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Posts Tagged ‘Garlic’

Roast long-stemmed Broccoli & Lemon Pasta

This is simplicity itself and the roasted lemon, garlic and broccoli really pack it full of flavour. Perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: perfect with an unsung Italian white from the Abruzzo region: Pecorino.

Roast long-stemmed broccoli & lemon pasta – serves 2

  • 300g long-stemmed broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, skin on
  • ½ a lemon, zested
  • 200g short pasta, we used penne
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated, plus a bit extra to serve

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

Put the broccoli into a bowl with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with Maldon sea salt and black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat then spread over an oven tray.

Wrap the garlic clove in tinfoil and add to the tray along with the zested lemon half. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain but keep a cup of the pasta cooking water.

Squeeze the roasted lemon into the empty pasta pan, then add the zest and squeeze the garlic from it’s skin into the pan. Mash together, then tip the pasta back in with the Parmesan and a good splash of the cooking water. Stir over the heat for a minute, then add the roasted broccoli and toss. Serve with more Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, September 2016.)

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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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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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Mussels & cockles with garlic breadcrumbs

This is a great starter from Polpo that tastes similar to stuffed mussels but is nowhere near as fiddly to prepare. We used cockles instead of clams as that is what we could get the day we cooked this.

Wine Suggestion: we’d suggest a white from central or sourther Italy for this dish. Tonight it was a Verdicchio from the Marches, the Tralivio by the Sartarelli family which combines citrus, apricots and wild herbs with texture, body and hints of a bitter almond on the finish. Very attractive, refreshing and a perfect food wine.

Mussels & Clams with Garlic Breadcrumbs – serves 4 – 6 as a starter

  • 100g old bread
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 kg mussels
  • 1kg clams
  • 100ml white wine
  • bread, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.

Tear the old bread into pieces, then scatter over a baking tray and pour over plenty of olive oil over them. Put the tray into the oven for 5 minutes or until the bread is crisp and golden, then set aside.

When the bread has cooled blitz it in food processor with the chopped parsley, half the dried chilli, half the garlic and some seasoning. When the bread has turned to fine crumbs, taste some and adjust the seasoning and add some more oil if they are too dry.

Clean the mussels and clams in cold running water and discard any that are damaged or that stay open when tapped.

Heat a large pan and add some olive oil. Throw in the mussels and clams with the rest of the chilli and garlic and stir until the shells start to open. As they do, pour in the white wine and cover the pan with a lid. The shells should all have opened after a couple of minutes, throw away any that haven’t opened.

Add a handful of breadcrumbs to the pan to thicken the sauce. Spoon the mussels and clams into shallow bowls and sprinkle with the rest of the crumbs. Serve immediately with crusty bread if you like.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russel Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Maqloubeh: rice with aubergines & peppers

We had to change our plans at the last minute last weekend and instead of spending it away, and enjoying someone else’s cooking, we ended up at home with an empty fridge. Thankfully we could find all we needed for this fresh Palestinian dish in the local veg shop. The recipe is from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan – we can’t get enough of this book! Really good served with some yoghurt, pickled chillies and a simple Palestinian salad but it would also make a great side dish for a crowd with some barbecued meat or fish.

Wine Suggestion: as this is both a characterful and elegant dish we’d recommend a fuller bodied white with hints of spice and freshness; a good Alsace Pinot Gris springs to mind first. However, we went a little different and chose the Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco, a traditional blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Friuliano and Sauvignon Blanc from the north-east of Italy. Layers of freshness and fruit, hints of different spices and an elegant, refined texture. So underrated as a wine and worth seeking out.

Upside- down rice with aubergines & peppers (Maqloubeh) – serves 6

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 2 red peppers, trimmed and sliced
  • light olive oil
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves but not peeled
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 300g white basmati rice
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 40g salted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (pul biber) or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped

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

Put the aubergines and peppers on separate baking trays. Drizzle both with light olive oil, ½ tsp salt and thyme leaves, then scatter the garlic cloves amongst the peppers. Put the trays into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. After 20 minute, add the tomatoes to the pepper tray.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water to remove excess starch (the water will run clear), then put into a large bowl of cold water to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Set the cooked vegetables aside to cool and pop the garlic cloves out of their skins.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat until they smell good, then grind in a mortar and pestle and place in a jug with the cinnamon, allspice and turmeric. Add the hot stock and ¾ tsp of salt.

Melt half the butter or oil in a large saucepan. Arrange the aubergines to line the base of the buttery saucepan – keep it neat as they will end up on top of the finished dish. Add the tomatoes, roasted garlic and peppers. Spoon in the rice, then pour over the hot stock and 150ml of boiled water. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a clean tea towel and a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Melt the rest of the butter or oil in a small saucepan and stir in the Aleppo pepper or chilli.

Turn the rice pan upside down onto a serving platter, then spoon over the Aleppo pepper butter and scatter over the chopped coriander before serving.

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

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Mushrooms baked on toast with herbs, butter & garlic

Roasting this entire dish in the oven is such a good idea. The mushroom juice soaks into the toast and it all comes together in a truly magical way. Yet more breakfast inspiration from Gill Meller.

Mushrooms baked on toast with garden herbs, butter & garlic – serves 5

  • 5 slices of good country-style bread or sourdough
  • 10 large open-cap mushrooms e.g. Portobello
  • 50g cold butter
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • ½ a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on and bashed with the flat of a knife
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 6½.

Arrange the bread on a large baking tray. Put the mushrooms on top; no matter if they hang over the edges.

Slice the butter thinly and put pieces on each mushroom. Scatter over the herbs and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.

Bake the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are completely soft and the toast is crunchy at the edges.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Chicken Tartiflette

Reblochon cheese from the Alps arrives in the cheese shops from May and reminds us to make tartiflette, the famous dish from France’s Haute-Savoie region made with cheese, bacon, potatoes and onions.  This version also has chicken and kale and it needs no accompaniment. It makes a hefty portion but it’s hard not to go back for more.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest finding a white from the Jura, usually made from Savagnin, Chardonnay, or a blend of the two. Even better try to find a Vin Jaune, which is aged in oak under a Voile, similar to the Flor of sherry, and with similar characteristics. We had a beautiful Côtes du Jura, the Cuvée de Garde by Anne & Jean-François Ganevat. An equal blend of the two grapes and held under voile for 48 months (not long enough to classify as a Vin Jaune) which allowed the fruit to sing alongside the nutty, voile aromas.

Chicken tartiflette – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium chicken, about 1.5kg, jointed into 8 pieces (we used 8 chicken thighs)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 200ml white wine
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

FOR THE TARTIFLETTE:

  • 1kg waxy potatoes, like Charlotte, sliced 1cm thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300ml double cream
  • 400g curly kale, blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and roughly chopped (discard any thick stalks)
  • 400g Reblochon cheese, broken or cut into pieces

Start by cooking the chicken. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and the chicken pieces – skin side down to start. Cook until browned all over, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan then add the onion and garlic and sweat until the onion has softened. Add the white wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a very gentle simmer (you might need to transfer to a large pot to fit it all in).

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and cook very gently until just cooked – about 10 minutes for the breasts. Remove any breast pieces from the pan with some of the broth and leave to cool in the broth. Continue to cook the leg meat for another 30 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool in the broth.

When cooled take the chicken out of the broth, remove the skin and bones and cut into large pieces. Strain the broth and reserve for later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Simmer the potato slices in boiling, salted water until almost tender, then drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the bacon lardons and cook until coloured, then remove from the pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, then stir in the garlic. Add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cream with 200ml of the reserved strained chicken braising liquid and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat and season.

Fold the chicken and bacon through the cream mixture, along with the kale, 300g of the cheese and the potatoes. Pour into a large baking dish and top with the remaining 100g of cheese, then bake until golden brown (about 20 to 30 minutes).

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Roast drumsticks with parsley and garlic

The title is a little bit deceptive as you don’t actually need to put these in the oven. They are very cheap and tasty and especially good with some potatoes and green veg. We’ve given the recipe to feed four people but we used just four drumsticks to feed two and scaled down the extra bits slightly and it worked perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: We had a simple, unoaked Viura (the grape used in white Rioja) from Castilla in Spain and the flinty texture and balance between fruit, freshness and a lighter body worked even better than we hoped.

Roast chicken drumsticks with parsley & garlic – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 12-16 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Season the drumsticks generously with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, heavy-based casserole with a lid or a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and half the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the drumsticks, and fry until browned all over.

Cover the pan with a lid and continue to fry gently for 20-25 minutes, turning often. Remove the lid and add the rest of the butter, the garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat and rest for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe by Paul & Jeanne Rankin IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2014.)

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Buttery chilli prawns

Prawns in their shells are more often a holiday treat for us but they’re so easy to do and it’s nice to eat dinner with your hands. Finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices are useful – or you could lick them 😉

Wine Suggestion: If you are serving this as a special treat for two then go for a good pink sparkling. We had this as on a Friday night and luckily had a half-bottle of Billecart Salmon Rosé champagne which turned it into an extra special evening. On nights when this isn’t an option you should find a good Fiano, Verdicchio or Alvarinho.

Buttery Chilli Prawns – serves 2

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (leave the seeds in)
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 12-20 large raw ing prawns with shells (12 should be enough for a starter for 2, for a main course about 20 is better)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus a few extra slices for finger bowls if using)
  • ½ a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • crusty bread – warm it in the oven before serving

Melt the butter & oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and paprika and cook for a coupled of minutes or until golden. Turn up the heat and throw in the prawns. Fry for a few minutes until they turn pink, don’t be tempted to cook them for any longer. Take the pan off the heat, season and stir in the lemon juice & parsley.

Serve with warm crusty bread for wiping the bowl.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Garlic sauce

This is a great sauce for a beef or lamb steak. Don’t be put off by the amount of garlic; the poaching process takes away any harshness from the garlic and results in a sweet and delicious sauce.

Wine Suggestion: While your choice of wine might be determined somewhat by the type of meat you have, with the garlic sauce the key is to choose something robust, not delicate. For this steak we had an old vine Carignan (with a touch of Grenache and Syrah in the blend) from Domaine Roc des Anges in Roussillon. Their “Reliefs” cuvée is one of the best we’ve tasted of this grape variety. It is smooth and sophisticated and yet down deep it seems informed by a rustic prehistoric core.  Supple, deep and fleshy with sheets of shimmering tannin, great driving depth, cherry and dark chocolate flavours and a full, juicy and balanced finish.

Poached Garlic Sauce – serves 4

  • 3 garlic bulbs
  • milk
  • 3 tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • ½-¾ tablespoon sherry vinegar

Break up the garlic bulbs and throw away the woody roots. Put the garlic cloves, skins on, into a small saucepan and cover with milk by at least 3cm. Bring the milk and garlic to a simmer and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the poaching milk and discard the rest. Either put the garlic through a mouli or squeeze the soft garlic out of each skin and mash to a puree. Add the reserved milk to thin it slightly , then stir in the olive oil and sherry vinegar. Season well with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Spicy Prawns

These prawns, flavoured with lots of garlic and warm spices, make a simple but really tasty starter. Serve with plenty of bread for mopping up the juices.

Wine Suggestion: We really like unoaked, slightly lighter, Spanish reds with this dish especially with 30 minutes in the fridge to give a cool edge to them. A newish find has been the Jesus Romero “Rubus”, a delicious blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah which has a purity and persistence of fruit that charms us every time.

Spicy Prawns – serves 4

  • 300g raw peeled king prawns
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • 5 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley

Heat the oil with the garlic and spices in a large frying pan. Keep stirring until aromatic, then throw in the prawns and fry quickly over a medium heat until pink – about a minute. Stir in the coriander or parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Foolproof Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden, BBC Worldwide Ltd., 2003.)

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Rosemary roast chicken thighs, asparagus & new potatoes

A weeknight treat to celebrate the new season’s bounty.

Wine Suggestion: We had a glass of the Domaine St Denis Macon-Lugny, a superb chardonnay from the Mâconnais in Burgundy and from the only grower-winemaker in this village (the rest goes to the co-op). Excellent flavours and a nutty depth marry well with the fresh, new season flavours and roasted chicken; a good choice.

Rosemary Roast Chicken Thighs with Asparagus & New Potatoes – serves 4

  • 750g small new potatoes, halved
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, discard the woody ends
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves separated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • small handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 8 chicken thighs

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

Put the potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves and olive oil into a large roasting tray and season well. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon halves, then cut into chunks and add to the tray. Toss together well, cover with foil and roast for about 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and stir through the rosemary.

Season the chicken thighs and arrange in the dish in a single layer.

Now roast for 30-50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is crisp and cooked through (this will depend on the size of your potatoes and chicken thighs).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Gambas al ajillo

This is the same dish as Prawns Pil-Pil which you get in restaurants all over Spain. Ordinary food but absolutely delicious. Don’t forget some crusty bread to mop up the oil.

Wine Suggestion: This is great with a Manzanilla sherry, like the La Gitana by Hidalgo we had with it. The dry and savoury character of the wine makes every component sing and has a great ability to both entice hunger and also sate the palate.

Gambas al ajillo – to serve 4 as a starter 

  • 750g unpeeled prawns
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 5g flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 300ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

Peel the prawns but leave the last tail segment in place.

Sprinkle the garlic and parsley with ½ tsp of salt and chop together to form a course mixture.

Pour the oil into a large, deep frying pan over a low heat. When hot, at the chilli flakes and garlic and parsley mixture and cook gently for a few minute or until sizzling and smelling delicious.

Turn the heat up a touch before adding prawns and cooking for a few minutes or until just cooked through. Season with a bit more salt to taste.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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A really fabulous starter with some crusty bread; a classic Tapas or party starter.

Garlic prawns with parsley & lemon – to serve 6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 400g large, raw, peeled prawns
  • juice from half a lemon
  • small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • crusty bread to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic with the chilli flakes.

Add the prawns and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until pink.

Squeeze in the lemon juice, stir in the parsley and serve.

Wine Suggestion: This is a classic Spanish dish so we went for the classic Spanish white, Albariño, a great match for shellfish. It worked a treat.

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Don’t be put off by the copious amounts of garlic as they are mild and sweet by the time this delicious tart by Yotam Ottolenghi is cooked. It is perfect for a dinner party as you can have it cooked in advance and just reheat to serve.

Caramelized garlic tart – to serve 6

  • 375g all-butter puff pastry
  • 3 medium heads of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 220ml water
  • ¾ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 120g soft creamy goat’s cheese
  • 120g hard mature goat’s cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml crème fraîche

You will need a shallow, loose-bottomed, 28cm fluted tart tin.

Roll out the pastry into a circle that will line the bottom and sides of the tin, plus a little extra. Line the tin with the pastry, place a large circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom and fill up with baking beans. Rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4. Put the tart in the oven and bake blind for 20 minutes. Take the beans and the paper out and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Don’t panic if it puffs up in the middle it will deflate as it cools down. Set the tart case aside and leave the oven on.

While the tart case is baking, put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a simmer and blanch the garlic for 3 minutes, then drain well. Dry the saucepan, put the cloves back in and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic on a high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary, thyme and ¼ tsp salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so on a medium heat, or until the liquid has almost evaporated and the garlic is coated in a dark syrup. Set the garlic aside.

Break up the cheeses and scatter pieces into the pastry case. Spoon over the garlic and syrup. Whisk the eggs, creams, ½ tsp salt and some black pepper together in a jug. Pour this over the tart filling to fill the gaps, make sure you still have cheese and garlic poking up through.

Turn the oven down to 160ºC/Gas Mark 3 and put the tart in. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little before taking it out of the tin. You might need to trim the pastry edge. Serve warm with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: This combination of dairy products and pastry demands a white with good body and moderate acidity. A Rhone white that uses one, or a combination of Roussanne, Marsanne and a little Viognier would work well, but avoid most 100% Viognier wines as the acidity won’t be great enough. We drank a Hermitage white which combined the first two of these grapes to good effect and provided an excellent complimentary texture.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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This is our classic party dish – so popular that we have to fight to get a taste when we serve it in a buffet! We’ve just made it this weekend for our friends Nicola and Dave’s housewarming. Just to make sure we got some ourselves we made a little extra for the next day. So for all our friends that have asked … here’s the recipe 🙂

Simple Baked Lasagne – serves 6 but easily doubled (which can easily serve 20 or more strangely enough …)

  • 4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of whole, fresh herbs (use your own mix of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 400g shin of beef, or skirt, coarsely minced
  • 200g pork belly, skin removed & coarsely minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 dried red chilli, also bashed
  • 400g dried, ready to cook lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella

For the white sauce:

  • 1 x 250ml tubs of crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
  • a little milk

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

If you are making a double quantity you may want to cook the meat sauce in two quantities as it will be easier to manage unless you have a very large casserole pot. You can also make the meat sauce in advance which makes entertaining easy –  a simple assembly and cook on the night!

In a large casserole pan slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and the cinnamon until golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once mixed together add the beef and pork and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and then bring to the boil. Wet some grease-proof paper and place it on top of the pan and then place a lid on top of this as well to complete the seal. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

While this is cooking rub the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce. When you remove the sauce check that the squash is cooked and slightly caramelising; if not leave in oven until done.

When sauce is done season and put to one side. Mix together crème fraîche, anchovies, a handful of parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add enough milk while mixing until the sauce becomes loose and smooth. Don’t make it too runny!

Turn oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. To assemble lasagne rub a large dish, or deep tray with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom (and drape over the sides too if you are using fresh lasagne). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and then top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Make a complete layer with the butternut, topping it again with lasagne sheets. Repeat the meat, white sauce and parmesan layers. Finish with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook for 30-35 minutes and until golden. Watch the hordes descend.

[Inspired by Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s dinners, Penguin 2006]

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Calamari with Butter and GarlicMade for Michael and Ben who don’t like squid …but both asked us to post this recipe, perhaps we have converted them! Chargrilled and smothered in lemony garlic butter and parsley – don’t forget to buy some bread as mopping up the sauce is the best bit!

Calamari with butter, lemon and garlic – to serve 6 as a starter

  • 1kg squid (baby squid is best)
  • 100g butter
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges, to serve
If you need to clean the squid yourself, pull the tentacles away from the body. Remove the clear bone from inside the body and rinse the body well under cold water. Hold the tenticles firmly in one hand and squeeze out the little beak and cut it away, leaving the tentacles whole. Rinse the tentacles. Cut the body into rings about 3cm thick, and leave the tentacles whole. Pat dry.

Heat the butter in a saucepan and when it sizzles, add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute or two to flavour the butter but don’t let it burn. Stir in the parsley and take it off the heat.

Heat a griddle to very hot (it should be just smoking). Scatter with some of the calamari in a single layer – you’ll have to cook in batches – and cook over the highest heat. When the squid has darkened in parts on the underside, turn it over with tongs and cook until the other side is darkened – careful it doesn’t burn or it will taste bitter. Move it around the pan and let it cook for another couple of minutes, then add to the warm butter while you cook the next batch. Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges and lots of bread.

(Original recipe from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, published by Murdoch Books, 2004.)

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We love garlic bread but often the garlic is too raw and over-powering and it doesn’t love us back. For these toasts we roasted the garlic first before making the butter which gives a more subtle flavour.

You can make the garlic butter in advance.

Garlic Toasts (serves 4, easily multiplied for larger quantities)

  • 3 fat Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices of Crostini, or a demi-baguette, sliced diagonally
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Put garlic and olive oil in a small roasting tin and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes.
When cooked and golden, remove from oven, cool slightly and then mash the garlic cloves in a small bowl with a fork. Add the butter and parsley and mix thoroughly.
Put bread on baking tray, spread with the garlic butter and bake until crisp (roughly 5-10 minutes).
We served this with Jamie Oliver’s Pasta Bake to great effect.
Original recipe: Bill Granger’s “Every Day”, Murdoch Books

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Crab claws

When you have crab claws sitting in the freezer … yum!

Simply defrost the crab claws, melt some butter in a little olive oil, gently saute garlic and chilli until cooked. Add the crab claws and toss until warmed through. After this grill on high until coloured and then toss in a little fresh, chopped coriander. Enjoy!!!

Serve with a minerally white wine – we drank the delicious Casa de Mouraz, an organic white from the Dao in Portugal. Perfecto …

Jono

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To serve 8 people as a side dish.

2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces

1 garlic bulb, split into cloves, unpeeled

6 bay leaves, stalks removed, finely chopped

4 tbsp olive oil

zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • Heat oven to 180C (gas 6). Toss the cauliflower, garlic, bay leaves, lemon and olive oil together in a big bowl and season generously.
  • Spread between a couple of baking trays and roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway, until al dente and caramelised.

Click here for the original recipe on BBC Good Food.

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