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.
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.
- 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)
- 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.
This is the first recipe I have tried from the ‘Cook for Syria’ recipe book. The book is a collection of recipes from Syria, and so much more. It tells about the culture of food and sharing in Syria, builds links with people using the #CookForSyria @CookForSyria tags, and raising money for Unicef to help children affected by fighting in their beautiful country.
I served it to a visitor, and we shared a lot of stories about the ethics and politics of food. I had to make a few adaptions to fit my ingredients.
- 2 aubergines
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp za’atar (I used the mystery mixed Italian herbs, but za’atar is available from Seasoned Pioneers. )
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 can chickpeas
- 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Chopped coriander to serve
- Coconut vegan yoghurt, or grated creamed coconut
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Chop the aubergine into chunks. I split them length-ways into quarters and then slice thickly.
- Put the aubergines into a roasting tin with the spices and 4 cloves of garlic, coat with olive oil and roast for 25 to 30 minutes
- Finely chop the red onion and cook it slowly in olive oil, for around 10 minutes
- Add 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, along with the tomatoes, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes
- Add the aubergine, chickpeas, salt, apple cider vinegar and cook until the chickpeas are hot.
- Serve with a garnish of coriander leaves and coconut yoghurt.
I served this with rice, and we were very full afterwards
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.
- 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
- 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.
I thought I was being brilliant and inventive and then discovered that this is a classic. There are hundreds of versions on the internet already.
- Around 250ml sweet tomato sauce
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 tbsp mystery herb mixture including dried chillies from a present from Italy
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250g pasta
- Start by bringing a pan of water to the boil, and cook the pasta for the time advised on the pack, usually around 8 to 9 minutes.
- In another pan, heat the olive oil, add the mystery herbs and after a few seconds, add the tomato sauce and bring it to a simmer.
- Drain the chickpeas and add to the tomato sauce, and bring it back to a simmer.
- When the pasta is done, drain and stir in the sauce and then serve
I went to the co-op on the way home from work, with the express intent to see what I could buy in the reduced section before it was discarded. I bought a pack of mixed prepared vegetables, which included a cooked potato, some carrots and some broccoli. This recipe could use peas, carrots, kohl rabi, cauliflower, all sorts of lovely things. I added some more potato.
- 1 carrot, chopped (or peas)
- 1 small cauliflower, chopped (or broccoli or kohl rabi)
- 3 small potatoes, chopped into quarters
- Vegetable oil
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies, or green tabasco sauce
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp grated creamed coconut
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, if available.
- Chop the potatoes into quarters. Chop the vegetables into florets, 2cm dice, all a similar size.
- In a large pan, wok or karhai, heat the oil, and when it is hot, add the asafoetida and mustard seeds.
- As the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the curry leaves, and then the potatoes, along with the chillies, turmeric, salt and sugar, and stir for a couple of minutes
- Add 50ml water, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Check regularly and add more water if the mixture looks too dry.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, stir into the mixture along with a little more water, and cook for a further five minutes.
- Sprinkle over the grated coconut and coriander, before serving.
I have been thinking about how I buy vegetables. I prioritise local and homegrown, but at this time of year, I buy a lot from the local shops, trying to stick to Scottish produce wherever I can.
I also like to buy the reduced vegetables, to avoid the shops having to throw these away, reducing food waste. So, here comes the first of a series of recipes inspired by ingredients rescued from the reduced section.
- 2 packs of fresh green beans
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced thinly
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- Trim the beans and chop into 2 cm lengths
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, and when it is hot, fry the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add the thinly sliced onion, and lower the heat a bit, cooking the onion until it is wilting. Do not let the onion start to turn brown. This should take around three minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper, and a cup of boiling water.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- At the end, take off the lid and boil off any liquid, so that a thick tomato sauce coats the beans. Check the seasoning.
I served this with couscous, but rice would also be a really good option.
I’ve had this recipe for years and years. I think it is best with a firm squash or pumpkin, like butternut squash.
- 1 1/2 lb pumpkin or squash, cubed
- 1 1/2 lb potatoes, boiled for 15 minutes and cubed
- 1 oz grated ginger
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 oz butter (omit for a vegan version)
- 3 floz olive oil
- 1 oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
- Melt the butter and the olive oil together and add the ginger, cumin and cardamom, and start to fry, for around 30 seconds
- Add the potato, pumpkin and fry for another 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is softening and the potatoes are starting to brown.
- Season with salt and pepper, put into an oven-proof gratin dish, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
- Place under a hot grill for a few minutes, until the top is crisp and the interior is bubbling.
I have no idea if this recipe is Mexican at all. I got it from my friend Kay, who I think got it from a book called the Vegetarian Epicure which I have never chased down yet.
- 2 large onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 floz olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 2 cups of white rice
- 1 1/2 pints of tomato puree (I use canned chopped tomatoes which I blend, or you could use passata)
- 2 tsp salt
- 14 floz water
- Chop the onions and garlic and lightly fry in the oil.
- Add the ginger, coriander, cloves and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds
- Add the rice and stir, cooking until the rice seems to be turning clear and beginning to brown
- Add the tomato puree, salt and water, and simmer for 25 minutes
This is a very easy recipe, can’t recall where it is from. I usually have these ingredients in the house, so I can usually make this.
- 1 can butter beans
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 1/2 pints of stock
- 1 bayleaf
- 2 onions, chopped
- olive oil or butter
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp honey or sugar
- chopped parsley to serve
- Gently cook the onions in the olive oil until well cooked, very soft.
- Add the beans, stock, tomatoes, bayleaf and then simmer the soup for half an hour
- Season to taste, with the salt, pepper, honey.
Serve with brown toast and garnished with chopped parsley