the recipe sharer

Archive: Dec 2014

Spaghetti with cream, vodka and caviar

This is a terrific New Years Eve recipe and a richer version of the other spaghetti /caviar recipe I have posted previously.

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Serves 4

1/2 lb spaghetti
6 tablespoons butter
6 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups cream
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
2 ounces sevruga black caviar

Cook spaghetti until al dente; drain.
Toss with 2 tbsp butter.
Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add shallots and stir 3 minutes.
Add cream and vodka and bring to boil.
Boil until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Add spaghetti and toss until heated through.
Divide among plates; sprinkle with chives and top with caviar.
Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with caviar, scallions and chopped egg

Here is the perfect New Years Eve dinner!

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Serves 4

Coarse sea salt
4 large eggs
1lb spaghetti
5 tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 tbsp Osetra Caviar, or more to taste

Fill a large pot with water, season generously with sea salt and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, fill a small pan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs to a small pan and reduce the heat to an active simmer. Cook for 9 1/2 minutes. Drain. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and finely chop. Set aside

When the large pot of water boils, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Add the butter and a few tbsp of cooking water to the pot and place over medium high heat.
When melted and bubbling, add the spaghetti and toss to coat. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

To serve, divide the spaghetti among four plates. Sprinkle the chopped egg and scallion on top. Spoon the caviar in the center.
Serve immediately; guests will mix the spaghetti as they eat

Roasted cherry tomato clafoutis

I love cheesy tomato dishes and this one is gorgeous as the roasted cherry tomatoes “pop” in your mouth with all that cheesy, creaminess surrounding them.

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Serves 4

2 cups sweet cherry tomatoes (1lb)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp granulated sugar
salt and ground pepper
1 cup whipping cream
3 large eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

Remove the stems from the tomatoes and arrange in a single layer in a shallow 6-cup baking dish. Drizzle with the oil; sprinkle with the thyme, garlic, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Roast in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes or until the skins shrivel slightly.
In a blender, blend the cream, eggs, parmesan cheese and flour until smooth.
Pour over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Serve immediately

Wilted spinach with creamy lemon and ginger sauce

This is a real beauty with the tangy flavor of the lemon, the slight heat from the ginger and the smooth creaminess of the sauce. Super served with grilled or roasted meats and fish.
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Serves 2, but can easily be augmented

For the sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 glass of white wine
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into julienne strips
1 lemon, zested
9 oz heavy cream
For the spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
9 oz fresh baby spinach
pinch sea salt

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion for 3 to 5 minutes until soft but not colored.
Add the ginger and lemon zest and cook for a further minute
Pour in the cream and white wine, stirring to combine
Simmer gently for 4 to 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened and coats the back of a spoon. At this point you can remove the ginger pieces. Set aside.
For the spinach
Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the fresh spinach, cooking to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Season with the sea salt.
Spoon the spinach gently into the cream mixture, mixing gently or what is also nice, is to put the spinach into 2 x 3 inch chef’s rings on serving plates, pour the sauce around and over the spinach and remove the ring, leaving this lovely mound of green and the pretty sauce floating around it.

Roasted tomatoes with garlic, Gorgonzola and herbs

I absolutely love these, and they’re super to serve with drinks, as a starter or as a side to some grilled meat or poultry. Thank you to Giada de Laurentiis.


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Serves 6

12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, or grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Using a teaspoon remove the seeds from the tomatoes.Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the breadcrumbs and Gorgonzola (or Parmesan) cheese.

Place the marinated tomato halves cut side up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the breadcrumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.

Arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Pasta with cauliflower, raisins, saffron and pine nuts

I realize I have many cauliflower recipes and am happy to add yet another. Such a humble, unpretentious vegetable, the cauliflower, where the repertoire of flavor combinations is endless. Yet again, this Sicilian-style recipe is a must.

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Serves 4

12 oz bucatini pasta or a one of your choice
1 small cauliflower,cut into florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp raisins, soaked in warm water for 20 mins, drained
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
2 salted anchovies, soaked in water for 1 hour,drained
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tomato, finely chopped
A good pinch of saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp warm water)
Approx 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve: Freshly grated pecorino cheese Toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Fill a large (approx. 6 litre) heavy bottomed saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add approx. 1 tbsp of salt.
Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for a few minutes (they should still be crunchy). Drain the cauliflower and reserve the cooking water.
Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the garlic and finely chopped anchovies, till the anchovies have melted and the garlic is soft.
Next add the tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins and saffron.
Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 5-6 mins.
Add the drained cauliflower to the pan and season with salt and black pepper.
Cover and cook (medium heat) for a further 5 mins, adding a couple of tablespoons of the cauliflower water occasionally, to stop the mixture from sticking.
Reduce the heat, then remove the lid and continue cooking while you prepare the pasta (stir the cauliflower regularly).
Using the cauliflower water, cook the pasta so it’s a little undercooked (a little harder than “al dente”).
Drain,leaving a little water clinging to the pasta, then add to the sauce. Mix well, then cover and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until pasta is completely cooked.
Finally add the chopped basil leaves and stir. 1
Toss the finished pasta with a little extra olive oil and serve with some grated pecorino.
You can also serve this pasta dish topped with some fried breadcrumbs instead of the cheese.

Kiwi apricot slice with brown sugar icing

Here’s another great slice or tray-bake recipe from New Zealand which is really delicious! The flavor of apricots is fabulous in this no-bake winner

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For the base
4 oz butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (7 fl oz)
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
9 oz graham crackers or another plain sweet cookie, finely crushed

For the brown sugar icing
4.5 oz butter
3 tsp milk
3 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Lightly grease a 8″ by 12″ Swiss roll tin.
Place the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat until melted. Do not boil.
Stir in the apricots and crushed cookies. Press into the tin and allow to set in the fridge.

For the brown sugar icing, place the butter, milk and brown sugar into a pan and bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Take off the heat and mix in the icing (powdered) sugar to form a smooth consistency.
Spread over the base and return to the fridge to set. Once set, cut into slices and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

No-bake chocolate, fig and date slice

I adore slices, or as they say in New Zealand and England, “traybakes” There are so many easy recipes for them, and many of them like this one, are no-cook recipes. This is another one that reminds me of Christmas, and is especially nice as it is chocolatey as well as fruity.
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1lb dried figs
3/4 lb (12 oz) good plump, moist Medjool dates, preferably pitted
4 oz pitted prunes (or in the US they call them dried plums)
1 orange, grated zest and juiced
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1 tbsp liquid honey
8 oz good quality dark chocolate, 72% or over
4 oz roasted hazelnuts, skins removed and halved (or buy them already toasted)
Cocoa powder for dusting at the end

Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, making sure there is an overlap so it’s easy to remove the slice.
Thinly slice the figs. Pit the dates and slice the flesh, then slice the pitted prunes.
Place these in a large bowl with the orange zest, juice, Grand Marnier and honey.
Cover and leave to stand in a cool place for at least one hour.

Place the chocolate pieces in a small bowl over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler, ensuring the bottom of the bowl the chocolate is in does not touch the simmering water below.
Allow the chocolate to melt, Take it off the heat when almost melted (there will be a few lumps still in it) then gently stir until it’s completely smooth.

Stir the hazelnuts and melted chocolate into the fruit mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the lines tin and spread, leaving the mixture at about 1 inch thickness. (You may not fill the tin)
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to firm up.

To serve, cut into about 40 small squares and dust with cocoa.
This slice will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week – if you are lucky!

White chocolate, cranberry and pistachio fudge

This is so pretty and tastes even better than it looks.

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16 oz. good white chocolate, chopped (chips will work, too)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
2/3 cup chopped dried cranberries, divided
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted pistachio pieces, divided

Line an 8″ square baking dish with parchment or wax paper.
Combine the white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler or a glass/stainless bowl over some simmering water.

Heat until the mixture melts together, whisking occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove from the heat.
Add all but about 2 Tbsp. each of the cranberries and pistachios to the white chocolate mixture, stirring to combine.
Spread the mixture into the baking dish in an even layer. Top with the remaining pistachios and cranberries, pressing them in slightly with a spatula if necessary.
Allow the fudge to set in the fridge and then cut into 1.5″ squares.

Baked butternut squash, ricotta and spinach

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I am always attracted to non-meat dishes and this one, given it’s December and has me making soups, stews and baked dishes, this really attracted me. It’s from the wonderful British website and food magazine, Delicious.

Baked butternut squash, ricotta and spinach

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved lengthways (about 2.5 – 3lbs in weight)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 tsp crushed red chillies
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz baby spinach
1lb ricotta cheese
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese,(not the pre-grated stuff) plus extra to serve
1 large egg, plus an extra egg yolk
A bunch of fresh sage leaves

Heat the oven to 400F
Scoop out and discard the seeds from the squash. Sit the squash halves cut-side up in a roasting tin. Score flesh in a crosshatch pattern with a knife and season.
Scatter over the caraway seeds, chillies and whole garlic cloves, then drizzle with the olive oil.
Cover with foil and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until soft.

When cooked, set the garlic cloves aside, then scoop all but 2 tbsp of the squash flesh into a bowl, keeping it in pieces. Gently stir through the spinach and season.Leave to cool.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a large bowl and mash into the remaining 2 tbsp squash using a fork. Add the ricotta, Parmesan and some seasoning. Add the whole egg and extra egg yolk, stir then gently stir through the spinach and squash mixture.

Spoon into 4 x 6 oz individual gratin dishes.Top with Parmesan, scatter with extra caraway seeds and the sage leaves, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately