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Posts Tagged ‘Almonds’

Trout with brown butter & almondsA simple and delicious idea for trout fillets. Serve with steamed new potatoes and asparagus or other seasonal greens.

Trout with brown butter & almonds – serves 2

  • 4 small trout fillets with skin on
  • a handful of flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • 50g butter
  • 3tbsp of chopped mixed herbs, we used parsley, thyme & chives
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the butter in a frying pan until it starts to turn a nutty brown colour. Add the trout fillets, skin-side down, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer the fish carefully onto warmed plates.

Add the almonds to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice, some seasoning and the herbs. Toss the almonds gently in the buttery juices and pour over the fish.

Serve with steamed new potatoes and greens.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2005.)

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Sicilian fusilli with tomato, garlic & almond

We love the combination of anchovies and almonds in this pasta sauce – a Sicilian-style pesto. It also reinforces our desire to go to Sicily.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh and dry Italian white is a must for this dish with numerous choices working well. If you can find one match it with a white from the slopes of Mt Etna which will be minerally and savoury, or if not a dry Vermentino from the Tuscan coast. We drink a glass of the Morisfarms Vermentino which was both minerally and nutty with fresh citrus flavours. Morisfarms add 10% Viognier to this wine which gives it an added exotic lift and roundness to the wine. With the complex savoury notes of the dish the savoury and nutty wine worked a treat.

Sicilian pasta with tomatoes, garlic & almonds – serves 6

  • 500g fusilli lunghi (long spiral pasta) or other pasta – we used regular fusilli
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 25g golden sultanas
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 x 15ml tbsp capers, drained
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • leaves from a small bunch of basil (about 20g) to serve

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the pack instructions.

Make the sauce as the pasta cooks by putting all the ingredients, except the basil, into a processor and blitzing until you have a textured sauce.

Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of the cooking water and add 2 tbsp of the water to the processor as you pulse the sauce.

Tip the drained pasta into a warmed serving bowl. Pour over the sauce and toss to coat – add a bit more pasta cooking water if needed and scatter with basil leaves.

(Original recipe from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson, Chattos & Windus, 2012.)

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We had an abundance of perfectly ripe apricots a while back and whipped this up to celebrate. Baking fruit on top of puff pastry, with some ground almonds and a dusting of sugar is dead easy plus it brings out all the flavours and enhances the deliciousness.

Wine Suggestion: we think that these flavours go well with southern French botrytised wines, especially from Semillon and Sauvignon. Don’t go all out with a top named Sauternes Chateau as  these will be too concentrated and rich, rather find smaller Chateau, second wines or little appellations like Cérons. Look for a purity of fruit and balance of freshness, but a lightness of being and not too rich.

Apricot Tart – to serve 8

  • one pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 900g ripe apricots, halved and stoned
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • maple syrup and cream to serve

Preheat oven to 220°C/Gas 7/Fan 200°C.

Unroll the pastry onto a slightly damp baking tray and sprinkle over the almonds. Arrange the apricots on top, tightly packed and right up to the edges of the pastry.

Dust with the icing sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sugar has started to caramelise.

Serve hot or warm with a drizzle of maple syrup and some cream if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Almond & Fig cake

We made this when figs were in season and brought it to a friends house for lunch, then forgot about it. Here’s the recipe for the next time you find some fresh figs.

Fig, orange and polenta cake – to serve 8

  • 220g butter
  • 220g golden caster sugar
  • 150g almonds
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g polenta
  • a level teaspoon of baking powder
  • finely grated zest and juice of a large orange
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 6 figs

FOR THE SYRUP:

  • the juice of 2 oranges
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp honey

Line the base of a loose-bottomed non-stick 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour boiling water over the almonds, drain with a spoon and remove the skins. Finely chop the almonds in a food processor or by hand, then add them, along with the ground almonds to the cake mix.

Break the eggs into a small bowl, beat them lightly and add to the mix. Mix the polenta and baking powder together, then fold them into the mixture together with the grated orange zest and juice. Crush the cardamom pods and remove the tiny black seeds, then grind them to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Add to the cake mix.

Cut the figs in half. Put half the cake mixture into the lined tin, add the figs, then add the rest of the cake mix and smooth the top level. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160°C/Gas 3 and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until the cake feels firm. Insert a metal skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

To make the syrup , squeeze the orange and lemon juice into a stainless steel saucepan, bring to the boil and dissolve the honey in it. Keep at the boil for 4-5 minutes or until a thick syrup has formed.

Poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer, then spoon over the hot syrup. Leave until almost cool, then remove from the tin. Serve with some thinly sliced oranges and natural yoghurt.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume II, Fourth Estate, London 2010.)

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Inspired by the food of Valencia this dish has a bit of wholesome soul-food about it, while maintaining a vibrant taste of Spain with the Pimenton and garlic. The pork becomes tender and just melts with flavour. We served it with tasty new potatoes and some tender-heart cabbage quickly fried with a little butter.

Pork in an Almond Sauce – Carne en salsa de almendras, serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 chopped and 4 peeled and left whole
  • 15g slice of fresh white bread, crustless
  • 1kg piece of rindless, shoulder of pork
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pimenton dulce / smoked, sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 large sprig of thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 75g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1tbsp  flat parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large shallow flame-proof casserole dish. Add the 4 whole garlic cloves and the slice of bread and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes, turning one, until golden. Lift out and leave to drain and cool.

Cut pork into 2.5cm/1 inch slices and then into 75-100g pieces. You want them to be quite large. Season well then dust them in the flour. Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the pieces of pork to seal and only lightly colour. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan with the onion, chopped garlic, pimenton dulce, thyme and bay leaves and cook gently for 10 minutes until onions are soft and sweet but not browned. Add the wine and stock and bring to the boil, rubbing the base of the pan to release any bits and pieces.

Return the pork to the pan, lower the heat  and season well. Cover and simmer gently for 1.5 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.

Spoon about 16 tablespoons of the sauce into a liquidiser or food processor and add the fried bread, fried garlic cloves, almonds and parsley leaves. Blend to a smooth paste (this is called a picada in Spain). Stir the picada back into the pan, taste and adjust for seasoning, cover then cook for a further 5 minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken.

Wine suggestion: You could try an oaked, white Rioja particularly if you can find one with a bit of age, or alternately a dry Amontillado sherry. Both have good texture and a savouriness which works well and touches of nut and saltiness in the palate that will complement the flavours without overwhelming them

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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… they always need help eating them. According to Johnny and Vivienne Mitchell, this courgette season is so good in Dublin that they can’t keep up. We were the lucky recipients of this courgette and another one so far – yay!

Courgette, basil & almond pasta – to serve 2 

  • 175g/6oz orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tbsp toasted blanched almonds (we only had flaked almonds so we toasted these and they did the job)
  • 2 small or 1 medium courgette (or a chunk off a massive one)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • large bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rounded tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the pack.

Meanwhile, finely chop the almonds, chop the courgette into small chunks, crush the garlic and pick the basil leaves from the stalks.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the courgette for a few minutes until it starts to soften, then add the garlic and half the basil and cook for another minute.

Drain the pasta and add it to to the courgettes, along with the almonds, the rest of the basil, the parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Toss everything together and serve with extra parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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We were so enamoured by the Keralan Prawns two nights ago we looked for more lighter Indian dishes and found these in our newest cookbook: “I love Curry” by Anjum Anand. We admire Anjum’s style as she makes traditional dishes lighter, but never loses flavour or authenticity; these are no exception.

As with all Indian dishes (and any other that we cook when we have the time) we like to prep the ingredients before we start cooking. It really helps in this case; the recipes aren’t difficult but there are many elements and sometimes quick additions with the spices. We have little bowls to gather each bit together which makes it easy.

Our other suggestion is to blanch the vegetables for the Curry, then prepare the rice. As the rice simmers you can then prepare the rest of the curry.

Creamy almond vegetable curry – serves 3-4

For the vegetables:

  • 125g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes  – we used new ones which held their shape well
  • 60g carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 70g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 60g mangetout
  • a large handful of peas – frozen are perfect

For the curry:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp
  • 60g blanched almonds
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 15g fresh root ginger, peeled weight, grated to a paste
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, grated to a paste
  • a generous tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp single cream
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. After 5 minutes add the carrots and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cooked. Scoop out the potatoes and carrots and add the broccoli and then 3 minutes later the mangetout and peas. After a minute drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and fry the almonds until nice and golden. Crush straight away in a pestle and mortar to a fine powder.

Heat the rest of the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and add the cloves, cardamom and caraway.

After 20 seconds add the onion until starting to turn golden at the edges.

Scrape in the ginger and garlic pastes and saute gently for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is just golden.

Add the ground spices and yoghurt and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the oil separates out.

Add 250ml of water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.

Add the blanched vegetables, salt, cream, tomatoes and crushed almonds. Cook for a few minutes until it all comes together.

Check the seasoning and serve with Indian bread or the pilaf below.

Aromatic rice pilaf – serves 4

  • 220g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 good tbsp of ghee (we used 1 tbsp of butter and 2tbsp of vegetable oil instead)
  • 1 good tsp cumin seeds
  • 10cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Tip the rice into a large bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak. (If you’re cooking the curry then prep and blanch the veg while the rice is soaking).

Heat the ghee or alternative in a saucepan, add the cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cloves and sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Then add the onion and cook until turning gold at the edges.

Drain the rice and add to the saucepan with turmeric and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Add 400ml of water, then taste the water and adjust for salt.

Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest it will go. Cook undisturbed for about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve when your’re ready. Don’t take the lid off before then!

Wine Suggestion: A dry Riesling. We had a Grosset, Polish Hill 2007 from the Clare Valley. We’ve tasted this a few times and been underwhelmed but this one was a bit older and it really comes into its own with age. So if you have a recent vintage stick it in the cellar for a few years.

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