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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Courgette RisottoWe loved this simple risotto with toasted pine nuts and little pieces of fried courgette. Definitely special enough to serve to friends for dinner.

Wine Suggestion: this risotto demands a waxy, nutty white and what better than an excellent Soave made by Graziano Pra. His Soave Classico “Otto” is fresh and a delight with jasmine and hawthorn aromas, but if you can step up to the “Monte Grande” cuvée then you get extra depth and greater layers of almonds and nuts that complement the pine nuts perfectly.

Courgette Risotto – serves 3-4

  • 50g butter, plus a bit extra to finish
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g courgettes, 140g coarsely grated, dice the rest
  • 175g risotto rice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1.2 litres of veg stock (or chicken stock) kept hot over a low heat
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 heaped tbsp toasted pine nuts

Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan then gently fry the onions until softened. Stir in the grated courgettes and the rice, then increase the heat and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and a ladleful of the hot stock. Stir continuously over a medium-high heat. Keep stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed, then add another ladleful of stock. Continue like this for until the rice is just tender and has a creamy texture, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, mascarpone and some salt and black pepper, then cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes while you fry rest of the courgettes.

Heat the rest of the butter with a splash of oil in a small frying pan. Add the diced courgettes and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden & softened. Divide the risotto between plates, then scatter with the diced courgettes and any buttery juice from the pan, the pine nuts & a few pinches of lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Three hour shoulder of lamb

A delicious summer roast with meltingly tender lamb and so simple to prepare. Serve with a fresh mint sauce and some steamed new potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: We tried two wines with great success: the Rustenberg Chardonnay from South Africa, and the Chateau du Hureau “Fevettes” Saumur-Champigny. Both had the needed structure, or bones, to stand up to the rich lamb, but also played a delightful fresh mid-weight tune with the summer veg.

Three hour shoulder of lamb – serves 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shoulder of lamb, boned and tied, approx 1½ kg
  • 400g pearl onions or shallots
  • 250ml lamb stock
  • 100g fresh/frozen peas
  • 100g fresh/frozen broad beans
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into quarters
  • juice 1 lemon
  • small handful mint or coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Mix the garlic, oregano and olive oil with some salt and pepper. Make cuts all over the the lamb with a sharp knife and rub the mixture into the meat. Put into a deep casserole dish with the onions and pour over the stock, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook 3 hrs.

Remove the lamb from the pot and stir through the peas and broad beans. Sit the lamb back on top of the vegetables and return to the oven. Increase temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast, uncovered, for another 20-30 mins until the lamb is browned, adding the lettuce for the final 5 mins. Allow to rest for 20 mins, then add the lemon juice and mint to the cooking juices. Carve into thick slices and lay them back on top of the veg to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Green beans with lemon

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe that she recommends for Thanksgiving but we like it with roast chicken (and lots of other things) in the summer months. It’s easy to scale down for smaller numbers. We like our beans well-done – no squeaky, al-dente beans for us please.

Green Beans with Lemon – serves 8 to 10

  • 1kg fine green beans, topped and tailed (there’s always a debate in our house over whether or not to leave the curly tails on)
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon (to prepare cut a slice of each end, then cut downwards to remove the skin and pith, then slice)

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add plenty of salt to the boiling water, then add the beans and cook until tender (start checking after about 6 minutes).

Drain the beans and put the pot back over the heat with the butter and a few drops of olive oil. Add the lemon slices, and any juice on the board, to the butter. Stir well and add the beans.

Turn the beans over in the lemony butter. Add some sea salt and lots of freshly ground white pepper (black pepper will do fine if that’s what you have).

(Original recipe from Feast by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)

 

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Broccoli, walnut & blue cheese penne

We almost always have a bit of leftover blue cheese in the fridge and much as we love a cheese board, we don’t tend to have them on weeknights. So here’s a simple weeknight pasta – broccoli, walnuts & blue cheese – yum!

Broccoli Walnut & Blue Cheese Pasta – serves 2

  • 200g penne pasta
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of chopped walnuts
  • 100g blue cheese e.g. dolcelatte, cubed
  • 1 lemon

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salty water and add the broccoli 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the walnuts for a minute.

Scoop 4tbsp of the pasta cooking water out and add to the walnuts before draining. Return the pasta to the pan and add the walnuts and blue cheese. Stir gently until the cheese melts. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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BBQ roasted cherry tomatoesA revelation of a dish that we’ve been cooking all summer. Much tastier than expected and goes with pretty much anything you cook on the barbecue.

Roasted tomatoes & red onions – serves 6

  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced
  • 500g mixed small tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 3 thyme sprigs

Put the onion in the middle of a large square of double thickness foil. Fold the sides of the foil up to form a baking tray (or you can use a foil tray like we did).

Scatter the tomatoes over the onions and drizzle with about 3 tbsp of olive oil. Add the bashed garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Put the foil onto a rack on the barbecue and cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions and tomatoes are tender.

If the weather gods don’t shine you can put all the ingredients onto a roasting tray and bake in the oven at 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 for 20 minutes.

(Original idea from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2005.)

 

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Chicken with olives & tomatoes

This one-pot dish is full of Mediterranean flavours and reminiscent of summer sun. A tasty treat for mid-week and freezes well too.

Wine suggestion: try a glass of a good, dry Provençal Rosé. We had one made by Chateau Vignelaure which matched the sunny nature of this dish perfectly.

Chicken, red pepper & olive cacciatore – serves 6

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 6 drumsticks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, needles chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 120g pitted black olives,  halved
  • a large handful of basil leaves

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Season the chicken pieces well with salt & pepper. Heat a splash of oil in a large shallow casserole and fry the chicken until the skin is golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes and is easier to do in  a few batches. Remove the chicken onto a plate.

Pour most of the fat off the pan, then add the onions and garlic and fry for  over a low heat for about 8 minutes or until very soft.

Add the tomatoes, peppers and rosemary and simmer for another 10 minutes, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is rich and thick.

Stir the olives into the sauce and nestle the chicken pieces back into the pan. If your pan is too small to take the chicken in a single layer you can transfer everything to a baking dish at this point. Cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and comes away easily from the bone.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, July 2016.)

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Haloumi, courgette, chickpea and tomato couscous

Really summery, colourful, and quick to throw together.

Wine Suggestion: the vibrancy of flavours demanded an equally vivacious wine; we chose the Kilikanoon Morts’ Block Riesling from the Clare Valley in Australia. It was dry and driven by a limey, textured presence that sang alongside this dish.

Warm Couscous Salad with Halloumi, Courgette, Chickpeas & Tomatoes – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 250ml boiling vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g courgettes, sliced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes on the vine, halved
  • 250g pack of halloumi cheese, sliced thickly, then halved lengthways
  • 125ml olive oil (nothing too big flavoured)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp sugar

Tip the couscous into a bowl and pour over the vegetable stock. Cover with some cling film and leave for 5 minutes.

Mix the 125ml olive oil, the lime juice, garlic, mint & sugar together in a bowl to make a dressing.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, stir in the chickpeas, then pour over half of the dressing. Mix well together and pile onto a serving plate.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and fry the courgette slices for 2-3 minutes or until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Put the tomatoes into the pan, cut side down, for a couple of minutes until tinged brown on the cut side. Scatter the courgettes over the couscous, followed by the tomatoes.

Heat a little more oil, then add the halloumi strips and fry for a couple of minutes or until brown on all sides. Pile the halloumi on top of the salad and pour over the remaining dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

 

 

 

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