Croque Monsieur Bake

This savory bake is perfect for brunch because everything is done the night before.

6 slices multi-grain brown bread
1/3 cup dijon mustard
4 oz. Gruyere cheese slices
3 slices ham (3 oz.)
6 eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt ot 1/2 tsp. table salt
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tbs. grated Gruyere cheese
good sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce

Spread the mustard on the bread slices and make sandwiches with the sliced cheese and ham. Cut each in half making two triangles. Squish the sandwiches into a baking dish approx. 10 x 8″.

Beat together the eggs, salt and milk, then pour over the sandwiches. Cover and chill overnight.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the sandwiches with the grated cheese and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese and Pecans

The taste of autumn in a lovely side dish.

4 1/2 lbs. butternut squash
3 tbs. olive oil
6 stalks fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 cup pecans
1 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese

Heat the oven to  425°F. Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds. Cut into roughly 1″ cubes. Transfer to a roasting tin and toss with the oil and a bit of seasoning. Strip 4 of the thyme leaves over (or sprinkle with all of the dried thyme). Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until tender.

Remove to a serving bowl and scatter over the pecans and cheese. Toss everything together and add the last 2 stalks of fresh thyme, torn into small sprigs, to decorate.

Serves 6-8

Pollo Alla Cacciatora

Usually Chicken Cacciatori is a lengthy affair to make. In this version, Nigella has simplified it without losing any of the slow-cooked, cozy, comfort-food qualities.

1 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta cubes
6 scallions, chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 pieces
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 x 14 oz. tin chopped tomatos
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 x 14 oz. tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Put the oil in a pan with the pancetta, scallions and rosemary. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken, stirring well, and the celery salt. Pour in the wine and let it come to a bubble before adding the tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Put the lid on and let the pan simmer for 20 minutes.

Uncover, and add the beans. Cook for a bit longer, then serve with the parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 4

Ham Steaks with Parsley

This lovely recipe is perfect for a busy day – it comes together in mere moments, but tastes very sophisticated.

2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
2 ham steaks
2 tbs. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley

Heat a largish and add the oil.  Cook the ham steaks for 3 minutes per side, then remove to two warmed dinner plates.

Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the vinegar, water, pepper, honey and most of the parsley. Swirl it around, scrape up any browned bits, then pour over the ham steaks. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

Serves 2

 

Red Pepper Hummus

Delightful and delicious with crisp strips of red pepper or any crudite.

1 14 oz. tin chickpeas
1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers
2 tbs. cream cheese
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. paprika
salt

Drain the chickpeas and red peppers and place them in a food processor. Add the cream cheese, olive oil, lime juice and paprika.

Whiz into a hummus-like puree, then add salt to taste and perhaps a bit more lime juice if needed.

Cocktail Sausages

These are not just any cocktail sausages. The sesame oil, honey and soy sauce give them a sweet-savory stickiness that is nearly impossible to resist.

2 1/4 lbs. cocktail sausages (apprize. 75)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. soy sauce

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Separate the links if they are joined and arrange in a shallow roasting tin. Whisk together the honey, sesame oil and soy sauce and pour over the sausages, mixing them about well.

Roast for 25-30 minutes, giving them a shuffle half way through.

Warm Potato Salad

What a wonderful divergence from cold potato salad tossed with mayonnaise!

4 1/2 lbs. baby potatoes
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
8 slices bacon, sliced
1-2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tbs. wholegrain mustard

Bring a pan of water to a boil and tip in the potatoes. Cook for 20 minute, or until tender. Drain and put into a large bowl with the scallions.

Heat the oil in the same pan and add the bacon, then cook until crispy. Remove from the pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vinegar and mustard. Tip into the bowl, toss everything together and scatter with the bacon.

Serves 10-12

Maple Chicken and Ribs

Give yourself enough time to marinate this the day before and you will be richly rewarded!

12 pork spareribs
12 chicken thighs, skin and bone still on
1 cup apple juice, as sharp as possible
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 unpeeled garlic cloves

Put the ribs and chicken in a large freezer bag or into a large dish. Add all the ingredients, squelching or tossing together very well. Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Pour the contents of the bag or dish into 1 or 2 large roasting tins with the chicken skin-side up. Roast for about 1 1/4 hours by which time everything should be sticky and a glossed chestnut brown color.

Serves 6-8

Chicken Schnitzel with Bacon and White Wine

This speedy supper will satisfy everyone!!
1 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil
4 strips bacon
4 x 4 oz. chicken escalopes or boned and skinner breast tenders or thighs
1/3 cup white wine

Put the oil in a skillet and add the bacon. Fry until the bacon is cooked and the pan is full of bacon juices. Remove the bacon to a piece of foil and wrap to keep warm. Fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness, or until cooked through. Make sure the pan is hot so that the chicken catches a little, turning is bronze.

Remove the chicken to a serving plate, then crumble in the bacon and pour in the wine. Bubble until slightly thickened, then pour over the chicken to serve.

Serves 4

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

The use of Cheddar cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard is inspired.

1 tbs. butter
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 baby leeks or 2 fat scallions, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 cups hot vegetable stock
1 cup chopped Cheddar cheese
2 tbs. snipped chives or parsley

Melt the butter and oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the leeks or shallots until softened.

Add the rice and stir for a minute or two, then add the wine and mustard, stirring until it is absorbed.

Start ladling in the stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir before adding another. Continue in this fashion until the rice is al dente, about 18-20 minutes. Stir in the cheese then transfer to warmed bowls and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter