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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Fig, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad

There are figs going cheap everywhere at the moment and we’re trying to find lots of things to do with them. This salad by Thomasina Miers is delicious and full of autumnal flavours.

Wine Suggestion: if you feel like wine with your salad choose a fresh, unoaked white. There’s plenty of options but we like Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier from the northern Rhone which sits nicely with all the components here.

Roasted red onion, fig, blue cheese & walnut salad – serves 4

  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 6 ripe figs, sliced in half widthways
  • 75g walnuts
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 head radicchio, finely shredded
  • 100g watercress
  • 120g blue cheese, we used Gorgonzola as we had some for another dish

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

Scatter the onions over a large baking tray, season generously and drizzle with a tablespoon of the vinegar and olive oil to coat. Toss with your hands, lightly scatter with brown sugar, then roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the figs cut side down on a different tray, and season with salt, pepper, a little brown sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in the oven with the figs for another 10-12 minutes or until the figs are slightly softened and releasing their juice and the onions are crisp at the edges.

Drizzle the rest of the vinegar over the figs. Put the walnuts in a small baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Roughly chop.

Pour the juice from the fig roasting tray into a small cup, then whisk in 2-3 tbsp of oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Arrange the leaves on a large plate, top with the red onions and figs and dot around the cheese. Scatter over the walnuts and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe by Thomasina Miers in The Guardian.)

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Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Capers and Olives

It seems like so long since we’ve cooked fresh fish, but tonight was the night. We’ve had Rachel Roddy’s book (Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome) for ages now but this has been its first outing (for reasons that we won’t bore you with here). This dish was everything we hoped for – quick for a Friday night but absolutely packed with all the flavours that this family loves. We served with couscous but rice or bread are also suggested. Well done Rachel!

Wine Suggestion: we were seduced by the Sicilian white, the Gulfi Carjcanti, a blend of Carricante and the ancient Albanello. Lively and herbal alongside a salty sapiness in the flavour making this a great wine to pair with seafood, let alone the olives, capers and tomatoes in this dish.

Fish in spicy tomato sauce with capers and olives (Pesce all ghiotta) – serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, remove the strings and finely dice
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500g fresh tomatoes, or tinned plum tomatoes drained of the juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional but sometimes good if using tinned tomatoes)
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 50g salted capers, rinsed
  • 60g olives – we used a mixture of green and black
  • 4 fish fillets (cod, bream or hake – we used hake), about 120g each
  • 1 heaped tbsp of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Take your fish out of the fridge and season it with a little salt.

Gently fry the onions in a deep frying pan, large enough to fit the hake fillets in a single layer later, until soft and translucent.

Add the celery and cook for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and chilli and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the capers and olives and simmer for another couple of minutes.

Take the pan off the heat, make a space in the sauce and arrange the fish fillets, skin-side down, in a single layer, then spoon over some of the sauce. Put the pan back over a low heat and simmer very gently, spooning more sauce over occasionally, until the fish is cooked through – watch carefully as it shouldn’t take too long. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from ‘Two Kitchens – Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome’ by Rachel Roddy, HEADLINE HOME, 2017)

 

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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This veggie pasta dish uses shop-bought ravioli and the whole thing cooks in one pan in the oven. Couldn’t be simpler and really tasty on a night when time is short (which is every night for us at the minute).

Wine Suggestion: a lemony, fresh white like the Umani Ronchi Ca’Sal di Serra Verdicchio which is crisp and pure with lovely vibrant fruit. It tastes of summer which we’ve had a reprise of these last few days.

Creamy Lemon & Spinach Ravioli – serves 2

  • 250g pack spinach & ricotta ravioli (or another flavour if you prefer)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g baby spinach, chopped
  • 200ml hot vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp soft cheese, we used Philadelphia
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

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

Spread the ravioli over a baking dish and scatter over the peas and spinach.

Whisk the hot stock, soft cheese, lemon zest and juice and half the Parmesan together in a jug. Season well, then pour over the ravioli. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the foil, scatter over the rest of the cheese, then bake for another 5 minutes before serving.

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

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We’re back from our holidays and sadly no longer living on a diet of bread, cheese & wine (bread, cheese & ice cream for Orlaith – age 5). This is a nice simple pasta dish for a Friday night.

Wine Suggestion: our choice is a fresh Chenin blanc, the Chateau Hureau Argile which has a crisp freshness as well as great depth matching the creamy chicken.

Chicken, Rocket & Pine Nut Pasta – serves 4 to 6

  • 450g penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 large chicken breast fillets, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 100g rocket or watercress, remove any tough stalks
  • Parmesan shavings, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water until al dente.

Heat a frying pan and lightly toast the pine nuts, then set aside.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté the onion, garlic & thyme for a few minutes, then tip into a bowl and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and cook the chicken strips for 2-3 minutes and season lightly, then turn and cook for another few minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Return the onion mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the crème fraíche and mustard, then bring to a gentle simmer but don’t let it boil.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, then pour in the creamy chicken and add the rocket or watercress. Toss lightly to combine and season.

Divide between warm bowls and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and some Parmesan shavings.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Everyday Palestinian Salad

We love a chopped salad and this one in particular is a handy one to have up your sleeve. We served with a Palestinian rice dish but it would be suitable for all sorts of eventualities.

Everyday Palestinian Salad – serves 4

  • 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of a lemon

Slice the cucumbers in half and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop into 1cm dice.

Scoop the seed out of the tomatoes and chop into similar sized pieces to the cucumber. Do the same with the red pepper and put all three into a large bowl.

Dress the salad with the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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Spiced Cauliflower Roast

We try to eat fairly light mid-week with an emphasis on veg and not too many carbs. It’s much easier in the summer when the nights are bright and we don’t crave comfort food the same way.

Today is the first Monday of June, it’s been grey and lashing with rain all day and it feels far from summery, but we live in hope. So there is loads going on in this roasted cauliflower dish – hot chilli, cooling yoghurt, sour pomegranate, fresh herbs and crispy chickpeas. Just what we needed.

Wine Suggestion: A great match is the mildly unfashionable, but very beloved by wine enthusiasts, Mosel Riesling. For simplicity the Dr Loosen Estate Riesling which balances a lighter body with a good depth and personality; light alcohol and body but a dancing, full flavour.

Spiced Cauliflower Roast – serves 4

  • 50g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cauliflower (about 1kg)
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • small bunch of mint, chopped
  • 1 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 200g cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • pomegranate molasses

FOR THE FETA DRESSING:

  • 100g good-quality feta
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of ½ lemon

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

Beat the butter and spices with a wooden spoon in a small bowl.

Trim the outer leaves of the cauliflower and remove the very bottom of the root but not all of it as it will help hold it together. Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Cook the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes to soften slightly, then gently remove from the water and onto a baking tray.

Scatter the chickpeas around the cauliflower. Rub the cauliflower with the spiced butter, dot a little butter over the chickpeas and season everything. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until the cauliflower is completely tender and the chickpeas crispy.

Meanwhile, make the feta dressing by whisking the feta and yoghurt together in a large bowl until creamy. Add the lemon juice and whisk again, then season. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Remove the cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven and transfer the cauliflower onto a plate. Mix the remaining ingredients except the pomegranate molasses, with the warm chickpeas on the tray. Arrange the chickpeas on a platter and put the whole cauliflower on top. Spoon over the feta dressing and drizzle with a little pomegranate molasses to serve.

(Original recipe from BBCGoodFood)

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