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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Spiced Sweet Potato, Puy Lentils and Rocket with Honey-roasted Walnuts

We picked up an amazing salad book, called Community, on our last trip to Australia which really pushes salad to centre stage. The recipes can all be served as a main course or as a side and they portions are accordingly generous. This one is good but the predominant flavour is honey so if that’s not your thing then perhaps give it a miss. We thought it might be nice with some roast pork.

The honey-roasted walnuts are a nice snack on their own too, so don’t be afraid of making too many.

Wine Suggestion: We went a little left-field for this and opened a Colterenzio Lagrein, a spicy, earthy red from Alto Adige – Südtirol; choose something a little earthy with a little spice and good fruit.

Spiced sweet potato, puy lentils and rocket with honey-roasted walnuts – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 250g Puy lentils, rinsed
  • 1 x 250 ml cup of soft herbs e.g. mint, parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives, dill or coriander – finely chopped
  • 2 x 250ml cups of  baby rocket leaves
  • 50g Parmesan, shaved

SWEET VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

HONEY-ROASTED WALNUTS:

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 x 250ml cups walnuts

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the sweet potato, olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin and allspice in a large bowl with some salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender and turning golden.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then simmer the lentils for about 20 minutes or until tender but still with a little bite. Drain.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the sweet vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Stir the vinaigrette through the lentils while they’re still warm.

To prepare the honey-roasted walnuts, combine the honey with the chilli flakes, turmeric, salt and just enough water to make a thick paste. Toss the walnuts in the paste and spread over a baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes or until they are crunchy. They will still be a bit sticky. Watch very carefully after the first 10 minute as they can go from toasted to burnt in seconds.

Combine half the chopped herbs with the rocket, sweet potato and lentils and season well. Scatter over the walnuts, the remaining herbs and the Parmesan before serving.

(Original recipe from Community: Salad recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty McKinnon, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2014.)

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There is a rosemary bush in our front garden and it often comes to the rescue when we have pretty much nothing for dinner. Provided you have a rosemary bush at your disposal this is pretty much a store cupboard dish and also handy for using the end of a jar of cream. This is surprisingly tasty and a great throw together weeknight dish.

Wine Suggestion: this dish suits a rustic red wine with a bit of “garrigue”, the southern French earthy, herby, spice that is a bit wild and untamed. This time we opened a wine that has this in spades, the Mas Conscience “le Cas” which is 100% old vine Carignan, which is all black fruits hints of hot rocks and earth, and wild Languedoc spices. Not shy in character but a good match nonetheless.

Rigatoni with Tomato & Rosemary Sauce – serves 4

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped and stalks discarded
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g rigatoni or penne
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sugar

Fry the chopped rosemary in a tablespoon of olive oil for about a minute. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the chilli flakes, then simmer hard for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water according to the time indicated on the pack.

Stir the double cream into the sauce along with the sugar and plenty of seasoning, then mix in the drained pasta and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2011.)

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Beetroot & Dill with Crème Fraîche & Walnuts

This is a great winter salad that feeds a crowd and goes really well with lamb. You could also serve on it’s own or with some baked potatoes and leftovers make good lunchboxes. Roast the beetroots earlier in the day so you have very little to do to assemble at the end.

Wine Suggestion: An earthy, lighter bodied red works here and a good Beaujolais, Burgundy/Pinot Noir or Northern Rhône Syrah would be a nice choice. We opened a Loire red made from Cabernet Franc, a Chinon, as we were also barbecuing some lamb to accompany it.

Beetroot & dill with crème fraîche and walnuts – serves 4 to 6

  • 12 beetroots (about 1.5kg), peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 150g walnuts, toasted in a dry pan, then crumbled
  • a large handful of dill fronds, finely chopped

FOR THE DILL CRÈME FRAÎCHE

  • 250g crème fraîche
  • a large handful of dill fronds, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Tip the beetroot into a large roasting tin and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and mix well. Roast until tender. Start checking at about 45 minutes but it could take up to 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

For the dill crème fraîche, whisk the crème fraîche with the dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and some black pepper.

Mix the beetroot with the scallions and baby spinach in a large bowl, then add a good drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Fold the dill crème fraîche through the beetroots – a kind of marble effect looks good so toss gently. Top with the roasted walnuts and sprinkle with more dill to serve.

(Original recipe from Commmunity: Salad Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty McKinnon, Pan MacMillan Australia, 2014.)

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Carrot and turnip mash

At home in Northern Ireland we call swedes turnips and we’re much more likely to make carrot & parsnip mash. Here in Dublin people serve us mashed carrot and swede which is pretty good too. Serve with meat dishes.

Mashed carrots & swedes – serves 4

  • 300g carrots, chopped small
  • 200g swede, chopped small
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • pinch of grated nutmeg

Boil the vegetables in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and return to the pan. Add the butter, sugar and nutmeg and mash together well.

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Golden Couscous

Plain buttered couscous is perfect with tagine and middle eastern stews. Occasionally though it’s nice to add a few extras to make it taste a bit special.

Golden Couscous – serves 3 to 4 as a side (easy to double)

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 150g couscous
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 175ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then tip in the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until softened and golden. Stir in the turmeric, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the couscous into a bowl and rub in the olive oil with your fingertips.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then pour over the couscous, cover with clingfilm and allow to steam for 5-6 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed.

Stir in the onions, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts and season to taste.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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Penne with blue cheese sauce

We seem to have a piece of blue cheese that sits permanently on the shelf on our fridge door. It changes every week but never completely disappears and so we find ourselves constantly on the search for weeknight dinners to put it to good use. Not a bad problem to have.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve cooked dishes similar to this many times and have found they work best with white wines with body: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Soave … if it has a touch of oak or richness then all to the good.

Penne with blue cheese sauce – serves 4

  • 350g penne pasta
  • 200g frozen leaf spinach
  • 85g Danish blue or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 25g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, add the spinach 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain the pasta and spinach and tip into a shallow heatproof dish along with the blue cheese, chilli flakes and lots of black pepper.

Put spoonfuls of the mascarpone over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and grill for 5 minutes or until the mascarpone has melted and the top is golden. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, October, 2000.)

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Sweet potato vindaloo

It hasn’t happened just yet but there will come a time when we will grow tired of all the winter root veg and will be hankering for spring and some lighter dishes. If you start to feel this way we recommend turning to cookbooks inspired by India which often contain some of the most interesting and delicious veggie dishes. Don’t be put off by the fiery connotations of ‘vindaloo’, this is a spicy dish but nothing too scary and is tamed by the additions of fluffy white rice and cool yoghurt.

Sweet potato vindaloo – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¾ tbsp chilli powder (feel free to adjust to your own tolerance level)
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • yoghurt, to serve
  • steamed white basmati rice, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying (for which you have a lid) over a medium heat, then add the cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant and then remove from the heat and grind in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the garlic, ginger & vinegar and continue to grind to a smooth paste, then mix in the chilli powder.

Heat the remaining 3 tbsp of oil in the same pan over a medium heat, then add the onions. Cook for 15 minutes or more until brown and caramelised. Add the spice paste, salt and sugar, then cook for another couple of minutes before tipping in the tomatoes and crushing with a wooden spoon. Fill the empty tomato tin half full with water and add to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 5 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes.

Bring the curry to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is completely tender. Serve with cool natural yoghurt and hot basmati rice.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2016.)

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