the recipe sharer

Archive: Apr 2014

Smoked salmon frittata


I normally tweak recipes, but when it comes to the Barefoot Contessa, there is rarely any need. This is gorgeous.

Serves 8
1 medium onion, diced
12 extra large eggs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb smoked salmon, chopped
4 scallions, chopped, white and lighter green parts
3 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Saute the onion and butter in a 10 inch oven proof pan over medium heat until translucent, about 7 to 9 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, dill , salt and pepper and combine.
Pour the mixture over the onions and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes or until it puffs up and a knife inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
Serve hot directly from the pan


Homemade Tahini Sauce

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 2.45.01 PMThis is well worth doing and you won’t need to buy the store bought tahini anymore. Not only is it a third of the price, it tastes so much richer and more authentic.
Use this in many sauces and of course, when making all versions of hummus.
Preheat the oven to 350 F

2 cups sesame seeds
1/2 to 3/4 cup good olive oil
Spread the sesame seeds out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, watching that they don’t burn and shaking the pan occasionally to move them around. Cool on the baking sheet when toasted.
When the seeds are cool, put them in the bowl of a small food processor. Drizzle the oil slowly while processing the seeds. It will take about 4 to 5 minutes to get it completely smooth.
Add enough oil to get a runny consistency and scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. When in doubt, keep processing.
That’s it!  Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.



Mary Berry’s easy frozen chocolate torte



Mary Berry, for those who haven’t heard of her, is the British queen of baking and her recipes are usually very easy and foolproof. Here is a terrific one that you can make in advance, freeze and keep for a long time, although you won’t want to!

Serves 10

For the mousse
14 oz dark chocolate, 70% or more.
4 oz superfine sugar (caster sugar)
6 tbsp water
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp brandy
20 fl oz heavy cream

To decorate
Powdered sugar (icing sugar)
12 large strawberries, sliced
Extra cream to pour over the servings

Lightly grease an 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin and line with cling film.
Break the chocolate into sections and drop into a food processor. Process for 1 minute or until just a few pieces remain in the otherwise powdery chocolate.  Alternatively, you could finely grate the chocolate.
Place the sugar and water into a small pan and heat gently over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat and boil briskly for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture becomes a light syrup.
Set the food processor running and pour the hot syrup through the funnel onto the chocolate – it should melt, but add a dash of boiling water if the chocolate hasn’t completely melted.
Drop the egg yolks into the melted chocolate and process for a few seconds before adding the brandy. If you are not using a food processor, beat the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until lightly thickened.
Fold in the chocolate mixture and then spoon it into the prepared tin, leveling the top with the back of a spoon.
Cover with cling film and transfer to the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours or until it has frozen.
To serve, remove the torte from the freezer, release it from the tin and transfer to a nice cake plate.
Leave to soften for about 10 to 15 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.
Decorate with fresh strawberries and serve with some cream on the side.




Prosciutto wrapped sea bass with roasted Autumn vegetables

I have been thinking about this recipe ever since I watched the “Barefoot Contessa” make it.
Finally I made it tonight with some modifications and it really is lovely with sweet roasted root vegetables, moist sea bass enclosed in the salty prosciutto, and the lovely woodsy flavor of the rosemary infused buttery lemon sauce.


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Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 1 hour
Serves 4, but is easily augmented

2 cups peeled, seeded and diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced parsnips
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced carrots
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 ( 7 oz ) fillets skinless sea bass fillets
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified butter or ghee
6 good sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

For the vegetables;
Put the butternut squash, parsnips and carrots in a large bowl.Finely cut 2 sprigs of the fresh rosemary and add to the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the garlic. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil and toss together with your hands until well mixed together.
Line a shallow roasting tray with aluminum foil, spread the vegetables out in a single layer and roast for 30 mins, turning once during the cooking until they are tender and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil.
Brush the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and ground pepper.
Wrap each fillet with a slice or two of prosciutto to form a wide band around the center of the fillet.
Arrange the fillets on the rack with the prosciutto seam side down and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until barely cooked.
While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan.
Add the rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the rosemary leaves are crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Discard the rosemary, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
To serve, place the vegetables in the middle of a shallow bowl, lay a piece of the prosciutto wrapped fish on top.
Spoon the butter/rosemary sauce over the fish and vegetables.
Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and a wedge of lemon and serve hot.

Creamy tagliatelli with figs, gorgonzola, lemon and rosemary

Creamy tagliatelli with figs, lemon and rosemary


Another vegetarian beauty of a pasta dish. This has the sweetness of the figs, the saltiness of the blue cheese and it’s altogether stunning.

Serves 4
1 lb tagliatelli (or any other sort of pasta you like)
1 oz butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
12 ripe black mission figs, quartered (One fig is nice to keep for a garnish, cutting it into thin slices)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 oz gorgonzola or dolcelatte cheese
3 fl oz heavy cream
2 oz grated parmesan cheese (not the pre-grated stuff)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat the butter and fry the garlic, rosemary and chili for 1 minute. Top and tail the figs, cut them into quarters and place them flesh down in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn them over and allow them to break down.
Add the lemon zest and season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt (your cheese will also salt the dish, so be careful not to put too much salt in at this point)
Add the cheese to the figs and allow it to melt. Add the cream and simmer gently to reduce, before stirring in half the lemon juice and half of the grated parmesan cheese.
Taste the cream sauce, it will be sweet and rich, hot, sour and salty. The lemon will cut the richness so that it is not too cloying. The blue cheese gives a depth to the flavor. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Strain the pasta and mix in the pasta sauce. Season with lots of black pepper, the remaining lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese.
Garnish with the fig slices.



Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer lemon, spinach and toasted hazelnuts

Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer lemon, spinach and toasted hazelnuts


A gorgeous, light, creamy and tangy vegetarian pasta dish.

Serves 2 as a main course
1 tsp Meyer lemon zest (from about 1/2 lemon)
Juice from 1 Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 lb spaghetti
5 cups loosely packed spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Combine the zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, taking it off the heat 2 minutes before you would normally remove it.
Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Return the pasta to the pot and set the pot over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone sauce. Add the spinach and toss so that the spinach begins to wilt. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water (more if you need) to keep the sauce fluid but not too watery.
Continue to cook and toss until the spinach is cooked. Add the hazelnuts and stir to combine.

Serve immediately


Soba noodles with miso and baby eggplant

Soba noodles with miso and baby eggplant


Another vegetarian, Asian influenced dish. I just love the combination of flavors and ease of creating.

Serves 4
9 oz soba noodles
3 tsp dashi granules
1 1/2 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 1/2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
6 baby eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 cup cooked peas (if using frozen, boil them in water for 3 minutes and drain)
3 scallions (spring onions) sliced thinly on the diagonal
toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Cook the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water fr 5 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water.
Dissolve the dashi granules in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir in the miso paste, soy sauce and mirin.
Heat half the oils in a large frying pan over high heat.
Cook the eggplant slices for 4 minutes, or until golden on both sides. Set aside and use the remaining oil to cook the second batch of eggplant.
Put the first batch of cooked eggplant slices back in the pan and  stir in the garlic and ginger, then the miso mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened and the eggplant is cooked. Add the noodles and peas and cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.
Serve the noodles in shallow bowls and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.



Roasted peppers with basil, olives, scallions, feta & toasted almonds

Roasted peppers with basil, olives, scallions, feta and toasted almonds

This is one of the most popular appetizers I serve at home. The recipe started out as one from Nigella Lawson and each time I made it I added ingredients and this is the culmination. It is absolutely divine and is a real taste – tickler!

Serves 4 but is easily augmented.
4 good sized red peppers
a good handful fresh basil leaves
4 – 5 scallions or 1 bunch if you like a lot of scallions, sliced across in 1/4″ pieces
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthways
One 7oz block Greek feta cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds (the ones with the skins showing at the edges)
Good balsamic vinegar
Good extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

There are two short stages at the beginning which are easy, but important.
1/ About 4 – 5 hours before you want to serve this dish, (or the day before) put your four red peppers over each gas burner turned on full and leave on there until they get nice and black.
Turn them, using kitchen tongs and let the entire skin get good and charred, then either put them in a large glass bowl and immediately cover with cling film and set aside, or get three paper supermarket bags inside each other and put them in there, fold over the top and clip the top shut so it’s well sealed. Leave the peppers for a couple of hours to steam, then the skins will come off really easily, revealing sweet red flesh underneath.
With a tap running, (for your hands, NOT the peppers) remove the charred skin, which should just fall off. Remove the stem and the seeds inside and put the peppers into a colander to drain.
Slice the peppers into long strips, about 1/3 to 1/2″ wide and put them into a shallow serving dish.

2/ Preheat the oven to 400F
Put the almonds on a shallow baking tray and toast until starting to brown, this could take about 10 minutes or more, but keep watching them in case they burn. Set aside until cool. (You can always do as many almonds as you like, and freeze what you don’t need, ready for the next time you make the dish)

Okay, so now the assembly part, and this is a doddle!

To the pepper strips in the shallow serving dish, add the chopped scallions, the olives and the finely sliced basil leaves. Season liberally with salt and pepper and sprinkle a good amount of balsamic vinegar over it. Add about 3 tbsp olive oil and toss the mixture until well coated. taste for seasoning, adding more balsamic or salt if needed.
Crumble up the feta cheese and sprinkle over the dish, then sprinkle a little more balsamic over the feta in decorative streams. Sprinkle a good amount of toasted almonds over the feta.
And you have a really lovely , complex flavored appetizer that people can eat with a small fork.
It is better to bring it to room temperature before serving if you are making the dish in advance, which , by the way, can be done up to 2 days before and will last a good 3 days in the fridge if there are any leftovers.


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