This is one of my all time favourite dinners. So simple, quick and tasty. Recipe:
2 largish/3 medium courgettes
1 small garlic clove
Chilli (if you want)
Salt & pepper
Take a vegetable peeler and peel the courgettes into ribbons in a large bowl. After each one is peeled drizzle over a generous drizzle of olive oil. Zest the lemon into the bowl then cut in half and juice. Grate the garlic clove in (I find this helps to spread it around a bit more plus saves me chopping it). Add the finely chopped chilli, more olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix around and put to one side.
Cook your pasta, al dente if you like, or however you enjoy cooking. When the pasta is about five minutes off heat a saute pan or frying pan and quickly saute the courgette mix, try to cook so there is still some bite in the courgettes and you cook off a little of the garlic and the lemony/olivey/courgettey juice too. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and swirl around so it gets coated in the lovely juices.
Serve with a large heap of grated parmesan and maybe a glass of red!
I’ve not posted a recipe in a long time but tonight as I was walking round Whole Foods buying stuff for dinner I was inspired by the gorgeous fennels I saw. Then I remembered this recipe, I was introduced to it by my middle sister, I have no idea where she got it from but ever since I first had it I knew it was a good one. So I thought it was high time to get sharing again especially as this is one of my favourite salads, the perfect combination of citrus and aniseed. The final touch, it looks good too. Shall we begin…
Take one fennel bulb and one grapefruit.
Remove the fronds from the fennel for later, then finely slice the fennel, I used half of the above one this time but you can use as much as you want.
Then prepare the grapefruit to segment it. Slice the top and bottom off flat and slice off all the skin, ideally all of the pith too but I never bother too much beyond about the below point.
Over your sliced fennel segment your grapefruit, make sure to do it over the fennel so you catch all the juice. As these were big segments I chopped two out of each rather than have fewer fatter ones.
Finally put it all in the bowl together, drizzle over a generous helping of olive oil, sprinkle on sea salt and then gently stir. Be careful those segments are delicate.
A short while back J and I were watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations (a show we rather enjoy because it is a rather wonderful combination of food and travel). The particular episode was set in the south of France and at one meal they made Aioli. It looked amazing and was on my mind.
Seemingly it was easy to make and it looked yummy plus I know that I love both garlic and mayonnaise so it was a bit of a no brainer. Last weekend I set to making some.
The recipe is simple, it calls for garlic (1-2 cloves), salt (ideally Maldon or a similar sea salt), 1 egg yolk, olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice to taste.
In a pestle and mortar place the garlic and salt, grind until a smooth paste. Add the egg yolk and work together. Slowly pour the olive oil in, all the time working the Aioli in the pestle and mortar, keep stirring in the same direction. I just kept on pouring it in until it looked like it was about the consistency I expected. Add a small teaspoon of Dijon mustard and the juice of half a lemon, stir and there you have it. Silky smooth, moorishly delicious aioli.
Cate recently posted a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi as part of her fabulous food fridays posts. (Seriously go check them out if you haven’t already). I suggested that with something as wonderful as her Gnocchi some slow cooked ragu might just be the perfect accompaniment (to me anyhow). So I thought I would share my ragu recipe. Kind of a hybrid of the Heston Blumenthal one we saw on his in search of perfection collection of programs and the Giorgio Locatelli one from his Made in Italy book (which if you haven’t got it is an amazing recipe book which I would highly highly recommend).
Ragu (makes enough for 4-6)
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 – 300g minced beef (salt and pepper before cooking)
250 – 300g minced pork (salt and pepper before cooking)
Large tin chopped tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
Tomato puree (possibly)
Salt, pepper, dried oregano
In a large heavy bottomed pan (ideally cast iron) warm a good slug of olive oil, once warm add in the finely chopped onion, celery and carrot. Sweat for about 10 minutes or until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, try not to brown it. Remove from the pan and put to one side, without adding more oil to the pan put in some of the meat, don’t do all of it at once so it can seal and brown. In batches brown the meat and after the last batch add back in all the meat and the vegetables.
Add in the garlic and dried oregano and let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the splash of milk, stir, then add in the chopped tomatoes and a splash of water if you feel like it needs it. Cook slowly on the hob, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour. Add more water if needed and if you feel like it needs the tomato puree to thicken. Season to taste at this point. After cooking it should be quite a dry sauce. Ideally leave overnight to get even better and then warm through before cooking.
Serve on the gnocchi (or linguine, or tagliatelle) and then grate copious amounts of pecorino and parmesan over the top. A drizzle of olive oil and you’re ready to go. Enjoy!
Last week I wanted to make bread, I had forgotten about the oil we had burnt in the oven and the acrid smoke this belched out rendering the oven useless until cleaned. I thus had to abandon my bread making dreams. Still wanting to make something though I decided perhaps ice cream was the better way to go, after all that definitely doesn’t need the oven.
You start by heating up 500ml of double cream (heavy whipping cream here in the US) with milk (ideally full fat). As I only had 2% milk I went heavy on the cream, probably doing a 70:30 mix rather than the recommended 50:50. Heat gently with the cracked cardamom pods, I also added a cinnamon stick and some sprinkles of ground nutmeg and cinnamon, I liked the extra flavours of nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring it just to the boil and then leave to infuse with all the flavours you’ve added.
Then whisk up 6 egg yolks with 100g sugar. I’ve seen recipes with anywhere from 65g – 125g so I went for 100g so as not to be too sweet but to have enough sweetness.
Slowly add in the cooled, infused milk (through a sieve, you don’t want all the lumpy pods etc) and whisk. If the milk has been cooled it shouldn’t curdle but whisk hard to make sure it doesn’t. You should end up with a custard that looks something like the above.
Pour custard into pot/container and stick in freezer, mix with fork every 1-2 hours until frozen. Or if you are lucky enough use an ice cream maker! Mine worked well without, and much better than when I tried it last with only milk and no cream.
Then dig in and feel very proud. Because it tastes amazing! If I do say so myself. If someone special is lucky enough perhaps share with them too… Enjoy!