I love being adventurous with my cooking, trying new flavours, new styles of cooking. The basic ingredients that I use are usually local, but the spices, herbs and some other ingredients are harder to come by. I try to source authentic ingredients, and support food suppliers who know about their merchandise. Here is a list of online suppliers that I use regularly.
There are also some local websites that supply produce online.
I’m sure there are more sites that I use, I’ll add them when I remember. Please let me know your top sites so I can try them out.
So easy. Serve with anything. Ottolenghi SIMPLE. I grew the celeriac.
- 1 large celeriac, scrubbed clean and hairy roots removed.
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seed
- 1 lemon in wedges
- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Pierce the celeriac all over with a sharp knife. Rub with the oil, season with the salt and coriander and put it in a small baking dish.
- Roast for around 2 1/2 hours, basting with olive oil if required.
- To serve, cut into wedges and serve with lemon, a sprinkle of salt, a drizzle of olive oil.
Another wonderfully easy and tasty recipe from the Levant. This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book SIMPLE. Best recipe book I ever bought, possibly.
- 60ml olive oil (4 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cloves of garlic
- 1 spring cabbage (the pointy kind) cut lengthways into 8ths.
- 5g tarragon leaves, or 3 tsp dried tarragon
- 20g pecorino cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, a good pinch of salt and a good grate of black pepper. Put 1 tbsp of this mixture in a separate bowl.
- Put the cabbage in a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt, and pour the oil mixture over the cabbages, tossing well to coat.
- Arrange the cabbage in a roasting dish, and roast for 15 minutes, until the edges are getting crispy. Remove from the oven to set aside and cool a little.
- Add the lemon juice to the reserve tbsp of oil. Add the tarragon.
- Put the cabbage on a platter, drizzle over the oil, then add shavings of pecorino cheese and a good grating of black pepper.
We are about to go on holiday to Istanbul, so I was looking at Turkish recipes. This caught my eye, as I had a couple of green peppers from Tagsa Uist Grow your Community at East Camp. Very tasty, very easy.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 small green peppers, halved, seeded and sliced.
- 2 dried chilli peppers, crushed
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- Could include herbs such as thyme, oregano, spices such as cumin
- chopped parsley
- Sour cream or greek yoghurt
- Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, and add the onions, then the garlic, and then the pepper and chillies. Fry slowly until the onions are soft.
- Add the tomatoes and any additional herbs and spices, and simmer slowly to reduce the mixture. Season with salt and pepper
- Make 4 holes in the mixture, and into each hole, crack an egg. Cover the pan and cook slowly for around 5 minutes to cook the eggs. (You can scramble the eggs into the mixture as an alternative.)
- Beat the yogurt or sour cream with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the menemen with parsley, and serve from the pan with the yoghurt or sour cream.
This is from Ottolenghi’s book, SIMPLE. These pea fritters are good hot or cold, as part of a light lunch or a side dish as part of a feast.
- 500g frozen peas, defrosted
- 120g ricotta
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- wedges of lemon, to serve
- 3 tbsp za’atar spice (from seasoned pioneers)
- 100g white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 20g mint leaves
- 200g block of feta, crumbled into large chunks
- about 800ml oil
- salt and pepper
- Mash the defrosted peas using a soup wand or blender, just until the mixture is coarsely crushed.
- Transfer the peas to a bowl, add the ricotta, eggs, lemon zest, 3/4 tsp salt, a good grind of pepper, and mix well.
- Add the za’atar, flour and baking powder, mix well, and then fold in the feta and the chopped mint.
- Pour the oil into a saucepan, and heat to a medium to high heat.
- Using a pair of dessert spoons, form the mixture into smooth ovals, and drop them into the boiling oil. They should fizz and bob to the surface, and cook to a wonderful crispy brown in about 3-4 minutes. You’ll need to ensure they are flipped over in the oil to cook on all sides.
- As each batch becomes cooked, lift them out in a slotted spoon and put on a towel to drain the oil, before adding to the serving dish.
- Serve with the wedges of lemon.
I’ve been cooking from SIMPLE all week, and the food that I have produced has been astonishingly delicious. The recipes are generally quite easy, and the ingredients are usually available locally. Many of the ingredients I have grown myself, and I am totally in love with this book.
Another plus: lots of recipes. The book is not stingy. The recipes themselves seem to be easy to adapt to what is available as well. Where fresh dill has not been available, dried dill has worked. I have swapped the cheeses in some of the recipes, and used lemon as well as lime in others.
If I could only have one recipe book, this would be the one.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
This is a classic going way way back to university. It is great with middle eastern meals.
- 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
- 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