I would have never thought raw broccoli could taste this good… Please don’t even mention it is often considered a super-food (whatever that means), that raw broccoli has more anti-oxidants than cooked one and how much finer it has. It supposed to be a side dish for a dinner party, not a statement piece or declaration of intentions, OK?
Broccoli slaw (adapted from MailOnline’s Food special part one: Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate home cooking)
- 1 head of broccoli
- 100g raisins
- 100g whole blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
For the dressing
- 200ml natural yoghurt
- 1–11⁄2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut off and discard the broccoli stalks. Chop the head into small pieces. Place in a salad bowl and add the almonds and currants. Set aside.
Put the yoghurt for the dressing into a bowl and stir in the vinegar, starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more later if needed. Add the sugar, mix well and season. Taste and add the remaining vinegar or a little extra sugar if necessary.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli, toss well and serve. In case you want to prepare it advance, you can kept in the fridge overnight.
Smooth, creamy and with a warm spices note – Autumn doesn’t get any better than this. It was supposed to be eaten in small portions with savoury cookies, but soon spoons made an appearance. TEoU and I ended up having it as pumpkin purée for lunch…
Pumpkin and tahini spread (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)
- About 1kg pumpkin (or butternut squash)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 70g tahini paste
- 120g Greek yoghurt
- 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- Olive oil to drizzle
Heat the oven to 180C. Spread the pumpkin out on a medium-sized baking tray, pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and salt. Mix well, cover the tray tightly with tinfoil and roast for 70 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Transfer the cooled pumpkin of the bowl of a food processor, along with the tahini, yoghurt and garlic. Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste
To serve, spread the butternut in a wavy pattern over a flat plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and a drizzle of syrup.
Just what you need when you get back home on a Winter: a hot plate of hearty soup. But, please don’t say my Mother I this is I am having for dinner almost every other week… Officially, I am still allergic to soup.
Kale, chorizo and white beans soup (adapted from The Hairy Bikers website)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1,5cm chunks
- 150g green beans, cut in 3cm pieces
- 75g chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into 1cm slices
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt, plus extra to season
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 400g can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 150g curly kale, thickly shredded
- freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often.
Add the chorizo, paprika and carrots to the onion and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring until the chorizo begins to release its fat. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Tip the tomatoes into the same pan, add the stock and sugar, then turn the heat up to medium.
Bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and leave the soup to simmer for 12 minutes. Add the canned and fresh beans and the kale and bring it back to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until all the vegetables are just tender, adding a little extra water if the soup is looking too thick. Season the soup with salt and black pepper and serve in deep bowls
I saw it on TV, I did it and I ate it… well, with a bit of help from the mobile calorie intake units. It is just the perfect dessert – it is glamorous, delicious and can be made in advance. There is not much technique to it, except, maybe, peeling the pears. And, it might be the healthiest part of dinner, even…
Poached pears with ginger, red chilli pepper and star anise (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking)
- 8-10 ripe conference pears, peeled but with the stem intact
- 200g of sugar
- 3 thumbs of ginger, cut into thick slices (about 20cm)
- 4 star anise, crushed to fine powder with a mortar and pestle
- 3 peperoncino (or red chillies peppers, to taste)
- Enough cold water to cover the pears.
Peel the pears with a potato peeler, taking care to leave the stems intact.
Put the water, the sugar and the ginger in a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pears and peperoncino and poach for about half hour until their are soft and cooked through.
Set aside and leave the pears to cool in the syrup.
When you are ready to serve, just put the pears in the plate and sprinkle them with the star anise dust.
If you want, you can bubble the syrup for a a few more minutes to thicken a bit and serve with the pears. Or, you can prepare a chocolate sauce (just melt the chocolate in bain marie, with a bit of butter, being careful not to boil it. Add some cream and mix well). Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra quick.
It was one of the first posts of this blog, long long time ago. Since then, an awful lot has happened: people have walked in and out of my life, some doors have shut and others have opened and Summer might have taken its time to arrive, but it alway did… Yet, for whatever reason, I keep coming back to it, specially in the first days of Winter. Confort food doesn’t get much better than this… Seriously, it is quite easy to do. It requires minimum attention and preparation – just the odd bit of mixing suff here and there. Most of the ingredients are spices and the most sophisticated ones are actually optional.
Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)
For the lentils
- 200g split red lentils
- 1 bunch fresh coriander
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 40g ginger, peeled
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 mild green chilli
- half teaspoon of black mustard seeds
- 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- half teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- half teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- half teaspoon ground turmeric
- half teaspoon paprika
- 10 curry leaves
- 300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoon caster sugar
- half teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
For the cucumber yogurt
- 150g Greek yogurt (I used regular lactose free yogurt)
- 75g finely diced cucumber
- half tablespoon of olive oil
- 70g unsalted butter
- lime juice
Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.
Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.
Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.
It was supposed to be a thank-you-for-all-the-love-and-birthday-presents dinner, but it turned out to be a bit of a messy even with an ever changing list of mobile calorie intake units guests. I ended up cooking for 8 (plus blog), when only 6 had confirmed. To make things works, one of the units guests got lost in Dübendorf looking for my flat (true story). It might have been a blessing in disguise: again, I had to fight bravely for the last piece of meat to feed my blog… That good it was. For bonus points, it is super easy to do. You just put it in the stove and (sort of) forget about it. And, happy guests, happy host.
Slow roasted smoked pork shoulder with chipotle mayonnaise (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking)
For the pork
- 3 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar cane
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves finely chopped, stems reserved
- Olive oil
- 2.5Kg pork shoulder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the chipotle mayonnaise
- 300g mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of chipotle paste
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Preheat the oven to 140ºC
Mix the paprika, sugar, garlic and thyme leaves in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add a little olive oil to create a paste. Rub the mixture all over the pork, massaging it into the meat. If possible, leave in the fridge overnight to marinate. If not, you can start cooking straight away.
Roast for 1 hour, then cover with foil and cook for a further 4–5 hours, until the meat is really tender and falling off.
Meanwhile, make the chipotle mayonnaise. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Once the pork is cooked, cover it loosely with foil and set aside to rest for up to 1 hour. Serve with the smoky mayonnaise.
A not so good picture for a great dish.
- 100ml pernod (or other anisaldehyde licor)
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 3 tbs orange juice
- 2 tsp grain mustard
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced into wedges
- 1 free range chicken, divided into 8 (see here for help)
- 3 mandarins, unpeeled, sliced horizontally into 1 cm slices
- a good few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- salt and pepper
In a dish combine the first 6 ingredients and mix well. Add the chicken, fennel, mandarins and thyme and let marinate for a few hours. If you’re not super organised (which I wasn’t) you can skip the marinating and just jump straight into the cooking.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Transfer the chicken, fennel and all its marinade into an oven proof roasting tray large enough for everything to sit in a single layer. Making sure the chicken is skin side up. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, and its skin is crispy and golden.