Balsamic roasted carrots with carrot top gremolata

This is a very simple side dish for today’s recipe, but isn’t it pretty? And it tastes pretty great, which always helps, I guess! I’m always trying to think of new ways to make vegetables more exciting (aren’t we all?), particularly since in our family, I try to downplay any meat quantities on our plates (fish, on the other hand, is allowed to be let loose in any shape or size). Therefore, I usually attempt to make two side dishes alongside to not only make us less aware of the lessened meat quantity, but to make things a more rounded out meal all the same.

Oh, and unless it’s sweet potatoes, potato-y things like mash do not count. Particularly not with the way we make mash — just because you could make something like mash a lot healthier, doesn’t mean you always would 😛

But in all seriousness, it’s pretty simple. Balsamic and roast veg pretty much always guarantee great things. Add a garlicky gremolata, and we’re just adding a bit more greatness. Who doesn’t want that? Not to mention, we’re being all eco-friendly and all what with using the carrot tops for our gremolata, therefore cutting down on waste. Basically…just give this recipe a gold star already.

You’ll probably get a lot more gremolata than you need/want for your carrots, but treat it a little like pesto and slather it on chicken, toasted bread, fried eggs, and the whole excess gremolata thing isn’t precisely a problem…

Serves 4 as a side.  Read More

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Parmesan & garlic stuffed swordfish rolls

I have never been all that crazy about pasta. Sorry, but it’s probably just not gonna happen. It hasn’t happened yet for twenty years, and I’m still not nuts about it. Like it’s good, but I will probably pass on it if I have the chance. Sometimes, this means people stare at me like I’m from outer space and ask “so that means you don’t like Italian food, then?”, which is totally false. But I guess for some people, Italian food begins and ends with pasta and pizza (which is probably why I have so many friends who have been rather whiney about the food when they’ve returned from a holiday in Italy).

And that just shouldn’t be the case. Yes, the Italians win at pizza and pasta (sorry Chicago, but your deep-dish style is just too much bread for my liking, and I love bread), but their cuisine goes beyond that. Which is why, we come to this recipe. I find it just as comforting and slightly-naughty like a bowl of pasta, but betterYeah, sorry, I went there. It’s the perfect way to keep the meatiness of swordfish still succulent, but keeping all the great flavours from the slightly burnt, crusty bits that sear on the pan, and when those crispy bits get soaked up by the white wine sauce? Oh, man. This one’s a goody. I hope you love it just as much as my family do, because it’s become a real favourite treat when set on the dinner table at our house.

Serves 4 with sides.  Read More

Soy & ginger chicken wings with pickled radishes

They’re certainly messy, but I do like making (and eating) chicken wings. They feel a bit like bar food, but you can pick up a pack of like 20 of them for almost nothing here in England, and they make a great family lunch for all of us, and all things considered, don’t take all that long. I think they’re more popular over in the States, but the UK is slowly catching on in my opinion, since the town close to us has chicken wings popping up on menus all over the place these days.

(One thing that does confuse me though, is that I’ve seen the phrase “boneless chicken wings” (mainly on America-centric websites) and surely then it just becomes a chicken nugget?? It’s just one of those weird little things that niggle me ever since I’ve seen it)

These are just marinated and grilled in a simple soy, ginger, garlic and honey mixture, which is slightly salty and sweet, and served with a quick home-made radish pickle that pickles as you cook the chicken. Obviously, you’ll get the best results if you marinate the chicken wings overnight, but don’t sweat it if you find you’re starting barely an hour before you want to eat. Just make sure  to glaze the chicken wings constantly as you BBQ them (which I recommend over the oven, because that BBQ flavour is something you can’t cheat at).

Serves 2-3 as a light lunch. Read More

Garlicky roasted hasselback potatoes with rosemary

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Hasselbackar are a familiar sight in lieu of the humble roasted potato at Swedish dinner tables. The potatoes are sliced nearly to the bottom throughout, so you get individual crisp slices of potato after cooking, and are often sprinkled with some cheese just before the end to add a little something more. This time, I’ve kept things a little cleaner, with the classical combo of garlic and rosemary.

The smell of garlic coming from the oven when these were in there was heavenly — if you’re a one clove kind of person, this is probably not the recipe for you 😛

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It’s not a difficult concept, it’s just a little fiddly. The results are definitely worth it though.

It’s best to choose a waxy potato, like russets for this recipe. The recipe itself is simple;

Slice the potatoes very thinly (as thinly as you can), without reaching the bottom. If you manage to do so and cut it completely off, not to worry, just assemble them as close as you can together in the greased dish you’re baking them in.

Slice a few cloves of garlic (I basically did nearly one full clove for each potato, but it depends on how large your potatoes are) very thinly, and rinse and pluck the rosemary in small sprigs. Insert a few slithers of garlic in between every odd slice of potato or so. Do the same with the rosemary. Season with salt and olive oil.

Cook in the oven at 220 degrees centigrade for about 50 minutes. If they brown too quickly, cover the dish with two layers of foil. About forty minutes in, brush with more olive oil to allow the slices to crisp up further.

And there you go! A perfect alternative to the roast potato.

Chicken piccata

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I don’t know where I’ve been on this earth without knowing this dish. It’s quick, easy and so rewarding. The chicken remains tender, despite using breast (I think it’s one of the driest pieces available, and therefore requires more treatment in order to prevent it becoming so), and the lemony-garlicky flavour is just divine.The dish originates from Italy, where it’s made with veal but this chicken version is from the States and has newly made my list of favourite quick meals. Simple does not mean basic.

Basically, go make this, because it’s definitely worth your time. Mashed potatoes or pasta would likely go well with this, or even just fresh vegetables.

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Serves 3-4 as a main.

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