the recipe sharer

Archive: Sep 2014

Simple roast chicken traybake with spiced potatoes and olives

I love roasted tray bakes, they are easy to make and are so versatile. Here is another version, and the flavors are beautifully intense.

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Serves 4
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole chicken legs (leg and thigh attached) about 3lbs
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves with stems
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

* You will need a small spice mill, like a coffee grinder. It’s worth buying a second one and devoting it to grinding spices.

Preheat the oven to 450 F
Pulse the bay leaf, fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a spice mill until finely ground.
Toss the halved potatoes, olives, 2 tbsp oil and half of the spice mixture in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with remaining 2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining spice mixture.
Arrange potato mixture around the chicken. Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is cooked through, and the skin is crisp, 35 – 45 minutes.
Serve chicken and potato mixture topped with parsley, lemon zest and more red pepper flakes, if desired.
Spoon the pan juices around and serve.

Rich and warming braised sausages

I adore sausages and of all meat, sausages and bacon are the ones I would miss the most if I ever became vegetarian. This is a hearty, flavorful and warming braise, great for those Fall and Winter evenings and all it needs is some good mashed potato to soak up the juices.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
12 of your favorite pork sausages
6 rashers bacon, rinds removed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 to 1 tsp smoked paprika
1 x 14oz can chopped San Marzano tomatoes
10 fl oz chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar (Muscovado is great)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 fl oz red or white wine
1 x 14oz can butter beans or another type of bean you like, drained and rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non stick frying pan and fry the sausages gently for 10 mins, turning every now and then until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a large saucepan or a flameproof baking dish and set aside.
Fry the bacon pieces in the frying pan until they begin to brown and crisp then add to the sausages
Place the onions in the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they begin to soften, stirring often. You should have enough fat in the pan, but if not, add the other tbsp of oil.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more until the onions turn a pale-golden color, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle over the smoked paprika and cook together for a few seconds longer.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and herbs.
Pour over the wine and bring to a simmer.
Tip carefully into the pan with the sausages and bacon and return to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover the pan loosely with a lid or aluminum foil and leave to simmer very gently for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Alternatively, you can cook it in the oven at 350 F for 45 minutes.


Mediterranean quinoa salad

Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list. It’s a very easy salad to prepare and will be one of the best things you’ve ever eaten.
I absolutely adore quinoa and if you also like it, not only is this recipe great, these two other quinoa salad recipes below, also on this blog, are terrific.

I sometimes make these quinoa salads in double quantities and have them in the fridge for a week, adding chicken or salmon to them if we fancy, or just having a small bowl of it with some home made soup. The beauty of this salad is that you can change up the amounts of the vegetables and can replace or add with other things you like. Basically, play with it! I have also given you a few ingredients that are optional.
It’s very healthy, very filling without piling on the calories and soaks up the flavors.

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Easily serves 4 and can be augmented.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1x 15oz can of garbanzo or borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes,chopped or 4 oz sliced sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half lengthways
2 tbsp capers, drained
1 medium English cucumber, seeded and chopped
5 scallions, chopped or 1 medium red onion, chopped
4 oz roasted red bell pepper, cut into chunks
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped,
1/4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 green chili, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional

Dressing ingredients (you may not need it all)
4 tbsp good olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets, optional
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red chili flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with the stock and bring to the boil. When boiling, turn down low to a simmer and put a lid on. Let it simmer on low for about 12 – 15 minutes until it becomes fluffy and all the liquid is absorbed. You will begin to see the “germ” of the grain appear on each piece of quinoa.
Remove from the heat,fluff with a fork and allow to cool with the lid off. (I sometimes tip it out onto a baking tray and spread it out to dry and cool a bit, it works faster this way)

In a very large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add the cooled quinoa to the salad.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and add about 3/4 of the dressing to the salad. Mix together really well, season with salt and pepper and add more of anything you like to get the exact flavor you want. Chill the salad in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. This gives the ingredients time to “hang out”
This is a very forgiving salad and I sometimes add toasted pine nuts, or raisins/currants to it for a change.

Spicy sesame Asian guacamole

Who doesn’t like guacamole? Well, as I’m an Asian food nut, this recipe ticks all the boxes for me, especially if it is served with sesame rice crackers or fried wontons.
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Serves 4 and the total time is 15 minutes.
3 ripe Haas avocados
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions,white and light green parts only
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp chile-garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Sesame rice crackers for serving

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the avocado flesh in a bowl.
Add the red onion, scallions, lime juice, chile-garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, 1 tsp of the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.
Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Phyllo cheese and spinach pie

This is one of my all time favorites, everyone seems to adore it at our dinner parties and not miss the hunk of dead protein on the plate! The crispy phyllo pastry almost hovers above the creamy, flavorful filling.


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Serves 6 to 8

7 oz butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 lbs fresh spinach, central core removed
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
14 oz phyllo pastry, defrosted

Melt about 3 oz of the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until golden. Wash the spinach and cook in the water that clings to the leaves for 5 minutes. Drain it thoroughly, then add it to the onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the dill, seasoning and nutmeg.
Leave to cool. When cool, add the feta cheese and eggs and mix well.

Melt the remaining butter. Place one sheet of pastry in a greased 14 x 8 1/2″ shallow tin. Brush with the melted butter. Tuck in the edges neatly. Continue to make layers with half the pastry, brushing each one with butter.

Spread the spinach and cheese filling over the pastry, then use the remaining sheets, brushed with butter, to cover the filling. When the last sheet of pastry is in place, brush it well with butter and using a very sharp knife, score the top in a square or diamond pattern.

Bake at 375 F for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the tin for about 10 mins, then serve

Easy Asian pork in lettuce cups

I love wrapping food in lettuce cups and usually I use ground turkey or chicken, but this recipe is with strips cut from a pork tenderloin, marinated and cooked. It’s such a fun dish to serve as a starter and let everyone fill their own lettuce cups.


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Serves 2 or 4 but can be easily augmented.

The marinade
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark (toasted) sesame oil
1 tbsp Asian chile sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 green onions, white and green parts chopped

The other ingredients
1lb fresh pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 head iceberg lettuce (I actually buy 2, incase the leaves tear as I’m separating them)
2 tbsp peanut or safflower oil
1/2 cup hoisin sauce

To prepare the marinade, in a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cut the pork into matchstick pieces, add to the marinade and stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the pine nuts on a small baking sheets and roast until they turn golden, about 8 minutes.
Gently separate the lettuce leaves to use as cups. Cut the larger leaves in half. The lettuce leaves can be refrigerated until you’re ready to cook the meat.

Place a wok or saute pan over high heat and when it’s hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork, stir and toss for 3 minutes until it loses it’s pink color. Stir in the pine nuts.
Transfer to warmed dinner plates and serve at once, accompanied by the lettuce cups and hoisin sauce.
To assemble, place a small amount of hoisin sauce in each lettuce cup, add some pork and eat in your hand

Homemade ginger-infused tartare sauce to serve with fish.

This ginger-infused tartare sauce is gorgeous dolloped on or alongside a fillet of broiled salmon, swordfish, cod or halibut. It can be made in advance which will give it time for the fresh ginger to reach it’s full potential.

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Serves 4
1/2 cup good mayonnaise like Best Foods or Kraft
2 tbsp chopped pickles or whole capers
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil,parsley,mint or cilantro sprigs
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp your favorite hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before using.

Radicchio, banana and avocado salad with dates and a ginger- lime dressing

This is very unusual but sensational. Bananas and avocado have a very similar texture and the Asian dressing lends itself really well to this combination. I would love to hear what you think of it.
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Serves 6 as a starter.

2 medium heads of radicchio
6 Medjool dates, pitted
2 firm bananas
2 ripe avocados

For the dressing
3 tbsp safflower oil
2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp Asian chile sauce
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp chopped cilantro sprigs

Pull apart the radicchio leaves, then tear away and discard the bitter white stem area; you should have abut 4 cups. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to make the dish.
Thinly slice the dates. In a small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
When ready to serve, slice the bananas and cut the avocado flesh into 1/4 slices. Stir the dressing, place the radicchio in a bowl and toss with just enough of the dressing to barely coat the leaves.
Transfer the leaves to salad plates and put the dates, banana and avocado slices in the same bowl, add the rest of the dressing and very gently toss together.
Place this mixture on top of the radicchio and serve at once.

Mushrooms with an Asian shitake cream sauce

This sauce is well worth adding to your repertoire. It is incredibly versatile being equally wonderful with pasta, rice, chicken, grilled meat and  seafood. No-one will be able to figure out why it tastes so gorgeous and exotic and you will wow your guests with it. Oh and it’s quick and easy!

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Serves 4 as an entree

1 lb fresh shitake mushrooms
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white vermouth or white wine
1 tbsp thin soy sauce
1 tsp dark sesame oil (toasted is great)
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1/8 tsp Asian chile sauce
1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger

To do in advance, (up to 8 hours) discard the stems from the fresh shitake mushrooms. Cut each cap into 4 wedges. Set aside the unsalted butter and chopped chives. In a bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients, then refrigerate until you’re ready to cook the dish.

Place a 12 inch saute pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and when it’s melted, add the mushrooms.
Saute the mushrooms until they absorb the butter, then add the cream sauce. Bring the sauce to the boil and boil the mushrooms, stirring until the sauce has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. (about 4 minutes) Add the chives to the sauce, and serve with whatever you like.

Pan seared broccoli with toasted pinenuts and Asian orange sauce

This is a super vegetable dish and works really well served with fish or chicken or even just steamed rice. It’s very light, with the nuttiness of the toasted pine nuts and the clean, tangy flavors of the Asian orange sauce.


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Serves 2 to 4 as a side dish

1/2 cup pine nuts
1 large broccoli head,about 1lb
3 whole green onions
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp flavorless cooking oil

For the orange sauce
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Asian chile sauce

Preheat the oven to 325F to toast the pine nuts.
Cut the stems then trim off the tough ends and peel the stems with a vegetable peeler. Cut the stems on a sharp diagonal into 1/8 inch thick slices. Separate the broccoli florets, you should have about 4 cups broccoli.
Discard the root ends of the green onions and cut on the diagonal into 1 inch lengths.
Combine the broccoli and green onions and refrigerate.
Toast the pine nuts for about 8 minutes until golden brown, then remove and set aside in a bowl.
In a small bowl, combine all the orange sauce ingredients.
Place a 12 inch saute pan or a wok over a high heat. When it’s hot,add the cooking oil and when it starts to smoke, add the vegetables and garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds, then add the orange sauce.
Immediately cover the wok/saute pan and let it steam for about 20 seconds, then remove the cover and stir fry for a few seconds. (If the broccoli has not turned a bright green, replace the lid and steam for another 20 seconds)
As soon as the broccoli turns bright green, stir in the nuts and immediately transfer to a serving platter, serving at once.