Tag Archives: olive oil

Green beans with pesto and flashbacks to the ’70s

Apologies to those not familiar with the hysterical British comedy series ‘Fawlty Towers’, but everytime I make something with basil I think of Sybil Fawlty’s dulcit tones shouting; ‘BASIL! BASIL!’ and his comeback, which was more often than not something along the lines : ‘Coming my little piranha fish’.

Basil is high in vitamins and minerals in general and vitamins A and K and iron in particular. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Ingredients

Two handfuls of fresh basil

1 handful of pinenuts

1 handful of cashew nuts

8 cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of freshly-grated parmesan cheese

Sea salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor to form a paste. Serve with either green beans or pasta.

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Fresh tomato sauce

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We’re drowning in a tomato torrent at the moment. We also have a steady stream of bell, chilli and Espelette peppers to complement them. I was naively imagining myself being able to relax a bit at the beginning of September … Continue reading

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Fish curry (and absolutely not a hen in sight!)

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I’m a great fan of spicy food in very hot weather. Actually I’m a fan of spicy food in cold weather too, but the arguments in favour are less convincing. Spices help to kill bacteria that develops in hot weather … Continue reading

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Cod with basil and tomatoes

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A lady fishmonger served me this morning and, instead of enquiring into the corpulence of the people I was going to cook for, took the time to explain this delicious recipe to me. There was a massive queue, but she … Continue reading

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Cod in chickpea batter (gf)

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When I asked for cod filet for three this morning, the fishmonger asked if it was for three normal people or three rugbymen. I had replied that it was for three normal people before wondering if this wasn’t perhaps stretching … Continue reading

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Tunisian meatloaf

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Although I never let slip a chance to take a cheap pop at vegetarians (our horses, for example – how could anyone in their right mind just eat grass all day?), I’m not exactly a flesh-ripping carnivore myself. In fact, … Continue reading

Basque Chicken


Our multi-talented Spanish carpenter, who my husband disparagingly refers to as the ‘poet’ (as in Real Men Don’t Do Poetry), gave us several jars of his home-made spicy tomato sauce, which my son then referred to as ‘ketchup in a jar’. Between them, husband and son make quite sure that neither carpenter nor tomato sauce get too up themselves.

Poulet Basquaise should really be made with Espelette pepper, which is a cross between paprika and chilli pepper, and is a speciality of the village of Espelette in the Basque country.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken thighs and 4 legs

1 tin of peeled tomatoes (or homemade if possible)

1 tin of white beans

4 cloves of garlic

1 onion

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 bell pepper

1 cup of black olives

olive oil

sprig of rosemary

1 glass of white wine

seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, paprika, chilli powder or if possible Espelette pepper)

Chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms and add to the olive oil in an oven-proof casserole dish. Cook until golden and then add the chicken pieces, which should also be cooked until golden-brown on both sides. Add the wine, herbs and seasoning and cook for about 2 minutes so that the chicken can absorb the wine. Add the tomatoes and heat until simmering. Lastly add the beans and olives and cook in a medium oven (150°C) until the tomatoes begin to caramalise (just under two hours).

Poulet Basquaise is usually served with sauté potatoes or rice, although I often serve it with polenta and a crisp green salad.

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Salmon and quinoa

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It actually stopped raining for the first time in over three weeks this morning and I was able to walk the (by now totally manic) dog without coming back absolutely soaked to the core. I even caught a glimpse of … Continue reading

Chicken in the pot

This dish is traditional Sunday fare in Aquitaine. It was made popular by Henri IV who declared his hope to be that France would become peaceful and prosperous enough for every family to be able to enjoy ‘poule au pot’ every Sunday. This is obviously my ‘take’ on the dish; I don’t think that French families had access to Lee and Perrins sauce in Henri IV’s day.

Today is election day. Here’s to hoping that our next president will bear Henri’s good intentions for peace and prosperity in mind…

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 chicken

1 onion

1 leek

3 cloves of garlic

3 medium carrots

1 cup of peas

5 mushrooms (sliced)

1 courgette

rosemary, bayleaf

olive oil

glass of white wine

Lee and Perrins sauce

2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly

seasoning to taste (sea salt, pepper and paprika)

Lightly brown the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil in a casserole dish. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add a good slug of Lee and Perrins and the redcurrant jelly and continue heating. Add the sliced carrots, rosemary and bayleaf and turn chicken right-side-up. Season generously and add the glass of white wine. If you don’t have any wine open, you can use apple juice for a sweeter taste, or just water with a tiny bit of chicken stock.

Put the lid on the casserole and cook in a medium oven (150°C) for about an hour and a half. You should check half way through that there is still some liquid left in the bottom of the casserole (a couple of centimetres is ideal). If there is too much liquid you could take the lid off for the last 15 minutes. The peas and sliced courgettes should be added about 20 minutes before serving so that they stay firm.

This is lovely served with mashed potato any green vegetable.