Tomato, Chard, Spinach, Lime, Mint, Almonds

Sorry about the wee hiatus – keep having many things to do. This is an astonishing mix of flavours and textures, and I was raving about it at work. Clair – this is the recipe I was talking about. It is from ‘Simple’ by Yotam Ottolenghi. Even better, it uses lots of ingredients from my garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 60ml olive oil
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 500g chard leaves – roughly shred the green leaves, and finely chop the stems
  • 150g spinach, roughly shredded
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 35g chopped mint
  • 35g chopped dill, or 3 tsp dried dill leaves. 
  • 8 spring onions, chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • salt

METHOD:

  • In a frying pan, put in half the oil, heat to medium, and then add the almonds and the paprika. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until the almonds are golden brown. Remove them from the heat, and strain the oil from the almonds, which should be set aside in a bowl. 
  • In a large pan, heat the remaining oil over medium to high heat. When it is hot, add the crushed garlic and the caraway, and cook for a a couple of minutes until they start to sizzle and brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and chard, and 3/4 tsp salt, and stir. The pan will look very full. Cover the pan, and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring every so often. If you are using dried herbs, add them at this step.
  • Remove from the heat, and stir in the spinach, lime juice and zest, herbs and spring onions. 
  • Serve with the almonds sprinkled on to. 

I successfully reheated this the next day, although it did wilt the spinach a bit too much. I ate it with pitta bread and labneh.

 

 

Chanterelles with tagliatelle in a cream sauce

A kind friend gave me a large paper bag that contained around 400g of chanterelle mushrooms, foraged from a secret location on the mainland. These are a rare treat, and are best cooked simply, going well with garlic and butter. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 90g unsalted butter, divided into two
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped, or half a large onion. 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 60ml dry white wine
  • 400g chanterelles, brushed clean (halved if large)
  • 120ml double cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • A good pinch of dried oregano
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 200g tagliatelle or pappardelle

METHOD

  • Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan, and fry the onion over a medium heat until softened. 
  • Season with salt and pepper, and add the garlic, cooking for a further couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the wine and continue cooking for another couple of minutes, reducing the sauce down.
  • Add the remaining butter, and when it has melted, add the mushrooms. Continue to cook, stirring from time to time, for a further five minutes.
  • Stir in the cream, oregano and a good grating of nutmeg, and continue to cook until it thickens a little, about another two minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. 
  • Drain the pasta, return to the pasta pan, stir in the sauce with the lemon juice, and adjust the seasoning if required,
  • Serve in warmed bowls. 

 

Greek feta salad

This is my version of a greek salad, it is quick to make and one of my favourites. I don’t usually refer to a recipe, so it is probably not that authentic. It has a lot in common with the Persian summer salad. 

INGREDIENTS

  • Half a cucumber
  • About the same weight of cherry tomatoes
  • About four or five spring onions
  • A small little gem lettuce
  • 50g feta cheese
  • Kalamata olives
  • Oregano or chive flowers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  • Line a large salad bowl with lettuce leaves
  • Dice the cucumber, chop the onions, cut up the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, in layers with the tomatoes on the top. 
  • Add the olives and crumbled cheese, and garnish with herbs. 
  • Just before serving, season and add a drizzle of olive oil. 

 

Carrot and cumin salad

This is a classic going way way back to university. It is great with middle eastern meals. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan for a minute or two, and then lightly crush
  • Mix the carrots and cumin seed, season with salt and pepper
  • Just before serving, mix in the lemon juice and olive oil

Persian summer salad

I’ve been eating a lot of salad this summer, this is a good one to serve with some of the other dishes that I’ve posted this year. It is from Nightingales and Roses by Maryann Sinaiee. I have adapted it a bit, because we don’t get a lot of pomegranates on South Uist, but you can add these for an extra burst of colour and flavour. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Half a long cucumber
  • About the same weight in cherry tomatoes
  • About the same weight in spring onions
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh mint
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Peel the cucumber and dice
  • Cut the tomatoes into 8 (half, half and half again)
  • Chop the spring onions into small circles
  • Chop the mint finely
  • Mix the chopped ingredients. 
  • Just before serving, mix in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Pasta with a cream sauce and vegetables

Cream sauce is a classic, but I usually only make this recipe when I have lots of vegetables in the garden, over the summer. This year I grew red orache, and it turned the whole dish a lovely pink colour. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25g butter (use vegetable oil for a vegan version)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 300ml cream (use soya cream for a vegan version)
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • Approx 700g fresh vegetables – a mixture of orache, shelled broad beans, mange tout, asparagus tips, carrots, etcetera
  • 400g pasta (best with fusilli)
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • Herb garnish (chervil, or parsley, or chive flowers)

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a small to medium saucepan, and add gently cook the onion for around 10 minutes until tender.
  • Add the garlic, cook for a couple more minutes, and then add the cream. Leave to simmer gently so that the mixture thickens, around 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and set aside until it is required. 
  • Prepare the vegetables; cut the asparagus into 2 cm lengths, peel and cut the carrots into similar sized pieces, cut the orache or spinach to large shreds. 
  • Steam the beans, asparagus and carrots for around 5 minutes, then add the other vegetables for another 3 minutes or so. 
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, around 10 minutes. 
  • Add the vegetables to the cream sauce and bring to a simmer, check the seasoning and add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Do not forget this step because it is a bit dull without it. 
  • Add the sauce to the drained pasta, and serve on warmed plates, garnished with herbs. 

Scallop Risotto

More food for the wet cyclists. They said they liked fish, so I made Scallop Risotto using locally sourced scallops. I served a side dish of carrots and asparagus. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600g prepared scallops
  • 100g butter
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 1.2 litres of fish stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 handful of chive flowers
  • 4 tbsp double cream

METHOD:

  • Separate the scallops from the corals, and chop the scallop meat into chunks the size of the end of your thumb
  • Heat half the butter, and fry the scallops for 3 minutes or so. 
  • Pour over the brandy, and when it is hot, light it to flambe the scallops. When the flames die down, season with salt and pepper
  • Next, heat the rest of the butter in another pan, and gently fry the finely chopped onion until soft. 
  • Add the rice and fry until the rice is really hot. 
  • Pour on the stock, one ladleful at a time, waiting for each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. 
  • When the rice is mostly cooked, add the cooked scallops with all the juices, along with the corals and the parsley. Stir together, and keep adding the stock as before. 
  • When the risotto is creamy, and the grains still have a little bite to them, take off the heat and stir in the cream. 
  • After a couple of minutes, transfer to a warmed platter and garnish with chive flowers before serving. 

 

Plum pudding

We had wet cyclists staying so I fed them lots of hot food, followed by pudding. I made a steamed plum pudding from the Pudding Club Book

INGREDIENTS:

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond essence
  • 2 tbsp soft plum jam (you can use stewed plums, or apricot jam instead)

METHOD:

  • Grease a 1.7 litre pudding basin
  • Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy
  • Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, with a little sifted flour
  • Fold in the remaining flour and the almonds and almond essence
  • Put the jam in the bottom of the pudding basin, and then add the pudding mixture
  • Cover securely and steam for 2 hours. 
  • Turn out and serve hot with custard, or cream, or ice-cream. 

Orzo with meatballs

This is a bit of a mixture of recipes. My daughter left some Orzo pasta when she last visited. I hadn’t come across it before, it looks like large bits of rice. So I googled and tested and used what was in my fridge and freezer. This is heavily based on Nigella Lawson’s dish of the same name, but there are other twists from similar recipes. 

You could use one of my other meatball recipes to make the meatball mixture, but I followed the method below. The recipe makes six servings. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mince
  • 1 large egg
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 litre cold water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (I actually used the mystery herbs)
  • 60ml red vermouth or red wine
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g orzo pasta

METHOD:

  • Put the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, parmesan and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl, and mix to a smooth paste. Leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour minimum.
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Make small meatballs from the mixture, about the size of a large marble. I made around 35. They should be small enough to eat whole without looking greedy. Put them onto the bottom of a roasting tray or baking sheet. 
  • Bake the meatballs in the oven for around fifteen minutes. 
  • MEANWHILE get ready for the sauce and pasta. Get the ingredients assembled. 
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Cook the chopped onion over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until very soft and cooked
  • Add the herbs and stir them in, before adding the vermouth. 
  • Once the vermouth is hot and bubbling, add the tomatoes, and rinse out the tins with the water before adding that as well. Add 1 tsp salt at this stage. 
  • Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and let it cook with the lid on for around twenty minutes.
  • Add the orzo and the meatballs, bring back to a simmer, and cook with the lid on for a further ten to fifteen minutes. The orzo has a tendency to stick, so the occasional stir will help. 
  • Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with parmesan shavings and chopped parsley. 
  • I also served a dish of grilled asparagus and buttered baby carrots. 

Asparagus Risotto

This is a beautiful summer risotto. We made it because there was asparagus that had been reduced in the co-op, and added some fresh vegetables from the garden. I added mange tout peas, broad beans, and chive flowers. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g broad beans
  • 100g asparagus, chopped into 2cm lengths
  • 100g mange tout peas (or about 300g total green vegetables)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • a handful of chive flowers

METHOD:

  • Gently fry the onion in half of the butter, until it is soft, about five minutes.
  • Add the rice and give it a good stir, heating it through. 
  • Add the glass of wine, and bring the mixture back to a simmer. 
  • Start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, bringing the risotto back to a simmer each time, and waiting for the stock to be absorbed into the rice. 
  • About half-way through, add the sage, asparagus, beans and peas. Continue adding the stock as before. 
  • When the rice is just about done, take the risotto from the heat, stir in the parmesan and the chive flowers and the rest of the butter. Season with pepper, and a bit of salt if required. Leave the risotto to rest. 
  • Transfer to a warmed platter to serve. 

This can be garnished with toasted sage leaves, or other chopped herbs.