Italian flavoured casserole

Off all the casseroles we have pulled together over the last month, this has to be our favourite only to be matched by the Creole/Mexican flavoured dish we made earlier.  The weather continues to go from bad to worse and this Saturday was no exception – non stop rain from dawn to dusk coupled with a definite bite in the air.  We decided to make a hot comforting casserole for dinner and as promised earlier we were going to experiment with Italian flavours in our next casserole, so here’s the recipe for it.  Our next challenge given to us by one of Anna’s friends is to develop an Indian themed casserole – stay tuned…

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • 1 medium leek sliced
  • 1 courgette cubed
  • Handful of green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 5-6 baby potatoes halved
  • 6-8 button mushrooms quartereded
  • 8 cloves of garlic – 3 chopped for marinade
  • 400 gm tin of cannelini beans drained
  • 400 gm tin of barlotti beans drained
  • 400 gm tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh basil and parsley chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken thighs with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of crushed red chilli flakes, 3 chopped garlic cloves, chopped shallot and salt – set aside for a few hours.   Heat your oven proof casserole dish and sear the chicken pieces on both sides and remove.   Add remaining olive oil, garlic and rosemary to the same dish and stir for 30 seconds before adding sliced onions and  leeks – stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.  Sprinkle 1 tsp Italian seasoning, l tsp crushed red chilli flakes and the stock cubes – add about 500 ml of water and stir.  Stir in the cannelini beans, borlotti beans and chopped tomatoes.  Place chicken on top of the vegetables, cover with lid and place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour or till the chicken is cooked through.   Garnish with chopped fresh basil and parsley.

 

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Curried roasted parsnips

Ever had that situation when you find a vegetable in the fridge and don’t feel like preparing it as you normally do but want something more exciting.   Last night was one of those nights we had parsnips in the fridge and wanted to try something different.   The dish tasted good and will probably feature as an accompaniment with our next roast dinner.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 5 parsnips peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 sticks of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (adds a bit of tang to this dish)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Simple – place cut parsnips, minced garlic  and rosemary (pull leaves of the stalk) in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the curry powder and dry mango powder with a bit of salt.   Drizzle olive oil, mix and transfer into an oven proof dish.   Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes till the parsnips are cooked through.

Gluten free spaghetti without sauce

Ever get tired of eating pasta or spaghetti with a tomato or cream based sauce – here’s an alternative which I personally love as it is simple to make and tastes great.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Handful of gluten free spaghetti cooked and drained
  • 1/2 courgette halved and sliced
  • 1 stick of celery chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4-5 button mushrooms quartered
  • 2 green chillies
  • Small onion/shallot sliced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

1 large serving

How do I make it?

Heat a heavy bottom pan and add olive oil and garlic – saute for a couple of minutes.   Add the sliced onions, chopped green chilli and celery and cook for 5 minutes till the onions go translucent.   Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes.   Season with dried Italian herb, salt and pepper.   Add the cooked spaghetti and give it a good toss.   Finish with garnish of fresh chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Gluten free – cauliflower and spinach cheese bake

We indulged ourselves a bit earlier in the week with a real cheesy cauliflower and spinach bake (used mom’s recipe for white sauce – one of the first things I learned to cook).  We used the Apache chillies from the garden in the dish and it helped spice it up a bit.  Feel free to reduce the amount of cheese you use.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into bite size florets (par boil with some salt)
  • 1 small bag of spinach (~150gms) par boiled with a bit of salt
  • 1 bunch of spring onions chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 6-8 green chillies chopped finely (de-seed if you want the sauce milder)
  • 3 tbsp gluten free flour mix (we use Dove’s Farm flour)
  • 100 gm medium grated cheddar cheese
  • 100 gm red Leceister grated cheese
  • 250 ml milk
  • 75 gm unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a heavy bottom pan and melt butter before adding garlic, spring onion and green chillies.  Saute for 5-8 minutes before adding the gluten free flour.   Give it a good stir, add the milk and reduce the heat.   Bring the mixture to a boil before adding half of each cheese.   Continue to mix till you get a nice thick cheesy sauce.   If it is too thick add a bit more milk.   Add the remaining ingredients and mix well before transferring into an oven proof dish.   Sprinkle the remaining cheese and place under the grill in pre-heated oven at around 220 degrees Centigrade.   Remove the dish once the cheese has melted and begins to form a golden crust.  Enjoy and then make an appointment to go to the gym afterwards to work it off 🙂

 

Garden fresh – cream of tomato soup with a simple pasta

We have been blessed with plenty of tomatoes this year and having used it in our daily cooking for the last three weeks last night was an opportunity to make some fresh tomato soup.  There is something to be said about picking vegetables fresh and cooking them as there is a distinct difference in flavour versus supermarket bought vegetables.   The soup was simple to make and tasted great with a simple pasta starter.

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Cream of tomato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes boiled, pureed and strained
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Small handful Thai basil chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic for a few minutes before adding the onion and carrot.   Cook for 5 minutes till the onions appear translucent and then add the paprika and strained tomato.   Add a vegetable stock cube with 500 ml water and simmer over a low heat for another 20 minutes.   Blend the soup and return to heat.   Adjust the seasoning before adding the single cream and chopped Thai basil.  Enjoy.

Cherry tomato pasta

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 large handfuls of gluten free penne boiled
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 6-8 queen size olives sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Handful fresh oregano and basil chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat oilve oil in a pan and then add the garlic.  Saute for a minute and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn before adding the chilli flakes.   Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes.   Cook for five minutes before adding the sliced olives and cooked penne.    Adjust the seasoning and add the fresh organo and basil.   Enjoy as a starter or make a larger portion for a main meal.

Twice cooked corn chowder

Today’s lunch was inspired by a recipe posted on catholicfoodie.com.  Our Apache chilli plant has more chillies than we can give away or use and so we looked for ways to use more than one or two chillies in a dish.  The soup is a revelation and could feature as a starter for our next dinner party or barbecue.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3 ears of corn roasted and shucked
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes (picked fresh from our garden)
  • 10-12 Apache chillies (reduce to taste – also picked from our garden)
  • 2 small capsicums (1 medium green pepper would work just as well)
  • 1 whole garlic pod (roast with skin on)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 100 ml single cream
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Place tomatoes, chillies, garlic and capsicum in a bowl and drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil to coat all the vegetables.   Then place in a pre heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for 25-30 minutes till the vegetables begin to char and are roasted.   Remove garlic skins and place with remaining roasted vegetables in a blender and blend to a paste.  Heat pan with remaining olive oil and add chopped onions.   Saute for 5 minutes before adding the paste.   Stir for a couple of minutes before adding the stock cubes and about a litre of water.   Bring to a gentle boil, add the shucked corn, salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for another 20 minutes on low heat.   Finish the soup with the cream, lemon juice and fresh coriander.

Garden fresh – brown rice soba noodles with courgettes and herbs

With Anna away in India for three weeks I have been pretty lazy on the cooking front and coping with quick fruit salads, smoothies and omelettes.  Today I decided to use up the last of the courgettes from the garden and garnished it with a combination of herbs (plucked fresh from our herb patch).  The end result is worthy of being replicated for Anna when she gets back as I think she will like it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 80-90 gms Brown rice soba noodles (spaghetti if you are not on a gluten free diet)
  • 3-4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 1 large stick of celery roughly chopped
  • 1 small yellow courgette cubed
  • 1 small green courgette cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Handful basil, mint, oregano and curly leaf parsley chopped for garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

A hearty bowl for one

How do I make it?

Boil your noodles or pasta and keep aside.   Heat pan and add olive oil and garlic and saute for a minute.   Add the celery and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the courgettes and mushrooms.  Stir for 5 minutes before sprinkling the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Garnish with chopped herbs and add cooked noodles to the pan.   Toss around till the noodles are well coated and serve up in a large bowl.  Enjoy.