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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with garlic

14Jun 12

Rich and Tasty Watercress Soup

Rich and Tasty Watercress SoupWatercress! That crunchy, peppery green leaf that’s in season in May! There are lots of meals you can make with it if you use your imagination. I love it stuffed copiously into sandwiches, laced into salads drizzled with honey and balsamic vinegar, and many other ways. But today I’m here to share a really yummy version of  soup – rich and tasty watercress soup.

It’s developed over time, based on several recipes that I’ve tried and tested until I’ve reached this particular set of ingredients. No doubt the recipe will keep evolving; as I love to experiment and move things on after a while. It’s good to keep fresh and enjoy change in life, wouldn’t you say? I love the addition of a little Tabasco in this soup; it’s just there in the background giving a little extra twang to your taste buds!

Soup and salad is a perfect meal for spring and summer. Why not pair this soup with a watercress and mango salad?

Watercress is actually a member of the mustard family (which explains its mild heat). When you’ve bought it, cut the stems, wash it really thoroughly and then pat it with kitchen paper. You can store it for up to 4-5 days in the fridge in a plastic bag. Watercress is full of vitamins A and C; contains calcium; and is of course fat and cholesterol free – until you add the cream!

Rich and Tasty Watercress Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Rich and tasty watercress soup - featuring that crunchy, peppery green leaf that’s in season in May!
Ingredients
  • 600g fresh watercress, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped
  • 600ml chicken stock, hot
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 medium shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced (or reduce to taste)
  • 3 fistfuls of fresh mint, saving a little to garnish
  • 3 fistfuls of fresh parsley, saving a little to garnish
  • 8 tbsp double cream
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • A generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • Salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a deep-based saucepan; and then brown the shallots and garlic gently together for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  2. Add in the watercress, fresh herbs and the hot chicken stock; stir and bring the soup up to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes to cook the watercress.
  3. Splash in the Tabasco and spoon in the cream. Continue to simmer for a couple more minutes.
  4. Swirl in the olive oil and season really well with salt and pepper. Transfer into a food blender and whizz until smooth.
  5. Serve in individual bowls topped with a sprig of fresh herbs.
  6. You could also add a spoonful of Greek yoghurt while serving, but that is optional.

 

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13Jun 12

Spanish Noodles with King Prawns and Clams (Fideua)

FideuaClams are best of season in January and February in the UK, but you may be lucky and find some in the first half of March too.  I love this combination of seafood and noodles, a little like a noodle paella I guess.  The garlic and the fish stock bring wonderful flavours to the dish. 

Spanish noodles with king prawns and clams is a slightly anglicised variation on a dish from the Spanish region of Valencia, where sun and seafood are abundant.  Be sure that your clams are fresh, properly prepared and checked before you cook them – if in doubt, ask at the fish counter.  You can also substitute the clams for mussels if you prefer.

What you need:

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g very fine, short noodles (Fideua)
  • 400g king prawns, peeled
  • 350g clams in their shells, cleaned and prepared with any that are open, or come open with a light tap, discarded
  • 6 spring onions, or 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • Generous pinch of dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ L fish stock
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Twist of lemon

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and on a medium heat, fry the onions for a few minutes.
  2. Add the prawns and the garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes until the onions are really soft.
  3. Add the noodles and the dried parsley to the pan and continue to fry for a few minutes before pouring in the stock, seasoning well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the clams and bring the stock up to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed into the dish. Add the fresh parsley, (saving a little for the garnish) stirring it in on the heat for another minute before tasting, and if necessary, adding a little more seasoning.  Add more stock to the dish as you cook if necessary to prevent it from becoming too dry.  Scan the finished dish for any clams that have not opened during cooking, and discard them.
  5. Squeeze over the lemon, serve into dishes and top with the fresh parsley garnish.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of Spanish white wine and baguette rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

Ready in less than 30 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

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11Jun 12

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes 

We’re heading towards the summer; and that’s when crab is in the peak of its season. You can get hold of fresh crab from late spring, right through the summer and into early autumn. These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!

If you find yourself near the Cromer coast this summer, make sure to buy plenty of the infamous Cromer crab, which is often served in the shell, ready to eat. Just squeeze over some lemon and tuck into it right there gazing out at the waves. For another idea to enjoy the season’s fresh seafood, take a look at this crayfish rice with mango recipe. Serve the crab cakes with a mixed salad and a beer topped with lime.

Ginger and Coriander Crab Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These ginger and coriander crab cakes are a delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood, complemented with plenty of ginger zing, lime zest and coriander burst!
Ingredients
  • 420g cooked crab meat, ready to eat
  • 2 spring onions, chopped as finely as possible
  • 110g mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp juice of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 3 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • A splash of Tabasco sauce
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g breadcrumbs, dried
  • Plenty of extra virgin olive oil to fry
Instructions
  1. Mix the crab, onions, garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, coriander, Tabasco and ginger together in a large bowl. Season very generously with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Create 12 crab cakes using the palms of your hands.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs into another small bowl. Dip each crab cake into the egg and then cover in breadcrumbs on the top, bottom and sides.
  4. Heat plenty of olive oil in a frying pan, on a medium heat; and shallow fry the crab cakes in batches. They will absorb quite a bit of oil, so add more as necessary. Cook each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown.

 

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04May 12

Mexican Chicken Mole, Puebla Style

Mexican Chicken MoléThe 5th May is a special day in Mexico.  Mexican pride and heritage are celebrated in the Cinco de Mayo festival, when Mexican chicken mole, Puebla style is often cooked up communally.

Puebla is one of the three states that claim to be the founder of mole.  There are myths and legends surrounding the origin of the dish.  You can find out more if you want to because they are rather fascinating.

For some people, mole might be an acquired taste because it combines many interesting flavours such as chocolate and chicken. These two ingredients might not normally go together, but in mole and in this chicken thighs with a chilli chocolate sauce recipe, they are absolutely fantastic!

What you need:

  • 400g chicken breast pieces, skinless
  • 400g chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 dried ancho chillies, torn into 3cm pieces
  • 700ml hot chicken stock
  • 30g sultanas
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 15g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Twist of black pepper
  • White rice or enchiladas to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil on the hob in a cast iron-style casserole dish.  Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes on a medium to high heat, until the onions begin to soften.  Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander and cinnamon and stir in, cooking for a further minute.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan and fry on for a couple of minutes until the chilli softens.  Stir in the chicken stock.  Now add the tomato, sultanas, sliced almonds and orange zest to the pan and combine.  Bring the sauce up to the boil.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for around 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove the chicken from the pan and shred it with 2 forks.  Put it to one side.
  4. Add the chocolate to the sauce, and let it melt.  Whizz the sauce with a hand blender until smooth.  Reduce the sauce over a medium heat for around 20 minutes.  Add the chicken back to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and serve with white rice or in enchiladas.

15 minutes to prepare, around 45 minutes to cook

Makes 3-4 servings

A little more about ancho chillies:  Ancho means ‘wide’ in Spanish.  These are dried; deep reddish brown chilli peppers about 7.5cm wide and 10cm long which have a sweet, hot flavour.  When fresh, they are called poblanos.  Anchos are flat, wrinkled, and heart-shaped.

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09Apr 12

Roast pork with apples and cider

Roast Pork with ApplesPork fillets are tender and succulent, and in this roast pork with apples and cider recipe are cooked fast. This means that you can prepare a roast from start to finish in less than 45 minutes, and it’s delicious!

What you need:
2 x 350g fillets of pork
3 x large cox apples, core removed, skin on
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
20 Cloves
40g butter (plus a knob of butter to grease baking tray)
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
225ml English cider
2 tablespoons crème fraiche (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
2. Cut slits into the pork fillets and insert the garlic slivers inside – do this all over the meat.
3. Push cloves into some of the spaces between the garlic, around 5 cloves per side of each piece of meat.
4. Butter a baking tray and scatter with the sliced onion.
5. Melt the butter in a bowl and stir in the cider. Lay the pork over the onion on the baking tray, and brush the meat all over with the cider mixture. Then season with salt and pepper.
6. Cut the apples into wedges, toss them in the cider and butter mixture and place them in the tray around the outside of the pork.
7. Place the tray in the hot oven on a high shelf and roast for 25-30 mins, or until the pork is thoroughly cooked (roasting time will depend on the thickness of the pork).
8. When cooked, remove the pork, keeping it warm by wrapping it in silver foil, then put the baking tray on the heat on top of the cooker, add some cider and stir loose the apples and onions to make a wonderful sauce, let the liquid reduce by about a third – this should take about 5 minutes.
9. Add the crème fraiche (if you are using it) to the cider, apple and onion sauce, let it warm through on the heat, taste and season further if necessary.
10. Carve the pork into nice thick slices and serve with the apples.

1 hour to prepare – 45 minutes to cook
Makes: 4 main courses

Note: If you enjoy my recipe, I also recommend this spiced roast ham or pork with juniper berries.

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27Mar 12

Lamb Roast with Garlic and Rosemary

Lamb Roast with Garlic and RosemaryLamb roast with garlic and rosemary is a mouth wateringly tasty meal that is served up traditionally in some Irish households on St Patrick’s Day on 17th March.  The festival coincides with the very beginning of the lambing season in mid march, so this may well be your first taste of spring lamb this year. (If you really like this meat, I also recommend spiced skewered lamb.)

What you need:

  • 1 leg of lamb on the bone, about 2kg
  • Lamb trimmings and chopped bones (fresh from the butchers)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
  • 20g butter, softened
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Take a deep roasting tin and lay in the chopped bones, trimmings and the halved garlic bulb.
  3. With a sharp knife, make plenty of deep slits into the leg of lamb, inserting the garlic cloves and the small sprigs of rosemary into them randomly all over the joint.
  4. Rub the lamb all over with the butter and lay the joint over the bones in the roasting tray.  Season well with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1-1½ hours or until the meat is cooked to your liking.
  5. At the end of the roasting time, take the lamb out of the oven, grind over a little more salt and pepper, cover it loosely with tin foil to retain the heat, and remove it to another tray to rest.  Resting the meat relaxes it so that it has a softer texture.
  6. Whilst the joint is resting, make the gravy by placing the tray with the bones of the lamb over a medium heat on the hob and reducing the cooking juices until they are caramelised.  This should only take a few minutes.  Strain away any excess fat and pour in about 360ml of cold water.  Bring the mixture up to the boil, then reduce the heat immediately and simmer for around 5 minutes.  Strain the gravy mixture through a large sieve and pour it into a gravy boat to put on the table.
  7. Serve the lamb with creamed potatoes, parsnips and carrots, and a green vegetable of your choice.

Enjoy with a customary pint of Guinness, or a full-bodied red wine.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare, 1-2 hours to cook

Makes: 6-8 servings

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26Mar 12

Moules Mariniere

Moules MariniereMoules mariniere brings back memories of holidays in the south of France and close to the Spanish border where moules frites (mussels and chips) and mussels in Asturian cider are very popular.

British Mussels are in season in February.  If you’re lucky enough to find good ones, you will soon be making succulent and tasty mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, which you can enjoy as a starter, or as a main meal with nice hunks of granary bread, chips or a mixed salad.  It looks stunning in its presentation and is sophisticated to the palette.

Moules mariniere is most fun prepared in company, sampling the white wine together as you cook.  I use a splash of good white wine from the bottle I want to drink with the meal rather than a cheap cooking wine, which I believe improves the flavour significantly. Try this recipe with a very well chilled oaked chardonnay.

What you need:

  • 1.75kg fresh mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 120ml double cream (substitute for light crème fraiche if desired)

What you do:

  1. Wash the mussels thoroughly, removing and binning any that have opened and don’t close when lightly pressed in your fingers.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels – these are the tough and fibrous strands which stick out of the closed shells.  Rinse the mussels once again.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan (which needs to be large enough for the mussels to reach only half way up the pan) and fry the shallots and the onion until soft.
  4. Splash in the wine and add the mussels.  Turn up the heat at this point, cover the pan with a lid, and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes.  Whilst the mussels are cooking, move them about every now and then by gently shaking the pan; there’s no need to remove the lid to do this.
  5. Pour in the cream, add the coriander, and remove from the heat.

10-15 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 4 generous starters or light main meals

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14Feb 12

Leek, potato and cod stew

leek_potato_and_cod_stewLeeks are in season in January. They are rich in vitamin C, iron and fibre. Leek, cod and potato stew is inspired by a Spanish dish called Porrusalda, and is part of the tradition of Basque/French cooking which includes a lot of fish, and very often cod. You can ask the fishmonger to prepare the fish for you, or do it yourself – or if pressed for time, grab a bag of cod pieces from the freezer section in the supermarket. I make this recipe and then freeze half for an easy meal on a night when there’s no time or energy to cook. It’s a simple, heartwarming recipe for the winter months.

What you need:

  • 4 leeks, washed and cut into medium sized slices
  • 1kg of sliced potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 300g cod – fresh, frozen or dried and cut into small-sized chunks
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Stock cube to taste (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or coriander to garnish

What to do:
1. Prepare the cod and cut into small chunks.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based deep pan and add the garlic. Fry for 1 minute then add the leaks. Fry for a few minutes then stir.
3. Add the potatoes and fry for five minutes until just beginning to soften.
4. Cover the ingredients with water and bring to the boil. Add the stock cube at this point (if you are using one).
5. Add the cod pieces, reduce the heat, cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 45 minutes.
6. At the end of the cooking time, taste for flavour and add salt/pepper if desired.

1 hour to prepare, 45 minutes to cook
Makes 4 main courses

A little more about leeks…
The leek is the national emblem of Wales.
They belong to the same family as onions and garlic but are more subtle in flavour, delicate and sweet to the taste.
It is said that the Emperor Nero thought that leeks would improve his singing voice, so he ate loads of them!
There are records of cultivation going as far back as ancient Egyptian times.

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