Category Archives: Recipes

King prawns with butter, garlic and white wine

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Another quick and tasty summer supper:

Put some spaghetti on the boil, and chop a clove of garlic finely. When the pasta is almost al dente, remove from the heat and put aside (leaving it in the hot water). In a large frying pan, melt a knob of butter and fry the garlic until almost brown. Add half a glass of white wine (not your finest Chablis but any wine you cook with should be good enough to drink) and cook until the alcohol has boiled off- around a minute. Toss in your king prawns and cook until pink. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and some coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley. Season with black pepper, toss in the pasta and serve with toasted bread to soak up any juice. Bosh!

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Honey, mustard & lemon chicken

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Here’s my take on this timeless classic:

In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 tablespoon each of honey and dijon mustard. Add some parsley, tarragon, a pinch of salt and a twist of cracked black pepper. Whisk together and pour over some chicken thighs or drumsticks in an ovenproof dish.

Add new potatoes cut into inch thick pieces, a knob of butter and a couple of whole peeled garlic cloves and bake in a preheated 220 degree oven for around 30 mins or until the chicken skin is golden, crispy and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 74 degrees.

Serve with a peppery salad of watercress, finely sliced red onion and and cherry tomatoes. The perfect summer supper!


Patatas Bravas with smokey Chorizo & Garlic and Parsley Crostini

A delicious Spanish inspired dish that  is absolutely marvellous. Gorgeous slowly cooked smokey sausage with a big punch of chilli that goes great with the deep flavour of the garlic and sweet red onions and tomatoes. Served with crispy sautéed potatoes and slices of olive ciabatta, toasted and topped with home made garlic and parsley butter. I had a nice glass of full bodied Spanish Tempranillo with it – beyond gorgeous. Tempranillo is a great wine to serve with rustic spicy dishes like this. Its robust, smokey yet sweet and stands up to strong flavours, and is low in tannins.

 


Home made lasagne with cherry tomato and watercress salad.

My previous post highlighted how to make your own pasta. Well, here’s how to make something from that. Lasagne!

Serves 4

You’ll need:

  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 tin of good quality canned tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • oregano
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • splash of worcester sauce
  • glug of olive oil
  • beef stock [or a stock cube –  I use Knorr stock pots if I don’t have any home made stock to hand]
  • butter
  • flour
  • milk
  • parmesan cheese

Start by adding the beef to a hot pan with a glug of olive oil. Fry off until it starts to brown. Add the chopped onions and fry for 5 mins, or until the onions start to brown. Add chopped garlic and fry for another 5 mins. Deglaze with red wine and add tomato puree. Cook for a minute or two and add the canned tomatoes [remember to swish out the can with a splash of water and add to the sauce for extra tomatoey-ness!]. Add a splash or worcester sauce and season with black pepper. Add the beef stock. Stir, cover and cook on a low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 30 mins and adding water if needed. Seriously, the longer you leave it the better it gets, so no rushing this, ok?

While thats cooking, you can make the white sauce. Start by melting some butter in a pan and adding an equal amount of flour. Cook the roux for a couple of minutes and slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Keep doing this until you have a thick sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and melt in a handful of grated strong cheese [A comte, gruyere or even a vintage cheddar is good].

Now to assemble the lasagne. In a large baking dish place your home made pasta sheets, covered by a layer of the meat sauce, then a layer of the white sauce. Repeat until the dish is almost full. Finally sprinkle generously with grated parmesan and place in a preheated 200 degree oven for about 20 mins or until the top is golden brown. Leave to stand for about 10 mins [make the salad!] then dig in. And have seconds.

 


Pasta

I can’t believe I haven’t actually posted a pasta recipe before. Maybe because its the easiest thing in the world to make. Home made pasta is so quick and so delicious that I don’t understand why more people don’t make it in this country. From cupboard to plate, including the cleaning its quicker than shop bought as well. Anyway, let’s crack on:

You’ll need:

  • 1 egg [Fresh, free range organic eggs are of course best. I get mine from a friend of the family who keeps chickens :)]
  • 100g ’00’ flour [Normal flour will of course work as well, but get 00 ‘tipo’ flour if you can. It also rocks for making pizza. Its very easy to find in Italian delis and higher end supermarkets].

Thats it – end of ingredients list. Easy, eh? Basically crack the egg into a bowl with the flour, mix with a fork, knead onto a flat surface and roll out with a rolling pin. Forget pasta machines, they’re not worth the faffing around. And you’ll never see a proper Italian Mamma using one of those.

Cut into shaped of your choice and cook in boiling heavily salted water [we didn’t season the pasta, remember] for 3-4 minutes. Serve with any sauce you like!


Sushi!

I’ve been getting pretty obsessed with sushi recently. Not quite sure why but it really is my favourite food in the world right now. Pretty much the perfect meal. Its packed with flavour, has a kick (Mmmm, wasabi!) and is filling yet healthy! Definitely good karma food.

Manchester has a few decent sushi outlets (Wasabi, Samsi, Out of the Blue) but here’s the lowdown on how to make it yourself. Now, this is one of those tasks that is a bit tricky first time round but is pretty easy to get the hang of.

You’ll need:

  • Sushi rice
  • Nori seaweed
  • Rice vinegar, sugar and salt (or ready prepared sushi rice seasoning)
  • Wasabi
  • Bamboo rolling mat
  • Soy sauce & pickled ginger (to serve)
  • Fillings of your choice
  • Water
Firstly, prepare the rice. To serve 3 – 4 people (depending how hungry you are) you’ll need 300g of rice. Wash the rice in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain and place into a pan along with 350ml unsalted cold water. Place a lid on the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins. Take off the heat and leave to stand for 25 mins (don’t remove the lid at any point). While the rice is cooling, this is a good time to start arranging your fillings. Its up to you really, but if you’re cutting veg you need them in thin, regular batons. Things like avocado, cucumber, spring onion and courgettes work really well. If you’re making fishy sushi then you need fresh raw fish – tuna and salmon are great. It is very, very important you get the freshest fish you can. You’re best off going to a good fishmonger rather than buying packaged fish from a supermarket for this reason. Cooked prawns are also delicious.
When the rice is cooled, place in a non metal container and pour over 3tbsp of your sushi rice seasoning, folding and mixing the rice as you go. Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on your bamboo mat. scoop up the rice and cover the nori evenly in a thin layer, leaving about an inch at the top free. Dab a little wasabi across the middle and place your fillings along the wasabi in a thin, regular line.
Now here’s the tricky part – Moving away from you roll the mat, keeping an even pressure and tucking the roll in as you go. If you find this difficult, there’s loads of videos on YouTube explaining how this is done.
When you have a completed roll, slice into inch thick pieces with a very sharp knife. Serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger and extra wasabi. If you’ve done it right it should look a little like mine here. Tuck in!


South Asian Edamame Bean Warm Noodle Salad

I love making this so much that I thought I’d share this little recipe of mine with you. Its tasty, quick, healthy and almost criminally simple. From start to finish in 10 minutes – try this and you’ll be making it over and over again.

You’ll need:

  • Edamame beans
  • Salad onions, finely sliced
  • Mixed crunchy veg, finely sliced. This could be a mix of red onions, peppers, carrots, cabbage, pak choi, or whatever you want really. Be adventurous!
  • 1 red chilli, sliced.
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Dash of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Coriander, chopped
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Wedge of lime
  • Fresh Egg / Udon noodles
Instructions:
Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Throw in the sliced chilli and ginger. add soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, beans and salad ingredients (except salad onions). toss around pan for 2-3 minutes, adding a splash of water to the pan as the soy sauce reduces to prevent burning. Add noodles and toss for a further 2 minutes until warmed through. Serve and garnish with a squeeze of lime, topped with fresh coriander, fresh thinly siced salad onion and toasted sesame seeds.
For a special version of this dish, it tastes absolutely fantastic with king prawns. Lovely, simple and wholesome midweek supper.