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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Well hello there, we have been very quiet for the last few months while our new kitchen and other house renovations are happening. We had really hoped to be back to normal by now but we’re still kitchen hopping amongst are very generous (and patient) family & friends. So normal service will hopefully resume very soon and in the meantime here’s a fab recipe for a super rich ratatouille by Barney Desmazery for BBC Good Food. We served with some steak off the barbecue but it is also great on it’s own with some toasted bread.

Wine Suggestion: we love choosing southern French reds when eating this dish and find that Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre and Carignan (either on their own or as a blend) just work. Tonight it was the superb Faugères “les Bancels” from Domaine Cébène which is elegant, effortless and wonderfully long on the finish.

Ratatouille – serves 6

  • 3 red peppers, quartered and seeds removed
  • a handful of basil, separate the leaves and stalks (you will need both)
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 courgettes (any colour or a mix), roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • grilled sourdough, to serve

Put the pieces of pepper onto a baking tray and place under a hot grill until blackened. Tip them into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers, then cut into strips and toss back into the juices in the bowl.

Tie the basil stalks and thyme together with kitchen string.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the courgettes and aubergine for 15 minutes or until browned. It is easiest to do this in batches, adding a little of the oil each time.

Remove the courgette and aubergine from the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, then add the onion and cook for 15 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute. Scatter with sugar, then leave for a minute to caramelise before adding the vinegar. Stir in the cooked veg and pepper juice, season well, then pour over the cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Add the tied herbs to the dish, cover, and cook in the oven for an hour. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until reduced and jammy. Leave to cool until just warm, then stir through most of the basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rest of the basil over the top and serve with the toasted sourdough.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Tumbet

This Mallorcan vegetable dish is perfect for late summer when peppers, tomatoes, aubergines & courgettes are in abundance. It works really well alongside roast pork and other meat or fish but it has enough going on to work as a veggie main too. There are a few processes but ultimately this is an easy dish and you can prep it in advance and bake when you’re ready.

Wine Suggestion: given the Mediterranean origin, we’d suggest a wine match with Grenache / Garnacha, either on it’s own or with a typical southern French blend.

Tumbet – seres 4

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut into 1.5cm rounds
  • up to 200ml olive oil
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into 2cm rounds
  • 500g large waxy potatoes e.g. Charlotte, thinly sliced (about 3mm) – use a mandolin if you have one
  • 2 roast red peppers, cut into strips (to roast yourself put the peppers on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, then roast for 30 minutes at 220C/Fan 200/Gas 7. Leave in a covered bowl to cool, then peel off the skins.)
  • small bunch of fresh oregano
  • small bunch of fresh basil

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or you can use a tin)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Spread the aubergine slices over a large baking tray and brush with some of the olive oil. Season with salt and roast for 20-25 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Leave to cool.

Pour ½ cm of oil into a large, heavy-based frying pan. Fry the courgettes over a medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side, then remove and drain on kitchen paper. Season lightly with salt.

Add the potato slices to the pan and fry on both sides for about 10 minutes or until softened the whole way through and a light golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper.

To make the sauce, put the olive oil in a sauce pan and cook the garlic over a low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until softened, then add the tomatoes and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook gently for about 25 minutes or until well reduced. Taste after 10 minutes and add a pinch of sugar if it seems acidic.

Spread a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce in the base of a large baking dish. Sprinkle over some oregano and basil leaves, then top with the aubergine slices. Add more tomato sauce, sprinkle with more herbs, and add the courgettes. Repeat with more tomato sauce, herbs and the peppers, then finish with the last of the tomato sauce and herbs and top with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

When ready to bake the dish, heat the oven to 180C/160C/Gas 4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and browned and the vegetables underneath are tender.

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

 

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We’re back from our holidays and sadly no longer living on a diet of bread, cheese & wine (bread, cheese & ice cream for Orlaith – age 5). This is a nice simple pasta dish for a Friday night.

Wine Suggestion: our choice is a fresh Chenin blanc, the Chateau Hureau Argile which has a crisp freshness as well as great depth matching the creamy chicken.

Chicken, Rocket & Pine Nut Pasta – serves 4 to 6

  • 450g penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 large chicken breast fillets, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 100g rocket or watercress, remove any tough stalks
  • Parmesan shavings, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water until al dente.

Heat a frying pan and lightly toast the pine nuts, then set aside.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté the onion, garlic & thyme for a few minutes, then tip into a bowl and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and cook the chicken strips for 2-3 minutes and season lightly, then turn and cook for another few minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Return the onion mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the crème fraíche and mustard, then bring to a gentle simmer but don’t let it boil.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, then pour in the creamy chicken and add the rocket or watercress. Toss lightly to combine and season.

Divide between warm bowls and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and some Parmesan shavings.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Spicy potatoes

We loved these Indian spiced potatoes and they were great for bulking out some leftover saag paneer that definitely would not have satisfied our hungry bellies.

Spicy Potatoes – serves 4

  • 800g potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 140g frozen peas

Cover the potatoes in cold salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins or until just tender, then drain and allow to steam dry for a few mins.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the spices for a minute until fragrant. Throw in the potatoes and toss well so they are coated in the spices. Gently fry for 5-10 mins until golden, then add peas, mix well and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Season well before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Everyday Palestinian Salad

We love a chopped salad and this one in particular is a handy one to have up your sleeve. We served with a Palestinian rice dish but it would be suitable for all sorts of eventualities.

Everyday Palestinian Salad – serves 4

  • 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of a lemon

Slice the cucumbers in half and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop into 1cm dice.

Scoop the seed out of the tomatoes and chop into similar sized pieces to the cucumber. Do the same with the red pepper and put all three into a large bowl.

Dress the salad with the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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Maqloubeh: rice with aubergines & peppers

We had to change our plans at the last minute last weekend and instead of spending it away, and enjoying someone else’s cooking, we ended up at home with an empty fridge. Thankfully we could find all we needed for this fresh Palestinian dish in the local veg shop. The recipe is from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan – we can’t get enough of this book! Really good served with some yoghurt, pickled chillies and a simple Palestinian salad but it would also make a great side dish for a crowd with some barbecued meat or fish.

Wine Suggestion: as this is both a characterful and elegant dish we’d recommend a fuller bodied white with hints of spice and freshness; a good Alsace Pinot Gris springs to mind first. However, we went a little different and chose the Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco, a traditional blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Friuliano and Sauvignon Blanc from the north-east of Italy. Layers of freshness and fruit, hints of different spices and an elegant, refined texture. So underrated as a wine and worth seeking out.

Upside- down rice with aubergines & peppers (Maqloubeh) – serves 6

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 2 red peppers, trimmed and sliced
  • light olive oil
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves but not peeled
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 300g white basmati rice
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 40g salted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (pul biber) or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the aubergines and peppers on separate baking trays. Drizzle both with light olive oil, ½ tsp salt and thyme leaves, then scatter the garlic cloves amongst the peppers. Put the trays into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. After 20 minute, add the tomatoes to the pepper tray.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water to remove excess starch (the water will run clear), then put into a large bowl of cold water to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Set the cooked vegetables aside to cool and pop the garlic cloves out of their skins.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat until they smell good, then grind in a mortar and pestle and place in a jug with the cinnamon, allspice and turmeric. Add the hot stock and ¾ tsp of salt.

Melt half the butter or oil in a large saucepan. Arrange the aubergines to line the base of the buttery saucepan – keep it neat as they will end up on top of the finished dish. Add the tomatoes, roasted garlic and peppers. Spoon in the rice, then pour over the hot stock and 150ml of boiled water. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a clean tea towel and a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Melt the rest of the butter or oil in a small saucepan and stir in the Aleppo pepper or chilli.

Turn the rice pan upside down onto a serving platter, then spoon over the Aleppo pepper butter and scatter over the chopped coriander before serving.

(Original recipe from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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Spiced Cauliflower Roast

We try to eat fairly light mid-week with an emphasis on veg and not too many carbs. It’s much easier in the summer when the nights are bright and we don’t crave comfort food the same way.

Today is the first Monday of June, it’s been grey and lashing with rain all day and it feels far from summery, but we live in hope. So there is loads going on in this roasted cauliflower dish – hot chilli, cooling yoghurt, sour pomegranate, fresh herbs and crispy chickpeas. Just what we needed.

Wine Suggestion: A great match is the mildly unfashionable, but very beloved by wine enthusiasts, Mosel Riesling. For simplicity the Dr Loosen Estate Riesling which balances a lighter body with a good depth and personality; light alcohol and body but a dancing, full flavour.

Spiced Cauliflower Roast – serves 4

  • 50g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cauliflower (about 1kg)
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • small bunch of mint, chopped
  • 1 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 200g cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • pomegranate molasses

FOR THE FETA DRESSING:

  • 100g good-quality feta
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Beat the butter and spices with a wooden spoon in a small bowl.

Trim the outer leaves of the cauliflower and remove the very bottom of the root but not all of it as it will help hold it together. Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Cook the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes to soften slightly, then gently remove from the water and onto a baking tray.

Scatter the chickpeas around the cauliflower. Rub the cauliflower with the spiced butter, dot a little butter over the chickpeas and season everything. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until the cauliflower is completely tender and the chickpeas crispy.

Meanwhile, make the feta dressing by whisking the feta and yoghurt together in a large bowl until creamy. Add the lemon juice and whisk again, then season. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Remove the cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven and transfer the cauliflower onto a plate. Mix the remaining ingredients except the pomegranate molasses, with the warm chickpeas on the tray. Arrange the chickpeas on a platter and put the whole cauliflower on top. Spoon over the feta dressing and drizzle with a little pomegranate molasses to serve.

(Original recipe from BBCGoodFood)

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