the recipe sharer

#herbs

Fabulous French sauce for fish

This to me is the best possible sauce for any sort of fish. Due to the reducing, it’s very intense, creamy and utterly out of this world. (When I made this for my step-daughter several years ago, she literally was brought to tears)

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 12.15.59 PM

This amount serves 2 – 4, depending on how much sauce you want!
* Sometimes I use 4 fl oz of Noilly Prat instead of white wine, which makes it more intense)

8 fl oz good fish stock
4 fl oz dry white wine
3 tbsp Noilly Prat
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 oz butter, chilled & cut into small cubes
2 tbsp fresh chives, finely cut
Salt and pepper

Put the fish stock, wine, Noilly Prat and chopped shallot in a pan and boil rapidly, reducing until 1/4 of the volume is left.

Add the cream and boil gently, stirring constantly, to reduce to the required consistency and taste. (The consistency is right when it thickly coats the back of a spoon and tastes intense)
When it’s to your liking, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter cubes one by one.
Strain through a fine sieve and season.

You can also liquidize the sauce before adding the chives to make it extra light and fluffy, or if you prefer it as is, add the chives just before you serve it.

Garlic, parmesan spaghetti

This has got to be the simplest, fastest and lightest spaghetti dish I know.
It’s so easy to throw together and always surprises people as the flavor of the chicken broth permeates the pasta while cooking, making it more intense.
There are countless variations of this recipe and you can certainly experiment but try this version first.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 4.24.32 PM

Serves 4

4 good swirls olive oil (about 4 to 6 tbsp)
4 big cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (or more or less to taste, depending on how much of a kick you like)
1 box spaghetti or fettuccine (1lb)
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a good sized bunch Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Fill a good-sized saucepan with water, add two large handfuls of salt and a couple of glugs of olive oil. Bring to a rolling boil and add the spaghetti, stirring occasionally. While the water is coming to the boil, prep the garlic and parsley. About 4 minutes before it’s “al dente”, drain it and set the pasta aside.

In a good sized saute pan over medium heat, give 4 good swirls of olive oil.
Add the sliced garlic and saute gently with some salt, pepper and chili flakes until fragrant, stirring for about 2 – 3 minutes.
Dump in the par-cooked spaghetti, the parsley and the chicken broth and stir well. Once the broth is bubbling, turn it down a little and allow the spaghetti to simmer in the broth, finishing it’s cooking.
The chicken broth will be absorbed into the spaghetti and reduce. You can add a few tablespoons of grated parmesan at this point, stirring well, and it will create a light, creamy sauce. (Test the pasta to see if it’s al dente, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.)
Plate the spaghetti and add more grated parmesan cheese.

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 12.31.41 PM

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.

Bacon, avocado and corn salad

This has got to be the headiest combination of ingredients and although simple to make, your guests will adore this and there will never ever be any leftovers! The recipe uses a Mexican cheese called “cotija” but you can easily substitute feta cheese.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.01.13 AM
Serve 4 to 6

5 strips of thick-cut bacon
4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
3 oz cotija or feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 good sized Hass avocado
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon strips on both sides until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to dry and remove all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat from the frying pan.
Cut the kernels from the corn cobs and put into the frying pan with the 1 tbsp bacon fat.
Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 mins or until slightly golden-brown. Turn off the heat and tip the corn into a nice serving bowl, leaving behind as much of the bacon fat as possible. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Crumble in the cotija or feta cheese and add the cilantro and lime juice.
Roughly crumble the bacon into the corn mixture and toss to combine.
Cut the avocado flesh into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the avocado cubes into the frying pan and gently toss.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate for later.
Bring to room temp before serving

Weekend soup (using whatever you have left in the fridge)

When the weeks are cooler, I tend to open the fridge doors and haul out any vegetables that could go into a soup. You will be surprised what wonderful concoctions you can come up with and how much soup you can make from very little.
Don’t overthink it and definitely don’t measure anything as soups are one of the most forgiving and inventive things you can make.

This week my ingredients are;

4 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 head of celery, including leaves, peeled of stringy stuff
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed, tossed in olive oil and seasoning and roasted at 350 degrees for 45 mins
1 whole cauliflower, broken into florets
about 12 asparagus spears, snapping off the tough ends and chopping into 1 inch lengths
5 zucchini, halved then quartered lengthways and chopped across into 3/4″ pieces
3 heads of broccoli including stems chopped
1 whole bunch fresh parsley stalks and all
french green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1″ lengths

4 to 6 (32 oz) containers chicken broth. (You can use vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian, but I think chicken broth adds far more flavor.

I put about 1/4 cup of olive oil and about 3 tbsp butter into the bottom of a very large soup stock pot, then in goes the onions, turnip, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and everything else, stirring as I go so everything mixes together.
After about 15 minutes of this, add the broth, stirring and it should cover the vegetables with an extra level of about 1 to 2 inches, so the soup isn’t too thick.

Let the soup bubble away, stirring it every 20 mins, for about 45 mins at least, until all the vegetables are soft. Taste the juice and season with salt and pepper, but not too much as this is something you can do after you have pureed it.
When it’s cooked, take it off the heat and leave aside for about 1 hour until it’s not so hot. Puree the soup in a blender and at this stage you can add a little cream for a more velvety texture, some soft goat cheese for a really lovely flavor and even some grated mature cheddar or Parmesan cheese, returning it back to a large saucepan after it’s pureed.
Put back on the heat, taste and season until it tastes perfect.

Just remember, play with it, even adding some chopped pancetta or bacon when you fry the vegetables and know that this huge pot of flavorful goodness will feed you for quite a long time and cost nothing more!

The "haul" for the rest of the week

The “haul” for the rest of the week

* Some other great vegetables to use are;
spinach
potatoes
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
Jerusalem artichokes (the knobbly ones)
celeriac (celery root)
fennel
kale
frozen peas, thawed
Swiss chard

Remember, whatever vegetables you put in the soup, there are certain ones that will naturally thicken the soup, like
asparagus
butternut squash
potatoes
sweet potatoes
parsnips
carrots
Cannellini or other tinned beans
cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower with truffled pea pesto and feta crema

I had this at “Etch” in Nashville recently and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It is a stunning appetizer with two fabulous dips and would be wonderful to serve for a dinner party as it’s so easy.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.02.40 AM

Serve 4 (or 2 if you adore it)

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
Pea shoots or micro greens for garnish
A few salted almonds or Marcona almonds dropped onto the pea pesto
A few green olives and thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Pea pesto
2 cups fresh blanched peas or 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
(Some people swear by adding 2 drops of liquid smoke, but it’s optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp truffle oil
For the pea pesto
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the peas with the butter and water until they are tender.
Add all the ingredients except the truffle oil to a blender, and mix slowly.
Gradually increase the speed until the mixture is creamy, adding truffle oil as you blend.
Add a few drops of water if the mixture is too thick.

Feta crema
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup cauliflower, shaved with a box grater to snow-like consistency
Salt and pepper
For the Feta Crema
Stir the ingredients together until smooth

For the cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
Spread out the cauliflower on a baking sheet into an even single layer.
Roast until the edges are browned and the florets are easily pierced with a knife, between 15 and 20 minutes
To Serve
Place the roasted cauliflower florets in the center of a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil.
On one side of the florets mound the pea pesto and on the other side, mound the feta crema.
Garnish with the pea shoots or other seasonal micro greens, scallions, olives and almonds.

Orange-scented quinoa salad with pistachios and dates

Another beautiful healthy and tasty Summer salad. I can’t have enough of these and am always looking for more of these interesting recipes. We love eating them with a piece of marinated and barbequed fish or chicken.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.03.50 AM

Serves 4

6 oz (175 g) quinoa or red quinoa, rinsed
1 oz (30g) shelled pistachios
5 tbsp 70ml) fresh orange juice, plus finely grated zest 1 orange
4 tbsp (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 scant tsp Dijon mustard
6 green onions, very finely sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 large bunch watercress, tough stalks removed
10 ready-to-eat dates, chopped
Optional- goat cheese or Greek feta cheese to toss through or sprinkle over it

Bring 3 cups (500 mls) water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 broth of your choice) to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and spread over a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pistachios until fragrant and starting to brown. Cool, then coarsely chop.

To make the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, mustard and vinegar and season well.

To assemble the salad, put the quinoa in a serving bowl and toss with half the dressing. Fork through the orange zest, green onions, herbs, watercress, dates, chopped pistachios and enough of the remaining dressing to coat. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or dressing if needed, then serve.

Lemongrass prawns with Thai noodle salad

This is a very refreshing Asian-style salad, perfect for a hot day. We have a Kaffir lime tree (well worth having, if you cook a lot of Asian food) but if you can’t buy Kaffir lime leaves, then use some grated  lime rind instead. This is also a great do-ahead recipe if you’re entertaining.

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 1.42.47 PM

Serves 8

For Prawns and Noodles:

2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh Kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 lb tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 (8-oz) package bean thread (cellophane) noodles

For Dressing:

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp red pepper flakes

For Garnish:

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 spring onions, chopped

Directions

For prawns and noodles: Peel outer layer of lemongrass. Cut into very fine crosswise slices and transfer to a large bowl.

In same bowl, combine lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, lime leaf, salt, and pepper. Add prawns and toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high, cook prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate.

Put noodles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients.

Add noodles and toss, then add prawns. Garnish with chopped cilantro, mint, spring onions, and cilantro sprigs.

Simple, stunning salmon tartare

On a hot day with a glass of champagne or Rose what could be more wonderful than this?

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 1.26.14 PM

Serves 4

8 oz fresh boneless wild salmon, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp good quality mayonnaise (or Whole 30 compliant mayonnaise)

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until very cold before serving.

Avocado toast with cilantro-lime-cashew cream

A wonderful light meal. Avocado on toast is one of my favorite things and this Cilantro-Lime-Cashew cream is perfect to drizzle over it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 2.00.14 PM

Serves 4

4 pieces of bread
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream (see below for recipe)
freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt & coarse ground pepper
crushed red pepper {optional}

Toast your bread.
Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh and spread it or slice it onto the toast. Each piece of toast takes roughly 1/4 of the avocado. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top of the avocado to prevent it from browning.
Drizzle the cilantro-lime-cashew cream generously over the avocado and top with a pinch of sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream

This creaminess literally takes 5 minutes to whiz up and you’re going to want to put it on everything. It makes about 1 cup, so make extra you’ll want it.

1 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lime, all the juice + zest

Blend everything together on high until smooth. Store it in an air-tight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.