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Like a Greek salad, but with pasta added in. It makes a great lunch or lunchbox and is good for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Pasta Salad – serves 4

  • 200g pasta – use what ever shape you have
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g pitted black olives, halved
  • ½ small cucumber, quartered lengthways then sliced
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese

Cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water according to the timings on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and some seasoning into a mixing bowl and mix well to make a dressing.

Drain the pasta in a colandar and leave to cool for a few minutes. Tip the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Tip in the tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion, then crumble in the feta cheese. Gently mix everything together, then serve or put in the fridge for lunchboxes tomorrow.

(Original recipe by Cassie Best in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2022.)

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A delicious creamy pasta dish which is ready in minutes, and very useful when you’ve got leftover mascarpone.

Wine Suggestion: Anytime we have pasta our automatic choice is an Italian wine, and with all these summery flavours opened a bottle of Macchialupa Greco di Tufo from the hills and valleys inland from Naples. Quite full bodied for a white it nonetheless added an extra layer to the meal with it’s stonefruit and citrus flavours and nutty (almond & hazelnut) finish. Despite it’s weight it was also fresh and tasted of a warm Italian summer.

Pasta with pancetta, broad beans & mascarpone – serves 6

  • 300g conchiglie pasta
  • 200g frozen broad beans, blanched in boiling water and skins slipped off
  • 200g green beans, sliced into three
  • 140g pancetta cubes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 75g grated Parmesan
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • a small bunch of basil leaves, torn

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling and very salty water according to the timings on the pack. Add the green beans 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta until crispy. Stir in the mascarpone and Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

Scoop out a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and beans. Add the pasta, green beans and broad beans to the frying pan and add 6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water (you can add a bit more if it needs loosened further). Add the lemon juice and basil, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK: Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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Finally we have some nice weather and so we are barbecuing everything, including broccoli which is a new one for us. This is the chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic from the original Ottolenghi book and it works equally well on a barbecue. Cook the broccoli first and it will sit happily in the dressing until whatever else you are cooking is ready.

Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic – serves 4

  • 2 heads of regular broccoli (about 500g)
  • 115ml olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies, finely sliced
  • thin slices of lemon, to garnish

Cut the broccoli into florets. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Blanch the florets in a large pan of boiling water for 2 minutes only, then scoop out and into the bowl of iced water.

Drain the broccoli and make sure it’s really well dried. Toss in a bowl with 45ml of the olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Barbecue the broccoli until charred on all sides. Meanwhile, put the rest of the olive oil into a small pan with the garlic and chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the garlic turns golden, take it off the heat at this point to prevent the garlic burning.

Put the barbecued broccoli into a large bowl and immediately pour over the garlic and chilli oil. Toss gently to coat then set aside until ready to serve. Garnish with the lemon slices.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi The Cookbook, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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It’s courgettes from now on in our house as we have them growing in our little garden and can hardly eat them fast enough. This dish is simple but really delicious – highly recommended. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: we’re quite fond of the wines of Hungary and think they’re unfairly overlooked, especially the reds which combine an earthy spice, quite often with a real sophistication and elegance. A new find is Csaba and Csilla Sebestyén’s Sekszárd Cuvée, a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The latter two grapes have found a new spiritual home in the south of Hungary and the first a local grape with bags of character.

Chicken and courgettes with creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 small chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into thick batons
  • 350g button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 heaped tbsp freshly chopped tarragon

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, then fry the chicken in batches until well-browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. You may need to add a bit more oil.

Add the onion and cook over a high heat for a few minutes until nicely coloured, then cover the pan with a lid and leave the onions to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up again and add the courgettes, mushrooms and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Scoop the veg out of the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Add the wine to the pan and boil over a high heat until reduced to about 4 tbsp. Stir in the cream and simmer again for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through. Stir through the chopped tarragon and serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks Up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK: Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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If you are looking for something different for the barbecue, then this is the dish for you. Absolutely delicious recipe from Gill Meller’s lovely new book, Outdoors.

Wine suggestion: We think this dish suits Syrah and Grenache based wines really well, and because we couldn’t choose between them tonight went with a blend from near Carcassone in southern France that also adds a touch of Mourvèdre and Carignan, Domaine Gayda’s Freestyle Rouge. Juicy and medium bodied the added benefit is that the terroir combined with the grapes add a delightful herbal character to sing alongside the herb sauce; win win.

Barbecued lamb & cauliflower with herb sauce – serves 4

  • 2 lamb neck fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • a small handful of basil, leaves picked
  • a small handful of mint, leaves picked
  • 6 anchovies in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • about 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Make the sauce first. Put the herbs, anchovies and capers on a large chopping board and finely chop together. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the garlic, mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil, and season with black pepper.

Get your barbecue going.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the meat, then cook on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning often. The outside of the meat should develop a good dark crust and the internal temperature should be 55-60C. Set the lamb to the side of fire to rest while you cook the cauliflower.

Trickle the cauliflower with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season well. Cook on the barbecue until blistered and charred in places. It will be a little crunchy which is what you are looking for. Arrange the cauliflower on a platter, put thick slices of lamb over the top and spoon over the herb sauce. Give it all another season with salt and pepper and add another drizzle of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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We’ve a bumper crop of courgettes growing in pots in our back garden this year; the joy of loads of bright flowers followed by loads of yellow and green fruit, plus the challenge to eat them all. We picked a load of small courgettes for this dish and added the flowers too as we have them, but it is just as delicious with more normal sized courgettes found in shops and without the flowers.

Wine Suggestion: we’ve been seeking out old vine blends from the languedoc recently and just love how the best have a balance between fresh minerality, roundness, and a herbal stonefruit character. Like tonight’s juicy joy: Domaine Modat’s “de-ci de-la” Blanc which takes fruit from scattered small plots. We loved the sage and thyme scent and the juicy pear flavours cut through with summer sunshine.

Courgette and Broad Bean Risotto – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 350g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750g warm vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 80g broad beans, podded and blanched for a minute, then skins removed
  • courgettes flowers (optional), remove the stamens and tear the petals into pieces
  • 20g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Heat the oil and butter in a large, deep frying pan. Add the courgettes, chilli flakes and nutmeg, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook the courgettes for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes are golden and soft. Add the scallions and lemon zest and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes to coat the grains in the oil.

Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, until almost evaporated.

Add the stock, a ladeful at a time, and stir until the liquid is absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this for 20-30 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Taste the rice it should be soft with a little bite in the centre.

Stir in the blanched broad beans and courgette flowers and warm through for a minute or two.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes with a lid on, then serve with extra Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We don’t stop making soups in the summer, and in fact we often need them to use up bits and pieces. At the moment that means the courgettes that are growing faster than we can eat them. Whatever the excuse this is bursting with summery flavours and a joy to eat, especially outside on a hot summer afternoon.

Summer Minestrone Soup – serves 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over to serve
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 courgettes, finely chopped (use green and yellow if you have them)
  • 70g diced smoked pancetta
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 70g fideua pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 100g kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, to serve
  • finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, courgette and pancetta. Season well with salt and pepper and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and oregano and cook for another minute, then add the beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta and kale and cook for a final 10 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, then serve in warm bowls, with some basil and Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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A lovely fresh and tasty soup which should help with any bits and pieces left in your veg drawer.

Summer veg and herb soup – serves 2

  • ½ a bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 large courgettes, diced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g green beans, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • a handful of mixed herbs e.g. basil, parsley and mint
  • ½ a lemon, zested

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the scallions and courgettes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.

Add the rice and stock and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the peas and beans, and simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender.

Season to taste and stir in the herbs and lemon zest before serving.

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

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We love this side dish from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen so much we’ve made it a few times over the past month and it’s been a hit every time. You can make the aïoli in advance and put it in the fridge which is useful.

Roast potatoes with aïoli and pine nut butter – serves 4

  • 750g baby new potatoes, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5g parsley, roughly chopped

FOR THE AÏOLI

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75g Greek-style yoghurt

FOR THE PINE NUT BUTTER

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g pine nuts
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika

Our advice is to get the aïoli made first, it will keep fine in the fridge if you want to do it earlier in the day.

Put the garlic, Dijon, egg, egg yolk and a ¼ tsp of salt into the small bowl of a food processor. Whiss together for a few seconds, then gradually add both oils in a slow steady stream with the machine running the whole time. You should end up with a runny mayonnaise. Transfer this to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and yoghurt. Cover and out in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Put the potatoes into a saucepan with 2 tsp of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes or until almost tender. Drain in a sieve and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Spread the potatoes over a parchment lined baking tray and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and some salt and black pepper. Roast these in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown, then toss with the parsley.

To make the pine nut the butter into a small frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the pine nuts and cook until golden, stir in the paprika and remove from the heat.

Spread the aïoli over a serving dish, top with the potatoes and drizzle over the butter.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Text Kitchen: Shelf Love, Penguin Random House, 2021.)

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Apricots are good value now and will only be around for a short time but you could also use a tin of apricots for this when they’re no longer available. You will need to brine the pork the day before you want to cook but it’s a very simple process so don’t let that put you off and the result is worth the effort.

Wine Suggestion: It’s very humid and warm in Dublin, though with very little sunshine this summer, so we’re drinking more whites and Rosé. Tonight was no different with a Grenache Blanc – Grenache Gris blend from 100 year old vines; the Domaine of the Bee Field of the Bee. Capturing the southern French sunshine this feels like stepping back in time with hints of garrigue and wild herbs, while keeping a view on the future with a vibrant freshness and purity.

Barbecued pork with apricots – serves 4

  • 50g sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp treacle
  • 4 large pork chops
  • 6 ripe apricots, halved

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • a big handful of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp honey

Make the brine by pouring 250ml of boiling water into a jug, then adding the salt, sugar and treacle and stirring until dissolved. Top up with cold water to get 500ml, then leave to cool completely.

Cut a few slashes through the fat on each pork chop. Place them into a freezer bag and pour over the cold brine. Tie the bag tightly and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Make the sauce by putting the oil, lime zest and juice, coriander and garlic to a bowl and whisk together well. Season and add the honey to taste. Set aside.

Get the barbecue hot.

Drizzle a little oil over the cut sides of the apricots. Drain the pork and discard the brine, then pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle a little oil over these too.

Grill the pork and apricots on the barbecue, turning often. Serve the pork with the apricots alongside and the sauce drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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We don’t think we’ve ever roasted kohlrabi before but they have it in our local farm shop so we thought we’d give it a go. We mostly see it raw in salads but have to say it is absolutely lovely when roasted. The recipe is simple though there are a few bits to it. Try the roasted kohlrabi if nothing else.

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied, pure fruited red like Olga Raffault’s Chinon les Barnabés which has a charming perfume and an array of purple and red fruits sitting lightly on top of a deep core. For this dish you need that juxtaposition of purity and depth to play alongside the earthy range of flavours.

Barley with roasted kholrabi, tomatoes & watercress salsa – serves 4 as a main

  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 140ml olive oil, plus a bit extra to drizzle
  • 1 large head of garlic, cut a slice off the top to expose the cloves, plus 4 extra cloves, crushed
  • 300g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 2-3 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 strips of lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice, plus some wedges to serve
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 100g watercress
  • 60ml double cream (optional if you don’t want dairy but nice if you do)

Preheat the oven to 190C fan.

Trim and peel the kohlrabi, then cut them into 8 wedges (more if you have any big ones). Put them into a large bowl and toss with the anchovies, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 crushed garlic cloves, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread them out over a tray lined with baking paper.

Put the whole garlic bulb onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in the bulb, then place it in the corner of the baking tray with the kohlrabi. Put the tray in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Turn the kohlrabi pieces over, then add the tomatoes to the tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes, or until the kohlrabi wedges are soft and deep brown and the tomatoes are blistered. Turn the oven off, then leave the tray in there to keep warm.

While the vegetables are cooking, put the barley into a medim-sized saucepan and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until almost cooked but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic bulb in the foil. Put a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat with 50ml olive oil, the roasted garlic, remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel strips, Scotch bonnet, and 2½ tsp salt. Gently fry for 12 minutes, stirring, until the shallots are soft and golden brown.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine, 500ml of water and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 7 minutes, then add the cooked barley and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Discard the Scotch bonnet and the lemon peel.

Whizz half the watercress, the lemon juice, 60ml of olive oil and ¼ tsp of salt in the small bowl of a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the barley to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the watercress salsa and cream over the barley and gently swirl them in. Top with the rest of the watercress, then the roasted kohlrabi and tomatoes. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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We’re never sure what to cook for other people’s children but most of them seem to like pasta bake. This one has been popular and also the recipe below which uses a packet of supermarket filled pasta. They like our home-made lasagne too but we don’t always have the energy or time for the extra effort required!

Easy Pasta Bake – serves 3 children (or even 2 adults and 1 child)

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 packet of filled pasta, about 250g, we tend to go for spinach and ricotta tortellini but you could do a meat filled version if you want to keep to traditional lasagne flavours
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for over the top
  • ½ a small ball of mozzarella, sliced

Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes, then tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about a minute less than recommended on the pack, then drain.

Mix the mascarpone with the 3 tbsp grated Parmesan.

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

Rub a little olive oil over a small baking dish. Spoon a little bit of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish, add about half the pasta, then spoon over half the mascarpone and Parmesan mixture.

Add another layer of tomato sauce, then the rest of the pasta. Top with the remainder of the tomato sauce and the mascarpone mix. Lay the mozzarella slices over the top and sprinkle with some more grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven until golden and bubbling.

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

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This is all you need with some fresh bread and butter. The simple things are the best.

Wine Suggestion: For a wine to work with this dish you need to balance a crisp, acidity to cut through the cream, body to match the depth of flavour and a minerally-savouriness to compliment the briny backbone of flavour from the mussels. If you look to a good Chablis producer or a top Muscadet then you’ll find your solution. We chose Jérémie Huchet’s lieu dit Les Montys le Parc from a very special vineyard in Muscadet that has that extra depth to match this rich, full flavoured dish.

Mussel, bacon and leek soup – serves 2

  • 750g mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped and stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 75g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 250ml fish stock (or veg stock)
  • 75ml double cream
  • a small handful of chives, finely snipped

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any beards. Give any open mussels a hard tap and discard them if they don’t close.

Put 75ml of water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the parsley stalks and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, clamp on the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Give the pan a good shake now and and then as they cook.

Tip the mussels into a colandar set over a bowl to catch all of the cooking juices, you will need the these later so don’t throw them away.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add a knob of butter, then gently fry the bacon until begining to crisp. Add the coriander seeds, garlic, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until the leeks are nice and soft.

Add the mussel cooking liquid (watch out for the gritty bit at the bottom which you can discard) and the stock, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pick the meat out of the mussels but leave about 12 in their shells to garnish.

Add the cream to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the mussel meat, chives and parsley and check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with the mussels in their shells and with bread and butter on the side.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2022)

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Jules’ Mum makes this all the time and serves it with home-made chips. We almost always cook it when we’re camping in France as it all cooks in the one pan and you can easily find all the ingredients. This one is different from our usual with the addition of paprika and dill, it’s very nice served with some plain white rice.

Wine Suggestion: We think this works best with a rich, full-bodied red. For us a treat from the ancient wine world, though a relatively young winery run by some young, passionate Syrians, the Bargylus, Grand Vin de Syrie 2014. Something to be celebrated due to the sheer class of this Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend, and mourned due to all the problems now in this part of the world. Superbly integrated tannins and layered fruit and spice; almost hedonistic in it’s velvetiness. You can taste some heat, but in a very good way with no evidence of alcohol. Mature but maintaining it’s freshness. We just wish this was more easily available for everyone to try.

Beef stroganoff – serves 4

  • 30g butter
  • 600g beef rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g double cream
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped dill, plus a bit extra to garnish

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Heat 15g of butter in a large frying pan over a high heat and lightly brown the meat. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan, remove each batch to a plate and set aside.

Heat another 15g of butter in the same pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a gentle heat for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the paprika, mushrooms and tomato purée and cook for another few minutes, stirring.

Return the meat to the pan with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 5-7 minute or until the meat is tender. Add the cream and dill and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. We turn the heat off the second the sauce begins to simmer, don’t take it any further in case the cream splits. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with steamed rice. Garnish with a little more chopped dill.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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It hasn’t been the best of summers in Ireland so far but we’re barbecuing at every opportunity nonetheless. This marinated chicken is very tasty. We’ve given instructions for cooking on a charcoal barbecue but it will of course work just as well on a gas barbecue too.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a Mediterranean inspired, fruity, medium bodied red or white to pair with this. For a red something like a youthful Montepulciano would be great, but for tonight we chose the Edetana via Edetaria Grenacha Blanca from Terra Alta in Spain. A spot truly blessed with an amazing terroir for Grenache of both colours, and this version is bursting with flowers and fruit aromas and a core of citrus on the palate. It really complimented the char from the barbecue and the subtle spicing on the marinade.

Chicken kebabs – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon steak
  • 4 cloves
  • 35g cashews
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800g chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • a small handful of mint leaves, chopped, to serve

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • a small handful of coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon

Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, crumbled cinnamon stick and cloves. Toast for a minute until fragrant, then tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

Tip the cashews into the frying pan and roast for a couple of minutes, then add these to the freshly ground spices along with the turmeric and the nutmeg. Grind again, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the chicken, yoghurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt to the bowl and mix well. Cover and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook get your charcoal barbecue going with charcoal on one side only.

Thread the chicken, not too tightly, onto metal skewers.

Put the skewers onto the barbecue, on the opposite side to the coals so the heat isn’t too high. Cook with the lid on, turning regularly, until the temperature inside reaches 74C or for about 20 minutes.

Put the butter into a small frying pan on the hob to melt. When the chicken is almost cooked, move them over the heat to crisp them up and start brushing all over with the melted butter. Keep an eye on them as they’ll start to flare up a bit.

Toss the salad ingredients together and serve the kebabs with the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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It’s the first night of our holidays and we felt like eating something to remind us of the beach!

Wine Suggestion: Dominio de Tares La Sonrisa Godello, or something similar with a chalky, Chablis-esk minerally finish; unoaked, vibrant and dry.

Baked sea bream – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 2 x 400g whole sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 60ml dry sherry
  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped

FOR THE PICADA:

  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions, garlic and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and a splash of water, then cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C. Slice the potatoes, not too thin and not too thick so they hold together but cook through. Spread them over the base of a roasting dish that can easily accomodate the fish. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together then bake for 20 minutes.

To make the picada, put the parsley, garlic and salt into a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste, then set aside.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and put on top of the cooked potatoes. Spread the picada over the fish. Add the lemon juice and a couple of tbsp of water, then pour the tomato sauce over everything. Drizzle over the last tbsp of olive oil, add the peppercorns and sherry, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Scatter with the chopped parsley to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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Pork ribeyes are a bit of revelation for us but they’re excellent on the barbecue and also good value. You cook them low and slow first, then a fast sear at the end. This will give you tender meat with a good browned crust on the outside. You will need a meat thermometer – they’re not expensive and an essential piece of equipment for cooking outside. You also want to start this the day ahead so you can season the meat the whole way through.

Wine Suggestion: We were treated to a gem from the cellar of our friends David & Joyce. The Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006 was at it’s absolute peak. Fresh as a daisy with velvety layers of plums and sloes and a deep, earthy bass note with touches of leather, tobacco and gentle spices. The forceful tannins from the Mourvèdre tamed by time into a silky texture allowing the fruit to emerge.

Barbecued pork ribeye steaks with mushrooms & tarragon sauce – serves 4 generously

  • 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20g fresh tarragon leaves, picked and chopped

Sprinkle the pork steaks all over with the salt and place on a rack over a tray. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours (or for as long as you’ve got).

When ready to cook you need to set up the barbecue for both direct and indirect heating. This means piling up the charcoal on just one side. You can then put the meat on the opposite side (without charcoal underneath) and cover with the lid to cook indirect – this will cook the meat slowly. When you want to finish over a high heat, you transfer the meat to the other side.

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soak until soft, then finely chop the mushrooms and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

Put the pork steaks on the opposite side to the charcoal and allow them to cook gently for 30-40 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 50C.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the fresh mushrooms. Fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the wine and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Allow to bubble until the liquid is almost completely reduced, then add the cream, tarragon and seasoning. Allow to heat through, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Remove the steaks to a plate and, if you need to, add a bit more charcoal to the barbecue to get it super hot again. Then sear the steaks over a really high heat, with the lid off, turning them every 30 seconds until really well browned. Keep cooking like this on the internal temperature ahas reached 63C for medium or 71C for well done.

Warm the sauce a little if you need, then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over. Potatoes and green veg are good on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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

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

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

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

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baked feta with cherry tomatoes & garlic toast – serves 2

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

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

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

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

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

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

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

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A great dish for using up the end of a tub of cream with just a few ingredients that you might well have already.

Wine Suggestion: Central Italian whites just seem to sing with this dish and the La Piuma Pecorino which is light as a feather, citrussy and floral hits the spot; and is a bargain to boot.

Tagliatelle with broad beans, cream & mint – serves 2

  • 150g broad beans, blanched and skins slipped off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • a small handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 75g pecorino, finely grated
  • 200g dried tagliatelle

Get the pasta water on, then start the sauce.

Whizz half the beans in the small bowl of a food processor to get a rough purée.

Warm the 1 tbsp of the oil and the garlic in a heavy-based saucecpan for a minute or two to soften the garlic but without letting it colour.

Add the puréed broad beans, to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the double cream and the rest of the broad beans. Stir in the mint and bring to a simmer. Add half the pecorino and season to taste – careful as the cheese is quite salty.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty water then scoop straight out of the cooking water and into the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine and add a little more pasta cooking water if needed to make a sauce. Serve with the extra pecorino for sprinkling over the top.

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