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Posts Tagged ‘Basil’

 

Chicken with tomatoes, mozzarella & basilWe love easy ideas like this for adding extra interest to some chicken fillets mid-week. Serve with warm crusty bread and green salad.

Wine Suggestion: your choice of youthful, lighter Italian red; our choice tonight was the refined and under-rated Poggio ai Ginepri Bolgheri Rosso, but almost chose a Chianti. Both would be good.

Chicken breasts with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – serves 4

  • 4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish
  • 3 x 125 mozzarella balls, drained and sliced (don’t use buffalo mozzarella for this)

Slash each of the the chicken breasts four times with a sharp knife, cutting to the middle.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic and chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden all over.

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 12 minutes, turning the chicken breasts over halfway through.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Take the pan off the heat and put the mozzarella slices on top of the chicken breasts. Grind over some black pepper and put the pan under the grill for a minute or until the cheese starts to melt.

Pour some sauce onto each plate, top with a piece of chicken and garnish with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

 

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Tomato, onion & pepper tart

This tart is bursting with summer flavours and the pastry is fabulously light and crisp. Delicious for lunch with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: We drank the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo with this; unoaked, fresh and vibrant, especially as we’d put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. While not weighty or serious it does have loads of depth and length… perfect for this dish.

Warm tomato, mustard & gruyère tart – serves 4

  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved & sliced
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g gruyère cheese, grated
  • 4-5 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • a handful of black olives, pitted and halved
  • a small handful of basil leaves

PASTRY:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 50g Grana Padano or Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg

First make the pastry by whizzing the flour and butter in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese, then the egg and bring together to make a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, cook the pepper and onion in a tbsp of olive oil for about 15 minutes or until very soft, then season.

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.

Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a euro. Line a shallow tart tin (about 23cm) with the pastry, fill with baking parchment and beans, and blind bake for 10 minutes. Take out the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes.

Allow the pastry case to cool a little, then spread the base with the Dijon and sprinkle over the Gruyère. Top with the pepper mixture, then a layer of tomato slices and the olives. Season really well and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the pastry crisp. Scatter the basil over before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, September 2009.)

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Creamy marscapone tortellini

Because we had leftover marscapone … we love using leftover ingredients. It’s ok to cheat sometimes with some shop-bought fresh tortellini and the result is dinner in minutes!

Wine Suggestion: this works with young, fresh red wines. If you feel like Italian then the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which is unoaked and vibrantly full of fruit is a good choice. We, however, threw a Pike & Joyce Rapide (unoaked) Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills into the fridge for 30 minutes. A good match too.

Tortellini with Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce – serves 2-4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (we never are without Marigold Swiss Bouillon) or ½ cumbled stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • few basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone plus a bit extra
  • fresh tortellni – we used spinach & ricotta

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and gently fry for 1 minute. Add the tin of tomatoes, the stock powder, tomato purée and sugar, then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Tear in the basil leaves and stir in the 2 tbsp of mascarpone.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini in boiling salted water as per the timing on the pack, then drain well and tip into a small ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the tortellini and top with a few more spoonfuls of mascarpone, then bake until bubbling at the edges.

(Original recipe by Gareth Morgans IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2008.)

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Pistachio pesto

Our fabulous friends have a weekender in the country with loads of space for growing herbs and veg. We are the very happy recipients when there’s more produce than one family can eat and we put it to good use. So if you have a prolific bed/windowsill with parsley and basil growing you should make this delicious variation on classic pesto. It’s especially good with roast chicken (drumsticks for us) but would also be nice with fish or vegetables.

Pistachio Pesto – serves 4

  • 50g pistachios
  • 25g flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 25g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100ml olive oil

Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for a few minutes then drain and tip onto a clean tea towel. Give the nuts a good rub with the tea towel and skins should slip off. Throw the skins away and save the bright green nuts.

Put the nuts in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat until lightly coloured all over and smelling fab. Keep a watchful eye as they can turn from toasty to burnt in an instant. Put the nuts on a plate to cool.

Put the herbs and pistachios in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped (you could pound in a pestle and mortar but parsley is much more difficult to pound than basil so we recommend the processor if you have one). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse briefly – you want to leave a bit of texture. Taste and season. Cover with oil and put in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure’ by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Lemon & basil linguine

Sometimes the simplest of ideas turn out the best.

Wine Suggestion: we had a glass of the Adi Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc which he’s now experimenting with a little bit of skin contact. We don’t disagree, it adds a touch of extra texture and complexity to such a great value wine.

Lemon & basil linguine – serves 2

  • 200g linguine
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 75ml good olive oil
  • 75g Parmesan
  • a large handful of basil leaves

Put a large pan of water on to boil, add loads of salt and cook the pasta according to the time suggested on the packet.

Put the lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan into a large warmed bowl and beat with a small whisk to combine and thicken. Tear the basil leaves into the bowl and add plenty of black pepper.

Drain the pasta and toss with the mixture in the bowl.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries  by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

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Smoky Chorizo Salmon

It’s still cold but there’s a bit of sunshine and promise of warm spring days to come. We can’t wait for the spring veg to start but this bright dish is not a bad compromise.

Wine Suggestion: in the mood for Spring we chose the Chateau Vignelaure, La Source Rosé which we often find a good match for salmon and it came through yet again. Vibrant, fresh fruit and a long dry finish.

Smoky Chorizo Salmon – serves 2

  • 2 x 150g salmon fillets, skin on
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 8 black olives, remove stones and finely chop
  • 30g chorizo, finely sliced

Put the salmon in a large cold non-stick frying pan with the flesh side down. Put over a medium-high heat and cook for about 3 minutes or until it is sizzling underneath. Flip the salmon over on to the skin side and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is very crispy and the fish is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, tear up most of the basil leaves and mix with the cherry tomatoes, the red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the chopped olives with 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of water.

Add the chorizo to the pan with the salmon for the last 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes for 30 seconds. Divide the tomatoes between two plates and top with the salmon, then spoon over the olive dressing and the rest of the basil leaves.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Thrill of grill couscous

This is an old favourite that we make every summer. The chopped up mushrooms give it a fantastic earthy flavour and it works really well with barbecues and on picnics.

Tasty Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling vegetable stock (we still use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts, almonds or rough chopped hazelnuts
  • a generous handful of basil

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, fork the couscous through to break up any lumps, then stir in the oil and pesto, then tip in all the veg and nuts and tear in the basil. Taste and season.

Simple as that!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2002.)

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