Vegan virtues: January recipes

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Star chef Dipna Anand shares some Punjabi-inspired vegan recipes to warm the cockles as we enter a new year.

alu gobi

(Prep: 10mins – Cooking: 20 mins – Serves: 4-5)

Not only extremely popular across India, alu gobi has also made its mark in Britain. It’s a customer favourite, enjoyed with a naan or a chapatti as a main meal or even a side dish. If you are looking for the perfect Punjabi vegetable dish which is quick and easy to prepare then look no further; it’s what I call simple food – hearty and tasty at the same time.

Ingredients:

6 tbsp vegetable oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion, finely chopped, 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 2 tomatoes, finely diced, 1 ½ tsp salt, 2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced into ½ inch cubes, 300ml water, 500g cauliflower florets, 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp turmeric, ¾ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crushed

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan for one minute.

2. Add the cumin seeds to the oil together with the green chilli and when the seeds begin to sizzle, add the chopped onions to the pan and cook for three or four minutes until the onions begin to colour.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for one minute before adding the turmeric, red chilli powder, diced tomato and salt and cook for one further minute.

4. Add the diced potatoes to the sauté pan with 150ml water, cover the pan and simmer on a low-medium heat for about eight to 10 minutes (mix occasionally).

5. Add the cauliflower florets to the sauté pan with the remaining 150ml of water, cover the pan and cook for nine or 10 minutes (mix occasionally, if more water is required in between and the alu gobi is drying out, add as needed).

6. When the cauliflower and potato are cooked, add the garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander to the pan and cook for a final one or two minutes.

7. Garnish with finely chopped ginger juliennes and chopped coriander stalks.

BEGAN BHARTHA

(Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 20 mins, Serves: 6-8)

This is my mum’s version of the dish and it’s packed full of flavour yet does not use that many spices. Some recipes use a lot more ingredients and spices and complicate the method, yet Mum’s way is simple and straightforward and the result is hearty and flavoursome!

Ingredients:

Two large aubergines (800g), 4 tbsp olive oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion (finely sliced), 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 3½ tomatoes, blanched, skinned and chopped 1 ½ tsp salt, 160g peas, frozen or tinned, 5 tbsp water, 2 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped) . Tadka (finishing touch!): ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coarse black pepper, 1 tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp white pepper powder ¾ tsp garam masala. Garnish suggestion: aubergine skin, rolled into tubes and roasted in the oven for 10 minutes

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

2. Cut the aubergines in half, length-ways, lay them flesh-side up and roast on an oven tray for 45 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool.

3. Using a spoon scrape out the inside pulp of the aubergine avoiding scooping out any of the skin and put the pulp into a bowl.

4. Cut the stem from the skin and mix with the pulp, leave the aubergine pulp to one side and discard the aubergine skin or save for garnish.

5. In a sauté pan, heat the oil, add the green chilli, cumin and coarse black pepper and onions. Fry the onions until golden brown and almost caramelised, this should take about seven or eight minutes on a medium heat.

6. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for two minutes.

7. Add half the chopped tomatoes and cook for four or five minutes.

8. Add the salt, turmeric and white pepper powder and cook for a further three or four minutes.

9. Add the peas to the masala and cook for 4-5 minutes.

10. Add the aubergine pulp and stems to the masala sauce together with the remaining tomatoes and water and cook for eight to ten minutes.

11. Add the final touches of garam masala and fresh coriander and cook for a further two or three minutes.

12. Serve with a fluffy buttered chapatti, spread like pâté.

• Dipna Anand is the founder of London restaurant Dip in Brilliant – visit www.dipinbrilliant.com

Peace offerings: Christmas recipes

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Recipes

Here are some indulgent yet wholesome and uncomplicated recipe ideas to help keep us grounded throughout this mad month.

Almond biscotti

(makes 24)

These are great to make ahead and present in a glass jar or tin when you are serving coffee or after-dinner liqueurs. Dip these in Vin Santo to transport yourself to heaven. Give me these over mince pies any day!

Preheat your oven to 170°C. Add 220g of plain flour, 1½ tsp of baking powder, generous pinch of salt, 60g of ground almonds, 120g of whole almonds and 150g of golden caster sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Lightly beat two eggs and add to the mixture with 1tsp of almond extract and bring together with a wooden spoon. Use your hand to bring the dough together into a ball (it may be a little sticky) then lightly flour a work surface, divide the mixture into two and roll it into two long sausage shapes, about 20cm long each. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into 1cm thick pieces using a serrated knife then lay flat back on to the baking sheet and cook in a cooler oven at 150°C for another 20-30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Chuck steak con carne

(serves 6-8)

This is the kind of one-pot dinner that gives you a break after all the fiddly, feasting food. Really hearty and another crowd-pleaser. Serve with sour cream with a dusting of paprika, grated cheese, nachos and rice or winter slaw.

Heat your oven to 170°C. Chop 1kg of beef brisket into 2.5cm chunks then brown in a hot pan with 2tbsp of vegetable oil in batches. Transfer the beef to a casserole pan then finely chop two red onions and sauté until softened and starting to turn golden. Add five minced garlic cloves, cooking for a few minutes then add 2tsp each of ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano and ½tsp of ground cloves. Add more oil if you need and cook out the spices then add 2-3tbsp of chilli paste (chipotle or ancho work well) and transfer everything to the casserole with the beef. Add two tins of plum tomatoes and 500ml beef stock and bring to a boil then put the lid on and transfer to the oven for two hours. Drain and rinse two tins of kidney beans and add to your casserole, cooking for a further hour without the lid until the beef is tender. Check seasoning and serve.

Winter slaw

(serves 6-8)

Something fresh and tasty to go with leftover turkey or ham. This makes a large bowl and looks great piled high in the centre of the table for people to help themselves. Add some pomegranate seeds for a little sparkle.

In a large bowl mix together 4tbsp of buttermilk, 1tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1tsp of celery salt and the juice and rind of one lemon. Add in two grated carrots, ¼ red and ¼ white cabbage, finely shredded, five finely sliced radishes, five sliced spring onions and a large handful of roughly chopped parsley. Mix together, adjust seasoning to taste and pile high into a serving bowl.

 

Chive blini with salmon, caviar and crème fraiche

 

This is always a great crowd-pleaser. I like to serve these on Christmas morning between breakfast and lunch, as we are all opening presents with some bubbles. It is really worth making these yourself as they are far more tasty than shop-bought, just warm in the oven before serving.

In a large bowl weigh out 100g of plain flour and add a generous pinch of salt. Separate an egg, adding the white to a clean mixing bowl and the yolk to the flour. Measure out 150ml whole milk and add half to the flour. Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg white until it begins to stiffen and leave to one side whilst you then whisk the flour mix until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the milk while continually whisking then 25g of melted butter and a handful of chopped chives. Fold through the egg white. Warm a pan and brush with a little butter until it begins to foam then add small spoonfuls of your batter. Cook on a low heat until the bottoms begin to brown then flip and repeat. Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraiche, smoked salmon, caviar and dill.

 

 

Squirrel Sisters: nutty and nice

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Recipes

We talk to Fulhamites Gracie and Sophie – aka Squirrel Sisters – about their mission to bring their vegan snack bar start-up to the masses.

Q. You’ve both lived in Fulham all your lives – why do you love it here?
“We were born in Richmond but we moved to south-west London after university. Fulham is amazing because it’s so central and well connected with that buzzy London attitude at the same time as having a lovely village feel to it. You get the best of both worlds in Fulham.”

Q. Tell us a bit more about how you went about starting the business…
“Health, wellness, food and how it makes us feel has always been a passion of ours so we started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014. Our blog gained a large following quickly; people connected with our mission and the fact we are two normal girls with a busy lifestyle who want to enjoy life while feeling great.

“With a growing following on our blog we saw an opportunity to turn our blog into a business so after much planning and preparation we launched our snack bars in November 2015, which we already had the recipes for [Gracie used to make them for Sophie due to her gluten intolerance.]

“We wanted to prove that healthy could be delicious and exciting so set off on a mission to help people make better and healthier choices more often. We wanted to help others believe that in treating yourself you can treat your health.”

Q. You’re stocked in an impressive range of places! Have you found it hard to break into the supermarket giants?
“We are extremely proud of our distribution – after two and a half years you can now find our products in more than 1,000 stores across the UK including Waitrose (you can find our cacao brownie and cacao orange flavours stocked in the Waitrose by Parsons Green), Morrisons, Boots, Whole Foods (all our flavours are stocked in the Fulham Whole Foods), Planet Organic, Selfridges, Ocado, Amazon and hundreds of independent delis, cafes and supermarkets.

“Launching into supermarkets is a challenge for a small company, especially if you haven’t had investment. We have won several awards for our bars (including three Great Taste awards) and we have great branding so this really helped with breaking into the bigger supermarkets.”

Q. There are lots of small, independent shops and supermarkets around Fulham. Do you think these are important as well?
“So important! In our first year we focused on all the independents and created good sales case studies that we could show the big supermarkets to prove how popular our bars were. We always make a conscious effort to support the smaller independent stores.”

Q. Which healthy cafes or restaurants do you like to visit in Fulham?
“We love Little H (especially because they stock our bars) on New Kings Road [www.littlehlondon.com], Esquires Coffee (they do the best avocado on toast) just across the bridge in Putney, Megan’s by the Green on Parsons Green Lane and Boy’s N Berry on Fulham Road.”

Q. And what are your plans for the future?
“We have big plans for Squirrel Sisters – we are currently in the process of securing investment, which will really take us to the next level. We want Squirrel Sisters to be accessible to everyone. We want to be a global brand that is known for its real, honest and exciting approach to health.”

Q. Anything else to share with our readers?
“We recently published our first cookbook, Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats, which is available in all good bookshops and online retailers including Waterstones and Amazon.”

Squirrel Sisters maple bacon popcorn

Recipe: bacon maple syrup

The ultimate sweet and savoury popcorn combo – you’ll make this again and again!

• 2 slices dry-cure smoked streaky (fatty) bacon
• A splash of olive oil
• 50g / 1 3⁄4 oz / 1⁄4 cup popcorn kernels
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1⁄2 tsp sea salt flakes

Put the bacon in a non-stick frying pan (skillet) with a small splash of olive oil. Fry over high heat until crispy and golden all over, turning when needed so that it all browns evenly. Remove the bacon from the pan with tongs and leave to one side to cool.

Tip any fat left from the bacon into a large saucepan with a lid. Add the popcorn kernels and pop the lid on. Heat over high heat until you begin to hear pops. Keep cooking, shaking the pan frequently so that none stick and burn, until the popping subsides. Turn the heat off and leave it for another 30 seconds or so before removing the lid to make sure any late-popping kernels don’t fly out at you. Tip the popcorn into a bowl, discarding any un-popped kernels.

Once the bacon has cooled and hardened a little, put it into a food processor and blitz to a coarse powder.

Drizzle the maple syrup over the popcorn, stirring gently all the time so that it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle in the bacon powder and sea salt flakes, mix well and serve.

We have teamed up with Squirrel Sisters to offer a mixed box of bars and a cookbook to one lucky reader. Click here to enter

Lucky Neem Cocktail Recipe

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Recipes

Gin-lovers! Check out this Lucky Neem cocktail recipe courtesy of Kricket in White City, London

Ingredients

50ml Opihr Gin
25ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml Sugar Syrup
3 Slices of Cucumber 
5-8 Curry


Method:

  1. Drop the sliced cucumber into the small tin and muddle
  2. Drop the curry leaves into the small tin and firmly press, just bruising them as not to turn bitter
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Add ice and shake
  5. Double Strain into coupe
  6. Garnish with slice of cucumber with a curry leaf on top floating.

Cosy cravings

Round & About

Recipes

In the heart of winter sometimes we crave informal, uncomplicated, wholesome food. These recipes from Katie Kingsley will provide comfort and nourishment through the festive period.

Roti with curry sauce

(makes eight)

These are a fitting evening snack for when lunch has been particularly late or large. Prepare the roti the night before. In a large bowl mix 400g plain flour with 2tsp fine salt and add 200ml lukewarm water, gradually, to form a dough. Knead until elastic, smooth and shiny then wrap in cling film and rest for 30 minutes. Divide into eight balls, roll in a generous amount of vegetable oil, place on an oiled plate then cover and chill overnight. Oil your work surface and take a ball in the palm of your hand then flatten it and use a rolling pin to get the dough as thin as possible. Roll it up as you would a crepe then roll into a snail shape bringing the end back and tucking into the middle before rolling out again into a disc about the size of a large frying pan. Heat your frying pan over a medium heat, and fry until golden bubbles form, brushing both sides with a little oil as you fry, then fold before serving. To make the curry sauce add a tin of coconut milk, 3tbsp smooth peanut butter, 2tbsp soft packed brown sugar, 2tbsp red curry paste, 2tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy), 1tbsp soy, 2tsp tamarind paste, three minced garlic cloves and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thick. Leftover curry sauce is great made into katsu chicken.

Parsnip pancakes with sour cream and caramelised onion

(makes eight – ten)

A delicious snack exploiting this sweet winter root. Halve three white onions and slice into half moons then fry in 2tbsp oil until starting to brown. Add a knob of butter, 1tsp soft brown sugar, 1tsp fennel seeds and a sprinkle of salt and continue to sauté until they are caramelised. Parboil six parsnips for 2-3 minutes then drain, running them under cool water and dry off as much as possible before grating them (a food processor makes light work of this). Add a leek finely chopped (white part only), one large lightly beaten egg, 3tbsp plain flour and season generously before mixing together using a spatula. Heat 2tbsp of oil with a knob of butter in a large frying pan and form balls with your hands of the parsnip mixture then use the spatula to press down once in the pan and flatten to about 1.5cm thick. Cook each side until crisp and golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream with fresh chopped chives mixed through and caramelised onion.

Chunky chicken minestrone

(serves four – six)

Just the thing to nurse winter ailments and so simple to put together. Quarter a whole chicken leaving the skin on or use legs if you are cooking for fewer people. Season the chicken with salt, heat oil in a sauté pan then brown on both sides before transferring to a plate. Pour 200ml white vermouth into the hot pan to deglaze then transfer to a casserole or heavy saucepan, with the chicken and two tins of rinsed butterbeans. Add 500ml good quality chicken stock and a few tbsp chopped rosemary then partially cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add a few handfuls of minestrone which cooks in the broth, season to taste and serve the chicken as whole pieces or remove and shred before returning to the pan. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Sussex Pond Pudding

(serves four – six)

Just the thing to nurse winter ailments and so simple to put together. Quarter a whole chicken leaving the skin on or use legs if you are cooking for fewer people. Season the chicken with salt, heat oil in a sauté pan then brown on both sides before transferring to a plate. Pour 200ml white vermouth into the hot pan to deglaze then transfer to a casserole or heavy saucepan, with the chicken and two tins of rinsed butterbeans. Add 500ml good quality chicken stock and a few tbsp chopped rosemary then partially cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add a few handfuls of minestrone which cooks in the broth, season to taste and serve the chicken as whole pieces or remove and shred before returning to the pan. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Warming wonders

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Recipes

October is all about wholesome, nutritious, heart-warming, health-giving food. Food replaces sunshine, warming us from the inside out rather than outside in! Katie Kindsley brings us her recipes…

 

Scallops with apple & bacon

(allow three or four scallops per person)

Perfect for this time of year, bringing scallops and apples together in perfect harmony, this is sour, salty and sweet success. Remove the rind from three slices of thick-cut smoked bacon and set aside. Chop the bacon into small pieces and fry in a little butter until brown. Peel and cut half a green apple into small cubes, heat 1tbsp of butter in a small pan and add the apple and bacon then continue to cook while you cook the rind in the pan just used. Add a small knob of butter and fry until the bacon fat renders. Add 50ml bourbon to the apple mix and let it bubble for a minute before adding 50ml maple syrup and continue to simmer so it reduces by at least half to a thick sauce. Place your scallops in the pan with the sizzling bacon fat and cook on high for a minute or so on each side, seasoning with salt until they’re nicely brown. Toss some watercress in a little lemon juice and heap on each plate, laying your scallops on top. Spoon over some apple and bacon mix and freshly grind some black pepper.

 

Thai noodles

 

This is versatile so use whichever vegetables you have to hand or whatever’s in season. All you will need to gather from your pantry is noodles, curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce (or soy for vegans). Heat 2tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and sauté a finely chopped onion for about three minutes. Add three cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, cooking until fragrant then add 2-3tbsp of red Thai curry paste for a minute and then a 400ml can of coconut milk, 1tbsp of honey and fish sauce to taste. Stir then boil for five minutes or until the sauce is thick. Add your veg at appropriate times so they are cooked but have bite (I used fresh corn kernels, broccoli and aubergine). Remove from the heat and stir in cooked rice noodles, Thai basil and serve with lime wedges and fresh chilli.

 

Boston beans with pork belly

Serves 4-6

Definitely a weekend treat to relish and as wholesome as a corn-fed farm boy. The night before soak 500g haricot beans in water for at least 12 hours. Rinse and place in a heavy, five-litre casserole pan covering with water by about 3cm. Boil hard for about 10 minutes then lower to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour. Take a 400-500g piece of pork belly (rind on), cube then add to the beans with 50g soft dark brown sugar, 3tbsp black treacle, 1tbsp English mustard, three peeled crushed garlic cloves and 3tbsp of tomato puree. Peel about 10 pickling onions and insert five cloves into one before adding to the beans with a generous seasoning of black pepper, giving a mix. Preheat your oven to 140°C, place the lid on and cook for 3 hours. Remove the lid and drag the pork chunks to the top before cooking for a further hour uncovered. The beans should be soft and the mixture glossy and thick, (cook for longer if it is still a little watery). Season to taste and remove the clove spiked onion before serving with crusty buttered bread and fresh coriander.

 

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Serves 2-3

My son will be raised on these and not just on special occasions, as they are easier to whip up than French toast and twice as delectable. A recipe to scribble down and shortly after memorise through repetition! Sift 200g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 2tbsp caster sugar, 1tsp lemon zest, a lightly beaten egg, 1tbsp melted butter and 380ml buttermilk. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined (a few lumps will not matter). Add one or two handfuls of blueberries or raspberries, stirring gently to combine and without breaking up the fruit. Heat a small knob of butter in a pan and cook spoonfuls of batter on a low-medium heat for a few minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Turning point

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Recipes

September signifies a change of the seasons, woodland walks and cosy evenings in. These recipes should provide comfort & nourishment

Mussel linguine with saffron cream & samphire

Mussel linguine with saffron cream & samphire

This simple dish celebrates these tasty, vitamin-packed morsels in all their glory. The addition of samphire is delicious, if you can still get some – if not, cavolo nero or kale also work well. Once you get going it’s a bit of a whirlwind from pan to plate so get your ingredients prepped before turning on the hob. Take four large, firm tomatoes and score a cross into the base of each before placing in boiling water for a minute or two then use a slotted spoon to transfer to cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins, remove seeds and membrane, chop and leave to one side. In a small bowl add 3tbsp of just-boiled water to a good pinch of saffron threads and leave until needed. Thinly slice four cloves of garlic, finely chop a handful of fresh parsley and zest one lemon, adding the juice from half. Measure 150ml white wine and 4tbsp of single cream and you’re ready! Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta (to al dente). Meanwhile, heat 2tbsp olive oil in a pan with a lid and gently sauté your garlic, until golden; add your tomato, wine, saffron (with infused water) and season. Bring to a boil, letting the wine cook out a few minutes, then add 400g of fresh mussels and cook for about five minutes (with lid on) until open. Add lemon juice, zest, cream and samphire with a sprinkle of Aleppo chilli flakes and check seasoning, cooking for a few minutes before stirring into pasta, stirring. Serve with fresh parsley.

Rose veal schnitzel

Rose veal schnitzel

You can use pork or chicken for this schnitzel but I think rose veal works best for its sweet and tender flavour. Make breadcrumbs with day-old bread. Place your breadcrumbs in a shallow dish then whisk two eggs and place in a second shallow dish and place well-seasoned plain flour in a third. Cover your escalopes with greaseproof paper and beat to about 5mm thin. Coat each in flour then egg then crumb and refrigerate until required. Heat olive oil with a knob of butter in a frying pan to about 1.5cm deep and when a crumb dropped in sizzles and rises to the surface, cook each schnitzel for a minute or two on each side until they turn crisp and golden. Blot with kitchen paper and serve with fresh lemon.

Autumnal coleslaw

Autumnal coleslaw

The perfect accompaniment with a fresh, garlicky yoghurt dressing. Sometimes I like to serve this inside a brioche bun with schnitzel or pile high upon schnitzel and serve with sauté potatoes. Use a slicing blade on a food processor or chop the following finely and add to a large bowl one fennel bulb, six radishes, half a red onion, ¼ green cabbage and ¼ red cabbage then add a grated carrot. To make your dressing mix 250g natural yoghurt with two minced garlic cloves, 1tsp of Dijon mustard, ½ tsp each of celery salt and ground pepper and the juice of ½ a lemon. Adjust seasoning as you wish then stir in the coleslaw until well coated. Garnish with chopped toasted pecans.

Apple and marzipan pie

Apple and marzipan pie

The duo of apple and marzipan tastes divine. Heat your oven to 200°C. Peel and core two large (or three small Bramley) apples and roughly chop. Place in a saucepan with 80g of caster sugar, 30g unsalted butter and 3tbsp of water. Bring to a boil then lid the pan and gently cook, stirring occasionally until puréed. Leave to cool. Unroll a ready-made all-butter puff pastry sheet on to a lightly greased baking tray and slice 250g of natural, uncoloured marzipan. Lay the slices across the pastry leaving a 2cm border all around the edge then spoon over your cooled puree. Lightly beat two egg yolks and brush around the border. Unroll another piece of puff pastry and place it on top using your fingers or a fork to crimp and seal around the edges. Cut diagonal lines about 2cm apart from the centre towards the edges of the pie leaving a 2cm border using a sharp knife then brush with more egg mixture and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is crisp and golden. Best served warm with thick cream, ice cream or custard.

Recipes created by Katie Kingsley, food stylist and blogger at thetravellingpantry.com

Grill-seekers!

Round & About

Recipes

Summer is here which means al fresco aplenty and Katie Kingsley has rustled up some delicious ideas to enjoy on the side!

Giant couscous salad with roasted peppers, tomatoes, pesto and feta

If you can’t find Israeli/giant couscous, small pasta shapes or orzo work well. This salad packs a lot of flavour; a more than worthy accomplice to any barbecued protein! Measure 200g giant couscous (I used wholewheat), rinse well and add to a pan of simmering vegetable stock (500ml). Once back to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 6-8 minutes then drain, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave to cool.

Cut two red and one yellow pepper into chunky slices and place cut-side up on a foil-lined baking tray. Halve a pint of cherry tomatoes and place with them in the tray then slice a whole garlic bulb through the middle and place, cut-side-up, in the tray. Drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and season before placing in a heated oven for about 40-60 minutes and the edges are nicely charred. Remove the garlic halfway through (it will have turned a light gold) and cloves and pound into a paste with a pestle and mortar with a sprinkle of rock salt and glug of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the paste through the couscous then add the roast veg, dollop on fresh pesto and crumble feta on top.

Griddled cos with anchovy butter

Almost everyone who tries this will want the recipe and it’s a pleasure to disclose in its refreshing modesty. Ideal for barbecues, there is something alluringly unconventional but worthwhile in grilling the salad. Halve three or four cos lettuces then heat a grill pan or barbecue to hot, brush your cos with olive oil and grill cut-side-down for a few minutes before turning and grilling for an extra few minutes. You want nicely charred griddle lines and edges.

Transfer to a serving dish. Use a small pan to melt 80g butter then sauté two garlic cloves until golden before adding three finely chopped anchovy fillets, 2tbsp of finely chopped rosemary, the grated rind of a lemon and juice of half. Season to taste and drizzle over your charred lettuce.

Toasted caramel pineapple with coconut ice cream

Dress this dessert up into an exotic sundae with chocolate, coconut shavings and rum or keep it simple on a platter with scoops of ice cream and generous drizzles of caramel sauce. End your barbecue on a high as pineapple is said to contain significant amounts of the feelgood chemical serotonin. Peel and core a pineapple then cut into about 10-12 wedges. Place wedges on the barbecue and cook for a few minutes on each side until you get griddle lines then transfer to a serving dish.

To make your caramel sauce, measure 100g granulated sugar into a large clean pan, heat to medium and once the sugar has started to melt shake the pan occasionally until all the sugar has melted. Cook and stir with a spatula until the sugar has turned a light brown then add 30g butter and whisk vigorously until the butter has melted with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and add 60ml of single cream, whisking rapidly again until combined. If you have any sugar crystals, pass the caramel through a metal sieve, leave to cool then drizzle sparingly over charred pineapple and ice cream scoops.

Easiest ever flatbreads with herb butter

I have made these countless times; a delicious accompaniment to any barbecue. I like to pre-roll these so when people arrive, you aren’t in and out the kitchen all day – just separate them with baking paper or cling film. Place 350g natural yoghurt with 350g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 1tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use your hand to bring the dough together (it will feel a bit sticky so add more flour until you can).

Once you have the dough in one lump, give it a bit of a knead in the bowl then lightly flour your work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out to about 5mm thick and cook on a hot barbecue or griddle pan for one or two minutes on each side. Melt butter and sauté minced garlic cloves before adding fresh herbs then brush the herb butter over the flatbreads. Enjoy your summer!

Spoilt for choice

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

We’re spoilt for choice with fantastic British seasonal produce and cooking light, speedy food is key to feeling good, inside and out! Recipes created by Katie Kingsley.

French toast with cherry compote & vanilla mascarpone

I love making French toast with slightly stale challah bread. The sweet, gutsy slices offset the sharpness of the compote making it a nicely balanced dish that we often eat as a late summer brunch. Almost any fruit works nicely cooked in this fashion, just by adding a little citrus juice, sugar and cooking down until it reaches a jammy consistency.

First pit 600g of cherries then add to a pan with 100g of caster sugar and the juice from an orange. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Using a spatula, mix together 250g of mascarpone with 150g of crème fraiche, 40g of sieved icing sugar, ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla pod then leave in the fridge until serving. Heat 500ml of full-fat milk in a pan with 2 tbsp of caster sugar and the seeds from another vanilla pod, stirring occasionally with a whisk. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. When cooled, add three whisked eggs, whisking to combine. Thickly slice a challah or brioche loaf and saturate in your milk mix while you heat a knob of unsalted butter in a frying pan.

Use tongs to remove slices from the milk mix and fry gently on each side until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a dollop of vanilla mascarpone, cherry compote and dusting of icing sugar.

Breakfast pots

A perfect way of using up leftover compote, simply layer in glasses or jam jars with plain yoghurt and fresh fruit if you wish then top with granola and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Crab sandwich

What makes this special is the homemade mayonnaise. I highly recommend making your own with fresh herbs; well worth the minimal effort!

To make the mayonnaise, add two egg yolks, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, the juice from half a lemon and pinch of salt to the small bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, very slowly and steadily pour in 100ml of rapeseed oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add a small handful of fresh tarragon and chives then blitz again until the herbs are finely chopped and mixed into the mayo. Ideally, use about 300g of fresh white crab meat, but a mix of white and brown will do almost as well with as much mayonnaise as you like. Check seasoning and adjust salt then add white pepper to taste. Serve on toasted brown buttered bread with lemon wedges.

Griddled courgettes with fregola and ricotta

This feels fresh but substantial and goes well with barbecued meat or fish. If you can’t get fregola, use orzo or Israeli couscous.

Slice about 10 baby courgettes into 1cm rounds, season with salt and fry in a hot pan with a little rapeseed oil until nicely charred on both sides then leave to cool. Cook 1 cup of fregola in salted water according to the packet then drain and mix through 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from a lemon. Take a chunk of pecorino and use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese until you have a large handful of shavings. Add the cooled fregola to a large serving bowl and mix through the pecorino, 150g of fresh ricotta in chunks, a handful of fresh torn basil leaves, a few handfuls of black olives and the courgettes. Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice and olive oil, too. When happy with the flavour serve with more pecorino shavings and basil leaves.

Essence of Summer

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

Katie Kingsley serves up some quick and easy dishes which you can (hopefully) enjoy al fresco.

Cheat’s paella

This is a really flavoursome, sweet and smoky savoury rice that would perk up anyone’s weekday night and will be ready in under 10 minutes if you are using refrigerated leftover rice. It also makes an excellent choice for a barbecue as it goes
well with meat, fish and salads, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Cook one cup of rice according to packet instructions and refrigerate until required (this works best if the rice is cooled before using). Finely chop an onion and fry in 1 tbsp of olive oil, adding 100g of diced cooking chorizo once the onion has softened. Weigh out 150g of frozen peas in a small bowl (if using fresh peas, add with the peppers), add a chicken stock cube and pour over 150ml of boiling water.

Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chorizo once it has released its oils with 2tsp of smoked paprika, cooking for one minute then adding the rice and stirring to coat. Add your stock and peas with 150g of drained and sliced roasted red and yellow peppers, cooking over a high heat until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Serve with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Herby halibut skewers

These work fantastically on a barbecue; use any firm fleshed white fish and be sure to get a generous char. Leftover salsa is delicious with lamb or spread over fish in a tray bake with roast tomatoes, peppers and olives.

To make your salsa verde, either finely chop or blitz everything together depending on your tastes and time frame. You will need a handful of mint and parsley, the juice and zest from one lemon, 100g of roasted salted pistachios, one garlic clove and enough extra virgin olive oil to obtain your desired consistency. Refrigerate until required. In a larger bowl, finely chop a small handful each of fresh chives, oregano and mint then add 3 tbsp of olive oil and season well.

Take two large fish fillets and cut into bite sized chunks then add to your bowl with the herbs and oil before threading onto skewers with alternating ribbons of yellow and green courgettes. Season skewers before cooking on a hot barbecue or ridged grill pan for a few minutes on each side so you get charred edges. Serve with your salsa verde dotted on top and in sauce pots.

Raspberry and pistachio mess

The very essence of summer and worthy of concluding the most champion of barbecues with just a few extra flourishes. It’s an ideal dessert to prepare in advance and throw together as you are ready to serve it.

Whisk 250ml of double cream to soft peaks. Sieve 100g of icing sugar into the cream then add ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and fold to combine. Refrigerate until required. Place 300g of frozen raspberries into a small pan adding a few tbsp of icing powder and squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

Adjust lemon and sugar to taste then when you are happy with the balance, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and use a spatula or wooden spoon to push the coulis through so only the seeds are left in the sieve then refrigerate the coulis until required. Finely chop a handful of unsalted roasted pistachio nuts and roughly break meringues into chunks. When you are ready to assemble the desserts, first dollop in cream then meringue then fresh raspberries with coulis then repeat. Finish off with chopped pistachios and edible flowers or sugared petals.