» Tomatoes

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: Pancakes for Supper

Crispy chickpea and carrot pancakes make a quick and tasty base for a variety of toppings. The chickpea flour creates a rich and moist interior that’s satisfying without being heavy. We ate these with spinach and avocado dressed with lemon and olive oil, and some grated goat cheese. You could also try roasted tomatoes topped with basil and a fried egg.
If you use two frying pans you can make two pancakes simultaneously, and the whole thing will take under 15 minutes.

Chickpea and Carrot Pancakes
Serves 2

Ingredients
125g chickpea flour (aka gram flour)
125g carrots, grated
175ml milk or oat milk
1 tsp roasted ground cumin, or coriander, or caraway, or fennel or mustard seed, as you prefer
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil, for frying

Preparation
Mix the pancake ingredients aside from the oil in a blender—I used a Nutribullet—and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Heat two frying pans over medium heat and add the oil. Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom of each pan and let the oil get hot. Once it’s hot (test by adding a drop of water and seeing if it sizzles), pour half the batter into each pan and cook for 2 minutes. As it sets the colour will darken a bit and some bubbles will begin to appear on the top. Adjust the heat if you think it’s starting to get too brown on the bottom. Using a fish slice turn each pancake over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side, until it looks firm.

Remove each pancake from the pan, and place on a plate. Top with your selected topping (see below) and enjoys.

Pancake Toppings

Spinach with avocado and goat cheese
Toss baby spinach with sliced avocado and dress with an olive oil and lemon vinaigrette (50% olive oil, 50% lemon juice, salt and pepper). Arrange some dressed spinach on each pancake, and top with grated goat or sheep cheese. Garnish with additional slices of avocado and a grind of black pepper.

Tomato, basil and egg
Drizzle cherry tomatoes with olive oil and roast in a 200C oven for 30 minutes. Toss with shredded basil and lemon zest. Arrange on pancake and top with a crispy fried egg.

Brussels sprout slaw with avocado and cheese
Trim the bottoms off several handfuls of Brussels sprouts and shred them finely. Dress with a lemon vinaigrette and toss with chopped parsley or coriander. Arrange on top of each pancake. Garnish with sliced avocado, freshly ground black pepper and lots of grated cheese.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, Guardian 6 Oct. 2018.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: What to Do with an Ear of Corn

This is an approximation of a salad I’ve just eaten for lunch. (I’m currently in California, for work, since you wondered.) My salad was served with GREEN chickpeas, something I’d never encountered hitherto.
The corn in the California salad was roasted; if you are able to do this it will add depth to the flavour. See the instructions below.

The Border Grill’s Mexican Chopped Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
Dressing Ingredients
4 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin (ideally, roast your cumin seeds in a dry pan and then grind them)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped roughly, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Salad Ingredients
2 ears of corn (or use 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 romaine or 2 little gem lettuces, shredded
1 crisp apple, diced
½ cup cooked chickpeas or black beans
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Guacamole, to serve (optional)
Tortilla or plantain chips, to serve (optional)

Preparation
Make the dressing: combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Taste and see if you’d like more lemon, etc. Adjust as necessary.

IF you are able to roast the corn, follow the instructions below. Otherwise, shuck the corn and remove the stringy silk. Cut off the kernels: hold the ear vertically on its end and use a knife to cut the kernels off each cob. (Of course, if you’re using frozen corn this is unnecessary.) Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the diced red onion and cover with the dressing. Leave for 10 minutes, or longer.

When you’re ready to serve combine the corn and onion mixture with the other ingredients, toss well and serve, garnished, if you wish, with a dollop of guacamole and tortilla or plantain chips.

To Roast the Corn: Carefully peel back the husks from the corn, and remove the corn silks, leaving the husks attached. Wrap the husks back around each ear of corn. Soak the corn in a large bowl or sink of cold water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your grill to high.

Drain the corn well and place each husk-enclosed ear on the hot grill. Cook for about 12 minutes, turning frequently. Remove each cob from the grill and set aside to cool slightly. Then follow the instructions above to remove the kernels.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean Green Beans and Tomatoes

When you cook beans slowly in olive oil the result is quite different from the snappy crispness produced by a quick dip in boiling water. The oil and tomatoes meld into a rich sauce that gives the dish substance and depth. Add some fresh basil and a slice of salty cheese, and enjoy for dinner with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine.
Rachel Roddy recommends you let the beans sit for a couple of hours before eating them but I think they’re pretty good straight away as well.

Braised Green Beans with Tomato and Basil
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small white onions, peeled and sliced thin
Salt
750g green beans or runner beans
750g ripe tomatoes, peeled if you wish, chopped coarsely
A handful of torn basil leaves
Feta, or other salty cheese, sliced, to serve (optional)

Preparation
Warm the oil in a heavy-based frying pan (with a lid) over a medium-low flame. Gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt until it is soft and translucent.

Cut or break the beans into 5cm-long pieces. Add them to the pan and stir well until each piece is glistening with oil. Continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes and another small pinch of salt, stir, then cover the frying pan. After a couple of minutes uncover the pan and stir – the tomatoes should be relinquishing their juices. Cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Once the tomatoes have given up their juice, uncover the pan and allow it to simmer, uncovered, stirring every now and then for around 40–50 minutes, or until the beans have become very tender and the tomatoes have reduced into a thick, rich sauce. During the final few minutes of cooking time, stir in the ripped basil leaves. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary.

Serve with slices of feta, if desired, or let them sit for a few hours before eating. These are very good the next day, as well.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Roddy, The Guardian, 23 May 2017.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Middle Eastern Tomato Salad

The allspice and pomegranate molasses give this salad unusual complexity. The more varieties and colours of tomato you can include in this salad, the more festive it will look. The yellow and orange varieties look particularly attractive. Cutting everything into little cubes takes longer than just chopping into chunks, but the result is worth it: the flavours blend and create a harmonious, smoky dish quite unlike an ordinary tomato salad.

The best way to get the seeds out of a pomegranate is to bash the fruit against the inside of your sink on all sides. Bash it vigorously but cautiously so that it doesn’t actually split open. The goal is to soften and loosen the seeds while they are still inside the skin. Then hold the fruit over a bowl and break it open. The seeds should come out fairly easily.

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad
serves 4.

Ingredients
1 kg tomatoes, cut into ½cm dice
1 red pepper, cut into ½cm dice
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed with a pinch of salt
½ tsp ground allspice
2 teaspoons white wine or cider vinegar
1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses
60ml olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle at the end
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 tablespoon oregano leaves, to garnish
Salt and black pepper

Preparation
In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, red pepper and onion and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and olive oil, until well combined. Pour this over the vegetables and mix gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the tomato mixture and the juices on a large flat plate. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and oregano, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty More (2014).

17th Aug

Three Bruschettas
A bruschetta is an Italian open-faced sandwich. To make it you grill some good sourdough bread, rub it with a bit of garlic, drizzle it with olive oil, and add a topping. Roast courgette, grilled aubergine, and chickpeas with Swiss chard all make tasty and quick toppings. Make just one, or serve all three for a fresh and summery dinner.

Basic Bruschetta
For each bruschetta you need:

Ingredients
1 generous slice of a decent sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, peeled
Olive oil, to drizzle

Grill the bread on both sides. Grilling gives a better result, but you can use a toaster if need be. Rub the grilled bread on one side with the garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Your bruschetta base is now ready for a topping.

Roast Courgette
Enough to top 1-2 bruschetta

Ingredients
1 medium courgette
Olive oil to drizzle
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste
Several sprigs of fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the courgette lengthwise into 5mm slices. Place slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn the slices over part-way through so they get crisp on both sides. Mix the roast courgettes with the chopped chiles and mint, arrange on the bruschetta, add a final drizzle of olive oil, and eat.

Grilled Aubergine
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

Ingredients
1 Canalside aubergine (i.e. one very small aubergine. . .)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Small handful of fresh basil, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Preheat the grill. Cut the aubergine into very thin slices and arrange in the grill pan. Grill on both sides until tender, about 10 minutes in total. Don’t forget to turn them over halfway through. Toss the grilled aubergine with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, the shredded basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on the bruschetta, top with the chopped chile, and serve.

Chickpea Chard
Enough to top 2 bruschetta

Ingredients
About 200g Swiss chard (or spinach)
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ fresh red chile, chopped, or to taste

Boil the chard in water until tender, about 3-6 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Return the cooked chard to the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic, and braise for another 5 minutes or so. Season and set aside.
Heat the chickpeas in a pan with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and the lemon juice, just until warm. Purée or mash the chickpeas and season to taste. Spread some of the puréed chick peas over part of each bruschetta, and arrange some chard alongside it, so that the two toppings are next to each other, rather than one on top of the other. Sprinkle the chile over the top, drizzle with a little more olive oil and eat.

Recipes adapted from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, River Cafe Cook Book Easy (2003).

Pip’s Recipe of the Week: Magic Pasta Pot

Our resident Recipe Meister, Rebecca Earle, is having a break during July, and so newly joined member Pip Smith has stepped forward to tantalise our tastebuds in Rebecca’s absence. Here’s this week’s recipe:

Magic one pot pasta with tomato and greens

This is a lovely dish slightly adapted from Anna Jones ‘a modern way to cook’. In this recipe you will only need to use one pot and pretty much everything gets thrown in at the start so not only is it super tasty, it’s also super easy. Initially I was unsure about eating the pasta water as part of the sauce after years of habit of discarding the starchy water. However, I have since learnt that this starchy water helps to bind the sauce to the pasta and improve the texture. It’s a good idea to always save some of the starchy water and add it to your sauce before stirring in the pasta. There are many other uses for the starchy water so it’s worth draining into a container then deciding how you want to use it. Anyway, in this recipe it ends up in your tummy.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

400g wholemeal spaghetti
500g fresh tomatoes, chopped
200g spinach, roughly chopped
160g kale, stalks removed and leaves chopped
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp salt
1 litre of boiling water
100mls olive oil

Add everything to the pan except the spinach and kale. Bring to boil and simmer for 6 minutes, add the kale and spinach and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Boom – enjoy!

 

Pip’s Recipe of the Week: Courgette boats

Our resident Recipe Meister, Rebecca Earle, is having a break during July, and so newly joined member Pip Smith has stepped forward to tantalise our tastebuds in Rebecca’s absence. Here’s this week’s recipe:

Mediterranean Stuffed Courgettes

Despite having a high water content Courgettes are a great source of vitamin C. The larger they get the more water they hold and it is then best to cook them with as little water as possible. My daughter always picks the largest and I just roll with it as she loves a stuffed courgette. This is the recipe we like to do together at home:

Ingredients:

One courgette
2 spring onions trimmed
Two medium tomatoes, seeds removed
Optional – a handful of chopped black olives
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of day old whole meal bread
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (unless you have some fresh)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Rapeseed oil to spray

Method:
Heat the oven to 180 degrees
Slice the courgette lengthways and dig out the soft flesh and chop (you can choose to discard half the flesh).
Finely chop the tomatoes and spring onion.
Mix the tomato and onion with the olives if using and the courgette flesh.
Spray your baking tray with rapeseed oil and rub the courgette skins over the spray, leave flesh side up on the tray.
Cut the garlic in half and rub the garlic over the fleshy surface of the courgette.
Fill the courgette with the tomato mix.
Grate the bread into breadcrumbs and stir in the herbs and black pepper.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the courgette.
Finally spray the stuffed courgettes with rapeseed oil and bake for approximately 20 mins.

If you have fresh herbs leave out the dry ones and sprinkle with fresh herbs once removed from the oven. Enjoy!

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: The Best Chicken Soup

Colombian ajiaco is a miracle of soups.  It’s luxurious, convivial and fresh.  The basic idea is this: a bowl of rich chicken broth with lots of potatoes and chunks of sweetcorn, personalised with sliced avocado, capers, a tomato-coriander salsa and cream, followed by another bowl, or two.  Do try it.

A Sort of Ajiaco
Proper aijaco requires some ingredients we lack, so this is a Leamington approximation.  I think it’s delicious but apologies to all Colombians.

Ingredients
the stock
1 whole chicken, or chicken pieces, of about 1.6 kilos in weight, but you needn’t be precise.
1 large onion, chopped fine
4 litres of water
1 tablespoon salt
6 whole peppercorns

the additional soup ingredients
4 potatoes, cut into chunks — the Canalside potatoes we’re currently getting are ideal as they are the mealy variety that disintigrate when you boil them. That’s what you want here.
3 potatoes, cut into thinnish slices—ideally, use waxy  potatoes of the sort that will not disintegrate when you boil them.  Real ajiaco uses different varieties of potato but even if you use only one the result will be delicious.
200g runner beans, sliced in to 1-inch chunks
2-3 ears sweetcorn, shucked (i.e. husk and silk removed) and cut into 3 chunks

the delightful extras
2 avocados, cut into slices
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup double cream (I suppose you could use single cream)

tomato-coriander salsa
4 tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped fine
1 green or red chilli
salt to taste

Preparation
Put the soup ingredients into a large pot for which you have a lid.  Cover and bring to the boil. Once it begins boiling turn the heat down so that it simmers gently. Cook for 75 minutes.Meanwhile prepare the other components.  Put the avocadoes and capers in two attractive little dishes and place the cream in a jug. Then prepare the salsa: put the tomato, onion and coriander into a little serving bowl and mix.  Cut off the end of the chilli and the slice it in half.  If you don’t want the salsa to be too hot remove the seeds, and then mince the chilli into tiny bits.  Mix it into the salsa and add salt to taste.  Let it mellow while you finish the soup.

After the soup has been cooking for about an hour and a quarter the chicken should be tender and the broth rich and flavourful.  If for any reason the chicken still seems a bit rubbery or under-cooked, let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Fish out the chicken and let it cool a little.  Once you’re able to handle it, remove the meat from the bones, and, if you like, shred it a bit into bite-sized pieces.  Return the meat to the pot and bring the soup back to the boil.

Add the chunks of potato and cook for 20 minutes. The potato should disintegrate.  If chunks still remain give the whole thing a little mash with a potato masher to encourage them to break apart.

Add the sliced potatoes and runner beans nd cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are tender.

Add the chunks of corn and cook for 5 final minutes.  Check to see if it needs more salt or pepper.

To serve: bring the soup to the table and give each diner a bowl brimming with chicken, sliced potatoes and runner beans, topped by a piece of corn on the cob.  Pass around the little bowls of avocado, capers, and the salsa, and the jug of cream.  Each diner can adorn their bowl with whatever they fancy.

Rebecca’s recipe of the week: Griddled Cucumbers

This makes a great lunch. It’s quick, crunchy and surprising. Cooking a cucumber intensifies the flavour and gives it a crisp edge. The richness of the haloumi contrasts with the sweet bite of the tomatoes and the sharp, herby dressing pulls it all together. Eat with some crusty bread.

When I made this I used some of the wild marjoram that grows all over Dorset, but I think it would work well with other herbs, or a mixture of whatever you have to hand.

Griddled Cucumber with Haloumi
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cucumbers
8-10 cherry tomatoes
half a packet of haloumi, sliced into tranches

for the dressing
handful of fresh marjoram, or oregano, or coriander, or parsley or a mixture of different herbs
100ml olive oil
juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin—for optimal flavour, toast some whole cumin seeds in a dry pan, let them cool, and then grind them with a mortar and pestle.
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot or sweet, as you prefer)—or less, to taste
pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Slice the cucumbers lengthwise into 1cm thick planks.

Heat a frying pan. A grill pan with ridges will leave attractive grill-lines on the cucumbers, if you have such a thing. Brush it lightly with oil and place some of the cucumbers in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, by which time the undersides should be attractively seared and the flesh should look a bit yellower. Turn them over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until both sides are charred (but not burnt). Place them on an attractive serving platter. Griddle the remaining cucumbers in the same way.

Prepare the dressing while the cucumbers are cooking: whizz the fresh herbs together with the olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings to make a very thick dressing. Taste it to see if it needs more lemon juice. If it’s extremely thick you can thin it out with a bit more oil.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Once the cucumbers are grilled, scatter the tomatoes over them.

When the cucumbers are done use the grill pan to griddle the haloumi. It should take about 3 minutes per side to develop a nice golden crust. Tuck the slices of haloumi amidst the cucumbers and tomatoes. Dot the dressing over the top and serve with crusty bread.

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