the recipe sharer

Archive: Jul 2014

Roasted cauliflower with dates, pine nuts and prosciutto served with caper aioli

I am a cauliflower fanatic and just love different ways of serving it. You’ll love this briny, creamy aioli which is very easy to make, and the combination of the toasty cauliflower, sweet dates, salty prosciutto and nutty pine nuts, is divine.


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Serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 oz pancetta or prosciutto, sliced thick and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Combine the cauliflower, prosciutto, dates, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to coat and place on a sheet pan.
Place in the top part of the oven and roast until the cauliflower is fork tender and light brown, about 30 to 40 mins. Remove from the oven, transfer to a decorative bowl and scatter with the freshly toasted pine nuts. Serve with the caper aioli on the side.


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Caper aioli
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tsp caper brine
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Rub the inside of a decorative bowl with the garlic clove.
Put the mayonnaise, salt, olive oil, capers, caper brine and parsley in a mixing bowl and mix well together to combine. transfer to the decorative bowl and serve with the roasted cauliflower



Turkish stuffed zucchini

A really super vegetarian main course, or a side to a protein meal. Very tasty with hot bubbling cheese.

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Serves 6 to 8
4 medium zucchini halved lengthways
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz Greek feta, crumbled
1 & 1/2 tbsp all – purpose flour
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp paprika, to sprinkle

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Scoop insides of zucchini with a spoon or melon baller, leaving  a 1/2 inch rim.
Place zucchini in a 9″ by 13″ baking dish; set aside.
Chop scooped-out zucchini.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 – 6 minutes
Add salt and pepper; transfer to a bowl. Lightly mix in eggs. cheeses, flour and dill.
Spoon mixture into zucchini halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until hot, 30 minutes or so.
Serve hot or at room temperature.


Wonderful retro gingernut log

I used to make this when I was a teenager and had totally forgotten about it until recently. It is wonderfully easy and looks as if you’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours. The flavors are terrific and well worth trying

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Serves 6
2 fl oz sweet  sherry
2 oz white caster sugar
4 tbsp brandy
8 fl oz heavy cream
4 tbsp fresh smooth orange juice
6 oz gingernut cookies, about 15.  (McVities is a good brand, available on Amazon)
icing sugar for dusting
optional raspberries to serve

Have ready a suitable serving plate.
In a medium bowl, combine the sherry, sugar and half the brandy. Using an electric whisk, gradually whisk in the cream and continue until the mixture forms fluffy peaks, taking care not to over-whisk otherwise it can separate.
In another bowl, combine the orange juice and remaining brandy.
One by one, dunk each biscuit into the solution, letting it sit there for 15 secs to soak up the alcohol. You might need to top up the liquid) Spread with a little of the cream mixture and sandwich the cookies together in two equal vertical stacks.


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Lay these side by side lengthways on the serving plate to form a log shape. Smooth the remaining cream mixture over the log, completely covering it.
Loosely cover and chill for at least half a day. The cookies will absorb the juices, turning into a soft gingery sponge.
Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices with a few raspberries if you like.

Oven baked parcels of fish with scallions, mushrooms, ginger and sesame oil

This is one of our most favorite, light and extremely tasty fish dishes, steamed to perfection, snuggled cozily in their own aluminum foil packets. All you need to serve with it is steamed white rice, as the juices from these parcels are divine.

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Serves 2
2 x 6oz fillets of Chilean sea bass, cod or halibut
6 scallions, sliced on the diagonal in 1″ pieces
1 large clove of garlic crushed
1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely or chopped very finely.
1 tbsp  toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
6 good sized mushrooms, or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 can baby corn pieces, drained  (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sliced scallions, ginger, garlic,red pepper flakes, mushrooms, baby corn, if using, and ground pepper.
Mix well and set aside.
Get two large pieces of aluminum foil and in the middle of each piece, place a piece of fish. Bring up all the sides of the foil, so the liquid won’t run out, and tip 1/2 of the mixture in the medium bowl over each piece of fish.
Gather up and seal the packages really well.

Screen shot 2014-07-18 at 6.00.56 PMPlace in a small roasting tin and bake at 400 F for about 15 mins max.
To test, open one of the packages and put a sharp knife into the fish to see if comes away easily.
Place the fish over a pile of simple steamed white rice in a bowl, and pour over all the sauce and vegetables.


Mocha chocolate refrigerator cake

I just love making these sort of desserts, especially in the summer and they are so easy when you can make them several days before and have them hanging out in the refrigerator.
This one is divine and a must to make. Also a great party cake.


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Serves 8
2 cups cold heavy cream
12 oz Italian Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti . (make sure it’s a good brand)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Three 8 oz packages Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies (Sorry non USA  friends, I don’t know what thin, chocolate chip cookie of about 3″ diameter would work!)

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Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, Mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed until it forms firm peaks.
To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan,covering the bottom as much as possible. (You can break some cookies to fill in the spaces)
Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream.
Continue layering cookies and cream until there are five layers of each, ending with a layer of cream.
Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan.
Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges and serve cold.

Spinach, leek and white bean soup

We are soup fanatics in our house, any time of the year. I made this soup recently because dear friends of ours were having their first baby at the hospital over the road from us, and ended up staying with us for several days before and after. New mom was very anaemic so I was trying to come up with high-iron meals. After some research I read that spinach and white beans are very high in iron.
Well, typical me, I can’t just make a small batch of soup, I made enough for 20 people, but they ended up taking the rest home. If you’re going to make a little soup, you might as well make a lot. That’s my mantra!
This one I made up out of whatever I had in the fridge and pantry and it ended up being really good, so I made it again today and wrote down what I was doing. There are some rather weird ingredients in it, but it all helps to layer the flavors.


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2 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 4oz pack chopped pancetta (you could use 4 rashers  (slices) of bacon too)
6 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed small
2 x 15oz cans white kidney or cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 11oz packs (22 oz) fresh spinach
1  tbsp medium curry powder (If you want a real curried flavor, add 2 tbsp. 1 tbsp just gives it a certain “je ne c’est quoi”)
3/4 tbsp instant chicken Bouillon granules
3 x large (49oz) tins Chicken broth
A little salt and ground black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, at room temp

Get your largest saucepan, preferably a tall stockpot and put in the oil and butter. Heat gently and add the onions, garlic, pancetta, leeks and potato and saute, stirring occasionally.
Add the white beans and curry powder and season with a little salt and pepper.

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After 30 mins, take the soup of the heat and set aside to cool for an hour or two. this way, when you blend it in the liquidizer, the steam won’t cause it to burst the lid off and cover you and your surroundings with soup!
When cooled a little, start blending it in a blender, add tablespoons of the cream cheese to each batch until you have used it all up. This gives it a really silky, creamy texture. When all is blended, return to the large pan and bring to  a simmer and serve
Serve. (You can cool the soup and freeze it in batches at this point)






Middle Eastern herb filo pie

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Another gem from Ottolenghi. With Sephardic roots, this is a wonderful centerpiece for a dinner party, whether vegetarian or not.

Serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing the pastry layers
1 large onion, diced
1lb Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely shredded but kept separate
5 oz celery, peeled and thinly sliced
2 oz green onions (scallions) chopped
2 oz arugula
1 oz flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 oz fresh mint, chopped
2/3 oz dill , chopped
4 oz ricotta cheese, crumbled
4 oz aged Cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled (not pre-crumbled)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large organic eggs
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp superfine sugar (caster sugar)
9 oz filo pastry

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Pour the olive oil into a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 8 minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and celery and continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chard leaves, increase the heat to medium high and stir as you cook for about 5 minutes or until the leaves wilt. Add the green onion, arugula and herbs and cook for 2 mins more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a colander and cool.
Once the mixture is cool, squeeze out as much water as possible and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the three cheeses, lemon zest, eggs, salt and pepper and sugar and mix well.
Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some olive oil. Cover with another sheet and continue in the same manner until you have 5 layers of filo brushed with oil, all covering an area large enough to line the sides and bottom or an 8 1/2″ pie dish, plus extra to hang over the rim of the dish. Line the pie dish with the pastry, fill with the herb mix and fold the excess pastry over the edge of the filling, trimming the pastry as necessary to create a 3/4″ border.
Make another set of 5 filo layers brushed with oil and place them over the pie. Scrunch up the pastry a little to create a wavy, uneven top and trim the edges so it just covers the pie.
Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 40 mins until the filo turns a nice golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.



Semolina, coconut and marmalade cake

This is such a simple, moist and flavorsome cake from the recipe book called “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Semolina cakes soaked in syrup are all over the Middle East. They stay moist, with a light texture and are so easy. This cake keeps for 5 days if wrapped carefully to keep the air from it.

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3/4 cup sunflower oil
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup orange marmalade (fine-cut or without peel)
4 large organic eggs
grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
3/4 cup shredded dried coconut
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp semolina
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
Thick Greek yoghurt flavored with 1 or 2 drops of orange blossom water to serve

Soaking syrup
1 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Whisk together the oil, orange juice, marmalade,eggs and orange zest until the marmalade dissolves.
In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until really well combined.
The mixture should be runny.
Grease and line with baking parchment or waxed paper  2 x 1lb loaf tins (about 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″)
Divide the filling evenly between them. Bake for 45 to 60 mins until a skewer inserted into them comes out clean and the top is an orangey brown.
Near the end of the baking time,place the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, start brushing them with the hot syrup with a pastry brush; you will need to do this in a few goes, allowing the syrup to sink down into the cakes before continuing. Use up all the syrup so it is absorbed into the cakes.
Once the cakes have cooled a little, remove them from the pans and leave them to cool completely.
Serve with the flavored yoghurt







Zucchini timbales

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A lightly poached puree of zucchini which can be served as an attractive side dish with meat, poultry or fish.

Serves 4 to 8

1lb zucchini sliced
2 oz toasted breadcrumbs
3 oz butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
a good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz  Gruyere cheese, finely grated
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1/2 pint whole milk
parsley, chopped fine, to garnish

Steam the zucchini slices until tender, then blend to a puree. Grease 8 individual ramekin dishes, 3″ diameter max, and coat with the breadcrumbs.
Melt 1oz of the butter in a small pan and fry the onion for 5 to 10 mins or until soft. Cool, then transfer to a bowl.
Add the nutmeg and cheese and season. Beat in the eggs. Heat the milk gently with the remaining butter until it has melted, then pour it into the egg mixture in a steady stream beating constantly. Fold in the zucchini puree.
Evenly divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins. Place in a roasting tin, half filled with water.
Bake at 325 F for about 30 to 45 mins or until the custard is lightly set. Cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the edge of each ramekin with the point of a knife. Carefully turn out onto a warm serving dish, garnish with some parsley and serve.

Easy smoked salmon pate

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Such a lovely pate and gorgeous to start a meal with a crisp glass of dry white wine.Serve with toasted thinly sliced white bread or oatcakes.

Serves 6 to 8
4 oz butter
8 oz smoked salmon, preferably wild
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 pint (150 mls) heavy cream, lightly whipped
chopped fresh chives and extra smoked salmon for garnish

Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Place the smoked salmon in a blender or food processor. With the machine running, pour in the melted butter and mix until the salmon is a smooth paste. Remove the mixture from the bowl, season to taste, then stir in the lemon juice and lightly whipped cream.
Spoon the pate into a serving dish and garnish with chopped chives and smoked salmon. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.