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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

This is our favourite salad at the moment – an excellent side dish for a barbecue or whatever else you might be cooking.

Tomato, burrata and broad bean salad – serves 4

  • 500g mixed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 150g broad beans, frozen ones are perfect
  • a handful each of basil, chives and flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp each of tarragon, lovage and mint (we never have lovage and it’s fine without it)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of fennel seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 balls of burrata
  • 50g hazlenuts, toasted and roughly chopped (toast them in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C – the skins will rub off easily with a tea towel)

Chop and slice the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with the caster sugar and ½ tsp of salt, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Put the broad beans into boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. Pop of the skins and set aside.

Finely chop the herbs and put into a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, mustard, fennel seeds, most of the lemon zest and the red wine vineager. Season, then stir in the broad beans.

Tip the tomatoes out onto a serving platter. Put the burrata balls on top and spoon over the beans and dressing. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts and the leftover lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A nice pasta with unusual flavours. Use good-quality Italian sausages for this if you can find them.

Wine Suggestion: As this dish is full-flavoured we’d suggest a full flavoured white like Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, which has a wonderful Californian ripeness combined with a core of fresh minerality and zing from the cooling breezes and fog coming through the Petaluma Gap each day. The subtle oak gives a lovely texture which helps matching this dish too.

Pasta with fennel, sausage and courgette – serves 4

  • 3 good-quality pork sausages (we like Italian sausages)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ small fennel bulb, trim off any green bits and chop finey, reserve any fronds to garnish
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g rigatoni pasta
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 1 medium-large courgete, grated
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Take the skins off the sausages and crumble them into small chunks. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the sausages until browned and crispy, breaking the lumps up with a wooden spoon. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the fennel, onion and garlic to the sausage fat in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. You can add a splash of water if it starts to stick.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the timings on the pack. Drain but reserve a mugful of the cooking water.

Return the frying pan to the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, grated courgette and a splash of pasta cooking water. Bubble for 2 minutes, then stir in the cooked pasta and sausages. Season, then serve garnished with fennel fronds, pine nuts and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A delicious creamy pasta dish which is ready in minutes, and very useful when you’ve got leftover mascarpone.

Wine Suggestion: Anytime we have pasta our automatic choice is an Italian wine, and with all these summery flavours opened a bottle of Macchialupa Greco di Tufo from the hills and valleys inland from Naples. Quite full bodied for a white it nonetheless added an extra layer to the meal with it’s stonefruit and citrus flavours and nutty (almond & hazelnut) finish. Despite it’s weight it was also fresh and tasted of a warm Italian summer.

Pasta with pancetta, broad beans & mascarpone – serves 6

  • 300g conchiglie pasta
  • 200g frozen broad beans, blanched in boiling water and skins slipped off
  • 200g green beans, sliced into three
  • 140g pancetta cubes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 75g grated Parmesan
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • a small bunch of basil leaves, torn

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling and very salty water according to the timings on the pack. Add the green beans 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta until crispy. Stir in the mascarpone and Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

Scoop out a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and beans. Add the pasta, green beans and broad beans to the frying pan and add 6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water (you can add a bit more if it needs loosened further). Add the lemon juice and basil, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over.

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

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A lovely fresh and tasty soup which should help with any bits and pieces left in your veg drawer.

Summer veg and herb soup – serves 2

  • ½ a bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 large courgettes, diced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g green beans, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • a handful of mixed herbs e.g. basil, parsley and mint
  • ½ a lemon, zested

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the scallions and courgettes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.

Add the rice and stock and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the peas and beans, and simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender.

Season to taste and stir in the herbs and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2014.)

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We love this fresh salad, the perfect side dish for so many summer dishes. You can crumble some feta over the top before serving if you like.

Fattoush – serves 4

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 2 flatbreads or pitta breads (about 120g in total)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 small regular cucumber
  • 4 tomatoes (about 450g in total)
  • 75g Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 75g feta cheese (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

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

Toss the pitta breads in the olive oil, then bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes or until very crisp. Leave to cool then snap into chunky pieces.

Cut the cumcumbers in half and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Chop into 1-2cm pieces and put into a salad bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds, chop the flesh into pieces the same size as the cucumber and add the bowl with the crispy pieces of bread. Add the lettuce and herbs.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, then use your hands to toss everything together. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then crumble over some feta if you like.

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

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

Lemon & herb chicken salad – serves 6

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

FOR THE DRESSING:

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

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

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

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

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

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Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Tagliolini with lemons, but as we couldn’t find this pasta chose another thin version with great success. Perfect for lunch or in small portions for a starter.

Wine Suggestion: Paired with Sartarelli’s Sparkling Verdicchio which captured the sunshine and joy of the Adriatic coast. Full of pure fruit flavours, hints of almond and lemon and a real balance between a crisp, fresh acidity and fruit.

Capellini with lemon – serves 2 to 4

  • 200g capellini (or tagliolini or whatever long and very thin pasta you can find)
  • 1 lemon, grate the zest and juice
  • 6 tbsp double cream
  • grated Parmesan or Grana Padano, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling water according to the timings on the pack.

Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cream in a serving bowl and season with salt.

Add the cooked and drained pasta into the serving bowl and mix with the sauce.

Serve with lots of black pepper and cheese.

(Original recipe from Med: A Cookbook by Claudia Roden, 2021)

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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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