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.
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.
It’s National Gut week in the UK this week (23rd – 29th August). It’s an annual campaign that aims to help people understand the importance of good digestive health by providing free information and advice on how to achieve a healthy gut. Which seems like a good idea that we don’t have an equivalent to here in Ireland
Still at least we can read the UK website and documentation to get ourselves up to speed
Antony Worrall Thompson is one of the Ambassadors for the Campaign and has devised a number of recipes for those suffering from IBS, looking to watch their weight or who simply want to look after their inner health. The recipe that follows is one that he has kindly provided to help promote the cause. You can find out more about Gut Week here and I recommend having a read over this document for some quick tips to a healthier gut.
450g lean leg of lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
11/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 tablespoon harissa or hot pepper paste
400g tin of chickpeas in water, drained and rinsed
350g trimmed and peeled pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 pickled lemon, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Coat the lamb in the black pepper.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the lamb and cook until it has browned all over. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and is slightly brown, adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking.
Add the tomatoes, harissa and 425ml water. Bring to a simmer,cover and cook over a medium heat for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours, topping up with water as necessary, until the lamb is almost tender.
Add the chickpeas and pumpkin and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Add the lemon, mint and coriander. Serve immediately.
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.
Rack of Irish pork, approx 5lbs in weight (can be cut in 2 if you prefer)
3 sticks of celery
Salt & pepper
2 packets Roma boil in the bag couscous (or substitute 250g other couscous)
Heat your oven to 180C.
Peel and cube all the veg into equal size pieces (about 1 inch). Place this in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Add 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil and toss well until fully coated.
Score the fat/skin on the pork in a criss-cross pattern. Rub the rack all over with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, ensuring the flavouring gets evenly distributed.
Place the pork on top of the vegetables and pop in the oven for 1.5 – 2 hours (until juices run clear). The meat should rest for at least 10 mins when you take it out of the oven.
While the meat is resting, boil water in a saucepan and add the 2 bags of couscous (using boil in the bag is the least messy method), cooking for 1 minute. Pour off the water and carefully snip open the bags, pouring the couscous out into a bowl. Add the roast vegetables and any juices from the pan to the couscous and stir well.
Carve the pork into portions and serve on a bed of roast vegetable couscous.