Griddled courgette, pine nut and mozzarella salad

You may get the idea that my griddle pan is getting well used this summer. And that’s exactly how it should be! By now I’ve griddled countless aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, pork chops, steaks and lamb cutlets… And everytime, it’s incredibly simple and easy food that just tastes amazing. All of those dishes have something in common – very little fuss and big flavours from the simplest of ingredients – little, but always really good, olive oil and my griddle pan. This salad makes a perfect light meal that truly captures the tastes of summer for me. I served it over just cooked orzo and it was perfect for a light dinner.

More with courgettes: Courgette, chilli and basil pizzas | Courgettes with crisp cheese crumbs

Griddled courgette, pine nut and mozzarella salad

Serves 2 or 4 if side/starter | Prep 10 mins | Cook 15 mins
Easy | Meat Free

Courgette-Salad-1

You’ll need

  • 1 lemon, juiced;
  • extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 garlic clove, halved;
  • 3 courgettes, sliced ½cm thick on the diagonal;
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn into pieces;
  • pine nuts 2 tbsp, toasted until golden;
  • mint a handful, chopped to serve;
  • orzo to serve.

Whisk the lemon juice with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic along with plenty of seasoning. Brush the courgette slices with oil, and griddle on both sides until charred and softened (you’ll need to cook them in batches), then drop them into the dressing as you go.

Scoop the garlic out of the bowl and discard. Give the courgettes one more toss in the dressing, then arrange on two plates. Add the cheese, pine nuts and mint. Drizzle over any dressing left in the bowl and serve with orzo or bulgar wheat.

Original recipe from Olive magazine, available online here.

Spiced lamb chops with saffron yoghurt

It’s peak BBQ season and that’s my favourite season. Whether you are eating at home and cooking on your griddle pan or in your garden on a BBQ, there is nothing that tastes better than seared grilled meat or vegetables. Lightly oiled and seasoned, anything just tastes amazing straight out of my griddle pan. Marinate these lamb chops for as little as 30 minutes and grill/griddle them and you will have a delicious dinner to enjoy in the garden or with your windows wide open at home! Perfect for a BBQ or to share over dinner with friends.

More in summer food: Lamb chops with pomegranate and fetaCharred Aubergine, pepper and bulgur salad | Summer Pork, Fennel and Beans

Spiced lamb chops with saffron yoghurt

Serves 4 | Prep 5 mins + 30 mins marinating | Cook 5 mins
Easy | Gluten-free

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You’ll need

  • 12 trimmed lamb cutlets;
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin;
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander; 
  • 1⁄2 tsp chilli powder;
  • 1 lemon, juiced;
  • extra virgin olive oil;
  • 200g thick Greek yoghurt;
  • a good pinch saffron, crushed;
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
  • mint leaves, to serve;
  • coriander leaves to serve;
  • 1 red chilli, to serve.

First, marinate the lamb. Put the lamb cutlets in a dish. Mix the spices with the rest of the garlic, lemon juice and 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour over the lamb and rub it in to coat. Leave for 30 minutes to marinate.

Prepare the yoghurt next. Put the yoghurt, saffron and 1⁄4 tsp of the crushed garlic in a bowl. Season with salt, mix well and chill while you make the lamb.

To cook the lamb, heat a BBQ or griddle pan to hot. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, then rest for a couple of minutes. To serve, arrange the cutlets on a platter with a bowl of the yoghurt. Scatter over the herbs and chilli to finish

Original recipe from Olive magazine, available online here.

 

Sea Bream tacos with mango & lime salsa (Bonus taco recipe!)

I have a really big love for Mexican food. Fajitas make a regular appearance in our menu at home and it’s one of my favourite foods to eat out. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with more taco style recipes and pairing them up with fish and fresh salsa. The Swordfish tacos I posted on the blog a while back were a hit at home and these Sea Bream tacos didn’t fail to impress either! This time, however, I went to make my own homemade tacos.

A bit of background before I go onto the recipes. When we went to London in December, Michael and I paid a visit to Breddos Tacos (check out my London food guide for more info)  in Soho and really loved the food there. So much so, that Michael sneakily bought me their cookbook, which I promptly received for Christmas. At our annual NYE pot luck party, my friend Brian decided to treat everyone with tacos for his contribution and brought a brand new taco press which he then left to me to keep (yes, I have awesome friends). It didn’t take long for me to put the two new presents to use, and very soon after I made the delicious Bream Taco recipe below (thanks Olive magazine) and used the Breddos Tacos book for simple corn tortilla recipe for the tacos. You’ll find both below with a slight modification to the taco recipe to make a smaller number of tacos.

Sea Bream tacos with mango & lime salsa

Serves 2 | Overall Time 40 minutes + marinading |
A little effort | Dairy Free

Fish Taco 2

You’ll need:

  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced;
  • Demerara sugar 1½ tbsp;
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced;
  • small handful coriander, finely chopped;
  • ¼ chilli, finely chopped;
  • 1-2 tbsp seasoned flour;
  • sunflower oil;
  • 2 large sea bream fillets (about 200g in total) skinned and cut into 3cm pieces);
  • 6 corn soft tacos (follow recipe below or buy ready made from a Spanish deli).

For the salsa

  • ½ ripe avocado, finely chopped;
  • ½ small ripe mango , finely chopped;
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander;
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced

First make the marinade: mix together the onion, a good pinch of salt, sugar, lime juice and zest, coriander and chilli.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan, dust the pieces of fish in the seasoned flour and fry for about 45 seconds on each side until golden. Remove and put on kitchen towel. While the fish is still warm, put in a non-metal dish so that it is tightly packed. Pour over the onion marinade and spread it out over the fish. Cool, cover and chill for a couple of hours.

Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Thirty minutes before serving, mix all the salsa ingredients together and season.

If you are using shop bought soft tacos, warm them up now, or cook the tacos after you’ve rested the dough. Top them with bream and onion mixture, salsa and finish with garnishes of your choice (coriander, pickled jalapenos, guacamole…)

Original recipe from Olive magazine, available online here.

Bonus recipe: Breddos Tacos Corn Tortillas

Makes 6-10 tacos | Prep 5 minutes + 30 min Resting | Cook 10 mins
A little effort| Dairy and Gluten-free

Tip: You can make the tacos without a taco press, but it does help!

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You’ll need:

  • 80g masa harina (I used Maseca, available from Lupe Pintos and other specialised Delis);
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt;
  • 50ml hot water + a little extra;
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil.

Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl and stir in the water slowly whilst mixing the dough with your hand. Add the oil and knead to form a smooth dough. If the dough is too wet, add some more masa harina and if it feels flaky and dry, add some more water. Leave to rest at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 – 10 equal-sized balls.

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Cut a freezer bag in half or two pieces of baking paper to create two square sections and place onto a hard surface or on the bottom of your tortilla press. Add a ball of masa then place the other freezer bag/baking paper square over the top of the dough. Either push your hand down firmly on the dough or use a rolling pin to create a 12-15cm circular tortilla, or if you are using a taco press, press down using the crank lever. Remove the plastic squares and set the tortilla aside. Repeat, separating each pressed tortilla with a square of baking (parchment) paper.

Heat a heavy-based pan and add the tortillas – cook 1 minute on each side, or until they soufflé slightly, and for 30 seconds further on each side to add a bit more colour, if you wish. Remove after a minute or 2 and wrap in a tea (dish) towel to keep warm.

Original recipe from the Breddos Tacos cookbook, or online available from Cooked.com.au.

 

 

Pork Terrine

This pork terrine was insanely tasty. This is definitely one of the best starters I’ve ever made and eaten and the Olive magazine recipe was really easy to follow as well. We hosted a dinner party for 11 last weekend and this kind of starter was just perfect for the occasion – it’s made in advance and therefore doesn’t require any time at all on the day!

Pork Terrine

Serves 8-10 | Prep 30 minutes + marinading and chilling (1-2 days) | Cook 1 hr
A little effort

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You’ll need:

  • 300g pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and finely diced;
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed;
  • 2 sprigs thyme;
  • 1 tbsp brandy;
  • 20-22 slices dry-cured smoked streaky bacon, any rinds removed;
  • 600g herby pork sausage meat;
  • a small bunch sage, finely chopped;
  • a small bunch chives, finely chopped;
  • 100g green olives, pitted and chopped;
  • cornichons (approx 20),  plus more to serve.

The day before or a few hours ahead of cooking. Put the pork, garlic, thyme and brandy in a bowl, cover and leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4 and butter a terrine mould or loaf tin.

Starting with the base and sides, line the mould with strips of bacon making sure they are slightly overlapping and leave the ends hanging over the edge. This will be the top when you turn it out so do it as neatly as you can. Line the ends of the mould.

Pork Terrine 1

 

Break up the sausage meat with a fork then put it in the bowl with the marinated pork, sage, chives and olives and season well. Mix thoroughly. Fry a small piece of the mix and check seasoning. Adjust seasoning as required.

Pork Terrine 3

Fill the lined dish with half of the pork mixture, pressing it down into the corners.  Arrange the cornichons in 3 rows down the centre.

Pork Terrine 4

Pack the remaining pork on top and then flatten and stretch the bacon over so the top is neatly covered. Trim any ends. cover with buttered foil and wrap the whole terrine in a double layer of clingfilm.

Pork Terrine 5

Put the terrine in a roasting tin, half fill with boiling water and bake for 1 hour. Leave to cool completely then chill overnight. For a firmer texture press the terrine as it chills using a board with some tins stacked on top.

Release the terrine by unwrapping then dipping the dish briefly in hot water and turning it out onto a plate or board. Serve with more cornichons and toasted sourdough.

Original recipe from Olive magazine, issue February 2014, available online here.

Courgette, chilli and basil pizzas

This flatbread pizza idea from Olive magazine went down a treat at home when I tried it a couple of months ago. Courgettes are still in season, so this recipe should give you an interesting idea on how to make a quick and easy vegetarian flat bread pizza, bursting with flavour. When it comes to quick meals, you won’t be able to beat these – they take about 20 minutes to put together and are perfect for a midweek supper! The original recipe (link below) uses mint, but I think basil goes really well with the courgettes. I’ve also added a tomato base for extra flavour.

Courgette, chilli and mint pizzas

Serves 2 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 10 minutes | Easy | Vegetarian
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You’ll need:
  • 2 large or 4 small flatbreads;
  • olive oil;
  • 100ml tomato passata;
  • 2 tsp oregano;
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 small courgettes, cut into ribbons using a potato peeler or a mandolin;
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced;
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn into pieces;
  • a handful basil.

Lightly brush the flatbreads with oil and grill for a minute on one side, then turn. Mix the passata, oregano and garlic together, then spread the tomato base over the flatbreads. Toss the courgette, garlic and chilli with oil and arrange over the breads. Add the mozzarella. Grill until the courgette starts to wilt. Season well. Add the basil and a slug more extra virgin olive oil if you like.

Tips and variations: I also made these also by dolloping a bit of ‘Nduja paste or adding slices of salami, chorizo, leftover roast chicken … they go great with whatever toppings you have available!

Original recipe from Olive Magazine, available here