100g Onion, diced
1 x Garlic, Chopped
100g Green Pepper
100g Red Pepper
50ml Olive oil
A good pinch of “Herbs de Provence”
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.
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)
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.
1 Handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme) finely chopped
2 x onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 x sweet pepper, finely sliced
Approx. 20cm Chistorra finely sliced (substitute other dried meat if unavailable)
4 x eggs
30g Pecorino cheese, grated
30g goat’s Gouda cheese, grated
30g Red Leicester cheese, sliced
Get your frying pan on to a medium high heat with a little olive oil. Add the onions and fry them gently for ten to fifteen minutes or until they begin to caramelise.
While you wait, beat your eggs well, trying to incorporate as much air as possible, add in the grated cheeses as well as the fresh herbs and beat some more.
Once the onions have started to caramelise add in the garlic and fry for about a minute before adding the celery and continuing to fry gently for about five minutes. At this point you want to add the sweet pepper and fry for about a minute more, before pouring the egg mix over and stirring well. You will need to be quick doing this as the egg will start to cook as soon as it hits the pan. I use a plastic whisk to keep everything moving as I add the eggs and try to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed around the pan.
Now leave this mixture to cook in the pan until you see the eggs start to cook at the very edge of the pan. Now, quickly add the sliced Chistorra over the top of the frittata and crumble the Red Leicester cheese over as well.
Place under a preheated grill and continue to cook until the centre of the frittata has solidified and the cheese has just started to brown at the edges. Divide the Frittata into slices just like you would a pizza and serve with a small side salad.
4 medium-sized parsnips
3 sweet potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh herbs, as available (suggest thyme, oregano, mint, chives, parsley)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of rock salt
When I first saw the recipe this one is based on over at Donal Skehan’s blog, I wanted to make it immediately! I adore sweet potatoes, but I’ve quickly tired of simply baking them in the oven, and while they are gorgeous in stews, it’s not exactly the weather for it!
This weekend I had a batch of parsnips to use up, and some sweet potatoes in the basket too – so I figured that I’d try them together for a change, served alongside a deliciously tender fillet steak with hubbie’s onion relish. I think the addition of the parsnips made the fries even more special – it was so sweet it was practically like eating candy!
Start by picking your herbs, plucking leaves from stalks where necessary. Roughly chop up the garlic cloves and toss the herbs, garlic & salt into your pestle & mortar and bash until you have a paste – you can use your food processor if you don’t have a pestle & mortar. Add in the olive oil and stir well.
Preheat your oven to 200C.
Peel your parsnips and sweet potatoes and then chop into fry/chip shapes – I find for parsnips the best method is to top & tail, then cut in half horizontally, then split the bottom section into 4 vertically, and the top into 6-8 sections vertically – trust me, that will make sense as you are chopping! With the sweet potatoes, the important thing is to try and split them evenly – if you have thin, scraggly fries then they won’t cook evenly. Aim for similar size to your parsnip fries.
Drop the fries into a large bowl as you cut them, and once finished add the mix from the mortar to the bowl and mix it in well, until all the fries are coated evenly.
Spread the fries out onto a baking tray in one layer (use 2 trays if needed) and bake in the oven for 40-45 mins, turning once. The fries should end up soft on the inside and just charred on the edges.
225g spaghetti nero (or your favourite dried pasta)
120g of streaky bacon
Half a dried chipotle chilli
400g can of chopped tomatoes
Pepper Worcestershire Sauce
Some chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) for garnish
My thanks to Kat, who mentioned this as one of her favourite dishes in our recent prize draw, it wasn’t a dish I was familiar with so I Googled it, liked the look of the dish and found a recipe here, which I’ve adapted a little to make it my own.
It was only later when I was researching a little more I discovered this Wikipedia article which gives great information about the origins of the dish and a list of more “authentic” ingredients, which included pigs cheek. While I’m growing more adventurous in both my cooking and eating, I think I’ll stick to the streaky bacon substitution for now
Start by thinly slicing the onion and chopping the bacon into strips between half a centimetre and a centimetre across. Then take your chipotle chilli and cut it in half, discard the seeds and chop half of it as finely as possible. If you don’t have chipotle chilli available you could use a whole fresh chilli or about half a teaspoon of chilli flakes instead.
Next heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon on a medium to low heat until it begins to crisp at the edges. Now add the onion and chilli. Cook on a low heat until the onion begins to caramelise, this will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and stir this together. Bring this to a very gentle simmer and allow it to thicken for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
Taste it and season to taste with salt and pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
When I made this first, we served and ate straight away, there was a portion left over which I planned to eat for my lunch the next day. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavours had come together much better after the sauce had been cooled and left overnight in a sealed container in the fridge. It seemed to bring out the smoky flavour of the chipotle and this blended with the bacon much better. Don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious immediately after cooking but in future I will make the sauce the day before and store it in the fridge overnight before eating.
So the next day, prepare and cook your pasta as per the instructions. The pasta pictured above is spaghetti nero, the taste is very similar to regular pasta however it has been coloured with squid ink during the manufacturing process and gives a different visual aspect to the dish.
While the pasta is cooking, gently reheat the sauce. Once the pasta is ready, plate it with a generous serving of sauce, some freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) cheese and some chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish.