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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Salmon with greens & creme fraiche

Spring is such a lovely time for fresh ingredients, encapsulated by greens like peas and broad beans. It’s broad beans with pretty much everything in our house at the minute. Serve with steamed new potatoes or mash.

Wine Suggestion: We went with a fresh Chablis that had a similar Spring vitality to the food; a Domaine Gueguen from 2015 which had hints of white flowers and smokiness with green apple skins. It was crisp with a wonderful chalky, flinty, limestone character – a good match.

Salmon with greens & crème fraîche – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 250ml chicken stock or fish stock
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 140g frozen broad beans
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets
  • small bunch of chives, snipped

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan with a lid. Cook the leek until soft but not coloured, about 5-10 minutes. Pour in the stock and simmer until reduced slightly, then add the crème fraîche and season. Cook for another minute.

Add the peas and beans, then gently add the salmon fillets, nestling them in amongst the veg. Turn down to a simmer, then cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle with chives and serve with mash or steamed new potatoes.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Radicchio & Gorgonzola pasta

In some ways this is an opportunistic dish because we don’t always see Radicchio in our grocer’s shop. We love the creamy, salty, bitter flavours  which come together with the rich creamy sauce. We like serving it with a bit of Parmesan too, but it’s not necessary.

Wine suggestion: The Rocca delle Macie’s Vermentino from the Maremma was our choice and the crisp, almost sappiness, helped to cut through the richness and complement the bitterness of the radicchio. If we’d had one we would have loved to have tried a good, dry Lambrusco from near Bologna. We could be wrong but think this might work too.

Pasta with Radicchio & Gorgonzola – serves 4

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 radiccio, shredded
  • 50ml white wine
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 75g gorgonzola
  • 300g pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the timings on the packet.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the onion until softened, then add the radicchio and continue to cook until wilted.

Add the white wine and season. Pour in the cream, melt in the gorgonzola and mix through the cooked pasta.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, April, 2014.)

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Picadillo

This is not dissimilar to a chilli con carne but it tastes really fresh and summery. We loved the addition of almonds and green olives.

Wine Suggestion: we echoed the summery freshness with the Flying Solo Rosé from Domaine Gayda in the Languedoc which made everything feel light and easy as we ate. If you feel like something more robust look to a good Grenache / Garnacha which we find work with the peppers and olives well.

Picadilo – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 750g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • a handful of plump raisins
  • 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 200ml stock (or water)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 50g green olives, chopped
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • a handful of toasted almonds
  • rice, avocado, sour cream & grated cheese to serve

Heat the oil in a casserole and cook the beef over a high heat until well-browned. This will work better if you do it in batches, then remove to a bowl.

Add the onion and chopped peppers to the pan and cook until soft and golden. Add the garlic, chillies and ground cumin, then cook for another minute before stirring in the raisins, tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar and stock/water. Cook, uncovered for 40 minutes, or until you have a thick sauce, stirring occasionally.

Add the lime juice, green olives and some seasoning. Lastly stir in the coriander and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Serve with steamed rice, avocado, sour cream & grated cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, chorizo and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Pesto Lasagne

A really quick and easy lasagne full of Spring flavours. You don’t have to buy fresh pesto from the fridge as this tends to be more oily and makes this dish very rich; we successfully used a jar from a shelf instead.

Wine suggestion: A grassy European styled Sauvignon Blanc which tends to have a longer, if cooler, growing season is a good match. Avoid the big flavoured Sauvignon’s with the kiwi / tinned asparagus flavours that you might typically find from NZ and Chile as these flavours clash a bit. Exceptions to this always exist like the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon, but a good Touraine or Sancerre would be our match.

Pesto Lasagne – serves 4 to 6

  • 190g jar of pesto
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 200g bag spinach, roughly chopped
  • 250g frozen peas
  • small pack of basil
  • small pack of mint
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 85g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Green salad & garlic bread to serve

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

Put the pesto, half the mascarpone and 250ml vegetable stock in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until smooth and bubbling. Add the spinach and peas and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the peas have defrosted. Add the herbs and season but go easy with the salt.

Put a third of this pesto mixture into the base of a baking dish (approx. 18 x 25cm). Top with 4 lasagne sheets, then repeat with 2 more layers of sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of pasta. Mix some milk into the remaining mascarpone to make a sauce consistency, season then pour over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pine nuts, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on the top and bubbling. Scatter over a few basil leaves before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2014.)

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Buttery chilli prawns

Prawns in their shells are more often a holiday treat for us but they’re so easy to do and it’s nice to eat dinner with your hands. Finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices are useful – or you could lick them 😉

Wine Suggestion: If you are serving this as a special treat for two then go for a good pink sparkling. We had this as on a Friday night and luckily had a half-bottle of Billecart Salmon Rosé champagne which turned it into an extra special evening. On nights when this isn’t an option you should find a good Fiano, Verdicchio or Alvarinho.

Buttery Chilli Prawns – serves 2

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (leave the seeds in)
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 12-20 large raw ing prawns with shells (12 should be enough for a starter for 2, for a main course about 20 is better)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus a few extra slices for finger bowls if using)
  • ½ a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • crusty bread – warm it in the oven before serving

Melt the butter & oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and paprika and cook for a coupled of minutes or until golden. Turn up the heat and throw in the prawns. Fry for a few minutes until they turn pink, don’t be tempted to cook them for any longer. Take the pan off the heat, season and stir in the lemon juice & parsley.

Serve with warm crusty bread for wiping the bowl.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts

Another success from Sam & Sam Clark of Moro. Great textures and interesting flavours. Works as a starter or a side with grilled meat.

Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts – serves 4

  • 500g young spinach, washed and dried (in a salad spinner ideally)
  • 200g good-quality feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 dessertspoon fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
  • 75g pinenuts, very lightly toasted
  • 25g butter
  • 2 pitta breads
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Melt the butter. Split the pitta in half lengthways and brush the melted butter on both sides. Put the pittas on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool.

Whisk the garlic, red wine vinegar, sumac, olive oil together to make a dressing. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Put the spinach, roughly broken crispbread, half the feta cheese, the oregano/marjoram and pinenuts into a large bowl. Pour over most of the dressing and toss together. Serve with the rest of the feta and dressing on top.

(Original recipe from Moro: the cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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