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Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’

If there are children around there’s nearly always a half-used tub of pesto. Too expensive to go to waste, and a good reason we’re always on the lookout for anything other than pesto pasta. This dish is a bit of summer in winter.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a fun and fresh red, preferably with a moderate alcohol. Fortunately we had a red blend from the Sebestyén family in the Szekszárd region of south-eastern Hungary. Their Szekszárdi Cuvée is a delightful blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Cabernet Franc; youthful, fresh and characterful.

Chicken with mozzarella, Parma ham and roast pesto potatoes, serves 4

  • 125g ball of mozzarella cheese (not buffalo), sliced
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 24 basil leaves
  • 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g baby potatoes
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar

Heat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.

Grease a baking sheet.

Season the mozzarella slices with salt and pepper.

Slice a small pocket in each chicken breast (we asked our butcher to do this) and fill with a slice of mozzarella and 6 basil leaves. Wrap each piece of chicken in a slice of Parma ham and set onto the greased baking sheet. Scatter the tomatoes around the chicken.

Drizzle everything with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until cooked through, about 20 minutes, then drain and toss with the pesto.

Put the chicken, potatoes and tomatoes onto warm plates and drizzle the tomatoes with the thick balsmic vinegar.

(Original recipe from Herbs by Judith Hann, Watkins Media Ltd, 2017.)

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We love a pasta dish with just a few ingredients and this one is light and fresh and conveniently uses tinned tomatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Despite the cream which may suggest an oaked white, this actually works best with an unoaked, textural white instead. Something like the brilliant Dissidents Cassandre, a Vermentino from Maison Ventenac in Carbades which both lifts and expands the flavours, plus the fresh nuttiness cuts through the light cream.

Rigatoni with tomato, cream and pesto – serves 4

  • 200ml double cream
  • 300g tinned tomatoes, drained weight
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 350g rigatoni
  • 40g Parmesan

Pour the cream into a saucepan, add the drained tomatoes and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.

Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni in lots of salty water until al dente, then drain and tip it into a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle the pasta with the Parmesan, then spoon over the sauce and serve.

(Original recipe from The Silver Spoon Pasta, Phaidon, 2009.)

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A Diana Henry recipe inspired by but not quite the same as the Dominican dish. This is perfect for a weeknight despite the long list of ingredients. Most will be in your cupboard and it’s really easy to put together. Lovely bright colours and flavours. This works on it’s own or with some crusty bread or rice.

Wine Suggestion: despite the inclination to go for a richer white, we felt in the mood for a red instead so chose Domaine Gayda’s Cepage Grenache. A brambly, dark red fruited wine with a juicy core and gentle, ripe tannins. We served it slightly cool to great effect and it made a delightful counterpoint to the chipotles (ours were very hot!).

Guisado de Pollo – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 75g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
  • 400g waxy potatoes, cut into 1cm chunks – you can peel them if you like, we didn’t bother
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • a small tin of pineapple in natural juice, drained and cut into small chunks
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tinned chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, or 3 tbsp chipotle paste (reduce if your chipotles are very hot)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeño chilli, halved lengthways and deseeded
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a small bunch of coriander, chopped, to serve

Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large casserole and fry the chicken in batches until browned on both sides. It doesn’t need to be cooked through at this stage. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped pumpkin and potato to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to colour. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion and pepper to the pan and cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic cand cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Stir in the pineapple, tomatoes, sugar, chipotles, thyme, chicken stock. Season and bring slowly to a simmer.

Cut the chicken into thick strips, then add to the casserole along with any juices from the plate. Add the potatoes, pumpkin and the jalapeño. Stir gently then leave to simmer for 25 minutes without a lid. Give it a stir now and again. It’s ready when the vegetables are soft and the sauce thickened.

Add the capers and lime juice and season to taste. Stir in the coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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A delicious steak recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage. Ixta fries the steak in a pan over a high heat, we used a barbecue – fabulous flavours either way. You will need to grind about 3 black limes to get enough for the marinade and the butter.

Wine Suggestion: Thanks to our friends Tim & Mick, who’ve been travelling recently, we had an excellent Öküzgözü from Turkey which was regal, refined, and a delightful surprise. We wish we could remember the name of the winery as we forgot to take a picture and the bottle recycling was done the next day before we remembered! Full of black cherry, raspberry, and dark mulberry flavours; this was complex and had layers of dark chocolate, licorice, leather, tobacco, cloves, and something slightly herbal and minty, but we couldn’t put our finger on what.

Bavette steak with black lime & maple butter – serves 4

  • 500g bavette steak, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 300g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Urfa chili flakes (we used a mixture of smoked paprika and aleppo pepper)
  • 1½ tsp ground black lime
  • about 50 twists of black pepper

FOR THE SOY AND MAPLE BUTTER:

  • 40g ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2½ tsp maple syrup
  • ½ a small clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ¾ tsp ground black lime
  • ¾ tsp Urfa chilli flakes (see above)

Pat the steak dry and put into a large bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients and rub into the steaks. Leave aside for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour (you can do this further ahead and leave in the fridge but make sure you bring them back to room temperature before cooking).

Get your barbecue very hot, then sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side, you want them dark brown on the outside but rare in the middle. Transfer to a warm plate and rest for 8 minutes, turning over halfway.

While the steaks are resting, slice the tomatoes and onions and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with ½ tsp flaked salt.

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is melted and hot, remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, black lime and chilli flakes.

Slice the bavette against the grain and arrange over the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with some sea salt, then spoon over the soy and maple butter and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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This is fun to cook outside over fire but you can of course cook it on the hob too if you’re feeling less adventurous. Weather dependent though … we had a gap in the rain in Ireland and seized the day.

Wine Suggestion: Inspired by Jono’s trip to visit producers in California we opened a Cline Vineyards Pinot Noir from the Petaluma gap in Sonoma. Inexpensive for a Pinot, and yet so well balanced from the cooling fogs pouring in from the pacific, this is food friendly, open and joyful. At no point does this feel too heavy for the food and has the right amount of juicy fruit to complement the barbecue-smokey flavours.

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ cinnamon stick, broken up
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 black cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves

FOR THE KEEMA:

  • 3 tbsp veg oil or ghee
  • 500g venison mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 200ml water
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 long green chillies, finely sliced
  • 100g peas
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

FOR THE CORIANDER AND GARLIC YOGHURT

  • 150m natural yoghurt
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander stalks

TO SERVE:

  • nann breads
  • mango chutney or lime pickle (optional)

Put all of the spice mix ingredients into a dry frying pan with the bay leaves and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then crush to a fine powder.

Put a large fire-proof pan over the hot embers of your fire and add the oil or ghee. If you’re cooking inside use a large deep frying pan or shallow casserole. When hot, add the venison mince and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until well browned and almost crispy.

Add the onion and cook for another few minutes until softened, then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Stir in 3 tbsp of the spice mix and continue cooking for another minute.

Pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the yoghurt together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped tomatoes chillies and peas and warm through. Season with salt and pepper and stir through the herbs.

Serve with warm naan breads and Indian chutneys or pickles.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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If you have a little leftover ‘nduja, then this is the dish for you!! It makes a delicous main for two, or starter for 4. Masterminded by Jacob Kenedy of Bocca di Lupo.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a medium bodied red fruited wine with a lick of acidity like the Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Tuscan coast. Fruit-forward cherry and raspberry flavours which come from the Sangiovese which is tied together with a touch of Cabernet and Petit Verdot.

Orecchiette with ‘nduja – serves 2 (or 4 as a starter)

  • 200g dried orecchiette (if you can make or get fresh then go for that but dried works pretty good)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 120g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g ‘nduja (a bit less will be fine)
  • 50ml white wine
  • 80ml double cream
  • 50g rocket, very roughtly chopped
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano, to serve (we used Parmesan – sorry Jacob!)

Get your orecchiette on to boil in lots of very salty water. Start making the sauce when there’s about 10 minutes to go.

Fry the onion and tomatoes over a high heat for about 3 minutes, you want them softened and lightly browned. Add the ‘nduja, break it up and fry for 30 seconds, then add the wine and a small ladleful of water from the pasta pot. Bubble briefly, then add the cream. Taste and season with some salt.

Keep cooking the sauce until thickend and not watery, then add the drained pasta (still a bit wet) and the rocket. Cook until the rocket is wilted and the pasta is coated in the glossy sauce. Serve with grated cheese on top.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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

Tomato, burrata and broad bean salad – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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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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Like a Greek salad, but with pasta added in. It makes a great lunch or lunchbox and is good for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Pasta Salad – serves 4

  • 200g pasta – use what ever shape you have
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g pitted black olives, halved
  • ½ small cucumber, quartered lengthways then sliced
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese

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

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and some seasoning into a mixing bowl and mix well to make a dressing.

Drain the pasta in a colandar and leave to cool for a few minutes. Tip the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Tip in the tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion, then crumble in the feta cheese. Gently mix everything together, then serve or put in the fridge for lunchboxes tomorrow.

(Original recipe by Cassie Best in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2022.)

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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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We don’t think we’ve ever roasted kohlrabi before but they have it in our local farm shop so we thought we’d give it a go. We mostly see it raw in salads but have to say it is absolutely lovely when roasted. The recipe is simple though there are a few bits to it. Try the roasted kohlrabi if nothing else.

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied, pure fruited red like Olga Raffault’s Chinon les Barnabés which has a charming perfume and an array of purple and red fruits sitting lightly on top of a deep core. For this dish you need that juxtaposition of purity and depth to play alongside the earthy range of flavours.

Barley with roasted kholrabi, tomatoes & watercress salsa – serves 4 as a main

  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 140ml olive oil, plus a bit extra to drizzle
  • 1 large head of garlic, cut a slice off the top to expose the cloves, plus 4 extra cloves, crushed
  • 300g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 2-3 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 strips of lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice, plus some wedges to serve
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 100g watercress
  • 60ml double cream (optional if you don’t want dairy but nice if you do)

Preheat the oven to 190C fan.

Trim and peel the kohlrabi, then cut them into 8 wedges (more if you have any big ones). Put them into a large bowl and toss with the anchovies, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 crushed garlic cloves, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread them out over a tray lined with baking paper.

Put the whole garlic bulb onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in the bulb, then place it in the corner of the baking tray with the kohlrabi. Put the tray in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Turn the kohlrabi pieces over, then add the tomatoes to the tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes, or until the kohlrabi wedges are soft and deep brown and the tomatoes are blistered. Turn the oven off, then leave the tray in there to keep warm.

While the vegetables are cooking, put the barley into a medim-sized saucepan and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until almost cooked but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic bulb in the foil. Put a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat with 50ml olive oil, the roasted garlic, remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel strips, Scotch bonnet, and 2½ tsp salt. Gently fry for 12 minutes, stirring, until the shallots are soft and golden brown.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine, 500ml of water and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 7 minutes, then add the cooked barley and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Discard the Scotch bonnet and the lemon peel.

Whizz half the watercress, the lemon juice, 60ml of olive oil and ¼ tsp of salt in the small bowl of a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the barley to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the watercress salsa and cream over the barley and gently swirl them in. Top with the rest of the watercress, then the roasted kohlrabi and tomatoes. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

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

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

Fattoush – serves 4

FOR THE SALAD:

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

FOR THE DRESSING:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is Meera Sodha’s fresh take on Matar Paneer, which is usually a richer dish. Delicious with warm naan breads and plain yoghurt, this version could easily become a regular favourite.

Fresh Matar Paneer – serves 4 as a main or more as a side with other dishes

  • rapeseed oil
  • 550g hard paneer, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g mangetout
  • 200g frozen peas (defrosted), or you can use fresh of course if you have them
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced to serve

Heat a couple of tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the panner over a medium heat until browned and crisp all over, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another tbsp of oil in the pan, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes (make sure the frying pan isn’t too hot when you add the garlic or it will burn). Add the tomatoes and cook for about 6 minutes or until just turning jammy. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric, then stir for another minute before taking off the heat.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 more minute, then drain and leave to steam dry.

Heat the sauce, then stir in the paneer. When both are hot, stir in the veg. Sprinkle over the sliced red chilli and serve.

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

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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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A nice treat for two and ready in minutes.

Wine Suggestion: Something red from Italy’s Adriatic coast, but nothing too big or complex as this is a fun, casual dish! For us Umani Ronchi’s Rosso Conero Serrano, a Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend that has a medium body, fresh and bright cherry fruits and a gentle, earthy tannins was the ticket.

Prawn spaghetti with tomato, chilli & basil – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes
  • 150ml white wine
  • 200g spaghetti
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • 225g raw peeled prawns
  • a generous knob of butter

Warm the oil in a large frying pan, then add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add the white wine and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions in lots of very salty water, then drain but reserve a cup of the cooking water.

Add the basil and prawns to the tomatoes, season well, and cook until the prawns turn pink. Stir in the butter and spaghetti and a splash of pasta cooking water if you need to loosen the sauce a bit. Toss it all together and serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, March 2020.)

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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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We came across this Joe Trivelli recipe at the weekend when trying to find a lunch dish that would use up half a tub of ricotta. It’s definitely worth buying a tub of ricotta for too.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a wine that has a bit of acidity and freshness, so taking inspiration from the grated Pecorino on top we went for the similarly named Pecorino grape from the Marche. The crunchy, characterful Vellodoro Pecorino from Umani Ronchi well met the mark and reminded us of summer too, which was a bonus.

Pasta with pine nuts and ricotta – serves 4

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 300g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (Joe recommends yellow tomatoes but we had red)
  • 3 sprigs of basil
  • 400g short pasta, we used fusilli
  • 200g ricotta
  • 50g grated pecorino
  • extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic into a wide pan with 3 tablespoons of oil and place over a medium heat. When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the chilli. Turn the heat down low, remove the garlic and add the pine nuts. Allow them to colour but watch carefully or they could burn.

Add the tomatoes and basil sprigs and season. When the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water until al dente. Scoop out a mug of cooking water before draining.

Toss the pasta with the tomatoes and pine nuts, then add the ricotta, half the pecornio and a few spoons of cooking water. Keep turning the pasta over until you have a nice consistency, adding more water if it looks dry. Serve in warm bowls with the rest of the cheese and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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We know you don’t need to be told how to make a tomato salad, but this one was particularly nice so we thought we would share.

Tomato salad – serves 4 as a side

  • 700g mixed tomatoes, slice large ones into thick slices and halve tiny ones
  • a generous handful of basil leaves
  • a small handful of parsley leaves
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped oregano
  • a handful of watercress
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • balsamic vinegar
  • good olive oil
  • a ball of top quality buffalo mozzarella

Put the tomatoes into a large bowl with the herbs, watercress and onion. Drizzle over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Toss well together, then transfer to a platter.

Top with torn mozzarella and drizzle with a little more oil.

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Do try and find Italian sausages for this, they’re much meatier and richer. We buy a brand called Levoni. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you can find fantastic ones but otherwise we’d recommend a good-quality tin.

Wine Suggestion: This was made after an online wine tasting Jono was running which focussed on Grenache, so naturally we had to try them with this. The amazing Domaine de Cébène Ex Arena from Faugeres was our pick. Mostly old vine, low yeilding Grenache with a touch of Mourvedre, grown on sand. This is perfumed and complex with vitality and energy. The deep red berried fruit is both rounded and structured with a bass note of earthy black fruits and forest floor. Very elegant but also big enough to stand up to the meaty and rich pasta.

Fusilli with Sausage – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g Italian sausages, skins removed
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 400g dried fusilli pasta
  • grated pecorino, to serve

Gently warm the garlic and olive oil in a large pan, then crumble in the sausages. Turn the heat up and cook until they are no longer pink (as you would with mince).

Add the wine and bubble until evaporated, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes or until thickened. Add the mint and taste for seasoning, sausages can be quite salty so you might not need any.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente in lots of very salty water.

Drain the pasta but keep a little cooking water in case you need to thin the sauce. Stir the pasta into the sausage sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Serve in warm bowls with pecorino sprinkled over.

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

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You should try this the next time you have some leftover roast chicken. In fact, it’s even worth cooking some chicken specially. Great for lunch with some fresh bread and butter.

Chopped Chicken Salad – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced (or just use some leftover roast chicken which is what we did)
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 100g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tarragon sprigs, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 thyme springs, leaves only
  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce or Little Gem lettuce, finely chopped
  • 50g watercress, stems finely chopped and leaves left whole
  • 50g rocket, roughly chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

You need to start with a very large bowl, big enough to toss all of the salad ingredients together in.

Make the salad dressing in the bowl by whisking all of the ingredients together with some salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat. Fold in the chopped celery, scallions, cucumber, radishes and cherry tomatoes, then the herbs. Stir it all together and season with salt and black pepper.

When you are ready to serve, add the lettuce, watercress, rocket and Parmesan to the bowl. Toss everything together and serve as it is or tip out onto a large serving dish.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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