Appetising artichokes!

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This is a popular first course at my local bar in Malasaña. (Click on the link to see my barrio !)

Alcachofas a plancha con jamón iberico.

It is so easy to replicate at home and really really tasty.

All you need is a good tin of artichokes – if not ready sliced, drain them well and slice. Get around 50 gm to 100 gm of, if possible, jamón iberico diced, if not any decent lardon cubed or even cubed pancetta.

Pan fry the jamón in olive oil for a minute or two then add the artichoke and warm through. No need for seasoning at this point, but taste in case and by all means add a pinch of salt.

Serve and add a few grinds of black pepper and serve with crusty bread.

Muy bueno!

A Sea Bass and Giant Cous Cous Supper

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I created this recipe, like so many of us do, to use up some ingredients I had lingering in the fridge and store cupboard. But they had to go with the 2 sea bass filets I had just bought!

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Ingredients for 2 to 3

100 gm Giant Cous Cous – I use Merchant Gourmet brand

A little olive oil

1 tulip shallot diced

Half a red pepper thinly sliced

A bunch of flat leaf parsley

400 gm tinned tomatoes

1 red chilli deseeded and sliced thinly

2 sea bass fillets – or any white fish frankly!

A little water

Method

  1. Cook the cous cous as per the packet instructions – I pan fry them gently in a little olive oil for 5 minutes then add about 100 gm of water and let them simmer gently away for about 15 minutes. Then drain and put to one side.
  2. In a wok or large saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the chopped shallot, red pepper and chilli. Fry gently til the onion softens and starts to turn a little golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir. Season to taste.Cook gently for around 20 minutes. til you have a nice velvety sauce.
  4. Now add the cous cous and stir. 
  5. In a separate frying pan cook the fish in a little olive oil – skin side down first for 2 minutes then gently turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and flake away the white meat from the skin and add to the sauce. Gently move it around and then add a handful of chopped parsley.

Simple, I know, but stunning and sexy as fish suppers go!

 

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Stilton Mushrooms!

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A perfect wintery lunch! This is one of Nigel Slater’s favourites.

For 2

2 large portobello mushrooms, peeled and the stalk removed

3 knifefuls of unsalted butter – about 75 gm

A little water

A pinch of dried thyme

Some crumbled blue stilton – or any blue crumbly cheese really

A handful of chopped walnuts

All you do – pop a casserole dish on a medium heat, add the butter and when it melts add enough water to cover bottom of the dish. 

Add the mushrooms, gill side up – obviously! Sprinkle a little thyme onto each.

Pop on a lid and tuen the heat low. Let it bubble away for ten minutes – remove lid and spoon a little of the juice onto each mushroom. Lid goes back on for ten more minutes.

Then remove lid. Take pot off the leat and crumble stilton cheese onto top of each mushroom til the surface is covered. Then add several pieces of chopped walnuts onto each.

Pop back on the heat and whack it up high – after about 5 minutes the stilton will start to melt and the sauce will be bubbling and thickening.

When it has just melted, use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms onto a plate and spoon over the juices and any walnuts that have escaped!

See with crusty breadA winter lunch to impress. Can also be used as a side dish to a nice juicy steak!img_8120-jpg

Fennel and Chicken Soup

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A fabulous combination! And a great way to use up left over chicken…oh and one of my very favourite vegetables!

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Ingredients

1 fennel bulb – trimmed and cut roughly into 3 or 4 chunks.

1 tulip shallot – or a small onion if not available

1 litre of chicken stock

A pinch of saffron

A pinch or two of smoked paprika

A clove of garlic crushed

About 100 gm left over chicken meat – no skin

A little olive oil

50 gm unsalted butter

50 ml milk – optional

METHOD

Pop the fennel chunks in a food processor with the shallot and whizz until well shredded. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and when warm add the fennel and onion. Pan fry gently for about ten minutes until the fennel becomes soft. 

Add the garlic. Stir for another minute or two. Pour in the chicken stock and add the saffron and paprika.  

Put a lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pop the chicken in the food processor and whizz until broken down. Add to the soup. 

Simmer for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.

You could now add the milk – or cream if you want to be remarkably indulgent (!)  – and simmer for another minute – then remove from the heat , and blend down gently with a stick blender.

Serve with warm crusty bread!

I promise you, this is full of fabulous flavours!

 

 

Summer Salmon Salad

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A Fabulous Melange of Green leaves, Salmon and Giant Cous Cous!

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Simplicity itself! Arrange salad leaves of your choosing on a large platter. Pan fry 100 gm of giant cous cous in a little olive oil for about 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Then add 200 ml of cold water. Add  pinch of cumin seeds and a pinch of smoked paprika and simmer for about 20 minutes stirring often. You may need to top up the water a little if it starts to dry out. Once it is ready leave to one side to cool then spread over your salad leaves. Add a couple of hot smoked salmon fillets broken up. Then add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and mix gently.

You could always use lentils if you cannot get hold of any giant cous cous.

A great summer light lunch!

 

 

Full on Feta Salad

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This can be a meal in itself – great for lunch or supper – but I had it last night with lamb chops pan fried with garlic, lemon and parsley.

INGREDIENTS

Salad leaves of your choice

6 baby plum tomatoes halved

1 block of feta rinsed and cut into cubes

12 black olives halved

Half a pointed red pepper thinly sliced

1 stick of celery thinly sliced

3 radishes thinly sliced

Handful of fresh coriander chopped- you could use mint instead

FOR THE DRESSING

6 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

Pinch of sugar

Dash of salt

Grind or two of black pepper

METHOD

  1. Make the dressing by whacking the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Toss all the there ingredients together in a large salad bowl.
  3. Just before serving , which the dressing once more and pour over the salad. 

Get a fork and tuck in!

 

 

King prawn and chilli frittata

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This is a great take on the recipe I gave you on the 15th February. For this version – which I made for lunch today – and omg it was fabulous – I added 125 gm king prawns as the fish and 1 chopped red chilli along with 6 finely sliced shallots instead of the red onion. My herb of choice was coriander leaf this time. If you use these substitutes the rest of the recipe was the same. Just remember to use good eggs!

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Chicken with peppers

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Pollo con peperoni – chicken at its most supreme

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Supper last night and I was in the mood for chicken…and for pasta…and I had some cream left over and a red pepper…so it had to be this dish…simple and such a refreshing change.

INGREDIENTS

400gm chicken fillet cut into strips

1 large red pepper deseeded and cut into strips

100 ml olive oil

2 small red onions peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic peels and finely chopped

Teaspoon of dried red chillies

100 ml white wine

Salt and black pepper

8 cherry tomatoes quartered

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

150 ml soured cream – single would be fine too

METHOD

Heat half the oil in a large deep pan – a non stick wok with a lid would be dandy – or a stainless steel casserole pan. Add the onion and fry gently over a lowish heat for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from pan into a bowl and put to one side.

Add the remaining oil – add the chicken – raise the heat to medium and brown the chicken for around 6-8 minutes.

Return the onion to the pan with the garlic and the dried chilli.

Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the red pepper slices.

Season with salt and black pepper. After 4 minutes stir in the tomatoes. 

Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for around 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream. Add the chopped parsley and after a minute or so – serve with pasta.

A colourful southern Italian dish with more flavours than you could imagine.

Enjoy!

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Fresh Salmon and Red Onion Frittata

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FRITTATA DI SALMONE E CIPOLLE ROSSE

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Some say frittata some say tortilla! Well, the Italians and Spanish at least! This is my version of a recipe gleaned form the work of Gino D’campo. He uses cod and chives – but I reckon this one with salmon and basil is better! I love making these – not much work for lots of reward flavour wise and it looks so fab on the plate!

You can get at least 6 good portions out of this – or more if you want to serve it as a tapas cut into squares.

INGREDIENTS

300 gm of fresh salmon fillet skin removed

8 eggs – good ones!

Small bunch of basil leaves torn

Salt and black pepper

100 ml olive oil

1 large red onion peeled and thinly sliced

700 gm potatoes peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks

METHOD

Place the salmon in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Put to one side for a minute to cool, then strain and put salmon on a plate whilst you get everything else sorted.

Beat the eggs in a bowl – do not use cheap eggs – for what it is worth I used chestnut marines – anyway, the flavour of this dish is so much better with good organic ones. Add the basil and season. Stir.

Pour the oil into a non stick frying pan and pop onto a medium heat. Fry the onion for 4 minutes until softened, sit now and then with a wooden spoon. Add the potatoes, season with a little salt and a bit more black pepper. Continue to cook for 15 minutes more. Potatoes should be tender – might take up to 20 minutes. Flake the salmon and add to the pan and stir everything together. Now add the eggs and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Preheat the grill. After the 15 minutes is up, pop the frying pan under the hot grill for about 3 to 4 minutes to allow the frittata to set  – the top should have turned a light brown colour.

Transfer to a wam plate and slice and serve. Crusty bread goes down well with this. I served a dish of melanzane parmigiana too. Good buddies!

A fabulous, light supper dish. Tasty and satisfying. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach, Goats Cheese and Walnut Pasta

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A winter wonder to wow all the family!

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INGREDIENTS FOR 4

400 gm pasta of choice 

Olive oil and a knob of butter

An onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely sliced

200ml chicken or vegetable stock

200 gm of spinach uncooked

3 tbsp of crème fraîche

100 gm soft goats cheese

Tsp of chilli flakes

A handful of basil leaves torn

2 tbsp of chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Put your pasta on to cook.
  2. Heat a little olive oil and the butter in a large frying pan or wok
  3. Add the onion and sauté gently until softened then add the garlic. Fry for a minute. Pour in the stock .
  4. Add the spinach and cook  for a minute, then add the crème fraîche and stir in. Season with black pepper.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the creamy mixture. Crumble in the goats cheese.
  6. Add the chilli flakes and the torn basil leaves, then the walnuts. Stir gently.
  7. Check for seasoning.

A fabulous dish for late autumn and you can play about with it as you wish. Use different greens – maybe rocket – maybe savoy cabbage finely shredded or even crumbled broccoli. You could use pine nuts too. Tis up to you!

But you MUST try it!