Mixed Market Tomato and Basil Salad with Sherry Dressing

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Ingredients

500g mixed tomatoes (I used, Heirloom, Roma, yellow and cherry), make sure they are beautifully ripe.
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small red onion finely diced
1 small handful of fresh basil

For the dressing

1 tbs Sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
5 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients together and season to taste. Set aside ready for serving.

Slice the tomatoes to your desired shape and size, I like mine all a bit mismatched. Place in a large mixing bowl with the onion, crushed, chopped garlic and torn basil leaves. Mix together very gently.

When you are ready to serve coat the salad with the dressing and divide between 4 plates or small bowls. Its so super quick and easy, tasty and healthy. You can use it as an accompaniment to beautiful grilled fish or marinated chicken. For a fully vegetarian dish, divide a creamy Burrata (mozzarella) between the 4 dishes and top with some fresh chopped red chilli. My personal favourite is to serve with barbecued sardines, warm focaccia and a nice big glass of cold crisp Pinot Grigio. Perfect summer evening dining…… or crank the heating up and pretend it is!!

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Posted in Accompaniment, Garden, healthy, Lunch, Mains, packed lunch, Party food, Salad, Starters, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beetroot barley risotto

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Ingredients

2 banana shallots finely diced
1 garlic clove crushed
200ml beetroot juice (500g raw beetroot will yield approx. 200ml fresh juice)
Groundnut or grapeseed oil
200g barley spelt
100g Dry Madeira
600g White chicken stock, or vegetable stock, warmed
4 cooked baby beetroot (blitzed in the food processor to a rough puree)

to finish

60g grated parmesan
10g unsalted butter
salt and pepper

Method

To start the risotto, pour the beetroot juice into a small saucepan over a high heat and reduce by half. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a wide-bottomed saucepan with a thin layer of oil and place the pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté until transparent. Add the barley to the pan and toast until lightly coloured, stirring continuously. Then add the Madeira to the pan and cook until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters.

Pour in half of the warmed stock, stir and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Continue adding stock one ladle at a time until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the reduced beetroot juice and beetroot puree, continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

To serve, stir the Parmesan, butter and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 5 mins.

Divide between 4 warm plates and top with some picked leaves and crumbled feta.

This dish has become one of my most favourite things to cook over the last couple of years. The colour is incredible and the texture, in my opinion, better than a rice risotto. Nuttiness, a beautiful firm bite and an unusual creaminess.
A perfect Autumnal whole grain dinner, packed full of flavour and goodness. Super quick and very easy. There are never any leftovers…… always a good sign!

Enjoy!

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Posted in Accompaniment, healthy, Lunch, Mains, Starters, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fluffy Ricotta picklets

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Ingredients

225g ricotta
170ml milk
4 eggs, separated
140g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
salt
20g melted butter

Method

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, ricotta and milk together until smooth. Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg whites separately to stiff peaks and fold into the batter. melt the butter and incorporate half to the mix. Reserve the other half to add to the pan.

Wipe a medium sized frying pan with a bit of melted better. Cook your picklets in batches until golden brown on either side – they should be beautifully puffed up and fluffy.

Serve immediately with greek yoghurt, pecan, maple syrup and strawberries or a variation on the theme.

Everyone loves these, especially the kids…… and most of the big ones too! The perfect start to the weekend, enjoy!

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Damson Gin

It’s that time of year again!!

footprints in the butter

Ingredients

500g of washed wild damsons
160g of white granulated sugar
75cl bottle of medium quality gin
Sterilised 1 litre (at least) Le Parfait jar

Method

Wash the damsons well and prick each of them with a fork then add to the jar. Add the sugar and top up with gin to the rim. Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved and then store in a cool, dark place until you can resist it no longer (leave for at least three months). If you are planning to drink this after 3 months, have a nip after a month, and top up with sugar to taste. Some people strain the liquid (through muslin/jelly bag) after 3 months and bottle it, leaving it mature for six months. I strain and bottle after a year. Don’t leave the straining process any longer than a year; leaving the fruit in too long can spoil the…

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Roasted Carrot and Mung Bean Salad

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Ingredients

150g dried green mung beans
60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves crushed
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm batons
½ tsp sugar
A handful of coriander, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
140g feta, broken into chunks

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C

Place the chopped carrots in a bowl with a glug of olive oil, salt, pepper and the sugar. Mix well and arrange on a lined baking tray. Roast the carrots in your preheated oven for 30-35 mins or until they are cooked and are caramelised around the edges.

Whilst the carrots and roasting, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, add the beans and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until they are cooked but still have a bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan and add the seeds. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until they start to pop – then pour, hot oil and all, over the beans, along with the vinegar, garlic, chilli and half a teaspoon of salt. Stir well and set aside.

Add the carrots to the beans, with the coriander, and toss.

To set your plate, take a handful of watercress and arrange. Top with the mung beans and carrot salad. Sprinkle the lemon zest, crumble the feta and drizzle with olive oil.

This is a very delicious salad, perfect for a light lunch or as an accompaniment to some grilled lamb racks. I make this all year round and if you have any left over (doubtful) it will hold well in the fridge for a packed lunch. Packed full of goodness, protein and flavour!!

Enjoy!

Posted in Accompaniment, Lunch, Mains, packed lunch, Salad, Snacks, Starters, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thai Pork and Green Peppercorn Curry with Basil

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Ingredients

500g Pork tender loin (fillet), sliced into strips
3 tbs Thai green curry paste
2 tbs Light olive oil
3 Green chillies, de-seeded and sliced
300g Green beans – cut to 3cm lengths
125ml Coconut milk
3 tbs Nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tsp palm sugar
The juice of 1 lime
1-2 tbs of tinned or fresh green peppercorns*
Small handful of basil leaves
Lime cheeks to garnish

Method

Combine the pork and the curry paste in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2hrs.

Heat half the oil in a wok or heavy based sauté pan. Add the pork and stir fry for 3-4 min or until just cooked. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan, still on a high heat, stir fry the chilli and green beans for 2 mins. Add the coconut milk, nam pla, palm sugar, lime juice and green peppercorns – stir to combine. Add the pork and any juices to the wok and cook for another 3-4 mins.

Serve in warmed bowls with sticky jasmine rice, torn basil and lime cheeks on the side.

This is a very quick last minute dish, it presents well and is so tasty. Perfect mid week dinner for when you have run out of steam! It freezes incredibly well, I double the recipe usually and pop half in a tupperware in the freezer for another time. Enjoy!

*fresh green peppercorns can be found at most asian supermarkets in the fridge section.

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Ice Cream pops with Magic Shells

Ice Cream pops with Magic Shells
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Ingredients
20 small scoops of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream or use any flavor you preferred
20 mini lollypop sticks or satay sewers
200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbs Organic Coconut Oil
2 tbs freeze dried strawberries
2 tbs cocoa nibs
2 tbs popping candy
Method
Scoop the ice cream (with the smallest ice cream scoop you can find, I used a melon baller) onto a parchment lined baking sheet and skewer them with a loll pop stick. Place them back into the freezer to harden, for about 30 minutes. Put the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk until the chocolate is melted, let the chocolate cool down a little before dipping.
Pick up an ice cream pop, place over the melted chocolate and spoon melted chocolate over the ice cream. Make sure the whole thing is covered with melted chocolate. Put the covered pops back onto the parchment lined baking sheet, top with your preferred topping while the chocolate is still soft. Then, place them back to the freezer until the chocolate shell harden (about 30 minutes) and ready to serve.
These little delights will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Brilliant to have in case of emergencies. They work well with sorbets too – one of my favourites, raspberry and dark chocolate……..Enjoy!
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Posted in Baking, Canape, Party food, Pudding, Snacks, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment