Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce & courgette salad

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Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce & courgette salad

This tasty dish went down a treat when my son’s vegetarian girlfriend came to stay and it was also enjoyed by the rest of my carnivorous family. The recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals and I would definitely cook it again.  The ricotta fritters were light and delicate and worked well when combined with the spicy tomato sauce and courgette salad. It is relatively easy to make as long as you do not disturb the fritters too much whilst they are cooking. A lovely little supper dish for a summers evening, although I dare say it would be well received whatever the time of year it is.

Ricotta fritters with tomato sauce and courgette salad

Prep 15 mins – although took me nearly 25mins to prep and cook

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 700g passata
  • 8 black olives (stone in)
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil

For the fritters

  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 400 g ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole nutmeg for grating
  • 1 lemon
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

For the salad

  • 400 g firm green or yellow baby courgettes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • ½ a bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 lemon

Method

1. Cover the porcini with boiling water and leave to soak.
2. In a bow,  mix the ricotta with egg, finely grated 1/4 of nutmeg, lemon zest, parmesan and flour and then beat together.
3.Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan and then dollop 8 tablespoons of the mixture in to the pan. Turn carefully with a spatula when the bottom is golden and as I mentioned previously try not to move the fritters around too much.
4. Add chilli,  anchovies and garlic to a frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Then add passata and finely chopped porcini with half the soaking water. Season and bring to the boil.
5. Add stoned squashed olives (squashing helps remove the stone) and then add the chopped basil leaves, but don’t forget to keep some to use as garnish later.
6. Using a food processor grate the courgette. Add to a bowl with seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil. Then add finely chopped chilli and some mint from the top half of the bunch. Mix the salad together gently with your hands.

7. Place the fritters in the sauce in a serving dish or if you wish to be more rustic in the pan the sauce was cooked in. Garnish with the rest of the basil leaves, some balsamic and a few lemon wedges on the side.

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Sticky Kicking Chicken with a Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

I really enjoy cooking Jamie Oliver’s recipes, and with the kids home from university, his recipes offer a youthful approach to family cooking which seems to appeal to their tastes. Dont get me wrong, they still enjoy traditional home cooking, but they also like to try new dishes, just as much as I enjoy experimenting with new flavours, ingredients and techniques. I have used Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook several times over the summer break and I am going to post the best three recipes to date, as voted by the family, the first dish being the delicious and extremely attractive Sticky Kicking Chicken. It took longer than 15 minutes the first time I cooked this, but when I made the same dish last weekend it was much quicker, although I have to say I did play around with the order in which I prepared things…apologies Mr Oliver.

Sticky Kicking Chicken with a Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad

Prep – 25 mins (unless you have everything ready and close to hand)

Serves 4

Ingredients

Salad

200g thin rice noodles

sesame oil

800g watermelon

2 little gem lettuces

1 handful of radishes

1/2 a bunch of fresh mint

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tbsp Chinese five-spice

olive oil

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp sesame seeds

Dressing

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Fish Sauce

1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli

1/2 a thumb sized piece of ginger

2 spring onions

2 limes

1 small clove of garlic

Method

Place the coriander stalks in a small processor or liquidiser along with the soy and fish sauces, peeled ginger, chilli, crushed garlic clove, prepared spring onions, a splash of water, 1 tbsp of sesame oil and the lime juice. Spritz together until the sauce is smooth and then leave to one side until you are ready to dress the salad.

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Use a large sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle salt, pepper and the five-spice on to it. Open out the thighs and lay them on top of the paper and sprinkle the upper side of the chicken with seasoning and then fold over the paper on top of the chicken. Using a rolling pin bash the chicken to flatten it until it is 1.5cm thick.

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Using a large frying pan (I used two pans) add a little olive oil before placing the chicken in the pan. Turn each piece of chicken after 3-4 minutes of cooking and keep repeating this process until the chicken looks charred and is cooked through.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad. I used fresh thin rice noodles for this dish so I simply poured over boiling water to heat them through and then drained them. Drizzle the sesame oil onto a serving platter and toss the noodles in the oil. Slice the watermelon and cut into chunks (these do not need to be uniformed pieces) and add to the platter. Cut the lettuce into wedges, halve the radishes, finely chop the mint and most of the leafy coriander, and scatter over the platter.

Once the chicken is ready, remove the pieces and arrange on a platter or board. Pour away any excess fat, put the pan back on the heat then pour in the sweet chilli sauce and toss with some sesame seeds. Pour the dressing made at the start of this recipe over the salad and toss through the salad and noodles gently, until everything is well coated. Pour the chilli sesame sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

This dish is a real crowd pleaser, but for those who do not like chilli you can omit this and use honey for a glaze instead, which my chilli phobic daughter prefers.

Scrambled Egg with Avocado

Scrambled Egg adn Avocado

Scrambled Egg with Avocado

I’ve recently subscribed to a new app on my iPhone which is another great idea to promote healthy living from Jamie Oliver. The YOU-app is about making simple micro-actions each day to create a better you, in order to live a happy, healthy life. I know we all try to do this but sometimes our best intentions don’t always happen. The YOU-app gives you one micro-action each day which you complete by taking a picture. So for example my action for today was to ‘Pimp my Breakfast’.  I have been aware of the health benefits of eating avocados for quite some time and have been thinking about ways to incorporate this fruit into my diet, so today was the day to try something new. Originally I was simply going to slice a boiled egg and the avocado on toast but after a quick search I came across the website thekitchn.com which listed 10 Ways to Eat and Avocado for Breakfast. However, it was the suggestion to use the avocado with scrambled eggs which caught my eye and I was intrigued to find out whether these two ingredients would work together. I started to prepare the breakfast and immediately my hubby asked what I was making and no surprise  he wanted in on the experiment. The result was eye-opening and absolutely delicious (we both agreed). The the combination of the avocado with the scrambled eggs made the dish even creamier and if you are an egg lover I recommend you give this a try. I wondered if Jamie Oliver would agree that I had managed to ‘Pimp my Breakfast’, so just to be sure I decided to add just a few dashes of Tabasco to my eggs to give a little kick to whole dish and my metabolism. A great start to the day, so thank you very much to Jamie Oliver for the inspiration.

Scrambled Egg with Avocado (Tabasco optional)

Prep – 5mins Cooking 3-5mins I

Ingredients

2 Eggs (I used Old Cotswold Legbar from Waitrose)

1 tbsp Semi-skimmed Milk

1 medium Avocado

1 – 2 slices of Granary bread

Salt and pepper

Tomatoes and cucumber to garnish Tabasco (optional)


Method Beat the eggs and milk and then add to a pan over a low heat. Prepare a simple salad garnish and pop the bread in to toast. When the eggs are barely set, and still soft, scoop out the avocado in small junks and add straight to the pan with the eggs. Stir in, gently cooking until warmed through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately! If you are feeling daring and understand the health benefits of spicy kick, then add a few drops of Tabasco before tucking in!