Garlic Spaghetti

A gorgeously simple spaghetti meal made with just a handful of ingredients. Refreshing simplicity is really worth a try when the cupboard is a bit bare.

Ingredients: 
Garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 anchovy fillet
Spaghetti (for two people)


Method:
Mince or finely chop the garlic (one clove per person) and fry off gently in the olive oil, stir in a chopped anchovy fillet and allow it to dissolve into the oil. Don’t be afraid of the strength of the anchovy flavour or how it works through the pasta. It is not fishy in the slightest and melts away into nothing.

Tip:  freeze the leftover tinned anchovies, as you often only ever need to use one or two per recipe. This way the rest will not go to waste and you always have some to hand. As a block in their frozen state, you can just cut through it with a knife.

Set the sauce aside whilst you cook the spaghetti in some salted water with a dash of olive oil. Once it is cooked to your liking, drain and toss the spaghetti through the sauce to coat well.

Serve with a generous helping of parsley and grated Parmesan.


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STEAK NIGHT ~ Thyme and Garlic Steak and Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

Friday nights are made for steak and wine.

Ingredients:
For the steak
2 cloves of garlic per steak
2 sprigs of thyme per steak
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil

For the tomatoes
10-15 ripe cherry tomatoes per person
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
Freshly milled black pepper

This fantastic thyme and garlic seasoning is certainly different from your average salt and pepper seasoning. Finely mince some garlic cloves onto a chopping board and onto the same surface drop the thyme leaves, salt and pepper with drizzle a pool of olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil for added sweetness). Rub the ingredients together, using your fingers to make a sort of marinade that you can paste over the steaks. Slap the meat onto the board, coating both sides really well with the infused oil.

Tip: Coat the meat with oil rather than oil the skillet or griddle. The pan needs to be really hot and you don’t want the oil to start smoking before the meat is cooking – it can give food an unpleasant taste. This is especially the case with extra virgin olive oil. It also means less oil is wasted.

Fry off the cherry tomatoes in a pan, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and half a teaspoon of sugar to taste. Finish with a grind or two of black pepper. The idea is to warm the tomatoes through until they are soft and just about splitting through their skins – don’t cook them to a pulp. They should be ready in couple of minutes.

When everything else is ready, the last job is to fry the steaks to your own liking in a hot skillet.

Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a refreshing Greek dip perfect for barbecued meats from a simple lamb cutlet to homemade spicy burgers. It can be part of a mezze platter with all your favourite crudités like raw celery sticks, radishes and carrots or even with grilled vegetable kebabs and flat breads. My grandmother mentioned how well the dip goes with fried slices of aubergine and she’s not wrong. It’s such a versatile little dip – cheap, fast and simple. Home made is so much better than the watery shop bought stuff. You literally only need three ingredients to put it together and you’ll never buy it from the supermarket again.

Ingredients:
1 pot of Greek yoghurt
1/4 of a cucumber
2 cloves of garlic

Method:
Mince the garlic. If you don’t have a garlic crusher, you can use flat of a knife to press finely chopped cloves into the chopping board to create a paste as smooth as possible. Dice the cucumber into little squares. Mix both the garlic and cucumber into the Greek yoghurt. Presto: basic Tzatziki!

Tip: Choose the best Greek yoghurt that you can find. It really defines the quality of the dip. Another tip is to leave it to chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving in order for the garlic flavour to really permeate through the yoghurt.

Optional ingredients are mint, dill or lemon juice (and zest). Mint goes hand in hand with lamb – so I add two or three sprigs of chopped mint leaves to the yoghurt when I serve it with lamb chops. Adding lemon is fantastic with a plate of spicy barbecued chicken kebabs and glass of chilled white wine.

Kalí óreksi!   ~