Tag Archives: garlic

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

If you’re quick you may just get to the last of the wild garlic in a shady spot.  The distinctive smell should guide you!

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

This is a quick easy supper that takes advantage of the wild food available for such a short season. Although, I admit, I grow some ‘wild’ garlic in a container in my garden for convenience and I always find gnocchi very satisfying after a long day in the garden!

Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Cream Sauce

Serves 2

1 pack gnocchi (I use giant gnocchi here but regular ones work just as well)
200ml double cream
2 tbsp green pesto
a good handful of wild garlic leaves, washed and slices into ribbons
4 tbsp* freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano *at least

  • Cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions.
  • Gently heat the cream and pesto in a small saucepan.  Do not allow it to boil.
  • Add the garlic leaves and Parmigiano Reggiano and make sure it’s piping hot through.
  • Pour the sauce over the gnocchi in bowls.
  • Excellent with some crusty bread and a crisp Riesling after a long day in the garden!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Easy, Mains, quick

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

This Christmas Tree Tear-and-Share Bread is the perfect side to any holiday meal, it’s cute, easy, and can be made ahead the night before for a low stress gathering all round!  It’s not so garlicy or cheesy as to overwhelm, but feel free to dial it up!

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

Bread making doesn’t have to be hard, in fact this takes about 20 minutes hands on time, total!  It’s a real crowd pleaser and could easily be scaled up to suit any size of gathering.

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

Serves 4

250g strong bread flour
4g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
100g shredded mozzarella
1 tsp crushed garlic
25g butter
small handful fresh parsley or basil, shredded

– Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeas to one side and the salt to the other.
– Mix to combine.
– Add the olive oil and most of the water, keep a little in reserve in case it’s too sticky.
– Start to bring the dough together in the bowl with your hand, or a dough hook attachment on a mixer.
– If using your hands, when the dough has formed tip out onto a worksurface and continue to knead by hand until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic.  If using the dough hooks continue to knead in the bowl.
– Set in a clean, oiled bowl and cover.  Leave in a warm, draft free place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
– When the dough has risen add the cheese and garlic and knock it down.  Knead in the bowl until the cheese and garlic are evenly distributed.
– Grease an oven proof dish.
– Pinch off small balls of dough, about the size of a walnut.  I needed 23 balls.
– Roll them in your hands and arrange them in the dish to form a Christmas tree!
– Now you can cover the dish with clingfilm and keep in the fridge overnight, or you can set aside at room temperature for another 30 minute rise.
– When you are ready for your bread get the dough out of the fridge and heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C or higher.
– Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
– Immediately upon removing from the oven, dot the bread with butter.
– Scatter the parsley on top for a green Christmas tree!

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads, Christmas, Sides

Falafel

 

 

 

Falafel is something I have had a troubled relationship with.  For years I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t!  Everything was ether too bland or too spicy or too mushy or just not right!  However, with this recipe I really feel like I’ve cracked it.  And I feel that the key is to really amp up the spices.  Not too much chili, but spices, the cumin and coriander, and a good dash of salt and pepper, are what are going to make your falafel sing! 
20140709-123829-45509418.jpg

 

It helps if you think of your falafel as portable hummous.  Just as a bland humous is nobody’s friend, so too for falafel so even if you look at these quantities and think I’m crazy, remember, chickpeas are delicious but only with the proper accessories!

20140709-123828-45508104.jpg

 

The wonderful thing about this falafel recipe is that it healthy and simple.  You basically put everything in a food processor and blitz it up! Simple!  And to keep the calorie count down on these falafel I oven bake them rather than frying them.  Would frying them make them tastier… well, yeah, probably! But I can’t afford those calories so oven baking it is!  That’s why we amp up the spices, what you lose in fat you can make up in flavour!

20140709-123828-45508886.jpg

Makes ~15 falafel balls

2 x 400g tins of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 LARGE cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tbsp plain flour
~ 2 tbsp water if necessary

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Put everything except the water in the food processor.
– Blitz, scrape down the bowl, blitz again.  You want to keep blitzing until you have about half coarse mix, half smooth paste in there.  You don’t want to keep going until you get hummous!
– If it’s just not coming together into a paste at all then you might just need a little extra moisture to bind it so gradually add a little water at a time until it just comes together.  You don’t want to add too much or you get a soft, sticky falafel!
– Using your hands (or if you’re weird about these things feel free to use spoons/a small ice cream scoop) grab a ping pong ball sized amount of mixture and gently shape it into a nice round ball.
– Place on a very lightly greased baking tray (a quick spray with olive oil will do) and repeat until your mixture is all gone.
– Give all of your falafel a light spritz with an olive oil spray.
– Place in the top of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The falafel should just be turning brown in places and should be crisp to the touch.
– Serve with salad, pita and haydari… or whatever else takes your fancy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Low Fat, Mains

Sweet Chilli Jam

My mum LOVES sweet chilli sauce.  I honestly think she’d have it on everything if she could.  So I found this recipe for sweet chilli jam and knew I had to make it for her for Christmas.  It’s got a bit of a kick to it but if you’re not keen on spicy then just don’t use so many chillies.  I used a really big deep saute pan much wider than it is tall, which is a really useful pan to have around but any really large pan will do.  If the pan is deep rather than wide the jam will take longer to reach setting point. 

Makes about 4 small (~250ml) jars. 

8 red peppers, chopped (I used 4 long sweet ones and 4 bell as the supermarket didn’t have 8) < would you look at that, didn’t know I could do that I meant 8 then)!
6 large red chillies, sliced
about 2 1/2″ root ginger, peeled and chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin cherry or plain chopped tomatoes
750g granulated sugar
250ml red wine vinegar

– Put the peppers, chillies, ginger and garlic in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped and pulpy.  You may have to do this in two batches. 
– Put this into your pan and add the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. 
– Bring to the boil and then simmer at a rapid pace for about 45 minutes.  Keep stirring to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 
– When there is a texture change and it goes very thick and sticky give it 5 minutes more while stirring. 
– Put into sterilised jars while still hot and screw the lids on immediately.

3 Comments

Filed under Easy, Jams and Preserves

French Chicken

I christen this dish French Chicken as I saw it on a French food blog A Foodie Froggy in Paris and it is full of French flavours.  The other qualifier is that it is needessly complicated in places as all great French food should be!  I tweaked the recipe here and there subsituting ingredients for things I had and were cheap rather than the more expensive options of porcini and fois gras. 

I would not recommend that you try wrapping the chicken in spiraled strips of pastry as I did.  I will give a different idea in the recipe that should give you a pretty sort of plaited effect and be a hell of a lot easier.  While I was wrapping these up I swore like a trooper, they were HARD!  But if Gordon Ramsey is anything to judge by may be the swearing makes food taste better because these were delicious! 

Serves 4

1 quantity Rough Puff Pastry, or buy ready made. 
Chicken Liver Pate or fois gras
4 chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

For the mushroom pate:
400g mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley

– Put the mushrooms and onion in a large pan and fry until just soft. 
– Add the garlic and parsley and stir well. 
– Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. 

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and have a large ovenproof dish ready, you may need 2 as the chicken breasts cannot touch.
– Split the chicken breasts on the top down the centre to create ‘boats’. First cut a line straight down then widen the pouch by cutting out to the sides, like an inverted T. 
– Roll out the pastry and cut out 4 squares just larger than twice the size of the chicken breasts. 
– Place the chicken in the centre of the square. 
– Put a large spoonful of pate in the chicken ‘boat’ and smooth down. 
– Top this with the mushroom pate to make a small mound. 
– Cut strips in the pastry either side of the chicken then start at one end and fold the two strips on opposite sides over towards the other end of the chicken in a V shape. 
– Repeat this all along the chicken breast to create a plait effect making sure the whole thing is covered. 
– Brush with egg, place in the dish and cook for 30 minutes.  If not quite browning turn up to gas 7 for the last 10 minutes. 
– Serve with whatever vegetables you like.  A simple mushroom cream sauce makes a nice addition but its moist enough to eat without if you wish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mains, Moderately easy

Slow Cooker Chilli

This was the veggie option for the party.  I made it in the slow cooker so that I could throw it together and leave it and then serve from the slow cooker and it would still be hot.  It could easily become non-veggie by using minced beef instead of veggie mince but brown it in a frying pan first then proceed as below.  Essentially this is just my chilli con carne recipe done a bit differently. 

Serves 8

500g veggie mince
2 onions, chopped
2x400g tins chopped tomatoes
2x400g tins red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp bisto granules made up with 200ml water
1 tbsp sugar

– Basically throw everything but the kidney beans into the slow cooker. 
– Give it a stir to mix it up well. 
– Add the beans and stir gently. 
– Put the lid on and cook in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low.

1 Comment

Filed under Easy, Mains

Summer in Winter

At least I think that’s what the recipe called it.  I kept the name but altered the recipe a fair bit.  The idea of it was basically summery flavours in the depths of winter but these days that’s not so odd I guess!  Who knows what you call it in the summer!  It made a delicious dinner anyway and only took about 30 minutes to make.  It even kept warm very well as dinner was delayed by another 30 minutes.  I had everything ready by 8pm then kept the pasta covered with a tea towel in a warm oven and reheated the sauce and put it together when everyone was there. 

 

Serves 4-6

4 chicken breasts either whole or in strips*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
~200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
200g soft cheese
~400ml creme fraiche
1 tbsp grated hard cheese/parmesan
~6 fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 salad tomatoes, sliced
pasta to serve

– Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken until just browned. 
– Get your pasta going. 
– Push the chicken to one side and add the garlic, fry in the space for a minute then stir through the chicken. 
– Add the halved tomatoes and cook for one minute. 
– Add the soft cheese, creme fraiche, hard cheese and parmesan. 
– Stir until combined.  If it seems a little thick add a little water from the pasta. 
– Grill the tomato slices until just starting to blacken in places. 
– Serve on top of pasta garnishing with the sliced tomatoes.

1 Comment

Filed under Easy, Mains

Layered Enchiladas

Wow, what a week it has been!  I’ve been pushing my cooking boundaries already this week and I had to do it again today with the Tortillas.  It’s been a busy few days and I lost a few hours to that little mishap.  I’ve updated the index here again and I’m going to try to keep on top of it this time.  I’m coming up on 100 recipes!  Yes, there will be cake.  I’m generally working hard to get this blog to be the best I can make it.  I’m also hoping to also be able to participate in Adopt-A-Blogger #4 over at Dine & Dish which will hopefully mean improvements around here.  But that’ll be after the christmas madness.  I’m already preparing to go gourmet with the gifts this year.  I have a bunch of recipes lying about that’ll be just perfect for so-and-so so I’m gearing up to get cracking with those.  I hope you’re all getting ready for an excellent holiday season, I know I’ll be stepping up on the Christmas recipes any day now!

Anyway, on to tonight’s dinner!  These Layered Enchiladas were just supposed to be ordinary enchiladas, however, due to the supermarket tortillas going off and my first attempt at tortillas turning out rather brittle I had to go for Layered Enchiladas.  I have to say I am impressed with  how well they turned out.  Instead of having a wrap we each ended up with a slice of ‘enchilada pie’, which was actually really handy for portion control.  This certainly went down well with my dad who asked for seconds, which is almost unheard of!

Serves 4

1 pack tortillas or make your own with my recipe here.
~200g grated cheese 
500g passata
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 chicken breasts, sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
1x400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 green pepper, chopped

– First make the sauce.  Saute the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt in a little oil until soft. 
– Then add the chicken and stir until cooked all over. 
– Add the chilli powder and chopped chilli.  Stir well. 
– Pour in the chopped tomatoes with a little water to rinse out the tin. 
– Add the sugar and tomato puree and stir until mixed. 
– Bring to a simmer and add the green pepper. 
– Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. 
– Assemble the enchiladas in a greased baking dish either in the traditional way or:
– Place a tortilla on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle lightly with grated cheese then add a few spoonfuls the sauce and spread over the tortilla. 
– Add another tortilla on top.  Pour a little passata over and spread over the tortilla.  Sprinkle with cheese. 
– Add another tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.  Add sauce and spread out. 
– Repeat alternating layers of sauce and passata until all of the tortillas have been used making the last layer passata covered with a good layer of cheese on the very top. 
– Bake in a hot oven at gas mark 6 for around 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything warmed through. 
– Serve in slices while hot. It’s really good with creme fraiche and avocado slices.

2 Comments

Filed under Easy, Mains

Pizza

We have homemade pizza fairly frequently in our house.  We’ve tried dozens of different recipes and techniques trying to find the best pizza dough recipe, the most frequent problem is that the middles become soup so we got pizza trays with holes in, which helped a bit.  Last Christmas I got mum a pizza stone but it wasn’t as impressive as all that.  Up until tonight mum has always made the dough and done all the work but tonight I was put in charge.  So I turned to google and my usual foodie haunts trying to make the best damned pizza this family has ever had.  Boasting it may be but I may well have succeeded!

The secret would appear to be part cooking the base first.  It gets all big and puffy but when you put the toppings on that goes down and means that the middle doesn’t stay all goopy but still retains a bit of crispness.  We are also guilty of piling on the toppings, in the past I have been known to have up to an inch deep on mine.  I have no will power, you see.  We set up a little area with all the toppings layed out in bowls to build our own to spec. and I just keep piling it all on!  This, of course, means that they take longer to cook so be aware that if you’re spare with the toppings it’ll take less cooking time, if you’re like me they’ll need longer. 

Makes 3 large pizzas, if not from a family of gluttons makes 4 individual ones. 

For the dough:
500g strong bread flour
2 tsp salt
1x7g sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp sugar
300ml warm water
2 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2x400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp herbes de provence (or basil, oregano or any herb that’s good with tomato)

For the toppings:
Whatever you like!  I always think that cheese on top is the only must, below that anything goes! 

– First, as it’s now winter here in the uk, I would remind you to prepare a warm draft free place for the dough to rise.  By the fire, on top of a radiator or boiler, in a gently warmed oven, wherever works for you.  I usually put the oven on the lowest setting (Slow Cook) while I prepare the dough then turn it off when I put the dough in and leave it.
– In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. 
– Make a well in the centre and add the oil and water. 
– Mix with a wooden spoon until mostly combined, then get in there with your hands to get it together and get any bits stuck to the bowl off by rubbing the dough around.    
– Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic adding more flour if necessary.
– Wash your bowl if necessary then lightly oil the bowl using your hand to spread it about. 
– Continue to knead the dough for a minute or two with your oily hands. 
– Place the dough in the bowl then turn over so it’s coated with oil. 
– Cover and leave to rise in your warm draft free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

– Meanwhile prepare the sauce and toppings.  Chop up whatever you’re putting on the pizzas and leave them ready for people to put on themselves if you’re doing it that way. 
– For the sauce melt a knob of butter and a small splash of oil in a medium sized pan. 
– Add the garlic and stir on a low heat until just starting to brown. 
– Add the onion and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes until it is very soft and starting to go transparent. 
– Tip in the tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs and stir well. 
– Turn up the heat and simmer for at least half an hour until the sauce is reduced by half, making sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick. 

– Heat your oven to as high as it will go.  Mine does gas mark 9. 
– Once the dough has risen knock it down and lightly knead it for a minute. 
– Cut into portions and cover the dough you aren’t working with. 
– Roll out the portion of dough into a very rough circle about 5mm thick. 
– Pick it up (you’ll lose the shape here) and place it on the pizza tray then pull and stretch the edges into a circle and neaten it up. 
– Repeat for each portion of dough. 
– Leave to rest for 10 minutes. 
– Put the bases into the oven and cook for 10 minutes.  *
– Remove from the oven and put the sauce on and spread out to the edges then put your toppings on. 
– Put back in the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edge of the crust is golden brown. 
– Slide off the trays and onto plates to serve. 

*I had to do some improvisation with the oven shelves as I had 2 shelves and 3 pizzas.  I could have used the top oven as well but I’d rather only use one oven if I can and save energy.  I placed a deep cake tin on the bottom of the oven and put the grill tray on top of that to create an extra shelf.  Then I swapped the pizzas about throughout cooking so they were cooking at about the same rate.  Obviously opening and closing the oven so often meant they took longer to cook but better that than having the top one burnt to a crisp and the bottom one still soft!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads, Mains, Moderately easy

Chilli Con Carne

I think my dad has been cooking this Chilli Con Carne recipe since before he met mum!  The original recipe comes from this ancient ’70s St Michael’s cook book but it’s one of those family dishes that no longer needs a recipe, we just get on with it.  I like this recipe as it’s a nice, tasty and warming way of getting more pulses in my diet and I’m trying to get away from eating so much pasta so rice makes an excellent staple carb alternative.   My dad’s a bit of a spice maniac it has to be said.  Back in his army days he once drank coffee with Tabasco in it and declared it to be delicious!  I, however, am not so fond of chilli, I like a bit of spice, sure, but I like to be able to taste the food that comes with it and noone likes to eat a meal with their nose running constantly.  So spicy food is always a bit of a compromise in our family.  We aim for somewhere in the middle and I cool mine down with yoghurt or creme fraiche and dad adds Tabasco to his. 

Not the best photo, it's all a bit white!

Serves 4

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
750g minced beef
1 tsp chilli powder
1 chilli, chopped (either leave this out if you’re not a fan of spice or put more in if you’re mental!)
1x400g tin chopped tomatoes
150ml beef stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
1x400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

– Heat a few tbsp oil in a large pan.  Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. 
– Add the minced beef, chilli powder and chilli.  Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. 
– Add the tomatoes, beef stock, tomato puree and sugar and stir until well combined. 
– Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. *
– Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes. 
– Serve with basmati rice

*Normally we cook it up to this point early in the day or evening then leave it standing until dinner time when we heat it up again then add the beans for the final 5 minutes.

3 Comments

Filed under Easy, Mains, Uncategorized