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Coconut fish curry

We love to serve a fish curry alongside other Indian dishes to serve a crowd. Try this with some chicken tikka, mint & yoghurt chutney, cinnamon lamb curry, steamed basmati rice & some naan bread from the takeaway. Also great on its own with rice of course.

Coconut Fish Curry (Fish moilee) – serves 4

  • 5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped (deseed if you don’t want too much heat)
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil/rapeseed oil
  • 20 fresh curry leaves (optional but handy to buy fresh, then keep in the freezer for dishes like this)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 big ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 4 white fish fillets e.g. hake, haddock or cod (we use hake as it’s cheaper)
  • 1 lime, quartered

Put the ginger, garlic,  green chilli and a pinch of salt in a pestle & mortar and bash until you have a paste.

Put the oil into a wide, shallow pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the curry leaves, followed by the onions and cook for 8-10 minutes or until pale gold. Add the ginger, garlic & chilli paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1½ tsp salt, the turmeric & chilli powder. Cover the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, dilute the coconut milk with 100ml of water and add to the pan. When the milk begins to bubble, add the fish, then turn the heat down, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve with a squeeze of lime and rice on the side.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

 

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Picadillo

Picadillo

This is not dissimilar to a chilli con carne but it tastes really fresh and summery. We loved the addition of almonds and green olives.

Wine Suggestion: we echoed the summery freshness with the Flying Solo Rosé from Domaine Gayda in the Languedoc which made everything feel light and easy as we ate. If you feel like something more robust look to a good Grenache / Garnacha which we find work with the peppers and olives well.

Picadilo – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 750g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • a handful of plump raisins
  • 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 200ml stock (or water)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 50g green olives, chopped
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • a handful of toasted almonds
  • rice, avocado, sour cream & grated cheese to serve

Heat the oil in a casserole and cook the beef over a high heat until well-browned. This will work better if you do it in batches, then remove to a bowl.

Add the onion and chopped peppers to the pan and cook until soft and golden. Add the garlic, chillies and ground cumin, then cook for another minute before stirring in the raisins, tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar and stock/water. Cook, uncovered for 40 minutes, or until you have a thick sauce, stirring occasionally.

Add the lime juice, green olives and some seasoning. Lastly stir in the coriander and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Serve with steamed rice, avocado, sour cream & grated cheese.

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

Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, chorizo and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

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

Spaghetti with parsley, pancetta & parmigiano

We’re never surprised at how reliable the cookbooks from River Cafe are as in general they celebrate fabulous ingredients with simple cooking methods; our favourite way to cook too. This is a rich dish and works best served in small portions as a starter.

Wine Suggestion: The richness and parmesan cry out for higher acidity in the wine. We combined this idea with the almost bacon-ny yeasty and almondy autolysis of a sparkling Trento DOC, the Ferrari Perlé Nero Riserva. Body, richness, nuttiness and freshness; a great combo with the pasta.

When choosing between Italian sparkling wines we find the Trento DOC area has a bit more body and richness than the creamier and refined Franciacorta. This is not to say that top producers like Ferrari don’t have refinement, they do in spades, but that there is a lightness and elegance to be found in Franciacorta. Too light for this dish. Both areas produce some stunning wines.

Spaghetti with parsley, pancetta & parmesan – serves 6

  • 8 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 200g pancetta, finely sliced, then cut into 5mm pieces plus an extra Rose 6 thin slices (one each)
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 150g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 dried red chilli or a good pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 120g Parmesan, grated

Gently heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, then add the pancetta and garlic. Turn down the heat, stir and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. You can turn up a bit again at the end if you want the pancetta to crisp up.  Season well with salt, pepper and the dried chilli. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a small frying pan, brush with oil, and fry the slices of pancetta to crisp them. Drain on paper towels.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, but scoop out a few tablespoons of the cooking water first. Throw the spaghetti into the warm parsley mixture and toss, adding a little of the pasta water to help the sauce coat the pasta.

Serve with lots of Parmesan and a slice of pancetta on each bowl.

(Original recipe from River Cafe Green by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Martin Gray, 2000.)

 

 

Rainbow noodle salad

A healthy salad for lunchboxes and a good use for red cabbage which always seem impossible to get through. If you have a mandolin it will make short work of shredding the vegetables.

Rainbow Veg Noodle Salad – serves 2

  • 50g medium egg noodles
  • sesame oil
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • ½ a red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 50g sugar snap peas
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk 2 tsp of the sesame oil, the lime juice, peanut butter and rice wine vinegar together in a large bowl. Add a splash of boiling water if the dressing appears too thick.

Add the noodles, carrot, pepper, cabbage and sugar snaps and toss to coat.

Divide between 2 containers and scatter with the scallion and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, February, 2014.)

 

Slow cooked squid in brandy and cream

This is cooked quick and hot, then low and slow. A bit disconcerting if your used to cooking squid quickly to avoid the rubber band effect but have faith the result is tender squid in a rice sauce.

Wine Suggestion: This went perfectly with a Bodegas Tradición dry Oloroso VORS whose very refined character plus muscle and body stood up to the rich brandy, cream and tomato flavour, while the deep nutty flavours complimented the squid. A dry, smooth and round wine with a gentle and persistent texture.

Squid with Brandy & Cream – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 garlic loaves, chopped
  • 300ml passata
  • 1kg cleaned large squid
  • sunflower oil
  • 125ml brandy
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (to serve)

Melt the butter in a casserole dish, then add the onion, thyme and bay leaves with plenty of black pepper. Fry gently for about 15 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in the garlic. Turn the heat off and stir in the passata, then leave to stand while you fry the squid.

Cut the squid in half lengthways, then chop each half widthways into ribbons. Cut the fins and tentacles to a similar size. Dry the squid well with paper towels.

Put a large frying pan over a high heat and wait until it get smoking hot. Add a glug of sunflower oil and about a third of the squid with a good pinch of salt. Fry hard, stirring occasionally, until well coloured. Repeat until all the squid has been browned. Put each batch into the casserole dish with the tomato sauce.

Put the casserole back over the heat and add 100ml water. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add 100ml of brandy and put the lid back on. Simmer very gently for 40 minutes, then a further 20 minutes with lid ajar so the juice reduces a little. When the squid is tender stir in the rest of the brandy and the cream. Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over.

(Original recipe by Valentine Warner in BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2010.)

 

Good Food March 2010

Greek salad

Perfect with many Greek dishes, but none mores than barbecued lamb cutlets or kebabs/souvlaki. You could also serve it as as starter with some crusty bread. A very popular salad in our house when the days get warmer. In fact, we blogged it here a few years ago and it’s still a firm favourite.

Greek Salad – serves 4

  • 450g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 1 red onion (we only use half an onion)
  • 200g Greek feta cheese
  • 4½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ouzo/Pernod
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 20 small black olives
  • large pinch of dried oregano – Greek if you can find it

Cut the tomatoes into chunky pieces and cut the cucumber in half lengthways and then across into thick slices. Slice the red onion as thinly as possible (a mandolin is good for this if you have one). Crumble the feta into chunky pieces.

To make the dressing whisk the olive oil, ½ tsp salt, the red wine vinegar, ouzo/Pernod and some black pepper in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and onions and toss gently. Add the feta, dill and olives and mix briefly.

Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with the dried oregano and some coarsely ground black pepper.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)