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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Asparagus Carbonara

Classic carbonara is in no way sullied by the addition of asparagus and in our house at the moment it’s asparagus with everything!!

Wine Suggestion: A difficult decision given the awkwardness of asparagus and wine, plus the creamy richness of the sauce. We settled on the delightful Chateau les Charmes Godard, a Sauvignon (Blanc & Gris) and Semillon blend from Bordeaux and were reminded why we love whites from this region, especially with food.

Asparagus Carbonara – serves 4

  • 200g pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 350g pasta
  • 2 bunches of thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • a large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the pancetta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until turning crispy.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan with the bacon. Season with lots of black pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked (it will take a bit longer if your asparagus is thick).

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with the Parmesan and a splash of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus pan, then remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture to combine. Add another splash of cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve right away with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Roast Chicken, Pancetta & Mushroom Orzo

We really liked this easy recipe for leftover roast chicken, a very tasty dish for midweek.

Wine Suggestion: mid-week, or weekend, this works great with a Pinot Noir-Gamay blend like you can find in Cheverny in the Loire; freshness from Pinot and smoothness from the Gamay … both earthy and the right flavours for this dish. Our choice tonight was an old favourite Domaine Bellier.

Roast chicken, pancetta & mushroom orzo – serves 4

  • 15g porcini mushrooms
  • 30g pancetta cubes
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 300g orzo
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 300g roast chicken, skin removed and shredded
  • Parmesan, shaved to serve

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Cook the pancetta until golden, then scoop out with a slotted spoon.

In the same pan, cook the shallots and garlic until softened. Add the fresh mushrooms and fry until golden. Add the drained porcini, reserving the liquid, and cook for a minute.

Add the orzo and thyme and stir to coat in the oil, then add the porcini’s liquid and enough stock to cover. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, adding stock as needed, until tender.

Add the chicken and heat through, then serve with the pancetta and some Parmesan shavings sprinkled over.

(Original recipe by Justin Turner in Olive Magazine, April 2012.)

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Chicken Sours

We’re forever looking for things to do with chicken drumsticks. This spicy and zesty recipe from Claire Thompson’s New Kitchen Basics doesn’t disappoint. Serve with some rice if you like.

Wine Suggestion: a zesty, dry Riesling is our choice. Something like the Pikes Riesling from the Clare Valley, or alternately the Dönnhoff QbA Dry Riesling (or even better one of their Grosses Gewächs (great growth) dry wines) from the Nahe in Germany.

Chicken sours – serves 4

  • 1kg chicken drumsticks and/or chicken wings
  • 2 small unwaxed oranges
  • 1-2 jalapeños or other green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lime

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

Season the chicken with 1 tsp of salt and lots of coarsely ground pepper. Place on baking tray.

Grate the zest and squeeze the juice from 1½ of the oranges; finely slice the remaining half.

Combine the chilli, garlic, honey, oil, lime & orange zest and juice in a bowl, then brush over the chicken pieces.

Arrange the orange slices on the tray with the chicken and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through and glazed. Baste occasionally with the pan juices as it cooks.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Smoked Salmon, Horseradish & Dill Crostini

Do try this. It looks like regular smoked salmon crostini but the balance of ingredients is perfect, including the rather generous portion of salmon per toast. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on either quantity or quality!

Wine Suggestion: excellent with sparkling – your choice of Crémant, Champagne, or your local version. Just make sure that it a fresh, more acidic style … Prosecco need not apply as it doesn’t have enough zing for this. Tonight the Soalheiro Espumante, a sparkling made from alvarinho in northern Portugal and wonderfully citrus, vibrant and refreshing.

Smoked salmon, horseradish & dill crostini – makes 20 crostini

  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • about 3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
  • pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 French stick, cut into discs and lightly toasted
  • 500g thinly sliced top quality smoked salmon
  • 20 dill sprigs
  • lemon juice

Make the horseradish cream by mixing together the crème fraîche, mustard and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if it tastes tart.

Put a generous slice of salmon in each piece of toast and top with a spoonful of horseradish cream. Decorate with a sprig of dill. Add a few drops of lemon juice and some black pepper before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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Breakfast quesadilla

Quesadillas are a regular feature on our weekend breakfast/lunch table as we often have tortilla wraps leftover from pack lunches in the week. We loved these spicy, veggie ones for Saturday breakfast.

Breakfast Quesadillas – serves 2

  • a knob of butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ an avocado, sliced
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 25g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 pickled jalapeños, chopped

Heat the butter in a small pan, tip in the eggs and stir until scrambled.

Scatter the avocado over one of the tortillas. Top with the scrambled eggs, the cherry tomatoes, the cheddar and the jalapeños. Top with the other tortilla and slide into a hot non-stick frying pan (we brush the tortillas on the outside with a tiny bit of oil to help them brown). Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip over and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the insides are hot. Cut into wedges to serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2019.)

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal

A vegan dish for mid-week that is not only super-healthy but very tasty too.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal – serves 4

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

  • 1 large cauliflower, sliced into 1cm steaks (or you can break into florets but don’t waste the stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

FOR THE DHAL:

  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 250g red lentils
  • 400ml tin light coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • generous handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the cauliflower into a large roasting tin and sprinkle with the olive oil.

Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter over the turmeric and garlic. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a lidded saucepan and gently fry the onion and chilli for about 4 minutes.

Add the cumin, garlic and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes before stirring in the lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower and serve with the dhal and the toasted almonds.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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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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