Pancetta and chestnut soup

Pancetta soup in saucepanTHIS recipe for pancetta and chestnut soup was shared with me by a friend of Italian origin who swears by its restorative qualities.

It’ s certainly different to the soups we are used to in the United Kingdom but it achieves the same result as our beloved British bowls of meat-and-veg goodness – namely a full stomach and a cosy inner glow.

As soups go, it’s fairly straightforward to make but it’s sufficiently unusual to impress any guests you have for dinner. The amounts here will serve six people, with some left over for second helpings.

If you like pancetta (Italian cured pork belly bacon), you’ll love this dish.

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons of light olive oil
200g pancetta
350g dried chestnuts (soaked overnight)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary
A pint and a half of chicken stock
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling purposes

METHOD

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan (not a frying pan) and add the pancetta. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to crisp.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan, stirring frequently until softened and golden in colour.

Drain the chestnuts and add to the pan, along with the garlic and rosemary. Pour in the stock, bring up to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes – until the chestnuts being to soften.

Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with hunks of rustic bread.

Buon appetito!

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Vegetarian Tuscan bean stew

Tuscany, sunny, village scene, stone, buildings, ivy, summerVEGETARIAN recipes can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle for meat eaters – either cooking for themselves by way of a little change or for friends or family who is aren’t carnivores.

But this bean stew from the normally sunny and warm Tuscany region of Italy (pictured), will please the palate of all who dare try it.

Also, vegetarian Tuscan bean stew can be served as a dish on its own or as an accompaniment to roast chicken – in place of the traditional roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli – so it’s versatile as well as tasty.

Furthermore, it provides seven of your “five a day”, so you can’t say it’s not healthy! The following amounts will help you conjure up a meal that will feed four.

This recipe – as with all the others on the wordmediaco website – is one of many that feature as Dave & Phil’s Dish Of Food on the weekly Talk To Phil & Dave Show that is broadcast live on Pulse 98.4 radio every Tuesday between 2pm and 4pm. Make sure to tune in for more!

INGREDIENTS

2 large leeks, chopped into 1cm long chunks

6 stalks of celery, peeled with a potato peeler to remove the ridged skin

2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm long chunks

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 can (400g) of borlotti beans (drained)

1 can (400g) of cannellini beans (drained)

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

2 handfuls fo spinach

1 handful of curly kale, chopped into 1 cm strips

1 pint of vegetable stock (stock cube is fine)

1 handful of flat leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and tip in the leeks, carrots and celery.

Fry and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, before adding the vegetable stock. Place a lid or piece of tinfoil on the pan and allow the vegetables to simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the lid and add both lots of beans (drained) and the kale. Bring back to the boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes before pouring in the lemon juice.

Add salt and pepper to taste and finish with the parsley. Serve on its own with rustic Italian bread and/or rice – or as an accompaniment to roast chicken (see above).

Buon appetito, as they say in Italy!

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Warm carrot winter salad

tehran skyline at nightTHIS winter salad recipe is one of those meals whose origins is a bit of a mystery but, judging by the ingredients, I suspect its roots are in Iran (formerly Persia) or somewhere in the Middle East.

It’s a salad, yes, but unlike many salads, it’s not a dish that will have you shivering at the dinner table in winter, because it is a warm dish.

The spices contained in this vibrant vegetarian creation add some welcome extra heat.

INGREDIENTS

1 kilo carrots sliced diagonally into 2/3cm pieces

200g raisins

Zest of 1 lemon

2 handfuls of mint leaves, chopped

3 spring onions, finely sliced

2cm-long piece of root ginger, grated or finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely sliced

Half teaspoon of salt

Half teaspoon of black pepper

Half teaspoon paprika

Two tablespoons of olive oil

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Half teaspoon of cinnamon

Half teaspoon of cumin seeds

2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of pistachio nuts

3 gablespoons of sesame seeds

Tub of Greek yogurt

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 190C. Toast the sesame seeds and pistachios in a frying pan for about a minute.

Use a blender or mortar and pestle to make a paste out of the spices, chili, oil, salt and pepper. Place carrots on a baking tray and pour over the paste, making sure the carrots are well covered. Roast for 15-20 minute.

Remove the carrots from the oven and place in a large salad bowl. Stir in the mint leaves and lemon. Season to taste. Dress with the vinegar and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and pistachios, followed by the raisins.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. This dish can also be served with rice and/or bread.

As they say in Iran, befarma’id! بفرماييد

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Moules marinieres – French-style steamed mussels

mussels moules marineresTHIS is one for seafood lovers, not surprisingly, but this recipe for moules marinieres also contains a key ingredient that was revealed to me on one of many trips to Northern France, which is the spiritual home of this dish.

That ingredient is tarragon, and its gives the dish an earthy, almost sweet depth – but don’t overdo it because this herb is pretty pungent.

For all seafood aficionados, this is a must-have recipe. For those trying shellfish for the first time, recipes doesn’t get much easier than this – so dive in and enjoy!

This meal will feed four as a main course or up to eight people as a starter.

INGREDIENTS

2 kilos of fresh, uncooked, in-the-shell mussels

Tablespoon of fresh, unsalted butter

Tablespoon of olive oil

2 banana shallots

2 cloves of garlic

One glass of white wine

Half a teaspoon of dried taragon

Half a carrot – chopped into the tiniest cubes you can manage

One stalk of celery – peeled with a potato peeler to get rid of the ridgy skin and diced like the carrot (above)

Tablespoon of flat leaf or curly parsley

Black pepper

METHOD

Clean the mussels in cold water, removing beards, grit and any other foreign bodies!

Put a large, deep pot on the cooker over a medium heat and add the butter and oil

Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook for 3 or 4 minutes

Crush the garlic and add it to the pot

Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes

Add the tarragon, followed by the white wine

When the wine is boiling, throw in the mussels

Put the lid on the pot and allow to cook for 5 minutes maximum (until the shells are open). Do not be tempted to lift the lid too soon – or you’ll lose the valuable steam

Using a large, slotted spoon, divide the mussels among warmed plates, then pour equal amounts of the broth over the shellfish.

Top with black pepper and parsley.

Serve in the French style – with crusty bread and a glass of white wine. The French also love eating their moules marinieres with chips. It’s up to you.

Bon appétit!

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Sherry glazed salmon fillets

Glazed Salmon FilletsSOME recipes are so easy, it’s ridiculous – and this one will provide a tasty treat for up to six fish-loving hungry diners who like a plate of food with a tangy twist.

Sherry glazed salmon fillets can be made with salmon steaks if you prefer but fillets mean there are no pesky bones to contend with.

This meal has an oriental hint to it – you can use mirin (Japanese rice wine) instead of sherry if you feel financially flush or you happen to have some lying about the house, going unused.

INGREDIENTS

Six salmon fillets (or steaks)

Dry sherry (measured to the 100ml mark in a measuring jug)

Brown or muscovado sugar (measured to the 100ml mark in a measuring jug)

Light soy sauce (measured to the 100ml mark in a measuring jug)

Six spring onions (diagonally sliced into centimetre-long pieces)

200g green beans and/or thinly sliced courgettes.

METHOD

Place the sherry, sugar and soy sauce in a large bowl or dish (an oven-proof dish is the best idea) and drop in the salmon pieces. Allow to marinade for an hour or two.

Place a frying pan on the cooker and let it get very hot. Add a tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place in the pan.

Fry the fish for about four or five minutes and transfer to an oven set at 180C. After 10 minutes in the oven, the salmon will be thoroughly cooked.

Pour the leftover marinade into the pan and reduce it for 5-10 minutes, so it becomes thicker.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for three minutes and/or griddle the courgettes in a hot dry pan.

SERVE

Place the salmon on warmed plates and pour over a little of the heated marinade. Sprinkle the spring onions on top, with the green beans or courgettes on the side. Any leftover marinade can be put in a a jug and placed in the middle of the table, in case anyone would like more sauce (they usually do!). Serve with basmati rice and crusty bread.

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare), as they say in Japan!

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Lamb and lemon tagine

Lamb tagineMAKE your dinner table Moroccan roll with this lamb and lemon tagine recipe from North Africa!

This is probably not a dish to serve midweek, since it is a little bit on the expensive side, bearing in mind the amount of fresh lamb required, but it is perfect for a dinner party or a Saturday or Sunday family dinner.

The quantities here will give you a hearty meal full of earthy, tangy flavours that will delight four people.

And if you don’t have a tagine (a North African clay pot with conical lid, don’t worry. Just use a large frying or sauté pan with lid.

MARINADE INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

1kg (2.2lbs) diced lamb (shoulder of lamb, from your butcher)

300 mils chicken stock

1/2 cup of raisins (or dried apricots)

1/2 cup of chopped almonds

1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley (chopped finely)

Small tub of natural yogurt

Small jar of harissa

Packet of couscous

Place the sweet paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, chilli powder, cinnamon, white pepper, ground cardamom, allspice, salt, olive oil, rind and juice of the lemons in a deep bowl, together with the diced lamb.

Leave for four hours minimum in the fridge, covered.

TO COOK:

Fry one big onion until translucent in your tagine or pan

Add the lamb

Add 
1 to 2 cups of chicken stock

Cook for one hour in oven (160C)

Then add
 1/2 cup raisins or apricots and chopped almonds and return to oven for 30 minutes

Remove and serve with natural yoghurt and harissa and couscous or rice

As they say in Morocco, besseha! (Enjoy your meal).

 

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Chicken piri piri with salad

chickPORTUGAL is a country that hides its culinary delights – it doesn’t seem to shout about its cuisine in the same way as Spain, France or Italy.

But its signature dishes – piri piri and cataplana – are well worth tasting and trying to cook yourself by way of a little change.

This recipe for chicken piri piri with salad will give you all the flavours and colours of a Mediterranean meal (even although Portugal’s coastline is exclusively in the Atlantic).

This meal will serve four, and is more filling if served with plenty of fresh, chunky artesanal bread. To make it even more special, serve with a glass of Portugal’s very own vinho verde, which  is a lovely light, white wine of low alcohol content.

INGREDIENTS
Salad:

100 grams of black olives

150 grams of sun-dried tomatoes

150 grams of mozzarella (little pearls or larger balls, sliced)

2 cups of rocket leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

 

Marinade:

4 chicken breasts

6 red chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Juice and zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon of salt

METHOD

Prepare the salad in a large bowl by mixing together the dry ingredients, then adding the oil and lemon juice and mixing by hand to ensure every component is coated. Set aside in the fridge.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the chicken breasts and make sure each one is coated in the vibrant liquid.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for at least an hour at room temperature. You can also leave the chicken in its marinade overnight in the fridge if you wish. If you do, make sure not to prepare the salad until the next day. After you remove the chicken from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature before cooking.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C or Gas Mark 4. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray and cook for 25 minutes, or until the middle of the meat is fully cooked. To make sure, just slice into the chicken with a sharp knife to check it looks the way it should do – white, not pink.

When cooked, remove the tray from the oven. Lift out the chicken and allow it to sit on a chopping board for 5 minutes. Return the tray, which should contain some residual juices to the oven to keep warm.

While the chicken rests, divide the salad among four plates and then place the chicken on top. Pour the remaining warm juice in the baking tray over the chicken.

Desfrutar da sua refeição (enjoy your meal)!

 

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Pasta twists with chicken and broccoli

pasta twists (fusilli)HERE’S a pasta recipe that ticks a couple of important boxes for me – 1) it’s a hearty Italian meal that’s full of flavour and vibrant colours and 2) it’s a healthy, home-made plateful that will not load you with calories and fat.

I have suggested pasta twists (fusilli) for this recipe but, in all honesty, you can use any pasta you like. But pasta twists with chicken and broccoli gets the thumbs-up every time it is served in the Boyes household.

This recipe will comfortably serve four. If for two, just halve the quantities.

INGREDIENTS

3 large chicken breasts, sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3  garlic cloves crushed

8-12 florets of broccoli, stems removed (two or three for each diner)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped finely

About 200mls of chicken stock

6 fresh basil leaves

400grams pasta twists (fusilli)

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

METHOD

Put the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook according to instructions. It should take about 10 minutes. While it is bubbling away, you’ll have time to cook the other part of this meal (assuming you have prepared all the ingredients).

Add half the olive oil to a sauté or frying pan and fry the slices of chicken until thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, then remove.

Pour the remainder of the oil to the pan along with the pepper flakes and garlic. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes, then add the broccoli and cook for a further 3-4minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and chicken and cook for another 4 minutes or until broccoli is done to your preference. Add the basil leaves.

Now drain your pasta and return it to the pot. Pour the chicken and broccoli sauce over the pasta, mix together and top it all off with a sizeable grating of parmesan cheese. Serve sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper in pre-heated bowls or plates.

Buon appetito!

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Chicken fajitas

MexMEXICAN food is something, generally, that we eat in restaurants or maybe cook at home using expensive packets and jars of horrible, over-salted and artificial-tasting spices and marinades.

Follow this recipe for delicious, tangy chicken fajitas and you’ll never look another shop-shelf packet of gawdy, pre-prepared gloop or powder in the eye again!

This home-made fajitas feast is not only healthy but good value for money. Not only that, it looks fancy and feeds four. Double up the ingredients if you’re feeding eight.

INGREDIENTS

4 large chicken breasts

Juice of half a lime

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Half teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of dried cumin

3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)

1 or 2 teaspoons of hot red chilli powder (according to taste)

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 yellow pepper

2 red onions

6 to 8 soft tortillas

2 cups of basmati rice

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

Small carton of soured cream

METHOD

Marinade:

Slice the chicken into fine strips and add to a bowl containing the lime, oil, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, cumin and chilli powder. Stir to combine the ingredients and allow to marinade for an hour or two. You can even do this the day before you cook this dish.

Cook:

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.

Put half the oil in a very hot pan and fry the chicken strips for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking tray and keep warm in the oven.

Add the remaining oil and fry the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to the baking tray containing the chicken.

Place the tortillas on another baking tray (possibly two) and place in the oven to warm.

Serve:

Take the tortillas and the chicken mixture out of the oven and place on the dinner table. Serve everyone a portion of rice on a warmed plate. Diners just dive in by grabbing a tortilla, spreading the chicken the chicken and pepper mix on to it and adding grated cheddar cheese and soured cream.

Caramba!

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Linguini with mushrooms and mascarpone

linguiniTHIS linguini with mushrooms and mascarpone is one of those recipes that is ridiculously simple but yields a result that is sophisticated enough for a dinner party yet cheap enough for a midweek evening meal.

It oozes an almost beefy mushroom flavour (making it enjoyable for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike) that is beautifully offset by the parsley and the wine.

Needless to say, you can use any pasta you like but fatter pasta such as linguini or tagliatelle go best with this sauce.

This recipe serves four, so simply halve the measurements if you’re serving two or add 50 per cent if serving six. Tips: don’t stint on the parsley, make sure your serving bowls are warm and serve with crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

30 grams porcini dried mushrooms

120 mls of sweet white wine (marsala, tokay or even sherry)

120 mls water

250 g mascarpone

Nutmeg

Pepper

6 tablespoons of chopped parsley (curly or flat-leaf)

500 grams pasta

2 tablespoon of unsalted butter

2 cloves of garlic

6-8 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese (according to taste)

METHOD

Put the dried porcini in a small saucepan, pour in the wine and water and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat off and allow to cool a bit (about 10 minutes).

Put mascarpone into a bowl, top with black pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Then remove the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a chopping board. Pour the remaining mushroom liquid into the mascarpone bowl and mix well.

Place parsley on top of the mushrooms and chop both coarsely.

Melt butter in a large, hot frying pan, peel then crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for about 60 seconds, then add the mushrooms and parsley. Cook for three minutes before adding the mascarpone mixture. Turn the heat down to the gentlest of simmers.

Now cook the pasta according to its instructions. When ready, reserve a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in the frying pan containing the mushroom and mascarpone mixture. Add the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.

Finally, add the parmesan and mix through before serving in warmed bowls, adding extra parsley on top of each served portion.

Buon appetito!

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co