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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Ixta Belfrage’s book, Mezcla, is full of genuinely new dishes with lots of flavour combinations that we’ve never tried before. These mushroom noodles are a great example. We used a mix of oyster mushrooms and ceps which worked well, but oyster mushrooms are definitely the way to go here. You can make the sauce ahead of time if you like.

Wine Suggestion: It’s not only mushroom season, but it’s Beaujolais Nouveau week too, so we had the luck of matching this dish with a bottle from our friend Chris. The Lapalu Beaujolais Villages Nouveau was smooth, dark fruited and earthy.

Oyster mushroom noodles – serves 2 as a main very generously

  • 200g fresh medium egg noodles (if you have dried egg noodles, cook them first)
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice
  • 10g chives, finely chopped
  • 10g dill, picked from the stems
  • créme fraîche or sour cream, to serve

FOR THE MUSHROOMS:

  • 400g oyster mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine salt

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp caraway seeds
  • 1¼ tsp fine salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 500g chicken stock or veg stock
  • 2 ½ tsp English mustard
  • 5 tbsp double cream

Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C.

Tear the mushrooms in half. Line a large baking tray with parchment, add the mushrooms, oil and salt and toss with your hands, then spread out over the tray. Roast in the oven for 22-25 minutes, stirring halfway, or until golden-brown and starting to crisp at the edges. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the butter, oil, onions, caraway seeds and ¾ tsp of fine salt into a large sauté and put over a medium heat. Gently fry for about 12 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft and caramelized. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, you are looking for deep golden-grown but not burned or crispy. Remove half the onions onto a plate and set aside. Add the garlic to the pan and fry for 1 minutes, stirring, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the stock, mustard, cream, ½ tsp of fine salt and lots of black pepper to the pan with the onions. Stir, then add half of the roasted mushrooms. Return to a medium heat and cook for 4 minutes. Stir the noodles into the sauce and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly and the noodles are hot.

Stir in the lemon juice and half the herbs. Transfer to a warm platter and top with the rest of the herbs, the lemon zest and the mushrooms and onions that you set aside before. Spoon over some crème fraîche or sour cream and finish with olive oil and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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We love simple ideas like this one for mid-week inspiration. We used ready-made spinach gnocchi, try and find a decent brand if you can.

Gnocchi with mushroom and paprika butter – serves 3

  • 50g butter
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 500g pack gnocchi
  • 100ml sour cream or crème fraîche
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat a small knob of the butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt, and cook until soft and golden.

Add the rest of the butter, garlic and rosemary, then cook gently for 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the paprika and season with black pepper, then keep over a low heat while you cook the gnocchi.

Drain the gnocchi and tip into the mushroom pan. Toss everything together and serve in warm bowls with a dollop of cream, lots of black pepper and some Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2019.)

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We served this with steak but it would be nice with other vegetable dishes too.

Pomegranate-glazed aubergine – serves 4

  • 2 large aubergines, peeled and cut into 2.5cm rounds
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • a generous handful of salted peanuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Set the aubergine slices onto the baking tray, then brush both sides with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes until cooked through but not browned.

Mix the pomegranate molasses and maple syrup together, then use a pastry brush to brush evenly over both sides of the aubergines, then sprinkle with some flaked sea salt. Roast for another 5-6 minutes or until glazed and sticky.

Scatter with the scallion and peanuts before serving.

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

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We’ve made a salad like this before but this one is fresher and makes a great side dish for a crowd. We served it with some spicy baked salmon.

Georgian kidney bean salad – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 x 400g tins kidney beans (we used 300g dried kidney beans, rinse then soak in 3 times the volume of cold water for 5 hours. Drain and put into a saucepan covered by an inch with cold water, then boil hard for 30 minutes, stirring to prevent any sticking)
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tsp dried mint
  • 2 banana shallots, very thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • Maldon salt & fresh ground black pepper

If you are using tinned beans, drain them rinse well under a cold tap to get rid of the briny liquid. Shake the beans dry, then tip into a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredints to the bowl and fold together gently, you don’t want to crush the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, stir again and leave at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Stir well again before serving.

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

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A delicious autumnal dish for not just sauerkraut lovers, but we think something to convert skeptics too. The sauerkraut provides freshness to the rich cream and cheese, plus it complements the velvety butternut texture.

Butternut squash with sauerkraut and gruyère – serves 3

  • 3 small butternut squash
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 medium to large onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 250g sauerkraut
  • 150ml double cream
  • 125g Gruyère, grated

Heat the oven to 200C.

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fibres with a spoon. Set the halves in a large roasting tin, then dot over the butter, sprinkle over the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the hot over for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large deep pan, over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 20 minutes or until pale gold and soft. Stir the parsley into the onions, then remove from the heat and add the sauerkraut, cream and cheese. Season.

When the squash are ready, divide the cheese and sauerkraut mixture betwen them, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021.)

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Who doesn’t love squeaky cheese? This baked halloumi is good as a side dish with some roasted chicken thighs, or you could serve as a starter with some flatbreads.

Baked halloumi with lemon, thyme & honey – serves 2-4

  • 250g block halloumi cheese
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp clear honey
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon and juice of half
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp pul biber chilli flakes
  • flatbread, to serve

Heat your oven to 220C (200C fan), Gas 7.

Prepare a piece of tinfoil, large enough to completely encase the halloumi. Line the tinfoil with a square of baking paper and put the halloumi in the middle. Scrunch the paper tighly around the block, leaving only the top exposed.

Mix all of the other ingredients together in a small bowl, then pour over the halloumi.

Scrunch the foil around the halloumi to make a sealed parcel. Put the parcel into a small ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove form the oven and serve with warm flatbread.

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

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A bit like a classic lasagne but there’s no béchamel and definitely less fuss altogether. It tastes absolutely amazing too. The recipe is from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage; a book full of delicious things.

Wine Suggestion: we grabbed the first thing in the fridge which was the Zuani Bianco Riserva, an oaked Collio from North Eastern Italy which is a blend of Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Stunning, with so much complexity and layered fruits, savouriness and creamy textures. An under-rated part of the world. If you can’t find something like this, look for a lightly oaked white with a fresh acidity and a nutty finish.

Squash and sage lasagne gratin – serves 4 (generously)

  • half a large butternut squash, peeled and seeds discarded (about 500g)
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2¾ tsp fine salt
  • 5g fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus 10 extra leaves to serve
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 220g double cream, plus extra 2 tbsp to serve
  • 80g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250g-300g dried lasagne sheets
  • 400g chicken stock (you can use veg stock if you prefer)

Heat the oven to 220C fan/240C.

Finely slice the butternut squash into very thin half moons – a mandoline is best for this or you could use the slicing attachment on a food processor.

Mix the squash slices, tomatoes, garlic, tomato purée, fine salt, chopped sage, 4 tbsp olive oil and lots of black pepper, together in a large bowl. Your hands are best to toss it all together.

Mix the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg together in another bowl. Set 80g of this mixture aside for later.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish (approx. 28cm x 23cm) with a layer of lasagne sheets, then a layer of the squash mixture. Spoon over some of the cream mixture, then continue the layering until you have used everything. Pour the stock evenly over everything in th edish, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and remove the foil. Spoon over the reserved 80g of cream mixture and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Mix 2 tbsp of the oil with the 10 sage leaves in a small bowl. Spoon this over the lasagne and return to the oven for a final 5-6 minutes, or until the sage leaves look crisp and the lasagne golden-brown.

Rest for 10 minutes, then finish with the 2 tbsp of cream, a good drizzle of olive oil and plenty of extra grated Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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This was our first ever attempt at rough puff pastry. It’s actually pretty simple but you do need to start in the morning if you want to eat these for lunch. We had too much filling and we made some extras with shop-bought puff pastry – these were good too! It’s a good idea to make the filling first as it needs to cool completely before stuffing the pasties.

Courgette, chard & feta pasties – serves 4

FOR THE FILLING:

  • a bunch of chard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 small courgettes, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • a large handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 150-200g feta cheese (or soft goat’s cheese)

FOR THE ROUGH PUFF PASTRY:

  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 200ml iced water

TO FINISH:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds

Wash the chard, then remove the stalks from the leaves. Roughly chop the leaves and cut the stalks into 1cm pieces. Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and add the stalk pieces. Cook for a minute or two, then add the leaves and cook for another couple of minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid from the leaves with your hands. Set aside.

Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and some seasoning. Cook for 5-6 minutes, watching that they don’t catch. Add the courgettes and cook for another 15-20 minutes. You want the courgettes to be nice and soft but not disintegrated. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chard, lemon zest, basil, parsley and more seasoning. Allow to cool completely, then crumble in the feta and gently mix together. Keep the filling cool while you make the pastry.

TO MAKE ROUGH PUFF PASTRY:

Combine the butter cubes, flour and salt in a large bowl. Add just enough cold water to bring everything together into a dough. It will have big pieces of butter in it and that’s ok.

Flour your surface well, then roll the dough in one direction, away from you, to a 1cm thick rectangle. Fold the two short ends into the middle so they overlap. Give the pastry a quarter turn, repeat the rolling, folding and turning process another three times (four in total). Wrap the pastry in baking paper and put into the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the pastry and repeat the rolling, folding and turning process another 4 times. Return to the fridge again for another 30 minutes.

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

Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out to 4-5mm thick. Use a 18-20cm plate or cutter to cut out 4 rounds. Put a quarter of the filling (or whatever fits) in the lower half of each round, leaving a 2cm border around the edge. Brush the border below the filling with beaten egg and fold the pastry over to encase the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal, then brush with the egg and sprinkle over the onion seeds and a little bit of flaky sea salt.

Put the pasties on to a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Eat just warm or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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

Chana dal – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bucatini with courgettes – serves 4 (easily halved)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veggie Pasta Bake – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Food)

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We’re super excited by the dishes in Ixta Belfrage’s new book – Mezcla. We’ve done lots of drooling over the recipes but so far have only managed this green salad – it’s a good one!

Green salad with maple, lime & sesame dressing – serves 4

  • 2 baby gem lettuces, cut off the end and separate the leaves.
  • 10g mixed fresh herbs e.g. coriander, mint & basil
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced into rounds (optional)
  • 20g scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (you can use black and white if you have them but white alone is fine), well toasted, then lightly crushed and mixed with flaked sea salt
  • lime wedges, to serve

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine salt

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 60g olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 40g lime juice
  • 20g maple syrup
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 5g chives, finely chopped

Put the ingredients for the pickled shallots into a small bowl and stir together. Leave to pickle for 15 minutes or up to an hour but no longer.

Make the dressing by gently mixing all the ingredients, except the chives, together. You don’t want the dressing to emulsify here so just stir to combine.

When ready to serve, stir the chives into the dressing. Put the lettuce and herbs into a large salad bowl and pour over the dressing. Add the pickled shallots, chillies and scallions and toss. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve with extra lime wedges.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

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

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

Tomato & Courgette Risotto – serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

Pasta Salad – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic – serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courgette and Broad Bean Risotto – serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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

Summer veg and herb soup – serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roast potatoes with aïoli and pine nut butter – serves 4

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

FOR THE AÏOLI

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

FOR THE PINE NUT BUTTER

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

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

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

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

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

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