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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

This vegan chilli is super simple and really tasty. The smoky chipotle is essential to the flavour so buy a good one or, if you can get them, chipotle chillies in adobo. It’s also quick to cook so perfect for weeknights. Serve with rice and some grated cheddar cheese and sour cream on the side if you’re not vegan.

Chipotle bean chilli with avocado salsa – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 large green pepper, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp chipotle chillies in adobo (or chipotle paste)
  • 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder (or use a stock cube)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin black beans
  • 400g tin borlotti beans
  • 400g tin mixed beans
  • pickled sliced jalpeño peppers, to serve
  • 200g tortilla chips, to serve

FOR THE AVOCADO SALSA

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • juice of ½ lime

Heat a large cast-iron casserole or similar over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions, then fry for 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Stir in the peppers, then the ground cumin, smoked paprika and garlic granules. Continue cooking and stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato purée and chipotle paste, stir well and cook for another minute.

Sprinkle in the bouillon powder, then pour in 500ml of water and the chopped tomatoes. Stir well and bring to the boil. Drain and rinse the tins of beans, then add them to the pan. Stir well then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the avocados and put into a bowl. Add the chopped coriander, lime juice and some salt and pepper, then mix together.

Taste and season the chilli if needed. Then serve in bowls with rice, tortilla chips, the salsa and some pickled chillies.

(Original recipe from Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2021.)

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What a clever idea this cauliflower cheese pie is, and the filo pastry makes it straightforward too. This one is from the clever people at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen. It takes shape perfectly in the oven and then oozes appropriately when you cut into it. A definite crowd-pleaser.

Wine Suggestion: A rich white was called for, and while we’d have normally gone for a Chardonnay by default we had something different in the glass: Quinta Soalheiro’s Primeiras Vinhas. An old-vine alvarinho partially made in old oak that was velvety, concentrated and powerful. Despite it being bone dry the fruit was sophisticated and effortless. We’d opened this the day before and had to admit it was even better on the second day so a good one for the cellar.

Curried cauliflower cheese pie – serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tsp mild-medium curry powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g unsalted butter, 50g cut into cubes and 50g melted to brush the pastry with later
  • 75g plain flour
  • 675ml full-fat milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp English mustard
  • 150g mature cheddar cheese, roughly grated
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Line the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and place the cauliflower florets onto it. Add the curry powder, 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat, then roast for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set the cauliflower aside.

Lower the oven temperature to 170C fan.

Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce. Put the 50g of butter into a medium-sized saucepan and melt over a medium-high heat, then add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or two, then gradually add the milk stirring constantly and waiting for it all to be incorporated before adding any more. You can use a whisk to do this but we prefer a wooden spoon. When all the milk has been added, continue to cook the sauce for about 7 minutes or until slightly thickened. Keep stirring the whole time until it bubbles, then turn it down and keep giving it regular stirs. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic, mustard, cheese and ¼ tsp of salt, keep stirring until the cheese has melted.

Get your filo pastry out of the pack and cover it with a damp tea towel to stop it drying out. Combine the melted butter with 1 ½ tbsp of oil. Take one sheet of filo at a time, brush the upper side with the butter mixture and drape into the cake tin, butter side up. Push it down gently to fit into the tin. Continue with the remaining sheets , brushing each with butter and laying in the tin, rotate the tin slightly each time so the pastry hangs over the sides at a different angle.

Spoon half the béchamel into the tin and top with the roasted cauliflower. Spoon over the rest of the sauce, then crimp the overhanging pastry to form a border, leaving the centre of the pie exposed. Brush the top of pastry with the butter mixture, then place onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Carefully release the outer circle of the baking tin and remove the paper to expose the sides, bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the sides are nicely browned. Leave to rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Top with the parsley and the lemon zest and cut into big wedges to serve. Some salad is nice on the side.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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We were very pleased to find a late season crown prince pumpkin at our farm shop last week, which is our favourite variety. You could easily use a butternut squash instead if pumpkin is not available. This is a mild and creamy curry from Sri Lanka.

This is not an attempt at veganuary, we love to eat vegetables just as much as meat and fish. After the excess of Christmas we find a variety of dishes very welcome.

Wine Suggestion: Look to complement the rich, creaminess with a richer, creamy white, like an oaky Chardonnay, or similar. We went a bit left field with an older bottle or Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier which had in our cellar. With a heady apricot, pineapple and mango exoticism and a rich, very textural palate it was an unexpected treat.

Vegan pumpkin & coconut curry – serves 4

  • 1kg pumpkin or butternut squash, peel, deseed and cut into 1 ½ cm cubes (you want about 900g of cubed pumpkin)
  • 2 tsp curry powder, not too hot
  • 1½ tbsp rapeseed oil
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 long green chillies, finely sliced, we took the seeds out but you can leave them in if you want more heat
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x 10cm cinnamon stick, snapped in two
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • rice, to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Put the pumpkin pieces into a large bowl with the curry powder, rapeseed oil and ¾ tsp of fine sea salt, then toss together to coat. Tip the pumpkin out onto the lined tray and spread it out evenly. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the onion, chillies, curry leaves, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, cherry tomatoes, cinnamon stick and 1½ tsp of salt into a saucepan with 200ml of cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat and cook for about 12 minutes or until the onions and tomatoes are soft and the liquid almost evaporated.

Add the coconut milk and roasted pumpkin, then bring back to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Taste and add more lime or salt if needed.

(Original recipe by Meera Sodha in The Guardian, 1st January 2022.)

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This is a bit of a labour of love from Ottolenghi Flavour. A good bit, however, can be done in advance and the end result is worth it. If you’re not feeling so energetic you can buy some fancy gnocchi from the supermarket and use that instead of making the turnip gnocchi. And another cooking discovery … we’re definitely going to be mashing our turnip in the food processor from now on!

Wine Suggestion: We fancied a Chardonnay tonight and given the savoury nature of miso chose one from the Maçon in France with a touch of oak: Domaine Manciat-Poncet’s Pouilly-Vinzelles. From a vineyard area dating back to Roman times this has depth and breadth, combining a natural, fresh minerality with a fleshy opulence supported by an almond-hazelnut and toasty character.

Turnip gnocchi with miso butter – serves 4

  • 1-2 Maris Piper potatoes with skin on, approx. 400g
  • 2-3 small swede, peeled and roughly chopped into 2 cm cubes, approx. 600g
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150g ’00’ pasta flour
  • 500ml veg or chicken stock
  • 200g spinach, roughly chopped into 8cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 lime, finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp, then juice to get 2 tsp
  • 5g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Wrap each potato in foil and bake for an hour or until cooked through. While warm, peel and mash, you should have about 230g of smooth mash. If you have a bit too much you can always eat some as dinner is still some time away.

You can cook the swede in the oven at the same time as the potato. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, spread the turnip over and drizzle with ½ tbsp of the olive oil. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through – it may take longer than this so do be patient. Put the cooked swede into a food processor with 2 tbsp of olive oil and blitz until smooth, you’ll need to scrape down the sides a few times. You should end up with about 320g of smooth swede.

Add the swede to the bowl of mashed potatoes, then add the egg yolk and ¼ tsp of salt and mix to combine. Fold in the flour and make sure it is all well mixed in with no lumps. Transfer the dough to a piping bag and put into the fridge for an hour (you can do this up to a day in advance).

Snip the end off the piping bag to give a 2cm wide opening. Fill a medium pot with 1.5 litres of water and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the gnocchi in quite a few batches without overcrowding the pan. Pipe 3 cm pieces of dough into the water and use a small sharp knife to cut off each piece. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Scoop out the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with baking parchment. When all the gnocchi are cooked, drizzle them with 2 tsp of olive oil and return to the fridge for 20 minutes or until slightly chilled (you can also do this up to a day in advance).

Pour the stock into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and cook for 12-14 minutes or until reduced to 200ml. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes until tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Return the liquid in the pan to a medium heat and whisk in the miso, lime juice, ginger and butter, then cook for 3 minutes, whisking until slightly thickened. Don’t let it boil or it will split. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you fry the gnocchi.

Heat the final 1 ½ tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. When very hot, add half the gnocchi and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until well browned all over. Transfer to a plate and continue with the rest. Add the cooked gnocchi and spinach to the sauce, then return to a medium-high heat and gently heat for a minute or two.

Divide between plates, sprinkle with lime zest, scallions and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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It is dishes like this that make Claudia Roden’s cookbooks so popular and still so relevant. This soup is from her recent book, Med, and it is delicious with loads of flavour. Not a looker, but you really must try it.

Egyptian red lentil soup – serves 6

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g split red lentils
  • 2 litres chicken or veg stock
  • 1½-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • a good pinch of chilli powder
  • juice of 1 lemon

Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the onion, carrot and garlic for about 10 minutes.

Add the lentils and stock, then bring to the boil. Skim off the foam that forms on the top, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the lentils have collapsed.

Stir in the cumin, coriander, chilli powder and lemon juice, then season to taste.

(Original recipe from Med by Claudia Roden, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Sprouts are for winter, not just for Christmas. Here’s an idea to make them shine.

Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts – serves 4

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 450g Brussels sprouts, halved lengthways if large
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ red onion, very finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast for 8 minutes or until golden, then tip onto a clean tea-towel and rub to remove the skins. Roughly chop and set aside.

Put the sprouts in a bowl with 1 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well, then tip onto a baking tray and roast, shaking the tray from time to time, for 20-30 minutes or until tender and turning crispy.

Meanwhile, make a dressing by whisking the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil with the lemon juice and mustard. Stir in the onion and season with salt and pepper.

When the sprouts are ready, transfer them to a bowl, add the hazelnuts and dressing and toss together.

(Original recipe from Everything I Love to Cook by Neil Perry, Murdoch Books, 2021.)

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This is tomato pasta sauce but with some unusual additions that make it taste a bit special. We hightly recommend you try this.

Pasta with tomato sauce & brown caper butter – serves 4

  • 400g penne pasta
  • Parmesan
  • flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tsp runny honey

FOR THE BROWN CAPER BUTTER

  • 4 tbsp capers, drained
  • 75g butter

Fry the onion in a splash of olive oil over a lowish heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, rosemary and tomato purée and fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty water until al denté.

Melt a small knob of the butter into a small frying pan, then add the capers and fry until they burst open, then tip into a small bowl. Add the rest of the butter to the frying pan and cook until it turns light brown and smells nutty, then pour over the capers.

Add the miso, honey and a little seasoning to the tomato sauce.

Drain the pasta but reserve a mug of the cooking water.

Mix the drained pasta with the tomato sauce and a splash of cooking water to loosen the sauce. Divide between warm bowls, then pour over the caper butter. Serve sprinkled with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley.

(Original recipe by Ylva Bergqvist in Olive Magazine, December 2018.)

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Are you ready for something healthy yet? A delicious, quick and easy side dish. We served this with roast chicken, but we can see it happily going with lamb, sausages or a few other veggie dishes too.

Beetroot & lentil salad with mustard dressing – serves 5-6

  • 200g puy lentils
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), sliced
  • a large handful of tarragon, roughly chopped

Put the lentils into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.

Whisk the mustard, olive oil and seasoning together in a small bowl.

Put the lentils into a bow, mix in the dressing, then stir in the beetroot, tarragon and more seasoning.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a rather unconventional method but it does work, and the resulting dish is perfect comfort food for a cold day. The za’atar pesto is a good addition to cut through the richness and the feta provides creamy nuggets. A crazy but good idea from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: A crisp white with body and texture is called for here to help cut through rich layers and stand up to the complex flavours. Domaine Ventenac’s Cassandre waas our choice and a very happy match indeed. Vermentino from Cabardes in the south of France, this comes from vineyards that have cooling breezes and a little altitude to give it depth of flavour as well as a scintillating freshness; finishing with a slight nutty twist that gave the pesto an extra lift.

Middle Eastern mac n cheese with za’atar pesto – serves 4 to 6

  • 300g dried cavatappi or fusilli pasta
  • 600-700ml whole milk
  • 65g unsalted butter, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 75ml double cream
  • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 180g Greek feta, roughly crumbled
  • 45g shop-bought crispy onions or shallots

FOR THE ZA’ATAR PESTO

  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Put the pasta, 600ml of milk, 350ml of water, the butter, garlic, turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down the heat and cook, stirring now and then, for 8-14 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickened. You can add the extra 100ml of milk if you need it thinned a bit.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cumin, cream and cheeses. Stir until the cheddar has melted.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely grate the lemon to get 1½ tsp of zest. Peel the lemon, cut into segments and roughly chop. Put the lemon and zest into a bowl.

Put the za’atar, coriander, garlic, pine nuts, a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and 3 tbsp of the oil into a food processor, then pulse a few times to get a coarse paste. Add to the lemon and stir in the remaining 3 tbsp of oil.

Transfer the cheesey pasta to a large serving platter, dot all over with the pesto and top with the crispy onions.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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A perfect lunchbox dish, keeping our December weekdays cheery.

Fried halloumi with oregano, orzo & pesto – serves 4

  • 350g orzo
  • 15g oregano, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, sliced
  • 200g plum cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful black olives, chopped
  • 140g tub fresh pesto

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and cook the orzo according to the pack instructions.

Meanwhile, mix the oregano in a small bowl with the oil and brush some over the halloumi.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the halloumi for a few minutes on each side or until golden.

Drain the orzo and mix in a large bowl with the tomatoes, olives and pesto, then season. Divide into lunchboxes, then top with the halloumi and drizzle over the rest of the oregano oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We loved this dish! Bursting with flavour and the perfect wintery side salad. The leftovers were also good the next day. You can use capers instead of anchovies if you prefer.

Wine suggestion: This dish works really well with a good, dry Chenin Blanc. Our current favourite is Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine Aubuissieres Vouvray Silex Sec. Dry and full of yellow apple fruits and layers of texture, while remaining discrete enough to allow the sprouts and parmesan to come through.

Brussels sprout and Parmesan salad with lemon dressing – serves 4

  • 700g small brussels sprouts, trimmed, leave 500g whole and thinly shave the rest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 60g Parmesan, 20g roughly grated and the rest cut into shards – a veg peeler will do this nicely
  • 120g kale leaves, discard the stems and thinly shred the leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 70g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Line a tray with baking paper and add the whole sprouts, 2 tbsp of oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to combine. Roast for 18 minutes, stirring halfway, until well browned and cooked through, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, anchovies, grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp of oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Put the kale, the shaved sprouts, the dressing, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large bowl and toss with your hands, massaging the leaves gently. Leave to soften and wilt for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, basil, chopped hazelnuts, Parmesan shards and roasted sprouts to the bowl and mix to combine. Turn out onto a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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There has been a packet of mung dal in our cupboard for quite some time now which is really the only reason why we made this lovely dish from Meera Sodha’s East. We’re definitley tempted to buy another packet so we can make it again. Serve with steamed rice.

  • 300g mung dal
  • 250g vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 big garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 long green chilli, very finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Put the mung dal, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, tumeric, chilli flakes, 1 tbsp of oil, 4 curry leaves and 1.25 litres of water into a large saucepan. Put the pan over a medium heat, with the lid ajar, and bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Give it a stir now now and again. It’s ready when soft and quite thick, then stir in the salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat until smoking hot, then add the mustard and cumin seeds, the chilli and the rest of the curry leaves. The leaves should crisp and the seeds start to pop after about a minute, then remove from the heat and pour over the dal. Stir to mix, then sprinkle over the coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from East by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2019.)

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This is a great side dish for often uninspiring carrots. We served with chicken wings.

Cumin-roasted Carrots with Honey Lemon Dressing & St Tola – serves 4 to 6

  • 750g carrots, cut diagonally into 2½ cm slices
  • olive oil
  • 1½ heaped tbsp cumin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 100g St Tola, or other soft goats’ cheese
  • a bunch of dill, leaves roughly chopped
  • a good sprinkle of nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Spread the carrots over the baking tray and drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Sprinkle over cumin seeds and season well with salt and peper. Toss to coat, then roast for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Mix the lemon juice and honey together until the honey dissolves. Drizzle this over the carrots and toss to coat, then roast for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly sticky.

Transfer the carrots to a serving plate, crumble over the cheese, then sprinkle with dill and nigella seeds.

(Original recipe from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2014.)

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It’s definitely a bit more like soup weather in Dublin and this one’s good and hearty!

Puy lentil and pearl barley soup – serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 100g dried Puy lentils
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 680g jar passata
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onion and carrots and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened and starting to colour.

Add the garlic, Puy lentils and pearl barley and stir for a minute, then add the passata and vegetable stock. Season with salt and black pepper.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or until everything is tender.

Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, season again if needed, and serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK Penguin House, 2019.)

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This has a crunchy crust and makes a great wintery side dish for a roast dinner or sausages. For clarity, when we refer to turnips we mean the large yellow-fleshed things that some call swedes, not the little white ones.

Baked turnip mash with sage & Parmesan crumbs – serves 6

  • 1kg turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g Parmesan
  • 8 sage leaves

Boil the turnip and garlic in salty water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pot, then mash with half the butter and the cream, a pinch of cayenne and lots of salt and black pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.

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

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and some black pepper. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the sage leaves untli they crisp up, then crumble them into the breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle the mix all over the turnip and spoon over any melted butter, then bake for 40 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2012)

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This is the Ottolenghi Tesk Kitchen’s hummus made with tinned chickpeas – confirmed creamy and dreamy.

Creamy dreamy hummus – serves 6

  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • 120-150g tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 25g ice cubes
  • salt
  • good olive oil, to serve

Spread the chickpeas out between two tea towels and rub together for a few minutes to release the skins. Don’t press too hard or you will crush the chickpeas. Discard the skins.

Put the peeled chickpeas into a saucepan, cover with water and add 1 tsp of salt and the pinch of cumin. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.

Drain the chickpeas over a bowl and save the cooking water. Put the warm chickpeas into a food processor with 120g of tahini, the garlic, lemon juice, ice cubes, 2 tbsp of the reserved cooking water and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth, then taste and add more tahini, garlic, lemon, salt and chickpea water to taste. We added a good bit of chickpea water to get the right consistency, it needs to be quite loose as it will thicken.

Spread the hummus in a shallow bowl and create a dip in the centre. Top with a generous glug of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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Some nights we just feel like loads of veg, and this was one of them! Serve with rice and naan. Keep the dice relatively small so they don’t take too long to cook. This is also gluten-free and vegan if that matters to you.

Wine Suggestion: Good with Cline’s Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi in California. The juicy bramble fruits and warm spices make this a gentle hug of a combination. We love how Cline Family Cellars manage to get such great balance and texture in what could easily be just a fruit bomb: bravo!

A big veggie curry – serves 8

  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 6 tbsp curry paste, we used Patak’s Madras
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 700g jar tomato passata
  • 400g tin coconut milk
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 courgettes, cut into small cubes
  • coriander, to serve

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

Put the potato, squash and aubergine into a large roasting tin and toss with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and 2 tbsp of the curry paste. Season, toss it all together and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over a medium heat in a large casserole or saucepan. Add the onions and fry until golden, you can add a splash of water if they start to stick. Stir in the remaining 4 tbsp of curry paste and cook for a few minutes, then add the passata, coconut milk and 100ml water. Simmer for 5 minutes.

When the roasted vegetables are tender, tip them into the sauce. Add the courgettes and peppers and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Scatter with coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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We’re often cooking for two which means we often halves of things to use up, like half a butternut squash. This is our favourite way to cook it.

Roasted butternut squash – serves 4 as a side (easily halved!)

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1kg), peeled, deseeded and cut into rough 3cm chunks
  • 10 small sprigs of thyme
  • 50ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Spread the squash out on a large baking tray, then add the thyme, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Give it a toss with your hands.

Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender and starting to caramelise.

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Sometimes the simplest of recipes turn out the best. This one is absolutely delicous and depends on the ingredients being good as there is nowhere to hide.

Wine Suggestion: Find an easy mediterrranean dry white with a touch of sappy, minerality and you’ll have a good match. We had no Greek white’s to hand but had the La Piuma Pecorino from the Abruzzo so we enjoyed the light melon, pear and citrus flavours and light herbal, camomile and green almond touch on the fiinish.

Fennel with Peas & Halloumi – serves 2

  • 300g fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 250g frozen peas, defrosted in a colander under cold running water and drained
  • 30g basil leaves
  • 20g mint leaves
  • 150ml olive oil

Warm the 3 tbsp of oil in a very big frying pan. Place the fennel in the pan in a single layer and season lightly. Cook until the fennel is browned on one side, then turn and continue to cook until soft.

Place the halloumi in the pan, tucking it in wherever you can so it browns on the pan. Allow to turn golden on both sides.

To make the dressing tip the peas, basil, mint and olive oil into a food processor and whizz until almost smooth, the texture should be slightly smooth. Spoon over the fennel and cheese and serve.

(Original recipe from Greenfeast: autumn, winter by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2019.)

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Try these to wet your appetite with a glass of sherry and some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: It only makes sense to drink a sherry with this dish with our suggestion being for either a good Fino or Amontillado. Fortunately our friends brought over Tio Pepe’s Fino En Rama. A savoury, minerally wine with grilled almond and iodine characters alongside some delightful lemon and apple fruitiness plus a good dollop of yeasty flor overtones.

Mushrooms with garlic & sherry vinegar – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 500g mushrooms, halve or quarter big ones
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • a pinch of hot paprika
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minutes, stirring, then add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat until just browned. If they give out liquid, keep cooking until it’s all gone.

Season well with salt and pepper, then add the sherry vinegar. Allow to sizzle until almost evaporated.

Serve the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of hot paprika and the chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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