Persian herb omelette

A Kookoo is a large omelette dish from Iran. It has a little flour and raising agent added, and it is baked in the oven, a bit like a Spanish frittata. It tastes wonderful, spiced and flavoured with herbs. It often has vegetables in it as well. This version is full of herbs from the garden, with spices and barberries, which I sourced from Seasoned Pioneers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs, to include chives, parsley, fennel
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Melt the butter in an 8 inch frying pan or skillet that will go into the oven
  • Break the eggs into a bowl, and lightly beat in all the other ingredients
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pan and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes

Serve with salad and bread, possibly a little Greek yoghurt. A herb Kookoo is a traditional New Year dish, a taste of the start of spring.

Mashed potatoes and pears with ginger

This is an astonishingly good combination to serve with pork.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Enough potatoes for the number of people being served
  • About half that quantity of hard pears
  • Salt, pepper, butter
  • A tiny amount of finely chopped crystalised ginger

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes as you would normally for mashed potatoes. Drain them, saving the boiling water
  • Peel and core the pears, and poach them in the potato water until they are soft
  • Mash the pears and potatoes together with salt, pepper, butter and the chopped ginger

Spanish scrambled egg with mushrooms

I love the Moro cookbook. The recipes are simple and the flavours are bright and fresh. We had mushrooms and we had eggs so I followed their recipe. Just like you’d think, but better.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mushrooms, a mixture of wild and fresh if available, including porcini, chanterelles, etc. We used horse mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 25g butter
  • 6 organic free-range eggs, preferably local
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 40g slice serrano ham, optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD:

  • Clean and roughly chop the mushrooms.
  • Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, and when the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic. Fry it until it begins to colour.
  • Immediately, add the chopped mushrooms and stir well. Fry for around 4 minutes
  • Add the sliced ham at this point, if you are using it.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and put the fried mushrooms aside in a bowl.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter
  • Meanwhile, break the eggs with the milk, and stir until the yolks are broken; the mixture should not be well mixed.
  • Add the eggs to the melted butter and stir until the eggs begin to set
  • Add the mushroom mixture and the chopped parsley, and continue to stir until the eggs are as cooked as you wish them to be. The white of the egg should be set.

Serve with toast.

La Piperade (eggs, peppers and tomatoes)

This is an Elizabeth David recipe, and it is a classic. I made it because one lot of neighbours had grown some splendid green peppers in their polytunnel, and another lot have the most fantastic free-range eggs. This serves 2, but it is easy to scale up the recipe according to the availability of ingredients, or number of people to feed.

INGREDIENTS:

  • olive oil
  • One small onion, finely sliced
  • 3 green peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 can organic chopped tomatoes (or, even better, use 500g fresh locally grown tomatoes, skinned and chopped)
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

METHOD:

  • Heat a generous amount of oil or dripping in a large frying pan, and then cook the sliced onion until it begins to turn yellow.
  • Add the strips of green pepper, and cook on medium for up to 15 minutes.
  • Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, garlic, and salt and pepper. Some people add a little basil at this stage as well.
  • Cook until the tomatoes are in a pulp, and the mixture is good and thick.
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir until the mixture begins to thicken, like scrambled eggs.

Serve on a heated dish. This is good with toast and bacon or ham.

Beetroot and Coconut Curry

 

Malcolm got this recipe from somewhere, no idea where. We had it tonight, cooked with beetroot from Maria’s vegetable box scheme.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400g raw beetroot
  • 2 tbsp organic sunflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 can organic chopped tomatoes
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime

METHOD:

  • Peel the beetroot, and cut into matchsticks (a mandolin is useful for this. Or just cut it up as small as you can)
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the mustard seeds. As soon as they start jumping, add the onion, garlic and chillies. Fry on medium heat until the onion is tender.
  • Add the spices and the beetroot, fry for a further two minutes and then add the tomatoes, 250ml water and a pinch of salt.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot is tender.
  • Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for another couple of minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Stir in the lime juice, adjust the seasoning, and serve with rice.

Broccoli with pine-nuts and cheese

I had a lot of broccoli. Children bought it, chopped it up, and then went to the mainland on the ferry. What else do I have to say. This is very easy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Broccoli, cut into small florets
  • About 30g butter
  • A handful of pine-nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 50g grated hard strong cheese

METHOD:

  • Steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan and fry the pine-nuts until slightly browned
  • Mix the butter, pine-nuts, salt, pepper and broccoli with the cheese

Green beans with onion, garlic and tomato

This is a recipe from the Philippines. It is great with rice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 700g fresh green beans
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 4tbsp organic vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Trim the beans and cut into 3cm lengths. Cut the onions in half and slice crosswise to fine slices, and chop the garlic very fine.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the garlic for a few seconds, before adding the onion slices. Stir and fry for another 3 minutes or so, until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper and 100ml water
  • Bring to the boil, cover, and then simmer for around 15 minutes until the beans are cooked.
  • Remove the lid, turn up the heat and reduce the sauce until it is quite thick. Stir while you are doing this to stop it from sticking.

Shredded cabbage with mustard seeds and coconut

For this Indian recipe, you should really use fresh coconut, but if I’ve ever bought a coconut here, it has not been that good. I’ve substituted coconut milk.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbs mustard oil or other vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • A large green cabbage, around 1.5kg, cored and finely shredded
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 fresh hot green chilli, in fine long strips
  • 50g grated coconut or 100ml coconut milk

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium to high heat
  • Add the mustard seeds and bayleaf, and as soon as the bayleaf starts to darken and the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cabbage
  • Turn the heat to medium, then stir and cook for around five minutes.
  • Add the sugar, salt and chilli, and continue to stir and cook for a further three to five minutes
  • Turn off the heat, add the coconut, mix and serve.

Spinach, potato and goat’s cheese tart

I make this to serve with flaky smoked salmon. I got it from Rachel Allen’s website, but it isn’t there any more.

INGREDIENTS:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g  chilled butter, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling:

  • 250 g baby or destalked large spinach leaves
  • 7 baby new potatoes (unpeeled)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 ml double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 25g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 150g soft goat’s cheese (sliced from a goat’s cheese log)
  • 25cm diameter tart tin
METHOD:

  • Make the pastry:  place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whiz briefly, or rub together to bread-crumb consistency.
  • Add half the beaten egg and continue to mix. You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be moist enough to come together.
  • With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is 2cm thick then wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4). Line the tart tin and ‘bake blind’.
  • Wash and spin the spinach, removing any tough stalks and stems if using large spinach leaves. In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the spinach in just the water that’s clinging to it over a low heat until it wilts. Drain in a colander or sieve and allow to cool a little, then squeeze most of the moisture out with your hands and chop roughly.
  • Meanwhile, steam or boil the potatoes until just cooked, and cool on a tray or board. When cool enough to handle, cut into 5mm (1/4 in) slices.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs and add the cream, salt and pepper, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and Parmesan. Whisk these ingredients together then add the spinach and mix through.
  • Season well; potatoes are very mild and need a good contrast.
  • Spread the potato slices over the base of the prepared tart, and dot with the goat’s cheese
  • Gently spoon over the spinach cream mixture as high as you can go. If you are concerned about spillage, carry the tart minus the last few spoons of filling over to the oven.
  • Place in the oven, spoon over the remaining filling and any remaining potato and cheese slices. Bake for 35–40 minutes until the tart is golden brown and just set in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Spinach with chickpeas

This recipe and the spices are from Seasoned Pioneers, who do a range of organic spices.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp Baharat spice mix
  • 1 can of organic chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can organic chopped tomatoes
  • Around 500g spinach
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint.

METHOD:

  • Rinse the chickpeas, and set aside.
  • Chop the garlic, and fry for 1 minute in the olive oil.
  • Add the onions and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices and fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Mix in the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to a simmer, cook for around 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are hot through and the sauce is reducing down a little.
  • Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil, and cook the spinach for 5 minutes until wilted.
  • Mix the spinach into the tomato mixture, and put into a serving dish
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and mint, and dribble over the top just before serving.

This was very tasty indeed.