Recipe of the Week – 25th July 2016 – Bengali Butternut Squash with Chickpeas


This is a new way with butternut squash for me. Although it is essentially using ‘curry’ spices and flavours, this blend and combination gives a unique flavour, and the texture with the chickpeas provides something that is really satisfying.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large butternut squashes, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice

4 tbs vegetable oil

2 large onions, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

large pinch ground asafoetida

2 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs ground fenugreek

1-2 mild dried red chillies

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp garam masala

2 bay leaves 

200ml/7fl oz boiling water

1 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained and washed

Salt and sugar to taste

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, asafoetida, bay leaf and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring well to combine.

2. Add the onion, mix well and fry for a further 3 minutes.

3. Add all of the remaining spices, 3 tbs of water and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the butternut squash cubes and the boiling water to the mixture, bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until soft.

5. Add the chickpeas and a pinch of sugar and salt. Stir well and serve immediately with rice or naan.

Recipe of the Week – 18th July 2016 – Easy Vegetable Samosas


These are a staple snack for when I do a market or festival stall for the cafe. They are very easy to make and always sell really fast. They work well as party food too!

Makes 16

Ingredients

8 large tortilla wraps

500g baby potatoes, finely diced

3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced

200g frozen peas

4 tbs sunflower oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper

20ml soya milk

Method

1. Place the diced potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a small frying pan, gently dry-fry the spices for 1 minute, ensuring they don’t burn.

3. Mix the spices with the vegetables and 1 tbs sunflower oil. Season well.

4. To prepare the wraps, cut each in half, then trim to approximately 4 fingers width on each side.

5. Place 2 tbs of the mixture in the middle of each trimmed half, fold both sides over, turn over and seal with a light brushing of the soya milk to seal the flaps. (This takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth it!)

6. Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a large frying pan, and gently fry the samosas for 1 minute each side, until brown (I find you can do 6 at a time in a large pan). Use another 1 tbs oil for each batch.

7. Serve warm or cold with mango chutney, or a side salad.

Recipe of the Week – 4th July 2016 – Moroccan Butternut Squash Couscous


This is a really simple but very satisfying recipe that makes a great quick lunch. I made this as an alternative Sunday lunch to give me a break from gravy! This is very nice the next day served cold, too.

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

300g dried couscous

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs ras-el-hanout

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs ground cinnamon

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

300ml vegetable stock from good quality bouillon 

2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

200ml natural yoghurt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. Place the butternut squash cubes in a large bowl, add the oil and spices and mix together well. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until soft.

3. In another large bowl, add the coucous and stock, mix together well and leave for 10 minutes. Mix in the chopped parsley and season.

4. Finally, mix together the butternut squash and couscous, and serve with drizzled yoghurt and the pomegranate seeds.

Recipe of the Week – 27th June 2016 – Homity Pies


It’s festival season again, and my cafe will once again be having a stall at a great one – the One World Festival in New Mills, Derbyshire. These were very popular last year and actually work very well as finger food! My recipe is a bit different to the original Homity pie recipe, as I have been posh and added asparagus, the sweetness of which counteracts the leeks perfectly.

Makes 6 Pies

Ingredients

For the pastry

150g wholemeal flour

150g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

170g butter, cut into cubes

1 large free-range egg, beaten

For the filling

900g baby new potatoes, cut into quarters

2 tbs sunflower oil

25g butter

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tender leeks, sliced

Small bunch of fresh asparagus spears, roughly chopped

175g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

2 tbs fresh parsley leaves, chopped

250ml double cream

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. To make the pastry, place the flour and butter in a food processor or mixer and blend until it turns to breadcrumb consistency. Mix in the egg to form a dough then divide into 6 pieces and roll out to line 5″ tins.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C.

3. Meanwhile, add the sunflower oil and butter to a large saucepan and gently saute the sliced leeks for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and asparagus pieces and saute for a further 5 minutes. Set aside.

4. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until just tender. Drain and set aside.

5. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, leek and asparagus mixture, cheese and parsley. Season well and divide the mixture into the 6 pastry cases.

6. Carefully pour the cream over the pies and bake for 45 minutes, until lightly browned. 

7. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then turn the pies out and serve with a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 13th June 2016 – Broccoli, Kale and Pepper Wraps


Now that Summer is here in the North of England (hence the heavy rain!), I’m beginning to experiment with lighter, more salad-based recipes. This one uses a combination of vegetables and salad ingredients, and is satisfying, yet very healthy – I love broccoli and any chance to use it is always welcome!

Makes 8 wraps

Ingredients

8 large tortilla wraps

1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets

100g fresh kale, rinsed and roughly chopped

1 large red pepper, deseeded and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

200g various fresh salad leaves (eg. spinach, rocket, watercress)

Method

1. Put the broccoli florets in a saucepan with about 2 inches water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the broccoli is beginning to get tender. Drain thoroughly.

2. Place the broccoli, 2 tbs of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large frying pan or wok add 2 tbs of olive oil and flash-fry the chopped kale and peppers slices on a high heat until browned.

4. On each wrap, spread out 2 tbs of the broccoli mixture, then arrange the kale leaves, some pepper slices and salad leaves. Roll into a burrito, halve and serve. These are just as nice warm or cold, and they go well with a selection of salads.

Recipe of the Week – 6th June 2016 – Courgetti with Homemade Pesto


I have been experimenting with my spiralizer recently, and up to now haven’t tried the recommendation of making courgette ‘pasta’, or Courgetti, with it. I was initially a bit sceptical that it wouldn’t be quite as satisfying as traditional spaghetti, but was really pleased with the results of this. I think the key thing is not to blanch the vegetables for too long to ensure that the texture and flavour is at it’s best.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 large courgettes, trimmed and cut into spiral ribbons (cut into strips with a peeler is good too)

2 large carrots, also trimmed and cut into ribbons

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice

For the Pesto;

100g fresh watercress

30g grated vegetarian Parmesan Style cheese

1 clove of garlic, crushed

40g cashew nuts

Small bunch of fresh basil

5 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then add the potato cubes. Return to the boil for 7 minutes.

2. Add the carrots and simmer for a further 2 minutes before adding the courgettes. Simmer for a further 3 minutes then drain and set aside.

3. To make the pesto, place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

4. Return the vegetables to the dry pan and heat gently for 2 minutes to dry and warm through. Add the pesto and stir well to combine.

5. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and extra basil to garnish.

Recipe of the Week – 30th May 2016 – Spinach and Courgette Fritatta


I love making Fritattas as there are so many different combinations to try. I tend to really fill these so that it is a meal in itself, and they are just as nice sliced up and served cold, especially on picnics!

Serves 6

Ingredients

8 large free range eggs

250ml milk

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

300g fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 large courgettes, sliced

100g baby potatoes, sliced

100g extra mature cheddar cheese, grated

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place the potato slices in a saucepan of boiling salted water and par-boil for 5 minutes. Rinse and drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the oil then gently fry the courgette slices. When light brown, layer the potato slices and spinach over the courgettes.

4. In a large jug, whisk up the eggs, milk, herbs, seasoning and paprika and pour over the mixture. Continue gently frying for 5 more minutes.

5. Sprinkle the grated cheese over, place a lid over the frying pan and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

6. When cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.

7. Serve with bread and a fresh salad.