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Posts Tagged ‘Gluten-free’

We love this side dish from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen so much we’ve made it a few times over the past month and it’s been a hit every time. You can make the aïoli in advance and put it in the fridge which is useful.

Roast potatoes with aïoli and pine nut butter – serves 4

  • 750g baby new potatoes, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5g parsley, roughly chopped

FOR THE AÏOLI

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75g Greek-style yoghurt

FOR THE PINE NUT BUTTER

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g pine nuts
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika

Our advice is to get the aïoli made first, it will keep fine in the fridge if you want to do it earlier in the day.

Put the garlic, Dijon, egg, egg yolk and a ¼ tsp of salt into the small bowl of a food processor. Whiss together for a few seconds, then gradually add both oils in a slow steady stream with the machine running the whole time. You should end up with a runny mayonnaise. Transfer this to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and yoghurt. Cover and out in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Put the potatoes into a saucepan with 2 tsp of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes or until almost tender. Drain in a sieve and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Spread the potatoes over a parchment lined baking tray and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and some salt and black pepper. Roast these in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown, then toss with the parsley.

To make the pine nut the butter into a small frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the pine nuts and cook until golden, stir in the paprika and remove from the heat.

Spread the aïoli over a serving dish, top with the potatoes and drizzle over the butter.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Text Kitchen: Shelf Love, Penguin Random House, 2021.)

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Apricots are good value now and will only be around for a short time but you could also use a tin of apricots for this when they’re no longer available. You will need to brine the pork the day before you want to cook but it’s a very simple process so don’t let that put you off and the result is worth the effort.

Wine Suggestion: It’s very humid and warm in Dublin, though with very little sunshine this summer, so we’re drinking more whites and Rosé. Tonight was no different with a Grenache Blanc – Grenache Gris blend from 100 year old vines; the Domaine of the Bee Field of the Bee. Capturing the southern French sunshine this feels like stepping back in time with hints of garrigue and wild herbs, while keeping a view on the future with a vibrant freshness and purity.

Barbecued pork with apricots – serves 4

  • 50g sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp treacle
  • 4 large pork chops
  • 6 ripe apricots, halved

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • a big handful of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp honey

Make the brine by pouring 250ml of boiling water into a jug, then adding the salt, sugar and treacle and stirring until dissolved. Top up with cold water to get 500ml, then leave to cool completely.

Cut a few slashes through the fat on each pork chop. Place them into a freezer bag and pour over the cold brine. Tie the bag tightly and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Make the sauce by putting the oil, lime zest and juice, coriander and garlic to a bowl and whisk together well. Season and add the honey to taste. Set aside.

Get the barbecue hot.

Drizzle a little oil over the cut sides of the apricots. Drain the pork and discard the brine, then pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle a little oil over these too.

Grill the pork and apricots on the barbecue, turning often. Serve the pork with the apricots alongside and the sauce drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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We don’t think we’ve ever roasted kohlrabi before but they have it in our local farm shop so we thought we’d give it a go. We mostly see it raw in salads but have to say it is absolutely lovely when roasted. The recipe is simple though there are a few bits to it. Try the roasted kohlrabi if nothing else.

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied, pure fruited red like Olga Raffault’s Chinon les Barnabés which has a charming perfume and an array of purple and red fruits sitting lightly on top of a deep core. For this dish you need that juxtaposition of purity and depth to play alongside the earthy range of flavours.

Barley with roasted kholrabi, tomatoes & watercress salsa – serves 4 as a main

  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 140ml olive oil, plus a bit extra to drizzle
  • 1 large head of garlic, cut a slice off the top to expose the cloves, plus 4 extra cloves, crushed
  • 300g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 2-3 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 strips of lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice, plus some wedges to serve
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 100g watercress
  • 60ml double cream (optional if you don’t want dairy but nice if you do)

Preheat the oven to 190C fan.

Trim and peel the kohlrabi, then cut them into 8 wedges (more if you have any big ones). Put them into a large bowl and toss with the anchovies, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 crushed garlic cloves, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread them out over a tray lined with baking paper.

Put the whole garlic bulb onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in the bulb, then place it in the corner of the baking tray with the kohlrabi. Put the tray in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Turn the kohlrabi pieces over, then add the tomatoes to the tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes, or until the kohlrabi wedges are soft and deep brown and the tomatoes are blistered. Turn the oven off, then leave the tray in there to keep warm.

While the vegetables are cooking, put the barley into a medim-sized saucepan and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until almost cooked but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic bulb in the foil. Put a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat with 50ml olive oil, the roasted garlic, remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel strips, Scotch bonnet, and 2½ tsp salt. Gently fry for 12 minutes, stirring, until the shallots are soft and golden brown.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine, 500ml of water and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 7 minutes, then add the cooked barley and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Discard the Scotch bonnet and the lemon peel.

Whizz half the watercress, the lemon juice, 60ml of olive oil and ¼ tsp of salt in the small bowl of a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the barley to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the watercress salsa and cream over the barley and gently swirl them in. Top with the rest of the watercress, then the roasted kohlrabi and tomatoes. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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This is all you need with some fresh bread and butter. The simple things are the best.

Wine Suggestion: For a wine to work with this dish you need to balance a crisp, acidity to cut through the cream, body to match the depth of flavour and a minerally-savouriness to compliment the briny backbone of flavour from the mussels. If you look to a good Chablis producer or a top Muscadet then you’ll find your solution. We chose Jérémie Huchet’s lieu dit Les Montys le Parc from a very special vineyard in Muscadet that has that extra depth to match this rich, full flavoured dish.

Mussel, bacon and leek soup – serves 2

  • 750g mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped and stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 75g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 250ml fish stock (or veg stock)
  • 75ml double cream
  • a small handful of chives, finely snipped

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any beards. Give any open mussels a hard tap and discard them if they don’t close.

Put 75ml of water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the parsley stalks and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, clamp on the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Give the pan a good shake now and and then as they cook.

Tip the mussels into a colandar set over a bowl to catch all of the cooking juices, you will need the these later so don’t throw them away.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add a knob of butter, then gently fry the bacon until begining to crisp. Add the coriander seeds, garlic, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until the leeks are nice and soft.

Add the mussel cooking liquid (watch out for the gritty bit at the bottom which you can discard) and the stock, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pick the meat out of the mussels but leave about 12 in their shells to garnish.

Add the cream to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the mussel meat, chives and parsley and check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with the mussels in their shells and with bread and butter on the side.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2022)

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Jules’ Mum makes this all the time and serves it with home-made chips. We almost always cook it when we’re camping in France as it all cooks in the one pan and you can easily find all the ingredients. This one is different from our usual with the addition of paprika and dill, it’s very nice served with some plain white rice.

Wine Suggestion: We think this works best with a rich, full-bodied red. For us a treat from the ancient wine world, though a relatively young winery run by some young, passionate Syrians, the Bargylus, Grand Vin de Syrie 2014. Something to be celebrated due to the sheer class of this Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend, and mourned due to all the problems now in this part of the world. Superbly integrated tannins and layered fruit and spice; almost hedonistic in it’s velvetiness. You can taste some heat, but in a very good way with no evidence of alcohol. Mature but maintaining it’s freshness. We just wish this was more easily available for everyone to try.

Beef stroganoff – serves 4

  • 30g butter
  • 600g beef rump steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g double cream
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped dill, plus a bit extra to garnish

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Heat 15g of butter in a large frying pan over a high heat and lightly brown the meat. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan, remove each batch to a plate and set aside.

Heat another 15g of butter in the same pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a gentle heat for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the paprika, mushrooms and tomato purée and cook for another few minutes, stirring.

Return the meat to the pan with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 5-7 minute or until the meat is tender. Add the cream and dill and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. We turn the heat off the second the sauce begins to simmer, don’t take it any further in case the cream splits. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with steamed rice. Garnish with a little more chopped dill.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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It hasn’t been the best of summers in Ireland so far but we’re barbecuing at every opportunity nonetheless. This marinated chicken is very tasty. We’ve given instructions for cooking on a charcoal barbecue but it will of course work just as well on a gas barbecue too.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a Mediterranean inspired, fruity, medium bodied red or white to pair with this. For a red something like a youthful Montepulciano would be great, but for tonight we chose the Edetana via Edetaria Grenacha Blanca from Terra Alta in Spain. A spot truly blessed with an amazing terroir for Grenache of both colours, and this version is bursting with flowers and fruit aromas and a core of citrus on the palate. It really complimented the char from the barbecue and the subtle spicing on the marinade.

Chicken kebabs – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon steak
  • 4 cloves
  • 35g cashews
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800g chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • a small handful of mint leaves, chopped, to serve

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • a small handful of coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon

Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, crumbled cinnamon stick and cloves. Toast for a minute until fragrant, then tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

Tip the cashews into the frying pan and roast for a couple of minutes, then add these to the freshly ground spices along with the turmeric and the nutmeg. Grind again, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the chicken, yoghurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt to the bowl and mix well. Cover and put in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook get your charcoal barbecue going with charcoal on one side only.

Thread the chicken, not too tightly, onto metal skewers.

Put the skewers onto the barbecue, on the opposite side to the coals so the heat isn’t too high. Cook with the lid on, turning regularly, until the temperature inside reaches 74C or for about 20 minutes.

Put the butter into a small frying pan on the hob to melt. When the chicken is almost cooked, move them over the heat to crisp them up and start brushing all over with the melted butter. Keep an eye on them as they’ll start to flare up a bit.

Toss the salad ingredients together and serve the kebabs with the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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It’s the first night of our holidays and we felt like eating something to remind us of the beach!

Wine Suggestion: Dominio de Tares La Sonrisa Godello, or something similar with a chalky, Chablis-esk minerally finish; unoaked, vibrant and dry.

Baked sea bream – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 2 x 400g whole sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 60ml dry sherry
  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped

FOR THE PICADA:

  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions, garlic and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and a splash of water, then cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C. Slice the potatoes, not too thin and not too thick so they hold together but cook through. Spread them over the base of a roasting dish that can easily accomodate the fish. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together then bake for 20 minutes.

To make the picada, put the parsley, garlic and salt into a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste, then set aside.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and put on top of the cooked potatoes. Spread the picada over the fish. Add the lemon juice and a couple of tbsp of water, then pour the tomato sauce over everything. Drizzle over the last tbsp of olive oil, add the peppercorns and sherry, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Scatter with the chopped parsley to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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Pork ribeyes are a bit of revelation for us but they’re excellent on the barbecue and also good value. You cook them low and slow first, then a fast sear at the end. This will give you tender meat with a good browned crust on the outside. You will need a meat thermometer – they’re not expensive and an essential piece of equipment for cooking outside. You also want to start this the day ahead so you can season the meat the whole way through.

Wine Suggestion: We were treated to a gem from the cellar of our friends David & Joyce. The Domaine Tempier Bandol 2006 was at it’s absolute peak. Fresh as a daisy with velvety layers of plums and sloes and a deep, earthy bass note with touches of leather, tobacco and gentle spices. The forceful tannins from the Mourvèdre tamed by time into a silky texture allowing the fruit to emerge.

Barbecued pork ribeye steaks with mushrooms & tarragon sauce – serves 4 generously

  • 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 10g dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 175ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20g fresh tarragon leaves, picked and chopped

Sprinkle the pork steaks all over with the salt and place on a rack over a tray. Leave uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours (or for as long as you’ve got).

When ready to cook you need to set up the barbecue for both direct and indirect heating. This means piling up the charcoal on just one side. You can then put the meat on the opposite side (without charcoal underneath) and cover with the lid to cook indirect – this will cook the meat slowly. When you want to finish over a high heat, you transfer the meat to the other side.

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Leave to soak until soft, then finely chop the mushrooms and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

Put the pork steaks on the opposite side to the charcoal and allow them to cook gently for 30-40 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 50C.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the fresh mushrooms. Fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the wine and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Allow to bubble until the liquid is almost completely reduced, then add the cream, tarragon and seasoning. Allow to heat through, then cover with a lid and set aside.

Remove the steaks to a plate and, if you need to, add a bit more charcoal to the barbecue to get it super hot again. Then sear the steaks over a really high heat, with the lid off, turning them every 30 seconds until really well browned. Keep cooking like this on the internal temperature ahas reached 63C for medium or 71C for well done.

Warm the sauce a little if you need, then serve the steaks with the sauce poured over. Potatoes and green veg are good on the side.

(Original recipe from Seared by Genevieve Taylor, Quadrille, 2022.)

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A great combination and nice to cook something meat-free on the barbecue. Serve with naan breads – we get ours from the local takeaway. You need to get started a few hours ahead.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing complex or too heavy with this so focus on pleasurable fruit and balance. For us tonight Umani Ronchi’s organic Serrano. A Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend from Rosso Conero, in the Marches. Youthful and vibrant which suited us perfectly for a summer barbecued dinner.

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste, we use Patak’s
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 300g paneer, cut into 18 cubes
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • naan breads, to serve

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

  • left over red onion from the kebabs (see below)
  • 1 large mango, finely diced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Put the yoghurt, curry paste, garlic, and ginger into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Add the paneer and peppers. Peel off the outer 2-3 layers of each onion wedge and add these too (keep the rest for the chutney), then fold everything together gently. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours, or if short of time leave at room temperature for an hour.

To make the mango chutney, finely chop the leftover onion and put into a bowl with the mango, tomatoes, chillies and mint and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set aside.

Get your barbecue on and hot, then brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent the kebabs from sticking.

Thread the paneer, peppers and onions onto kebab skewers and cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly charred.

Sprinkle coriander over the skewers and serve with the mango chutney and naan breads.

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

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Well this is just delicious; we love bean chillies anyhow but this is a particularly good one. We are not vegan and so served this with sour cream. We’ve included the instructions for a vegan crème fraîche below if you prefer.

Wine Suggestion: For some reason we gravitate to American (both North & South) reds when eating chillies, and with the Wines of Argentina tasting in Dublin yesterday it was natural we’d open a Malbec. A star of the show, and definitely by no means the most expensive, the Altosur Malbec by Finca Sophenia in Gualtallary, Mendoza was our choice. And it seems like Decanter agrees with our choice too – Best in Show and Best Value in their World Wine Awards just announced. Bravo Finca Sophenia and perfect for our chilli.

Vegan chilli – serves 4-6

  • 4 sweet potatoes, skins scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus a bit extra to rub on the potatoes
  • 100g broccoli florets
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 x tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drianed and rinsed
  • 100g fresh, frozen or tinned sweetcorn kernels
  • 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • sour cream or crème fraîche (or make the vegan crème fraîche below)

IF YOU WANT VEGAN CRÈME FRAÎCHE:

  • 65g cashews soaked in 120ml water for 30 minutes, then drained
  • juice of ½ lemon

TO SERVE:

  • 75g edamame beans
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C.

Rub the sweet potatoes with a little bit of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Steam the broccoli until tender, then set aside.

If you want to make the vegan crème fraîche, put the soaked and drained cashews in a blender with the lemon juice. Season with salt and blitz to a cream.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and spices and cook for a few minute or until softened. Add the red pepper and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chickpeas, sweetcorn, black beans and kidney beans. Season with salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If it starts to look dry, you can add a splash of water.

Add the steamed broccoli and mix to warm through.

Trim the ends off the sweet potatoes and cut them in half but not the whole way through. Spoon the chilli into the potatoes and top with some edamame beans and sour cream or crème fraîche, then serve with the avocado and lime wedges.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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This is just a simple green salad but the addition of chopped green olives and red onions takes it to the next level. It’s particularly good with tomato-based dishes, like lasagne or Parmigiana.

Green salad with olive dressing – serves 6

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 50g green olives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 6 big handfuls of mixed green salad leaves

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl, then add the olives and red onion and season.

Tip the salad leaves into a bowl and drizzle over the dressing, then toss gently to coat.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This dish couldn’t be easier and is all cooked in the one tray; a great spring celebration. It helped that we were able to source all of the ingredients locally, always makes us feel good about what we’re eating.

Wine Suggestion: Simple, but fresh and asparagus friendly Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, in this case blended with a touch of Chardonnay from the Cheverny appelation. Pascal Bellier produces a charmer.

Sea trout, new potatoes and asparagus with a dill & mustard sauce – serves 4

  • 1kg baby new potatoes, we used Jersey Royals
  • 400g asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 fillets of sea trout (or you could use salmon)

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill, plus a bit extra to serve

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

Cook the potatoes in salty water for about 3 minutes, then add the asparagus and cook for a further 2 minutes. Drain well and and run the asparagus under cold running water to stop it cooking any further.

Put the potatoes into a large non-stick baking tray, toss with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Put into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown.

Tuck the trout and asparagus in and around the potatoes and season these too. Roast again for 10-12 minutes or until the trout is just cooked.

Meanwhile, whisk the mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil together to make the dressing. Stir through the dill just before you’re ready to serve. Drizzle the sauce over the dish and scatter with some more dill if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe and Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, May 2019.)

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This is Meera Sodha’s fresh take on Matar Paneer, which is usually a richer dish. Delicious with warm naan breads and plain yoghurt, this version could easily become a regular favourite.

Fresh Matar Paneer – serves 4 as a main or more as a side with other dishes

  • rapeseed oil
  • 550g hard paneer, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g mangetout
  • 200g frozen peas (defrosted), or you can use fresh of course if you have them
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced to serve

Heat a couple of tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the panner over a medium heat until browned and crisp all over, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another tbsp of oil in the pan, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes (make sure the frying pan isn’t too hot when you add the garlic or it will burn). Add the tomatoes and cook for about 6 minutes or until just turning jammy. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric, then stir for another minute before taking off the heat.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 more minute, then drain and leave to steam dry.

Heat the sauce, then stir in the paneer. When both are hot, stir in the veg. Sprinkle over the sliced red chilli and serve.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

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This soup recipe by Skye Gyngall is delicious. Make it while you can get local aspragus and serve with some crusty bread.

Asparagus, rice & pancetta soup – serves 4

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of thymes, leaves stripped and stalks discarded
  • 5 slices of pancetta, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 100g white rice
  • 1 litre good chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • 12 green asparagus spears, snap off the woody ends and cut into short lengths on the diagonal
  • 100g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Add the pancetta and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in the rice. Pour in the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down low, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Add the asparagus to the soup and cook for a few minutes until just tender, then stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste with lots of black pepper and salt to taste.

Ladle into warm bowls and top with the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2008.)

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This recipe comes from Chasing Smoke by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co. in London. This is hands-down the best hummus we’ve ever made (and we’ve made lots) and the crispy lamb belly (poached then finished over charcoal) is fatty but fabulous. It’s good with a simple salad (we went for cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions & Baby gem dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and sumac) and lots of warm pittas. You need to soak the chickpeas the night before.

Wine Suggestion: Anything with a hint of middle-eastern spices or warm sunshine. A Garnacha, or maybe a Tempranillo. Tonight the classic Massaya le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. A lot has happened in this part of the world and we’re glad to support the friends we’ve met still trying to make great wine despite all the challenges. Well done Sami and Ramzi, bravo!

Crispy lamb on creamy hummus – serves 4 (generously)

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 1 lamb breast on the bone, about 1.5kg
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 litre of water

FOR THE HUMMUS:

  • 200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in lots of water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 250g tahini paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

TO SERVE:

  • a small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp biber chilli flakes (or Allepo)
  • pitta breads
  • salad (see suggestion above

Rub the lamb all over with the salt, cumin seeds and peppercorns, then leave in the fridge for a couple of hours. Put the lamb in a large pan with the onions and water. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for about 1½ hours.

Make the hummus while the lamb is cooking. Drain the soaked chickpeas, then place in large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off the foam. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then skim again.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Skim it really well this time then simmer for 30-40 minutes, skimming regularly, until the chickpeas are very soft – they should melt in your mouth.

Drain the chickpeas into a colander over a bowl so you can reserve the cooking liquid. You need to finish the hummus now while everything is still hot. Pour 250ml of the cooking liquid over the chickpeas and add the garlic. Now whizz using a stick blender or food processor until really smooth. It will be pretty thick at this stage but not to worry.

Add the salt, tahini, cumin and lemon juice and whizz again until well combined. Give it a taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like. Cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming and set aside. It will be quite liquid but it will thicken as it cools.

Lift the lamb out of the cooking water, keep a few spoonfuls of liquid for serving. The meat should be completely soft and easy to pull from the bones. Carefully (so it doesn’t fall apart altogether) lift it onto a hot charcoal barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes. Turn it over and cook for 10 minutes on the other side. You need to do this over indirect heat or it will burn or catch fire as there is a lot of fat.

To cook over indirect heat pile the charcoal to one side and with the lid on cook the meat on the other side. Despite no direct flames underneath the meat cooks a treat – slower, but no less effectively.

Take the cooked meat off onto a chopping board and shred it with two forks – like crispy duck.

Spread the hummus on a serving platter and top with the lamb and a drizzle of the cooking liquid. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and chilli flakes and serve with lots of pitta and a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over fire around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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This is absolutely lovely for lunch and you can make it up a few hours in advance and chill it in the fridge. It’s also easily doubled if your serving a crowd. Like everything it tastes better outside in the sun. Serve with some crusty bread and green salad leaves if you like.

Lemon & herb chicken salad – serves 6

  • 750g cooked skinless chicken, cut into thin strips (we cook our chicken on a barbecue for extra flavour)
  • 150g pitted green olives, halved
  • 290g jar chargrilled red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into small pieces

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing and toss well, then addd the olives, half the peppers, the basil, parsley, and two-thirds of the feta. Season again.

Arrange the chicken on a large platter and top with the rest of the peppers and feta. Chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, Penguin Random House, 2019.)

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We loved these little breakfast tacos so much we made them a few days in a row; and the mini yellow corn tortillas from Picado work perfectly. Jono bravely picked each taco up with a bit of spillage, Jules sensibly used a knife and fork.

Breakfast tacos with bacon, eggs & avocado – serves 2

  • 4 rashers smoked back bacon
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 8 mini corn tortillas (use less if you’re using bigger ones)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • a bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Sriracha sauce, to serve

Grill or barbeuce the bacon until cooked and crispy, then snip with scissors into small pieces.

Melt the butter in a saucepan then softly scramble the eggs, take them off the heat when still slightly liquid so they don’t overcook. Stir in the crispy bacon.

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a dry frying pan and lay onto two warm plate.

Spoon the bacon and eggs over the tacos, then top with avocado, coriander and a drizzle of Sriracha sauce.

(Original recipe from The BodyCoach App)

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Try this simple lunch with some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: A good, salty Pazo de Señoráns Albariño which plays a delightful dance of balancing a lightness and elegance with surprising depth, concentration and complexity.

Hot-smoked salmon salad with chive buttermilk dressing – serves 2

  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into chunky pieces
  • 50g sugar snap peas, halved
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 150g hot-smoked salmon
  • crusty bread, to serve

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • a bunch of chives, finely chopped

Put the buttermilk, white wine vinegar and caster sugar into a small jug, season with salt and pepper and whisk together. Add the chives.

Put the lettuce, sugar snap peas, red onion and capers into a large bowl and toss together gently. Add half the dressing and toss again. Flake over the hot-smoked salmon and gently toss again, then drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.

(Original recipe in Olive Magazine, April 2020.)

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We recently bought Ammu by Asma Khan, a book full of Indian home-cooking recipes interlaced with lovely stories about Asma’s family life. Today was its first outing and we cooked these kebabs on the barbecue because the sun was shining, and our friend Michael keeps gifting us huge jars of pickled onions that he got for a bargain price in M&S (true). Asma recommends serving with a black-eyed bean salad called Lobia – and we agree.

Wine Suggestion: Find an easy, juicy barbecue red that isn’t too heavy and you’ll be happy here.

Murgh Seekh Kabab – serves 6

  • 900g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 5cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 300g well-drained pickled onions or shallots
  • 6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp chilli powder

Ideally you should marinade the chicken and leave in the fridge for about 4 hours. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, then add the chicken and toss to coat, then cover and put into the fridge.

Get your barbecue going, we prefer charcoal but whatever you’ve got will do.

Thread the chicken pieces, thinly sliced ginger and pickled onions onto metal kebab sticks (you can use the wooden ones but you need to soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes first to stop them burning). Grill the kebabs for about 5 minutes on each side, basting with the ghee or vegetable oil.

(Original recipe from Ammu by Asma Khan, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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This is an Indian side dish and a great salad that we plan to serve with many Indian meals. This time we had it with Murgh Seekh Kababs cooked on the barbecue. Asma prefers dried beans (and we’re sure she is right) but we cheated this time and used a tin of black-eyed beans instead.

Lobia – serves 4

  • 200g dried black-eyed beans (we used a 400g tin)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ a small red onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 red tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

If using dried beans you need to soak them in cold water overnight.

The next day, drain the beans and put into a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until soft. Drain and leave to cool.

If you are using a tin of beans, you can skip all of the above and just drain and rinse them in cold water.

Put the beans into a bowl, add the garlic, onion, chilli and tomato and mix together gently. Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper together, pour into the bowl with the beans and mix together.

(Original recipe from Ammu by Asma Khan, Ebury Press, 2022).

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