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.

Recipe of the Week – 16th May 2016 – Sweet Potato and Pepper Linguine


This is a light yet nourishing way to add a new twist to pasta – I wasn’t sure if the different textures between the grated sweet potato and the pasta would work initially, but they seemed to compliment each other very well. The strips of pasta also added a nice bite to the dish.

Serves 6

Ingredients

500g linguine

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly grated

5 tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus some to drizzle on serving

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 yellow and 1 orange pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

1 tbs dried tarragon

2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbs lemon juice

Salt and pepper to season

Grated vegetarian Parmesan style hard cheese to serve

Method

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain, drizzle with a little olive oil, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, add the remaining olive oil to a large saucepan, and fry the garlic on a medium heat for 2 minutes before adding the sweet potato, pepper strips, tomatoes and 50 ml water. Stir well and simmer for  5 – 8 minutes.

3. Add the pasta to the vegetable mixture, then add the herbs, lemon juice and seasoning. Stir well and simmer for a further 2 minutes.

4. Serve immediately with grated cheese, drizzled olive oil and fresh basil leaves if preferred.

 

Recipe of the Week – 9th May 2016 – Vegan Mediterranean Tartlets


Now that the weather has finally warmed up a bit here in the North West of England, I have been turning my mind towards more Summery, picnic-type recipes. This is a really simple one, but very satisfying, and also something a bit ‘posh’ for when visitors arrive!

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 pack ready-rolled pastry, thawed and cut into 2 x 6 100mm squares

2 medium courgettes, thinly sliced

2 yellow or orange peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 x 400ml tin of good quality chopped tomatoes

Large handful of fresh basil leaves (retain some to garnish)

30g cashew nuts

40ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

20ml soya milk

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. In a large frying pan, add 3 tbs of olive oil and gently fry the peppers and courgettes on a medium heat, until lightly browned.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, most of the basil leaves, cashew nuts, olive oil and seasoning to a food processor and blitz until smooth.

4. Place the pastry squares on a large baking try and gently score 15mm within to form a boundary. Brush the tomatoe mixture inside then layer the courgette and paper slices on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with torn basil leaves. Brush a little soya milk around the border to allow it to brown when baking. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is cooked and has risen.

5. Serve immediately warm, or allow to cool to serve as a cold side with a fresh salad.

Recipe of the Week – 2nd May 2016 – Chana Dal Masala with Pan-fried Kale


This recipe is a modified version of one of my favourite curry recipes – apparently kale is very good for you and a great source of iron, so I thought I would incorporate it into a variation on a Chana dal dish. The kale gave it a really nice variation in texture and I think works even better than spinach as it keeps its bite better.

Serves 6

Ingredients

400g Chana Dal (yellow split peas), rinsed and drained

5 tbs sunflower oil

2 medium onions, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs garam masala

1 1/2 tbs turmeric powder

2 tsp salt

2 green chillies chopped 

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

200g fresh curly kale, stalks removed then roughly chopped

A small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. Place in a large saucepan of slightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.

2. Add the oil to a large saucepan and fry the onions, garlic and chillies on a low heat until starting to brown, then add the garam masala, turmeric, cumin and salt and then the chopped tomatoes. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

3. Add the Chana Dal mixture to the onion mixture, together with 100ml water. Stir well and gently simmer for 20 minutes until soft.

4. Add the coconut milk to the mixture, and stir well.

5. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and dry fry the chopped kale for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add to the main mixture, season and stir well.

6. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve rice or naan bread.

Recipe of the Week – 25th April 2016 – Roasted Parsnip Soup

  
This is a very simple recipe, but the end result is really satisfying – it definitely feels like more than a sum of it parts, and could even possibly convert the most hardened of parsnip haters!

Ingredients

800g parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped 

1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 tsp cumin seeds, plus 2 tsp more to garnish

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 large tomato, chopped

1500ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

100g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and spices then add the vegetables and mix well. Put on a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.

3. When tender, add the roasted parsnip and onion mixture to a food processor with half the stock and pulse until smooth. Pour into a pan with the remaining stock, season, then heat until simmering. 

4. Lightly toast the remaining cumin seeds and garnish over the soup with some crumbled feta. Serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week – 18th April 2016 – Mushroom Stroganoff

  

This is a recipe that I love to do on cold evenings, and it is a great way of getting the children to eat up any mushroom surplus if I over-estimate quantities! There are some more exotic variations on this veggie staple, but I find simplicity works best here.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small onions, sliced

6 sticks of celery, chopped, including leaves

500g mushrooms (button mushrooms halved work well or a mixture, chopped)

50g butter

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs

2 tbs plain flour

80 ml plain natural yogurt or soured cream

300ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

Salt and pepper

Handful fresh parsley, chopped

Method

1. Gently heat the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions and celery over a low heat for approximately 5 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for a further 4 minutes.

3. Add the dried herbs and stir in the flour to cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the stock and seasoning and cook gently for 10 minutes.

5. Allowed to cool away from the heat and stir in the yoghurt or soured cream and taste for seasoning, then heat very gently.

6. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with white Basmati rice or crusty bread.

Recipe of the Week – 4th April 2016 – Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines

  
As anyone who reads my blog will quickly realise, aubergines are my favourite vegetable. I love the versatility of them, and this recipe I think proves that. This is not dissimilar to Morrocan or Turkish dishes, such as Imam Bayildi, and the curried potato mixture really compliments the aubergine well.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large aubergines, halved and scored inside in a cross pattern

50 ml sunflower oil

100g baby potatoes, quartered 

2 large onions, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbs medium curry powder

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. Place the aubergine halves in a large colander, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the oil and saute the onions, garlic and spices on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and tomatoes, and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.

3. Preheat the oven to 190C.

4. Rinse the aubergine halves thoroughly, then arrange open side up in a large baking tray. Pour the potato mixture over the top, ensuring that the aubergines are covered.

5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

6. Serve immediately with rice or a green salad.