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Posts Tagged ‘Spinach’

This dish even looks like Autumn! Roast any leftover squash on another night.

Wine Suggestion: A light, earthy red or a richer, oaked Chardonnay. A good Burgundy might be a bit extravagant for a Monday but equally it’s a good match.

Butternut squash & pancetta pasta – serves 4

  • 80g pancetta cubes
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 750g butternut sqush, remove the seeds and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 350g fusilli pasta
  • 100g young spinach, roughly chopped
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Cook the pancetta in a large, dry frying pan until really crisp. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and leave the fat in the pan.

Add the oil to the pan, then the squash, rosemary, chilli and garlic. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Season well and gently crush some of the squash pieces with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water, then drain but keep the cooking liquid. Add a ladle or two of the pasta water to the squash and bubble for a few minutes. Tip in the pasta and toss. Stir through the spinach until wilted, then divide between warm bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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We are working are way through every recipe we can find that uses black limes, having finally found some without having to resort to mail order. It is all such a hassle now that we’re not all Europeans as some of our sources are in the UK. The sauce is truly delicious and you will need flatbreads for mopping it all up. Some rice would be good too but not essential.

Wine Suggestion: Black limes have such an introverted and complex character you can’t just match it with anything, but do look for wines that have either lime flavours or a savoury, umami texture. Combine this with the pickle and we had a conundrum. We solved it with Pajzos’ Hárslevelu dry Tokaji whose lime-leaf, savoury character plus a little residual sugar (despite the dry finish) came to the rescue.

Black lime tofu with spinach and pink pickled onions – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 600ml sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 blocks of extra-firm tofu (560g), patted dry and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2-3 dried black limes, grind to a powder using a spice grinder you need about 2 tbsp (if you don’t have a spice grinder you can whizz in a food processor, then sieve)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 20g flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 250g baby spinach

Make the pink pickled onions first by mixing the vinegar, 1 tsp of sugar, the red onion and tsp of salt in a small bowl. Set aside while you make everything else.

Heat the sunflower oil in a sauté pan or wok. Toss the tofu in a bowl with the cornflour until coated. When the oil is hot, fry the tofu in two batches until crispy and lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then transfer to a paper-lined plate.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the onions and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced but not puréed. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the cumin, black limes and tomato purée and cook for another minute. Add 400ml water, 1tsp of sugar, 1 1/4 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes, until rich and thick. Add the crispy tofu, parsley and more black pepper and stir. Gradually stir in the spinach until just wilted.

Serve in a shallow dish with the pink pickled onions spooned over.

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

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We regular base our dinner on packets of fresh gnocchi. They’re perfect for when you haven’t much time.

Gnocchi with peas, pesto and spinach – serves 2

  • 50g baby spinach
  • 100g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 300g pack gnocchi (you can use a plain variety or one with spinach)

Put the defrosted peas, the spinach and a splash of water into a large frying pan. Season, then heat, stirring, until the spinach has wilted.

Add the pesto and crème fraîche, and gently heat through.

Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in lots of boiling salty water. As they rise to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add to the spinach pan.

Toss it all together, then serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, August 2018.)

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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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Try this for a tasty weekend brunch dish. Serve with toasted sourdough for mopping.

Baked green eggs – serves 2

  • 100g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp finely grated gruyère
  • 2 eggs

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

Mix together the spinach, pesto, cream and some seasoning, and tip into 2 shallow ovenproof dishes.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.

Create a hollow in each dish with a spoon, then gently break in the eggs. Bake the dishes in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a side dish really, but we had it mid-week as a main with some takeaway naan breads. Highly recommended! A halloumi version of the traditional paneer dish.

Wine Suggestion: An unoaked, dry Chardonnay like Domaine Ventenac’s Carole from Cabardès in southern France, which is light and fruit forward would be an ideal choice. Easy going but with layers of flavour and textures just like the dish itself.

Saag halloumi – serves 4 to 6 as a side (half to serve 2 as a main)

  • 500g spinach
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala, plus extra to serve
  • 2 blocks of halloumi, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200ml double cream
  • ½ lemon juiced

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spinach for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain well, leave to cool, squeeze out the liquid with your hands, then finely chop.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger into a blender with 1-2 tbsp of water and whizz until smooth.

Put the turmeric, cumin seeds, garam masala and lots of seasoning onto a plate. Roll the pieces of halloumi in the spices to coat all over.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, then fry the halloumi until crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn it until a nice crust has been formed, this will help prevent sticking. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion purée to the same pan, plus any spices remaining on the plate and some seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes until the raw smell has gone and they have started to colour. Add the spinach, halloumi and double cream, and cook for another 5 minutes to thicken and warm through. Season with the lemon juice and sprinkle with garam masala before serving.

(Original recipe by Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, May 2020.)

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Try this if you’re in a bit of a lunch rut … or if like us you have bought an extra bag of spinach and have some miso lingering in the fridge. It takes 5 minutes and it’s delicious.

Miso spinach on sourdough toast – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 200g spinach
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • 2 large slices of toasted sourdough (to serve)

Mix the miso paste with the melted butter, then tip into a frying pan.

Add the spinach and cook over a medium heat until wilted, then add 2 tsp soy sauce. Divide between the toasts and sprinkle over the spinach & scallions.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is delicious with a load of warm flatbreads for scooping up the baba ghanoush. To burn the aubergines place them directly onto gas rings turned up high, scorch for about 20 minutes, turning once. You will need to open all of the doors and windows but it is definitely worth it!

Wine Suggestion: A Spanish red was called for, but to be a little contrary we went to Roussillon: Roc des Anges’ Segna de Cor. A Grenache, Carignan and Syrah blend from the “young” vines of this estate which average only 40 years of age … they have some wonderful old vines in this part of the world and Marjorie Gallet has some of the best parcels scattered across the incredible landscape that is Catalan France. Exceptionally refined and smooth, with layers of spices, warm fruits and a core of salty stones and smokey earth. For an entry level wine this is truly exciting. Also a good match for the smokey aubergines, earthy lentils and tart pomegranate.

Smoky baba ganoush with roasted cauliflower, lentils & pomegranate – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g Puy lentils (or similar lentils)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
  • a small handful of coriander leaves
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds extracted
  • pomegranate mollasses

FOR THE BABA GANOUSH:

  • 4 large aubergines
  • 4 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Coat the cauliflower in olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread over a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes.

To make the baba ganoush, put the aubergines directly over a gas flame on high, for about 20 minutes, turning once. When cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin and place the flesh into a large bowl. Break the aubergine flesh up with a fork, leaving it a bit chunky, then add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, yoghurt and olive oil. Mix with a fork until well combined and season well with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes until just tender, then drain.

Combine the roasted cauliflower, lentils, baby spinach, coriander, a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Serve with plenty of baba gaanoush on the side, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and drizzle with a few drops of the pomegranate molasses.

(Original recipe from Community by Hetty McKinnon, A Plum Book, 2014.)

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This is much lighter than your average pasta bake and therefore perfect for midweek. It’s packed full of flavour and you can freeze the leftovers too. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Perfect with an easy, mid-weight red like the Umani Ronchi Rosso Conero Serrano, a joyful blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Food friendly and also easy sipping on its own.

Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake – serves 6

  • 400g wholewheat penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 250g roasted peppers from a jar, diced
  • 700g jar passata
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100ml water
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • a small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 150g baby spinach
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 125g mozzarella ball, diced
  • 15g Parmesan, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta for the shortest time indicated on the pack, then drain and run under cold water until completely cooled. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in another large saucepan, then cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Then add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the roasted peppers, passata, tomatoes and oregano. Pour the 100ml of water into the passata jar, give it a shake, then add this too. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta and chopped sage together and season with salt and black pepper.

Stir the spinach and basil into the tomato sauce until wilted, then season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Add the pasta and stir to coat in the sauce, then tip it all into a large roasting tray or lasagne dish.

Scatter over the mozzarella, dot with the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight & Get Fit by Tom Kerridge, BLOOMSBURY ABSOLUTE, 2018.)

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

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

Spinach, egg and filo pie – serves 8

  • 70g butter
  • 1 small packet of filo pastry

FOR THE FILLING:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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These make a nice brunch or lunch dish with some brown bread or toast. 

Smoked haddock & spinach egg pots – serves 4

  • a little soft butter for greasing
  • 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 200g skinless smoked haddock fillets, diced
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 6 large eggs
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g Cheddar, grated
  • a pinch of sweet smoked paprika
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Brown bread or buttered toast, to serve

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

Grease the inside of four 250ml ramekins or oven-proof dishes with butter, then dust with the breadcrumbs. 

Divide the fish between the dishes and put onto a baking tray. 

Wilt the spinach in a large saucepan with a tiny amount of water. Stir over a high heat for a few minutes, until wilted. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander. Leave to cool slightly, then squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the spinach. Roughly chop and divide between the dishes. 

Whisk the eggs and crème fraîche together in a bowl and season with a little grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the dishes and sprinkle with the cheese and a little smoked paprika. 

Put the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to the grill setting and cook for a further 5 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the toast or bread. 

(Original recipe from Fresh Start by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.)

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We make soup most weeks during the cooler months and we really loved this one! The streaky bacon garnish is nice but it’s also good without it.

Creamy lentil & spinach soup with bacon – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for frying
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 140g green lentils
  • 1.5 litres weak vegetable stock
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp double cream, plus a drizzle to serve if you like
  • 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon (optional)

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions, carrots and celery, and cook for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Stir in the lentils and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the lentils are soft, add more water if you need too.

Add the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes to wilt.

Whizz the soup until smooth (we like it smooth-ish with a bit of texture left), then stir in the cream and season.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until crispy and golden. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some crispy bacon and a drizzle of cream.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a little different given the use of the milky poaching liquor which makes this creamy and rich. Not that we partake in the cheese and fish rule anyhow, but cheese was genuinely not required. 

Wine Suggestion: Choose a white with a higher acidity to match the creamy stock and a bit of body as this is quite rich. We chose an alpine/cool-climate Chardonnay from Cantina Colterenzio from north-eastern Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Melon and apple fruit flavours with hints of buttery toast; refined and characterful.

Smoked Cod & Spinach Risotto – serves 2-3

  • 450ml full fat milk
  • 400g smoked cod or haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 450ml hot stock
  • a small onion
  • 50g butter
  • 250g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, washed and torn into small pieces

Pour the milk into a saucepan large enough to take the fish in a single layer. Put the fish into the milk and add the bay leaves and peppercorns, then bring to the boil. When the milk starts to foam, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside with the fish left in the milk to infuse. 

Heat the stock in a saucepan until gently simmering.

Peel and finely chop the onion, then fry gently in the butter in a heavy-based pan. When the onion is soft, but not coloured, add the rice and stir to coat. 

Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate, then start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Keep stirring continually until each ladle of stock has been absorbed, then add some more. Keep the heat low to medium. When the stock is finished, start adding the poaching liquid from the fish (discard the peppercorns and bay leaves). Start tasting when almost all the milk has been absorbed. The rice should be soft but still have a little bite and it should take about 20 minutes. 

Stir the spinach into the rice. Break the fish into big pieces and gently fold into the rice, trying not to break them up too much. Check for seasoning before serving. 

(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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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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We have a 7 year old at home who is usually very good at eating pretty much anything we put in front of her. Recently though, she’s gone a bit fussy and very plain in her requests. We’re remaining calm and trying to cook some kid-friendly food to coax her back to her adventurous self. Served with salad and garlic bread, the dish was scraped clean.

Wine Suggestion: Youthful, Italian reds are the order of the day, be it a Sangiovese or Montepulciano, or tonight’s choice of Barbera from Pico Maccario in the Piedmont.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni – serves 6

  • butter for greasing the dish
  • 18 cannelloni tubes (you can use a few more if you have extra filling and enough room in your dish)
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 60g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 500g spinach leaves, chopped
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg

Make the tomato sauce first by heating the oil in a saucepan, then adding the celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and tomato purée, then season well with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, stirring now and then, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by heating the oil in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach and cook over a high heat for a couple of minute until completely wilted. Cool slightly, then stir in the ricotta, nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.

Purée the tomato sauce in a food processor, then stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

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

Grease a large ovenproof dish in which the cannelloni tubes can lie in a single layer.

Spoon the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Two teaspoons works best for this; 1 to spoon the filling into the tube, and use the opposite end of the other spoon to push the filling down into the tube.

Arrange the filled cannelloni in the dish, then cover with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, then serve with extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook, DK, 1995.)

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We adore spinach and dishes that are full of it, like this spinach, tomato & chickpea curry. Great served with rice or naan breads and some yoghurt. Couldn’t be easier!

Wine Suggestion: A dish like this loves medium weight Grenache based wines like Roc des Anges, l’Effet de Papillon rouge. A velvety, juicy, damson and raspberry flavoured glass with hints of spice.

Chana Saag – Spinach, tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500g baby spinach, washed

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped onions.

Fry for 10 to 12 minutes or until starting to caramelise, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, crushing them with you hand as they go in. Fill the tin a third full with water and add to the pan.

Cook for 10 minutes or until quite dry and paste-like, then add the chickpeas. Warm through for a few minutes, then add the coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir well to combine, then add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice and some yoghurt.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meeera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

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This is a delicious Persian accompaniment that goes with almost anything. We know that as we initially served it as a starter with pitta breads, then proceeded to have it on the side with the main course, and for lunch the following day with something else. It’s hard to describe how good it is. 

Spinach & yoghurt with walnuts – Maast-o-esfenaj – serves 6 to 8

  • 250g spinach leaves (cut off any chunky stalks)
  • 500g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 big handfuls of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus a bit extra to garnish
  • best olive oil, for drizzling
  • flatbread, to serve

Simmer the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. When cooled, drain well and chop finely. 

Put the spinach into a large bowl with the yoghurt, garlic and walnuts (keep a few for decorating), sumac, a small drizzle of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and black pepper. Mix well. 

Serve the mixture on a flat plate, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle over some extra sumac and the reserved walnuts. 

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020)

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Cheesy Ham Hock, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

This is a nice crowd pleaser and kept us entertained for a while on a miserable day in Dublin. You can buy shredded ham hock in supermarkets now which makes this a great prep-ahead lunch for friends.

Wine Suggestion: Tonights choice to match the dish was provided by a friend, the Chateau La Bienveillance Sémillon 2019, a delightful and easy white which had a little texture and freshness to balance the cheese, plus a little earthiness which went well with spinach. If you can’t find Semillon then Chenin Blanc will work as well.

Cheesy ham hock, spinach & ricotta lasagne – serves 6

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 80g grated Parmesan or Gruyère (we had both in the fridge so used a mixture)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 600g spinach (the big-leafed stuff works best here)
  • 250g ricotta
  • a grating of nutmeg
  • 300g shredded ham hock (if you can’t find ham hock you can use shred thick-cut ham)
  • 12 dried lasagne sheets
  • 50g grated mozzarella

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk (you can use a whisk if you want but I prefer to use a wooden spoon). Add the bay leaf then put back over the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously until thickened. Take off the heat again and stir in 50g of the Parmesan/Gruyère, the mustard and the cayenne pepper. Season.

Put the spinach into a large pan with a small amount of boiling water, about 100ml. Cover with a lid and simmer for a few minutes until wilted, careful it doesn’t boil dry. Drain in a colander, then leave to cool. When cool enough to handle put the spinach into a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water. Tip the spinach into a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Add the ricotta and pulse again to combine. Grate in a little nutmeg and season.

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

Spoon a layer of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a lasagne dish (roughly 24x28cm). Remove the bay leaf when you come across it. Top with a third of the spinach and ricotta mixture, then a third of the ham hock. Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets, snapping them to make them fit if necessary. Repeat the layers with the rest of the ingredients and finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan/Gruyère and the grated mozzarella. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until browned and bubbling (keep an eye on it and if it is browning too much you can cover with foil).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spicy Asparagus & Chorizo Baked Egg

We had this for breakfast on Easter Sunday but you could also have it for a handy lunch or dinner.

Spicy asparagus & chorizo baked egg – serves 2

  • 250g asparagus, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 40g diced chorizo
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 150g frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 large eggs
  • flatbreads or toast, to serve

Heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat, add the asparagus and chorizo and cook for about 8 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the frozen spinach and cook for about 5 minutes or until it has completely wilted. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper.

Make two space in the mixture for the eggs and gently slide them in. We find it easier to break them into mugs first. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 5 minutes or until just set.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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