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Ali’s Recipe of the Week: One for the Store-cupboard

Rebecca’s having a break this week and hopes to be back with another recipe next week.

With the cauliflower crop getting going, the moment may have arrived to do the first preserving of the year (that is, if you haven’t already made marmalade, perhaps using some delicious La Jimena seville oranges).

Piccalilli is as versatile as any savoury preserve in that you can flex the recipe according to what is available. Most piccalilli recipes call for courgettes, green beans, tomatoes, and other summer veg. However, if all you have is roots and PSB (purple sprouting broccoli) that combination will also make a perfectly good version of this tangy preserve. Luckily my book of preserves from the Women’s Institute can oblige with a suitably flexible recipe for any time of year! I’ve been know to make a version with cauliflower, onions (admittedly these are perhaps the two essential vegetables), carrot and swede!

Many piccalilli recipes call for the vegetables to be brined overnight, but this one breaks that rule, which simplifies the recipe and results in a delicious accompaniment for a ploughman’s lunch. And unlike chutneys which rely on evaporation of the liquid to thicken the preserve (which can sometimes take hours), as this one is thickened with flour it has a much shorter cooking time.

Accommodating Piccalilli from the W.I.
Makes about 2.7kg (6lb) = 6 average sized jam jars
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
450g (1lb) pickling onions – if you’ve still got any little Canalside onions left, they’d be perfect!
1.4L (2 1/2 pints) white malt vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works well)
900g (2lb) mixed vegetables, diced or cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) lengths
2 fat cloves of garlic
450g (1lb) caster sugar
50g (2oz) dry mustard (i.e. mustard powder)
115g (4oz) plain white flour, sieved
25g (1oz) ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt

Preparation
In a large preserving pan, summer the cauliflower and onions in 1.1litres (2 pints) of the vinegar for 10 minutes.

Add the other vegetables, garlic and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Mix the mustard, flour. spices and salt with the remaining vinegar and add to the cooked vegetables, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming.

Stir well and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Spoon into cooled and sterilised jars and cover with vinegar proof tops. Label and store for at least 2 weeks before using. It will keep for months (I think I’ve even kept it for more than a year) with the flavour improving and mellowing as it ages.

From ‘Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute: Jams, Pickles and Preserves’ by Midge Thomas

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Dips

What could be more 1970s than a dip? Bowls of sour cream blended with onion soup mix, or pink concoctions featuring a lot of mayonnaise served with crisps may have a retro appeal but here is an up-to-the minute dip you can serve without a heavy dose of irony. It features roasted pumpkin or butternut squash, toasted nuts and a zing of fresh mint. Spread it on triangles of toasted pita, or thin slices of toast. It also freezes very well, in case you don’t eat it all in one go.

Vaguely Greek Squash and Walnut Dip
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients
1 kg pumpkin or winter squash
35g walnuts or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (or the equivalent in tiny Canalside onions), finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely-chopped mint
1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
40g parmesan cheese (or other sharp, hard cheese)

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut the squash or pumpkin into large pieces, remove the seeds (you can keep these to roast as a nibble), and peel.

Place the squash on a baking tray, put in the oven, and roast until it’s very tender—between 40 minutes and an hour. Turn it occasionally if you remember, so that it browns a bit on all sides. When it’s soft, remove it and let it cool.

Turn the oven to 150C and put the nuts on another tray. Once the oven has cooled down put the nuts in and toast them for 5-10 minutes, or until they smell fragrant and are ever so lightly brown.

Heat the oil in a small pan over low heat and add the onion. Cook it gently until it’s very tender, sweet and lightly caramelised—about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine the onion, cooked squash, nuts, mint, nutmeg and cheese in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or food processor) until the mixture is pleasantly smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on little pieces of toast, or crackers.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Schulman in the New York Times (2012).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

What are you going to do with the three million tiny red onions you’ve accumulated from Canalside over the past months? Use them in this in this delicious, vaguely Thai curry. They’re a bit of a nuisance to peel, but the result is worth it. (Ali suggests soaking in very hot water for 5 minutes to make for an easier peel.)

Serve this light and spring-like curry with rice and an additional squeeze of lime. It’s pretty quick, and very, very flavoursome.

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
200g red onions, peeled and sliced ¼-in thick
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons miso (the recipe calls for white miso but I used brown rice miso)
½ cup coconut milk
600g salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces
About 5 cups of baby spinach or some other soft greens
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup coriander, coarsely chopped
¼ cup basil, coarsely chopped
1 chopped red chile, to serve (if desired)
Additional lime juice, to serve

Preparation
In a large pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the miso and continue to stir until the miso begins to caramelise a bit on the bottom of the pan. This will take about 2 more minutes.

Add the coconut milk and 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid had reduced a little.

Add the salmon and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Stir in the spinach and lime juice. Turn off the heat and stir in most of the herbs, keeping a little back to garnish the top of the dish.

Serve with rice, topped with the fresh herbs , chopped chile, and additional lime juice, if you like.

Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Taming the Spanish Black Radish

As you may well still have your Black Spanish Radish from this week’s share, here are some recipes from Rebecca that have been waiting in the wings for the BSR’s first appearance of 2019!

These are fierce! They need some sweetness to balance their peppery bite. A dressing with honey and sherry vinegar does the trick. Combined with dried fruit and nuts in a salad, this will temper the outspoken radish.

Another option is to braise them. They emerge from a bath in butter and white wine softened, like a turnip’s more assertive older brother. Toss them with parsley and serve with roast chicken.

Green salad with Spanish black radish, pistachios and fig
Serves 2

Ingredients
dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Juice and zest from 1 lime
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon runny honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

salad
150g salad mix
1 black Spanish radish, peeled and grated coarsely
1 big handful pistachio nuts, toasted in a dry pan and coarsely chopped
4 dried figs, cut into 6 pieces each

Preparation
(Leave the grated radish in a sieve to allow any liquid to drain off while you prepare the dressing.)

Put the dressing, put the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until the ingredients are combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary by adding a little more salt, or honey, etc., to balance the flavours.

Place salad ingredients in a serving bowl, and toss with the dressing. Serve.

Braised Carrot and Black Radish with Parsley
Serves 4

Ingredients
100g onions
350g carrots
2 black radishes
2 tablespoons olive oil
150ml white wine or vermouth
3 bay leaves
6 pepper corns
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter
25g parsley, chopped

Preparation
Peel the onions and cut into chunks. Peel the carrots and cut into batons.

Peel the black radishes and cut into batons of roughly the same size as the carrots.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they start to brown. Add the carrots and onions and toss everything together.

Pour over the white wine or vermouth, and add the bay leaves and pepper corns. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. (This will depend on the size of your batons.) Check it occasionally to ensure it’s not sticking. If it seems dry add some water, stock or more wine.

Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the butter and give the vegetables a good toss. Add salt to taste, mix in the parsley, and serve.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lemon

This is just the sort of restorative your body is crying out for after the holidays. It’s rich and satisfying without being heavy. You’ll feel good eating it.

You can also add some cooked potatoes, if you happen to have some lying about.

Ads bi Hamud
Serves 6

Ingredients
375g green lentils, soaked for 1 hour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, cut in half and sliced thin
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 tablespoon plain flour
1kg mixed greens (spinach, chard, kale, etc.)
Juice of 1.5 lemons

Preparation
Wash and drain the lentils. Put them in a pan with water to cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until they are very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in another pan and sauté the onions until they are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until you detect a nice, garlicky smell. Add the flour and stir well. Add a teacup of water to the pan and stir to dissolve any tasty browned bits. Cook over a low heat to thicken a bit and then pour the whole thing into the lentils and mix. Heat gently so that the lentils and onions thicken a bit.

Wash the greens and chop coarsely. Add these to the lentils and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and simmer a bit more, so that the soup is thick and hot.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Spicy Pumpkin with Barley

My friend Sharon gave me a copy of Diana Henry’s beautiful new cookbook. It consists of a series of menus. This magnificent recipe is from the menu called ‘Midnight at the Oasis’. She recommends serving it alongside some pickled vegetables with other nibbles, semolina bread with orange and aniseed, olive oil braised leeks with harissa and dill, roast sprouting broccoli with chile, feta and preserved lemon yoghurt . . . well, I’ll stop there but it’s a pretty mesmerising list of dishes, no?

This particular dish combines the buttery crunch of barley with the melting texture of roast pumpkin, all topped with very spicy red shatta. (I’d not heard of it either, but it’s apparently a first cousin of zhug.) It turns out to be a thick, chile-hot blend of fresh green herbs with tomato and cumin. It’s very good.

I have no idea where you get black barley, so I used ordinary pearl (not instant) barley, and it was delicious.

Pumpkin with shatta and black barley
Serves 4

Ingredients

For the pumpkin
3 tablespoons olive oil
10g butter
1.5kg pumpkin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
3cm ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

For the barley
10g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 small onions or shallots
250g barley
5 tablespoons dry white vermouth
700ml water or stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the shatta
5 red chiles, 4 de-seeded and all roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
50ml olive oil
50ml water
50g tomato purée
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of ½ a small lemon
30g coriander and parsley in any proportion

Preparation
To make the pumpkin, preheat the oven to 190C. Put the olive oil and butter into a roasting pan large enough to allow the pumpkin to lie in a single layer, and melt in the oven while you prepare the pumpkin. Halve the pumpkin and remove the seeds. You can peel it or not as you prefer. Cut it into slices about 3cm thick.

Toss the pumpkin in the melted butter and oil, and roast for 20 minutes.
Add the fennel, ginger and garlic, toss, and roast for another 20 minutes or so, or until the pumpkin is tender and begins to caramelise on the edges. Set aside.

To make the barley, heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions (or shallots) until they are soft but not coloured. Add the barley and stir it about for about 2 minutes so that it gets coated with butter. Add the vermouth and cook until about half of it has evaporated. Add the water or stock, bay leaves, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, with the lid on, for about 40 minutes, or until the barley is al dente. The liquid should be absorbed but check a bit beforehand and if it’s still very liquidly, take off the cover and raise the heat a bit so that some of the liquid can evaporate.

To make the shatta, purée everything except the herbs in a blender and pulse into a chunky purée. Add the herbs and pulse it again so that you have a red purée flecked with green—don’t over-blend this. Set aside

To serve, arrange the barley on a big platter and set the pumpkin on top. Spoon some of the shatta over the top, and serve the rest on the side, in a little bowl.

From Diana Henry, How To Eat A Peach (2018).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Diana Henry’s Uzbeki Carrots

Carrots simmered in warm spices with dried fruit, topped with pistachio nuts and salty yoghurt. You will enjoy this. I served it with a surprisingly complex beetroot salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, mixed with shredded daikon radish, a root-vegetable hat trick, but that’s for another day.

The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of barberries, which, amazingly, I happened to have. I think you can leave it out. You could also serve this over pasta, or in a pita with a shredded hard-cooked egg.

Uzbeki Carrots
Serves 2-3.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (or several tinned tomatoes)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ Canalside chile, seeded and shredded (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
salt and black pepper
500g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
75g currants
1 tablespoon dried barberries (entirely optional)
¼ teaspoon saffron
350ml water (or use some of the tomato juice from the tin if you’ve used tinned tomatoes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey, or to taste

To serve:
2-3 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Salted yoghurt
Fresh coriander, chopped
4 spring onions, sliced

Preparation
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion over medium heat until golden brown, then add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and chile and cook for another minute, then the cinnamon and cumin and cook for another minute. Add a couple pinches of salt and pepper, and then add everything else, except garnishes. Bring to a gentle boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer the carrots until completely tender, 20-25 minutes. The mixture should remain moist but not be swimming in juice. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. If it is too sloppy, turn up the heat and boil off some of the liquid. Taste for seasoning and balance; the mixture should be sweet and savoury.

Serve topped with a generous dollop of yogurt, pistachios, coriander, and spring onion.

Recipe adapted from Diana Henry, A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious (2014).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: That Squash You Got in the Share Several Weeks Ago…

Is it still sitting about in your kitchen? Here is what to do with it.

Anchovies, capers and cheese combine with the soft, unctuous texture of the squash to make a thick, salty sauce for pasta, or serve it as a main course with a vibrant multi-coloured salad of greens, red radicchio and herbs. It’s good hot or cold. This Italian recipe from Apulia can be prepared with winter squash such as the little greeny-orange one we got a few weeks ago, or a butternut, or a pumpkin.

Winter Squash With Anchovies, Capers, Olives and Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds winter squash or pumpkin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, an chopped if large
½ cup black olives
2 tablespoons grated strong-flavoured, hard cheese
freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Peel the squash if you like, or leave it unpeeled, as you prefer. Cut it into 1-inch chunks.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet and add the onion, garlic clove, anchovy fillets and capers. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash, stir together, add about 1/4 cup of water if the pan seems dry, and cover. Cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Add the olives and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle on the cheese and serve.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, New York Times Cooking.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Spiced Salmon with a Coriander Salsa

Cooked slowly at a very low temperature, salmon becomes meltingly tender and immensely flavourful. It’s the complete opposite of the dry, overcooked fish one so often encounters. The fish is rubbed with a mixture of North-African spices and baked for nearly an hour. A coriander-packed herb salsa provides the perfect foil. Serve this with plain, boiled potatoes and a green salad for a spectacular meal.

The recipe is extremely easy—just make sure to allow an hour or two for the salmon to absorb the flavours of the spice rub before you cook it. This is a very good way of serving fish at a dinner party, since it doesn’t require any last-minute cooking.

Slow-roasted Spiced Salmon with Herb Salsa
Serves 6

Ingredients
For the salmon
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 generous pinch salt
900g salmon fillet, skinned. Ask the fishmonger to pin-bone it.
Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the salsa
2 medium shallots, finely diced
6 tablespoon lime juice
20g coriander leaves and tender stems, very finely chopped
2 tablespoon minced chile pepper. Remove the seeds if you don’t want this to be too hot
4 tablespoon spring onions, very finely chopped (green and white parts)
110ml neutral oil
Salt

Preparation
Toast the seeds and cloves in a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat and then grind finely with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt.

Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the salmon, and refrigerate, covered, for one to two hours.

Heat the oven to 110C. Bring the salmon to room temperature while the oven is heating.

Drizzle the olive oil over the salmon and rub it in evenly with your hands. Roast in a baking dish for 40 to 50 minutes, until it begins to flake in the thickest part of the fillet when you poke it with a knife or your finger. Samin Nosrat notes that ‘because this method is so gentle on its proteins, the fish will appear translucent even when it’s cooked’.

While the fish is cooking make the salsa: In a small bowl, combine the shallot and lime juice and set aside for 15 minutes to macerate. In a separate small bowl, combine the coriander, jalapeño, spring onions, oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Add the shallots and lime juice, and more salt to taste.

Once the salmon is cooked, transfer it to a serving platter, spoon the herb salsa on top in generous amounts and serve.

Recipe adapted from Samin Nosrat, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: What to do with an Entire Celery. . .

Is that head of celery from a fortnight ago still lurking in the back of your fridge? Here is what to do with it.

Creamy Celery and Fennel Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients
200g onions
200g potatoes, peeled or not, as you prefer
200g fennel
400g celery
40g butter
1 litre water or stock
150ml Greek or full-fat yoghurt, or single cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Reserved fennel fronds, minced, for garnish
A handful of rocket, dandelion greens or watercress, finely shredded, for garnish (optional)

Preparation
Chop all the vegetables roughly. Reserve any of the soft fronds from the fennel to use as a garnish.

Over low heat, melt the butter in a pan with a lid. Once it has melted add the vegetables and turn to coat in the butter. Put the lid on the pan and leave the vegetables to sweat and soften for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock or water, bring slowly to a simmer, and leave to cook over low heat for another 20-30 minutes.

Liquidise the soup. Stir in the yoghurt or cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Celery is surprisingly salty, so you may not need salt at all.

Serve garnished with the reserved fennel fronds and optional greens.

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