Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Friends for dinner

Starters -

Melba Toast

Feta cheese

A cost effective starter that tastes as delightful as it looks and takes minutes to prepare. You could also make this just by serving a whole block of feta, but cutting it into cubes makes it easier to serve and also you get a better feta/olive oil/herb ratio with every bite!
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 8oz/250g feta cheese, preferably Danish or another creamy type (see notes)
  • ½ cup extra virgin oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp herbs, finely chopped. (I used parsley and thyme leaves)
  • 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (or any fresh red chilli of choice)
  • 1//4 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
  • Black pepper
  1. Infuse olive oil with garlic (optional): use the side of your knife to smash the garlic cloves and combine with the olive oil. Cover, refrigerate and leave for as long as possible - a few hours or preferably overnight.
  2. If you do not have the time to do Step 1, just mince 1 garlic clove (small) and stir into the olive oil.
  3. Cut the feta into bite size cubes - about 1cm / ⅓ inch.
  4. Place feta into serving dish, scatter over herbs, chilli, lemon rind and a grind of black pepper.
  5. Pour over olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.

Mains -



    For the caponata

    • 100ml olive oil
    • 3 large aubergine , cut into 2cm cubes
    • 2 long shallot , chopped
    • 4 large plum tomato, chopped
    • 2 tsp caper , soaked if salted
    • 50g raisin
    • celery  sticks, sliced
    • 50ml red wine vinegar
    • handful toasted pine nuts and basil leaves

    For the bruscetta

    • 8 slices ciabatta
    • olive oil , for drizzling
    • 1 garlic clove


    1. Pour the olive oil into a large heavybased saucepan or casserole, place over a medium heat and add the aubergines. Cook for a good 15-20 mins until they are soft. Scoop the aubergines out of the pan – you should be left with some olive oil. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 mins until they are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook slowly, so they break down and turn to a soft mush, then add the aubergines back to the pan. Now put in the capers, raisins, celery and vinegar, season well and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for 40 mins, until all the vegetables are soft. Stir gently so it doesn’t break up too much; the stew should smell sweet and sour.
    2. When the caponata is cooked, leave to cool slightly while you make the bruschetta. Heat a griddle pan, drizzle the bread with olive oil and griddle until toasted and lightly charred on both sides, then rub with a garlic clove and season. Serve the warm caponata scattered with the basil leaves and pine nuts, with bruschetta on the side.

    Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives


    1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
    250ml/9fl oz chicken stock, warmed
    3 tbsp olive oil
    3 onions, chopped
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp ground cumin
    3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
    1 free-range chicken, jointed
    1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
    6 small preserved lemons, quartered, or 2 larger ones, chopped (these are available from many supermarkets or specialist delis)
    100g/3.5oz mixed olives (green is traditional)
    good handful coriander leaves, chopped
    good handful flatleaf parsley, chopped


    1. Add the saffron threads to the stock to infuse.
    2. Meanwhile, in a tagine or heavy-bottomed lidded casserole, heat the olive oil and fry the onions until soft. Add the ginger, cumin and garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
    3. Add the chicken and stir to coat with the onion and spices. Sprinkle in the crushed peppercorns and add the lemons and saffron-infused stock.
    4. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on a very gentle heat for about one hour, or until the chicken is falling apart.
    5. Add the olives and continue to simmer for another ten minutes. Add the chopped coriander and parsley just before serving.
    6. Serve with potatoes, crusty bread or rice and a green salad.


    This dish is so easy to prepare and yet has the most amazing flavours and textures. The spices are not overpowering thus allowing for the flavours of all the other ingredients to come through. The hint of preserved lemon gives this dish that finishing touch. This is one the family are going to request time and time again.


    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    1 medium onion, finely sliced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    Pinch sea salt

    1 medium tomato, finely chopped

    ½ teaspoon turmeric

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon cumin

    ½ teaspoon ground coriander

    ½ teaspoon ras el hanout (if you do have this, substitute for mixed spice)

    500ml vegetable stock

    4 medium mushrooms, chopped

    200g butternut squash

    1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

    1 small red bell pepper, chopped

    1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped

    400g tin chickpeas, drainded

    ½ teaspoon sea salt

    1 small preserved lemon, rinced and finely chopped. (if this is not available, then do not try to substitute with fresh lemon, just leave it out)

    1 Handful finely chopped parsley


    Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until the onions have started to soften. Add a pinch of salt and continue to cook on low heat until the onions have started to caramelise. This should take 8-10 minutes.

    Now add the tomato and spices and continue to cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

    Next add the stock, mushrooms, squash, carrot, red and yellow peppers and the chickpeas. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for another 5-6 minutes until the sauce is thickened.

    Now, just before serving add the lemon and parsley. Stir through and taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

    I like to serve this with Bulgar that has had some additional preserved lemon added and a handful of parsley.


    Moroccan Orange Cake



    1 1⁄2cups sugar
    1⁄2cup vegetable oil
    2cups flour
    4teaspoons baking powder
    1⁄2teaspoon salt
    1⁄2cup fresh orange juice
    2tablespoons orange zest, from 1- 2 oranges
    1teaspoon vanilla


    1. Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease and flour a tube pan. If using fresh oranges, zest and juice them.
    2. With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil.
    3. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the orange juice. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the zest and vanilla.
    4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done.
    5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.
    6. I drizzled over icing sugar with orange juice for extra taste.
    7. http://www.food.com/recipe/moroccan-orange-cake-424183



    To serve:
    a little whipped cream (optional)


    First of all place the broken-up chocolate and 4 fl oz (120 ml) warm water in a large heatproof bowl, which should be sitting over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
    Then, keeping the heat at its lowest, allow the chocolate to melt slowly – it should take about 6 minutes. Now remove it from the heat and give it a good stir until it's smooth and glossy, then let the chocolate cool for 2-3 minutes before stirring in the egg yolks. Then give it another good mix with a wooden spoon. Next, in a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage, then whisk in the sugar, about a third at a time, then whisk again until the whites are glossy.  You can watch how to whisk egg whites by clicking on the Cookery School Video on the right
    Now, using a metal spoon, fold a tablespoon of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest. You need to have patience here – it needs gentle folding and cutting movements so that you retain all the precious air, which makes the mousse light. Next divide the mousse between the ramekins or glasses and chill for at least 2 hours, covered with clingfilm. I think it's also good to serve the mousse with a blob of softly whipped cream on top.

    Cheese and Biscuits
    Chocolate truffles
    Poached Pears and mascapone cream.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment