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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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Spicy Barbecued Chicken Wings

These have to be some of the best chicken wings we’ve tasted. They’re cooked twice so the meat is fabulously tender and there’s no need to worry about them not cooking through on the barbecue. We’ll be making more of these, especially as our daughter has now tasted them and keeps demanding we go to the butchers!

Wine Suggestion: This went really well with a dry German Riesling from the Nahe, the Weingut Korrell Paradies Riesling. A young producer doing some delicious things. Also great with lighter, spicy reds like a gently handled Grenache or Syrah.

Spicy barbecued chicken wings – serves 4

  • 16 chicken wings
  • mint leaves, coriander leaves and lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3cm piece of ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 115g honey
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 80ml groundnut oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the chicken wings and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken wings cool in the water for 1 hour, then drain and pat dry.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, then toss in the chicken wings and leave to marinate for 1 hour. You can leave them for longer but you need to put them into the fridge, make sure you remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook them.

Preheat the barbecue.

Remove the chicken from marinade and put into another bowl. Pour the marinade into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced to a sauce.

Cook the chicken wings on the barbecue for a couple of minutes on each side or until charred, then brush with the reduced marinade.

Pile onto a platter and serve with the coriander and mint scatter over and some lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

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Pasta with Cauliflower, Anchovies, Saffron, Pine Nuts & Raisins

We halved this recipe and made it for 2 with a tiny but perfect, new-season cauliflower. You might have everything else in the cupboard already.

Wine Suggestion: Keep it Italian, given the origin of the dish, southern and white. Fiano, Greco, Falanghina … all good as long as the one you have isn’t too heavy. Our Macchialupa Falanghina was a delightful choice.

Pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts & raisins (Pasta chi vrocculi arriminati) – serves 4

  • 1 head of cauliflower, about 1 kg, cut into florets
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 50g raisins, softened in a little hot water
  • 6 tbsp of good olive oil
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 6 anchovy fillets in oil (we like Ortiz)
  • 50g pine nuts
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 500g dried pasta e.g. bucatini, casarecce or penne

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and season well with salt. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 6 minutes but do check as you don’t want to overcook it.

Warm the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and fry gently until soft, then add the chilli and anchovies. Keep frying until the anchovies have dissolved.

Lift the cauliflower from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the onion pan, stir and cook for another couple of minutes to let the flavours combine.

Drain the raisins, squeeze out any excess water, and add to the pan with the pine nuts and saffron. Taste and season with salt if needed, then remove from the heat.

Bring the cauliflower-cooking water back to the boil and use it to cook the pasta until al dente. Lift the pasta out with a slotted spoon and add to the frying pan. Return the cauliflower and pasta pan to the heat and cook for another minute or two, then serve.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, Headline Home, 2017.)

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Halloumi Toastie

We plan every evening meal but tend to wing it during the day, using whatever happens to be lying around. Occasionally though we plan a weekend  breakfast or lunch and are generally very pleased with ourselves for doing so. No less so this weekend when we discovered this amazing toastie combination suggested by Sabrina Ghayour in her vegetarian book, Bazaar.

A Toastie Idea – serves 2

  • 250g halloumi cheese, cut into 6 slices
  • 4 slices of good bread
  • 2 tsp rose harissa
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp quick-pickled onions (see below)
  • 40g butter

Heat a splash of oil over a medium heat and fry the halloumi slices for a couple of minutes on each, until crusty and brown.

Meanwhile, very lightly toast the bread.

Remove the halloumi from the pan, and wipe it out with some kitchen paper.

Divide the halloumi slices between two slices of bread. Spread over the harissa, and drizzle over the honey. Lay the tomato slices on top and finish with a spoon of pickled onions and season well with pepper and a little bit of salt. Top with the remaining slices of bread and press down.

Put the frying pan back over a medium heat and add a quarter of the butter. When the butter has melted put one of the toasties into the pan and press it down by putting a small saucepan with a tin or two inside on top. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add another know of butter and cook on the other side. Remove from the heat and repeat with the other toastie.

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1 large red onion, halved and very finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • a generous sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes

Combine the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Close the lid and shake vigorously for a couple of minutes until the onions soften, then serve or keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Serve with almost anything but particularly good in a toastie.

(Original recipe from Bazaar by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2019)

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Chicken & new potato traybake

This really couldn’t be easier, everything in the one pan and shoved in the oven. New potatoes haven’t quite landed in Ireland yet but we chopped up some waxy ones which worked pretty well. Lemon, olives, bay, chicken & garlic – made for each other! Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: a joyously inexpensive southern French white, the Les Terrasses de la Negly, a Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Petit Grains and Muscat d’Alexandria blend. One highly popular grape with two that are deeply out of fashion. The wine: easy, fruity, fresh and with texture to work with the food.

Chicken & new potato traybake – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 140g large pitted green olives
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 8 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 large chicken thighs

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

Pour the olive oil into a large roasting tray, then add the potatoes, olives, lemon, bay leaves, and garlic. Toss to coat everything in the oil, then nestle in the chicken thighs, skin-side up of course, and season well.

Put the dish in the oven and cook for an hour, basting half-way through. Check the chicken and potatoes are cooked, then return to the oven for a final 15 minutes to crispy up the chicken skin.

Remove the tin from the oven and squash the roasted garlic, discard the papery skin and stir the garlic into juices. Serve with a green salad, we had peppery watercress.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pasta with Cime di Rapa

So clearly this is not orecchiette but trofie is all we could get and we’re not fussy. We’re very excited to get cime di rapa, also known as broccoli rabe, and very similar to turnip tops. These delicious greens are grown in Ireland – who knew? You need to trim any of the thicker stalks as they tend to be a bit stringy and unpleasant, the rest however is delicious. Cheese is apparently not traditional on this dish but we like it.

Wine suggestion: Italian inspired and from the south we found a bottle of the Gulfi Vulcanzjria, a Chardonnay, Carricante, Albinello blend grown on Mt Etna. Fresh, full and intense with a stoney core. Good alternatives would have been Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, or some more serious, but not too hot Vermentinos.

Orecchiette with Greens – serves 4

  • 400g orecchette or whatever short pasta you’ve got
  • 500g cime di rapa (you could also use sprouting broccoli, kale or cavalo nero), discard the thicker stalks, leave the broccoli looking bit whole and shred the finer stalks and leaves into 3cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated, to serve

Boil the pasta in load of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, put the cime di rapa into a large pot and pour in about 3 cm depth of water and season with salt. Bring the water to the boil, then cover and cook for 5 minutes or until tender and wilted. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic for a minute or so, don’t let it brown. Add the drained greens, chilli flakes and lemon zest. Season well with salt and pepper.

Reserve a mug of the cooking water before draining the pasta. Add a few tbsp of the water to the greens if they need moistening, then tip in the pasta. Toss everything together in the pan for a minute, then serve in warm bowls with the cheese sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Salmon with Greens & Crème Fraîche

It’s often fish at ours on Friday and this one tasted of Spring. The perfect end to a sunny day. We don’t freeze much veg but are never without frozen peas and broad beans. We served with steamed waxy potatoes with butter and mint but mash would be good too.

Wine Suggestion: a light, seafood friendly white. One of our favs is the Allo from Northern Portugal which has a salty tang and tastes of sunshine in a glass.

Salmon with Greens & Crème Fraîche – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 250ml chicken stock/fish stock
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 140g frozen broad beans
  •  4 skinless salmon fillets
  • small bunch of chives

Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan with a lid. Add the leek and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, until softened but not browned.

Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes to reduce a bit.

Add the crème fraîche, peas and broad beans and season, then nestle in the salmon fillets. Cover and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.

Sprinkle over the chives to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Harissa Potato, Halloumi & Asparagus with Coriander and Lemon Oil

Genevieve Taylor has written a delicious book of vegetarian recipes for the barbecue, and the season has arrived to spend more time outdoors! This is the first recipe we’ve tried and it was really good. Serve with a green salad on the side or as a veggie side with barbecued meat.

Wine Suggestion: A light red wine is what you need here; think a Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir or something similar. Tonight our choice was an Aussie Pinot, from Pike & Joyce in the Adelaide Hills. Delightful fruit, an earthiness and hints of smoke that compliment the cooking process.

Harissa potato, halloumi and asparagus with coriander and lemon oil – makes 6 skewers

  • 500g salad potatoes e.g. Charlotte, sliced in half lengthways
  • 250g asparagus, snap off the woody end, then cut each spear in 3
  • 2 x 250g packs of halloumi, cut into finger-thick wedges
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa paste

FOR THE CORIANDER AND LEMON OIL:

  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ – 1 tsp caster sugar

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the potato halves and cook until just tender – about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces for the last 30 seconds, just to blanch.

Drain the potatoes and asparagus and return to the pan. Add the halloumi and harissa and stir gently until everything is evenly coated.

Thread onto metal kebab sticks (wooden ones will do but you need to soak them for 20 minutes before using and don’t overload them as these are heavy).

Cook the kebabs on the barbecue over a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning once.

Make the coriander and lemon oil by whisking all the ingredients together with some seasoning.

When the kebabs are cooked transfer to a plate and drizzle over the oil.

(Original recipe from Charred by Genevieve Taylor, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2019.)

 

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Mozzarella with salami, cannellini beans & olives

If you can find a ball of buffalo mozzarella, then lucky you. There is none to be had in our vicinity at the moment, but it will return. This is a super simple idea from the River Café which makes a lovely lunch or a starter for sharing – for when we can share stuff again. We will share stuff again.

Salami with Cannellini Beans & Olives

  • 1 x 400 tin of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • small black olives, we like the wrinkly ones, pitted
  • finely sliced fennel salami – of course any salami or other cured meat will do, and there are loads of brilliant Irish producers to choose from
  • a ball of buffalo mozzarella

Gently heat the beans with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some olive oil. Season and purée – a stick blender does the job here.

Toss the olives in a little of your special bottle of olive oil.

Put the salami on a plate with the mozzarella and serve with the bean purée alongside and the olives scattered over.

Simple and delicious.

(Original idea from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

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Tagliatelle with Prawns and a Creamy Brandy Sauce

We bought a pasta machine when we were on honeymoon in Italy … quite a while ago now. We had a delicious lunch in a tiny Tuscan village, probably with a bit more wine than we needed, and bought a pasta machine from the window of a little shop that sold hardware, cookware and everything else. We have used it only a few times since then, but we took it out of the box this evening and made fresh pasta, and very satisfying it was too. So, if you’ve got a pasta machine we suggest you dust it off and give this a go. We haven’t given the recipe and instructions for making the tagliatelle – widely available online or in any Italian cookbook you might have on your shelves; though roughly 1 egg for 100g flour plus a little salt and olive oil.

Wine Suggestion: Tonight a bottle from our holidays last year in the Loire, the Charles Joguet Chinon Rosé. Delightfully dry, mid-weight and with light flavours of red fruits; a good match and a good memory of summer holidays in a tent in France.

Tagliatelle with prawns and a creamy brandy sauce (Tagliatelle con Gamberi e Brandy) – serves 4

  • 30g salted butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 60g walnuts, chopped
  • 300g uncooked prawns, peeled
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 60ml brandy
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 400g fresh egg tagliatelle (look it up online, it’s easy)
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the shallots and walnuts and cook gently for 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and add the prawns and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the brandy and cook for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate, then add the cream and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a loads of very salty water until al dente – a minute or two. Drain and tip back into the pasta pan.

Pour in the creamy sauce, add the parsley, and toss gently for 30 seconds to combine.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010)

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Chachouka

This is the second version of this we’ve done in the last few weeks. Both times inspired by two extra peppers in a pack when we only needed one. This version is more caramelised and uses less fresh ingredients but it also takes a lot longer to cook. We loved the addition of saffron too.

You can cook the sauce the night before if you like  or keep half of it for the following day. You just need to reheat, then crack in the eggs and bake.

Chachouka – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes, squeeze with your hands to break them up as you add to the dish
  • 4 eggs

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan, then add the cumin seeds and fry gently for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are soft and wilted. Add the paprika and saffron, then the tomatoes and some seasoning. Cook gently for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you can’t put your pan in the oven just transfer the sauce into a baking dish. Make holes in the mixture and gently break in the eggs (easier if you break into a mug first). Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggs are set but the yolk still runny.

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Rearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Pan-fried Salmon with Curried Mussels

How disappointed we were when we left it too late to get mussels from our local fish shop last Saturday. So this ended up being dinner on Thursday – a bit fancier than what we usually serve on a weeknight but to be honest we’ve lost track of what day it is anyway! Plenty of pans needed for this dish but it’s worth it.

Wine Suggestion: this needs a white to match that can stand up to a rich, creamy base. Sometimes it also necessary to choose not only a type of wine but also a producer … we suggest cultivating a good wine shop to help with this. Tonight we had a Txakoli, a local wine from near San Sebastion in Spain made from Hondarrabi Zuri. Normally very light and with a spritz-freshness and great with lighter seafood dishes and other tapas. The Astobiza Txakoli we had was fuller bodied while still maintaining the texture, saltiness and freshness of a more typical wine of the region and thus able to step up to the rich creaminess of the food.

As Txakoli isn’t as easy to find we’d also suggest a fuller, textural Albarino as an option.

Pan-fried salmon with curried mussels – serves 4

  • 4 salmon fillets with the skin on, about 120g each
  • vegetable oil

FOR THE MUSSELS:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1kg mussels, scrub them clean, rip off any beards and chuck any that don’t close when you tap them
  • 225ml white wine

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • lemon

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

Start with the mussels. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large, heavy pan, with a lid. Add the onions and parsley and cook gently until soft. Add the mussels, salt and pepper and wine. Bring to the boil, then cover and give the pan a shake. Cook for a few minutes or until the mussels have opened (throw away any that don’t open).

Strain the mussels but keep the cooking liquid. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve to get rid of any grit. Remove the mussels from the shells and set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion, carrot and celery and sweat over a low heat, with the lid on, until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for another few minutes. Stir in 150ml of the mussel cooking liquid and cook for another minute. You can turn the heat off now and leave the sauce aside while you cook the salmon.

Dry the salmon well with kitchen paper, then slash the skin diagonally a few times with a sharp knife. Season well.

Heat a non-stick, oven-proof frying pan over a medium heat, the add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Cook the salmon, skin-side down for 4-5 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Don’t be tempted to move it around. Turn the salmon fillets over and put the pan in the oven for another few minutes to finish cooking.

Stir the double cream into the sauce and bring back to the boil, add the potato and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mussels to the sauce and warm through briefly. Add the chives and a squeeze of lemon to the sauce and taste for seasoning. Serve the sauce with the salmon on top.

(Original recipe by Bryn Williams in Olive Magazine, April 2011.)

 

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