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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

Indian Summer Salad

Try this on the side next time you make a curry. It’s fresh, crunchy, delicious and also slaw-like, so would be good in a naan bread with some spicy chicken or lamb.

Indian Summer Salad – serves 6 (easily halved but the leftovers are ok for a day in the fridge too)

  • 3 carrots, grated
  • a bunch of radishes, very finely sliced
  • 2 courgettes, very finely sliced
  • half a small red onion, finely chopped
  • a small handful of mint leaves, roughly torn

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Put the carrots, radishes, courgettes, onion and mint into a large bowl.

Mix the white wine vinegar, Dijon and mayonnaise and salt & pepper together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

(Original recipe by BBC Good Food)

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Monastery Soup

The second Bulgarian recipe we’ve cooked from Black Sea by Caroline Eden and one of the best soups we’ve had in ages. We think it’s the combination of sweet peppers and parsnip with the spicy broth that makes it so good. Serve with a good slick of olive oil and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Monastery Soup – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large red or yellow pepper, diced very finely
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 parsnip, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 700ml veg stock
  • a tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • a tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • flat-leaf parsley & mint, chopped (to serve)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or crème fraîche (to serve, optional but good)

Warm the sunflower oil in a large pot, then add the pepper, onion, parsnip and carrot with some salt. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Add the paprika, chilli flakes, garlic and some black pepper and continue to cook for another few minutes. Add the stock and beans and turn up the heat. When the soup starts to boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through (try one of the carrots). Remove from the heat and divide between warm bowls. Sprinkle over the herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. A spoon of sour cream on top is also really good.

(Original recipe Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018)

 

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Spiced Crispy Egg & Lentil Curry

This is a great lentil curry but the star of the show is definitely the spiced crispy eggs. We’ll definitely be making these again with other dishes that could do with a crispy egg. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Wine Suggestion: the spices in this dish will fight with tannins so we’d suggest pairing with a white wine. Our choice this evening was the Chayeau Pesquie Terrasses Blanc, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc – a real southern Rhône style blend with fresh stone fruit and citrus flavours.

Spiced crispy egg and lentil curry – serves 4

  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 4 cardamom pods, squashed
  • a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced
  • 100g baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • a small bunch of coriander, chopped

FOR THE CRISPY EGGS

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika

Put the lentils, onions and tomatoes in a pan with the turmeric and a teaspoon of salt. Add water to just cover, then simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Drop the eggs into boiling water and cook for 7 minutes, then plunge them into iced water and leave to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan, then stir in the cumin, coriander and cardamom. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked lentils and 100ml water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs and heat the tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the eggs, turmeric, paprika and some salt. Cook the eggs until they start to blister and crisp.

Stir the garam masala and fresh coriander into the curry and serve with the halved eggs and some steamed basmati rice.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, December 2017)

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Carrot & Ginger mash with pan fried codSo, this is a full-on diet dish, but the carrot and ginger mash is spectacular and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough for nights when you need some restraint. We are a greedy household and require restraint on a regular basis – no wine for us tonight!

Carrot & Ginger Mash with Pan-fried Cod – serves 2

  • 2 large carrots (about 300g), thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 15g fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 15g butter
  • ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 thick, skinless cod fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried chilli flakes

Put the carrots, garlic & ginger in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.

Take the pan off the heat, reserve a ladle of the cooking water, then drain. Return the carrot mixture to the pan and add 3 tbsp of the reserved cooking water, the butter, and the lemon juice. Whizz the carrots to a purée with a stick blender, adding a bit more of the water if needed. Season with salt and black pepper.

Season the cod with sea salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the cod for about 4 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with a few chilli flakes, and cook on the other side for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how thick they are.

Spoon the purée onto warm plates and serve with the fish on top and plenty of green veg.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 Recipe Book by Dr Claire Bailey & Justine Pattison, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Potato, Courgette, Chickpea and Rosemary soup

This is such a simple soup but it just tastes full of goodness. We loved it and we are loving Rachel Roddy’s cookbook – Two Kitchens – which is full of simple ideas that work perfectly.

Potato, chickpea, courgette and rosemary soup – serves 4 – Zuppa di patate, ceci, zucchine e rosmarino

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 medium courgettes, diced
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 800g tinned chickpeas, drained
  • grated pecorino, we used lots but as you please

Warm the olive oil and onion in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and cook until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute or two.

Add the courgettes and potatoes to the pan with the chilli flakes and stir until everything is coated in the oil.

Add the chickpeas,  1 litre of water and some seasoning.

Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are beginning to fall apart. Taste for seasoning and serve with the cheese.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens – Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, HEADLINE HOME, 2017)

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Orecchiette with Peppers, Raisins & Almonds

This is almost like a warm pasta salad. It’s delicious and really easy to put together.

Wine suggestion: if you feel like a glass of wine we’d suggest a Grüner Veltliner which compliments the sourness of vinegar, peppery rocket and other flavours in this dish.

Orecchiette with peppers, raisins & almonds – serves 2

  • 150g orecchiette
  • 100g roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins/sultanas
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds (toast them in a dry pan if you like)
  • 50g rocket

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

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

Drain the pasta and toss with the dressing, sultanas and peppers. Leave for 5 minutes then add the almonds and rocket  and toss together with a bit of seasoning if needed.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, October 2012)

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal

A vegan dish for mid-week that is not only super-healthy but very tasty too.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal – serves 4

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

  • 1 large cauliflower, sliced into 1cm steaks (or you can break into florets but don’t waste the stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

FOR THE DHAL:

  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 250g red lentils
  • 400ml tin light coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • generous handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

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

Put the cauliflower into a large roasting tin and sprinkle with the olive oil.

Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter over the turmeric and garlic. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a lidded saucepan and gently fry the onion and chilli for about 4 minutes.

Add the cumin, garlic and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes before stirring in the lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower and serve with the dhal and the toasted almonds.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Duck Stir-Fry with Ginger & Greens

It’s not often you find a duck dish that is light and healthy. It pains us too to pull off and discard that duck skin but somedays it just has to be done. Can’t recommend this highly enough for a good food day. We served with some brown basmati.

Duck stir-fry with ginger and greens – serves 4

  • groundnut oil
  • 2 skinless duck breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 500g pak choi, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Heat a wok until smoking hot, then add 2 tsp of oil. Add the duck and stir-fry for 2 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon. Add another teaspoon of oil and tip in the ginger, chilli, almost all the scallions and the pak choi. Cook until the pak choi is just wilted.

Add the soy, honey and oyster sauce to the wok and put the duck back in – bubble for a minute. Mix the cornflour with 2 tsp cold water and stir until smooth, add to the wok and cook until the sauce thickens and looks glossy. Garnish with the leftover scallions to serve.

(Original recipe by Jemma Morphet in Olive Magazine, February 2011.)

 

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Turmeric Broth

We try and cook healthy mid-week, with some weeks being more successful than others. That said, we rarely eat anything particularly unhealthy, so we don’t beat ourselves up too much. This dish is low fat and low calorie – but it tastes really full-flavoured and restorative, almost medicinal, and you can’t help but feel better for eating it.

Turmeric broth with chicken & ginger dumplings – serves 4

  • 50g ginger sliced
  • 1.5 litres light chicken stock
  • 3 scallions, green parts and white parts separated
  • 2 star anise
  • 2-3 tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g baby leaf greens, chopped – we used pak choi
  • 300g cooked egg noodles
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

FOR THE DUMPLINGS:

  • 500g chicken mince or turkey mince
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • a handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 egg white
  • white pepper

Put the sliced ginger, chicken stock, scallion greens, star anise and turmeric in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cook with a lid on for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the scallion whites and put into a bowl with the mince, grated ginger, chilli, coriander, 1 tsp of sesame oil, the cornflour and egg white. Season with salt and white pepper then mix well and roll into balls.

Strain the broth and return to the pot. Add the chicken dumplings and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Add the greens and noodles for the last 2 minutes. Finish with the chilli and a drizzle of sesame oil.

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

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Pea & Mint Soup

It’s getting close to that time of year when we start to really crave some daylight and spring veg. Fresh peas are a long way off yet but this hearty pea and mint soup is full of promise. Leave out the swirl of cream to keep it vegan.

Pea & Mint Soup – serves 4 generously

  • 80g yellow split peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 700g frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp single cream (optional to garnish)

Put the split peas into a saucepan and add 800ml of water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until just tender. Remove any scum from the surface as they cook.

10 minutes before the split peas are cooked, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes to soften, add a splash of water if they start to stick. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Drain the split peas and add to the onions along with the vegetable stock. Bring the boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Stir in the frozen peas and chopped mint and season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Whizz the soup with a blender until smooth (or smoothish if you prefer) – you might have to do this in batches.

Ladle into warm bowls and drizzle with cream if you like.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Chickpea and spinach curry

We don’t know about you lot but our bellies are crying out for a rest and we haven’t even got to New Year’s yet. This is a lightweight curry suitable for veggies and vegans (if you don’t serve with yoghurt) and it’s also substantial enough to serve as it is without any rice. The spices are very gentle as confirmed by our 5 year old who has developed a recent aversion to anything ‘too spicy!!’.

Chickpea & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt (optional to serve)
  • Sprigs of coriander (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to brown, add a splash of water if they stick.

Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir for a minute, then add the tomato purée and cook for another minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and chickpeas, then bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

When ready to serve, stir through the spinach and cook briefly until just wilted.

Divide between bowls (on top of some steamed rice if you like) and top with a spoon of yoghurt and some coriander.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Crispy Parma ham w avocado and hot tomato dressing

A really nice dish to serve as a starter in late summer when the tomatoes are at their best.

Wine Suggestion: We love serving slightly-chilled, young, light reds with salads like this. Given the Parma ham we chose the Colterenzio Pinot Nero from the Alto Adige, but it could have easily been a Joven Tempranillo, Beaujolais or Cheverny rouge. Young, lighter bodied, fruity and with a fresh acidity; perfect.

Crispy Parma Ham with Avocado & Hot Tomato Dressing – serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 85g Parma ham, roughly torn
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded and cut into thin slivers
  • 15g basil, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100-120g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add half the Parma ham pieces, add some freshly ground black pepper and fry for one minute per side until crisp. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the ham.

Wipe any excess fat out of the pan and return to a low heat. Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil, then add the tomatoes, basil and lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and gently heat through for about 30 seconds.

Arrange the salad leaves on 4 plates. Top with the avocado slices, then pile on the crispy ham and spoon over the hot dressing. Serve immediately with a little extra salt if needed and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe by Lesley Waters in BBC Good Food Magazine, September 2001)

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Blistered peppers, pomodorini, mozzarella & pesto

Flavours of late summer and something different to use up fresh pesto. We loved this dish, so light but really tasty. Serve with salad and bread.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy Tempranillo with a touch of oak, like the Paco Garcia Rioja Seis; a modern style that doesn’t need food unlike some other Rioja wines. Very happily served alongside a dish like this.

Blistered peppers, pomodorini, torn mozzarella & pesto – serves 2

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 12 pomodorini or baby plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1  ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto

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

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, remove the seeds and rub all over with a little olive oil and seasoning.

Toss the tomatoes with some olive oil, seasoning and the garlic .

Heat a heavy oven-proof pan until hot. Put the peppers, cut-side down, into the pan and sear until blackened along the edges. Turn them over and add the tomatoes to the pan, then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Put the tomatoes inside the peppers along with the chunks of mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, then return to the oven until the mozzarella has started to melt. Put a tablespoon of pesto on each stuffed pepper before serving.

Serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in Olive Magazine, August 2014.)

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Sloppy Joes

Nothing too glamorous about this dish but it’s really tasty and our 4 year old loved the leftovers with rice and salad. Good value stuff for busy weekdays.

Wine Suggestion: A fun, easy and tasty meal needed something similar on the wine front so we found a bottle of the La Puma Pecorino lurking in our fridge. Italian white’s like this seem to be made for food with a bit of tomato, light spices and, in this case, a touch of sweet and sour.

Turkey Sloppy Joes – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 125ml cider vinegar
  • 500ml passata
  • 6 soft buns & coleslaw (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic with some seasoning for about 5 minutes. Add the mince and cook until browned. Add the cumin, brown sugar, paprika and vinegar, then keep cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the passata and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve on the buns with a spoon of coleslaw.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chargrilled Pepper & Lime Chicken with Lime Aïoli

We’re just back from holidays in France and there seems to be a little heatwave going on. You can’t get more straight forward than this for tasty barbecued chicken and a cheat’s aïoli. Less time spent inside and more time to sit in the sun. We actually cooked this back in May when the sun was also shining – serve with some seasonal veg or salad.

Wine Suggestion: one of the wines we picked up on our trip was Chateau du Hureau’s Foudre blanc, 100% Chenin Blanc made and matured in large 20hl oak casks. A good choice.

Chargrilled pepper chicken with lime aïoli – serves 2

  • 4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ½ a clove of garlic, crushed

Trim any big bits of fat off the chicken thighs. Lay them out on a piece of cling film and put another piece of cling film on top. Gently bash the chicken with a rolling pin to flatten.

Put the chicken into a dish and add half of the lime juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and lots of black pepper. Leave to marinate for about 15 minutes.

To make the aïoli, put the mayonnaise into a dish and add the rest of the lime juice, the garlic and some seasoning. Stir together until combined.

Shake off excess marinade and cook the chicken on a hot griddle or barbecue for about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with the aïoli. Some chips would also be good.

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

 

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Chicken with an agrodulce sauce

A quick and healthy Italian-style sweet & sour dish for midweek. We weren’t completely sure about the celery but it smells amazing in the pan with the red onions and tastes perfect in the finished dish. Serve with new potatoes and a green salad or steamed tenderstem broccoli.

Wine Suggestion: We served this with a fuller Italian white, the l’Insolito by Michele Biancardi from Puglia. This is made from Minitolo which used to be thought of as a sub-variety of Fiano. Honeysuckle and white flower aromatics are tempered by a good citrus twist … sort of like the agrodulce.

Chicken with Agrodolce Sauce – serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp flour, well-seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the 4 pieces of chicken with baking paper and flatten gently with a rolling pin. Dust the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the chicken really well, then remove from the pan. Throw the onion and celery into the pan now and cook for about 3 minutes, then season. Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes or until they start to break down, then add the vinegar and sugar.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through, then stir in the parsley.

Serve with green salad or steamed broccoli and some new potatoes if you like.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce IN: BBC Olive Magazine, April 2009.)

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Winter root vegetable soup

So here we are almost March and we are experiencing an artic blast. The snow is piled up at the back door and Dubliners have been advised to stay indoors tomorrow as more is on the way. Soup seems like our only defence. Nothing fancy here but full of fresh vegetable flavours. It will protect you against almost all weather eventualities, or at least both fill and warm you up.

Winter Root Vegetable Soup – serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium to high heat. As soon as it has melted and started to froth, add the onion, leek and potatoes. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then cover and sweat over a low heat for 8 minutes.

Add the stock, the rest of the vegetables and some salt and pepper (white pepper would be our preference), then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Taste the vegetables to check that they are completely soft, then check the seasoning before serving.

(Original recipe from Fresh by Donal Skeehan, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.)

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Turkey & parsnip curry

A regular post-Christmas dish in our house. It’s a bit Bridget Jones but really tasty and fairly light and healthy too. Just what you need if you’ve been on the mince pies 😉

Wine Suggestion: We love a nice Alsace Pinot Gris with this which is rich enough to stand up to the flavours and also contributes it’s own spices and freshness. We had an older Marcel Deiss Pinot Gris which was found in the cellar and it was deliciously complex, but an easier, younger wine would be good too.

Turkey & Parsnip Curry – serves 4

  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 500g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 tbsp Madras curry paste (we like Patak’s)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500g cooked turkey, torn into chunks
  • handful of chopped coriander, to serve
  • 150g natural yoghurt, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan, then fry the onions gently for about 10 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the parsnips.

Stir in the curry paste, then add the tin of tomatoes with a little salt. Add 1½ tinfuls of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the parsnips are just tender.

Stir in the turkey, then cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.

Serve over steamed basmati rice with some yoghurt on the side and coriander on the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, January 2003.)

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