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: 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).

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

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin with Noodles

November 26, 2020 by General Administrator

Here is a simple salad with pumpkin and soba noodles. Thomasina Miers recommends this as a weekday lunch, and observes that it is equally good warm or cold. She also points out that the dressing is tasty on grilled chicken or fish, or sprouting broccoli.

Miso-roast Pumpkin with Noodles
Serves 4

Photo from Guardian Food

Ingredients
750g pumpkin
3 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons olive oil
125g soba noodles
500g red cabbage, shredded
1 large handful coriander, coarsely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Chile oil, to serve

For the dressing
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tahini or other sesame paste
1 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
A splash of water

Preparation
Heat the oven to 220C. Wash the pumpkin (peel if you prefer) and cut into wedges. Whisk the miso and olive oil and toss onto the pumpkin. Tip onto a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and golden at the edges. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Mix the noodles, cabbage, most of the coriander, and spring onions in a bowl.
Make the dressing: whisk all the ingredients together.
Tip the dressing onto the ingredients in the bowl and blend.
Array the dressed vegetables on a serving platter and top with the roasted squash. Decorate with the remaining coriander and serve with chile oil on the side, for those who want this a bit spicy.

Recipe adapted from Thomasina Miers, Guardian, 31 Oct. 2020.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Pumpkins, Lentils, Ginger

November 12, 2020 by General Administrator

The zingy, fried ginger topping gives this dal an invigorating freshness. Absolutely don’t leave it out!

The ratio between the pumpkin and the carrots does not need to be precise and overall I used a good deal more pumpkin than the 200g called for in the original recipe. Plus I didn’t have a Kashmiri red chilli so I used a dried Canalside chile and that worked just fine. Serve with flatbreads or rice.

Red lentil dal with carrots, pumpkin, and fried ginger
Serves 4

Photo from Guardian Food

Ingredients
210g red lentils
3 tbsp coconut oil
150g onion, cut into half moons
100g carrots, finely diced
200-300g pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground red chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 Kashmiri red chilli
10g chopped fresh coriander leaves

Preparation
Clean the lentils for any debris, rinse under cold running water, then put in a bowl, cover with 500ml cold water and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onions, and saute until they turn translucent – three to four minutes. Add the carrots and pumpkin, and saute until tender – about eight minutes. Stir in the turmeric and red chilli powder, and cook for a further minute.

Add the lentils and their soaking water to the vegetables, stir in a teaspoon of salt and bring to a rolling boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and leave to simmer until the vegetables are completely tender and cooked – about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, taste and season with salt as needed.

Heat the remaining coconut oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the coriander and mustard seeds, and cook until the seeds start to pop. Add the ginger to the hot oil, cover the pan with a lid and swirl for 30 seconds, until the mustard seeds stop sputtering.

Break the Kashmiri chilli in half and toss it into the hot oil. Remove from the heat and swirl the contents of the saucepan for another 30 seconds, until the chilli turns crisp. Pour this hot mixture over the lentils. Garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve warm with buttered flatbread or plain rice.

Recipe adapted from Nik Sharma, Guardian 31 Oct. 2020.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Pasta with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce

October 15, 2020 by General Administrator

Another very good recipe from Slyvia Fontaine. The creamy carrot sauce colours the pasta a beautiful gold, while the fresh, herby gremolata adds vibrant green. Toasted breadcrumbs provide a contrasting crunch against the richness of the sauce. You would certainly not guess that this is vegan, but you’ll see right away how beautiful it looks in your bowl. The flavours work really well together and I recommend this highly.

Pasta with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce
Serves 4

Image from feastingathome.com

Ingredients
Carrot Miso Sauce
2 shallots, rough chopped (or 1/2 an onion)
3 large garlic cloves, rough chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g carrots
450ml water
40g cashews
Freshly-ground pepper
3 tablespoons white miso paste

Gremolata
60g fresh coriander or parsley (Sylvia notes you can also use carrot tops)
1 tablespoon lemon zest ( zest from one medium lemon)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 fat garlic clove
70-100ml olive oil

Toasted Breadcrumbs
1 thick slice of good bread, grated, to make about 50g breadcrumbs

250g pasta (Sylvia Fontaine recommends orecchiette)

Instructions
Cook the sauce: Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Saute shallot and garlic until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, cashews, water, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to low and simmer gently until carrots are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of miso and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

While the carrots simmer make the Gremolata: Place coriander or parsley, lemon zest, salt and garlic in a food processer and pulse repeatedly until finely chopped. Add 70ml oil, pulsing a few more times until incorporated (but not too smooth). Add more oil if you prefer a looser version.

Now make the breadcrumbs: place the breadcrumbs in a frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden brown. Set aside.

Bring some water to the boil, and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking blend the sauce: place the carrot-cashew sauce in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on the lowest setting, gradually increasing speed, until fully blended, creamy and silky smooth, which will take between one and two minutes. Slyvia writes: ‘Take your time here and get it SMOOTH!!!’

Drain the pasta and pour the sauce over. Heat it gently if needed. Taste and adjust salt.

Divide among bowls, and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and spoon the gremolata over top. Enjoy with a glass of chardonnay.

Recipe adapted from Sylvia Fontaine, Feasting at Home

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Why Eat Normal Things When You Can Eat Weird Things?

June 19, 2020 by General Administrator

A while ago I tried a recipe for whole broad beans cooked in a tomato sauce, and it was pretty good. It set me thinking whether you could actually cook the normally-discarded pods (husks?) that are left over when you shell broad beans. It turns out you can. I mentioned this to several friends, who variously told me I’d gone nuts, or that it sounded like the sort of thing people eat in Siberia. What can I say? I thought it was pretty good. We ate this with brown rice and a topping of salted yoghurt, and a shredded carrot salad on the side.

If you would like a normal recipe for broad beans, I strongly recommend this one: spaghetti with broad beans, bread crumbs and marjoram.

Broad Bean Stew
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
Leftover husks from about 500g young broad beans (that’s about 300g of broad-bean husks)
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used lemon thyme, sage, and dill)
½ cup water

Preparation
Heat the olive oil over low heat and add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown.
Meanwhile assess the broad bean husks. You want bright, green, fresh-looking ones. Discard any that look discoloured. Remove any stringy bits along the sides, rather as you’d remove the strings from off the sides of runner beans. Cut the husks into 1-inch pieces.
Add the broad beans to the onions, stir, and cook for a minute.
Add the water, stir, cover, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, or until the husks are tender. Top up with more water if it seems to be drying out.
Once the husks are tender, add the fresh herbs and lemon juice, and season with freshly-ground black pepper.
If you wish, you can also mix in some cooked broad beans, to make a double-broad-bean stew.
Serve on brown rice with a topping of salted yoghurt mixed with preserved lemon (if you happen to have any to hand).

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Spring Dal

May 1, 2020 by General Administrator

We’re getting some huge spring greens at the moment and I’ve discovered a few new recipes involving them as a result. I make Dhal fairly regularly but rarely follow a recipe. This one is a really good introduction though, I was quite amazed at how rich it tasted and I’m really not sure what the difference was to my usual attempts! Make sure you cook until the lentils are soft, I’m often too impatient.

Spring Green and Coconut Dal

Photo from Riverford

Ingredients (Serves two)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped, grated or crushed
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
100g yellow mung dal lentils, rinsed in a sieve (I used red lentils)
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
200g spring or summer greens, tough ribs removed (sliced them and fired with the onion), leaves finely shredded. Feel free to go heavy on the greens I found they worked well.
handful of coriander leaves
a squeeze of lime or lemon juice
toasted coconut chips or toasted desiccated coconut, to garnish
salt

Method
Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 50 min

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the onion and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn up the heat a little and add the garlic, ginger, chilli, mustard seeds and turmeric. Stir for about 1 minute, until you hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Stir the coconut milk in the can then pour into the pan with the lentils and ground coriander and cumin. Fill the coconut milk can half full with water and add that too.

Bring up to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the greens, stirring in small handfuls at a time, then cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the greens wilted. Keep an eye on the liquid and add more water if needed.

Season the dal with salt, stir in the fresh coriander and add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to taste. Serve the dal prinkled with toasted coconut and a few extra coriander leaves.

Adapted from: https://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/spring-green-and-coconut-dal

Erica’s Recipe of the Week: Sweet, rich and sour Indian vegetable stew

March 27, 2020 by General Administrator

Thanks to Erica Moody for suggesting this recipe from Meera Sodha’s column in last week’s Guardian Food.

Meera says: There might seem to be a lot of chillies in this, but it’s not a hot dish, because the natural sweetness of the squash and sweetcorn, combined with the rich coconut milk and spiky lime, balance things out. Fresh curry leaves are now sold in most major supermarkets.

Photo from Guardian Food

Butternut squash and sweetcorn erriseri

Prep 10 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1kg squash, washed
Sunflower oil
Fine sea salt
1 x 340g tin sweetcorn, drained
2 tsp black mustard seeds
12 curry leaves
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 green finger chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp turmeric
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (ie, from 1 lemon)
Coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:
Cut the squash in half (no need to peel), scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut it into 2cm cubes. Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/gas 6. Tip the squash pieces on to an oven tray, pour over two tablespoons of oil and a good sprinkling of salt, and toss to coat. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the squash chunks are tender and their edges caramelised.

Add two tablespoons of water to the drained sweetcorn kernels and blend to a smooth paste (I use a stick blender).

In a large frying pan, heat two tablespoons of oil and, when hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, and leave them to crackle and pop for a minute. Now add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until translucent and turning golden, then add the garlic and chillies, and cook for two minutes. Stir in the sweetcorn paste, turmeric and a teaspoon and a half of salt, cook for a minute, then add the coconut milk (keep the tin) and whisk so everything is combined and the curry sauce is a vibrant yellow.

Half-fill the coconut milk tin with water and add to the pot to loosen the curry – you may need a little more or less water than this, depending on the thickness of your coconut milk – bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes, until it starts to thicken. Stir in the roast squash and lemon juice, and check the seasoning. Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.

Adapted from Guardian Food, 20th March 2020

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: In Praise of Potatoes

September 26, 2019 by General Administrator

In honour of the recent potato harvest, here is a splendid Nepalese potato salad from the Idaho Potato Commission. The Andean potato probably reached Nepal some time in the 1700s; it is now become a staple. In 2017 the country harvested 2,691,037 tonnes. This salad combines potatoes, fresh coriander, and spiced yoghurt to create a complex and satisfying dish. Eat with shredded carrot salad, and perhaps some flatbread.

The Potato Commission thinks this will serve 4 people, but we ate most of it in one sitting. ‘This is scrum’ declared Matt.

Chukauni: Nepalese Potato Salad

Ingredients
700g potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 cup yoghurt, plus additional yoghurt, to serve
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
½ Canalside chile, finely chopped, seeds removed if desired
½ teaspoon turmeric

Preparation
Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring slowly to the boil. Cook over very low heat until tender. Fish out the potatoes, drain, and set aside, keeping the water in the pan. Turn off the heat and then tip the peas into the hot water. Leave them there for 60 seconds and then drain them as well.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into 2cm cubes.
Combine the peas, red onion, coriander, yoghurt and salt in a serving bowl. Stir and add the potatoes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it is hot add the coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Let sizzle for about 30 seconds, until they turn reddish brown. Remove from the heat and add the chile and turmeric. Toss so that the oil turns a sunny yellow.

Pour the oil–but not the seeds—over the salad. Keep as many seeds as possible back in the pan. Mix the oil into the salad and taste.

Now you have a choice: if the salad strikes you as perfectly delicious as it is, then you’re done. Serve and enjoy, with additional yoghurt on the side if you like.

If you think it needs a little more oomph, then scrape the seeds into a mortar and pestle and grind them until they’re a coarse powder. Sprinkle some or all of this into the salad, tasting as you go along. Once you’re pleased with the result, serve and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from the Idaho Potato Commission.

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