A quick easy mid-week meal that even the children eat! The sauce goes with any pasta – last night we tried it with ricotta ravioli.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3-4 rashers bacon, chopped finely
1 large zucchini, grated
1 large handful semi-dried tomatoes, chopped
250-300g spaghetti (approx)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan, grated

Boil water for pasta. Saute onion and bacon for 5 minutes over medium heat until bacon starts to colour. Add grated zucchini and stir through for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add semi-dried tomatoes and turn down heat. Cook pasta and drain. Add pasta to sauce pan, drizzle with olive oil and stir sauce through. Season to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan.

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Duck breasts with Puy lentils

September 15, 2010

This is a Valentine Warner recipe that uses duck breasts. You could use chicken breasts if you prefer, but the duck is delicious! If you are pushed for time you can use a tin of cooked green lentils, omitting the first step below.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

175g/6oz Puy lentils
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
10 rashers smoked bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small celery sticks, finely chopped
2 large handfuls fresh mushrooms, wiped clean
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
dash red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
small handful fresh parsley, chopped

For the duck

4 duck breasts
salt
knob of butter

Place the lentils and the bay leaves into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring them to the boil, then drain. Refill the pan with cold water to just above the level of the lentils. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. Add more water if the level falls below the lentils.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until just beginning to colour.

Add the shallots, carrots, garlic and celery and fry until the vegetables are soft and the shallots are golden-brown.

Add the mushrooms and cook for one minute.

Drain the cooked lentils, then return to the pan they were cooked in. Add the bacon and mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Season, to taste, with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

Add a dash of red wine vinegar and cook over a low heat for five minutes.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and stir in the chopped parsley.

For the duck, using a sharp knife, finely score the skin of duck breasts in parallel lines, then season well with salt.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the duck breasts skin-side down and place a small plate on top so the breasts stay flat and cook evenly. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until golden-brown, then turn the duck breasts over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and leave to rest for five minutes.

To serve, spoon equal portions of the lentils onto four plates. Slice each duck breast and arrange over each portion of lentils.

This is a variation on a recipe for which I no longer have the original. It varies every time I make it anyway, so don’t be too precious with the measurements! This is great served with couscous,  and salad or roast pumpkin. This works well cooked on the bbq too, when weather is warmer.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
6 chicken thigh fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
salt and pepper
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly

Dressing
1 cup natural yoghurt
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper

Add oil and cumin to the chicken, mix, season and refrigerate for a few hours (if you have time, otherwise don’t worry!).

To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Leave at room temperature for serving.

Cook chicken thighs over a medium to high heat until golden brown and cooked.

Slice chicken thighs and serve with couscous, salad/roast pumpkin. Drizzle the yoghurt dressing and sprinkle the parsley over the top.