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. 

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

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. 

 

Bulgar wheat with mushrooms and feta cheese.

From SIMPLE. The book says it serves 2, but it fed two of us for two nights. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150g bulgar wheat
  • 250ml boiling water or light stock
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 punnets of mushrooms, preferably mixed, around 500g – sliced to about 5mm thick. 
  • 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dill seeds
  • around 100g feta (half a block)
  • 1 tsp mild chilli flakes 
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Rinse the bulgar wheat, add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and add the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl and set aside while everything else is sorted out. 
  • Put 2 tbsp oil in a large frying or saute pan, heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp dill seeds, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing sticks or burns. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. 
  • Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. raise the heat, and then add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and fry for 7 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
  • Add the rest of the cumin seeds, and the thyme and continue to cook for another minute
  • Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. 
  • Mix in the bulgar wheat, onions, feta cheese and chilli flakes and heat through. 

Serve garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Tomato and butter sauce for penne or gnocci

This is a very easy recipe from ‘Dear Francesca‘ – it feels very indulgent adding all that butter, but the sauce is unbelievably tasty. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • One tin of tomatoes (I used chopped tinned tomatoes)
  • A small shallot, peeled but not chopped
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of dried rosemary (a sprig of fresh rosemary is better if it is available)
  • salt
  • Penne pasta or gnocci – allow 60 to 75g per person
  • freshly grated pecorino cheese

METHOD:

  • Put the tomatoes through a mouli or sieve to get rid of the seeds. It is easier if you blend them in a liquidiser first. 
  • Put the sieved tomatoes in a small saucepan with the shallot, sugar and butter, and bring to a slow simmer. Put a wooden spoon in the pan and then put the lid on, so it is propped open a little. Keep simmering and stirring to reduce the sauce. Cook for 30 minutes
  • When the sauce is cooked, take out the shallot, add the rosemary and season with salt. 
  • Cook the penne or gnocchi, and drain, pour over enough sauce and then add freshly grated pecorino cheese

Chickpea curry

This is a very easy curry to serve with baked potato, baked sweet potato, or with nan bread. It is best served warm rather than hot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch of ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • chopped coriander leaves. 

METHOD:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan to a medium heat, and fry the cumin seeds for around 1 minute, before adding the onion, and frying until it is soft, around 7 minutes
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli, and cook for another three minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick. 
  • Add the remaining spices and cook for another couple of minutes
  • Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and then add the chickpeas, and cook for another 20 minutes. I covered the pan for the first ten minutes, and then took the lid off and stirred the curry, to ensure it didn’t stick. 
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 
  • Serve garnished with chopped coriander.

 

Fresh tomato sauce with ricotta and pecorino – to serve with spaghettini

I’ve just read ‘Dear Francesca’ from cover to cover. The recipes use a relatively small range of ingredients to create wonderful food. This is one of the first recipes I tried, using a tray of cherry tomatoes that had ended up in my fridge, along with some of the staples from the book: ricotta and pecorino. 

I didn’t have spaghettini, so I used spaghetti, which is very slightly thicker. It was fine, I had no complaints. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp good extra-virgin olive oil
  • A punnet of cherry tomatoes, or a couple of good handfuls, quartered
  • a clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 180g spaghettini (or enough pasta for 2 people, whatever your usual measure is, I allow 60 to 75g per person)
  • salt and black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • two good pinches of dried oregano
  • freshly grated pecorino

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a pan, and add the tomatoes and garlic. Turn the heat down low and let them cook for ten minutes. There will be a bit of sizzling. 
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water, according to the instructions. 
  • When the tomatoes are completely softened, add the oregano and the ricotta cheese, and mix well. Check for taste and add salt if required. 
  • When the spaghettini is cooked, drain it, return to the pan and add the sauce, pecorino and a grating of good black pepper. 

 

The QUICK After-Work Vegetarian Cookbook

My copy of the Quick After-Work Vegetarian Cookbook is so old the binding is going, and the pages are getting a little yellow. To my shame, I only ever made two recipes in it; Mexican rice, and cheesy polenta. I have recently tried some of the other recipes and they have been excellent. The ingredients are generally easy to source locally, and the cooking techniques are easy too. There are over 120 recipes to choose from, including such classics as Fettucine with carrot carbonara, and Balaton Hotpot

I hadn’t realised, until I searched online, that this is one of a series of books, including an Indian version, one for summer ingredients and another for the winter. I am tempted but my recipe book collection is rather large. Although the recipes aren’t glamorous, they are tasty and filling; I would say that this would be an ideal first recipe book for any vegetarians, as they head off for pastures new. 

Vegetarian Balaton-style hotpot

I made this and it was good, so I looked up to find out more about this cooking style. One-pot cookery is a very simple style of preparing a meal, perfect for unsophisticated cooking facilities. A goulash is just such a dish, and around lake Balaton, the style of goulash includes sour cream and potatoes, caraway and paprika. 

This vegetarian version comes from The Quick After Work Cookbook, for which I shall have to provide a review soon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 75g long-grain rice
  • 1 large potato, around 250g, chopped into 2cm chunks
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 300ml stock or water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, haricot beans, or borlotti beans. 

METHOD:

  • In a medium pan, gently fry the onions and green pepper until the onions are browning. 
  • Add the rice and potato, and cook for another minute
  • In a measuring jug, mix the stock, sour cream, salt and pepper, paprika, caraway seed and tomato puree, and pour the mixture into the pan and stir. 
  • Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes
  • Add the beans, any extra water, and cook for another 10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.