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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

We know it’s a bit early for tomatoes, but this salad tastes good even with the blandest of specimens, so you’re good to go. A great side dish for a barbecue. You can get everything prepped up to an hour in advance but don’t toss it all together until ready to serve.

Tomato & za’atar fatoush – serves 4

  • 1 pitta, cut in half to make two thin round pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 head of Little Gem lettuce
  • 250g mixed tomatoes
  • 150g feta
  • 2 springs of fresh oregano, leaves picked
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 2 heaped tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper

Peel the garlic and bash with a knife to flatten. Mix it with the other dressing ingredients and allow to infuse for an hour at room temperature. Discard the garlic clove before mixing the dressing with the salad.

Brush the pitta bread with a little olive oil and toast until lightly golden and crispy. Break into bite-sized pieces.

Separate the lettuce leaves and cut into large strips.

Cut the tomatoes in different ways – slice some, chop into chunks and just half the little ones. You want them bite-sized rather than finely chopped.

Break the feta into chunks.

When ready to serve put the pitta pieces, lettuce, tomatoes, feta, oregano and za’atar into a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and gently mix everything together. Serve on a large platter with the pomegranate seeds sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. Food from the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich.)

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Rachel Roddy is a great inspiration for us in the kitchen. Her recipes are so simple but just right. This spaghetti dish has no pepper or cheese and doesn’t need them, it’s delicious as it is and a treat at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We were inspired by the bright Spring day and this dish to open the Spiaggia Marche Bianco. A youthful Verdicchio from the Sartarelli family who live and breathe Verdicchio. Joyful and charming; everything we were hoping for.

Spaghetti aglio, olio al limone – serves 4

  • 2 large unwaxed lemons, zest grated
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 small dried chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil

Mix the lemon zest and chopped parsley together and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add lots of salt, then stir in the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, very gently warm the olive oil in a large frying pan with the chopped garlic and chilli. You want it to be fragrant but be very careful not to burn it.

Use tongs to lift the spaghetti out of the water and into the frying pan, you want a little of the residual cooking water. Stir the spaghetti to coat in the oil, then add the lemon zest and parsley and a pinch of salt. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like, we usually don’t feel it needs it. Divide between warm pasta bowls.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, Headline Home, 2017.)

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The first thing to mention, is that this is not like the cauliflower in cheese sauce that we all know and love, but no less because of that. This dish is more set, more ‘eggy’ and has a distinctive tang from the soured cream. It also reheats particularly well, regular cauliflower cheese tends to split. So the verdict is that you should definitely give this a go – we served as a side with a dish of minty peas and lettuce and some baked ham. It could definitely work as a main either with a green salad or green veg.

Cauliflower gratin with soured cream – serves 4

  • a knob of butter, for greasing the dish
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 1kg when the leaves have been removed, cut into medium-sized florets
  • 350ml soured cream
  • 125g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 50g sunflower seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with butter, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the florets for about 6 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then steam dry in the warm pot for a few minutes and drain again on some kitchen paper to make sure no water remains.

Combine the soured cream, 100g of the cheese and eggs with the nutmeg, mustard and seasoning in a large bowl.

Put the drained cauliflower into the prepared dish, then pour over the soured cream mixture. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, covering with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

Serve with the sunflower seeds scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2020.)

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For no particular reason we tend to eat mostly meat and fish dominant dishes on the weekend, and mostly veg during the week. This has been unsettled recently as we have no one to share our dishes with, so there is inevitably lots of leftovers from the weekend, and fewer opportunities to cook vegetables. This weekend we made sure to include a veggie dish in the line up and we’re looking forward to the leftovers already. Lots of lovely warm spices in this one. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: a nice accomaniment to this was from a young turk in Chateauneuf du Pape, Jean-Paul Daumen’s Méditerannée. From Southern France this contains the usual Rhone varieties alongside Cab Sauv and Merlot for a very pleasurable taste of sunshine. A well thought out biodynamic and organic blend that demonstrates why we shouldn’t always insist on what was grown traditionally in the area; this expands the range of taste on offer in a good way.

Red kidney bean & sweet potato stew with yoghurt & hot mint oil – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 big garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 690g jar of passata
  • 500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, drained
  • 30g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • Greek yoghurt

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and stir until both have softened but not coloured.

Stir in the spices and cook for a minutes, then season generously with Maldon salt and black pepper, then stir in the passata. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Add a splash of water now and then if needed to prevent it sticking.

Stir in the sweet potato and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, or until tender, then add the beans and most of the parsley and heat through.

Meanwhile, put a small pan over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and heat before stirring in the dried mint. Stir for a minute or two then remove from the heat.

Serve the stew with some yoghurt, the extra parsley and a drizzle of the hot mint oil.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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This soup really couldn’t be simpler and it’s nice and filling for lunchtime. 

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas, Orzo & Pesto – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas
  • 150g orzo pasta
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and celery and fry for 10-15 minutes, or until starting to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all of the other ingredients, except for the pesto and remaining oil, and bring to the boil. 

Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the orzo is tender. Season to taste and divide between warm bowls. Stir in the remaining olive oil with the pesto, then drizzle over the soup. 

(Original recipe form BBC Good Food)

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Do we need to provide another recipe for Italian roast potatoes with rosemary? Probably not, but this version uses regular potatoes, rather than the baby waxy variety. So perhaps it will come in handy, as it did for us. 

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary – serves 4 to 6

  • 2kg potatoes e.g. Maris Piper or Roosters
  • a large handful of rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt and black pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks, then boil in salted water until just cooked through. Drain in a colander and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly and lose some mixture. 

Preheat the oven to 220C/220C Fan/Gas 7.

Heat a roasting tray in the oven with most of the rosemary leaves and a good few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Remove the tray from the oven and add the potatoes, turning to coat well in the oil and rosemary .

Roast for about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so. 

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.)

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Sometimes all you want is a plate of greens. Here they are with a Japanese-style sauce and some sticky rice and sesame seeds. 

Wine Suggestion: We find this combination of flavours in the sauce work well with Riesling, especially if it’s the lighter styles with a touch of fruit. This could be a German Kabinett with lower alcohol, residual sugar and refreshing acidity, or one of the dry Clare Valley cuvées that leave a hint of sugar in making them very approachable in youth like Pike’s Hills & Valleys. 

Greens with Sticky Sesame Rice – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 140g sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g purple sprouting broccoli or other long-stemmed broccoli
  • 6 scallions, halved lengthways

FOR THE SAUCE: 

  • 2 tbsp brown miso paste
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced

Stir the sauce ingredients together with 1 tbsp water, then set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil with the caster sugar and ½ tsp salt. Add the rice and boil for about 15 minutes (or whatever time it suggests on the pack) until just cooked. Drain well, return to the pan and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil. Cover and keep warm. 

Heat the sunflower oil in a wok until smoking hot. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for a few minutes until almost tender, add a splash of water now and then to create a bit of steam. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then stir in the sauce and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly. 

Divide the rice between 2 plates and top with the stir-fry. 

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This makes a delicious veggie breakfast with toast or with bread and a salad for lunch. It is so simple but you need to use top quality tinned tomatoes as they are the star of the show.

Baked eggs with tomatoes – serves 4

  • 500g tinned tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 fresh eggs

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Put the tomatoes into a saucepan with 2 tbsp of water and a couple of pinches of salt. Cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, give it a stir occasionally.

Pour the olive oil into an ovenproof dish, then pour the tomatoes on top.

Break the eggs into the dish on top of the sauce and season with black pepper. Bake for 5 minutes or until the whites are just set and the yolks still runny.

(Original recipe from Southern Italian Cooking by Valentina Harris, Pavilion Books Limited, 1993.)

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Try this delicious Indian brunch dish by Cyrus Todiwala – chilli cheese on toast with a fried egg on top and ketchup on the side. We poached our eggs this time.

Wine Suggestion: What do they serve in those brunch places? Bottomless prosecco – something like that.

Eggs kejriwal – serves 2

  • 1 tsp butter, plus more for spreading on the toast
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 thick slices bread
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • tomato ketchup, to serve (optional)

Melt the tsp of butter in a small frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Lightly toast the bread, then spread with butter and put onto a baking tray.

Heat the grill to medium.

Mix the onion, cheese, mustard, coriander, chilli and 1 egg together in a bowl and season.

Spread the cheese mix over the toast and grill for about 5 minutes or until set and bubbling.

Meanwhile, fry or poach your eggs.

Serve the cheese on toast on warmed plates with an egg on top and ketchup on the side.

(Original recipe by Cyrus Todiwala in BBC Good Food magazine, March 2020.)

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PSB is our veg saviour early in the year when winter is lingering and spring still seems too far away. We loved this roasted version with a tangy lemon dressing.

Roasted PSB with feta & preserved lemons – serves 4 to 6 as a side

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh and rind chopped, plus 1 tbsp juice from the jar
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 1 garlic cloves, grated
  • 30g feta

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

Put the PSB into large roasting tin, add the olive oil and red chilli, season with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands.

Roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway, until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile stir the preserved lemon, juice and garlic into the yoghurt.

Crumble the feta over the roasted broccoli and drizzle with yoghurt dressing and your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A few tins and some spices and you’re pretty much sorted for this tasty weeknight curry. We served this with rice the first night, and chips the second. We also know it’s not tomato season at present but the fresh tomatoes are really more for texture than flavour here.

Tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Add the garlic and spices and keep cooking for another minute or two.

Add the tin of tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and season generously. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

Add the chickpeas and fresh tomatoes and allow to warm through. Serve with some steamed rice and the coriander scattered over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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A genius combination by Gill Meller, unusual and totally delicious. Gill deep fries the artichoke skins and some extra nori sheets as a garnish, which looks fab but too much for us to manage on our lunch break.

Jerusalem artichoke, almond and seaweed soup – serves 4

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 100g whole almonds, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 nori seaweed sheets
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock

Put a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat, then heat the olive oil. Add the artichoke slices, the onion, leek, garlic and soaked nuts. Season generously, then cook, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. 

Tear the nori sheets into the pan and add the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cook gently for 20-30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft. 

Whizz the soup to a smooth purée, then season again. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving in warm bowls with some of your best olive oil drizzled over. 

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant, Quadrille, 2020.)

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This granola from Dishoom has only a hint of sweetness and is much more nutty with hints of butter and spice so it makes a great foil to any fresh or poached fruit (here with Nigella’s pomegranate-poached quinces). It’s also great with just some creamy yoghurt, we loved it. The kitchen smells incredible as it toasts!

Dishoom Granola – makes 10-12 portions

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 100g almonds
  • 80g cashew nuts
  • 75g pistachio nuts
  • 45g desiccated coconut
  • 70g sunflower seeds
  • 70g pumpkin seeds
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 100g acacia honey
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 210C/190C fan/Gas 6-7.

Line two large baking trays with baking parchment. 

Mix the oats, nuts, desiccated coconut and seeds together in a big bowl. 

Put the honey, butter and ground cinnamon into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is just melted. Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well. 

Divide the mixture between the baking trays and spread evenly, just a wooden spoon to pat it down. Put one tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and mix well, then press it down again. Bake for another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before you stir or move it. Repeat with the other tray. 

Store in an airtight container and use within a month. 

(Original recipe from Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.)

 

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This soup is super simple but it’s really good with the toasted feta tortillas on the side for a weekday lunch.

Bean soup with feta tortillas – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp chipotle paste
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g feta
  • 4 large soft flour tortillas
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • sour cream or yoghurt to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft.

Add the chipotle paste, passata, stock and beans. Season, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the feta over one half of each of the tortillas, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and season with black pepper. Fold the uncovered side over and press together. Heat a dry frying pan and cook the tortillas for a minute on each side or until crispy and the cheese has melted.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt if you have it and the feta tortillas on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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You could have these for dessert with some crème fraîche but we like them for breakfast with yoghurt and granola.

Pomegranate-poached quinces – serves 6

  • 700ml pure pomegranate juice
  • 300ml cold water
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve (we skipped these)

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. 

Put the pomegranate juice, water and sugar into a heavy casserole with a lid. Stir well, then add the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Put the casserole over a low heat and leave to warm gently. 

Peel, quarter and core the quinces and add to the pan with the pomegranate juice. 

Bring to the boil, then scrunch up a piece of baking paper, slightly bigger than the pan, then unscrunch again and press down on top of the quinces, tucking it in and up the sides of the pan. Cover with the lid and place in the oven. 

Cook for 1½-2 hours or until tender. Remove the lid and baking paper, then scoop out the quinces with a spoon. Strain the liquid, then return to the heat and bubble until reduced by half. Pour the liquid back over the quinces and leave to cool. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat, they keep well for a few days. 

(Original recipe from Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2020)

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It’s difficult to know how to introduce this recipe by Rosie Birkett. It is far from shy in terms of flavour, bursting with it in fact, and we’d suggest you have to be a bit adventurous, as it has so many punchy layers. Great to see celeriac getting the attention it deserves.

The recipe is not difficult, but it does take a little effort to make all of the separate components.

Wine Suggestion: to match such a punchy, savoury dish you can go all out with a wine to match these levels of flavour, or go light to be complimentary. We went the latter route and opened an easy, dry Rosé. Tonight a bottle from a friend, the Domaine le Novi Côté Levant Rosé, which tasted of fresh red berries, hints of citrus and light tannins, finishing zesty and minerally.

Gochujang-glazed celeriac with black beans, green salsa & crispy shallots – serves 2

  • about 25g of sea salt flakes
  • 1 medium celeriac, about 750g, peeled, halved and cut into 3cm thick wedges
  • sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1-2 shallots, finely sliced

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 50g salted butter
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

FOR THE BLACK BEANS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • a small bunch of coriander, stems finely chopped and leaves reserved
  • a pinch of ground coriander
  • 400g tin of black beans, don’t drain them as you need the liquid
  • ½ lime, juiced (you will need the other half for the salsa)

FOR THE GREEN SALSA:

  • 1 green apple, roughly chopped
  • ½ green chilli, deseeded
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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

Line a tray with baking paper and sprinkle the salt over the top. Put the celeriac slices on top of the salt, then roast for 15 minutes at the top of the oven.

Make the glaze while the celeriac is baking. Put the gochujang, butter, honey, a pinch of salt, 1 tbsp water, the orange juice and cornflour in a pan. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until smooth, then set aside.

Leave the celeriac to cool slightly, then remove any excess salt and toss each piece in the glaze. Discard the salt from the tray, return the wedges to it and roast for another 10 minutes. Glaze again and scatter over the sesame seeds, then roast for a final 10-20 minutes or until sticky and caramelised (turn the oven up a bit if you need).

Meanwhile, make the beans. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the cumin and bay leaf until sizzling, then add the onion, coriander stems, ground coriander and a good pinch of salt. Fry, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until golden and soft. Add the beans with their liquid and a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring, until the beans look creamy and the liquid and almost gone. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the lime juice, then set aside and keep warm.

To make the salsa, put the apple, chilli, pumpkin seeds, lime juice and reserved coriander leaves in a food processor and whizz until combined but chunky. Add the oil and whizz again, then season to taste.

To make the crispy shallots, heat the sunflower oil in a small frying pan and fry the shallots over a low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and season.

Serve the beans on warm plates, topped with the celeriac, salsa and crispy shallots.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Our default lockdown lunch is soup, it helps with the heating bills! We ran out of soup last week and found this recipe when looking for lunch inspiration that would use the only ingredient left in the fridge – carrots. It was really very nice. 

Spicy Carrot & Chickpea Pitta – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 2cm thick rounds
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
  • finely grated zest of an orange, plus a good squeeze of the juice
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 pitta breads
  • yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots and fry for 8-10 minutes. The carrots should be tender and starting to brown, but still with a bit of bite. 

Add the garlic, orange zest, paprika, and chickpeas and cook until the chickpeas are hot. Remove from the heat, season well with salt, pepper and a good squeeze of orange juice. 

Warm the pitta breads in a toaster or under the grill, then stuff the mixture into the pockets and top with yoghurt or sour cream. 

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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It’s about this time of year when we usually get a bit tired of root veg and starting craving food more associated with Spring. Not so this year and largely due to Gill Meller who can do wonders with winter veg. Baked potatoes stuffed with celeriac didn’t sound super appealing to us but we can assure you these are delicious!

Wine Suggestion: a winter white called tonight: Jean-Michel Gerin’s La Champine Viognier from a young vineyard near their Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu vineyards. Great value from this top maker and while not as rich as their Condrieu it has charming fruit and a fresh purity.

Celeriac baked potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
  • a handful of dried ceps (or any dried mushrooms)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp dried seaweed flakes (these are optional but we used Dulse Flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed which you can buy online)
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • a handful of grated cheddar cheese

Start by baking the potatoes. We like to scrub them, then rub in a little olive oil and sprinkle over some salt. Bake at 220C for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh, taking care not to damage the skins. Return the empty shells to the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy pan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and start to bubble, then add the onion, garlic, celeriac and dried mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the celeriac is soft. If it starts to catch just add a splash of water and lower the heat. When the celeriac is nice and soft, add the cream, milk, scooped out potato flesh, seaweed flakes and parsley. Stir to combine and season again if needed.

Stuff the crispy potato skins with the celeriac mixture, then place on a baking tray and scatter over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until hot. Serve with a dressed green salad.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2020.)

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Such a simple and foolproof way of cooking rice from Ottolgenghi Simple. This gives a lovely texture and the salsa is delicious. We served with pulled lamb shawarma but it would be great with all sorts of dishes. 

Baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa – serves 6

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 50g mint (leave 40g on the springs and shred the leaves of the remaining 10g for the salsa)
  • 150g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 40g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
  • seeds from a small pomegranate
  • 50g walnut halves, lightly roasted and roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 230C fan or as high as your oven goes. 

Put the rice into a high-sided roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Season with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then pour over the melted butter and boiling water. Top with the mint sprigs and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid absorbed. 

Meanwhile, mix all of the salad ingredients, except the mint leaves, together in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside. 

When the rice is ready, pull the leaves off the mint sprigs and scatter them over the rice, then sprinkle over the feta. Just before serving, stir the shredded mint into the salsa and spoon over the rice. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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It’s about this time of year when purple sprouting broccoli arrives and saves us from the monotony of root veg. We’ve yet to be rescued and therefore had to use some imported tenderstem instead, which was fine, but definitely inferior to the local purple variety.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes really well with Viognier. A richer, more aromatic white with a bit of phenolic grip as opposed to acidity and compliments the richness and body of the food. This wouldn’t work if the acidity was too high. A good, well-priced suggestion is the Cline Cellars North Coast Viognier, from a selection of well sited organic vineyards on the Sonoma coast in California. Well judged and avoids some of the OTT characters other Californian wines can exhibit.

Peanut Butter and Broccoli Pad Thai – serves 4

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 6 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice

FOR THE TOFU & BROCCOLI:

  • 450g purple sprouting broccoli or other long-stemmed broccoli, put the florets to one side and cut the stalks into 1cm pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1.5cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 225g firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 250g flat folded rice noodles
  • rapeseed oil
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • a handful of sesame seeds
  • a handful of Thai basil leaves, shredded (use regular basil if you have to)
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves, shredded
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Make the sauce by mixing the peanut butter, tamarind paste and honey in a bowl, then slowly mix in the soy sauce, lime juice and 4 tbsp of water.

Cook the noodles according the instructions on the pack, then rinse under cold water, drain, and drizzle with a tbsp of rapeseed oil. Toss gently with your hands.

Heat 2tbsp of rapeseed oil, over a medium-high heat, in a large non-stick pan or wok with a lid. Fry the tofu for 5 minutes, turning every minute, until pale golden. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli stalks and 4 tbsp of water. Cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes or until the stalks are tender. Add the broccoli florets, the sauce and scallions (reserving a few to garnish), stir to combine, then cover again and leave for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, then add the noodles a handful at a time, mixing them in gently to coat with the sauce, then turn off the heat.

Divide the noodles between 4 bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions, then drizzle over some sesame oil and scatter over the herbs. Add a generous squeeze of lime and serve.

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

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