Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Beetroot, Lentils, Cheddar

May 20, 2021 by General Administrator

Beetroot with feta, or goat cheese, is a classic combination, but other cheeses are available. Cheddar, for instance. Lentils add bite and substance to this salad, and the mustard brings a complementary zing that combines well with the cheddar. You can use either red or yellow beetroot in this salad, which makes a good lunch or simple supper.

Beet and Lentil Salad With Cheddar
Serves 4

Photo from New York Times Cooking

Ingredients
For the salad
:
500g beetroot
300g green lentils, rinsed
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
approx. 2 cups rocket or another green such as shredded Swiss chard
5g dill, parsley, mint or coriander, roughly chopped
50g Cheddar, roughly crumbled
handful walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted in a dry frying pan for a few minutes
For the apple cider vinaigrette:
1 small garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
several grinds of freshly ground pepper

Preparation
Place the beetroot in a microwave-proof bowl. Add 1 cup water to the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm. Microwave for 20 minutes. By now the clingfilm should have collapsed tightly onto the beetroot, creating a sort of vacuum-seal. With your finger prod the beetroot through the clingfilm to see how soft it is. If it feels tender, the beetroot is done. If not, put it in for another 5 minutes and test it again. Keep going until the beetroot feels tender. Once it’s done, remove it from the microwave, peel back the clingfilm, drain, and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils: in a medium pot, add the lentils, salt, garlic and 1 litre of water. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until just tender. (The lentils should still have some bite). Drain in a colander and stir to break up and evenly distribute the garlic. Let the lentils cool slightly.
Once the beetroot is cool enough to handle, set about peeling it. The peel should come off fairly easily with a knife. Cut the beetroot into 1cm cubes, or slice into small wedges.
While the lentils cook, prepare the vinaigrette: in a large serving bowl, whisk the garlic, vinegar, oil, maple syrup and mustard with the salt and pepper. Add the warm lentils to the serving bowl, then add the beets, greens, nuts and herbs. Toss together and then stir in the the cheese. Don’t stir too vigorously, because you don’t want the cheese to turn crimson from the beets, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Hetty McKinnon, New York Times Cooking

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Sicilian Pasta

May 6, 2021 by General Administrator

This is a bit of a production, but the flavours you will create are remarkable. The dish tastes of the sea, of warm evenings outdoors, of blue skies. Make it now.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Currants, Pine Nuts and Saffron Onions
Serves 4

Ingredients
80g currants (or raisins)
230ml white wine
60ml olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons more
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
salt
1 teaspoon saffron threads
100g coarse breadcrumbs
700g cauliflower, cut into very small florets
3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
handful of parsley, large stalks removed and coarsely chopped
12 sprigs of marjoram, coarsely chopped
450g short pasta shapes

Preparation
First plump the currants: put the currants and wine in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to the boil and—as soon as it reaches the boil—remove from the heat and set aside for at least 30 minutes. The currants will absorb the wine.
Now prepare the saffron water: put the saffron and 60ml of water into a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, or until the water boils. The moment the water boils remove and set aside for at least 5 minutes. (Of course you can do this on the stove.)

Now make the saffron onions: put 60ml of oil into a frying pan over low heat. When hot add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften, but still remain golden.
Add the saffron water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 more minutes, or until the onions are very soften and have turned a beautiful saffron colour. Don’t let them burn.

Toast the breadcrumbs: toast the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan for 5-8 minutes, or until they are a golden colour. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. You can add some oil if you prefer. You can also make them in a 150C oven—they’ll take about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower: put the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 60ml of water into a separate pan. Bring to the boil and then add the cauliflower. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is extremely soft. Check every now and then to make sure there is enough water—don’t let this boil dry—and add more if necessary.

Once the cauliflower is soft, make a well in the middle of the cauliflower and add the garlic, anchovies and pepper flakes. Sizzle over low heat until the anchovies have broken down and merged with the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Now add to the cauliflower the saffron onions, currants (and any remaining wine), parsley and marjoram.

Your sauce is now ready.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions whenever you are ready to eat. Reserve about 60ml of the cooking water when you drain it. You will add this to the finished dish.

To serve, combine the pasta and sauce and toss well. Add the reserved cooking water and heat over a low flame for a minute or two until it’s hot and well blended. Top with the breadcrumbs and serve with a glass of white wine, imagining yourself on a balcony in Sicily.

Recipe adapted from Christopher Boswell, Pasta: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome (2013).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Parsnips, Squash, Capers, Parsley

April 22, 2021 by General Administrator

Everyone knows roasted vegetables are good. Adding a punchy caper and parsley vinaigrette makes them even better. You can use different vegetables (potatoes, say), and you can also vary the vinaigrette by adding harissa paste, or using basil or mint instead of parsley.
Served with rice or another grain to soak up the vinaigrette, this makes a good weekday dinner. You can add some salted yoghurt if you want additional creaminess (and protein).

Roasted Parsnips and Squash with Caper Vinaigrette
Serves 3-4

Photo from The Guardian Food

Ingredients
For the roast veg
700g parsnips, peeled
700g squash or pumpkin
120ml olive oil
4 medium red onions (optional)
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1 whole head of garlic
10-20 small tomatoes, cut in half
For the dressing
1 large lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped if they are large
1.5 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
big handful of parsley, chopped fine
½ teaspoon salt
Several grinds of black pepper

Preparation
Prepare the roast veg:
Preheat oven to 190C.

Cut each parsnip into batons about 5cm long and 1.5 wide—but if they are small it is fine to leave them whole. They will look amusing in the finished dish.

Using your hand, scoop the seeds out the squash. (You can use these to make a nice nibble: https://www.101cookbooks.com/toasted-pumpkin-seeds/.) Peel the squash and cut it into chunks roughly the same size as your parsnips.

Peel the onions (if using) and cut each into 6 wedges.

Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally. Don’t break it into individual cloves or try to peel it! Just cut the whole thing into two pieces, horizontally.

Place the parsnips, squash, onions and garlic into a roasting tin and add 120ml olive oil, the thyme and rosemary, 1teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Mix well and spread it out in the pan so the vegetables are not all heaped on top of themselves. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables look golden and are pretty tender.

After 20 minutes add the tomatoes, and roast for another 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are completely tender when prodded with a fork and the tomatoes have softened.

While the vegetables are roasting prepare the vinaigrette: zest the lemon and then cut it in half so you can juice it. Combine the lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons) and zest with the other ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Finish the dish: Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and pour the vinaigrette over the hot vegetables. Toss to combine and serve with rice or some other grain.

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty (2010).

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Beets and Chard from the Share

April 16, 2021 by General Administrator

As always I continue to try to find new ways to enjoy roasted beetroot as it takes us through the winter and this week I think I’ve found a good one. Either a fun lunch or a dinner padded out with some nice bread, you choose!

Warm lentils with roasted beets, wilted chard & goat cheese

Photo from https://www.feastingathome.com/warm-lentils-wilted-chard-roasted-beets-and-goat-cheese/

Ingredients

3–4 beetroot ( enough for 2 people)
2 cups cooked lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ a red onion- diced
3 garlic cloves- rough chopped
4 cups (packed) swiss chard or rainbow chard- chopped (or sub beet greens, spinach)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, more to taste
¼ cup goat cheese crumbles
2–3 tablespoons fresh basil, or parsley.

Instructions
Preheat oven to 220C. Scrub and trim beetrot and cut into ½ inch slices or wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, about 25- 30 minutes.

If cooking lentils, place ¾ cup dried lentils in a small pot and cover with 3 inches of water and a pinch salt. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat down to a simmer, cook about 25-30 minutes or until tender but still hold their shape. Drain.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add diced onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Lower heat to medium low. Add chard and gently wilt, just slightly, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add 2 cups cooked lentils to the frying pan, gently folding them in and warming. Season again with salt and pepper.

Add beetrot and splash with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Let vinegar cook down for just a couple of minutes so it’s not so acidic. Taste, add more vinegar if you like, cooking it down. Sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs. Taste again, if it tastes bland it most likely needs salt. Serve immediately.

From https://www.feastingathome.com/warm-lentils-wilted-chard-roasted-beets-and-goat-cheese/

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Carrots, Lentils, Coconut, Spinach

March 4, 2021 by General Administrator

Very good straight off the stove, and even better the next day. The grated carrot and spinach lighten the dhal, and also add beautiful little green and golden flecks to the duller gold of the lentils. The coconut milk stays in the background, adding sweetness and rich flavour without overwhelming the balance of tastes. This is good served with rice or bread, yoghurt and a pickle.

Quick Carrot Dhal
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cloves garlic, peeled
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
1 green chile, chopped—remove the seeds if you prefer
1 red onion, peeled
vegetable or coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
200g red lentils
400ml coconut milk
600ml water
6 medium carrots, peeled and topped and tailed
2 large handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped, or about 8 ‘cubes’ of frozen spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
Big handful of coriander, coarsely chopped

Preparation
Finely grate the garlic and ginger. Mince the onion.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and then add the oil. When it is hot add the garlic, ginger, chile and onion. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes until everything is soft but not browned. Stir periodically, so that it does not stick.

Meanwhile, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet for a few minutes, until they release a lovely smell. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, then put them into a mortar and crush them a little—they needn’t be ground.

Add the crushed cumin and coriander to the pan along with the other spices and salt. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for a minute or two. Now add the lentils, coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add more water if it seems dry, and stir every one and then so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

While the lentils are cooking, grate the carrots coarsely and add to the lentils after they’ve cooked for about 20 minutes.

Once the lentils are tender, add the spinach and cook for a new more minutes until the fresh spinach wilts, or the frozen spinach defrosts and amalgamates into the dhal.

Stir in the lemon juice and the coriander. Taste, add more salt if you feel it necessary, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Modern Cook’s Year (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Hasselback Celeriac with Miso and Red Onion

February 25, 2021 by General Administrator

Meera Sodha says she created this recipe largely because she liked the sound of ‘hasselback celeriac’. Name aside, this is very good. Serve the rich, miso-roasted celeriac and Turkish salad inside a flatbread, topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce and you will have yourself a sticky, messy treat. The recipe has several different components but is actually very straightforward.

Incidentally, Hasselback is the name of a restaurant in Stockholm. The better-known Hasselback potatoes were supposedly invented there in the 1950s.

Photo from The Guardian, 13 Feb. 2021

Hasselback Celeriac with Miso and Red Onion
Serves 3

Ingredients
For the celeriac
1 large or 2 small celeriacs (about 1-1.2kg total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt

For the miso glaze
60g white miso
½ tablespoon Turkish pepper
2½ tablespoons honey or brown rice syrup
1½ tablespoons lemon juice

For the tahini sauce
100g tahini
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

For the salad
1 large red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sumac
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large handful parsley, coarsely chopped

To Serve
6 flatbreads (look here for an excellent recipe)

Preparation
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan).

Chop off the base of the celeriac, and peel off the skin using a peeler or a sharp knife. If it is large, cut it in half and lay it flat on its cut side. Using your sharp knife, cut slices at 5mm intervals that go nearly but not all the way through, so that the slices are still joined at the base, like the pages join the spine of a book. The illustration shows one way to ensure that you don’t accidentally cut all the way through: place a wooden spoon handle or chopstick on either side of the celeriac, so that when you cut, they prevent the knife from slicing all the way to the work-top.

Image credit: https://aseasyasapplepie.com/garlic-parmesan-mini-hasselback-potatoes/

Now place the celeriacs on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Place in the oven and roast for 70-90 minutes. Check partway through and drizzle with a little more oil if necessary. When they golden brown, they are ready for the glaze.

While the celeriacs roast, prepare the other components of the meal.

For the miso glaze: mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

For the tahini sauce: whisk all the ingredients together and put in a serving bowl.

For the salad: combine all the ingredients except the parsley in a serving bow. Mix together using your hands, and scrunch up the onions a little to soften them. Then add the parsley and set aside so the flavours can blend while the celeriac roasts.

Once the celeriac is golden and tender, brush with the miso glaze. Try to get some of the glaze between the slits. Bake for another 8-15 minutes, or until the celeriac is sticky and golden brown.

To serve, take the celeriac, salad, tahini sauce and bread to the table. Assemble your own combination of flatbread layered with celeriac and pomegranate-onion salad, topped with a generous serving of tahini sauce.

Recipe adapted from Meera Sodha, The Guardian, 13 Feb. 2021

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Getting through the ‘taters Hasselback style

January 22, 2021 by General Administrator

The potato haul was very good this year and this seems to have resulted in a slowly growing bag of potatoes in our house. So this week I’ve been thinking about some new ways to get through them all. Today’s recipe may not be new for all of you but I’ve never tried it and I’m excited to give it a go!

Hasselback potatoes

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hasselback_potatoes_27064

Ingredients (serves 4)
½ tsp dried thyme, rosemary or mixed herbs
½ tsp flaked sea salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
3 tbsp sunflower, vegetable or olive oil, plus extra for greasing
8 small–medium potatoes, each one approx. 75g/2¾oz, scrubbed (ideally, all-rounders or floury potatoes)
small knob of butter, approx. 15g/½oz (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Lightly oil a baking tray. Mix the herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Pour the oil into a second bowl.

Place two wooden spoons or chopsticks on a chopping board, about 5cm/2in apart. Place the potatoes one at a time between the handles. Using a sharp knife with a thin blade, cut the potatoes very thinly and vertically almost all the way through – the knife will stop slicing when it meets the spoons. Each slice should be a little narrower than a pound coin.

As you prepare each potato, add it to the oil and turn to coat, then add to the seasoning mix and rub all over the potato, making sure a little of the seasoning mix gets in between the slices.

Place the potato on the baking tray, cut-side up. Prepare the remaining potatoes in the same way. Drizzle any remaining oil over the potatoes and bake for 40 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and dot each of the potatoes with a little butter, then bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden, crisp and tender. Check for tenderness with the point of a knife or the tip of a skewer. (If you don’t want to use butter, cook the potatoes for around 50 minutes in total.) Serve immediately.

I’ll probably try slotting some cheese in between the slices, and maybe topping with bolognese or sour cream.

Adapted from BBC Food

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Roast Parsnips, Lentils, Cheese

January 14, 2021 by General Administrator

Here we have a warm, sustaining main-course salad made bright with greens and the bite of mustard. It’s a good use of that parsnip that’s still in your fridge. You can make a meal of this, along with some good bread and a glass of red wine.

Image from Guardian Lifestyle

Roast Parsnip, Watercress and Lentil Salad
Serves 3

Ingredients
Salad

5 medium parsnips
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
125g Puy or green lentils
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, unpeeled
several parsley stems (optional)
several big handfuls of watercress or rocket
any hard cheese, to shave over the top

Salad dressing
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon English mustard
2 teaspoons runny honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Preparation
Preheat your oven to 190C.

Peel the parsnips and cut them into chunky batons. Toss them with the oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Tip them onto a baking tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until they are tender and a bit golden. The time will depend on how large they are. You can poke them with a fork to see if they are soft inside. Remove from the oven and leave them to one side.

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils: cover them with boiling water and bring back to a boil. Boil for one minute, and then drain.

Return the drained lentils to the pan and add just enough water to cover them. Add the bay leaves, onion and parsley stalks (if you have any to hand). Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and remove the bay leaves and parsley. It’s up to you either to remove the onion or to leave it in the finished salad.

While the lentils cook and the parsnips roast prepare the salad dressing. Mash the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the other ingredients.

When the parsnips and lentils are finished, toss them, still warm, with the dressing and add the watercress or rocket. Pile onto a serving platter and shave some hard cheese over the top before serving.

Recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Every Day! (2011) – online at rivercottage.net

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Restorative Soup

December 31, 2020 by General Administrator

This is what you need if you have eaten a lot of rich food over the holidays. The lentil soup is soothing, but not at all boring, enlivened as it is with marinated artichoke hearts and a swirl of yoghurt. You will feel better after eating this, I promise. Note, too, that it uses some of those leeks, carrots and celery that have accumulated in your fridge from the double share.

Lentil Soup with Artichoke
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
4 celery sticks, sliced thin
1 heaped tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 Canalside chile, left whole
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
250g green lentils
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1.5l stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
5 heaped tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
120g artichoke hearts from a jar, drained and sliced thin, to serve
plain or Greek yoghurt, to serve (if desired)

Preparation
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. When it is warm add the leeks, carrots, celery, ginger and chile. Fry for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and are starting to colour.
Add the garlic and stir for a few minutes more.
Stir in the lentils, and add the vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are tender—20-30 minutes, probably. Add some more water if they seem dry.
Purée about a third of the soup in a liquidiser or food processor, and then stir this back into the pan. Add the salt and stir in most of the parsley, keeping back a little for a garnish.
Dish into bowls and place a sliced artichoke heart in the centre of each bowl. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt on top, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Annie Bell, Plant Power: Protein-rich Recipes for Vegetarians and Vegans (2020).

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Caramelised Cabbage

December 18, 2020 by General Administrator

This recipe isn’t so Christmassy, but I did enjoy it. I found the liquid took a lot longer than stated to reduce, but in the end I would actually have preferred a bit more sauce when serving. Goes well with mash!

Ingredients
¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
1½ tsp. ground coriander
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium head of green cabbage
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt
3 Tbsp. chopped dill, parsley, or coriander
Full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream (for serving)

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°. Mix tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

Cut cabbage in half through the core. Cut each half through the core into 4 wedges.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large oven safe frying pan (or similar) over medium-high. Working in batches if needed, add cabbage to the pan cut side down and season with salt. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cabbage to a plate.

Pour remaining ¼ cup oil into pan. Add spiced tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tomato paste begins to split and slightly darken, 2–3 minutes. Pour in enough water to come halfway up sides of pan (about 1½ cups), season with salt, and bring to a simmer. Nestle cabbage wedges back into skillet (they should have shrunk while browning; a bit of overlap is okay).

Transfer cabbage to oven and bake, uncovered and turning wedges halfway through, until very tender, liquid is mostly evaporated, and cabbage is caramelized around the edges, 40–50 minutes.

Scatter dill/other over cabbage. Serve with yogurt alongside.

From BonAppetit.com

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