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).

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Leek Pasta Bake

April 29, 2021 by General Administrator

I’ve had this recipe on my list to try for a while but the stars have yet to align with me having everything I need in stock. One day!

Baked Pasta and Leeks with Anchovy Cream

Photo from https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/baked-pasta-and-leeks-with-anchovy-cream

Ingredients (4-6 servings)
1lb. short pasta (such as rigatoni, penne, or conchiglie)
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large leeks (about 600g of), white and pale green parts only, trimmed, sliced ½” thick
15 oil-packed anchovies, drained (from a 1.5-oz. tin)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp. mild red pepper flakes or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups double cream
3oz. Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
10-oz. frozen baby peas, thawed in warm water, drained

Method

Preheat oven to 200°. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet over medium. Add leeks; season with a couple pinches of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden around the edges, 6–8 minutes. Uncover and add anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, and several grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies are disintegrated and garlic is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add cream and 3 oz. Parmesan. Bring to a simmer; season with salt and black pepper (it should taste a bit salty because the pasta will absorb some seasoning as it bakes). Add peas and reserved pasta and toss gently to coat; top with more Parmesan. Transfer pasta to oven; bake until top is crisp and cream is bubbling around the edges, 25–30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

From https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/baked-pasta-and-leeks-with-anchovy-cream

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: Spicy Potato-Parsnip Soup with Preserved Lemon

April 9, 2021 by General Administrator

Here is a good soup for a blustery spring day. The warming spices—cumin, coriander, paprika—give this a North African flavour, as does the preserved lemon. You can make this with any ratio of potatoes or parsnips that you prefer, including all potato or all parsnip. We enjoyed this with a glass of very robust Bulgarian merlot but other drinks are available, as they say.

Note that this involves only one pan, and so results in minimal washing-up.

Spicy Potato-Parsnip Soup with Preserved Lemon
Serves 2

Ingredients
For the Soup
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ dried Canalside chile, deseeded if you don’t want it too hot and chopped, or 1 medium-hot dried chile, treated similarly
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (use a Spanish brand)
¼ cup preserved lemon, chopped fairly coarsely
500g peeled potatoes and parsnips, in any ratio (you can use all potatoes or all parsnips, too)
About 750ml stock (I think you could also use water, to be honest)
1 teaspoon salt
To decorate the Soup
4 tablespoons yoghurt
a little more smoked paprika
a little extra preserved lemon, coarsely chopped

Preparation
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chile, reduce the heat to low, and sauté gently for 10-15 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not brown. Stir in the cumin, coriander and paprika and cook for a minute or two more, until everything smells fragrant.

Meanwhile, cut the peeled vegetables into chunks of about 2cm.

When the spices in the pan are fragrant add the vegetables and the preserved lemon and pour in the stock (or water) and the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender indeed.

Using a potato masher, mash the vegetables to give the soup a coarse texture. Hugh F-W suggests passing the whole thing through a sieve to create a smooth puree, but this seems both a lot of work and a dubious outcome as in my view a more rustic texture suits this soup far better. But it’s up to you. Add a bit of water if it still seems a bit thick to you, and check to see if it would benefit from a bit more salt.

To serve, dish your soup into bowls and garnish each with several spoonfuls of yoghurt, a sprinkling of paprika, and some golden cubes of preserved lemon.

Recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Every Day! (2011).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Squash, Mushrooms, Blue Cheese

March 11, 2021 by General Administrator

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall describes this as a ‘River Cottage classic’, and it is easy to see why. The unctuous quality of roast squash combines well with the umami flavours of the mushrooms and cheese. It tastes rich and luxurious without being heavy or cloying.
You can also use other cheese such as shavings of parmesan, or a hard goat’s cheese in place of the blue cheese.

Warm Salad of Mushrooms and Roasted Squash
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
Salad
approx. 1kg squash
12 sage leaves
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
100ml rapeseed oil
large knob of butter
300g mushrooms, thickly sliced
Large handful of rocket or mixed salad
150g blue cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper

Dressing
3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper

Preparation
Preheat oven to 190C.

Peel halve and deseed the squash. Cut into 2-3cm chunks and put in a roasting pan along with the sage leaves, almost all the rapeseed oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring once, until soft and coloured at the edges.

While the squash roasts, prepare the dressing by combing the ingredients in a small lidded jar and shaking vigorously.

When you are ready to eat, put the last drizzle of oil in a frying pan with the butter. Heat over medium heat and then add the mushrooms, along with another pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Fry for 3-5 minutes, or until they are cooked and any liquid they have released has evaporated.

Mix together the mushrooms and squash (in the roasting tin, or frying pan, say) and toss with the dressing. Array the rocket on a serving platter and then top with the squash and mushrooms. Distribute the cheese on top and serve it forth.

Recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Everyday! (2011).

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: Celeriac Soup

January 7, 2021 by General Administrator

I wasn’t sure Celeriac soup was a good choice, but we’ve had a few Celeriacs recently and I fancied a change. It was a pleasant surprise, then, that this turned out to be super tasty in an intensely savoury way. Even better was that we risked eating it after forgetting to put it away overnight and so far we have survived!

Cream of celeriac soup

Image from BBC Food

Ingredients
For the soup
75g/3oz butter
1 onion, finely chopped
50g/2oz streaky bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leek, white only, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
700g/1lb 8oz celeriac, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 litre/1¾ pint vegetable stock
200ml/7floz double cream
salt and white pepper

Method
For the soup, heat a large frying pan or saucepan until medium hot, add 25g/1oz of the butter, the onion and bacon and fry for a couple of minutes to just soften. Add the garlic, leek, celery and thyme sprigs and fry for another minute; then add the chopped celeriac. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the celeriac is just tender.

Blend the soup to a fine purée using a stick blender or a blender. Return to the heat in a pan. Add the cream and whisk in the remaining 50g/2oz of butter.

Season with salt and white pepper. Serve the hot soup in bowls.

There is an optional garnish which can be found at the link to the recipe.

From BBC Food.

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).

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