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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts

Another success from Sam & Sam Clark of Moro. Great textures and interesting flavours. Works as a starter or a side with grilled meat.

Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts – serves 4

  • 500g young spinach, washed and dried (in a salad spinner ideally)
  • 200g good-quality feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 dessertspoon fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
  • 75g pinenuts, very lightly toasted
  • 25g butter
  • 2 pitta breads
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Melt the butter. Split the pitta in half lengthways and brush the melted butter on both sides. Put the pittas on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool.

Whisk the garlic, red wine vinegar, sumac, olive oil together to make a dressing. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Put the spinach, roughly broken crispbread, half the feta cheese, the oregano/marjoram and pinenuts into a large bowl. Pour over most of the dressing and toss together. Serve with the rest of the feta and dressing on top.

(Original recipe from Moro: the cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Champ

This is how Julie’s Granny served champ, with a great big lump of Irish butter in the middle!

Irish Champ – serves 4 as a side or 2 on it’s own

  • 700g potatoes – it helps if they are roughly the same size
  • salt and white pepper (no black pepper please)
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 50g butter (plus extra to serve)

Put the potatoes (unpeeled) in a pot and cover with cold water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer until completely tender (usually about 20 minutes but keep checking and don’t let them go to mush).

Heat the milk with the scallions for about 5 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and peel while still hot. If you have a potato ricer you could use that but we tend to use a standard masher.

Beat the butter into the mashed potato with a wooden spoon, then stir in the warm milk and scallions. Season well with salt and white pepper.

Serve the potatoes in a warm bowl. Make a dip in the middle with the back of a spoon and add a lump of good quality (preferably Irish) salted butter.

 

 

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Cheesy leek baked potatoes

We’re regularly left with a rogue leek in the bottom of the fridge and it usually finds its way into a dish like this, particularly if there is some cream lurking as well. Quantities don’t matter too much here so use what you’ve got.

  • Baking potatoes
  • Butter
  • Leeks, sliced finely
  • Cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a tray in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºC and continue to cook for about another hour.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the leeks until they are meltingly tender. Add the cream and bubble together until you have a thick sauce.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half and scoop out the centres, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skins. Mash the removed potato, mix with the creamy leeks and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pile this mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve this on its own for a midweek supper or as a side dish with chargrilled chops or sausages.

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Porcini & spinach risottoWe love a good risotto and this simple one doesn’t disappoint. Perfect cold weather comfort food.

Wine Suggestion: as this is a richer flavoured mushroom dish our first choice would be to head to a Nebbiolo, especially a good Barolo. With the addition of the spinach which has a fresh, iron bitterness we would swing back to a full-bodied white and go for a good Alsace Pinot Gris. The depth of flavour of this dish can balance a really intense Pinot Gris like one from Zind- Humbrecht, which sometimes can be edgy and a bit much for many foods. This one can handle it so push the boat out for flavour and enjoy.

As we had this as a weeknight treat, however, we found that a more humbleVilla Wolf Pinot Gris from the Pfalz also worked.

Porcini & spinach risotto – serves 2

  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 750ml veg stock, simmering (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 100g spinach, washed & chopped
  • parmesan shavings

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any gritty bits and keep for later. Roughly chop the porcini.

Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the porcini and risotto rice and stir until coated.

Pour in the wine and bubble until it has been absorbed by the rice. Gradually add the stock and porcini soaking liquid, stirring until the rice is al dente (you may not need all of the stock). Stir through the spinach until just wilted and serve sprinkled with shavings of parmesan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, February 2009.)

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Conchiglie al Cavolo Nero

We’ve made this a couple times recently as  Cavolo Nero is around and we keep on being drawn to it. Especially as we’re starting to tire of root veg and looking forward to all the treats that will come with Spring.

The dish is  creamy and cheesy, with load of garlic and iron rich Cavolo Nero. Fairly rich for a main course in our opinion but absolutely perfect served in small starter portions.

If it suits you can blanch and dry the Cavolo nero and make the garlic puree in advance which leaves very little to do to get the dish on the table.

Wine suggestion: An old favourite came to the rescue here in the form of the Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore “Tralivio” which has a great weight but also a freshness and vibrant texture. The flavour of the food isn’t shy, so make sure whatever you choose has enough body to cope.

Conchiglie al Cavolo Nero – serves 6 as a starter

  • 900g Cavolo Nero
  • 300ml double cream
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 dried chillies, crumbled or 2 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to your heat preference)
  • 150g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 250g conchiglie or other shell-shaped pasta

Remove the central stalk from the Cavelo Nero leaves and cut each one into 3 or 4 pieces. Blanch the leaves in boiling salted water for 3 minutes by which time they should be tender and bright green. Drain and dry in a clean tea towel.

Put the double cream and 5 of the whole garlic cloves into a pan and simmer until the garlic is soft, about 15 minutes. Purée in a blender.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and fry the remaining 2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices, and the chilli. When the garlic has coloured, add the blanched Cavolo Nero, stir & season. Pour in the cream and garlic purée, bring to the boil, and cook for 5 minutes until the Cavolo Nero is coated and the sauce has thickened. Add the Parmesan.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, then drain well before mixing well with the sauce.

(Original recipe from The River Cafe Cookbook by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Ebury Press, 1995.)

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Roast pumpkin and spinach lasagne

Making lasagne is a bit of a labour of love but if you take it in stages it can be assembled in advance and baked when you need it. Always worth the effort in our opinion. This veggie version is particularly good.

Wine Suggestion: we found the Rustenberg Chardonnay from Stellenbosch really matched this dish with it’s masterful balance of oak, fruit and freshness. This is one of South Africa’s classics and one of the best value Chardonnay’s we know. It is picked, crushed and gently settled before fermenting by itself (wild yeasts) and after gentle care in oak barrels on fine lees it is bottled. Only at this stage do they add a touch of sulphur to keep it stable in the bottle. A natural wine without the faults of other proponents of this term.

Roast Squash & Spinach Lasagne – serves 6

  • 750g butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g spinach, washed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • whole nutmeg
  • 6 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 100g Parmesan, grated

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp light muscovado sugar

FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 6 peppercorns
  • ½ onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g butter

Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Halve the squash, peel and deseed, then cut into slices about 1cm thick. Toss with the oil in a roasting tin, season well, then roast until tender and beginning to char at the edges – about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Soften the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the celery and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes & sugar, then leave to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until you have a thick puree. Season.

Wash the spinach and put into a saucepan with the water that clings to the leaves. Place over a medium heat and toss for about 4 minutes or until completely wilted. Leave to cool, then squeeze as much water as you can out of the spinach with your hands. Chop and put into a pan with the butter, then gently heat and toss together so the spinach is coated in butter, season with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.

To make the bechamel, bring the milk to the boil in a pan with the peppercorns, onion and bay leaf. Set aside for 5 minutes to infuse, then strain into a clean pan. Add the flour & butter and whisk over a gentle heat until you have a thick smooth sauce.

Heat your oven again to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

To assemble the lasagne start by buttering a baking dish – about 1.4 litres capacity. Put a layer of roasted squash in the bottom followed by a layer of tomato sauce. Place lasagne sheets on top of this, making sure they don’t overlap (you can cut them with scissors to fit your dish). Add a layer of bechamel, followed by a handful of spinach and half the grated cheese. Top with more lasagne, pumpkin, tomato sauce, more lasagne and a final layer of bechamel. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food Magazine, December, 2016.)

 

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Chana masala

Meehra Sodha describes this as a Workers’ Curry variations of which are eaten all over India. We love the flavours and textures here and have eaten this part of a wider spread of dishes and also on its own with some naan bread from the local takeaway. It’s worth soaking your own chickpeas if you can as they have a better texture. Thi

Wine suggestion: a simple, medium-bodied and earthy red is required here, nothing fancy. We had a bottle of the Monfil Garnacha from Cariñena in Spain which is uncomplicated but satisfying.

Chana masala – serves 4

  • 200g dried chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric

Put the dried chickpeas into a large bowl, cover with cold water, then add the bicarbonate of soda and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then cover with more cold water and boil for 30-45 minutes, until soft, keep spooning off any scum that rises to the surface. (If you are using tinned chickpeas you just need to rinse and drain them.)

Crush the ginger, garlic & green chilli together in a pestle and mortor with a pinch of salt to make a paste.

Put the oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir the ginger and chilli paste through the onions, then tip in the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Add the tomato puree, stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes or until you have a rich, thick sauce.

Add the garam masala, 1½ tsp of salt, cumin, chilli powder & turmeric, and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the drained chickpeas. You can add some water at this point to thin the sauce a bit, start with about 5 tbsp and add more if necessary. Taste and season.

Serve with naan breads or as alongside a few other Indian dishes.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

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