Weekly menu 38

Definitely getting more autumnal now and this weeks menu reflects it with warming soups, stir frys and comforting pasta. Monday’s roasted carrot soup with the addition of blood orange might sound like it’s going to be really sweet but trust me it’s delicious and well worth a try. I actually really love autumn and winter for food, all those lovely hearty meals, stomping around in warm clothes, open fires…. mmmmmm my favourite time of year!

Enjoy! 🙂

Saturday: One pot mussel soup w/ rice
Sunday: Tapenade lamb w/ butterbean mash
Monday: Roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup
Tuesday: Baked gnocchi w/ cheese, ham and sage
Wednesday: Panfried sea bass w/ harissa and rose
Thursday: Chicken and veg stir fry noodles
Friday: Cheesy seafood gratin

One pot mussel soup w/ rice
1 kg mussels, washed, scrubbed and ready for cooking – remember to discard any which don’t close
40g butter plus a splash of olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
15-20 curry leaves
2 onions finely chopped
3 bay leaves
6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste
200g brown basmati rice
300ml dry cider
400ml coconut milk
200ml vegetable stock
150g frozen peas
fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve

Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the olive oil to prevent burning. Once it’s hot add the curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds and allow to spit and crackle. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, salt and dried chillies and reduce to a very low heat. Allow to slowly brown and caramelise for a good half an hour or so. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Pour in the cider and tamarind paste and turn the heat up to reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the coconut milk, stock and sugar. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through (about 25 minutes, but it depends on your rice).

Remove the lid and add the peas and mussels. Turn the heat up fairly high and put the lid on. After about 10 minutes they should all have opened (discard any that haven’t).

Spoon the rice into warm soup bowls, pile the mussels on top, squeeze with plenty of lime juice and strew with the coriander.

Tapenade lamb w/ butterbean mash
2 tsp tapenade
1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shoulder chops
3 x 410g cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
600ml vegetable stock, hot
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Mixed peppercorns, crushed, for serving

Mix the tapenade, capers and olive oil together in a small bowl. Brush the marinade over the lamb chops and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour

Put the butter beans, stock and garlic into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Whizz using a hand blender or mash really well, until smooth. Season to taste and keep warm.

Heat a griddle pan until hot. Add the chops and cook for 5-8 minutes, turning, until cooked to your liking. Spoon the butter bean mash on 4 plates, season with crushed mixed peppercorns, and place a lamb chop on top. Serve with steamed green beans on the side.

Roasted carrot, red lentil and blood orange soup
750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2tbsp olive oil
2tsp cumin seeds
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g red lentils
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
Juice and zest of 3 blood oranges,
Big handful of chopped parsley

In a roasting dish, toss the carrots in half the shallots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes at 160C/gas 3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once they release their fragrance add the second shallot, garlic and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Tip in the red lentils and stir well for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and simmer.

After about 30 minutes or when the lentils are tender add the roasted carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the blood orange zest and juice and more salt if necessary. Blend until smooth and stir in the parsley. Serve with fresh bread.

Baked gnocchi w/ cheese, ham and sage
For the white sauce :
50g butter
50g plain flour
500ml hot milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g fontina cheese, roughly chopped
200g good quality ham, roughly chopped
30g butter, plus extra for greasing
6 sage leaves
600g ready-made potato gnocchi
100g parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, add the flour, mixing well to form a roux, stirring all the time. To avoid lumps, use a small hand whisk. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. After about 10 minutes, when the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and stir in the fontina cheese and ham. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Heat the butter in a small pan, add the sage leaves and saute for a minute.

Bring a large saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and when they float to the surface, take them out with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan of butter and sage, stirring well.

Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with some butter. Spread a little of the cheese and ham sauce on the base of the dish and add the rest to the cooked gnocchi, mixing well. Pour half of the gnocchi into the dish, sprinkle with some parmesan, then pour in the remaining gnocchi and top with the remaining parmesan.

Cover with a sheet of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, leave to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Panfried sea bass w/ harissa and rose
3 tbsp harissa paste
1 tsp ground cumin
4 sea bass fillets, about 450 g in total, skinned and with pin bones removed
Plain flour, for dusting
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
100 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200 ml water
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rose water
60 g currants
2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander
2 tsp small dried edible rose petals
salt and freshly ground black pepper

First marinate the fish. Mix together the harissa paste, the ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over the fish fillets and leave them to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.

Dust the fillets with a little flour and shake off the excess. Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium-high-heat and fry the fillets for 2 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in two batches. Set the fish aside, leave the oil in the pan, and add the onions. Stir as you cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are golden.

Add the remaining harissa, the vinegar, the cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and plenty of black pepper. Pour in the water, lower the heat, and let the sauce simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until quite thick.

Add the honey and rose water to the pan along with the currants, and simmer gently for a couple more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and then return the fish fillets to the pan; you can slightly overlap them if they don’t quite fit. Spoon the sauce over the fish and leave them to warm up in the simmering sauce for 3 minutes; you may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the sauce is very thick. Serve warm for at room temperature, sprinkled with the coriander, and the rose petals.

Chicken and veg stir fry noodles
250g dried medium egg noodles
1 tbsp groundnut oil
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
Small knob fresh ginger, finely chopped
200g beansprouts
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
125g baby sweetcorn, halved lengthways
150g mangetout, finely sliced lengthways

For the sauce
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
2-3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Mix the sauces together and set aside, I have given 2-3 tbsp as depending on your taste you might want less soy taste and more sweet chilli, it’s up to you! Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, drain and set aside for steam to come off.

Put a large wok or frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the oil and chicken and stir-fry for 8 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Add the spring onions, ginger, beansprouts, carrot, baby corn and mangetout. Stir-fry for a further 1 minute.

Finally add the noodles and sauce to the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot drizzled with a tiny bit of sesame oil if you have it.

Cheesy seafood gratin

2 tsp olive oil
3 leeks, halved and thinly sliced
small handful parsley, finely chopped
250g fish pie mix (haddock, salmon, prawns or any mix of fish/shellfish you like)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
350ml cheese sauce (white sauce with cheddar added to it)
Panko crumbs (can use normal breadcrumbs if you can’t get panko ones)
Fresh crusty bread to serve

Heat oven to 200C/gas 6 and heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the leeks, knob of butter and seasoning, cook for 10 mins or until really soft. Stir in half the parsley and the seafood and spoon into a medium gratin dish.

Mix the mustard into the cheese sauce and pour over the top of the fish. Grate a little more cheddar or cheddar/parmesan mix over the top and scatter lightly with panko crumbs. Place on a baking tray and cook for 15 mins. Finally turn the grill on to high to brown the top of the gratin for 2 mins, then remove from the oven. Scatter the gratin with the remaining parsley and serve with crusty bread.

(Credits: Gastrogeek blog,Yotam Ottoloenghi and Sami Tamimi, Gennaro Contaldo, Angela Boggiano, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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