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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Cheesy Jacket Potatoes with Sweetcorn & Roasted Peppers

Weeknight dinners in our house largely consist of dishes constructed from whatever happens to be lying in the fridge after the weekend. We rarely go shopping mid-week and consequently rarely waste food. This week we had some tinned El Navarrico Piquillo peppers which we had used in a paella. These are fabulous, but not cheap, and don’t keep for long once opened. We used them to stuff some jacket potatoes with a bit of cheddar cheese, the last of the chives in the garden and the dregs from a tin of sweetcorn leftover from sandwich filling for school lunchboxes. Serve with any salad leaves you have in the fridge drawer. Also a suitable filling for a quesadilla!

Wine Suggestion: a juicy Garnacha from Spain to match the mid-week casual dinner and the smoky Piquillo peppers

Cheesy jacket potatoes with sweetcorn and roasted peppers – serves 4

  • 4 x 200g floury potatoes – roosters work well
  • 175g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g sweetcorn, either defrosted if frozen of drained if from a tin
  • 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar or tin), diced
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • lightly dressed green salad, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Pierce the potatoes a couple of times with a fork and rub all over with a little olive oil and salt. Bake for about 1 hour, until soft.

Taking care not to burn yourself, cut the potatoes in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the potato from the middle but don’t break the skins. Put the scooped out potato into a bowl.

Use a fork to mash the potatoes, then add 100g of the cheese with the sweetcorn and roasted pepper and mix well. Season to taste and stir in the chives.

Arrange the potato skins on a baking tray and scoop the potato mixture into them. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Serve with some extra chives over the top and a green salad on the side.

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

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Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Noodles with shiitake mushrooms & scallions

We can think of nothing nicer to eat than a bowl of slurpy noodles. Perfect for a speedy lunch or snack.

Wine Suggestion: a friend has suggested that there are brilliant saki matches for dishes like this that play with the umami but we’ve not tasted enough to suggest which one. However, we really liked a couple of wine options: a Lustau dry Oloroso, a Deux Montille Rully Blanc or a Tyler Pinot Noir from California. In each case they have a wonderful textural vibrancy that this dish needs.

Udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms and spring onions – serves 2

  • 125g dried egg noodles
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 200g shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • few coriander springs, leaves picked
  • 2½ tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt generously and cook the noodles for the time given on the pack. Drain and run under cold water, then stir through a few drops of sesame oil and groundnut oil to stop them from sticking.

Heat the oils over a high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to soften. Add the scallions, nam pla, soy sauce and noodles. Heat stirring until the noodles are glazed with the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire Macdonald and Jenny Stringer, Quadrille, 2013.)

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Cajun-spiced chicken

These spicy drumsticks are really tasty and perfect when you’re relying on the freezer for dinner!

Wine Suggestion: For some reason we always think of rosé when cooking Cajun food. This time it was the Chateau St Jacques d’Albas, La Chapelle en Rosé and we were delighted to find our rosé of the year.

Cajun-spiced chicken – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½-1 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks or a mixture of both

Make the marinade by mixing everything but the chicken together.

Rub the chicken pieces in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 1 least an hour or up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Spread the chicken pieces out on a roasting tray and cook at the top of the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Fennel & orange salad

We had this as a side dish with pork but it would also work well as a fresh starter or with oily fish.

Fennel & Orange Salad – serves 4

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3 oranges
  • 25g hazelnuts
  • small bunch of mint leaves
  • small bunch of basil leaves
  • small bunch of oregano leaves (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp mustard

Trim the base and stalks off the fennel but keep any feathery fronds. Slice the fennel as thin as you can – we use a mandolin for this. Put the slices in a bowl of iced water until ready to serve.

Top and tail the oranges, then cut the skin and membrane off with a sharp knife. Reserve the peel and slice the oranges thinly, removing the seeds, then arrange over a large plate.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until they have coloured and smell good. Rub the skin off with a clean tea towel if needed, then crush lightly into large pieces.

Make the dressing by putting the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard into a large bowl. Squeeze any juice from the pieces of orange peel, then season well with salt and pepper and whisk together. Drain the fennel and add to the dressing. Mix well and pile on top of the orange slices. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts, herbs and fennel fronds.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si KIng & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Spiced lentil soup

We have what you might call a well-stocked cupboard but the problem with bulging cupboards is that it’s easy to forget what’s in there. Every now and then we make a list and search for recipes to use things up which is how we came to make this soup – perfect for lunch on chilly days.

Spiced Lentil Soup – serves 4

  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • a squeeze of lime
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the ginger, cumin seeds and chilli flakes for a couple of minutes.

Add the onion and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the lentils are tender.

Blend until smooth or leave chunky, then stir through a squeeze of lime.

Serve with some fresh coriander leaves if you have them.

(Original recipe in Olive Magazine, November 2011.)

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Linguine with Tuna

Linguine with Tuna

Please buy fancy tins or jars of tuna in olive oil for this. We often go for Ortiz but recently we’ve been buying Shines Wild Irish Tuna – who knew we had such fabulous fish in Irish waters. Italians will complain about serving Parmesan with this but we can do what we like 🙂

Wine Suggestion: a textural white like Vermentino is our pick. From the Tuscan coast is the delightful Poggio ai Ginepri which is worth seeking out and shows great promise from a very youthful vineyard. Looking further afield you could go for a Vermentino, or Rolle as it is also known as, from France

Linguine with Tuna – serves 4

  • 400g linguine
  • 150-200g tin or jar of tuna in olive oil (drained weight)
  • 50g capers
  • 50g green pitted olives, sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

TO SERVE:

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp grated Parmesan

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the tuna into a large bowl and break gently into flakes. Add the capers, olives, lemon zest, Parmesan, parsley and chilli flakes and stir slightly.

Reserve a ladleful of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl and drizzle over the olive oil. Add about 100ml of the cooking water and mix to combine.

Season with salt & pepper, then serve immediately, sprinkled with extra parsley and cheese.

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

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