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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

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 an Indian side dish and a great salad that we plan to serve with many Indian meals. This time we had it with Murgh Seekh Kababs cooked on the barbecue. Asma prefers dried beans (and we’re sure she is right) but we cheated this time and used a tin of black-eyed beans instead.

Lobia – serves 4

  • 200g dried black-eyed beans (we used a 400g tin)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ a small red onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 red tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

If using dried beans you need to soak them in cold water overnight.

The next day, drain the beans and put into a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until soft. Drain and leave to cool.

If you are using a tin of beans, you can skip all of the above and just drain and rinse them in cold water.

Put the beans into a bowl, add the garlic, onion, chilli and tomato and mix together gently. Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper together, pour into the bowl with the beans and mix together.

(Original recipe from Ammu by Asma Khan, Ebury Press, 2022).

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We’ve been meaning to try veggie burgers on the barbecue for a while now. These sweet potato and black bean ones have lots of spice and cooking the sweet potatoes in the coals gives them a great smoky flavour. These take a while to prepare and you do need a charcoal barbecue. And while they’re a lot softer than a traditional burger the flavours still make it a good choice if you feel like something different or if you don’t like meat.

Sweet potato and black bean burgers – serves 6

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (600g in total)
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 75g panko breadcrumbs
  • 80g roasted cashew nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

FOR THE CHIPOTLE LIME MAYO

  • 140g mayonnaise
  • 30g chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ a lime

TO SERVE

  • 6 burger buns
  • 6 slices of cheddar or Gruyère cheese
  • 2 avocados
  • pickled jalapeno chillies
  • lettuce

You need a charcoal barbecue for this. Wait until the embers have turned white, then wrap the potatoes in tin foil and nestle them into the coals. Cook for about 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until soft.

Tip the black beans into a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork.

When the potatoes are cooked, unwrap them and leave them to cool slightly. Then scoop out the insides and add to the black beans. Add the breadcrumbs, cashew nuts, spices and some salt and pepper. Mix well, then divide into 6 burgers. Put onto a tray, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm them up.

Heat the barbecue up again and mix all of the mayo ingredients together and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron frying pan on the barbecue. Add the burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. When you turn them over, toast the burger buns and set aside. Lay the cheese slices on top of the burgers, add a little water to the pan and cover with a lid – the steam helps to melt the cheese.

Spread some mayo on the bottom half of the toasted buns. Add a burger, some avocado and a few jalapaenos. Serve with some lettuce or salad leaves on the side.

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

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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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Jules’ parents often give us yellow peppers as they prefer green ones, and for some reason they can only buy peppers locally (NI) in multi-coloured packs of three. Perhaps another Brexit effect. No matter as we’ve found the perfect use for them in this simple pasta sauce by Joe Trivelli. We didn’t have enough rigatoni so added some penne that got stuck in all the rigatoni tubes. We had good fun sucking them out.

Wine Suggestion: This is excellent with oaked Sauvignon Blanc, especially white Bordeaux, where the oak mellows out the grassy characteristics and adds a creamy, buttery layer with extra citrus fruits. We recognise these are harder to find and higher in price, so more affordably we successfully opened an Umani Ronchi Ca’Sal di Serra Verdicchio which carries over the cut grass and citrus characters and adds an almondy twist.

Rigatoni with yellow peppers – serves 4

  • 1 large yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • ½ dried chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 40ml double cream
  • 400g rigatoni – Joe sugests whole-wheat but we had the regular stuff so just used that
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • salted ricotta if you have some – we used Parmesan which works too

Put a medium frying pan over a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Fry the pepper for 3 minutes, then add the garlic with a pinch of salt. Crumble in the chilli, cover and cook over a low heat, stirring now and then. You want the pepper to soften completely which could take around 30 minutes so be patient.

Add the cream and bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, then purée the sauce in a food processer and return to the pan.

Cook the pasta in lots of salty water until al dente. Scoop out a mugful of the pasta cooking water before draining, then add the pasta to the pepper mixture. Toss the pasta and sauce over a low heat, adding the basil leaves and some pasta water if needed to make the sauce creamy.

Serve on warm plates with some grated cheese.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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This vegan dish is a must for mushroom lovers and the leftovers make great lunchboxes. Full of flavours that we wouldn’t usually put together, that’s the joy of recipes from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: We’re suckers for matching mushrooms with either Pinot Noir, or, like here, with Nebbiolo. Luigi Pira’s Langhe Nebbiolo was our choice as it is so authentically nebbiolo without breaking the bank and opening a Barolo, or Barbaresco. Cherries, rose petals and rich iron with an earthy, mushroomy aroma carrying it through; elegance and power all at once.

Mushroom & rice pilaf – serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side

  • 1-2 dried ancho chillies, stems removed – we used dried chipotle chillies as that’s what we had in the cupboard
  • 30g dried porcini mushroom
  • 500ml vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 500g oyster mushrooms
  • 500g large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded, and roughly broken by hand into 6 pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved and cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 150g soft dried apricots, quartered
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 350g basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear and drained well
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced at a angle
  • 5g picked parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Put the dried chillies into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 20 minutes, then drain and roughly chop the chillies, including the seeds.

Meanwhile, put the dried mushrooms, stock, 350ml of water, 1¼ tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then set aside.

Put the oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms, onion, garlic, chopped chillies, whole spices, apricots, 120ml of oil, 1 tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper into a large roasting tin. Stir it all together, then bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from the oven and transfer half the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir the rice into the remaining mixture in the tin.

Bring the porcini and stock mixture back to a simmer, then pour over the rice and without stirring, cover the tin tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then leave to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and mix gently.

Add the scallions, parsley and final 2 tbsp of olive oil to the reserved mushroom mixture and stir together. Sppon over the rice and serve.

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

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This is good to serve with drinks for a crowd. You will need some flatbreads or pitta for dipping.

Wine Suggestion: An aperitivo type of drink; Negroni’s if you like, or for us Jérémie Huchet’s Muscadet Les Montys le Parc. A special “lieu-dit”, a vineyard recognised as something special and unique that allows a longer growing season than surrounding vineyards due to the aspect and soils. More depth and roundness than their classic Muscadet, but still with a lovely minerailty and mouthfeel and great length. Serious, and yet still with a sense of playful fun.

Spiced beetroot yoghurt – serves 6

  • 500g cooked beetroot (not in vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 20g mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 500g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • olive oil, for drizzling

Drain any juice off the beetroot, then whizz with a hand-blender to get a coarse-textured purée. Add the ground coriander, lots of salt and pepper and the mint (keep a little to garnish) and mix together well. Stir in the Greek yoghurt.

Season again to taste, then serve sprinkled with nigella seeds, the rest of the chopped mint and a drizzle of good olive oil. Serve with pitta, flatbreads or toast.

(Original recipe from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2016.)

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A recipe by Rachel Roddy; simple and filling. Keep your Parmesan rinds in the freezer for adding to soups like this.

Pasta & Chickpea Soup – serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
  • a Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 225g short tubular pasta e.g. tubetti or ditalini or broken tagliatelle

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, then add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, then cook gently until soft and fragrant.

Add the tomato purée and sprig of rosemary, stir and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the chickpeas. Add 1 litre of hot water, a pinch of salt and the Parmesan rind, then stir again. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove half the soup and pass through a food mill or blend with a stick blender until smooth, then return to the pan. Season to taste with salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender, the pack timings should work but do check as you go and keep stirring. You add a bit more boiling water if needed. Season again to taste then serve garnished with your favourite olive oil.

(Original recipe from Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome by Rachel Roddy, Salt Yard Book Co., 2015.)

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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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A truly delicious dip to serve as a starter with warm flatbreads or pitta. It was very difficult to stop ourselves eating the lot …and thereby spoiling our appetite for the main to follow.

Yellow split pea purée with buttered onions and caper salsa – serves 6

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 180g yellow split peas, rinsed well and drained
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 5g parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 thin lemon slices, discard the pips and finely chop (including the rind)
  • 2 tbsp oil

Put the butter, 2 tbsp of oil, the onions and ¾ tsp of salt into a large sauté pan over a medium heat for 15-18 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft and golden. Transfer half the onions, along with most of the oil and melted butter to a small bowl, and set aside.

Add the split peas, turmeric and 1.2 litres of water and ¾ tsp of salt to the pan with the remaining onions and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. Cover with the lid and cook for another 40-45 minutes, or until the split peas are very soft and most of the liquid is evaporated. If not, you can remove the lid again and cook a little longer.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the salsa in a small bowl.

Whizz the warm split peas with the remaining cooking water and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a food processor until completely smooth.

Spoon into a shallow dish, creating a dip in the middle. Mix the buttery onions with the caper salsa, then spoon on to the dip. Serve warm.

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

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Delicious Indian comfort food. Serve with warm naan bread for mopping up the sauce.

Wine Suggestion: an oaked white of your choice we think. For us it was the Les Dissidents Préjugés by Domaine Ventenac in Carbadès in Southern France, a delightfully off-beat and thoughtful wine with a style that reflects great vineyards and an inventive winemaker.

Mattar Paneer – serves 4

  • sunflower oil
  • 400g paneer, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ – 1 tsp medium-hot chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 300g tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 100ml double cream or natural yoghurt
  • a handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • lemon wedges

Coat the base of a large non-stick frying pan with the oil and place over a medium-high heat. Add the paneer and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until starting to turn golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Add a bit more oil to the pan and cook the cumin seeds until they start to pop, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Stir in the ground spices, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until thick. Add the paneer, peas and 200ml water. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the cream or yoghurt, then remove from the heat and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with the coriander and with a lemon wedge for squeezing over.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics, by Claire Thompson, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2019.)

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If you have some truffle oil in the cupboard by all means use it to garnish this soup, but it is not essential. The soup tastes strongly of celeriac in a most pleasing way.

Cream of celeriac soup with truffle oil – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1.2kg celeriac, peeled and diced
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 4 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 100ml cream

TO GARNISH:

  • 2 tsp truffle oil or good extra virgin olive oil
  • finely chopped chives

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes or until softened but not coloured.

Add the celeriac, water, bouillon powder and lemon thyme. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes or until very soft.

Whizz the soup until smooth, then return to a gentle heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Garnish with oil and chives to serve.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight For Good by Tom Kerridge, ABSOLUTE PRESS, 2017.)

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A healthy version of chicken tikka masala with salad and saffron rice. You will be eating the rainbow for dinner with this one.

Wine Suggestion: A new find matched this well: Umani Ronchi’s Centovie, a rosé made from Montepulciano in Abruzzo. The cherry fruit flavours and savoury, dry finish were a good compliment to the food. If you can’t find a rosé made from this grape find a nice red and chill it a little instead.

Chicken tikka masala – serves 4

  • 1 large skinless chicken crown (about 1kg), get your butcher to do this for you

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp medium Madras curry powder
  • 2 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 100g Greek yoghurt (you can use 0% if you wish)

FOR THE CURRY SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml water
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • half a cucumber, diced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

TO SERVE:

  • coriander leaves, roughly torn
  • basmati rice, cooked with salt and a pinch of saffron strands (only if you have them)

Put the chicken into a large dish and slash the breasts with a sharp knife. Mix all of the ingredients together for the marinade, then spread over the chicken. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 120C fan.

Put the chicken into a roasting dish and spoon over any remaining marinade. Cook for 2 hours (this won’t cook it through).

Meanwhile, make the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a deep frying or sauté pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown, add a splash of water if they stick. Add the garlic and ginger with a splash of water, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices with some salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped peppers and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Remove the chicken from the oven and use a blowtorch over the surface to slightly blacken the marinade in places. If you don’t have a blowtorch just pop it under a hot grill. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the chicken breasts from the bone and cut into bite-size chunks. Reheat the curry sauce, then add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the yoghurt and chopped coriander, then season to taste.

Serve with some coriander leaves, saffron rice and the salad on the side.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, ABSOLUTE PRESS, 2017.)

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This is a perfect lunch dish – quick, easy and just a few ingredients. We made this to use up the rest of a jar of passata and cooked slightly less gnocchi to serve 3. The quantities are just a rough guide really so use up what you’ve got.

Gnocchi al pomodoro – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 700ml passata
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 500g ready-made plain gnocchi
  • 100g grated mature Cheddar cheese

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

Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan, then add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the passata and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the basil leaves, season with salt and black pepper and set aside.

Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add 1 tbsp of salt and the packet of gnocchi. As soon as the gnocchi start flowing to the top, scoop them out with a salted spoon and add to the sauce.

Gently stir the gnocchi into the sauce, then transfer everything to a baking dish and scatter over the grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino d’Acampo, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2010.)

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We absolutely loved this mushroom dish by Rachel Roddy in the Guardian; it’s simple but incredibly tasty. Serve with some steamed white rice.

Wine Suggestion: An earthy Pinot Noir, like Konrad Salwey’s Spätburgunder from Baden in Germany allows both the mushrooms and peppers to shine through, and it’s fresh acidity lifts the backbone of passata, vinegar and cream to the next level.

Mushroom & Pepper Goulash – serves 4

  • 15g dried porcini
  • 1kg field mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  • 1 large jar of roasted peppers, drained and cut into thick strips
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150g tomato passata
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp hot, smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 200ml single cream

Soak the porcini in 150ml warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and save the soaking liquid. Chop the soaked mushrooms and set aside.

Put a large heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter, then stir in the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the soaked and fresh mushrooms, turn up the heat and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, or until the mushrooms start to shrink down.

Add wine, passata, thyme, porcini liquild and paprika. Bring to the boil, then cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and add the peppers. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Season to taste and add the red wine vinegar, then stir in the cream.

Serve with steamed white rice.

(Original recipe by Rachel Roddy in the Guardian, 17 January 2022.)

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We love romanesco and pick it up any time we see it. This simple cooking method shows this veg off at its best.

Romanesco – serves 4 as a side

  • a large head of Romanesco broccoli, snap off any big or bruised leaves, trim the end of the stem and cut a cross at the base
  • 6-8 tbsp best extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a few shavings of Parmesan or Pecorino

Bring a pan of very salty water to the boil.

Put the whole head into the boiling water and simmer for about 12 minutes or until tender but not breaking up. Remove from the water and allow to steam dry for a few minutes, then put onto a plate and douse with the olive oil.

Season with pepper, scatter with parsley and cheese, and serve.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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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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A nice side dish for a roast dinner.

Sprouting broccoli with mushrooms and stilton – serves 6

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli or other long-stemmed broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 50g creamy stilton, crumbled
  • a drizzle of best olvie oil

Boil the broccoli in lots of very salt water for about 3 minutes, or until bright green and not quite tender, then drain and rinse under cold water to stop it cooking further. Drain well and set aside (you can do this in advance if you like).

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until golden.

Add the broccoli and toss with the mushrooms. Cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the broccoli is heated through and the mushrooms have softened.

Season well, then tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the cheese and drizzle over some of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We had this for a main course but you could also have it as a side. Plus it tastes fab at room temperature for lunch the next day.

Wine Suggestion: Perfect with a youthful, oaked Chardonnay like the one we had to hand from Rustenberg in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Baked pumpkin with roasted garlic chickpea purée – serves 6

  • 1kg pumpkin (our favourite is crown prince), remove the seeds and cut into 6 wedges, leave the skin on
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10 sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 bushy sprigs of thyme
  • 75g butter
  • 10g flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns

FOR THE CHICKPEA PURÉE:

  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 150ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lightly oil a baking tray and lay the pumpkin wedges in a single layer. Tuck in the cloves of garlic. Season with salt and black pepper and add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and dot the butter over, then roast for 45 minutes or until golden-brown and soft.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then bring to the boil in plenty of water. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until heated through.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins into the bowl of a food processor. Drain and add the hot chickpeas and the lemon juice. Whizz, while gradually pouring in the olive oil, until you have a soft creamy texture.

Chop the parsley, then mix with the pink peppercorns and 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Spoon the purée onto a serving dish, arrange the pumpkin on top, then scatter over the parsley and peppercorns.

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

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