Tag Archives: cheese

Baked stuffed zucchini flowers with fresh cheese & pistachio

24 Jul

DSC_0978DSC_0977

And we’re back. It’s been a long time, blog. A lot of recipes as yet unpublished. Anyway.

The sight of zucchini flowers is a little bit exciting. I mean, we know you can’t buy these at your local supermarket. Fair enough. We’d pined after zucchini flowers for long enough to know that this is not widely available. Since we abandoned this blog, we have moved sarf of the Thames to deepest darkest SE14. No more of the organic baby shops, boutiques and gastropubs of Crouch End. Nah, bruv. We’re in Telegraph Hill now. As such, we have ready access to fabulous Brockley Market on a Saturday morning (and Maltby Street – another story), which does a good trade in seasonal and local produce. Among them, famed zucchini flowers (these are four for £2.50)

So when you do manage to get your hands on zucchini flowers, it seems a bit of a sacrilege (although quite delicious) to dunk the sinewy petals into a batter and dump them in the fiery furnaces of a hissing saucepan of  boiling oil . Baking is much more genteel, innit? The result clearly isn’t crispy (there remains bite in the stem and texture in the crushed pistachios), but is so fresh and summery I would say, should fried zucchini flowers meet baked zucchini flowers in a dark alley, and if the two had a grievance with one another, then my money is on baked zucchini flowers. There. I said it.

And it’s quite versatile – the key is a light, fresh cheese as the bulk paired with a sharper cheese. Baking on the tomatoes makes the tomatoes nice and sweet, and turns it into an entire dish (a light supper or starter), as well as preventing the flowers from sticking to the pan. DSC_0975

Baked stuffed zucchini flowers

  • 4 large zucchini flowers
  • 100g mild, soft white cheese (we’ve used both a very, very fresh goats cheese and a salted ricotta)
  • 50g strong sharp cheese (with the fresh goats cheese we paired this with a hard, strong goats; with ricotta it was paired with parmesan)
  • 2 TBSP pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 TBSP thyme leaves (dry – or 1.5TBSP fresh)
  • Pinch of lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 4 ripe tomatoes

Pre-heat oven to 200C.

Crumble and grate the cheeses into a bowl. Add in the chopped pistachios, minced garlic clove, thyme and lemon zest. This should now be delicious – if not, adjust accordingly.

In stuffing the zucchini flowers you require a delicate hand, but the petals are more robust than you might imagine. With a teaspoon, scoop out the stamen (which conveniently also evicts any bugs convening in the flower). Each flower should be able to hold a good few teaspoons of mixture – larger ones will fit perhaps five or six teaspoons. In these pictures here we had some absolutely tiny flowers, and they still had some space. To close the flowers, hold the tips of all petals together and firmly but gently twist. This should remain closed.

Cut the tomatoes about 5mm thick, and lay out on greased baking tray. Arrange the stuffed zucchini flowers on the tomatoes.

Cover the flowers with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Check, and if nearly done remove foil and bake – uncovered – for a further 5 minutes.

Serve flowers with the tomatoes on which they lay. DSC_0986

Musical accompaniment: The Mynabirds

Estimated cost: £6.50

Mediterranean baked breakfast eggs

15 Jan

This is a breakfast for when you really want breakfast. For when you really need a big old feed in the morning and may or may not intend to eat anything else for the rest of the day. I mean for when you wake up pained and startled by your own hunger, wondering whether perhaps somewhere in the depths of sleep, some strange person has entered your house wielding a contraption of their own invention, the sole purpose of which is to suck out the entire contents of your stomach and use the half-digested contents as some sort of magical fuel source.

It’s also the breakfast Man Woman has after Woman has had the fortitude to wake up on a Saturday morning and do a double class at the gym, and Man has exhibited a similar level of strength in remaining in bed while one’s partner is kitting up for (and boasting about) some serious cardio-vascular exercise.

Baked eggs for brekkie is a great idea. Often the Frenchie version involves double cream and a bain marie, but this is far easier and pretty much contains your daily recommended intake of veg in one hit.

Adjust the spices for your own taste, but the below mix is a pretty darn good one.

Mediterranean baked breakfast eggs

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 C spinach, chopped (about 1/3 bunch)
  • 1 tin tomatoes (chopped or whole)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 eggs
  • Parsley
  • Feta (optional)
  • Bread (optional)

In a fry pan, heat some oil. Then add onions and garlic, sautee until softened. Add spices, spinach and tomatoes and cook until the mix has stopped being watery, but the spinach is reduced down (probably about 5-10 minutes).

Either divide the mix into a couple of heat-proof dishes, or just leave as is. Crack two eggs into each heat-proof dish (or four into the fry pan). The eggs should cover most of the mix.

Put the pans/dishes under the grill for a few minutes until eggs are cooked to your liking. Throw a couple of pieces of pita bread under the grill too while you’re at it.

Top with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

(I realise that by grilling this, it’s not technically ‘baked eggs’, but really it’s so satisfying that semantics lose their power)

Estimated cost: £4 (if you go for cheese and bread)

Musical accompaniment: Peaches

Summer spaghetti: Broad beans, spinach and mint

12 Jul

Man Woman will not dwell on the presence or absence of the English summer. It does not, in fact, weigh on our minds at all. No, rather it will often be midday before Man or Woman might even remark, ‘Oh look, dear, it happens to be a miserable shit of a day once again. Ever so glad we migrated.’

For us, as non-natives, part of the goodness of eating seasonally is actually discovering what is in fact seasonal. Broad beans, we understand, are summery even if the skies under which they grow are bleak and seemingly devoid of any sunlight. Moving on, this recipe was the first time we used them and it is pretty good. All can be made while the pasta is boiling and happily exists without the cheese if you want to go dairy-free.

A note here, this recipe quantaties are totally subjective. This amount will get you a nice balance of pasta to veg, but tweak to your tastes.

Broad bean, spinach, mint & hazelnut spaghetti

  • Wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1/3 C fresh broad beans (or peas, edame – any fresh green pod-borne things etc)
  • 1 C spinach, chopped
  • 6 or so leaves of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP hazelnuts (pistachio, pine nuts or even walnuts could also work well)
  • 100g soft goats cheese or feta (optional)
  • Butter/olive oil for frying shallots

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and chuck the spaghetti in. (Really do use wholewheat – it so much tastier).

In a small pan, heat a little butter or olive oil and throw in the shallots and nuts. After a minute or two, add the broadbeans and keep stirring as the spaghetti cooks.

Once cooked, drain the spaghetti, return the spaghetti to the large pot and throw in chopped spinach. Let it wilt a little in the still-hot pot and then mix in the beans, shallots and nuts.

Throw in mint and then serve. Top with goats cheese if you like, and either way drizzle with good olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Estimated cost: £2.20 without cheese, £4 with cheese

Musical accompaniment: Something classical. We really should start paying more attention to this.

Deep fried camembert with quince paste

6 Apr

Alright. This is deep-fried cheese. Deep-fried cheese.

Man Woman has had such a dish once or twice in our restaurant-going lives, but we never deep fry (well, wanting not to waste/use too much oil, this was kinda a shallow fry) and the idea of deep-frying something as artery assaulting as camembert was, in frankness, embarassing to ourselves.

But a friend brought us some camembert from a trip to Paris (some might say under duress) and we thought, we’re going to deep fry that mother. We’re going to batter it and fry it and eat it. We used quince paste – membrillo or marmelada if you’re Spanish or Portuguese respectively – and this does require something jammy to go alongside. Iceberg lettuce underneath provided a very welcome freshness and a scattering of herbs lightened also.

This is excellent. This is scary good. I fear we might deep fry more camembert on special occassions. This was intended as a first course, but after it we could only stomach a small glassful of gazpacho – totally sans fats. Eat this. Make this. It’s good. It is pure decadence and indulgence. Fatty and bad for you, but the French seem to manage it without getting heart disease and early onset type 2 diabetes, so in moderation, go like the clappers.

Deep fried camembert

  • 165g camembert (2/3 of a 250g wheel) cut into 6 wedges
  • panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • plain flour
  • membrillo or mermelade – Iberian quince paste
  • iceberg lettuce
  • parsley
  • chives

Cut your camembert into wedges of your choice. On one plate mix up some cracked black pepper and flour, in a bowl alongside whisk an egg briefly, in a further plate fill with panko bread crumbs.

You’ll need to alternate hands so as to keep one dry and good for use in flour, and the other ‘wet’ for dipping into the egg mix.

So coat the wedge in flour, dredge in egg then coat in panko crumbs.

Do this for all your wedges, then repeat. Double-crumbing is necessary to provide a great thick crust and is pretty damn easy to do.

Heat vegetable oil in a small pan until it’s hot enough that a small piece of bread will bubble and colour quickly after you drop it in.

We shallow fried, so put the camembert wedges in batches in, cooking for about a minute on each side. Just important to watch it develop a golden brown colour and then flip or remove. Drain excess oil on a kitchen towel.

Serve on top of iceberg lettuce and scattered pieces of marmelada or some berry compote (our attempts at a yellow pepper jam failed miserably – not in season yet – so thus the cop out with the marmelada, which works very, very well).

Estimated cost: £3.00

Musical accompaniment: The Low Anthem

Strawberries and ricotta cream wonton stack

31 Mar

This is just a pretty, simple and fun dish. That’s all. It’s been a while between blogging, so that’s about all the description Man Woman is presently inclined to offer.

Ricotta cream

  • 3 TBSP ricotta
  • 3 TBSP extra thick single cream
  • 1/2 tsp icing sugar

Wonton stack

  • 4 wonton papers
  • 4 – 6 large strawberries
  • icing sugar

Either grill your wonton papers under the grill or cook in a medium oven for about 10 minutes, or until hardened. It might be an idea to brush with butter and icing sugar, but we didn’t feel the need to. Allow to cool.

Mix your ricotta cream ingredients and set aside.

Cut your strawberries very, very thinly.

Assembly! Lay your strawberry slices out in a square, about the size of the wonton paper. Dollop a teaspoon of ricotta cream on top, then place a wonton paper diagonally across. Lay more strawberry slices on top of that wonton slice, then spread about 2 -3 tsp of ricotta cream on top. Stack the next wonton wrapper on top. Arrange your remaining strawberry slices and a dollop of cream on the final layer and dust with icing sugar.

We’ve gone for a bit of balsamic reduction and chopped strawberries here, but it’s a bit of an embellishment.

Estimated cost: (leftovers from wontons, but..) £2.10

Film accompaniment: Alphaville, Jean Luc Goddard

Ricotta buckwheat pancakes with orange blossom rhubarb compote

6 Mar

ManWoman love pancakes. In fact Man’s first attempt to impress Woman was with pancakes, having made the mixture in Man’s Marrickville kitchen and cycled over to Woman’s Erskineville abode. Now in London, Man suggests pancakes with wild abandon, to Woman’s chagrin. You see, Man sees pancakes as not just a dessert or breakfast but a very reasonable response to the question “what should we have for dinner?”.

This take on the breakfast pancake, a hotcake, came about from the need to use the left-over ricotta in ManWoman’s fridge. Adding yogurt to the mixture (instead of milk) gives the hotcake a nice tangy flavour, perfect with Woman’s rhubarb and orange compote and a dash of dark agave nectar, as in the photo below.

Ricotta buckwheat hotcakes (makes 12 small pancakes)

  • 1C ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2TBSP sugar
  • 1/8 tsp quick yeast
  • 1/2 C buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 C (soy) milk
  • 1tsp baking powder

Rhubarb & orange blossom compote

  • 4 sticks of rhubarb
  • 1 TBSP orange blossom water
  • 4 tsp brown sugar

Cut rhubarb into 5 cm chunks and place in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. After about 10 minutes, when the first pieces of rhubarb are softening, add the orange blossom water – maybe start with 2 teaspoons to see if you can handle all that blossom. After a few more minutes, when the rhubarb has stewed and is fibrously liquid, add sugar.

This is not a sweet compote at all – really, more like just straight up stewed fruit.

Estimated cost: £7

Musical accompaniment: The Bees

Decadence in the evening: Truffle mushroom pasta

16 Feb

Having been emboldened to make more use of our truffle oil following our truffle scrambled eggs life lesson, and inspired to recreate an amazing dish at 500 in Archway, Man Woman gave this a shot. It took ten minutes.

I’m not lying. It was good.

Truffle mushroom pasta

  • Fresh egg pasta for 2
  • 150g oyster mushroom
  • 150g chestnut mushroom (or any mix of nice mushrooms)
  • 1 small shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP truffle oil
  • Parmesan grated

Cook onion and butter in 1 TBSP of butter. Once largely cooked, add the extra butter.

Meanwhile cook pasta. Once cooked, drain and add to the mushroom mix.

In bowls, drizzle truffle oil and grate parmesan over the pasta.

Estimated cost: £3.50

Musical accompaniment: Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1

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