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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Valentines baked potatoes with caviar

This was our Valentine’s dinner and very special it was too!

Wine Suggestion: it’s any excuse for bubbly in our house and it makes a natural pair for this dish too. Our choice was the Domaine de la Paleine Cremant de Loire, a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc that celebrated the saltiness of the caviar and went seamlessly with the creamy potatoes.

Baked potatoes with crème fraîche and trout caviar – serves 4

  • 4 small baking potatoes
  • 1 ½ tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 40g trout caviar

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

Drizzle the potatoes with ½ tbsp of the oil and a good pinch of salt and toss well. Put onto a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways and scoop the flesh out into a bowl, careful not to damage the shells. Mash the potatoes, then stir in the parsley, 120ml of the crème fraîche and seasoning. Brush the potato skins with the remaining oil, then spoon the potato mixture back into them.

Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and crispy on the outside. Spoon the remaining crème fraîche on top, followed by a spoon of caviar and some black pepper.

(Original recipe by Clodagh McKenna in Olive Magazine, February 2019.)

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Nasi Goreng

This is just the dish for leftover roast pork. We freeze the right quantity and enjoy it a week or too later after a busy day – it’s really quick to throw together.

Wine Suggestion: there’s a vibrant immediacy to this dish and likewise we chose a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, in this case the Doctors’ SB from Forrest Estate; dry, full flavoured and ripe but only 9.5% abv.

John Forrest pioneered this technique and it’s a brilliant addition to the wine world so we can drink lower alcohol levels and yet keep the same ripeness and flavour profiles.

Nasi goreng – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and sliced
  • 300g leftover cooked pork, chop into little chunks
  • 400g cooked rice
  • 4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100g cooked, shelled prawns
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce

Heat 1½ tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until soft, golden and starting to tinge. Add the garlic, chillies and pork and cook for a couple of minutes – let the pork colour a bit. Add the rice and spring onions – toss lightly and cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, quickly heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a nonstick frying pan and add the eggs. Cook as you would an omelette and when cooked cut into ribbons with a sharp knife.

Add the egg, prawns, soy sauce, salt and pepper to the rice and keep cooking for another 2 minutes to heat everything through, then serve.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchelle Beazley, 2012.)

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Lamb Ragoût

Lamb ragoût with fresh pasta

This lamb ragoût really reminds of holidays in Italy. Really simple but with a great concentrated flavour. No doubt it would be fab with some freshly made pappardelle, but dried was all we could muster on this occasion.

Wine Suggestion: While a red is often the first thought when matching a Ragoût, an oaked white would also work just as well with this dish. The Zuani Riserva from Collio in north eastern Italy would be a good choice. Delicately toasty with vanilla and touch of tropical fruit and some creamy, ripe stone-fruits. Broad and rich, creamy, thick fruit texture, peach and yellow plum with a long and gently spicy finish.

However if you feel like red, like Jules did tonight, then an elegant Sangiovese makes a good option and the Selvapiana Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina is a favourite of ours. Always superb.

Lamb Ragoût – serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1kg lamb shoulder, cut into small dice
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 125ml white wine
  • 500ml lamb stock
  • fresh or dried pappardelle pasta
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, add the onions, celery and carrot and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic, baby leaves and thyme. Add the lamb and season well with salt and pepper, sweat, then add the tomato purée.

Cook for a few minutes, then deglaze with the wine. Add the lamb stock and simmer for 3 hours, covered, until reduced – add more stock or water if it becomes too dry.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and stir into the ragoût with the parsley and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Caponata Spaghetti

A really healthy mid-week pasta dish but with heaps of flavour. Don’t be tempted to use  more oil than specified, as you really don’t miss it in this dish.

Caponata Spaghetti – serves 4

  • 2 aubergines, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of raisins
  • 1 tsp capers
  • a handful of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 300g wholewheat spaghetti
  • a small bunch of parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Toss the aubergine with 2tsp of oil and a little seasoning and tip into a large non-stick baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until charred and soft.

Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a large pan and cook the red onion and celery with a large pinch of salt for 10 minutes or until softening and caramelised a little. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes and 100ml water. Tip in the roasted aubergine and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the raisins, capers, olives and red wine vinegar, and season. Keep on a low heat while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the time on the pack, then drain, reserving a mug of the water. Tip the pasta into the caponata with the parsley, add a splash of water to loosen if needed. Stir well and serve.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, February 2019)

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Smoked Mackerel Loaded Leaves

This is the kind of nibble we like before dinner. Really tasty but light so it won’t spoil your appetite. Radicchio and/or chicory leaves are preferable but if you can’t find these you can substitute Little Gem lettuce – as we did.

Wine Suggestion: Your choice of bubbles, whether it’s Prosecco, Cremant, Cava or Champagne

Smoked Mackerel Loaded Leaves – serves 4-8

  • 200g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed and flaked
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of chives, snipped
  • small handful of dill, chopped
  • 1 small radicchio, separated into leaves
  • 1-2 chicory heads separated into leaves

Gently mix the mackerel with the crème fraîche, lemon juice, half the herbs and some pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Spoon generous amounts of the mackerel mixture into each leaf and arrange on a plates or a platter. Sprinkle over the remaining herbs and the lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Wheaten bread

A Northern Irish classic, wheaten bread is also the classic plain soda bread from further south in Ireland. As Jules grew up near Belfast and went to the same school as Trish Deseine (who knew?), our inspiration for this recipe, we call it “Wheaten”. Whatever you call it, this is an Irish classic and intrinsic to Irish food culture. So simple to make, tasty and versatile, this should be part of any cooks repertoire. We like it with a bowl of soup for lunch and toasted for breakfast the day after.

Northern Irish Wheaten Bread – makes 1 loaf

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 barely round tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 450-475ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 225C.

Mix the flours in a large, wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Run the mixture through your fingers to distribute everything evenly.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Stir the mixture in circles with outstretched fingers starting from the centre of the bowl and working outwards. It shouldn’t take long for the dough to almost come together. Give it a very quick knead in the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Sprinkle a little flour on your hands and gently tidy the dough into a round and transfer to an oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hands, then gently pat with your fingers into a loaf about 4cm thick.

Cut a deep cross into the bread and prick the centre of the four sections with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 15minutes. Turn the bread upside down and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until done – you can tell as it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

(Original recipe from Trish Deseine’s ‘Home: Recipes from Ireland, Hatchette Livre, 2015.)

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Penne baked with three cheeses

There is a never-ending supply of leftover cheese in our fridge but never more so than at this time of year. This is a super-easy pasta dish which will help to use up the cheeseboard leftovers.

Penne baked with three cheeses – serves 2

  • 200g penne
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 350ml milk
  • 75g hard cheese e.g. cheddar/gruyère, grated
  • 50g blue cheese e.g. stilton/gorgonzola/roquefort, crumbled
  • a handful of breadcrumbs (we used panko)
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan

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

Cook the pasta until al dente then rinse under cold water to stop it cooking any further and drain.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, stirring continuously, to make a white sauce. When the sauce has thickened and is starting to bubble, add the hard and blue cheese and stir until melted. Season to taste, then mix with the cooked pasta and pour into an ovenproof dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top, then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original Recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, December 2009.)

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