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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Spring Onion Quesadillas with Guacamole SaladWe really miss cooking for friends and family which is what we do almost every weekend (and some other nights too!). So instead of prepping for the evening we’ve been making more of an effort at lunch. Last week we had these unusual quesadillas outside in the sunshine, sure beats lunch at the desk!

Spring onion quesadillas with guacamole salsa – serves 2

  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 soft flour tortillas
  • 10 slices of jalapeño chilli (from a jar)
  • 85g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, halved, and peeled
  • small pack of coriander, plus extra leaves to serve
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into thin wedges (we used a bag of peppery salad leaves as that’s what we had)

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and run under cold water. Set aside to dry on kitchen paper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot dry pan until slightly golden, then tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Drizzle the scallions with a tsp of the olive oil and season. Griddle for a couple of minutes on each side until lightly charred.

We find it much easier to lay the ingredients over half of the tortilla then fold over the top and cook on either side but you can lay all the ingredients on one tortilla, then top with the other one, it will be trickier to turn though.

Lay the spring onions over each tortilla. Sprinkle over the jalapeños and the cheese, then fold the rest of the tortilla over and press together, brush the outside lightly with oil. Cook in the griddle pan for a minute or two on each side or until the cheese has melted and the outside is crisp.

Meanwhile, whizz 1 tbsp of oil, the avocado, lime juice, coriander and 1 tbsp of water together to make a dressing. Season, then toss with the cucumber and lettuce. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the coriander leaves.  Serve with the quesadillas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Couscous, Cherry Tomato & Herb Salad

We made this couscous salad from Ottolenghi Simple for the first time this week and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Serve it at all your summer barbecues (provided local restrictions allow) and expect very happy guests.

Couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 50g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grate to get 1 tsp of zest and squeeze to get 1 tbsp of juice

Put the couscous into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour over 400ml boiling water, then seal well with tin foil and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown and split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and sprinkle them with salt.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp of oil to the same pan. Add the onions, the other tsp of ras el hanout and an a pinch of salt. Fry over a medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden-brown and soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and leave to cool.

When the couscous has cooked a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onions and raisin mixture and stir, then add the cumin seeds, almonds, herbs, lemon zest & juice, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Serve on a platter with the tomatoes on the top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Kale & onion pizza

Made in our savagely hot Ooni pizza oven cranked up with charcoal to 500°C and with Gill Mellor’s pizza dough. You can  choose your own pizza cooking method (oven as hot as it goes etc) and pizza dough recipe, or even buy some of the ready-made bases you can get now. This is all about the topping which was inspired by our favourite farm shop (the McNally’s in north County Dublin) which had fabulous green and red kale.

We make odd-shaped pizzas, one day we’ll pay enough attention to do round ones… maybe.

Kale & Onion Pizza Topping – enough for 3 pizzas

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 300g bunch curly kale or cavolo nero, sliced into fine ribbons
  • 100g mature Cheddar

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onions. When they start to sizzle, turn the heat to low and cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add the garlic halfway through.

Stir the kale into the onions and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring, until the leaves have wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread a third of the kale and onions over your pizza base and top with a third of the cheddar. Drizzle with some olive oil and cook in a roasting hot oven until done to your liking.

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

 

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Cauliflower Cheese

I don’t remember not knowing how to make this, and therefore presume that everyone else does too. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t have it in your head. Sorry about the imperial measurements but that’s how my Mum taught me.

Jules’ Cauliflower Cheese – serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint of full cream milk
  • 3 large handfuls of grated mature cheddar cheese

Steam the cauliflower until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Start checking after 5 minutes and be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two over a medium heat.

Start gradually adding the milk, just a splash at a time at first, and stir continuously. Add some more milk every time it has been absorbed. Careful not to rush this or the sauce can turn lumpy.

When all of the milk is in the sauce, it is important to continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in 2 large handfuls of grated cheese and some salt and freshly ground white pepper.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and return to the pan to steam dry, then tip into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Put the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on the top.

 

 

 

 

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Pea & New Potato Curry

We’ve cooked pretty much everything from scratch since lockdown but tonight we treated ourselves to a naan bread from the local takeaway. Every evening they fire up the tandoor and we get the most delicious smells in our back garden. This is an easy curry which is perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: a local Lager was our choice tonight, from the White Gypsey Brewery in Tipperary. Their Munich Lager is light and fresh but with a real character and personality.

Pea & new potato curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp Madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 750g new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 500ml natural yoghurt, full-fat so less likely to split
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped, but kept separate
  • 200-300ml veg stock
  • 300g frozen peas
  • lime wedges and naan breads, to serve

Before you start, put the potatoes in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender – they’ll continue to cook in the curry. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes over a gentle heat. Add the chillies, ginger and spices, and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the potatoes and lime juice and stir to coat in the spices.

Add the yoghurt, coriander stalks and stock. Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce reduced (we put the lid on for a few minutes at the end as the sauce was reduced enough). Keep the temperature low as the yoghurt can easily split. Stir through the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with the coriander leaves sprinkled over and lime wedges and naan breads on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Smoky Butter Beans & Greens

We’re eating our way through lockdown but still making a vague attempt at keeping healthy on weekdays. This approach has been slightly more successful this week than others! We used some leftover chard for this but spring greens would also be good and it’s pretty much store-cupboard stuff after that.

Wine Suggestion: given the mild nature of this dish it weirdly works with Prosecco Rosé made from the Raboso grape. Raboso can be fierce and awkward, especially made as a red wine, but the light extraction of colour and addition of residual sugar in Prosecco can (but not always) make a charming, food friendly wine; choosing a good producer is suggested.

Smoky butter beans & greens – serves 4

  • 200g brown rice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g spring greens or chard, roughly chopped (if using chard, cut out the stalks and chop into short lengths, then roughly chop the leaves)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • natural yoghurt, to serve

Rinse and cook the rice. We use a rice cooker but you can cook in a pot according to the pack instructions or cook in salty boiling water for 20-25 minutes, then drain.

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan with a lid. Add the greens, season with plenty of salt and pepper, then cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until wilted (if you are using chard, add the stalks first and cook for a few minutes before adding the leaves).

Add the garlic and cook without the lid for a few minutes, stirring. Add the butterbeans and stir until heated through, then add another tbsp of olive oil, the cumin seeds  and the smoked paprika. Stir to combine and allow the flavours to come together, then serve over the rice with some natural yoghurt.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Lentil & Lemon Pasta

We loved this! Something a bit different when we’re all fed up with our usual pasta staples. Also perfect for using leftover coriander, which seems to be an almost permanent feature in our veg drawer. Of course you can use whatever pasta you happen to have. The original recipe suggested fettuccine, we used trofie – no matter.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white that veers towards texture rather than ripe fruit is your match for this. We had a La Piuma (meaning feather) Pecorino Terre di Chieti from the western coat of central Italy. Pecorino was an obscure local variety of grape, but one we increasingly suggest and drink and think it has a great future; a charmer.

Lentil & lemon fettuccine – serves 4

  • 140g Puy lentils or brown lentils
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • large handful of coriander, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 150g Greek yoghurt

Rinse the lentils in a sieve, then put into a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender (careful not to overcook as we did). Add plenty of salt about 10 minutes into the cooking time. Drain and keep warm.

Cook the pasta, then drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until lightly golden, then stir in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir the lentils, onion and garlic, lemon zest and juice, coriander and yoghurt into the cooked pasta. Finish with plenty of black pepper.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Asparagus soup

Asparagus has arrived in a bit of a glut and has suddenly became very cheap. This needs plenty so a bit of a luxury at the start of the season when prices are high. A lovely lunch two days in a row and still some left in the freezer. The recipe is by Jamie Oliver and he recommends serving with toasted ciabatta and poached eggs.

If you have a stand blender you’ll be able to get this smoother, but it tastes just as nice blended with a stick blender like we did.

Creamy Asparagus Soup – serves 8

  • 800g asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard, chop the pretty tips off and set aside, roughly chop the stalks
  • 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 litres of good-quality chicken or veg stock

Heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and the stock, then simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.

Remove from the heat and whizz with your choice of implement. Season generously, then return the pan to the heat and stir in the reserved asparagus tips. Simmer for a few minutes or until the tips have softened.

We had some crème fraîche in the fridge and served with a spoon on top but it’s also nice without.

(Original recipe from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2007.)

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Halloumi Toastie

We plan every evening meal but tend to wing it during the day, using whatever happens to be lying around. Occasionally though we plan a weekend  breakfast or lunch and are generally very pleased with ourselves for doing so. No less so this weekend when we discovered this amazing toastie combination suggested by Sabrina Ghayour in her vegetarian book, Bazaar.

A Toastie Idea – serves 2

  • 250g halloumi cheese, cut into 6 slices
  • 4 slices of good bread
  • 2 tsp rose harissa
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp quick-pickled onions (see below)
  • 40g butter

Heat a splash of oil over a medium heat and fry the halloumi slices for a couple of minutes on each, until crusty and brown.

Meanwhile, very lightly toast the bread.

Remove the halloumi from the pan, and wipe it out with some kitchen paper.

Divide the halloumi slices between two slices of bread. Spread over the harissa, and drizzle over the honey. Lay the tomato slices on top and finish with a spoon of pickled onions and season well with pepper and a little bit of salt. Top with the remaining slices of bread and press down.

Put the frying pan back over a medium heat and add a quarter of the butter. When the butter has melted put one of the toasties into the pan and press it down by putting a small saucepan with a tin or two inside on top. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add another know of butter and cook on the other side. Remove from the heat and repeat with the other toastie.

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1 large red onion, halved and very finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • a generous sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes

Combine the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Close the lid and shake vigorously for a couple of minutes until the onions soften, then serve or keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Serve with almost anything but particularly good in a toastie.

(Original recipe from Bazaar by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2019)

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Pasta with Cime di Rapa

So clearly this is not orecchiette but trofie is all we could get and we’re not fussy. We’re very excited to get cime di rapa, also known as broccoli rabe, and very similar to turnip tops. These delicious greens are grown in Ireland – who knew? You need to trim any of the thicker stalks as they tend to be a bit stringy and unpleasant, the rest however is delicious. Cheese is apparently not traditional on this dish but we like it.

Wine suggestion: Italian inspired and from the south we found a bottle of the Gulfi Vulcanzjria, a Chardonnay, Carricante, Albinello blend grown on Mt Etna. Fresh, full and intense with a stoney core. Good alternatives would have been Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, or some more serious, but not too hot Vermentinos.

Orecchiette with Greens – serves 4

  • 400g orecchette or whatever short pasta you’ve got
  • 500g cime di rapa (you could also use sprouting broccoli, kale or cavalo nero), discard the thicker stalks, leave the broccoli looking bit whole and shred the finer stalks and leaves into 3cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated, to serve

Boil the pasta in load of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, put the cime di rapa into a large pot and pour in about 3 cm depth of water and season with salt. Bring the water to the boil, then cover and cook for 5 minutes or until tender and wilted. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic for a minute or so, don’t let it brown. Add the drained greens, chilli flakes and lemon zest. Season well with salt and pepper.

Reserve a mug of the cooking water before draining the pasta. Add a few tbsp of the water to the greens if they need moistening, then tip in the pasta. Toss everything together in the pan for a minute, then serve in warm bowls with the cheese sprinkled over.

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

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Harissa Potato, Halloumi & Asparagus with Coriander and Lemon Oil

Genevieve Taylor has written a delicious book of vegetarian recipes for the barbecue, and the season has arrived to spend more time outdoors! This is the first recipe we’ve tried and it was really good. Serve with a green salad on the side or as a veggie side with barbecued meat.

Wine Suggestion: A light red wine is what you need here; think a Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir or something similar. Tonight our choice was an Aussie Pinot, from Pike & Joyce in the Adelaide Hills. Delightful fruit, an earthiness and hints of smoke that compliment the cooking process.

Harissa potato, halloumi and asparagus with coriander and lemon oil – makes 6 skewers

  • 500g salad potatoes e.g. Charlotte, sliced in half lengthways
  • 250g asparagus, snap off the woody end, then cut each spear in 3
  • 2 x 250g packs of halloumi, cut into finger-thick wedges
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa paste

FOR THE CORIANDER AND LEMON OIL:

  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of coriander, leaves finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ – 1 tsp caster sugar

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the potato halves and cook until just tender – about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces for the last 30 seconds, just to blanch.

Drain the potatoes and asparagus and return to the pan. Add the halloumi and harissa and stir gently until everything is evenly coated.

Thread onto metal kebab sticks (wooden ones will do but you need to soak them for 20 minutes before using and don’t overload them as these are heavy).

Cook the kebabs on the barbecue over a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning once.

Make the coriander and lemon oil by whisking all the ingredients together with some seasoning.

When the kebabs are cooked transfer to a plate and drizzle over the oil.

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

 

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Chachouka

This is the second version of this we’ve done in the last few weeks. Both times inspired by two extra peppers in a pack when we only needed one. This version is more caramelised and uses less fresh ingredients but it also takes a lot longer to cook. We loved the addition of saffron too.

You can cook the sauce the night before if you like  or keep half of it for the following day. You just need to reheat, then crack in the eggs and bake.

Chachouka – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes, squeeze with your hands to break them up as you add to the dish
  • 4 eggs

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan, then add the cumin seeds and fry gently for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are soft and wilted. Add the paprika and saffron, then the tomatoes and some seasoning. Cook gently for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you can’t put your pan in the oven just transfer the sauce into a baking dish. Make holes in the mixture and gently break in the eggs (easier if you break into a mug first). Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggs are set but the yolk still runny.

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

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Guacamole

We have a stash of chilli in the freezer which makes for perfect Friday night food. We like our chilli with a ridiculous number of extras including grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh coriander, lime wedges, tortilla chips, rice or jacket potatoes and a big bowl of guacamole. Do not feel limited to serving this with a chilli either as we’ll spread this on toast, have with jacket potatoes or tortillas, or whenever the notion takes us.

Guacamole – serves 4

  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 25g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 big green chilli, chopped, leave in the seeds
  • 4 small avocados, roughly chopped
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • juice of ½ lime

Put the onion, most of the coriander and the chilli in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and grind to a paste.

Add the avocados to the pestle and mortar with the rest of the coriander, the oregano and the lime juice. Pound until mixed and chunky, then season to taste with some more salt or lime.

Serve with chilli or on top of toast.

(Original recipe from Where the Wild Cooks Go by Cerys Matthews, Penguin Books, 2019.)

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Cheddar Cheese Risotto

We found Nigella Express on our bookshelves and thought it might be useful these days when we’re looking for simplicity and store cupboard ingredients. This is Nigella’s Cheddar cheese risotto that we made with some limp looking scallions and the dregs from a packet of chives. Also popular with the 6 year old.

Wine Suggestion: A full-bodied white with texture, depth and importantly a freshness to make it feel lighter than the body and rich food demand. Our choice the Rustenberg Chardonnay, a stand-by exemplar of an oaked Chardonnay.

Cheddar cheese risotto – serves 2 adults and 1 child

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a few scallions, chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 125g cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, then add the scallions and cook until softened.

Pour in the rice and stir for a minute so the rice is all coated in the butter and oil.

Turn up the heat, then add the Dijon mustard and white wine. Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed.

Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this until the rice is al dente – about 18 minutes.

Stir in the cubes of cheese and keep stirring until the cheese has melted. Taste for seasoning, then ladle into warm bowls. Top with some chives if you have them.

(Original recipe from Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)

 

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Shakshuka

We needed a green pepper for another dish, but could only get a mixed bag of three leaving us with a red and yellow pepper needing to be used. The clocks have changed and so we had brunch, very unusual in this house where our human alarm clocks goes off at 6am most days. Jono has been mastering a new skill and so we had this with freshly baked sourdough. Don’t think we’ll be eating another bite until this evening!

Shakshuka – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil (we used olive oil)
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 115g baby spinach (we used frozen spinach, boil for a minute or two to wilt, then drain, squeeze out water with hands and chop)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • ½ small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ small bunch of dill, roughly chopped (we didn’t have any dill but used some fennel fronds)

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the onions and peppers and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the garlic and spices and stir for another minute, then add the tomatoes, spinach and 100ml of water. Turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Make four indentations in the mixture and gently crack an egg into each one (we find it easier to crack the eggs into mugs and pour them in). Cover with a lid or foil and cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Scatter over the herbs and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pasta Bake

We’ve been cooking pretty much as usual since Covid-19 struck and we’ve all had to stay home. We are trying even harder than usual though to use what we already have. The only fresh ingredient you need here is broccoli, we used purple sprouting as it’s in season but any broccoli will do. Hopefully you have everything else in your cupboard or fridge already, if not the corner shop should have it.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white wine with a bit of freshness and texture is all that is needed here. Our selection is the Macchialupa Falanghina from Benevento in Campania, Italy, which over delivers but is joyfully fresh and vibrant.

PSB and Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 250-300g broccoli, cut into florets (we use stalks and all)
  • 250-300g penne pasta (or whatever short pasta you have)
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 large handfuls of grated Cheddar cheese (or any leftover cheese)
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard (or any mustard)

Cook the pasta in loads of salty boiling water and add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry in the pot.

Make a cheese sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring for a minute, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring all the time. Keep stirring now until the mixture bubbles, then leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the mustard, one large handful of cheese and plenty of seasoning.

Tip the cooked pasta and broccoli into the sauce and stir gently. Tip into an ovenproof dish and put under a hot grill for a few minutes until browned and bubbling.

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Paneer Tikka Masala

Being thankful for sunshine and all we have this evening. The clocks will change tomorrow and hopefully things will take a turn for the better soon. In the meantime stay at home and eat well. This is super straightforward but flavour-packed! Serve with steamed basmati rice and naan bread from your local takeaway.

Wine Suggestion: A lager style beer. To be a little “craft”, even though they’ve been brewing since 1824, we chose the C&A Veltins Grevensteiner Helles which had character and smoothness in equal proportions.

Paneer tikka masala – serves 3

  • 3 tbsp curry powder (the recipe suggests tikka curry powder, we had hot so that’s what we got)
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 200g paneer, cut into small cubes
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 400g passata
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • a knob of butter
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • steamed basmati rice and naan bread (to serve)

Mix the 1 tbsp of the curry powder and the yoghurt together in a bowl, then stir in the paneer and peppers and leave to marinade while you make the sauce.

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the onion and cook until soft and starting to brown a little. Add the ginger and garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of curry powder and stir until fragrant, then stir in the passata, tomato purée and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the cream and cook for another couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to high. Spread the paneer and pepper out over a non-stick baking tray or a tray lined with foil, then place under the grill until charred and sizzling. Turn everything over to brown on both sides.

Tip the panner and peppers into the sauce, add a knob of butter, the coriander and some seasoning and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve the curry with rice and naan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2020)

 

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Mushroom, Cider & Blue Cheese Soup

We made this soup on the strangest St Patrick’s day ever. There was no parade, the restaurants have all closed down and city streets are virtually empty. There is lots of panic buying going on, the supermarket aisles for tinned goods and toilet rolls have been decimated. We’re not down though, we’re positive we’ll all get through this and hopefully be stronger and better people on the other side. We’re continuing to buy fresh food, there’s lots of it available, and cook nice recipes like this soup by Gill Meller.

Mushroom, cider & blue cheese soup – serves 4 to 6

  • 500g wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used all chestnut mushrooms as it’s not autumn and wild ones aren’t available)
  • 25g butter, plus an extra bit, for frying
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • 75g blue cheese, plus extra to serve if you like
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Clean the mushrooms with a damp piece of kitchen paper and roughly chop them but keep about 100g over to fry and use as a garnish. The mushrooms for the garnish can be sliced.

Melt the butter in a large pan with a splash of olive oil, over a medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the leek, potato, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, cider and some seasoning, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Purée the soup until smooth (or smoothish if you’re using a stick blender).

Add the cream and blue cheese to the soup and gently return to a simmer. Season to taste and keep warm over a very low heat.

Heat a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a frying pan and sauté the reserved mushrooms for 8 to 10 minutes or until well cooked and golden brown. Season the mushrooms.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with the mushrooms and parsley sprinkled over. You can also sprinkle over some more crumbled blue cheese if you like.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Paneer, Tomato and Kale Saag

This is from Meera Sodha’s amazing veggie book, East. We have Meera’s Indian recipe books and we often cook the recipes she writes for the Guardian. This book has an Eastern, but not exclusively Indian, influence and the recipes are mouthwateringly good. We’ve noticed people have mixed reactions towards kale, if you’re on the fence we reckon this is probably the best kale-based dish we’ve ever eaten. We served with naan bread from the local takeaway.

Panner, tomato & kale saag – serves 4

  • 500g kale, discard the stems and roughly chop the rest
  • rapeseed oil
  • 450g paneer, cut into 2cm dice (if you’re buying 200g packs just buy 2)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp brown rice syrup (we used runny honey)
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk

Blitz the kale in a food processor and chop it very finely. Unless your food processor is huge you will need to do a few batches.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan, that you have a lid for. Fry the cubes of paneer for a couple of minutes on each side or until they have taken on a nice golden colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat another 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan and cook the onions over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the tin of tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced to a paste. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt and honey (or brown rice syrup) and mix in well.

Stir in a handful of kale at a time. It will seem like you have too much but it will wilt in perfectly. Stir in the coconut milk, then bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Add the paneer to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on. Keep an eye that it doesn’t dry out and add a splash of water if necessary.

Taste to check that it has all come together and the kale is tender. Remove from the heat and serve with warm naan bread.

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

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Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a healthy dish but it tastes really good and quick to cook so perfect for mid-week. We served with brown basmati but you use wild rice (or white rice of course).

Wine suggestion: really good with an earthy red wine and tonight it was off the beaten track, courtesy of a holiday last year to the Jura. Stephane Tissot’s Vieilles Vignes (old vine) Poulsard provided the answer. Lighter bodied but full of character and personality; we’re sorry we don’t see more of these, a thoroughly un-modern and thirst quenching wine.

Mushroom Stroganoff – serves 2

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300g mushrooms, chopped
  • 150ml beef stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp half-fat sour cream – I’m pretty sure we will have just used full fat here, not being fans of half-fat anything!
  • small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 250g cooked rice (you can use one of those pouches if cooked rice if you like)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for about 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and paprika, then cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, bubble for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, then turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream and most of the parsley. Don’t do this over the heat or your sauce could split.

Serve with warm rice and the rest of the parsley.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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