February, 2011

Feb 11

Venetian Sardines



Venetian Spaghetti.jpg





















I’ve been asked by Free From Kitchen readers to include more recipes for weekday suppers, so here goes…

This Italian-inspired recipe is really tasty, quick to prepare and very economical. It’s really delicious and light. Don’t open a bottle of wine especially (unless you fancy one to accompany your meal), as it’s a great way of using up the dregs from an open bottle.


Serves 2

1 small tin best quality sardines in oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 small red chilli, very finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
100ml glass of dry white wine
1 tsp sugar



1.       In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the onions until soft.

2.       Meanwhile, drain the sardines from the oil and remove bones, skin and scales to taste.

3.       Toast the pine nuts. The simplest way I find to do this, is to place them in a dry non- stick pan for a few minutes, and toss frequently. They’re done when lightly brown.

4.       Add the sardines, carrot, raisins, chilli and toasted pine nuts to the pan with the onions in and cook until soft.  Add the vinegar, wine and sugar, mix well and simmer for a couple of minutes.

5.       Serve with spaghetti (there are some great corn, buckwheat and quinoa pastas on the market). Works equally well served with salad and bread.

Feb 11

Roasted Butternut Squash Pilaff with Fruit and Nuts



 Roasted Butternut squash pilaff with fruit and nuts

Following on from my blog at the beginning of the year, I bring to you another great winter recipe. This pilaf brings an exotic feel to a winter’s evening. Feel free to play around with the ingredients. You could try apricots, pomegranate seeds, mint or pistachios, for example. It is hearty, healthy and deeply flavoursome. I find it works very well as my packed lunch the following day, too.


Serves 2-3

500ml vegetable stock
1 small butternut squash
Pinch of saffron
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 small handful chopped coriander
50g finely sliced Brazil nuts
200g Basmati rice
50g sour cherries


1.       Preheat the oven to 180°C

2.       Cut the squash in half and discard the seeds. Peel, then cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks. Place the chunks on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes until really tender.

3.       Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and fry for a further 2-3 minutes to coat in the oil. Stir in the squash, saffron and stock, then season and bring to the boil. Stir well, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice and squash are tender.

4.       Stir well, then taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Add the roasted butternut squash pieces.

5.       Pour the pilaff in a large bowl or on a platter. Sprinkle the cherries, Brazil nuts and coriander over the top and serve immediately.


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