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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Cheesy broccoli baked potatoes

These are great for a mid-week dinner with a salad or you could serve alongside a meat dish. Absolute comfort food.

Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 300g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 tbsp grain mustard
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 140g grated Cheddar
  • a generous lump of butter

Heat the oven to 220ºC.

Rub a little bit of oil over the potato skins and place in the oven on a baking tray for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 200ºC and continue to bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender.

Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for a few minutes and drain well.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthways and scoop the insides into a bowl or pot. Mash the cooked potatoes with a fork, then stir in a generous lump of butter, the mustard, egg, most of the cheese and broccoli. Season, then pile back into the shells. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are crisp and golden. Serve with salad.

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Mouclade

We mainly eat mussels in the colder months – something to do with months with an r in the them, but also they just seem like cold weather food to us. They’re so cheap and yet such a treat. This is typical Friday night food in our house, served with crusty bread or fries. La Mouclade is a French recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey and includes a creamy curry sauce – delicious!

Wine Suggestion: As this dish comes from the Charentes region of France, we sipped some chilled Pineau des Charentes as an aperitif and then a glass of Bordeaux Blanc. While we would have loved to have found some Right Bank Bordeaux Ch Monbousquet or Valandraud Blanc we had some Chateau Bouscaut Blanc from the Graves instead. A Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend with some barrel aging after fermentation in stainless steel. Great with seafood and able to stand up to the curry and saffron.

La Mouclade – serves 4

  • a good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1.75 kg mussels, cleaned
  • 120ml dry white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp good-quality medium curry powder
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the saffron into a small bowl with a tablespoon of warm water.

Put the mussels and wine into a large saucepan, cover and cook over a hight heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the mussels have opened. Tip them into a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid. Transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and curry powder and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the cognac and cook until almost evaporated, then stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually stir in the saffron liquid and the mussel liquid (leave the very last gritty bit behind). Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for another few minutes, until slightly reduced. Season to taste, stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the mussels .

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)

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Spiced Paneer and Pea rice

This is barely a recipe, more a quick assembly of things that happen to be lying around. Typical of the sort of meal we have near the end of the week, when ingredients are running low. The paneer cheese bulks out the rice and the cool yoghurt negates the need for a sauce.

Spiced paneer and pea rice – serves 2

  • 200g pack of paneer (Indian cheese), diced
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (we like Patak’s Madras)
  • a pouch of ready-to-eat brown basmati (or use can cook your own)
  • 100g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghrut
  • a handful of mint, chopped
  • naan breads and lemon wedges to serve

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, then fry the paneer until golden.

Add the curry paste and fry.

Heat the rice in a microwave according to the pack instructions, then tip into the pan with the peas and toss together.

Mix the yoghurt with the mint and season.

Serve the rice with the yoghurt, naan bread and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2017.)

 

 

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Blackberry Mess

We’re not really into desserts but occasionally make meringues for guests. Recently we had some left over and used a grate of blackberries to make a boozy sauce to stir through them with some whipped cream. Avoid the temptation to over-mix as this looks prettiest when the components are lightly swirled together.

Blackberry mess – serves 6

  • 6 bought or home-made meringue nests
  • about 500g of blackberries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of blackberry or blackcurrant liqueur – we used Chambord (you could leave this out if you don’t have any)
  • 250ml of double cream, whipped

Put about three-quarters of the blackberries into a pan with the sugar and cook over a low heat for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the blackberries are starting to soften. Add the liqueur. Allow to cool before stirring in the reserved blackberries.

Break the meringues into a large bowl and mix in the whipped cream. Swirl some of the blackberry sauce into the meringue mixture then divide into 6 bowls. Spoon the rest of the blackberry sauce over the individual dishes.

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Pomegranate, cucumber and pistachio yoghurt

We are always on the look out for cooling dips to serve with spicer dishes. This one would be good with any middle eastern-style meal that warrants something cool on the side. Or you could have it on its own with some toasted pittas. Another great recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour.

Pomegranate, cucumber & pistachio yoghurt – serves 6 to 8

  • 500ml thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large banana shallot or 2 small round shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into 1cm dice
  • 150g pomegranate seeds, rinsed to remove the juice
  • 100g pistachio nuts
  • 30g of mint, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
  • toasted pitta bread to serve

Pour the yoghurt into a large bowl and mix in the shallot. Add the cucumber, pomegranate seeds and pistachios (keep some of each to sprinkle over before serving). Add the mint, then fold everything gently through the yoghurt. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.

To serve drizzle with some good olive oil and scatter over the reserved cucumber, pomegranate seeds and pistachios.

Serve as a dip with toasted pittas or as a cooling side dish.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

 

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Smoked ham salad, with shaved Gruyere, Escarole & Walnuts

You know those fab salads that they serve in French bistros? Well this is one of those and it’s from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey – a book we never travel to France without.

Wine Suggestion: this wine reminded us of holidays in the Dordogne in France so we chose a white Bergerac from Chateau le Tap, a nearly even blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with a touch of Muscadelle thrown in.

Smoked ham salad with shaved Gruyère, escarole and walnuts – serves 4

  • 1 escarole lettuce or 2 English curly lettuces
  • 100g piece of Gruyère cheese
  • 400g of good quality smoked cooked ham – about 12 very thin slice
  • 10 walnuts in the shell
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil (or use more olive oil if you haven’t got this)

Remove the outer lettuce leaves and discard, then break the rest into leaves. Wash and dry well in a salad spinner.

Cut the cheese into very thin strips using a cheese slicer or mandolin.

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Add the crème fraîche, whisk until emulsified then gradually whisk in the olive and walnut oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the sliced ham, lettuce leaves and shaved cheese onto 4 plates and scatter over the shelled walnuts. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with the chives.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)

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Green couscous and roasted veg with black garlic and preserved lemon

Black garlic is a revelation and we’ll definitely use it again after this dish – sweet and mellow with lots of flavour but none of the harshness associated with white garlic. This is a great crowd pleaser by Sabrina Ghayour with lots of fresh flavours and bright colours. We served with spicy roast salmon but it would be great with meat dishes too.

Green couscous & roasted veg with black garlic & preserved lemons – serves 6 to 8 as a side

  • 2 courgettes, halved lengthways and sliced into 1cm thick half moons
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 2.5cm squares
  • 1 yellow or green pepper, cut into 2.5cm squares
  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 300g couscous
  • 6 to 8 preserved lemons, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 head of black garlic, cloves thinly sliced

FOR THE HERB OIL:

  • 50g flat parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 50g coriander, roughly chopped
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to its highest setting and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put the courgettes, peppers & onions into the baking tray. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Use your hands to make sure the vegetables are all coated with the oil, then spread them out evenly on the tray. Roast for 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the pack, then separate the grains with a fork.

To make the herb oil, use a mini food processor or stick blender to blitz the herbs with enough olive oil to make a smooth herb oil – a few tablespoons. Season generously with salt and then stir the herb oil through the couscous. Finally, stir in the roasted veg, preserved lemons and black garlic. Serve hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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