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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Penne baked with three cheeses

There is a never-ending supply of leftover cheese in our fridge but never more so than at this time of year. This is a super-easy pasta dish which will help to use up the cheeseboard leftovers.

Penne baked with three cheeses – serves 2

  • 200g penne
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 350ml milk
  • 75g hard cheese e.g. cheddar/gruyère, grated
  • 50g blue cheese e.g. stilton/gorgonzola/roquefort, crumbled
  • a handful of breadcrumbs (we used panko)
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan

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

Cook the pasta until al dente then rinse under cold water to stop it cooking any further and drain.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, stirring continuously, to make a white sauce. When the sauce has thickened and is starting to bubble, add the hard and blue cheese and stir until melted. Season to taste, then mix with the cooked pasta and pour into an ovenproof dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top, then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original Recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, December 2009.)

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Smoked salmon & crab timbales with cucumber parpadelle

This luxurious starter of smoked salmon timbales filled with creamy crab can be made up to a day ahead. You do need to find big slices of smoked salmon as you need to completely line the moulds to stop the filling leaking out.

Wine Suggestion: as befits the occasion these go great with bubbly. We love good Champagne, but have recently been sampling various Cremants from around France and enjoying the variation and character each brings. With this we served the Manciat Poncet Cremant de Bourgogne which our friend brought along to dinner.

Smoked salmon timbales with cucumber pappardelle – serves 8

  • 12 large slices of smoked salmon
  • 225g full-fat soft cheese
  • 100-150ml sour cream
  • 100g white crab meat
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill, plus some sprigs to garnish
  • lemon wedges, to garnish

FOR THE CUCUMBER PAPPARDELLE:

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 150ml olive oil
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 large cucumber peeled

Line eight 100ml ramekins with the smoked salmon making sure there are not gaps and hanging it well over the sides.

Beat the cheese to soften and mix in 100ml soured cream – loosen with a little more cream if still too firm to spoon.

Pick over the crab and remove any tiny bits of shell. Stir into the cheese with the chopped dill and season. Spoon into the moulds and fold over the overhanging salmon, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (you can do this up to a day ahead).

Make the dressing for the cucumber. Put the sugar and 3 tbsp of water int a small saucepan and bring quickly to a simmer. Add the lemon zest and juice, oil and peppercorns, then taste and add 1-2 tsp of vinegar. Season with salt. Return to the boil, then cool (this can also be made up to a day ahead).

Use a swivel peeler to shave long strips of cucumber until you get to the seeds. Discard the centre. Don’t do this any more than 30 minutes beforehand or it will go soggy.

To serve, unwrap and run a knife between the salmon and the ramekins to pop them out onto plates. Strain the dressing through a sieve, mix a few tablespoons with the cucumber and arrange next to the timbales. Garnish with lemon wedges and dill and drizzle over some more dressing.

(Original recipe by Gary Rhodes in BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2004.)

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Chickpea and spinach curry

We don’t know about you lot but our bellies are crying out for a rest and we haven’t even got to New Year’s yet. This is a lightweight curry suitable for veggies and vegans (if you don’t serve with yoghurt) and it’s also substantial enough to serve as it is without any rice. The spices are very gentle as confirmed by our 5 year old who has developed a recent aversion to anything ‘too spicy!!’.

Chickpea & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt (optional to serve)
  • Sprigs of coriander (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to brown, add a splash of water if they stick.

Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir for a minute, then add the tomato purée and cook for another minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and chickpeas, then bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

When ready to serve, stir through the spinach and cook briefly until just wilted.

Divide between bowls (on top of some steamed rice if you like) and top with a spoon of yoghurt and some coriander.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Buttered Sprouts with Chestnuts & Bacon

Sprouts are not just for Christmas and indeed should be eaten throughout the frosty months in our opinion. We particularly like this recipe with butter, bacon bits and chestnuts – a sprout-lovers dream!

Buttered sprouts with chestnuts & bacon – serves 8 (easily halved)

  • 1.25kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 6 rashers streaky smoked bacon cut into bit-sized pieces or cubes of pancetta
  • 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 50g butter

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and tip in the sprouts. Return to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and run under the cold tap until cold, then drain again.

Heat a large frying pan, add the bacon and gently fry for 10 minutes until crispy. Scoop the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the fat behind, then add the chestnuts and fry over a high heat for about 5 minutes until they have darkened in places, then tip out of the pan.

Put the sprouts into the frying pan with a splash of water, then cover the pan with a lid and finish cooking over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove the cover, turn up the heat, then add most of the butter and sauté the sprouts for another 2 minutes. Tip in the bacon and chestnuts, season generously, then serve with the last bit of butter on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2009.)

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Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese

We love cauliflower cheese and are rarely tempted to tamper with the traditional dish of steamed cauliflower smothered in cheesy béchamel sauce and well-browned under the grill. We suspected we might be safe however in the hands of Yotam Ottolenghi. This version is spicy and has loads of flavours going on. We thought it would be great with roast chicken or lamb or something off the barbecue.

Yotam helpfully suggests that you can make this up to the point of baking and keep in the fridge for up to a day.

Mustardy Cauliflower Chicken – serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 200ml double cream
  • 120g mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 15g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 5g parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

Put the butter into a 24cm round casserole dish and put over a medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 8 minutes or until golden. Add the cumin seeds, curry powder, mustard powder and chillies and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard seeds, cook for another minute, then pour in the cream. Add 100g of the Cheddar and ½ tsp of salt, then simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Add the cauliflower, stir gently, and simmer for another minute before removing from the heat.

Mix the rest of the Cheddar with the breadcrumbs and parsley, then sprinkle over the cauliflower. Wipe the inside of the pan clean to stop the cream from burning and place in the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cauliflower is hot. Turn the grill to high and grill to brown the top for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley & Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Spiced Garlic Savoy Cabbage

It’s nice to do something different with greens now and then. This rich, garlicky and full of flavour cabbage dish goes really well with lamb. We also liked it served with a few other veggie dishes. You could of course use other varieties of green cabbage.

Spiced Garlic Savoy Cabbage – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large head of Savoy cabbage, halved, core removed and leaves cut into ribbons
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1-2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves bashed and thinly sliced
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 6 tbsp Greek yoghurt

Wash and drain the cabbage but don’t bother to shake off the water as this will be used to steam it.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the spices and dry-roast for a minute, shaking, until they smell aromatic and are starting to brown.

Add enough olive oil to just coat the base of the pan. Add the garlic and fry for a minute, then put half the cabbage into the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and stir well before adding the rest of the cabbage and seasoning lightly again. Drizzle over a little oil, then cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Stir the cabbage well to coat in the spices, then add the butter and stir. Check the seasoning, then take the pan off the heat and stir through the yoghurt.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Thai Fried Rice - Khao Pad

We have an Australian cookbook called Thai Cooking that was originally published in 1994. Jono remembers it from home in Melbourne and we know other members of his family who also have a well-used copy. After much searching we managed to pick up a second-hand copy in Books for Cooks in Fitzroy. It’s full of reliable dishes like this simple Thai fried rice. You could have it as a side dish but we prefer to eat a big bowl by itself with some sriracha hot chilli sauce (our own addition!).

Thai Fried Rice – Khao Pad – serves 4

  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 500g cooked peeled prawns, beef, pork, chicken or ham (any combination)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 880g cooked rice, cooked the day before and chilled
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • 50g green beans, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • coriander leaves (to garnish)
  • sriracha hot chilli sauce, to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Stir-fry the onions and garlic until the garlic is golden. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then stir in the curry paste. Stir in the prawns and meat pieces and push to one side.

Add the beaten eggs. Wait to let them set a little, then slightly scramble.

Add the rice. Stir-fry until heated through. Sprinkle with fish sauce, then add the pepper, green beans, tomato and spring onions. Stir-fry briefly to heat through but don’t overcook.

Taste and add some extra fish sauce or sugar if needed. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and a drizzle of sriracha hot chilli sauce if that’s your thing.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake, Bay Books, 1994.)

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