Archive | December, 2012

Ollie’s smoked salmon scrambled eggs

18 Dec
copyright OllieN2012
Oh the grief I would get I tried to pass this off as my own! Ollie’s specialty is his smoked salmon scrambled eggs. And yes, they are worth being proud of. After 19 years of serious aversion too eggs that were ‘too eggy’ (only a few egg-converts out there will know what I mean – I used to stare at scrambled eggs in horror as if they were yellow brains on a plate) I finally came round to them after Ollie made me this dish for a hungover brunch last year. They are great, packed full of protein and a good way to use up any eggs that are near their sell-by-date – you’ll need quite a few (eggs always seem to shrink to minuscule portions when being scrambled – the only downside!)
Yesterday, we had a big Christmas dinner with 6 of our friends. Our feast included smoked salmon blinis, Yorkshire puddings and mince pies and creme fraiche. This left us with spare eggs, chives, smoked salmon and creme fraiche. Conveniently exactly what is needed!
Serves 2smoked salmon eggs
Ingredients:
100g Smoked salmon, cut into small strips
Half a fresh baguette
6 Eggs
Large knob of butter
Heaped tablespoon creme fraiche
Small bunch chives, chopped
Salt and pepper
Sliced tomato, rocket and avocado
Method:
1. Before scrambling your eggs, get everything sliced so you don’t have to prepare your salad/salmon/chives/baguette in a rush due to not wanting your eggs to go cold (chopped fingers are not a good or practical look!)
2. On a high heat, add the butter and crack your eggs into the saucepan. With a spatula, immediately starting working the eggs (you will get a good arm workout from this!) Work them for 30 seconds on the heat, 30 seconds off the heat, until they are nicely scrambled. You will find that your eggs will scramble all of a sudden, so keep mixing!)
3. Add the dollop of creme fraiche as soon as the eggs are done to cool them down and stop them from overcooking. Then, add the strips of smoked salmon and chives, mix and season well.
4. Serve your eggs on lightly toasted baguette, with a side salad and eat up.
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Oliviera, Nice

17 Dec

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Ollie and I had been planning to go for a meal here for months, as a constant contender in Trip Advisors top 10 restaurants in Nice, it was about time we paid it a visit. Situated in the old town, the restaurant-cum-olive oil shop is typical, cosy Vieux Nice building, with characterful uneven tiles, huge olive oil decanters and an open kitchen. It’s not the cheapest – between 10-16euros for an entree and 14-18euros for a main. However, good service, extremely passionate owners and excellent home cooking with a seasonal menu makes it worthwhile.

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Its focus on olive oil is unique – each dish comes with a different olive oil, especially designed to suit the dish. The owner, Nadim Beyrouti, passionately explained how he chose each oil to go with each dish! It’s also provided for dipping fresh baguette into, which was a bonus considering how hungry I was this morning (waking up nearer to lunchtime is always a dilemma… is it breakfast or lunch time?!)

To start we had ‘Aubergine Oliviera’,(recipe: http://oliviera.com/recipe/aubergine-oliviera-2/ )and fresh guacamole with a salad. Aubergines and avocados rate in my selection for my desert island foods, so I was very happy! To follow, I had wintery butternut squash, spinach and ricotta lasagne and Ollie had a lentil and sausage dish. Both hearty, warming platefuls of homely cooking. We left satisfied, only to have to go Christmas food shopping with a couple of friends! Is there anything as too much food!?

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Tomato, spinach and mascarpone gnocchi

12 Dec

gnocchiThis is a simple yet delicious gnocchi dish nearly (Carrefour gnocchi does the job!) made from scratch that is on the table within half an hour! It is also easy on the pocket – a tasty tomato sauce can be made with a tin of 40cent chopped tomatoes. I make my own pasta sauces and this uses my basic tomato sauce recipe. I also slightly fried the gnocchi to give it a little bite – a continuation of my love for fried pasta! You can also substitute the mascarpone for mozzarella or ricotta. Serve with a handful of rocket for some freshness!

Serves 2
Ingredients:
400g packet of gnocchi
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
60g  fresh spinach, washed
125g mascarpone
As much parmesan as you like
Salt & pepper
A few handfuls of rocket

Method:
1. First make your tomato sauce. On a medium heat, warm up the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and fry until light brown. Take off the heat and add the tin of tomatoes – careful, the oil may spit! Add the sugar and season to taste. The sugar is what turns a tin of tomatoes into a rich pasta sauce – an essential ingredient in my opinion! Leave to reduce for 20minutes, adding the spinach after 15minutes.
2. Whilst your sauce is reducing. Cook and drain your gnocchi. When your sauce is well reduced, (the spinach will give off a lot of water so remember not to add it at last minute!) add the gnocchi to the pan. Well coat it in the sauce and leave to fry lightly for a few minutes whilst you heat up your grill to the highest setting.
3. Making sure your gnocchi is evenly spread across the pan, blob the mascarpone over and shave over as much parmesan as you desire. Put the frying pan under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling and is a light brown colour.

Enjoy with a fresh rocket salad!

Boozy banoffee loaf

12 Dec

I never know if to refer to any baked good that uses bananas as a

Imagebase as a bread or a cake (maybe more of a cake due to no yeast?!) anyway, ‘loaf’ seems neutral, unbiased to all cake/breads out there! My recipe calls for a good glug of rum to give a Caribbean warmth. I also added some chopped fudge pieces to give a lovely caramel-y flavour. A few walnuts into the batter add texture and compliment the banana flavour well, although pecans would make an equally tasty addition. Eaten with a slather of butter (making it more a bread?!) make it a delicious accompaniment to a warming mug of spiced hot chocolate or even a cheeky glass of mulled wine. Perfect eaten in bed, watching a good film. Although, try not to eat it all at once, the smell that comes from the oven is delicious! Consequently, the downside of this recipe is that you have to endure the smell for an hour or so due to the cooking time.

Incredibly simple method and is a good way to use up those bananas that are going a bit brown in the fruit bowl. In fact the riper, the better! It also stays fresh for a week.

Ingredients:
80g Butter, softened
100g Caster sugar
270g Plain flour (you can use 50/50 wholemeal/plain to make it even healthier!)
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 Eggs
4 Ripe, medium-sized bananas, mashed
35g Chopped fudge pieces
35g Walnut pieces
1.5tbsp Rum

Method:1. Heat your oven to 160C (fan.) Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and mashed bananas until you have a well-combined batter. Fold in the walnuts and fudge pieces, along with the rum. Spoon into a 450g lined and greased loaf tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Mediterranean roasted veg, avocado, coriander, feta and lemon wrap

3 Dec

My favourite wrap ever. We usually always roast a big batch of garlicky aubergines, peppers, courgettes and shallots most weeks to use in wraps, sandwiches, pasta salads and so on to take to work with us. Roasted veg is in my opinion the tastiest way to cook them. Slow roasting really brings out the flavour. I went to Nice’s market on the weekend and picked up some bargain veg, perfect for roasting!  This is a quick lunchtime bite or snack. Can be eaten hot or cold and you do not need all the ingredients for it to be super tasty!

Serves 1:
Ingredients:wrap
1 tortilla wrap
2 tablespoons or so roasted veg
A couple of black olives, chopped
As much feta cheese as you desire, cubed
Squeeze of lemon
Handful of fresh coriander
Handful of rocket
Half an avocado, sliced
Good quality olive oil

Method:
1. Assemble your wrap – place the veg, olives, cheese, avocado, coriander and rocket onto the middle of your wrap. Season, squeeze over your lemon and drizzle over your olive oil. Wrap up and place in the oven for a few minutes to warm up if desired.

Salmon ‘Wellington’ with honey-roasted carrots and lemony fennel

3 Dec

salmon wellingtonThis is a dish that I believe is a typical wintry, wholesome meal you should have on a Sunday when you have come back from a brisk stroll along the beach. Idealistic, me? To be honest, the wellington would make a lovely summer meal, paired with a selection of different salads, or maybe some griddled courgettes.

It is an impressive-looking dish that only takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Ready-made puff pastry is one of the few that you cannot really easily make at home. As a result – ready-made pastry that doesn’t come with the guilty feeling of not having made the effort to make it yourself.
Unfortunately, the light was pretty bad in the apartment last night therefore pictures are not the best. Super tasty meal that can be accompanied with pretty much any vegetables that you have hanging around. Try to have a look out for reduced salmon in the supermarket or at the fishmongers for a cheap meal, I used good quality salmon that I had picked up reduced in the supermarket then frozen. I also use frozen spinach instead of fresh when cooking, much cheaper and perfectly adequate for cooking with!
Unfortunately the photos do not do it much justice – I do apologise!

Serves 2 –
Ingredients:
35g Spinach, defrosted is from frozen
45g Cream cheese
½ Lemon, zested
300g Salmon – I used two small fillets, skinned and pin boned
250g puff pastry

1 medium egg, beaten
For the carrots:
3 Medium carrots, cut lengthways
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 ½ tbsp honey
For the fennel:
½ Fennel bulb, sliced
Squeeze of lemon
Salt & pepper
Splash of olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan). Mix the spinach, cream cheese, lemon zest together and season. If you are using fresh spinach, whizz in a food processor until shredded.
2. Pat the salmon dry and season. Divide your pastry into two rectangles; one should be slightly larger (around 1 extra inch border). Place on sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Lay your salmon on the smaller rectangle. Equally spread your spinach mixture on top of the salmon. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry on top of the salmon, ensuring there is no air gap. Press the sheets together and seal using a fork. Brush with the remaining egg. Place in the fridge for 20minutes to set together.
3. Meanwhile, wash and slice your carrots. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil and the honey. Season. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven.
4. Place a frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat. Wash and slice your fennel and add it to the pan. Season and

IMAG0885-1cook until soft. Add a splash of lemon juice just before it is fully cooked.

5. Bake your salmon for 30minutes. When cooked, take it out of the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving with the vegetables.
Enjoy!