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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

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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Minestrone

This minestrone soup is from Jamie Oliver’s very first cookbook, back when his recipes were from the heart, had a simplicity and weren’t designed to be chucked together in 15 minutes. If you bake a ham be sure to reserve the water that you cook the ham in before baking, it makes a great ham stock for soups like this one.

Minestrone Soup – serves 6

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 leeks, remove the outer leaves and dice into 1 cm cubes
  • 5 sticks of celery, remove the stringy bits with a vegetable peeler and dice into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 red onions, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp of chopped rosemary
  • 850ml gammon/ham stock (or chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 3 handfuls of basil
  • 170g spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Put the olive oil into a warmed heavy-based pan and sweat the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary over a medium heat until just tender – around 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming off any froth that comes to the top. Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then rip in the basil leaves and add the pasta. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Taste and season.

Serve garnished with the grated Parmesan and a slug of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 1999.)

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Vegan Pie

Vegan Pie

Vegan recipes often get bad press, not helped by the poor offerings of restaurants. This dish has bags of flavour and doesn’t require any extras to make it a whole meal. A big splodge of ketchup on the side doesn’t go a miss if you’re that way inclined.

Wine Suggestion: not all wines are Vegan, but there are no standards on stating this on a bottle or to say what fining agents (which determines if it is Vegan friendly) have been used in making the wine.

Fining agents are used by winemakers to make a bright, clean coloured and tasting wine. Naturally most wines begin quite cloudy or hazy because of proteins, tannins, tartrates and phenolics. Winemakers traditionally add fining agents to rectify this and these include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein) as well as others like various clays. These bind with the proteins etc which then fall out of the wine. So by the time it reaches the bottle and then your glass there are no traces of these products. However they have been used and part of Veganism is not only if the product is not in the food, but also the use in the production.

A lot of wines are potentially Vegan friendly, but quite often don’t say on the label and aren’t obliged to so don’t dismiss a wine for not being Vegan if it doesn’t say so, it may still be.

Look online on the winery sites if you are in doubt and even email the winemakers – they love to discuss their wines and are happy to answer questions on how each wine is made.

We drank some Domaine du Joncier Lirac Blanc from a wonderful, biodynamic and natural wine maker Marine Roussel. A blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Bourboulenc and fined naturally with time and gentle handling this is both round, fresh and full of depth.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – serves 8 (make in 2 dishes and freeze one for later)

  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, then drained (reserve the liquid)
  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • a handful of marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • a handful of thyme, leaves picked
  • a handful of sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 300g frozen spinach
  • 20ml olive oil
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • tomato ketchup, to serve (optional)

Put the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins until the skins start to split. Drain and leave to cool a little.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large casserole dish. Add the mushrooms, leeks , onions, carrots and stock cube and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the garlic, tomato purée, paprika, squash and herbs. Stir and turn the heat up a bit, cook for 3 mins, then add the celery and continue to stir and cook for a few more mins.

Tip in the chickpeas along with the water in the can and reserved mushroom stock. Add the peas and spinach and stir well. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, then season, turn off and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and discard the skin. Mash 200g with a fork and stir into the veg. Break the rest of the potatoes into chunks, mix with the olive oil and parsley and season.

Divide the filling into two pie dishes and top with the potatoes. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake the pies for 40-45 mins, until the top is golden and the filling is heated through.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Penne Stilton

We often have lumps of leftover Stilton in the fridge after the weekend and particularly after Christmas. If you find yourself in a similar situation try this simple pasta dish for a mid-week dinner. If that doesn’t solve the problem here’s a few other ideas:

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Creamy baked Brussels sprouts with stilton

Pasta with Blue Cheese Cream

Roussillon Baked Potatoes

Pork and Pears

Wine Suggestion: delicious with the Bott-Geyl Points Cardinal Metiss, a dry but rich and full white made from all the Pinot varieties you can think of, including the red and pink ones. When young this wine is fresh and enticing but with an extra year in the bottle it fills out and the aromas seem to ramp up a bit more with hints of honey, pears and apples and a lovely dry spice on the palate. More than a match for the powerful flavour of Stilton.

Stilton & Penne Pasta – serves 4

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 100g Stilton, cubed
  • handful toasted walnuts, chopped

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then gently fry the onion until golden. Add the garlic and sage, fry for a further 2 mins, then remove the pan from the heat.

Drain the pasta and reserve some cooking water. Stir through the onions, Stilton and 2 tbsp cooking water, then sprinkle with the toasted walnuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Rigatoni Peperonata

A simple midweek pasta supper for using up those multi-pack peppers. It reminds us of summer and Italy.

Wine suggestion: a great match with Cabernet Franc. The bell pepper, inky and pencil shaving character really compliments the flavours in this simple dish. A favourite of our is the Ch du Hureau from Saumur. Their “Tuffe” a youthful Cab Franc is a gem that regularly makes its way onto our wine rack. If you want to stick with Italian a 100% Sangiovese would make an excellent choice too.

Pasta Peronata – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers,  sliced
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped and stalks reserved
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 heaped tablespoons mascarpone cheese or crème fraîche (optional – we don’t usually add this unless we have some already)
  • 500g rigatoni or penne pasta

Put the peppers into a large frying pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, and cook gently for about 15 minutes until softened. Add the onion and cook for a further 20 minutes. Then add the garlic and parsley stalks and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Season to taste. Add the vinegar, then add a handful of the grated Parmesan and the mascarpone or crème fraîche if you are using it and turn the heat down to minimum while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. Reserve a little of the cooking water before draining. Toss the peppers, pasta & chopped parsley in a large warm bowl. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water and a splash of good olive oil to coat the pasta. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Jamie Oliver).

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