San Marzano Orzo

Firstly, I just wanted to apologise to those who receive e-mail updates of my posts. This morning it certainly seemed like I was extra keen to post this recipe and share it with you all, unfortunately, there was a minor technical glitch and it was released a little earlier than expected.

This weeks recipe really showcases the beauty and importance of using good quality tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes come from the same family as the plum tomato, I find that these particular tomatoes are slightly sweeter and have a a thicker skin adding extra texture to this dish. Additionally, I have used chicken stock as I personally find that it makes the dish taste more rich and adds a little deepness. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan or just fancy a ‘non meat’ meal do switch it up for an alternative vegetable stock; it will be just as delicious.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 100g orzo
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 7-8 San Marzano tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the garlic in the oil for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add the tomatoes, fry for a couple of minutes, add the tomato puree and fry for a further minute; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Put in the the orzo and fry with the other ingredients for 50-60 seconds.
  4. Pour in the stock, mix again and bring to a gentle boil. Finally, drop the heat to medium- low and leave to simmer for 10-12 minutes, the liquid will have reduced and the orzo is al dente.

Can be served both hot and cold.

Enjoy ☺️

Chickpea, Tomato & Olive Stew

Stew is synonymous with rich and heavy dishes that keep you full when you’re in need of a bit of a “pick me up” but this dish completely breaks down that stereotype. Undeniably there is a background warmth to the dish with the smoked paprika but the star is the combination of tomato, basil and the olives. Adding the olives and the basil right at the end of the dish keep them fresh tasting and allows the flavour to come through as soon as it hits your tastebuds. The herby olive goodness will bring a big smile to your face (it certainly did for me!) and is a combination you don’t want to miss.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 17- 20 pitted green olives
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the chickpeas and garlic in the olive oil and cumin for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the remaining seasonings and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Add the basil and the olives and cook for 5 minutes and then serve.

Cucumber & Olive Salad

Nothing beats a simple salad, especially when the sun is shining and you have a chance to sit and savour a little bit of goodness. In my opinion the dressing is as important as the salad components – it brings the whole plate together and gives everything a satisfying lift. Here the saltiness of the olives paired with the lemon in the dressing keeps everything light and the crunch of the cucumber makes this a joy to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cucumber, cut into thin rounds
  • 10 pitted green olives, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 dsp lemon
  • A handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, oregano, lemon and season with the black pepper.
  2. Using the dish you’re serving your salad in, evenly distribute the cucumber, olives and parsley.
  3. Drizzle over the oil mixture and serve.

Enjoy 🙂

Basil Cannellini Dip

Let’s be honest, many of us have tins of beans in our cupboards at home but have little idea of what to do with them. Cannellini beans are full of fibre-y goodness and pack a punch of protein so this recipe is more than just good for your tastebuds. The fresh basil and background hint of lemon keeps the dish light and clean so is perfect for a picnic or a lunch in the sunshine.

Ingredients:

  • I can (400g) cannellini beans (half drained)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 9-10 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blitz until smooth.

Okra & Miso Soup

Okra, or bamia as it’s known in my family household, has been a staple in our cooking for as long as I can remember. Though the way that it is used in my mother’s cooking is different to this recipe, I wanted to mix it up and combine it with another delicious pantry staple: miso paste. Such a simple recipe and a great palate and body cleanser.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 40g okra, sliced
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, sliced into small batons
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh spinach

Method:

  1. Start by frying the garlic and ginger together for a couple minutes in the olive oil.
  2. Add the miso paste and cook for a minute, stir occasionally.
  3. Pour in the stock and leave for another minute.
  4. Finally, add the spinach and okra, mix, cover and leave for 4 minutes.

Best served hot.

Baked Chicken Legs with Apple & Cloves

This is one of those flavour combinations that is an absolute winner. The allspice and cloves give a deep, rich and almost smokey flavour; the sweet and sharp apple gives your tastebuds something to savour. The garlic in the gravy adds that little kick at the end of each mouthful and will leave people fighting over the dinner table for the last drop. Whether served with roast potatoes, a simple salad or even with some bread to mop up the juices, this simple dinner will remain a firm favourite.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and finely sliced
  • 2 small shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
  2. In a bowl, mix the allspice, golden syrup and the olive oil together. Add the chicken legs and coat the meat in the marinade; then leave to one side.
  3. In a baking tray, place on the stove and fry the garlic, shallot and cloves together until translucent.
  4. Evenly distribute the apple slices, making a bed at the bottom of the baking tray.
  5. Place the chicken on top of the apple and take any excess marinade from the bowl and spread over the meat.
  6. Pour in the stock around the meat and place the baking tray in the oven. Leave to bake for 40-45 minutes (basting the meat every 20 minutes) or until chicken runs clean and not pink.

Enjoy 🙂