Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Beans and Greens Salad

Beans and Greens Salad, Olive Magazine April 2014

Beans and Greens Salad, Olive Magazine April 2014

For someone who enjoys cooking so much, I tend to be very lazy when it comes to making an effort on side dishes. I don’t really know why, but it’s something I’d like to focus more on. I decided to start this by making a salad I saw in Olive Magazine (April 2014 issue) to serve with the Greek Chicken Flatbreads I posted here. Whilst Beans and Greens Salad doesn’t necessarily sound the most exciting, it really does taste far more interesting than you’d think. It’s very fresh and zingy and works well as a side dish or, I reckon, brilliantly on its own if you added a bit of feta or chicken to bulk it up.

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Beans and Greens Salad (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 100g green beans, blanched and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli, chopped into small pieces and blanched
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Good handful of baby watercress
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil

Method:

Put the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the vinegar and mustard together, then whisk in 3 tbsp olive oil and season. (I took the lazy option in making the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a clean jar, and shook it vigorously until everything was combined!). Add to the salad, toss everything together. Serve with crusty bread if preferred.

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Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder, A Soup for Every Day

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder, A Soup for Every Day

I mentioned previously that due to the lack of fridge space (and the complete absence of a freezer), we’re having to shop every few days for food rather than once a fortnight like we’re used to. So the other day I noticed I had a lot of potatoes left over, and decided to buy some leeks so that they could be used up in a Leek and Potato soup. And then, by the time I actually got around to making the soup, the potatoes had gone green (and I’ve read they’re poisonous like that). So I then had some leeks that needed using up… I felt this might go on for some time, but then I saw a recipe in a great book called ‘A Soup for Every Day’ by the New Covent Garden Food Co for Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder. You can buy this here and it’s currently a fiver on Amazon. I had all the ingredients apart from asparagus which I picked up for the purpose. However, I only picked up 100g and the recipe (I realised after the fact) needs 500g. But I have to say, this recipe was brilliant and I didn’t really feel that more asparagus would’ve added much. One thing I will say, though, is that the recipe says it serves 4 and I found this only yielded 2 decent portions.

I had expected this soup to be tasty but I was so surprised how deep the flavours were for something made in about half an hour. Really, really full of flavour, and if I’d have been served this in a restaurant I would have been really pleased!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.

Asparagus, Leek and New Potato Chowder (serves 4 – but see note above)

Ingredients:

  • 25g butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 250g new potatoes, halved
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 500g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
  • Half teaspoon of tarragon, finely chopped
  • 150ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leek, then cook for 5 mins until soft.

Add the potatoes and stock, and then bring to the boil. Cover, then simmer gently for 15 mins until the potatoes are almost tender.

Stir in the asparagus and tarragon, then cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the asparagus is al dente.

Remove one-third of the soup and blend until smooth.

Return the blended soup to the pan, stir in the cream and parsley, then season to taste. Reheat gently for 3 minutes and serve.


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Citrus and Broccoli Couscous

This Citrus and Broccoli Couscous was a lovely side dish I served with the recently posted Cod with Garlic Butter and Gremolata – you can see the recipe here. Because I liked this dish in its own right, it gets its own post although if you want to see a picture you need to go to the cod recipe post! It’s really simple to make (in fact couscous is the best carb option for the lazy in my opinion. Pour boiling water on it, leave it, and voila!) This just requires a minor bit of squeezing and chopping and the results are great. This particular recipe went really well with the fish, and it’s tasty enough in its own right to happily pep up a very plain fish fillet. In my humble opinion, of course!

KB rating 7.5/10 PR rating 7.5/10

Citrus and Broccoli Couscous (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 200g couscous
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 185ml boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250g broccoli, cut into small florets – blanched for 2 mins and refreshed

Method:

In a medium bowl, combine the couscous with 1 tbsp of the oil and the boiling water. Cover with cling film and set aside for 5 minutes or until the water has been absorbed (as I was cooking for 2 I reduced the recipe accordingly – not sure if that’s the reason that I needed more water than stated and it took a lot longer than 5 mins to absorb). So basically, use your judgement!

Add the lemon juice, orange zest and juice, chopped herbs, balsamic vinegar and the remaining oil and stir to combine with a fork. Season and stir through the broccoli florets.

Serve.


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Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Gorgonzola

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Gorgonzola, Delicious Magazine, June 2013

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Gorgonzola, Delicious Magazine, June 2013

So my diet is on hold for various reasons – my unexpected secondment to New York, my working late every night at the moment, and a distinct lack of interest in point counting being the main ones. We’re heading up to Scotland next week to spend some quality time with the Bury clan and I’m going to fully immerse myself in the wonderful food and drink options that will no doubt be waiting. And then I’ll behave myself on my return. But I have lost half a stone, and Paul has lost over a stone on the 5:2 diet. I’m very proud!

One of the many great things about the wonderful hot weather we’re getting, is that our appetites seem to decline! So much so that I felt comfortable I could bust out a vegetarian lunch for Paul… This was a bold move, but one that seemed to pay off. I didn’t even get a sarcastic ‘It was nice, but would’ve been better with bacon’! The recipe was Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Gorgonzola which was in the June 2013 issue of Delicious Magazine.

This recipe was really easy and great for a summer lunch. There are three things I’d note with the recipe. First is the absolute need to faff around and skin the broad beans. I used frozen, but I still made sure they were skinned and this recipe would really suffer if you were lazy and didn’t bother! The second is that frying the gnocchi in something like a Le Creuset is a thankless task – you need to go non-stick here. And the third is that it states it serves 6 as a starter. I thought, then, that I should do two thirds of the recipe for a healthy portioned lunch for two. It was still a LOT of food. I’d say if you did the full whack below it’d serve 4 for a main nicely.

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Gorgonzola (serves 6 as a starter – see above re: portion size)

Ingredients:

  • 100g peas (I used frozen)
  • 2 small bunches of asparagus tips
  • 300g good quality gnocchi
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g broad beans, skins removed (I used frozen here too)
  • 150g gorgonzola dolce, or other mild blue cheese, torn, to serve
  • Small bunch of parsley, basil, mint or chervil to serve
  • Small bunch of baby radishes (I used regular, thinly sliced)

Method:

Blanch the peas and asparagus tips in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain, refresh in cold running water and set aside.

Cook the gnocchi according to packet instructions, then train and toss in half a tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the gnocchi in batches, turning often, for 3-4 minutes until turning golden. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and keep warm in a low oven.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and season, then cook for 1-2 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the blanched veg and beans to warm through. Return the gnocchi to the pan, then toss to combine.

Serve topped with the blue cheese, a scattering of the fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.