Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Chilli Soup

  • 3 red peppers, halved and seeded
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, skinned and chopped
  • 1lb/450g vine tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 long, red chilli, finely chopped or 1 chilli flakes
  • 1 pint/500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt, pepper and 1/2tsp sugar

Method

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    Place red peppers, skin side up, on a lined baking tray, under a hot grill until the skin has black blisters 
  •  Put hot pepper halves into a polythene bag for 15mins. The skins should now peel easily. Cut peppers into chunks.
  •  Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté onions until soft and transparent.
  • Add tomatoes, peppers and chilli and cook for a further few minutes, then add stock.
  • Simmer, never boil, the soup gently for approx. 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly, liquidize, then sieve to remove any excess skin or pips.
  • Taste and season accordingly.

Serving suggestion

Reheat to serve. Then spoon a dollop of crème fraiche into each serving and scatter snipped chives on top.

 

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Homemade minestrone soup

Homemade minestrone soup

Serves 8

Method

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, bacon, celery, garlic and carrots for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
  • Stir in the potatoes and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and bring the mixture to the boil.
  • Stir in the tomato purée and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the haricot beans, herbs, chopped tomatoes and spaghetti and continue to cook until the pasta is tender.
  • Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • To serve sprinkle with chopped parsley and parmesan.
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Leek, brie and pinenut tart

Leek, brie and pinenut tart (Croustade)

Serves 8

  • 10oz/275g brown breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste, skinned and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
  • 1 large egg and 2 egg yolks
  • ½ pint single cream
  • 2 oz pine nuts, seasoning and nutmeg

http://www.phpaide.com Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Mix together base ingredients thoroughly, and then press firmly around the sides and base of a 9inch/23cm oven proof flan dish. Bake for 20mins, or until crust is slightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the filling. Heat the oil and sauté the sliced leeks until soft. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Spoon leeks over tart base, arrange Brie among them evenly.
  • In a bowl beat the eggs, cream and seasoning together, and pour over the leeks and Brie.
  • Scatter with the pine nuts, and then bake for approx. 25 mins, or until centre no longer wobbles.
  • Serve warm with lightly dressed watercress.
  • This tart may be reheated at a gentle temperature
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Chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and shallots

Chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and shallots

Serves 4

  • 1tbsp olive oil/2 shallots/8 small mushrooms finely chopped
  • 25g/1oz cream cheese
  • 6 thin slices of Streaky bacon
  • 2tbsp chopped parsley/1tbsp chopped basil
  • 125g/4oz soft butter/ squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, with skin
  • White wine for cooking

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Method

  • Gently fry shallots in the olive oil until softened, but not browned. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until reduced and softened.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool, adding cheese and half of parsley. Season and mix well.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Now make herb butter. Beat 2oz butter until soft, and then add remaining parsley, lemon juice, basil and season.
  • Transfer onto a sheet of greaseproof paper; shape into a cylinder in the paper. Chill until firm.
  • Carefully cut a pocket in the side of each chicken breast.
  • Spoon the chilled stuffing in the pocket. Secure the stuffing by wrapping a piece of streaky bacon tightly around each chicken breast.
  • Lay the chicken, in a roasting dish, pour a little white in the base of the dish.
  • Brush with remaining butter, cover with grease proof season and roast at 180C for 20-25 mins, until cooked right through.
  • Cut herb butter into thin slices and place on top of chicken breasts. Garnish with fresh parsley and basil. Delicious!

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Fresh in season for May

Rhubarb is in season now and is fantastic as a classic crumble or why not try poaching it and spreading inside a Victoria sponge with some delicious double cream!

Asparagus is only in season for a few weeks of the year so enjoy it while you can – try it with creme-fraiche, parmesan and garlic and pour over tagliatelle for a quick and tasty supper!

Enjoy!!!

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Asian-Style Tuna Steaks

Asian-style tuna steaks

Serves 8

  • 8 Tuna Steaks, about 1.5cm thick
  • 2x20g pack of fresh coriander, 2large chillies, deseeded
  • 4 shallots, finely sliced, 2tbsp olive oil
  • Grated zest of 3 limes, 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 6tbsp of lemon grass in sunflower oil
  • 4tbsp of Ketjap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)

Method

  • Roughly chop the coriander, reserving a little for garnishing. In a bowl mix the chopped coriander with the remaining marinade ingredients.
  • Rub this mixture over the tuna steaks, ( be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after, to avoid a chilli burn!).
  • Place steaks in a non-metallic shallow dish and allow to marinate for up to 30 mins.
  • Preheat the oil in a griddle or frying pan (delicious on the barbecue also).
  • Cook for 2-3 mins on either side. These steaks are delicious served pink on the inside. Garnish with coriander.


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Carrots, sugarsnaps and spinach with mint

Carrots, Sugarsnaps and Spinach with Mint

Serves 8

  • 1kg carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 25g butter and ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2x200g sugar snaps or mange tout
  • 2x225g bags prepared young leaf spinach

Method

  • Simmer the carrots and sugar with a pinch of salt until tender. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile cook the sugar snaps until just tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Next, pack the spinach into a pan, cover and wilt over a medium heat. Toss with the butter and season.
  • Mix all of the vegetables together with the fresh mint.

Serve and enjoy!

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Chicken Breast stuffed with parma ham and shallots

Chicken breast stuffed with parma ham and shallots

Serves 6

  • 2tbsp olive oil/2 shallots/8 small mushrooms finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz cream cheese
  • 9 thin slices of Parma ham, finely chopped
  • 3tbsp chopped parsley/2tbsp chopped basil
  • 125g/4oz soft butter/ squeeze of lemon juice
  • 6 chicken breast fillets, with skin
  • White wine for cooking

Method

  • Gently fry shallots in the olive oil until softened, but not browned. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until reduced and softened.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool, adding cheese, Parma ham, and half of parsley. Season and mix well.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Now make herb butter. Beat 3oz butter until soft, and then add remaining parsley, lemon juice, basil and season.
  • Transfer onto a sheet of greaseproof paper; shape into a cylinder in the paper. Chill until firm.
  • Carefully cut a pocket in the side of each chicken breast.
  • Spoon the chilled stuffing in the pocket. Secure the stuffing by wrapping a piece of Parma ham tightly around each chicken breast.
  • Lay the chicken, in a roasting dish, pour a little white in the base of the dish.
  • Brush with remaining butter, cover with grease proof season and roast at 180C for 20-25 mins, until cooked right through.
  • Cut herb butter into thin slices and place on top of chicken breasts. Garnish with fresh parsley and basil. Delicious!


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Italian Flat Bread

Italian flat bread

Serves 6

  • 1lb/450g strong white flour
  • 1oz/25g fresh yeast or 1 sachet easy-blend yeast
  • 4tbsp olive oil and 1tsp salt
  • About 8fl oz/225ml warm water
  • Olive oil/sea salt/fresh rosemary

Method

  • Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add dried yeast to the flour.
  • Stir in the olive oil and most of the water, adding more water if necessary to make a manageable dough.
  • Turn on to floured worktop and knead for about 5mins until smooth and pliable.
  • Return to mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel.
  • Stand in a warm area or on the top of an aga simmering plate lid. Allow to rise until doubled in size for approx.30 mins.
  • Knock back the dough, roll out to oblong and about 2cm thick and 12cmx30cm in size.
  • Place on a greased and floured baking tray. Make indentations all over with the handle of a wooden spoon. Drizzle with oil, and scatter with the salt and rosemary.
  • Bake for about 20-30mins at 180c or in the aga roasting oven on 3rd set of runners, until risen and golden. Serve.
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Pesto Pastry Canapes

Pesto Pastry Canapes

Makes approx 28

  • 1 pack ready to roll pastry (Saxby’s or Jus-Rol)
  • Tub of basil pesto (Tesco fresh pesto is good)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes – on the vine are great ones to use!
  • 14 asparagus tips, sliced in half lengthways

Method:

  • Heat oven to 200C. Flour the work surface and roll the pastry.
  • Cut the pastry into 2in squares or use a circular cutter, if you prefer.
  • Spread each piece with ½ teaspoon of pesto.
  • Top with half a cherry tomato, cut side up, then an asparagus tip.
  • Finish with another blob of pesto and a grind of pepper.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and is golden.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve, delicious!
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