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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Who doesn’t love meatballs. There’s at least one person in this house who would have them every week. This recipe by Olia Hercules makes heaps to help with that problem.

Wine Suggestion: great with a simple Sangiovese with bright and slightly crunchy fruits and a good wack of tannins. Rocca delle Macie’s Chianti Vernaiolo is our standby and doesn’t hide behind oak, rather celebrates the joy of fruit. The added joy is the smooth tannins this wine brings despite the potentially awkward Sangiovese grape; they have a great feel for getting the balance right even with a bouncingly youthful cuvee.

Olia’s Meatballs – Sugo Della Mamma – makes 30 meatballs

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 60g stale sourdough bread with crusts (or dry out 80g of fresh bread chunks in the oven)
  • 250ml hot whole milk
  • 20g parsley, very finely chopped
  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g pork mince
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 100g Pecorino/Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • up to 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised but left whole
  • 800g tomato passata or 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • Tagliagelle, pappardelle or orecchiette, to serve

Put the bread into a bowl and pour over the hot milk. Leave for 5 mintues then press the bread down to make sure it’s all soaked. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

Mix the mince, egg, bread and soaking milk, grated garlic, parsley, cheese and nutmeg together. Season well with 1 tbsp of sea salt and lots of black pepper. Use your hands to mix it all together really well.

Wet your hands and shape the mixture into about 30 golf-ball sixed meatballs.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil for the sauce. Fry the meatballs in batches until browned on a couple of sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

If you need more fat you can add the extra 2 tbsp of oil, then add the bruised garlic and cook for a few minutes to infuse the oil, then remove and discard.

Add the passata or tomatoes to the pan, then fill the jar or tin with 200ml water and add that with a generous pinch of salt. Cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce and cook for 15-20 minutes at a gentle bubble. Add the basil sprigs for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Cook the pasta, then roughy drain so a little water remains. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, ladle over the sauce and meatballs and gently stir to combine.

Serve with extra grated pecorino.

(Original recipe from Home Food by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury, 2022.)

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We love simple ideas like this one for mid-week inspiration. We used ready-made spinach gnocchi, try and find a decent brand if you can.

Gnocchi with mushroom and paprika butter – serves 3

  • 50g butter
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 500g pack gnocchi
  • 100ml sour cream or crème fraîche
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat a small knob of the butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt, and cook until soft and golden.

Add the rest of the butter, garlic and rosemary, then cook gently for 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the paprika and season with black pepper, then keep over a low heat while you cook the gnocchi.

Drain the gnocchi and tip into the mushroom pan. Toss everything together and serve in warm bowls with a dollop of cream, lots of black pepper and some Parmesan.

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

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This is a nice soupy-stew sort of thing. Perfect for cold nights but still with nice fresh flavours.

Wine Suggestion: We went a bit left-field for this dish and look for an aged white Rioja where you get the roundness and poise of an oaked chardonnay but with a slightly softer acidity. Graceful in age the Urbina Rioja Bianco Crianza 2014 was both youthful with melon and citrus fruits, and with a layer of aged, tertiary fennel, aniseed and peach. A joy to know this is the current release from an under the radar winery.

Chicken with leeks & orzo – serves 3

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs
  • 250g leeks, cut into short lengths, wash well to get rid of any grit and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • half a lemon, cut into 2 fat wedges
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 200g orzo
  • 150g frozen peas
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of tarragon, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a large, deep casserole dish. Fry the chicken thighs until well-browned on both sides, then remove and set aside.

Add the leeks to the chicken fat in the pan and cook over a medium-low heat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes, you want them softened but not browned.

Add the stock and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes to the boil, then add half the lemon, peppercorns and 1 tsp of salt. Scatter in the orzo and boil for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Add the peas, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Add the tarragon and parsley and serve in warm bowls.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021)

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We served this with steak but it would be nice with other vegetable dishes too.

Pomegranate-glazed aubergine – serves 4

  • 2 large aubergines, peeled and cut into 2.5cm rounds
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • a generous handful of salted peanuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Set the aubergine slices onto the baking tray, then brush both sides with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes until cooked through but not browned.

Mix the pomegranate molasses and maple syrup together, then use a pastry brush to brush evenly over both sides of the aubergines, then sprinkle with some flaked sea salt. Roast for another 5-6 minutes or until glazed and sticky.

Scatter with the scallion and peanuts before serving.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Asteer, 2022.)

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A roasting tin dinner for busy evenings and when a batch of “very” late season cherry tomatoes land in our lap.

Rosemary & balsmic salmon with tomatoes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, 2 left whole and needles picked and finely chopped from the rest
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 600g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 small salmon fillets
  • 2 handfuls of rocket

Heat the oven to 220C/200 Fan/Gas 7.

Whisk the baslsamic, olive oil, chopped rosemary, garlic, and seasoning, together in a small bowl.

Tip the tomatoes and beans into a large roasting tray. Nestle in the salmon fillets, then pour over the dressing. Toss gently to make sure everything is coated in dressing.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Give the beans and tomatoes another gentle toss and push down on a few tomatoes to burst them. Scatter over the rocket and serve.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, October 2021.)

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We’ve made a salad like this before but this one is fresher and makes a great side dish for a crowd. We served it with some spicy baked salmon.

Georgian kidney bean salad – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 x 400g tins kidney beans (we used 300g dried kidney beans, rinse then soak in 3 times the volume of cold water for 5 hours. Drain and put into a saucepan covered by an inch with cold water, then boil hard for 30 minutes, stirring to prevent any sticking)
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tsp dried mint
  • 2 banana shallots, very thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • Maldon salt & fresh ground black pepper

If you are using tinned beans, drain them rinse well under a cold tap to get rid of the briny liquid. Shake the beans dry, then tip into a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredints to the bowl and fold together gently, you don’t want to crush the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, stir again and leave at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Stir well again before serving.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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The mussels are cooked in a fairly light sauce but packed with flavour. Serve with some crusty bread if you like.

Wine Suggestion: This dish demands a white with good bones, though you need to keep it fresh and savoury as well for the taste of the sea the mussels bring. We chose to good effect Quinta Soalheiro’s Alvarinho Reserva which comes from some of their oldest vineyards in the north of Portugal. Aromatically intense with a complex structure, it nonetheless also maintains a salty freshness from the grape making it a great match for mussels.

Mussels and orzo with coconut & saffron – serves 4

  • 1kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 80g orzo pasta
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ a small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 1¼ tsp fine salt
  • 150g yellow cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp tomato purée
  • ¾ tsp saffron threads
  • 400g tin coconut milk
  • up to 2 tsp chilli paste, we used paté bomba con peponcini piccanti (optional)
  • 1 lemon

FOR THE HERB OIL:

  • 5g chives, finely chopped
  • 5g coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of fine salt

Put the orzo into a medium-sized ball and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, shallow sauté pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, pepper, the whole Scotch bonnet and the salt. Cook gently for about 8 minutes, or until soft but not coloured.

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and saffron and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the orzo, then spread the mussels out on top. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 5 minutes or until the mussels have all opened.

Discard the whole chilli, you can give it a squeeze into the sauce first if you like heat. Taste the sauce and add some chilli paste if you like.

Squeeze plenty of lemon juice over the mussels, then mix all the ingredients for the herb oil together and spoon over the top.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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A delicious autumnal dish for not just sauerkraut lovers, but we think something to convert skeptics too. The sauerkraut provides freshness to the rich cream and cheese, plus it complements the velvety butternut texture.

Butternut squash with sauerkraut and gruyère – serves 3

  • 3 small butternut squash
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 medium to large onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 250g sauerkraut
  • 150ml double cream
  • 125g Gruyère, grated

Heat the oven to 200C.

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fibres with a spoon. Set the halves in a large roasting tin, then dot over the butter, sprinkle over the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the hot over for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large deep pan, over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes or until pale gold and soft. Stir the parsley into the onions, then remove from the heat and add the sauerkraut, cream and cheese. Season.

When the squash are ready, divide the cheese and sauerkraut mixture betwen them, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021.)

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We’re starting to switch to more autumnal dishes. This is thoroughly traditional in style and will put a bit of warmth in your belly. The best side for all pies is peas to which we added a few glazed carrots. Comfort food for cold weather.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve gone a bit mad for Portuguese reds the past while and for this it was no different as we opened, and enjoyed the Herdade do Sobroso Red. From the Alentejo this is an Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend, having the joy of having a rich core, alongside an elegance and freshness that sits very nicely with the sausages and gravy.

Sausage & Mash Pie – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 large pork sausages
  • 25g butter
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • a pinch of golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 500ml beef stock
  • frozen peas, cooked to serve

FOR THE MASH:

  • 1.25kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or Roosters, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 25g butter
  • 25g mature cheddar, coarsely grated

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the sausages over a medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan and heat until sizzling, then add the onions and sugar and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Scatter over the flour and stir to make a paste, then add the tomato purée and cook for a minute. Add the vinegar, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Tip any juices from the sausages into the pan, then slice the sausages into chunky pieces and add these too. Simmer for 5 minutes or until you have a rich and glossy gravy. Tip the mixture into a large baking dish.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until just cooked. Drain and leave to steam dry for a minute. Pour the milk into the pan and bring to a simmer, then tip in the drained potatoes and butter, and mash. Season to taste.

Top the sausages with the mash, starting at the edge and working into the middle, careful not to leave any gaps or the gravy will bubble through. Use a fork to scrape lines along the surface and sprinkle with the cheese.

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

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned. Remove the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with the peas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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These are a nice spin on regular sausage roll. Great for a snack with some ketchup.

Sausage rolls with barberries & dill – makes 16

  • 370g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 350g sausagemeat
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 15g dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put all of the filling ingredients into a large bowl. Season generously with maldon salt and black pepper, then mix with your hands for a couple of minutes until evenly combined.

Divide the puff pastry sheet in two, lengthways.

Divide the sausage mixture in two, then form two long sausages, almost the same length as the pastry strips. Place a sausage in the middle of each piece of pastry. Brush one edge of the pastry with egg, then fold the pastry edges over to enclose the sausage. The beaten egg will help to seal them.

Turn the rolls over so the seam is underneath, then cut each roll into 8 pieces.

Transfer to the baking tray and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, then bake in the hot oven for 22-25 minutes or until well browned. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with some ketchup if you like.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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A delicious steak recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage. Ixta fries the steak in a pan over a high heat, we used a barbecue – fabulous flavours either way. You will need to grind about 3 black limes to get enough for the marinade and the butter.

Wine Suggestion: Thanks to our friends Tim & Mick, who’ve been travelling recently, we had an excellent Öküzgözü from Turkey which was regal, refined, and a delightful surprise. We wish we could remember the name of the winery as we forgot to take a picture and the bottle recycling was done the next day before we remembered! Full of black cherry, raspberry, and dark mulberry flavours; this was complex and had layers of dark chocolate, licorice, leather, tobacco, cloves, and something slightly herbal and minty, but we couldn’t put our finger on what.

Bavette steak with black lime & maple butter – serves 4

  • 500g bavette steak, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 300g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Urfa chili flakes (we used a mixture of smoked paprika and aleppo pepper)
  • 1½ tsp ground black lime
  • about 50 twists of black pepper

FOR THE SOY AND MAPLE BUTTER:

  • 40g ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2½ tsp maple syrup
  • ½ a small clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ¾ tsp ground black lime
  • ¾ tsp Urfa chilli flakes (see above)

Pat the steak dry and put into a large bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and rub into the steaks. Leave aside for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour (you can do this further ahead and leave in the fridge but make sure you bring them back to room temperature before cooking).

Get your barbecue very hot, then sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side, you want them dark brown on the outside but rare in the middle. Transfer to a warm plate and rest for 8 minutes, turning over halfway.

While the steaks are resting, slice the tomatoes and onions and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with ½ tsp flaked salt.

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is melted and hot, remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, black lime and chilli flakes.

Slice the bavette against the grain and arrange over the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with some sea salt, then spoon over the soy and maple butter and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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Who doesn’t love squeaky cheese? This baked halloumi is good as a side dish with some roasted chicken thighs, or you could serve as a starter with some flatbreads.

Baked halloumi with lemon, thyme & honey – serves 2-4

  • 250g block halloumi cheese
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp clear honey
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon and juice of half
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • flatbread, to serve

Heat your oven to 220C (200C fan), Gas 7.

Prepare a piece of tinfoil, large enough to completely encase the halloumi. Line the tinfoil with a square of baking paper and put the halloumi in the middle. Scrunch the paper tighly around the block, leaving only the top exposed.

Mix all of the other ingredients together in a small bowl, then pour over the halloumi.

Scrunch the foil around the halloumi to make a sealed parcel. Put the parcel into a small ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove form the oven and serve with warm flatbread.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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So tasty and an absolute doddle to prepare. We served with some crusty bread and baked halloumi. Delicious!

Za’atar, paprika & garlic chicken – serves 3

  • 6 large chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½

Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.

Line a baking tray with paper.

Put the chicken thighs into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and add the spices, lemon zest and juice and lots of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat the chicken in the mixture.

Put the chicken onto the lined tray and roast for 1 hour or until well browned and cooked through (you can check at 45 minute if your thighs are small).

(Original recipe from Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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We love dal on a friday night with some naan breads from the takeaway.

Chana dal – serves 4

  • 400g yellow split peas or chana dal
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 fresh red chillies, pricked with a knife in a few places

Rinse the dal in a few changes of cold water, until the water runs clear, then put into a saucepan. Cover with 1.25 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes, or until cooked. The texture should be soft with no bite or chalky texture.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for gently for about 15 minutes or until caramelized. Add half the garlic and fry for another few minutes, then remove from the heat.

Add the onion mixture to the dal, along with the garam masala, chilli powder and salt. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Wipe out the frying pan, then heat the remaining oil. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they pop, then add the rest of the garlic and the red chillies. As soon as the garlic starts to turn golden, take the pan off the heat and drizzle everything over the dal, garnishing with the chillies. Stir everything together before serving with rice, chapattis or naan and pickles.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

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You need to cut your courgettes into very thin strips for this, as thin as the pasta. The sauce is a bit carbonara-ish, very delicious.

Wine Suggestion: Something fun and white like the El Abuelo de Piqueras, a Verdejo – Sauvignon Blanc blend from Almansa in Spain. Vibrant fruit tied together with a sense of fun and energy.

Bucatini with courgettes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g courgettes, cut into 5cm long, 2mm thick strips
  • 400g bucatini (or spaghetti, linguine or fusilli)
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 extra egg yolks
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • a few fresh basil leaves

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and courgettes with a pinch of salt, then cook gently for 10 minutes, turning over gently, until very soft. Remove from the heat.

Bring large pan of water to the boil, then add lots of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.

When the pasta is almost cooked, return the courgette pan to the heat to warm through the fat and courgettes and add the torn basil.

Drain the pasta and reserve some of the water. Add the pasta to the courgette pan and stir together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and a splash of pasta water, then stir quickly until everything is coated in a creamy sauce. Add a little more pasta water to make it silky if needed, then serve.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Fig Tree, 2021.)

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We are cooking our way through Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour. We struggle like everyone to eat well on busy days but this book is perfect for just that.

Wine Suggestion: White, lemony and medium bodied. Maybe a youthful Verdicchio, or our current fave, Zuani’s Ribolla Gialla Sodevo, from Collio in North East Italy. A grape that was so higly regarded by the Romans they implemented laws to protect it from adulteration … possibly the world’s first appellation laws …we’ll need to investigate further.

Pasta with sage butter, feta & pine nuts – serves 2

  • 200g pasta shells
  • 75g butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 pinches of pul biber chilli flakes

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the packet.

When the pasta is almost cooked, put a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and sage and allow the butter to melt gently but don’t let it sizzle much. Keep stirring so the sage flavours the butter.

Roughly drain the pasta (you want a little bit of water still on the pasta) and add to the pan with the butter and sage. Turn up the heat and season very generousy with black pepper and a little sea salt. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together, then add the feta and stir until melting and starting to coat the pasta.

Serve spinkled with extra black pepper and a pinch of pul biber.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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A delicious soup for leftover roast lamb and perfect for chilly weather.

Lamb & pearl barley broth – serves 6-8

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 200g leftover cooked lamb, sliced or shredded
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1.25 litres of chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the butter and oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the onions, celery, bay leaf and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to low, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until softened.

Add the lamb, chopped parsnip and carrot, the pearl barley and the stock. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the barley and vegetables are tender.

Remove and discard the bay and rosemary. Stir in the chopped parsley, season to taste, and serve.

(Original recipe from Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen, Michael Joseph, 2021.)

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We’re loving all the simple and delicious recipes from Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Persiana Everyday. This fish takes minutes to make and tastes amazing. We served with some sautéed potatoes and salad.

Wine Suggestion: A richer, rounder white like the Edetària “via Edetana” Blanc which combines old-vine Garnaxta Blanca with Viognier. Elegant and complex with honeysuckle, peach, tangerine and toasted nut aromas and flavours. The stonefruit flavours, in particular, seem to work with the earthy za’atar in a superb way.

Za’atar Sea Bass – serves 2

  • 1 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • veg oil, for frying
  • 2 skin-on sea bass fillets
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Mix the za’atar, flour and plenty of seasoning in a shallow dish.

Coat the fish fillets in the seasoned flour, turn them over a few times.

Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat and drizzle in enough oil to coat the base. When the oil is hot, put the sea bass fillets into the pan, skin-side down, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the skin is crispy. Turn the fish over and cook for another minute on the other side – they should be just cooked. Serve straight away with the lemon wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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Fresh corn is in the shops and it’s delicious cooked in the husks over a charcoal barbecue.

BBQ Corn on the Cob with Chilli Butter – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 corn cobs in the husks
  • 40g salted butter
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp urfa chilli flakes (we didn’t have urfa so used Aleppo pepper but you could also use smoked or regular paprika)

Put the whole corn cobs in their husks over a medium hot barbecue. Rotate them every 3-4 minutes until really charred – about 15 minutes in total.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan until starts to foam. Remove from the heat, add the honey and urfa chilli and mix well.

Take the corn cobs off the heat and leave aside for 10 minutes, then pull back the burnt husk and return to a high heat for a minute or two the char some of the flesh.

Return the pan with the butter to the heat to foam the butter again, then serve the corn cobs with the butter drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoked: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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Easy and full of veg. Great for a weeknight, and if your kid is like ours they will eat anything with pasta and cheese!

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with a juicy red from a warmer climate. The Cline Family Cellars have star with their Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel which has a joyful balance between vibrant and complex red and black fruit, velvety tannins and a easy drinkability.

Veggie Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 aubergine, finely chopped
  • 1 courgette, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a handful of roughly chopped basil
  • 300g pasta – we used fusilli
  • 150g mozzarella ball, drained and finely chopped (you don’t need the expensive buffalo stuff for this)
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of grated Parmesan cheese

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

Put the peppers, aubergine, courgettes and onion into a large roasting tin and toss in the oil. Season well with salt and pepper, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning a couple of times, until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.

Add the cherry tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, garlic and basil and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water. Add 4-6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water to the cooked vegetables to make it a bit more saucy.

Drain the pasta and tip into the roasting tin with the veg. Add the mozzarella and pesto and stir well to combine. Top with the Parmesan and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Food)

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