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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

We’re not buying any meat or fish this January, it’s not veganuary, but just an effort to be a little frugal at the start of the year. We also want to make sure we use up all the odds and ends in the freezer. We’ve been making lots of Korean dishes but they tend to focus on meat or fish, so we decided to give some winter veg the Gochujang treatment. Serve with some sticky rice.

Wine Suggestion: The sommelier’s secret weapon: Quinta Soalheiro’s Allo. Light and fresh, but with fruit, texture and depth to stand up to any dish. The earthy, iodine kale and spicy flavours just work with this wine.

Korean Winter Veg Stir-fry – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • a small clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • a small bunch of long-stemmed broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into batons
  • 100g greens, we used purple kale but any kale or cabbage will be good, remove any thick stalks and shred
  • 4 scallions, 2 chopped and 2 cut into 4 cm lengths
  • ½ tbsp sesame seeds

FOR THE GOCHUJANG SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin or rice wine
  • 1 tbsp honey

To make the gochujang sauce, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Heat a large wok over a high heat, then add 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until softened, a couple of minutes.

Add another tbsp of oil to the wok, then add the broccoli, carrot and longer pieces of scallion, continue to stir-fry until slightly softened.

Add the sauce and the kale and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. The sauce should be sticky on the vegetables and everything piping hot.

Serve the veg over sticky rice and sprinkled with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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Leeks usually end up in a soup or supporting other ingredients in a pie or something, but they are the star of the show in this veggie main course dish by Gill Meller. Here they are cooked in olive oil with orzo pasta, lemon, rosemary, parsley and cheese and it is most certainly a “leek dish”. By all means serve as a side dish too if you like. 

Wine Suggestion: We chose a wine to lift the winter mood; with friendly fruit, a nutty and stony twist and hints of sunshine – the La Sonrisa de Tares. A Godello from Bierzo which brought a smile to our faces.

Leeks with Orzo, Lemon & Herbs – serves 4

  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 3 leeks, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 250g orzo pasta
  • 100g pecorino (we used Parmesan), finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 125g mozzarella cheese

Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/375 F/Gas 5.

Put a large, wide, heavy-based casserole over a low heat. Add the olive oil and when it has warmed, add the garlic and rosemary. Allow the garlic to sizzle for a minute or so, then add the leeks, orzo, half of the grated pecorino, the chopped parsley and the lemon zest. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir gently but try not to break the leeks up too much.

Pour over the vegetable stock, then stir again and use a wooden spoon to push the leeks down into the stock. Tear over the mozzarella cheese and scatter over the remaining pecorino. Season the top with some flaky salt and extra black pepper, then bake for 35-45 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the top is golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a bit more pecorino if you like.

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

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We made this on the first of January. We don’t do veggie January or veganuary but after all the rich food of November and December we were looking forward to some lighter dishes and this felt just right; both elegant and light, but full of lovely layers of flavour and textures.

Wine Suggestion: serve this with an umami rich red wine, but one that isn’t too fruity and rich either. If you can plump for an older, good Barolo lucky you, but tonight we were still lucky enough to have Domaine Jamet’s Côtes du Rhône: 100% northern Rhône Syrah with depth and personality, plums and brambles, peppery spice and savouriness.

Shiitake pho with crispy leeks – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
  • 4 banana shallots, thinly sliced (just use an onion if you don’t have shallots)
  • 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 leeks, 1 sliced the other shredded into long strips
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, very finely chopped
  • 375g fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 6 scallions, very finely sliced
  • 2 litres vegetable stock (vegan if you wish)
  • 200g flat rice noodles
  • a large handful of fresh coriander leaves, shredded
  • 1 lime, quartered

You need a very big pot for this, at least 3 litres.

Heat the oil in the large pot and fry the shallots for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick, then fry for another 5 minutes or until starting to colour and stick.

Add the finely sliced leek, chillies and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 8-10 minutes, until softened, then add the soy sauce, half the scallions and the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down very low and leave to simmer. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile, fry the shredded leek. Pour enough oil into a frying pan to come up to 1cm up the sides, then heat over a medium flame until very hot. Fry the shredded leek in batches, until crispy and golden, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the pack and drain.

To serve, divide the noodles between 4 large bowls, then ladle the broth on top. Scatter with the coriander, the crispy leeks, scallions and a squeeze of lime.

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

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This pasta dish by Gizzi Erskine certainly packs a punch. Roasted cauliflower is a bit trendy at the moment but we don’t think we’ll tire of it and the additions of preserved lemon, chilli and cream makes a great combination.

Wine Suggestion: The Edetària via Edetana Blanc from DO Terra Alta, near Tarragona in Spain is an old vine Granacha Blanca (70%) with the remainder being Viognier. Wonderfully bright and pure with both an exotic lushness and cream on the palate as well as a blindingly salty, mineral finish. Bravo to the winemakers.

Roasted cauliflower, preserved lemon and chilli pasta – serves 4

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets, and the inner leaves
  • 100ml olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for roasting the cauliflower
  • 40g rye bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs (we used some stale sourdough which worked perfectly too)
  • 250g ditali pasta, macaroni, mezzi, rigatoni or orecchiette
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 dried chilli, crushed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g sour cream
  • 80g Parmesan, grated
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 preserved lemons, pips discarded and skin thinly sliced
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to very hot, about 260C/Gas 10 or as high as your oven goes.

Spread the cauliflower and leaves on a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Toss with your hands to coat in the oil. Roast in the hot over for 15 minutes, until cooked through and browned, a bit of charring is fine.

Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and fry until crispy and golden, then drain on some kitchen paper and set aside.

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water for a couple minutes less than the pack instructions, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain, and keep 100ml of the pasta cooking water in case you need to thin the sauce later.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the rest of the oil in a separate frying pan with the garlic and chilli and cook gently for 5 minutes, until softened, then set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks, cream and Parmesan together in a bowl. Put the pasta pan back over a medium heat and stir in the egg mixture, then the garlic and chilli oil, parsley, preserved lemon, lemon zest and plenty of black pepper. Mix for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, check for seasoning and stir through the roasted cauliflower. You can loosen a little with the reserved pasta cooking water if needed. Serve on warm plates with the crispy breadcrumbs sprinkled over and a little extra Parmesan if you like.

(Original recipe from Restore by Gizzi Erskine, HQ, 2020.)

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Well this was a revelation! We love kimchi but admit that we’ve only ever bought it in jars and never attempted to make it ourselves; a new year’s resolution in there perhaps. Having no kimchi in the cupboard we decided to give this a go and it’s nothing short of delicious. It’s ideally made with the small Persian cucumbers which we couldn’t find in our local shops over Christmas but a regular cucumber works fine too, just scoop out most of the seeds with a teaspoon first.

Almost-instant cucumber kimchi – serves 4-6 as a side

  • 3 Persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber (see note above)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp gochugaru red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp unrefined sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Wash the cucumbers and pat dry. Halve them lengthways and slice very finely. Put the slices into a bowl with the salt, toss to combine, then leave aside for 30 minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients, apart from the sesame seeds, in a bowl. Drain the cucumber of any liquid, then add to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir well. Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour or until chilled.

Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds. If you can resist eating it all this will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a week.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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Pure pumpkin flavour is what you get in this soup from Marcus Wareing. The maple-toasted seeds on top definitely make it a bit special. Our favourite pumpkin variety is Crown Prince. 

Pumpkin soup with maple-toasted seeds – serves 8

  • 1 pumpkin, approximately 2kg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 250ml milk

FOR THE MAPLE-TOASTED SEEDS:

  • 60 pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Peel and quarter the pumpkin and reserve the skin and seeds. 

Cut the pumpkin flesh into 2cm chunks, and set aside. 

Put the skin, seeds and trimmings into a large saucepan with the bay leaf, rosemary and 2.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, then strain and reserve the stock. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. 

Mix the pumpkin seeds with the maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Scatter over a baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove and allow to cool, then roughly chop. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the pumpkin chunks and 1 tsp of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. 

Pour in about half the pumpkin stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is completely soft and starting to break down. Stir in the milk, remove the rosemary sprig and bay leaf. Blend with a stick blender or processor until completely smooth, adding more stock if needed. Season to taste. 

Serve the soup scattered with the pumpkin seeds and drizzled with some good olive oil. 

(Original recipe from Marcus at Home by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollins Publishers, 2016.)

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We are forever cooking too much rice and this is our favourite way to use it. It’s also an excellent recipe for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Nasi goreng with poached eggs – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red chillies, shredded
  • 4 shallots or a small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g pack of ready-cooked rice or leftover cooked rice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Asian chilli sauce, plus extra to serve – we use sriracha
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 eggs, poached, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan or wok.

Cook the chilli, shallots, garlic, carrot and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Mix the brown sugar with and the chilli sauce until dissolved, then stir through the rice. Stir in the coriander.

Divide the rice between two dishes then top with a poached egg and another drizzle of chilli sauce.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, December 2012.)

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We’ve been making a soup most weeks. This one is from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. Suitably seasonal.

Cauliflower and leek soup with toasted cheese – serves 4

  • 3 medium leeks, discard the coarse part of green leaves and roughly chop
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg cauliflower, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 100g of cheese, something that will melt, we used Gruyére

Warm the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cover, then cook over a low heat, until the leeks are soft but not browned. 

Add the cauliflower to the softened leeks. Stir briefly, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaves and a little salt, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until soft. 

Process half the soup in a blender until very smooth. Add a handful of the parsley to the rest of the soup and blend this batch to a thick, rough texture. Mix the two together and season with salt and black pepper. 

Spread sourdough with a little butter or oil and toast under a hot grill. Turn the bread over and cover the other side with thick slices of cheese, then return to the grill until melted. Divide the soup between bowls and float the cheesy toasts on top. 

(Original recipe from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2017)

 

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Romanesco has a short season so it’s a grab it when you can sort of vegetable. This means we usually just steam it but we came across this veggie curry recipe by Tom Kerridge and it was the perfect weeknight bowl of goodness.

Wine Suggestion: This works with lighter whites like the La Piuma Pecorino from Italy, but can see it working with so many other whites. Balanced, easy fruit, medium bodied and with enough texture, like Italian whites tend to have, except for Pinot Grigio.

Romanesco, corn and coconut curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 500g romanesco, cut into florets
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 350g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 200g frozen peas
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely sliced
  • cooked rice, to serve

FOR THE FRIED PANEER:

  • 225g paneer, cut into cubes
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a wide, deep frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and sizzle for a few seconds, then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn the heat down, then add the ground spices and stir for 1 minute, then add the romanesco and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the veg stock and half the coconut milk and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the paneer. Put it into a bowl and mix with the turmeric and salt. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the paneer and cook until browned, 5-8 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Add the rest of the coconut milk to the romanesco and stir in the sweetcorn, peas, fried paneer and half the coriander. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve scattered with the chilli and the rest of the coriander.

(Original recipe from Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start, Bloomsbury Absolute, 2018.)

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This is very rich and luxurious, and needs a sharp salad to go along with it. Nigel Slater’s addition of basil sauce is a great idea and makes a super tasty dish.

Wine Suggestion: We suspect a good Nebbiolo would work with this but in the absence one in our rack tonight we chose Domaine Jamet’s Cotes du Rhone. Made from 100% Syrah in the Northern Rhone it still has a hint of richness and spice as if it has a Gigondas influence but also the earthy, leather spice of the North. 

Mushroom lasagne with basil and cream – serves 6

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 10g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 750g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • a good handful of chopped parsley
  • 5 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 3 tbsp for the top
  • 150ml double cream
  • 750ml béchamel sauce (Nigel suggests you can use ready-made for this but if you want to make your own we’ve included a recipe below – a pint should be plenty).
  • 350g fresh lasagne sheets (dried can be used either)

FOR THE BASIL SAUCE

  • 60g pine nuts
  • 50g basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

To make a pint of béchamel sauce, melt 2oz of butter in a medium-sized saucepan, then stir in 2oz of plain flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add a pint of full-fat milk, stirring continuously and only adding a bit more when the previous bit has been absorbed. Keep stirring until all of the milk has been added and the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until softened and translucent.

Meanwhile, cover the dried porcini with warm water – no more than 100ml – and leave to soak.

To make the basil sauce, whizz the pine nuts, basil, garlic, some olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor. You need enough oil to form a sloppy paste. Alternatively you can crush the garlic with a little salt in a mortar, then mash in the basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil.

Stir the sliced mushrooms into the onions and partially cover with a lid. Leave to colour and soften, then add the dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid, the parsley, 5 tbsp of Parmesan and the cream. Season well with salt and black pepper, then simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened a bit.

To assemble the lasagne, take a large casserole dish and spread a few tbsp of the béchamel over the bottom. Cover with a layer of pasta, then half the mushroom filling. Add another layer of pasta, then a second layer of mushrooms. Top with a final layer of pasta, then spread over the basil sauce. Cover the top completely with the rest of the béchamel and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

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We made a vat of this last night, which is fine because it is really nice. Still, we’re looking forward to sharing dishes with other people again. Our preferred pumpkin is a Crown Prince but you can use butternut squash if that is what’s available. We served this with a cabbage dish and some roast potatoes but it would be super with sausages or chicken or any roast really.

Pumpkin, mustard & Gruyère gratin – serves 4 to 6

  • a small knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 300ml pot double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • pumpkin, about 1kg prepared weight
  • 100g Gruyère, grated

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, put the garlic and half the sage into a saucepan, add the cream and milk and heat gently for 5 minutes but don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then throw away the sage and garlic, stir in the mustard and add plenty of seasoning.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Layer the pumpkin slices, onions, most of the cheese and the cream in a very large baking dish or roasting tray, finishing with a layer of cream and some cheese scattered on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover and increase the heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and completely tender. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a lovely side dish and it was hard not to eat all the roasted Romanesco before it got to the plate. Then you add garlicky tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds … delicious!

We just love the fractal patterened shape of these too. We’ve recently discovered that pomegranate seeds freeze well. Dry them well and spread them over a tray lined with paper, transfer to a bag or tub when frozen.

Roast Romanesco Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranates – serves 4

  • 2 heads of Romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 75g tahini
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

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

Spread the florets out over a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin and allspice. Season with plenty of salt and pepper then toss well to coat.

Roast for 20-30 minutes in the hot oven until tender but firm, give them a toss half way through, then remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

To make the tahini sauce mix the tahini, lemon juice and garlic with 100ml of water in a bowl, until smooth and runny.

Put the tahini onto a serving platter, drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe from Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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We adore spinach and dishes that are full of it, like this spinach, tomato & chickpea curry. Great served with rice or naan breads and some yoghurt. Couldn’t be easier!

Wine Suggestion: A dish like this loves medium weight Grenache based wines like Roc des Anges, l’Effet de Papillon rouge. A velvety, juicy, damson and raspberry flavoured glass with hints of spice.

Chana Saag – Spinach, tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500g baby spinach, washed

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped onions.

Fry for 10 to 12 minutes or until starting to caramelise, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, crushing them with you hand as they go in. Fill the tin a third full with water and add to the pan.

Cook for 10 minutes or until quite dry and paste-like, then add the chickpeas. Warm through for a few minutes, then add the coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir well to combine, then add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice and some yoghurt.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meeera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

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We won’t tell you how to make pizza dough again but you can find the recipe we use here if you need. This is just a nice idea for an Autumnal veggie topping.

Wine Suggestion: We think you needn’t stress about finding the ultimate match when making pizzas as there’s a casual nature to the dish. Choose a wine of the moment, like a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than a Barolo, or a Bourgogne Rouge, or other Pinot Noir than a Grand Cru. Enjoy the pleasure of more simple fruit. These two grapes would be our suggestion too.

Wild mushroom & sage pizzas – serves 2

  • 2 pizza bases
  • 250g ricotta, tipped into a sieve to drain
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and halved or sliced if large 
  • 12 sage leaves

Heat the oven to 220C fan/200C/gas 7.

Place the pizza bases onto oiled baking sheets. Scatter the ricotta over the bases, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. 

Fry the mushrooms briefly in a little olive oil until just starting to cook and coated in the oil. Scatter the mushrooms over the pizza bases. Dip the sage leaves  in a little oil and lay onto the pizzas. 

Bake one pizza at a time for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and crisp at the edges and the toppings are cooked. 

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2013.)

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This dish is supercharged when it comes to flavour! We pretty much used every pot, bowl and spoon in the house when making it. The good news is that it is easy to do plenty of prep in advance, which will make it easier when entertaining.

Jules was a bit anti-tofu before ordering a tofu dish number of years ago in Dennis Cotter’s famous vegetarian restaurant in Cork, Café Paradiso. She figured if he couldn’t make it nice it wasn’t worth having; and was duly converted. If you’re a tofu novice then we recommend you try this dish by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, it’s certainly not dull.

Wine Suggestion: When matching such a full-flavoured, aromatic and savoury dish you need a corresponding characterful wine. Chateau du Hureau’s Argile Saumur Blanc proved itself up to the task. A strident, dry Chenin Blanc the citrussy, crisp apple flavours provided a wonderful counterpoint and the savoury, mineral texture danced along with the food.

Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu and Orange Nam Jim – serves 4

  • 600g pre-cooked udon noodles
  • 10g Thai basil leaves
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced into long strips
  • 10g coriander leaves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced into long strips
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

FOR THE FRIED TOFU:

  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 ½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g firm tofu, press to remove any water, pat dry, then cut into bite-sized pieces

FOR THE ORANGE NIM JAM:

  • ½ tbsp basmati rice
  • ¾ tbsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1/3 tsp ordinary chilli flakes)
  • 4-5 blood oranges or regular oranges – juice them to get 160ml of orange juice, then serve the dish with some orange wedges if you like
  • 20g tamarind paste (if you make this from the block of tamarind you will need about 40g see method in note below)
  • 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 40g banana shallot, finely diced
  • 5g coriander, finely chopped

Start by marinating the tofu. Mix the garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, 1 tbsp of sunflower oil and ¼ tsp of salt in a dish that can hold the tofu pieces in a single layer. Add the tofu and toss gently to coat in the marinade. Leave for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through.

Next, make the nam jim. Put the rice into a small saucepan over a medium-high heat and toast for 2 ½ minutes. Add the aleppo chilli and toast for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a coarse powder. Put the ground rice mixture into a medium bowl, then add the orange juice, tamarind, fish sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, shallot and coriander. Mix together, then pour into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and cook gently for a couple of minutes, until warm. Add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Remove the noodles and sauce from the pan and set aside while you fry the tofu, you want it at room temperature to serve.

Heat 1 ½ tbsp of the oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium-high heat until very hot, then add half the tofu, making sure it’s spaced apart. Fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden brown. Set aside while you fry the rest. Stir any remaining tofu marinade into the noodles.

Toss the basil, scallions, coriander leaves and chillies with the noodles, then transfer to a serving platter with a lip. Serve with the tofu and sesame seeds on top. Serve with some orange wedges if you like.

NOTE: to make tamarind paste from a block mix a small piece, about 120g, with half this quantity, 60ml, of lukewarm water. After a few minutes mix together again, adding a touch more water if you need so the pulp falls away from the seed. Pass through a fine sieve. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.

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

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A nice salad using raw beetroot. It tastes really fresh and good for you. 

Beetroot with walnuts and cumin – serves 4

  • 75g walnuts
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • about 400g beetroot
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and gently toast the walnuts for a few minutes, until toasted and starting to colour. Remove from the pan and add the cumin seeds. Toast these for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, then tip onto a plate. 

Peel the beetroot and grate it coarsely into a bowl. Add the parsley, orange juice and a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tbsp rapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Mix and season again to taste. Leave for 20 minutes or so to marinate and soften. 

Spread the beetroot over a serving dish. Bash the toasted walnuts roughly and scatter over the beetroot. Bash the toasted cumin seeds too, then scatter over the salad. 

Finish with another drizzle of oil. 

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

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Sometimes on Sundays we do a sort of a roast dinner but without the roast. It usually consists of a few different vegetable dishes, something green and something creamy, and roast potatoes are essential. We really loved this recipe by Nigel Slater as it gives the pumpkin a super soft, almost fudgy texture, and the creamy sauce is delicious.

Wine Suggestion: This meal goes great with richer reds or whites. Jerome Coursodon’s Etincelle Blanc, a blend of Roussanne and Viognier from the St Joseph vineyards in the Northern Rhone, was super expressive and had a wonderful balance of being rich and powerful while at the same time being crisp and taught.

Pumpkin with mustard & cream – serves 4

  • 2kg of pumpkin, leave the skin on – our favourite variety is Crown Prince
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

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

Cut the pumpkin in half and cut the halves into large wedges. Scoop out the seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, roasting tin over a medium heat. Lightly brown the pumpkin on the cut sides.

Pour the hot stock over the over the pumpkin, then cover with tin foil and seal tightly. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, turn the pumpkin wedges and baste well with the stock. Return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes.

Lift the pumpkin from the stock and keep warm. Put the tin with the stock over a high heat and let it reduce to about 200ml. Pour in the cream, stir in the mustards and season. Spoon the sauce over the pumpkin wedges to serve.

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

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We made this the day that Ottolenghi Flavour arrived in the post as we had all the ingredients and were feeling enthusiastic! We haven’t tried too many dishes since then but we will. Just when we think we’ve tasted pretty much every flavour combination Yotam and his pals remind us that we haven’t, not by a long way!

We can’t remember now what we served this with but think it’s safe to say you could eat a bowlful on their own!

Spicy roast potatoes with tahini and soy – serves 4 as a side

  • 900g roasting potatoes, leave the skin on and cut into 3cm cubes
  • 50g rose harissa 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp black and/or white sesame seed, toasted

FOR THE DRESSING: 

  • 60g tahini (stir well before using)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp mirin (or maple syrup)
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 240°C fan. 

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, rose harissa, garlic and olive oil together with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking tray and spread out, then cover tightly with foil and roast for 15 minutes. 

Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 200°C and roast for another 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring halfway, until the potatoes are cooked and browned. 

Meanwhile, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together with 1 tbsp of water until smooth. 

Transfer the potatoes to a shallow serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Garnish with the chives and sesame seeds. 

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

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This is a good side dish to serve with richer dishes. It’s light and zingy which is just what’s needed sometimes. Another great combination of flavours suggested by Sabrina Ghayour. 

Carrot, pistachio & dill salad with lime & honey dressing – serves 4 to 6

  • 500g carrots, coarsely grated
  • ½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • about 30g of dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds

FOR THE DRESSING: 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 generous tbsp of runny honey

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Put the other ingredients into a large bowl. Add the dressing when you’re ready to serve and toss gently to coat. Check the seasoning and serve. 

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

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We made this by accident having planned to do a different tagine from a magazine, only to realised that it required a slow-cooker, so this was a last-minute substitute. It is really and truly delicious, so you must try making this dish at some stage. You can serve with plain couscous but it’s particularly good with this. If chickpeas don’t float your boat as a main course for Sunday lunch both dishes would be excellent with some roast lamb. 

Wine Suggestion: this is great with a juicy, brambly Grenache, or a blend with this in it. We had the joyful Les Dissidents “le Paria” made by Domaine Ventenac from 100% Grenache and made without sulphur; fresh, juicy and minerally.

Tomato, date & chickpea tagine – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 120g pitted dates, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves roughly chopped and stalks reserved
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 strips of lemon zest and the juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

FOR THE SEASONED YOGHURT

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry for 8-10 minutes, until soft. 

Whizz half the tomatoes with half of the dates, then add the rest of the tomatoes to the mixture and set aside. 

Add the garlic, coriander stalks and all of the spices to the cooked onions, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato mixture, the lemon zest and 100ml of water, season well with salt and pepper, then cook for 10 minutes or until rich and thickened. 

Meanwhile, make the seasoned yoghurt. Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, then set aside. 

Stir the chickpeas and the rest of the dates into the tomato mixture and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Discard the pieces of lemon zest, then remove the dish from the heat. 

Stir in the coriander leaves and serve with some seasoned yoghurt and golden couscous

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thompson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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