Sides

A Little Aside: Crushed Garlicky Potatoes

Ooooooh, so lovely, these potatoes are just so scrumptious, I can eat them all by themselves. Infused with loads of garlic and olive oil with just a smattering of parsley to garnish – they are fab and really dress up the humble new potato, especially as they are coming to the end of their season.

What you need…

250g new potatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

100ml milk

100ml olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

What to do…

Pop the potatoes into a heavy based sauce pan with the garlic, milk and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over a moderate heat and bring to the boil, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is largely absorbed.

Use a fork to roughly mash up – you’re not looking for smooth mash but more a rustic chunky affair. Squeeze in the lemon juice, tip in the parsley, stir together and then serve. Marvel that rarely before have potatoes been this wonderful and ever so slightly addictive! Yum!!!

Tip…

This recipe works equally well with other potatoes: you just need to peel them first.

Inspired by…

John Torode

How Easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?

A Little Aside: Roasted Romano Peppers

Perfect as alternatives or additions to the salad accompanying your summer BBQ or roasted meats and fish, these gloriously sweet peppers are simply embellished with a few cherry tomatoes, some herbs, a drizzle and a dash to create a lovely, easy bit on the side!!!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray

6 romano peppers, halved lengthways and deseeded

24-ish cherry tomatoes, halved

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon capers

A dash of red wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

A good drizzle of olive oil

12 thyme sprigs

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Place the peppers onto your baking tray. (I line my tray with foil which is discarded after cooking, leaving a clean baking tray – saves on the washing up!) You may need to balance the peppers against one another to keep them upright.

Into each of the peppers, wodge in as many cherry tomato halves as you fancy. Sprinkle over with garlic and capers and then around ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar per pepper. Season with salt and pepper and then drizzle with olive oil. Share the thyme evenly between the peppers and then pop your oven for about 30 minutes or until just starting to char at the edges.

Serve these effortless, tasty little morsels and marvel at the simplicity of something so tasty!

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Literally a few minutes to prep before the oven takes over – couldn’t be easier!

A Little Aside: Tenderstem Broccoli Gratin

When the kids were growing up, pretty much the only vege that they would eat was broccoli. So, on that basis we ate a lot of it; and I mean A LOT. Obviously, it gets boring consuming mountains of boiled broccoli and steamed broccoli so we’ve also had brocolli that’s been finished off with sautéed garlic and bacon; with garlic and anchovies; or par-boiled and then roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic. As much as they were all lovely, it’s still broccoli at the end of the day. This recipe however takes it to a different level – the mini trees became mightily interesting, nestling is a smooth, creamy rich gratin – easy to make and lovely to enjoy, as a side or on its own.

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

375g tenderstem broccoli

2 happy eggs, lightly beaten

220ml double cream

Splash of milk

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

75g Gruyère, finely grated

A handful of Panko breadcrumbs

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes, until just tender. Drain in a colander and run under a cold tap. Tip into an ovenproof dish.

In a jug, mix together the eggs, cream and milk. Pour over the broccoli then toss to coat. Mix the lemon zest, Gruyère and breadcrumbs and then scatter over the broccoli. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and set. Serve piping hot and enjoy.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Really easy and beautifully different.

A Little Aside: Rosemary and Garlic Parmentier Potatoes

I have been making these gutsy little potatoes, served as a side dish, for years and have been asked several times why they have not been blogged so, here they are…..! They are a delight to make (translate to ‘dead easy’) and even more lovely to enjoy: cooked so that they’re like the crispiest triple-cooked chips you’ve ever had but flavoured with the bliss that is the combination of garlic and rosemary. Just yummy!!!!! (Also, they get on with cooking themselves whilst you do other things).

What you need…

2 largish red potatoes, chunked

1½ tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Sea salt to season to your taste

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip all the ingredients into an ovenproof dish and toss around so that all the potatoes are evenly covered in the other ingredients.

Pop in the oven to cook for 40 minutes, removing half way through to shove the potatoes around a bit so that they don’t stick to the dish and cook evenly.

Remove your crisp, fragrant and ever so tasty potatoes from the oven and serve as an accompaniment to fish or meat (kitchen prepared or on the barbie) or in bowl as naughty finger food!

Inspired by…

Delia does a version with fresh rosemary so I guess it was her. I’ve been doing these for so long, I can’t remember.

How easy…

An absolute doddle to prepare and then they cook themselves whilst you’re dealing with the main event.

John’s Yorkshire Puddings Revisited

Inspired by last night’s GBBO and because the season of Sunday roast dinners is nearly upon us, I’ve decided to re-blog not one of my tweaked recipes but that of John’s Yorkshire Puddings! They’re not filled like those on telly last night but they are legendary! Family and friends get REALLY excited when they come to us for John’s Sunday Roast. Every element of the meal is wonderful, however the Yorkshires and his gravy steal the show! I’ve met many people who reckon they can’t make decent Yorkshire Puddings so I’d again urge trying this recipe – it will transform your Sunday Lunch!

This recipe makes one large Yorkshire Pudding and 12 tiddlers. I can’t tell you how many they serve – they get demolished whether there’s 6 of us, 8 or 10!!!

What you need…

1 x 20cm round baking tin and 1 x 12-hole muffin tin

Fat from top of gravy stock from the previous week’s Roast Dinner or goose fat or lard

270g plain flour

4 large eggs

275ml full fat milk and 200ml water (in the same jug)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 heaped tablespoons suet

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7. I have assumed you are using the same oven to roast your meat (we have 2 chickens).

Ideally, you will have a jug of stock from the previous week’s roast dinner and topping this will be a layer of fat. Scoop off the fat and put half a teaspoon in the bottom of the individual moulds and two dessertspoons into the ‘family-sized’ tin. (The remaining stock should be used as the base for this week’s gravy, excluding any remaining fat).

If you’re starting from scratch, do the same with either goose fat or lard.

Sift the flour into the bowl of a standalone electric mixer. (If you don’t have one, use a roomy bowl with an electric handheld whisk). Make a well and break in the eggs. Whisk slowly. Whilst whisking, gradually pour in the milk and water. Turn the speed up to medium and whisk for 2 minutes. Switch the mixer off. Using a spatula, loosen any stuck flour from the sides or bottom. Season to taste. Mix at medium speed for a further two minutes. Leave to rest until cooking time.

Pop your baking tray and muffin tin into the oven and heat until the fat is smokin’ hot!

Sprinkle the suet into the batter and give it a quick mix to evenly incorporate. Ladle the mixture into the your hot baking tin and muffin tin. Pop them both into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown. Watch those babies rise!!!!!!

Serve with your roast dinner – we don’t follow convention – Yorkshire Puddings are served with chicken, beef, suet puddings……pretty much everything!

johns-yorkshires-1-w

Inspired by…

John, who in turn, tweaked Delia Smith’s recipe

How easy…

They are easy so don’t be hesitant – give them a go!

 

 

 

Unexpectedly Lovely Broccoli Salad!

I’ve never thought about including broccoli in a salad and when I saw this salad, I was a little dubious. However, having tried it, I’m an absolute fan! The broccoli brings crunch and substance to the salad and tastes super-healthy. A perfect foil is provided by both the apple and red pepper, which also deliver a gentle sweetness; and the pine nuts just finish it off beautifully. It’s vibrant, fresh, unusual and really tasty. It’s also really fast and stupidly easy!

Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish

What you need…

300g broccoli, chopped very small

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped very small

1 apple, cored and chopped very small

30g pine nuts

for the dressing

30ml olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon runny honey

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Tip all the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar and shake like mad. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning if necessary. Set aside.

In your salad bowl, pop the rest of the ingredients.

Tip over the salad dressing, toss all the ingredients together so that they are evenly mixed. Serve! Yep, that’s it! And it’s really great!

In the Thermomix…

If you’re lucky enough to have one of these machines, just chuck all ingredients into the bowl and hit 5 seconds at speed 4. The broccoli, pepper and apple only need to be cut into rough chunks, as the machine does the rest!

Inspired by…

Thermomix: The Basic Cook Book

How easy…

Whichever way: stupidly easy!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

A really lovely summer salad that combines garlic-roasted summer vegetables with garden-fresh salad leaves to create a barbecue accompaniment that has a definite Mediterranean feel to it, bringing sunshine into your meal even if the British weather isn’t delivering!

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

1 each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, cored and sliced

2 courgettes, sliced

3 cloves garlic chopped

Splash of olive oil

250g asparagus, trimmed

4 medium tomatoes, quartered

A selection of your favourite salad leaves (I like basil, rocket, spinach, iceberg and chicory) cleaned and torn to bite-size

for the salad dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200° / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the peppers, courgettes and garlic into a deep ovenproof dish, slosh in the olive oil and stir it through the vegetables. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and give them a quick stir – some of the peppers will be just starting to take on a char-grilled look – perfect. Tip in the asparagus and mix them in before popping the dish back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the tomatoes and set aside until room temperature.

In the bottom of your salad bowl, tip the oil, balsamic and mustard. Mix together with a fork. Just before you are ready to eat, tip in your roasted vegetables mix and then scatter over the salad leaves. Toss the whole lot together and serve alongside barbecued fish and meats, maybe with some piping hot and slightly gooey mozzarella garlic bread (already blogged) or new potatoes as well. A feast indeed!

Inspired by…

A made-up recipe that we’ve been enjoying for years!

How easy…

So easy that it sort of does itself, allowing you to do the other prep for a great barbie.

 

 

Green Salad with Halloumi, Grapes and Pomegranate Dressing

This is a really unusual and very lovely salad: fresh and tangy and with a combination of distinct flavours that almost unexpectedly, work really well together (halloumi with pomegranate or olives and grapes, for instance). And the dressing is a lovely piquant blend of tart and sweet – finishes the salad off beautifully. You could eat this salad on its own for lunch or serve it alongside barbecued meats or fish. Really loved it and will definitely be doing this one again. Yummy!

Serves 4 as a side salad

What you need…

3 large handfuls of your favourite salad leaves

1 handful fresh thyme, leaves stripped and stems discarded

1 handful green seedless grapes, halved

1 handful red seedless grapes, halved

10 pitted green olives, sliced

250g halloumi cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes

Knob of butter

80g pomegranate seeds

for the dressing

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

60ml olive oil

What to do…

Tip all the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar. Pop the lid on tightly and shake like mad. Set aside.

Place the salad leaves into a pretty serving bowl and then scatter over the thyme, grapes and olives.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the halloumi until golden all over. Remove and scatter over the salad. Drizzle over the dressing and toss the salad gently. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and enjoy being pleasantly surprised by this unusual salad before you reach for a second helping!

Inspired by…

Suzanne Husseini

How easy…

Well it’s salad so it’s not hard but very rewarding.

Summer Mediterranean Vegetables

 

I love salads and make a huge variety of different ones – mixing traditional and new ingredients with influences from all over the world – but even though there is never a boring salad in our house, sometimes it’s nice to have an accompaniment to the barbecue that isn’t salad and this ticks that box, delightfully! I’ve entitled it ‘Mediterranean’ but that’s just what the aromas and flavours felt like to me but no matter how you describe this Mary Berry-inspired dish, it’s quite delicious and a really lovely change.

Serves 6 as a side

What you need…

1 large roasting tin

1 x 25cm shallow round ovenproof dish, lightly buttered

2 aubergines, sliced

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

500g courgettes, trimmed and sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

500g passata

1 teaspoon caster sugar

A handful basil, chopped

50g Parmesan, grated

3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges

4 teaspoons thyme leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

Note…

When I tried this, there were only 3 of us, so the ingredients were halved, hence the smaller dish in the photograph. Ingredients above are for the full recipe, for 6 people.

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Chuck the aubergines, red peppers and courgettes into the roasting tin, drizzle over 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes and then give them a quick mix about before putting them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly browned and just soft throughout. Set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and fry over a moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Tip in the passata and sugar and then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, pop on a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and the sauce, thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

Spoon half the sauce into the base of your ovenproof dish and then top with half the roasted vegetables, ensuring an even mix of the aubergines, peppers and courgettes. Sprinkle over the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the rest of the sauce, covering the vegetables and then top with the remaining roasted vegetables, arranging them in a spiral pattern if you like. Finally, plop/arrange the tomato wedges on the top and sprinkle thyme over the lot. You can sprinkle more Parmesan over if you fancy (I did).

Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, whilst you clear up and pour a glass of wine. The smell will be amazing!

Serve your lovely summer Mediterranean vegetables with barbecued meat or fish or as light lunch or supper with a great doorstop of fresh bread. Whichever way, just yummy!

Tips…

I use Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients’ frozen and chopped garlic just because peeling and chopping fresh garlic is a faff.

I didn’t have any passata so just whizzed a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes in the food processor – this was just for 3 of us but I used all of the tomatoes and the dish tasted great.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

As is my want: very, very easy and quite delicious!

 

 

 

 

Just Yummy Garlic and Mozzarella Bread

I know what you’re thinking: has she gone mad? She’s stuck up a recipe for garlic bread!!!!! But, bear with me – how many times have you bought garlic bread from the supermarket as a quick accompaniment to pasta or to add to a barbecue and when you cut in to it: huge disappointment – there’s a measly smear of butter in the middle of each slice with barely a hint of garlic – not good enough! My garlic bread is crisp (sometimes too crunchy if I forget about it) on the outside and moist on the inside – so buttery it has been know to drip down a chin or two. Loads of garlic and Italian herbs – it’s lovely. And these days, thanks to my daughter, Maddie, it has the addition of Mozzarella cheese, which makes it even naughtier and even yummier. A sinch to make and really quick, avert your eyes from those supermarket offerings: this is proper garlic bread!

Makes loads! I make a load of garlic butter in one hit, taking it out of the fridge as and when I need it over the course of a month. We soon get through it in the summer months – ideal for garlic bread, for basting lobster tails (if we’re lucky enough) or other fish and for swishing new potatoes in on the odd occasion!

What you need…

250g butter, softened

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1½ tablespoons dried Italian herb mix (mine has a little chilli in it which gives it a real kick)

2 teaspoons garlic granules

1 baguette

Mozzarella cheese

What to do…

Using a fork, mash together the butter, garlic, herbs and garlic granules to form your lovely garlic butter.

Slice the baguette at a slight diagonal and nearly but not quite all the way through. Take a butter knife and slather the garlic butter onto each side of the bread slice – don’t be tempted to cut back – think ‘slather’. Wodge in thin slices of mozzarella cheese in between each slice and then squish together the bread slices and wrap in foil before popping in the oven for 40 minutes. If you’d rather just straight garlic bread, then skip the mozzarella and wrap the bread loosely in foil and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes. Either way, check your garlic bread after 30 minutes to see that it’s starting to crisp up on the outside.

Serve with pasta, a barbecue, a picnicy supper or just on its own with drinks – lovely!!!

Tips…

Italian seasoning is available from supermarkets however…if you have a friend who is travelling through an Italian airport, ask them to pick up a bag of the Italian pasta seasoning from there – it’s just that little bit more special – I use it in a variety of pasta dishes as well as in this garlic butter.

I haven’t put a quantity for mozzarella cheese, but whatever’s left, use it up in a salad with tomatoes and basil, drizzling over olive oil and balsamic to serve. Just yum!

Inspired by…

Who knows! I’ve been doing this for years and everyone loves it!

How easy…

Very, very!