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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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You need to cut your courgettes into very thin strips for this, as thin as the pasta. The sauce is a bit carbonara-ish, very delicious.

Wine Suggestion: Something fun and white like the El Abuelo de Piqueras, a Verdejo – Sauvignon Blanc blend from Almansa in Spain. Vibrant fruit tied together with a sense of fun and energy.

Bucatini with courgettes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g courgettes, cut into 5cm long, 2mm thick strips
  • 400g bucatini (or spaghetti, linguine or fusilli)
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 extra egg yolks
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • a few fresh basil leaves

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and courgettes with a pinch of salt, then cook gently for 10 minutes, turning over gently, until very soft. Remove from the heat.

Bring large pan of water to the boil, then add lots of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.

When the pasta is almost cooked, return the courgette pan to the heat to warm through the fat and courgettes and add the torn basil.

Drain the pasta and reserve some of the water. Add the pasta to the courgette pan and stir together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and a splash of pasta water, then stir quickly until everything is coated in a creamy sauce. Add a little more pasta water to make it silky if needed, then serve.

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

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We chose this recipe because it has courgettes in it (and we have loads in the garden) but we’ll definitely be making it again. The method is a little different from usual but the results are lovely, fresh and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: Try to find a white wine with a lemony citrus flavour to bring out the bright flavours of the courgettes. We had a bottle of Karavitakis Assyrtiko “Nomas” from Crete that a friend had given us and it was a summery, lemony delight.

Tomato & Courgette Risotto – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 200g carton passata
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 courgettes, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

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

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic and coriander seeds and cook for another minute, then stir in the rice and stir until coated and glistening.

Gradually add 300ml of the stock, stirring until absorbed each time before adding some more. Stir in the passata, then cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. Keep giving it a stir every couple of minutes and add more stock as needed.

Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and courgettes into a roasting tin, keeping them at separate ends. Drizzle with the other tbsp of oil, then season and roast for 10-12 minutes until just tender. You might need to scoop out the tomatoes and cook the courgettes a little longer.

Add the mascarpone to the risotto and season generously with salt and black pepper. Keep stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes more or until the rice is cooked. Add the courgettes to the risotto and stir to mix together. Serve in warm bowls with the roasted tomatoes and some grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a great barbecue dish and you can prep the meat well in advance ready to cook when you need. You will probably need to order the bavette steak from your butcher and ask them to butterfly it so you end up with a large rectangle. The recipe comes from the best barbecue book we know which is Seared – the ultimate guide to barbecuing meat – by Genevieve Taylor.

Wine Suggestion: a big, bold, juicy red like a Rhône, Argentinian Malbec, or as tonight’s choice, Kilikanoon’s superlative Killermans Run GSM from the Clare Valley. Exhuberant fruit alongside refined, fresh tannins; a real class act.

Stuffed bavette steak – serves 4 to 6

  • 1kg bavette steak, butterflied (see above)
  • 80g prosciutto
  • 60g ‘nduja
  • 60g Parmesan, grated
  • 30g basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SALAD

  • 750g mixed tomatoes
  • a bunch of basil leaves, torn
  • 3-4 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lay the bavette out flat on a board. Turn the steak so that the grain runs horizontally – this is important as you want to be cutting across the grain when serving.

Lay the slices of prosicutto over the steak, then dot with the ‘nduja. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, basil and capers and season generously with black pepper.

Start with the side closest to you and roll the steak up tightly to form a cylinder. Tie it in a good few places with lengths of string to keep it tight. Season the outside of the steak with salt, then place on a rack over a tray and refrigerate until ready to cook. Do this at least 2 hours and no longer than 24 hours in advance.

When you’re ready to cook, get the barbecue going with two strips of fire down either side and the vents fully open. The barbecue needs to be hot, about 220-240C, with a section for indirect heat down the middle.

Put the steak, seam side down, in the centre of the barbecue and cover with the lid. Cook over indirect heat (i.e. over the bit with no coals underneath) for about 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 40C in the centre. Now move the bavettte direclty over the coals and sear over a high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes. The steak will be medium when about 56C in the centre.

Slice the tomatoes and spread over a large serving platter, then sprinkle over the torn basil. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil and sesaon with salt and pepper. Carve the bavette into slices and lay down the centre of the dish.

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

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We’ve a bumper crop of courgettes growing in pots in our back garden this year; the joy of loads of bright flowers followed by loads of yellow and green fruit, plus the challenge to eat them all. We picked a load of small courgettes for this dish and added the flowers too as we have them, but it is just as delicious with more normal sized courgettes found in shops and without the flowers.

Wine Suggestion: we’ve been seeking out old vine blends from the languedoc recently and just love how the best have a balance between fresh minerality, roundness, and a herbal stonefruit character. Like tonight’s juicy joy: Domaine Modat’s “de-ci de-la” Blanc which takes fruit from scattered small plots. We loved the sage and thyme scent and the juicy pear flavours cut through with summer sunshine.

Courgette and Broad Bean Risotto – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 350g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750g warm vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 80g broad beans, podded and blanched for a minute, then skins removed
  • courgettes flowers (optional), remove the stamens and tear the petals into pieces
  • 20g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Heat the oil and butter in a large, deep frying pan. Add the courgettes, chilli flakes and nutmeg, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook the courgettes for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes are golden and soft. Add the scallions and lemon zest and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes to coat the grains in the oil.

Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, until almost evaporated.

Add the stock, a ladeful at a time, and stir until the liquid is absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this for 20-30 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Taste the rice it should be soft with a little bite in the centre.

Stir in the blanched broad beans and courgette flowers and warm through for a minute or two.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes with a lid on, then serve with extra Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We don’t stop making soups in the summer, and in fact we often need them to use up bits and pieces. At the moment that means the courgettes that are growing faster than we can eat them. Whatever the excuse this is bursting with summery flavours and a joy to eat, especially outside on a hot summer afternoon.

Summer Minestrone Soup – serves 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over to serve
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 courgettes, finely chopped (use green and yellow if you have them)
  • 70g diced smoked pancetta
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 70g fideua pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 100g kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, to serve
  • finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, courgette and pancetta. Season well with salt and pepper and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and oregano and cook for another minute, then add the beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta and kale and cook for a final 10 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, then serve in warm bowls, with some basil and Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

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

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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This soup recipe by Skye Gyngall is delicious. Make it while you can get local aspragus and serve with some crusty bread.

Asparagus, rice & pancetta soup – serves 4

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of thymes, leaves stripped and stalks discarded
  • 5 slices of pancetta, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 100g white rice
  • 1 litre good chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • 12 green asparagus spears, snap off the woody ends and cut into short lengths on the diagonal
  • 100g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Add the pancetta and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in the rice. Pour in the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down low, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Add the asparagus to the soup and cook for a few minutes until just tender, then stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste with lots of black pepper and salt to taste.

Ladle into warm bowls and top with the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2008.)

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Do buy good quality tuna for this, packed in olive oil. We like Ortiz which is widely available and excellent quality. We’d also highly recommend Shines’ Wild Irish Tuna, one of our local companies based in Donegal. We have tried loads of their tinned and jarred fish and they are all top quality.

Wine Suggestion: We chose a lighter red to match this dish from the Marches in central Italy. The Umani Ronchi San Lorenzo Rosso Conero has style and panache and the medium body, morello cherry flavours, soft spices and silky tannins are a charming match.

Baked orzo puttanesca – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 30g preserved lemon, discard the flesh and thinly slice the skin into strips
  • 70g pitted Kalamata olives, roughly torn in half
  • 2 tins of good tuna in olive oil, drained and roughly flaked
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250g dried orzo
  • 1-2 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into half ½ cm thick rounds
  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 5g basil leaves, roughly torn

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan that has a lid. Add the onion and cook gently for about 8 minutes or until softed and browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies and cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Stir in the capers, half the preserved lemon strips, 45g of the olives, the tuna, tomato purée, tinned tomatoes, orzo, 450ml of water, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.

Turn the oven up to 230C fan.

Remove the lid from the dish, top with the tomato slices and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle over the remaining olives, preserved lemon, basil and 1 tbsp of oil before serving.

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

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This has to be the perfect post-Christmas dish; great for using up the cheeseboard leftovers and all that smoked fish you though you would eat. Our daughter was so enamoured of this that she has been demanding it ever since. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Find yourself a Chardonnay made on the lees, but not necessarily in oak. This will preserve a freshness and mid-weight while giving a yeasty, buttery character. A good producer from the Maçon, like Manciat-Poncet, would be ideal and that’s what we had.

Smoked Salmon Soufflé – Serves 3

  • 20g freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 1 tbsp
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 100g smoked salmon or smoked trout, finely chopped
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g butter
  • 55g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon

You will need a soufflé dish or baking dish, approximately 18-20cm.

Lightly grease the inside of the dish with butter, then dust with the 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Put the milk into a small saucepan with the onion and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to sit for a few minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaf and discard.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Then pour in the warm milk and stir vigorously until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.

Lightly beat the the egg yolks with a fork, then stir them into the sauce with 20g of Parmesan, the chopped fish and the tarragon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff with a whisk in a large bowl. Fold the egg whites into the sauce, then spoon into the buttered dish. Smooth the top if needed, then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan. Put the dish onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be pale brown and the centre slightly soft, it should still have a little wobble when you give it a shake.

Serve immediately with dressed salad leaves and crusty bread. You need to eat it all up as this dish will not keep.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Tuesday, 28 December 2021.)

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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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This has a crunchy crust and makes a great wintery side dish for a roast dinner or sausages. For clarity, when we refer to turnips we mean the large yellow-fleshed things that some call swedes, not the little white ones.

Baked turnip mash with sage & Parmesan crumbs – serves 6

  • 1kg turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g Parmesan
  • 8 sage leaves

Boil the turnip and garlic in salty water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pot, then mash with half the butter and the cream, a pinch of cayenne and lots of salt and black pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.

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

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and some black pepper. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the sage leaves untli they crisp up, then crumble them into the breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle the mix all over the turnip and spoon over any melted butter, then bake for 40 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2012)

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Yummy sauce for using up leftover pesto and perfect for mid-week.

Green Spaghetti Sauce – serrves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a small bunch of basil, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp green pesto
  • 150ml single cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Cook the spaghetti in lots of salty water for the time stated on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the spinach and peas in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 3 minutes, or until the peas are tender, then drain well.

Tip the peas and spinach into a food processor, then add the basil, pesto, cream and Parmesan. Whizz to make a smooth sauce.

Drain the pasta, but reserve a mugful of the cooking water, then return to the pan. Pour over the green sauce and place over a low heat to cook for a few minutes, you want the sauce to cling to the spaghetti. Add a little pasta water if it looks dry, season to taste and serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is like a cross between a lasagne and a parmigiana. If you have a gas barbecue it makes a very easy job of griddling the aubergines in big batches which attracted us to this dish in the first place as the barbecue was on a good run. Nice with some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Light, crunchy red wines just seem to fall into place with lasagne, or aubergine and tomato. This was no different. Tonight to good effect, our favourite Loire red, the Chateau du Hureau Saumur Champigny Tuffe.

Aubergine Parmigiana Lasagne – serves 6

  • 3 large aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g mozzarella, drained and coarsely grated
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • a bunch of basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 8 dried egg lasagne sheets

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

Make the sauce by warming the olive oil and garlic in a large pan for a minute or until golden, go gently or the garlic will brown and turn bitter. Add the sugar and red wine vinegar and allow to bubble up for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and return to a simmer. Bubble gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a gas barbecue or a griddle pan to a medium-high heat. Brush the aubergine slices with oil on both sides and season with a little salt. Griddle or barbecue in batches until softened and slightly charred. Don’t let the heat get too high or they will char before they are softened.

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

Lay a third of the aubergine slices over the base of a large baking dish, then spoon over a third of the sauce. Scatter with a small handful of both cheeses (but not too much as you want most of it for the top) and half the basil, then top with 4 lasagne sheets. Repeat once more, then finish with a layer of aubergines topped with the rest of the sauce and scattered with the remaining cheese.

Place the dish in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes then serve with the rest of the basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is simplicity itself but tastes just like the season.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a good, top-notch, dry Sauvignon Blanc to match this dish like the André Dezat Sancerre which is flinty, grassy-fresh and has great concentration and power despite being super balanced and effortless.

Gnocchi with asparagus, edamame & Parmesan – serves 4

  • 500g pack of gnocchi
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g asparagus, snap off the woody part of the stems, then cut into 5cm pieces
  • 150g frozen edamame beans
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing over at the end
  • 60g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil, then add the gnocchi and cook according the pack instructions. It’s done when if floats to the top. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Heat a large fraying pan over a medium-high heat, then drizzle with oil, and when hot, add the asparagus with a pinch of sea salt. Fry for a few minutes or until the pieces are starting to char but are still crisp. Remove from the pan and put into a warmed dish.

Add the frozen edamame beans to pan with a splash of water and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then scoop ot and add to the asparagus.

Drizzle some more oil into the pan and warm over a medium-high heat, then add the gnocchi. Fry until golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn them too quickly or they will stick. Remove from the pan and into a large dish.

Combine the gnocchi with the asparagus, edamame, and chives. Squeeze over some lemon juice to taste and drizzle with olive oil, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Scatter over the Parmesan to serve.

(Original recipe from Family by Hetty McKinnon, Prestel, 2019)

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Given it’s sharp-sour character it can sometimes be tricky to think of what to do with sorrel – so this is a quick and easy recipe for sorrel butter. Delicious with pasta or on fish or chicken. You can make the butter and stash it in the freezer if you happen to have some leftover sorrel from another dish.

Wine Suggestion: This works really well with the Gulfi Valcanzjria. A blend of Chardonnay and Carricante from the slopes of Mt Etna, this fresh and Spring-like as well as having the stuffing to work with the sharp/sour sorrel.

Tagliatelle with sorrel butter & pine nuts – serves 4

  • 2 large handfuls of sorrel leaves, remove the stalks and roughly chop
  • 100g butter, softened
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • 300g tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
  • 75g toasted pine nuts, to serve
  • Parmesan, shaved or grated to serve

Tip the sorrel into a food processor with the butter and lemon juice, then whizz to a paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Scrape the butter out onto a piece of cling film then roll into a log and chill in the fridge. It will be fine there for a few days or you can freeze for a month.

Cook the pasta in very salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt the sorrel butter in a large frying pan. Use tongs to transfer the cooked pasta from the cooking water into the frying pan with the butter. Toss the pasta in the butter, then add most of the pine nuts and mix well.

Divide the buttery pasta and pine nuts between warm bowls and scatter with Parmesan and extra pine nuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This recipe by Gill Meller has to be one of the nicest things you can do with a turnip. By turnip we mean the large, orange-fleshed variety that some call swedes. We’re so busy cooking new things that we rarely do things again, but we’ve made an exception for this dish already. It goes without saying that you should use top quality sausages!

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs the comforting, warm spices of a Southern Rhone red with a good dollop of Grenache, some Syrah and possibly other varieties thrown in. Given the festive season we opened a bottle of Les Palliéres Racines Gigondas. Made by the Brunier’s of Domaine Vieux Télégraphe this is velvety and deep; a real treat.

Turnip with fried sausages, green peppercorns & Parmesan – serves 2

  • 1 turnip (or swede), cut into 2cm cubes
  • top quality sausages
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2-3 tsp green peppercorns in brine

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil. Add the turnip and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little bit of oil, then add the sausages and cook slowly until well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Don’t be tempted to speed up this process.

When the turnip is tender, drain and leave in a colander to steam. Put the pot back over a low heat and add the butter and cream. When this is bubbling, return the turnip to the pan. Mash the turnip until smooth, then season generously with black pepper, salt and most of the Parmesan.

Spoon the turnip onto a platter, pile the sausages on top, scatter over the peppercorns and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.

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

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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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Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

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Broad Bean Carbonara

There has been so many broad beans on our plates in the last couple of weeks, not that we’re complaining, we adore them! The frozen ones are hard to beat as they tend to be small and sweet.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a well made Chardonnay with a deft hand with oak and fresh acidity depending on what you have at hand; Burgundy, Jura, Baden, Stellenbosch, Macedon, Santa Cruz, etc.

Broad bean carbonara – serves 2

  • 85g pancetta (we had bacon lardons which worked perfect)
  • 100g podded and skinned broad beans (put the beans in boiling water for a minute, then refresh under cold water, the skins will slip off easily) – if you’re buying in pods you will need about 400g
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 200g parpardelle pasta (we used tagliatelle but you could use whatever pasta)
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt it generously.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta/bacon for about 8 minutes or until crisp.

Beat the egg yolks with the cream and season generously with black pepper.

Cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain, but save a bit of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the broad beans and pancetta in the frying pan. Add the egg and cream mixture and stir to coat, you may need some of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Add half the Parmesan and toss through the pasta, then serve in warm bowls with the extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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