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!

 

 

 

 

 

PERFECT POLPETTINE!

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PORK, LEMON AND THYME POLPETTINE

As Nigel Slater describes them in his Kitchen Diaries 1 – ‘a meatball to beat them all!’

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This is one of my favourite supper dishes of the meat variety. Perfect served with noodles.

Please give these a go. You will be so glad you did!

INGREDIENTS

70gm white breadcrumbs

500 gm pork mince

A lemon

Parsley leaves – large handful

Several sprigs of fresh thyme

2 heaped tbsp of grated parmesan

A little flour

Optional – 5 anchovy fillets

Olive oil

40 gm butter

200 ml chicken stock

METHOD

Pop the mince and breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon into the mixture then halve the lemon and squeeze in all the juice. Add chopped parsley leaves and the thyme stripped from their sprigs. Now add the parmesan – and the anchovy fillets chopped – or of not a good grind of sea salt. Now add several good grinds of black pepper.

Using a dessert spoon make about 18 small balls of the mixture. Sprinkle the flour on a board and add each meatball to it as you make them. 

Roll them lightly in the flour. Add the oil to a wok – or large frying pan. Fry the balls on a medium heat for about 4 or 5 minutes, until crispy golden. 

Lower the heat and let them cook through for about another 8 minutes. Try not to move them now.

Then spoon off most of the fat and add the hot chicken stock. Leave to bubble for 2 or 3 minutes.

I now added some finely shredded raw vegetables – bits I had left over – a few bits of broccoli, a couple of cabbage leaves, half a carrot. Whatever you fancy! Or you could leave them out too! Tis up to you. 

I also now added my lightly cooked noodles to the dish and stirred round gently to soak up the flavours.

Thank you again to Nigel Slater for this fab recipe idea. Magnifico!

And a Happy Birthday to him for April 10th!

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cannellini and Chorizo One Pot

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This is a perfect mid week supper – simple and satisfying with sufficient zing to warm up your engine!

 

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INGREDIENTS for 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken breast cut into chunks
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
Splash red wine
275g chorizo, thinly sliced
1 x 400g  can chopped tomatoes
200ml  chicken stock
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful chopped fresh coriander
Crusty bread or a good warm flat bread, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat half of the  oil in a large pan. Add the chicken, grind over some black pepper, and fry, turning frequently, until lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2.  Add a little more oil to the pan, then fry the chorizo until crispy, add to the warming plate with the chicken.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, celery and chilli and cook for five minutes in the juices left over. Add a splash of red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Add the can of chopped tomatoes to the pan with the vegetables, stir and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes, then add the stock and bring back to the boil.
  5. Add the browned chicken, the cannellini beans and the crisp chorizo and half the chopped coriander – simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through –  no lid. Season, to taste, with a tiny bit of salt if needed and a little more ground black pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining chopped coriander and serve with crusty bread.

This went down well last night and was hoovered up very happily by the family.

 

 

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!

Slow pan fried potatoes with mushrooms. thyme and taleggio

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This is a fabulous supper dish – great on its own or accompanying chicken, sausages, pork loin, even salmon. The flavours and textures are hard to beat. So simple, so satisfying and somehow something that feels as if you have spent a lot more time on it than you will have. I saw this recipe first on a Nigel Slater cookery programme – he is a real wizard with tasty supper dishes.

Taleggio is perfect for this – a Northern Italian soft cheese that melts to unctuous perfection. Fontina would work also. Do not remove the skin – there lurks so much of the fragrance and the flavour!

Ingredients

For 2 as a main – 4 as a small side dish. I used 750 gm potatoes for 3 of us last night.

500 gm new potatoes

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tbsps olive oil

50 gm slice of butter

2 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced thinly

A good handful or two of mushrooms of choice sliced

Thyme

100 gm Taleggio

Method

Slice the potatoes into pound coin size slices – some lengthways some across. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan or large frying pan, and once the butter has melted, add the onion. Fry over a low to medium heat gently until the onion begins to become soft and pale gold, about ten minutes.

Then add the garlic, potatoes, mushrooms plus a good sprinkle of dried thyme or a small handful of fresh thyme leaves, some salt and black pepper. Stir gently to get all the potatoes coated in the oil and herbs.

Turn the heat as low as you can. Pop a lid on for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every now and then. The potatoes will turn soft and golden – but not crispy – you do not want them to go crispy! – add the thin slices of Taleggio over the potatoes.. cover the pan again – it will have melted after a few minutes. 

Bring to the table and serve from the pan!

Love your leftovers!

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Sausage and Spud Chilli

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Lent is here – so something fishy will be going on tonight – last few days have been about decluttering cupboards and fridges – trying to use up left overs in all ways possible. I love making meals from odds and sods – this one almost made itself.

I had 4 sausages left – so skinned them, pan fried them lightly in  little olive oil, crumbling them as they went, with the one red chilli I had lingering in the larder, plus a little cumin and a dash of sea salt and black pepper. I had a bowl of boiled new potatoes left over from a day or two before so they all got diced and thrown in, along with the last of the shallots finely chopped and a small bunch of coriander, chopped, that had been hiding on the window sill.

A good stir – I left it for 15 minutes on a medium heat stirring now and then – then I added 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, a little smidgen of tomato sauce and stirred it once more. I then left it on a low heat for about 30 minutes. 

I had a baguette left over from the day before, so that got sliced – I put a splash of olive oil in a frying pan with some crushed garlic and pan fried the slices until golden – drained them on kitchen paper – served the chilli in bowls with the croutons on top.

Simple, cheap, tremendously tasty….and no more leftovers!

Pork, mushrooms and coriander on a gentle bed of rösti…

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Wow! This is such a fabulous supper dish, perfect for a snowy night in January. It has it all. Texture, aroma, flavours diverse and pretty to boot.

Rösti is great fun to make. You could make an easy one pan version and cut into slices, or as here, make individual portions.

You can also play about with it, adding bacon or onions etc. But true rösti is all Swiss and all potato!

For 4

1 pork tenderloin cut into half cm slices

100 gm mushrooms of choice – sliced – I used chestnut this time round

Bunch of fresh coriander chopped

150 gm sour cream

Tbsp cumin

Tsp of chopped chilli flakes

Olive oil

Slice of butter

Sea salt and black pepper

6 potatoes peeled

Method

Grate the potatoes – either with a box grater or, as I did, being lazy, in a mixer using the grater attachment. Pour the grated potatoes onto a clean cloth, wrap and squeeze water out over the sink. Then add to a bowl with a good sprinkle of sea salt and a grind or two go black pepper. I used a pastry cutter to fill the potato with – slide it carefully onto a board and repeat until you have 2 rösti per person, or, depending on the size of your pastry cutter, one decent sized rösti per person. Leave to one side.

Add oil to a frying pan and when hot, add the pork slices with the cumin seeds and chilli flakes and some sea salt and black pepper. Pan fry for about 5 minutes stirring. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir and fry on a highish heat for 2 minutes, then turn  the heat down to a medium flame. 

Add a splash of oil and the slice of butter to antihero frying pan and when hot, add carefully the rösti. Flatten each slightly and fry without turning for 5 minutes, check that the underside is golden then using two spatulas turn each one over. Fry for another 5 minutes.

The pork should be cooked by now, so add the cream and warm though. Add a rösti to each plate, top with the pork and mushroom mixture, then sprinkle over some fresh coriander.

A marvellous meal perfect in every respect. The rösti is so delicious and all will want more!

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Risi e bisi…. it’s easy peasy!

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Venetian Rice Dish with Pancetta and Peas

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This is one of those dishes that I have been meaning to get around to cooking for a while….I should have made it before – it is delicious!

Simplicity itself and considering the basic ingredients the result is remarkable. It satisfies the soul and calms the beast. It is awash with flavours.

For 4

60gm butter

3 tbsps olive oil

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

150 gm pancetta or smoky bacon

500gm frozen peas

A handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1.5 L of hot chicken or vegetable stock

400 gm arborio rice

50 gm parmesan grated

Good extra virgin oil for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 40 gm of the butter with the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the onion and pancetta for 5 minutes, stirring now and then, Add the peas with the parsley, and 2 ladlefuls of the hot stock. Simmer for 15 minutes – no lid – until the stock has evaporated.

Add the rice and stir gently on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 500 ml of the stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. As soon as the water has been absorbed add more stock, a ladleful at a time. Cook for 20 more minutes until the risotto looks a little like soup and the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parmesan. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Serve in warmed bowls and drizzle on a little olive oil at the table.

Autumnal bliss in a bowl.

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