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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with garlic

17Sep 12

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
My mother-in-law sent me this rabbit in almond and liver sauce recipe to try because I mentioned that we don’t often cook rabbit at home. It’s not as popular and easy to get hold of here in the UK as it is in the rest of Europe, probably because it was so cheap and plentiful during WWII that it was later associated with food rationing. I think it’s making a comeback though, as I’ve seen it in some restaurants and “gastropubs”. And with the economic downturn, it makes a cheap and lower fat alternative to other meats.

Also, it’s in season all year round, but my butcher tells me that the best sized rabbits are available from July to December. I suggest buying wild rabbit; it’s free range and has a natural diet, which means it’s tastier and better for you. Most butchers should have it – just check that it’s wild and British.

If you’ve never tried this meat, I really recommend this dish, as the almond sauce goes really well with the subtle game taste of the rabbit. And why not also try my paella valenciana? Or this braised rabbit?

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce is perfect for those who have never tried rabbit.
Ingredients
  • 1 cleaned wild rabbit, jointed into 8 pieces, and its liver
  • 300ml meat stock
  • 200g roasted almonds
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Fry the rabbit’s liver and almonds with the bay leaf, white pepper and a large pinch of salt.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the meat stock.
  3. Purée in a blender, then set aside.
  4. Lightly fry the onion, garlic and rabbit pieces in a casserole with a pinch of salt, then add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the liver sauce to the casserole and boil for 30 minutes, until the rabbit meat is cooked.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve with boiled potatoes, chips, or your favourite vegetables.
Notes
Here are some tips from my butcher: Buy a rabbit with pink and rosy flesh, and a fresh smell. It shouldn’t have bruised or dark areas of flesh, nor should it have a very strong gamey smell. Wild rabbit is very tender, but be careful not to overcook it as it can turn tough.

 

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31Jul 12

Courgette Carpaccio

Courgette Carpaccio
Courgettes
are great versatile summer vegetables, and right now they are at the height of their season in the UK. They are a good source of potassium, folate and vitamins A and C and, as we all know, the best way to get the most vitamins and nutrients from vegetables is to eat them uncooked. I had always cooked courgettes until I discovered that they are also quite nice raw, in salads and even in juices!

Sliced very thinly, drizzled with a basil, olive oil and lemon juice dressing and topped off with Parmesan cheese and roasted pine nuts, this courgette carpaccio is a light and appetizing starter that’s really easy to make. (Also try these courgette and leek fritters!)

Courgette Carpaccio
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 small courgettes, washed and dried
  • 100g walnuts
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 packed handful fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the courgettes very thinly and arrange on a large serving plate.
  2. Grind the basil leaves together with a large pinch of coarse sea salt and the garlic using a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add the olive oil and grind together again.
  4. Put this mixture in a clean jar, add the lemon juice, secure the lid and shake vigorously.
  5. Drizzle this basil dressing over the courgettes.
  6. Sprinkle the courgettes with walnuts, cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

 

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27Jul 12

Salmorejo (Spanish cold tomato cream)

SalmorejoSalmorejo is a wonderful Spanish dish, from the region of Cordoba, usually served as a starter and garnished with Serrano ham and hard boiled egg. Basically, it’s a cold tomato cream, and its main ingredients are tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar.

It’s one of my favourite summer dishes, so easy to make and really delicious and refreshing on a hot summer’s day! But don’t confuse it with gazpacho, the Spanish cold soup made with tomatoes. Gazpacho is thinner, contains less bread, more water and additional ingredients like cucumber and red or green pepper.

I would say you drink gazpacho, but you eat salmorejo. You can also spread it on toast, with some Serrano ham on top, so if you want to do this you could make it a little thicker – by adding a bit more bread and a little less water. (For a hot treat, try this cream of tomato soup.)

Salmorejo (Spanish cold tomato cream)
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
The Spanish dish Salmorejo is a cold tomato cream made from tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar and garnished with Serrano ham and hard boiled egg.
Ingredients
  • 1kg ripe plum tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 4 medium thick slices white bread (loaf or sliced)
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 hard boiled egg, finley diced (for garnish)
  • 1 large handful Serrano ham, finely diced (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Remove the crusts from the bread and rip into pieces.
  2. Blend all the ingredients for the salmorejo, except half the olive oil, the ice cubes, the salt and the garnish, in a blender.
  3. Add the ice cubes and liquify in the blender.
  4. Strain the salmorejo through a conical sieve to remove any solid pieces.
  5. Blend again, adding the rest of the olive oil and salt to taste, until it has a smooth, thick consistency.
  6. Serve immediately in small bowls, topped with diced eggs and Serrano ham.
  7. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

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21Jul 12

Asparagus and Cream Cheese Ravioli

Ravioli with Asparagus in a Tarragon Cream CheesePasta – a soft and sensual art in creation and consummation…

Home-made pasta offers a world of discovery.  Try making this asparagus and cream cheese ravioliAsparagus is in full season from April to June. So why not take advantage of the season and also try this asparagus and cheese pudding?

What you need:

  • 500g strong pasta flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • Semolina flour for dusting
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A little olive oil
  • 80g butter
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to season
  • 425g ricotta cheese
  • 1 large handful of fresh tarragon, finely shredded
  • 90g parmesan cheese, finely grated, and some to sprinkle when you serve

What to do:

  1. Whizz the pasta flour and eggs for about 30 seconds in a food processor.  Let it rest for a couple of minutes and whizz again for a short time, forming dough.  Remove and knead by hand for a couple of minutes until smooth and elastic.  Wrap with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for one hour.
  2. When ready, split the dough into 4 balls, re-wrapping those you’re not working with.  Press one with your palms to flatten it a little then pass it through your pasta machine on the widest setting.  Fold the dough in to the middle from both sides and run it through again.  Do this twice more until your pasta is the width of the machine.  Dust the dough with flour and change the setting on your machine to one thinner.  Keep working the dough through a setting at a time until the pasta is 1-1.5mm thick, in long sheets.
  3. Wash the asparagus and cut into thin pieces. Fry them in olive oil, a little of the butter and the garlic.  Season well with salt and pepper and let cool.
  4. Mix and mush the ricotta, parmesan, asparagus and 2/3 of the tarragon in a bowl.
  5. Lay a pasta sheet out onto a flour-dusted surface and place generous single teaspoons of the mixture onto it, 5cm apart along the length.  Brush water onto the pasta around the filling and gently lay another pasta sheet over the top of the first one.  Use the little finger side of your hand and gently press the pasta together, cupping your curled hand around the filling pressing out any air and sealing the pasta sheets together.  Crinkle cut in between the ravioli to separate them.  Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets and filling.
  6. Cook the pasta in gently boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  Sprinkle the remaining butter and salt onto the drained pasta.  Garnish with the rest of the parmesan and tarragon.

1 hour to prepare plus chilling time, 10 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

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18Jul 12

Rich Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Stock

Rich Shepherd's Pie with Red Wine Stock

Have a go at this rich shepherd’s pie with red wine stock, using the best of the season’s lamb. (For a a more vegetarian-friendly aubergine bake, try this baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto.

What you need:

  • 450g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 90ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 2 aubergines, cut into small cubes
  • A generous splash of Worcester sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp tomato purée
  • 100ml red wine
  • 90ml lamb, beef or chicken stock
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 floury potatoes, King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled and cut
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Splash of milk
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for around 15-20 minutes, checking to see if they are tender with a sharp knife.
  3. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, make the pie filling:  Dry fry the lamb mince in a hot, wide and high-sided pan, until browned all over.  This will take around 5 minutes.  Transfer the lamb to a sieve over a bowl to drain.
  4. Meanwhile, add some of the olive oil to the frying pan, and sauté the onions and garlic together for 4-5 minutes until soft.
  5. Combine in the carrots, aubergines and the remaining olive oil (see how much oil the aubergines absorb when they cook!) and cook on for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Add the drained lamb back to the pan, splash over with the Worcester sauce, pour in the tomato purée, add the pinch of sugar, and continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes, stirring the ingredients well.
  7. Now pour in the hot stock and the wine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir, and bring the liquid up to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 6-8 minutes.  Add in the chopped tomatoes, the fresh parsley and thyme.
  8. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them, pat them lightly with kitchen paper and mash them.  Add in the milk and butter, combining the ingredients together.
  9. Transfer the pie filling into a large oven proof dish and cover over with the mashed potato.  Use a fork to create plough lines, and bake the pie in the oven for around 20-30 minutes, until the lamb filling is bubbling and the potato turns golden brown.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 40 – 60 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

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16Jul 12

Butter Bean and Chorizo Stew

Butter Bean and Chorizo Stew

Butter beans tend to have a fairly limited growing season in the UK – late spring to early summer.  They tend to do a little better in warmer climates, but you can grow them successfully in the UK.  Try planting them after the last frost and harvesting them 80-90 days later.

My butter bean and chorizo stew recipe uses large butter beans, which incidentally are low in fat and a great source of iron.  As we all know, we are fortunate enough to be able to buy butter beans pretty much year-round, either dried or with salty water in jars.  I usually buy them ready-to-use in jars, which avoids the overnight soaking and cooking stages.

I love to make this stew on those spring evenings that still have a chill in the air, on April shower days or crisp early May nights to warm and comfort the family. (Another great option is this bacon, carrot, butter bean and coriander soup.)

What you need:

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or a little more, or less, to your taste
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large carrots, washed and sliced into 1.5cm rounds
  • ½ sweet chorizo sausage, cut into 1.5cm rounds
  • About 500g jar large butter beans, ready to use.  Use a little more, or a little less – it doesn’t matter
  • 600ml tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 2 small tumblers of water, approximately

What to do:

  1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, fry the onions in the olive oil on a medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, carrots, chorizo and butter beans and continue to fry for around 5-10 minutes until the carrots begin to soften around the edges.
  3. Pour in the tomato-based pasta sauce and stir to coat all of the ingredients.  Add a small tumbler or two of water until the sauce arrives at the consistency you like.
  4. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Great served with home-made garlic bread or Rosemary Focaccia to tear and dip.

15 minutes to prepare, 50 – 60 minutes to cook

Makes 4 generous servings

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06Jul 12

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

The shiitake mushrooms in these crispy vegetable spring rolls help to give them a Chinese-style flavour.  You will find spring roll wrappers in Asian supermarkets, or you can order them over the internet. (You can also try these Vietnamese spring rolls.)

What you need:

  • 10 spring roll wrappers
  • ¼ white cabbage, shredded into fine pieces
  • 60g shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin slices
  • 50g sugar snap peas, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 6 bamboo shoots, finely sliced
  • ¼ to ½ pack of beansprouts
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped width-wise
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1L vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Handful of fresh mint, chopped into fine shreds

What to do:

  1. Place a wok on a high heat and when hot, add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Add all of the vegetables and stir fry until slightly softened.
  2. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar, and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir well and remove the wok from the heat.  Stir in the mint and transfer the vegetables into a cold bowl to cool.
  3. Add the litre of vegetable oil to a deep heavy-based saucepan (or deep fat fryer if you have one) and heat the oil on a medium to high heat.
  4. As the oil is coming up to the heat, make up the spring rolls.  Lay out a spring roll wrapper in front of you with one corner facing you to create a diamond effect.  Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the four edges of the wrapper.
  5. Spoon a portion of the vegetables onto the wrapper, a few centimetres from the bottom, in a thin strip, taking care not to touch the edges with filling.
  6. Lift the bottom of the wrapper over and tuck it in under the filling.  Fold the left, then the right sides over the top, and roll upwards to form a tube.  Now brush a little more egg over the top edge and seal it along the roll.  Repeat with the other wrappers until you have 10 rolls.
  7. When the oil is hot, lower in the spring rolls and deep fry them until golden brown all over – just a minute or two.  Drain them on kitchen paper before serving.

Try serving with dips of fresh minty yoghurt and Pantai sweetened chilli sauce.

30 minutes to prepare, 20 minutes to cook
Makes 4-6 servings

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26Jun 12

Cream of Asparagus Soup, without the cream

Cream of Asparagus Soup, without the cream
As you may have noticed if you read my blog regularly, one of my favourite vegetables is asparagus, particularly the green kind. Not only is it tasty, it is also really good for you, being a good source of fibre, potassium and folic acid. It also helps to prevent water retention and lower cholesterol. Asparagus is still in season in June, so this is a good time to make a nice, smooth cream of asparagus soup, before summer really gets going and it’s too warm to for hot soup.

I don’t use cream in my recipe, as I prefer the taste of extra virgin olive oil, and I’ve realised that a little of it is enough to give the soup that rich, creamy texture. Plus, it’s much better for you!

If you love asparagus as much as I do, try these other recipes: Curly Asparagus Salad with Goat’s Cheese and Medjool Dates, Steamed Spring Vegetables with Toasted Pine Nuts or asparagus risotto.

Cream of Asparagus Soup, without the cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Cream of Asparagus Soup with extra virgin olive oil instead of cream
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch (about 250g) fresh green asparagus
  • 150 – 200g potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the asparagus, being careful not to damage the tips and discarding any tough woody parts from the lower ends.
  2. Lightly fry the chopped leeks, asparagus and garlic in a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Set aside 8-12 asparagus tips if you want to use them for garnish.
  4. Add the potatoes and water until all the ingredients are covered. Add the stock cube (crumbled), bring to the boil and boil until the potatoes are soft (about 20 mins).
  5. Remove from heat, add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and then blend everything with a blender until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot.

 

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25Jun 12

Artichoke Heart Linguine

Artichoke Heart LinguineI find myself eating quite a lot of pasta in the spring and summer. All of the different shapes, flavours and textures seem to complement simply cooked green vegetables really well. Artichoke Heart Linguine is a well-established favourite of mine. It’s such a quick and simple vegetarian meal to throw together, so it’s great for nights when you want to be a bit creative, but don’t have much time!  Here’s another great pasta dish to try sometime too…sprout, chestnut and thyme tagliatelle.

Artichokes come into season in June and stay with us throughout the summer. They are a wonderful vegetable but can be a challenge to cook well. Because of this, my recipe uses artichokes that have already been marinated and softened for you, in herbs and oil. You’ll find these in most supermarkets in little glass jars; and they really are wonderful. If you prefer to cook, marinate and store your own artichokes, there are plenty of references on how to do that on the internet. I use fresh herbs and lime juice in this recipe to really bring out the flavours of the dish. Serve with a glass of chilled Chianti.

Artichoke Heart Linguine
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Artichoke Heart Linguine is a quick and simple vegetarian meal to throw together, so it’s great for nights when you want to be a bit creative, but don’t have much time!
Ingredients
  • 220g fresh linguine pasta
  • 60g soft artichokes hearts, marinated in oil
  • 2 tbsp pine kernels
  • The juice of half a lime
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and mince
  • ½ tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • Parmesan shavings to decorate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Dry fry the pine kernels in a frying pan for a couple of minutes, toasting them until they are golden-brown. Remove and set to one side.
  2. Cook the fresh linguine in plenty of salted water until al dente.
  3. Tip the artichokes from the jar, along with the oil, into the frying pan and heat them through with the garlic, thyme, and parsley. Squeeze over the lime juice and stir.
  4. Drain the pasta and serve into bowls. Top with the artichokes, the pine nuts, and the shavings of Parmesan.

 

 

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21Jun 12

Grilled stuffed mushrooms

White button mushrooms are one of the most widely consumed mushrooms in the world. They are available in shops all year round, but those who like mushroom hunting can usually find them after rainfall from late spring through to autumn. I love mushroom hunting, but I’m never sure if the ones I’ve picked are edible! So for safety I prefer to use the cultivated ones.

I love them; in pasta sauce, in risotto, in pies, in soups, in salads… they are so verstile. This dish is inspired by some “tapas” we had in Spain this Easter: grilled stuffed mushrooms made with Serrano ham (Spanish dry-cured ham), garlic and parsley. I brought some ham back from Spain so I used that for this recipe and added some sun-dried tomatoes for a personal touch. They are so delicious and easy to make, you should try them!

Little tip: They make a great appetiser for this mushroom risotto recipe.

Grilled stuffed mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
This dish is inspired by some "tapas" we had in Spain this Easter: grilled stuffed mushrooms made with Serrano ham (Spanish dry-cured ham), garlic and parsley.
Ingredients
  • 12 medium sized white button mushrooms
  • 50g Serrano ham (or any dry-cured ham), finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sized garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Olive oil, for sautéing
Instructions
  1. Clean the mushrooms, cut off the tips of the stems and dry if necessary.
  2. Remove the stems, making sure not to break the mushroom caps. Leave the caps aside.
  3. Finely chop the mushroom stems and mix them with the chopped garlic, dried tomatoes and parsley.
  4. Sauté this mixture in a little olive oil on a high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the chopped ham to the mixture.
  6. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture. (There will usually be a small amount of mixture left over).
  7. Cook the mushrooms in a grill pan on a medium heat until they are light brown and serve.
Notes
What are "tapas"? Tapas are typical in Spain. They are small portions of food, anything from some simple olives to a dish of paella, served to accompany a drink. In most parts of the country tapas are ordered and paid for separately, but in some provinces, especially Granada and Almería, the tapa comes free with each cold drink you order.

 

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