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Archive for the ‘Gluten-free’ Category

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)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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You will need a wide heavy-based casserole dish for this as you ideally want the cabbage rolls in one layer. Make sure you season every component generously as you go. If you follow the suggestion of putting just 50g of the filling in each cabbage leaf (as you should or they will be impossible to roll), you will have too much. You can either stuff a few extra leaves or put the stuffing in the freezer for another day, which is what we did. This is a traditional Ukranian dish from Mamushka by Olia Hercules. The barberries are optional and we couldn’t find them so made the dish without, still delicious!

Wine Suggestion: We couldn’t pass up a hearty red for this dish, and a new favourite, the Parker Coonawarra Shiraz; full bodied and yet elegant and effortless with that characteristic eucalyptus twist, well recommended.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml water
  • 1 Savoy cabbage, 12 leaves separated, cut out the thicker part of the spine with a sharp knife or scissors
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 160g white long-grain rice, parboiled for 5 minutes and drained
  • 40g barberries (optional)
  • a small bunch of dill, chopped, to serve
  • 100ml sour cream, to serve

Heat the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add half the chopped onion and all of the grated carrot and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the sugar and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes and water, then season well with salt and pepper. You can turn it off at this point while you prepare the cabbage leaves but bring it back up to a simmer when you’re ready to add the cabbage to the dish.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in lots of boiling salty water for 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water and drain well on kitchen paper. It’s easier to do this in a few batches.

Mix the beef mince, pork mince, parboiled rice, barberries (if using), plenty of salt and pepper and the rest of the onion together in a bowl. Put 50g of the filling on each cabbage leaf and fold up into a parcel.

Lay the parcels on top of the sauce with the folded side facing down. You want them to fit quite snugly so they don’t unravel. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. You can leave the lid off at the end to reduce the sauce a bit if you like.

Serve with chopped dill and sour cream.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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A nice salad using raw beetroot. It tastes really fresh and good for you. 

Beetroot with walnuts and cumin – serves 4

  • 75g walnuts
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • about 400g beetroot
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and gently toast the walnuts for a few minutes, until toasted and starting to colour. Remove from the pan and add the cumin seeds. Toast these for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, then tip onto a plate. 

Peel the beetroot and grate it coarsely into a bowl. Add the parsley, orange juice and a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tbsp rapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Mix and season again to taste. Leave for 20 minutes or so to marinate and soften. 

Spread the beetroot over a serving dish. Bash the toasted walnuts roughly and scatter over the beetroot. Bash the toasted cumin seeds too, then scatter over the salad. 

Finish with another drizzle of oil. 

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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We don’t often cook dishes more than once but we always make a note on the recipe, telling us when we cooked it and what we thought of it. The last time we cooked this, or Jules did, was on the 16th August 2005. She thought it was very good then, and we both thought it was very good this time round too. We served with champ and sautéed cabbage.

Wine Suggestion: Despite Marsala hailing from Sicily we quite like a nice red Côtes du Rhône or similar with this dish. If you’re fortunate to find Domaine Jamet’s version made with 100% Syrah then snap up a bottle and then make this.

Sautéed pork medallions with Marsala – serves 4

  • 2 pork fillets, about 1kg in total
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 150ml sweet Marsala

Cut the pork into medallions, about 1cm thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan, add the pork and sauté quickly over a high heat to brown on both sides. We find it’s much easier to do this in a few batches.

Return all the pork to the pan, add another bit of seasoning, then pour in the Marsala. Cook for a few minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the liquid slightly reduced. Keep an eye on it as it the sauce will reduce quickly.

(Original recipe from Foolproof Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden, BBC Worldwide Ltd, 2003.)

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This is Nigel Slater’s dark and sticky fruit chutney from Kitchen Diaries II. The chutney is nice with cheese or cold cuts. Figs are expensive but they don’t keep for long so you often find them reduced to clear in shops. 

A dark and stick fruit chutney – makes a few jars

  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 8 large figs, about 1kg, roughly chopped and stalks removed
  • 150ml malt vinegar
  • 150ml cider vinegar
  • 250g chopped onions
  • 250g sultanas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • half a tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

Warm the sugar in a bowl in a low oven. 

Put the chopped figs into a large, stainless steel or enamelled saucepan. Add the vinegars, onions, sultanas, salt, allspice, cracked peppercorns and coriander seeds, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the onions and fruit are soft. 

Stir in the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, then turn the heat down and allow to bubble very gently. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent it sticking, until thick and jam consistency. Bottle while hot and seal. 

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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This is a good side dish to serve with richer dishes. It’s light and zingy which is just what’s needed sometimes. Another great combination of flavours suggested by Sabrina Ghayour. 

Carrot, pistachio & dill salad with lime & honey dressing – serves 4 to 6

  • 500g carrots, coarsely grated
  • ½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • about 30g of dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds

FOR THE DRESSING: 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 generous tbsp of runny honey

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Put the other ingredients into a large bowl. Add the dressing when you’re ready to serve and toss gently to coat. Check the seasoning and serve. 

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

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You need cooked beetroots for this. You can of course buy them pre-cooked in vac packs but they’re much nicer when you cook them fresh. Just give them a good scrub, dry with paper and wrap in tin foil. Roast for about an hour (or as long as it takes) at 200ºC. Let them cool before making the salad. We served this with roast chicken and the next day with a ham salad. Make this up at least an hour in advance to allow the flavours to mingle.

Beetroot & mint salad – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cooked beetroots, finely sliced into rounds
  • a small bunch of mint leaves

Whisk the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Put the sliced beetroot into a bowl. Roughly chop half the mint leaves, and add to the beetroots before pouring over the  dressing. Leave in the fridge for an hour or so.

To serve, drain off some of the marinade, arrange the slices on a platter and scatter over the rest of the mint.

(Original recipe from Skye McAlpine’s A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty, Bloomsbury, 2020.)

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We recently bought Skye McAlpine’s book, A Table for Friends, which has lovely menus for each season. We’re well and truly into Autumn now and the farm shop is full of potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots. Tonight we made Skye’s suggested autumn menu of buttery lemon roast chicken, beetroot & mint salad, butter & sage roast pumpkin and roast potatoes. A perfect combination of dishes and all can be prepped in advance. Unfortunately we were minus the friends but hopefully those days will be back again before too long. 

We ignore all timings for roast chicken these days and stick to Diana Henry’s failsafe instructions to roast for 20 minutes at 190C for each 500g plus an extra 10 minutes. 

Wine Suggestion: Quite often with roast chicken we lean towards oaked Chardonnay as it’s such a classic match but tonight we remembered that another great match is good red Bordeaux from the Left Bank, so Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, and also with a little age, but not too much. We continued our lockdown habit of dipping into the cellar once a week and pulled out a Domaine de Chevalier red from 2010. It still has years, if not a couple of decades of life ahead of it but at 10 years old it still has a spriteliness of youth while all components have come together harmoniously into a smooth, elegant wine.

Buttery Lemon Roast Chicken – serves 4

  • a large bunch of sage
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 free-range chicken

You can prep the chicken early in the day and keep in the fridge but make sure you take it out an hour or two before you want to put it into the oven so it’s at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 190C.

Finely chop half the sage and mash in a bowl with the butter, lemon zest and salt.

Put the chicken into a roasting tray. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice into the cavity, then stuff the halves into the chicken with the remaining sage.

Gently lift the skin over the breast and smear a quarter of the butter mixture under the skin over each breast. You should be able to push the butter quite far down with your fingers, but careful not tear the skin. Rub the rest of the butter over the chicken and sprinkle with some extra salt.

Roast the chicken according to the timings given above. When cooked the legs should feel loose and the juice should run clear when you pierce a thick bit with a sharp knife.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving and served with some of the juices spooned over.

(Original recipe from A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty by Skye McAlpine, Bloomsbury, 2020.)

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We made this by accident having planned to do a different tagine from a magazine, only to realised that it required a slow-cooker, so this was a last-minute substitute. It is really and truly delicious, so you must try making this dish at some stage. You can serve with plain couscous but it’s particularly good with this. If chickpeas don’t float your boat as a main course for Sunday lunch both dishes would be excellent with some roast lamb. 

Wine Suggestion: this is great with a juicy, brambly Grenache, or a blend with this in it. We had the joyful Les Dissidents “le Paria” made by Domaine Ventenac from 100% Grenache and made without sulphur; fresh, juicy and minerally.

Tomato, date & chickpea tagine – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 120g pitted dates, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves roughly chopped and stalks reserved
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 strips of lemon zest and the juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

FOR THE SEASONED YOGHURT

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry for 8-10 minutes, until soft. 

Whizz half the tomatoes with half of the dates, then add the rest of the tomatoes to the mixture and set aside. 

Add the garlic, coriander stalks and all of the spices to the cooked onions, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato mixture, the lemon zest and 100ml of water, season well with salt and pepper, then cook for 10 minutes or until rich and thickened. 

Meanwhile, make the seasoned yoghurt. Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, then set aside. 

Stir the chickpeas and the rest of the dates into the tomato mixture and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Discard the pieces of lemon zest, then remove the dish from the heat. 

Stir in the coriander leaves and serve with some seasoned yoghurt and golden couscous

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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We’ve been looking for recipes that use fresh turmeric but you can also use ground turmeric for this dish. This cauliflower curry is really nice and also uses the cauliflower leaves, genius! Serve with rice. 

Wine Suggestion: This dish cries out for a white from warmer or sunnier climates where there are hints of tropical fruits in the flavours. Tonight’s choice was the superlative Kilikanoon Pierce Road Semillon; an oak aged semillon from the Clare Valley. Rich and layered with buttery, toasty hints of the barrel fermentation carried through with a wonderful, lemony, citrus backbone of acidity. Youthful but poised and balanced.

Cauliflower and yellow split pea curry – serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, with leaves, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and the cut the leaves across the spine into 1cm-thick strips
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 180g yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk

FOR THE CURRY BASE:

  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4cm piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (or you can use 1 tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1 green chilli, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a bunch of coriander, chop the stalks finely and the leaves roughly

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C/gas 7.

Toss the cauliflower pieces in the vegetable oil and season generously with salt. Place in a roasting tray and roast for 30-35 minutes or until deep golden. Toss them halfway through. 

Meanwhile, put the crushed cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan. Put over a medium heat and toast until fragrant. Add the vegetable oil, then the rest of curry base ingredients, including the coriander stalks but not the leaves. Season well with salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the split peas and 700ml warm water. Stir, then cover and simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more water if needed. Add the coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add the cauliflower and the cauliflower leaves, then cover and cook for a few minutes until the leaves have wilted. Remove from the heat and garnish with the chopped coriander. 

Serve with rice and anything else you like with you curry. 

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019.)

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This is full of warm spices, healthy and very satisfying. A great meal for mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: This goes beautifully with elegant Grenache, like Roc des Anges’ Unic from Roussillon in the south of France; quite ethereal and fresh, particularly given the warm sourthern France location. Almost like a warmly spiced Burgundy. If you can’t find something like this then a lightly oaked Chardonnay comes a good second best.

Spinach rice with spiced salmon – serves 2

  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 70g brown basmati rice
  • 375ml vegetable stock, made with 2 tsp of bouillon powder
  • 160g baby spinach, roughly chopped

FOR THE SALMON:

  • ½ turmeric
  • ½ ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (or mint)
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp toasted almonds

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onion and ginger for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the spices and cook for 30 seconds, then add the chilli, garlic, pepper and rice. Stir briefly, then pour in the stock. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. If there’s liquid left simmer without the lid for a few minutes to let it evaporate. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until wilted.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and heat the grill.

Mix yoghurt with the turmeric, ground coriander and fresh coriander. Spread this mixture over the salmon and transfer to the foil-covered sheet. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Top the rice with the salmon fillets and scatter over the almonds to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Jono acquired five trays of figs from one of his customers, much to the approbation of Jules who said he had to find something to do with them! This fig jam used most of them and there was a smaller batch of rather good chutney. A good call too, as we’ve had repeat requests for jam from friends who’ve been given a jar. It is easily scalable, so while the recipe is for 1kg of figs, we used 4kg to make just over 5kg of jam.

Jono now believes he is allowed to get loads of figs when there is a glut again next year.

Fig Jam – makes roughly 1.3kg of jam

  • 1kg figs, remove the stalks at the top and roughly chop
  • 2 fig leaves, cleaned (we took two from a neighbour’s garden – with permission)
  • 500g jam sugar (with pectin)

Put the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir well to combine. Put the pan over a low heat and let the sugar dissolve, then increase the heat slightly and bring to a gentle simmer. 

When the liquid starts to be released from the figs, turn the heat up a little again and stir often to stop the jam sticking to the bottom of the pan. Simmer rapidly until the jam reaches 105°C (You will need a jam thermometer to check this. If you don’t have one the other option is to put a few saucers in the freezer. To check if the jam is ready, put a tiny spoonful onto the cold plate and see if it runs. If it doesn’t, it’s ready. If it does try again using another cold plate in a few minutes). 

Remove the fig leaves and pour the jam into sterilised jars. Cover immediately with the lids. The jam will now keep for up to a year, but it’s highly unlikely to last that long!

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishing, 2019.)

 

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Yes it really is this vibrant in colour. This dish marries a sweetness from the two vegetables with a contrasting and complimentary earthiness from the cumin and pungent garlic to form a harmonious whole; neither sweet, nor overtly earthy. We like it a lot.

Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash – serves 4

  • 500g sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 500g carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 25g butter

Put the sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic into a large pan of salty water, bring to the boil and cook for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Add the toasted cumin seeds, butter and seasoning and roughly mash. 

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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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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