Tag Archives: garlic

Recipe: Spaghetti with Garlic, Chilli and Olive Oil


This is the classic pasta dish Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. All the recipes I’ve seen add chilli to the mix. It’s known in my house as ‘cold cure pasta’. I didn’t know about its curative properties when I first made it, however. I had a streaming cold and was just looking for a quick and easy dinner. This dish takes no longer to cook than the time to cook the pasta, but once I’d eaten it I found that my nose dried up for the rest of the evening!

Even if you don’t have a cold to deal with (or a battalion of the undead to keep away with the garlic!) this is still one of the great pasta dishes. As there are only a handful of ingredients, which are treated incredibly simply, use the best quality you can get. This is one to use the plumpest garlic and the extra virgin olive oil.

I’ve given the quantities for two people here, but this is a solitary dish for me so I don’t need to worry about table etiquette of eating spaghetti dripping with oil and flavour.

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Cook 150g of spaghetti according to packet instructions. While the pasta is cooking gently warm 3 tablespoons of good olive oil in a frying pan. Stir in 2 minced plump cloves of garlic and 1 chopped birdseye chilli. Stir the garlic and chilli through the oil but you are only warming and flavouring the oil, do not fry the garlic and chilli. When the pasta is cooked, drain it thoroughly. Put it in the frying pan and stir through the oil until every strand is coated. Season with black pepper and serve, sprinkled with a few chopped basil leaves.

Serves 2

Recipe: Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic, Chilli and Walnut Dressing


It’s early spring now, I think. The days are lengthening, the sun is warmer, the birds are singing and the purple sprouting broccoli is in the shops. It’s a pretty thing raw, all long stems, green leaves and florets tinged with purple. But for all it’s delicate appearance it packs the strongest flavour of all the broccolis. That makes it great to match with other punchy flavours.

Here I’ve teamed it with garlic, chilli and the dry crunch of walnuts. Served with crusty bread as a starter, it will certainly issue a wake-up call to the palate!

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150g purple sprouting broccoli, larger lower leaves removed

For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
10g walnuts, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced

Steam the broccoli for between 5 and 10 minutes. It’s ready when the thickest part of the stem can be easily pierced with the point of a knife.
In a small pan, warm the olive oil, garlic, chilli and walnuts. You’re not frying the ingredients, just heating them so their flavours come out. A bit of sizzle is OK, but don’t let anything brown.
When the broccoli is cooked, remove from the steamer and put on warmed plates.
Season the dressing with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice.
Spoon the dressing over the broccoli and serve.

Serves 2 as a starter

Recipe: Chickpeas in Red Wine and Tarragon


This recipe, a kind of half-way house between nibbles and a dip, comes a roundabout route from The Pink Adobe Cookbook via one of the legendary food threads on alt.tv.highlander. I have served it up at most of the fangirl weekends I’ve hosted. It was a firm favourite and was known as ‘that chickpea thing’.

When making it in bulk, I’ve cooked the chickpeas from dry, but it works just as well with tinned chickpeas as long as you heat them up a little so that they absorb more of the flavours as they sit in the marinade. I think the original had a lot more olive oil, so feel free to add more in if you want to. You need to let this sit for at least six hours before serving. Overnight is even better.

You need to serve it with some crisps that can scoop up the chickpeas. Tortilla chips are great but those mini popadoms are even better.

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400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 120g dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked
70ml red wine
1 garlic clove, crushed
30ml vinegar
20ml olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

If using tinned chickpeas, put them in a suitable bowl and microwave them for about a minute just to warm them through.
Add all the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Cover and leave to stand at least six hours before serving.
To serve, spoon out the chickpeas with a bit of the marinade mixture to keep them moist.
Serve with mini popadoms or tortilla chips.
Serves 2 with other dips.

Recipe: Roasted Peppers with Garlic and Olive Oil


One of my friend’s family originally comes from Budva in Montenegro. When we talk about food, she praises the local produce there and last week her father came back with some for me. He brought a couple of peaches, a ripe tomato and some peppers. The peaches and the tomato were nostalgia fruits – they tasted how they really should taste from my childhood memory – especially the peaches which just ran with juice.

The peppers weren’t what I was expecting.
budvar peppers photo DSCN0905_zps5fd221af.jpg

I was expecting red, not green. I was, however, given strict instructions on what do with them. Grill them until the skin is blackened, scrape off the skin, sprinkle with garlic and a lot of olive oil. Eat with good, crusty bread.

So that’s what I did.

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I found, going back over the emails, that I slightly misremembered the recipe. The garlic should have been finely chopped rather than finely sliced. So sue me.

This is a recipe that seems like it should be best eaten by a warm sea, in the shade from a hot sun. I can tell you that it works just as well on a showery Surrey lunchtime. And you don’t need Budva peppers either. Ordinary red, orange or yellow peppers would be great in this. And if you wonder what to do with those posh, pointed peppers in supermarkets, look no further.

I don’t know if this will protect you from the Hooded Claw, but it’ll keep the vampires from your door all night!

4-6 peppers (depending on size)
2 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil

Grill the peppers under a hot grill until the skin is blackened all over.
Put the hot peppers in a plastic bag and seal the end.
Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove from the bag.
Scrape or peel off the blackened skin. (Don’t get anal about this, the odd bit of skin is all to the good!)
Split the peppers and scrape out the seeds.
Finely chop (or slice) the garlic.
Arrange the peppers on a plate, sprinkle over the garlic and pour over a good quantity of olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Serves 2 as a light lunch.

Recipe: Roasted garlic mushrooms with brie


Mushrooms, garlic and brie all in one recipe, served with crusty bread? Out of my way, if you please …

Anth’s ninja Google skills tracked this little gem of a recipe down at the Amuse Your Bouche site.  The amounts there are precise – I’ve happily fiddled around with it depending on how garlic/cheesy I wanted it, or what was lurking in the fridge at the time, or how many people were standing around looking forlorn and hungry …







Salt and pepper

Slice the garlic and put it in a roasting dish. Add the mushrooms (cut them into bite-sized chunks and then roast them in either butter or olive oil, depending which you prefer, for 15 – 20 minutes. You don’t want them shrivelled or soggy, but they do need enough time to pick up the garlic flavour.

Chop the brie into bite-sized chunks and add to the mushrooms. Grate over sea salt and black pepper then scatter plenty of basil on top. Roast for another ten to 15 minutes until the cheese has gone all melty.

It cries out for crusty bread, but would probably also work with ciabatta – particularly if you toasted it lightly, then rubbed a clove of garlic across the surface for added garlicky-ness.

The dish is very more-ish and works nicely as either a light lunch or as a dinner party starter.