Beans, garlic, dill and eggs

I can hardly wait to tell you about this recipe, or to eat it again. It is delicious, and dangerously garlicky, so I think I will be in trouble at work tomorrow. I made it with tinned beans, but the original recipe starts from scratch. I got the recipe from the remarkable book, Nightingales and Roses. These are recipes from all over Iran, organised by seasonal availability of ingredients. Where she wins over my other current favourite book, Jerusalem, is her serving suggestions. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of cannellini or borlotti beans
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small bulb of garlic, with the cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp of dill seed, or 5 tsp dried dill weed, or 30g fresh dill, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 eggs

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a medium lidded frying pan, add the oil and then the chopped garlic, and fry until the garlic is turning golden. 
  • Add the turmeric, pepper, dill, and salt, and then add the can of beans including the water they are in. 
  • Bring to a simmer, and cook, until the mixture is getting drier and thicker. 
  • Make 4 wells in the bean mixture, and into each well, break an egg. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. 

The book suggests serving this with a little rice, with side dishes of olives, chopped radishes, smoked fish. We were not so dainty, and served this with a side salad with herbs and some bread, olives and labneh

Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini

This is another recipe from Jerusalem by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. It fits well with my lifestyle in summer; food that can be put in the oven, and then served hot or cold, straight away or for the next meal, part of a large meal or just as a light lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Large butternut squash. 
  • 3 red onions
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 3 tbsp light tahini paste (available locally!)
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp za’atar (from Seasoned pioneers)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 240C gas mark 9
  • Cut the onions and butternut squash into wedges. I peeled and cut each onion into 6-8 wedges. I cut the squash into 3 equal bits across the way, and then cut each bit into 6-8 wedges, measuring around 2cm by 6cm. Remove the seeds.
  • Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, and add 3 tbsp of olive oil, stir to coat, and then add 1 tsp salt, black pepper and mix well. 
  • Spread the onions and squash onto a baking tray, and turn the squash skin-side down. 
  • Roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, use a small bowl and a fork to mix the tahini with the lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, crushed garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt. The mixture should be runny, like honey. 
  • Pour a little olive oil into a pan, and toast the pine nuts over a medium heat with a pinch of salt. Stir, keeping a close eye, until the pine nuts are toasty brown. Transfer to a small bowl. 
  • Put the roast vegetables onto a serving platter, drizzle over with the tahini dressing, sprinkle over with the toasted pine-nuts in oil, and then sprinkle over the za’atar and chopped parsley. 

I enjoyed this better when cooled down to a warm dish, rather than hot. Also good cold the next day. 

 

New potatoes with green beans, celeriac and halloumi

I’ve been playing with this recipe for about a month, which means we have been eating various versions of it every few days. It is quite delicious, and it is easy to adapt to what you have available. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400 to 500g new potatoes, chopped into bite-size chunks (Jersey Royals work well, one bag full)
  • 5 cloves garlic, skin-on, lightly squished
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, and ground black pepper to taste
  • 200g green beans, halved (one pack is usually between 140 and 250g – one pack will do)
  • 1/2 celeriac, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (optional)
  • 225g halloumi, cut into 2cm cubes (one pack)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (equally delicious with lime juice)
  • 1 tsp cumin or caraway seed (optional)

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
  • Put the potatoes and celeriac in a large roasting tray with the garlic, add the olive oil, salt and pepper, the cumin or caraway seed, and mix well. Cook for 30 minutes in the oven.
  • Remove from the oven, add the beans and halloumi and toss to combine. Return the tray to the oven for 15 mins until the beans are tender and the cheese is starting to caramelise.
  • Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and toss everything again, then transfer to a serving dish. 

This is really good cold the next day as well. You could serve it as a side-dish, a starter or as a light lunch. 

Ratatouille

I have tried many recipes for ratatouille, this is the best. I think I got it off the internet, with a promise that this was the most authentic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 4 courgettes, halved and sliced
  • 300g french beans, cut to 1 inch lengths
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of chopped fennel leaves
  • fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Salt the diced aubergines and courgettes and set aside. Rinse the salt off after 20 minutes (I do this in a colander)
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the aubergines and courgettes, and cook for another five minutes or so.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, and then with the lid off for 20 minutes. Keep a close eye and stir occasionally, to stop the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.

This freezes OK, but it is best reheated the day after making it.

Chard Fritata

This is another classic from my old recipe book. 

INGREDIENTS;

  • 500g chard
  • 6 eggs
  • ground black pepper
  • 75g parmesan or similar hard cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

METHOD:

  • Wash the chard and chop roughly
  • Beat the eggs and season, and beat in the cheese
  • Heat the oil and add the chard, cook until it has wilted
  • Add the eggs, reduce the heat and cook. When the bottom of the fritata is done, put the whole pan under a grill until the top is done.

An annotation in the book: ‘This is supposed to serve two or three people, but I can finish it in one go if I am very hungry.’

Beetroot gratin

We had this last night and tonight, totally delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g mature cheddar, grated
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 6 beetroot, boiled and skinned, cut into 1cm cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 anchovies, or some worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml to 300ml double cream
  • breadcrumbs

METHOD:

  • Butter a gratin dish, and spread 1/3 of the cheese across the bottom.
  • Add a layer of half the beetroot, and then add the anchovies, or a good sprinkling of worcestershire sauce.
  • Next layer, another 1/3 of the cheese.
  • Next layer, the rest of the beetroot.
  • Last layer, add the rest of the cheese, and press the ingredients into the dish. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Pour the cream over the beetroot, and then add a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top.
  • Bake in a hot oven 200C for 15 minutes or more, until bubbling and golden on the top.

I served this with bread as a light supper one evening, and then as a side-dish the next night.

Braised Fennel

I love fennel, especially with fish dishes. This method is truly delicious and very easy. I found it in Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray. I left out the tomatoes that she suggested, because I didn’t have any. She suggests a specific type of tomato that I have never seen here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Fennel bulbs: allow one large bulb for two servings
  • Butter
  • Parmesan cheese

METHOD:

  • Slice each fennel bulb into quarters vertically, and cook for five minutes in salted boiling water.
  • Drain the fennel well, and then braise in a heavy pan in the butter for around 15 minutes.
  • During the cooking process, sprinkle the fennel with the parmesan cheese, turning the pieces so that the cheese coats the fennel. Continue to cook, so that the fennel is lightly browned.
  • If you have some pomodori appesi, (baby tomatoes stored on the vine) – you can add these to the dish at the end.

Baked beetroot

There are some great fresh beetroot in the shops at the moment, UK-grown. I’ve been trying out a few recipes, and found this one in ‘Full Throttle’ by the two Fat Ladies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Raw beetroot
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh mint
  • Sour cream

METHOD:

  • Put the beetroot into a roasting tin, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, much as you would do for baked potatoes.
  • Bake in a hot oven 200C for at least one hour, until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
  • Split open and serve with sour cream and chopped mint.

Braised red cabbage with apples and spices

The best recipe. There are many others. It is worth following this Delia Smith recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg red cabbage, chopped
  • 500g onions, finely chopped
  • 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 nutmeg, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 15g butter
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the oven to 150C
  • In a large casserole dish, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage, then salt and pepper, then a layer of onions and apples, sprinkled with garlic sugar and spice. Continue to repeat these layers until everything is in the dish.
  • Pour over the vinegar, and dot the butter over the top.
  • Cover the dish tightly and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Stir and check a couple of times.

This dish reheats well, and it also freezes OK. We usually only have this at Christmas, with ham.

Parmesan-baked parsnips

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas but I serve this all-year round. I keep the pre-prepared flour and parmesan in the freezer for when I need it.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 kg parsnips
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil and butter

METHOD:

  • Combine the flour, parmesan, salt and pepper.
  • Peel the parsnips, and quarter them lengthways, then cut each length in half.
  • Boil the parsnips for around 3 minutes and drain.
  • As soon as you drain them, when they are still damp and sticky, roll each parsnip in the flour mixture. They can be stored like this until you are ready to put them in the oven.
  • Heat the oven to 200C.
  • Grease a roasting tin with vegetable oil and add a knob of butter for more flavour. Heat in the oven until the fat is hot.
  • Add the parsnips and roll them around in the hot fat, before putting the tray in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and continue to roast until all crips and golden, for another 15 minutes.