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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Spaghetti with Ricotta & Toasted Pine Nuts

Mondays are all about leftovers in our house and we’re determined to use all bits and pieces hanging around after the weekend. This pasta dish helped us out with the remains of a jar of sundried tomatoes and some ricotta cheese. Also great to use the chives that have recently sprouted up in the garden – a positive sign of things to come.

Wine Suggestion: Look for a good Verdicchio with a fuller body, but still fresh and balanced. Tonight an old favourite, the Sartarelli Tralivio.

Spaghetti with Ricotta Cheese & Toasted Pine Nuts – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 100g sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 500g spaghetti

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown, then set aside.

Put the ricotta cheese, sundried tomatoes, chives, nutmeg, pine nuts and basil into a large bowl. Pour over the oil and hot water, season with salt and pepper, and mix together. Leave to rest at room temperature while you cook the pasta.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salty water until al dente. Drain and tip into the bowl with the ricotta mixture (don’t be too particular when draining as a little water will help to loosen the sauce). Gently fold everything together for 30 seconds to combine. Serve with the extra basil.

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

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Harissa & Goat's Cheese Buns

Try these at the weekend, they’re a good accompaniment for drinks, something fizzy perhaps. They taste best hot but you can have them all prepped on trays in the fridge ready to slide into the oven as people arrive. A nice idea from two of our very favourite cooks – Sarit Packer & Itamer Srulovich of Honey & Co.

Wine suggestion: a good crémant. For fun we opened the Taille Princess Blanc de Gérard Depardieu by Bouvet-Ladubay, a Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay sparkling from Saumur. We chuckle every time with the liberal use of Gérard’s branding and his portrait on the label and on the capsule. That said it is an excellent crémant and a good match to savoury cheese bites like these.

Harissa & Goat’s Cheese Buns – makes about 20 

  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter (at room temperature), diced
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked and divided into 2 small bowls
  • 60g grated pecorino or Parmesan
  • 125g ricotta
  • 125g soft, young, rindless goat’s cheese
  • 30g rose harissa paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds

Put the flour and butter in a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and combine to a crumb-like consistency.

Add half the egg and half the grated pecorino or Parmesan, along with the ricotta, goat’s cheese, harissa paste and salt. Mix together to form a soft, pliable dough.

Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each one into a log about 20cm long. Brush each log all over with the other half of the egg.

Mix the rest of the cheese with the cumin seeds and sprinkle over the work surface. Roll the logs in the mixture until coated all over. Put the logs on a try in the fridge to rest for at least an hour or up to 48 hours.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Cut each log into about 10 slices, about 2cm thick, and lay them on a lined baking tray. Bake for 13-15 minutes until teh cheese is golden but the buns are still soft. Serve hot.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2018.)

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Radish Raita

This makes a nice change from the usual cucumber variety. Good with barbecued lamb or pork and dishes with Greek flavours. We liked it on the side of our giant beans and spinach rice.

Radish Tzatziki – serves 2

  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tbsp chopped dill, plus extra to serve
  • 8 small radishes, roughly chopped or sliced
  • ½ clove of garlic, crushed
  • juice of ½ lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and season. Garnish with some extra dill.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Conchiglie Rigate Piccanti

This pasta sauce is rich and full of flavour and works best without cheese, so don’t be tempted to add any. A new favourite for us and great for using up sun-dried tomatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Pico Maccario make some delicious Barbera and their entry “Lavignone” is a benchmark for the Asti region (Piedmont). Not only does it work with this dish, but we’d suggest versatile for many other dishes and occasions; a crowd pleaser and very food friendly.

Conchiglie Rigate Piccanti – serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 80g pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 80g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
  • 300g pork mince
  • 300g passata
  • 400g conghiglie rigate (medium shell pasta)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion and olives for a couple of minutes, stirring now and then.

Add the chilli, sun-dried tomatoes and the pork mince and continue frying for another 6 minutes.

Stir in the passata and gently simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Keep stirring every couple of minutes. Season with salt and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salty water according the timings on the pack. Drain and tip back into the saucepan.

Pour the sauce into the pasta pan and stir over a low heat for 30 seconds to combine.

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

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Giant Butter Bean Stew

This Greek butter bean stew can be served on it’s own either as a starter or as a veggie main. The kitchen smells fab as it cooks and you can have it ready in advance and just reheat to serve. We like it served on the side of some barbecued lamb, spinach rice and radish tzatziki.

Wine Suggestion: This dish shines with light and fresh red wines with little or no oak. Good on it’s own with the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo, an unoaked and youthful wine. However, the other night we served it with lamb, as part of a larger meal so chose the vibrant Gulfi Cerasuolo, a Nero d’Avola and Frappato blend from Sicily. Bright red fruits, an earthy depth and fresh finish complimented the lamb to the dill and feta. I think we’ll be drinking more of this wine in future.

Giant Butter Bean Stew – serves 6 as a side

  • 2 x 400g tins good quality butter beans
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot, finely sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • small pack flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • small pack dill, finely chopped
  • 100g feta, crumbled

Drain the butter beans and reserve 100ml of the liquid.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and cook the onions, carrots and celery until tender and the onions are soft and transparent, but not coloured. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reserving half of the chopped herbs and feta, and season. Squeeze the tinned tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the dish to break them up.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Cook over a gentle heat for another 5 minutes, then add the reserved liquid. Cover the dish and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if the dish looks dry.

Remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir through the reserved herbs, season to taste, then crumble over the remaining feta.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Spinach Rice

This rice is seriously delicious. The spinach is cooked with the rice from the start, rather than stirred through at the end, which makes it really flavoursome. We served with some barbecued lamb, Greek butter bean stew and radish tzatziki.

Spinach rice – serves 6

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • 300g basmati rice
  • juice of a lemon

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook the onion gently until softened but not coloured. Add the spinach and half the dill. Cook over a high heat until the spinach has wilted and any liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the rice and add 600ml of water, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer, cover the pan with a tight lid (or some tinfoil and a lid) and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the water absorbed. Check and stir after the first 15 minutes and add some more water if needed.

When the rice is cooked, stir in the remaining dill, season well and add the lemon juice to taste.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spicy prawn & tomato stew

We recently picked up a copy of Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan – a truly stunning book filled with Palestinian recipes & stories.  Our first dish from the book was this spicy prawn and tomato stew. We served it with rice but next time we’ll go for some flatbreads instead. Delicious nonetheless.

Wine Suggestion: We’d recommend a light red with elegant fruit like the Dezat Sancerre Rouge which was our choice.  A perfumed and delicate Pinot Noir with a tension and thrill running through it; the earthy red cherry and currant flavours flavours went with the prawns, tomatoes and herbs in a delightful fashion.

Spicy Prawn & Tomato Stew – Zibdiyit Gambari (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 – 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 400g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
  • chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, sugar, spices & ½ tsp each of salt and pepper, with 200ml just-boiled water.

Use a pestle & mortar to smash the garlic, dill, chillies and ½ tsp of salt together for a few minutes. Add this to the tomato pan, cover and simmer for 20 minutes over a low heat.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden brown, then set aside.

Adjust the seasoning in the sauce, then add the prawns – make sure they are submerged and you may need to turn them. Cook in the sauce for a couple of minutes, or until they have just turned pink and are cooked through.

Drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the sesame seeds and chopped parsley to serve.

(Original recipe form Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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