Archive for October, 2011

Spicy Bean Hotpot (Weight Watchers)

October 24, 2011

Steak and Guinness Pie (Weight Watchers)

October 24, 2011

Steak And Mushroom Pies (Weight Watchers)

October 24, 2011

Sticky toffee Pudding (Weight Watchers)

October 24, 2011

Strawberry And Ricotta Cheesecake (Weight Watchers)

October 24, 2011

Courgette risotto (Angela Hartnett)

October 20, 2011

Georgio Locatelli once told me that the guys who make risotto in Italy could kill a man with their bare hands, so strong are they from the stirring. To make a good risotto, not only must you have gusto, but it also takes TLC, plus a good quantity of parmesan and butter.

Make sure the butter is ice-cold and diced into small pieces, and when you add the cheese and butter, make sure the pan is off the heat. In Italy they call this process mantecare, which roughly translates as “make creamy”. The butter and cheese emulsify with the risotto grains to give creamy, loose risotto. The most common risotto rice is Arborio, but there are many other varieties whose grains are slightly different, such as Vialone Nano or Carnaroli, so feel free to try other ones.

Serves 4 as a starter

1 clove garlic
1 banana shallot or 1 small onion chopped finely
350g risotto rice
200ml white wine
1 litre hot vegetable stock
2 courgettes, grated
150g cold diced butter
100g parmesan cheese
Handful chopped flatleaf parsley
Handful chopped mint
50g pancetta
1 tbsp pine nuts
Salt and pepper

Add a touch of olive oil to a pan, over a medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic without any colour. Then add the rice and a knob of butter and cook for a further four minutes to toast the rice. Season with freshly milled salt and pepper.

Deglaze with the white wine and then start to cook the risotto by gradually adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously. Continue to cook for 15 minutes. A risotto from start to finish should take 18-20 minutes.

About five minutes from the end, add the grated courgette and mix well. Cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat and beat the diced butter into the risotto rice. Finish with the parmesan and herbs.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté the pancetta for a few minutes, then add the pine nuts to toast them.

Pour the risotto rice into a bowl, spoon over the toasted pine nuts and pancetta and serve immediately.

Chorizo, Jersey new potato and red pepper salad (Angela Hartnett)

October 20, 2011

I came up with this dish by just using leftover items, on one of those days when you’re hungry, but cannot be bothered to go to the shops. We all find ingredients in the fridge that never got used, so why not experiment with them? It can give you some lovely results – and it reminds you nothing need go to waste.

Jersey Royals are in peak season for the next few months, but you can adapt this recipe and add fresh fennel instead of the potato, if you prefer. Just slice the fennel finely; the aniseed flavour really works with the fattiness of the chorizo.

Use the long, thin bell peppers if you can, rather than the large round ones, as they are sweeter and seem to cook down more easily. Pepperoni, as they are called in Italy, are coming into the height of their season now and will be around until September. This really is the only time you should eat peppers. Another flavour-enhancing tip is to add the odd anchovy, just tossed in at the end.

Serves four

500g Jersey Royals, washed with skin on
2 large red peppers
100ml olive oil
1 garlic glove, crushed
Pinch of chilli flakes
200g sliced chorizo
25ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Add the washed Jersey Royals to salted cold water and boil until just cooked – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the peppers; I find it easier to cut straight down the middle, remove and discard the seeds, and slice across into strips.

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan, add the peppers and garlic and sauté until soft – it should take around 15 minutes. Towards the end, add a pinch of chilli flakes and then, when ready, remove from the pan. Add the sliced chorizo to the same pan and sauté until warmed through.

Drain the boiled potatoes and mix with the peppers and chorizo – finish with the vinaigrette (made from the rest of the olive oil and the vinegar), and fresh herbs.

Crab linguine (Angela Hartnett)

October 20, 2011

I was recently on a BBC programme called Great British Food Revival, the aim of which was to encourage us all to eat more of our national produce, which has fallen out of favour. My chosen subject was crab and I was astonished how much we export: more than 95% of our crab haul goes to Europe. So, if we tuck into crab when on holiday in warmer climes, the chances are we are eating the Great British Crab.

It used to be easily a monthly occurrence, if not weekly, on most people’s dinner table, and was commonly sold on seafood stands on the street. But now it seems we only eat it in fancy restaurants or for special occasions – which is a great shame.

Now is the perfect season for eating crab, and I like to use the brown ones from the south coast of England. Today’s recipe calls for white meat, but both the brown and white meat are good in a salad. Ideally, you would buy a whole crab and cook it yourself but, failing that, supermarkets are starting to stock pasteurised crab. Either will do, although the fresh does taste better.

Crab linguine is the perfect starter, or a great summer lunch dish, and you can also add a touch of ginger to spice it up.

Serves four as a starter, or two as a large main

320g linguine
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli
300g picked fresh white crabmeat
50ml dry white wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the linguine for 9-11 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Fry lightly without colouring for one minute. Stir in the crabmeat and heat through for another minute.

Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble and reduce completely.

Drain the linguine and add to the crab mixture. Stir in the parsley and toss everything together to coat evenly.

Finish with the lemon juice and grated zest.

Season to taste and serve immediately.

Haddock and watercress fishcake (Angela Hartnett)

October 20, 2011

When we talk about comfort food, fishcakes are always mentioned. Tasty lumps of potato and fish, gently fried – what’s not to like? Salmon is the classic filling, but haddock works just as well. It has a juicy texture and the dense flakes don’t get too mushy when bound with other ingredients. Haddock comes into season at the beginning of May; if you can’t find it in your local fishmonger yet buy it frozen, or use hake instead.

I have also added in watercress, which is currently in peak season. It has a delicious, peppery bitterness, which contrasts well with the haddock, and is enhanced by the lemon rind, another ingredient I like to use in fish- cakes. Like most recipes, you can adapt this one by adding other fish and herbs depending on your preference.

These fishcakes can be frozen for up to three months, so if you have time make a big batch. They are really moist so you don’t need any sauce – just a squeeze of lemon, or a spoon of mayonnaise if you must. Serve with a watercress or tomato salad.

Serves 4

300ml of milk
A sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic
500g haddock fillet
300g floury potatoes eg Désirée, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
Lemon rind from half a lemon
1 large handful of watercress leaves, chopped. Extra for salad
3 tbsp plain flour for dusting
3 tbsp breadcrumbs for coating
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil

In a pan, add the milk, thyme and garlic and bring to the boil. Add the haddock. Lower the heat and simmer for three minutes, then leave to one side – the fish will continue to cook as it cools. Bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain well and mash lightly with a fork so the texture is still coarse. Discard the milk liquid and flake the haddock. Then add it to the crushed potatoes. Mix gently so you do not make everything mushy.

Add some seasoning, the lemon rind and chopped watercress, and mould into eight fishcakes. Allow to sit in the fridge for five minutes.

Place the flour, breadcrumbs and beaten egg mixture separately on three plates. Dip both sides of the fishcakes into the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the fishcakes in batches, turning every couple of minutes to evenly colour. They should take around five minutes. Check they are heated through by sticking a skewer into the middle and feeling on removal if it is hot. If necessary, flash through a hot oven for a couple of minutes.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Beetroot and sweet potato salad (Angela Hartnett)

October 20, 2011

Beetroot used to be thought of as the pickled stuff in jars that no one wanted to go near. However, as with many vegetables, it has had a renaissance. When it’s in season (from September to the end of March), you’ll find it featured on lots of menus, appearing in salads, puree, soup, even risotto.

If you’re including beetroot in a dish, you can cheat and buy the pre-cooked packets at your supermarket, but it’s better to cook it yourself, if you have time. Just place it in a large pan of water that has been seasoned with rock salt, bring to the boil and simmer until a knife can easily go through it – this can take up to an hour, depending on size.

Alternatively, loosely wrap the washed beetroot in foil – two or three heads per foil packet – season with red-wine vinegar (beetroot works well with acidity; capers are also a good companion), sugar (brown if you have it), salt, thyme and a bay leaf, place in an ovenproof dish and then add water so it steams. Cook for around half an hour. Whichever method you prefer, make sure you peel the skin while it’s still warm; and wear gloves, otherwise the pigment will stain your skin.


(Serves 4)

4 sweet potatoes, cut into 2in wedges

Sprig of thyme

Bay leaf

2 packets beetroot, pre-cooked; 4 whole beetroot, if you are using fresh

50ml olive oil

20ml red-wine vinegar

Coarse-grain mustard

1 tbps flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 handful of rocket salad

Rock salt

Black pepper

100g goat’s cheese, crumbled

50g pine nuts, roasted in a pan for 3 minutes – make sure you constantly shake the pan

Method Heat your oven to 200c (gas mark 6). Wash the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges. Place in an ovenproof dish and glaze with olive oil. Season, add a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf and place in the oven until soft, which should take around 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice the beetroot into a similar size, and once the sweet potato is ready, place both in a bowl (if you’re using fresh, follow cooking instructions in the introduction). Make the vinaigrette by mixing the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season and add the vinaigrette, parsley and rocket to the sweet potato and beetroot. Toss together and season with freshly milled salt and pepper.

Serve on plates with the crumbled goats cheese and pine nuts on top rather than mixed through – this way, the cheese stays nice and white.