” 2016. Crunchy ripe apples, stony limestone and almond kernals, pears, quince, nuts and hints of buttery toast; quite extraordinary. We wish we had the will power to cellar these wines for longer … but keep on getting tempted.

Lobster with Thermidor butter – serves 2

  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • a handful of chopped tarragon
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • a pinch of paprika
  • a dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 5 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 140g softened butter
  • 2 cooked lobsters

Put the wine and the shallot into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce until almost dry, then cool.

Mix together the tarragon, parsley, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, paprika, Tabasco, Parmesan, the shallot mixture and the butter. Roll into a log, wrap in clingfilm and chill to harden.

Snap the claws off the lobsters. Cut the lobsters in half with a heavy knife then wash the head cavity under cold water and dry with kitchen towels.

Put the lobsters, cut side up, on a baking tray. Crack the claws and pick out all the meat, then stuff it into the head cavities.

Heat the grill to high. Slice the butter into thin rounds and lay along the lobsters to cover the meat. Grill for about 5 minutes or until the butter is bubbling and starting to brown. Pour any butter on the tray over the lobster before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, August 2011.)

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