Monday, 29 March 2010

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: The easiest tomato sauce ever

This is so simple and quick to assemble and tastes so delicious. We use it as a tomato "sauce" with pasta, as a side dish with fish and serve it hot or cold.

Basic pasta sauce for two people:

350 g cherry, cherry plum or cherry vine tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1 level teaspoon of brown sugar
2-3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
extra virgin olive oil

1. Place half of the garlic in a roasting tray and add the tomatoes on top.
2. Season and sprinkle with the remaining garlic and the sugar.
3. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil
4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at full whack for 20-30 minutes or until some of the tomatoes start to brown.
5. Remove vines if used.

Serve with pasta and optionally freshly grated parmesan.

1. Add some dried herbs: oregano, basil, herbes de Provence, a bayleaf or similar
2. Add fresh herbs, for example a sprig of thyme, oregano, marjoram
3. Sprinkle with freshly chopped basil before serving.
4. Drizzle with a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Nigella Lawson's Roasted Poussin and Sweet Potatoes

I just have to share this youtube video with you as the recipe is so fast, yet so tasty and it would make an impressive main course for a dinner party. We tried it on Saturday and the sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon are just to die for. IMHO, this is not an everyday dish at all. Enjoy!

Fresh Filled Pasta with Spinach, Basil & Pinenuts

Here's an idea to turn filled, fresh shop-bought pasta into something delicious and healthy. This takes only about 5 minutes to prepare as only the pasta needscooking!

1 packet of the filled, fresh pasta of your choice
a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
a small handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
1-2 tbsp toasted pinenuts
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1 garlic clove (optional)
freshly grated parmesan
balsamic glaze (optional)

1. Boil the pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach and basil leaves.
3. If you have pinenuts but they aren't toasted, heat a non-stick pan. When the pan is hot, add the pinenuts and keep moving them around so they brown evenly without burning. Set aside when ready.
4. Drain the pasta, return to the saucepan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with pepper (I don't add any salt at this point but that's a matter of taste).
5. Squeeze a garlic clove over the paste (if used), then add the spinach, basil and pinenuts and toss gently together. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the pasta.
6. Serve on 2 plates and add some freshly grated parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Zingy Rice Salad

This is a really fast recipe when made with left over rice and tastes of summer even now in March. I'm using firm veggies here as they'll stay firm even if the rice salad is kept for a day. Other than the peppers I used here, courgettes or deseeded cucumber would make good alternatives.

250 g of boiled rice (brown, basmati, long grain...)
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 small red pepper, cut into tiny chunks
1 part lime juice (juice of 1/2-1 lime)
3 parts of extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
sea salt (if using unsalted rice)
fresh coriander, coarsely chopped (if at hand)

Mix all the ingredients together and if possible leave to marinate for 30 minutes or longer.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Jamie Oliver Fish Pie

STOP PRESS: Just found Jamie's recipe on his website - though there he doesn't use spinach.

While having a look for free stuff on iTunes, my other half came across a number of short Jamie Oliver video podcasts aimed at people who are scared of cooking or think that making tasty food takes hours. These little clips are between 7.5 and 9.5 minutes long. Most of them are meat dishes so not that interesting for me but this healthier, quicker version of a traditional fish pie is really yummy. We've had it twice now ;) but I have to say we used half the amount of fish with the amount of veggies below. The idea is to be creative and add whatever veg you fancy.

In many of these recipes he uses a box grater rather than chopping things up with a knife.

750 g fresh fish, mixed or just one type according to taste and pocket (e.g. salmon, cod, smoked haddock, prawns, scallops, pollock, etc. - whatever you fancy, whatever your pocket)
1 carrot, coarsely grated
2 celery sticks, coarsely grated
150 g cheddar (gouda would work just fine IMO), coarsely grated
1/2 red chilli, finely grated
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 handful fresh spinach
chopped parseley

potatoes for mashing
freshly grated nutmeg

1. Grate the veg and cheese with a box grater and transfer to a large oven-proof dish.

2. Chop the fish into inch-sized chunks and add to dish. Top with the spinach leaves and parseley.

3. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with pepper and salt and add the oil.

4. Mix it all together with your hands or a large spoon and smooth out.

5. Top with the mash ensuring everything is well covered.

6. Cook in a preheated oven at 200 °C/gas mark 5 for 40 minutes.

Chop a couple of spring onions.
If no celery is available, you can use a small onion.
Add 1-2 garlic cloves to the mix (garlic press or chopped very finely)