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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Courgette Trifolate

We can’t be the only people living on courgettes at the minute. Not that we’re complaining, we love looking out for different things to do with them which is how we came across this little side dish by Jacob Kennedy. The cooking method is a bit different but the result is delicious, the lesser cooked bits taste really strongly of courgettes and you also get some browned pieces with a deeper flavour.

Courgettes with Parsley – serves 4 as a side

  • 600g courgettes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • a tiny pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes
  • about 20g of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Thinly slice the courgettes, 3-5mm.

Get out a large, wide frying pan.  It needs to be big enough to hold the courgettes no more than 2-3 layers deep.

Heat the pan until really smoking or at least very, very hot. Add all of the courgettes and shake the pan to settle them, leave for 30 seconds.

Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle with salt but don’t stir yet. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds, then add the garlic, chilli and some black pepper. Toss once, so the courgettes on the bottom are pretty much on the top and the garlic and chilli underneath. Leave for 15 seconds, then shake the pan and cook for another 15 seconds. Sprinkle with parsley and toss a few times to mix, then remove from the heat. Leave in the pan for a further minute to finish cooking, then serve hot or at room temperature.

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

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Caprese pasta salad

We regularly have a caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella & basil) for lunch in the summer months. This pasta version is a good one and makes it a bit more substantial.

Caprese pasta salad – serves 4

  • 200g orecchiette, cooked and rinsed under cold water, then drained again
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 150g baby plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 150g bocconcini (mini mozzarella) or a ball of mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • a bunch of basil, shredded

Put the cooked pasta into a serving bowl with the olive oil, red wine vinegar and tomatoes, then season and toss.

Add the avocado, bocconcini and basil. Toss again gently and serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, July 2018.)

 

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Georgian Kidney Bean Salad

We try so many recipes but it’s rare that we find one that’s like nothing we’ve had before. This is different and definitely recommended by us.

Georgian kidney bean salad – serves 2

  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of dill, chopped

Toast the fenugreek, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and crush with a pinch of sea salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes or until soft and browned. Add the beans and warm through.

Mix 1 tbsp sunflower oil, the sherry vinegar, sugar, crushed spices, herbs and salt and pepper, together in a bowl. Stir through the beans and serve warm or cold.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Sweet Beetroot Pickle

This is so simple and far superior to the jars you buy in supermarkets (though we do like them too). The flavour of the earthy beetroot really shines through.

A good thing about pickling your own beetroot is that you can source/grow different types and they’ll all have their own character; this one was less red in colour and a touch more peppery than the usual supermarket variety. We’re on the lookout for golden beetroot next to see what happens there too.

Sweet pickle beetroot – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4-6 beetroots (about 300g)
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 125ml red wine vinegar
  • 125ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C/180 fan/Gas 6.

Sprinkle the salt into the bottom of a roasting tin and place the whole beetroots on top. Bake for 30 minutes, then pierce with a sharp knife to see if they’re tender all the way through. Keep cooking until your knife goes through easily. It could take 15 minutes more or longer depending on the size of your beetroots.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then trim the ends and peel off the skin – you will need gloves. Cut each beetroot into 8-10 wedges and put into an airtight container.

Heat the remaining ingredients together and bring to the boil. Pour over the beetroots, including all the spices, and seal the container. Leave to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.

You can eat the beetroots the following day or leave them longer for the flavour to develop. They should be good for a month if you don’t open the container. Once opened you need to eat within 2 weeks which should not be a problem!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014)

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Spring Radish & Tomato Salad

The radishes growing in the garden are all ready at the same time and we’ve been looking for recipes to use them. This is Ukranian salad from Olia Hercules’ book – Mamushka. Olia suggests you need bread alongside to mop up the dressing at the end and we couldn’t agree more. Crusty and white we think works best. Nice as a side dish or as a light lunch.

Spring radish & tomato salad – serves 4

  • 4 small cucumbers, or 1 large (we used baby cucumbers)
  • 2 beef tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of radishes, sliced
  • ½ a bunch of dill, chopped
  • 100ml natural yoghurt, diluted with ½ tbsp water
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Slice the cucumber and tomatoes directly into the bowl, so that you catch all the juice. Add the radishes and dill and mix well.

Season the yoghurt really well with the salt and pepper, then stir through the salad. When you’ve finished the salad you will be left with a puddle of pale pink dressing which should be mopped up with some bread.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

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Courgettes with Broad Beans and Walnuts

We can’t resist all the courgettes at this time of year, and even less so if they’re multi-coloured. This is a really tasty side dish that we make with frozen broad beans but of course use the fresh version if you have them. A great side to bring a bit of sunshine to any meal.

Courgettes with broad beans & walnuts – serves 4

  • 8 baby courgettes, sliced on the diagonal into 4 or 5 pieces (you can also use medium courgettes but cut them in 4 lengthways, then slice)
  • 200g podded broad beans, (about 1kg unpodded weight)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 walnut halves, roughly chopped

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 50ml olive oil

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar and olive oil together with some seasoning.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the broad beans and cook for 2-3 minutes (if you are using frozen baby broad beans they will only need a minute). Drain and run under cold water, then remove the skins.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgettes and cook over a medium heat until golden on all sides – about 5-8 minutes.

Add the broad beans, season with salt and pepper and warm through for 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vinaigrette. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pomegranate & mint raitaServe this with lamb kebabs with cumin and coriander or any Indian dishes.

Pomegranate & Mint Raita – serves 4 to 6

  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500ml Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint leaves

Roast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, then put into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind.

Spoon the yoghurt into a dish, then mix the cumin, salt, sugar, mint and pomegranate seeds. Keep a few pomegranate seeds and mint leaves aside aside to garnish.

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

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Aubergine and Cherry Tomato Curry

This is delicious and so simple. A perfect summer curry. Serve with yoghurt and naan bread. It’s versatile too as it is lovely on its own with some rice, or as a side, or part of a larger feast.

Wine Suggestion: a light grenache red is our pick, either a simple Spanish bottle such as Bodegas Monfil in Cariñena or something more sophisticated like Domaine Cébène’s ex Arena from Faugeres.

Aubergine & cherry tomato curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4cm ginger, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 large aubergine, quartered, then cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan with a lid.

Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until soft. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add the cherry tomatoes, then cover with the lid and leave over a low heat for 10 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.

Stir in the salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, tomato purée and sugar. Mix well, then add 150ml warm water, then the aubergine. Stir to coat the aubergines in the tomatoes, then cover again.

Cook for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat or until the aubergine is tender and soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.

Season to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.

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

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Beetroot & feta samosas

These are so simple to make and you can stash them in the freezer and cook from frozen so great for a snack or starter with drinks.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve tried these with a few different wines and prefer them if the wine is chilled. Quite a few whites worked really well, but interestingly the best combination was a chilled red made from Grignolino from the Piedmont in norther Italy. Light bodied and yet dry with hints of (in balance) pippy bitterness and structured, light tannins. From a bottle a friend brought over and made by Olim Bauda; a nice discovery.

Beetroot & feta samosas – makes 18-24 samosas

  • 400g fresh beetroot
  • 200g feta cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • onion seeds (nigella seeds), to garnish

Boil the beetroot until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, this can take an hour or more depending on what size they are.

Trim the beetroot and peel off the skin (you might like to wear gloves), then roughly mash.

Put the mashed beetroot into a hot frying pan over a medium heat and heat for 5 minutes to remove excess moisture, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the feta, scallions, coriander, green chilli, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and salt.

Lay a sheet of the filo pastry out with the long side towards you (cover the rest of the filo with a damp tea towel). Brush the left hand side of the pastry sheet lightly with the melted butter. Fold the right hand side of the sheet over the left so you have a double layer of pastry. Cut the pastry into 3 long strips with a sharp knife.

Place a heaped tbsp of the beetroot mixture at the bottom of a pastry strip, then fold the bottom right hand corner up over the filling to make a small triangle. Flip the triangle over as you move up the pastry strip, the filling will eventually be sealed inside. When you get to the end, brush the end of the pastry strip with a little melted butter and press to seal.

Continue like this until all of the beetroot mixture has been used, you might not need all of the filo pastry.

If you want to freeze the samosas at this stage you can set them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then place in tray in the freezer. When the samosas are frozen you can transfer them to a bag.

If you want to cook the freshly made samosas, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush the samosas on both sides with melted butter and sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top. Put onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

To cook from frozen. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/gas 6. Brush both sides with melted butter, sprinkle a few onion seeds over the top, and put onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

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

 

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Couscous with Courgette, Fried Onions & Herbs

It’s courgettes with everything in our house this week, not that we’re complaining! We had this couscous as a side for a barbecue and the leftovers were great for lunches. Also a good recipe for using up any herbs you have, you don’t have to stick to combination suggested, one or two would be fine.

Couscous with courgette, fried onions & herbs – serves 6

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, grated
  • 300g couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • small bunch mint
  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch dill
  • handful rocket, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions gently until softened, then increase the heat and let them crisp up a bit.

Put the courgettes,  couscous, and chickpeas into a large bowl and pour over the stock. Cover tightly with clingfilm an set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the mint, coriander and dill together.

Fork the couscous to separate the grains then use to stir in the lemon juice, fried onions, scallions, herbs, rocket and plenty of seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Buttery Rice with Toasted Vermicelli

A very simple and effective way to pimp up your rice.

Buttery rice with toasted vermicelli – serves 4

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 35g unsalted butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50g spaghetti, roughly broken into 3cm sticks (or you can use 50g vermicelli wheat noodles)
  • 520ml hot water or hot chicken stock

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then set aside to soak in a bowl of water for at least an hour. When the rice has soaked, transfer it to a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for 15 minutes or so.

Put 25g of the butter and the cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until deep golden. Stir in the rice to combine well, then add the water or stock and 1½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pan tightly with tinfoil, followed by the lid. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave aside for 15 minutes, still covered.

Remove the lid and dot with the extra butter, then set aside for another 10 minutes, covered.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wrigley, Ebury Press, 2020)

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Mustardy Greens

We came across this side dish when looking for something to cook with spring greens. Super easy and delicious!

Mustardy Greens – serves 4

  • 300g spring greens, remove the central spine from the leaves and roughly shred
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Bring 250ml of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add the spring greens and peas, bring back to a simmer, then cover and cook for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then return to the pan and put back over a low heat.

Stir in the butter and mustards and season well with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Aubergine, Chickpea & Tomato Bake

Absolute deliciousness from Sami Tamami and Tara Wigley. You could definitely eat a plate of this as it is, but we had it tonight with a barbecued leg of lamb. You can prep it in advance and cook when needed.

Aubergine, chickpea & tomato bake – serves 4 to 6

  • 5 medium aubergines (about 1.25kg), trim off the tops, use a peeler to peel of strips of skin so you have stripy aubergines, then cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp tomato purée
  • 2 green peppers, cut in to 3cm chunks
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g to serve
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1½ cm rounds

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the aubergine slices into a large bowl and toss with 75ml of the olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Spread the slices over the baking trays and bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes. They should be completely softened and lightly browned.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C fan.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large sauté pan, then cook the onion for about 7 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, cinnamon and tomato purée and cook for another minutes. Add the peppers, chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, sugar, 200ml of water, 1¼ tsp salt and and plenty of black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, or until the peppers have cooked through. Stir in the coriander and remove from the heat.

Spread half the tomato slices and half the aubergine over the base of a large baking dish. Pour over the sauce, then top with the remaining aubergine and tomato slices. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of olive oil, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle over the remaining coriander to serve.

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

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Double Chocolate Shortbreads

We’re not prolific bakers, in case you hadn’t noticed. Jono & Orlaith have been doing a bit of baking during the week to keep Orlaith entertained and to stop her begging from more dubious treats from the corner shop. These were definitely a hit and very easy. Freeze half to pull out and bake another day.

Double Chocolate Shortbreads – makes 12

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate chips

Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and the cocoa, then the chocolate chips – use your hands if you need.

Halve the dough and roll each piece into a 5cm thick log. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour (it will be fine for a few days in the fridge either or you can freeze it).

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Slice the dough into 1cm-thick rounds and transfer to a lined baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes and leave to cool on the tray.

(Original recipe by BBC Good Food)

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Spicy Roasted New Potatoes with Lemon & Herbs

This dish bursts with flavour. We’ve been entertaining in our garden (in small groups and at a distance) and it’s been so nice to cook dishes to feed more than 2! Another triumph from Falastin and great with some grilled meat; this will be done many atime again we suspect. You can prep up to the point before you put the potatoes in the oven. Cook and dress when you’re ready to eat.

Spicy roasted new potatoes with lemon & herbs  – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 7 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 750g baby new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 large lemon, finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp and juice to get 2 tbsp
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seed and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until it starts to colour.

Add the chilli and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the potatoes, sugar, 1 tsp of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir and transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Roast for 40 minutes, tossing once, until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before adding the lemon zest & juice, coriander & dill. Toss gently & serve.

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

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Spring Onion Quesadillas with Guacamole SaladWe really miss cooking for friends and family which is what we do almost every weekend (and some other nights too!). So instead of prepping for the evening we’ve been making more of an effort at lunch. Last week we had these unusual quesadillas outside in the sunshine, sure beats lunch at the desk!

Spring onion quesadillas with guacamole salsa – serves 2

  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 soft flour tortillas
  • 10 slices of jalapeño chilli (from a jar)
  • 85g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, halved, and peeled
  • small pack of coriander, plus extra leaves to serve
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into thin wedges (we used a bag of peppery salad leaves as that’s what we had)

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and run under cold water. Set aside to dry on kitchen paper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot dry pan until slightly golden, then tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Drizzle the scallions with a tsp of the olive oil and season. Griddle for a couple of minutes on each side until lightly charred.

We find it much easier to lay the ingredients over half of the tortilla then fold over the top and cook on either side but you can lay all the ingredients on one tortilla, then top with the other one, it will be trickier to turn though.

Lay the spring onions over each tortilla. Sprinkle over the jalapeños and the cheese, then fold the rest of the tortilla over and press together, brush the outside lightly with oil. Cook in the griddle pan for a minute or two on each side or until the cheese has melted and the outside is crisp.

Meanwhile, whizz 1 tbsp of oil, the avocado, lime juice, coriander and 1 tbsp of water together to make a dressing. Season, then toss with the cucumber and lettuce. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the coriander leaves.  Serve with the quesadillas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Couscous, Cherry Tomato & Herb Salad

We made this couscous salad from Ottolenghi Simple for the first time this week and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Serve it at all your summer barbecues (provided local restrictions allow) and expect very happy guests.

Couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 50g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grate to get 1 tsp of zest and squeeze to get 1 tbsp of juice

Put the couscous into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour over 400ml boiling water, then seal well with tin foil and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown and split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and sprinkle them with salt.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp of oil to the same pan. Add the onions, the other tsp of ras el hanout and an a pinch of salt. Fry over a medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden-brown and soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and leave to cool.

When the couscous has cooked a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onions and raisin mixture and stir, then add the cumin seeds, almonds, herbs, lemon zest & juice, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Serve on a platter with the tomatoes on the top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Cauliflower Cheese

I don’t remember not knowing how to make this, and therefore presume that everyone else does too. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t have it in your head. Sorry about the imperial measurements but that’s how my Mum taught me.

Jules’ Cauliflower Cheese – serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint of full cream milk
  • 3 large handfuls of grated mature cheddar cheese

Steam the cauliflower until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Start checking after 5 minutes and be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two over a medium heat.

Start gradually adding the milk, just a splash at a time at first, and stir continuously. Add some more milk every time it has been absorbed. Careful not to rush this or the sauce can turn lumpy.

When all of the milk is in the sauce, it is important to continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in 2 large handfuls of grated cheese and some salt and freshly ground white pepper.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and return to the pan to steam dry, then tip into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Put the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on the top.

 

 

 

 

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