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If you use a vegan curry paste you can easily make this a vegan dish. Lots of bright colours and great flavours in this one, and it’s quick to make.

Wine Suggestion: We think a minerally, just off-dry Riesling like Pikes Hills & Valleys from the Clare Valley is the ticket here with the limey fruit characters lifting the flavours of the dish and then the hint of residual sugar to balance the chillies.

Thai Green Veggie Curry – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash (800g), cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • a handful of sugar snap peas
  • a handful of asparagus, snap off the woody ends and discard
  • a handful of green beans
  • a handful of frozen edamame beans
  • 1 lime, cut into wedge, to serve
  • a handful of coriander leaves, to serve
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced, to serve
  • 1 scallion, finely sliced, to serve
  • jasmine rice, to serve

FOR THE CURRY BASE

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bash with a rolling pin to bruise it
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 2 x 400ml coconut milk

Toss the cubes of butternut squash with the light soy sauce in a bowl. Heat 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a wok, then add the squash and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened and browned, stirring often.

To make the curry base, heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large frying pan, then add the lemongrass stalk and curry paste and cook over a high heat for a minute.

Stir in the coconut milk, then reduce the heat a bit and simmer for 8 minues.

Discard the lemongrass, then add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, green beans and edamame beans to the sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes or until just tender.

Ladle the curry sauce into bowls and top with the squash, a squeeze of lime, some coriander, red chilli and scallion. Serve with jasmine rice.

(Original recipe by Katy Beskow in Olive Magazine, April 2018.)

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This is a great dish for using up bits of leftover veg and antipasti things. Keep the base of onions, garlic, rice and veg stock but after that you can use up whatever you’ve got – we’ve given what we used below as an example.

Wine Suggestion: This Spanish inspired dish encouraged us to have a glass of a Spanish Garnacha Blanca, the Edetària via Terra Blanca which we find unprepossessing and charming, plus with the right textures and flavours to match this paella. We dare say their equivalent via Terra Tinto (Garnacha Negra) would also be a good match too if you fancied a glass of red instead.

Baked veggie paella – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • half a red pepper, sliced
  • half a yellow pepper, sliced
  • half a green pepper, sliced
  • 1 courgette, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomato purée
  • 300g bomba paella rice
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 100g chargrilled artichokes in olive oil, halved if big
  • 75g mixed olives
  • 75g Sunblush tomatoes
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • lemon wedges, to serve

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

Heat the olive oil in a shallow casserole and cook the onions, peppers and courgettes with some salt for about 10 minutes or until softened and starting to caramelise.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the tomato purée and rice and stir until the grains are coated.

Add the stock, artichokes, olives and Sunblush tomatoes, then season and mix well. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Scatter over the parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

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These are delicious and perfect with some crusty bread or flatbreads for scooping. Do buy the fancy butter beans in a glass jar if you can. You can make this up to a day ahead and the flavours will improve.

Wine Suggestion: We really like this dish with a nice, chilled Vermentino. Tonight’s choice, the Poggio ai Ginepri Bianco from Tenuta Argentiera in Bolgheri. Long and vibrant with a rich citrus and pear flavour and layers of texture and wild sage to finish.

  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 mild red chillies, finely chopped, including the seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, finely crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 3 preserved lemons (80g), inner parts discarded and skin finely sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp roughly chopped thyme leaves
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 170ml olive oil
  • 1 jar of butter beans (700g)
  • 2 large vine tomatoes, roughly grated and skins discarded

Put the garlic, chillies, coriander, preserved lemon, thyme, rosemary, tomato purée, olive oil and 1¼ tsp of flaked salt into a medium sauté pan on a medium-low heat and stir together. Heat gently for 25 minutes, or until very fragrant but not browned at all. Turn the heat to low if the oil gets to hot.

Stir in the butter beans, then turn the heat up to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least an hour, or longer if you can.

Meanwhile, mix the grated tomato with tsp of flaked sea salt and plenty of black pepper.

Spoon the butter beans into a shallow bowl and spoon over the grated tomato, mixing it in in places. Then serve with crusty bread or flatbreads.

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

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These are really good and the trick is to set them in the baking tray in rows with the skin-side down. You can use Cajun seasoning if you have it and if not make up the seasoning below – you’ll have more than you need for more wedges another time.

Crispy potato wedges – serves 4

FOR THE SEASONING:

  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tbsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 675g large potatoes (buy a variety that makes good chips)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp of the seasoning above

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Scrub the potatoes and cut in half, then cut each half into 6 wedges. Put the wedges into a pan of boiling salty water and cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain.

Put the olive oil into a large roasting tin with the seasoning. Add the wedges and toss to coat, then arrange in rows sitting upright on their skins. Bake for 35-40 minute, until soft and golden.

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We usually only cook with chestnuts around Christmas but we’ve been trying to use up an extra pack, and they are delicious in this soup recipe by Gill Meller.

Parsnip, roast garlic and chestnut soup – serves 4

  • 6 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bulb of garlic, halved around the middle
  • 150g cooked chestnuts
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 litre vegetable stock

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

Spread the parsnips over a roasting tin. Add the garlic bulb, chestnuts, sage, onion and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss together. Cover the tin tightly with foil and bake for about an hour, shaking the tin now and then, until the parsnips are soft and caramelised.

Remove the foil and pour in the stock, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Ladle everything except the garlic bulb halves into a blender (or a pot if you’re using a hand blender). Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of the skins and add to the rest. Whizz the soup until smooth.

Pour the soup into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat, then cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste, then serve.

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

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

Chipotle bean chilli with avocado salsa – serves 4 to 6

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

FOR THE AVOCADO SALSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan pumpkin & coconut curry – serves 4

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

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

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

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

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

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

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

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

Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts – serves 4

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

Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puy lentil and pearl barley soup – serves 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creamy dreamy hummus – serves 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A big veggie curry – serves 8

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mushrooms with garlic & sherry vinegar – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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We are working are way through every recipe we can find that uses black limes, having finally found some without having to resort to mail order. It is all such a hassle now that we’re not all Europeans as some of our sources are in the UK. The sauce is truly delicious and you will need flatbreads for mopping it all up. Some rice would be good too but not essential.

Wine Suggestion: Black limes have such an introverted and complex character you can’t just match it with anything, but do look for wines that have either lime flavours or a savoury, umami texture. Combine this with the pickle and we had a conundrum. We solved it with Pajzos’ Hárslevelu dry Tokaji whose lime-leaf, savoury character plus a little residual sugar (despite the dry finish) came to the rescue.

Black lime tofu with spinach and pink pickled onions – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 600ml sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 blocks of extra-firm tofu (560g), patted dry and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2-3 dried black limes, grind to a powder using a spice grinder you need about 2 tbsp (if you don’t have a spice grinder you can whizz in a food processor, then sieve)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 20g flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 250g baby spinach

Make the pink pickled onions first by mixing the vinegar, 1 tsp of sugar, the red onion and tsp of salt in a small bowl. Set aside while you make everything else.

Heat the sunflower oil in a sauté pan or wok. Toss the tofu in a bowl with the cornflour until coated. When the oil is hot, fry the tofu in two batches until crispy and lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then transfer to a paper-lined plate.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the onions and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced but not puréed. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the cumin, black limes and tomato purée and cook for another minute. Add 400ml water, 1tsp of sugar, 1 1/4 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes, until rich and thick. Add the crispy tofu, parsley and more black pepper and stir. Gradually stir in the spinach until just wilted.

Serve in a shallow dish with the pink pickled onions spooned over.

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

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This is one of those recipes that we spotted in the paper and realised we had all the ingredients. It’s yummy – perfect for mid-week lunches.

Spiced carrot soup – serves 4

  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh mint and parsley, to serve

Warm the olive oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured.

Add the cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes, then add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the hot stock to the saucepan, then add the lentils, a little salt and the bay leaves.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 25-30 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are soft.

Whizz the soup in a blender or with a stick blender until you have a thick purée.

Season to taste and garnish with the fresh herbs.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, 25 Apr 2021)

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We served this as a side with a barbecue but it would also make a nice dinner for 2.

Couscous & chickpeas in ras el hanut spice – serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main

  • ½ a small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanut spice mix
  • 100g cooked chickpeas (from a tin)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 60g couscous
  • 180ml boiling water
  • 15-20g coriander, chopped

Heat the oil in a pan, then fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until softened and starting to colour. Add the salt and ras el hanut and mix for about 20 seconds. Add the chickpeas and diced tomato and cook for another minute. Stir in the couscous and boiling water, bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and cover.

Leave the couscous aside for 10 minutes to absorb the liquid, then remove the lid and use a fork to separate the grains and mix in the chopped coriander. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. Food from the Middle East, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary – serves 4 to 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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