Roast cod wrapped in pancetta

This is a reasonably straightforward recipe for a fish dish; for this version of roast cod loin wrapped in parma ham I added a green pesto minus the pine nuts to give it more flavour. Continue reading “Roast cod wrapped in pancetta”

Chorizo and bean chilli with fried egg

chorizo and bean chilli

This chorizo with bean chilli served with a fried egg is a great alternative to the usual version with mince and very easy to make.  You could make it vegetarian by using more beans and leaving out the chorizo but it won’t be as good Continue reading “Chorizo and bean chilli with fried egg”

Salmon fishcakes with salsa verde

salmon and salsa verde fishcakes

This is a bit different  as the salsa verde is mixed into the fishcakes but go with it, they taste amazing. Continue reading “Salmon fishcakes with salsa verde”

Greek turkey meatballs with flatbreads

greek turkey kebabs

This is a super healthy kebab, aka Greek turkey meatballs, served with flatbread and a hot sauce its  great main or starter Continue reading “Greek turkey meatballs with flatbreads”

Hake with chorizo and potatoes

Hake is a member of the cod family but has a more subtle flavour and slightly firmer texture than its more well-known fishy relation. It is the perfect foil for strong, punchy flavours such as chorizo here, and indeed it is a popular fish in Spain. Continue reading “Hake with chorizo and potatoes”

Gnocchi with tomatoes, pinenuts and blue cheese

Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat as the gnocchi aren’t homemade but it’s still damned good and let’s face it, sometimes needs must! It’s such a quick and easy dish and the soft pillowy gnocchi with the garlicky sauce and oozy cheese are the perfect comfort food after a busy day. Glass of red wine mandatory. Continue reading “Gnocchi with tomatoes, pinenuts and blue cheese”

Pesto stuffed chicken with parma ham

chicken stuffed with pesto

This is a straightforward recipe, chicken is amazing when stuffed with this pesto and wrapped in the salty Parma ham,  you might want to use toothpicks to keep the stuffing inside Continue reading “Pesto stuffed chicken with parma ham”

Chicken and Tuscan bread salad

This is a really simple chicken recipe which captures Tuscan flavours and is ideal for using up old bread, in this recipe it was a foccacia which was just too hard to eat! Continue reading “Chicken and Tuscan bread salad”

Pasta with mackerel, Marsala and pine nuts

Pasta and mackerel work well together, try and get very fresh fish.  The Marsala adds a bit of sweetness and the pine nuts add texture. Continue reading “Pasta with mackerel, Marsala and pine nuts”

Tagliatelle with parsley and walnut pesto

Tagliatelle with parsley and walnut pesto

Method:

A Tagliatelle twist on the traditional basil/pine nut pesto. So easy but so tasty!

Put the parsley, hazelnuts, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and whizz to a semi-smooth paste. Add the parmesan and then, with the food processor going, drizzle in the olive oil gradually until everything is emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly.

Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan with the reserved cooking water and mix through the pesto.

Serve immediately with more grated parmesan.

Spanish lamb stew

spanish lamb stew

Method:

This is an excellent Spanish stew recipe,ideally for a Sunday dinner, first add a good slug of olive oil to a hot pan and add the onions and chopped pepper, frying over a medium heat for around five mins.

Add the garlic and fry for a further minute before adding the diced lamb to the pan.  Brown the meat on all sides over a high heat before adding the wine and allowing to reduce by about half.

Add the everything else to the pan except the parsley and bring up to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender – probably one to one and half hours.  Check for seasoning and serve with rice or potatoes with vegetables of your choice.

When checking the lamb, add a little water or stock if there is not enough liquid.

Chorizo and pork belly with polenta chips

pork and chorizo with polenta chips_0

Method:

Heat the oven to fan 140C. Cut the pork belly into large chunks and fry in some hot olive oil until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the pancetta and cook for a few minutes until golden, then reduce the heat slightly and add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft which will take about five minutes, then stir in the paprika and chorizo and cook for a further minute.

Return the pork to the pan and add the tomatoes, add the wine and bring to the boil and cook for a couple of mins before adding enough water just to cover. Season then cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours until the pork is falling apart.

In the meantime add 2 cups cold water and stir in the polenta. Turn on the heat to medium and stir the polenta constantly until it starts to simmer. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and then bring the polenta mixture to a simmer again.
Turn down the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the polenta from clumping. Stir in the butter and add salt to taste. Pour the mixture into a baking dish or pan lined with clingwrap. Spread it evenly and smoothen the surface. Set aside to cool, and if necessary, pop it into the fridge for a while so that the polenta cake firms up.
Remove the polenta cake from the baking dish and slice into cubes or bite-sized nuggets (about 1/3 inch thick).
Place the extra 1/3 cup polenta in a shallow dish and toss in the sliced polenta cubes to coat evenly. Shake off excess polenta. Heat sufficient vegetable oil in a pan/wok for deep-frying. Deep-fry the polenta cubes in batches, for about 5-7 minutes until golden and crisp.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper, and then place in a serving bowl. While they are still hot, sprinkle with salt, rosemary and plenty of grated parmesan. Serve with the stew
Note: For a healthier alternative, you may choose to bake these in the oven at 200C (400F) instead of deep-frying them.

Stir through the coriander and parsley. Serve with potatoes, toasted sliced ciabatta with melted gruyere and a fine vino.

Spanish lamb and chorizo stew

spanish lamb stew

Method:

This is an excellent lamb dish, lamb works well with chorizo and the smoked paprika adds another dimension.

First cut the lamb into large cubes and coat in flour with salt and pepper, simply place it in a freezer bag and move it about.

Put a large pan onto a high heat and add a good glug of olive oil, when hot add the lamb, shaking off excess flour.

You want to get the meat nice and brown on all sides so so it four or five bits at a time and then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for now.

When the lamb is done turn the heat down to low and add the onions and fry for about five minutes.

Add the garlic and carrot and fry for another five minutes then put the heat right up and return the lamb to the pan along with chorizo.

When the pan is up to heat add the port and let it reduce by half, the sauce should be quite thick already.

Add the lamb stock, bay leaf and smoked paprika.

Put in an oven at 160 and cook for an hour, when ready check for seasoning and serve with rice or potatoes with vegetables

If you are looking for ideas for Spanish style food Rick Stein has this excellent book

Gnocchi with creamy mushrooms and spinach

Method:

First, prepare the spinach. Put it into a large sieve or colander and pour over a kettleful of boiling water so that it wilts. Leave it to drain and once it is cool enough, squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible before chopping roughly. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms. Fry them over a fairly high heat for five minutes or so until they are nicely browned and have given out all their liquid. Tip them out into a bowl and set aside.

Pour a little more olive oil into the pan and add the shallot. Fry for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes more before adding the white wine. Allow to bubble until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Return the mushrooms to the pan along with the chopped spinach and mix everything together. Add the creme fraiche along with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.Simmer gently so the sauce thickens a little.

Meanwhile heat your grill to its highest setting and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the gnocchi. Cook according to packet instructions but generally the moment they rise to the surface, they are ready. Drain.

Grate some nutmeg into the sauce and add the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can be quite generous with the nutmeg. Mix the gnocchi in with the sauce then spoon into a gratin dish. Grate over a generous amount of parmesan and place under the hot grill for a few minutes until golden and bubbling. Leave to cool for a minute before eating or you’ll burn your mouth (like I did).

Pork, chorizo and bean stew

Pork, chorizo and bean stew

Method:

A warming meal for a cold evening. This recipe also freezes well.

Add a splash of olive oil to a casserole pan and brown the pork over a high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the chorizo to the pan and fry until starting to crisp and the oil has turned red. Remove from the pan and set aside with the pork.

Turn the heat down to medium and fry the onion and peppers for a few minutes until starting to soften. Next, add the garlic, the two types of paprika, chilli flakes and dried oregano and fry for a minute or two.

Add the Marsala or sherry and bubble for a few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, stock and tomato puree. Return the pork and chorizo to the pan and mix well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the beans and simmer for another ten minutes or so until the pork is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with mash and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.