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Archive: Mar 2016

Spinach, mushroom and lemon pilaf

We love this, it’s easy, tasty, interesting and light and complements any meal

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Serves 4 to 6

8 oz fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 lemon,zested and juiced. (You may not need to use all the lemon juice, so try a little less)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 oz butter
8 oz Basmati rice
6 oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced I have made this recipe without the mushrooms, and it’s just as good.)
2 onions, finely sliced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 bruised green cardamon pods

Cook the mushrooms in 2oz of the butter until they soften start to brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside, add a little more butter to the pan and add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and golden. Add back the mushrooms in the last 2 minutes and stir well.
Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the rice, lemon zest and broth.
Cover and cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir through the spinach and about 3/4 of the lemon juice, cover for 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste for seasoning and if you think it can take more lemon juice, add the rest.

Baked cheesy, bacon eggs

This dish reminds me so much of my mother when I was young as she would make this for me for lunch when I came home from school. It is so soothing and tasty.
This recipe is for 2 people, but you can make as many as you want.

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Serves 2

1/2 cup grated mature cheddar cheese (not the pregrated stuff)
1 tbsp good Dijon Mustard. (I use the “Edmund Faillot” brand)
2/3 cup smoked bacon pardons, pancetta
2 tbsp heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Grease and season 2 small ovenproof dishes with butter and crack 2 eggs into each one.

Place the 1/2 cup of grated mature cheddar cheese into a small bowl and mix with 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, 2/3 cup of smoked bacon lardons or pancetta and 2 tbsps cream.

Season with salt and pepper. Scoop the cheese mixture on top of the eggs and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

Serve with toasted bread cut into thin slices so that you can dip them into the eggs.

Goat cheese, bacon and olive quick bread

This recipe is from David Lebovitz and is very easy to make. The flavors are divine and your guests will love it.

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6 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 to 2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tsp minced thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; line the bottom with parchment paper. In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

In a bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, cayenne and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, olive oil and mustard. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the goat cheese, Parmigiano, olives, bacon, scallions, chile and thyme. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface.


Bake the bread until golden on top and a toothpick or metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the loaf to loosen it from the pan. Invert onto a plate and let cool completely. Cut the loaf into thick slices and serve.

Make Ahead

The bread can be wrapped well in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 week.

Broccoli-Quinoa salad with buttermilk dressing

This is a lovely recipe from Bon Appetite magazine with a clean, refreshing buttermilk dressing poured over the broccoli, herbs and quinoa.

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Serves 4

Buttermilk Dressing
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp (or more) fine sea salt

Salad
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 small heads of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
Kosher salt
1 cup white, red, or black quinoa
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped tarragon
¼ cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Whisk the buttermilk, olive oil, vegetable oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, rice vinegar, pepper, and 1 tsp. sea salt in a medium bowl. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Do Ahead: The dressing can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

The final salad

Stir together the shallot and 2 Tbsp of the buttermilk dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
Cook the broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, or about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and place on a kitchen towel–lined baking sheet.
Meanwhile, return the water in the pot to a boil and cook the quinoa until slightly al dente, about 12 minutes, and drain. Toss the quinoa and 2 Tbsp the buttermilk dressing in a large bowl to coat; season with salt. Let cool.
Add the dressed shallot, broccoli, parsley, tarragon, pistachios, and 2 Tbsp. buttermilk dressing to the quinoa and toss to combine. Season with more salt if needed.

Crispy potato, olive and caper bake

This is such a lovely mixture of flavors and again, really not difficult to make.
Paired with some grilled meat or poultry, you have a pretty gorgeous meal

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2lbs Jersey Royal or Baby Yukon potatoes
A handful small capers
2 x handfuls pitted black olives (Please, not those awful canned ones!)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
A medium bunch rosemary, broken into sprigs
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Heat oven to 450 F
Boil the potatoes until the softer side of cooked, about 12 mins.
Drain, slice in half, then tip into a bowl. Tip the capers, olives and herbs on top of the potatoes then add most of the oil and a some seasoning.
Stir together, lightly crushing the potatoes.
Line a medium Swiss roll-type tin with baking parchment, leaving some hanging over the sides.
Tip the potatoes into the tin and flatten down. Mix the vinegar and remaining oil, drizzle over the potatoes, then bake for 40 mins until golden.

Enjoy!

Easy vegetable and bacon slice

I love these savory throw-together brunch recipes that are wonderful served hot or at room temperature. They’re great to take on a picnic too.

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6 large eggs
2 zucchini, grated
2 carrots grated
1 onion finely diced
1 cup grated mature cheddar cheese
10 oz thinly sliced bacon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Beat the eggs in a large bowl then add the freshly grated nutmeg, salt, pepper and baking powder. Softly stir all ingredients together.
Place in lined or well greased baking tin, sprinkle some extra cheese over the top. Bake for 25mins or until the top is lightly browned and the eggs are set.

Onion and parmesan gratin

This is a very economical dish high in flavor, which is a great accompaniment to strong flavored dishes. It goes really well with red or white wine and the cloves bring an unexpected wonderful flavor to the dish

 

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Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds yellow onions, peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon freshly ground whole cloves
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Fine sea salt, to taste
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Slice the onions in half lengthwise. Place, cut side down, on a cutting board and slice crosswise into very thin slices, and set aside.
In a large, nonstick skillet, combine the butter, cloves, onions, thyme and salt. Cover and cook over very low heat until the onions are very soft, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer the onion mixture to a gratin dish and smooth it with the back of a spoon. The recipe can be prepared several hours in advance up to this point. Cover and store at room temperature.

Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and cream and whisk together well. Stir in the cheese. Pour the mixture over the onions in the baking dish. Place the baking dish under the broiler about 2 inches from the heat. Broil until the top is sizzling and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately as a vegetable course or as an accompaniment to meat dishes.

A really great and easy BBQ sauce

This is a really simple and super BBQ sauce you can keep refrigerated for up to 1 week, so if you’re planning a BBQ party, this part of it, you can do well in advance. It’s easily doubled too.

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Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup vegetable oil or any other oil ( don’t waste really good olive oil)
4 large cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
a good handful fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stalk, finely chopped (minced)
2 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp sesame oil(toasted is nice too)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup store-bought BBQ sauce (yes, I really mean it!)
salt to taste

Place ALL the ingredients in a jar with a tightfitting lid and shake really well.
Use to brush on absolutely anything that you BBQ, mushrooms, chicken, meat, onions, fish…
Enjoy!

Roasted shrimp with feta, fennel and tomatoes

This is a terrific recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and all it needs is some rice or good bread to mop up the juices

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Serve 4

4 tbsp good olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups medium-diced fennel
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Pernod
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 lbs (16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
5 oz good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato-mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

Roast salmon with spiced coconut crumbs

As you probably know by now, anything with coconut makes me stop in my tracks, so when I saw this on the BBC GoodFood website, I had to try it. It’s easy and very tasty, what more do I need to say!

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Serves 8
Made in 30 mins or less

2 oz butter, ghee or clarified butter
8 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 plump fresh red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch ground turmeric
8 slim boneless skinless salmon fillets
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

UP TO A DAY AHEAD:.
Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the cardamon and coconut and stir non-stop for 2-3 minutes until the coconut starts to toast. Stir in the chili, ginger, garlic, ground coriander and turmeric. Cook for another minute then leave to cool.

Arrange the salmon in a single layer, spaced slightly apart, in 1 large or two smaller buttered ovenproof dishes. Season the salmon, scatter on the cilantro and spread the coconut mixture on top. Cover in cling film and chill (for up to one day) UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE COOKING.

TO SERVE:
Turn the oven to conventional 400F/200°C .
Roast the salmon for 13-15 minutes until cooked, but still moist. If this is for a buffet, bring to the table in the dish(es).