Garlic and Parsley Flatbreads

These are something between garlic nan and herby focaccia: dimpled, doughy and headily pungent.

3 1/2 cups white bread flour
2 1/4 tsp. rapid-rise yeast
1 tbs. salt
1 1/3 – 1 2/3 cups warm water
5 tbs. olive oil, plus more for pouring over the garlic and drizzling
3 heads of garlic
bunch of flat-leaf parsley
sea salt, for sprinkling

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Pour in 1 1/3 cups warm water and the oil and mix to form a soft, but firm dough, adding more water if needed. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside, turning once. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double in size, about an hour.

While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 375°F. Cut off the tops of the garlic heads and place in a small, foil-lined baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season and pull up the foil to form a parcel. Roast until soft and golden, about 45 minutes. Unwrap the foil and leave to cool.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Divide in half and form each into a chunky oval. Place each on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Meanwhile, squeeze the garlic out of the bulbs into a small food processor. Add the parley leaves, then pour in enough olive oil to make a paste. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Poke your fingers all over the tops of the breads to dimple them, then spread the garlic paste over the tops.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the breads are golden and the garlic paste is a darker brown. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Slice and serve.

Chicken with Scallions, Chili and Yogurt

The sauce is similar to tzatziki and brightens the lemon-marinated chicken.

6 chicken cutlets
juice of 2 lemons
6 tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 green chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cucumber, cut into a small dice
3-4 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 3/4 cups plain yogurt

Marinate the chicken in the 3 tbs. of the oil, lemon juice and some seasoning for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by stirring together the scallions, chili, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, mint and yogurt. Season and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken for 5 minutes or so on each side. (You can also grill the chicken outside.) Arrange on a plate and serve with the sauce.

Serves

These wonderful chicken cutlets can be pan-fried or grilled, weather dependent!

6 chicken cutlets
juice of 2 lemons
6 tbs. olive oil
6 scallions
1 green chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cucumber, cut into small dice
3-4 tbs. chopped coriander
1-2 tbs. chopped mint
1 3/4 cup plain yogurt

Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice and 3 tbs. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the sauce, stir together the scallions, chili, garlic, cucumber, coriander, mint and yogurt. Check for seasonings.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and either heat the grill or heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Cook them quickly for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Add a bit more oil if needed to the skillet. Serve with the sauce.

 

Italian Breakfast Banana Bread

What makes this different from ordinary banana bread is the addition of instant espresso powder. The coffee does not overwhelm at all; it’s subtle bitterness, most elegantly, enhances the sweetness of the banana. The bread is best eaten the day after it is baked.

3 medium, very ripe bananas (1 1/3 cups)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs. plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. instant espresso powder

Heat the oven to 325°F and grease a standard loaf tin. Slip a baking sheet into the oven.

Mash the bananas with the vanilla and salt, then beat in the oil. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sugar. Mix the flour with the baking soda and the espresso powder, then beat into the banana mixture.

Pour into the tin, put it into the oven on the baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are slightly coming away and the bread has risen. A cake tester should come out clean. Leave to cool, then wrap is foil and wait for at least a half day before slicing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots

If you like a gooey chocolate chip cookies, then you will be ever so thankful for this recipe. Using ramekins gives just the right goo-to-crust ratio. Nigella recommends serving them with cream or creme fraîche.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 tbs. soft butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanila extract or paste
1 extra large egg
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter 6 x 3 1/2″ ramekins. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Using an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter with the sugar until you have a creamy mixture. Add the vanilla and egg, then fold in the flour mixture and the chocolate chips. Divide between the ramekins and smooth the tops using an off-set spatula.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes. They will be quite gooey inside and golden brown on the top and around the edges. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

The grated zest of an orange is what makes this marvelous chicken sing.

2 tbs. regular olive oil
12 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
1 3/4 lbs. chorizo sausage, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 1/4 lbs. baby white potatoes, halved
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
grated zest of 1 orange

Heat the oven to 425°F. Put the oil in a shallow roasting pan and add the chicken, turning to coat and ending up skin-side up. Season well. Nestle in the chorizo and the potatoes, then sprinkle over the onions, oregano and orange zest.

Cook for 1 hours, basting after 30 minutes with the pan juices. If there is not a lot of pan juice, tip in a bit of sherry to de-glaze the pan.

Serves 6

Sicilian Cauliflower Salad

The mixture of sweet, Marsala-soaked raisins, salty olives and a delicate saffron-scented dressing gives ordinary cauliflower the star treatment. This is a fabulous make-ahead salad.

1 head cauliflower
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
1/4 cup water from a recently boiled kettle
1/2 cup golden raisins
5 tbs. Marsala
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup oil-brined black olives
3 tbs. toasted pine nuts
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Break the cauliflower into florets and put these in a saucepan that has a lid. Cover with cold water, add the salt and bay leaves, put the lid on, set the pan on a high heat and bring to a boil. Drain immediately and run under cold water, then set aside.

Meanwhile, put the saffron threads in a small bowl and add the boiled water. Let steep.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the Marsala and bring to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat.

Add the shallots and lemon juice to the saffron water. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing.

Tip the still-warm cauliflower into a serving bowl and add the raisins and any Marsala, the dressing and the olives. Toss well and check the seasoning. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Toss in most of the pine nuts and parsley, then scatter the rest over the top and serve.

Serves 4-6

Coq Au Riesling

As with any stew, this will taste better if made the day before and reheated.

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 cup cubed bacon
1 leek, finely sliced
12 skinless chicken thighs
750ml Riesling wine
10 oz. oyster mushrooms, torn into steps (4 cups)
3 bay leaves
2-3 tbs. heavy cream
1-2 tbs. chopped fresh dill

Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or large, wide pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Add the leeks and soften for a few minutes. Tip in the chicken, wine, mushrooms and bay leaves. Season well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 35-40 minutes. Stir in the cream and sprinkle with the dill to serve.

Serves 6

Romansco with Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon and Pecorino

Not only is this delicious, it’s most compelling characteristic is that the romanesco look like baby fir trees.

1 head romanesco
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary needles
1 garlic clove
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2-3 tbs. grated Pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese

Fill a large pot with water and put on to boil. Remove the florets from the romanesco and sort by size. Once the water boils, salt it and add the large florets. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the medium sized florets and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the small florets and cook everything for 3-5 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain well and place in a serving boil.

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the rosemary and sizzle for a few minutes. Add the garlic and turn off the heat, Add the lemon zest and juice with salt to taste. Pour over the romanesco and top with the grated cheese. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Chicken and Cashew Nut Curry

This is a soft and mellow curry that has a gentle warmth rather than a fierce bite.

3 tbs. vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3/4″ piece fresh ginger, minced
1 fat garlic clove, minced
2 small green chilis, deseeded and chopped (or 1 small can)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
13 3/4 oz. tin unsweetened coconut milk
4 cardamom pods, bruised
2 lbs. boned, skinned chicken, cut into pieces
7 oz. green beans or asparagus, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cashew nuts
small bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a wok or a wide saucepan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or so, then stir in the coconut milk, chicken and cardamom pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans or asparagus and cook a further 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry skillet until just golden. To serve, spoon the curry into bowl and top with the cashews and cilantro.

Serves 6

Festive Fusilli

This unfussy supper comes together in a jot. The recipe calls for “sun blush” tomatoes, which are half way between fresh and dried and come packed in seasoned oil. However, fresh tomatoes can be used as well, if they are nearer to hand.

2 cups sun blush tomatoes
3 tbs. vodka
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. fusilli or other short pasta
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
chopped fresh parsley
flaked Parmesan cheese, to serve

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl and toss with the vodka, salt and sugar. Leave this to steep while you cook the fusilli.

Salt the pasta water and cook the fusilli according the the package directions. Drain and put it back into the pot with the mascarpone, the tomato mixture and half of the chopped parsley. Mix together well. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the Parmesan cheese.

Serves 5-6