Leek, yoghurt and potato soup

This is a twist on a classic combination, created by substituting ingredients from the fridge. We have storms this week, with a high risk of no food deliveries onto the island, and I didn’t want to use the last of the milk to make this soup, so I used Greek yogurt instead. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large leek
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • 25g butter
  • 300 ml hot marigold stock
  • 200 ml yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry

METHOD:

  • Clean the leek, and chop finely; start by cutting lengthways into 4, then slicing. 
  • In a largish pan, melt the butter, and add the leek, onion, potato and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook on a very low heat for around 10 minutes or more.
  • Add the yoghurt and the stock, and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for a further 15 to 20 minutes, so that the vegetables are very soft. 
  • Use a soup wand or blender to make a very smooth soup. Add the sherry, and check the seasoning. 
  • You could garnish with chopped herbs, but it was delicious without. 

I served this with homemade oatcakes. 

 

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:

  • 20g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chunky leek, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 150ml marigold stock or other simple stock
  • 125g baby spinach
  • 3 large eggs
  • 45g feta cheese
  • 1 dessert spoon 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 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.
  • 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. 

Menemen – Turkish dish of peppers, eggs and tomatoes.

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. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

METHOD:

  • 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. 
 

Pea and feta fritters

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. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

METHOD:

  • 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. 

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.

 

 

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. 

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.