Chicken Sausage with Peppers (4)

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Italian-Americans have a traditional dish made with Italian sausages and peppers. It is a hearty dish but it can be quite oily as the fat leaches out of the sausages. If you substitute chicken sausages and cook them on a rack above a roasting tin before adding them to the mixture of roasted red, orange and yellow peppers, onion and garlic you will have a much lighter but just as tasty a meal.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 pound of chicken sausages

1/2 a large onion – sliced and the slices separated into individual pieces of onion

6 garlic cloves – peeled and cut in half

3 peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange) – de-seeded and cut into slices

1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the sausages on a rack above a roasting tin.

Put the onion, garlic and peppers in a mixing bowl, pour over the oil, toss well and season with salt and pepper.

Tip mixture onto a roasting tray and cook both sausages and pepper mixture for 30 minutes.

Slice sausages and add to the peppers and onions and serve immediately.

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Chicken One-Pot with Mushrooms, Peas and Potatoes (4)

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As summer draws to a close I find the type of food I eats changes too – the same as pulling out of winter into Spring. This recipe is lighter and less intense than a stew but is equally as filling and using dark thigh meat gives it a good flavor.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely grated

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 oz. new potatoes – cut into small chunks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – chopped into small chunks, if necessary

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

8 oz. frozen peas

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion, turn heat down a bit and let soften and brown. Then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Remove from pan and place in an ovenproof dish.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and when sizzling add the chicken thighs and sear on all sides until browned. Remove from pan and place alongside the onion mixture.

Add the potatoes and mushrooms, pour over the broth and cook in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through.

Cook peas separately andn add to the dish at the last moment.

 

Black Beans and Quinoa (4)

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Just as I substitute rice noodles for pasta, I do the same thing with quinoa for rice. It is like a blank canvas and soaks up flavors whilst at the same time providing protein. Tomatoes, black beans, garlic and some spices (depending on how spicy you like your dishes you can use less than I do) round out this recipe.

2 cups of boiling water

1 cup quinoa

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

2 cups of canned chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste (or less)

1 tsp. cumin (or less)

1 x 15oz. can of black beans

1 1/2 cups chicken or veg. broth

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the quinoa, bring to a boil and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff through with a fork and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Place oil in a frying pan and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown slightly, then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, mix in the harissa paste and cumin , add the beans and broth and bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked quinoa and serve immediately

Mixed Fish Platter for Two (2)

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Charcuterie platter, cheese platter – make way for a fish platter. A great date night dish or for a special occasion or just because… Although everything is served cold it takes a little time prepare so I started in the morning. The platter consists of shrimp marinated in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cilantro, smoked mackerel with a beetroot horseradish sauce, salmon brushed with a dill dressing and, lastly, scallops topped with guacamole (I cheated and bought the guacamole). I went to the fish counter in my local supermarket so I was able to buy 8 prawns/shrimp, 6 scallops, and a piece of salmon. The smoked mackerel was in the chilled cabinet.

SHRIMP

8 shrimp/prawns – medium sized, raw and de-veined

Juice and pulp of 1 lime

1 large clove of garlic – finely grated

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

3 tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a plastic ziploc bag and gently massage. Place in fridge and leave for a couple of hours.

Cook in a frying pan for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, then let cool.

SMOKED MACKEREL

1 store bought smoked mackerel fillet – cut into four pieces

3 medium beetroot – roasted

1 tbsp. horseradish

Cook beetroot wrapped in foil for an hour at 350 degrees F. Let cool and process in food processor with the horseradish ( you will have some leftovers)

SALMON

1 piece of salmon (enough for 2 people to share)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place salmon on a piece of aluminum foil, pour over lemon juice and oil and season.

Make a parcel of the salmon and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. then let cool.

DILL SAUCE

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. dill finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid and shake until emulsified.

SCALLOPS

6 x large scallops

1 tbsp olive oil

Guacamole

Place oil in frying pan and when sizzling add scallops and brown on both sides. This takes between 10 and 15 minutes and you need to keep an eye on the scallops and turn frequently.

Place on a piece of paper towel and cover also to remove any grease.

TO ASSEMBLE

Shrimp can be placed on the platter as they are.

Smoked mackerel should be cut into 4 slices with a teaspoonful of beetroot horseradish on top.

Salmon should also be cut into four pieces and brushed with the dill dressing.

Scallops should be topped with a good teaspoonful of guacamole.

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary (4)

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I once stayed in a farmhouse in Italy and the garden was planted with huge borders of rosemary and each bedroom had, instead of a flower arrangement, a little bouquet of fresh herbs. It was quite charming and gave a great aroma to the room. Rosemary, along with sage was used frequently in their recipes and these little roasted new potatoes are just perfect with roast meats or grilled steaks and with many other things too – I can imagine them with eggs or a selection of roasted vegetables. Easy to make – really all you need is a good hot oven. I would only use fresh rosemary for this recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes – rinsed, skin left on, cut into quarters

2 tbsp. fresh rosemary – finely chopped

3tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss well together.

Transfer to a metal baking tray or dish and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, turning once or twice to make ensure they are evenly browned.

Serve potatoes straight away.

Chicken and Mushroom Skewers (4)

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Naturally it rained after I had prepared these and they were all prepped for the BBQ! On the other hand that is the good thing about them – they do quite as well in the oven. If you have wooden skewers they will need soaking 30 minutes ahead of time so they don’t burn. I clean my mushrooms in a pan of water with a tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar, then rinse them and wrap them in a dry T-towel. Then I wipe each one. If you leave the mushrooms soaking they will absorb the water/vinegar. The mushrooms and the chicken pieces are marinated separately in two different marinades for a couple of hours before threading on the skewer. The chicken pieces should be slightly less than bite size so that they and the mushrooms are both ready and juicy at the same time.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

FOR THE MUSHROOMS

8 oz button mushrooms – rinsed and dried – large ones can be halved

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

2 tbsp. fresh curly parsley – finely chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the mushrooms in a large zip loc plastic bag

Whisk together the rest of the ingredients then pour onto the mushrooms and massage the bag so that they are coated with the garlic parsley mix.

Let marinade in the fridge for a good hour

FOR THE CHICKEN

1 pound of chicken breasts – cut into small pieces about the size of a baby mushroom

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary – finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh thyme – finely chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the chicken pieces in a zip loc plastic bag

Whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the chicken.

Rub the contents of the bag so that the chicken is coated with the marinade, then place in the fridge for a good hour or so.

Thread a mushroom then a piece of chicken and continue doing so on a pre-soaked wooden skewer until you have 4 skewers.

Place on a metal baking tray with a rim and cook in oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

 

 

 

Egg and Potato Salad with Anchovies (4)

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Summer is all about grilling and being outside and food is simpler too – maybe freshly shucked corn and potato salad with sun-ripe fruit or ice cream for dessert. Egg and Potato salad is simple but different and combines two popular salads in one. The mayo dressing is diluted with apple cider vinegar which makes it lighter and the addition of store bought rolled anchovies with capers in the middle adds extra flavor.

8 oz. new potatoes – boiled and cut into small pieces (I use organic potatoes and leave the skin on)

3 eggs – hard-boiled and cut into small pieces

1 x can anchovies with capers – chop 4 finely and reserve 4 for decoration

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Boil the new potatoes and the eggs in a pan together for 10 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender. Drain pan then fill with cold water and add ice cubes.

When cool  cut potatoes into small pieces and place into a mixing bowl.

Peel eggs (easiest way I have found to do this is to crack egg on its bottom on a counter top – there is a little air pocket at the bottom of the egg – and it makes it easier to peel) then chop into little pieces and add to potatoes.

Add the finely chopped anchovies with capers and chop finely to the mix.

Whisk 1 tbsp. mayonnaise with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar and season with a little pepper (salt probably not needed because of the anchovies). Pour over salad and mix well together. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the remaining rolled anchovies.