Perfect Pork Tenderloin

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A corking pork recipe from last July….just as juicy1

From Alfredo's With Love

Spiced Pork Tenderloin in a Red Pepper Cream Sauce...Spicy Pork Tenderloin in a Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I love this cut, and you will find other recipes using it on here. I often pan fry it and add cream for a quick dish, but last night I wanted something more mouth fizzingly filling. The result was, I have to say this, forgive me (often when I cook a dish I admit I like it or was happy with it) but this I absolutely adored. I mean, I sat there looking at the empty plate afterwards thinking – wow – that was an experience. I felt fulfilled in every sense. It hit every spot there is to hit. It happens only now and again that I cook a dish and I really, really am pleased with it – this was one. Often, I am left thinking – that was good – but….I could do this, I could have…

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Tasty aperitif – Squash and ricotta crostini

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Another tasty aperitif / snack / starter to start your summer!

From Alfredo's With Love

Squash and ricotta crostini..Butternut Squash and Ricotta Crostini

An easy and remarkably satisfying snack for when you have friends round and want to serve something that goes well with that first glass or two of champagne!

Quarter and peel a butternut squash, cut into slices and smear with olive oil and cumin seeds and a little rock salt. Roast in a hot oven for around an hour until you can pop a knife easily into the flesh. Let it cool  – then spread onto warm slices of ciabatta or good farmhouse bread – top with a spoonful of ricotta, a little black pepper and a leaf or two of fresh mint – you could also use basil leaves if you fancy…but mint is marvellous.

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Simplest tastiest pizza you can make…

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Great for start of the summer holidays to keep your kids happy and for that last minute supper idea…

From Alfredo's With Love

My easy flat bread pizzas...Easy Flat Bread Pizzas

An easy family favourite. I buy Sainsbury’s garlic and coriander or parsley flat breads – but any good brand will do. Or make your own flatbreads. I make my own tomato sauce – I pop a chilli-with a few cuts in to stop it exploding, some oregano and a garlic clove and some chopped basil stalks into a frying pan with olive oil – heat gently – then add a tin of good chopped tomatoes, a little salt & black pepper..then leave to cook on a lowish heat for about 30 minutes until thick. Then spread a tablespoon or two over each flat bread – top with two or three slices of mozzarella and a slice or two of serrano or parma ham. Add a few flakes of dried chilli if you wish – pop onto an oven tray and into the oven- at 180c for about…

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Asparagus, Taleggio and Prosciutto Pizzetta…

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A pizzetta is just a small pizza

This wonderful topping was inspired by one I came across at a restaurant called Polpo in London.

Asparagus, Taleggio and Prosciutto Pizzetta...

You can make your own dough – for one pizzetta you would only need a ball the size of your palm…but I cheated and used some fabulous round naan breads from a local deli. They worked a treat.

For each pizzetta you will need:

2 asparagus spears

Several slices of the hard style mozzarella
3 or 4 fine slices of taleggio
3 slices of prosciutto, though you could use serrano ham or speck
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 230c.

Slice each of the asparagus spears on the diagonal into about 5 pieces. pop in boiling water for two minutes then drain and rinse under the cold tap.

Evenly distribute the cheeses on the base until more or less covered. …but leave a ring around the edge as the taleggio melt beautifully and oozes outwards. Scatter the asparagus pieces onto the cheese. Pop into the oven straight onto the rack for 5 to 6 minutes – if using your own dough, put the pizzetta onto a baking sheet or pizza stone pre warmed. It should take about 7 minutes.

When the pizzeta is done, you will see the cheese run…remove from the oven and lay the ham slices on the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a good grind of black pepper….and serve! Great with a crisp green salad or radicchio leaves with a light dressing of oil.

The blend of flavours is fabulous and it makes a welcome change to the usual tomato and moz topping.

Experiment too with toppings – another favourite is a pizzetta topped with green olives, mozzarella, basil leaves and anchovies.

This is a very Venetian dish and I have enjoyed several varieties in the beautiful back street bars of Venice known locally as bàcari…and now my reminiscing has made me want to check out flights back to that most magical of cities!

Give this a go…please!

Fabulous Courgette Pasta Recipe

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Courgette & chorizo pasta a la crema...

Courgette and Chorizo Pasta A La Crema…

This was a swift store cupboard special supper and one of the tastiest of the last week. I wanted to adapt my usual lardon and courgette pasta…and the simple answer was replace the lardons with cubed chorizo. The result was a sublime cocktail of flavours that slipped down and satisfied.

Do this. It is going to make your week.

100 gm of cubed chorizo
One courgette cubed
50ml single cream
Small bunch of coriander chopped
Pasta
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

In a splash of olive oil heated for a minute, add the courgette and pan fry until starting to just brown, then add the chorizo and continue frying gently whilst you cook the pasta.

Just before you drain the pasta, add the cream and a grind of sea salt and black pepper. Then add the chopped coriander.

Serve on the hot pasta.

Quick, sensuous and delectable. It’s what suppers should be.

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For another exciting twist on the courgette recipe try this one from Nigel Slater

Sautéed mushrooms on garlic toast with a parmesan cream…

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Sautéed mushrooms on garlic toast with a parmesan cream...

Some things go just naturally together. You hear so often about colours that do or do not go together. Fashion revolves around colours and shapes, shades and cuts. Music is all about harmony and rhythm. So too with food. Food revolves around pairings and teamwork – flavour matchings, some forced, some natural, some accidental. Art is all about shades, textures, lines and colour matching. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and beauty is all around us. It is here in Bonnie Lalley’s painting, capturing the delicate association of three wonders of nature – highlighting the vibrancy of three ingredients that magically meld together on the plate. Pork, mushrooms, garlic. And for me, of all the great cuts that the fabulous creature that is the pig supplies to our world, bacon is undoubtedly one item I could not live without.

Bonnie’s painting reminded me of one of my favourite special brunch dishes. Please try it and wallow in the way nature brings trios of tastes to our palates.

Sautéed mushrooms on garlic toast with a parmesan cream

For the mushrooms

A knob of butter
A drizzle olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 handfuls of mushrooms of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
A handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
A sprig fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the parmesan cream

200ml7fl oz double cream
40g/1½oz parmesan, finely grated

For the toast

4 thick slices of rustic bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 garlic clove, halved

For the bacon and eggs

4 slices smoked streaky bacon
1 tbsp vinegar
2 free-range eggs
2 sprigs parsley, to garnish

For the mushrooms, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter, olive oil and shallots. Fry for 2-3 minutes until softened then add the mushrooms. Increase the heat and fry the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden-brown around the edges. De-glaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, the stir in the herbs. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.

For the parmesan cream, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over a medium heat then whisk in the parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Keep warm.

For the toast, preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and toast on the griddle pan until crisp and golden-brown on both sides. Rub one side of each piece of toast with the garlic. Set aside and keep warm. Keep the griddle pan hot.

For the bacon and eggs, griddle the bacon rashers in the same pan you used for the toast until crisp and then set aside and keep warm.

Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer and pour in the vinegar. Crack the eggs into ramekins or cups and tip them gently into the water. Cook for 2 minutes or until the white is opaque and the yolk cooked to your liking- for me the eggs have to be soft and ready to run! Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, place the toast on serving plates, top with the mushrooms then the egg and lay over the bacon, spoon over the cream sauce and finish with a sprig of parsley.

These are ingredients that go together that were made for each other.

Just like Bonnie’s painting and my recipe!

Pan fried trout fillets with a basil and lime mayo, balsamic mange tout and buttered Jersey Royals…

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Pan fried trout fillets with a basil and lime mayo, balsamic mange tout and buttered Jersey Royals...

Friday night is fish night but I wanted something so simple I could do it standing on my head whilst imbibing a glass or two of a rather fine cabernet sauvignon. Well, this is it. The trout was gently pan fried in olive oil, turned after five minutes and the skin removed with a fish slice. Then I cooked it for another 3 minutes. The Jersey Royals I had sliced prior to boiling them for 15 minutes, then draining them and adding a large wedge of butter, a dash of sea salt and a spritz or two of black pepper.

The mange tout I popped in a hot oiled wok for 4 minutes, then added several dashes of crema di balsamico before serving it alongside the trout and the potatoes. I had earlier added 4 tablespoons of mayo to a bowl with the juice of half a lime and several basil leaves roughly torn. Stir it round then gently tickle it along the cooked trout.

A wonderful Friday feast that makes you feel healthy just by looking at it.

The mange tout gives the dish a little crunch and the flavours simply skip off the plate.

Brazilian Barbecued Beef….

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Brazilian Barbecued Beef....

This is one of the best ways there is to cook and eat beef…believe me. It is easy to do, saves on washing up and it is quick! Well, relatively! Perfect for a barbecue on a World Cup night. In Brazil this is a typical way to cook beef.

Get a good piece of silverside of beef (perfect for this dish as it is inexpensive and takes the heat perfectly – ending up as tender as can be) with no fat on. Rub it all over in salt. Put your barbecue on and let the coals get to white heat. Put the beef onto the grill and treat like a large sausage! Keep turning it over for half an hour. You will get a few flames at first but it will soon calm down. After 30 minutes of turning you will end up with a wonderfully dark crusted piece of meat. Take it to one side on a board and carve off the crispy bits and serve straight away.

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Pop the joint that remains back on to the barbecue and continue turning as it cooks. This is a meal to savour and not rush – eating in a series of stages.

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The next round the pieces sliced off after about 10 minutes will be beautifully medium rare. Then cut the remaining joint into steak size slices and place back on the barbecue for a further 10 minutes whilst you enjoy the meat you’ve just carved.

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I served it with buttered coriander new potatoes and lamb’s lettuce (mâché).

This is such an economical and gloriously tasty way to eat beef. The Brazilians have got it wrapped. Perfect. My son, the steak aficionado in our house, announced that this was probably the best way he has ever eaten beef.

I have to agree with him. Magical.

All purpose red pepper cream sauce…

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All purpose red pepper cream sauce...

This is a classic standby of mine…you can have it over chicken, pork, fish, or just simply over a good bowl of fresh pasta. This is a red pepper chopped and pan fried with a chopped clove of garlic in olive oil until the red pepper starts to brown a little. Then add a sprinkle or two of rosemary and a grind of black pepper and sea salt. Add a slice or two of prosciutto cut torn into pieces. Fry for about 30 seconds more. The peppers should be soft. Add a small pot of fresh single cream. Heat through for another minute or two, then pour over the dish of your choice…
marvellous, cheap and simple.

Simple Early Summer Sunday Roast…

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Simple Early Summer Sunday Roast...

Hey! No frills here. Nothing fancy. Just blending good quality ingredients that capture early summer sun whilst clinging onto typical English Sunday roast values. First, take a really well sourced organic chicken – stuff it with 6 or 7 garlic cloves, half a lemon and a fair drizzling of olive oil. Rub the skin with oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and dried crushed chilli seeds.
Then finish off with a swirl or two of balsamic vinegar. Pop in a preheated oven at 220c for 20 minutes. Then turn down to 190c for a further 40 minutes. Boil about 4 or 5 new potatoes halved per person for last twenty minutes of chicken time. Arrange on a large platter a mix to your taste of salad greens plus 12 tasty baby tomatoes halved. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Once the chicken is ready, take the meat off the breast and the legs and arrange on the platter. I also made my own sage stuffing balls, and added them once they had cooled a little. Add another swirl of olive oil, and serve with the jus from the chicken.

This is such a wonderfully tasty Sunday dish, that dispenses with the usual heaviness of an English Sunday roast, and feels light, summery and full of promise. Easy, adaptable and fun.

Oh, and simple!