This recipe first appeared in the Guardian in 2017, and has become one of my daughter’s go-to recipes. It is quite quick and easy, and delicious. I don’t worry about salting the aubergines that are in the shops just now, they don’t have many seeds and they are young and tender.
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 400g tinned tomatoes
- 1 1/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, or any other regular mild to moderate chilli powder
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 slightly heaped tsp salt
- around 3 aubergines, cut in half lengthways and then into 1cm thick slices
- 300g black-eyed beans
- 40g fresh dill
- greek yoghurt, salted and whipped with dill and mint.
- Rinse the black-eyed beans and put them in a lot of cold water on the hob, bring to the boil and simmer while you chop and cook the rest of the ingredients. Top up with water so they don’t boil dry.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat, and then add the chopped garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to colour, and then lob in the tomatoes, turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture is soft. You should do this for tinned tomatoes as well, as it will lessen the tinny taste.
- Add the chilli, turmeric and salt and cook for a couple of minutes before adding in the aubergine. Stir, cover and cook over a low heat for at least 20 minutes, until the aubergines are tender.
- Stir in the beans, bring back to a simmer, and adjust the seasoning.
- Just before serving, add the chopped dill.
This is good with plain boiled rice, yoghurt and flat-breads, and possibly a side salad. For a vegan version, use a vegan yoghurt.
On Boxing day, I make risotto with left-over turkey. This year, the number of vegetarians has increased quite a bit, so I split the offering. I made a roasted red pepper risotto. I’m not that good at roasting the peppers, I lose my nerve a little. Also, it didn’t help that I was cooking on a Rayburn, which I was unfamiliar with. I would suggest a practice round.
- 3 large red bell peppers (don’t try this with the long pointy ones)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 75g unsalted butter
- 500g risotto rice
- 1.5 litres of stock (vegetable or chicken)
- salt and black pepper
- 75g parmesan
- First, roast the peppers. Heat the oven to 240C. Wash the peppers and put them on a roasting sheet, and roast them until the skins are charred. You’ll need to check on them from time to time, and turn them over to make sure the skin blackens all over. This will take 30 to 40 minutes. When they are done, put them in a bowl and cover it as the peppers cool. After about 10 to 15 minutes, you’ll be able to remove the peppers from the bowl, pull out the stems and pips, and peel off the blackened outer skin. The roasted pepper will be dark and juicy. Slice the peppers.
- In a large pan, melt the butter, and then gently fry the onion and the garlic until the onion is soft, around 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the peppers and continue to fry for another five minutes
- Add all of the rice and stir it in until the rice grains are hot and toasted, and the mixture is dry.
- Bring the stock to a simmer. Add the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring each one in and cooking until it is absorbed. Continue this way until all the stock is used up, and the risotto rice is plump and tender.
- Season to taste and stir in the parmesan. Leave in a warm place for three minutes before serving.
This is very filling, we got six portions from this easily. It is more of a stew than a soup, really.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 250g puy lentils or similar brown lentils
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- a bunch of Kale leaves, ribs removed and chopped
- 1 litre vegetable stock, such as Marigold
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the onion gently with the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli flakes and cinnamon, until soft.
- Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomato puree, and stir.
- Add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes with the pan covered, until the lentils are softening.
- Add the chopped kale, check and add water if required, and bring to a simmer again for 10 minutes.
- Check and season with salt and pepper.
The idea from this recipe is Italian, but there is the small issue about local ingredients. We haven’t got porcini, or even woodlands that they could grow in. I have got a lot of potatoes though, so I substituted quite a bit. The soup is delicious.
- 1 small sweet red onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 125g butter
- 2 medium potatoes, a variety good for mashing (I used Arran Victory)
- 1.5 litres of boiling water or light stock
- 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, 200g to 300g, sliced
- 1 40g jar of dried porcini mushrooms
- salt and pepper
- 250ml single cream
- a large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped.
- Pour boiling water onto the porcini mushrooms in a small jug, and let this sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion and celery together until they are soft, around ten minutes
- Peel and grate the potatoes and add to the pan, stir to mix in the butter, and then add the stock or water, and bring to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes
- Add the finely sliced mushrooms. Strain the porcini mushrooms and add the liquor to the pot. Chop the soaked mushrooms, and add them to the pot as well. Bring to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste, then blend with a soup blender. Add the cream and bring it all back to a gentle simmer.
- Chop the parsley very finely and stir it through the soup.
We had this with home-made crusty bread. The soup is deliciously buttery and smooth.
I made this last night, scrambled egg style, and for lunch today, omelette style. Both delicious. This was a regular dish in our student days, from Madhur Jaffrey’s classic book ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes, or around 450g peeled chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
- 4 chunky spring onions, very finely sliced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
- 1 pack fresh green coriander
- 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 7 large eggs
- Prepare all of the ingredients before you start, because once the oil is hot, everything needs to be ready. To speed things up, I put the fresh coriander, green chilli and ginger into a small spice grinder, and blended it.
- Heat the mustard oil in a heavy pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, put in the spring onions and garlic, and fry for about three minutes. Don’t let them brown.
- Add the tomato, ginger, coriander and chilli in, and fry for another six minutes; make sure the mixture is not watery. Add the salt and pepper and check that it tastes OK,
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. If you are making a scrambled version, make sure the tomato mixture is bubbling hot, and tip in the lightly beaten eggs. Turn the heat down and stir gently until the eggs are all cooked to your liking.
- For the omelette version, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water. The egg mixture should be bubbly and well-mixed. Take a large clean frying pan, melt a blob of butter until it is beginning to foam.
- Pour in half the egg mixture, and when it is beginning to set, add half the tomato sauce. Fold in half, and slide onto a warmed plate. Do the same for the second omelette.
I served this with a carrot salad. The sauce can also be served as a relish for a larger meal, or even with pasta. Prepared ahead, it can be frozen ready for the next time.
Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy, is the winner tonight. I am home alone, Mr B is in Inverness getting his van fixed. Rather worryingly, he just texted me to ask if our AutoAid car rescue thing is still valid.
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- a pinch of cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
- 1 slice off a red onion, chopped, about 1 tsp or so
- 3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper
- In a small omelette pan, around 15cm across, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir.
- When the seeds start to sizzle and pop, turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, give it a bit of a stir, and then add the tomatoes, cayenne and coriander leaf. Cook for another minute, until the tomatoes start to soften.
- Add the eggs, stir quickly to mix, and then put a lid over the pan and cook until the mixture is nearly set
- Fold the cooked omelette, and serve with a small salad and some toasted flatbread.
On consultation with the household, I was asked to make something new with the enormous celeriac that I had bought. I found a recipe in ‘The quick after-work vegetarian cookbook’ but then I tweaked it to make it more to my taste. The coriander definitely lifts the flavour. If you want to make a vegan version, you can leave out the sour cream, or substitute coconut yoghurt.
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 350g celeriac (about half of a large celeriac) peeled and chopped
- 350g carrots, peeled and chopped
- around 800ml stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 200 – 300ml sour cream
- Fry the chopped onion in the olive oil over a low heat.
- When the onion is soft, add the coriander, celeriac and carrots, stir and cook gently for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer, and cook for around 20 minutes.
- Blitz the soup with a soup blender, and add the sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.
I’m sure there are more tweaks to be had, but this was a nice balance between easy, fast and tasty.
I started with this recipe from Rose Elliot’s ‘Pasta Pasta’, aiming to work out the proportions per person, allowing me to cook for one person or six. I am planning on trying a squeeze of lemon juice next time, or some pine nuts. Not sure.
INGREDIENTS per person:
- 100g farfalle pasta
- 50g grated carrot
- 50g chopped sundried tomatoes
- a sprig of thyme
- 50g grated hard goat’s cheese
- salt and pepper
- A drizzle of good olive oil
- Put on a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Prepare the carrots, tomatoes and cheese while the water heats
- Boil the pasta for around 8 minutes. For the last minute of cooking, add the grated carrot. Stir and drain, and return to the pan
- Add the olive oil, thyme, grated cheese and sundried tomatoes, season and stir to mix.
This is a quick recipe involving some of the new peas and young herbs from the garden. It was quick and delicious. I had some spaghettini, which is like spaghetti but thinner and faster to cook, you could use spaghetti which is thicker, or capellini which is finer. I was cooking for myself only, so I scaled the recipe appropriately. You can scale it up as required.
- Around 75g mangetout
- around 75g pasta
- around 20g butter
- 4 tbsp chopped herbs, a mixture of parsley, basil and chives, or chive flowers
- 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper
- parmesan to taste
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
- Meanwhile prepare the peas; remove any stringy bits and cut to your preferred size, and put into a steamer, ready to cook.
- Mix the crushed garlic, a grate of salt, butter and herbs together in a small warm bowl.
- Put the spaghettini in the sauce pan, put the peas over the top in the steamer, and cook until the spaghettini is just about cooked. Drain the pasta when it is ready, and return to the hot pan.
- Mix the butter and herbs into the pasta, then mix in the peas
- Serve with a dredging of grated parmesan and black pepper to taste.
The vegetable garden is growing really well in spite of the high winds trashing the potatoes and the beans. This afternoon I started thinning out the root vegetables and removing some random kale plants that had self-seeded in amongst the leeks. I used about 500g of thinnings and leaves to make this soup.
- A mixture of vegetables. I had some mizuna greens, orache, Russian kale, carrots, mange tout, and some small beetroot tops. All washed and chopped small
- A small onion, finely chopped.
- Celery salt
- Marigold stock
- 2 tbsp Green pesto sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Around 1/5 litres of boiling water
- A handful of soup pasta, such as quadretti or stelline
- Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil on a low flame, and gently fry the onion until it is soft.
- Add the vegetables in the order in which they will cook, slowest to fastest. I added the carrots, then the beetroot tops, mizuna and kale, then poured over the boiling water, and seasoned with celery salt, black pepper, and some marigold stock powder.
- Once the kale is beginning to cook, then add the orache and peas, and the soup pasta. Check for taste and simmer until the pasta is just about done.
- Stir the pesto into the soup, and serve sprinkled heavily with grated parmesan or pecorino.