chicken, chorizo and tomato orzo, with a tomato and red wine sauce

This is the perfect Monday recipe. Why? Because it’s a great way to use up leftover roast chicken from your Sunday dinner. Shredded roast chicken works so well with this dish, as the smaller pieces work really well with the petite, almost rice-like orzo pasta. You can of course use chunks of chicken breast or thigh, but shredded chicken from the bone is a clear winner for me.

Orzo pasta is a new love of mine. As a dedicated risotto-maker and -eater, I’ve been looking for an alternative that satisfies those cravings without eating risotto all the time! I love pearl barley too, but orzo is fantastic. It’s filling and tasty, and can contribute towards a tasty yet nutritious dinner for those of us who aren’t scared of carbs!

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i’m a floozy for scoozi

For somebody who loves food, I can be incredibly stuck in my ways – especially when it comes to eating in my local area. It’s always either the same (albeit amazing!) places that we head to – Lakaz Maman, Coriander Lounge or Chilworth Arms, or we head to one of the new small chain restaurants built in our city centre.

Scoozi is set on Oxford Street, one of Southampton’s most popular spots for socialising over food and drinks. The street is not particularly long, but is packed with a number of both chain restaurants (Prezzo, Pizza Express) and independent but large, thriving restaurants (Simon’s at Oxfords, Max’s Brasserie). Scoozi is perched just on the corner at the end of the road, and believe me when I say I must have walked past it hundreds of times. A lot of friends from work have raved about the quality and food and value for money, so when Mr Greedy suggested paying them a visit after a few bank holiday drinks, I jumped at the chance.

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bavette steak with salsa verde, twice-fried chips, artichoke salad and ciabatta bread

Bavette steak is such a treasure. High-end restaurants have begun featuring cheaper cuts of beef on their menus, including bavette alongside flank, blade and hanger steaks, for approximately £15 and turning over a tidy profit. A decent sized piece of this meat, otherwise known as beef skirt by butchers, will only set you back approx. £6-7 for a portion large enough to serve 4 people. You can also slow cook beef skirt in stews, so it’s an extremely versatile and cost effective meat.

I love to use beef skirt as a centre piece and really champion this cheap and tasty cut, as it makes a great sharing plate – check out my Korean bulgogi recipe for another take on this meat: korean bulgogi-style beef

On this occasion, I decide to take it down an Italian route. Salsa verde is tangy and herby, and undeniably Italian – the sharpness of the red wine vinegar, capers and gherkin cut through the freshness of fragrant parsley, mint and basil. It’s also surprisingly delicious to dunk your chips into! This dish was also be great with polenta chips – I’ll be trying this next time!

I served the ciabatta bread alongside this dish to dunk into the left over salsa verde, but it would also make a great starter alongside dipping oils. It’s surprisingly easy to make – just don’t be alarmed by how wet the dough is! And be careful not to know too much air out of it when shaping it – one of the beauties of ciabatta is the air pockets inside.

A side note regarding the salad – if you live in the UK like I do, you’ll realise how difficult it can be to get your hands on fresh artichokes. If you can’t, take a look at the jarred antipasti goods as you can often buy marinated artichokes in olive oil. Alternatively, most supermarkets also sell tinned artichokes in water, which work surprisingly well.

I’ve split the recipe up for you, so if you want to just give one part a try then you can!

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meats and cheese, greedy girl style

How gorgeous is this wooden serving board? It was a Christmas present to us from my parents. It’s part of the Jamie Oliver dining range, and absolutely perfect for us as we enjoy antipasti regularly.

We chose to serve a selection of Spanish and Italian meats, Sicilian green olives, capers, marinated artichokes, grilled peppers, Carluccio’s crispbreads and slices of Italian cheese, with a side of fresh tiger bread, tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic glaze.

NOM!

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eating fantastic italian food in… france, of course

As well as calling at Amsterdam on our recent cruise, we also visited Le Havre. A lot of passengers on the ship had mentioned that booking an excursion was the way to go, but we decided to wander in to the port and see for ourselves. Needless to say, we soon realised there wasn’t enough to do to keep us occupied. Le Havre was heavily bombed towards the end of WWII, and was rebuilt in concrete. As a very industrial city, it doesn’t do much to occupy a boyfriend who loves visiting historical buildings and sites!

We decided to take the train to Rouen, approx. 1 hour away. Rouen is well known as the place Joan of Arc was taken to be tortured, and ultimately where she was burned to death. We looked around, taking in the sights and culture. Rouen was really quiet – the streets were calm, with lots of businesses not opening until the afternoon. After a couple of hours of wandering around, we decided to look for somewhere to eat. We came across plenty of patisseries and cafes, but kept walking until we reached a small bistro called “Tavola Calda”. It looked absolutely packed from outside, so we took this as a good sign!

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italian braised rabbit with white wine and cannellini beans

I popped into the butchers this weekend with a firm list of what I wanted to buy. However, I spotted some meat tucked away behind the chicken, and realised it was rabbit. I’ve eaten rabbit before in restaurants and always really enjoyed it, but I’ve never cooked it or even attempted to butcher one. I couldn’t resist, so I bought one and took it away to look at recipe ideas.

As I have no experience with butchering it, I thought that the easiest idea would be to braise it as Italians do, using some Gavi (a popular Italian white wine) and adding in some cannellini beans.

I chose to serve the dish with traditionally Italian sides – creamy polenta and roasted fennel. Roasted fennel is incredibly easy – heat the oven to approx 180ºc, cut a fennel bulb into wedges, drizzle over olive oil, season to taste and throw in a lemon sliced in half. Leave in the oven for 20 mins.

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