This week has been relatively tomato heavy (here and here)! You can never have too much lycopene. We had a new friend for dinner the other night- Dalinda. Risotto is a great meal for guests, we can have a glass of wine while stirring constantly and keeping the conversation going.
For the roasted tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. For the roasted tomatoes, lightly oil a medium roasting dish. Halve the tomatoes or cut into quarters, and place in the dish. Scatter the garlic and lots of salt and pepper on top, then trickle over the olive oil and sprinkle on the sugar. Roast for about 30 minutes.
For the risotto, heat a dash of oil with the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute gently until soft. Put the stock and saffron in another saucepan and bring to a simmer, then keep warm over a low heat.
Add the rice to the onions and stir for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and cook until absorbed, then add the bay leaf and/or thyme. Now add the stock, a quarter at a time, keeping the rice at a low simmer, stirring often. Let each batch of stock be absorbed by the rice before you add the next. Continue until creamy, 20–25 minutes. Take off the heat, dot with butter, cover and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and/or thyme, fork through and season to taste. Spoon into warm bowls and top with the juicy roasted tomatoes.
We have been loving raw beets these days. They are tasty raw (try this recipe) and oven roasted. Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe is relatively quick, flavourful and lovely on the plate.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Peel the beetroot, cut into thick wedges and put into a roasting dish in which it fits snugly. Add the garlic cloves. Trickle over the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper, tuck in the thyme and bay, if using, and cover tightly with foil. Roast for about an hour until completely tender. Discard the garlic and herbs.
Transfer the wedges to a bowl. Drain off the roasting juices into a small pan; if very reduced, add a splash of water to the dish first and stir to deglaze. Add the vinegar to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced by about half. Pour this syrup back over the beetroot.
Leave the beetroot to macerate in the dressing and cool to room temperature, turning occasionally. Season to taste.
Arrange on serving plates. Tear the mozzarella into small chunks and add to the plates. Finish with a sprinkling of thyme leaves, if you have them, and trickle over the remaining syrup from the bowl.
‘I used to work in an Italian deli…’
Ben claims, I start about one-third of my sentences this way. It was a great learning experience, work ethic, climbing the mini-ranks and food education. I learned so much during my years with Wendy and the crew.
One of the my take-aways was the difference between prosciuttos- di Parma and Daniele. For this salad, we used di Parma- a much finer, less salty flavour. This was a tasty and light meal and the final spritz of lemon was a perfect finish.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Peel and deseed the squash, then cut into big chunks. Put into a roasting dish with the garlic and a few thyme sprigs, if using. Trickle over the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for 40–50 minutes, or until the squash is tender and starting to caramelise, giving it a stir halfway through cooking. Discard the garlic and thyme and leave to cool completely.
Put the roasted squash on individual plates or a large platter.
Dot the ricotta over the top. Tear the ham into shreds and scatter over the squash and ricotta. Tear the leaves from the rest of the thyme sprigs, if you have them, and scatter over the dish.
Season with pepper, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, then serve.
I have mixed emotions when it comes to smoked haddock. Most of the time, smoked fish is on my top foods-I-really-like-list, but growing-up- Gorrilla and eating my fair-share of Christmas Eve finnan haddie left me with an aversion to the fish especially when it is cooked in milk. I am sure my brother’s would agree.
(The finished product)
Mr. Fearnley-Whittstall’s recipe was just the thing for me to wade back into the smoked fish, cooked in milk realm. This was absent pimentos- the dreaded ingredient to Grandma Betty’s version.
For the tomatoes
At least 3 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 75–100C/gas low. Halve the tomatoes and lay, cut side up, in a roasting tin. Trickle with some oil and season. Bake for at least 3 hours until wrinkly, but juicy.
Put the potatoes into a pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender. Drain and leave to dry.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and sweat the garlic for a minute or two. Add the smoked fish, cutting it into pieces to fit in a single layer. Pour over the milk, partially cover and simmer very gently until the fish is cooked.
Drain the fish, reserving the liquid. Return this liquid to the pan and add the olive oil and some black pepper. Either push the cooked potatoes through a ricer into the hot liquid or just add to the pan and mash.
Discarding the skin and bones, break the fish into flakes and beat into the mash. Season.
Toast the bread. Rub with the garlic and trickle with olive oil. Pile the brandade and tomatoes on the toast and top with olive oil and black pepper.
(Ben made the bread- look at that crust)
I am oddly fascinated by English celebrity-chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It could just be his name, but more than this, he uses ingredients of the region, in simple, tasty dishes. I have seen his cooking shows several times and have been impressed with his use of the open fireplace to prepare his dishes.
Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall has anew cookbook, Hugh’s Three Good Things… on a plate. A small sampling-booklet of these recipes were included in last Sunday’s edition of The Guardian and this week, I am going to chronicle the recipes which tempted us on Turning Over a New Leith.
I will even provide the recipe so you can try some of these at home. Enjoy!
Barley, onions, tomatoes
For the roasted tomato puree
If making your own tomato puree, preheat the oven to 180°C. Lay the tomato halves, cut side up, in a single layer in a large, deep baking tray. Scatter garlic and thyme on top, tuck in the bay leaves, trickle over the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about one hour, until soft and pulpy and starting to caramelise on top. Remove and leave to cool for half an hour or so. Tip into a large sieve and run through with a wooden spoon. Discard the skin and pips. Your sauce is now ready to use. If you haven’t produced the 750 mL you need here, increase the quantity of stock to compensate.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft.
Stir in the pearl barley of spelt, then add the stock and 750ml tomato puree or passata. Bring to a simmer and cook very gently, uncovered. Barley should take 30-40 minutes; spelt will on need 20-25 minutes.
Season to taste, then ladle into bowls, trickle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Tomorrow: Barnade, tomatoes, toast