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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Cheesy leek baked potatoes

We’re regularly left with a rogue leek in the bottom of the fridge and it usually finds its way into a dish like this, particularly if there is some cream lurking as well. Quantities don’t matter too much here so use what you’ve got.

  • Baking potatoes
  • Butter
  • Leeks, sliced finely
  • Cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a tray in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºC and continue to cook for about another hour.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the leeks until they are meltingly tender. Add the cream and bubble together until you have a thick sauce.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half and scoop out the centres, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skins. Mash the removed potato, mix with the creamy leeks and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pile this mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve this on its own for a midweek supper or as a side dish with chargrilled chops or sausages.

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Marsala honey pears with Gorgonzola & walnuts

A dessert and a cheese course all at once, solving the problem of which goes first. This is really delicious Autumn dish. Make sure you serve the creamy gorgonzola at room temperature. Marsala is a dessert wine from Sicily which is relatively easy to find, it also works well with figs – see Roast Figs with Marsala.

Wine Suggestion: naturally the Marsala from the recipe is a great match, look out for Florio or Pellegrino amongst others. Alternately a really good Sauternes emphasises the honey or a white Maury brings out the pears and all will work well with the Gorgonzola.

Marsala Honey Pears with Gorgonzola – serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pears, about 500g in total, cored and cut into eighths
  • 3 tbsp Marsala
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 500g ripe Gorgonzola – keep in a cool place but avoid putting it in the fridge if at all possible

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the pears for 3 minutes per side.

Mix the Marsala and honey together,  add to the pears and allow the mixture to bubble furiously, then transfer to a plate.

Add the walnut halves to the juices left in the pan and stir-fry for about a minute or until browned and sticky. Remove from the pan and scatter over the pears. Serve with the creamy slab of Gorgonzola on the side.

(Original recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)

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Leek Gratin

 

A true comfort food if there ever was one, and a versatile side for simply barbecued meats, roast chicken and a whole host of mains. It’s fairly rich so a little goes a long way.

Baked Creamy Leeks – serves 6 as a side dish

  • 800g leeks, roughly chopped and rinsed well in a sieve
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200ml single cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas 6.

Warm a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter with a splash of olive oil and the garlic.

As soon as the garlic starts to colour, add the leeks and thyme leaves and stir. Turn up the heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and half the cheese. Mix well in a suitably sized baking dish (you want a layer about 2.5cm thick). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Penguin, 2008.)

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Tomato & cheese tart

One of those easy dishes that just bursts with fresh flavours and vitality. It really sings at the end of  summer with fully ripe and juicy tomatoes just picked and wonderful. Delicious served warm or at room temperature.

Wine Suggestion: We’d serve a classic chianti where the acidity of the Sangiovese grape works really well with the tomatoes but isn’t too heavy a red for the dish (don’t bother with the Riserva).

Cheese, Tomato & Basil Tart – serves 4-6

  • 1 shortcrust pastry case, cooked ‘blind’

FOR THE FILLING: 

  • 10 ripe tomatoes, halved widthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml double or regular cream
  • 2 tbsp torn or sliced basil
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the sugar and ½ tsp salt. Bake for about 45 minutes or until completely soft and browning at the edges. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until golden. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs and cream together in a bowl, stir in the basil, and season with salt and pepper.

Spread out the fried onion in a layer in the tart case. Top with two-thirds of the cheese, then arrange the cooked tomatoes on top. Pour in the egg mixture and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top and just set in the centre.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, Harper Collins, 2013.)

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If you have some ready-rolled puff pastry in the freezer and a few leftovers in the fridge you can make an easy and delicious tart for supper. My friends might have been more impressed if they hadn’t seen me assemble it in 3 minutes flat before turfing it into the oven! Try this with anything you fancy on the top, though a bit of cheese is a must.

Onion & Taleggio Tart – to serve 4

  • 6 smallish onions
  • 50g butter
  • a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry (about 200g)
  • 120g Taleggio
  • thyme

Peel the onions and cut into wedges. Put them into a shallow pan with the butter and cook over a fairly low heat until they are soft, golden and sticky. This will probably take about 40 minutes or so.

Heat the oven to 220ºC/Gas 7. Unroll the pastry onto a lightly floured baking tray. Score a border about 2cm from each edge and prick all over with a fork.

Tip the onions on to the pastry, pushing them almost to the border. Brush the rim with some melted butter or some of the onion butter if there is some left in the pan. Slice the cheese thinly, then break it into small pieces, and distribute these through the onions. Scatter over some picked thyme leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: this calls for a white wine from the mountains: try an oaked Chardonnay from the Jura or if you want something amazing look out for the “Vigna della Oche” Riserva from Fattoria San Lorenzo in the Marche, Italy; a fantastic and truly amazing Verdicchio – a white wine that lasts a decade or two and just becomes more and more complex and complete.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Appetite, Fourth Estate, 2001.)

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This is our classic party dish – so popular that we have to fight to get a taste when we serve it in a buffet! We’ve just made it this weekend for our friends Nicola and Dave’s housewarming. Just to make sure we got some ourselves we made a little extra for the next day. So for all our friends that have asked … here’s the recipe 🙂

Simple Baked Lasagne – serves 6 but easily doubled (which can easily serve 20 or more strangely enough …)

  • 4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of whole, fresh herbs (use your own mix of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 400g shin of beef, or skirt, coarsely minced
  • 200g pork belly, skin removed & coarsely minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 dried red chilli, also bashed
  • 400g dried, ready to cook lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella

For the white sauce:

  • 1 x 250ml tubs of crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
  • a little milk

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

If you are making a double quantity you may want to cook the meat sauce in two quantities as it will be easier to manage unless you have a very large casserole pot. You can also make the meat sauce in advance which makes entertaining easy –  a simple assembly and cook on the night!

In a large casserole pan slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and the cinnamon until golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once mixed together add the beef and pork and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and then bring to the boil. Wet some grease-proof paper and place it on top of the pan and then place a lid on top of this as well to complete the seal. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

While this is cooking rub the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce. When you remove the sauce check that the squash is cooked and slightly caramelising; if not leave in oven until done.

When sauce is done season and put to one side. Mix together crème fraîche, anchovies, a handful of parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add enough milk while mixing until the sauce becomes loose and smooth. Don’t make it too runny!

Turn oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. To assemble lasagne rub a large dish, or deep tray with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom (and drape over the sides too if you are using fresh lasagne). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and then top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Make a complete layer with the butternut, topping it again with lasagne sheets. Repeat the meat, white sauce and parmesan layers. Finish with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook for 30-35 minutes and until golden. Watch the hordes descend.

[Inspired by Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s dinners, Penguin 2006]

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Rugby World Cup Brunch

This is a bit more exciting than your regular cheese and toast and it’s easy to throw together with one eye on the match. We don’t usually buy  sliced pan bread but admit it has its purposes and this is definitely one of them (bacon butties is another). Maybe we’ll try and cook something green for the next match.

Chilli Cheese Toast – to serve 2

  • approx. 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 10g onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small tomato, finely chopped
  • a little bit of sliced green chillies – or more if you like
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 slices of bread
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread. Pile the mixture on top of the bread and bake for a few minutes until crisp and turning brown at the edges.
(Idea from Anjum Anand Indian Food Made Easy, Quadrille, 2007.)

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