My current fascination seems to be with food from the Moorish influenced regions of Europe and the Mediterranean. This wonderful Spanish fish and rice stew (paella) recipe is taken from the menu at Sam & Sam Clark’s Moro, a southern Mediterranean restaurant based in London’s vibrant East End.
300g North Atlantic prawns preferably in their shells
1l fish stock (use a gluten free stock for a gluten free version of the recipe)
1 small pinch of saffron (about 20 threads)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ large spanish onions, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 dried ñoras peppers , seeds and stalks removed, broken into small pieces and covered with boiling water, or 1 tsp sweet paprika.
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
250g Calasparra rice. (If you can’t get Calasparra, then Bomba will do in it’s place, which Waitrose stock under their own brand which is also Gluten free)
75ml white wine
300g monkfish fillets, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 squid the size of your hand, cleaned and scored
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Serves 4 – 6 – Gluten Free*
Peel the prawns and put in the fridge.
Transfer the shells to a large saucepan over a high heat and add the fish stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes so that the flavour infuses the stock.
Remove from the heat, strain the stock and add the saffron. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-to-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the onion and both the green and ñoras peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often.
Now stir in the chopped garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the garlic and the onions have some colour and are sweet.
Add the rice to the pan and stir for 1 minute to coat with the oil. (Up to this point everything can be cooked in advance.
The next stage should be started about 20 minutes before you wish to eat.
When you are ready to cook the rice, bring the stock to the boil.
Remove and keep aside. Place the paella pan (or large heavy based pan) over a medium-high heat and add the wine, followed by the hot stock, and season.
Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking, then add the pieces of monkfish and squid and turn the heat down to medium- low.
Cook for 2 minutes, then add the prawns, turn off the heat and cover. Let the rice sit for 3-5 minutes, then check the seasoning. (The rice should be tender and surrounded by a soupy sauce.)
Serve with parsley sprinkled over and lemon wedges.
*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently.
Was looking through my old recipe scrap book and I found an old ‘easy one pot’ favourite. This is a recipe that last had back in 2006, before point that I used to have it regularly but must have just plain forgotten about it.
Now it’s been found, I must have it again. Served with a hunk of good bread it’s one of my comfort food fav’s
Roast beetroot makes a great addition to any traditional roast, the deep vibrant red contrasts with the green of Brussels Sprouts or Savoy cabbage.
This recipe works brilliantly with the tradition round red beet, but for surprising change you can mix with other varieties like the Golden or the ‘Barbabietola Di Chioggia’ with it’s distinctive white and red rings. All add a virant cahange of colour to any meal
Serves 6 – Gluten Free*
670g large uncooked beetroot
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (I have it on good advice that Balsamic vinegar is gluten free but you may want to verify this for yourself before using)
2 tbsp olive oil
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Peel and cut each beetroot into 4-6 wedges and arrange in a large roasting tin.
Mix the oil thyme and vinegar and pour over the beetroot.
Season well, and toss together so all the beetroot is thoroughly coated in the dressing.
Roast for 1 hour or until the beetroot is tender.
Serve and enjoy….
For a sweeter smokier taste glaze with 2 tbsp of clear honey or maple syrup half way through the roasting time.
*Gluten Free - Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently.
I first saw this recipe in a television advert for Sainsburys many years ago, it had a voice over by John Nettles back when he was in ‘Bergerac’. I suspect Jamie Oliver was still in school at the time!
Anyway, I’ve kept it as true to the original as possible, with only the addition of meatballs made from sausages. Leave them out for a vegetarian version and use Gluten Free Penne Pasta for a Gluten Free version (just cook the pasta fully before adding to the sauce and baking.
This is a classic Italian soup, full of many different textures and vegetables. But it’s also a little bit more than a soup – it’s almost a main course that you can eat with crusty bread for lunch. The idea behind most soups is to cook them as quickly as possible to keep all the freshness in. This dish is a prime example of needing to cook all the ingredients gently first in the oil and then adding the stock while it’s boiling. This way you’re not stewing it for hours and losing all the goodness out of the vegetables. The thickener of this soup, although it’s got tomato purée and all the vegetables in there, is the starch from the pasta, so don’t panic if the soup looks a bit thin at first.
Serves 4 and it’s Gluten Free too!
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
250g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 small swede, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
1 medium leek, trimmed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
100g spaghetti (use you favourite Gluten Free spaghetti, for a gluten free version of this recipe. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly dependant on the time your particular brand takes to cook)
½ a Savoy cabbage, shredded
400g Tin of White Beans in Water (ie Cannellinni or Flagolet)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and lightly sauté the onion, garlic and rosemary until softened.
Add the pancetta or bacon and cook without colouring for 3-4 minutes until the fat begins to come out.
Add the carrot, swede, celery and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften. Season the vegetables while they’re cooking in the pan.
Add the tomato purée, stir, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the hot stock. Turn down to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes.
Put the spaghetti into a clean tea-towel and roll it up so you’ve got a sausage shape. Hold both ends tightly, then tap it over the edge of a table or work top so the spaghetti breaks into small even pieces.
Add to the soup and simmer until the spaghetti is tender – it should take about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, Beans and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more.
Check the seasoning, then serve the soup in bowls and eat…
To get that authentic Italian feel, top with a teaspoonful of pesto. Eat with crusty bread (like my Cheese Soda Bread), it’s perfect comfort food for a blustery day.