Date Archives July 2021

Mushroom & Ricotta Galette

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avoury galettes are so satisfying and hearty especially when you combine the meaty taste of mushrooms. An eggless quiche you could compare it to but much more forgiving with its rough pastry cracks and artisan edges. It can also be filled with whatever you like, just make sure there isn’t anything too wet inside. Roasted kale or peppers as a suggestion or experiment with a multitude of cheeses.

I made a ‘quick flaky pastry’ which I just love as its so short and crumbly but if you don’t want the hassle feel free to swap in a puff pastry here and save some time.

Galette can also slyly and traditionally be made sweet filled with almond frangipane. See here for a traditional French “galette des rois” with cinnamon ice cream.

Serves 4  Р serve with a lovely crisp salad dressed with a Dijon and lemon dressing!

Pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g cold butter, cubed
  • Cold water

You can also use ready made puff pastry if you like, a 500g block.

Filling

  • 500g mixed mushrooms (I used about 300 chestnut and 200g mixed wild) chopped roughly
  • 2 small leeks, finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 180g ricotta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g blue cheese (or cheddar, goats cheese, brie, use whatever you like)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 handful thyme, leaves picked
  • Sprig rosemary, leaves picked
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Start by making the pastry. Combine the flour, salt and pepper and the cubed cold butter in a food processor and process until you get a fine breadcrumb like texture (you can also rub it by hand). With the motor running, add a tablespoon of cold water adding enough very carefully until the dough just comes together but isn’t sticky (about 2-3 tbsp). Tip it out onto a floured surface and combine the last bit with your hands to form a nice dough ball. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes at least in the fridge.
  2. Heat half the butter in a frying pan and add a tbsp of olive oil. When just hot and starting to sizzle, add the chopped mushrooms and cook gently until they begin to brown and they loose their water. This can take about 8 minutes. Don’t be tempted to crowd the pan with mushrooms, do it in 2 batches if needed. If using wild and more delicate mushrooms, add these at the end as they take less time.
  3. Once starting to turn golden, add the crushed garlic cloves and the chopped thyme and rosemary and stir to combine for a few minutes to cook the garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the rest of the butter and sweat the leek gently on a low heat until soft, silky and just beginning to caramelise. Season and remove from the heat and stir in all but a handful of the parsley.
  5. Heat the oven to 190 and pop in a baking tray to preheat. Remove your chosen pastry from the fridge.
  6. Roll the pastry into a rough circle (about 14 inches) – don’t worry too much at getting it perfectly round but good enough. It should be about the thickness of a pound coin. Place it onto a sheet of baking parchment while you fill.
  7. Spread your ricotta cheese nicely on the base of the pastry, leaving a good 2 inch rim clear, like a pizza. Season and grate the zest of the lemon on top of the ricotta.
  8. Top with the leeks spreading evenly.
  9. Top with the garlic mushrooms. Finally, crumble or grate over your cheese of choice as liberally as you like.
  10. Brush the 2 inch rim of the pastry with beaten egg and then gently fold over the edges to partly cover the filling. Press down any pastry that overlaps. Coat the rest of the pastry in the beaten egg.
  11. Remove the hot baking tray from the oven carefully. Next very carefully slide your parchment with you galette on top. You can do this easiest from the edge of your counter. The hot tray should help the base cook evenly so its nice and crisp. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and smelling wonderful checking after 20 if needed.
  12. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes or so before scattering over the rest of the parsley and serve.

Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie (with quinoa & feta)

I

am back on the blogging train this week it seems! My head space is opening up again to creative mid week recipes as wedding planning is a thing of the past! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for some time and it was worth the effort to try something new. Credit to ‘delicious.’ magazine where this inspiration is from however I have, as usual, altered it to my instincts but a winner none the less.

More importantly I’ve renamed it. “Spiced lamb crumble” didn’t summon great thoughts for me (sorry Delicious). It sort of reminded me of the Friends episode where Rachel makes an English Triple. Peas, lamb and cream…! So “Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie” it became with an added sprinkle of Ras el Hanout. A must have in your spice rack if you want to be transported to the Middle East or northern Africa.

Serves 4-6

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Knob ginger, grated
  • 1-2 chillis (as hot as you like), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Ras el Hanout
  • Small glass red wine (optional)
  • 250g tomato passata
  • 300-400ml hot chicken/vege stock
  • 1 pomegranate

Topping

  • 190g quinoa, rinsed
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • Chopped parsley & mint
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Take a heavy based casserole dish and heat a tbsp of olive oil on the hob over a medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and sweat gently for about 10 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the lamb mince and plenty of seasoning and break it up with a wooden spoon, frying gently with the onion until brown. Once brown add the chopped chilli, garlic and ginger, stir to combine and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the flour, and all the dried spices and mix well so they coat the lamb and onion mix. They will absorb the juices quickly. Once coated add the glass of wine and stir well, followed by the passata. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add about 300ml of stock and stir to combine. Add enough stock to achieve a thick sauce but it will reduce in the oven so don’t make it thick! This bit is really up to you for your desired consistency. Season to taste.
  5. Pop into the oven for about 25-30 minutes (or simmer on the hob) to help reduce the sauce and concentrate all the lovely flavours.
  6. Meanwhile make the topping. Cook 150g of the quinoa for about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  7. Once cooled, season well and add the rest of the uncooked quinoa, lemon zest, crumbled feta and the chopped herbs. Add about 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Check the seasoning.
  8. Once the lamb comes out the oven stir well and transfer to a casserole dish.
  9. Top with the quinoa crumble spreading up to the edges and bake for 30 minutes until just golden on top and the sauce is bubbling round the edges.
  10. Serve with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and fresh chopped herbs is any spare!

I served mine with green beans.

Pearl Barley Salad & Pea Puree

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haven’t blogged anything new in some time. Don’t worry I haven’t stopped cooking, our meals have just rotated between old favourites, cheap quick fixes and emergency lentils. I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with…a wedding. My wedding! My first blog post as a married woman. He was a happy man he said as he cheerfully devoured this dinner. Little does he know the menus to come…just wait for anniversary one!

The promise of a proper summer streamed through our balcony windows today and the forecast for our precious weekends begins to look brighter, dressy and filled with cold crisp pints. It is also a pinnacle time for the world opening up again. I very much look forward to stopping for an unplanned, non-booked drink at a random pub and even ordering it myself at a bar. Heck I might even pay in cash (perhaps one step too far?).

Back to this recipe. The dish is so fresh and vibrant in flavour yet it is deceivingly satiating. The barely salad is filled with summery, flavours all coated in the gorgeously sweet velvety pea that I always wish I’d made more of.

Serves 2

  • 2 fillets of fish – seabass, bream, cod – pick your favourite.
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 stock cube
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 handful mint & parsley, leave picked
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 knob butter
  1. Prepare your pearl barely salad ingredients. Cut your courgette into dice, bite sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the herbs and grate the zest of the lemon juice on top. Set aside with the courgette.
  3. Toast you pine nuts in a dry hot frying pan until golden, set aside.
  4. Simmer the pearl barley in boiling water for about 20-30 minutes until just soft and the bite has gone. Drain and return to the pan and keep warm with a lid on. You’ll finish this at the last minute.
  5. Make you pea puree just before serving, right before you cook you fish. Prepare a pan of stock and add the garlic clove and the peas. Boil for about 2 minutes then remove from the heat. Add the peas & garlic clove only (keep the stock) to a blender/nutribullet with some seasoning and a knob of butter. Add a small splash of the hot stock to the mix but best to add little to start so you can thin it down to the desired consistency, its harder to make thicker again! Blend and add more stock to achieve a smooth creamy texture but you really don’t need a lot. You’re not looking for soup but you’re not looking for mash! Season well to taste. Set aside and keep as hot as you can while you cook the fish.
  6. Heat a frying pan until piping hot and add a tiny bit of oil. Season you fish and cook, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes, finishing for 30 seconds on the flesh side (timings for a seabass/bream fillet)
  7. Combine herbs, lemon zest, juice of the lemon, courgette and the pine nuts and mix well into the barely you set aside.
  8. Spoon a lovely ladleful of pea puree onto a plate. Top with your pearl barley salad and finally your fish fillet. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil if you like, extra pine nuts or another squeeze of lemon

Eat ideally in a sunny garden while the birds chirping in the background. I will have to settle for a balcony, London sirens but a handsome husband to gaze into the eyes of. Who knows, perhaps a garden and bird song is on our list for the next adventure.