Recipe of the Week- 10th April 2017 – Moroccan Vegetable Gratin


This recipe is a spicy variation on the traditional French gratin, substituting spices for some of the herbs, and as such is a sort of tagine/gratin hybrid! This is really simple to prepare and make, and is open to lots of changes of ingredients to suit whatever is in the fridge or cupboard!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

3 tbs olive oil

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and finely sliced

2 aubergines, sliced

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced at 45 degrees

2 large onions, sliced

100g quinoa, rinsed (red split lentils work well too)

500ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

2 tbs ras el hanout

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tsp dried cumin

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

50g mature cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and add the aubergine slices. Gently fry until lightly brown only (3 minutes or so each side). Set aside.

3. In a large casserole dish, layer the sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and aubergine slices in alternate layers until used up. 

4. Sprinkle the quinoa, herbs and spices over the top then pour over the hot vegetable stock to ensure all is mixed through the dish. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

5. If topping with cheese, add this after 20 minutes, and continue to bake uncovered for 5 minutes until brown.

6. Serve immediately with couscous, fresh bread and a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 3rd April 2017 – Smoky Cauliflower Frittata


Since adopting our four chickens last year we are generally inundated with eggs at our house, so I am always looking for new ways to do them justice. This recipe is adapted from one by Yotam Ottolenghi and is a nice variation on the classic fritatta. It also another way to use one of the most under-rated vegetables, the cauliflower.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tbs olive oil

100g frozen peas

6 free-range eggs

3 tbs natural yoghurt or crème fraîche

2 tbs fresh chives, finely chopped

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 tbs sweet smoked paprika

100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

salt and black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place the cauliflower florets in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, yoghurt, paprika, chives and mustard. Season and beat well.

4. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan then sauté the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes until light brown.

5. Grease a large casserole dish then add the cauliflower, peas, half of the grated cheese and the egg mixture. Stir well to combine, top with the remaining cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes until set and brown.

6. Carve the frittata into slices or wedges and serve immediately with new potatoes.

Recipe of the Week – 20th March 2017 – Tagliatelle with Oven Baked Aubergines


This is a nice recipe if you fancy a quick but satisfying midweek tea. Ok, I know it’s cheating a bit using bought tagliatelle rather than making it from scratch, but often fresh supermarket pasta is just as good (in fact often better than the pasta I make!). This does however use freshly-made pesto, which is really required and much better than most that is available in jars. Once you get a taste for freshly made pesto, there really is no turning back!

Serves 4

Ingredients

250g fresh tagliatelle

2 large aubergines, cut to 1cm wide slices

For the pesto;

100g fresh watercress

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

50g cashew nuts, lightly toasted

25g vegetarian Parmesan-style hard cheese, grated

5 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Small handful of basil leaves 

For the tomato sauce;

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbs dried Herbes de Provence

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Put the tomato sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes to combine.

3. In a large casserole dish, arrange the aubergine slices, alternating with the tomato sauce to cover each layer until all is used up. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth-ish (I like a bit of crunch).

5. Place the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until cooked. Rinse and drain.

6. Stir the pesto into the tagliatelle and arrange the pasta over the slices of baked aubergine. Garnish and serve with fresh bread.

Recipe of the Week – 13th March 2017 – Red Lentil Dhal with Garam Masala Aubergines


A good dhal can be just as warming and satisfying on a cold day as a mug of soup, and this recipe is no exception, with the added bonus of having my favourite vegetable in it – aubergines! These provide a great variety of texture as well as little explosions if taste when you find one. Also, this is very easy to make, so no excuses!

Serves 6

Ingredients

600g red split lentils, rinsed

4 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 large aubergines, cut into 2cm dice

3 tbs lemon juice

1 large bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 litre good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground turmeric

3 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Put the aubergine cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave to soften for 20 minutes. Rinse well and drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the stock to the lentils and bring to the boil before simmering for 20 minutes.

3. In a large frying pan, gently dry fry the spices for 1 minute before adding the oil, garlic and onions. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the aubergines and the garam masala, stir to coat well then simmer, covered, for a further 10 minutes.

4. Add the aubergine mixture to the lentils, stir well, then add the coconut milk.

5. Simmer the mixture for a further 10 minutes. Take off the heat, add the lemon juice and coriander and serve immediately with rice or naan.

Recipe of the Week – 27th February 2017 – Potato and Broccoli Brunch Frittata

Sometimes recipe ideas come from necessity, in other words, what I manage to find in the fridge! This recipe is a nice simple one which can be used as a quick brunch or as a satisfying lunch with a green salad. It started off as a frittata using an omelette base, but I then combined it with the pan-fried potatoes and broccoli to make it more like a rosti. Anyway, it was very tasty and I hope you like it!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

3 large baking potatoes, left unpeeled if the skins are ok, and cubed

1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets

3 tbs sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tbs thyme leaves

100g mature cheddar cheese, grated

6 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Place the potato cubes in a large pan of salted boiling water and bring to the boil. Par boil for 5 minutes then add the broccoli. Return to the boil for a further 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the sunflower oil in a large deep frying pan then add the potatoes, broccoli, garlic and half of the thyme leaves. Gently sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining thyme, season, the pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese over then cover. Allow to simmer until the eggs are set (about 10 minutes) then place under the grill to brown.

4. Serve immediately with bread and a salad.


Recipe of the Week – 20th February 2017 – A Spicy Butternut Squash Light Lunch


Sometimes a massive evening meal is not always something that I crave (even though I do admit to liking my stodge!), and the other day I thought I would try a simple experiment with a butternut squash I had in the fridge. This is essentially roasted cubes of lightly spiced squash which really lends itself to being a side for a salad, or as a healthy light lunch. Something a bit different for a quick vitamin boost!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs Za’atar or Sumac

Mixed salad leaves

50g sprouted seeds

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place the butternut squash cubes in a large saucepan of boiling water and par boil for 5 minutes. Drain well.

3. Put the cubes on a large preheated baking tray, drizzle the oil over and sprinkle the Za’atar to cover. Season and mix well. Roast for 30 minutes until soft.

4. Meanwhile, place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle the ginger over. 

5. Simply serve a portion of the butternut squash with the salad and some fresh crusty bread.

Recipe of the Week – 13th February 2017 – Kala Chana Masala

I love trying out new ingredients for the first time – you never know how things are going to taste, or even if they are going to work together or what the texture is going to be, etc. I recently discovered black chickpeas or kala chana, which are similar to the more familiar type, but have a rougher, darker coating and hold their shape giving a satisfying nutty texture. This masala is a good alternative if you fancy a non-mushy dhal-type curry. Oh, and it’s very filling!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

200g dried kala chana, soaked overnight

4 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

10g fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 green chillis, deseeded and finely sliced

3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1 bay leaf

50g desiccated coconut

1 tbs mango chutney

Salt to taste

Method 

1. After soaking overnight, drain and rinse the kala chana before adding to a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Boil for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile add the oil to another pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillis and sauté gently for 5 minutes. 

3. Add the tomatoes, spices, bay leaf and salt and cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. 

4. Add the onion and tomato mixture to the kala chana (keeping the cooking liquid), then add the desiccated coconut and mango chutney. Cover and cook gently for a further 10 minutes until thickened.

5. Serve immediately with rice or chapatis.