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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

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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We don’t think we’ve ever roasted kohlrabi before but they have it in our local farm shop so we thought we’d give it a go. We mostly see it raw in salads but have to say it is absolutely lovely when roasted. The recipe is simple though there are a few bits to it. Try the roasted kohlrabi if nothing else.

Wine Suggestion: A medium bodied, pure fruited red like Olga Raffault’s Chinon les Barnabés which has a charming perfume and an array of purple and red fruits sitting lightly on top of a deep core. For this dish you need that juxtaposition of purity and depth to play alongside the earthy range of flavours.

Barley with roasted kholrabi, tomatoes & watercress salsa – serves 4 as a main

  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
  • 140ml olive oil, plus a bit extra to drizzle
  • 1 large head of garlic, cut a slice off the top to expose the cloves, plus 4 extra cloves, crushed
  • 300g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 2-3 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 strips of lemon zest and 2 tbsp juice, plus some wedges to serve
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 100g watercress
  • 60ml double cream (optional if you don’t want dairy but nice if you do)

Preheat the oven to 190C fan.

Trim and peel the kohlrabi, then cut them into 8 wedges (more if you have any big ones). Put them into a large bowl and toss with the anchovies, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 crushed garlic cloves, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread them out over a tray lined with baking paper.

Put the whole garlic bulb onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb tightly in the bulb, then place it in the corner of the baking tray with the kohlrabi. Put the tray in the oven to roast for 25 minutes.

Turn the kohlrabi pieces over, then add the tomatoes to the tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes, or until the kohlrabi wedges are soft and deep brown and the tomatoes are blistered. Turn the oven off, then leave the tray in there to keep warm.

While the vegetables are cooking, put the barley into a medim-sized saucepan and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes or until almost cooked but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the garlic bulb in the foil. Put a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat with 50ml olive oil, the roasted garlic, remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel strips, Scotch bonnet, and 2½ tsp salt. Gently fry for 12 minutes, stirring, until the shallots are soft and golden brown.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine, 500ml of water and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 7 minutes, then add the cooked barley and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Discard the Scotch bonnet and the lemon peel.

Whizz half the watercress, the lemon juice, 60ml of olive oil and ¼ tsp of salt in the small bowl of a food processor until smooth.

Transfer the barley to a large serving bowl. Drizzle over the watercress salsa and cream over the barley and gently swirl them in. Top with the rest of the watercress, then the roasted kohlrabi and tomatoes. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

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

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We’re never sure what to cook for other people’s children but most of them seem to like pasta bake. This one has been popular and also the recipe below which uses a packet of supermarket filled pasta. They like our home-made lasagne too but we don’t always have the energy or time for the extra effort required!

Easy Pasta Bake – serves 3 children (or even 2 adults and 1 child)

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 packet of filled pasta, about 250g, we tend to go for spinach and ricotta tortellini but you could do a meat filled version if you want to keep to traditional lasagne flavours
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for over the top
  • ½ a small ball of mozzarella, sliced

Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes, then tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about a minute less than recommended on the pack, then drain.

Mix the mascarpone with the 3 tbsp grated Parmesan.

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

Rub a little olive oil over a small baking dish. Spoon a little bit of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish, add about half the pasta, then spoon over half the mascarpone and Parmesan mixture.

Add another layer of tomato sauce, then the rest of the pasta. Top with the remainder of the tomato sauce and the mascarpone mix. Lay the mozzarella slices over the top and sprinkle with some more grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, June 2016.)

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A great combination and nice to cook something meat-free on the barbecue. Serve with naan breads – we get ours from the local takeaway. You need to get started a few hours ahead.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing complex or too heavy with this so focus on pleasurable fruit and balance. For us tonight Umani Ronchi’s organic Serrano. A Montepulciano – Sangiovese blend from Rosso Conero, in the Marches. Youthful and vibrant which suited us perfectly for a summer barbecued dinner.

Barbecued tikka paneer with fresh mango chutney – serves 4

  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry paste, we use Patak’s
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 300g paneer, cut into 18 cubes
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 18 pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • naan breads, to serve

FOR THE FRESH MANGO CHUTNEY:

  • left over red onion from the kebabs (see below)
  • 1 large mango, finely diced
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • juice of half a lemon

Put the yoghurt, curry paste, garlic, and ginger into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix together. Add the paneer and peppers. Peel off the outer 2-3 layers of each onion wedge and add these too (keep the rest for the chutney), then fold everything together gently. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours, or if short of time leave at room temperature for an hour.

To make the mango chutney, finely chop the leftover onion and put into a bowl with the mango, tomatoes, chillies and mint and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice to taste, then set aside.

Get your barbecue on and hot, then brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent the kebabs from sticking.

Thread the paneer, peppers and onions onto kebab skewers and cook for 12-15 minutes or until lightly charred.

Sprinkle coriander over the skewers and serve with the mango chutney and naan breads.

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

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We often make this for lunch, and sometimes late breakfast. So simple but very tasty.

Baked feta with cherry tomatoes & garlic toast – serves 2

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g block feta, halved
  • 4 slices sourdough
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • a few leaves of oregano or basil, picked and chopped or torn

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

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of 2 small ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle some tomatoes into each and season with salt and black pepper. Set the pieces of feta on top, then top with the rest of the tomatoes, season again and drizzle with a little more oil.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Toast the sourdoubh and rub one side with the cut side of the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

Take the foil off the dishes, drizzle with the balsamic and sprinkle over the herbs. Serve the salad with the sourdough toast.

(Original recipe by Janinie Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2016.)

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A great dish for using up the end of a tub of cream with just a few ingredients that you might well have already.

Wine Suggestion: Central Italian whites just seem to sing with this dish and the La Piuma Pecorino which is light as a feather, citrussy and floral hits the spot; and is a bargain to boot.

Tagliatelle with broad beans, cream & mint – serves 2

  • 150g broad beans, blanched and skins slipped off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • a small handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 75g pecorino, finely grated
  • 200g dried tagliatelle

Get the pasta water on, then start the sauce.

Whizz half the beans in the small bowl of a food processor to get a rough purée.

Warm the 1 tbsp of the oil and the garlic in a heavy-based saucecpan for a minute or two to soften the garlic but without letting it colour.

Add the puréed broad beans, to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the double cream and the rest of the broad beans. Stir in the mint and bring to a simmer. Add half the pecorino and season to taste – careful as the cheese is quite salty.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty water then scoop straight out of the cooking water and into the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine and add a little more pasta cooking water if needed to make a sauce. Serve with the extra pecorino for sprinkling over the top.

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We love this fresh salad, the perfect side dish for so many summer dishes. You can crumble some feta over the top before serving if you like.

Fattoush – serves 4

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 2 flatbreads or pitta breads (about 120g in total)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 small regular cucumber
  • 4 tomatoes (about 450g in total)
  • 75g Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 10g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 75g feta cheese (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

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

Toss the pitta breads in the olive oil, then bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes or until very crisp. Leave to cool then snap into chunky pieces.

Cut the cumcumbers in half and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Chop into 1-2cm pieces and put into a salad bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds, chop the flesh into pieces the same size as the cucumber and add the bowl with the crispy pieces of bread. Add the lettuce and herbs.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, then use your hands to toss everything together. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then crumble over some feta if you like.

(Original recipe from Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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Well this is just delicious; we love bean chillies anyhow but this is a particularly good one. We are not vegan and so served this with sour cream. We’ve included the instructions for a vegan crème fraîche below if you prefer.

Wine Suggestion: For some reason we gravitate to American (both North & South) reds when eating chillies, and with the Wines of Argentina tasting in Dublin yesterday it was natural we’d open a Malbec. A star of the show, and definitely by no means the most expensive, the Altosur Malbec by Finca Sophenia in Gualtallary, Mendoza was our choice. And it seems like Decanter agrees with our choice too – Best in Show and Best Value in their World Wine Awards just announced. Bravo Finca Sophenia and perfect for our chilli.

Vegan chilli – serves 4-6

  • 4 sweet potatoes, skins scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus a bit extra to rub on the potatoes
  • 100g broccoli florets
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 x tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drianed and rinsed
  • 100g fresh, frozen or tinned sweetcorn kernels
  • 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • sour cream or crème fraîche (or make the vegan crème fraîche below)

IF YOU WANT VEGAN CRÈME FRAÎCHE:

  • 65g cashews soaked in 120ml water for 30 minutes, then drained
  • juice of ½ lemon

TO SERVE:

  • 75g edamame beans
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C.

Rub the sweet potatoes with a little bit of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Steam the broccoli until tender, then set aside.

If you want to make the vegan crème fraîche, put the soaked and drained cashews in a blender with the lemon juice. Season with salt and blitz to a cream.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and spices and cook for a few minute or until softened. Add the red pepper and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chickpeas, sweetcorn, black beans and kidney beans. Season with salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If it starts to look dry, you can add a splash of water.

Add the steamed broccoli and mix to warm through.

Trim the ends off the sweet potatoes and cut them in half but not the whole way through. Spoon the chilli into the potatoes and top with some edamame beans and sour cream or crème fraîche, then serve with the avocado and lime wedges.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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This is just a simple green salad but the addition of chopped green olives and red onions takes it to the next level. It’s particularly good with tomato-based dishes, like lasagne or Parmigiana.

Green salad with olive dressing – serves 6

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 50g green olives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 6 big handfuls of mixed green salad leaves

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl, then add the olives and red onion and season.

Tip the salad leaves into a bowl and drizzle over the dressing, then toss gently to coat.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

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

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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These have to be the easiest snack ever and they’re great to serve with drinks. The best thing is that you can have them made up in the fridge and just bake them when you need them.

Wine Suggestion: Find a bone-dry white that gets your digestive juices watering. For something really special look out for Quinta Soalheiro’s Granit which is an high altitude, single vineyard selection from, as you might have suspected Granitic soil. Piercingly dry and laser focused, and yet so beautiful and expressive it made us sit up and pay attention.

Za’atar & Goats’ Cheese Puffs – makes 20

  • 1 x 320g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
  • olive oil
  • 2 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 300g soft goats’ cheese

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.

Put the cheese into a bowl and break it up with a fork.

Unroll the pastry sheet but keep it on the greaseproof liner it’s wrapped in.

Place the pastry on the work surface with the long side facing you and brush lightly with olive oil.

Scatter over 1 tbsp of the za’atar, then distribute the cheese all over the sheet, leaving a 2.5cm border at the edge of the pastry furthest from you. Season generously with salt and pepper, then sprinkle over the other tbsp of za’atar.

Start to roll the pastry, starting with the long edge closest to you and rolling away from you. Roll it as tightly as possible without crushing it. Use a serrated knife to cut the roll in half then cut each half into 10 slices. Put the slices onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and pat them down flat with your fingers to hep them stay together.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and serve immediately.

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

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This is Meera Sodha’s fresh take on Matar Paneer, which is usually a richer dish. Delicious with warm naan breads and plain yoghurt, this version could easily become a regular favourite.

Fresh Matar Paneer – serves 4 as a main or more as a side with other dishes

  • rapeseed oil
  • 550g hard paneer, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g mangetout
  • 200g frozen peas (defrosted), or you can use fresh of course if you have them
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced to serve

Heat a couple of tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the panner over a medium heat until browned and crisp all over, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another tbsp of oil in the pan, then add the garlic and stir-fry for a couple of minutes (make sure the frying pan isn’t too hot when you add the garlic or it will burn). Add the tomatoes and cook for about 6 minutes or until just turning jammy. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric, then stir for another minute before taking off the heat.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mangetout and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 more minute, then drain and leave to steam dry.

Heat the sauce, then stir in the paneer. When both are hot, stir in the veg. Sprinkle over the sliced red chilli and serve.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Fig Tree, 2016.)

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

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

Thai Green Veggie Curry – serves 4

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

FOR THE CURRY BASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is 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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