Courgette and lemon linguini

Ingredients

500g linguini, the best quality you can find

6 small to medium sized courgettes, ideally a mix of light green, dark green and yellow

6 large tbsp. grated Parmesan

3 large lemons zested mixed with amount of sea salt

A good slug of best olive oil

Juice of 1 large lemon or two small ones

1 cup of basil leaves, chopped at the last minute

1 cup of mint leaves, chopped at the last minute

3 or 4 courgette flowers, finely sliced

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Cut the courgettes in half vertically and then slice very thinly on a mandolin or by hand if necessary, set aside
  2. Place a large sieve over a large empty bowl, this will catch your pasta water which will be the base of your sauce
  3. Bring a lot of water to the boil in a very large pan and salt it with at least a tbsp. of salt
  4. Make sure you have all your ingredients ready beside you and that your guests are ready to eat, this is a very quick cook
  5. Drop the linguine into the water and boil for one minute or however long it says on your packet
  6. Drain over your bowl and leave the linguine in the sieve or colander
  7. Speedily make your sauce by putting 6 ladles of pasta water into your still hot pan with the Parmesan and half of your lemon salt, stir to combine
  8. Add half of the lemon juice and the olive oil and return to the heat
  9. Quickly add the courgettes and then the linguine, stir well and then remove from the heat
  10. Now stir in the herbs and taste and the courgette flowers if you are using them
  11. Add more seasoning, lemon, cheese etc until you are happy
  12. Serve immediately

Ps although this really does not need to be piping hot it is important to finish the dish as quickly as you can so that your pasta does not become sticky

Basic Tahina

I have been making tahina for years in an ad hoc sort of chuck everything in and hope for the best sort of way. I have never had any complaints but when I brought this version from David Solomonov’s book Zahav out it was definitely voted a best ever and I definitely can see the difference in being a bit more precise.

It  is also a great base to add beetroot or loads of herbs to for  a beet or green tahina

Ingredients

4 very large cloves of garlic or their equivalent with their skins on

190 ml lemon juice

1/2 tsp of sea salt

500 g best tahina, I am a little devoted to the brand Al  but do use one of the middle eastern ones that you buy in a plastic tub/jar. The domestic health food stuff just isn’t the same

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Aprox 300 ml cold water

Method

Put the garlic cloves, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt into your processor and process for until it is all liquidized

Pour out and leave to rest for 10 minutes whilst you add the tahini, the cumin  and the rest of the salt  to your processor

Pass the garlic and lemon juice liquid through a small sieve discarding all solids

Pour the remaining liquid into your processor

Begin to process adding cold water  a little at a time as you. the mixture will seize at first looking stiff and add but carry on adding water  until you have the consistency of thick double cream

Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon or cumin to taste

This will keep well for at least a week in the fridge

 

 

 

 

Israeli style roast chicken dinner

This is a post with a story. Recently on a visit to Tel Aviv I become even more enamored with the food there. I was determined to bring it home to Le Colombier. The garden here provides so much of the produce used there and the Middle-Eastern way of meze service plus the Mediterranean influence seemed just ideal for us. I looked for a book to inspire me and lo and behold David Solmonov and Stephen Cook’s Zahav did that in spades. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The story of their journey is food is moving and beautifully written and the recipes are great.

IMG_4459.jpg

 

Below is a meal we had last night totally inspired by the book but adapted for our cooking methods here. All the dishes can be made in a domestic oven it is just that we love the wood- fired smokiness that we can get here at Le Colombier

Ingredients 1 large chicken about 1.7 kilos

Chick peas cooked in chicken stock

Tahina, pitta bread and roasted onion

For the marinade

2 tbsp harissa

1 tbs celery seeds or 11/2 tsp celery salt

1 tbsp sea salt 1 tbsp olive oil

Method 1. Unwrap your chicken and press down hard on the back bone so that the chicken opens up to look like a spatchcock, you can remove the back bone if you are like but I find it too much like hard work

2. Mix together the marinade ingredients

3. Rub over the chicken

4. Leave to marinate overnight in the fridge

5. Remove from the fridge, place a roasting tin with a little more olive oil and some cold water covering the base

6. Cook in a hot oven, 200 degrees C for a fan oven or if you are lucky enough to have one a wood burning oven and cook until on a probe reads 75 degrees C

7. Cut into 8 pieces and serve on a platter scattered with the chick peas with the pitta bread around the edge of the platter

Serve with Pita bread of laffa topped with olive oil and zaatar

Tahina (recipe separately posted)

Chick peas, cooked in chicken stock

Wood roasted red peppers

Wood roasted onions A

ll the above can be stuffed inside your pitta to with your chicken

If you really want a feast add the following salads on the side Green bean and avocado salad with dill and lemon juice

Green salad with a nice mustardy vinaigrette

Beetroot salad with beetroot tahina, hazelnuts and coriander flowers

 

IMG_4405

 

We just loved this Salad , served with a whole roasted sea trout and cucumber and yogurt salad

Ingredients

Serves 8

For the beetroot tahina

250g beetroot

½ clove garlic

60g tahini

20g lemon juice

20g cold water

70g cooked chickpeas

10g olive oil

60g Greek yogurt

½ tsp salt

For the salad

1kilo of really fresh beets, I use the variety Cylindra which we grow here in the garden and which I am completely addicted to.

2tbsp roasted hazelnuts

Vinaigrette dressing or olive oil

Malden salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh, coriander flowers or any herb or flower of your choice

 

Method

1.    Mix all the ingredients in a food processor

2.    Taste and see if it needs more of anything

For the rest of the salad

1.    Bring the beetroot to the boil then simmer gently till not hard in the middle when pierced with a tooth pick. It is impossible to say how long this will take as it depends so much on the freshness of the beets and the size of them. Cylindra are long and we pick them quite small so they cook in around 20 mins or simmering but large, older ones can take a lot longer.

2.    Let them cool, peel them and slice thinly, season well with salt and pepper and dress then with either vinaigrette or just lovely olive oil

3.    Place the tahina on the base of your serving dish and then the slices of beetroot on top

4.    Sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts and coriander flowers or any herb of your choice and maybe a little more Maldon salt