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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

This is a rather unconventional method but it does work, and the resulting dish is perfect comfort food for a cold day. The za’atar pesto is a good addition to cut through the richness and the feta provides creamy nuggets. A crazy but good idea from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: A crisp white with body and texture is called for here to help cut through rich layers and stand up to the complex flavours. Domaine Ventenac’s Cassandre waas our choice and a very happy match indeed. Vermentino from Cabardes in the south of France, this comes from vineyards that have cooling breezes and a little altitude to give it depth of flavour as well as a scintillating freshness; finishing with a slight nutty twist that gave the pesto an extra lift.

Middle Eastern mac n cheese with za’atar pesto – serves 4 to 6

  • 300g dried cavatappi or fusilli pasta
  • 600-700ml whole milk
  • 65g unsalted butter, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 75ml double cream
  • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 180g Greek feta, roughly crumbled
  • 45g shop-bought crispy onions or shallots

FOR THE ZA’ATAR PESTO

  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Put the pasta, 600ml of milk, 350ml of water, the butter, garlic, turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down the heat and cook, stirring now and then, for 8-14 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickened. You can add the extra 100ml of milk if you need it thinned a bit.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cumin, cream and cheeses. Stir until the cheddar has melted.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely grate the lemon to get 1½ tsp of zest. Peel the lemon, cut into segments and roughly chop. Put the lemon and zest into a bowl.

Put the za’atar, coriander, garlic, pine nuts, a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and 3 tbsp of the oil into a food processor, then pulse a few times to get a coarse paste. Add to the lemon and stir in the remaining 3 tbsp of oil.

Transfer the cheesey pasta to a large serving platter, dot all over with the pesto and top with the crispy onions.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Our daughter is a gyoza addict and luckily we have a good local Japanese restaurant. She would order three or more portions if we let her. So in order to avoid bankruptcy we’ve decided to start making them ourselves. They are actually very straightforward, and helped immensely by shop-bought gyoza wrappers and a little gyoza folding gadget.

The wrappers keep in the freezer and defrost in an hour at room temperature. Just put them in the fridge afterwards until you’re ready to make the gyoza.

Chicken & Shiitake Gyoza with Miso Lemon Dipping Sauce – makes about 30 gyoza

  • 300g chicken thigh fillets, quartered
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 8 water chestnuts, finely choped
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp sake or mirin
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 30 gyoza wrappers
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp pale miso
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Pulse the chicken thighs in a food processor until minced, then tip into a bowl.

Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, soy sauce, ginger, sake/mirin, scallions and cornflour. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, then mix together well with a metal spoon. You can leave the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Mix together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.

Line a large tray with non-stick baking paper and have a bowl of water handy.

Put a gyoza wrapper into your gyoza maker, floured side down, and put 1 tbsp of the filling in the middle (you can and should use a piping bag for this). Dip your finger in the water and lightly run it round the edge of the wrapper. Close the gyoza maker and squeeze tight to seal. If you don’t have a little machine, you can look up how to fold them on youtube.

Heat a large frying pan with a lid over a medium high heat. Add ½ tbsp sesame oil, then place the gyozas into the pan, you will probably have to do 2 batches. Leave them for about 2 minutes or until the bottoms have turned golden, then add 40ml water and cover with a lid. Cook for another 2 minutes until most of the water has evaporated, then remove the lid. Drizzle over another ½ tsp of sesame oil and allow to crisp up for about 30 seconds.

Remove from the pan and serve with the dipping sauce.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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Sometimes we get a notion for steak and chips, so pull out the barbecue and crank up the oven. Béarnaise sauce is the perfect companion, not particularly hard, it just needs a little attention and you must never let it get too hot.

Wine suggestion: Another Greek classic, the Thymiopoulos Naoussa Xinomavro which plays a nice balance of being effortless and ethereal alongside a deep core of powerful, elegant tannins.

Béarnaise Sauce

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3-4 bushy tarragon sprigs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150g butter, cut into small dice

Heat the vinegar, tarragon, peppercorns and shallot in a small pan. Bring to the boil and reduce until there is about 1 tbsp left, then strain and set aside.

Put a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water and make sure it isn’t touching the water. Add the egg yolks and mustard, then whisk in the reduced vinegar. Slowly add the butter, a cube at a time, whisking each time until smooth. You can turn the heat off about half way through. We like to stir-through a little chopped tarragon at the end but it’s up to yourself. Keep warm over a pan of warm water while you cook your steak.

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A simple fish dish for weeknights, and something a bit lighter before the feasting starts.

Wine Suggestion: A delight with a light, playful Riesling like Korrell’s Slice of Paradise from the Nahe in Germany, or Pikes Traditionale from the Clare Valley.

Grilled trout with Asian dressing – serves 2

  • 300g Charlotte potatoes
  • 2 skinless trout fillets
  • Thai basil or regular basil, to serve

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, remove the woody outer leaves and finely chop
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, then drain and slice thickly, lengthways.

Season the trout, then grill for 3-4 minutes.

Arrange the potatoes onto plates and top with the trout. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and spoon over the top, then garnish with basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2014.)

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A perfect lunchbox dish, keeping our December weekdays cheery.

Fried halloumi with oregano, orzo & pesto – serves 4

  • 350g orzo
  • 15g oregano, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, sliced
  • 200g plum cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful black olives, chopped
  • 140g tub fresh pesto

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and cook the orzo according to the pack instructions.

Meanwhile, mix the oregano in a small bowl with the oil and brush some over the halloumi.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the halloumi for a few minutes on each side or until golden.

Drain the orzo and mix in a large bowl with the tomatoes, olives and pesto, then season. Divide into lunchboxes, then top with the halloumi and drizzle over the rest of the oregano oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A tasty Saturday lunch. The leftovers were also popular with a few men who had been to a rugby match on the Saturday night.

Coronation chicken – serves 4 for lunch or in sandwiches

  • 300g cold cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 60ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp tomato purée
  • 25g sultanas
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 125g mayonnaise
  • 50ml Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Shred the chicken, discarding any skin and bones.

Heat the oil in a small pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for about 3 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add the curry powder and fry for a minute, then add the chicken stock, bay leaf, tomato purée and sultanas. Cook for 5 minutes until the stock is well redcued, then stir in the mango chutney. Stir well, remove the bay leaf and leave to cool.

When the onion mixture is completely cool, add the mayonnaise, yoghurt and lemon juice. Stir in the chicken and coriander.

Serve in sandwiches, on toast, or with salad leaves, and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein At Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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We know how to make parsley sauce but this version is definitely better. The milk is infused for an hour with grated carrot, onion, celery and bay – a game-changer!

Parsley Sauce

  • 1 carrot
  • ½ onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500ml full cream
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • lots of parsley – about 100g of leaves when stripped from the stalks, chopped

Grate the vegetables and put into a saucepan with the bay leaf and milk. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about an hour. Strain out the veg and bay leaf.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have smooth sauce. Simmer very gently for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick you can thin with a little more hot milk.

Stir the parsley in just before serving and season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Original recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Collins, 2001.)

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We loved this dish! Bursting with flavour and the perfect wintery side salad. The leftovers were also good the next day. You can use capers instead of anchovies if you prefer.

Wine suggestion: This dish works really well with a good, dry Chenin Blanc. Our current favourite is Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine Aubuissieres Vouvray Silex Sec. Dry and full of yellow apple fruits and layers of texture, while remaining discrete enough to allow the sprouts and parmesan to come through.

Brussels sprout and Parmesan salad with lemon dressing – serves 4

  • 700g small brussels sprouts, trimmed, leave 500g whole and thinly shave the rest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 60g Parmesan, 20g roughly grated and the rest cut into shards – a veg peeler will do this nicely
  • 120g kale leaves, discard the stems and thinly shred the leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 70g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Line a tray with baking paper and add the whole sprouts, 2 tbsp of oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to combine. Roast for 18 minutes, stirring halfway, until well browned and cooked through, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, anchovies, grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp of oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Put the kale, the shaved sprouts, the dressing, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large bowl and toss with your hands, massaging the leaves gently. Leave to soften and wilt for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, basil, chopped hazelnuts, Parmesan shards and roasted sprouts to the bowl and mix to combine. Turn out onto a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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There has been a packet of mung dal in our cupboard for quite some time now which is really the only reason why we made this lovely dish from Meera Sodha’s East. We’re definitley tempted to buy another packet so we can make it again. Serve with steamed rice.

  • 300g mung dal
  • 250g vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 big garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 long green chilli, very finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Put the mung dal, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, tumeric, chilli flakes, 1 tbsp of oil, 4 curry leaves and 1.25 litres of water into a large saucepan. Put the pan over a medium heat, with the lid ajar, and bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Give it a stir now now and again. It’s ready when soft and quite thick, then stir in the salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat until smoking hot, then add the mustard and cumin seeds, the chilli and the rest of the curry leaves. The leaves should crisp and the seeds start to pop after about a minute, then remove from the heat and pour over the dal. Stir to mix, then sprinkle over the coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from East by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2019.)

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This is a great side dish for often uninspiring carrots. We served with chicken wings.

Cumin-roasted Carrots with Honey Lemon Dressing & St Tola – serves 4 to 6

  • 750g carrots, cut diagonally into 2½ cm slices
  • olive oil
  • 1½ heaped tbsp cumin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 100g St Tola, or other soft goats’ cheese
  • a bunch of dill, leaves roughly chopped
  • a good sprinkle of nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Spread the carrots over the baking tray and drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Sprinkle over cumin seeds and season well with salt and peper. Toss to coat, then roast for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Mix the lemon juice and honey together until the honey dissolves. Drizzle this over the carrots and toss to coat, then roast for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly sticky.

Transfer the carrots to a serving plate, crumble over the cheese, then sprinkle with dill and nigella seeds.

(Original recipe from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2014.)

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Who doesn’t love a chicken wing? This Nigel Slater recipe is simple but delicious, and somehow makes the chicken taste more chicken-y.

Wine Suggestion: An old favourite that we’ve not had for a while, the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from Swartland came out for this. We love how this grape is so adaptable and works with roast birds so well. Adi Badenhorst, who makes this one, is larger than life and yet guides this wine in a subtle and nuanced way. As he says, it makes itself, which says so much for how well he grows the grapes …

Roast chicken wings with lemon and black pepper – serves 2

  • 12 large chicken wings
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 heaped tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the chicken wings into a roasting dish. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice over, then cut up the shells and tuck them amongst the wings.

Bash the peppercorns in a mortar until cracked into small pieces, not finely ground. Mix the cracked peppercorns with the olive oil, then toss with the chicken and lemon. Scatter over the sea salt flakes without crushing them.

Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning once, until golden and sticky with blackened edges.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021.)

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A simple fish supper for two, but with plenty of flavour; both delicate, fresh and rich.

Wine Suggestion: The higher acidity, fuller body and citrus-minerality of a good Albariño make this a match worth trying. Tonight Quinta Soalheiro’s Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho from their oldest vineyards and partially made in oak really makes a statement. A velvety texture, deep and soulful, long, serious and elegant in the same breath. This wine makes a case for this grape to be considered “noble” and makes a good partner to the fattier fish and vibrant asian acidity, umami flavours.

Grilled trout with Asian Dressing – serves 2

  • 300g Charlotte potatoes
  • 2 skinless fillets of trout
  • a few basil leaves, Thai would be nice but regular will do

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, remove the woody outer leaves and finely chop
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, then drain and slice thickly, lengthways.

Season the trout, then grill for a few minutes.

Arrange the potatoes over two plates, then top each with a piece of fish.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and sppon over the fish, and finish with a few basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe, Olive Magazine, November 2014.)

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This is a much simplified version of the French classic but very tasty and popular with kids.

Wine Suggestion: something red, juicy and honest, like a good southern French GSM blend, like Roc des Anges Effet Papillon rouge.

Sausage Cassoulet – serves 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 sausages
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 50g chorizo, very finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or casserole dish over a high heat, then brown the sausages on all sides, then remove and set aside. You will probably need to do this in a couple of batches.

Add the rest of the oil and fry the onions for a few minutes until turning golden. Stir in the chorizo, tomatoes, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper, then simmer over a gentle heat for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are softened.

Stir in the butter beans, then lay the sausages on top and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes or unitl the sausages are cooked through.

Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with some greens on the side.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK: Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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This is great for using up leftover cooked rice. We also had some leftover char siu pork which was delicious chopped up and stirred through.

Wine Suggestion: This calls for an easy style of Grüner Veltliner, like Forrest Estate’s version from Marlborough NZ. Maybe not quite the same as Austrian versions but very pleasurable nonetheless.

Chinese-style fried rice – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 225g shelled raw prawns
  • 120ml groundnut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 800g cooked rice, it needs to be cooked at least a few hours in advance
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced, separate the green and white parts
  • 225g cooked ham or pork, diced
  • 225g frozen peas
  • 1½ tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 30-45ml stock

FOR THE PRAWN MARINADE:

  • a pinch of salt
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • ½ egg white

Devein the prawns and cut into 2cm pieces. Pat dry with kitchen paper and put into a bowl.

Make the marinade for the prawns by mixing the salt, cornflour and egg white together. Stir into the prawns to coat evenly, then leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add 2 tbsp of the oil, give it a swirl, then add the garlic. As soon as it starts to colour, add the prawns, stirring to separate with a metal spoon for about 30 seconds or until almost cooked and turning pink. Add the Shaoxing wine and as soon as the sizzling calms down, scoop out the prawns and set aside. You will now need to wash and dry your wok.

Lightly beat the eggs with 1 tbsp of the oil and a pinch of salt. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add 1 tbsp of the oil and tip the pan to coat the surface. Pour in half the beaten egg and tip the spread to the edges. When set, turn over and fry for a few seconds on the other side. Remove to a plate and slice into thin strips.

Break up any lumps in the cooked rice. Blanch the peas in boiling salty water for a few minutes, then drain well.

Reheat the wok over a high heat until smoking. Add the remaining 4 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the white parts of the scallions, pour in the rest of the beaten egg, then immediately add the rice. Turn and toss the rice with a metal spoon scooping up the raw egg from the bottom of the wok.

When the rice is hot, add the ham or pork, then stir in the peas and prawns. Finally add the soy sauce and stock, stirring all the time.

Add the green parts of the scallions, then tip out onto a platter and garnish with the strips of egg.

(Original recipe from Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook, by Yan-Kit So, DK, 1984.)

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A traditional Galician broth from Claudia Roden’s superb book on Spanish food. Make it after you boil a ham as you will have lots of ham stock to use.

Caldo Gallego – Potato, cabbage & bean soup – serves 6

  • 2 litres ham stock (you can also use chicken stock)
  • 150g smoked streaky bacon rashers, cut into pieces
  • 400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 250g green cabbage leaves (pointed cabbage or spring greens), cut into thick strips
  • 1 x 400g tin haricot beans, drained

Put the stock into a large saucepan with the bacon, potatoes and cabbage leaves. Bring to the boil,then season. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Add the beans and warm through for 5 minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden, Michael Joseph, 2012.)

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It’s definitely a bit more like soup weather in Dublin and this one’s good and hearty!

Puy lentil and pearl barley soup – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 100g dried Puy lentils
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 680g jar passata
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onion and carrots and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened and starting to colour.

Add the garlic, Puy lentils and pearl barley and stir for a minute, then add the passata and vegetable stock. Season with salt and black pepper.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or until everything is tender.

Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, season again if needed, and serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK Penguin House, 2019.)

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This is really two separate recipes but they go so well together that we strongly suggest making both. As this is essentially a dry dish, rice on the side is good but the fresh salad really makes it.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with a velvety Pinot Noir like Andre Dezat’s Sancerre Rouge, or Cline’s Sonoma Coast Pinot. The juicy fruit and lightness of expression plays wonderfully with the layers of spice, sourness, sweetness and charred flavours these dishes offer without overwhelming them, and without too many dry tannins which could fight the dish.

Char siu pork with a chilli, coriander & mint salad – serves 4

  • 2 pork fillets (tenderloins), trimmed of fat and sinew

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

FOR THE CHILLI, CORIANDER & MINT SALAD:

  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved lengthways, sliced, then finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½-1 tsp palm or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cos lettuce, cut into thick strips
  • ¼ cucumber, seeds scooped out and discarded and sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • a large handful of coriander leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves

First make the marinade for the pork. Put the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the pork fillets into a large container with half the cooled marinade, keep the rest for cooking the pork. Rub the marinade into the pork and leave for at least 2-3 hours, or ideally overnight, in the fridge.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 230C/Gas 8.

Remove the pork from the marinade (don’t throw the marinade away) and place them on a wire rack over a foil-lined roasting tray.

Roast the pork in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 190C/Gas 5. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning and basting with the reserved mainade every 5 minutes, until cooked. You can finish the pork on a hot barbecue for the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a nice barbecue flavour or under a hot grill.

Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing.

To make the salad, put 1 tbsp of the lime juice into a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar and oil. Add the chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger and whisk to combine. Taste and add more lime or sugar if needed.

Put the lettuce, cucumber, scallions, coriander and mint in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the sliced pork and some steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire MacDonald & Jenny Stringer, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2013.)

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This has a crunchy crust and makes a great wintery side dish for a roast dinner or sausages. For clarity, when we refer to turnips we mean the large yellow-fleshed things that some call swedes, not the little white ones.

Baked turnip mash with sage & Parmesan crumbs – serves 6

  • 1kg turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g Parmesan
  • 8 sage leaves

Boil the turnip and garlic in salty water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pot, then mash with half the butter and the cream, a pinch of cayenne and lots of salt and black pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and some black pepper. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the sage leaves untli they crisp up, then crumble them into the breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle the mix all over the turnip and spoon over any melted butter, then bake for 40 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2012)

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This version has fresh pesto stirred through the béchamel sauce which is a variation we’d not come across before, and it’s very good indeed. So good we may add any leftover pesto to dishes like this in the future; it brings a burst of Spring to a rich dish.

Wine Suggestion: We were uncertain what to open alongside this dish given the many components, but felt we needed to stick to an Italian. Freshness to balance the béchamel, depth for the layered richness, but a lightness of being to complement the basil pesto. We had a bottle of Pira Langhe Nebbiolo on the shelf and we’re happy to report it was a good match.

Lasagne with pesto – serves 6 to 8

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 700ml passata
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan

FOR THE PESTO

  • 40g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, carrot and celery for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the beef mince and cook for 5 minutes, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned all over. Season and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the wine, stir well and buble for about 3 minutes, then add the passata and tomato purée, lower the heat and continue to cook for an hour, uncovered, until you have a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning after 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by putting the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Pour in the oil and blitz until smooth, then transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the cold milk, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, whisking constantly. When the béchamel is thickened, stir in half the Parmesan, the nutmeg and the pesto. Season and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4.

To assemble, spread a thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of a deep ovenproof dish. You can use your lasagne sheets to get the right sized dish, you need to make 3 layers of lasagne sheets. Lay a third of the lasagne sheets over the béchamel, then spread over half the meat sauce and top with another thin layer of béchamel.

Lay another third of the lasagne sheets on top and cover with the rest of the meat sauce. Add the final layer of lasagne and spread the remaining béchamel on top, completely covering the lasagne sheets. Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan and grind some black pepper over the top.

Cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, then move to the middle shelf and increase the temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook for another 15 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

Remove the lasagne from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010.)

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This is the Ottolenghi Tesk Kitchen’s hummus made with tinned chickpeas – confirmed creamy and dreamy.

Creamy dreamy hummus – serves 6

  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • 120-150g tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 25g ice cubes
  • salt
  • good olive oil, to serve

Spread the chickpeas out between two tea towels and rub together for a few minutes to release the skins. Don’t press too hard or you will crush the chickpeas. Discard the skins.

Put the peeled chickpeas into a saucepan, cover with water and add 1 tsp of salt and the pinch of cumin. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.

Drain the chickpeas over a bowl and save the cooking water. Put the warm chickpeas into a food processor with 120g of tahini, the garlic, lemon juice, ice cubes, 2 tbsp of the reserved cooking water and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth, then taste and add more tahini, garlic, lemon, salt and chickpea water to taste. We added a good bit of chickpea water to get the right consistency, it needs to be quite loose as it will thicken.

Spread the hummus in a shallow bowl and create a dip in the centre. Top with a generous glug of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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