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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas, Orzo & Pesto – serves 4

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

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

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

(Original recipe form BBC Good Food)

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

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary – serves 4 to 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baked eggs with tomatoes – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eggs kejriwal – serves 2

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

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

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

Heat the grill to medium.

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

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

Meanwhile, fry or poach your eggs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a great little side salad to serve with Middle Eastern flavours. Here we had a chicken roasted with garlic and preserved lemon. Lots of delicious flavours on the plate. 

You need to roast chicken for 20 minutes at 190C/375F/gas 5 for each 500g, plus an extra 10 minutes.

Wine Suggestion: a red wine … with chicken … of course you can. We chose the Cantos de Valpiedra, a single estate Rioja, as we wanted hints of Moorish and Middle Eastern spices which tempranillo is good at transmitting. The Cantos is super elegant and smooth and has such a supple weight that it effortlessly matched the chicken and salad.

Herb salad with pomegranate & pistachios – serves 6

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • a small bunch of dill, roughly chopped
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves picked and torn
  • a bunch of scallions, finely sliced
  • 100g mixed salad leaves
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 100g pistachios, roughly chopped

Whisk the orange juice, vinegar and honey together in a small bowl with some seasoning. 

Tip rest of the ingredients into a large salad bowl, drizzle over the dressing and gently toss to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

Tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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

Jerusalem artichoke, almond and seaweed soup – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dishoom Granola – makes 10-12 portions

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

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

Line two large baking trays with baking parchment. 

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

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

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

Store in an airtight container and use within a month. 

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

 

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

Bean soup with feta tortillas – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

Pomegranate-poached quinces – serves 6

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

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR THE GLAZE:

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

FOR THE BLACK BEANS:

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

FOR THE GREEN SALSA:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

Spicy Carrot & Chickpea Pitta – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celeriac baked potatoes – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peanut Butter and Broccoli Pad Thai – serves 4

FOR THE SAUCE:

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

FOR THE TOFU & BROCCOLI:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meera Sodha’s daily Dal that she inherited from her mother. Nothing complex but very satisfying and like so many dishes, tastes better the next day. We served with rice, naan bread from the takeaway, yoghurt and mango chutney.

Daily dal – serves 4

  • 225g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 6cm ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes

Rinse the lentils in a sieve until the water runs clear then put into a deep saucepan with a lid. Add 600ml of cold water, then bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Cover with the lid and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes without stirring, until tender.

Meanwhile, put the oil into another deep saucepan. When hot, add the peppercorns and cloves and stir-fry for a minute, or until fragrant, then add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden. 

Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 4 minutes before adding the chilli powder, coriander, turmeric and salt. Stir well, then add the tinned tomatoes, crushing them with your hand, then cover and simmer gently for about 8 minutes. 

The tomatoes should look paste-like now with only a little juice. Add the lentils using a draining spoon, then pour in any remaining water that they were boiling in, a little at a time, or until the consistency is good. 

Cover the pan again and cook on a low heat for a final 10 minutes. 

Taste and season with salt and more chilli if you like. 

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

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Roasted red pepper and walnut dip – Muhammara – serves 4

A new favourite side-dish/dip, called Muhammara, from Falestin, one of our favourite books of 2020, the year we did nothing but cook! This is such a handy thing, good with pitta breads but also as a delicious side dish. We served it with lamb and rice.

  • 110g walnut halves
  • 6-7 red peppers (1kg)
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1 tsp of regular chilli flakes)
  • 35g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C fan.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Add the walnuts and roast for about 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Increase the temperature to 220C fan. Put the peppers onto a parchment-lined baking tray and toss with 1 tsp of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until completely soft and charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, stems and seeds.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 7 minutes, until softened and browned. Add the garlic, tomato purée and spices and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Remove from the heat and tip into a food processor with the roasted peppers, panko breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Blitz for about 30 seconds to get a coarse paste. Add 90g of the walnuts and pulse again briefly, just to break the walnuts down a bit. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Roughly crush the rest of the walnuts with your hands and sprinkle these over with the parsley.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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A truly delicious veggie main. Perhaps best made by someone else if you would prefer not to see the amount of cream and butter involved. It’s cold outside, and we really didn’t feel like a salad tonight.

Wine Suggestion: A homely, oaked chardonnay is our choice. In our rack both the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch and the Domaine Ventenac in Cabardes are vying for attention. The latter won out tonight, but it could have gone either way. Nice to have choice.

Potato, leek & blue cheese pie – serves 6

FOR THE POTATO TOP:

  • 1kg large potatoes, peeled (use a variety good for mashing)
  • 175ml full-cream milk
  • 100g unsalted butter

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 leeks, sliced into 3cm rounds
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 50g plain flour
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 180ml double cream
  • 150 frozen peas
  • 100g blue cheese, crumbled into small chunks
  • a small handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Start with the topping. Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces, not too small. Put into a large saucepan and just cover with cold water, season with salt. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes, then return to the warm saucepan and leave to steam for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently heat the milk and butter together in a small pan until the butter has melted.

Start mashing the potatoes, then gradually add the hot milk and butter mixture. Keep mashing until well combined and smooth. It will seem like you have too much milk and butter but keep going. Season well with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Next make the filling. Put a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, half the thyme leaves, 25g of the butter and the garlic. Add 100ml of water, season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400 F/Gas 6.

Put a colander over a bowl, then drain the leeks in the colander and reserve the cooking liquid.

Rinse the pan and return it to a medium heat. Add the rest of the butter and when melted, stir in the flour and cook for a minute over a low heat. Add the leek and cooking liquid, plus the milk and double cream. Whisk the sauce well until it is thick and creamy, it’s ready when small bubbles are just starting to break on the surface.

Stir in the peas, leeks and half the blue cheese. Add the parsley and lots of salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a dish and level it out. Heap the mash on top but don’t worry about being too neat. Dot the remaining cheese over the top, then sprinkle with the rest of the thyme leaves. Season the top with salt and pepper, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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

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There’s not many treats to be had at the moment, so we recommend treating yourself at breakfast with this delicious granola recipe by Yasmin Khan. We like it with yoghurt and roasted quinces.

Persian granola – makes a large jarful for a few breakfasts

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 150ml date molasses or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g jumbo rolled oats
  • a large pinch of sea salt
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 35g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 35g flaked almonds
  • 50g dried fruit (optional), we used dried cranberries but you could use any dried fruit or a mixture

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3½

Mix the oil, date molasses or maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract, together in a small bowl. 

Mix the dried ingredients, except the flaked almonds and the dried fruit, together in a large bowl, then pour over the sticky mixture and stir well to coat. 

Divide the mixture between two baking trays and pat down with a wooden spoon. 

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, then remove and stir through the flaked almonds. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Keep checking though as it can burn easily. 

Leave to cool on the trays, then stir through the dried fruit if you’re using. It will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight jar. 

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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