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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

This is a nice simple marinade for chicken thighs, perfect for sunny evenings.

Wine Suggestion: A good match with a nice, dry Provençal rosé. Tonight, one Jono’s work has commissioned from Chateau Vignelaure, the “Ode to Joy Rosé”. The name is inspired by Beethoven’s famous symphony which was written to celebrate the end of war and desperation, but with the current pandemic dragging on and effecting all our lives also celebrating hope and better times ahead from this as well. We’ll happily celebrate this with this wine as it’s delicious and tastes of a joyful summer.

Herby lemon chicken thighs – serves 6

  • 12 boneless chicken thighs with the skin on
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Put the chicken thighs into a shallow dish, then add the olive oil, preserved lemon, garlic, herbs and lots of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat then cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge for 15 minutes before cooking.

Cook on a hot barbecue for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Serve with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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We’re a bit nervous cooking chicken from raw on the barbecue but it’s fine so long as you take your time. You also need to cook the wings before you brush on the glaze. This is so they don’t burn on the outside before cooking all the way through.

Start a day ahead with the brine and you’ll have the perfect party dish for the barbecue. Oh, and you’ll need napkins.

Wine Suggestion: With such big, burly flavours on the glaze and in the spirit of a fun, messy dish we’d suggest a similar style of red wine to match. Zinfandel, Grenache or similar. Tonight Pikes Los Compañeros, a juicy, Shiraz-Tempranillo blend from the Clare Valley. Brambles and plums with a cool kick of spice on the finish. A new barbecue favourite.

BBQ Chicken Wings with Korean Glaze – serves 4-6

  • 20 large chicken wings, jointed in 2 (get your butcher to prep these for you)
  • 200g table salt
  • 2 litres of water
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 80ml rice vinegar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 50ml Sriracha hot sauce
  • 50ml tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp gochujang chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20g butter

FOR GARNISH:

  • 2-3 scallions (green parts only), shredded
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

To make the brine, put the salt into a large bowl, then add the water and whisk until the salt disolves. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and chicken wings. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, remove the wings from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Make the glaze by putting all of the ingredients into a small pan and bringing to a simmer. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, then set aside until needed.

Put the chicken wings onto a hot barbecue and cook for 10-12 minutes or until browing on both sides. Now coat the chicken wings with the glaze using a pastry brush. Cook for another few minutes, turning, until slightly charred.

Put the chickin wings onto a large warm platter, then brush generously with extra glaze and rest for a minute before serving. Scatter over the shredded scallions and toasted sesame seeds and eat with your hands.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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We like to have soup for lunch but tend to get out of the habit in the summer months. This one is suitably summery and really captures the flavour of courgette.

Courgette and mint soup – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 6 courgettes, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 750ml veg stock
  • 150ml crème fraîche, plus a bit extra to serve
  • a small bunch of mint leaeves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then cook the onions withs ome salt for about 10 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add the courgettes and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil for a few minutes. Whizz the soup until smooth, then stir in the crème fraîche and mint, then whizz again. Season.

Serve in warm bowls with some extra crème fraîche and mint leaves to garnish.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, June 2020.)

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This is good with some spicy barbecued chicken, it’s a bit like the celery sticks and blue cheese sauce you get with chicken wings.

Blue Cheese Slaw – serves 4 as a side

  • 75g hard blue cheese
  • 100g sour cream
  • 50g mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4-6 celery sticks, shredded
  • 1 green pepper, finely sliced
  • ½ a red onion, finely sliced
  • a few chives, finely chopped

Crumble the blue into a large bowl. Stir in the sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard.

Season and add a squeeze of lemon juice. You can whizz until smooth if you like at this stage but we didn’t bother.

Fold in the celery, pepper and onion and scatter over the chives to serve.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush and Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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We’ve been a bit quiet on here because we’ve been spending our evenings outside in the sunshine. This week looks less promising weather-wise so we should get all the recipes we’ve tried posted.

Wine Suggestion: We’d pair this with a current favourite, from Sartarelli’s side project, the Colline Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from the rolling hills of Marches, Italy. Fresh and lightly floral, the green apple and pear flavours emphasise the lovely fresh broad beans and the hints of sage and green almonds match the cream and chilli.

Broad beans, mint & chilli pasta – serves 2

  • 200g podded broad beans (we use frozen)
  • 200g pasta e.g. penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, remove the seeds and finely slice
  • 1 lemon, zested, plus 1tbsp of juice
  • a knob of butter
  • 30g Parmesan or pecorino, finely grated, plus some extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp double cream or crème fraîche
  • a large handful of mint, roughly chopped

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 2-3 minutes, depending on their size. Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon, then rinse under cold water to cool. Pop the beans out of their skins and set aside.

Bring the water back to the boil again and add some more salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, skimming off any scum from the surface of the water.

Meanwhile, warm a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil, scallions, garlic, chilli, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes without colouring.

Add the butter and broad beans and season with black pepper. Stir to coat the beans in the sauce and crush a few of them with your spoon. Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the beans. Add an extra couple of spoons of pasta cooking water if you need, then the Parmesan. Toss until the sauce is creamy and glossy, then pour in the cream, followed by the lemon juice and mint. Season to tate and serve in warm bowls with some extra cheese.

(Original recipe by Rosie Birkett in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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This is pretty much a meal in a brioche bun, don’t skip anything as it all comes together perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: Given the weather and the dish we cracked open a Domaine of the Bee, Bee Pink Rosé from Roussillon. A blend of Grenache and Syrah this had the obligatory red fruit flavours we expected but the thing that made it work so well with the food was the wonderful texture and hints of thyme. An accidental but fortuitous match.

Barbecued Chicken with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado – serves 4

  • 8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tsp mild American mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

TO SERVE:

  • 4 large brioche buns
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Bash the chicken thighs between sheets of baking paper or cling film until about 1cm thick.

Put the chicken into a shallow dish with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss the chicken until coated in the herbs and oil.

Mix all of the mayonnaise ingredients together and sesason to taste.

Cook the chicken on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Add the bacon to the barbecue and cook until crispy, it will only take a couple of minutes. Once cooked, leave the chicken and bacon aside to rest.

Add the brioche buns to the barbecue and char briefly.

Peel and slice the avocados (don’t do this in advance or they will discolour).

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of each brioche bun and top with 2 chicken thighs. Add layers of tomato, bacon, avocado and lettuce, then spread the top half of the buns with the rest of the mayonnaise, sandwich together and serve.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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This is perfect for mid-week – tasty, healthy and just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: The hot and sour flavours pair well with dry Rieslings, like the exhuberant Domaine Bott-Geyl Les Elements. Apples, zesty lemon, a hint of apricot and a taut freshness.

Hot and sour aubergine with sticky rice – serves 2

  • 150g sushi rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 100g green beans, halved
  • 1 red chilli, shredded, plus extra to serve

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

Fry the onion and aubergine in the oil in a wide shallow pan with a lid until golden and softened. Stir it every few minutes.

Mix the sugar and vinegar together, then add the soy sauce and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour and stir to dissolve.

Add the beans and red chilli to the pan and cook for 4 minutes with the lid on. Add the liquid mixture, stir and continue cooking for another 2 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with the rice and some extra soy sauce and chillies on the side.

(Original recipe by Kate Calder in Olive Magazine, June 2012.)

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This is a side dish really, but we had it mid-week as a main with some takeaway naan breads. Highly recommended! A halloumi version of the traditional paneer dish.

Wine Suggestion: An unoaked, dry Chardonnay like Domaine Ventenac’s Carole from Cabardès in southern France, which is light and fruit forward would be an ideal choice. Easy going but with layers of flavour and textures just like the dish itself.

Saag halloumi – serves 4 to 6 as a side (half to serve 2 as a main)

  • 500g spinach
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala, plus extra to serve
  • 2 blocks of halloumi, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200ml double cream
  • ½ lemon juiced

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spinach for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain well, leave to cool, squeeze out the liquid with your hands, then finely chop.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger into a blender with 1-2 tbsp of water and whizz until smooth.

Put the turmeric, cumin seeds, garam masala and lots of seasoning onto a plate. Roll the pieces of halloumi in the spices to coat all over.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, then fry the halloumi until crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn it until a nice crust has been formed, this will help prevent sticking. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion purée to the same pan, plus any spices remaining on the plate and some seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes until the raw smell has gone and they have started to colour. Add the spinach, halloumi and double cream, and cook for another 5 minutes to thicken and warm through. Season with the lemon juice and sprinkle with garam masala before serving.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, May 2020.)

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There should be some good value asparagus around by now and this is a very tasty way with sweet potatoes.

Roasted sesame sweet potatoes & asparagus – serves 3 as a side

  • 750g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1½ tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
  • a bunch of asparagus, snap off the ends and cut in half
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

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

Put the potatoes into a large roasting tin and toss with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, fish sauce and 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Roast for 20 minuts or until tender.

Add the asparagus, 3 tbsp of water and ½ tbsp of soy sauce. Roast for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and serve.

(Original ricpe from BBC Good Food)

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Kids activities are back on which means we spend a few weeknights dropping off and picking up rather than cooking. So we’re on the hunt for more dishes like this, minutes to make but healthy and delicious; flavoursome and light at the same time.

Wine Suggestion: This dish partners really well with a fruity, youthful and dry Riesling.

Chicken meatball tom kha gai – serves 2

  • 4 chicken sausages (we bought ours in M&S)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, plus some whole leaves to serve
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50g flat rice noodles
  • 400ml tin coconut milk (you could use half-fat if you like)
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, discard the woody outer leaves and finely chop the inside
  • 50g mangetout, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Remove the skin from the chicken sausages and put the insides into a bowl. Add 1 tsp of the ginger, the chopped coriander and half the chilli. Mix well and form into 10 small meatballs – wet hands help with this.

Cook the noodles according the packet, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Bring the coconut milk and stock to a simmer in a large saucepan, then add the rest of the ginger and chilli with the lemongrass and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken meatballs and simmer for 3 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes.

Gently stir in the lime, sugar and fish sauce, divide the noodles between 2 warm bowls, then ladle over the hot soup and meatballs, finish with the coriander leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2018.)

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We definitely have a bit of a thing for Asian-style greens and rice. And while it may seem like you need another dish on the side, you really don’t, it’s just a bowl of healthy, delicious things. Having said that, this would also be great on the side of some white fish.

Wine Suggestion: Anthony Girard’s La Clef du Recit Menetou Salon is a star here. A Sauvignon Blanc grown on Kimmergian clay-limestone, this has a depth, texture and body that belies the grape a little and a wine that we think gets better with a few years in the bottle … if you can wait that long. Don’t worry if you can’t though, it’s delicious from release too.

Asparagus with ginger & garlic – serves 2

  • 12-16 spears of asparagus, snap off the woody ends and slice on the diagonal into 4cm pieces
  • 2-3cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into very fine matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 80ml water
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put your wok over a medium-low heat and add the sunflower oil. When warm, add the ginger and cook briefly until fragrant.

Add the asparagus, garlic and chilli and toss, then pour in the water and turn the heat to high. Cook for a minute, then add the oyster sauce. Toss well to coat the asparagus and cook for about 30 seconds or until tender but with a bite.

Remove from the heat and season with some black pepper, you shouldn’t need salt.

Serve hot over rice.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing, 2008.)

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We’re a bit salad-obsessed these days. This one is huge and will feed a crowd when you have them over to your garden. Perfect with a piece of barbecued lamb.

Minted pea and spinach salad with bacon – serves 4-6

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted (only Birds Eye will do in our opinion)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with a little salt
  • a bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 200g baby spinach
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon over a medium heat until starting to crisp up.

Mix the defrosted peas with the garlic, mint, red onion and baby spinach.

Dress the salad with 4 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Toss in the bacon and scatter the feta on top.

(Original recipe from Avoca Salads, edited by Hugo Arnold, Avoca Ltd, 2007.)

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Try this if you’re in a bit of a lunch rut … or if like us you have bought an extra bag of spinach and have some miso lingering in the fridge. It takes 5 minutes and it’s delicious.

Miso spinach on sourdough toast – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 200g spinach
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • 2 large slices of toasted sourdough (to serve)

Mix the miso paste with the melted butter, then tip into a frying pan.

Add the spinach and cook over a medium heat until wilted, then add 2 tsp soy sauce. Divide between the toasts and sprinkle over the spinach & scallions.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is delicious with a load of warm flatbreads for scooping up the baba ghanoush. To burn the aubergines place them directly onto gas rings turned up high, scorch for about 20 minutes, turning once. You will need to open all of the doors and windows but it is definitely worth it!

Wine Suggestion: A Spanish red was called for, but to be a little contrary we went to Roussillon: Roc des Anges’ Segna de Cor. A Grenache, Carignan and Syrah blend from the “young” vines of this estate which average only 40 years of age … they have some wonderful old vines in this part of the world and Marjorie Gallet has some of the best parcels scattered across the incredible landscape that is Catalan France. Exceptionally refined and smooth, with layers of spices, warm fruits and a core of salty stones and smokey earth. For an entry level wine this is truly exciting. Also a good match for the smokey aubergines, earthy lentils and tart pomegranate.

Smoky baba ganoush with roasted cauliflower, lentils & pomegranate – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g Puy lentils (or similar lentils)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
  • a small handful of coriander leaves
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds extracted
  • pomegranate mollasses

FOR THE BABA GANOUSH:

  • 4 large aubergines
  • 4 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Coat the cauliflower in olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread over a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes.

To make the baba ganoush, put the aubergines directly over a gas flame on high, for about 20 minutes, turning once. When cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin and place the flesh into a large bowl. Break the aubergine flesh up with a fork, leaving it a bit chunky, then add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, yoghurt and olive oil. Mix with a fork until well combined and season well with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes until just tender, then drain.

Combine the roasted cauliflower, lentils, baby spinach, coriander, a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Serve with plenty of baba gaanoush on the side, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and drizzle with a few drops of the pomegranate molasses.

(Original recipe from Community by Hetty McKinnon, A Plum Book, 2014.)

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This is simplicity itself but tastes just like the season.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a good, top-notch, dry Sauvignon Blanc to match this dish like the André Dezat Sancerre which is flinty, grassy-fresh and has great concentration and power despite being super balanced and effortless.

Gnocchi with asparagus, edamame & Parmesan – serves 4

  • 500g pack of gnocchi
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g asparagus, snap off the woody part of the stems, then cut into 5cm pieces
  • 150g frozen edamame beans
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing over at the end
  • 60g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil, then add the gnocchi and cook according the pack instructions. It’s done when if floats to the top. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Heat a large fraying pan over a medium-high heat, then drizzle with oil, and when hot, add the asparagus with a pinch of sea salt. Fry for a few minutes or until the pieces are starting to char but are still crisp. Remove from the pan and put into a warmed dish.

Add the frozen edamame beans to pan with a splash of water and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then scoop ot and add to the asparagus.

Drizzle some more oil into the pan and warm over a medium-high heat, then add the gnocchi. Fry until golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn them too quickly or they will stick. Remove from the pan and into a large dish.

Combine the gnocchi with the asparagus, edamame, and chives. Squeeze over some lemon juice to taste and drizzle with olive oil, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Scatter over the Parmesan to serve.

(Original recipe from Family by Hetty McKinnon, Prestel, 2019)

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We tend to be a bit suspicious of salads that claim to be a main course but we promise you won’t be hungry after this one.

Wine Suggestion: Naturally when eating asparagus we gravitate to Grüner Veltliner, but for this dish we felt drawn to Souther France and opened the Ch Vignelaure, La Source Blanc from Provence. Made mostly from Vermentino with a touch of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh and summery with citrus fruits and a gently herbal twist; full of energy and vitality.

Spring Salad – serves 4 as a main

  • 300g baby new potatoes, half any biggish ones
  • 1 spring of mint
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g asparagus, woody ends snapped off and saved
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 green apple, cored and finely chopped (we used a Granny Smith)
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves washed and dried, heart split in two
  • a few handfuls of soft herbs e.g. tarragon, parsley, mint, chives

FOR THE GARLIC CROUTONS:

  • 2 slices of sourdough or white baguette
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic

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

Drizzle the bread with some oil and season, then roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, turning halfway through. They should be crispy and golden.

Once baked, rub the bread with the raw garlic and cut into croutons.

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes, mint sprig and 1 tsp salt, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, no firmness should remain. Drain and discard the mint.

Meanwhile, bring another pan of water to the boil and add the eggs. Cook for 6 minutes and 30 seconds for firm whites and runny yolks, then drain under cold running water to cool and peel.

Bring another pan of salty water to the boil. Chop the asparagus spears into three and boil for 3-4 minutes or until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon, then bring the water back to the boil and ad a pinch of sugar. Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Toss the potatoes with 2 tbsp of the mayonnaise, apple, scallions and capers. Whisk the olive oil and white wine vinegar together, season, then dress the lettuce and soft herbs, the asparagus and peas. Spread the rest of the mayonnaise across a serving plat, top with the postates and dressed salad, halve the eggs and add more mayonnaise if you like. Garnish with the croutons and extra herbs.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This couldn’t be easier and it’s perfect for a Friday night. We used the curry paste from this recipe but you can use a good quality shop-bought version either. Serve with sticky rice and salad.

Wine Suggestion: we often turn to aromatic wines for Thai food and for this dish was no different as we chose the Korrell Slice of Paradise Riesling. A dry Riesling from the Nahe in Germany this is the youthful cuvée from the more regal Paradies vineyard Martin Korrell makes. Standing up to the earthy and rich peanuts and cutting through the rich coconut milk this is always a joy to drink, let alone pair with food. Light and refreshing, and yet powerful enough to work with meat and complex flavours – we love the versatility this lends.

Panang Beef Balls – serves 4

  • 500g beef mince
  • 60g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oi
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil or mint, to garnish

Roll the beef mince into small round balls, about 2.5 cm.

Roll the balls in flour and dust of the excess.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the meatballs until brown, keep tilting the pan so they brown evenly. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.

Add the curry paste to the wok and stir-fry for a few minutes over a low heat.

Stir in the coconut milk, the fish sauce, peanut butter and sugar. Taste the sauce and add extra fish sauce or sugar if needed.

Put the beef balls back into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Garnish with chopped basil.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake.)

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This is one of those recipes that we spotted in the paper and realised we had all the ingredients. It’s yummy – perfect for mid-week lunches.

Spiced carrot soup – serves 4

  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh mint and parsley, to serve

Warm the olive oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured.

Add the cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes, then add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the hot stock to the saucepan, then add the lentils, a little salt and the bay leaves.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 25-30 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are soft.

Whizz the soup in a blender or with a stick blender until you have a thick purée.

Season to taste and garnish with the fresh herbs.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, 25 Apr 2021)

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You should try this the next time you have some leftover roast chicken. In fact, it’s even worth cooking some chicken specially. Great for lunch with some fresh bread and butter.

Chopped Chicken Salad – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced (or just use some leftover roast chicken which is what we did)
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 100g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tarragon sprigs, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 thyme springs, leaves only
  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce or Little Gem lettuce, finely chopped
  • 50g watercress, stems finely chopped and leaves left whole
  • 50g rocket, roughly chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

You need to start with a very large bowl, big enough to toss all of the salad ingredients together in.

Make the salad dressing in the bowl by whisking all of the ingredients together with some salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat. Fold in the chopped celery, scallions, cucumber, radishes and cherry tomatoes, then the herbs. Stir it all together and season with salt and black pepper.

When you are ready to serve, add the lettuce, watercress, rocket and Parmesan to the bowl. Toss everything together and serve as it is or tip out onto a large serving dish.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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This isn’t a whole lot different from the chicken soup you get in a tin, though definitely not as salty. It also makes heaps and you can freeze it. 

Creamy chicken soup – serves 8

  • 1kg chicken thighs with skin removed but bones in
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 2 large onions, cut into large wedges
  • 4 celery sticks, quartered into short lengths
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, plus some extra to sprinkle over at the end if you like
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper (or black if you prefer)
  • 40g plain flour
  • 300ml double cream

Put the chicken thighs into a very large, heavy-based pan and fry until coloured on all sides. If you keep the heat low they should cook in their own fat but we find it easier to add a little bit of oil to get them started.

Add the wine, then turn up the heat and boil rapidly to evaporate the alcohol. When it has bubbled for a few minutes, add the veg, herbs, 1 tsp salt and the white pepper. Pour in 2 litres of boiling water, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken and veg are tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and discard them, then leave to cool for about 30 minutes. 

Take the chicken out of the soup with a slotted spoon, then strip the meat from the bones. Reserve 140g of the chicken but add the rest back into the soup pot. Blitz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until very smooth, then return to the pan. 

Blend the flour and cream together with a couple of ladles of the soup, then stir this mixture into the rest of the soup and heat, stirring all the time, until thickened and hot. You shouldn’t get any lumps if you keep stirring but if you do just give it another blitz. Chop the reserved chicken and stir into the soup. Check the seasoning, you might need more salt, then serve with some thyme leaves over the top if you like. 

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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