Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Gluten-free’ Category

This was our last feast of 2020, the year that we cooked more than any other. It helped us to have a shared interest and something to entertain us in the evenings when we couldn’t do anything else. We miss sharing our food with friends and family but we’re hoping it will return before too long. We served this with Muhammara (a roasted red pepper and walnut dip), sumac yoghurt (see below) and a rice dish. You need to start a day ahead and in fact it works well if you cook the whole thing in advance and reheat to serve. 

Wine Suggestion: A gem of a discovery in 2020 after reading an article by Jancis Robinson was the Thymiopoulos, Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro. A vibrant and exciting red from Náoussa in Greece this grape we’ll be exploring more as we found it had elegance, hints of Mediterranean sunshine and gentle, middle eastern spices.

Pulled lamb shawarma – serves 8

  • 3 onions, 1 roughly chopped and the other 2 cut into wedges
  • 2 heads of garlic, 1 cut in half horizontally, and 8 cloves from the other roughly chopped
  • 25g piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 20g parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2-2.5kg lamb shoulder, on the bone
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • ½ a lemon
  • salt and black pepper

FOR THE SUMAC YOGHURT:

  • 200g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 60g tahini
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sumac

Make the spice paste by putting the chopped onion into a food processor with the chopped garlic and ginger. Pulse until finely minced, then add the parsley and spices. Pulse for another few seconds, until just combined. Scrape down the sides, then add the vinegar, oil, 2¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pulse again to form a coarse paste, then transfer to a non-metallic container that can hold the lamb. 

Pat the lamb dry and pierce all over with a small, sharp knife. Put the lamb into the dish with the spice paste and coat generously in the mixture, so that it is covered on all sides. Cover with foil and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. 

Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before you start cooking so it comes to room temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 140C fan. 

Put the onion wedges and the halved garlic bulb into the centre of a large roasting tray and pour over the chicken stock. Sit the lamb on top of the veg, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 4 hours. Remove from the oven, discard the foil and continue to bake for another 90 minutes, increasing the temperature to 160C for the last 30 minutes. The lamb should be very soft and come away easily from the bone. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes, then shred the lamb directly into the pan juices. Transfer the lamb with the pan juices, onions and garlic cloves to a large serving bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice.

To make the sumac yoghurt, put the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, the sumac and ¼ tsp of salt into a bowl and whisk well to combine.

Serve the lamb with the yoghurt alongside. We served with a rice dish and a dip but you can also serve with pitta breads, sliced tomatoes, red onions and herbs – a lamb shawarma sandwich.

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

Read Full Post »

We know it’s not broad bean season, but frozen broad beans are right up there with frozen peas as an excellent frozen veg and so we eat them all year round. This is a recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules and the perfect side dish for fish (or indeed fishfingers if you’re avoiding the shops!). It’s different from our usual potatoes as we tend to add lots of Irish butter, we didn’t miss it here, though we did spread some on the potato skins – it would be a shame to waste them!

Crushed potatoes with broad beans – serves 4 as a side

  • 350g baking potatoes, skins on
  • 50g streaky bacon
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 50g crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40 minutes to 1 an hour, until completely soft inside. You don’t need the skins but this method will give perfectly crispy skins that you can eat with a bit of butter and salt while you finish the dish.

Meanwhile, heat a splash of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the bacon and fry until the fat starts to release. When it starts to crisp, add the scallions and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Cook the broad beans in a pan of salty boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain.

Scoop the warm potato out of the skins and put into a saucepan over a very low heat. Add the beans and crush until smoothish, but still with a bit of texture. Stir in the crème fraîche and dill, then season generously with salt and black pepper.

Spoon the bacon and its fat over the dish and serve.

(Original recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.)

Read Full Post »

Growing up in Northern Ireland Jules often had mince and potatoes for dinner. The “mince” was minced beef with carrot and onions in gravy and it was served with boiled potatoes. We saw this recipe recently in a book of ‘British Classics’ where it was served with dumplings. Dumplings definitely did not feature on Jules’ childhood dinner table, so we left these out and served it with champ. A huge hit with the 7 year old and much more economical than many of our other weekend recipes.

Wine Suggestion: Keep it simple and choose a Grenache & Syrah blend like a Côtes du Rhône or similar. Rich enough but generally easy drinking with lovely bramble and spice flavours. Our current “find” is Jean-Paul Daumen’s version which balances this ease with a good dollop of class.

Mince – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 450ml beef stock
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 15 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.

Add the beef mince and cook for another 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Break the mince up with a wooden spoon as it browns.

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, sugar and bay leaf. Season with salt and black pepper, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid if it reduces too much but you want it to be nicely thickened.

Serve with green veg and potatoes.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ British Classics by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2018.)

Read Full Post »

The trick, as with all gratin’s, is to slice the vegetables really thinly. Invest in a mandolin, or use your food processor’s slicing blade, and you’ll get even slices that will cook at the same time. This dish has a lovely festive feel to it and would be great as a side dish for roast chicken (or turkey) or a rich casserole. We served just as it was with some steamed broccoli which was good too. 

There was no cheese in the original recipe so feel free to leave it out. We’re still working our way through the cheese mountain in the fridge. 

Creamy vegetable gratin with chestnuts and cranberries – serves 4 as a main, 6 as a side

  • 400g potatoes
  • 300g parsnips
  • 300g celeriac
  • 425ml double cream
  • 140ml sour cream
  • 85ml full-fat milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, very finely sliced
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • butter, to grease the dish
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g cooked chestnuts, sliced
  • a large handful of grated Parmesan
  • a large handful of grated Cheddar/Gruyere

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Slice the potatoes, parsnips and celeriac very finely, use a mandolin if you have one. 

In a large saucepan, mix the creams and milk together, then bring to just under the boil. Add the sliced veg, garlic and thyme and cook gently for 5 minutes. 

Season generously and spoon half the vegetables into a buttered gratin dish. Sprinkle the cranberries and chestnuts on top and half of the cheese, then add another layer of vegetables and the rest of the cheese over the top. 

Bake for 1 hour or until completely tender. You may need to cover with foil after 45 minutes to stop it browning too much. 

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

Read Full Post »

We made this on the first of January. We don’t do veggie January or veganuary but after all the rich food of November and December we were looking forward to some lighter dishes and this felt just right; both elegant and light, but full of lovely layers of flavour and textures.

Wine Suggestion: serve this with an umami rich red wine, but one that isn’t too fruity and rich either. If you can plump for an older, good Barolo lucky you, but tonight we were still lucky enough to have Domaine Jamet’s Côtes du Rhône: 100% northern Rhône Syrah with depth and personality, plums and brambles, peppery spice and savouriness.

Shiitake pho with crispy leeks – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
  • 4 banana shallots, thinly sliced (just use an onion if you don’t have shallots)
  • 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 leeks, 1 sliced the other shredded into long strips
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, very finely chopped
  • 375g fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 6 scallions, very finely sliced
  • 2 litres vegetable stock (vegan if you wish)
  • 200g flat rice noodles
  • a large handful of fresh coriander leaves, shredded
  • 1 lime, quartered

You need a very big pot for this, at least 3 litres.

Heat the oil in the large pot and fry the shallots for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick, then fry for another 5 minutes or until starting to colour and stick.

Add the finely sliced leek, chillies and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 8-10 minutes, until softened, then add the soy sauce, half the scallions and the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down very low and leave to simmer. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile, fry the shredded leek. Pour enough oil into a frying pan to come up to 1cm up the sides, then heat over a medium flame until very hot. Fry the shredded leek in batches, until crispy and golden, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the pack and drain.

To serve, divide the noodles between 4 large bowls, then ladle the broth on top. Scatter with the coriander, the crispy leeks, scallions and a squeeze of lime.

(Original recipe from East by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2019.)

Read Full Post »

This is a fish dish but the star of the show is definitely the Jerusalem artichokes, which soak up all the bacon fat. A stunner of a winter fish dish by Gill Meller who is fast becoming one of our favourite recipe writers.

Wine Suggetion: You need a good white that suits both fish, the rich bacon and earthy Jerusalem artichokes. Soalheiro’s Alvarinho from northern Portugal is a firm favourite and is both minerally-fresh and also texturally full-bodied.

Roast bream with Jerusalem artichokes, onion, smoked bacon & thyme – serves 4

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 250g smoked bacon lardons
  • a small bunch of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, bashed, no need to peel
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bream (about 1kg) or another white fish, we used two small bream to serve 2

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 6.

Scatter the artichokes, onion, bacon, thyme and garlic over a large heavy roasting tray or dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper.

Cover loosely with some baking parchment, then roast for 35-45 minutes or until the artichokes are tender, give everything a toss occasionally.

Slash the fish 3-4 times on each side, then lay on top of the artichokes. Baste the fish with some bacon fat, then season the fish with salt and pepper. Turn over onto the other side and baste and season again.

Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. The flesh should come away easily from the bone.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

Read Full Post »

Pure pumpkin flavour is what you get in this soup from Marcus Wareing. The maple-toasted seeds on top definitely make it a bit special. Our favourite pumpkin variety is Crown Prince. 

Pumpkin soup with maple-toasted seeds – serves 8

  • 1 pumpkin, approximately 2kg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 250ml milk

FOR THE MAPLE-TOASTED SEEDS:

  • 60 pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Peel and quarter the pumpkin and reserve the skin and seeds. 

Cut the pumpkin flesh into 2cm chunks, and set aside. 

Put the skin, seeds and trimmings into a large saucepan with the bay leaf, rosemary and 2.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, then strain and reserve the stock. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. 

Mix the pumpkin seeds with the maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Scatter over a baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove and allow to cool, then roughly chop. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the pumpkin chunks and 1 tsp of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. 

Pour in about half the pumpkin stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is completely soft and starting to break down. Stir in the milk, remove the rosemary sprig and bay leaf. Blend with a stick blender or processor until completely smooth, adding more stock if needed. Season to taste. 

Serve the soup scattered with the pumpkin seeds and drizzled with some good olive oil. 

(Original recipe from Marcus at Home by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.)

Read Full Post »

We don’t need to convincing to eat turnip but it is even more delicious with crispy bacon, onions and heaps of black pepper.

Turnip with bacon & onions – serves 4 to 6

  • 900g turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 50g smoked bacon, diced
  • 50g butter

Steam the turnip for about 10 minutes or until tender. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and gently sauté the onion and bacon until the bacon is crispy and onion starting to colour. 

Roughly mash the turnip with the butter, then season with salt and lots of black pepper. 

To serve, put the turnip into a warm dish and sprinkle with the bacon and onions. 

(Original recipe from Nevan Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook)

Read Full Post »

Inspired by a clip we saw of Marcus Wareing while browsing online one lazy Sunday. Dead easy, we wish we’d discovered this method before and will be doing this from now on. The trick is getting the moisture out of the potatoes, and the result is crusty potato with a moist soft centre. We served with barbecued bacon and poached eggs.

  • Potatoes for two people – we used three medium ones
  • a small onion or shallot
  • butter

Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Spread out on a tray and sprinkle with salt.

Coursely grate the onion.

After a few minutes put the grated potato into the middle of a clean tea towel and twist up over a sink. Squeeze out all the liquid – make sure it’s dry.

Mix grated potato and onions in a bowl and season generously.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat and when hot add the potato mix. Use a spoon to flatten out into a circle and then push the sides inwards to shape and form into a cake. Fry until starting to form a crust; you’ll need to lift an edge and peak to find out.

Place a plate the same size as the rosti on top of it and turn the pan over holding the plate as well. Slide the rosti back  into the pan, now crusty side up. Put generous lumps of butter around the cooking rosti. Fry this side until crusty underneath too.

Read Full Post »

We had to try this idea from Gill Meller’s book Gather in order to use some dulse flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed. The dulse flakes give a smoky umami flavour to the dish. It takes a while in the oven but it otherwise very simple and tastes even better if made in advance, as stews often do. We served with creamy mash, cabbage and turnip for a hearty Sunday lunch.

Wine Suggestion: A dish that needs a suitably rich red wine to match; one where the rich fruit has high levels of anthocyanins and phenols in a ripe framework. The Altosur Malbec from Tuppangato (the highest part of the Mendoza area) in Argentina came out of the rack and its blackberry, blueberry and plum flavours with brambly, rich tannins was an ample choice.

Beef shin with dulce – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g beef shin, sliced thickly
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • ½ a glass of red wine
  • 2-3 tsp powdered smoked dulse (we used dulse flakes, see note above)
  • 300ml chicken stock or water

Heat the oven to 120C/Gas 1.

Heat the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole. Season the beef shin well with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides until it takes on a really-good colour all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and thyme and cook gently over a low heat until the onions are soft but not coloured. Return the meat the pan, then add the wine, dulse and stock or water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven for 4-5 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Season to taste and leave to rest for 25 minutes before serving with mash and other veg.

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

Read Full Post »

We are forever cooking too much rice and this is our favourite way to use it. It’s also an excellent recipe for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Nasi goreng with poached eggs – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red chillies, shredded
  • 4 shallots or a small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g pack of ready-cooked rice or leftover cooked rice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Asian chilli sauce, plus extra to serve – we use sriracha
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 eggs, poached, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan or wok.

Cook the chilli, shallots, garlic, carrot and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Mix the brown sugar with and the chilli sauce until dissolved, then stir through the rice. Stir in the coriander.

Divide the rice between two dishes then top with a poached egg and another drizzle of chilli sauce.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, December 2012.)

Read Full Post »

We cooked this fish from Falastin on a Saturday night for our 7 year old, who gets to sit up and have dinner with us at the weekends. Jono’s not too keen on fish skin so I warned him to make sure that Orlaith didn’t see him taking it off, or she wouldn’t eat it either. Orlaith announced very quickly that the skin was the best bit – that’s my girl! Crispy skin is the key and this cooking method delivers it to perfection. Even Jono ate the skin!

Wine Suggestion: A very left-field suggestion tonight, but with some logic: the Herdade de Portacarra Manda Chuva. This is a Blanc de Noirs – a white made from a red grape. In this case Sangiovese which is the logic; this grape works superbly with tomatoes. Interestingly this is from Setubal, in Portugal, and by making a white it makes a great match for both fish and tomatoes.

Seared sea bass with lemon & tomato sauce – serves 4

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 4 tsp fish spice mix (to make: 2 tsp ground cardamom, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp turmeric)
  • 8 sea bass fillets, skin on, lightly scored and halved widthways at a slight angle
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 25g piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes, blitzed in a food processor until smooth
  • 1 ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 20g dill, roughly chopped
  • 25g coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 150g datterini or cherry tomatoes
  • ½ a lemon, very thinly sliced into rounds

Combine 2 tbsp of oil, 2½ tsp of fish spice mix, 1 tsp of salt and a plenty of black pepper together in a shallow dish. Add the fish pieces, turn to coat and set aside while you make the sauce.

Put 2 tbsp of oil in a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until softened and browned. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add 1½ tsp fish spice mix and the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, two-thirds of the dill and coriander, the stock, 1 tsp of salt and plenty of pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is thick and rich. Keep warm on a low heat.

Toss the little tomatoes with 2 tsps of oil. Put a large frying pan on a hight heat, add the tomatoes, and cook for about 4 minutes, shaking the pan a few times, until charred all over. Add the lemon slices and cook for another 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Add this to the tomato sauce along with the remaining herbs and keep warm until ready to serve.

Wipe the frying pan clean and put over a medium-high heat with 1½ tsp of oil. Add a quarter of the sea bass fillets, skin side down, press them gently if necessary to stop them curling. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and browned, then flip the fish over in the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds, then transfer to a warm plate. Repeat until all the fish is cooked.

Divide the sauce between 4 plates and top with the sea bass. Sprinkle over some coriander leaves to serve.

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

Read Full Post »

Romanesco has a short season so it’s a grab it when you can sort of vegetable. This means we usually just steam it but we came across this veggie curry recipe by Tom Kerridge and it was the perfect weeknight bowl of goodness.

Wine Suggestion: This works with lighter whites like the La Piuma Pecorino from Italy, but can see it working with so many other whites. Balanced, easy fruit, medium bodied and with enough texture, like Italian whites tend to have, except for Pinot Grigio.

Romanesco, corn and coconut curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 500g romanesco, cut into florets
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 350g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 200g frozen peas
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely sliced
  • cooked rice, to serve

FOR THE FRIED PANEER:

  • 225g paneer, cut into cubes
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a wide, deep frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and sizzle for a few seconds, then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn the heat down, then add the ground spices and stir for 1 minute, then add the romanesco and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the veg stock and half the coconut milk and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the paneer. Put it into a bowl and mix with the turmeric and salt. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the paneer and cook until browned, 5-8 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Add the rest of the coconut milk to the romanesco and stir in the sweetcorn, peas, fried paneer and half the coriander. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve scattered with the chilli and the rest of the coriander.

(Original recipe from Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2018.)

Read Full Post »

We were offered two dead wild ducks a few weeks ago, feathers and all. Our friend Niall kindly dealt with the feathers and delivered a bag of fresh duck breasts and legs to our door. Lucky us! We minced the duck meat with a bit of pork fat (you could use duck skin too if you have it) and made these burgers seasoned with Rick Stein’s pepper mix, which we’re looking forward to seasoning all sorts of things with. We bought the dried chillies in a Mexican food shop but you should be able to get them online too. Best served with fries.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a medium bodied red with refined tannins for this dish. Despite the Mexican chillies in the spice mix this is a very French inspired meal, one you might easily find on holiday there. So for this we chose our favourite, the Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny “Tuffe”. Cabernet Franc from the Loire at it’s best and a good match.

Duck burgers – serves 4

  • 800 duck meat (breast, leg or both), plus about 100-150g fat and skin if you have it, or some pork fat
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Rick’s peppermix (see below)
  • 80g cheese e.g. Comté or Gruyère, cut into slices
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 2-3 tsp grainy mustard
  • a large handful of rocket
  • 1 tsp walnut oil (or just use good olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced (we’re not so keen on raw onion in our burgers so we cut the onion into chunky slices, rub with some seasoning a little oil and barbecue on soft and charred)
  • 1 dill pickle, sliced (we used cornichons)
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mustard mayonnaise (mix a little Dijon mustard into good-quality mayonnaise)

FOR THE PEPPERMIX:

  • 1 chipotle chilli, seeds removed
  • 1 pasilla chilli, seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp white peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp salt

Make the peppermix by blitzing all of the ingredients together in a spice grinder. Store in a jar and use to season other things, it’s great on a steak.

If there is fat on the duck, pull it off and mince the meat with about 100-150g of fat and the skin (we didn’t have fat and skin so we added a bit of pork fat instead). Season the mince with the salt and 1 tsp of the peppermix. Damp your hands a bit and make four burgers. Cover and leave them in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.

You can cook the burgers on a hot barbecue or if you prefer to cook indoors a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Cook the burgers for a few minutes on each side, then add a slice of cheese to each, turn of the heat and leave to sit for a minute to let the cheese melt.

Lightly toast the buns and spread the cut surfaces with grainy mustard. Dress the rocket with a little walnut oil or good olive oil.

Serve the burgers on a bun topped with onion, cornichon/dill pickle, tomato, mustard mayonnaise and rocket. Serve with fries.

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

Read Full Post »

We like weeknight dishes that use fresh dill, like this one, particularly helpful as we often have leftover dill from the weekend. We never mind as we just love the lift dill can bring and hate to waste it. Don’t be tempted to turn the salmon too soon, you want nice crispy skin.

Wine Suggestion: A number of Italian whites have a good affinity to fish and capers so we chose a favourite, the Graziano Prá Soave Classico “Otto”. A DOC with a number of standout winemakers like Prá championing the local grape Garganega; green apple, hints of almond, a mid-weight and refreshing, textured finish.

Salmon with capers & dill – serves 4

  • 50g butter, diced
  • 4 x salmon fillets, preferably with the skin on, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice mixed with 6-8 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp chopped dill

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add a couple of knobs of butter and add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until crispy and browned underneath, then turn over and continue to cook for a couple of minutes or until cooked through.

Add the capers, the rest of the butter and the lemon juice mixed with water, boil for 1 minute. Season to taste, then transfer the salmon onto warmed plates, stir in the chopped dill and pour over the fish to serve.

(Original recipe by Rachel Allen in BBC Good Food Magazine, November 2011.)

Read Full Post »

We made a vat of this last night, which is fine because it is really nice. Still, we’re looking forward to sharing dishes with other people again. Our preferred pumpkin is a Crown Prince but you can use butternut squash if that is what’s available. We served this with a cabbage dish and some roast potatoes but it would be super with sausages or chicken or any roast really.

Pumpkin, mustard & Gruyère gratin – serves 4 to 6

  • a small knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 300ml pot double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • pumpkin, about 1kg prepared weight
  • 100g Gruyère, grated

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, put the garlic and half the sage into a saucepan, add the cream and milk and heat gently for 5 minutes but don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then throw away the sage and garlic, stir in the mustard and add plenty of seasoning.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Layer the pumpkin slices, onions, most of the cheese and the cream in a very large baking dish or roasting tray, finishing with a layer of cream and some cheese scattered on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover and increase the heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and completely tender. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Read Full Post »

This is a lovely side dish and it was hard not to eat all the roasted Romanesco before it got to the plate. Then you add garlicky tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds … delicious!

We just love the fractal patterened shape of these too. We’ve recently discovered that pomegranate seeds freeze well. Dry them well and spread them over a tray lined with paper, transfer to a bag or tub when frozen.

Roast Romanesco Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranates – serves 4

  • 2 heads of Romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 75g tahini
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

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

Spread the florets out over a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin and allspice. Season with plenty of salt and pepper then toss well to coat.

Roast for 20-30 minutes in the hot oven until tender but firm, give them a toss half way through, then remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

To make the tahini sauce mix the tahini, lemon juice and garlic with 100ml of water in a bowl, until smooth and runny.

Put the tahini onto a serving platter, drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe from Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

Read Full Post »

We adore spinach and dishes that are full of it, like this spinach, tomato & chickpea curry. Great served with rice or naan breads and some yoghurt. Couldn’t be easier!

Wine Suggestion: A dish like this loves medium weight Grenache based wines like Roc des Anges, l’Effet de Papillon rouge. A velvety, juicy, damson and raspberry flavoured glass with hints of spice.

Chana Saag – Spinach, tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500g baby spinach, washed

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped onions.

Fry for 10 to 12 minutes or until starting to caramelise, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, crushing them with you hand as they go in. Fill the tin a third full with water and add to the pan.

Cook for 10 minutes or until quite dry and paste-like, then add the chickpeas. Warm through for a few minutes, then add the coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir well to combine, then add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice and some yoghurt.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meeera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

Read Full Post »

We often grate baby beetroots over salads in the summer months. In winter time they’re often a bit big and intimidating, and you have to buy them in a whole bunch. So here’s some beetroot inspiration in case you’ve got some in your veg box this week. This tastes even better the following day.

Borsht – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or 15g of butter
  • 3 medium beetroots (about 450g unpeeled weight), peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 large waxy potato, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • ½ green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 2 tbsp from a tin of tomatoes

TO SERVE:

  • 300g sirloin steak, trimmed of fat
  • sour cream or crème fraîche
  • dill (we substituted parsley but do use dill if you can)

Heat the oil or butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the beetroot, carrot, celery, potato, onion and garlic, and sauté for a couple of minutes or until combined and coasted in fat.

Pour in the stock and season. Bring the soup almost to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and tomatoes, put the lid back on and simmer for another 20 minutes. Season to taste.

About 10 minutes before serving, cook the steak on a hot griddle pan for a couple of minute on each side. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then slice really thinly and add any meat juices to the soup.

Divide the steak between the bowls and ladle the soup on top. Serve with some sour cream and dill on top.

(Original recipe by The Hairy Bikers in BBC Good Food Magazine, October 2015.)

Read Full Post »

We cooked this for dinner on Halloween, you need a good eating pumpkin, like Crown Prince, rather than a carving pumpkin. The oxtail is a bit of a fiddle but it’s worth it and you can do all the fiddly bits well in advance. The result is fabulously rich and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: to cut through the richness you need a red with both a bit of acidity and tannins and a favourite of ours for this purpose is Chianti. Tonight the Pian del Ciampolo from Montevertine in the Chianti Classico region who have stepped outside the system but still use the classic grapes for the appellation. Young and joyful but with a serious backbone and a good match for the dish.

Oxtail stew with pumpkin and cinnamon – serves 6

  • 2kg oxtail pieces
  • 200g shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • zest of ½ an orange, peeled into long strips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 500g pumpkin, cut into 2.5 cm cubes (you could use butternut squash but try and get pumpkin if you can)
  • 300ml water

FOR THE GREMOLATA

  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Heat a large heavy-based pan over a high heat, it needs to be big enough to hold the whole stew later, and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot add some oxtail pieces and fry until well browned on all sides. You will need to do this in batches and don’t put too many in at once or they will start to stew rather than fry. Transfer the browned pieces to a colander so the excess fat can drain off.

If there is a lot of fat in the pan, tip some of it off, then add the shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook these over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape the base with a wooden spoon to get any crusty tasty bits off the bottom. Bring to the boil and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the tomatoes. Tie the thyme and rosemary sprigs together and add to the sauce, then add the orange zest, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and some salt. Transfer the sauce to a deep baking dish or roasting tray big enough to take the oxtail in a single layer. Set the oxtail pieces on top. Put a sheet of baking parchment directly over the oxtail, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or a couple of layers of tinfoil, then bake for 2-3 hours or until the meat comes away easily from the bone.

Lift the oxtail out of the sauce and into a large bowl, then leave to cool slightly. When it’s cool enough to handle, pick all the meat from the bones and put into the heavy-based pan that you used to brown it in, discard the fatty bits and the bones. Add the sauce from the baking tray to the meat along with the pumpkin cubes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Season to taste.

To make the gremolata, mix the parsley, lemon zest and garlic together. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and sprinkle the gremolata on top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2008.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »