By Simone Conti
Dear readers, I hope you are well and are coping with the dramatic rise in the cost of energy. I’ve adapted my cooking style and for the moment I’ve put aside slow cooking recipes and used ones that don’t require lengthy cooking methods. I hope you will enjoy them. Be sure to stay warm and eat well to keep up your spirits, especially in these unpredictable times.
Omelette with goats curd and lavender honey // Serves 4
This is a delicious and quick recipe to prepare. The blends of flavours are just amazing. The creaminess of the eggs, the lovely goats’ curd flavour and the sweetness of the honey makes this dish a great example of comfort food at it’s best. It’s a very versatile dish that can be used for Sunday brunch or as a quick dinner recipe. Please only use goats’ curd and not an aged goat cheese because that will be too strong.
6 free range eggs
4 tbsp milk
70g unsalted butter
200g goats curd
1 tbsp lavender honey
salt and black pepper to taste
toasted sourdough bread to serve
1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with the milk and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the butter in a non stick frying pan until it foams then pour in the beaten eggs. As they start to set, gently fold back the edges with a silicone or wooden spoon so the uncooked egg can run on the pan.
3. When the omelette is almost cooked, add the goats’ curd and fold the omelette over in half.
4. Drizzle over the honey and serve straight away with toasted sourdough bread.
Recommended Wine: Riesling (Germany)
Linguine with red mullet, tomatoes, olives and homemade breadcrumbs // Serves 4
I’m not really a fan of doing pasta recipes, the fact that I’m Italian can make it a bit of a cliché. But this recipe is really good because it’s quick and easy on your wallet. Red mullets are one of the most delicious and affordable fish you can have.
This recipe is a quick one that should take you less than 25 minutes from start to finish and doesn’t use much energy. Now the real trick to get the best out of this recipe is to melt the tomatoes, olives and garlic rather than fry them, and use the heat of the pasta to cook the red mullet. The homemade bread crumbs will add a lovely texture to the dish.
400g dried linguine pasta
50ml tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
16 black olives, pitted
18 cherry tomatoes, each cut into quarters
4 red mullets fillets (ask your fishmonger to clean it for you)
2 tsp chopped parsley
For the homemade breadcrumb
200ml sunflower oil
200g stale bread, roughly chopped into coarse crumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. For the homemade breadcrumbs, heat the sunflower oil in a deep pan to 160 °C. Add the breadcrumbs and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt and set aside.
2. Cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling water until just al dente(about 2 minutes less than cooking time on the packet).
3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and add 10ml of olive oil, then add the garlic, black olives and cherry tomatoes. These should melt rather than fry so keep your heat low. After 4 minutes add the red mullet fillets and the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat for the moment, until the pasta is ready.
4. When the pasta is cooked, take it out with tongs and add to the frying pan, if the red mullet still looks raw don’t worry- the heat of the pasta will cook the fillets. Toss the pasta with the other ingredients in the pan, the fish will break up and that is what we want.
5. Place the pan on a low heat. Add a spoonful or two of the pasta water and the remaining olive oil, check the seasoning, then toss so the starch is released and the sauce becomes emulsified. Serve hot with the homemade breadcrumbs scattered on top. Enjoy !!!
Recommended Wine: Soave (Italy)
Macerated apricots with amaretto liquer and toasted almonds // Serves 4
Again another recipe that will not need to cook for hours and is very quick and cheap to prepare. It merges some delicious flavours to create a lovely contrast between the macerated apricots and the vanilla ice cream. The toasted almonds will give a lovely texture to the whole dish.
200g dried apricots (without stones)
1 tbsp icing sugar
50ml Amaretto liquer
1 tub of good quality vanilla ice cream
50g toasted flaked almonds to serve
1. Put the dried apricots in a bowl and pour over boiling water until they are covered. Leave to soak for 5 minutes(or longer if the apricots are very dry), then drain from the water.
2. Break the apricots into halves and place hollow side up in a shallow dish. Sprinkle over the icing sugar and then the Amaretto liqueur. Leave to macerate for 5-10 mins.
3. Spoon the apricots over scoops of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle over the apricot juice and scatter the toasted almonds on top. Serve immediately.
Recommended Wine: Port wine (Portugal)