I did the thing I normally do when I go to a farmer’s market. I bought way too much random stuff because I thought it looked good. I got it home and then had to think what I was going to do with it.
This is a scrummy mix of colours and textures. Delicious Autumn vegetables in a creamy sauce, with a little bit of heat from smoked paprika, topped with crunchy, cheesy garlic bread.
Who doesn’t like garlic bread (weirdos, that’s who). You can use any combination of vegetables you like, pumpkin, butternut squash, or green beans also work well.
I tried this recipe on one of my oldest friends. I was nervous because she owns a steak restaurant and is a confirmed carnivore and got two enthusiastic thumbs up (still sorry I forgot to send you home with a doggy bag Mags, but here is the recipe as promised). Go get your comfort food on.
1 Tbsp Olive oil
250 Grams Brussels sprouts
150 Grams Cavelo Nero (or Kale)
175 Grams Mushrooms
400 Grams Cream cheese
250ml Vegetable stock
1/2 Tsp Smoked paprika
Handful of parsley
25 Grams Butter
2 Cloves of garlic
50 Grams Cheddar Cheese
Cut the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts and halve. Remove the stalks from the cavelo nero and slice. Cook the sprouts and cavelo nero in the vegetable stock for 5 minutes, until just tender
Slice the courgettes, onions, mushrooms and pepper, and fry in the olive oil in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes until soft
Add the sprouts, cavelo nero and vegetable stock to the frying pan. Sprinkle the smoked paprika over the vegetables, and add finely chopped parsley and cream cheese
Mix until thoroughly combined
Crush or mince the garlic and combine with butter
Slice the baguette into 2cm slices, and spread with the garlic butter
Put the vegetable mix into an oven proof dish and top with the slices of buttered baguette
Top with grated cheese and bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees, for 30 minutes until golden brown
A friend recently suggested that I start a supper club in Belfast.
I’ve been to a couple over the years and honestly a great time at each. It was cheaper than eating in a restaurant. I met really interesting people from different walks of life and got to eat some great food.
Let me know if you think it’s a good idea. Have you been to other supper clubs, and what you thought of them. What worked, what didn’t? What you liked and what I should avoid. Maybe you run your own supper club, and if so I’d welcome any insights you might have.
I’m hoping you’ll be my focus group. So let me know what you think, and what you might like to see if I take the plunge.
I know what you’re thinking, big woo chicken pie, but trust me this is delicious. Yes, there is a lot of wine and cream, but it also has a lot of vegetables (in my mind that sort of balances it out).
This is a pie to make when you have plenty of people to feed, and it is really satisfying. Serve it with salad in the Summer, or if you’re making it in colder weather it’s fantastic with buttery mashed potatoes and greens. I used shop bought pastry (there I’ve said it, and I’m not even sorry, sometimes life is just too short)
1 Sheet ready made short crust pastry (you can also use puff pastry if you prefer_
500 Grams Butternut squash
2 Tbsps Vegetable oil
500 Grams Chicken thighs (bones and skins removed)
2 Red peppers
1 Green pepper
2 Sticks of celery
150 Grams Green beans
150 Grams Sweet Corn
Half bottle of white wine ( this was the amount of wine I had hanging around the kitchen, you can reduce this, or remove it and add 250 ml of chicken stock if you would rather not use wine)
2 Tsps Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Chop the butternut squash into 3-4cm chunks add to a baking tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil before baking for 20 mins in an oven preheated to 200 degree
While the butternut squash is roasting, chop your chicken, peppers, celery, and onion into 3-4 cm pieces (I like the filing fairly chunky)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, and on a high heat cook your chicken until its sealed. Remove the chicken from the pan, reduce the heat and add the onions, peppers and celery and cook for 5 minutes
Add the green beans, corn, butternut squash and chicken to the pan and add the white wine
Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the alcohol has burned of the wine (you can tell this by having a could sniff of the pan, and if it doesn’t make your nose tingle the alcohol has burned off)
Now add the cream and mustard and stir well, it will seem like there is a lot of liquid, but trust me if you continue to cook over a medium heat for another 15 minutes it will thicken into a really delicious sauce
Once the sauce has thickened check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large baking dish, and allow to cool
When the pie filling is cool, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and drape your sheet of pastry over the filling. Brush with a beaten egg to get a nice glaze. I also sprinkled mine with sesame seeds because I love them, but don’t stress if you don’t have them, the pie will still be delicious. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden brown
A bit more “rustic” than I planned, but I put it down to me trying to make pastry with nuts in it. Save yourself the time and energy and use shop bought short crust pastry. It’s what I plan to do next time. This recipe might be best saved for the weekend, as it’s a bit more labour intensive, but it’s well worth the trouble, (I had to stop myself eating half of it).
If you’re a vegetarian cooking for meat eaters, they’ll love this. The rich and unctuous filling feels really meaty, and unlike a lot of tarts isn’t too eggy. This is delicious hot or cold.
1 Sheet of ready made short crust pastry
2 Onions (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp Chopped rosemary
3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
25 Grams Dried porcini mushrooms, (soaked in 50 ml of hot water)
200 Grams Button mushrooms (sliced)
50 Grams Gorgonzola (sliced)
50 Grams Hazelnuts (chopped)
150 Ml Double Cream
Salt and pepper
Grease a 23 cm loose based flan tin, roll you pastry until thin and line the tin, (chill in the fridge for 30 minutes)
Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl with 50ml of warm water and allow to soak
Take your flan tin out of the fridge and over the base with grease proof paper and add baking beans on top, (I use old lentils that had been hanging about). Bake blind in an oven heated to 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the grease proof paper and baking beans, and bake for a further 5 minutes, before removing from the oven
While the pastry is baking add the olive oil and onions to a large heated frying pan. Turn down the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes
Add the button mushrooms, garlic and rosemary to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the porcini mushrooms and the water they were soaking in to the pan. Cook over a medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated, and leave to cool
Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat (the temperature should be 180 degrees again)
When the mushroom mix is completely cool, spread it evenly across the pastry base
Distribute the gorgonzola on top of the mushroom mix
Beat 2 Eggs, and add to the cream, season with salt and pepper, pour into the tart case and sprinkle chopped hazelnuts across the top
Put the filled tart tin on to the heated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the centre is set
Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before cutting
These beautiful speckled little eggs may sound posh, but they can be bought pretty cheaply (I get mine from an Asian supermarket).
This is a really simple canapé if you want to impress dinner guests, or go down pretty well with a few cold beers. They can also be made well in advance so that you’re not running around like a crazy person. (Just remember to leave an extra dish out for your guests to throw their discarded egg shells in).
Put a medium sized pan of water on to boil
Put a small frying pan on to heat
When the water is boiling, add the quail’s eggs and boil for 4 minutes.
After the 4 minutes, take the eggs out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking
In the frying pan add the cumin seeds and toast until you can smell the cumin, remove from the heat and mix with the salt
Serve with eggs in a dish, with the cumin and salt alongside to dip the eggs in
I had these for the first time in New York, with a cocktail in an air conditioned bar which felt like I’d arrived in heaven after pounding the streets on a hellishly warm day.
These make a great
little starter, or are divine with a glass of wine or a cold beer.
If you are
organised enough to have made the mushroom risotto a day or two before then
these are pretty quick and easy. Some
people like these with a marinara sauce, but I think these are delicious enough
on their own.
500 grams Mushroom risotto
100 grams Mozzarella
(dolcelatte also works really well)
2 Tbsp. Plain
*100 grams White
breadcrumbs (See food hack)
Olive oil for deep
Salt and pepper
the mozzarella into 1.5 cm cubes, or you can use the little mozzarella “pearls”
you can buy in some super markets
a tablespoon of the cold risotto mixture in your hand and flatten it. Add a small piece of cheese and form the
risotto around it to make a ball. Do
this until you have used up all the risotto (it’s useful to have a bowl of
water handy to wet your hands and stop the risotto sticking.
and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat
the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper, which the eggs in a
separate bowl, and add the breadcrumbs to another dish
Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat
Role the risotto balls in flour, then beaten
egg, and finally the breadcrumbs
Add the breaded risotto balls to oil and fry
until golden brown, remember to drain any excess oil on kitchen paper and
season with salt and pepper.
* Food Hack – When you’re shopping pick up bead that has been reduced because it’s going stale. When you get home, take 5 minutes and whizz the bread up in a food processor until it’s crumbs. Put these breadcrumbs into a large freezer bag and keep in your freezer. Bread crumbs are an amazingly versatile ingredient, that you can use in everything from gratins, deep fried crusts, stuffing or even thickening sauces.