Archive for the Dinner Category

Indian Spiced Meatballs with Pasta

Posted 31 August 2013 by
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I’ve been loving the new series of Celebrity Masterchef, and in one episode recently, John Torrode made these Indian spiced meatballs with pasta for the palate test. The contestants had to work out what the ingredients were, and then recreate the dish. I thought it looked pretty tasty, and luckily, the recipe (“Pappardelle with curried meatballs”) was on the BBC Food website.

Indian Spiced Meatballs with Pasta

I really enjoyed this dish. The combination of spices is absolutely delicious, but not too hot. I must admit, I found the lime pickle a little unusual, not having tasted it before, but it definitely added something. I decided not to make my own pasta and I couldn’t get hold of pappardelle, so I used tagliatelle, and I used turkey mince in place of the chicken. If you don’t have a small food processor capable of grinding the spices, you could obviously use ground spices, although I guess they wouldn’t be quite so flavoursome.

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Spinach, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Quiche

Posted 17 July 2013 by
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This spinach, goat’s cheese and Prosciutto quiche makes a lovely lunch or light dinner in summer. In what is quite a classic combo, the salty goat’s cheese and ham are matched by the sweetness of the caramelised onions. You could use any savoury shortcrust pastry pastry (or buy it ready-made, of course). I used Michel Roux’s flan pastry recipe. I used skimmed milk, which keeps it quite light. If you want a richer filling for your quiche, you can add cream instead of the milk, or a use a mixture of both.

Spinach Goat's Cheese and Prosciutto Quiche

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Ground Elder and Goat’s Cheese Tarts

Posted 14 June 2013 by
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Ground elder is a perennial plant that was introduced to this island by the Romans. It’s now considered a weed in the gardening world, but happily it’s edible, so get foraging and kill two birds with one stone.

Ground elder leaves

It has quite a distinctive, earthy flavour that goes well with a salty goat’s cheese and sweet caramelised onions in these individual tarts. I didn’t manage to get a decent photo; I must have been too eager to get this chap into my tummy! I served these with vegetables and mashed potato for dinner, but you could easily have the tarts as a starter for a bigger meal.

Ground elder and goat's cheese tart

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Nettle Soup

Posted 12 June 2013 by
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I think it’s always fun to cook with free food taken from the garden, and especially food you have foraged from the hedgerow. Stinging nettles are versatile and can be used where you would use spinach or other greens. They are very nutritious, containing decent amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K. After the success of my nettle and thyme bread, I decided to try nettle soup. It tasted good — nettle doesn’t have a very strong taste; it’s quite earthy I suppose, and not dissimilar to spinach.

Nettle soup

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Lemon Chicken Orzo

Posted 23 May 2013 by
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Orzo is a relatively new discovery for me. Ok, not the most life-changing of discoveries, just a new shape of pasta. I think it’s wonderful though. Looks like rice, tastes like pasta, and somehow seems much richer and more comforting than other pasta shapes. This recipe for lemon chicken orzo was one of those “what ingredients do I have in the cupboard” type of affairs, and it worked so well. You can easily change the ingredients around, but the key players for me are the lemon, the chicken, the orzo and some kind of cheese. With the freshness of the lemon, and with fresh, seasonal vegetables, this is perfect for summer suppers.

Lemon chicken orzo

It’s so hard to take appetising photos of pasta dishes!

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Spicy Casablanca Couscous

Posted 17 April 2013 by
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Couscous is such a great alternative side dish to the usual pasta/rice/potatoes. This recipe for Spicy Casablanca Couscous comes from Ainsley Harriott’s Low Fat Meals in Minutes. I discovered it last year when I was looking for lower-calorie recipes, and it works so well that it’s become a regular feature on the weekly menu. The cumin and coriander work really well together and you can dial the hotness up or down by adjusting the amount of chillies you use. (You could obviously substitute dried chillies or cayenne, or omit them altogether.)

Couscous in a pan with spoon

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Celeriac and Apple Soup

Posted 3 December 2012 by
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This celeriac and apple soup follows on the heels of last month’s plain old celeriac soup, and is using up some of the apple harvest. This recipe comes from Angela Hartnett on the Guardian website. I’ve never used apples in a soup, but their sweetness goes well with the earthy er… celery-ness of the celeriac, and the flavours balance really well.

A bowl of celeriac and apple soup

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Celeriac Soup

Posted 9 November 2012 by
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The celeriac (aka “celery root”) is a strange-looking beast. Be not afraid though: lurking beneath the gnarly exterior is a distinctive earthy, creamy flavour. It’s not unlike celery, although not nearly as evil. It’s perfect for autumn/winter soups. This simple recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage series.

Celeriac, leek, onion, potato and garlic on a chopping board

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Mushroom Tart (Hugh F-W)

Posted 28 October 2012 by
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This is a nice recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day for a simple puff pastry mixed mushroom tart. Ideally (according to Hugh anyway) the mushrooms should have been freshly hand-plucked from the countryside immediately prior to making the tart. I found an ordinary tub of button mushrooms did pretty well. I  imagine a mixture of wild mushrooms would look very effective.

Divided into three, the tart formed part of a simple, light supper. You could also serve it as a starter, or increase the quantities for a more substantial main course. It’s simple and quick to make, especially if you already have the puff pastry, either homemade or out of a packet. Apologies for the poor quality of photos, I’ll have to do another one some time to take some better ones!

Mushroom puff pastry tart

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Linguine with Garlic, Prawns and Spinach

Posted 14 February 2012 by
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In a recent search for healthier recipes, I came across Italian chef Gino D’Acampo’s book The I Diet (“The Italian Diet”). The recipes look pretty good, some low-calorie, some not so much, but all based around tasty and nutritious Mediterranean ingredients. This is a recipe for linguine (or any long pasta) with garlic, prawns and spinach (aka linguine con gamberi e spinaci). As much as I resist the thought of pasta without some kind of cheese, this was actually very tasty, filling and comes in at 449 calories a portion.

A plate of garlic, prawn and spinach linguine.

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