Posts tagged parsley

Mediterranean Roasted Potato Salad

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ith a holiday on the horizon it was time to use up the rest of the ingredients littering my fridge…I love this challenge.

Thats where the excellent ingredients that Odysea Greek produce come in handy – and ironically it was Greece where I would be destined for! Odysea sent me a glorious box of their devious samples last year and from this I have savoured some store cupboard gems, waiting patiently in the back of my cupboard until called upon and ready to pack a punch when called to the spotlight.

This salad was a mixture of fridge leftovers combined with a few cheeky purchases and of course, some glorious Greek flare. I used Odysea’s ‘Sun Dried Tomato Meze’ – a mixture of tomatoes, capers, and olives chopped roughly and combined in a gloriously flavoured oil. Similarily you can use the former ingredients alone and combine in your own combination but since Odysea did it so well, I figured I’d use their convenience pre-holiday….

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his makes one large chunky roasted salad but feel free to sub in other ingredients to your taste. Serves around 2-3 as a side dish. I served mine with a lovely fillet of grilled sea bass, but some steamed or roasted cod with lemon and parsley would also be delicious.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 2 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 x packet green beans
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 6 x large sun dried tomatoes (chopped), 1 handful olives (chopped), 1 tbsp capers OR 4 tbsp ‘Odysea Sun-Dried Tomato Meze
  • 10 slices thin chorizo OR 1/2 ring chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 2 handfuls rocket leaves
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Start by par boiling your potatoes for about 10 minutes until just tender. Drain, shake in a pan to rough the edges and then tip into a roasting tray. Season and drizzle over a generous coating of olive/sunflower oil. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
  3. Meanwhile while they roast, par-boil the green beans for a few minutes. Drain and cool them under cold water.
  4. Chop the spring onions, parsley and combine in a large mixing bowl with the  cooled beans, lemon zest, sun dried tomato mixture and season.
  5. Pan fry the chorizo in a dry frying pan until crispy.
  6. Once the potatoes are ready, remove from the oven. Top into the salad bowl with the beans and herbs. Add the chorizo.
  7. Finely, just before serving, add the rocket leaves and squeeze over the juice of half the lemon.
  8. Serve!

 

Lahmacun Meatballs

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ahmacun is like a Turkish meat pizza which I’ve sampled in my many escapades to my favourite middle eastern restaurants and holiday destinations. Pizza you say? In a very loose sense. A thin dough topped with a layer of spiced minced meat and a scattering of tasty salad. However, I’ve been experimenting with textures and I decided to turn mine into meatballs – maintaining the spices and flavours of a traditional Lahmacun serving them on a warm pillowy nigella seed flecked flatbread and topped with a fresh crunchy raw salad.

This would make an excellent dinner party starter in a mini version or a light meal or lunch.

Serves 4 (Makes approx. 16 meatballs)

Meatballs

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 small red chilli, diced
  • 1tsp (heaped) ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika
  • 50g toasted pine nuts (dry fry in a hot pan until beginning to turn golden and release a nutty aroma!)
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Nigella Seed Flatbreads

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 150ml warm water
  • 1 1/2tbsp nigella seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Salad

  • 1 bag radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, cubed into 1cm dice
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 little gem lettuces, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Tahini

You’ll need 3 large bowl, one for each component to get yourself started. A large frying pan and preheat the oven to 180°C.

  1. Start by making the meatballs. Mix all the ingredients in your first large bowl and combine with your hands, squeezing the mixture together to ensure all the flavours are dispersed. Don’t overwork or pound the meat however. Season well. Taking golf ball sized chunks, roll into meatballs and place on a plate. Continue until you’ve used up all the meat and you have around 16 meatballs. Cover the plate and chill in the fridge until needed.
  2. Next, make the flatbread dough. Combine the flours, salt and pepper and seeds in your second bowl. Pour in the water and mix with a fork. As it comes together, get your hands in and combine into a dough. It shouldn’t be dry but nor should it be sticky. Depending on the texture, add a tough more water/flour to enable you to roll into a smooth ball. Knead for 2-3 minutes on a clean floured worktop. Set aside in a floured bowl and cover with cling film and leave to rest for  about 20 minutes or so.
  3. Assemble the salad. Combine all ingredients in your final bowl except the tahini and lemon. Season and then set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Begin the cooking – remove the meatballs from the fridge! Heat a splash of vegetable or light olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and fry the meatballs on all sides until they are golden and a nice crust has formed on the outside. Line a baking tray with foil and add the meatballs (the rest of the cooking can be done in the oven). Scrunch up the foil around them to keep them sealed ask they cook and stay moist. Place int he oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, fry your flatbreads. Heat a dry frying pan over a high heat (you will likely need your extractor fan on here)  Take your dough, divide into 4 balls. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out into a small saucer size about the thickness of a 10p piece. When the pan is hot, add one flatbread at a time and fry on both sides, turning when beginning to brown and char in places. The dough will ideally bubble up and create air pockets but it doesn’t matter if not.
  6. As you fry and complete each one, wrap them in a pile in a clean tea towel to keep them warm and soft until needed.
  7. Once the flatbreads are toasted and the meatballs are ready, remove them from the oven.
  8. Dress the salad with the lemon juice and toss to combine.
  9. To serve, top each flatbread with 3-4 meatballs. Add a large handful or salad over the top and drizzle with the tahini if you like.

(A lime and mint yoghurt would also go down well here instead of tahini if wanted)

Enjoy!

 

Porcini and Chestnut Risotto, Truffle Cream

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fter the indulgence of Christmas sometimes something a little less meat-dominant, goose fat roasted or gravy soaked is required. Although don’t get me wrong, it still is a festive, celebratory and just that – indulgent – season so lets not be eating green salads and spag bol just yet. Risotto is perfect for using up leftover scraps and cheeses but can still be pimped with indulgence and provides a warming hearty bowl of soul food when the fun of Christmas is behind you but the frost and cold still linger outside. Feel free to tag team in any other ingredients you prefer or have hanging around using rice, parmesan, shallots and stock as the foundations in all variations.

This recipe was particularly perfect after Christmas when chestnuts, cheese and leftover mushrooms were lingering in the fridge! And if you were lucky enough to be given a nice bottle of truffle oil..ahem..then a spike of it here goes a long way into disguising even the greediest of carnivores into noticing that this is in fact a vegetarian supper….

Happy New Year everyone. If not made before 2017 this is certainly one to make in the cold and bracing January days!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 350g arborio/risotto rice (about 4 large handfuls)
  • 3 shallots/2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30g butter and tbsp olive oil
  • Large glass dry white wine
  • Hot vegetable stock (about 700ml)
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • 50g butter, diced
  • Large bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 180g pre roasted and peeled chestnuts, finely chopped or grated.
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 200g mascarpone/creme fraiche
  • Truffle olive oil (You can also use fresh shaved truffle here!)
  1. Begin by soaking the dried porcini mushrooms in a jug with enough boiling water to cover and leave for about 15 minutes until softened and hydrated again.
  2. Next, heat 15g of the butter and a splash of olive oil in a large high sided frying pan or saucepan. Soften the chopped shallot gently on a low heat until translucent and soft. After about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Next add the rice and turn up the heat to medium and toast the grains while stirring consistently. The grain should begin to turn translucent too and ‘toast’.
  4. After a minute or so of toasting, add the white wine which will bubble briskly and stir until just absorbed.
  5. Drain the soaked mushrooms, chop and set aside. When draining, reserve the mushrooms soaking liquid but discard the final part that will contain any grit from the mushrooms.
  6. Use this hot liquid first before using the hot stock to add to the rice. Stir in the liquid ladle by ladle absorbing the liquid into the rice before adding the next but ensure it does not dry out. Add the liquid after 3/4 of the ladle before has been absorbed. This should take about 18 minutes stirring consistently.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the other 15g of butter and a splash of oil in another frying pan. Fry the chopped chestnut mushrooms until golden and then set aside until needed.
  8. When the rice is just al dente to taste, add in the chopped porcini and continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked to your liking and the texture is still loose. (Don’t allow it to stiffen). Taste and season as needed with plenty of black pepper.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, add in the fried chestnut mushrooms, the chopped parsley and chestnuts and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, scatter over the parmesan, the 50g diced butter and the juice of the lemon. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat and allow it to rest.
  11. Meanwhile, combine the mascarpone/creme fraiche with about 1 tbsp truffle oil or enough to taste depending on the strength that you like it.
  12. Once done, remove the lid from the risotto and stir in the melted cheese to combine evenly. If the texture is a little stiff, add a splash of hot stock to loosen so you get an ‘oozing’ consistency.
  13. Give the risotto once final stir to combine and then serve in warmed shallow bowls and top with the truffle cream and any reserved chopped parsley.

Cheesy Breaded Hake

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his recipe is a perfect Monday night dinner to start the week on a healthy note and get some flavour after perhaps (I mean I’m just suggesting….) a boozy weekend…ahem..? The fresh delicate flavour of the fish, the slight decadence of the greasy fried cheesy breadcrumbs with a good squeeze of lemon and the sharp tang of a few gooey capers satisfied all my cravings in one. With a fresh crunchy salad with yet more lemon it cheered a soggy Monday after what was the worst day of rain we’ve had in long time. So after laying out my running shoes and the entire contents of my running rucksack to dry I cracked on with priority two….dinner.

I’ve left the measurements vague. Its really dependant on how many you’re cooking for and how cheesy you like it. And I’ll admit, after a soaking run home I wasn’t really in the mood to measure for the sake of this blog post as that really does take away the ease and love of this recipe for  Monday night. No rules, no orders, just guidelines…..Experiment!

  • White fish fillets – use a meaty fish here. I used hake but cod, haddock, tilapia, whiting, monkfish etc all work too (skinned)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley, chopped roughly (reserve a handful for garnish)
  • Lemon, zest and juice (1 between 2)
  • Egg, beaten (Around 1 per fillet)
  • Plain flour
  • 1 heaped 2tsp capers per person
  • Sunflower oil, 1 large knob butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C..
  2. Place the flour in a small bowl and the beaten egg in another.
  3. The measurements for the coating are loose….use as many breadcrumbs as you require for the number of fish fillets. Use about a quarter of the weigh in breadcrumbs for the cheese and as much parsley as you dare. One very large handful of breadcrumbs usually accommodates 1 fillet but it depends on size and if you’re double dipping (see step 4)! Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Taking your fish fillets, dip first in the flour and dust off the excess then dip in the egg. Then plunge the fillets straight into the breadcrumbs and coat well. Repeat with a second layer of egg and breadcrumbs if you like a thick coating. It will be a messy job, press the coating into the fish as best you can.
  5. Place the fillets on a plate and chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat a large deep saucepan with a good layer of sunflower oil and a knob of butter.
  7. When hot but not smoking, add your chilled fish fillets and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Flip and repeat until you have a toasted solid golden crust. Either continue to cook throughout in the pan or finish in the oven until cooked to your liking (depends on the fish size but around 7-8 minutes).
  8. Whilst finishing cooking or whilst the fish rests, chop the capers roughly with the remaining parsley. Add the zest of the lemon and combine. Garnish over the crispy fillets with half a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over.

Serve with fresh vegetable, salad or some big sweet potato wedges. A tartare sauce wouldn’t go amide here either…or a lemony yoghurt. Being in the wine trade, I’m also dying to advise a wine that would go perfectly here but seeing as its Monday and a healthy start I won’t. But if you were to open a bottle of something sharp and zesty like a Chenin Blanc then you wouldn’t be going far off…ahem….cheers.

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‘Kedgeree’ restyled

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edgeree restyled = Smoked haddock, chive and parsley risotto topped with samphire, pan fried curried haddock loin, soft poached egg and sourdough crispy crumbs.

A modern take on kedgeree if you like and a recipe thats been on my ‘testing’ list for little under a year? I often come up with ideas of dishes that I want to experiment with but there are never enough meals in the week, pounds in the purse or free blog appropriate evenings to do so. But as I sit and indulge in the Masterchef final I write this post and realise the influence this years competition has had on my food. Restaurant worthy presentation for an otherwise hearty, homely supper. But with all the elements of a traditional kedgeree (smoked fish, eggs, rice and curry) its a winner on flavour combination.

I used poached duck eggs here instead of the traditional boiled egg as I don’t know anyone or any dish that doesn’t benefit from a cascade of delicious vibrant orange yolk. But with the soft texture of the egg, fish and risotto, some crispy baked sourdough breadcrumbs are the perfect textural contrast. Also feel free to use cod or any other meaty white fish.

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Serves 2

  • 200g (or two large handfuls) risotto rice
  • 750ml hot fish stock
  • 1 shallot, diced finely
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 50g butter
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • Handful chives, chopped
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 large filler of smoked haddock (skin removed), chopped into cubes
  • 1 fresh duck eggs
  • 1 x packet samphire (enough for two)
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  1. Start by rubbing the haddock fillets with the curry powder. Season and set aside until ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the sourdough breadcrumbs on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and season. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove and set aside until serving.
  3. For the risotto, melt half the butter and a tsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and soften over a gentle heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and soften for another minute or so.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the rice. Toast for a few minutes until beginning to turn a little translucent too. Add the wine and simmer away until fully absorbed. Have the fish stock hot and ready in a nearby saucepan. Keeping the risotto at a gentle simmer add ladle by ladle of the stock to the risotto making sure it doesn’t dry out. You may or may not need all the stock but you want to simmer for 18-20 minutes until the rice is cooked and you have a thick but still oozing consistency.
  5. When the rice is cooked add the chunky cubes of smoked haddock and stir through until cooked. The fish will turn white quickly as it cooks in the hot rice (a matter of minutes). It will flake apart when done so use a fork to flake it through to distribute amongst the risotto.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter, the chopped herbs and the lemon zest and juice. Add plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Once the butter has melted, stir all to combine. Place a lid on top and set aside to keep warm.
  7. Meanwhile, steam the samphire for 3 minutes and keep warm.
  8. Get a frying pan really hot and add a splash of oil and at the same time heat a pan of boiling water for the eggs bringing it to a gentle simmer.
  9. Fry the curried haddock fillets for 1 minute on each side in the frying pan, just to get the coating golden and crisp before adding to the oven and cooking through for about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
  10. In this 5 minutes, poach the eggs. Turn the water down to a gentle simmer and crack your duck eggs into the water. Poach for a few minutes just until the white is set but the yolk is still runny and soft to touch when tested. Remove using a slotted spoon and rest while your plate the rest of the elements.
  11. When ready to plate up make sure you have some pre warmed serving bowls. Serve a generous spoonful of oozing risotto into the middle. Top with a handful of samphire and then the cooked curried haddock. Top with one of your poached eggs and crack over some black pepper. Drizzle with any curried oil leftover in the baking try from the curried fish and scatter with a handful or crispy sourdough breadcrumbs.
  12. Serve!

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Bream, Fennel, Prawn Bisque

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struggle with choosing my ‘last meal’ when asked on occasion but a bouillabaisse, bisque or seafood dish comes high up there with my true foodie loves hence my adoration of this simple bisque sauce. I have previously blogged this but due to its rich and deep flavour it only requires a simple and fuss free accompaniment so served here with roasted fennel and bream its devine. I am always staggered and amazed at the amount of flavour that the otherwise wasted shells and heads of the prawns make to a sauce! Such a depth of traditional flavours. Topped with fennel, simply fried fish and the meaty rewards of the prawns its a simple weekend feast that takes relatively no time, just some organisation, prep and speed and focus on delivery! Voila…

Note the lack of carb here purely due to the richness of the rest of the ingredients. But this would be lovely served with some buttery chive mash as seen here or with a thickly sliced and toasted sour dough crouton and punchy rouille seen here.

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Serves 4

  • 1 x Prawn bisque recipe (see here) using about 12 large, shelled king prawns (see note for shelling and deveining prawns)
  • 4 sea bream fillets
  • 2 bulbs fennel, halves vertically
  • Small glass white wine
  • Handful parsley and chives, chopped finely
  • 1 large bag spinach
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 lemon

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  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil. Add the halved fennel bulbs and season well. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and then pour over the white wine. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender and beginning to char.Jess - fennel
  2. Make the sauce as per the instructions and keep warm while you cook the seafood.
  3. When the sauce is done and warming and the fennel is cooked the next few steps need to be done quickly so ensure that everything else is ready to go and at hand. I advise that you pop your serving dish (shallow bowls recommended) in the oven at this point so that they are warm on serving.
  4. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cut each bream fillet in half and then score the skin to prevent it curling up on the hot pan. Season. When the oil is hot, add the fish skin side down and then throw in your cleaned shelled prawns.
  5. Cook skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until he flesh on top is only pink in the centre and the flesh is starting to cook through. Add the knob of butter to the pan and flip the prawns and the fish and finish the cook for a final minute coating in the butter. Add the lemon before removing the prawns and fish from the pan and setting aside for 1 minute to rest while you cook the spinach.
  6. Add the spinach to remaining pan oil and butter and wilt as you like.
  7. To serve, place a handful of the spinach in the base of your serving bowl and top with a wedge of the fennel.
  8. Top each with two halves of the bream.
  9. Roll the prawns briefly in the chopped herbs and arrange around the outside.
  10. Finally, spoon over around 4 tbsp of the sauce around the dish and scatter with any leftover herbs.

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NOTE: To shell and devein a prawn. Take your raw prawn and crudely snap off the head and set aside. Now take the legs and peel outwards away from the body. The prawn has a thin and plastic like shell which peels away easily. You should be able to take this off in one piece, legs and tail too but its usually required broken into pieces. Set these aside too and then rinse the prawn in cold water.

Deveining is important. It removes the outer backbone intestinal vein which is unpleasant and unprofessional to leave in and eat. With a sharp knife carefully slice down the back of the peeled prawn vertically only cutting about 2mm into the flesh. You should see a black vein. Very carefully as it will break easily, get your knife tip underneath and prize out the vein and discard. The prawns will now also have a fanned outer edge giving the look they have when fried.

Turkish Spiced Meatballs

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hilst the weather today has been glorious and sunny its still felt a little chilly around the ankles and certainly not the April weather I was hoping for! But as long as it isn’t April showers and May holds more promise then I can cope with that. So a Sunday evening after a long and satisfying gym session, run and ahem…jacuzzi session….a home comfort was required to replenish the nutrients and fuel me for another challenging week at work. But nothing on ‘forage in the pantry’ can be complete without the odd scattering of spice, dusting of chopped herbs or middle Eastern influence. So with Istanbul on the mind as the new top draw on my prized ‘must visit’ list, Turkish meatballs sprang to hungry mind and it wasn’t long before I was enjoying a satisfied hunger.

Serves 2

Meatballs

  • 450g minced lamb
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
  • Pinch smoked paprika
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Sauce

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, crushed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50g pearl barley/100g giant cous cous
  • Large handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  1. Start by combining the meatball ingredients in a large bowl with some seasoning. Shape into 8 large golf ball sized meatballs and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Simmer the pearl barley/giant cous cous in boiling water until cooked according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside to keep warm.
  3. Preheat the over to 170°C and remove the meatballs from the fridge. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  4. Fry the meatballs to seal and brown for 2-3 minutes. Once well browned on the outside, wrap in some foil and place in the low oven to bake slowly while you prepare the sauce.
  5. Fry the chopped onion in the leftover lamb juices in the same frying pan adding a little more oil if needed. Soften for 5 minutes until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the ground spices and mix to coat the onion.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and a little hot water to thin the sauce to the desired consistency and add some salt and pepper.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the vinegar, the drained barely and all but a handful of the parsley. Taste and adjust accordingly. Add a little more water if needed.
  9. Remove the meatballs from the over and add, with any juices from the foil, to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes to heat through.
  10. Serve in deep warmed bowls topped with a scattering of the remaining parsley.

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Squid Ink Risotto with Chargrilled Octopus and Gremolata

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ne of my ambitions and I guess you could say ‘New Years resolutions’ this year is to experiment more with my recipes and ingredients. We all get into a rut of cooking the same comforting dishes to hit the spot after a long day at work but there is such a vast array of choice out there so make the most of it. Even the most obscure ingredients can be sourced somewhere these days. So I think this blog post does my resolution justice!? I promise this dish is not as scary as it looks – for cooking or eating!

After a visit to a lovely Venetian restaurant last year where a friend and I devoured a collection of tapas style dishes, I enjoyed my first proper experience of squid ink. A dish of Acini di Pepe (a peppercorn-like pasta) speckled with succulent clams and tender pieces of octopus resting in a warm velvety squid ink sauce was devine. A subtle fishy taste and beautiful texture inspired this risotto recipe. Traditionally in Venetian cooking, squid ink can be found in risottos and black rice. However I went a little off-piste in Italy over in Spain with the cooking of the octopus. Chargrilled chunks of tender octopus rolled warm and delicately in a lovely fresh lemony gremolata.

However, this recipe would also be delicious kept authentic and Venetian topped with grilled squid, crab or prawns. You can find squid ink from many fishmongers. I stumbled across mine in a local Spanish deli near by office.

Serves 2-3

Risotto

  • 200g aborio rice
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic glove, crushed
  • 1 small glass white wine
  • 1 litre hot fresh fish stock
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 sachet squid ink (the one I used was 4g)
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Octopus, squid, crab or prawns of choice (I used pre cooked Octopus which I simply chargrilled. However you can buy fresh and cook from scratch)
  • Olive oil

Gremolata

  • Handful chopped flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Zest 1 lemon
  1. Make the gremolata by combining the ingredients together and seasoning. Set aside until needed.
  2. Now start making the risotto. Have a pan of the hot stock on the hob on a low heat ready to use.
  3. Heat half the butter and a splash of oil in a saucepan over a medium low heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes until very soft but not golden.
  4. Once soft, turn up the heat and add the rice. Toast for 2-3 minutes stirring it around in the buttery onions.
  5. Now add the wine and allow it to bubble and simmer. Once half absorbed add the squid ink and stir in thoroughly to combine. Season
  6. Now begin adding the hot fish stock a ladle at a time adding another only after each has been absorbed, stirring the grains continuously. Do not let the rice get dry however.
  7. Continue in this way for abut 18-20 minutes until the rice is just cooked with a very slight bite when tasted. You may need all the stock but use as much as needed.
  8. When the rice is cooked and ready and the consistency is loose and fairly runny (risotto should not be stodgy but it should be served in a bowl and have an ‘oozing’ consistency) season to taste. Add the rest of the butter cut into knobs, the cheese and the lemon juice and do not stir. Just remove from the heat and put a lid on the pan to allow it to rest.
  9. Meanwhile heat a griddle pan (or use the grill on a high setting). Add a splash of oil and season the octopus. Chargrill the octopus on both sides to heat through and char. Once hot and ready quickly roll the octopus in the gremolata.
  10. Return your attention to your risotto. Remove the lid and stir to combine the butter and cheese thoroughly. Add a splash of boiling water if the consistency is not as intended of ‘oozing’ enough.
  11. Serve the risotto in warmed deep bowls topped with you grilled octopus. Drizzle with a little oil if wanted.

NOTE: I like to serve this with another Italian staple, Pangrattato or ‘toasted breadcrumbs’. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a hot pan. Add a crushed garlic clove and then about 50g of breadcrumbs. Toast until golden. Then use to scatter on risotto, salads or pasta.

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Roast Poussin, Creamy Leeks and Smoked Salt Fried Gnocchi

I’m no pasta lover (sorry Italy…and Nigella) but I am an occasional fried gnocchi lover. OK I may have been a tad patriotic on the cooking method but it turns out that fried gnocchi are a bit like mini roast potatoes. Bitesized. Dangerous. But delicious. After a continuous dose of Thai and Asian inspired dishes recently, followed by a delicious and flavour packed trip to Morocco, I fancied a bit more of a classic this evening. French poussin and mustardy creamy leeks were a delicious and comforting contrast to my ‘Englishly’ cooked Italian potato dumplings. Crispy and golden and seasoned with smoked salt.

Serves 2

  • 250g gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp smoked salt (optional)
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 250ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 x poussin
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper
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  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place your poussin on a baking tray and smother the skin and legs with about 30g of the butter and season well.
  2. Place in the centre of the oven and roast for about 40-45minutes until cooked. Baste with the juices a few times during cooking.
  3. Once cooked, leave to rest before serving.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter with a splash of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Slice the leeks in halve vertically and slice into chunks. Gently and slowly soften the leeks for about 15 minutes of so until really soft. Add the garlic and cook out for another few minutes.
  5. While the leeks are softening and the poussin is cooking, cook the gnocchi. Boil in salted water for 2 minutes and then drain well. Leave to dry out a little for a few minutes.
  6. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Fry the cooked gnocchi with the smoked salt in the oil until crispy and golden. Keep warm.
  7. When the poussin is nearly cooked and ready, turn the heat up a little with the leeks and add the cream. Simmer a little to thicken.
  8. Season well and add the mustard and all but a handful of parsley and stir thoroughly. Keep warm while you carve the poussin.
  9. Remove the meat from the oven or from where it has been resting. Carve off the breast and wings.
  10. Serve the creamy leeks in a warmed serving bowl and top with the poussin. Scatter round some fried gnocchi and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
  11. Drizzle with a dash of lemon infused or plain extra virgin olive oil and serve!
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WINE: This dish being creamy and weighty is delicious served with a classic wine pairing. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc with some oak ageing and some natural acidity. Try this Mulderbosch, 2013 Faithful Hound White from Stellenbosch available at Armit Wines.

Jess - Mulderbosch

Rump Steak, Herb Fire Sauce

 

Work has been stressful recently I’m not going to lie. So after another long and challenging day I eagerly donned my well worn trainers, embarrassing (but necessary) high vis and rucksack and took to the road and ran home. I love running home after work, its a great way to relax blow the cobwebs from my mind and cleanse my lungs….until I hit Earls Court that is and the bus fumes. Alas.

My run usually involves daydreaming about recipes and what I’m going to cook along with other things. After a long week and some serious after work power yoga sessions I’ve been eating healthy but quick to make suppers and I craved a steak and a little time spent in the kitchen. So….I made a well needed detour past the butchers and nabbed myself a lovely dark, dry piece of rump steak with an unhealthily large piece of flavoursome fat along the back and continued my run home…noticably faster.

Inspired by a chimichurri sauce this to be honest was made on the spot with leftover herbs, plenty of chilli and some lime. I have tried to remember what was added so use this as a guide. Add a touch of anything to balance the flavours and eat with joy! I packed a lot of chilli into mine…it was hot!

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Serves 2

Green Sauce

  • Large handful flat leaf parsley
  • Large handful fresh basil
  • Large handful coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ red chilli (if a hot one)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 btsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil

To serve

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into wedges
  • 2 rump steaks
  • Green beans, asparagus, broccoli or choice of vegetables
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the potato wedges on a baking tray, season generously and drizzle with oil. Roast for about 30-40 minutes until tender and crispy round the edges.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce. Add all the ingredients except the oil, lime and vinegar to a food processor and season. Blend until chopped. Add the lime and vinegar and blend again. Add enough oil to loosen and bring the sauce together into a thick but spoonable ‘paste’. You don’t want it too runny – more like a salsa.
  3. Heat a frying pan until hot and add a dash of oil. Season the steaks with freshly cracked black pepper and salt. Sear the steak on their edge on the fat side for about 1 minute to render down the fat and allow you to fry the steak in this lovely flavoursome oil. The time will depend on how much fat you have on your steak.
  4. Once rendered and crisp, fry your steak for about 2 to 2 ½ minutes each side for a piece around 2 ½ cm thick (this will give you medium rare). Once cooked leave to rest wrapped tightly in foil for 5 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, slice your rested steak and drizzle with any resting juices. Serve alongside the roasted potato wedges and any vegetables of your choice. Spoon over your punchy sauce and enjoy!

Drink with nothing but a cold beer of water……..I opted for beer.

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