Friday, 31 May 2013

jill dupleix's lamb tagliata

There's no two ways about it, I'm in a foul, unemployment-based mood today. I spend most of the morning moaning and being obstreperous, and the afternoon under a morose black cloud, barely stringing two words together. This is obviously A Very Bad Thing, but it turns out to be considerably worse as not only is Kay in residence, but Brenda has bought Ben and Feebs up for the day. I'm a bad husband.

I do make lunch and dinner, a begrudging Jill Dupliex double-whammy of the new Yummington classic, Broad Bean Crostini for lunch, followed by a Kay-fave, Lamb Tagliata. Both prepared with the minimum grace and the surliest presentation... actually maybe I could be a Michelin starred chef after all!

Wine Time
I'm torn with the lamb; my head says it's rosemary salt-packed flavour and fatty quality, needs something similarly herbaceous and tannic, in which case I'd be looking for a Southern Rhone or Languedoc red. They have rich dark fruit flavours, with an edge of the garrigue - or herbs de provence - flavours from the surrounding vegetation. However, I also reckon a juicy Pinot Noir would also go down a storm, but choose one from France as they tend to be earthier than New World Pinots and you need that musty quality to snuggle up to the rosemary.

broad bean crostini with parmesan - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, May 2008, p82
lamb tagliata - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, October 2007, p138

Thursday, 30 May 2013

nasi goreng

We're rather betwixt and between things at the moment: We're all still slightly catching up after a long weekend under canvas, the house is still full of strange piles of damp and steaming tent, and nobody can be bothered to go to the supermarket as the weekend is only a couple of days away.

Luckily Kay has come up for a couple of days which galvanises into some sort of action, at least where the tent and sorting out the garden is concerned. The shopping is still somewhat elusive though, so once again we fall back on the cupboards for sustenance.

For a while it's a looking a bit grim, (cannellini bean, pasta and tomato puree anybody?) but things are hastily turned around with the discovery of a packet of prawns in the freezer. Bung in the last of the rapidly-fading veg from the fridge, smother it in soy sauce and Bajan yellow chilli sauce, and hide it all under an egg, and voila - Nasi Goreng!

Wine Time
Did you know over the past decade or so the biggest market for Moscato D'Asti is South East Asia? Bonkers I know, but grab a bottle and try it with this sour and spicy concoction and it'll make total sense. The light fizz, floral notes and off-dry touch of sweetness all combine perfectly with Asian food.

nasi goreng with fried egg - Waitrose Kitchen - January 2012, p86

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

valli little's hot chilli

Is there any better cure for driving back from Dorset in a tsunami, with no exhaust and massive traffic jams than defrosting a huge bowl of Valli Little's herby hot chilli?

Not only is it hearty, hale and warming, instantly reviving flagging spirits, but it means we can focus on sorting out a house full of piles of wet canvas, sleeping bags, boxes of assorted camping 'stuff' and some tired Ana's and Milo's. Okay, so I just defrosted it, and dumped everything in the corner to be dealt with when it stops raining...

Incidentally, here's a thrifty tip for those of you who like that sort of thing: I think freezing tends to concentrates flavours, so I've figured I can freeze even a single portion and then bulk it out with a can of tomatoes and some more chocolate, and it'll still do the three of us. Doesn't always work mind, but usually it's fine.

rich chilli beef with fresh avocado - Valli Little, Delicious circa 2005/6, now The Skull Book

Sunday, 26 May 2013

#GreatSummerOfBurger Episode 6: Lou & Greg's meaty bunfest

Not strictly a 'proper' update today. However given we're all about the #GreatSummerOfBurger this year I feel compelled to include Greg and Lou's post-Corfe Castle dinner they knocked up whilst we were camping.

I think the great thing about camp cooking is its simplicity: you've only got a limited number of pots, and the recipes are confined to classics as nobody really feels like popping an indeterminate distance to a shop for herbs and spices, only to discover the village shop doesn't have black cardamon or sumac.

With years of camping experience behind them, Greg and Lou went for a huge BBQ, groaning with meat and prawns. And I mean HUGE:

Burgers, chicken, babyback ribs and prawn skewers - plus beers (not shown). Utter genius, and perfect to fend off the early evening spring chills, as MasterChef Lou demonstrates with her cooking attire.

Interesting top tip from Greg as well, he pre-cooks his burgers before griddling as he reckons they stay together better. Consider that logged.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Emptying the cupboards before camping

With one day to go before we head off with the McPartlins and Connollys, we're in cupboard-emptying mode. This sounds terribly Blitz-spirit and thrifty, and there are huge great wodges of both elements involved, particularly as work seems harder to come by than an Aussie prop who can scrummage without falling over.

However, the sun is shining and having pulled out some haddock from the freezer, cueing us up nicely for Nigella's Keralan Fish Curry for dinner, we look for inspiration by digging out previous May editions of Delicious.

Now, in the good old, pre-Karen 'let's have a campaign or talk about my kitchen' Barnes days Delicious' May editions were Italian specials, and they were blinking brilliant: All of them well-thumbed favourites, and all of them stuffed to the branchie with fab, tasty yet easy recipes, including our new favourite Yummington lunch - Angela Boggiano's Tuna, cannellini bean and red onion salad on tomato bread.

Who doesn't have cans of tuna and beans lurking in their cupboards? And this simplicity is it's genius. This time we had the sun-dried tomato paste, but simple tomato puree or pesto works just as well.

Finally, and seeing how I mentioned it early, here's dinner: Nigella's curry for all.  I think it's the best way of using frozen fish, which tends to be quite fishy in flavour, but this is tamed by the turmeric and ginger.

All I need to do now is find the tent, the sleeping bags, and torches, pack the car and talk Milo down from the skyscraper of over-excitement he's currently stood on top of.

tuna, cannellini bean and red onion salad on tomato bread - Angela Boggiano, Delicious, May 2008, p95
keralan fish curry - nigella lawson, Delicious, February 2009, p83

Thursday, 23 May 2013

magic bean soup

I think I must be losing my mind. Once again I've spent months searching high and low for a recipe I had spotted ages ago as a definite future experimental soup, only to be denied every time it came to shopping day. Tonight I thought the Gods were finally with me as not only did I stumble across it whilst looking for potential dinners for this weekend's Corfe Castle Camping Extravaganza, but we also had all the ingredients!

Ignore the name mind, you just need a can each of kidney and mixed beans - neither of which count as particularly 'magic', although the filling-yet-curiously-healthy soup is pretty close to magical. Although the half a baguette I stuffed down rather off-set any nascent feelings of 'diet'.

The only downside to this dish is, within minutes of making it I tidied up the kitchen, and all I now know for certain is the recipe is once again somewhere in a pile made up of five years of Delicious magazine. Sorry

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

rosie lovell's orzo yellow tomato salad

Hmmm... We're channeling Victor Meldrew today, although not in the sense of looking on in bewildered confusion as the sofa stars squeaking, or the washing machine breaks. No, I'm talking more along the lines of "I do not belieeeeeeve it", as despite knowing for a fact we've eaten this dish loads since finding it last year, I can't find neither hide nor hair of it on this very blog. I. Do. Not. Believe. It

Suffice to say, it's a pretty delicious and satisfying summer salad, consisting of orzo, cherry tomatoes, red onions and oregano, in a white wine vinegar-based dressing. If I ever find the recipe again, I'm going to carve the source of it on my arm so I don't forget where the flock it is.

It's not the most helpful of posts is it?  Ha ha - update alert! Completely randomly I found the issue within 3 minutes of pressing 'publish'. Voila!

orzo yellow tomato salad - Rosie Lovell, Supper with Rosie in Delicious, June 2012, p25

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

#GreatSummerOfBurger Episode 5: silvana franco's bloody mary burger

Despite only chowing down on burgers not two days ago, tonight we're having Silvana Franco's Bloody Mary Burgers again, this time with cheese and homemade chips. This is course exactly what the #GreatSummerOfBurger is all about!

If anything, they're even better than Sundays version, and I think this could partly be because of the sacrilegious truth that cooking burgers on the BBQ is fraught with danger, usually involving shrinkage and it falling apart on the grill. They're much juicer done on the hob, and the cheese makes a nice addition too.

bloody mary burger - Silvana Franco, Delicious, June 2011, p25

Monday, 20 May 2013

mozzarella, peach and parma ham salad

If Buddhism teaches us anything, it's that there is balance in everything, a cosmic ying-yang at work that keeps the world a-turning. In South West London this manifests itself in the mother of all hangovers after yesterday's street party shenanigans, and a craving for food that isn't predominantly burger-based.

Luckily we don't have to rack our brains too much for inspiration as not only do Sainsbury's have offers on ripe peaches, they're also doing deals on mozzarella, parma ham and rosé. Well, going cold turkey can be dangerous.

It's one of our favourite salads; it's a cinch to put together, it's packed with bold flavours and it's remarkably satisfying.

Wine Time
Clearly we had rosé, but if you wanted to find something to match rather than drinking whatever you had in the fridge/on offer, I reckon you wouldn't go too far wrong with a New World-style Viognier. The ripe peaches are quite dominant, and the dressing is quite lemony and acidic, which is a pretty accurate description of this classic Rhone grape.

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad - Delicious, 2005 now the Parsley Book

Sunday, 19 May 2013

#GreatSummerOfBurger Episode 4: silvana franco's bloody mary burger

After last year's frigid Jubilee Street Party, this year we luck out with beautiful, if not scorching, sunny day. Perfect for decking the street with bunting, letting the kids run wild in the middle of the road, and meeting people you normally only occasionally nod at, over several brewskis and a hot dog.

I made the mistake last year of attempting a jazzy salad, Jill Dupliex's Sesame Chicken Salad in fact, which whilst very tasty, didn't say 'yay, let's party in sub-zero temperatures for the Queen'. Although to be fair, what does?

Instead I view today as the perfect example to continue my #GreatSummerOfBurger campaign, with yet-another experimental Silvana Franco burger: The Bloody Mary burger from June 2011's issue of Delicious. Although naturally I make double quantities:

What makes them 'Bloody' is the addition of cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and creamed horseradish, and as I'm using Garlic Farm creamed horseradish, we got an extra hit of smokey flavour, which was delicious. They were a bugger to cook though, as they lacked any egg to bind them, only breadcrumbs:

As I say, they were delicious. Probably the best meat burgers I've made, I think, with lots of flavours going and a nice hit of heat from the horseradish, but I wonder whether adding egg will solve the problems of them falling apart on the grill? This is exactly the sort of question #GreatSummerOfBurger is going to answer!

Wine Time
Brewskis, and lots of them or if you're being sensible, and big, bold Cote de Rhone or Aussie Shiraz are classic pairings for BBQs and meat.

bloody mary burger - Silvana Franco, Delicious, June 2011, p25

Saturday, 18 May 2013

francesco mazzei's asparagus risotto

Out last night at a combined curry and Eurovision party no less, (yes Ana did win the sweep and yes, we did win the Eurovision quiz, thanks for asking), and planning to stuff ourselves with burgers tomorrow at the annual street party, tonight we're giving our taste buds - and livers - a leetle rest with another installment of Francesco Mazzei's asparagus risotto. And yes, we do have it with prosecco as per the recipe, well I did say leetle rest for our livers.

This time around I don't make the mistake of giving Milo any asparagus tips, just the rice and finely sliced stems, and we cross our fingers the prosecco works it's sleep-inducing magic on him, as he's massively, MASSIVELY over-excited about the party tomorrow, and is desperate to put up bunting.

Wine Time
No need to reinvent the wheel here, or at least I haven't drunk anything different since then that has changed my mind: Stick with a light Italian white with crisp acidity and some herbal notes, like a Soave or Gavi and you won't go wrong.

Actually scrub that, if you can find it a Roero Arneis from Piedmonte would be amazing, with it's balance of delicate floral fruits and salty, mineral qualities. Go find one and let me know what you think - I think it's my new favourite white.

asparagus risotto - Francesco Mazzei, Delicious, May 2013, p76

Thursday, 16 May 2013

tom norrington-davies' chicken noodle soup with mint and lemon

And after the sun, the rain... I know we're supposed to be having increasingly 'Scandinavian' weather systems, but I was taking that to mean really hot summers, and lots of snow rather than mimsies, drizzle and miasmas. At least tomorrow night's school camping trip has been cancelled as the field has been flooded.

The weather also neatly forces our hands for dinner as I was toying with the idea of making some sort of chicken salad, but the damp  makes the idea of Tom Norrington-Davies' ginger-packed chicken soup an infinitely more appealing option.

It's a really zingy dish, with lots of fresh flavours coming through from the lemon juice, coriander and broth, with a nice hit of heat from the chillies and ginger. It's also dead simple and easily adaptable - we have beansprouts rather than noodles for example, cos we is healfee. Anybody fancy the recipe, let me know and I'll stick it up.

chicken noodle soup with mint and lemon - Tom Norrington-Davies, was Delicious now The Owl Book

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

silvana franco's pan-fried broccoli with chorizo, new potato and egg

One of the best things to come out of the whole unemployment thing is the opportunity it gives us to try and all eat together in the evenings.

Outside of enjoyment factor of sitting down as a family, it's got several knock-on benefits namely the TV isn't on whilst Milo's eating, which assuages our middle class paranoia, and we get try new foods on him because as we're eating it, he's generally more receptive to trying stuff. I know we're generally lucky with his eating habits, but it's always nice to keep pushing his culinary boundaries. He might not always like it mind, but at least we know we can fall back on fish fingers/pizza/pasta rather than those being the alpha and omega of his diet.

Tonight's installment relies on the fact we know he likes chorizo, boiled eggs, tomatoes and broccoli, so even allowing for the red wine vinegar-based dressing, this filling summer salad combo by Silvana Franco shouldn't be too challenging:

However, you should never underestimate your child's ability to make you a liar. The egg isn't 'dippy' enough, he's got too many potatoes and he's now decided he doesn't like broccoli. The chorizo is okay though...

In the end we reach a compromise: He likes the broccoli heads but not the stalks, I take one of his potatoes, and if there's ice cream for pudding, the rest turns out to be surprisingly edible.

Wine Time
I think chorizo is one of those ingredients that you can't really go wrong with in terms of matching, as it'll happily accompany most lighter styles of wine. Rosé is obviously a classic, but a lovely crispy, minerally Gavi or a young, fruity Spanish red with low tannins will all go down a treat with this dish.

pan-fried broccoli with chorizo, new potatoes and eggs - Silvana Franco, Delicious, June 2011, p22

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

bill granger's curried chicken rice

It's funny how after one bad experience, you avoid a recipe like the plague, only to re-try it years later once the sense of shame has faded, and it inexplicably turns out to be marvellous. Not only that, it quickly becomes a much-trusted friend.

For similar reasons - hard rice - I've had issues with both risotto and Bill Granger's curried chicken rice, but somehow over the last year I seem to have finally managed to conquer my rice inadequacy*, and now they've become standards in the Barnes house.

Tonight it's the curried chicken rice, for no better reason than it's easy-peasy, I can't really be bothered to fanny about in the kitchen, and we've got some chicken legs I picked up on offer in the supermarket that need attention. Boom.

*However, if you ask my wife I definitely cannot cook rice. Interestingly this doesn't stop her eating it, or volunteering to cook it.

curried chicken rice - Bill Granger, Simply Bill, p21

Monday, 13 May 2013

valli little's chicken with baby spring vegetables and pistou

I've wanted to cook one variation or another of this spring roast for years. It always appears in most of the magazines, ticking as it does the seasonality box, freshness and looking good.

The thing is Ana is less-than-keen on eating baby gem lettuce at the best of times, but she draws the line  at partially wilted baby gem lettuce. Luckily by hiding it under my thumb when I show her the picture, she doesn't notice it so we're good to go and I for one cannot wait.

Sadly as it turns out she's right though, as not only is it a wee bit pfaffy - if you're not blanching stuff, you're frying, roasting or bashing stuff up in a pestle - it's not amazingly full-flavoured given the amount of bits and bobs going on in it. At least we're using up more of the tower of cannelllini beans.

The oregano crust on the chicken legs is nice, and the pistou (it's just French pesto, fact fans) is also very tasty, but the rest is just a bit, well, bland. It's doubly disappointing as normally Valli Little does amazing recipes.

Wine Time
Okay so it's not the punchiest dish on the block, and if anything it's unexpectedly stodgy, so you'd want something with enough punch to cut through the floury pulses and pasta, as well as having some nice herbal flavours for the chicken and pistou.

I think the orzo and the pistou (okay, pesto) hold the key and lead me to bella Italia, where I reckon if you could do worse than getting hold of a really good Soave - look for one marked 'classico'. The garganega grape has plenty of lemony acidity, as well as lovely blossom notes and pear notes which should cover all bases with the dish.

chicken with baby spring vegetables and pistou - Valli Little, Delicious, May 2013, p56

Saturday, 11 May 2013

#GreatSummerOfBurgers Episode 3: silvana franco's spiced cannellini and cous cous burgers

Yay! #GreatSummerOfBurger is back, and not before time - it is the weekend after all! I know we're supposed to be trying new sorts of burgers each week, but for some reason our cupboards are currently awash with cannellini beans. How does this happen? I mean, we're fairly organised with weekly shopping lists, and even allowing for occasional nights going off-menu, I can't believe we've missed that many cannellini-based meals.

At least this time we actually make the patties with cous cous, and not only that they get a good few hours in the fridge to firm up. I think the cous cous/bulgar wheat swap is fairly moot as the flavours tend to come from the stock and spices, but the extra couple of hours in the fridge does make them infinitely easier to cook as they don't fall apart so easily. Top tip there.

spiced cannellini and cous cous burgers - Silvana Franco, Delicious, now the Parsley Book

Friday, 10 May 2013

donna hay's pasta with cherry tomato sauce

Tonight it has become apparent that I seem to be falling into lazy journalism and slack cooking habits. Two weeks of cous cous and chorizo, and now this half-arsed attempt at dinner.

Look at this picture:

Now take into account Ana is out at Book Club, and then read this.

My, how times have changed. I promise to buck my ideas up next time she's out.

pasta with cherry tomato sauce - Donna Hay, Instant Cook, p58

Thursday, 9 May 2013

chorizo, pea and lemon cous cous

As anybody else noticed/bought those two foot long chorizo de leon sausages Unearthed make? They are definitely our chorizo of choice, and not just because they look like wizened pizzles in a bag: They're not as spicy as some, so perfect for small blonde people, the skin comes off really easily, and you get more sausage-y bangs for your buck.

We only use half for any particular recipes, which means we know we've got another chorizo-based banker in the fridge for the following week. Or, if we're being a bit uninspired and discover we haven't eaten as many tomatoes/drunk as much gin as we thought we would, we have exactly the same thing as last time:

Mrs White is quite correct, this would be a great side-salad for a BBQ. It doesn't wilt, it's got tomatoes in which are prerequisite for BBQ fayre, and you can bag up the remainder for lunch the next day.

All this from delicious Spanish donkey's cock - who said Europe was a bad thing? You couldn't do this with some gristle-and-grain bangers.

chorizo, pea and lemon cous cous - Delicious, October 2012, p28

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

heston's pea and pancetta spaghetti

I'm not sure why I bother having an Heston Blumenthal tag, seeing how I only ever cook one of his recipes. It's a good one mind; quick, simple and full of flavours, and perfect for nights like this when Ana's off being literary at one of her Book Clubs.

In fact the cooking time is really only the length of time it takes to boil the pasta; you can fry the onions and pancetta whilst the water boils, and then you nick some pasta water to mix up with the eggs and parmesan to make the sauce. Drain the pasta and mix it in the pan with the onions/pancetta, add the peas and sauce and let it sit for five minutes and Robert is your mother's brother.

This quick turn-around is particularly useful if you've found yourself inexplicably reading ten stories, having to snuggle, then having to go back to read some more stories, followed by more snuggling, and then a final story because somebody wasn't tired.

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti - Waitrose Weekend, 16th September, p10

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

jill dupleix's lamb tagliata

I can't believe we haven't had Jilly D's magic lamb tagliata for over a year? Not that my updating/this blog is in anyway an accurate historical record of course...

Anyway, having made my debut at Twickenham Job Centre Plus this morning, this afternoon is spent in much more jolly circumstances - meeting up with fellow dole bludger and AOL refugee, Miss Jessica Lewis, for riverside job seekers coffees at Tide Tables. She trumps me however, having spent the last five months swanning around Key-nya. The coffee's not bad btw, the wraps look amazing, but the queue is dire.

Monkey is on good form when I pick him up so we have an extensive scamper in the park, and by the time we get back Ana is also home, so we decide to all eat together: Milo has a smorgasbord of nibbles and cheese sandwiches, and we get lamb:

It's quite a punchy recipe what with the rocket, rosemary salt and lamb, so we've never really tried giving it to Milo, but having filched forkfuls from both our plates, he's definitely having some next time.

He likes cherry tomatoes AND lamb (kebab, roast & minced) anyway, but what I think piques his interest is that he gets to help cook it; He harvested and helped chop the rosemary, and squished the tomatoes. I suppose like all of us, once he's invested effort in a thing he likes to enjoy some of the end product. Time will tell whether I believe him about liking rocket though.

Wine Time
This is a pungent and meaty salad, with a hit of acidity from the tomatoes, so you'll be looking for something that's got enough texture to stand up to the meat, but that's not so big as to overwhelm the herbs and peppery leaves. I'd be tempted to look at a Greek red, after all their whole cuisine seems to be rosemary and lamb-based, but if we're thinking availability a young, fresh Aussie Shiraz would be bang on.

You don't want a jammy number, but one full of fresh, dark fruit, and a lovely peppery finish that will complement both the salad and the rosemary. Try Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cab blend which is available in most supermarkets/offies.

lamb tagliata - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, October 2007, p138

Monday, 6 May 2013

BBQ at Helen and Guys, followed by Jill Dupleix's broad bean crostini with parmesan

Now we're talking Bank Holiday scorchers - 23 degrees, bring it on!

Naturally we kick off the hottest day of the year with some extreme exercise: Ana runs over Chiswick Bridge and back at high speed with Tina for an hour, and I crank out a better-than-last-time sunny 18K around Richmond Park. In fact I'm going so well I slightly lose track of time, only to be jolted out of it by an irate call from Ana pointing out I'm currently 20 minutes late for the BBQ at Helen and Guy's.

Luckily they are super laid back people, and with the advance party holding the fort before my arrival, everybody's happy playing in the sunshine. Apart from Guy, who's busy cremating sausages that even Milo won't eat. He's pretty good at a veggie kebabs though, and does a mean marinated lamb pitta. I have three.

However the problem with great hosting - if it can be even thought of as a 'problem' - is the fact you end up getting back later than planned, slightly heat struck, tired and with limited desire to cook dinner. Or even eat anything. Well, maybe something small?

Obviously spending a zen-like 25 minutes podding broad beans slightly changes matters, and we settle for the lovely Jilly Dupleix's small-but-perfectly-formed broad bean crostini. It's the taste sensation that's sweeping South West London!

broad bean crostini with parmesan - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, May 2008, p82

Sunday, 5 May 2013

crumbed fish with thyme potatoes and salad

Whilst the expected Bank Holiday scorcher didn't quite manage to put in an appearance today, it's plenty warm enough to lounge around in the sun, before taking a leisurely wander around the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park with Kendra, Brian, Finn and Rafe.

Little people get a packed lunch and ice cream, whilst adults make do with Pickle & Rye takeout: Torontos for all, except Ana who had a turkey club. With everything on the side.

I think it's a testament to how brilliant their food is that even Kendra, who is not one for convenience eating, is now thoroughly addicted and now visits her sister in Sheen more often than even before, purely as an excuse to pick up a sandwich and a flat white. If you live in SW London, you really should check them out...

Back at home everybody is a little jaded and tired, and a quick peruse down this week's menu reveals crispy fish as being the quickest/easiest thing to prepare, with the added bonus of the bin men coming in the next couple of days so we don't have to stink the house out with minky fish skin.

Due to availability issues on the fish counter in Richmond Waitrose, Milo has a cod loin and we get fillets, which should maximise the amount of good fishy oils in him. However, never underestimate the lure of crispy breadcrumbs and the consequent fish-to-crispy-bits ratio when dealing with small (ish) children. I think it'll be fillets all round next time.

This is becoming one of our go-to dishes, for all the reasons above, and also because it's unexpectedly filling. I don't think the thyme-crumbed potatoes work as well as Bill Granger's turmeric potatoes, and obviously you can do what you want with the salad, but it's a solidly satisfying dinner, with an added soupcon of healthiness.

thyme-crumbed fish - Delicious, February 2010, p25

Saturday, 4 May 2013

#GreatSummerOfBurgers Episode 2: turkey burgers

After last week's stunning debut (thanks Brenda!) we hit week two of the hep craze sweeping Mortlake at a smokey canter, with a BBQ-themed #GreatSummerOfBurger!

In attendance today at our smorgasbord of meat are: Green Do-Gooder Mrs Caroline Pitt and her evil husband JP, a man not only responsible for my recent 24 hangover after the Rosslyn Park Sevens, but also this. Also invited are Mr Milo Taliesin Barnes who is so desperate to light the coals he almost wets himself, and his mother Lady Barnes, who is glad he didn't.

On the menu today are two sorts of salad: A green salad, with avocado and cherry tomatoes and sprouts, and Ana's favourite Fino chorizo and tomato salad. We also have bratwursts with beery onions, which strangely enough, is my own recipe:

We all know why we're here though, BURGERS! I didn't mention it last time, but one of the 'rules' behind #GreatSummerOfBurger is it's an excuse to try as many different types of burger as possible.  Slightly controversially we're not having beef tonight, but turkey - oh yes!

They seem crazy, and within the context of this blog they are experimental, but these are old, pre-Milo friends for Ana and myself, and they're genius.

There are some strong flavours in the mix, including sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce, but what really rocks is the fact turkey makes such a moist burger. Word to the wise though, make 'em small otherwise they take ages to cook, and you run the risk of raw centres. I personally guarantee JP ate 15 of them, because he's an athlete.

Wine Time
Erm, lots of everything, plus beer. It worked for us.

turkey burgers - Delicious, around 2006-ish? It also appears in the January 2007 One Month Healthy Eating Plan supplement

Friday, 3 May 2013

francesco mazzei's asparagus risotto

I'm a recent convert to risotto, and whilst I've not attempted anything too fancy, I've finally got my head around the basics, and I embrace the stirring process rather than hate it. Wine also helps of course, as does a large quantity of parmesan, because if it goes wrong you can always just nuke it with cheese.

This new-found geekiness gets an extra fillip this week with the arrival of the new edition of Delicious, and Francesco Mazzei's prosecco-infused asparagus risotto therein. Prosecco right? Oh, and seasonal asparagus, because my wee doesn't smell enough, but mainly fizzy booze.

It's got quite a delicate flavour despite the parmesan; The fizz imparts a lovely floral quality whilst the asparagus brings in its own pungency, and the nutmeg and butter-fried tips are delicious in their own right. Even Milo eats it, being up late and doing his butter-wouldn't-melt act, although he draws the line at the tips.

Still, total winner and with the added benefit of increasing my risotto geekiness as Mazzei warms his rice first, which is worth a try next time I'm knocking one up.

Wine Time
Generally Sauvignon Blanc is a nailed-on contender with asparagus, but this isn't a full-on flavour bomb, so it needs something subtler to pair with it. Seeing as you used it in the cooking, Prosecco is an obviously good choice here, as would a good Soave or Gavi, whose herbal qualities and mouthwatering citrus notes would cut through the rice, whilst highlighting the flavours in the dish.

asparagus risotto - Francesco Mazzei, Delicious, May 2013, p76

Thursday, 2 May 2013

peter gordon's fried halloumi, topped with chilli, hazelnuts, water chestnut, orange and sun-dried tomatoes

Times are a-changing chez Barnes this week as I now help the lovely Kendra Kats on a Thursday seeing how little Rafe (Raphe?) has appeared. Obviously I'm clearly top Manny material. Even better, if today is anything to go by we could have a swag-loads of new dishes surfacing here,  because once I returned from the nursery run, I pretty much spent the rest of the day emptying her fridge and filling her freezer. She is clearly the best employer I've ever had!

Back home however, I'm less-than-keen on cooking, and for some reason Ana thinks I owe her for last night's bulgar wheat stunt. I suspect as extra-punishment she's in the mood for her second dose of halloumi for the week. She'll start to squeak soon.

Sadly I was so incensed by her demands I forgot to take a picture. You know what it looks like by now though, surely? The spinachy one, with the cheese sticking out?

Those people out there interested in thrift/money saving tips/meekats might like to note that all the expensive ingredients will last two meals, worse luck. You need about half a jar of tomatoes, so that covers another meal, and I tend to marinate my chestnuts (matron!) in one go and then keep half in the fridge, ready for next time. I'm just saying.

fried halloumi topped with chilli, spinach, water chestnut, hazelnut, orange and sun-blushed tomato salad - Peter Gordon, Salads - The New Main Course, p65

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

chorizo, pea and lemon cous cous

What's wrong with this picture?

Brilliantly Ana couldn't tell either, until I told her, which is why I love this recipe!

Naturally once I told her that I'd used up the last of the bulgar wheat rather than use cous cous, she claimed to have noticed something 'different' from the off, but I don't think you can really. The beauty of it is whatever you use, sucks up all the flavours of the stock, chorizo fat, lemon and tomatoes. In fact, I might go mental soon and try it with Quinoa next time. Or looking at the face pulled when I mentioned it, I might not.

Mrs White, how did it go for you?

Wine Time
Last time I suggested a Soave and/or Rose, but recently I tried a couple of bottles of what Victoria Moore brilliantly described as 'the thinking woman's Pinot Grigio' - a Fiano. It's got all the lemony loveliness you want, with a really lovely, delicate blossom nose. It could quite possibly be my new favourite wine. Waitrose has a Fiano mix called 'Traide' which is a good place to start.

chorizo, pea and lemon cous cous - Delicious, October 2012, p28