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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

We love dal on a friday night with some naan breads from the takeaway.

Chana dal – serves 4

  • 400g yellow split peas or chana dal
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 fresh red chillies, pricked with a knife in a few places

Rinse the dal in a few changes of cold water, until the water runs clear, then put into a saucepan. Cover with 1.25 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes, or until cooked. The texture should be soft with no bite or chalky texture.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for gently for about 15 minutes or until caramelized. Add half the garlic and fry for another few minutes, then remove from the heat.

Add the onion mixture to the dal, along with the garam masala, chilli powder and salt. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Wipe out the frying pan, then heat the remaining oil. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they pop, then add the rest of the garlic and the red chillies. As soon as the garlic starts to turn golden, take the pan off the heat and drizzle everything over the dal, garnishing with the chillies. Stir everything together before serving with rice, chapattis or naan and pickles.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2014.)

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You need to cut your courgettes into very thin strips for this, as thin as the pasta. The sauce is a bit carbonara-ish, very delicious.

Wine Suggestion: Something fun and white like the El Abuelo de Piqueras, a Verdejo – Sauvignon Blanc blend from Almansa in Spain. Vibrant fruit tied together with a sense of fun and energy.

Bucatini with courgettes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g courgettes, cut into 5cm long, 2mm thick strips
  • 400g bucatini (or spaghetti, linguine or fusilli)
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 extra egg yolks
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • a few fresh basil leaves

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and courgettes with a pinch of salt, then cook gently for 10 minutes, turning over gently, until very soft. Remove from the heat.

Bring large pan of water to the boil, then add lots of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.

When the pasta is almost cooked, return the courgette pan to the heat to warm through the fat and courgettes and add the torn basil.

Drain the pasta and reserve some of the water. Add the pasta to the courgette pan and stir together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and a splash of pasta water, then stir quickly until everything is coated in a creamy sauce. Add a little more pasta water to make it silky if needed, then serve.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Fig Tree, 2021.)

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We are cooking our way through Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour. We struggle like everyone to eat well on busy days but this book is perfect for just that.

Wine Suggestion: White, lemony and medium bodied. Maybe a youthful Verdicchio, or our current fave, Zuani’s Ribolla Gialla Sodevo, from Collio in North East Italy. A grape that was so higly regarded by the Romans they implemented laws to protect it from adulteration … possibly the world’s first appellation laws …we’ll need to investigate further.

Pasta with sage butter, feta & pine nuts – serves 2

  • 200g pasta shells
  • 75g butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 pinches of pul biber chilli flakes

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the packet.

When the pasta is almost cooked, put a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and sage and allow the butter to melt gently but don’t let it sizzle much. Keep stirring so the sage flavours the butter.

Roughly drain the pasta (you want a little bit of water still on the pasta) and add to the pan with the butter and sage. Turn up the heat and season very generousy with black pepper and a little sea salt. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together, then add the feta and stir until melting and starting to coat the pasta.

Serve spinkled with extra black pepper and a pinch of pul biber.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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Fresh corn is in the shops and it’s delicious cooked in the husks over a charcoal barbecue.

BBQ Corn on the Cob with Chilli Butter – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 corn cobs in the husks
  • 40g salted butter
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp urfa chilli flakes (we didn’t have urfa so used Aleppo pepper but you could also use smoked or regular paprika)

Put the whole corn cobs in their husks over a medium hot barbecue. Rotate them every 3-4 minutes until really charred – about 15 minutes in total.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan until starts to foam. Remove from the heat, add the honey and urfa chilli and mix well.

Take the corn cobs off the heat and leave aside for 10 minutes, then pull back the burnt husk and return to a high heat for a minute or two the char some of the flesh.

Return the pan with the butter to the heat to foam the butter again, then serve the corn cobs with the butter drizzled over.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoked: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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Easy and full of veg. Great for a weeknight, and if your kid is like ours they will eat anything with pasta and cheese!

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with a juicy red from a warmer climate. The Cline Family Cellars have star with their Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel which has a joyful balance between vibrant and complex red and black fruit, velvety tannins and a easy drinkability.

Veggie Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 aubergine, finely chopped
  • 1 courgette, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a handful of roughly chopped basil
  • 300g pasta – we used fusilli
  • 150g mozzarella ball, drained and finely chopped (you don’t need the expensive buffalo stuff for this)
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Put the peppers, aubergine, courgettes and onion into a large roasting tin and toss in the oil. Season well with salt and pepper, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning a couple of times, until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.

Add the cherry tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, garlic and basil and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water. Add 4-6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water to the cooked vegetables to make it a bit more saucy.

Drain the pasta and tip into the roasting tin with the veg. Add the mozzarella and pesto and stir well to combine. Top with the Parmesan and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Food)

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This is our favourite salad at the moment – an excellent side dish for a barbecue or whatever else you might be cooking.

Tomato, burrata and broad bean salad – serves 4

  • 500g mixed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 150g broad beans, frozen ones are perfect
  • a handful each of basil, chives and flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp each of tarragon, lovage and mint (we never have lovage and it’s fine without it)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of fennel seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 balls of burrata
  • 50g hazlenuts, toasted and roughly chopped (toast them in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C – the skins will rub off easily with a tea towel)

Chop and slice the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with the caster sugar and ½ tsp of salt, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Put the broad beans into boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. Pop of the skins and set aside.

Finely chop the herbs and put into a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, mustard, fennel seeds, most of the lemon zest and the red wine vineager. Season, then stir in the broad beans.

Tip the tomatoes out onto a serving platter. Put the burrata balls on top and spoon over the beans and dressing. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts and the leftover lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We chose this recipe because it has courgettes in it (and we have loads in the garden) but we’ll definitely be making it again. The method is a little different from usual but the results are lovely, fresh and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: Try to find a white wine with a lemony citrus flavour to bring out the bright flavours of the courgettes. We had a bottle of Karavitakis Assyrtiko “Nomas” from Crete that a friend had given us and it was a summery, lemony delight.

Tomato & Courgette Risotto – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 200g carton passata
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 courgettes, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

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

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic and coriander seeds and cook for another minute, then stir in the rice and stir until coated and glistening.

Gradually add 300ml of the stock, stirring until absorbed each time before adding some more. Stir in the passata, then cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. Keep giving it a stir every couple of minutes and add more stock as needed.

Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and courgettes into a roasting tin, keeping them at separate ends. Drizzle with the other tbsp of oil, then season and roast for 10-12 minutes until just tender. You might need to scoop out the tomatoes and cook the courgettes a little longer.

Add the mascarpone to the risotto and season generously with salt and black pepper. Keep stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes more or until the rice is cooked. Add the courgettes to the risotto and stir to mix together. Serve in warm bowls with the roasted tomatoes and some grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Like a Greek salad, but with pasta added in. It makes a great lunch or lunchbox and is good for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Pasta Salad – serves 4

  • 200g pasta – use what ever shape you have
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g pitted black olives, halved
  • ½ small cucumber, quartered lengthways then sliced
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese

Cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water according to the timings on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and some seasoning into a mixing bowl and mix well to make a dressing.

Drain the pasta in a colandar and leave to cool for a few minutes. Tip the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Tip in the tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion, then crumble in the feta cheese. Gently mix everything together, then serve or put in the fridge for lunchboxes tomorrow.

(Original recipe by Cassie Best in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2022.)

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Finally we have some nice weather and so we are barbecuing everything, including broccoli which is a new one for us. This is the chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic from the original Ottolenghi book and it works equally well on a barbecue. Cook the broccoli first and it will sit happily in the dressing until whatever else you are cooking is ready.

Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic – serves 4

  • 2 heads of regular broccoli (about 500g)
  • 115ml olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies, finely sliced
  • thin slices of lemon, to garnish

Cut the broccoli into florets. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Blanch the florets in a large pan of boiling water for 2 minutes only, then scoop out and into the bowl of iced water.

Drain the broccoli and make sure it’s really well dried. Toss in a bowl with 45ml of the olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Barbecue the broccoli until charred on all sides. Meanwhile, put the rest of the olive oil into a small pan with the garlic and chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the garlic turns golden, take it off the heat at this point to prevent the garlic burning.

Put the barbecued broccoli into a large bowl and immediately pour over the garlic and chilli oil. Toss gently to coat then set aside until ready to serve. Garnish with the lemon slices.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi The Cookbook, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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We’ve a bumper crop of courgettes growing in pots in our back garden this year; the joy of loads of bright flowers followed by loads of yellow and green fruit, plus the challenge to eat them all. We picked a load of small courgettes for this dish and added the flowers too as we have them, but it is just as delicious with more normal sized courgettes found in shops and without the flowers.

Wine Suggestion: we’ve been seeking out old vine blends from the languedoc recently and just love how the best have a balance between fresh minerality, roundness, and a herbal stonefruit character. Like tonight’s juicy joy: Domaine Modat’s “de-ci de-la” Blanc which takes fruit from scattered small plots. We loved the sage and thyme scent and the juicy pear flavours cut through with summer sunshine.

Courgette and Broad Bean Risotto – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 350g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750g warm vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 80g broad beans, podded and blanched for a minute, then skins removed
  • courgettes flowers (optional), remove the stamens and tear the petals into pieces
  • 20g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Heat the oil and butter in a large, deep frying pan. Add the courgettes, chilli flakes and nutmeg, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook the courgettes for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes are golden and soft. Add the scallions and lemon zest and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes to coat the grains in the oil.

Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, until almost evaporated.

Add the stock, a ladeful at a time, and stir until the liquid is absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this for 20-30 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Taste the rice it should be soft with a little bite in the centre.

Stir in the blanched broad beans and courgette flowers and warm through for a minute or two.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes with a lid on, then serve with extra Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A lovely fresh and tasty soup which should help with any bits and pieces left in your veg drawer.

Summer veg and herb soup – serves 2

  • ½ a bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 large courgettes, diced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g green beans, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • a handful of mixed herbs e.g. basil, parsley and mint
  • ½ a lemon, zested

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the scallions and courgettes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.

Add the rice and stock and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the peas and beans, and simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender.

Season to taste and stir in the herbs and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2014.)

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We love this side dish from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen so much we’ve made it a few times over the past month and it’s been a hit every time. You can make the aïoli in advance and put it in the fridge which is useful.

Roast potatoes with aïoli and pine nut butter – serves 4

  • 750g baby new potatoes, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5g parsley, roughly chopped

FOR THE AÏOLI

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75g Greek-style yoghurt

FOR THE PINE NUT BUTTER

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g pine nuts
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika

Our advice is to get the aïoli made first, it will keep fine in the fridge if you want to do it earlier in the day.

Put the garlic, Dijon, egg, egg yolk and a ¼ tsp of salt into the small bowl of a food processor. Whiss together for a few seconds, then gradually add both oils in a slow steady stream with the machine running the whole time. You should end up with a runny mayonnaise. Transfer this to a bowl and stir in the lemon juice and yoghurt. Cover and out in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Put the potatoes into a saucepan with 2 tsp of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes or until almost tender. Drain in a sieve and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Spread the potatoes over a parchment lined baking tray and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and some salt and black pepper. Roast these in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown, then toss with the parsley.

To make the pine nut the butter into a small frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the pine nuts and cook until golden, stir in the paprika and remove from the heat.

Spread the aïoli over a serving dish, top with the potatoes and drizzle over the butter.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Text Kitchen: Shelf Love, Penguin Random House, 2021.)

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We don’t think we’ve ever roasted kohlrabi before but they have it in our local farm shop so we thought we’d give it a go. We mostly see it raw in salads but have to say it is absolutely lovely when roasted. The recipe is simple though there are a few bits to it. Try the roasted kohlrabi if nothing else.

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied, pure fruited red like Olga Raffault’s Chinon les Barnabés which has a charming perfume and an array of purple and red fruits sitting lightly on top of a deep core. For this dish you need that juxtaposition of purity and depth to play alongside the earthy range of flavours.

Barley with roasted kholrabi, tomatoes & watercress salsa – serves 4 as a main

  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 140ml olive oil, plus a bit extra to drizzle
  • 1 large head of garlic, cut a slice off the top to expose the cloves, plus 4 extra cloves, crushed
  • 300g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 2-3 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 strips of lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice, plus some wedges to serve
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 100g watercress
  • 60ml double cream (optional if you don’t want dairy but nice if you do)

Preheat the oven to 190C fan.

Trim and peel the kohlrabi, then cut them into 8 wedges (more if you have any big ones). Put them into a large bowl and toss with the anchovies, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 crushed garlic cloves, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread them out over a tray lined with baking paper.

Put the whole garlic bulb onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in the bulb, then place it in the corner of the baking tray with the kohlrabi. Put the tray in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Turn the kohlrabi pieces over, then add the tomatoes to the tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes, or until the kohlrabi wedges are soft and deep brown and the tomatoes are blistered. Turn the oven off, then leave the tray in there to keep warm.

While the vegetables are cooking, put the barley into a medim-sized saucepan and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until almost cooked but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic bulb in the foil. Put a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat with 50ml olive oil, the roasted garlic, remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel strips, Scotch bonnet, and 2½ tsp salt. Gently fry for 12 minutes, stirring, until the shallots are soft and golden brown.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine, 500ml of water and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 7 minutes, then add the cooked barley and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Discard the Scotch bonnet and the lemon peel.

Whizz half the watercress, the lemon juice, 60ml of olive oil and ¼ tsp of salt in the small bowl of a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the barley to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the watercress salsa and cream over the barley and gently swirl them in. Top with the rest of the watercress, then the roasted kohlrabi and tomatoes. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

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

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We’re never sure what to cook for other people’s children but most of them seem to like pasta bake. This one has been popular and also the recipe below which uses a packet of supermarket filled pasta. They like our home-made lasagne too but we don’t always have the energy or time for the extra effort required!

Easy Pasta Bake – serves 3 children (or even 2 adults and 1 child)

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 packet of filled pasta, about 250g, we tend to go for spinach and ricotta tortellini but you could do a meat filled version if you want to keep to traditional lasagne flavours
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for over the top
  • ½ a small ball of mozzarella, sliced

Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes, then tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about a minute less than recommended on the pack, then drain.

Mix the mascarpone with the 3 tbsp grated Parmesan.

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

Rub a little olive oil over a small baking dish. Spoon a little bit of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish, add about half the pasta, then spoon over half the mascarpone and Parmesan mixture.

Add another layer of tomato sauce, then the rest of the pasta. Top with the remainder of the tomato sauce and the mascarpone mix. Lay the mozzarella slices over the top and sprinkle with some more grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, June 2016.)

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A great combination and nice to cook something meat-free on the barbecue. Serve with naan breads – we get ours from the local takeaway. You need to get started a few hours ahead.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing complex or too heavy with this so focus on pleasurable fruit and balance. For us tonight Umani Ronchi’s organic Serrano. A Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend from Rosso Conero, in the Marches. Youthful and vibrant which suited us perfectly for a summer barbecued dinner.

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste, we use Patak’s
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 300g paneer, cut into 18 cubes
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • naan breads, to serve

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

  • left over red onion from the kebabs (see below)
  • 1 large mango, finely diced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Put the yoghurt, curry paste, garlic, and ginger into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Add the paneer and peppers. Peel off the outer 2-3 layers of each onion wedge and add these too (keep the rest for the chutney), then fold everything together gently. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours, or if short of time leave at room temperature for an hour.

To make the mango chutney, finely chop the leftover onion and put into a bowl with the mango, tomatoes, chillies and mint and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set aside.

Get your barbecue on and hot, then brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent the kebabs from sticking.

Thread the paneer, peppers and onions onto kebab skewers and cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly charred.

Sprinkle coriander over the skewers and serve with the mango chutney and naan breads.

(Original recipe from Charred by Genevieve Taylor, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2019.)

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We often make this for lunch, and sometimes late breakfast. So simple but very tasty.

Baked feta with cherry tomatoes & garlic toast – serves 2

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g block feta, halved
  • 4 slices sourdough
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • a few leaves of oregano or basil, picked and chopped or torn

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

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of 2 small ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle some tomatoes into each and season with salt and black pepper. Set the pieces of feta on top, then top with the rest of the tomatoes, season again and drizzle with a little more oil.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Toast the sourdoubh and rub one side with the cut side of the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

Take the foil off the dishes, drizzle with the balsamic and sprinkle over the herbs. Serve the salad with the sourdough toast.

(Original recipe by Janinie Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2016.)

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A great dish for using up the end of a tub of cream with just a few ingredients that you might well have already.

Wine Suggestion: Central Italian whites just seem to sing with this dish and the La Piuma Pecorino which is light as a feather, citrussy and floral hits the spot; and is a bargain to boot.

Tagliatelle with broad beans, cream & mint – serves 2

  • 150g broad beans, blanched and skins slipped off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • a small handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 75g pecorino, finely grated
  • 200g dried tagliatelle

Get the pasta water on, then start the sauce.

Whizz half the beans in the small bowl of a food processor to get a rough purée.

Warm the 1 tbsp of the oil and the garlic in a heavy-based saucecpan for a minute or two to soften the garlic but without letting it colour.

Add the puréed broad beans, to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the double cream and the rest of the broad beans. Stir in the mint and bring to a simmer. Add half the pecorino and season to taste – careful as the cheese is quite salty.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty water then scoop straight out of the cooking water and into the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine and add a little more pasta cooking water if needed to make a sauce. Serve with the extra pecorino for sprinkling over the top.

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We love this fresh salad, the perfect side dish for so many summer dishes. You can crumble some feta over the top before serving if you like.

Fattoush – serves 4

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 2 flatbreads or pitta breads (about 120g in total)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 small regular cucumber
  • 4 tomatoes (about 450g in total)
  • 75g Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 75g feta cheese (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

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

Toss the pitta breads in the olive oil, then bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes or until very crisp. Leave to cool then snap into chunky pieces.

Cut the cumcumbers in half and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Chop into 1-2cm pieces and put into a salad bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds, chop the flesh into pieces the same size as the cucumber and add the bowl with the crispy pieces of bread. Add the lettuce and herbs.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, then use your hands to toss everything together. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then crumble over some feta if you like.

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

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Well this is just delicious; we love bean chillies anyhow but this is a particularly good one. We are not vegan and so served this with sour cream. We’ve included the instructions for a vegan crème fraîche below if you prefer.

Wine Suggestion: For some reason we gravitate to American (both North & South) reds when eating chillies, and with the Wines of Argentina tasting in Dublin yesterday it was natural we’d open a Malbec. A star of the show, and definitely by no means the most expensive, the Altosur Malbec by Finca Sophenia in Gualtallary, Mendoza was our choice. And it seems like Decanter agrees with our choice too – Best in Show and Best Value in their World Wine Awards just announced. Bravo Finca Sophenia and perfect for our chilli.

Vegan chilli – serves 4-6

  • 4 sweet potatoes, skins scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus a bit extra to rub on the potatoes
  • 100g broccoli florets
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 x tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drianed and rinsed
  • 100g fresh, frozen or tinned sweetcorn kernels
  • 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • sour cream or crème fraîche (or make the vegan crème fraîche below)

IF YOU WANT VEGAN CRÈME FRAÎCHE:

  • 65g cashews soaked in 120ml water for 30 minutes, then drained
  • juice of ½ lemon

TO SERVE:

  • 75g edamame beans
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C.

Rub the sweet potatoes with a little bit of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Steam the broccoli until tender, then set aside.

If you want to make the vegan crème fraîche, put the soaked and drained cashews in a blender with the lemon juice. Season with salt and blitz to a cream.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and spices and cook for a few minute or until softened. Add the red pepper and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chickpeas, sweetcorn, black beans and kidney beans. Season with salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If it starts to look dry, you can add a splash of water.

Add the steamed broccoli and mix to warm through.

Trim the ends off the sweet potatoes and cut them in half but not the whole way through. Spoon the chilli into the potatoes and top with some edamame beans and sour cream or crème fraîche, then serve with the avocado and lime wedges.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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This is just a simple green salad but the addition of chopped green olives and red onions takes it to the next level. It’s particularly good with tomato-based dishes, like lasagne or Parmigiana.

Green salad with olive dressing – serves 6

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 50g green olives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 6 big handfuls of mixed green salad leaves

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl, then add the olives and red onion and season.

Tip the salad leaves into a bowl and drizzle over the dressing, then toss gently to coat.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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