Monday, 22 October 2012

Pasta with Aubergine, Red Pepper, Fennel Seeds, Lime Juice and Fresh Coriander

We're currently eating pasta every night because it's quick and, prepared right, absolutely stunning. This is a vegan dish that I put together tonight without thinking about it too much and it was fabulous.

(serves 2)

200-250 g durum wheat pasta
1 aubergine
2 sweet red peppers
1 red onion
1 whole-bulb garlic
1 sweet red chilli
1 tsp fennel seeds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut the aubergines lengthways into four thick slices and slice into 1 cm thick slices. Halve and dessed the peppers and cut into 2 cm strips. Peel and half the onion and cut into thin wedges. Peel the garlic and cut into slivers.

2. Place all the vegetables into a roasting tray. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the fennel seed and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 200 °C/gas mark 5-6 for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven. Mix every 20 minute or so.

3. When the veggies are almost ready cook the pasta in lightly salted water as per packet instructions. Drain and return to the saucepan. Add the roasted veg and the lime juice. Mix and serve on plates. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve immeditately.

If you don't like coriander try flat leaf parsley instead.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Baby Courgette, Chorizo and Dolce Latte Pasta Bake

I admit it. I am currently crazy about chorizo. However, leave out the chorizo and this is a fab vegetarian pasta bake.

(serves two)

8 baby courgettes
1 red chilli
50 g chorizo
250 ml semi-skimmed milk
1 garlic clove
freshly ground black pepper
75 g dolce latte
1 heaped tsp flour cold water
200 g pasta

1. Cut the baby courgette in half lengthways. Half and deseed the chilli and finely slice.

2. Boil the pasta in lightly salted water for about half the time it says on the packet. Drain the pasta and place into an oven-proof dish.

3. Make the sauce by pouring the milk into a small saucepan, crumble and add the dolce latte. Season with pepper. Squeeze in the garlic. Heat slowly.

4. Put 1 heaped tsp of flour into a cup or similar and add 1-2 tbsp cold water. Mix using a whisk. Add to the cheese sauce and bring to the boil stirring regularly so the sauce won't burn.

5. At the same time, sauté the sliced chorizo, chilli and courgettes (cut-side down) for a minute or two until lightly browned. Remove and place onto kitchen towel to drain.

6. Add the chorizo, courgettes and chilli to the oven-proof dish, mix with the pasta and pour over the sauce. Cover with tin foil and bake at 200°C/gas mark 5 for 45 minutes. The pasta will have absorbed most of or all of the sauce. Serve with a tomato, cucumber and pomegranate salad.

Tomato, cucumber and pomegranate salad

1/2 cucumber
250 g cherry plum tomatoes
1 pomegranate
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime
extra virgin olive oils

1. Peel the cucumber if you or your guests have problems digesting the skin. Cut lenghtways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut lengthways again and chop into 1 cm pieces.

2. Halve the cherry tomatoes.

3. Remove the fruit from the pomegranate taking care that none of the white pip gets in as it's bitter.

4. Place all the salad ingredients into a nice serving bowl. Season with pepper and salt. Squeeze over the lime juice and add about 4 tbsp olive oil. Leave to marinate for an hour or so before serving.

Autumn Pasta - Conchiglie with Butternut Squash

I just love all the little squash/pumpkins that are in the shops at this time of year. Unfortunately, most of them end up really flowery after roasting. Therefore I recommend butternut squash, which stays firm and is an absolute joy to eat. BTW, it's easy to turn this into a vegetarian recipe. Just leave out the chorizo and season the veg with a little salt.

(serves 4)

1 butternut squash
100 g chorizo
1 sweet red pepper
250 cherry (plum) tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves.

350 g conchigle pasta
sea salt

freshly grated parmesan

1. Trim the top of the butternut squash, then half and core. Cut into sections and dice. Coarsely chop the pepper. Cut the chorizo lengthways and slice.

2. Place all the butternut squash, pepper, whole cherry tomatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves and chorizo slices into a roasting tray. Season with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Mix well and place in the oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes at 200°C, gas mark 4.

3. When the veg are almost done, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to packet instructions.

4. Drain the pasta and mix with the veggies. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve with a crisp leafy salad.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mushrooms stuffed with butter beans served with pistachio basmati rice

This recipe can easily be turned into a veggie dish. Just leave out the bresaola and chorizo and season with salt. I served this with pistachio basmati anad a broccoli salad, only this time I used balsamic for the dressing instead of lemon juice and served the salad cold.
(serves 2-4)

1 tin of organic butter beans (no added salt or sugar), drained
1 red onion
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
5 spring onions
50 g chorizo
4 sices of bresaola, optional
1 heaped tsp. dried oregano
150 ml full bodied red wine
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

4 large flat mushrooms
100 g crumbled feta cheese

1. Peel the mushrooms and remove the stalks. Set aside. 2. Halve and slice the onions, coarsely grate the garlic and slice the spring onions. Halve the chorizo lengthways and slice into 2-3 mm thick slices. Cut the bresaola in half and slice. 3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan, e. g. Le Creuset, add onions, spring onions garlic, chorizo, bresaola, chopped mushroom stalks, oregano and sautée first over a high heat, then over a medium heat to caramalise the onion and brown the meat. This'll take 10-15 minutes. 4. Add the drained butter beans and mix. Pour over the wine and season with pepper. Cook over a low to medium heat for about 30-45 minutes to infuse the flavours. 5. Fill the mushrooms with the bean mix and place in a lightly oiled baking tray. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove the tin foil, sprinkle over the feta cheese and put under the grill for a couple of minutes until the feta has browned.

Pistachio basmati

Pistachio Rice

Normally, I don't buy basmati rice because I prefer brown rice but when I spotted brown basmati at the supermarket the other day I was keen to try it out.

300 g brown basmati rice
50 g unsalted toasted pistachio nuts, shelled and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
200 g brown basmati rice

1. Wash and cook the basmati according to the packet instructions in lightly salted water until tender.
2. Toast the cumin in a non-stick pan and grind in a mortar.
3. Coarsely chop the pistachios and grate the carlic.
4. When the rice is done, heat some olive oil. Add the pistachios, garlic and cumin to the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and mix well. Serve immediately.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Chorizo Cassoulet with Cannellini Beans

This is a wonderful warming autumn dish which I served with a warm broccoli salad. If you're vegetarian and leave out the chorizo just add a little salt. If you want to leave out the wine, you can optionally add a tablespoon of balsamic.

100 g chorizo, halved lengthways and sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
1 can organic cannellini beans (without salt or sugar), rinsed and drained
300 g potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 small Hokaido pumpkin, diced
1 carrot, peeled, cut lenghtways and sliced
500 ml tomato passata
8-10 sage leaves. finely sliced
2 bay leaves, rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 glass of full bodied red wine
optionally soured cream for serving

1. Sauté the onion, garlic, leak, sage and chorizo over a medium heat until the veggies are soft.

2. Add the potatoes, carrot, pumpkin, beans, bay leaves and mix well. Then add the passata and wine, if used. Season with pepper and paprika.

3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-60 minutes. The longer it cooks the more intense the flavours.

4. Serve with the warm broccoli salad or a crunchy green salad.

Warm Broccoli Salad

I served this with a chorizo cassoulet and it was just divine.

500 g broccoli
1 tbsp red onion, very, very finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
approx. 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut the broccoli into florets and cut the florets into halves or, if bigger, three or four pieces. Pleace into a steamer and steam for about 10 minutes until just cooked al dente.

2. In the meantime, make your dressing.

3. Tip the broccoli into a dish, leave to cool for a few minutes. Then dress and serve.
Add a finely chopped chilli and use balsamic instead of lemon juice.