Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

Risotto rice gives this updated classic a deliciously creamy texture.

Serves : 4

Prep time : 15 mins
Cook time : 40 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) chicken breast
3oz (75g) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
6oz (175g) button mushrooms, quartered
11oz (300g) risotto rice
Salt and pepper
2 1/2pt (1.4 litre) hot chicken stock
2 tblsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley

Step One : Cut the chicken into dice sized chunks. Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes.

Step Two : Add the chunks of chicken and the quartered mushrooms and fry together for about 5 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the risotto rice and season well. Add 1/4pt (150ml) of the chicken stock and stir well. When the liquid has completely absorbed, add more stock, stirring continuously. Add all the stock in this way, letting it evaporate fully before adding more (after 20 minutes, the rice should be soft and swollen).

Step Four : Remove mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parsley. Season to taste and serve hot.

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Smoked Trout with Chicory, Apple and Almond Slaw

Flavours and textures that work together in the same way as Waldorf salad. Crunchy apple and leaves, toasted almonds and fresh dill, all delicious with the trout. If you want to make the slaw in advance, fold the sliced apple in some lemon juice before combining with the other ingredients to prevent browning, and reserve the toasted almonds until you are ready to serve.

Serves : 4

The Dressing Ingredients:
2 tblsp dill, roughly chopped
125ml (4 fl oz) soured cream or crème fraiche
A good squeeze of lemon juice
Seasoning, to taste

The Salad Ingredients:
200g (7oz) smoked trout fillet, torn into slivers
2 sweet apples, cored, halved and sliced into fine batons
2 medium heads of chicory, separated into leaves and finely sliced lengthways
2 heaped tblsp flaked almonds, lightly tasted in a hot, dry frying pan

Step One : Beat together the dressing ingredients and fold into the salad ingredients (reserve a few flaked almonds).

Step Two : Arrange a small pile of slaw on each plate, top with slivers of trout and dress with remaining almonds.

Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish will be popular even with non-vegetarians.

Serves : 4

Prep time : 30 mins
Cook time : 45 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) King Edward potatoes
12oz (350g) sweet potatoes
1 tblsp (15ml) milk
1oz (25g) butter
1 tblsp (15ml) oil
1 parsnip, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 leek, sliced
2 tsp (10ml) fresh thyme leaves
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh parsley
14oz (396g) can chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tblsp (15ml) split red lentils
7oz (200g) butter beans, drained

Step One : Peel the King Edward potatoes and the sweet potatoes, then cut them into chunks. Cook them together in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and mash them, then add the milk and the butter. Season well.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to Mark 4/350oF/180oC. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the parsnip, onion, carrots and leek, until soft. Stir in the herbs and the tomatoes and season to taste. Add the lentils, stir well, then bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the butter beans then turn the mixture into an ovenproof casserole dish. Arrange the mashed potato on the top, then bake in the oven for 14-20 minutes, until golden.

Pistachio, Orange and Cardamom Tart

Recipe taken from Psychologies Magazine (May 2019) and published in Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

Use super green Iranian Pistachios for this, not only for their colour but also for their sweet flavour. The cardamom works beautifully alongside the zesty orange. Gran Torres is a brandy liqueur from Spain, great for giving desserts a kick!

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Serves : 8-10

Ingredients :
220g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
A pinch of salt
10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground in a Pestle and Mortar
140g unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
Goat’s milk yogurt, to serve

For the filling:
280g green pistachios (ideally Iranian)
180g blanched almonds
240g caster sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds (from pod)
125ml fresh orange juice
5 egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 orange
20ml Gran Torres orange liqueur or Grand Marnier

Step One : First, make the pastry. Put the flour, salt and ground cardamom seeds in a food processor and blitz. With the machine running, gradually add the butter and pulse for a few minutes more, until reduced to tiny lumps. Mix in the egg yolk. Tip the mixture into a bowl and knead together to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour or so.

Step Two : Roll out the dough on a floured surface and use to line a 24cm round, loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the pastry with a fork before placing it in the freezer to chill for an hour or so.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 180oC / Gas Mark 4. Line the tart case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and has turned golden. Remove the paper and beans, then set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Step Four : For the filling, blitz the nuts, sugar and cardamom in a food processor until fine and smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the orange juice to form a paste. Add four of the egg yolks and the orange zest, and blitz again, then add the liqueur.

Step Five : Spread the filling in the tart case. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top has just set. Lightly beat the remaining egg yolk and brush over the surface. Bake for 10 minutes more or until glazed. Leave to cool for at least an hour before serving. Top each piece of tart with a dollop of creamy goat’s milk yogurt.

Patatas Bravas

Recipe from Psychologies Magazine and taken from Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

The Moorish connection here is the sauce. Originating in Madrid as a simple tomato sauce with lots of chilli flakes (bravas, roughly translated, means fierce), it then made its way around Spain’s regions and picked up its Moorish influence through Andalucia. It’s the ultimate version : spicy, smoky and sharpened with sherry vinegar.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients :
600g large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tblsp hot smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
250g very ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tblsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp freshly picked thyme leaves

Step One : Rinse the potatoes in cold water, then place them in a pan of salted water. Bring to a simmer and partly cook – they should still be a little firm in the centre. Drain and spread the potatoes on a try to cool for at least 1 hour.

Step Two : To make the sauce, heat a glug of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until the onion is very soft. Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, then the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour or so, until the sauce has reduced by half, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. Season well and stir in the thyme leaves, plus a splash of oil. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Tip the potatoes into a roasting tray. Liberally drizzle olive oil over them and toss to coat. Season well. Roast, shaking the tray occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the potatoes with sea salt and spoon the bravas sauce on top. Serve with homemade alioli on the side.

Tarongia (Sicilian Flatbread)

Taken from Psychologies Magazine (May 2019) and recipe published in Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

From the Aeolian Islands off the Sicilian coast, the dough for this bread is fried in olive oil for a few minutes before the toppings are added.

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Serves : 6

For the Dough :
240ml lukewarm water
50ml red wine
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tblsp runny honey
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast granules
425g strong white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1/2 tsp fine salt
Olive oil

For the Filling :
1 fennel bulb, cored and finely sliced
75g sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
18 salted anchovies
100g pecorino or caciocavallo cheese, grated
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves

Step One : First, make the bread dough. Put the water, wine, oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir. Leave to activate and become foamy. Now, add a third of the flour, the lemon zest and salt, then whisk to a smooth batter. Mix in the remaining flour to form a manageable dough.

Step Two : Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Shape into a ball, put in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Step Three : Cut the dough into six equal portions. Roll out each piece into a rough circle. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cooking.

Step Four : Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a deep pan – to 170oC. In batches, carefully lower the breads into the hot oil, using a metal spatula, and fry for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan, then drain on kitchen paper.

Step Five : To make the filling, heat a pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the fennel and season, then cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli and cook for a further 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Step Six : Preheat the grill. Divide the fennel and tomato mix among the flatbreads, spreading it over the top, followed by the anchovies and the cheese. Place under the grill and cook for3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Oven-baked Beans

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

This is a great meal to make when you’re short on time but need something robust to keep you going.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
8 cloves garlic, peeled
750g cherry tomatoes
100g flat pancetta, chopped
6 sprigs fresh oregano
2 x 400g tins butter beans or large lima beans, drained and rinsed
125ml vegetable or chicken stock
Grated parmesan and chargrilled sourdough bread, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF. Place the garlic cloves, tomatoes, pancetta and oregano in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Step Two : Add the beans and stock and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.

Step Three : Sprinkle the beans with parmesan and serve with the bread and some wilted baby spinach, if desired.

Beetroot Salad and Grilled Goat’s Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

For a nourishing lunch, this vibrant salad is full of energising ingredients to avoid an afternoon lull.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
4 large beetroots, peeled and trimmed
1 carrot, peeled and trimmed
100g baby or small beetroot leaves
300g firm goat’s cheese, cut into 8 rounds
Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the horseradish dressing:
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly grated horseradish
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Step One : To make the horseradish dressing, place the white wine vinegar, olive oil, horseradish, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Step Two : Thinly slice the beetroot and carrot, and place in a bowl with the beetroot leaves. Add the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad between serving plates.

Step Three : Brush the goat’s cheese with a little oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook under a preheated hot grill for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Serve the goat’s cheese with the salad.

Chocolate, Pistachio and Almond Biscotti

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2014) and taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay.

These cheerful biscotti make a deliciously light treat at the end of a meal. Traditionally taken with coffee, Donna Hay has the idea of serving them with gently steamed milk infused with mood-lifting spices like cinnamon and star anise.

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Makes : 50

Ingredients:
300g plain wholewheat flour, sifted
35g cocoa, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
175g brown sugar
80g blanched almonds
45g unsalted shelled pistachios
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml milk

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF. Place the wholewheat flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Add the brown sugar, blanched almonds and shelled pistachios and mix well. Add the eggs and milk then mix until a firm dough forms (this may take some time).

Step Two : Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide the mixture in half and shape into two logs. Place on two baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool.

Step Three : Reduce the oven to 140oC / 275oF. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into thin slices and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Tomato Focaccia

Recipe taken from Easy Living in July 2013.

Prep time : 10 mins plus rising time
Cook time : 25 mins

Makes : 1 loaf

Ingredients:
340g (11oz) strong white bread flour
1 x 7g (1/4 oz) sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
10 cherry tomatoes

Step One : Put all the ingredients except the tomatoes in an electric mixer with a dough hook and add 1 tsp salt and 200ml (7 fl oz) warm water. Mix on a medium speed until the dough forms a ball, adding more water if needed. Beat for 5 mins more, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.

Step Two : Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch the air from the dough, knead for 2 mins, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and shape into a 30cm x 18cm (12in x 7in) rectangle. Cover and leave for 40 mins.

Step Three : Heat the oven to 200oc (Gas Mark 7). Halve the tomatoes, Press dimples and tomato halves into the surface of the dough, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25 mins, or until crisp and golden.