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Posts Tagged ‘Herbs’

Try this for a tasty weeknight dish, particularly if you have lots of herbs in the garden. We loved the anchovies in this but you can easily give it a go without. With gnocchi the trick is to definitely fry it at the end as this gives you both a crispy outside and a pillowy-soft centre.

Wine Suggestion: This needs a characterful white with a bit of acidity. Domaine Gueguen’s old-vine Aligote was our choice, but a good Gavi or top-notch Vermentino would work too.

Gnocchi with herb sauce – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 4 anchovies (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zest of half
  • 50g herbs – we used parsley, chives & basil
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g gnocchi

Blitz the capers, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice and herbs with 3 tbsp of the olive oil to make a sauce. Season and set aside.

Cook the gnocchi in salty water according to the pack – it takes hardly any time at all and don’t be tempted to leave it in longer, really as soon as it floats to the top it’s done. Drain the gnocchi, then heat the last tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.

Fry the gnocchi for about 3 minute or until crispy on the outside and piping hot. Drain on kitchen paper, then tip into a bowl and toss with the sauce. Divide between warm bowls and top with lemon zest and lots of black pepper.

(Original recipe by Elena Silcock in BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2018.)

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We don’t make a roast dinner every week but we do like one occasionally, especially in the brighter months when you can lighten them up a bit with some spring veg. Ask your butcher to score the pork skin for you, then leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, which will help with the crispy crackling.

Wine suggestion: Quite often we have an oaky white with roast pork but tonight we had a notion for red and a 6 year old Olga Raffault Chinon Les Pucasses which was just hitting it’s stride and will be drinking nicely for another 10 years we think. Deep , complex and brooding and yet the limestone soils give it an immediate freshness and vivacity.

Roast pork belly with herbs & new potatoes – serves 4

  • 3-4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg thick end of pork belly, bone in, skin completely dry (see above)
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peas or broad bean tops if available (we didn’t have these but we served with some double podded broad beans instead)
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Score the skin and fat (but not the flesh) of the pork with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn’t done this for you already.

Put the pork into a roasting tray and rub allover with the crushed fennel seeds and some salt.

Put the pork into the oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin, then reduce the heat to 160C/315F/Gas 2-3. Add half a glass of water to the tray and roast for a further 2 hours, until crispy and tender. You will need to keep checking the water and ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out.

While the pork is roasting, halve the potatoes if they’re big and put into a saucepan with the mint stalks. Cover with salty water and simmer until just tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint stalks. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove the cooked pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the chopped herbs to the potatoes and stir gently to coat, then spoon onto a warm platter. Slice the pork and arrange on the platter with the potatoes, then skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and spoon the juices over the pork and potatoes,.

If you have pea or bean tops, put them into a bowl and dress with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter these over the pork and serve. (We dressed our broad beans with some olive oil and lemon and served these alongside instead).

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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We loved this deep-filled veggie pie and it looks so bright with the broken eggs on the top. Excellent for lunch or dinner or to pack up for a picnic. Leftovers are good too. Use a 23cm round baking tin. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a white you’d be happy having on a picnic; something with a bit of body and dry, minerality. For us it was an old vine Bourgogne Aligote from Domaine Gueguen in Chablis. Full and round with apricot and apple flavours and a saline, chalky twist at the end. Tasting this we wonder why Aligote isn’t more popular as it is delicious.

Spinach, egg and filo pie – serves 8

  • 70g butter
  • 1 small packet of filo pastry

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 50g butter
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 small bunch of dill, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 160g  cup yoghurt
  • 50g plain flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 50g finely grated pecorino
  • 50g feta

Melt the 50g portion of butter for the filling in a large saucepan. Add the spinach and cover, then cook for a few minutes until wilted. Drain in a colander to drain off the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and add the dill, scallions, thyme, dried mint, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix well. Add the yoghurt, flour, 4 of the eggs, the pecorino and feta, and mix well to combine.

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

Melt the 70g portion of butter for the pastry and take the filo sheets out of the packet. Brush the first sheet with the melted butter and lay another sheet on top. Lift these 2 sheets into the round baking tin, allowing a little overhang. Repeat this process and put another layer in the tin, slightly overlapping the first. Continue this way until the tin is fully lined with pastry, with pastry over hanging on all sides. You will probably need about 4 double sheets.

Fill the pastry lined tin with the spinach mixture, then fold the filo overhang to cover the edges of the filling but don’t cover the whole surface. Scrunch the pastry to form a crunchy rim and brush with a little more butter. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the tin from the oven and crack the remaining 4 eggs over the surface. Aim to have an egg yolk in each quarter and for the egg white to be evenly distributed. Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the yolk into the filling but don’t push it in too much. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until the spinach mixture and eggs are set and the pastry crispy.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2018.)

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Don’t wear a white shirt when eating this as lots of slurping is needed. A dish full of herbs, spring veg and a fresh spicy sauce, perfect on a cool Spring evening.

Wine Suggestion: This dish demands a good, dry Riesling like the superlative ones made by Martin & Britta Korrell in the Nahe, Germany. For tonight the “Slice of Paradise” Riesling, a less philosophical, more playful baby brother of their signature Paradies vineyard wine, but none the less for this; a taste of Spring in the glass too.

Laksa with Spring Vegetables & Rice Noodles – serves 4

  • 30g tamarind paste with seeds (it comes in a block)
  • 1-2 red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger or galangal
  • ½ a bunch of scallions, sliced, keep the white parts and the green parts separate
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 400g mixed spring vegetables e.g. PSB, peas, green beans, mangetout, asparagus, spinach, radishes or baby carrots
  • 200g dried rice noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the pack
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, or more if you like
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped, to serve

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil.

Meanwhile, put the tamarind into a small bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Mash well with a fork to get a purée then push the tamarind through a sieve. Discard the seeds that are left behind.

Blend the chillies, garlic, ginger, white parts of the scallions, coriander stalks and lemongrass with the turmeric and cumin to make a thick paste. The small bowl of the food processor is good for this, you might need to add a little water to help it come together.

To make the broth, fry the spicy paste in the sunflower oil for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium heat, until it starts to stick to the pan. Add the tamarind purée, stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, boil the vegetables in the pan of salty water until just tender – 3 minutes should do it, then drain and divide between 4 deep bowls along with the prepared noodles.

Add the fish sauce and sugar to the sauce, taste and add more if needed. Pour the hot broth over the noodles and veg and garnish with the mint, coriander leaves and green scallions. You can add a bit of sliced chilli too if you like.

(Original recipe from Home Cookery Year by Claire Thomson, Quadrille, 2020.)

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Couscous with Courgette, Fried Onions & Herbs

It’s courgettes with everything in our house this week, not that we’re complaining! We had this couscous as a side for a barbecue and the leftovers were great for lunches. Also a good recipe for using up any herbs you have, you don’t have to stick to combination suggested, one or two would be fine.

Couscous with courgette, fried onions & herbs – serves 6

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, grated
  • 300g couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • small bunch mint
  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch dill
  • handful rocket, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions gently until softened, then increase the heat and let them crisp up a bit.

Put the courgettes,  couscous, and chickpeas into a large bowl and pour over the stock. Cover tightly with clingfilm an set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the mint, coriander and dill together.

Fork the couscous to separate the grains then use to stir in the lemon juice, fried onions, scallions, herbs, rocket and plenty of seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Marinated turkey breast with coriander, cumin & white wine

Not entirely the wrong season as turkey is available and cheap – we’re never sure why it isn’t more popular. If you’re not convinced try this tasty marinade from the original Ottolenghi Cookbook. This is very straightforward but you need to start a day ahead.

We used 1/2 turkey breast, but wrapped it in the whole skin and tied this to keep it together. If you find an amiable butcher we recommend getting them to do this too.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest opening a Chardonnay with texture and fresh acidity alongside ripe, deep fruit. We’ve recently tried some great Californian Chardonnays that reach this goal;  the Cline Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a good, value option, or a new discovery, and a treat, the range of wines made by Tyler in Santa Barbara. Quite a bit more expensive but a real thrill.

 Marinated turkey breast with cumin, coriander and white wine – serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tbsp mint leaves
  • 4 tbsp parsley leaves
  • 4 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 125ml white wine
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ small turkey breast, skin on (about 1kg)

Put everything (except the turkey) in a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. Put the turkey in a non-metallic container and pour over the marinade. Massage the marinade into the meat, then cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. The turkey should be immersed in the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7.

Take the turkey out of the marinade (but don’t throw the marinade away) and put it on a roasting tray. Put into the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200C/Gas mark 6. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes then reduce the temperature again to 180C/Gas mark 4. Cook for another 30-45 minutes or until cooked through. If you stick a knife into the centre of the meat it should come out hot. Cover with foil near the end of the cooking time if it is browning too much.

To make the sauce, heat up the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by about half. Taste and season.

Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice thinly and serve with the warm sauce.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi: the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2006.)

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Potato soup

An invaluable recipe especially in Ireland as we always seem to have surplus potatoes lying around. This is what we cook when ‘there’s no food in the house’ and it’s pretty good.

Potato and fresh herb soup – serves 6

  • 50g butter
  • 425g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 110g onions, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped herbs: parsley, thyme, chives
  • 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 125ml creamy milk

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Wait until it starts to foam, then add the potatoes and onions and stir to coat in the butter. Add the salt and some black pepper. Cover with a butter wrapper or some greaseproof paper and the saucepan lid. Sweat gently for about 10 minutes while you bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan.

When the vegetables are softened but not coloured, add the herbs and stock, then continue to cook until the vegetables are completely soft. Whizz the soup until smooth and season to taste. Thin with some creamy milk if necessary and garnish with some more herbs.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2001.)

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Salmon on lentils with herb relishEveryone loves salmon in our house and it helps with our oily fish intake, which makes us feel good about ourselves. The lentils in this dish make it good and hearty and the herb relish is fresh and delicious.

Wine Suggestion: despite it being traditional to drink rosé only during summer we like to have it all year round, and for oily “pink” fish like salmon a Provençal rosé, from Chateau Vignelaure makes a great match

Salmon on lentils with herb relish – serves 4

FOR THE LENTILS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 150g Puy lentils
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 275ml chicken stock or water
  • squeeze of lemon juice

FOR THE HERB RELISH:

  • 50g herb leaves (parsley, basil, mint & chives)
  • 1½ tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 7½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE SALMON:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 x 175g salmon fillets

Start with the lentils by heating the oil in a saucepan and cooking the onion, celery and carrot until starting to soften. Stir in the lentils, thyme & stock and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes but keep an eye on the lentils as they can turn mushy in minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the herbs very finely and mix with the other relish ingredients.

Heat the butter and oil for the salmon in a large frying pan. Season the fillets on both sides and cook over a high heat, skin side down, until the skin is crispy. Turn the fish over carefully and cook over a medium heat for another minute or two or until cooked through.

When the lentils are cooked, add the lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Put lentils on each plate and top with the salmon fillets and relish.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Spaghettini w. prawns basil parsley and pistachios

We know it’s Sunday and it’s getting colder and the clocks have changed, so we should really be posting a nice roast. However, we figure you probably have dinner sorted for today and you might like something to inspire you later in the week.

Wine Suggestion: the fresh, zesty Staforte Soave from Gaziano Prà would be a great match for this. Made from 100% Garganega it has apricot, peach and apple fruit flavours with touches of camomile and white flowers; followed by a textural finish. We would also try southern Italian Greco di Tufo and Falanghina’s with this dish; try to look for something with crispness, mid-weight and mineral texture and it should work.

Spaghettini with prawns, basil, parsley & pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves
  • 75g roasted unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghettini
  • 500g raw peeled king prawns

Pound the garlic and half the sea salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add the basil, parsley and mint and keep pounding together to make a thick paste. Add half the pistachios and grind them into the paste to get a creamy texture. Roughly chop the rest of the pistachios and stir into the paste with the Parmesan, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with some more salt if needed and black pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

Put a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Fry the prawns for a minutes on each side, then season with the remaining ¼ tsp of sea salt. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and keep a little of the cooking water. Immediately tip the pasta back into the pot, then toss together with the herb paste and cooked prawns. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen. Serve immediately on warm plates.

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

 

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Trout with brown butter & almondsA simple and delicious idea for trout fillets. Serve with steamed new potatoes and asparagus or other seasonal greens.

Trout with brown butter & almonds – serves 2

  • 4 small trout fillets with skin on
  • a handful of flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • 50g butter
  • 3tbsp of chopped mixed herbs, we used parsley, thyme & chives
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the butter in a frying pan until it starts to turn a nutty brown colour. Add the trout fillets, skin-side down, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer the fish carefully onto warmed plates.

Add the almonds to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice, some seasoning and the herbs. Toss the almonds gently in the buttery juices and pour over the fish.

Serve with steamed new potatoes and greens.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2005.)

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Dublin’s now officially cold and Wintery, so we thought we’d cook some soup for the week ahead 🙂

Winter cannellini bean soup

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a big saucepan and tip in 4 finely chopped shallots, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, a finely chopped carrot, 2 finely chopped celery sticks, 2 finely chopped leeks and 140g finely chopped streaky bacon.
  • Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
  • Pour in 1.4 litres of vegetable or chicken stock (we use Marigold), then add 2 bay leaves and 1/2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram.
  • Season and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add 2 tins of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Credit to BBC Good Food:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1148/winter-cannellini-bean-soup

Jono

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