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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

This makes a delicious veggie breakfast with toast or with bread and a salad for lunch. It is so simple but you need to use top quality tinned tomatoes as they are the star of the show.

Baked eggs with tomatoes – serves 4

  • 500g tinned tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 fresh eggs

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Put the tomatoes into a saucepan with 2 tbsp of water and a couple of pinches of salt. Cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, give it a stir occasionally.

Pour the olive oil into an ovenproof dish, then pour the tomatoes on top.

Break the eggs into the dish on top of the sauce and season with black pepper. Bake for 5 minutes or until the whites are just set and the yolks still runny.

(Original recipe from Southern Italian Cooking by Valentina Harris, Pavilion Books Limited, 1993.)

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This is a little different given the use of the milky poaching liquor which makes this creamy and rich. Not that we partake in the cheese and fish rule anyhow, but cheese was genuinely not required. 

Wine Suggestion: Choose a white with a higher acidity to match the creamy stock and a bit of body as this is quite rich. We chose an alpine/cool-climate Chardonnay from Cantina Colterenzio from north-eastern Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Melon and apple fruit flavours with hints of buttery toast; refined and characterful.

Smoked Cod & Spinach Risotto – serves 2-3

  • 450ml full fat milk
  • 400g smoked cod or haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 450ml hot stock
  • a small onion
  • 50g butter
  • 250g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, washed and torn into small pieces

Pour the milk into a saucepan large enough to take the fish in a single layer. Put the fish into the milk and add the bay leaves and peppercorns, then bring to the boil. When the milk starts to foam, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside with the fish left in the milk to infuse. 

Heat the stock in a saucepan until gently simmering.

Peel and finely chop the onion, then fry gently in the butter in a heavy-based pan. When the onion is soft, but not coloured, add the rice and stir to coat. 

Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate, then start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Keep stirring continually until each ladle of stock has been absorbed, then add some more. Keep the heat low to medium. When the stock is finished, start adding the poaching liquid from the fish (discard the peppercorns and bay leaves). Start tasting when almost all the milk has been absorbed. The rice should be soft but still have a little bite and it should take about 20 minutes. 

Stir the spinach into the rice. Break the fish into big pieces and gently fold into the rice, trying not to break them up too much. Check for seasoning before serving. 

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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Who knew this was a thing? The ragu is made from whole lamb neck fillets which are cooked in a low oven for many hours and then shredded into the sauce. The result is absolutely delicious and much less laborious than our traditional version. You can make the lamb layer well in advance and keep it in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Wine Suggestion: to match the rich lamb and cheese we opened a Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas from the Douro. We’d kept this a few years from release and the layers of gentle spices had grown, the tannins softened to a back note, and the fruit had somehow got richer without adding any weight. A beautiful wine and an equitable accompaniment to a dish like this.

Braised lamb lasagne – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • lamb neck fillets, about 400g in total
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • 6 lasagne sheets
  • 2 mozzarella balls, torn into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • dressed salad and garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 130C/110C fan/gas 1.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole, season the lamb generously, then fry until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute, then pour over the passata. Rinse out the carton with a splash of water and add this too. Season again, then cover tightly with foil, followed by the lid. Cook in the oven for at least 3½ or up to 4 hours by which time is should be very easy to shred. Leave it to cool a bit, then use a couple of forks to shred the lamb into the sauce.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until just simmering. Melt the butter in another saucepan, then stir in the flour to form a paste. Gradually whisk in the hot milk until you have a smooth glossy sauce. Stir in half the Parmesan and season.

Meanwhile, soak the lasagne sheets in just-boiled water to soften, then drain.

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

Spread a thin layer of lamb sauce on the bottom of a small lasagne dish (it should fit two lasagne sheets without overlapping). Top with two lasagne sheets, then cover with a third of the béchamel and a third of the mozzarella. Add half of the remaining lamb sauce, then top this with 2 lasagne sheets and another third of the béchamel and mozzarella. Repeat once more, then sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan and the panko breadcrumbs.

Bake for 35 minutes, then turn the oven up to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Bake for another 10 minutes to brown the top, then leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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PSB is our veg saviour early in the year when winter is lingering and spring still seems too far away. We loved this roasted version with a tangy lemon dressing.

Roasted PSB with feta & preserved lemons – serves 4 to 6 as a side

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh and rind chopped, plus 1 tbsp juice from the jar
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 1 garlic cloves, grated
  • 30g feta

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the PSB into large roasting tin, add the olive oil and red chilli, season with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands.

Roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway, until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile stir the preserved lemon, juice and garlic into the yoghurt.

Crumble the feta over the roasted broccoli and drizzle with yoghurt dressing and your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A proper Venetian cichéti or wine bar snack. If you haven’t grilled fennel before we strongly suggest that you do, it becomes all caramelised and the flavour is much stronger. Here two strong flavours come together to great effect. Serve as a nibble with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: we didn’t have have any dry Venetian whites to hand but from further south in the Marches we had a bottle of Sartarelli’s Verdicchio Classico. Crisp, with hints of bitter, green almonds and pure peach and apple flavours and a saline twist that seemed to echo the anchovies. We were almost sitting in a bacaro overlooking a canal.

Grilled fennel with White Anchovies

  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced through the root into medium-thin pieces about 5mm thick
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • a handful of roughly chopped dill
  • 10 white anchovy fillets

Preheat the grill to medium.

Put the fennel slices onto a baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Add half the dill and toss to coat, then put the baking tray under the grill for 10-15 minutes, turning once, or until starting to brown and caramelise at the edges. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Spread the fennel over a platter and place an anchovy fillet on each slice, then scatter over the rest of the dill and serve.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.)

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This is so simple and definitely better than a take away. While we’re not massive fans of baby corn it provides a crunch and texture that would be missing from the dish if not there. Made for Jono’s birthday on a Monday after a weekend of extensive birthday cooking; great flavours and quick for a work day celebration.

Wine Suggestion: We’d opened a Dermot Sugrue Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan, a profound, complex and rewarding English Sparkling for Jono’s birthday and had a leftover glass with this dish. We discovered Dermot’s wines a few years ago and have loved them ever since and it was a super match, standing up to the Asian flavours exceptionally well. We know this particlar wine may be hard to find but look for a good crisp sparkling that has been left on lees for a while or a good Champagne – sparkling should be so much more than a celebratory glass and they make great food matches.

Thai Chicken Stir-fry with Cashews & Chilli Sauce – serves 4

  • 100g baby corn
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, thickly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into thick pieces
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 50g roasted cashews
  • Thai basil or regular basil and steamed rice, to serve

FOR THE CHILLI SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Thai chilli paste/jam (nam prik)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce

Make the chilli sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside.

Blanch the baby corn in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water and drain again.

Heat a large wok until hot and add ½ tbsp vegetable oil. Brown the chicken in batches. If you leave them for 2-3 minutes on one side initially they will get a nice colour, then stir-fry for another minute or until golden on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another ½ tbsp oil of oil in the wok over a medium heat, then add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for a minute. Add the peppers, onions, cashews and baby corn and heat for 1 minute. Pour in the chilli sauce and add the chicken. Stir-fry until heated through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with steamed rice and basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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This is good family-friendly stuff. Easy to put together and nothing too challenging for junior palates.

Wine Suggestion: An alpine Chardonnay took our fancy tonight so we opened Cantina Colternezio’s Altkirch Chardonnay from the Südtirol – Alto Adige. With a lovely purity and precision this is both thirst quenching and comforting.

Roast salmon & potatoes with herby peas – serves 2 adults and 2 kids

  • 500g baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 500g single piece of skinless salmon fillet (try and get the middle, chunky bit from a side of salmon if you can)
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill or mint

Heat the oven to 200C/180C/gas 6.

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until just tender, then drain and leave to steam-dry in the pot.

Toss the potatoes with the oil and butter, then tip onto a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Push the potatoes aside and add the salmon to the tray, add the lemon halves and season everything with salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Simmer the peas for a couple of minutes, then drain and tip into a warmed bowl. Add the crème fraîche and herbs.

Flake the salmon into chunks and serve with the potatoes and peas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A few tins and some spices and you’re pretty much sorted for this tasty weeknight curry. We served this with rice the first night, and chips the second. We also know it’s not tomato season at present but the fresh tomatoes are really more for texture than flavour here.

Tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Add the garlic and spices and keep cooking for another minute or two.

Add the tin of tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and season generously. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

Add the chickpeas and fresh tomatoes and allow to warm through. Serve with some steamed rice and the coriander scattered over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Quite unusual in flavour and a slightly different method. The bitter Seville oranges make a good contrast to the sweet spice and are balanced by a slightly reduced sugar ratio.

Seville orange, vanilla & cardamom marmalade – makes about 5 jars

  • 1.2kg Seville oranges (approx 8)
  • 10 cardamom pods, seeded
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 850g preserving sugar

Halve one of the oranges and finely slice, removing pips as you go, then put into a large saucepan. Peel and finely chop the flesh of the remaining oranges (reserve the skin from three) and carefully remove and discard any pips. Add the chopped flesh and juice to the pan.

Trim any excess pith from the reserved orange skin, then finely chop into thin strips. Add this to the pan with the cardamom seeds and 400ml water. Also add the vanilla seeds and throw in the empty pod.

Boil for 10 mins until the skins are softening, then add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved, simmer on low for 30-35 mins. Turn up the heat and boil to set for about 10-15 mins. The boiling point of jam is 105C but if you don’t have a jam thermometer, try the ‘wrinkle test’ and spoon some marmalade onto a freezer-cold saucer and leave for a minute. If it wrinkles when you poke it and has a fine skin on top, it’s ready. Pour the marmalade into sterilized jars, and store for up to a year.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We don’t do much baking but we’ve managed more than usual with all of these lockdowns. This old-fashioned coffee and walnut cake is a favourite of Jules’ and was really straightforward to make – even for us baking novices. 

Coffee & Walnut Cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp coffee extract (or 2 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp hot water. Use a bit more in the cake mix than in the icing)

FOR THE ICING: 

  • 75g softened butter
  • 225g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 8 walnut halves, to decorate

Heat the oven to 160C/Gas 4.

Grease two 18cm sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking paper. 

Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat until well blended and smooth. 

Divide the cake mix between the sandwich tins and level the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and the top springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack. 

To make the icing, beat the butter, sifted icing sugar, milk and coffee essence in a bowl until smooth. 

When the cakes are completely cold sandwich them together with half the icing and use the rest for the top. Decorate with the walnuts. 

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, BBC Books, 2009.)

 

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A recipe from Southern Italian Cooking by Valentina Harris. There is no better vehicle to showcase purple sprouting broccoli, which is in season right now. You need top quality ingredients as they will shine in this simple dish. The sausages were Italian with fennel and the PSB our friends at McNally Family Farm.

Wine Suggestion: There’s a certain honest rusticity to this dish which we think suits Nebbiolo or similar, but not the heady heights of Barolo, look for a lesser known area. We went for the lesser known Freisa grape, also from Piedmont. A bottle of the Olim Bauda Freisa and it tasted of roses and raspberry’s with a decent whack of smooth, honest tannins; satisfying and generous alongside the food.

Salsicce con Broccoletti – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp lard (we used a mix of olive oil and butter)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 dried red chilli pepper
  • 500g Italian sausages (you need top quality Italian sausages which have a much coarser texture than regular butchers sausages)
  • 750g purple sprouting broccoli, rinsed and trimmed

A large shallow casserole dish works well for this. Melt the lard and fry the garlic and chilli pepper over a gentle heat for 5 minutes. Add the sausages and brown all over (you might want to do this in a frying pan so you don’t burn the garlic, if you do, make sure that the tip all the oil that comes out of the sausages back into the pan).

Once browned all over, turn the heat down and cook the sausages gently for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and season with a little salt. Stir everything to coat in the fat.

Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, a splash of water will help steam the broccoli and stop the dish drying out.

(Original recipe from Southern Italian Cooking by Valentina Harris, Pavilion Books Limited, 1993.)

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Mussels with green pepper, Pernod, tomatoes, feta and dill. This is an Albanian recipe that we found in Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein. We don’t agree with the seafood and cheese rule anyway and this dish proves that it can work. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Match with a white with a bit of body, but no oak. We chose an underrated Sylvaner by Sipp Mack in Alsace which was fresh with stone fruits and a racy minerality in the glass

Butrint Mussels – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, sliced
  • 30ml of ouzo/Pastis (we used Pernod)
  • 600g mussels, scrubbed
  • 150ml passata
  • 75g feta cheese
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • a small handful of dill, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic and green pepper for 5 minutes.

Add the Pernod and the mussels, then cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels are starting to open.

Add the passata and feta and season with the chilli flakes, salt and some black pepper. Heat through for a minute or two, then serve scattered with the dill.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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We love recipes like this; perfect for using up bits and pieces and super tasty. 

Wine Suggestion: There’s a vibrancy to this food and we matched it with Ventenac’s “Dissidents” le Paria, a fresh-fruited, minerally grenache. Lovely light spices, a stony core of texture and bright plums and cherry flavours.

Green Spiced Rice – serves 2-3

  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 200g basmati rice
  • a slice of butter
  • a few sliced mushrooms
  • a large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach

Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and pop them out of the skins. 

Wilt the spinach is a saucepan, then leave to cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid if necessary and chop. 

Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan, then add the curry paste and the rice. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until almost tender and most of the liquid absorbed. 

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then fry the mushrooms until lightly coloured. Add the rice and carrot to the pan with the broad beans. Stir until the rice is moist but no longer wet, then add the eggs and season. Keep cooking, stirring now and then to break up the egg, until it is lightly cooked. Fold through the chopped spinach and coriander, then serve. 

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

 

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This granola from Dishoom has only a hint of sweetness and is much more nutty with hints of butter and spice so it makes a great foil to any fresh or poached fruit (here with Nigella’s pomegranate-poached quinces). It’s also great with just some creamy yoghurt, we loved it. The kitchen smells incredible as it toasts!

Dishoom Granola – makes 10-12 portions

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 100g almonds
  • 80g cashew nuts
  • 75g pistachio nuts
  • 45g desiccated coconut
  • 70g sunflower seeds
  • 70g pumpkin seeds
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 100g acacia honey
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 210C/190C fan/Gas 6-7.

Line two large baking trays with baking parchment. 

Mix the oats, nuts, desiccated coconut and seeds together in a big bowl. 

Put the honey, butter and ground cinnamon into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is just melted. Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well. 

Divide the mixture between the baking trays and spread evenly, just a wooden spoon to pat it down. Put one tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and mix well, then press it down again. Bake for another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before you stir or move it. Repeat with the other tray. 

Store in an airtight container and use within a month. 

(Original recipe from Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.)

 

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These are flavour-packed and great to serve with drinks … cannot wait to have someone over for drinks!

Wine Suggestion: despite the spice in this dish we think these go great with a good sparkling, particularly one made using the Champagne method of double fermentation in the bottle. A touch of dosage, creamy mousse and the lift of naturally acidic grapes both lift the flavours and the mood.

Gochujang Chicken Skewers – serves 4 or more as a bite-sized canapé

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • sesame seeds, to serve
  • scallions, finely sliced to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp clear honey, plus a bit extra
  • 1 heaped tsp gochujang paste

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for no more than 30 minutes. 

Heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Put pieces of chicken onto cocktail sticks or small skewers and put onto an oiled baking tray (keep the marinade). Cook for 10-12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the marinade into a small pan over a low-medium heat and reduce for a few minutes, you can add a bit of extra honey if you like.

Take the chicken out of the oven and brush with the reduced marinade, then sprinkle the scallions and sesame seeds over the top. 

(Original recipe by Milli Taylor in Olive Magazine, Christmas 2014)

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This soup is super simple but it’s really good with the toasted feta tortillas on the side for a weekday lunch.

Bean soup with feta tortillas – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp chipotle paste
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g feta
  • 4 large soft flour tortillas
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • sour cream or yoghurt to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft.

Add the chipotle paste, passata, stock and beans. Season, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the feta over one half of each of the tortillas, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and season with black pepper. Fold the uncovered side over and press together. Heat a dry frying pan and cook the tortillas for a minute on each side or until crispy and the cheese has melted.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt if you have it and the feta tortillas on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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You could have these for dessert with some crème fraîche but we like them for breakfast with yoghurt and granola.

Pomegranate-poached quinces – serves 6

  • 700ml pure pomegranate juice
  • 300ml cold water
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve (we skipped these)

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. 

Put the pomegranate juice, water and sugar into a heavy casserole with a lid. Stir well, then add the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Put the casserole over a low heat and leave to warm gently. 

Peel, quarter and core the quinces and add to the pan with the pomegranate juice. 

Bring to the boil, then scrunch up a piece of baking paper, slightly bigger than the pan, then unscrunch again and press down on top of the quinces, tucking it in and up the sides of the pan. Cover with the lid and place in the oven. 

Cook for 1½-2 hours or until tender. Remove the lid and baking paper, then scoop out the quinces with a spoon. Strain the liquid, then return to the heat and bubble until reduced by half. Pour the liquid back over the quinces and leave to cool. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat, they keep well for a few days. 

(Original recipe from Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2020)

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Our default lockdown lunch is soup, it helps with the heating bills! We ran out of soup last week and found this recipe when looking for lunch inspiration that would use the only ingredient left in the fridge – carrots. It was really very nice. 

Spicy Carrot & Chickpea Pitta – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 2cm thick rounds
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
  • finely grated zest of an orange, plus a good squeeze of the juice
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 pitta breads
  • yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots and fry for 8-10 minutes. The carrots should be tender and starting to brown, but still with a bit of bite. 

Add the garlic, orange zest, paprika, and chickpeas and cook until the chickpeas are hot. Remove from the heat, season well with salt, pepper and a good squeeze of orange juice. 

Warm the pitta breads in a toaster or under the grill, then stuff the mixture into the pockets and top with yoghurt or sour cream. 

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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You can’t beat a steak sandwich and this one is super spicy and extra tasty! It certainly brightened up an otherwise uneventful Saturday for us. 

Bulgogi cheese steak sandwich – serves 4

  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ pear, peeled and cubed
  • 2 sirloin steaks, trimmed of fat and very finely sliced (this is easier if you freeze for 20 minute before slicing)
  • 1 baguette, cut into 4
  • mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • sesame seeds

Mix the ginger, garlic, sugar, gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar together in a large bowl, then mash in the pear. Add the steak and leave to marinate for an hour. 

Halve the pieces of baguettte and add a layer of cheese. 

Heat a wok over a high heat. Add the beef and marinade, bring to a simmer and stir until the meat is cooked through. 

Spoon the meat into the baguettes and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. 

(Original recipe from Lulu Grimes and Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, January 2016.)

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Such a simple and foolproof way of cooking rice from Ottolgenghi Simple. This gives a lovely texture and the salsa is delicious. We served with pulled lamb shawarma but it would be great with all sorts of dishes. 

Baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa – serves 6

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 50g mint (leave 40g on the springs and shred the leaves of the remaining 10g for the salsa)
  • 150g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 40g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
  • seeds from a small pomegranate
  • 50g walnut halves, lightly roasted and roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 230C fan or as high as your oven goes. 

Put the rice into a high-sided roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Season with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then pour over the melted butter and boiling water. Top with the mint sprigs and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid absorbed. 

Meanwhile, mix all of the salad ingredients, except the mint leaves, together in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside. 

When the rice is ready, pull the leaves off the mint sprigs and scatter them over the rice, then sprinkle over the feta. Just before serving, stir the shredded mint into the salsa and spoon over the rice. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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