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Archive for January, 2011

Jamie Oliver’s Chopped Green Salad

(Another Jamie recipe I know, but he is my favourite)

4 spring onions
1/2 cucumber
Handful of fresh basil leaves
2 small avocados , just ripe
1 head butter lettuce
Large handfuls sprouted cress or alfalfa
2 ounces Cheddar cheese  (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
English mustard

Trim and chop your spring onions and slice your cucumber. Slice your basil. Bring it all into the center of the board and continue chopping and mixing together. Halve your avocados around the big pit. Carefully remove the pit and peel the skin off. Add the avocado flesh, lettuce leaves and cress or alfalfa to the board. Crumble over the cheese, if using (I don’t), and continue chopping. When everything is well chopped, you’ll have a big mound of salad on the board. Make a well in the middle and drizzle in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add a teaspoon of English mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix up so everything gets well coated and serve on the board or in a bowl.

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For my 24th birthday I wanted to have a garden party and drew inspiration from these images for the invites and decorations…





For my 24th birthday I wanted to have a garden party but then remembered we don’t HAVE a garden (just a few measly pots of herbs, a fruitless potted lemon tree and a pot of jasmine which doesn’t bear a single flower). I also didn’t really want to be doing too much cooking on my birthday so place settings were out too. The above images put it all to shame but I was still quite happy (I even convinced the kittens to wear bows for me) with how it turned out. I even convinced the kittens to wear bows for me…

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A taste of Morocco…

I made this for dinner on Sunday night and, despite the heat (ended up being one of the most humid nights we’ve had all summer), it turned out absolutely delicious. This dish will be frequenting my dinner table in the coming winter months…

Jamie Oliver’s Beef Tagine

600g stewing beef
Olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
A small bunch of fresh coriander
1 x 400g can of chickpeas, drained
1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes
800ml vegetable stock
1 small pumpkin (approximately 800g), deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
100g prunes, stoned and roughly torn
2tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 level tbsp ras el hanout spice mix
1 level tbsp ground cumin
1 level tbsp ground cinnamon
1 level tbsp ground ginger
1 level tbsp sweet paprika

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole pan (I used my french oven) and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and coriander stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours. At this point add the pumpkin, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry. Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the coriander leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of couscous and dive in.

I couldn’t find the ras el hanout spice mix so instead cheated and made my own version by mixing 1/4 tspn each of ground cumin, ground ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, ground coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, allspice, ground nutmeg and ground cloves (the ration is probably terribly off but oh well, it still tasted amazing).

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A necessity…

We have survived almost a year without a chest of drawers and it is driving me crazy. Desperately need a set asap.
Here are a few I am coveting at the moment…





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Another Jamie Favourite…

Jamie Oliver’s Baked Salmon with Pesto

2 handfuls of green beans
2 lemons
2 x 200g chunky salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and bones removed
2 heaped tablespoons basil pesto (see below)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 200°C. Trim your beans, put into a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in half just under a metre of tin foil to give you two layers. Drain and put half of the green beans in the middle of the foil then lay a salmon fillet, skin-side down, across the beans and spoon over a good tablespoon of green pesto. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze over the juice from half of one of the lemons and season with salt and pepper. Pull the foil edges together and scrunch them up to seal the parcel. Repeat these steps to make your second salmon fillet parcel and place both foil parcels on a baking tray. Put the baking tray into your hot oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets. Either serve the foil parcels on plates as they are, or carefully unwrap them before serving each with half of the remaining lemon. Serve with new potatoes, rice or couscous. Enjoy x

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Presto Pesto

Basil Pesto
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups of basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup  toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra

Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until well combined and a smooth paste forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to an airtight container and pour over a little extra oil to cover the pesto surface (this will prevent the basil from oxidising and turning black). Use for dipping, as a pasta sauce, pizza sauce or mix with mayo and use as a dressing for sandwiches or salads. Try using different soft herbs and nuts for a twist on this classic pesto (coriander and cashew is good, as is parsley and almond).

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