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Posts Tagged ‘Mushrooms’

We love simple ideas like this one for mid-week inspiration. We used ready-made spinach gnocchi, try and find a decent brand if you can.

Gnocchi with mushroom and paprika butter – serves 3

  • 50g butter
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 500g pack gnocchi
  • 100ml sour cream or crème fraîche
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat a small knob of the butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt, and cook until soft and golden.

Add the rest of the butter, garlic and rosemary, then cook gently for 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the paprika and season with black pepper, then keep over a low heat while you cook the gnocchi.

Drain the gnocchi and tip into the mushroom pan. Toss everything together and serve in warm bowls with a dollop of cream, lots of black pepper and some Parmesan.

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

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It’s courgettes from now on in our house as we have them growing in our little garden and can hardly eat them fast enough. This dish is simple but really delicious – highly recommended. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: we’re quite fond of the wines of Hungary and think they’re unfairly overlooked, especially the reds which combine an earthy spice, quite often with a real sophistication and elegance. A new find is Csaba and Csilla Sebestyén’s Sekszárd Cuvée, a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The latter two grapes have found a new spiritual home in the south of Hungary and the first a local grape with bags of character.

Chicken and courgettes with creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 small chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into thick batons
  • 350g button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 heaped tbsp freshly chopped tarragon

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, then fry the chicken in batches until well-browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. You may need to add a bit more oil.

Add the onion and cook over a high heat for a few minutes until nicely coloured, then cover the pan with a lid and leave the onions to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up again and add the courgettes, mushrooms and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Scoop the veg out of the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Add the wine to the pan and boil over a high heat until reduced to about 4 tbsp. Stir in the cream and simmer again for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through. Stir through the chopped tarragon and serve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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In our house almost anything will be eaten if it’s mixed with noodles (though not mushrooms sadly … but we’re working on it). Any leftovers of this will make a popular lunchbox too.

Chicken & soba noodle stiry-fry – serves 4

  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 400g chicken breasts
  • 200g dried soba noodles
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • half a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 150g green beans, trimmed
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pot, then add the chicken breasts and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure they are completely submerged in the stock. Remove the chicken breasts, shred with two forks and set aside.

Add the noodles to the chicken stock and cook according to the pack instructions. Remove the noodles from the stock with tongs and set aside, reserve the stock.

Heat the oil in a wok, then stir-fry the ginger, chilli and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion, carrot, green beans and mushrooms and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, the noodles, 50ml of the reserved stock, the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Toss to combine and heat through. You can add a little more stock for moisture if you need.

Divide between warm bowls and scatter the coriander over the top.

(Original recipe by Nadine Brown in Olive Magazine, May 2021.)

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This vegan dish is a must for mushroom lovers and the leftovers make great lunchboxes. Full of flavours that we wouldn’t usually put together, that’s the joy of recipes from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: We’re suckers for matching mushrooms with either Pinot Noir, or, like here, with Nebbiolo. Luigi Pira’s Langhe Nebbiolo was our choice as it is so authentically nebbiolo without breaking the bank and opening a Barolo, or Barbaresco. Cherries, rose petals and rich iron with an earthy, mushroomy aroma carrying it through; elegance and power all at once.

Mushroom & rice pilaf – serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side

  • 1-2 dried ancho chillies, stems removed – we used dried chipotle chillies as that’s what we had in the cupboard
  • 30g dried porcini mushroom
  • 500ml vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 500g oyster mushrooms
  • 500g large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded, and roughly broken by hand into 6 pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved and cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 150g soft dried apricots, quartered
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 350g basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear and drained well
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced at a angle
  • 5g picked parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Put the dried chillies into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 20 minutes, then drain and roughly chop the chillies, including the seeds.

Meanwhile, put the dried mushrooms, stock, 350ml of water, 1¼ tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then set aside.

Put the oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms, onion, garlic, chopped chillies, whole spices, apricots, 120ml of oil, 1 tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper into a large roasting tin. Stir it all together, then bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from the oven and transfer half the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir the rice into the remaining mixture in the tin.

Bring the porcini and stock mixture back to a simmer, then pour over the rice and without stirring, cover the tin tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then leave to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and mix gently.

Add the scallions, parsley and final 2 tbsp of olive oil to the reserved mushroom mixture and stir together. Sppon over the rice and serve.

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

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A nice side dish for a roast dinner.

Sprouting broccoli with mushrooms and stilton – serves 6

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli or other long-stemmed broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 50g creamy stilton, crumbled
  • a drizzle of best olvie oil

Boil the broccoli in lots of very salt water for about 3 minutes, or until bright green and not quite tender, then drain and rinse under cold water to stop it cooking further. Drain well and set aside (you can do this in advance if you like).

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until golden.

Add the broccoli and toss with the mushrooms. Cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the broccoli is heated through and the mushrooms have softened.

Season well, then tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the cheese and drizzle over some of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is like a fish pie … but is so much easier to make and perfect for a Friday night after a long week. It’s also usefully gluten-free, unlike many other fish pies. Serve with a big bowl of peas.

Wine Suggestion: A new find from Cabardes in France, Domaine Ventenac’s “les Dissidents” Cassandre. A joyfully fresh Vermentino, a grape we think is the next big thing from southern France.

Haddock Bake – serves 6

  • 350g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 500g baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters (put them into boiling water and time for 8 minutes)
  • 500g skinless smoked haddock, cut into large chunks
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

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

Put the potatoes into cold salted water, cover and bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes or until just cooked. Drain well and leave to steam dry in the pot

Heat a large fring pan, add the spinach, and cook until just wilted, then drain in a colander. You will need to do this in batches. Squeeze the spinach against the colander to get rid of as much water as possible. When cool enough to handle you can squeeze it again with your hands.

Heat the oil in the same frying pan, add the mushrooms, and fry for a few minutes until just cooked.

Grease a 2 litre shallow oven-proof dish with a little butter.

Scatter the potatoes, spinach and mushrooms over the base of the dish, then spread the haddock and eggs over the top and season.

Mix the cream and mustard together with some seasoning, then pour over the dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top.

Serve with lots of peas.

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

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Try these to wet your appetite with a glass of sherry and some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: It only makes sense to drink a sherry with this dish with our suggestion being for either a good Fino or Amontillado. Fortunately our friends brought over Tio Pepe’s Fino En Rama. A savoury, minerally wine with grilled almond and iodine characters alongside some delightful lemon and apple fruitiness plus a good dollop of yeasty flor overtones.

Mushrooms with garlic & sherry vinegar – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 500g mushrooms, halve or quarter big ones
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • a pinch of hot paprika
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minutes, stirring, then add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat until just browned. If they give out liquid, keep cooking until it’s all gone.

Season well with salt and pepper, then add the sherry vinegar. Allow to sizzle until almost evaporated.

Serve the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of hot paprika and the chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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It’s very rare that we cook a brunch like this but we’re glad we tried this one. Buy top quality sausages, bacon and eggs and you will have a feast!

Smoky beans, mushrooms, sausages, bacon and eggs – serves 2 (generously!)

  • 1 tbsp veg oil, plus a bit extra
  • 4 chipolata sausages
  • 4 bacon rasheres
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced or torn into pieces
  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, don’t drain as you will use the liquid
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
  • a few dashes of Tabasco (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Heat a large heavy pan over a medium heat, then heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil.

Fry the sausages for 5 minutes, or until golden, then push to one side. Add the bacon and cook until godlen and crisp. Remove the sausages and bacon to a warm plate when they’re cooked through.

Add the mushrooms and a little more oil if needed, then fry until golden, scraping up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove to the plate with the sausages and bacon.

Tip the cannellini beans and their liquid into the pan, then add the tomatoes, garlic granules and dried thyme. Bring to a simmer, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Add the paprika, sugar, worcestershire sauce and some seasoning, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened.

Nestle the sausages into the beans, then make two gaps in the mixture and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the eggs are set. Top with the bacon and mushrooms and serve with some Tabasco if you like.

You will need toast or crusty bread to mop it all up.

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

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This is a Romanian dish called Pilaf cu pui ciuperci. We haven’t knowingly cooked any Romanian dishes until now, but we recently purchased Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu. This is a beautiful book and we’re looking forward to cooking many more dishes. While Irina suggests blitzing the veg in the food processor, we chopped them by hand. Either way you want them nice and fine but not blitzed to a pulp. Serve with salad.

Wine Suggestion: Unfortunately we didn’t have a Romanian wine to hand but we can attest it works well with one of our favourite wines: the Ch du Hureau Saumur-Champigny “Tuffe”. Elegance, style and grace, but also very grounded and earthy and what we love about Cabernet Franc from the Loire.

Oven-baked pearl barley pilaf with chicken and mushrooms – serves 4-6

  • 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1.5kg chicken pieces, we used thighs and drumsticks but you can joint a whole chicken
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 300g pearl barley
  • ¼ celeriac, finely diced
  • 2-3 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5g black pepper
  • 25g butter, roughly chopped
  • a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

We found it easier to fry the chicken in a large, heavy frying pan and then to transfer to a large roasting tin. Irina suggests frying and baking in a large deep casserole dish, but we didn’t have one big enough. A roasting tin covered with two layers of foil worked well.

Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan or casserole dish, over a medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides – it’s easiest to do this in batches. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then add the pearl barley and stir to coat the grains in the oil, cook for another few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan with the tomatoes, mushrooms, stock and seasoning and gently combine. You might need to transfer to a large roasting tin at this point. You need to be generous with the salt. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and cover the dish with a layer of foil and a lid or if using a roasting tin you can cover with a double layer of foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the lid and foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the vegetables are tender and that the chicken is cooked through, then remove from the oven. Dot the top of the dish with the butter and sprinkle with parsley.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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For many years we didn’t buy Polpo by Russell Norman. It has a fancy binding and was always wrapped in plastic in the bookshop, so there was no way to have a flick. We can’t remember now what made us take the plunge, but we’re so glad we did. We’ve cooked many of the recipes and recently took this book off the shelf again and cooked a few more, finishing with this steak dish. You probably don’t need Italian roast potatoes with rosemary as a side but we couldn’t resist.

Wine Suggestion: A kind birthday gift from our friends Nicola and Dave was a wine we knew nothing about, the Iuli Umberta and opening it to try with this dish was a revelation. From the Monferrato hills east of Turin, this Barbera is so full of energy and layered with subtle flavours and gentle spice; so easy and refreshing.

Flank steak with portobello mushrooms – serves 4

  • 800g flank steak, about 5cm thick
  • 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 8 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped

Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper.

We cooked ours on a hot barbecue but if you prefer you can oil a griddle pan and heat until hot, then grill the steak on both sides. 10-12 minutes in total should give you a medium-cooked steak. Leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dress the rocket leaves in some good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the rocket between the serving plates or you can put it onto one large platter.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan with the garlic and most of the parsley. Add the mushrooms and fry until soft and glossy, then set aside. We like to season these a little too.

When the meat has rested, sliced it thinly. Lay the steak on top of the rocket, then scatter with the mushrooms and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and the rest of the parsley.

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

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Every now and again we take one of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries off the shelf for a bit of inspiration, and this is what we chose from the February chapter. We like Nigel’s recipes as they’re tasty but rarely require too much shopping. We served this with rice, a few greens on the side would be nice too.

Wine Suggestion: A dry, or just off-dry Alsace Pinot Gris or similar. Tonight Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire from the Clos Windsbuhl has all the texture and layers of fruit we were looking for and more; superb.

Pork with garlic & oyster sauce – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp of flavourless oil, we use groundnut oil
  • 350g pork fillet, cubed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 small hot red chillies, two chopped finely with the seeds left in and two left whole
  • 150g mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • 3 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Heat your wok until very hot.

Add 2 tbsp of the oil and when it starts to smoke, add half the meat. Toss, until browned then remove to a plate and brown the rest.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and heat until smoking hot, then add the garlic, shallots and chillies. Toss for a minute or two until starting to colour. Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until they are soft and starting to colour, then return the meat to the pan. When the meat is hot, stir in the oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine and bring to the boil.

Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for a couple of minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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We love recipes like this; perfect for using up bits and pieces and super tasty. 

Wine Suggestion: There’s a vibrancy to this food and we matched it with Ventenac’s “Dissidents” le Paria, a fresh-fruited, minerally grenache. Lovely light spices, a stony core of texture and bright plums and cherry flavours.

Green Spiced Rice – serves 2-3

  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 200g basmati rice
  • a slice of butter
  • a few sliced mushrooms
  • a large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach

Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and pop them out of the skins. 

Wilt the spinach is a saucepan, then leave to cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid if necessary and chop. 

Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan, then add the curry paste and the rice. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until almost tender and most of the liquid absorbed. 

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then fry the mushrooms until lightly coloured. Add the rice and carrot to the pan with the broad beans. Stir until the rice is moist but no longer wet, then add the eggs and season. Keep cooking, stirring now and then to break up the egg, until it is lightly cooked. Fold through the chopped spinach and coriander, then serve. 

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

 

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This is a good family meal, with lots of veg and a rich creamy sauce – it’s really filling. Quick and easy too and you can  double to serve many people or a crowd of kids, when crowds of kids exist again.

Wine Suggestion: This goes really well with a white that can cope with a rich, creamy dish.Keeping the Italian theme we’d suggest a good Verdicchio which tend to strike a nice balance between a fuller body, polyphenols (those white wine tannins that give texture and grip) and a nutty, saline freshness. The textures and the body make it work with the marscapone, ham and tomatoes especially well.

Farfalle with peas, mushrooms & ham – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a small onion, finely sliced
  • 125g diced cooked ham
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 75g mascarpone cheese
  • 250g farfalle pasta
  • a small handful of chopped basil
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Bring a very big pot of water to the boil and add lots of fine salt.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for a few minutes over a medium heat. Add the ham, peas and mushrooms and keep cooking for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and simmer gently for about 8 minutes, uncovered. Add the mascarpone, season well, then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, then drain and tip back into the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta, then add the basil and stir together for about 30 seconds. Serve in warm bowls with Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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This is very rich and luxurious, and needs a sharp salad to go along with it. Nigel Slater’s addition of basil sauce is a great idea and makes a super tasty dish.

Wine Suggestion: We suspect a good Nebbiolo would work with this but in the absence one in our rack tonight we chose Domaine Jamet’s Cotes du Rhone. Made from 100% Syrah in the Northern Rhone it still has a hint of richness and spice as if it has a Gigondas influence but also the earthy, leather spice of the North. 

Mushroom lasagne with basil and cream – serves 6

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 10g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 750g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • a good handful of chopped parsley
  • 5 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 3 tbsp for the top
  • 150ml double cream
  • 750ml béchamel sauce (Nigel suggests you can use ready-made for this but if you want to make your own we’ve included a recipe below – a pint should be plenty).
  • 350g fresh lasagne sheets (dried can be used either)

FOR THE BASIL SAUCE

  • 60g pine nuts
  • 50g basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

To make a pint of béchamel sauce, melt 2oz of butter in a medium-sized saucepan, then stir in 2oz of plain flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add a pint of full-fat milk, stirring continuously and only adding a bit more when the previous bit has been absorbed. Keep stirring until all of the milk has been added and the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until softened and translucent.

Meanwhile, cover the dried porcini with warm water – no more than 100ml – and leave to soak.

To make the basil sauce, whizz the pine nuts, basil, garlic, some olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor. You need enough oil to form a sloppy paste. Alternatively you can crush the garlic with a little salt in a mortar, then mash in the basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil.

Stir the sliced mushrooms into the onions and partially cover with a lid. Leave to colour and soften, then add the dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid, the parsley, 5 tbsp of Parmesan and the cream. Season well with salt and black pepper, then simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened a bit.

To assemble the lasagne, take a large casserole dish and spread a few tbsp of the béchamel over the bottom. Cover with a layer of pasta, then half the mushroom filling. Add another layer of pasta, then a second layer of mushrooms. Top with a final layer of pasta, then spread over the basil sauce. Cover the top completely with the rest of the béchamel and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

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We won’t tell you how to make pizza dough again but you can find the recipe we use here if you need. This is just a nice idea for an Autumnal veggie topping.

Wine Suggestion: We think you needn’t stress about finding the ultimate match when making pizzas as there’s a casual nature to the dish. Choose a wine of the moment, like a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than a Barolo, or a Bourgogne Rouge, or other Pinot Noir than a Grand Cru. Enjoy the pleasure of more simple fruit. These two grapes would be our suggestion too.

Wild mushroom & sage pizzas – serves 2

  • 2 pizza bases
  • 250g ricotta, tipped into a sieve to drain
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and halved or sliced if large 
  • 12 sage leaves

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

Place the pizza bases onto oiled baking sheets. Scatter the ricotta over the bases, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. 

Fry the mushrooms briefly in a little olive oil until just starting to cook and coated in the oil. Scatter the mushrooms over the pizza bases. Dip the sage leaves  in a little oil and lay onto the pizzas. 

Bake one pizza at a time for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and crisp at the edges and the toppings are cooked. 

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2013.)

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Chicken Fricassée with Morels

It’s bean a while since we’ve been in France, but when we were there we stocked up on dried morels (and ceps) at the Saint-Cyprien market, and bought as much wine as they would let us have at Domaine Labet in the Jura. Creamy mushroom sauce and chardonnay from the Jura is a magic combination! We served this with roast potatoes made with a variety called carolus from McNally Family Farm – they make amazing roasties!

Wine Suggestion: We were fortunate to find a couple of different vintages of Labet’s En Chalasse Chardonnay which comes from very old vineyard plots. Tonight we opened the 2015 which showed the effect of a warm vintage with a broad and lifted ripe apple character and hints of nuts and spices. More gentle acidity than usual but well in balance with hints of skin contact and phenolic textures on the palate.

Chicken fricassée with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried morels
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 90g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 100ml Noilly Prat or dry sherry
  • 130ml chicken stock
  • 300g full-fat crème fraîche

Soak the morels in 200ml of tepid water for about 15 minutes, then drain through a sieve over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Strain the liquid and keep 75ml for the sauce. Rinse the morels under cold water to remove any grit, then dry with kitchen paper and cut in half lengthways.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and fry the chicken, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn the chicken pieces over and continue to brown for a few minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then fry the shallot until softened. Add the morels and chestnut mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Add the Noilly Prat or sherry, the reserved soaking liquid and the stock, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and stir until melted into the sauce, then put the chicken back in, along with any juices on the plate. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019)

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Steak Diane

Remember this!?!?

We’re not sure if we’ve definitely had it before but remember it on every restaurant menu when we were kids and it has ingredients we’d choose. However, we were probably opting for the Chicken Maryland or something just as classy! It tastes reminiscent of those old fashioned dishes you still get in French restaurants. Bring it back we say – it’s absolutely delicious and you get to flambé, which is always very exciting! We served this with a rib-eye steak cooked rare on the barbecue, but it’s up to you for cut and doneness. Some watercress or other greens work for a side too.

Wine Suggestion: It was a special occasion for us so we raided the our dwindling cellar and chose a classic Bordeaux, the Chateau Haut Bages Averous 2005. Even if this isn’t to hand we’d suggest a Cabernet dominant blend and you’ll be happy.

Sauce Diane – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 120ml brandy
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a good pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat a large sauté pan and heat the olive oil and the butter until foaming. Add the shallot and mushroom and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Pour over the brandy, then light the pan with a match and allow the flames to subside. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie

Our chicken pies usually have some kind of cream in them but we really liked this gravy version. Try and use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you can get them, but no matter. I think we can all be forgiven for using dried herbs rather than fresh at the minute too. Though our local grocer surprisingly had some tarragon. We divided this into two dishes and baked each one fresh over two nights – reheated pastry never works out so well.

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Noir makes a nice match for this dish, be it classic Burgundy or New World. As always with this grape, make sure it is fresh and vibrant – the rich, juicy and high alcohol versions with lower acidity just don’t cut it with food. Tonight we had a cheaper “Little Yering” from the Yarra Valley found in the bargain bin of a local. While it didn’t blow us away it was delightful with the food

Chicken, mushroom & tarragon pie – serves 4

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g diced chicken (we used thighs but breasts fine too)
  • 100g mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 330ml white beer
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 4 tbsp of chopped tarragon leaves
  • a ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry sheet (all-butter not essential)

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken. Remove it from the pan and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook these for about 5 minutes or until softened and browned.

Add 3 tbsp of flour to the mushroom mixture and keep cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the beer and stock. Bring to the boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the sticky bits.

Lower the heat, then add the tarragon, some seasoning, and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, then tip into a baking dish and leave to cool.

Cut the pastry sheet to fit the dish and lay gently onto the sauce. Cut a few slits in the top and make a decoration with the pastry cuttings.

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.

(Original recipe from Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie 2

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Mushroom, Cider & Blue Cheese Soup

We made this soup on the strangest St Patrick’s day ever. There was no parade, the restaurants have all closed down and city streets are virtually empty. There is lots of panic buying going on, the supermarket aisles for tinned goods and toilet rolls have been decimated. We’re not down though, we’re positive we’ll all get through this and hopefully be stronger and better people on the other side. We’re continuing to buy fresh food, there’s lots of it available, and cook nice recipes like this soup by Gill Meller.

Mushroom, cider & blue cheese soup – serves 4 to 6

  • 500g wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used all chestnut mushrooms as it’s not autumn and wild ones aren’t available)
  • 25g butter, plus an extra bit, for frying
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • 75g blue cheese, plus extra to serve if you like
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Clean the mushrooms with a damp piece of kitchen paper and roughly chop them but keep about 100g over to fry and use as a garnish. The mushrooms for the garnish can be sliced.

Melt the butter in a large pan with a splash of olive oil, over a medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the leek, potato, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, cider and some seasoning, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Purée the soup until smooth (or smoothish if you’re using a stick blender).

Add the cream and blue cheese to the soup and gently return to a simmer. Season to taste and keep warm over a very low heat.

Heat a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a frying pan and sauté the reserved mushrooms for 8 to 10 minutes or until well cooked and golden brown. Season the mushrooms.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with the mushrooms and parsley sprinkled over. You can also sprinkle over some more crumbled blue cheese if you like.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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