Broad beans with bacon

This is a good dish to serve at room temperature along with a selection of salads, and other delicious things from the fridge. Fresh home-made bread is a good accompaniment. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g podded broad beans – Neillie’s has frozen broad beans that work well for this recipe
  • 150g rindless, smoked, dry cured streaky bacon
  • 50g butter
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs – try dill, mint, or parsley
  • Freshly grated black pepper and salt

METHOD:

  • Cut the bacon across the way into strips around 1cm wide. 
  • Heat the butter in a large frying pan and fry the onion over a low heat until softening, then add the finely chopped garlic
  • As the garlic begins to cook, add the bacon and turn up the heat a little, stirring until the bacon is cooked. 
  • Stir in the beans, heat and stir until warmed through. 
  • Cover the pan and simmer for around 7 minutes until the beans are cooked. 
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, pepper and herbs, and cover again to allow the flavours to infuse as the dish cools down to room temperature 

Maccheroni alla carbonara

This is one of the classic Italian sauces. I like to add tarragon but it is not essential. Here is a recipe to serve two, based on ingredients available locally. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • Approx. 60g streaky bacon, not smoked
  • Approx. 120g pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, rigatoni)
  • 30g butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • 30g grated parmesan or pecorino

METHOD:

  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the pasta and set the timer for 8 minutes (or cooking time on the manufacturer’s packaging), and set the dishes to warm.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan. Cut the bacon into small match-stick strips and fry on a low heat in the butter. 
  • Beat the egg with the tarragon, pepper and salt. 
  • When the timer goes, drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the egg to the bacon pan and stir until they begin to thicken. 
  • While the eggs and bacon are still semi-solid, add to the pasta and stir to mix, along with half the cheese
  • Serve in warmed dishes with the rest of the cheese. 

Broad beans with chard

This is one of my favourite dishes, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already shared it. It is very simple to make, and delicious. Clair, this is for you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g broad beans, podded (you can use frozen beans)
  • 300g chard, rinsed and sliced
  • 100g butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp chopped dill leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD:

  • Separate and wash the chard leaves and stems, and slice them crosswise at 2cm intervals. 
  • Heat the butter in a large pan, medium heat, and melt the butter. As it begins to froth, add the onion, sauté for a minute and then add the beans. After another minute, add the chard and dill. Stir and cook for another couple of minutes. 
  • Add the salt and around 50ml water, bring to a simmer, and then cover and cook over a low heat for around 15 minutes. 

 

Chicken curry baked in foil

This is a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey that works well with a busy schedule. The meal can be prepared ahead of time, and just popped into the oven to cook it. It goes well with plain basmati rice and a salad. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika (Hungarian, sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp grated ginger root
  •  3 tbsp full fat plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • approx 650g skinned chicken pieces. Ensure that there are some deep incisions in the flesh

METHOD:

  • Mix all of the ingredients except the chicken in a bowl. 
  • Rub the marinade into the chicken, including into the incisions. 
  • Put the chicken pieces in a single layer on a bit of tin foil, and then fold the sides, top and bottom of the foil over the chicken to make a sealed packet. Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. 
  • Put the whole packet in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes. You can try opening the packet to turn the chicken half way through, but I find it makes little difference. 

Hot Lightning with rabbit

This is a recipe introduced to me by one of my daughters, thanks to one of her boyfriends. I believe it is Dutch in origin. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 local wild rabbits, skinned and gutted
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml water
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 apples (Braeburn or similar)
  • 8 potatoes (general cooking variety)
  • more butter and/or cream
  • 1 egg
  • nutmeg

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 160C
  • Mix the rabbit with garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Put it in a roasting tray with butter and water and cover with tin foil. Bake in the oven until tender, about an hour. Take the tin foil off and bake for another ten minutes or so.  
  • When the rabbit is cool enough, strip off the meat, and put it into an oven-safe dish
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes and apples. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and just cover with water, and season with salt. Cover with a layer of apples, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  • Strain off most of the water, and roughly mash the apples and potatoes together, with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and an egg, butter and/or cream to taste. 
  • Put the mashed potatoes over the rabbit meat, heat through in the oven for around 10 minutes before serving.

I think adding bacon is allowed. 

Seeded rye bread

I was buying rye bread in a local shop, delicious for light summer lunches with cheese and salad. Now it isn’t available, and I was looking to make my own. This may need a tweak here and there to suit, but it works very well. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 500g rye flour
  • 2 tsp of dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp treacle or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ‘8 seed mix‘ or ‘5 seed mix‘ from Seasoned Pioneers (or a mix of poppy seed, linseed, sunflower seeds, caraway, as you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 430ml water

METHOD:

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the seeds, flour and salt. 
  • In a measuring jug, measure out the water, sugar and oil, and add the dried yeast. 
  • Once the yeast has mixed into the water, add it to the flour mixture a bit at a time, mixing together to a dough, ensuring that all the flour is incorporated. You don’t want the mixture to be sloppy. 
  • Top tip at this point – if you have some left-over white bread dough, you can kneed a bit of this in as well. 
  • Coat a work surface with a bit more sunflower oil and kneed for ten minutes or so. The dough won’t be as stretchy as a gluten-based loaf, but it will get smoother. 
  • Form the dough into a loaf shape. I use a loaf tin, but you could make a cob loaf as well. Put the formed loaf into a tin or a baking sheet, cover with a teatowel and leave to rise for up to eight hours. I don’t usually wait as long, I like a dense and heavy rye bread. 
  • Heat the oven to 220C, and bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped. 

This works on the rye setting on my bread machine as well. 

Elizabeth David: French Provincial Cooking

This is not a modern recipe book. There are no pictures. A lot of the quantities are sketchy, and some of the writing is about the history of dishes, references to other cultures. But this is a classic. I was so pleased it was reprinted and is still available. It conjures the resonance of meals past, it brings to mind flavours and atmospheres, it tells you how to prepare ingredients just so. The adverbs are well chosen, and it encourages experimentation. 

It was first published in 1960, her fifth book. She lived in France with a French family whilst studying at the Sorbonne, and when she returned to the UK, she set herself to learn how to cook. 

The first paragraph tells you about her love of food and of discovering how to cook. ‘Staying in Toulouse a few years ago, I bought a little cookery book on a stall in the Marche aux puces held every Sunday morning in the Cathedral Square. It was a tattered little volume, and its cover attracted me.’

It is still available widely, describing how to cook simple French food well, and how to attempt the more complex dishes with a bit of knowledge. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/137599.French_Provincial_Cooking 

Spiced Apple Cake

I made this a while back and forgot to post it here – I used apples from Dr Johnson’s garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 130g butter, cubed
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs. lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 200g sour cream
  • 2 large cooking apples (Bramley) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 crisp eating apple (Granny Smith) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 130g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C, and grease and line a 23cm round tin
  • Beat the butter into the caster sugar until light and fluffy
  • Slowly add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as you go
  • Add the flour and salt in batches, alternating with the soured cream. Beat just enough to mix all the ingredients, and then spoon the batter into the cake tin. 
  • Put all of the apple slices into a bowl and coat with demerara sugar and mixed spice. Spoon them onto the top of the cake mixture. 
  • Bake for 60 to 65 minutes until the cake mixture is cooked through. 
  • Cool in the tin for around 30 minutes before removing it. This cake is best served still warm, or at room temperature. It is not that easy to cut, so use a serrated knife. 

Asparagus and pecorino

This is a fantastic quick side dish. The asparagus in the shops just now is great quality, thick and tasty British spears. 

INGREDIENTS

  • Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pecorino cheese
  • Lemon rind

METHOD:

  • Trim the asparagus
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan, and fry the asparagus over a medium to high heat. Season with salt, pepper and a little grated lemon rind. 
  • When the asparagus looks cooked, transfer to plates and grate pecorino over the top. 

 

Salmon in a tomato cream curry sauce

I’ve been reading ‘Curry Easy’ again. I had some salmon fillet from the reduced section in the co-op and Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe book had several very good ideas. I picked this one, but now I want to go and buy more salmon so I can try the other recipes too. I did tweak it a bit so I didn’t have to go to the shops again. 

This is very easy to prepare the sauce and fish in the morning, ready to cook when you get in after work. I served this with rice, and stir-fried chard.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600 to 700g salmon fillet
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml single cream (approx.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

METHOD:

  • Start by dividing the salmon into 8 pieces. Season with a little salt and black pepper, turmeric and cayenne, and leave to marinade in the fridge. I used a plastic container with a lid, but a plastic bag would do. 
  • Combine the tomatoes, cream salt sugar, garam masala, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander leaves. Use a soup wand to make the sauce smooth. Just before using, stir in the lemon juice. 
  • To cook the fish, heat some oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 seconds. 
  • Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer before adding the salmon pieces. Spoon the sauce over the top of the fish, and continue this way for another 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.