This is a rich, chunky soup with lots of flavour and it uses lots of ingredients that I can get locally. It is another Ottolenghi recipe.
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 170g celeriac, in bits about the size of a cannellini bean
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 500g lamb, in 2cm cubes
- 1.75 litres of water
- 1 can of cannellini beans OR 100g dried beans, soaked overnight and drained.
- 7 cardamom pods, lightly squashed
- (you could add a stick of cinnamon as well)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp caster sugar or date syrup
- 4 firm potatoes such as Charlotte or Jersey Royal, 2cm cubes
- salt and black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- Chopped coriander and green chillies (depending on your taste)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the onion and celeriac over a medium heat until starting to brown. This takes around 5 minutes
- Add the garlic cloves and cumin and cook for another two minutes before turning off the heat.
- Put the meat and water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 10 minutes, and skim the surface to get a clear broth.
- Add the onion and celeriac, the soaked cannellini beans, (if using tinned beans, wait until later) along with the turmeric, cardamom, sugar and tomato puree. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour so that the lamb and beans are tender.
- Add the potatoes, 1 level tsp salt, pepper, canned beans, and bring back to the simmer. Cook for a further 20 minutes, with the lid off the pan, to thicken the soup.
- When the soup is cooked, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. Serve garnished with chopped coriander. You could add chopped parsley and hot green chillies. Ottolenghi gives a recipe for Zhoug which can be used as a garnish.
Serve with bread.
This recipe is based on one in Ottlenghi’s book, ‘Jerusalem’, but there are many versions, in my soup book, in my two books of Turkish recipes, and in a book by Madhur Jaffrey. The key ingredients are yoghurt, eggs, dried mint, and some sort of grain. Some of the recipes use bulghur wheat, others use rice. One recipe has a handful of green lentils, another has some chickpeas. This recipe has herbs and spring onions stirred in.
- 1.8 litres dilute lamb stock or vegetable stock
- 200g pearl barley
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 60g butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 450g Greek yoghurt
- salt and pepper
- chopped herbs, try mint, parsley, spring onion, to garnish
- In a large pan, bring the stock to a simmer, and add the barley and 1 level tsp salt. Cover and simmer for around 20 minutes, until the barley is cooked.
- In the meantime, melt the butter in a medium pan, low heat, and fry the onion and dried mint until the onion is soft, around 10 to 15 minutes. Add this to the barley pan.
- Whisk the eggs and the yoghurt together in a large bowl. Add a scoop of the hot stock from the barley pan, and keep whisking, and adding scoops of hot stock, until the mixture is warm.
- Add the warmed yoghurt mixture to the barley pan, and season with salt and pepper. Heat gently until the soup is almost at a simmer.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with chopped herbs.
This is a recipe from Elizabeth David ‘French Provincial Cooking’. We are making our way through the prodigious quantities of food in the freezer, and this time I hauled out a stew pack of venison. This was easy and tasty, I used the timer function on my oven to cook it slowly through the afternoon.
- Around 900g to 1kg venison. If it is in one piece, tie it to a sausage shape
- 4 tbsp full-bodied red wine
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour (I used gluten-free flour)
- salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon
- 1 onion, sliced
- Put the venison in a container with a lid, and add the red wine, vinegar and olive oil. Leave to marinade overnight.
- Put the meat in a smallish casserole dish with the marinade. In a small cup, mix the flour with a little marinade to make a paste, and stir that in, also add the bay leaves and salt and pepper.
- Over the top of the meat, layer slices of onion and then streaky bacon.
- Cover, and cook at 150C for four hours.
We served this with fried mushrooms and potato and celeriac mash.
Another great rabbit recipe, this time from the north east coast of Spain. I cooked this in two stages. Simmering the rabbit slowly helped the meat to fall from the bone. Thank you to the supplier of rabbit.
- 1 rabbit, jointed
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large peeled tomatos, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of dried thyme
- 1 bayleaf
- a glass of red wine
- 12 ready-to-eat prunes (or soaked prunes)
- a handful of pine nuts
- a quarter of a lemon
- 12 blanched almonds
- a large clove of garlic
- 3 peppercorns
- 1 tsp seasalt
- Fry the rabbit in the olive oil, browning them. Set the rabbit aside until later
- Simmer the finely chopped onion in the same pan, for around ten minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook slowly for half an hour, crushing the tomatoes to make a thick sauce
- Add the rabbit back to the pain with thyme, the bayleaf and cover. Cook in a slow oven, around 140C for an hour and a half. Add the glass of red wine to keep the dish moist, about an hour into the cooking. If you are going to do this in two stages, you can pause here and chill until you are ready to finish the dish.
- Meanwhile, simmer the prunes in just enough water to cover, along with the pine nuts and the lemon. This should take half an hour.
- Chop the almonds, and put them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, with the salt, and then add the peppercorns, and finally grind in the garlic.
- Add the almond paste to the stew, stir in and cook for another fifteen minutes. Then, add the stewed prunes and stir well.
We had this with new potatoes. Any other potato dish would be fine, as well as a small salad or green vegetables.
My daughter has been staying, and she and her boyfriend cooked me this dish. I didn’t really see what they put in it, but I did some research afterwards. I was sort of watching, and then I looked up some more information about the recipe.
First off, think of guacamole, an avocado dish. The last part of that word, that is how you pronounce mole, it means a sauce, and there are many kinds. The type of mole that was prepared for me was an especially complicated one, to celebrate the fact that we were all together for Easter.
This recipe is based on a celebratory dish that is prepared usually for the Mexican day of the dead. The spice mix is usually prepared in a spice mill, and can contain thirty or more ingredients, including several types of chillies, chocolate, nuts, sesame seeds and dried fruit. The resulting sauce is dark, unctuous and rich, fruity and spicy.
We used a small mechanical spice grinder to mix and grind the dried ingredients, and then used a soup wand to make sure the sauce was rich and smooth before adding the black beans.
- 25g Pumpkin seeds
- 25g Pecan nuts
- 25g Almonds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 8 cloves
- 50g Sesame seeds for a garnish at the end
- Peanut or sunflower oil
- A mixture of dried chillies (the suggested trio is mulato, ancho and morita, I used paprika, cayenne, birdseye and chipotle) – to taste.
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 8 whole tomatoes
- 700ml vegetable stock
- 2 tsp oregano (more authentic would be Mexican Oregano)
- 2 tsp thyme (more authentic would be Epazote)
- A pinch of anise powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Dried white bread, or panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1-2 tsp date syrup, to taste and add a fruity flavour
- 25g dark unsweetened chocolate, the expensive stuff
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 to 3 tins of black beans, drained
- Chopped coriander leaves
Most of the herbs and spices are available from Seasoned Pioneers – but you’d have to be really keen to get to grips with Mexican cookery, or like a very cluttered spice shelf.
- In a large dry pan, over a low to medium heat, toast all of the nuts, pumpkin seeds and whole spices for around five minutes. Stir all the time, and don’t take your eye off them, so they don’t burn. Set aside. Grind the toasted dried ingredients in the spice mill once they have cooled.
- In the same pan, toast the sesame seeds the same way, and set aside.
- Wipe the pan clean, and cook the peppers in oil for around three minutes, until they are beginning to char, around three minutes.
- Add the whole garlic cloves for the last thirty seconds and continue to cook. When done, set aside.
- In the same pan, add a little more oil. Gently fry the chopped red onion until it is beginning to brown
- Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, you could also add soaked dried apricots or sultanas at this stage
- Set aside the toasted sesame seeds to garnish at the end. To the pan, add in the rest toasted ingredients, herbs, cinnamon and anise powder, the dried bread crumbs, peanut butter, tahini and the stock, and blend with a soup blender.
- Make sure the sauce is really smooth, you may want to put it through a coarse strainer or fine mouli, just to get it smooth enough.
- Once the sauce is smooth enough and any stray seeds have been sieved out, bring it back to a simmer for around five minutes to cook the flavours together. Season with salt to taste.
- Melt the chocolate into the sauce. Adjust the sweetness and fruitiness with the date syrup. Here is the point when you can start testing the sauce and add ingredients to get it just right.
- Drain the beans, and add to the smooth sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander.
Serve with lime wedges to add some sourness, and some plain boiled rice. You could also serve guacamole as a side dish, but buying avocadoes in the local shops can be a bit of a gamble. For a less vegetarian version, you could use fried fish cakes or broiled chicken instead of the black beans.
This is an unusual combination, very tasty and relatively simple and quick to make, especially if you use tinned beans.
- 225g Black eyed beans (or 2 cans of black eyed beans)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 125g walnuts (you could add or substitute almonds)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- a teaspoon of date molasses or sugar
- Soak the beans overnight, and then simmer in plenty of fresh water for 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- If you are using walnuts bought in the UK, they are probably quite bitter. Soak them overnight in cold water as well, and drain.
- In a food processer, chop the notes roughly
- Use a large pan. Heat the olive oil over a low heat, and cook the onion slowly for ten minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomaotes and tomato puree and continue to cook for a further ten minutes.
- Add the nuts, parsley and beans, mashing them together slightly.
- Season with salt and pepper, and a little date molasses. Continue to cook, stirring, for another ten minutes.
For a variation, add a pinch of mild chilli flakes, such as Pul Biber, when adding the garlic.
We served this with brocolli and greek flatbreads and feta cheese.
I was inspired to make these when the co-op stopped selling them. These have been a staple over the last year, delicious soft foldable breads. I made the dough in my breadmaker, but it should work if you make them by hand as well.
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 250ml cold water
- Put the ingredients into the breadmaker in the order listed, and set it onto the white bread dough program.
- When the dough is ready, remove it from the breadmaker and divide it into six balls. It will be a tad sticky. Cover with a damp cloth while you prepare the next bit.
- Brush a rolling surface with flour, and roll out the first couple of breads , so that they are about half a centimetre thick, and the size of the bottom of your frying pan.
- Heat a cast-iron frying pan over a medium to high heat, with a little olive oil in. Put in the first flatbread in the pan and keep preparing the next flatbreads. After about a minute and a half, the flatbread in the pan will be puffing up a little, so turn it over and cook the other side.
- As each flatbread is cooked, check to see if the pan needs oiled, and start cooking the next one. The cooked flatbreads should be placed onto a clean cloth and wrapped over to keep them warm. Pile them on top of each other as you go, as this will keep them moist and pliable.
We served with dishes of sliced radish, cucumber, olives, fried haloumi, sliced pepper and lettuce. The flatbreads fold over in half to enclose the filling; you could add tzaziki, feta cheese, salad, cooked chicken, grilled vegetables, all sorts. Having an array of potential fillings means that people can make their own favourite.
I’m really enjoying trying out south American flavours and recipes. I’ve ordered a selection of spices from Seasoned Pioneers, and I used their Central American spice mix, which includes cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, roasted garlic, roasted red chillies, cayenne, all-spice, thyme and oregano, and some onion salt. They suggested making huevos rancheros, so I made this tonight.
- Cooking oil; I used sunflower oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 2 tsp central American spice mix
- 4 eggs
- 4 warm tortillas
- 1 chopped tomato
- Chopped jalapeno peppers (I bought pickled ones in buth Neillie)
- Avocado, lime, coriander leaf to serve
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, and gently fry the onion with a good pinch of salt, until it is soft.
- Add the garlic, cook for another minute.
- Stir in the beans, spice mix and 75ml water. Cook for 7 minutes or so. Don’t let this get dry.
- Roughly mash the beans and set aside to prepare the rest.
- Warm the tortillas and fry the eggs.
- On each tortilla, spread the bean mixture, and then add the chopped tomato, jalapenos, fried egg, and garnish with coriander.
- Serve with dishes of avocado, and lime wedges.
We didn’t have any avocados, I have not had good luck with these locally over the years, so I don’t buy them.
I made the weekly raid on the freezer for my birthday evening meal, and pulled out a shank of red deer venison. I hadn’t cooked this cut before, so I did a bit of googling, looked at the ingredients in the fridge and then made this braised venison. I think it would have worked well for up to two shanks, so we have ended up with a very tasty gravy for a second meal.
I’ve got really into using gluten-free flour as a thickener for stews and soups, the consistency of the gravy is good, not gluey at all.
- 1 or 2 red deer venison shanks (see above)
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 small or 1 large stick of celery, diced
- approx 50g butter
- olive oil
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- a bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 250ml red wine
- 250ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp juniper berries, bruised in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tbsp gluten-free flour
- Season the venison well with salt and pepper.
- In a pan that is big enough to cook the shanks, melt the butter in the olive oil. Set the oven to 150C
- Over a moderate heat, brown the shanks, one at a time, and then set aside.
- Reduce to a low heat, add the onions, carrots and celery to the same pan, and cook until softened.
- Add the red wine, and reduce
- Add the stock, bay, thyme, and juniper and tomatoes and cook down for around 15 minutes. This will give a better consistency and taste at the end.
- Add the venison shanks, bring back to a simmer and then cook in the oven for 4 hours. For the last 30 minutes of cooking, prepare any side dishes such as mash, cabbage, etcetera.
- At the end of cooking, remove the shanks from the pan, and mix the flour with a spoon or two of the gravy before adding to the pan and bringing to a simmer for around 5 minutes.
This is an excellent recipe for using up left-overs. The key ingredients are potatoes, meat and onion. The version here is my basic recipe, but it can be adapted to incorporate all sorts.
- 30g lard, butter or dripping
- 1 onion, finely chopped (I sometimes add a leek too)
- 1/2 a turnip (or swede, if you are English), peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- (optional, shredded cabbage, diced celery, etcetera)
- 600g potatoes, peeled and roughly sliced
- Around 100ml stock or left-over gravy
- Around 200g chopped cooked meat (could be varied according to what is available, both in type and quantity)
- A grate of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Melt the fat in the bottom of a large pan, and fry the onion (and leeks, celery, if you are using this) over a low heat until soft and almost browning.
- Add the potatoes and stir them in. When they are hot, add the carrots and the turnip and any other extra vegetables, and stir to mix.
- Heat the stock and pour it in, adding the chopped meat at the same time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and stir again.
- Cover the pot and simmer over a low heat for around 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are beginning to break down. Check from time to time to see how the potatoes are cooking, to stir together and to assess whether any more stock needs to be added.
Very warm, filling and thrifty.