Greek, Seafood, Stew

Greek Fisherman’s Stew

Serves: 6

Wow, this is a gorgeous stew and on every level.

It tastes amazing, it is simple to prep and it’s healthy enough. Mopped up with some crusty bread, we loved every bit of it.

I’d go as far as to say this could become one of your favourites.

There is literally nothing not to like. Just make sure you season well.

Surprise yourself with this 10/10.

Ingredients

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 small head fennel, diced
½ tsp red chilli flakes
2 large ripe, truss tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt (plus extra to season at the end)
Freshly cracked pepper
1 cup dry white wine
250gm potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 kg firm white fish, cut into 3cm pieces (we used Pink Ling)
12 basil leaves, torn
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp harissa paste (or hot sauce)
Crusty bread to serve

Method

  1. Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft though not brown. Add the fennel and cook for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the chilli flakes and then add the tomatoes and salt and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and 2 ½ cups boiling water, bring to the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Check the seasoning and add the lemon juice.
  3. Add the fish pieces and simmer on low until the fish is just cooked through; another 5 or so minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise with the harissa paste (or hot sauce).
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil to wilt it.
  6. Serve with a good dollop of the spiced mayonnaise and some crusty bread. And a good glass of cold vino of course.
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Healthy, Lamb, Moroccan

Moroccan kofte with spicy tomato sauce

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Seriously?!

Serves: 4

Oh wow this is awesome.

Admittedly, I made them after a rather reasonable lunch remit with a few wines. Though the flavour definitely wasn’t the wines talking, though I have been known to find cornflour pretty tasty late into a big night.

Though who hasn’t?

Lamb mince. Tick. Spice. Tick. Tomato. Tick. Yogurt, harissa and pine nuts. Tick.

It’s easy to prepare, easy to cook and healthy. It’s no revelation and instead, it’s the comfort, warmth and familiarity of it all.

Go out and have a big lunch, stumble home, pour another glass and knock this up. You could do a whole lot worse.

Ingredients

Lamb

500gm lamb mince
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp chopped mint

Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
2 tsp harissa
1 tsp sugar
200gm tub Greek yogurt
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
Coriander, pittas and couscous to serve

Method

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 20 minutes to stop burning. Heat the grill.
  2. Using your hands, mix the meat in a bowl with the onion, coriander, mint and plenty of seasoning. Shape into 8 sausages, about 10cm long and then threat a bamboo skewer through the center of each.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and briefly fry. Add tomatoes, harissa, sugar and seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 – 20 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  4. Grill the kofte for 6 – 8 minutes, turning until they are nice browned. Spoon the sauce over a warm platter, drizzle with yogurt and put the kofte on top. Scatter with the pine nuts and serve with coriander, pittas and couscous.
  5. And more wine.
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Greek, Seafood

Prawn Saganaki

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The original… as supplied to me.

Serves: 4

This is a signature Ashes family recipe and it is right on the money. It tastes amazing, it’s warm and it’s filling.

Whether you use saganaki cheese or feta comes down to whether your name is Rob Ashes or Debbie Ashes. When I asked Rob about using saganaki, he said ‘nah, shit doesn’t melt’.

Deb feels the opposite and generally sneaks saganaki into the dish mid-oven. So perhaps this is a compromise and you should use a bit of both.

The other point to make is that if you can find packets of uncooked garlic prawns (the John West variety), get these and eliminate the garlic from the dish.

Otherwise, enjoy what is a fabulous dish and one I have thankfully enjoyed many times at the Ashes dinner table.

Ingredients

1kg medium prawns, shelled
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
250gm feta cheese, sliced
250gm saganaki (or feta), sliced
2 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
½ c olives
Good handful of coriander, chopped
Slices of sourdough
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a saucepan, saute the onions win the olive oil. Add the diced tomato, garlic (if using), bay leaf, sugar, olives and salt and pepper and enough water to keep moist and cook on a medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 180c.
  3. Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Remote the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a casserole. Sprinkle the coriander over and then spread thin slices of the feta cheese on top. Top with sourdough bread and top with saganaki slices (or feta).
  5. Cook in the oven until the saganaki cheese has melted (or should have melted). 10 to 15 minutes.
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Italian, Pasta, Pork

My Arrabiata

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So hot. So good.

Serves: 4 – 6

This dish has real significance for me.

It was the first meal I cooked when I moved out of home, a recipe I adapted from Neil Perry and adapt every time depending on what is in the pantry and the fridge. Try it with torn basil, a pinch of sugar, freshly chopped chilli, whatever you want.

The key is in the length of cooking. The longer you can sweat the onions and the more slowly you can reduce the sauce, the better and better it will be. Forget that stuff from the local pizza shop, add lots of chilli and two hours over the stove and this takes on a new dimension.

Add this recipe to your repertoire and know it like the back of your hand. It will make clear to your lady friend that you can turn a pack of bacon and a few things from the cupboard into an amazing, hot and smoky pasta: it worked for me!

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 good pinches chilli flakes
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (half a punnet)
1 can tomatoes
1 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Good handful of ham, roughly chopped
10 rashers of bacon cut into lardons
Salt and pepper
Penne, spaghetti, whatever
Ground parmesan
Chopped Italian parsley

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and add the onions, garlic, chilli flakes and good pinch of salt and sweat as slowly as you can without letting stick to the bottom of the pan; around 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Separately, cook the bacon in a pan until golden. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add the tomatoes, ham, capers and olives, combine with the onion mixture and cook for a minute. Add the bacon and can of tomatoes as well as a can of water.
  4. Bring to the boil and then drop to a low simmer.
  5. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half and longer if you can. The key is to removing as much liquid from the sauce as slowly as you can.
  6. Check the seasoning and chilli and adjust as necessary.
  7. Cook the pasta, drain and combine with the sauce.
  8. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan and parsley.
  9. Enjoy your reward.
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BBQ, Healthy, Pork, Salad, Thai

BBQ Thai Basil and Ginger Pork Chops (with Tomato Salad)

Serves: 4

There is this wonderful website (well, Instagram) I follow called What to Cook.

It is by a father/daughter team where he cooks really simple, fresh and fun food and she takes great photos of the food. They look like they have so much doing it and they are obviously eating well.

I have only cooked one of their recipes (this one) though I have a bunch more lined up. Its modern, bistro-quality food and during the week, that’s just fine.

I let this marinate for two nights before BBQing and together with the salad, a bottle of white we opened and my favourite travelling companion Nat, we had a perfect weeknight in.

Ingredients

4 large pork chops,
1 Thai chilli, finely diced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
½ c fresh thai basil leaves
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1 lime

Tomato salad

1 bunch butter lettuce, leaves torn
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
1 oxheart tomato, sliced
2 baby cucumbers, sliced
½ cup bean sprouts
¼ cup fresh mint leaves

Salad dressing

3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar, grated

Method

  1. Place the chops in a dish, then add the chilli, ginger, garlic, salt Thai basil, lime juice, cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (or as long as you want).
  2. Preheat your BBQ over a high heat. Once preheated, BBQ the chops until cooked and then cover with foil and rest for 5 miutes.
  3. To serve; assemble the salad on the plates and drizzle with the dressing. Add the chops and (in their words) “enjoy”!
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BBQ, Lamb, Salad

Neil Perry’s barbequed butterflied lamb leg with cumin, lemongrass and ginger, Italian-style coleslaw and vine-ripened tomato salad

Serves: 4

I pulled this recipe collection from The Good Weekend magazine in 2010 and only managed to get around to cooking it last night.

It is a real, Friday-night treat. Marinate the lamb during the day, pull it out of the fridge when you get home, get the grill clean and hot and whilst chargrilling the lamb, prepare the really simple and elegant salads.

With a glass of red, this is – and was – a great way to say hello to the weekend.

Ingredients

Lamb

1 lamb leg (about 2kg) butterflied
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 lemongrass stems, peeled and sliced into fine rounds
3cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds, half crushed to a powder, the rest whole
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
3 tbsp chopped mint
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
Lemon wedges to serve

Coleslaw

1 baby cabbage or half Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Shaved parmesan

Tomato salad

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Method

Lamb

  1. To make the marinade, put the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, cumin and salt in a motar and pound into a rough paste in the pestle. Add the herbs and pound for a further minute then stir in the olive oil and mix well. (You can also process in a food processor but don’t make too smooth a paste.) Spread the marinade evenly over the butterflied lamb and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to infuse, remember that the lamb need to be removed from the fridge an hour prior to cooking.
  2. Preheat the BBQ medium-high. Cook the lamb for about 6-8 minutes per side depending on your preference of rare to medium-rare. Remove and cover with foil. Rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Carve the lamb into 5mm slices and arrange on 4 plates, pouring over any of the resting juices onto the slices of lamb. Give a good grind of pepper, place a lemon wedge on each plate and serve immediately… with the…

Italian-style coleslaw

  1. Finely shred the cabbage.
  2. Put in a large bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar over, at a ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar. Start to toss the cabbage ensuring that it doesn’t become wet and only moist.
  4. Toss through the shaved parmesan – the more the better people – and serve… with the…

Vine-ripened tomato salad

  1. Season the cut tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve immediately… with…
  2. A bottle of red wine!
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Healthy, Salad, Seafood, Starter

Neil Perry’s Warm Squid Salad

Serves: 4 as a share plate

It is after numbers like this one that you wonder why you don’t cook more squid! And if you don’t trust me, you have to trust that pretty much anything Neil Perry cooks is going to be wonderful.

It is an incredibly easy dish to do, it takes no time to prep and cook and it’s healthy sans the loaf of bread which unfortunately, is not optional!

The key to it all is to cook the different ingredients as fast as possible! And preferably, with the two of you cooking; it’s a fast-faced, hands-on, let’s both be rewarded sort of experience.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Spanish Onion roughly sliced
3 garlic, sliced
2 fresh Bay leaves finely sliced
Sweet Sherry
4 medium Squid Tubes sliced 2cm thick
4 Tomatoes blanched, quartered, peeled and de-seeded
½ bunch Parsley picked
Sea salt
Freshly Ground black Pepper to taste
2 Lemons juiced
Rustic loaf of bread to sop up sauce

Method

  1. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan to very hot. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and fry quickly.
  2. Add the sweet sherry, toss around and allow the alcohol to burn off as it quickly reduces.
  3. Add the sliced squid. Toss through for about 30 seconds
  4. Add the tomato quarters, parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Finish with the lemon juice, a dash of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of pepper.
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