Category Archives: Straight Forward

Recipe: Stewed Ratatouille

Stewed Ratatouille
Stewed Ratatouille

Ingredients;

200g Tomatoes
100g Onion, diced
1 x Garlic, Chopped
100g Green Pepper
100g Red Pepper
50ml Olive oil
A good pinch of “Herbs de Provence
200g Courgette
200g Aubergine
a good pinch of chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste


First, we peel the tomatoes using the “blanch and refresh” method. Get a large saucepan of water on and bring to the boil. While you are waiting get a large bowl and fill it with cold or ice water. Using a very sharp knife or even a razor blade cut a small X in the bottom of each tomato, you only want to cut the skin, that’s all. Once the water is boiling add the tomatoes for no more than a minute, then remove them and plunge them into the cold/ice water, this should make them very easy to peel, then chop them into about 1 cm dice.

Slice the onion and finely chop the garlic, cut the peppers into slices about 2 – 3 cm long.

Add the olive oil, onions, garlic and peppers to a large thick bottomed cooking pot. Cover to keep in the moisture and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently and adding olive oil as necessary to prevent burning.

Now add the herbs de provence and peeled tomatoes, stir well and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop the Aubergine and courgettes into a large dice (2cm) and add them to the pot. Cook for another 25 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Recipe: Potato Rosti

Potato Rosti
Potato Rosti

400g Potato
Salt
Pepper
50g butter


Peel and wash the potatoes, then place them in salted water and bring to the boil and simmer for a minute. Drain the water and allow them to cool.

Next shred the potatoes, using a grater, into a large bowl. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts then add a little at a time to the shredded potatoes just enough to allow the mixture to bind together and season lightly with salt and pepper. You could add some herbs (maybe some fresh picked thyme or finely chopped rosemary) at this point, if you wanted to.

Form the mixture into rounds either by hand or using a ring mould.

Fry the shaped rosti in a hot pan on both sides until crisp and golden brown.

Recipe: Pastry “Pizza”

Pastry Pizza
Pastry Pizza

Ingredients;

1 packet of puff pastry
5 – 6 tomatoes, as ripe as possible, diced roughly with the majority of the seeds removed
10 – 12 black olives, finely chopped
Shredded Parma ham (or other dried meat)
Mini mozzarella balls (or shredded mozz)
Handful of basil leaves, roughly torn up
Strong cheese, such as Red Leicester or vintage cheddar, finely grated
Fresh rocket (or oregano, thyme or similar)
Plain flour
Vegetable oil

Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a snack/starter


Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Flour your worktop well and roll out the pastry to fit the size of a large baking tray. Place it carefully on the baking tray and brush all over with the vegetable oil.

Dress the pastry to 1 centimetre from the edge with your toppings, starting with the tomatoes, then moving onto the olives, basil, parma ham and mozzarella. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edge of the pastry is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, cut into large slices and sprinkle with the rocket before serving.

Recipe: The Tastiest Roast Chicken

The Tastiest Roast Chicken
The Tastiest Roast Chicken

Ingredients;

1 whole chicken, best quality you can afford
30g butter, softened
Mixed herbs, finely chopped (should give approx 1 handful when chopped)
1 lemon, zested and cut in half. Zest finely diced
Coppa di Parma (or Parma ham)
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, onions)
Potatoes


Heat your oven to 180 C.

This is a beautiful and simple one tray dinner. Start by preparing your chicken – check it has been thoroughly cleaned out internally, trim away any excess fatty skin from the openings. Begin to delicately tease the skin away from the flesh of the breast area, creating a pocket under the skin.

Mix your chopped herbs, lemon zest and some salt & pepper with softened butter. Rub this into the chicken flesh inside the pocket you created by lifting the skin. Also rub it all over the outside of the chicken, covering all of the skin. Next, take your pieces of coppa di parma and place in the skin pocket of the chicken. Place one half of the lemon in the cavity of your chicken, this will help to keep your chicken moist.

Chicken should be roasted for 20 mins per lb plus 20 mins. Your vegetables and potatoes will take about 1 hour to cook, so place the chicken in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven. Now, begin to prepare your vegetables and add them to the roasting tin when there’s one hour of cooking time left.

Peel your vegetables as needed and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss them in a little olive oil (add a little dried herbs if you like) before adding to the roasting tin.

Ensure that the juices of the chicken are running clear, by cutting into the bird with a sharp knife, and then rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Recipe: Pizza Base revisited

A naked uncooked Pizza base

Ingredients;

1kg of Farina Tipo 00 Flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal

Makes 6-8 Pizza bases


One of the earliest recipes I published on NotJunkFood was for pizza bases, that recipe is a good recipe to use if you do not have access to pizza/pasta flour (also known as farina tipo 00). Thanks to Roma, Superquinn and Dunnes Stores, farina has become much more widely available in Ireland recently and as a result I have had the chance to experiment with my original recipe and I’m happy to say that the following is my updated pizza base recipe.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.

Mix the yeast, honey and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and dust the top of it with some flour. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.

Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.

Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.

At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases using some Italian tomato sauce and your preferred toppings, on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.

Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes, sprinkle with dried oregano and enjoy.