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Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’

Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Spring Radish & Tomato Salad

The radishes growing in the garden are all ready at the same time and we’ve been looking for recipes to use them. This is Ukranian salad from Olia Hercules’ book – Mamushka. Olia suggests you need bread alongside to mop up the dressing at the end and we couldn’t agree more. Crusty and white we think works best. Nice as a side dish or as a light lunch.

Spring radish & tomato salad – serves 4

  • 4 small cucumbers, or 1 large (we used baby cucumbers)
  • 2 beef tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of radishes, sliced
  • ½ a bunch of dill, chopped
  • 100ml natural yoghurt, diluted with ½ tbsp water
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Slice the cucumber and tomatoes directly into the bowl, so that you catch all the juice. Add the radishes and dill and mix well.

Season the yoghurt really well with the salt and pepper, then stir through the salad. When you’ve finished the salad you will be left with a puddle of pale pink dressing which should be mopped up with some bread.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Aubergine and Cherry Tomato Curry

This is delicious and so simple. A perfect summer curry. Serve with yoghurt and naan bread. It’s versatile too as it is lovely on its own with some rice, or as a side, or part of a larger feast.

Wine Suggestion: a light grenache red is our pick, either a simple Spanish bottle such as Bodegas Monfil in Cariñena or something more sophisticated like Domaine Cébène’s ex Arena from Faugeres.

Aubergine & cherry tomato curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4cm ginger, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 large aubergine, quartered, then cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan with a lid.

Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until soft. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add the cherry tomatoes, then cover with the lid and leave over a low heat for 10 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.

Stir in the salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, tomato purée and sugar. Mix well, then add 150ml warm water, then the aubergine. Stir to coat the aubergines in the tomatoes, then cover again.

Cook for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat or until the aubergine is tender and soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.

Season to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

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Aubergine, Chickpea & Tomato Bake

Absolute deliciousness from Sami Tamami and Tara Wigley. You could definitely eat a plate of this as it is, but we had it tonight with a barbecued leg of lamb. You can prep it in advance and cook when needed.

Aubergine, chickpea & tomato bake – serves 4 to 6

  • 5 medium aubergines (about 1.25kg), trim off the tops, use a peeler to peel of strips of skin so you have stripy aubergines, then cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp tomato purée
  • 2 green peppers, cut in to 3cm chunks
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g to serve
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1½ cm rounds

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the aubergine slices into a large bowl and toss with 75ml of the olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Spread the slices over the baking trays and bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes. They should be completely softened and lightly browned.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C fan.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large sauté pan, then cook the onion for about 7 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, cinnamon and tomato purée and cook for another minutes. Add the peppers, chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, sugar, 200ml of water, 1¼ tsp salt and and plenty of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, or until the peppers have cooked through. Stir in the coriander and remove from the heat.

Spread half the tomato slices and half the aubergine over the base of a large baking dish. Pour over the sauce, then top with the remaining aubergine and tomato slices. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of olive oil, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle over the remaining coriander to serve.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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Spicy Roasted New Potatoes with Lemon & Herbs

This dish bursts with flavour. We’ve been entertaining in our garden (in small groups and at a distance) and it’s been so nice to cook dishes to feed more than 2! Another triumph from Falastin and great with some grilled meat; this will be done many atime again we suspect. You can prep up to the point before you put the potatoes in the oven. Cook and dress when you’re ready to eat.

Spicy roasted new potatoes with lemon & herbs  – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 7 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 750g baby new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 large lemon, finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp and juice to get 2 tbsp
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seed and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until it starts to colour.

Add the chilli and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the potatoes, sugar, 1 tsp of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir and transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Roast for 40 minutes, tossing once, until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before adding the lemon zest & juice, coriander & dill. Toss gently & serve.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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Spiced Haddock with Bombay PotatoesThis is really simple but full of fresh and spicy flavours. Great for a weeknight as it only takes 30 minutes to cook.

Wine Suggestion: matched with a perrenial favourite, the ALLO by Quinta Soahleiro from northern Portugal. Enough fruit for the spices and complimentary texture and vibrancy.

Smoked haddock with Bombay potatoes – serves 2

  • 2 thick skinless haddock fillets
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • groundnut oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE POTATOES:

  • 500g waxy potatoes, diced (peel if you prefer)
  • sunflower oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 100g cherry tomatoes

Boil the potatoes in salty water until just cooked, then drain well.

Put the haddock in a dish. Mix the curry powder, groundnut oil and turmeric together with a good pinch of salt. Rub all over the fish and leave for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Gently cook the shallots until softened then add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Fry until fragrant, then stir in the turmeric and potatoes. Stir to heat through and coat in the spices, then add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down. Season with salt. Stir in half the coriander.

Grill the haddock for a couple of minutes on each side until just cooked, it will flake easily with a fork. Divide the potatoes between two plates and gently place the haddock on top. Scatter with the remaining coriander and serve with a lemon wedge.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2013.)

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Chicken Cacciatore

We were missing all the family and friends we were supposed to be with on Easter Sunday but had fun with an Easter egg hunt, Quiche Lorraine for lunch and this for dinner, which was truly delicious. Served with Italian-style roast potatoes, plus we pulled the rest of the chicken off the bones and stirred into the sauce for pasta another day. Our little bunny has already claimed the leftovers for her dinner for the rest of the week.

Wine Suggestion: As it was Easter and we wanted to have something special with dinner … off to the small cellar of hoarded wines we went. The first Italian we came across was chosen, and though we knew it wasn’t cheap, we’d purchased it many years ago at a very good price. We very much enjoyed the Sassicaia 2008. A classic wine of the world, made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and drinking truly fabulously now. Interestingly it was the vintage that had no “signature” head winemaker at the winery; well done those cellar hands and winery workers who just made the wine as it should be! Ignore the price if you have one and just enjoy this wine as a special event like we did. Lucky us, and pity we only had a single bottle.

Chicken cacciatore – serves 4

  • 1 large chicken jointed into 8, we used 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 70g pancetta cubes – didn’t have these so cut some thick-cut back bacon into strips
  • a glass of red wine, about 200ml
  • 2 x 400g tins of cherry tomatoes or tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 10 black olives, pitted and halved
  • a handful of basil leaves

When you get your chicken home, remove all the packaging and season it generously with salt, then put back into the fridge until ready to cook. If, like us, you had the chicken in the freezer and forgot to season, take it out of the fridge and season with salt, then leave out of the fridge for 30 minutes before you start cooking.

Before you start to cook, season the chicken all over with some black pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken until golden all over. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and garlic and cook gently until soft. Add the pancetta (or bacon substitute) and continue to cook for another few minutes.

Add the glass of wine to the pan and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the tomatoes and plenty of seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the capers and olives.

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Tip the sauce into an ovenproof dish that can fit the chicken in a single layer. Lay the chicken pieces into the sauce, leaving the skin exposed. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in the basil and serve.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes & Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2012)

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Paprika & Oregano marinated fish with Cherry Tomato Salsa

We made it too late to the fish shop to get mussels. I tried to sign through the window to get something for the barbecue instead and Oralith (age 6) opened the door and yelled – try and get a lobster! Entertained the fishmonger anyway and we had tuna steaks in the end. Little did he know that she wanted to bring the lobster home to keep as a pet.

Wine Suggestion: We never get over how the Rustenberg Chardonnay so completely over delivers for its price and perfectly works with food, but as we’d not had some for ages opened this on a whim and we weren’t disappointed. Another successful match for this wine.

Paprika- and oregano-marinated fish with cherry tomato salsa – serves 4

  • 4 tuna steaks
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (we only had a green one which worked fine too)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, paprika and some seasoning together in a bowl. Put the tuna steaks into a ceramic dish and pour over the marinade. Cover the dish and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

To make the salsa, mix the tomatoes, scallions, oregano, chilli and vinegar in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the tuna over a hot barbecue for a couple of minutes on each side.

Serve the tuna with some salsa spooned over and some lemon wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from Holiday by Bill Granger, Murdoch Books, 2007.)

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Cockles with Tomato, Pastis & Parsley

A Gill Meller recipe for clams or he also suggests mussels. It was cockles on Friday in our local fish shop and they work just as well too. These are boozy and they taste strongly of pastis which we enjoyed immensely and gave the whole dish a real clarity of flavour.

Wine Suggestion: Quite often we’d suggest white wine with seafood, and you’d be right here too. However, this doesn’t mean red can’t work just as well, you need to make sure it isn’t too heavy and has a natural freshness of acidity … like from a cooler vineyard region. Tonight we opened the Dezat Sancerre Rouge which is made from Pinot Noir and is joyful and deliciously ripe while remaining pure and fresh. A good complement to the tomatoes and sea flavours and a match to the anise of the pastis.

Cockles with tomato, pastis & parsley – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • finely grated zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 100ml pastis or Pernod
  • 1kg cockles (or clams or mussels), washed and throw away any with broken or open shells
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until soft but not coloured.

Add the lemon zest, fennel seeds, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then half fill the empty tin with water and pour this in too. Add the sugar, season again, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring, often, until rich and thick.

Add the pastis and turn the heat up. When the liquid is boiling, add the cockles, stir once, give the pan a good shake, then cover with a tight lid.

Cook for 3-4 minutes (shaking occasionally), or until all the shells have opened. Throw away any that remain closed. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

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

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Everyday Palestinian Salad

We love a chopped salad and this one in particular is a handy one to have up your sleeve. We served with a Palestinian rice dish but it would be suitable for all sorts of eventualities.

Everyday Palestinian Salad – serves 4

  • 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of a lemon

Slice the cucumbers in half and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop into 1cm dice.

Scoop the seed out of the tomatoes and chop into similar sized pieces to the cucumber. Do the same with the red pepper and put all three into a large bowl.

Dress the salad with the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of salt and black pepper.

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

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Spicy prawn & tomato stew

We recently picked up a copy of Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan – a truly stunning book filled with Palestinian recipes & stories.  Our first dish from the book was this spicy prawn and tomato stew. We served it with rice but next time we’ll go for some flatbreads instead. Delicious nonetheless.

Wine Suggestion: We’d recommend a light red with elegant fruit like the Dezat Sancerre Rouge which was our choice.  A perfumed and delicate Pinot Noir with a tension and thrill running through it; the earthy red cherry and currant flavours flavours went with the prawns, tomatoes and herbs in a delightful fashion.

Spicy Prawn & Tomato Stew – Zibdiyit Gambari (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 – 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 400g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
  • chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, sugar, spices & ½ tsp each of salt and pepper, with 200ml just-boiled water.

Use a pestle & mortar to smash the garlic, dill, chillies and ½ tsp of salt together for a few minutes. Add this to the tomato pan, cover and simmer for 20 minutes over a low heat.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden brown, then set aside.

Adjust the seasoning in the sauce, then add the prawns – make sure they are submerged and you may need to turn them. Cook in the sauce for a couple of minutes, or until they have just turned pink and are cooked through.

Drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the sesame seeds and chopped parsley to serve.

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

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Olive oil braised runner beans with tomatoesWe loved these slow-cooked runner beans by Anna Jones in the Guardian. A delicious late summer side or lunch dish. Anna serves with feta, crusty bread and salad. We served as a side with roast chicken which was also great.

Olive-oil Braised Runner Beans with Tomatoes – serves 4

  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 200g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 400g runner beans, destringed and sliced at an angle into 2 cm lengths
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • juice of 1 lemon

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes, green beans, oregano and a good pinch of salt. The beans must be covered so if they are not add a little water.

Turn the heat to low and cook the beans for 45-60 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure they’re not dry and add more water as needed.

The beans are ready when soft and with no squeak, but not falling apart. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon and season with black pepper. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon to taste.

Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe by Anna Jones in The Guardian, Friday 27th August 2018.)

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Tomato & Olive Salad

Fabulous flavours in this easy summer salad by Sabrina Ghayour. Great with barbecues – there’s still time before the cold evenings arrive.

Tomato & Olive Salad with Za’atar &  Buttermilk Dressing – serves 6 to 8

  • 800g mixed tomatoes
  • 250g pitted mixed olives
  • 15g chives, snipped
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • olive oil (Sabrina suggests a flavoured one like garlic or lemon)
  • 2 tbsp za’atar

Slice the tomatoes horizontally into 1cm-thick slices and arrange on a large platter. Spread the olives around the plate and scatter over half of the chives. Season generously with good sea salt and black pepper.

Season the buttermilk well with salt and a good slug of olive oil, the drizzle this over the salad. Scatter over the remaining chives and sprinkle over the za’atar. Serve right away.

(Original recipe from ‘Feasts’ by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Tomato, onion & pepper tart

This tart is bursting with summer flavours and the pastry is fabulously light and crisp. Delicious for lunch with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: We drank the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo with this; unoaked, fresh and vibrant, especially as we’d put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. While not weighty or serious it does have loads of depth and length… perfect for this dish.

Warm tomato, mustard & gruyère tart – serves 4

  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved & sliced
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g gruyère cheese, grated
  • 4-5 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • a handful of black olives, pitted and halved
  • a small handful of basil leaves

PASTRY:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 50g Grana Padano or Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg

First make the pastry by whizzing the flour and butter in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese, then the egg and bring together to make a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, cook the pepper and onion in a tbsp of olive oil for about 15 minutes or until very soft, then season.

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.

Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a euro. Line a shallow tart tin (about 23cm) with the pastry, fill with baking parchment and beans, and blind bake for 10 minutes. Take out the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes.

Allow the pastry case to cool a little, then spread the base with the Dijon and sprinkle over the Gruyère. Top with the pepper mixture, then a layer of tomato slices and the olives. Season really well and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the pastry crisp. Scatter the basil over before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, September 2009.)

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Tomato, pesto & marscapone tart

This couldn’t be easier, especially if you use fresh pesto (you can use the recipe below if you’ve lots of basil growing). Perfect for a late summer lunch.

Wine Suggestion: We find we gravitate to dry rosé quite often during summer as the good ones tend to refresh and revive us in the warmth and also complement summer foods. Today it was the Château St Jacques d’Albas Chapelle en Rose, predominantly Grenache and Mourvedre but with a touch of Roussanne from Minervois. Excellent.

Tomato Tart with Pesto & Mascarpone – serves 4

  • 1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
  • 6-8 ripe vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp pesto (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • green salad leaves, to serve

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

Unroll the pastry on to a baking sheet (it usually rolls out easier if you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes before using). Score a border 1cm from the edge and prick inside the border with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Gently squash down the middle of the pastry. Spread the pesto inside the border, dot over the mascarpone, then layer the tomato on top. Season well and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and the mascarpone has melted.

Decorate with some fresh basil leaves and serve some dressed salad leaves.

(Original recipe by Paula Stain in BBC Olive Magazine, August 2005.)

To make pesto:

Put a large bunch of fresh basil leaves (minimum 50g) into a food processor with 2 peeled garlic cloves, 25g of toasted pine nuts and 3 tbsp of olive oil. Blend to a paste, then slowly add 125ml through the feeder tube. Transfer to a bowl and fold in 50g of freshly grated Parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated in a clean jam jar covered with a layer of olive oil until needed.

 

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Sicilian tuna pasta

We loved this easy pasta dish that we cooked when camping underneath Château de Beynac, right beside the banks of the Dordogne, with hot air balloons floating by. Such happy memories.

Wine Suggestion: We don’t see wines from the Dordogne often in Ireland and found ourselves a bit at sea until we found the Vinotheque de Beynac run by Enrique; young, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and who had curated a nice, boutique selection of wines. His suggestion of the Chateau Montdoyen Un Point c’est Tout! Bergerac Rosé was a great match. If you’re near Beynac et Cazenac in the Dordogne, he’s well worth seeking out for local wine inspiration.

Sicilian Tuna Pasta – serves 4

  • 300g dried pasta shells
  • 4 heaped tsp baby capers
  • 500g ripe cherry tomatoes (mixed colours if available), halved
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 220g jar of tuna in olive oil

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salty boiling water according to the time suggested on the packet. Meanwhile, put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the capers, fry until very crispy, then scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the tomatoes, then sprinkle in most of the oregano. Drain and flake in the tuna, add 2 ladles of the pasta cooking water, and simmer until the pasta is cooked.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little more of the cooking water, then toss the pasta into the tuna pan. Mix together and loosen with a splash of the pasta water if needed. Taste and season, then serve scattered with the crispy capers and the rest of the oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “5 Ingredients”, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Linguine with Creamy Tomato, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

Super simple weeknight pasta that tastes delicious.

Wine suggestion: A youthful Sangiovese from Tuscany is our pick with the wine at hand the Rocca delle Macie Vernaiolo which we find a great unoaked and fresh red wine. We like to put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before opening at this time of the year.

Linguine with creamy tomato, rosemary & caper sauce – serves 2

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 150g linguine
  • Parmesan, grated, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chilli & rosemary and cook for another minute. Add the tin of tomatoes.

Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, squashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon occasionally so they break down into a thick sauce. Add the capers and cream and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the pack, then drain well. Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss together. Serve in warm bowls with some Parmesan for sprinkling over.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe IN: BBC Olive Magazine, May 2015.)

 

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Tomato and sugar snap pea pasta salad

We’ve really embraced salads recently, especially as this Irish summer has been quite nice and sunny. This works as a main dish or as a side and will feed a large crowd. It’s nice to find a pasta salad that doesn’t rely on heaps of mayonnaise!

Tomato & Sugar Snap Pea Pasta Salad – serves 6

  • 9 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 x 5 cm strips of orange zest
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into tiny matchsticks
  • 600 g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 60 ml olive oil plus 2 tbsp (and a bit extra for drizzling at the end)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt plus extra
  • 200 g scallions
  • 200 g sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
  • 350 g pasta e.g. penne, casarecche or fusilli
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • a large bunch of basil, leaves picked and shredded
  • a large bunch of mint, leaves picked and shredded

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Put the garlic, thyme, orange zest, ginger, tomatoes, orange juice, 60 ml olive oil, brown sugar, salt and a pinch of black pepper into baking dish and toss with your hands. Place in the oven to roast for 50-60 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes or so. Discard the thyme and orange zest when the cooking time is up.

Separate the green and white parts of the scallions. Cut the green parts in half lengthwise and then across into 5 cm lengths. Slice the white parts into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the sugar snap peas and spread out into a single slayer. Cook, turning once, until charred on both sides, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add the green and white parts of the scallions and spread out in a single layer. Cook these in the same way as the peas, until charred. Transfer to the bowl with the sugar snap peas and season with salt.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Toss it occasionally to prevent it sticking together.

Add the tomato mixture, the sugar snap peas and onion, the lemon juice, most of the basil and most of the mint, to the pasta. Toss gently with your hands to combine without breaking up the tomatoes too much. Season with salt and pepper and a bit more lemon juice if necessary.

Serve with the remaining herbs scattered over the top and drizzle with olive oil.

(Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi on bon appétit.)

 

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Haloumi, courgette, chickpea and tomato couscous

Really summery, colourful, and quick to throw together.

Wine Suggestion: the vibrancy of flavours demanded an equally vivacious wine; we chose the Kilikanoon Morts’ Block Riesling from the Clare Valley in Australia. It was dry and driven by a limey, textured presence that sang alongside this dish.

Warm Couscous Salad with Halloumi, Courgette, Chickpeas & Tomatoes – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 250ml boiling vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g courgettes, sliced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes on the vine, halved
  • 250g pack of halloumi cheese, sliced thickly, then halved lengthways
  • 125ml olive oil (nothing too big flavoured)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp sugar

Tip the couscous into a bowl and pour over the vegetable stock. Cover with some cling film and leave for 5 minutes.

Mix the 125ml olive oil, the lime juice, garlic, mint & sugar together in a bowl to make a dressing.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, stir in the chickpeas, then pour over half of the dressing. Mix well together and pile onto a serving plate.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and fry the courgette slices for 2-3 minutes or until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Put the tomatoes into the pan, cut side down, for a couple of minutes until tinged brown on the cut side. Scatter the courgettes over the couscous, followed by the tomatoes.

Heat a little more oil, then add the halloumi strips and fry for a couple of minutes or until brown on all sides. Pile the halloumi on top of the salad and pour over the remaining dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

 

 

 

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Greek salad

Perfect with many Greek dishes, but none mores than barbecued lamb cutlets or kebabs/souvlaki. You could also serve it as as starter with some crusty bread. A very popular salad in our house when the days get warmer. In fact, we blogged it here a few years ago and it’s still a firm favourite.

Greek Salad – serves 4

  • 450g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 1 red onion (we only use half an onion)
  • 200g Greek feta cheese
  • 4½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ouzo/Pernod
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 20 small black olives
  • large pinch of dried oregano – Greek if you can find it

Cut the tomatoes into chunky pieces and cut the cucumber in half lengthways and then across into thick slices. Slice the red onion as thinly as possible (a mandolin is good for this if you have one). Crumble the feta into chunky pieces.

To make the dressing whisk the olive oil, ½ tsp salt, the red wine vinegar, ouzo/Pernod and some black pepper in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and onions and toss gently. Add the feta, dill and olives and mix briefly.

Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with the dried oregano and some coarsely ground black pepper.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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