Pasta with mangetout peas, lemon and basil

This recipe is from Rose Elliot’s book, Vegetarian Pasta. The recipes are fab, the indexing is not, so I don’t use it that often. However, we are having days of scorching weather and fantastic vegetables, so I dived in to the section on quick recipes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400g farfalle, or similar
  • Salt
  • 350g mangetout peas
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • Juice and finely shredded rind of 1 lemon
  • Black pepper, grated
  • A handful of large basil leaves

METHOD:

  • Set a large pan of salted water on to boil, add the pasta when boiling, and give it a good swirl so the farfalle don’t stick together. Boil the pasta for around 8 minutes, or follow the guidance on the packaging. 
  • About a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the peas.
  • Strain the peas and pasta, and return to the warm pan. Add all of the other ingredients, and divide into serving bowls. 

Cabbage, ginger, carrot, spring onions

There are so many fresh vegetables in the garden it is hard to keep up. Tonight I made a light stir-fry of home grown vegetables. It is good hot or cold. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small cabbage, cored, quartered, and sliced into ribbons around 1.5 cm wide. 
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut on the slant and each slice cut into thin strips
  • 3 spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths, which are then cut lengthways into thin strips
  • 3 tbsp light vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok, and then add the ginger, stir it about and then add all of the vegetables. Stir them round and cook for 3 minutes. 
  • Add the sherry, cover and cook for another 3 minutes
  • For the last minute, uncover and boil of some of the liquid before serving. Remove the slices of ginger as well. 

Super tasty as part of a larger meal. 

 

Potato and courgettes

This is a simple dish to bake in the oven, it can be flavoured with your favourite herbs. This time I used thyme. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 courgettes, cut in four lengthways, and then sliced into chunks
  • 4 medium potatoes (I used Arran pilot) cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp mild smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, or a handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 200C
  • Mix all the ingredients together and put into a roasting tin
  • Bake for one hour, stirring from time to time. 

We served this with a green salad

Beetroot and carrot salad

This year has been a good year for me growing beetroot and carrots, so I made this salad. I think you could also add other root vegetables, for example celeriac. I also thought about adding pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Around 600g of root vegetables, for example carrots and beetroot
  • 1 red onion or 2 shallots
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • mixture of chopped herbs – parsley, mint, coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD:

  • Peel and grate the vegetables on a coarse setting, and mix in a bowl
  • Finely chop the onion, and mix them with the grated vegetables
  • Toast the cumin seeds for about a minute and add to the vegetables
  • Chop the herbs and add them to the vegetables
  • Mix the salt, olive oil, lemon juice and pour over the vegetables. Let the mixture sit for around half an hour before serving. 

This is good with a sharp cheese. 

Nettle soup with blue cheese

I finally found a nettle soup recipe that I really like. This needs to be made in early spring, when the nettles are small and soft. Pick the nettle tops wearing washing up gloves and push them into a measuring jug until you have around 400ml. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 400ml nettle tops
  • 40g plain flour
  • 80g blue cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter

METHOD:

  • Wash and chop the nettle tops finely
  • In a large pan, bring 1 litre of water to the boil, and add the nettle tops and flour. Cook and whisk together for around 10 minutes. I like to use my soup blender.
  • Add blue cheese and simmer until it has melted into the soup, and then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg, add a couple of spoonfuls of the soup and mix together well. Pour the egg mixture back into the soup gradually, stirring as you go. 
  • In a small pan, melt the butter gently and cook until the milk solids in the butter start to turn brown. 
  • Serve the soup with the butter drizzled over the top. 

 

Raw courgette salad

Guess what – it is courgette season. This recipe is so easy. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • a handful of rocket leaves
  • 4 small courgettes, chilled, washed and sliced into small rounds 
  • salt and pepper
  • Dressing of lemon juice and olive oil
  • Shavings of parmesan

METHOD:

  • Wash the rocket and spin dry in a salad spinner
  • Put the rocket and courgette slices in a bowl, dress with salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and garnish with a good amount of parmesan shavings. 

Pasticcio – Greek baked macaroni with lamb mince

This feeds about eight people, or six very hungry teenagers. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 450g lamb mince
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 450g macaroni
  • 250g ricotta
  • 75g parmesan
  • 50ml cream
  • 2-3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg

METHOD:

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, and very gently fry the onion for around ten minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, add the chopped garlic. 
  • Add the lamb mince, and turn the heat up to medium. Stir it into the hot oil to brown it, around 5 minutes. Add the oregano and cinnamon as you cook the mince
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and the stock cube, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, then take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper at the end of cooking. 
  • Next, cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the pack. 
  • In a bowl, combine the ricotta, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and eggs. Stir in 50g of grated parmesan. Stir in the cooked macaroni
  • Pour the mince into a large lasagne dish, and then top this with the macaroni. Sprinkle the top with around 25g grated parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 

I served this with a green salad. It is good the next day served at room temperature. 

Duck eggs, toast and summer vegetables.

Hello all, and thank you to the person who gave us delicious fresh duck eggs. They are lovely fried in olive oil. I made this with courgettes from the Tagsa Horticulture Project. I made it without aubergines on this occasion, as there were none in the shops. It should serve around six people. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped (mix of red/white is good)
  • 2 aubergines, diced (optional)
  • 4 sweet peppers, chopped (mix of green and red)
  • 2 large courgettes, chopped
  • 4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • duck eggs, one per serving

METHOD:

It is useful to remember that you are aiming to caramelise and brown the vegetables, so the cooking is done over a medium heat, and keep a close eye, stirring to prevent things from catching, and adding around 50ml olive oil from time to time to keep things cooking well. 

  • Heat around 100ml olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, cook for around a minute and then add the onions, cooking and stirring for around ten minutes. The onions should be soft. 
  • Add the aubergines and peppers, cook for two minutes and then add the courgettes and keep cooking for another two to three minutes. Add a little more oil if necessary. 
  • Add the bay leaves, paprika and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, stirring from time to time. Then add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for another ten minutes, topping up the olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • When the dish is cooked, turn the heat off. Fry the duck eggs in hot olive oil, one by one in a small frying pan. 

Serve the vegetables on a plate with a fried egg on each portion, and with crusty bread. We had some home-made white bread, toasted. 

French mushroom omelette

This is a recipe from Elizabeth David, making the perfect quick meal this evening. I had a lot of eggs to start with. I bought some from a neighbour, and then my daughter called in with more. Then there were the reduced mushrooms in the co-op. I have quite a few recipes for eggs and mushrooms, and normally I would go and cook an omelette without a recipe. Anyway, Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking was out on the table, and this is how I interpreted her instructions to make one omelette. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approx 60g mushrooms finely sliced
  • approx 30g butter
  • A grate of salt, black pepper and nutmeg
  • half a teaspoon of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs cream

METHOD:

  • In a small pan, fry the mushrooms very gently in the butter and season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. As the mushrooms cook down, add the flour and cream and stir together. 
  • In a small bowl, beat together the three eggs. You really just need to mix the eggs, the mixture doesn’t need to be too homogenous. 
  • In a small frying pan, melt around 10g of butter. Turn the heat up high and before the butter really begins to brown, pour in the eggs. 
  • Add the mushroom mixture dotted around in the cooking eggs. Tip the pan and lift the edge of the omelette, so raw egg reaches the underneath. Keep repeating this move until the top of the omelette is about to set. Fold it in three and serve on a warm plate. 

 

Courgette and Yoghurt salad

It’s courgette season. I love raw courgette, so crunchy. I love it sliced into long strips and grilled, with lemon dressing. I love this salad, from Madhur Jaffrey. It is really easy and quick. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 courgettes, around 350 to 400g
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion
  • 350ml plain yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste and garnish. 

METHOD:

  • Use a food processor to grate the courgette coarsely. Put the grated courgette onto a tea towel in a heap and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt. 
  • Peel the onion, halve it and then slice thinly across the way. 
  • Beat the yoghurt in a bowl and add 1/4 tsp salt, a pinch of cayenne and a grate of black pepper
  • Wrap the tea towel around the grated courgette and wring out any excess water. Use your fingers to separate any clumps. 
  • Heat the oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds start to pop, add the onion, and fry for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the dried courgette, and fry for another three minutes or so. When it is done, turn the heat off and let it cool a bit, before stirring it into the yoghurt. Decant to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. 

This can be served as a side dish with just about anything. It is as good cold from the fridge as it is warm.