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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Lobster & Pasta

This is inspired by a Rick Stein recipe in his Mediterranean Escapes book called Lobster & Pasta Chez Jen Jen from Corsica. We cooked this on a weeknight and cheated a bit with the lobster by using frozen lobster tails. We thought you could use raw prawns to good effect too.

Wine Suggestion: We made this on a celebratory evening so pushed the boat out with the wine and had the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted to date: the Dermot Sugrue “The Trouble with Dreams” from Sussex. It had a driving purity and vibrancy that makes it feel alive. For years we often compared English sparkling to Champagne without recognising it to have a unique character and with this wine we fully realised this.

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

  • 2 x frozen lobster tails
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 20ml Cognac
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 200ml passata
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • salt and cayenne pepper

Defrost the lobster tails by putting them into a deep bowl of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes. You’ll know they are defrosted when they feel a bit flexible.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the lobster tails. Cook for 3½ minutes, then scoop out with a spoon. Leave to cool slightly, then slice into the soft side to check that the meat is white and therefore cooked through. If it looks grey you need to return to the water again until cooked.

Carefully cut down the soft side of the lobster tails and remove flesh from the shell in one piece, it should come away very easily.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the curry powder and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster, flesh-side down. Pour over the Cognac and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add the white wine, passata, and herbes de Provence, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster is heated through.

Drain the spaghetti. Lift the lobster tails out of the pan and onto warm plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and cayenne pepper, add the spaghetti and toss well with the sauce. Spoon alongside the lobster and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Wild Garlic Mash

Wild garlic has a short season in April and most years we make all kinds of things with it. This April we only managed some mashed potato – but very delicious mashed potato it was!

Wild Garlic Mash- serves 2 generously

  • 700g floury potatoes
  • 25-50g butter
  • 25g wild garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100ml double cream

Peel the potatoes and cut into same-sized chunks. Boil until completely tender.

Dry the potatoes off in the hot pan, then mash until smooth.

Meanwhile, melt a generous slab of butter in a small frying pan. Add the wild garlic and cook for a minute or two until softened. Pour the melted butter and wild garlic into the mashed potatoes.

Pour the cream into the same frying pan and bring to a bubble, then pour into the potatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground white pepper, then beat the mash with a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy.

 

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

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

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Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon

A salad of long, thin baby carrots with a herby yoghurt dressing. This is a great side dish for a barbecue and the portions are huge! It’s served at room temperature so the carrots can be cooked and dressed earlier in the day and mixed with the yoghurt before serving.

Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon – serves 4 – 8

  • 1 kg long, thin baby carrots, scrubbed and stalks trimmed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 60g crème fraîche
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped

Steam the carrots for 8-12 minutes or until cooked through but retaining a bite.

Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, cinnamon, ½ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper together in a large bowl. Add the carrots to the dressing as soon as they are cooked, then mix well and set aside to cool.

Mix the yoghurt and crème fraîche in a medium bowl with a ¼ tsp of salt. Add this to the carrots, along with the fresh herbs. Stir gently to mix roughly together, then serve.

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

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Roasted Asparagus with Almonds, Capers & Dill

We thought you couldn’t beat buttered asparagus until Yotam Ottolenghi suggested almonds, capers & dill, a fabulous combination!

Roasted asparagus with almonds, capers & dill – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 600g asparagus, snap off the woody ends
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g flaked almonds
  • 30g baby capers, patted dry with kitchen towel
  • 10g dill, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of the oil and some salt and black pepper. Spread over a large parchment-lined baking tray and roast for 8 to 12 minutes depending on thickness, until soft and starting to brown in spots. Transfer to a large serving plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the almonds and fry for a minute or two, stirring, until golden-brown. Pour the almonds and butter over the asparagus.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the saucepan and place over a high heat. Once hot, add the capers and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time, until they have opened up and turned crispy. Remove the capers with a slotted spoon and scatter over the asparagus along with the dill (discard the oil). Serve warm.

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

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Avocado & Broad Bean Mash

This makes a nice light starter to share with some crusty bread, crackers or breadsticks.

Wine Suggestion: Rosé because it matches the mood and season, and also because a good, dry, rosé is both refreshing and a good match for food. Today it was the Ch de la Negly “les Terrasses” from the Languedoc.

Avocado & broad bean mash – serves 4

  • 250g podded broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • a large avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
  • a lemon, finely shave with a peeler to get one long strip of zest, then juice to give 1 ½ tbsp
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and blanch the beans for 2 minutes, then drain, run under cold water and drain again. Remove the skin from the beans and discard, they should pop off easily. Set 50g of beans aside and put the rest into a food processor with the avocado, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of oil and ¼ tsp salt, then whizz until almost smooth.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan, then gently fry the scallions and lemon skin for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved broad beans and a pinch of salt.

Check the the avocado and broad bean mixture for seasoning then spread over a plate, making a rim around the edge. Spoon the spring onion mix into the middle just before serving.

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

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New potatoes with peas and corianderWe’ve just had a sunny Easter weekend, so we cooked lots of Spring side dishes from Ottolenghi Simple. These potatoes are lovely and fresh and tasted good with some barbecued lamb gigot chops. We’re binge eating Jersey Royals while we can get them.

New potatoes with peas & coriander – serves 4

  • 300g fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded
  • 15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g leaves to garnish
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, finely grate the zest, then juice to give 1 tsp
  • 750g new potatoes, halved if large

Blanch the peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and set a third of them aside.

Put the remaining peas in a food processor with the chillies, preserved lemon, coriander, olive oil, lemon zest, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper. Blitz to a rough paste and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salty water for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and steam dry in the warm pot.

Roughly crush the potatoes, leaving about a third of them whole. Add the reserved peas, the pea mixture, the lemon juice and the coriander leaves. Gently stir and serve warm (though we found the leftovers were quite nice cold the following day).

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

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