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Recipes of the Month
February - Quick Skillet Ziti

This hearty meal takes 5 minutes to make and is a great healthy meal for when time is short.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb.  ground beef
  • 8 chopped tomatoes
  • 15mls of tomato puree
  • Fresh or dried oregano and marjoram
  • 5 cups  tube-shaped pasta (ziti), cooked and drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

 


 

Directions

Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet until it's well browned, stirring often to break up the meat.

Pour off any fat.

Stir in the tomatoes, puree and herbs with the pasta in the skillet and heat through. Sprinkle with the parmesan.

You may also wish to scatter mozzarella over the top and put the dish under the grill for 5 minutes.

 
January - Pasta alla Genovese

This is a great seasonal Italian supper when time is short but you need a simple yet stylish meal.

Ingredients

  • 400g-450g/14oz-16oz dried trofie (small pasta 'quills') or your choice of dried pasta, such as spaghetti
  • large pinch salt
  • 1-2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut roughly into 1cm/½in chunks
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced thickly
  • 110g/4oz green beans, cut into 4cm/1½in lengths

For the Pesto:

  • 75g/2½oz fresh basil leaves
  • 60g/2oz pine nuts
  • 60g/2oz parmesan or pecorino (or a mixture of the two)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 100-125ml/3½ -4½ fl oz olive oil
  • serves 4, preparation time - 30 minutes

 


To make the pesto, put the basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts.
Chop the parmesan into small chunks and add to the food processor.
Roughly chop the garlic and add to the food processor.


Turn the processor on and process until the basil and cheese are chopped finely. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and ensure there are no large chunks remaining - if there are, blend again briefly.
Turn the food processor on again and, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream through the funnel in the lid.
Check the consistency - it should be thick and just drop off the spatula.


Transfer the pesto into a bowl and cover with cling film until needed. (You can keep it in an airtight jar, covered with a thin layer of olive oil, for a few days in the fridge; or freeze it.)
To cook the pasta, bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil then add the pasta.
Trofie pasta takes about 15 minutes to cook so, after 8-9 minutes, add the potatoes and carrots and bring back to the boil (if your pasta takes less time to cook you'll need to add the carrots and potatoes sooner).


Allow to boil for a further two more minutes then add the beans and cook for another three minutes.
By the time the trofie is perfectly cooked but still firm (al dente), the vegetables will be nicely cooked. Drain thoroughly and toss the pasta together with the pesto.


Serve with extra parmesan or pecorino and a sprig of fresh basil, if you like.

 

 
December - Turkey Stuffing Meatballs with Curry Sauce

The perfect combination for a cold night and a big appetite - great for a Monday evening with Sunday's leftover stuffing.

Ingredients

For the stuffing meatballs

  • 100g/3½oz turkey slices
  • 100g/3½oz left-over stuffing
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the curry sauce  

  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 50ml/2fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
For the stuffing meatballs, place the turkey slices, stuffing, egg and flour into the bowl of a food processor and blend to combine.
Shape the mixture into five equal-sized balls with floured hands.


Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook until coloured all over.
Transfer the meatballs to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until cooked through.


To make the curry sauce, melt the butter with the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, but not coloured.

Add the curry powder and stir for another minute, or until the onions are completely coated.
Add the double cream and stir until thick. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


To serve, place the meatballs in a serving bowl, spoon the sauce over and garnish with the coriander leaves.

 
November - Salmon Tartare

Salmon has a particularly high content of fish oils which helps people maintain soft skin and glossy hair. In this dish the combination of raw and smoked salmon served with a dill sauce creates both a luxurious and a nutritious dish. Salmon is hing in dense smoke, usually produced from smouldering wood chips, for several hours. This gives it the delicate smoked-salmon flavour. Serve this dish with a large green salad and chunks of brown bread.

Ingredients

serves 4, preparation time - 15 minutes

  • 1lb (450g) fresh salmon
  • 6oz (175g) smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • Sals and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprigs of fresh dill for garnish

Dill Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise or reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives or 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Calories per serving: 310 - High in protein and vitamin D from Salmon


Carefully skin and bone the salmon (or ask your fishmonger to do this for you). Cut the fresh salmon into cubes using a sharp knife and place the cubes in a bowl. Cut the smoked salmon into very fine slivers and put to one side

Add the vinegar to the bowl and season with a little salt, some dill and plenty of black pepper. Arrange the salmon on a serving platter with the fresh fish on one side and the smoked fish on the other. Garnish with the dill.

Blend the mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, chives, salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a bowl to make the dill sauce. Serve the sauce in a separate dish or bowl along with the salmon.

 
October - Grilled Baby Chickens with Chilli

In this recipe the baby chickens, or poussins, are 'spatchcocked' - split and flattened before grilling.

The birds are then cooked Cajun-style, using chilli powder and peppers to make a spicy stuffing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 baby chickens or poussins
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 small onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Cut down each side of the bird's backbone to remove it. Lay the birds breast down on a board and press on the breastbone to flatten them. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the flesh right across the breast, and a little way down the thighs, taking care not to tear it, ready for the stuffing.

Halve, de-seed and roughly chop the peppers. Peel and roughly chop the onions, and crush the garlic. Put all stuffing ingredients except oil into a liquidiser and puree. Keeping the liquidiser running, gradually pour in oil until blended. Season with salt.

Spoon a quarter of stuffing between the flesh and skin of each bird, smoothing evenly. Refrigerate for between 4 and 24 hours. Grill the birds under low heat for 30 minutes. Garnish and serve.

 

 
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