I can hardly wait to tell you about this recipe, or to eat it again. It is delicious, and dangerously garlicky, so I think I will be in trouble at work tomorrow. I made it with tinned beans, but the original recipe starts from scratch. I got the recipe from the remarkable book, Nightingales and Roses. These are recipes from all over Iran, organised by seasonal availability of ingredients. Where she wins over my other current favourite book, Jerusalem, is her serving suggestions.
- 1 can of cannellini or borlotti beans
- 50g butter
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small bulb of garlic, with the cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tsp of dill seed, or 5 tsp dried dill weed, or 30g fresh dill, chopped
- salt, to taste
- 4 eggs
- Melt the butter in a medium lidded frying pan, add the oil and then the chopped garlic, and fry until the garlic is turning golden.
- Add the turmeric, pepper, dill, and salt, and then add the can of beans including the water they are in.
- Bring to a simmer, and cook, until the mixture is getting drier and thicker.
- Make 4 wells in the bean mixture, and into each well, break an egg. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
The book suggests serving this with a little rice, with side dishes of olives, chopped radishes, smoked fish. We were not so dainty, and served this with a side salad with herbs and some bread, olives and labneh.
I think I got this recipe from Nadine Abensur’s new Cranks’ recipe book, which I gave to someone. We are in peak egg season at the moment, I have been given so many boxes of eggs. Combine that with summer potatoes, and the sweet burn of fresh garlic from the garden. Who knew that the Hebrides could be so lush.
- New potatoes, around 4 medium sized, or more if they are smaller
- 1 red onion
- 1 large clove of garlic
- Lots of olive oil
- tomatoes, peppers or other vegetable, optional
- salt and pepper
- 8 eggs
- Slice the potatoes thickly, and slice the onions finely. Chop the garlic.
- Heat some olive oil in a large deep frying pan. Turn the heat to low and then add the potatoes, onions and garlic. Cook on a low low heat until the potatoes are cooked. Stir so that nothing burns.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Add the fried potatoes to the eggs
- Put the onions or other vegetables with a little oil in the pan, and then, over a medium heat, add the eggs and potatoes.
- Once the edges and bottom of the frittata appear to be cooked, put the pan under a hot grill for 4-5 minutes
Serve in slices with salad and wine.
I put seaweed on my soft fruit plants this year, and as a result, I think I imported a load of orache seeds. If you don’t know, orache is a weed that grows on the upper shore at this time of year, and it is delicious. I’ve got more than I can eat at the moment, the most successful vegetable in my garden at the moment. I also had some left-over wholewheat pasta courtesy of my super-healthy children, so I used that too. Plain pasta is good too.
- 200g pasta
- enough orache to feed four people (no idea of weight, it just looked OK)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped, not crushed
- olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- a squeeze of orange juice
- 50g pine-nuts, toasted
- 50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Fill a large pan with water, bring to the boil and then add the pasta along with a good spoonful of salt, and bring the water back to the boil. Let the pasta cook as long as the pack says (8 minutes for plain pasta, 11 minutes for wholewheat is the usual thing)
- A couple of minutes before the pasta is done, stir-fry the orache and garlic in a bit of olive oil for a couple of minutes, until the orache has wilted. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice
- Drain the cooked pasta and the put it back in the warm pan. Add the orache and the pine nuts and parmesan. Give it all a quick stir, check the seasoning, and serve.
This is another recipe from Jerusalem by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. It fits well with my lifestyle in summer; food that can be put in the oven, and then served hot or cold, straight away or for the next meal, part of a large meal or just as a light lunch.
- 1 Large butternut squash.
- 3 red onions
- 50ml olive oil
- 3 tbsp light tahini paste (available locally!)
- 1.5 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 30g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp za’atar (from Seasoned pioneers)
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240C gas mark 9
- Cut the onions and butternut squash into wedges. I peeled and cut each onion into 6-8 wedges. I cut the squash into 3 equal bits across the way, and then cut each bit into 6-8 wedges, measuring around 2cm by 6cm. Remove the seeds.
- Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, and add 3 tbsp of olive oil, stir to coat, and then add 1 tsp salt, black pepper and mix well.
- Spread the onions and squash onto a baking tray, and turn the squash skin-side down.
- Roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a small bowl and a fork to mix the tahini with the lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, crushed garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt. The mixture should be runny, like honey.
- Pour a little olive oil into a pan, and toast the pine nuts over a medium heat with a pinch of salt. Stir, keeping a close eye, until the pine nuts are toasty brown. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Put the roast vegetables onto a serving platter, drizzle over with the tahini dressing, sprinkle over with the toasted pine-nuts in oil, and then sprinkle over the za’atar and chopped parsley.
I enjoyed this better when cooled down to a warm dish, rather than hot. Also good cold the next day.
I’ve been playing with this recipe for about a month, which means we have been eating various versions of it every few days. It is quite delicious, and it is easy to adapt to what you have available.
- 400 to 500g new potatoes, chopped into bite-size chunks (Jersey Royals work well, one bag full)
- 5 cloves garlic, skin-on, lightly squished
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt, and ground black pepper to taste
- 200g green beans, halved (one pack is usually between 140 and 250g – one pack will do)
- 1/2 celeriac, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (optional)
- 225g halloumi, cut into 2cm cubes (one pack)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (equally delicious with lime juice)
- 1 tsp cumin or caraway seed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
- Put the potatoes and celeriac in a large roasting tray with the garlic, add the olive oil, salt and pepper, the cumin or caraway seed, and mix well. Cook for 30 minutes in the oven.
- Remove from the oven, add the beans and halloumi and toss to combine. Return the tray to the oven for 15 mins until the beans are tender and the cheese is starting to caramelise.
- Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and toss everything again, then transfer to a serving dish.
This is really good cold the next day as well. You could serve it as a side-dish, a starter or as a light lunch.
I’ve bought a few new cookbooks this year, the theme seems to be about the middle east. This book of Persian recipes is called ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. Hopelessly romantic title, but then again, I have a photograph of two Tehrani police officers outside our gate in northern Tehran, posing for my mother with bunches of roses and honeysuckle.
I never had this soup, though, until today. It is easy and delicious. The recipe makes a large quantity, it says it serves four but only if you have two helpings each. It takes about an hour and a half to make.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1.5 litres boiling water
- 50g arborio rice
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained
- 1 pack of coriander leaf, chopped (around 40g)
- 1 pack of flat leaf parsley, chopped (around 40g)
- 1 tbsp dried summer savory (or substitute a mixture of thyme and mint)
- 300g spinach, chopped
- 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 250ml greek yoghurt or sour cream or creme fraiche
- Black pepper to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid. When it is hot, add the chopped onions, and fry for 10-15 minutes until the onions are brown. Stir in the turmeric and mix. Set aside a tablespoonful of fried onions for a garnish at the end.
- Add the water and rice to the rest of the fried onions, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, herbs and spinach, bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste, then beat in the yoghurt. Don’t boil once the yoghurt is added, because it will curdle.
- Garnish with extra yoghurt, the fried onions, and a grating of black pepper.
For a vegan version, leave out the yoghurt, or use coconut yoghurt. For a meaty version, use beef stock instead of water and add small meatballs.
This is from ‘Cook for Syria’ recipe book, from the club of the same name. The food is great, as is the idea behind the project. This recipe looks quite long, with lots of ingredients, but it didn’t involve anything complicated, and many of the steps can be done while other bits are cooking.
- 1 dessert-spoonful of olive oil
- 100g shredded cabbage, kale or brussel sprouts
- 1 tbsp sumac powder (from seasoned pioneers)
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes or powder
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- salt and pepper
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- Olive oil
- 160g puy lentils or other green lentils
- a bay leaf
- 160g basmati rice
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 6 tbsp greek yoghurt
- Coriander leaves, chopped.
- To make the cabbage/kale layer, chop the leaves and mix with the sumac, chilli, sesame seeds, 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt, and put it into a roasting dish. Roast for 15 minutes at 150C
- To make the butternut squash layer, mix the squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, thyme leaves, honey, salt and pepper. Put this into another roasting dish and roast for 30 minutes at 180C
- The rice layer has more steps. First of all, slice the onions finely, and fry gently in olive oil until beginning to brown and caramelise. Set aside.
- Rinse the green lentils in cold water, then cook in plenty of boiling water with the bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Rinse the rice in cold water, then cook in plenty of boiling water for around 6 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water, and return to the pan. Leave the pan in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- Mix the lentils with the rice, the fried onions, and add the lemon juice.
- Make the yoghurt dressing: heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small pan, then add the cumin seeds. After a minute, add the ground cumin, stir, and then beat into the yoghurt, with the tahini.
- Take 1 large platter, and put the rice and lentil mix at the bottom, then the squash, and top with the cabbage, garnish with coriander leaves.
- Guests should help themselves, adding as much of the tahini/yoghurt dressing as they wish.
Last weekend, a friend and I dug up the last of last year’s carrots, where they had overwintered in the ground. I froze some and I also made this soup. I kind of made it up as I went along, using some ingredients that I already had.
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
- olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 400g approx chopped carrots
- 500ml vegetable stock (or other stock)
- 150ml sour cream
- Juice of half a lime
- salt and pepper
- A handful of fresh coriander leaves
- A pinch of chipotle smoked pepper (from Seasoned Pioneers)
- In a saucepan, fry the chilli and the onion slowly in the olive oil, until the onion is softening.
- Add the cumin and the carrots, and cook for another five minutes or so.
- Add the stock, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Take of the heat, and add the sour cream, lime juice, salt, pepper, chipotle pepper and coriander leaves.
- Use a soup wand to make a smooth creamy soup. Add a bit of stock or water if the soup is too thick.
Serve with brown toast.
My brother-in-law, John, served this to us one evening. It was only the second time we met and the soup was one of the many highlights of the evening. The taste recalls the evening around 25 years ago.
- 1 large white onion
- 3 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 400g mushrooms
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 pint of stock
- 1 tsp miso (you can substitute marmite if no miso available)
- 150ml sour cream
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- Finely chop the onion and fry gently in the oil, with 1/2 tsp salt
- Chop the mushrooms and add to the pan
- Add the dill, thyme, paprika and cayenne, and cover. Cook slowly for around 7 minutes.
- Add the stock and miso and bring to a simmer for three minutes.
- Liquidise, and add the sour cream and lemon juice.
- Reheat without bringing to the boil.
Serve with brown bread.