All posts by Donna

Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

So I took a little bit of a break over the summer (okay, and half of September as well). The weather in London was great, one of the nicest summers since we moved here, and just when it got a little cool in late August, we went to the US to visit family and friends, and enjoyed a little more sunshine at the same time.  By the time we got back, it had warmed up here and we had a lovely trip to the Isles of Scilly, where I drank a lot more cider than wine (in fact, I’m not sure I had any wine at all). But now back to the wine drinking!

Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

My partner and I have stopped eating red meat (he had done so once before, for about six months until the call of bacon lured him back), so this week I selected a meatless recipe that will go well with red wine (technically it’s vegan but not the way I prepared it).  The recipe can be found at the kitchn and was really tasty – the caramelized onions really added a wonderful flavour.

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Chicken Tinga Tacos

I may have discovered my new favourite way to have chicken with this week’s recipe, Chicken Tinga Tacos from Hot and spicy, the chicken was great wrapped in a flour tortilla with a little soured cream and guacamole.  I admit I was a little skeptical that the chicken would cook through in 25 minutes, but it did (confirmed with a thermometer). Relatively quick and easy when you’re in need of a Mexican food fix.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

I think the linked recipe is just about perfect and the only thing I’ll do differently next time is reduce the sauce a bit more before adding the chicken.  I also tasted frequently when adding the peppers – they’re pretty hot, so it’s best to add a little at a time rather than everything at once.  While they may not be widely available,  that chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the UK or ordered online (note to self: bring more back next trip to the US!).  One further helpful hint – it took me some time, once we moved here, to figure out that cilantro and coriander were the same thing, after numerous fruitless attempts to find cilantro in the local supermarket.

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Pasta with Whiskey and Mushrooms

Well, it’s been a little longer since my last post that I had intended and I’ve had some time to think about what I’ll be doing with this site going forward.  Not a big change, but  selecting a single wine with each dish, and focusing on picking the wine first.  I’ve built up a bit of a collection from a variety of places, so it doesn’t make sense to include the price or where I bought it, as it may not be readily available.  Most are reasonably priced, however, although we do have a few bottles for special occasions.

That being said, this week’s recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, with some modifications. Primarily, substituting crème fraîche for the heavy cream and mushroom liquid (from reconstituting the dried mushrooms) for white wine.

Pasta with Whiskey and Mushrooms

I can’t say this was a huge success, but I’d certainly make a variation of this again (using the white wine, a different mix of mushrooms, some fresh parsley and more crème fraîche).

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Grilled Marinated Steak with Salsa Verde

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t cook a lot of red meat at home – and after this week’s attempt, I think I need a bit more practice.  I grilled a marinated steak accompanied by a salsa verde – the recipe can be found at The Italian Dish. I’m a bit on the fence about the marinade, maybe because I prefer steak seasoned with salt and pepper and not much else, so the other flavours overpowered the steak itself.  The salsa verde was a different story – potent but addicting. I’ve eaten it with all sorts of things over the last few days and still have parsley and anchovies in the frig, so I may be making more very soon.

Marinated Steak with Salsa Verde

I marinated the steak for about 24 hours, but next time would probably skip the marinade and go right to the sauce.

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Seared Scallops with Spinach and Risotto

A little while ago, when I made the baked fish with courgettes, I bought the fish from our local fishmonger, something I’ve been meaning to do for some time now.  Of course, I went in to this little shop with a £20 note and credit cards to buy a small piece of fish and the gentleman working there very kindly told me to pay him next time.  Then I got busy, was travelling and so forth, and forgot to go back.  So it was probably a month or so after the fact by the time I got back there and repaid them.  I didn’t buy anything more that day, but saw that they had scallops and so back I went to pick some up for this recipe (with the correct change this time). It’s a nice little shop, with all of the fish fresh caught in Cornwall – so it’s best to go in with an open mind. Fortunately they had the scallops this time so that saved a trip to the supermarket.

The recipe can be found at skinny  It’s the first time I’ve cooked scallops and I didn’t get as nice a sear on them as I would have liked, but it still tasted nice!

Seared Scallops with Spinach and Risotto

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Creamy Mustard Chicken with Spring Greens

My veg box seems to have shifted from winter cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli to spring greens, so this recipe from Abel & Cole sounded like a perfect way to add them to a meal.  Another dish with mustard – this time grainy mustard – though it’s softened with the honey and crème fraîche.

Creamy Mustard Chicken with Spring Greens

I reworked the recipe a little – the timing seemed a little short for the chicken and I didn’t want to overcook the greens, so after before adding the greens, I put it in the oven at 200ºC for 10 minutes, then back on the hob, adding the greens and continued from there.  For the thyme, it doesn’t appear to have an amount listed so I used 1 tsp dried thyme.

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Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus

With English asparagus now becoming available,  this recipe for pasta with goat cheese and roasted asparagus sounded like a winner. Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy it.  With pasta and goat cheese, it’s a quick and easy meal that tastes great.

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus

For the asparagus, I roasted for about 10 minutes and that was plenty of time in the oven. Next time, I might add roast some cherry tomatoes and add them as well and go with a stronger goat cheese – the one I used was fairly mild. Minor adjustments to recipe that works well as is.

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Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

More often than not,  when I cook fish at home, it’s in the oven in a packet, which means a super quick clean-up and no lingering fish odors.  For something a little different, I decided to pan fry it in butter, paired with puy lentils, another recipe from Epicurious.

salmon with puy lentils

The herb butter, with tarragon and chives, added a creamy richness to the dish, while the mustard and lemon juice gives it a bit of zing. Good flavours that go well together.  The pan frying really gives a nice colour to the salmon and wasn’t as smelly as I feared!

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Pizza Margherita

Like a lot of people, our go-to Friday night dinner is often pizza, especially after a long work week when we’re both tired.  We’re fortunate to have a good place right around the corner that delivers, but I do like to make it myself sometimes. The crust is  the most difficult part to get right and that’s the what I change the most from one time to the next, so when I saw this recipe for pizza dough in the NY Times, I thought I’d give it a shot.  It uses 00  flour, typically used for pasta, and I’ve not seen that in other dough recipes in the past. For the toppings, I followed the related recipe for Pizza Margherita.

Pizza Margherita

Another tricky things for me is stretching the dough and I’ve often resorted to rolling it out, usually with pretty mediocre results, but I found this video which was really pretty helpful and this is the technique I used.  Another challenge with making pizza at home is getting the oven really hot, so I did let it pre-heat at the highest temperature for a good hour, as recommended in the NY Times recipe.  All in all, I was pretty pleased with the result and will use the dough recipe in the future.

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Herb Roasted Lamb Chops

With Easter almost here, I thought I’d try a lamb recipe this week (and also because I wanted to have a few more red wines on the list). I don’t tend to eat a lot of lamb and I think this is the first time that I actually cooked it.  All in all, it came out well (done, that is) and so with a second try at half the oven time, it came out perfectly. The rosemary, thyme and garlic went wonderfully with the lamb.

The recipe is from Epicurious, a terrific resource, and can be found here.  As noted above, I reduced the oven time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and the chops were pink and juicy.  If you like your more well done, then I’d stick with the 10 minutes.

herb roasted lamp chop

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