For the past year or so I have been using Pomora Olive Oil since discovering them at the BBC Good Food Show. They import really great quality olive oil and I love cooking with it, particularly the flavoured ones. I’ve previously brought you a few recipes using there oils such as this Salt and Pepper Cod with a Hot and Spicy Salad or this Bruschetta with their Basil Oil. I’ve more recently been trying their lemon oil, as well as the rosemary. I’ve not seen rosemary oil before so this is lovely thing to try. When you pour the rosemary oil you can see the actual flecks of rosemary in it too.
When Stoves challenged me to re create one of their Chefs recipes from their website I of course accepted the gauntlet laid down before me.
I trawled through the options on their website and settled for Rachel Allens Potato Soup. I wanted something accessible to everyone, but the extra ‘pimped’ up bits of the Chorizo and the Kale Pesto sounded really yummy and sure to brighten up a simple soup into something more special.
One of the best things about autumn and winter for me has to be the abundance of different types of squash and pumpkin. Squash chunks roasted with some salt pepper and olive oil is something I love to eat, and can incorporated into so many dishes; salads, pasta, the list is endless. One thing I love to make with it is a more wintery take on the classic bruschetta.
This version has soft goats cheese, rocket and basil mixed with the butternut squash and drizzled with some fantastic quality olive oil. I’m currently using some fabulous basil oil from Pomora which I used both to roast the squash and to drizzle over the finished dish. It has a really subtle clean basil flavour which I love.
Butternut Squash, Goats Cheese and Basil Bruschetta (Serves 2 for lunch)
- Half a butternut (or other) squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1cm chunks
- 2 small handfuls rocket
- 4-5 basil leaves, shredded
- 4 tbsp basil oil
- 4 slices of ciabatta bread
- 1 garlic clove
- 100g soft goats cheese, broken roughly into small pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put the squash chunks in a roasting tray and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Roast at 200ºC for 30-40 mins until soft
- In a bowl mix the rocket, basil and goats cheese, then when ready add the squash and mix gently
- Take the clove of garlic and rub over one side of each of the ciabatta slices and then drizzle the bread with a tiny amount ( 1/2tsp max) of olive oil
- Heat a griddle pan and toast the ciabatta. The time this takes will vary depending on how hot you pan is, but keep an eye on the bread and when slightly charred, turn and do the same on the other side, then remove from the heat
- Top the ciabatta with some of the squash mix then drizzle with some of the remaining basil oil.
Happy eating 🙂
I’ve talked before about my love for pickled things and this year have really got on board with pickling stuff myself – it’s really fun, very satisfying and also makes great DIY gifts for other food lovers! The latest thing we’ve tried is some pickled onions.
We made a really large batch which made us 7 standard jars, but I’ve scaled down our recipe which will produce about 2 jars of onions.
Pickling things is really great, because once you’ve got your basic pickling mix (usually vinegar and sugar) you can play around with it using different vinegars, spices etc to make lots of different variations.
To start with though you need to peel and brine the onions. Theres a good technique for peeling lots of small onions – cut off the root (like in the picture) and then immerse in boiling water for 30seconds in large batches, then the skins just come off really easily, no more cutting needed! When this is done it’s time for brining, which allows the onion to retain that crunch. For 300g onions use 75g salt dissolved in 500ml of warm water. Cover the onions with the brine in a nonmetallic bowl and leave overnight or for 24 hours. Then rinse well and pat dry.
We like to use a mixture of standard distilled pickling vinegar (the clear stuff) and Aspall cider vinegar for the pickling itself. For this batch we made two types of pickle:
Firstly Aspalls own recipe that I found on the internet which looked really interesting, as it swapped out any sugar and replaced it with honey. You can find the recipe for Honey Pickled Onions on Aspalls website. We actually omitted the bay leaves though, and used half and half on the cider vinegar and spirit vinegar.
The other recipe was for hot and spicy onions. You will need:
- 150ml Cider Vinegar
- 150ml Distilled Pickling Vinegar
- 300g baby onions or shallots
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp mixed peppercorns (pink/black/green)
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
Simply sterilise your jars and lids (I find the best way is to either put them through a dishwasher cycle, or wash thoroughly then put in the oven for 10 minutes) then allow to cool.
Bring the vinegar and sugar to the boil with the spices then turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Pack the jars with onions, then pour over the cooled vinegar mix, making sure the onions are completely covered. Seal and the store in a cool dark place for at least 2-4 weeks before using, but they will keep unopened for up to about 6-8 months. Once opened used within a few weeks.
Another great idea for flavouring the pickle, especially for Christmas would be to add star anise, cloves and a cinnamon stick to the vinegar for a real Winter twist. If you’re planning on gifting the onions, grab some jam jar covers from somewhere like Hobbycraft and you can make them look really pretty too!
Happy pickling 🙂
If you fancy having a go yourself, let me know how you get on! You could also have a look at some other ways of pickling and preserving onions such as:
I really like eating salads but cannot abide ones that are boring. The simple touch of a marinade on your choice of fish or meat and a zingy interesting dressing can make all the difference. This Mexican inspired chicken salad can be made with whatever salad ingredients you have in the fridge – but the avocado and tomato are Mexican staples. The dressing has classic flavours too with the lime,jalepeno and coriander and uses honey to counteract the sweetness. This is perfect for a healthy supper or lunch on the run.
For the chicken:
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
For the salad:
- handful salad leaves
- half red pepper
- 2 inch piece cucumber
- 1 tomato
- 1-2 radishes
- half avocado
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
For the dressing:
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 1 garlic clove – minced
- 1 tbsp jarred jalepenos – chopped
- Place the chicken breast between two pieces of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until flattened out to an even thickness.Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub onto the chicken. Put in the oven at 180º for 15minutes (check it is cooked through before eating)
- For the dressing place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly and set aside
- For the salad place the salad leaves in a bowl. Chop all other ingredients how you would like them and arrange on top of the leaves. top with the coriander.
- Once cooked slice the chicken, and add to the bowl, topping with a few spoonfuls of dressing.
Happy eating 🙂
I’m entering this into Tasty Tuesdays linky over at Honest Mum