Spiced Apple Cake

I made this a while back and forgot to post it here – I used apples from Dr Johnson’s garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 130g butter, cubed
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs. lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 200g sour cream
  • 2 large cooking apples (Bramley) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 crisp eating apple (Granny Smith) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 130g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C, and grease and line a 23cm round tin
  • Beat the butter into the caster sugar until light and fluffy
  • Slowly add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as you go
  • Add the flour and salt in batches, alternating with the soured cream. Beat just enough to mix all the ingredients, and then spoon the batter into the cake tin. 
  • Put all of the apple slices into a bowl and coat with demerara sugar and mixed spice. Spoon them onto the top of the cake mixture. 
  • Bake for 60 to 65 minutes until the cake mixture is cooked through. 
  • Cool in the tin for around 30 minutes before removing it. This cake is best served still warm, or at room temperature. It is not that easy to cut, so use a serrated knife. 

Beetroot, caraway and goat’s cheese soda-bread

This is a delicious Ottolenghi recipe from SIMPLE. It is so rich and full of flavour, you don’t need to add anything much. It is great sliced and spread with butter, or with a thin slice of smoked salmon. I made it as part of a mega cooking session so that I had lots of food that was good with salad, as this certainly is. I had to adapt a bit to fit with locally available ingredients. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g rolled oats
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 200g grated raw beetroot
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 80g soured cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 20g grated parmesan
  • 120g goat’s cheese
  • Salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Grease and line a loaf tin. 
  • Mix the oats, thyme, pumpkin, caraway, and nigella seeds in a small bowl. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flours and the baking powder and baking soda, along with 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk together to aerate, then add the grated beetroot and all but one tbsp of the oat mixture
  • In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together and beat in the oil, soured cream, honey and parmesan. 
  • Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold in the crumbled goat’s cheese. 
  • Pour the mixture into the tin, and add the remaining oat mixture to the top. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 40 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven, and set to cool for around 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. It needs to be cooled for at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

 

 

Bulgar wheat with mushrooms and feta cheese.

From SIMPLE. The book says it serves 2, but it fed two of us for two nights. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150g bulgar wheat
  • 250ml boiling water or light stock
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 punnets of mushrooms, preferably mixed, around 500g – sliced to about 5mm thick. 
  • 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dill seeds
  • around 100g feta (half a block)
  • 1 tsp mild chilli flakes 
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Rinse the bulgar wheat, add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and add the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl and set aside while everything else is sorted out. 
  • Put 2 tbsp oil in a large frying or saute pan, heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp dill seeds, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing sticks or burns. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. 
  • Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. raise the heat, and then add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and fry for 7 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
  • Add the rest of the cumin seeds, and the thyme and continue to cook for another minute
  • Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. 
  • Mix in the bulgar wheat, onions, feta cheese and chilli flakes and heat through. 

Serve garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Kale with mint, garlic, cumin and lime

I’m just getting to the end of the curly kale from last year. What a great vegetable to grow, it survives cabbage root fly, is edible through the winter and early spring, and Alex’s chickens will get a good feed off the old plants when I root them up. 

We’ve had a lot of stir-fried kale this winter, often with garlic and chilli flakes. If you haven’t enough kale, you can bulk it out with broccoli. This recipe comes from SIMPLE by Ottolenghi. He also sells a range of the ingredients from the book – cunning marketing. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g – 600g prepared kale tops or a mix of kale and broccoli
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 to 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 10g mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt

METHOD:

  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the kale and cook for 90 seconds before draining and rinsing in cold water. You may need to do this in batches. Do the same for any broccoli
  • In a large wok or sauté pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic and cumin for a minute or two, until the garlic is browning. Fish the garlic out and set it aside. 
  • Add the kale and fry for around 3 minutes. Add half the chilli flakes, and a good pinch of salt, broccoli and keep cooking for another minute. 
  • Mix through the remaining chilli flakes, lime juice and mint, and garnish with the fried garlic slices. 

Tunisian seafood stew with fennel

This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
  • 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
  • 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • a pinch of saffron
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
  • 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
  • Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
  • Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done. 
  • Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
  • Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done. 
  • Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.

The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience. 

 

Carrots roasted with pomegranate molasses and harissa

We live on a small island, and although our local shops generally do very well for range and price of stock, some ingredients are hard to come by. I have some rather exotic recipe books, and so I have become better at substituting and messing around with recipes to make them fit. 

Pomegranate molasses adds a fruity sharpness to the dish, and helps the dressing to stick to the carrots. The harissa is hot and fragrant at the same time. 

This time, I had some random carrots, so I turned to Ottolenghi’s book, Simple, and adapted one of his ideas, and I made this. I served it with bread, cheese, and an aubergine dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa (or ordinary harissa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or 50/50 melted butter and oil)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g carrot batons
  • salt
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, mix the cumin, honey, harissa, oil and molasses with a good pinch of salt. It should be the consistency of mayonnaise. 
  • Add the carrot batons, and stir to coat in the mixture
  • Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spread out the carrots. Roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown but still have some ‘bite’ to them.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Braised eggs with leeks, lemon and zahtar

We are about to head off to a family gathering, and so tonight’s supper was composed of items that needed to be eaten. This included a very chunky home-grown leek and some fresh local eggs. This served 3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, about 500g, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300ml marigold stock or other simple stock
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 6 large eggs
  • 90g feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp zahtar spice mix
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter into the olive oil in a small braising pan which has a lid that fits well. 
  • When the butter starts to foam, add the chopped leeks and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes or so, until the leeks soften. Season with a little salt and pepper while the leeks are cooking.
  • Add the cumin, lemon and stock, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes or so to reduce the liquid.
  • Add the spinach, and cover, cook for a minute until the spinach has wilted right down. At this point, you can cool the mixture down and put it in the fridge for later if you wish. I froze half of it and used the other half for the two of us, and only used 2 eggs.
  • Use a spoon to make nests for the eggs in the mixture. Break the eggs into these depressions. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the top. Cover with the lid, and braise for 4 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are runny. (I wonder if crowdie would work). 
  • Sprinkle with Zahtar spice mix, and then serve immediately, with fresh bread. 

 

Beetroot dip/spread

I  made this dip from Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem. We had it as part of a meal that included a hot bean and leek dish, some salmon, and bread. This was the best bit. The spices I got mail order from Seasoned Pioneers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium beetroot, about the size of a tennis ball
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 250g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1.5 tbsp date syrup 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
  • 2 spring onions
  • 15g toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed. 
  • 60g soft goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese, crumbled. 

METHOD

  • Wash the beetroot, and cook without peeling. I boil them in water for an hour, but you can also bake them for an hour in the oven. 
  • Once they are cooked and cooled, peel them and chop them roughly. 
  • Put the garlic, beetroot, chilli and yoghurt in a blender, and puree. I used a soup wand to do this. 
  • Mix in the date syrup, salt, olive oil and Za’atar. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped spring onions, goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts. A drizzle of olive oil is good as well. 

This is best served at room temperature, with bread. 

Baked celeriac

So easy. Serve with anything. Ottolenghi SIMPLE. I grew the celeriac. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large celeriac, scrubbed clean and hairy roots removed. 
  • 50 ml olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1 lemon in wedges
  • salt

METHOD:

  • 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. 

Roast cabbage with tarragon and pecorino cheese

Another wonderfully easy and tasty recipe from the Levant. This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book SIMPLE. Best recipe book I ever bought, possibly. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

METHOD:

  • 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.