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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy’

Baked Cod & Butter Beans

An easy, midweek fish dish that’s perfect for two.

Wine Suggestion: despite being a fish dish this works with red wine, though we’d suggest nothing too heavy or rich. Tonight Domaine Rochette’s Morgon Cote du Py added an earthy texture and density and is a good example of why we should be drinking more Beaujolais.

Baked cod and butter beans – serves 2

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 chunky pieces of skinless cod loin
  • 35g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 25g grated Parmesan

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

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Cook the onion and garlic until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the fennel seeds and cook for a minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the butter beans and season.

Sit the cod pieces in the beans. Mix the breadcrumbs with the rosemary, Parmesan, seasoning and a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the crumbs over the fish and bake for 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the fish cooked.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2019.)

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Paprika & Oregano marinated fish with Cherry Tomato Salsa

We made it too late to the fish shop to get mussels. I tried to sign through the window to get something for the barbecue instead and Oralith (age 6) opened the door and yelled – try and get a lobster! Entertained the fishmonger anyway and we had tuna steaks in the end. Little did he know that she wanted to bring the lobster home to keep as a pet.

Wine Suggestion: We never get over how the Rustenberg Chardonnay so completely over delivers for its price and perfectly works with food, but as we’d not had some for ages opened this on a whim and we weren’t disappointed. Another successful match for this wine.

Paprika- and oregano-marinated fish with cherry tomato salsa – serves 4

  • 4 tuna steaks
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (we only had a green one which worked fine too)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, paprika and some seasoning together in a bowl. Put the tuna steaks into a ceramic dish and pour over the marinade. Cover the dish and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

To make the salsa, mix the tomatoes, scallions, oregano, chilli and vinegar in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the tuna over a hot barbecue for a couple of minutes on each side.

Serve the tuna with some salsa spooned over and some lemon wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from Holiday by Bill Granger, Murdoch Books, 2007.)

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Carrot & Ginger mash with pan fried codSo, this is a full-on diet dish, but the carrot and ginger mash is spectacular and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough for nights when you need some restraint. We are a greedy household and require restraint on a regular basis – no wine for us tonight!

Carrot & Ginger Mash with Pan-fried Cod – serves 2

  • 2 large carrots (about 300g), thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 15g fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 15g butter
  • ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 thick, skinless cod fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried chilli flakes

Put the carrots, garlic & ginger in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.

Take the pan off the heat, reserve a ladle of the cooking water, then drain. Return the carrot mixture to the pan and add 3 tbsp of the reserved cooking water, the butter, and the lemon juice. Whizz the carrots to a purée with a stick blender, adding a bit more of the water if needed. Season with salt and black pepper.

Season the cod with sea salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the cod for about 4 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with a few chilli flakes, and cook on the other side for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how thick they are.

Spoon the purée onto warm plates and serve with the fish on top and plenty of green veg.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 Recipe Book by Dr Claire Bailey & Justine Pattison, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Prawn Korma with coco cauli rice

This is absolutely a diet dish but for a diet dish it’s particularly tasty.  Low calories and low carbs but we guarantee it will fill you up so if you’re cutting down we highly recommend this. You can buy bags of cauliflower rice but it is literally just cauliflower whizzed until it resembles rice. A large cauliflower will be fresher and cheaper! We like Madras curry paste (Patak’s is our preference) but you could use something less spicy, like a Korma.

Prawn Curry with with Cauliflower Rice – serves 4

FOR THE RICE:

  • a large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut

FOR THE KORMA:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2cm root ginger, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp curry paste
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 400g frozen tiger prawns, defrosted
  • large handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

To make the rice, whizz the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks a similar texture to rice.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and add the cauliflower and desiccated coconut.

Fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes, or until tender.

For the curry, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions, garlic & ginger for 8-10 minutes or until lightly coloured.

Add the curry paste and cook for a minute, before adding the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Add the prawns and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the spinach, yoghurt & some seasoning.

Serve the curry with the cauliflower rice and top with the coriander.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal

A vegan dish for mid-week that is not only super-healthy but very tasty too.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal – serves 4

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

  • 1 large cauliflower, sliced into 1cm steaks (or you can break into florets but don’t waste the stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

FOR THE DHAL:

  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 250g red lentils
  • 400ml tin light coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • generous handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

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

Put the cauliflower into a large roasting tin and sprinkle with the olive oil.

Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter over the turmeric and garlic. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a lidded saucepan and gently fry the onion and chilli for about 4 minutes.

Add the cumin, garlic and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes before stirring in the lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower and serve with the dhal and the toasted almonds.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Duck Stir-Fry with Ginger & Greens

It’s not often you find a duck dish that is light and healthy. It pains us too to pull off and discard that duck skin but somedays it just has to be done. Can’t recommend this highly enough for a good food day. We served with some brown basmati.

Duck stir-fry with ginger and greens – serves 4

  • groundnut oil
  • 2 skinless duck breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 500g pak choi, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Heat a wok until smoking hot, then add 2 tsp of oil. Add the duck and stir-fry for 2 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon. Add another teaspoon of oil and tip in the ginger, chilli, almost all the scallions and the pak choi. Cook until the pak choi is just wilted.

Add the soy, honey and oyster sauce to the wok and put the duck back in – bubble for a minute. Mix the cornflour with 2 tsp cold water and stir until smooth, add to the wok and cook until the sauce thickens and looks glossy. Garnish with the leftover scallions to serve.

(Original recipe by Jemma Morphet in Olive Magazine, February 2011.)

 

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Caponata Spaghetti

A really healthy mid-week pasta dish but with heaps of flavour. Don’t be tempted to use  more oil than specified, as you really don’t miss it in this dish.

Caponata Spaghetti – serves 4

  • 2 aubergines, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of raisins
  • 1 tsp capers
  • a handful of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 300g wholewheat spaghetti
  • a small bunch of parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Toss the aubergine with 2tsp of oil and a little seasoning and tip into a large non-stick baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until charred and soft.

Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a large pan and cook the red onion and celery with a large pinch of salt for 10 minutes or until softening and caramelised a little. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes and 100ml water. Tip in the roasted aubergine and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the raisins, capers, olives and red wine vinegar, and season. Keep on a low heat while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the time on the pack, then drain, reserving a mug of the water. Tip the pasta into the caponata with the parsley, add a splash of water to loosen if needed. Stir well and serve.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, February 2019)

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Turmeric Broth

We try and cook healthy mid-week, with some weeks being more successful than others. That said, we rarely eat anything particularly unhealthy, so we don’t beat ourselves up too much. This dish is low fat and low calorie – but it tastes really full-flavoured and restorative, almost medicinal, and you can’t help but feel better for eating it.

Turmeric broth with chicken & ginger dumplings – serves 4

  • 50g ginger sliced
  • 1.5 litres light chicken stock
  • 3 scallions, green parts and white parts separated
  • 2 star anise
  • 2-3 tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g baby leaf greens, chopped – we used pak choi
  • 300g cooked egg noodles
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

FOR THE DUMPLINGS:

  • 500g chicken mince or turkey mince
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • a handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 egg white
  • white pepper

Put the sliced ginger, chicken stock, scallion greens, star anise and turmeric in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cook with a lid on for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the scallion whites and put into a bowl with the mince, grated ginger, chilli, coriander, 1 tsp of sesame oil, the cornflour and egg white. Season with salt and white pepper then mix well and roll into balls.

Strain the broth and return to the pot. Add the chicken dumplings and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Add the greens and noodles for the last 2 minutes. Finish with the chilli and a drizzle of sesame oil.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, January 2017.)

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Chickpea and spinach curry

We don’t know about you lot but our bellies are crying out for a rest and we haven’t even got to New Year’s yet. This is a lightweight curry suitable for veggies and vegans (if you don’t serve with yoghurt) and it’s also substantial enough to serve as it is without any rice. The spices are very gentle as confirmed by our 5 year old who has developed a recent aversion to anything ‘too spicy!!’.

Chickpea & spinach curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt (optional to serve)
  • Sprigs of coriander (to serve)

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to brown, add a splash of water if they stick.

Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and stir for a minute, then add the tomato purée and cook for another minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and chickpeas, then bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

When ready to serve, stir through the spinach and cook briefly until just wilted.

Divide between bowls (on top of some steamed rice if you like) and top with a spoon of yoghurt and some coriander.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Chicken with an agrodulce sauce

A quick and healthy Italian-style sweet & sour dish for midweek. We weren’t completely sure about the celery but it smells amazing in the pan with the red onions and tastes perfect in the finished dish. Serve with new potatoes and a green salad or steamed tenderstem broccoli.

Wine Suggestion: We served this with a fuller Italian white, the l’Insolito by Michele Biancardi from Puglia. This is made from Minitolo which used to be thought of as a sub-variety of Fiano. Honeysuckle and white flower aromatics are tempered by a good citrus twist … sort of like the agrodulce.

Chicken with Agrodolce Sauce – serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp flour, well-seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the 4 pieces of chicken with baking paper and flatten gently with a rolling pin. Dust the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the chicken really well, then remove from the pan. Throw the onion and celery into the pan now and cook for about 3 minutes, then season. Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes or until they start to break down, then add the vinegar and sugar.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through, then stir in the parsley.

Serve with green salad or steamed broccoli and some new potatoes if you like.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce IN: BBC Olive Magazine, April 2009.)

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Grilled chilli & coriander salmon w. ginger rice

This is a bit of a fall back recipe for us on weeknights. It’s super simple and pretty healthy but there’s also something really nice and tasty about it. We think you should try this one! We grill an extra salmon fillet for our 3 year old (without the chillies) and she loves it with the ginger rice.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling, pure and simple. Try the vibrant Weingut Korrell “Slice of Paradise” dry Riesling from the Nahe in Germany, or if you want to push the boat out their Kreuznach Paradies Riesling, a full-throttle, powerful and dry Riesling with delicacy and a light touch despite the power and body. Even better if you can hang on to it for a few years and get the benefit of development in the bottle.

Grilled Chilli & Coriander with Ginger Rice – serves 2

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets, about 140g each
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 lime, halved

FOR THE RICE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • small piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 100g basmati rice

Heat a tbsp of the oil in a pan and fry the onion for a few mins until lightly browned. Stir in the ginger and garlic, fry for another minute, then stir in the rice. Add 300ml boiling water and a little salt, then bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10-12 mins or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Brush a baking tray with a little oil and place the salmon fillets on top. Grill for about 4 minutes, then scatter with the chilli, coriander, the other tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning. Return to the grill for another 4 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve the salmon on top of the rice with a piece of lime to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Maroccan kale, chickpea and squash stew

So here we are in October which in our house means thoughts are turning towards Autumn veg, warm casseroles and roast dinners. Here’s a really delicious, but healthy, idea for your first butternut squash.

Wine Suggestion: A little tricky this match but we have two suggestions: a juicy and spicy, Californian Zinfandel – get a good one if you can, like Cline or Ridge; or the Altos de Torona Albariño, a richly fruited white with spices and textures to complement the spices in the dish.

Moroccan chickpea, squash & cavolo nero stew – serves 4

  • 4 tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan and lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g cavolo nero, shredded
  • a handful fresh coriander leaves, to serve

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

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil, season well and roast in the oven about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tbsp oil into a large saucepan and add the squash, thyme, garlic and onion. Season well and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and harissa. Season and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30-35 minutes or  until the liquid has reduced.

Mix the feta with the last tbsp of olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl.

Add the ground coriander and cavolo nero to the stew and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the stew into bowls and top with feta, some coriander leaves and fennel seeds, and some seasoning. Serve with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe by Romilly Newman for BBC Good Food)

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Chicken with olives & tomatoes

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

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

Chicken, red pepper & olive cacciatore – serves 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rainbow noodle salad

A healthy salad for lunchboxes and a good use for red cabbage which always seem impossible to get through. If you have a mandolin it will make short work of shredding the vegetables.

Rainbow Veg Noodle Salad – serves 2

  • 50g medium egg noodles
  • sesame oil
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • ½ a red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 50g sugar snap peas
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk 2 tsp of the sesame oil, the lime juice, peanut butter and rice wine vinegar together in a large bowl. Add a splash of boiling water if the dressing appears too thick.

Add the noodles, carrot, pepper, cabbage and sugar snaps and toss to coat.

Divide between 2 containers and scatter with the scallion and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, February, 2014.)

 

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Turkey Chilli with jacket potatoes

This is a good chilli for mid-week. It uses turkey mince which is lean, and easy to pick up now in supermarkets. It’s not lacking in flavour and we will definitely be doing it again.

Wine Suggestion: a lighter Spanish red is the trick here; make sure it doesn’t have too many tannins. Our find of the moment is a rarity from Teruel, in Aragon which has a harsh climate of hot summers and very bitterly cold winters. From a resurrected-reinvented vineyard the Jesus Romero Rubus is an unoaked blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah. The beauty of this wine is the purity of fruit that sings and layers itself across the palate and has a very long finish. Never heavy, yet full of life. That said, it’s mid-week, so go for it, have whatever is open and it’ll be grand!

Turkey Chilli Jacket Potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g turkey mince
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 350ml passata
  • cheddar cheese, grated, to serve
  • 4 scallions, chopped, to serve

Heat oven to 220ºC.

Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Rub with a little oil, and bake for 20 mins, then turn the oven down to 200ºC and cook for 45 mins-1 hour depending on the size of your spuds.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and some seasoning, and cook for 5 mins until soft. Add the turkey mince and season again, then increase the heat and break up the mince with the back of your spoon. When it’s cooked through, add the spices, vinegar, sugar and passata. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 mins or until the liquid has reduced.

Cut a cross in the potatoes and serve filled with the chilli, some chopped scallions and grated cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Thai salmon cakes with carrot salad

We like to use the Thai curry pastes that come in plastic tubs, Mae Ploy is a good one. There’s always more in the tub than we need which forces us to search for lots of recipes to use it up. This is a bit different for a weeknight, tastes really good and is healthy too.

Wine Suggestion: a light aromatic white is what we’d suggest, like a QbA or Kabinett Riesling from the Mosel. They tend to have a welcome low alcohol (7 to 9 % abv), delicate and vibrant fruit and a refreshing zing to cut through the little bit of residual sugar. A dry Riesling doesn’t work as well; the touch of sweetness helps balance the chilli and curry paste perfectly.

Thai Salmon Steaks with Carrot Salad – serves 2

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets, about 300g in total, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • groundnut oil

CARROT SALAD:

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • a small chunk of ginger, finely grated
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 3 scallions, shredded lengthways
  • 1 red chilli, shredded lengthways
  • handful of coriander leaves

Put the salmon, curry paste and coriander in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, then form into 6 fishcakes and chill while you make the salad.

Mix the rice wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add the ginger. Toss all the other salad ingredients together with the dressing.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the salmon cakes for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. Serve with the salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, April 2011.)

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Baked butternut squash, chickpeas, pepper & pomegranate

This was tasty for a mid-week veggie night. The pomegranate molasses add a pleasant sour note but if you don’t have any you can substitute a few tablespoons of lime juice and a teaspoon of soft brown sugar drizzled over the top.

Baked butternut squash, chickpeas & green chilli – serves 6

  • 1kg butternut squash, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • medium piece ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely diced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, mint & Greek yoghurt and couscous to serve

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

Put the squash onto a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp of the oil, season and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 25 minutes or until soft.

Put half the squash into a medium casserole dish and set the rest aside. Heat a medium-sized frying pan and add the rest of the oil, then the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and paprika. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and chickpeas, then simmer for a minute before turning off the heat.

Pour half the tomato sauce over the squash in the casserole dish in an even layer. Arrange the rest of the squash on top then finish with the rest of the sauce. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature, scattered with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, and mint, with the yoghurt on the side. Serve with couscous.

(Original recipe by Bill Granger in BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2011.)

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Chilli & Salt Squid

Inspired by Gok Wan, this works a treat. We always found that getting fresh squid was difficult until we found great frozen ones: flash frozen as soon as they’ve been caught. A spanish chef Jono knows swears by them and we do too! This is a healthier take on the deep-fried salt chilli squid you get in restaurants.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh, light to medium-bodied white with good fruit works a treat here, but just make sure it’s not bone dry as you need to balance the chilli. We’d suggest either a good Albariño / Alvarinho [we drank the Saolheiro Alvarinho from Portugal) which complements the saltiness or a dry German Riesling from a good producer like Leitz in the Rheingau or Dönnhoff in the Nahe which will carry a good level of fruit and taste dry. These really balance fruit with acidity for perception as opposed to an Australian Riesling which really is bone dry and will fight with the chilli.

Chilli & Salt Squid with Cucumber Salad – serves 2

  • 2 medium squid (tubes and tentacles), cleaned – we used 500g baby squid
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • ½ a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and ground white pepper

For the cucumber salad: 

  • ½ a cucumber, deseeded and sliced into thin ribbons
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • a pinch of caster sugar

Put the cucumber into a serving dish. Pour over the vinegar and sugar and set aside.

Slice the squid tubes in half lengthways and lay out flat with the inside facing up. Score the tubes at an angle about 5mm apart but take care not to slice the whole way through. Turn the squid 45 degrees and score again at that angle. Once scored slice the squid into 2cm wide strips. Cut large tentacles in half and leave small ones whole.

Heat a wok over a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chilli, garlic and spring onions and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until starting to dry out – take care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Put the wok back on the heat and, when hot, add a splash of oil. Wait for the oil to smoke, then add the squid and stir-fry for a minute, or until half cooked and starting to char at the edges. Put the garlic/chilli/spring onion mix back into the pan and stir through, tossing over the heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with the cucumber.

(Original recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan, Penguin Books, 2012.)

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