You know how it is: You go to the shops to buy a green pepper, and they are only available as a pack of three mixed peppers. I ended up with a couple of red peppers, and then found this recipe in Moro. I adapted a little to locally available ingredients.
- 1 large aubergine
- 2 red peppers (I had one red and one yellow pepper, which made for an attractive dish)
- 1 clove of garlic
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g Greek-style yoghurt, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 25g caramelised butter
- fresh coriander leaves
- Turn the oven to 220C. Pierce the skins of the aubergine and peppers, and put them in the oven on a tray for 40 to 45 minutes. I turned them a couple of times, and took the peppers out earlier than the aubergine.
- When the skins of the peppers and aubergine are cooked, cool the vegetables until you can handle them, and peel off the skin.
- Chop the aubergine coarsely, and mix in the crushed garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste. Spread the mixture over the base of a serving plate
- Remove the seeds from the peppers, and chop them coarsely, season lightly and strew artistically over the aubergines.
- Pour the yoghurt in blobs over the dish, and spoon over with caramelised butter. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with pitta bread or other flatbread.
To make caramelised butter, melt butter in a small pan, and heat gently until the milk solids turn a golden brown. Watch carefully, or it will all go wrong.
This is totally delicious, much more than you’d think. I made this tonight, because of a constellation of ingredients in my fridge that inspired me to try. The trick with the egg and yoghurt really works for keeping the soup smooth. I cut this down from a recipe in Moro.
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large leeks
- 1/2 tsp Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber) or paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried miint
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp plain flour
- 150ml greek yoghurt
- 250ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 20g/person caramelised butter
- salt and pepper
- Chop the leeks: slice them in half lengthways, rinse and slice finely.
- Heat the olive oil and butter together until the butter starts to foam, and then fry the leeks over a low heat for ten minutes.
- Add the chilli and dried mint, cover and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, checking regularly to ensure that the leeks don’t stick or burn.
- Meanwhile, mix the egg yolk with the flour, to a smooth paste, and then beat in the yoghurt and stock. I used a soup wand to do this.
- When the leeks are cooked, sweet and soft, pour on the yoghurt and stock, and heat gently, do not allow to boil. Keep stirring as the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To make browned butter, put around 20g per person in a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. The white milk solids will sink to the bottom. Keep cooking until the milk solids start to turn a gentle brown. Remove from the heat.
- Pour a little browned butter into each bowl before serving.
The last celeriac from the garden, I sewed some more seed for next winter/spring. I roasted it with orange juice and carrots. It was really good. The seeds are tiny, for such a robust vegetable.
- 1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks about 1 by 1 by 2 centimetres
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, split lengthways and cut into chunks about 2 centimetres long
- 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
- 10 cloves of garlic
- Grated rind and juice of one large orange
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 tsp grated black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh dill to garnish.
- Set the oven to 180C
- In a large roasting dish, put all the ingredients except the dill, and stir to mix
- Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cooking.
- Mix in the chopped dill before serving.
This is an important sauce at this time of year, when asparagus is in the shops, the sun is shining, and a light supper is called for. Hollandaise sauce is the perfect method to help butter and lemon juice to stick to food, just thickened with egg yolk.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Put the butter in a small pan over low heat, and as soon as it has melted, take it off the heat.
- In another pan, half fill with boiling water, and put a small trivet in the bottom. Put over a low flame so the water stays hot.
- In a heat-proof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the vinegar, and sit them over the boiling water.
- Straight away, start pouring in the molten butter in a slow stream, beating the eggs all the time. A small balloon whisk is ideal.
- The sauce will be quite thick; add the lemon juice and keep beating, and season with salt and pepper.
You can vary the lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste.
This is a good basic stir-fry recipe, and you can use just about any vegetables. Finely sliced courgette, mange-tout peas, slivers of red and green pepper, all work well. At the moment the co-op in Creagorry seems to have lots of fresh egg noodles in the reduced section for vegetables, so we used those.
- 450g egg noodles
- 1 tsp salt
- 250g broccoli
- 250g mushrooms
- 1-2 carrots
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 200ml vegetable stock (I used marigold stock)
- 2 tbsp black bean sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2cm cube of fresh ginger (approx)
- 1 tbsp dry sherry such as Tio pepe, or Shaohsing wine.
Prepare the ingredients:
- Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the instructions (some noodles are sold ready-cooked) – rinse in cold water.
- Chop the carrots into thin slices, cut on a slant. Cut the broccoli into small florets, and the stems into strips 5cm long. Wipe the mushrooms clean, and slice with the stems still on.
- Finely chop the ginger and garlic
- In a small bowl, put in the cornflour, then slowly add the stock, and mix to a paste. Add the black bean sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. If it has gone lumpy, you can remedy this with a soup blender.
Start the cooking
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over a medium flame. When it is hot add the garlic and ginger, and stir a couple of times.
- Add the mushrooms, broccoli and carrots, and 3/4 tsp salt, and stir and fry until the vegetables are all hot, it doesn’t take long.
- Pour in the sherry, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for a minute, so the vegetables are very lightly steamed in hot sherry.
- Uncover, and add the cornflour/black bean mixture. Turn the heat up a little and add the noodles. Keep stirring and mixing so that the noodles are hot and the sauce is thickened.
An alternative is to fry the noodles separately, treating them like a large pancake in the bottom of a frying pan. Fry without stirring for 3-4 minutes, and then when the noodles are crispy on the bottom, flip over and fry the other side. When serving, put the noodle pancake on a plate and pour the vegetables and sauce over the top.
For when your husband comes home with a random cauliflower. It is a longish list of ingredients, but it is very very good.
- 1 small to medium cauliflower
- 100g creamed coconut
- 2 tsp salt
- 100g tomatoes
- 2.5cm cube of fresh ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 1 medium onion
- 2 hot green chillies
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 6 curry leaves
- 2 medium potatoes
- 4 eggs (optional – leave these out for a vegan version)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
Prepare all the ingredients.
- Boil the potatoes, then cool, peel and chop them into 2cm dice.
- Separate the cauliflower into small florets, about 2cm across at the top. Cook the florets for a minute in boiling water, then drain and rinse in cold water.
- Pour 500ml boiling water onto the creamed coconut, and stir so it is all melted in.
- Peel and chop the tomatoes.
- chop the ginger and garlic, and put them into a small blender with a spoonful of water, and blend until smooth.
- Finely chop the onion
- Finely chop the chilli peppers
- Boil, cool and peel the eggs and cut in half.
Next, start assembling the dish.
- In a wok or large deep frying pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and then the cinnamon stick.
- After a couple of seconds, add the chopped onion, and turn the heat to medium, stirring and cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic mixture, and the chopped chilli peppers. Cook for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add about a third of the coconut milk, turn the heat to low, and simmer. As the sauce reduces, keep an eye and stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick.
- Add the potatoes, cauliflower, 1.5 tsp salt, another third of the coconut milk, stir and bring to a simmer.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk and the lemon juice, stir and then put the eggs in carefully, spooning the sauce over the eggs. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Sprinkle with garam masala before serving.
This is good with flat breads such as chapati or roti.
Covid-19. We are staying in as much as possible, and I am systematically going through the ingredients in the freezer, seeing how long we can stay in between shopping expeditions. The top shelf is now down to some cooked beetroot (we’ll have to find something to do with that later)
The second shelf had several half-tubs of ricotta cheese and quite a bit of spinach. This is such a good recipe, I didn’t have to think that hard about what I was going to make.
- 50g butter
- 40g plain white flour
- 600ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- another 50g butter
- 700g (approx) spinach
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 125g parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic
- around 150g oven-ready lasagne sheets
- Make a bechamel sauce: Melt 50g butter in a small pan, and add 40g flour. Cook for a few minutes, so that the mixture is smooth and well-mixed.
- Slowly add the 1 pint of milk, stirring all the while. Add the bay leaf, and cook slowly, stirring, for ten minutes. The sauce should be thick and smooth.
- Remove the bayleaf, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Use a soup wand to make the sauce extra-creamy.
- Set the oven to 200C Gas 6. Grease a dish that measures 20cm by 30cm and around 6cm deep.
- In a very large pan, melt 50g butter and add the spinach. It might be a tight squeeze to get it all in, but it will cook down in about five minutes. You might need to squish it in with a spatula or spoon.
- Stir in the ricotta cheese, garlic, half the parmesan and a grate of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the lasagne. The first layer is sheets of lasagne. Then around a quarter of the bechamel sauce, and then half the spinach. Next, a layer of lasagne, then another quarter of the bechamel and the rest of the spinach. Finally, another layer of lasagne, the rest of the bechamel, and then the rest of the parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the pasta should be tender.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.