Five Recipe Ideas To Brighten Up Meal Times

If you’re struggling with the monotony of meal times then these recipes from Justine Murphy’s The mymuybueno Cookbook  may be just the inspiration you need.

Free from refined sugar, time effective and uncomplicated, these dishes place an emphasis on sharing and bringing different foods to the table – quite literally.

Whole baked sea bass

Serves 4

Every time I make this, we all devour it and say the very same thing: why don’t we eat this more often? Don’t be scared of filleting it on the table, because in fact it’s so much easier to do when cooked this way, and I’ve outlined the steps below. This is a wonderful dish to enjoy with garlic green beans.

Ingredients

2 onions, halved and sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1kg whole sea bass, gutted and scaled, or two smaller 500g ones
Pinch of flaked sea salt
Grind of black pepper
½ lemon, thinly sliced 
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme 
1 sprig of rosemary
100ml good white wine
½ lemon, cut into wedges

Method

*Preheat the oven to 200°c.

*Layer the sliced onion down the centre of a large roasting tin, then drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the top. In a small bowl, mix the sliced garlic with the remaining olive oil.

*Massage the fish gently with the garlic oil then place it on top of the onion layer; this way it won’t stick to the bottom of the tin.

*Season the cavity of the sea bass with salt and pepper then stuff a lemon slice inside with the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary. 

*Season the top of the fish liberally, then tie a few lemon slices in place on top with some kitchen string. Pour the white wine around the fish into the tin. 

*Place into the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. If you are using smaller fish, you can roast them for half the time. Transfer the fish to a chopping board and any pan juices into a small bowl. Discard the onions. 

*I like to serve this at the table and dish it all up there. Working from the head to the tail, gently cut along the backbone with a spoon to separate the flesh from the bone. Remove the backbone, fins and bones along the belly. Gently separate the head and tail. 

*Carefully lift off the top fillet and transfer it to a plate. Remove the head and spine by simply lifting them out and discarding the bones. Gently lift the second fillet onto the same plate. Drizzle with the pan juices before serving with the lemon wedges.

Fig, mozzarella and serrano salad

Serves 4

This is such a beautiful salad. You can swap the fresh figs with ripe peaches or nectarines if you like. It’s just perfect all on its own for a lunch, or as part of a bigger spread.

Ingredients

100g mixed leaves
4 ripe figs, halved
2 large balls of buffalo mozzarella
8 slices of quality Serrano ham
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

*Place the mixed leaves onto your platter and add the freshly cut figs with the inside facing upwards so everyone can see the beautiful fruit inside. Tear bite-size pieces from the mozzarella balls and scatter them around the salad, then twist your Serrano ham slices and lay them between the figs and cheese so there is a visually even spread. Distribute the basil leaves over the top.

*Drizzle the dressing liberally all over the salad with a spoon, especially over the figs (if they are not quite in season, the honey will sweeten them nicely). Season the dressed salad with more salt and another grind of black pepper, then serve immediately with fresh bread on the side.

Pasta carbonara

Serves 4

This is a dish best eaten curled up on the sofa after a really long day. I rarely eat pasta or cream, but if I do, it’s this dish.

Ingredients

150g streaky bacon, chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
½ onion, finely diced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
Pinch of flaked sea salt
Grind of black pepper
400g spaghetti
1 tsp olive oil
2 egg yolks
150ml single cream
50g Parmesan block, finely grated
1 sprig of parsley, leaves finely chopped

Method

*In a dry pan, cook the bacon until it starts to get crispy, then set aside. Using the same pan, fry the garlic and onion in a tablespoon of oil until they are soft and translucent. Set aside, then fry the mushrooms until well cooked through and season. Take the pan off the heat.

*Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on whether it’s fresh or dry). Cook until al dente, take a piece out carefully with a fork to taste, then drain and place back in the saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. Use tongs to move it around so it doesn’t all stick together.

*While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, cream and Parmesan with some salt and pepper. Mix well then add the cooked pasta into the bowl of sauce, so it coats the pasta really well. Add the bacon, garlic, onions and mushrooms, using tongs to distribute everything well. Sprinkle the carbonara with more black pepper and fresh parsley to serve, adding extra Parmesan if you like.

Feta, cranberry and pistachio couscous

Serves 6

I have been making this recipe forever. I always thought couscous was bland and boring, but once I made this using pretty much what I had to hand at the time, it stuck. This is a great addition to a barbecue or lunch spread. Everyone always comments on it. You’ll find it a really easy go-to, as it’s a gorgeous accompaniment to most dishes.

Ingredients

200g couscous 
300ml boiling water
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of flaked sea salt
100g pistachios
100g dried cranberries
100g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
10g fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
10g fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
10g fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
Grind of black pepper

Method

*Place the couscous in a clear heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water, cover the bowl with cling film and leave the couscous to stand for 5 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. 

*Fluff it all up with a fork, adding a touch more water if it seems dry. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and mix well. Pop your pistachios into the food processor, and allow them go somewhere beyond chopped to a textured dust, as this adds a really lovely green colour to the couscous. 

*Fold the crushed pistachios and dried cranberries through the couscous to distribute them evenly. Then stir through the cubes of feta, gently so they don’t break. Add all your chopped herb leaves. 

*Before serving the couscous, add more olive oil and lemon juice to taste, or if the mix seems dry. This is especially important the next day once it’s been in the fridge. Season it with extra salt and black pepper too, if needed. Enjoy.

Paella

Serves 4

You don’t need a specific paella pan for this, but it is nice to own one, especially if serving this al fresco; the joy on everyone’s face when you carry it out is so wonderful. It’s great for a weekend lunch and entertaining, as it’s not too much work. This recipe is easily adaptable too; swap out the seafood and chicken for green beans, extra tomatoes and mushrooms to go veggie.

Ingredients 

5 tbsp sunflower oil
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless 
150g chorizo, cut into small dice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced 
1 medium onion, finely diced 
1 red bell pepper, finely diced 
1½ litres vegetable or chicken stock
½ tsp saffron strands
350g paella rice
1 tsp smoked paprika
12 small clams, cleaned 
12 mussels, cleaned and debearded 
100g frozen peas 
1 large tomato, cut into small dice 
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced 
12 large raw prawns, deveined
1 medium squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
4 langoustines (optional)
5 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley 
Pinch of flaked sea salt 
Grind of black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method

*Add a tablespoon of sunflower oil to a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the chicken thighs and leave them to brown for 3 minutes on each side, put to one side, and cover with foil to keep warm.

*Next, heat two tablespoons of oil in a paella or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry until the oils are starting to release, then add the garlic, onion and pepper to cook until softened. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan and add the saffron into it. Mix well. Now add the paella rice to the paella pan and stir quickly until all the grains are completely coated and glossy. Add the paprika and pour in the hot saffron chicken stock. Wedge the chicken thighs deeply in the rice with just the tops showing.

*Over the next 15 minutes, add extra water, 100ml at a time, as the rice starts to absorb the stock. Be careful not to add too much though, and stay with it, as you don’t want the bottom layer to catch and burn or the rice to dry out. Add the clams, mussels, peas and chopped tomato, then continue to cook the gently bubbling paella for another 10 to 15 minutes while it continues to absorb liquid.

*Clean and dry your chicken pan, heat one tablespoon of oil and then add half the garlic. Once it has started to brown, add the prawns two or three at a time so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook on both sides until all the prawns are done, adding a little more oil if needed. Place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess grease, then add the prawns to your paella.

*Clean and dry the pan again, place on a medium heat and add the last tablespoon of oil. When the oil is really bubbling, add the remaining garlic and then the squid rings. Give them 10 seconds in the pan to get some colour, turning to cook both sides, then evenly distribute the squid in the paella. Finally, add the langoustines (if using) to the frying pan and allow the heat to cook them on all sides for 1 minute. Carefully transfer them into the paella.

*Scatter the chopped parsley over the paella, season with salt
and pepper then serve immediately with lots of lemon wedges
and aioli.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.