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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Broad Bean Carbonara

There has been so many broad beans on our plates in the last couple of weeks, not that we’re complaining, we adore them! The frozen ones are hard to beat as they tend to be small and sweet.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a well made Chardonnay with a deft hand with oak and fresh acidity depending on what you have at hand; Burgundy, Jura, Baden, Stellenbosch, Macedon, Santa Cruz, etc.

Broad bean carbonara – serves 2

  • 85g pancetta (we had bacon lardons which worked perfect)
  • 100g podded and skinned broad beans (put the beans in boiling water for a minute, then refresh under cold water, the skins will slip off easily) – if you’re buying in pods you will need about 400g
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 200g parpardelle pasta (we used tagliatelle but you could use whatever pasta)
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt it generously.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta/bacon for about 8 minutes or until crisp.

Beat the egg yolks with the cream and season generously with black pepper.

Cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain, but save a bit of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the broad beans and pancetta in the frying pan. Add the egg and cream mixture and stir to coat, you may need some of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Add half the Parmesan and toss through the pasta, then serve in warm bowls with the extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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Double Chocolate Shortbreads

We’re not prolific bakers, in case you hadn’t noticed. Jono & Orlaith have been doing a bit of baking during the week to keep Orlaith entertained and to stop her begging from more dubious treats from the corner shop. These were definitely a hit and very easy. Freeze half to pull out and bake another day.

Double Chocolate Shortbreads – makes 12

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate chips

Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and the cocoa, then the chocolate chips – use your hands if you need.

Halve the dough and roll each piece into a 5cm thick log. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour (it will be fine for a few days in the fridge either or you can freeze it).

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Slice the dough into 1cm-thick rounds and transfer to a lined baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes and leave to cool on the tray.

(Original recipe by BBC Good Food)

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Spicy Roasted New Potatoes with Lemon & Herbs

This dish bursts with flavour. We’ve been entertaining in our garden (in small groups and at a distance) and it’s been so nice to cook dishes to feed more than 2! Another triumph from Falastin and great with some grilled meat; this will be done many atime again we suspect. You can prep up to the point before you put the potatoes in the oven. Cook and dress when you’re ready to eat.

Spicy roasted new potatoes with lemon & herbs  – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 7 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 750g baby new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 large lemon, finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp and juice to get 2 tbsp
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seed and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until it starts to colour.

Add the chilli and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the potatoes, sugar, 1 tsp of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir and transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Roast for 40 minutes, tossing once, until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before adding the lemon zest & juice, coriander & dill. Toss gently & serve.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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Lamb Chops with Minty Broad Beans

Our beloved broad beans, one of our absolute favourite vegetables, and they work perfectly with lamb and mint. Double podding seems like a bit of a faff but it’s definitely one of Jules’ favourite kitchen jobs, even better outside in the sunshine.

Wine Suggestion: Domaine Brusset’s Cotes du Rhone Red; mid-weight, open and friendly fruit and gentle spices. The Brusset’s are a lovely family and we’ve not tasted anything from them for a long time so we’re glad to see they’re even better than we remember. We’ll definitely get a few more bottles for the cellar.

Lamb chops with smashed minty broad beans – serves 4

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a small red chilli
  • 8 small lamb chops

FOR THE BROAD BEANS:

  • 300g podded and skinned broad beans (1.2kg unpodded)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Mix the garlic, lemon and chilli with a splash of olive oil. Put the lamb chops in a dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and marinade for an hour in the fridge. Remove about half an hour before you want to cook them though so they come to room temperature.

Put the broad beans in a processor with half the olive oil, plenty of seasoning and the lemon juice. Whizz to a chunky purée, then tip into a small saucepan.

Cook the lamb on a hot barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Meanwhile, gently heat the broad beans, then stir in the mint and the rest of the olive oil. Check the seasoning, then serve the lamb with the broad beans on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Fontina, Prosciutto & Sage French Toasts

One benefit from working at home is all the nice lunches we can make. Mostly using bits and bobs from the fridge. These French toast sambos are great and you can experiment with the filling, though we reckon cheese is a must.

Fontina, prosciutto and sage-stuffed French toast – serves 4

  • 8 slices of crusty bread
  • 300g fontina (we used Gruyere), sliced
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • a few sage leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • butter for frying

Put layers of the cheese, prosciutto and sage onto 4 slices of the bread. Cover with the rest of the bread to make sandwiches, then dip into the beaten egg, soaking on both sides.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the sandwiches. Press down on them as they cook until browned on both sides and the cheese has melted.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2014.)

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Couscous, Cherry Tomato & Herb Salad

We made this couscous salad from Ottolenghi Simple for the first time this week and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Serve it at all your summer barbecues (provided local restrictions allow) and expect very happy guests.

Couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 50g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grate to get 1 tsp of zest and squeeze to get 1 tbsp of juice

Put the couscous into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour over 400ml boiling water, then seal well with tin foil and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown and split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and sprinkle them with salt.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp of oil to the same pan. Add the onions, the other tsp of ras el hanout and an a pinch of salt. Fry over a medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden-brown and soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and leave to cool.

When the couscous has cooked a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onions and raisin mixture and stir, then add the cumin seeds, almonds, herbs, lemon zest & juice, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Serve on a platter with the tomatoes on the top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Cauliflower Cheese

I don’t remember not knowing how to make this, and therefore presume that everyone else does too. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t have it in your head. Sorry about the imperial measurements but that’s how my Mum taught me.

Jules’ Cauliflower Cheese – serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint of full cream milk
  • 3 large handfuls of grated mature cheddar cheese

Steam the cauliflower until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Start checking after 5 minutes and be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two over a medium heat.

Start gradually adding the milk, just a splash at a time at first, and stir continuously. Add some more milk every time it has been absorbed. Careful not to rush this or the sauce can turn lumpy.

When all of the milk is in the sauce, it is important to continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in 2 large handfuls of grated cheese and some salt and freshly ground white pepper.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and return to the pan to steam dry, then tip into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Put the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on the top.

 

 

 

 

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Mussels with Ditalini & Tomatoes

We love mussels on a Friday, so cheap and quick to cook, but still so special and luxurious. We halved the pasta to serve 2 but kept everything else the same – a feast!

Wine Suggestion: Digging into the lockdown cellar again and the Sugrue, Trouble with Dreams 2014 came to hand. A beautifully precise and focussed sparkling from the South Downs in England. If this isn’t to hand a good traditional method, double fermented sparkling would be a good choice too.

Mussels with Ditalini & Tomatoes – serves 4

  • 1kg mussels, scrubbed, remove any beards and throw away any that are open and don’t close when tapped
  • 250g ditalini pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • 80ml red vermouth, we used Martini Rosso
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook the pasta according to the time on the pack in lots of very salty water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide pan that has a lid. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes to soften, over a medium-high heat.

Add the garlic, chilli and sea salt, then keep stirring until the tomatoes start to melt and make a juice. Add the vermouth and bubble up to get rid of the alcohol, then stir.

Add mussels and cover with the lid. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened, give the pan a good shake now and then. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened.

Drain the pasta and reserve a little cooking water. Add the pasta to the mussel pan with 2 tbsp of the pasta water. Stir everything together, put the lid back on and leave for a minute or two off the heat. Stir in most of the parsley, then scatter the rest on top.

(Original recipe from At My Table by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2017.)

Mussels with ditalini & tomatoes

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Risotto Primavera

This risotto isn’t laden with cheese and butter like so many other recipes and so a good option for a weeknight and full of Spring flavours. We left out the chives and rocket as we didn’t have them but we’ve kept them in the recipe as they would make nice additions.

Wine Suggestion: this was delightful with a young white Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere, but we can see it working with youthful Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner as well.

Risotto Primavera – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 350g asparagus, snap of the woody ends and cut into 5cm lengths on the diagonal
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 175g frozen peas
  • 250g frozen broad beans
  • 2 tbsp shredded basil
  • 2 tbsp snipped chives
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1.7 litres vegetable stock (we used Marigold vegetable bouillon)
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300g carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • 25g rocket leaves, to garnish

Heat half the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Stir-fry the asparagus over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes or until browned all over. Add the scallions and fry for another minute or two until browned. Remove these with a slotted spoon, season with pepper, and set aside.

Cook the peas and broad beans in separate pans of boiling water for a few minutes, then drain. Pop the broad beans out of their skins and set both aside.

Mix the basil, chives, mint and lemon zest together in a small bowl and season with pepper.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep over a very low heat.

Pour the rest of the oil into the pan that you used to cook the asparagus. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Stir in the rice and cook for a minute or two over a medium-high heat or until it starts to sizzle.

Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Now start gradually adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more. Keep adding stock for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Season with pepper.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add an extra ladle of stock, then scatter over the vegetables, some pepper, half the herb & lemon mixture and half the cheese. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a few minutes. Gently stir to combine, then serve in warmed bowls some rocket and the rest of the herbs and cheese sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pea & New Potato Curry

We’ve cooked pretty much everything from scratch since lockdown but tonight we treated ourselves to a naan bread from the local takeaway. Every evening they fire up the tandoor and we get the most delicious smells in our back garden. This is an easy curry which is perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: a local Lager was our choice tonight, from the White Gypsey Brewery in Tipperary. Their Munich Lager is light and fresh but with a real character and personality.

Pea & new potato curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp Madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 750g new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 500ml natural yoghurt, full-fat so less likely to split
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped, but kept separate
  • 200-300ml veg stock
  • 300g frozen peas
  • lime wedges and naan breads, to serve

Before you start, put the potatoes in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender – they’ll continue to cook in the curry. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes over a gentle heat. Add the chillies, ginger and spices, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the potatoes and lime juice and stir to coat in the spices.

Add the yoghurt, coriander stalks and stock. Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce reduced (we put the lid on for a few minutes at the end as the sauce was reduced enough). Keep the temperature low as the yoghurt can easily split. Stir through the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled over and lime wedges and naan breads on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Roast chicken with garlic & thyme croutons

The croutons here are pieces of slightly stale sourdough that make a trivet for the chicken and soak up all the juices, such a clever idea. They are delicious and so is the salsa verde on the side.

Wine suggestion: We think a Jura Chardonnay with a little bit of Voile (kept in large oak barrels and not topped up for a number of years with a sherry-like flor yeast keeping them fresh) is the perfect match. The full-bodied Chardonnay matched with the freshness of the alpine foothills and the salty, yeasty Voile complements the croutons. Tonight it was our last bottle of the Jacques Puffeney Cuvée Sacha which is a non-vintage blend of Chardonnay with a small amount of much older Savignin; very compelling and complex.

Roast chicken with garlic & thyme croutons – serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken
  • ½ a loaf of day-old sourdough, cut into large chunks
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a whole bulb of garlic, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved

FOR THE SALSA VERDE:

  • ½ tbsp Dijon
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely diced gherkins or cornichons
  • 2 tbsp small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • ½ a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ a small bunch of mint, chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, chopped

Heat the oven to 190C. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and season well.

Toss the bread with the thyme, 2 tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning. Spread the bread over the bottom of a large roasting tin with the garlic and lemon, then sit the chicken on the top. Make sure there is plenty of bread underneath the chicken. Roast for 20 minutes per 500g plus an extra 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Make the salsa verde by whisking the mustard, vinegar and oil together, season well, then add all the chopped ingredients.

Leave the chicken to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving. Toss the croutons in the sticky juices in the roasting tin and serve alongside the chicken and the salsa.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, May 2015.)

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Spiced Haddock with Bombay PotatoesThis is really simple but full of fresh and spicy flavours. Great for a weeknight as it only takes 30 minutes to cook.

Wine Suggestion: matched with a perrenial favourite, the ALLO by Quinta Soahleiro from northern Portugal. Enough fruit for the spices and complimentary texture and vibrancy.

Smoked haddock with Bombay potatoes – serves 2

  • 2 thick skinless haddock fillets
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • groundnut oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE POTATOES:

  • 500g waxy potatoes, diced (peel if you prefer)
  • sunflower oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 100g cherry tomatoes

Boil the potatoes in salty water until just cooked, then drain well.

Put the haddock in a dish. Mix the curry powder, groundnut oil and turmeric together with a good pinch of salt. Rub all over the fish and leave for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Gently cook the shallots until softened then add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Fry until fragrant, then stir in the turmeric and potatoes. Stir to heat through and coat in the spices, then add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down. Season with salt. Stir in half the coriander.

Grill the haddock for a couple of minutes on each side until just cooked, it will flake easily with a fork. Divide the potatoes between two plates and gently place the haddock on top. Scatter with the remaining coriander and serve with a lemon wedge.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2013.)

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Monkfish Stew with Tomatoes, Garlic, Chilli & Black Olives

This is delicious served on some toasted sourdough and drizzled with your best olive oil.

Wine Suggestion: The dish is from the Marche and from near the region’s capital, Ancona s grown some of the best Verdicchio and we’re lucky to be friends with the Sartarelli family who make some of the best. Our regular is their Tralivio made from the oldest vineyards in the property, though if you push to the Balciana you’ll get one of the best Verdicchio’s in Italy and something quite special. Both work with this dish.

Monkfish stew with tomatoes, garlic, chilli & black olives – serves 6

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 mild red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 4 tbsp black olives, stones removed
  • 1.5kg monkfish fillet, cut into chunks (make sure the fishmonger removes the grey membrane for you)
  • 70ml white wine
  • 500ml good fish stock
  • 4 tbsp tomato passata
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved

To serve:

  • 6 large slices of good bread, toasted
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large deep sauté pan with a lid. Add the garlic, chilli, rosemary sprigs and chopped rosemary, and sauté for a minute.

Add the olives, then the fish and season. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the wine and bubble to burn off the alcohol, then add the fish stock, tomato passata and tomatoes. Cover with the lid and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is tender. Discard the rosemary sprigs and  transfer to a large serving dish.

Our monkfish threw heaps of watery liquid. If this happens to you, just scoop the fish out with a slotted spoon and reduce the sauce, then return the fish to the stew and continue to cook as above.

Serve the fish on top of the toasted bread, drizzled with your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from Made at Home by Giorgio Locatelli, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017.)

 

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Smoky Butter Beans & Greens

We’re eating our way through lockdown but still making a vague attempt at keeping healthy on weekdays. This approach has been slightly more successful this week than others! We used some leftover chard for this but spring greens would also be good and it’s pretty much store-cupboard stuff after that.

Wine Suggestion: given the mild nature of this dish it weirdly works with Prosecco Rosé made from the Raboso grape. Raboso can be fierce and awkward, especially made as a red wine, but the light extraction of colour and addition of residual sugar in Prosecco can (but not always) make a charming, food friendly wine; choosing a good producer is suggested.

Smoky butter beans & greens – serves 4

  • 200g brown rice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g spring greens or chard, roughly chopped (if using chard, cut out the stalks and chop into short lengths, then roughly chop the leaves)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • natural yoghurt, to serve

Rinse and cook the rice. We use a rice cooker but you can cook in a pot according to the pack instructions or cook in salty boiling water for 20-25 minutes, then drain.

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan with a lid. Add the greens, season with plenty of salt and pepper, then cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until wilted (if you are using chard, add the stalks first and cook for a few minutes before adding the leaves).

Add the garlic and cook without the lid for a few minutes, stirring. Add the butterbeans and stir until heated through, then add another tbsp of olive oil, the cumin seeds  and the smoked paprika. Stir to combine and allow the flavours to come together, then serve over the rice with some natural yoghurt.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Lentil & Lemon Pasta

We loved this! Something a bit different when we’re all fed up with our usual pasta staples. Also perfect for using leftover coriander, which seems to be an almost permanent feature in our veg drawer. Of course you can use whatever pasta you happen to have. The original recipe suggested fettuccine, we used trofie – no matter.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white that veers towards texture rather than ripe fruit is your match for this. We had a La Piuma (meaning feather) Pecorino Terre di Chieti from the western coat of central Italy. Pecorino was an obscure local variety of grape, but one we increasingly suggest and drink and think it has a great future; a charmer.

Lentil & lemon fettuccine – serves 4

  • 140g Puy lentils or brown lentils
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • large handful of coriander, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 150g Greek yoghurt

Rinse the lentils in a sieve, then put into a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender (careful not to overcook as we did). Add plenty of salt about 10 minutes into the cooking time. Drain and keep warm.

Cook the pasta, then drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until lightly golden, then stir in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir the lentils, onion and garlic, lemon zest and juice, coriander and yoghurt into the cooked pasta. Finish with plenty of black pepper.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Asparagus soup

Asparagus has arrived in a bit of a glut and has suddenly became very cheap. This needs plenty so a bit of a luxury at the start of the season when prices are high. A lovely lunch two days in a row and still some left in the freezer. The recipe is by Jamie Oliver and he recommends serving with toasted ciabatta and poached eggs.

If you have a stand blender you’ll be able to get this smoother, but it tastes just as nice blended with a stick blender like we did.

Creamy Asparagus Soup – serves 8

  • 800g asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard, chop the pretty tips off and set aside, roughly chop the stalks
  • 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 litres of good-quality chicken or veg stock

Heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and the stock, then simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.

Remove from the heat and whizz with your choice of implement. Season generously, then return the pan to the heat and stir in the reserved asparagus tips. Simmer for a few minutes or until the tips have softened.

We had some crème fraîche in the fridge and served with a spoon on top but it’s also nice without.

(Original recipe from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2007.)

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Cime di Rape sauteed with garlic & chilli

Cime di Rapa always arrives without warning and like asparagus it signals the start of Spring. Also known as Broccoli Rabe this has that hint of bitterness and delicious flavours that we love. A good substitute, though not the same plant, are Turnip Tops which may be easier to find in Northern Europe where we live. Our local farm shop, the McNally Family Farm, grow the southern European variety so we’re lucky to get this too.

Be careful when trimming that you discard any thicker parts of the stem as these will be woody when cooked.

Cime di Rapa with Garlic & Chilli – serves 4 as a side

  • 800g cime di rapa, cut the leaves and only the very finest stalks (discard the thicker central stalks) into 5-10 cm lengths, but keep the little central shoot that looks like broccoli intact
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a good pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes

Boil the cime di rapa in plenty of boiling salty water until tender, start checking after 4 minutes but it may take longer if mature. Drain and spread out to steam dry or if you’re ready to go you can remove from the water with tongs, give them a shake and put straight into the pan as instructed below.

Fry the garlic in the oil until starting to brown. Add the chilli and fry for a few seconds, then add the cime di rapa, and plenty of seasoning. If fully drained add a splash of water to the pan too. Fry until hot and the water has been absorbed.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

 

 

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Steak Diane

Remember this!?!?

We’re not sure if we’ve definitely had it before but remember it on every restaurant menu when we were kids and it has ingredients we’d choose. However, we were probably opting for the Chicken Maryland or something just as classy! It tastes reminiscent of those old fashioned dishes you still get in French restaurants. Bring it back we say – it’s absolutely delicious and you get to flambé, which is always very exciting! We served this with a rib-eye steak cooked rare on the barbecue, but it’s up to you for cut and doneness. Some watercress or other greens work for a side too.

Wine Suggestion: It was a special occasion for us so we raided the our dwindling cellar and chose a classic Bordeaux, the Chateau Haut Bages Averous 2005. Even if this isn’t to hand we’d suggest a Cabernet dominant blend and you’ll be happy.

Sauce Diane – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 120ml brandy
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a good pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat a large sauté pan and heat the olive oil and the butter until foaming. Add the shallot and mushroom and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Pour over the brandy, then light the pan with a match and allow the flames to subside. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.

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

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Pork Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

A really tasty dish for the barbecue. Marinate the pork for up to 24 hours in advance if you can, or if not put the marinade on and leave out of the fridge for an hour before cooking. The peanut sauce can be made up in advance too. Good served with rice and salad. We served Sabrina Ghayour’s ‘shaken’ sweet quick pickled onions and smacked cucumber salad from her book – Bazaar.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with red wines with easier tannins and tonight we had the elegant Ex Arena by Domaine de Cebene from Faugeres in southern France. 100% Grenache, perfumed, juicy red fruits and refined finish. The fruit complimented the spices and it wasn’t too rich or heavy either.

Pork satay with spicy peanut sauce – serves 4

  • 450g pork fillet, cut into 2cm cubes

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

FOR THE SPICY PEANUT SAUCE:

  • 3 generous tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ red chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 generous tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the meat and toss to coat. Set aside for at least an hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Place the peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor with 50ml of water and whiz until smooth.

Thread the pork unto metal skewers (you can use wooden skewers but you need to soak them first).

Heat the barbecue, then cook the skewers for a few minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, gently heat the peanut sauce in a small saucepan. Serve immediately with the peanut sauce spooned over.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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Garlic, Chilli & Coriander Prawns

You will need lots of crusty bread for these to mop up all the delicious butter. What a treat.

Wine Suggestion: Light, white, youthful and with a salty tang. Our pick today, the Allo from Quinta Soalheiro from Northern Portugal, an Alvarinho-Loureiro blend which was in the firdge. We could have easily had a Muscadet, Picpoul or Verdicchio either.

Garlic, chilli & coriander prawns – serves 4

  • 5 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • large bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • 600g raw tiger prawns, shells off but you can leave the tails on if you like
  • 1 lemon

Mash the garlic, chilli and coriander into the butter.

Heat a large frying pan, add the butter and let if melt. Add the prawns, nigella seeds and some seasoning.

Stir-fry for a couple of minutes to cook through. Squeeze over some lemon juice and serve with loads of crusty bread.

(Original recipe by Anjum Anand in BBC Good Food Magazine, April, 2014)

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