the recipe sharer

Archive: Oct 2013

Camargue red rice and quinoa with orange, pistachios and pomegranate seeds

Another gem from Ottolenghi!

Serves 4

1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup Camargue red rice
1 cup quinoa
1 medium onion, sliced
5 fl oz olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughy chopped
1/2 cup wild arugula or rocket
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300F
Spread the pistachios out on a shallow baking tray and toast for 8 minutes, until lightly colored.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then chop roughly. Set aside.

Fill 2 saucepans with salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer the quinoa on one for about 12 to 14 minutes and the rice in the other for 20 minutes.
Both should be tender but still have a bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out the 2 grains separately on flat trays to hasten the cooling down.

While the grains are cooking, saute the white onion in 4 tbsp of the olive oil for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, quinoa, cooked onion and the remaining oil.
Add all the rest of the ingredients, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve at room temperature

Cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt sauce

These are great eaten either hot or warm. Also lovely to stuff inside a piece of pita bread and served with some hummus and tomato.

Serve 4

1 small cauliflower (about 3/4lb)
4 oz plain flour
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley, plus a few leaves for decoration
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 free range eggs
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I use home roasted)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
16 to 17 fl oz sunflower oil for frying

Lime yoghurt sauce

10 ounces or 1 1/2 cups Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
grated zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp ime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Put all the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Taste, looking for a vibrant, tart, citrusy flavor – and adjust the seasoning.
Chill or leave out for up to an hour.

To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves and use a small knife to divide the cauliflower into little florets. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain into a colander.

While the cauliflower is cooking, put the flour, chopped parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, spices, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together well to make a batter.
When the mixture is smooth and homogenous, add the warmed cauliflower. Mix to break down the cauliflower into the batter.

Pour the sunflower oil into a wide pan to a depth of 1/2 inch and heat up.
When it is very hot, carefully spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mixture, 3 tbsp per fritter.
Take care with the hot oil.
Space the fritters apart with a fish slice, making sure they are not overcrowded, as they will steam and not get crispy brown if they’re too close together.
Fry in small batches, controlling the oil temperature so the fritters cook but don’t burn.
They should take 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Remove from the pan and drain well on a few layers of kitchen paper.
Serve with the sauce on the side


Creamy chicken with butternut squash and porcini

Such rich, earthy flavors with tender moist chicken and a creamy, smooth sauce.
This can be prepared the day before then popped back in the oven to heat through before your guests arrive.

Serves 4

1/2 oz pack of dried porcini mushrooms
3 1/2 lbs whole organic chicken legs or thighs (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs which worked well)
1 lemon, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion , finely chopped
10 oz butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 oz chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
10 fl oz carton heavy cream

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1/2 pint of hot water for 30 mins.
Skin the chicken (if it isn’t already) and rub the cut side of the lemon over them.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan, large enough to hold all the chicken in one layer
Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Transfer to a heavy casserole dish with a lid.

Heat the oven to 350 F
Melt the butter in a medium pan. When it stops foaming, add the onion and 1 tsp salt, then saute until pale gold.

Meanwhile, remove the porcini from the water (saving the water) and rinse well. Pat dry and chop small. Strain the water through a sieve, stopping before the last spoonful.

Add the porcini and butternut squash pieces to the onion and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the fresh mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Stir in the cream, 4 – 5 tbsp of the porcini water and seasoning if you wish.
Simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes until slightly reduced, then pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the chicken once or twice and adding a few spoonfuls of water or chicken broth if the sauce becomes a little dry.

Mejadra (A middle Eastern comfort food)

This is a spectacular, spicy, sweet, comforting dish from the book “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi. This is delicious served with a dollop of minted Greek plain yoghurt.

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups green or brown lentils
4 medium onions (1 1/2 lb)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
About 1 cup sunflower oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
salt and ground pepper

Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain and set aside

Peel the onions and slice thinly. Place on a large flat plate, sprinkle with the flour and 1 tsp salt, and mix well with your hands.
Heat the sunflower oil in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan placed over a high heat. Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously.
Reduce the heat to medium high and carefully (it may spit!) add one-third of the sliced onion.
Fry for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon. until the onion takes on a nice golden brown color and turns crispy. (adjust the temperature so the onion doesn’t fry too quickly and burn)
Use the spoon to transfer the onion to a colander lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little more salt.
Do the same with the other two batches of onion; add a little extra if needed.

Wipe the saucepan in which you fried the onion clean and put in the cumin and coriander seeds.
Place over medium heat and toast the seeds for a minute or two. Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and plenty of ground black pepper.
Stir to coat the rice with the oil and then add the cooked lentils and the water/chicken stock.
Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer over a very low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, lift off the lid and quickly cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes.

Finally, add half the fried onion to the rice and lentils and stir gently with a fork.
Pile the mixture in a shallow bowl and top with the remaining onion


Cranberry and apricot sauce

Something a little different that goes so well with turkey, pork or ham

Makes 2 1/4 cups

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil.
Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add the cranberries, apricots, sugar, vinegar and 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring, until the cranberries start to burst; 5 minutes.
Mash some of the cranberries and cook, stirring, until the chutney thickens, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice: season with salt and pepper.
Let cool before serving


Cornbread dressing with sausage and fennel

A lovely recipe adapted from Bon Appetite magazine.

Make this weeks ahead, freeze and bring out the day before you need it, to thaw slowly.

8 cups cornbread cubes (dried out)
1lb bulk Italian sweet sausage meat or chorizo
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) butter
1 large fennel bulb, chopped, plus some fronds for serving
4 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
10 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Bosc or Comice pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
3 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp dried sage leaves
2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 extra large eggs, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 300F
If you don’t buy the pre-bagged cornbread cubes, then divide your cornbread cubes between two baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage meat in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up with a spoon, until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage meat to a small bowl. Let cool

Reduce the heat to medium and heat 8 tbsp butter in the same skillet. Add the fennel, celery, scallions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the pears and wine, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 F.
Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
Combine sausage, fennel mixture, parsley, marjoram, thyme, sage and 1 1/2 cups broth in a large bowl.
Add the cornbread and toss to combine: season with salt and pepper and let sit for about 10 minutes, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and toss, adding more broth if necessary. (The bread should be moist not soggy)
Add the eggs and mix gently just to combine.
Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and dot with the remaining 2 tbsp butter.

Cover the dressing with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake until the dressing is golden and crisp on top, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
Serve topped with the fennel fronds.


Thai Pumpkin soup

3 1/2 lb winter squash, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 lemongrass, bashed a bit
3 – 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
14 or 15 oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
fresh lime juice and sugar for seasoning
1 red chile, sliced, to serve

Heat the oven to 400 F

Toss the winter squash  in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass.
Gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes until softened.
Stir in the curry paste for 1 minute, followed by the roasted squash, all but 3 tbsp of coconut milk and the stock.
Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, then fish out the lemongrass.
Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth in the blender.
Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, if it needs it.

Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chile, if you like

Braised eggs with ground lamb, tahini and sumac

Screen shot 2014-06-15 at 7.41.25 AM

A gem from Yotam Ottolenghi…

Serves 2 as a substantial meal on it’s own

3 x oven roasted tomatoes or 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
olive oil
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
4 x cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 lb ground lamb
2 tsp sumac
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp za’atar
salt and black pepper
2 x generous handfuls roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
1 tbsp harissa paste (store bought is fine)
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh discarded & skin finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
4 x extra large free range eggs

Yoghurt sauce

1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini
juice of half lemon
1 tbsp water
pinch sea salt

To finish
1 tbsp green harissa or a handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

If using cherry tomatoes, heat a small , cast iron grill pan over high heat until very hot. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat for about 4 to 5  minutes until starting to blacken on the outside. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a generous slosh of olive oil in a heavy based frying pan over medium heat.
Add the sliced leeks and garlic to the pan and saute, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and turn slightly golden.
Add the lamb to the pan, increase the heat slightly, and cook for a further 5 minutes or so until the lamb is browned.
Add the sumac, cumin, za’atar, pinch of flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir to make sure everything is well coated with all the seasonings and cook for a further minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped pistachios, harissa paste and preserved lemon.
This dish could be prepared ahead up to this point.

Return the pan to the heat, adding the tomatoes and chicken stock.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, make 4 small wells in the mixture and break an egg into each well.
Cover the pan, and continue to cook over low heat until the egg whites are set but the yolk is still runny – about 5 minutes.

While the eggs are cooking, make the yoghurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and whisking until smooth.
The mixture should be quite thick, but thin with a little more water if it’s too thick.

Once the eggs are cooked, remove the pan from the heat, dot dollops of the yoghurt sauce over the top, sprinkle over a little sumac and finish with a drizzle of green harissa or a sprinkling of fresh cilantro sprigs

Serve immediately

Pakistani scrambled eggs

So lovely to kick your breakfast/brunch up a notch or three!

Serves 4 to 6

8 eggs
2 tbsp ghee (if you don’t have ghee, use butter, but it’s not as good)
4 tbsp whole milk
8 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 tsp salt
2 fresh green or red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 ripe tomato, diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I use roasted)
sprigs of cilantro leaves for garnish
wedges of tomato for garnish

Beat the eggs until well mixed, add the milk, salt and pepper.
Heat the ghee  in a large, heavy frying pan and cook the scallions, chiles and ginger until soft.
Add the turmeric, cilantro leaves and tomato and fry for a minute or two longer then stir in the egg mixture and ground cumin.
Cook over low heat, stirring and lifting the eggs as they begin to set on the base of the pan.
Mix and cook until the eggs are of a creamy consistency – they should not be cooked until dry.
Turn on to a serving platter and garnish with tomato wedges and cilantro sprigs

Roasted butternut squash, spinach and feta tartlets topped with pine nuts.

Once the cooler weather arrives, I just love cooking with pumpkins and squashes.  This is a twist on the Greek dish, Spanakopita but has the addition of roasted butternut squash and pine nuts to add sweetness, along with the spinach and feta cheese. So good!!
You can also add sweet potato instead of the squash and replace the dill with other chopped herbs, like parsley or basil or use sun dried tomatoes, or some diced bacon with the onion. If you don’t like feta cheese, try parmesan or mozzarella or even a blue cheese.

6 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry, thawed
2 cups peeled, diced small butternut squash
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach (around 8 oz) stems removed, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp raw pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Toss the diced squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil, place in a single layer on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes.
While the squash bakes, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Cook the onion for 6 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the dill, salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Stir in the crumbled feta and baked squash (keep the oven heated to 350 F) and set aside.
Combine the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil with the melted butter in a small bowl.
Place 2 filo sheets side by side on a work surface and brush each sheet evenly with the butter-oil mixture.
Place 2 more sheets on top and brush with butter-oil, then repeat once more.
Cut each stack into six 5 inch squares, for a total of 12 stacks with 3 sheets each.
Lightly grease a standard 12 cup muffin pan with butter-oil mixture.
Place each square filo stack into a muffin cup, pressing gently to mould the pastry into the bottom.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the spinach-pumpkin filling into each and fold the extra pastry back over the filling, roughly crumpling around the edges so that the filling is still exposed.
Brush the edges with the remaining butter-oil mix.
Sprinkle pine nuts in the middle of each tart.
Bake for 18 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer the tarts from the muffin pan to a cooling rack.
Let cool slightly then serve.

Variation ; Instead of making 12 muffin-size tarts, you can make four individual pie-sized tarts or one larger pie