After a fantastic weekend (as per usual), I'm a bit sick of food. It's everywhere! Impromptu dinner parties, eating out, ordering in, etc etc. I opened the paper this morning to read more stories concerning food. Even in the most unexpected places I am faced with food and mountains of it. Even now, I am meant to be running round Bruntsfield constructing a three course dinner menu for the fabulous Frizz's arrival this evening.
Nevertheless I have people to feed. So I've sorted the eats for the week, stuck it in a folder and will refer to this during the week so I don't have to put any more thought into meals.
Spring Minestrone Soup
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded, diced
- 1.2 litres good-quality vegetable stock, hot
- 130g spaghetti, broken into 3 pieces
- 200g new potatoes, cut into chunks
- 60g fine asparagus tips
- 150g frozen mixed peas, broad beans and green beans (we use Essential Waitrose Pea and Bean Mix)
- Small handful each fresh mint and flatleaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh pesto, to serve
- Freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan, to serve
- Pulse the celery and onion in a food processor until very finely chopped. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the onion and celery mixture and soften over a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir through the garlic and diced chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Pour over the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then add the spaghetti and potato. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until tender. Add the asparagus tips and the frozen mixed peas and beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Add the mint and parsley, spoon among bowls and top with a spoonful of fresh pesto and lots of grated Parmesan. Serve with crusty bread or cheesy croûtes.
- 400g pork sausages
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
- 150ml red wine
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- Pinch of caster sugar
- 400g penne
- Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Parmesan shavings, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put the sausages in a roasting tin and roast for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Remove and slice on the diagonal.
- In a frying pan, fry the onion in the oil until soft. Season. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the sausage and wine. Bubble over a high heat for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring, until thick. Season.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente, then drain.
- Divide the penne among bowls, then spoon the sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan to serve.
- 2 sweet potatoes into wedges
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp spice mix
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 2 free-range skinless chicken breasts
- 2 ciabatta rolls
- Olive oil
- A handful of salad leaves
- Sweet chilli sauce
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6.
- Cut 2 sweet potatoes into wedges, tumble into a roasting tin, and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp spice mix. Roast for 25 minutes or until crisp and tender.
- In a small bowl, pour boiling water over ½ red onion and soften for 15 minutes before draining and rinsing in cold water.
- Meanwhile, preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat (or light/preheat a barbecue). Halve 2 free-range skinless chicken breasts and flatten between sheets of cling film. Season and brush with olive oil. Griddle or barbecue for 3 minutes each side until cooked through.
- Split 2 ciabatta rolls, brush the cut side with olive oil and griddle or toast until golden brown. Sandwich the chicken, onion and a handful salad leaves between the buns. Drizzle with sweet chilli sauce and serve with the sweet potato wedges.
- 4 boneless free-range chicken thighs, with skin
- 2 tbsp rose harissa, plus extra to serve (we like Belazu, from Waitrose)
- 100ml Greek yogurt, plus extra to serve
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped if leaves are large
- 250g basmati and wild rice
- ½ cucumber, deseeded and chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- Handful fresh coriander leaves
- Place the chicken in a dish with the harissa, yogurt, garlic, olive oil and mint. Season and mix together to coat the chicken. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice in boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes until tender, then drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Place in a bowl and add the cucumber, chilli, sesame oil and lime juice.
- Preheat the grill to high. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Slice up and mix half of the chicken into the rice salad, then top with the remaining chicken. Garnish with a few coriander leaves. Mix some yogurt with a little harissa pastein a small bowl and serve with the chicken salad.
- 160g dried borlotti beans
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 stick celery
- 2 sprigs sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 tbsp tomato passata
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 150g mostarda di frutta, (Italian mustard fruits)
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 25g butter
- 850g pork fillet, sliced into 4 equal pieces
- 8 slices pancetta
- 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 200g broccoli florets
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 green chilli, seeds removed, chopped
2. Rinse the soaked beans in a colander, then place them with the whole garlic cloves, celery, sage, bayleaf and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and cover with plenty of cold water (about double the volume of the beans).
3. Put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Remove the lid, skim the foam from the top and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beans are soft to the bite. At this point, take the pan off the heat, add salt to taste then leave the beans to cool in their cooking liquid.
4. Put the mustard fruits into a food processor and process until chopped. Add enough of the breadcrumbs, followed by the butter to bring everything together in a paste. Chill in the freezer for up to 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.
6. Take the mustard fruit mixture from the freezer. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on the work surface. Spoon over the mixture and put another sheet of parchment paper on top. Roll over it with a rolling pin until the mixture has flattened out into a sheet of paste just a few millimetres thick. Put back into the freezer.
7. Preheat the oven to 250C/230C fan/gas 9.
8. Cut each pork fillet in half widthways, and wrap each one in a strip of pancetta. Hold the pancetta in place with a piece of string.
9. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan until medium-hot. Pour in in the sunflower or vegetable oil, season the pork and add to the pan. Fry until golden on both sides (a couple of minutes on each), making sure you keep the heat up inside the pan otherwise the meat will 'boil' rather than brown. You may need to cook the pork in 2 batches. If so, keep the first batch on the side while you fry the rest.
10. Transfer the fillets to the oven. Cook for about 3 minutes, take out and leave to rest.
11. Meanwhile take the crust from the freezer and, working very fast (as it will soften up almost straightaway), cut out 8 pieces, roughly the same size and shape as each piece of pork. Return it to the freezer for a few minutes to harden again.
12. Lift the beans from their cooking water and put in a separate pan. Add a ladle or two of the cooking water to the beans and the passata (the beans should be quite soupy). Warm through and season to taste. Keep warm.
13. Take the crust from the freezer, lift each piece with a fish slice and lay on top of each piece of pork. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Preheat the grill.
14. Meanwhile, put 3 tablespoons of the olive oil into a frying pan, add the chopped garlic and chilli and fry for a few minutes until the garlic starts to colour - don't let it burn or it will taste bitter. Add the broccoli and season. Toss around for a couple of minutes and turn the heat down.
15. Take the pork out of the oven and put under a preheated grill (if you have a combined oven/grill, turn on your grill to high and, as soon as it is hot, put the pork underneath). Grill until the crust becomes light golden, taking care not to let it burn.
16. Stir in the chopped parsley and spoon the beans onto warmed plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil and arrange the broccoli around the plate. Take the pork from under the grill, remove the strings and sit the meat on top of the beans.