Weekly menu 36

Hello, another week and another menu, this year seems to be racing by! If you’ve never tried paneer before then you should definitely give Tuesday’s stuffed peppers a go. This Indian cheese is really tasty and the spicy twist to normal stuffed peppers is very mooreish, I’ve served it alongside plain rice but you can do whatever you want to the rice, cooking it in stock or adding nuts and spices – entirely up to you. Also we have a cheeky 2 for 1 veggie lasagne, if you’ve got a big family then just do it in one big dish, but if you are only 2 (like my family) then you’ve got a tasty treat for the freezer to save you time on a night when you really don’t want to do anything other then stick something in the oven!

Finally, the spiced chutney which accompanies Friday’s gammon steaks is very easy to make and can be done at the weekend as it will keep happily in a jar in the fridge for quite some weeks, so you can make the most of it in sandwiches or with salads for lunches.

Enjoy! 🙂

Saturday: Butternut squash and turkey bake
Sunday: Roast leg of lamb stuffed w/ herbs, nuts and lemon
Monday: Quick Thai prawn noodle soup
Tuesday: Spicy paneer stuffed peppers
Wednesday: Meatballs in gravy w/ mash and peas
Thursday: Veggie lasagne w/ blue cheese and pine nuts
Friday: Gammon w/ spiced rhubarb chutney

Butternut squash and turkey bake

Medium-sized butternut squash
Olive oil
1 large onion
1 large clove of garlic
15 chestnut mushrooms
3 sprigs thyme
500g minced turkey
A little flour
400ml red wine
Worcestershire sauce
Knob of butter
Orange zest

Preheat the oven at 200C/gas 6. Peel, seed and roughly chop the butternut squash. Put the pieces of squash in a steamer basket and place over boiling water. Steam for 20-30 minutes until fully tender and soft enough to mash.

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Warm a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook until pale gold. Cut the mushrooms into thick slices or quarters and add to the pan with the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Fry until softened, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add a further tablespoon of oil to the pan, then, as soon as it starts to sizzle, add the minced turkey. Season generously with salt and pepper and then stir in a couple of heaped tablespoons of flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the red wine and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Simmer at a low temperature for 5 minutes then add the mushrooms and onions. Continue cooking for 5 minutes then tip into a baking dish.

Mash the cooked squash with a potato masher then stir in a generous knob of butter and the grated orange zest, to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Pile the mash on top of the turkey, dot with more of the butter, then bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the mash is lightly browned and slightly crisp on top.

Roast leg of lamb stuffed w/ herbs, nuts and lemon

2.5kg leg of lamb tunnel boned, at room temperature (butcher can do this or you can buy boned leg of lamb from supermarket)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
50g fresh flat leaf parsley
½ small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves picked
5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
5 pancetta slices, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets
40g macadamia nuts
50g sourdough bread, torn into pieces
40ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Squeeze of lemon juice
A few fresh rosemary sprigs
300ml dry white wine
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml fresh chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, whizz the garlic and herbs together, then add the pancetta, anchovies, nuts and bread. With the motor running, add the 40ml oil. If the mixture is too thick or dry, add a splash of just-boiled water. Season with the lemon juice and some salt and pepper.

Fill the cavity of the lamb with the stuffing, then tie up with string to hold it together. Put the lamb in a roasting tin, then tuck a few sprigs of rosemary under the string and drizzle with oil. Roast for 1½ hours, adding 150ml of the wine after 30 minutes and basting every so often. Transfer the lamb to a plate or lipped board, then cover with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a gravy. Strain the juices from the roasting tin into a pan, skimming off nearly all the fat, leave a little. Add the flour, then cook, stirring, over a low heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 150ml wine and bubble, then stir in the stock and any resting juices from the lamb. Strain, and transfer to a jug ready for serving.

Carve your lamb and serve alongside minted broadbeans and crushed herby panfried potatoes with lashing of your gravy.

Quick Thai Noodle Soup

1.5 inch knob fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 red chillies, seeds removed (optional), roughly chopped
1-2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 handful fresh coriander, a few sprigs reserved and chopped
Vegetable oil
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1-2 pinches ground turmeric
300ml vegetable stock
A couple of handfuls rice noodles
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
1 large handful raw, peeled tiger prawns
Thai fish sauce, to taste

Blend the ginger, chilli, lemongrass, garlic and coriander in a food processor until quite finely chopped, adding a little vegetable oil if the paste is too dry.

Add the paste to a large shallow pan and cook for a few minutes to release the aromas, stirring frequently. Roughly crush some coriander seeds with a pestle and mortar and add to the paste with a pinch or two of turmeric and the vegetable stock and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, pour some boiling water over the rice noodles in a bowl and let them sit until they have softened, about 4-5 minutes, then drain and set aside.

To soften the heat of the sauce, add the coconut milk to the pan and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes while you de-vein the prawns by cutting along the back of the prawn with a small sharp knife and removing the black ‘thread’ using the point of the knife. Add the prawns to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pink and tender, finishing off with splashes of Thai fish sauce, to taste, and more chopped fresh coriander, to your taste.

To serve, divide the drained noodles between two bowls and ladle over the aromatic soup with the prawns and serve straightaway. *Tip: Chicken, scallops or mushrooms can be used instead of the prawns.

Spicy paneer stuffed peppers
4 large red or green peppers, stalks removed, seeds scooped out
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 handfuls frozen peas
70g green beans, chopped
salt, to taste
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp garam masala
250g fresh paneer, crumbled
100ml water
5 tbsp double cream
Handful fresh chopped coriander
200g basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Place the peppers onto a baking tray, drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until softened. Once the peppers are cooked, remove them from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the tomatoes, ginger, peas, beans, salt and spices and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and reduced to a pulp.

Add the crumbled paneer and the water and stir until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next add the double cream, then taste and season well with freshly ground black pepper and salt as necessary. Simmer until heated through.

Add the chopped coriander and continue to simmer the mixture for 4-5 minutes, adding tablespoons of water as necessary to stop the sauce from drying out as the paneer absorbs the liquid.

Preheat the grill to its highest setting. While the grill is heating up, fill each of the baked peppers with the paneer mixture. When the grill is hot, grill the stuffed peppers until the paneer mixture is golden-brown.

To serve, place one stuffed pepper onto each serving plate. Spoon a portion of basmati rice alongside each and garnish with chopped coriander.

Meatballs in gravy w/ mash and peas

For the meatballs
250g lean beef mince
250g pork mince
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
25g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 tsp sunflower oil

For the gravy
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
150ml red wine
300ml beef stock made with 1 beef stockpot
1 tbsp tomato purée

Place the beef and pork mince in a large bowl and add the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and dried herbs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well with clean hands. Divide the mixture into 20 portions and roll into small, neat balls.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the meatballs for approx 8 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Roll the meatballs around in the pan as they brown to prevent them from becoming flattened on one side. (You may need to do this in batches.) Transfer the meatballs to a large lidded saucepan.

To make the gravy, heat the sunflower oil in the frying pan and gently fry the onion over a low heat for five minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir well. Slowly add the red wine, stock and tomato purée, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour the gravy over the meatballs and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid and leave to simmer gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and increase the heat. Boil the gravy for another 3–5 minutes or until thickened. Taste again and adjust seasoning. Serve with mash and peas.

Veggie lasagne w/ blue cheese and pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
500g courgettes (about 3-4), halved lengthways and cut into 1cm slices
1kg spinach, stalks picked
2 x 285g jars roasted peppers in oil, thickly sliced
100g pine nuts, toasted
Grated zest of 2 lemons
350g vegetarian blue cheese, crumbled
130g vegetarian Parmesan, finely grated
400g vegetarian ricotta
450g (about 18) fresh lasagne sheets

For the white sauce
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
100g plain flour
1.2 litres full-fat milk

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes to soften. Remove, add the remaining oil and fry the courgettes for 6 minutes until golden. Put the spinach into a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt, refresh under cold running water, squeeze dry and chop. Set aside.

Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, gradually pour in the milk, stirring continuously. Bring to the boil, simmer for 4 minutes to thicken, then take off the heat. Season.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Butter 1 large 4 ltr ovenproof dish or you can divide up this recipe and stash one on the in the freezer by buttering 2 x 2ltr dishes.

In a big bowl, mix the onions and courgettes, spinach, peppers, pine nuts, lemon zest, all three cheeses (reserving some blue cheese and Parmesan for the top), and season. Layer each dish first with pasta (cut the sheets to fit), then a layer of the white sauce, then a quarter of the vegetable and cheese mixture and continue layering in this way until all the veg mixture is used up. Finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and the rest of the white sauce, and scatter over the reserved cheeses.

Cook lasagne for 50-60 minutes until piping hot and golden and a little crunchy on top. If using 2 dishes wrap one lasagne in cling film and freeze for up to 3 months. Then you can cook from frozen at 180°C/gas 4 for 1½ hours until piping hot.

Gammon w/ spiced rhubarb chutney

500g rhubarb
200g soft brown sugar
3 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
100g tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
200ml red wine vinegar
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 clove
2 gammon steaks
1 tbsp olive oil

Place the rhubarb, sugar and a splash of water in a pan and cook on a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, thyme, vinegar, lemon juice and zest and the spices. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer for about two hours, stirring frequently, until the chutney is thick.

Cut through the fat on the gammon steaks in several places with a pair of scissors. Place the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and when the oil is hot, fry the gammon steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Place the gammon and some of the chutney onto plates and serve with cooked green cabbage or greens.

(Credits: Nigel Slater, Hairy Bikers, Anjum Anand, Gregg Wallace, Delicious magazine, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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