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This recipe is from Rachel Roddy’s fabulous book, An A-Z of pasta. She introduces this one by asking if you are familar with vitello tonnato, which happens to be one of Jules’ favourite dishes, so we had to try it. Rachel uses the lumache pasta shape, which means snails and they are a bit like snail shells. We found these hard to find so we substituted conchiglie to great effect.

Wine Suggestion: look for a crisp, fresh white with a good body/structure like a dry, unoaked chardonnay from a cooler region. For us it was Céline & Frèdéric Gueguen’s Bourgogne Côtes Salines. Grown in vineyards just outside the Chablis appellation this is vibrantly fresh apple and melon flavoured with a savoury mid-palate that just melts into the tuna sauce.

Conchiglie with tuna, egg & capers – serves 4

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, trim to the palest bit, pull of any strings, and finely chop
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 200g tin of tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp tiny capers, rinsed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced
  • 400g conchiglie (or lumache)
  • a sprig of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a generous amount of salt.

Warm the olive oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and cook on a medium-low heat, until soft. You need to be patient as this will take a while.

Add the tuna and capers, stir for a minute, then add the wine and allow to bubble for 10 minutes, adding 3 tbsp of lemon juice and some zest for the last few minutes. You are looking for a saucy consistency so cook for a bit longer if it is still watery.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet timings, then drain and tip into a warm bowl, pour the sauce over the top, add the parsley, toss together, then quickly add the egg yolks and toss again.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Penguin: Fig Tree, 2021.)

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A simple idea to serve with drinks, something sparkly perhaps.

Wine Suggestion: a great match for any sparkling wine made with the Champenois method, double fermented in the bottle, and with some autolytic, yeasty, bready aromas that help give the structure for the food. Tonight a 100% Pinot Meunier from Laurent Lequart in the Vallée de la Marne, Champagne.

Smoked salmon, ricotta & dill wraps – makes 16

  • 300g soft ricotta
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (use a zester if you have one rather than a grater)
  • a handful of dill, chopped, plus a bit extra to serve
  • 16 thin slices of smoked salmon

Mix the ricotta, lemon zest and dill together in a bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Put 1 tsp of the ricotta mixture onto each slice of salmon and roll up, then skewer with a cocktail stick.

Arrange on a plaste and garnish with extra dill. Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice just before serving.

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

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We loved this dish! Bursting with flavour and the perfect wintery side salad. The leftovers were also good the next day. You can use capers instead of anchovies if you prefer.

Wine suggestion: This dish works really well with a good, dry Chenin Blanc. Our current favourite is Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine Aubuissieres Vouvray Silex Sec. Dry and full of yellow apple fruits and layers of texture, while remaining discrete enough to allow the sprouts and parmesan to come through.

Brussels sprout and Parmesan salad with lemon dressing – serves 4

  • 700g small brussels sprouts, trimmed, leave 500g whole and thinly shave the rest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 60g Parmesan, 20g roughly grated and the rest cut into shards – a veg peeler will do this nicely
  • 120g kale leaves, discard the stems and thinly shred the leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 70g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Line a tray with baking paper and add the whole sprouts, 2 tbsp of oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to combine. Roast for 18 minutes, stirring halfway, until well browned and cooked through, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, anchovies, grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp of oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Put the kale, the shaved sprouts, the dressing, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large bowl and toss with your hands, massaging the leaves gently. Leave to soften and wilt for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, basil, chopped hazelnuts, Parmesan shards and roasted sprouts to the bowl and mix to combine. Turn out onto a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Who doesn’t love tuna pasta bake. We’re a bit sceptical about one pot cooking … what’s the big deal with using more pots? Anyhow, the one pot works in this case as the pasta absorbs all the flavours. This is also another dish that breaks the nonsense “no cheese with fish” rule.

This is easily halved and can be whipped up from store cupboard ingredients mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: A light, youthful sangiovese with plenty of fruit like Rocca delle Macie’s Chianti Vernaiolo.

Tuna Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tins of tuna, drained
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 25g capers
  • 25g black olives, halved
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 400g short pasta, we used fusilli
  • 75g Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, we have a shallow one which works well for this, then add the onion and cook until very soft. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tuna, tomatoes, capers, olives, lemon zest, thyme and chilli flakes. Stir until well combined, then add the pasta. Season with salt and pepper, then stir until the pasta is completely coated in sauce.

Pour in enough water to just cover the pasta and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the water. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes, start checking at 10. You might need to stir now and again to stop it sticking to the bottom.

Heat the grill to high.

Sprinkle the dish with the cheese, then place under the grill until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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This is the kind of weeknight dish we love, quick and esay but no compromise on flavour.

Wine Suggestion: Try a fun Italian white like a Pecorino or Falanghina, you won’t go far wrong.

Courgette, butter & basil gnocchi – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 courgette, trimmed and cubed (we used 2 small courgettes, a green and a yellow)
  • 250g pack of gnocchi from the fridge
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • a small bunch of basil, leaves torn, plus a few extra to serve
  • pecorino, finely grated, to serve

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-hight heat, then cook the courgettes until golden and soft.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the gnnocchi and cook until it floats to the top. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface. Keep a cupful of the cooking water.

While the gnocchi is cooking, add the garlic, capers and chilli flakes to the courgettes and cook for a minute. Add the lemon juice and stir to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and sizzle for 30 seconds or until it smells nutty. Add the gnocchi and a splash of the reserved cooking liquid to make a glossy sauce that coats the gnocchi.

Stir in most of the basil, then serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with the pecorino and extra basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, August 2021.)

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We’ve been serving this salad from Ottolenghi Flavour with just about everything this summer. We were surprised at the amount of lemon but it works perfectly and produces a really zingy and fresh salad.

Cucumber, za’atar and lemon salad – serves 4

  • 3 lemons
  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1¼ tsp dried mint
  • 1½ tsp za’atar
  • 1 banana shallot, halved lengthways and finely sliced
  • 1½ green chillies, finely sliced into strips
  • 1 large cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out, and cut at an angle into ½ cm thisk slices
  • 60g lamb’s lettuce
  • 10g dill, roughly chopped
  • 10g basil leaves
  • 5g mint leaves
  • salt

Squeeze 1-2 lemons to get 2½ tbsp of juice and put into a large salad bowl.

Cut 7 thin slices from another lemon. Discard the pips and pile the slices on top of each other. Remove and throw away half of the rind, then finely chop the slices inlcuding any remaining rind. Add this to the bowl along with the oil, dried mint, za’atar, shallots, green chillies, cucumber, and 1 tsp of salt.

Mix it all together really well, then add the lamb’s lettuce and all of the herbs, toss gently and serve.

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

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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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This handy Italian chicken dish is great for a Friday night and kids love it! Serve with a green salad, lemon wedges and mayonnaise. If you have eggs leftover you can pop them in the fridge to scramble the next morning.

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with an easy, dry white of your choice: Chardonnay, Verdicchio, Chenin … or tonights choice the Flying Solo Grenache Blanc – Viognier blend from Domaine Gayda. Easy, friendly citrus and apple flavours with hints of heather and a slight nuttiness, finishing clean and dry.

Chicken Cotoletta – serves 4

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways with your knife parallel to the board to give 4 thin fillets (your butcher will do this for you if you ask)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 handful of Italian 00 flour
  • 3 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • about 300g panko breadcrumbs

Put each piece of chicken between sheets of clingfilm, then beat them gently with a rolling pin until nice and thin. Season and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Get 3 plates out and put the flour on one, the eggs on the next, and finally the breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess, then gently into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan with plenty of olive oil and fry the chicken until golden and crispy, a couple of minutes on each side. You can do this in batches if easier.

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

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We loved these little meatballs by Diana Henry. Super tasty and very popular with our 7 year old. We served them with spaghetti and some home-made tomato sauce but we also like Diana’s suggestion of stuffing them into a wrap with some lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Will definitely be trying this suggestion next time.

Wine Suggestion: We think that Sangiovese plays a wonderful balance of power without weight, especially when it avoids too much extraction or oak. A new find, courtesy of an old friend is the Tenuta di Carleone Chianti Classico. Quite new, in the scheme of things but an old property and vineyard, this is biodynamic and delicious.

Chicken, spinach and cheese polpette – serves 6

  • 500g minced chicken
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 20g grated Parmesan
  • 60g grated Gruyère
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, or a small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 200g spinach (discard any thick stems)
  • leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
  • a generous grating of nutmeg
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Put the chicken mince into a large bowl with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying and sauté the onion gently until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Put the spinach into a large pan with couple of tbsp of water and cover with a lid. Put over a low heat until wilted, about 4 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Add the cooled onion to the chicken with the thyme, nutmeg, lemon zest and lots of seasoning.

Squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove the water, then finely chop. Add this to the bowl with everything else and mix well with your hands.

Wet your hands, form the mixture into little meatballs and place on a baking tray. Diana suggests the size of a walnut in its shell which should give about 50 meatballs. I think we only got to about 36 so ours must of been a bit bigger – no matter.

Cover the tray and put the meatballs into the fridge for half an hour or so to allow them to firm up.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the polpette in batches over a medium heat, until they have turned crusty brown all over. Return them all to the pan, lower the heat, and continue to cook for about 7 minute or until cooked through. You can cut into one to check there’s no pink.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Leeks usually end up in a soup or supporting other ingredients in a pie or something, but they are the star of the show in this veggie main course dish by Gill Meller. Here they are cooked in olive oil with orzo pasta, lemon, rosemary, parsley and cheese and it is most certainly a “leek dish”. By all means serve as a side dish too if you like. 

Wine Suggestion: We chose a wine to lift the winter mood; with friendly fruit, a nutty and stony twist and hints of sunshine – the La Sonrisa de Tares. A Godello from Bierzo which brought a smile to our faces.

Leeks with Orzo, Lemon & Herbs – serves 4

  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 leeks, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 250g orzo pasta
  • 100g pecorino (we used Parmesan), finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 125g mozzarella cheese

Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/375 F/Gas 5.

Put a large, wide, heavy-based casserole over a low heat. Add the olive oil and when it has warmed, add the garlic and rosemary. Allow the garlic to sizzle for a minute or so, then add the leeks, orzo, half of the grated pecorino, the chopped parsley and the lemon zest. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir gently but try not to break the leeks up too much.

Pour over the vegetable stock, then stir again and use a wooden spoon to push the leeks down into the stock. Tear over the mozzarella cheese and scatter over the remaining pecorino. Season the top with some flaky salt and extra black pepper, then bake for 35-45 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the top is golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a bit more pecorino if you like.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2020.)

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These are great for midweek, quite big, so they filled us up and tasted really good with the spicy yoghurt dip, some salad leaves and lemon. They are quite therapeutic to make too, or at least we thought so.

Wine Suggestion: A classic dish like fish cakes needs a classic match and Domaine de la Chauviniere’s Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie was our choice.

Fishcakes with ras el hanout and dill – serves 4

  • 600g floury potatoes, cut into even chunks
  • 300g skinless and boneless white fish
  • 300ml milk
  • 2½ tsp ras el hanout
  • zest of 2 lemons, plus 2 tbsp juice, and wedges to serve
  • small packet of dill, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 85g dried breadcrumbs, we used Panko
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 300g natural yoghurt
  • 100g bag of salad leaves, to serve

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold salty water, bring to the boil, and cook for 18-20 minutes until cooked. Drain and leave to steam-dry in the pot, then mash.

Meanwhile, put the fish in another saucepan and pour over the milk and about 100ml of water, just to cover. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and leave aside with the lid on to finish cooking. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and flake into large chunks with your hands.

Mix 2 tbsp of the poaching liquid into the mashed potatoes with 2 tsp of ras el hanout, the zest of 1 lemon, dill and seasoning. Carefully mix in the fish, trying not to let it break up too much further, you want nice chunks. Shape the potato mixture into 8 large fishcakes, keep them quite flat so they’re easy to brown. Dip each fishcake into the beaten egg, then the dried breadcrumbs to coat.

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

Heat the oil in a large non-stick ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the fishcakes and fry on each side for about 5 minutes over a medium heat. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t brown too much. Transfer the frying pan to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until piping hot.

Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt with the rest of the lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp ras el hanout and seasoning. Serve the fishcakes with salad, spiced yoghurt and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe by Katy Gilhooly in Good Food Magazine, December 2015.)

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We like weeknight dishes that use fresh dill, like this one, particularly helpful as we often have leftover dill from the weekend. We never mind as we just love the lift dill can bring and hate to waste it. Don’t be tempted to turn the salmon too soon, you want nice crispy skin.

Wine Suggestion: A number of Italian whites have a good affinity to fish and capers so we chose a favourite, the Graziano Prá Soave Classico “Otto”. A DOC with a number of standout winemakers like Prá championing the local grape Garganega; green apple, hints of almond, a mid-weight and refreshing, textured finish.

Salmon with capers & dill – serves 4

  • 50g butter, diced
  • 4 x salmon fillets, preferably with the skin on, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice mixed with 6-8 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp chopped dill

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add a couple of knobs of butter and add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until crispy and browned underneath, then turn over and continue to cook for a couple of minutes or until cooked through.

Add the capers, the rest of the butter and the lemon juice mixed with water, boil for 1 minute. Season to taste, then transfer the salmon onto warmed plates, stir in the chopped dill and pour over the fish to serve.

(Original recipe by Rachel Allen in BBC Good Food Magazine, November 2011.)

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We recently bought Skye McAlpine’s book, A Table for Friends, which has lovely menus for each season. We’re well and truly into Autumn now and the farm shop is full of potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots. Tonight we made Skye’s suggested autumn menu of buttery lemon roast chicken, beetroot & mint salad, butter & sage roast pumpkin and roast potatoes. A perfect combination of dishes and all can be prepped in advance. Unfortunately we were minus the friends but hopefully those days will be back again before too long. 

We ignore all timings for roast chicken these days and stick to Diana Henry’s failsafe instructions to roast for 20 minutes at 190C for each 500g plus an extra 10 minutes. 

Wine Suggestion: Quite often with roast chicken we lean towards oaked Chardonnay as it’s such a classic match but tonight we remembered that another great match is good red Bordeaux from the Left Bank, so Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, and also with a little age, but not too much. We continued our lockdown habit of dipping into the cellar once a week and pulled out a Domaine de Chevalier red from 2010. It still has years, if not a couple of decades of life ahead of it but at 10 years old it still has a spriteliness of youth while all components have come together harmoniously into a smooth, elegant wine.

Buttery Lemon Roast Chicken – serves 4

  • a large bunch of sage
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 free-range chicken

You can prep the chicken early in the day and keep in the fridge but make sure you take it out an hour or two before you want to put it into the oven so it’s at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 190C.

Finely chop half the sage and mash in a bowl with the butter, lemon zest and salt.

Put the chicken into a roasting tray. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice into the cavity, then stuff the halves into the chicken with the remaining sage.

Gently lift the skin over the breast and smear a quarter of the butter mixture under the skin over each breast. You should be able to push the butter quite far down with your fingers, but careful not tear the skin. Rub the rest of the butter over the chicken and sprinkle with some extra salt.

Roast the chicken according to the timings given above. When cooked the legs should feel loose and the juice should run clear when you pierce a thick bit with a sharp knife.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving and served with some of the juices spooned over.

(Original recipe from A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty by Skye McAlpine, Bloomsbury, 2020.)

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Roast long-stemmed Broccoli & Lemon Pasta

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

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

Roast long-stemmed broccoli & lemon pasta – serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chorizo, Orzo & Sweetcorn Stew

A colourful dish for midweek, just as flavoursome as the colours suggest.

Chorizo, orzo & sweetcorn stew – serves 2

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • a bunch of scallions, sliced, keep the green and white parts separated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 50g chorizo, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 75g orzo
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 200g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 350ml chicken or veg stock
  • ½ small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the white parts of the scallions with the peppers and chorizo for about 8 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and the chorizo taking on some colour.

Stir in the garlic, orzo, paprika, sweetcorn and tomato and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring, until the orzo is tender.

Stir in the parsley, the green scallions and the lemon zest and juice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lentil & Lemon Pasta

We loved this! Something a bit different when we’re all fed up with our usual pasta staples. Also perfect for using leftover coriander, which seems to be an almost permanent feature in our veg drawer. Of course you can use whatever pasta you happen to have. The original recipe suggested fettuccine, we used trofie – no matter.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white that veers towards texture rather than ripe fruit is your match for this. We had a La Piuma (meaning feather) Pecorino Terre di Chieti from the western coat of central Italy. Pecorino was an obscure local variety of grape, but one we increasingly suggest and drink and think it has a great future; a charmer.

Lentil & lemon fettuccine – serves 4

  • 140g Puy lentils or brown lentils
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • large handful of coriander, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 150g Greek yoghurt

Rinse the lentils in a sieve, then put into a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender (careful not to overcook as we did). Add plenty of salt about 10 minutes into the cooking time. Drain and keep warm.

Cook the pasta, then drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until lightly golden, then stir in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir the lentils, onion and garlic, lemon zest and juice, coriander and yoghurt into the cooked pasta. Finish with plenty of black pepper.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Harissa Potato, Halloumi & Asparagus with Coriander and Lemon Oil

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

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

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

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

FOR THE CORIANDER AND LEMON OIL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Smoked Haddock & Hollandaise Bake with Dill & Caper Fried Potatoes

We love hollandaise but very rarely make it. This is going to change now we know how to do this cheat’s version. It can be adapted very easily for Béarnaise sauce for steak by adding some fresh tarragon. It’s a revelation!

Wine Suggestion: matching milder haddock and the creamy hollandaise requires a delicate touch and we’d suggest a white with a touch of oak, but not too much. The easiest choice is a Chardonnay which we duly went for; a Château de Beauregard Saint-Véran. Medium bodied, this is made partially in stainless steel and the other half in oak and has a lovely apple, citrus and brioche flavour and a mineral freshness to balance.

Smoked haddock & hollandaise bake with dill & caper fried potatoes – serves 2

  • 150g baby spinach
  • 2 x 140g smoked haddock fillets (boycott the artificially dyed orange stuff)

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 100ml double cream, plus a bit extra in case you need to rescue the hollandaise
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

FOR THE POTATOES:

  • 500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
  • knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a bit extra
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • small handful of dill, leaves picked
  • 1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges to serve

Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then season with salt, cover with a lid, and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain and leave in the pot to steam dry.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the shallots and fry for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the potatoes and fry for 15 minutes or until crusty and browned.

To make the hollandaise you need to put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk in the cornflour until smooth. Add the cream and the vinegar, and season well. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously, until it resembles a hollandaise sauce (like thin custard). If the sauce looks like it’s going to split or it’s getting too hot, just add another splash of cream and keep whisking. Check the seasoning and add a bit more salt or vinegar if needed.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Heat a splash of oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, season with salt and black pepper. Turn the heat off and spread the spinach across the base of the frying pan. Lay the haddock fillets on top of the spinach, then pour over the hollandaise sauce. Put the pan under the grill for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked (it should flake easily) and the sauce is browned.

Toss the capers, dill and lemon zest over the cooked potatoes. Serve the potatoes with the fish and put the lemon wedges on the plates to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Everyday Palestinian Salad

We love a chopped salad and this one in particular is a handy one to have up your sleeve. We served with a Palestinian rice dish but it would be suitable for all sorts of eventualities.

Everyday Palestinian Salad – serves 4

  • 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of a lemon

Slice the cucumbers in half and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop into 1cm dice.

Scoop the seed out of the tomatoes and chop into similar sized pieces to the cucumber. Do the same with the red pepper and put all three into a large bowl.

Dress the salad with the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of salt and black pepper.

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

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Lemon, turmeric & black pepper salmon

We loved this spiced side of salmon from Sabrina Ghayour’s book Sirocco and its a great dish to feed a crowd. The mixture of lemon,  turmeric and black pepper smells almost medicinal in the oven but the served up on the plates the aromas and flavours are really good. Serve with a green salad or as we did here with green couscous and roasted veg with black garlic & preserved lemons and pomegranate, cucumber & pistachio yoghurt.

Wine Suggestion: A bold dish like this really needs a bold wine that cope with and complement the flavours.  A good suggestion is an Alsace Pinot Gris which has body (the good ones will have texture too) and a roundness from the pepper. A little left-field would be a Collio Bianco from north-eastern Italy. Our favourite, the Zuani, is a traditional blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Friulano and Pinot Grigio; texture, freshness, richness and fruitiness.

Lemon, turmeric & black pepper salmon – serves 6

  • 1kg salmon side
  • finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 4 tbsp garlic oil
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp sea salt flakes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 240C/Gas 9.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the salmon on top, skin-side down.

Make a paste by mixing the lemon zest, black pepper, garlic oil and turmeric in a small bowl until smooth. Rub this mixture evenly over the salmon.

You can marinade now for an hour or up to a day ahead but don’t be tempted to salt it until going into the oven.

Season the salmon with sea salt and roast for 22 minutes.

(Original recipe from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour, Hatchette, 2016.)

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