Salsa verde

Photo by Gary Corbett

“Like most cooks, I use heaps of herbs in my dishes. It’s a great way to add freshness and a burst of flavour to your cooking. That’s why I love salsa verde. Not only is it delicious, it’s extremely versatile and can be used to jazz up salads, canapés and main courses. You can also use whatever herbs you have to hand, or put more of a herb you like in. Enjoy”

 Ingredients for salsa verde

  • Bunch of basil
  • Bunch of parsley
  • Bunch of mint
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Bunch of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice and rind of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 1 green chilli
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
Method
  1. Pick the leaves off your herbs and put into a food processor. Blitz for a few seconds to break them down.
  2. Add the other ingredients except the olive oil. Blitz until you get the consistency you want. It works as a chunky sauce or a smooth one.
  3. Add olive oil until you achieve the consistency you want.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Caprese salad
Layer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and pickled onions on a plate.
To pickle the onions I use equal parts red wine vinegar and white sugar. Stir the vinegar until sugar is dissolved and put in finely chopped white onions. It’s best to leave the for a day to soften.
Dollop spoonfuls of greek yoghurt and salsa verde over the top. You can also put layers on some sourdough bread for a healthy lunch.
Fresh and delicious.
Baked potatoes
To bake the potato, drizzle with olive oil and salt and wrap in aluminium foil. Bake in a 180c oven for 45 minutes or until the potato is cooked all the way through. Cut the potato open and dollop some sour cream inside, Add the salsa verde and grate some parmesan cheese over the top.
Makes a great midweek dinner if you’re super busy.
Cucumber sandwiches
To be a little bit classy you can jazz up your cucumber sandwiches with salsa verde.
(I actually don’t like cucumber but with the salsa verde they’re delicious).
Butter some white bread and spread on a thin layer of salsa verde on both sides.
Peel your cucumber and add thin slices to one slice. Put the top on, cut off the crusts and slice in half.
Now you’re classy as hell!

Pink Salmon Profiteroles

“Sometimes I try new things on my catering menu that look fabulous on the plate but are time-consuming to produce and hard to get out to the public quickly.  That’s when I fall back on old standards that have worked for years but add a small twist.  This recipe has been made by my mum for years as a filling for vol au vents.  We always loved it and she could never make enough of them to satisfy us.  With a couple of small twists I’ve turned it into a bite-size canape that looks great and tastes fabulous.  For this recipe I buy a bag of 20 small profiteroles for about $4.50.  (No point making them for that price!) Here’s to those retro recipes that never go out of fashion.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3 tbsn plain flour
  • 1 tbsn Keens curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin red or pink tuna
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbpn baby capers
  • Fresh dill
  • 20 small profiteroles
  • Watercress

Method

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and cook in a small amount of butter until soft.
  2. Heat the milk.
  3. Melt 2 tbsn butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour cooking off for a minute.
  4. Slowly add warm milk to butter and flour, whisking constantly to remove lumps.  Keep stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add salt pepper and the curry powder then remove from the heat.
  6. Crumble the salmon and remove any skin and bones.  Add to the white sauce and stir through with the lemon zest, finely diced dill and capers.
  7. Refrigerate until needed.
  8. To serve warm the filling slightly and cut the tops off the profiteroles.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the profiteroles and garnish with watercress and dill.

 

Marian’s Moroccan Chicken

“I’ve got to thank my friend Marian for this recipe.  She made it for me years ago and ever since I’ve had it on my stand-by list for quick and easy dinners.  It even features on my Moroccan catering menu alongside slow-cooked beef with dates and orange almond cake.  The best thing about this dish is the combination of flavours and textures.  You get the sweet and sour tang from the vinegar and sugar and the caramelised goodness of the chicken with the salty hit from the capers and the olives.  Whoops, just drooled on the keyboard thinking about it!  Of course as an avid cook I couldn’t quite leave the recipe alone so I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly (Sorry Marian!).  You may also notice that this recipe feeds quite a few (Christmas party catering!) so just cut the ingredients in half if you want, or make huge amounts and eat as leftovers.  I’ve paired it with a roast pumpkin cous cous salad.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2kg chicken thighs
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 400g pitted prunes
  • 400g dried apricots
  • 300g pitted olives
  • 150g capers
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tbsn dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Quarter the chicken thighs and mushrooms and place in a large container.
  2. Finely slice the onion into rings and slice the garlic.  Add to the chicken.
  3. Add the prunes, apricots, olives, capers and bay leaves.
  4. Combine the vinegars, oil and wine with the sugar and stir into the chicken mixture.
  5. Finally add the oregano, salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Place mixture in an baking dish and cook at 200 degrees c for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Don’t worry if some of the fruit and chicken caramelises (burns!) during the cooking process, this adds to the flavour.

Roast pumpkin and cous cous salad

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 2 tbsn ras e hanout (Moroccan spice)
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • 1/2 cup currents
  • 150g pine nuts
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin into 1cm cubes. Coat in olive oil and Ras e hanout and bake in a moderate oven until cooked.  Allow to cool.
  2. Place cous cous in a sealed container and cover with boiling water.  Place the lid on and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.
  4. In a dry pan roast the pine nuts until they start to turn golden then put in a bowl.
  5. Finely dice the red onion and coriander and add to the cous cous with the other ingredients.
  6. Top with roast pumpkin and some more coriander.