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Posts Tagged ‘Thyme’

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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These are delicious and perfect with some crusty bread or flatbreads for scooping. Do buy the fancy butter beans in a glass jar if you can. You can make this up to a day ahead and the flavours will improve.

Wine Suggestion: We really like this dish with a nice, chilled Vermentino. Tonight’s choice, the Poggio ai Ginepri Bianco from Tenuta Argentiera in Bolgheri. Long and vibrant with a rich citrus and pear flavour and layers of texture and wild sage to finish.

  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 mild red chillies, finely chopped, including the seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, finely crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 3 preserved lemons (80g), inner parts discarded and skin finely sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp roughly chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 170ml olive oil
  • 1 jar of butter beans (700g)
  • 2 large vine tomatoes, roughly grated and skins discarded

Put the garlic, chillies, coriander, preserved lemon, thyme, rosemary, tomato purée, olive oil and 1¼ tsp of flaked salt into a medium sauté pan on a medium-low heat and stir together. Heat gently for 25 minutes, or until very fragrant but not browned at all. Turn the heat to low if the oil gets to hot.

Stir in the butter beans, then turn the heat up to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least an hour, or longer if you can.

Meanwhile, mix the grated tomato with tsp of flaked sea salt and plenty of black pepper.

Spoon the butter beans into a shallow bowl and spoon over the grated tomato, mixing it in in places. Then serve with crusty bread or flatbreads.

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

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We’re often cooking for two which means we often halves of things to use up, like half a butternut squash. This is our favourite way to cook it.

Roasted butternut squash – serves 4 as a side (easily halved!)

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1kg), peeled, deseeded and cut into rough 3cm chunks
  • 10 small sprigs of thyme
  • 50ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Spread the squash out on a large baking tray, then add the thyme, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Give it a toss with your hands.

Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender and starting to caramelise.

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This is a fish dish but the star of the show is definitely the Jerusalem artichokes, which soak up all the bacon fat. A stunner of a winter fish dish by Gill Meller who is fast becoming one of our favourite recipe writers.

Wine Suggetion: You need a good white that suits both fish, the rich bacon and earthy Jerusalem artichokes. Soalheiro’s Alvarinho from northern Portugal is a firm favourite and is both minerally-fresh and also texturally full-bodied.

Roast bream with Jerusalem artichokes, onion, smoked bacon & thyme – serves 4

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 250g smoked bacon lardons
  • a small bunch of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, bashed, no need to peel
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bream (about 1kg) or another white fish, we used two small bream to serve 2

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 6.

Scatter the artichokes, onion, bacon, thyme and garlic over a large heavy roasting tray or dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper.

Cover loosely with some baking parchment, then roast for 35-45 minutes or until the artichokes are tender, give everything a toss occasionally.

Slash the fish 3-4 times on each side, then lay on top of the artichokes. Baste the fish with some bacon fat, then season the fish with salt and pepper. Turn over onto the other side and baste and season again.

Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. The flesh should come away easily from the bone.

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

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We served this tasty potato dish with feather blade steaks braised in port and it would be good with other roast or braised beef dishes.

Potato, Onion & Horseradish Gratin – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g butter
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • a bunch of fresh thyme, remove the leaves from half
  • about 900g of large floury potatoes, sliced very thinly (a mandolin or food processor is best for this)
  • 4 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 300ml beef stock

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

Heat the oil and 25g of the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Meanwhile, put the stock into a saucepan with a small bunch of thyme and bring to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a clean pan and keep warm.

Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl with the thyme leaves. Melt the remaining 75g of butter and pour this over the potatoes and season well. Toss with your hands to coat the potatoes in the butter.

When the onions are cooked, stir in the horseradish sauce. Spread a third of the potatoes over the base of an ovenproof dish (20cm square is about right). Spread over half the onions and a third of the beef stock. Cover with another third of the potatoes, followed by the rest of the onions and a final layer of potatoes on top. Pour over the remaining stock, then cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or until golden.

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishing, 2019.)

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Fig & Gorgonzolha Tartines

September is when you start to find some juicy figs. These easy tartines show them off perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: A young, fruity Pinot Noir often springs to mind when pairing with figs, but bringing in the Gorgonzola made us swing to a white variant of this grape: Pinot Gris. Our choice was from Forrest Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand and it was fresh and full of joyous fruit to match the mood of this dish.

Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines – serves 6

  • 6 thin slices sourdough
  • 2-3 tbsp of truffle or flower honey
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 6 slices gorgonzola
  • 5 ripe figs, sliced into 4

Toast the sourdough and spread each slice with a little of the honey and sprinkle with some thyme leaves. Lay a slice of gorgonzola on each and squash down a bit with knife so it reaches the edges of the toast.

Put the tartines under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese just starts to melt.

Arrange the fig slices on top, sprinkle with a little salt, some black pepper and more thyme, then grill again for a couple of minutes and drizzle with some more honey before serving.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: Olive Magazine, September 2013.)

Figs

 

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