Saturday, 28 April 2012

Pasta with roasted courgettes and haloumi

This is just for two servings but that's because we love lots of veggies in our dishes. The amount of vegetables might be enough for four servings.

200 g pasta
3 courgettes
1 haloumi cheese
1 red onion
1 red chilli
1 garlic clove
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200 °C. Pour some olive oil into a roasting try and place the tray into the oven to heat for about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the courgettes lengthways and slice them. Half and slice the red onion, chop up the garlic, core and finely slice the chilli. Slice the haloumi and then roughly chop it.

3. Place the courgettes into the heated roasting tray and add all the other ingredients. Season with a little salt and pepper and roast for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven.

4. Boil the pasta and mix in the veg. Serve immediately, optionally with a side salad.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Pork chops with cream, mustard and spinach topping

I've used a lot of spinach for just two people. That amount is probably enough for 4. I served this with fusilli pasta drizzled with a touch of extra virgin olive oil.

2 pork chops
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
150 ml soured cream
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
250 g spinach leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
extra virgin olive oil

1. Season the pork chops on both sides with pepper and salt. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meat for about 4-5 minutes on each side (depends on thickness).

2. In the meantime, switch on the oven to the lowest setting and warm 3 plates.

3. Wash the spinach and spin dry. If you don't have a salad spinner, shake your colander and tip the spinach onto a clean dish cloth. Pat it as dry as possible without bruising the leaves. Set aside.

4. Mix the soured cream, mustard and garlic and season with a little black pepper. Set aside.

5. Once the meat is cooked, transfer onto one of the warmed plates and place in the oven.

6. Tip the spinach into the frying pan and wilt in the cooking oil. Add the cream mixture and heat through.

7. Place a chop on each plate, optionally drizzling with the meat juices, and top with the creamy spinach. Serve immediately.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Swiss Walnut Tart (Engadiner Nusskuchen)

I came across this recipe via a community sister of a home décor website I'm active on and simply had to try it out. It's wonderful - and I don't normally eat cakes! One little thing: I find the shortcrust pastry a wee bit sweet so reduced the amount of sugar, originally 150 g. Also, I always use fine unrefined brown sugar instead of white sugar. In this case I think it probably enhances the overall butterscotch taste. But anyone who loves pecan pie, banoffi pie, florentine biscuits etc. has got to try this! :))))

Shortcrust pastry:
160 g butter, softened
100 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
300 g flour

20 g butter
300 g sugar
250 g coarsely chopped walnuts
250 ml whipping cream, warmed

1 egg yolk for brushing

1. Work the softened butter, sugar, flour and egg into a shortcrust pastry, then chill.

2. In the meantime make the filling:

Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan, add the sugar and over a medium to high heat keep stirring until the sugar has melted and you have a smooth, thick caramel. If there are lumps, don't worry just keep stirring until they have dissolved.

Add the walnuts and warmed cream and bring to the boil. Leave to cool a little. Don't worry if there are hard bits and the mix isn't quite homogenous, that happened to me as well but they'll dissolve with the heat from the oven.

3. While the nut mix is cooling, get your shortcrust pastry out of the fridge and divide in two parts: 1/3 for the lid and 2/3 for the base.

Roll out the base or press into a 24 cm spring tin or flan dish bringing it up to form a rim. Use a fork to stab some holes into the bottom. Now add the nut mix.

Roll out the pastry for the lid and cover the cake. Fold any excess pastry over, with a fork stab a few holes into the lid and brush with egg yolk.

4. Baking times:

fan-assisted oven: 30-40 min at 180 °C on the second level from the bottom

gas oven: 40 min at gas mark 5 (200 °C)

Check if it's finished with a skewer - there will still be a little sticky caramel on the skewer.

If using a spring tin turn out of the tin and leave to cool on a rack, otherwise leave and serve in the flan dish. Optionally serve with whipped cream or to complement the sweetness of the cake with crème fraîche, soured cream or Greek yoghurt.