the recipe sharer

Archive: Jun 2011

Asparagus spears with Cambozola sauce

This is simple and really tasty. Thanks to Michael Chiarello

1 1/2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed and peeled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 lb Cambozola cheese, broken into pieces
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves

Fill a deep frying pan halfway full with water and bring to the boil. Add asparagus to the boiling water and add salt and olive oil. Boil for 6 mins. Shock the asparagus in iced water to stop the cooking process then lay on a sheet pan or plate to cool and place in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes. Chop into 2 – 3″ pieces ready for dipping.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the cream and simmer until it’s reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cheese bit by bit, whisking as you go.
As one piece melts add another until no cheese remains. Now add the thyme and stir to combine.
Serve with the asparagus pieces.
It’s wonderful! I serve it in a dish that keeps warm so it doesn’t solidify, so I use ramekin dishes that sit over a tea light flame.

Terrific rustic baked tomatoes

This is a recipe my good friend Anneke gave me and you can’t get better than this for a really tasty, rich but healthy starter.

Very ripe tomatoes (preferably vine tomatoes and  lots of them)  peeled and halved
lots of fresh basil
lots of garlic, thinly sliced
anchovies (unrinsed)
good extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

**   Serve with good fresh ciabatta bread, sliced and lightly baked in the oven with garlic cloves rubbed into each slice while still hot.

Layer the bottom of a baking dish (one you would be happy to serve the dish in) with basil leaves, so that they cover the bottom of the dish, then lay thinly sliced garlic over that.

Season lightly and sprinkle olive oil over the basil and garlic.
Stack the peeled and halved tomatoes cut side down in the baking dish, cramming as many in as possible, even more than you think can fit and squash them down a little with your hand releasing some of the juices.

Put the unrinsed anchovy fillets in between the cracks in the tomatoes.

Sprinkle with a good amount of good olive oil, season with ground pepper but not too much salt due to the saltiness of the anchovies.

Cook in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours uncovered and serve at room temperature with the really good baked and garlic rubbed bread.

Easy Irish Soda Bread (brown)

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3 cups whole wheat bread flour (as coarse as possible)
1 cup unbleached white bread flour (I use King Arthur brand)

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 3/4+ cups buttermilk

2 ounces butter (preferably Irish Kerrygold,available at Trader Joes)

1 egg
Melt the butter over gentle heat.
In a medium-sized bowl lightly beat the egg and then gradually add the buttermilk all the while stirring to incorporate the egg. Beat in the butter.
In another bowl sift and mix the dry ingredients and then stir in the buttermilk mixture. 
If you are using a baking tin the mixture should be on the wetter side – ( like a thick brownie mix, something you could pour into the tin, not scoopable by hand really). If your dough is too dry, mix in small splashes of buttermilk until it is the right consistency.
Cook at 400F for 50 minutes on the middle rack. You want to hear a sort of hollow sound when you knock on the bottom of the tin. Resist the urge to take the bread out too soon, or the middle of the bread won’t get cooked through.
Makes 1 loaf.

Ice cream pie !!

You can have fun with this and it’s over the top, but everyone loves it

1 x Graham cracker crust (store bought) or Graham cracker cookies and melted butter mixed together then, pushed flat into a pie dish with high (ish) sides, then refridgerated for 1 hour.

1 x 12 oz can evaporated milk
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 quart of chocolate ice cream or another flavor
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 x 12 oz package of semi sweet chocolate chips (good brand)
whipped cream for garnish if you want
Combine chocolate chips, 1/2 the marshmallows  and the evaporated milk in a saucepan. Cook until marshmallows melt and cool completely.
Layer half the ice cream on the bottom of the pie crust, then top with half the chocolate sauce and half the almonds and marshmallows that you didn’t melt.
Layer the other half of ice cream and finish with the sauce and more almonds and marshmallows.
Let stand at room temp before serving and top with whipped cream and more almonds if you want.

Roquefort-Walnut Terrine with Apple Salad


2 cups walnuts (about 7 ounces)
1 pound Roquefort cheese, at room temperature
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
4 medium Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Crusty bread, for serving
          Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.
          Line a 7-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving 3 inches of overhang all around. In a large bowl, break up the Roquefort with a fork until slightly chunky.
          Add the walnuts and crème fraîche and mix thoroughly. Scrape the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours or overnight. 
           Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with the olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the apples and toss well.
          Unmold the Roquefort terrine and discard the plastic wrap. Run a thin knife under hot water and wipe it off, then cut the terrine into 3/4-inch-thick slices, rinsing and drying the knife after each cut.                  
Arrange the slices on small plates and serve with the apple salad and bread.

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Pine Nuts and Basil

Watermelon and feta may sound like a strange combination to you, but it’s eaten this way all over the Eastern Mediterranean – the salty-sweet combination works really well. It’s a very pretty salad too.
Combined with the crunchy pine nuts and fragrant basil, this has become one of my favorite ways to enjoy this beautiful melon, and it’s reliably delicious whether I’ve managed to pick a perfect one or not.

Serves: 4 

about 1/2 medium-sized watermelon, flesh cubed or cut into slices and seeds removed
8oz/200g good-quality feta, crumbled

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted 

handful fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
 (I have also used fresh mint which also works well)
a few spoonfuls of extra-virgin olive oil

freshly-ground black pepper 
Combine the watermelon, feta, pine nuts and basil leaves in a large bowl or platter. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Eat immediately!!

Boned and roasted chicken stuffed with goat cheese, lemon and herbs

This is a very easy and fast way of roasting a chicken in only 40 minutes as you have all the bones removed except for the wings bones. Ask the butcher to keep it in one piece as you will be putting some good stuff between the skin and the meat.
I always buy organic, free range chicken, especially as I once took a holiday next to a chicken farm (by mistake) and after taking a look around the farm, decided never to eat non-organic, free range chicken again, after what I experienced.

Some markets like WholeFoods look at you blankly when you ask them to bone out a chicken, but my local Bristol Farms doesn’t flinch at my request.

Lay the chicken flat on a lined baking sheet (I use non-stick aluminum foil). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

This stuffing is going to be put between the skin and the meat.
1 small 5.5oz log goat cheese, room temperature
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
grated rind of a large lemon
4 good sized scallions, chopped fairly small
1 heaped tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
2 heaped tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1/2 heaped tsp sweet paprika
cayenne pepper (if you like a kick)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.
With your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast of the chicken and shove the stuffing mixture in between wherever possible, pushing it down to the bottom of the breast.
Also the thigh/leg area can take the stuffing too. Turn the chicken over and slather any remaining stuffing on the underside of the chicken.
Sprinkle with a little olive oil and more salt and pepper then turn the chicken over.
You should be able to see the stuffing under the skin of the chicken. Again, sprinkle with a light drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper, then put in the oven for about 40 mins until the skin is browned and it is cooked through. Sometimes it can take a little longer, so test it for done-ness. When cooked, transfer it to a wooden chopping board and let rest about 5 mins.

PS Of course, I completely forgot to take a picture of the browned crispy topped chicken when it was cooked as we fell upon it!!

Mushroom Bourguignon

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The best part about this — well, besides all of it, — is that it’s a bourguignon without the heft of beef, but all of the indulgence. Plus, since you don’t need to braise it in the oven for three hours, it can be a weekday night dinner.
Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)

1/2 carrot, finely diced

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1x cup full-bodied red wine

2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1x cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)

Egg noodles, for serving

Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.
Lower the flame to medium and add the second tbsp of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.
To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

My special bolognese sauce

Serves about 6
Olive oil and butter
1lb Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled finely
1lb Ground pork
1lb Ground lamb
4oz small cubed pancetta
1 and 1/2 large onions diced finely
3 carrots diced finely
3 sticks celery diced finely
Garlic 3 cloves crushed,
Tomato paste (1/2 a small can)
1 x large jar of (San Marzano) marinara sauce
Whole milk  (1 cup at least)
1 cup Chianti (at least)
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground in mortar
fresh rosemary, chopped fine
salt and pepper

Chop fine all the vegetables and garlic and sauté in large pan of olive oil and butter.
Add the pancetta and ground fennel seeds and stir over moderate heat.
Add the sausage meat from the sausages, removing the casings and crumbling as fine as possible. Stir into vegetables and brown.
Add the pork and lamb and stir over a high heat to brown. Keep it all from sticking together.
Add red wine, milk and tomato paste and stir in Marinara Sauce. Stir well and lower heat and simmer for 1 and ½ hours.
Season and add parmesan cheese and cream if necessary before serving.
Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce and add more on top when serving in the bowls.
The milk is great and acts like cream and tenderizes the meat.

Steamed mussels with lemongrass, thai basil, chilies and coconut

This is divine and exotic!

Adapted from “Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges”


1 lb mussels (washed and bearded)

6 stems of Thai basil leaves (use only the leaves)

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 clove shallot (minced)

3 bird’s eye chilies (finely chopped)

1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
 3 cups coconut milk
1/2 inch galangal/ginger (lightly pounded)

1 lemongrass stalk (trimmed, smashed, and chopped)

3 bird’s eye chilies (smashed)

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt to taste
Bring the coconut milk, galangal/ginger, lemongrass, and smashed bird’s eyes chilies to boil over high heat. 
Add the lemon zest and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. 
Remove from the stove, strain the broth and set aside. Discard the aromatics.
Heat up the cooking oil in a wok or deep saucepan that can later be covered.
Add the minced garlic and shallots and cook until lightly browned. 
Stir-in the chopped bird’s eye chilies, then add the mussels and the broth. 
Add the basil leaves, cover and cook until all mussels are open. 
Add salt to taste, dish out and serve hot with steamed rice.