July recipes: Love those leaves

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Watercress is healthy, delicious and packed full of goodness – one 85g bag provides more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C to help boost your immune system. It’s in season until October so get creating now!

Grilled mackerel & watercress salad with orange and chilli

Ingredients:

• 4 mackerel fillets
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 2 oranges
• 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• ½ tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ tbsp good quality honey
• 85g watercress
• ½ a small red onion, finely sliced

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 5 minutes

SERVES: 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

Method:

1. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high.

2. Zest half an orange and mix well with the coriander, black pepper, and half the chopped chilli.

3. Lightly score the skin of the mackerel fillets with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Press the spice mixture into the skin.

4. Segment the oranges. Cut off the top and bottom, then cut away any peel and pith using a paring knife. Holding the peeled orange over a bowl, use the paring knife to cut each segment away from the centre. Put the segments to one side and squeeze the remaining orange to release any juice.

5. Measure 2 tbsp of the orange juice into a small bowl, then mix the with mustard, honey and remaining chopped chilli.

6. Place the mackerel fillet skin side up on a grill tray. Grill for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through with crisp skin.

7. While the fish is cooking, divide the watercress between four plates. Scatter with the orange segments and sliced red onion. Drizzle with the orange dressing and top with the grilled mackerel. Serve immediately.

Seared beef & watercress salad with spiced charred pineapple, asparagus and chilli

Ingredients:

• 240g sirloin steak
• 2 x 85g bags watercress
• ½ a pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges
• 2 tbs caster sugar
• 60ml olive oil
• 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
• Salt and pepper

For the spiced dressing:
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 shallot, finely sliced
• 1 red chilli, finely sliced
• 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 3 tbsp water
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

1. First make the dressing. Gently dry fry the coriander seeds until fragrant, then add in all of the remaining ingredients except the olive oil and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, then set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the bay leaves and pour the olive oil into the mixture in s steady stream, whisking constantly. Taste and add seasoning.

2. Pre-heat the grill to a medium-high setting. Prepare your pineapple by combining the caster sugar and olive oil with a pinch of salt. Brush this mix over the surface of the pineapple wedges, then place chargrill for roughly 10 minutes, turning once, or until the outside of the pineapple is charred and sticky. Allow to cool slightly before serving as the sugary outside will be very hot!

3. While the pineapple is grilling, pre-heat a frying pan (or use the barbecue) ready for the steaks. Season the outside of your sirloin well with salt and pepper and add in a splash of oil to the pan. Once the oil is smoking hot, pan fry the steaks for a few minutes on each side (depending on how you like your steak), then remove and allow the beef to rest.

4. Cook your asparagus by blanching for two minutes in boiling salted water, then drain well and set aside until you build your salad. If cooking the asparagus ahead of time, make sure it is cooled in cold water quickly after cooking so that it does not become soggy and brown.

5. Cut your rested steak into thick slices. Add a good pile of watercress onto each of your four plates, then add in the charred pineapple and asparagus. Top with the seared beef and drizzle generously with the spicy pickle dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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April recipes: Close to nature

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Qualified natural chef Jo Keyes shares some wholesome recipes devised in her Time To Nourish kitchen for body, mind & soul

Homemade granola

Ingredients:

• 150g mixed nuts chopped
• 200g coconut flakes
• 200g rolled jumbo oats (gluten free)
• 50g pumpkin seeds
• 50g sunflower seeds
• 25g golden flaxseeds
• 2tbsp chia seeds
• 100g unsweetened dried fruit chopped if necessary eg raisins, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, chopped apricots (optional)
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 medium banana
• 6tbsp apple puree
• 100ml melted coconut oil

Homemade granola is a great way to cut out some of the nasties many of the shop bought versions have. Many are often high in sugar and use unhealthy fat as well as unnecessary fillers. Homemade versions can be customised to personal taste and be full of nutritious and satisfying ingredients.

Nuts and seeds add texture and flavour and are high in protein and micronutrients like calcium, zinc and magnesium. Oats are full of soluble fibre, iron and folate. The coconut oil adds the healthy fats making this a great recipe to support a healthy heart to help balance blood sugar.

MAKES: 11 (80g portions)

NOTES: Enjoy with your favorite milk or use to top, chia pudding, overnight oats or fruit and yoghurt

ALLERGENS: Nuts, Sulphur Dioxide (in preservatives esp dried fruit)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 175°C.

Place the chopped nuts in a mixing bowl and add the coconut flakes, oats, seeds, dried fruit and cinnamon.

Melt the coconut oil and add to a small blender with the banana and apple puree and blend until smooth.

Mix the puree into the oaty mixture with a wooden spoon until everything is well coated.

Tip the mixture onto a lined baking tray and spread out in a thin even layer (you may need to use two trays).

Bake for 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes to get an even colour, or until the mixture is crunchy and golden brown.

Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or kilner jar.

Thai slaw

Ingredients:

• 200g bean shoots
• 2 small carrots peeled
• 1 green pepper de-seeded
• 2 spring onions

Dressing

• 1tbsp tamari
• 1tbsp fish sauce
• 1tsp honey
• 1 clove garlic crushed
• 1tsp fresh ginger grated
• 2tbsp avocado oil

Garnish

• Chopped cashews toasted
• Sesame seeds toasted

This crisp and fresh slaw is reminiscent of a pad Thai. The raw vegetables bring the benefits of digestive enzymes which are often lost during cooking and the variety of colours bring different phytonutrients with antioxidant properties.

SERVES: 2

ALLERGENS: Fish, Nuts – Cashew, Sesame

Method:

Prepare the vegetables by cutting or grating into thin julienne strips and then mix together in a large bowl.

Whisks dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add the dressing to the prepared vegetables and mix until well coated.

To serve add to a bowl of mixed green leaves add some cooked chick, fish or grains and top with garnish.

Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

• 140g mixed leafy greens (eg spinach, rocket, kale, watercress)
• 100g mix non leafy greens/fruit (eg cucumber, celery, broccoli, apple, pear, mango)
• 20g avocado
• Thick slice of fresh ginger
• 2tsp fresh lemon  or lime juice
• Pinch salt (Himalayan or pure sea salt)
• 300-400mls liquid (eg water, coconut water, nut milk)
• 3 ice cubes

Optional add ins:

• Superfood powders (eg wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, maitake)
• Rolled oats
• Nuts or nut butter
• Seeds (eg pumpkin, sunflower, flax, chia)
• Protein powder

SERVES: Makes 2 -3 servings

Method:

  1. Chop non-leafy greens into cubes and de-stalk leafy greens if required (eg kale or cavalo nero).
  2. Place all the ingredients into a high powered blender and blended until smooth, add more liquid if required.
  3. Pour into glasses and enjoy.
  4. Store in a glass air-tight container in the fridge and consume within 48 hours or freeze in portions for consumption later.
Quinoa Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

• 200g uncooked quinoa
• 500ml boiling vegetable stock
• ½ cucumber, de-seeded and fine diced
• 3 large tomatoes, de-seeded and fine diced
• 28g bunch parsley, finely chopped
• 28g bunch mint, stalks removed and leaves finely chopped
• 4 spring onions, finely sliced
• 2tbsp lemon juice
• ¼tsp ground allspice
• ¼tsp black pepper
• ¼tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼tsp ground cloves
• ¼tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼tsp ground ginger
• 100ml avocado or olive oil
• 50g pomegranate seeds
• 30g flaked almonds

A twist on the traditional Lebanese dish which uses bulgur wheat this recipe is a great alternative to pasta salad at a BBQ or the perfect side to any meal. The use of quinoa in this tabbouleh provides a plant-based complete protein which is also gluten free.

SERVES: 4-6

NOTES: Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days

ALLERGENS: Nuts (almonds)

Method:

Add the quinoa and the vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 10-12 mins until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Remove from the heat and spread out onto a baking sheet to cool to ensure it does not overcook.

Meanwhile chop all the herbs and vegetables and place in a large bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, spices and oil in a small jug.

Bring the tabbouleh together by adding the cold quinoa to the vegetables and herbs along with the dressing, mixing well to combine.

Stir though some of the pomegranate seeds and flaked almonds reserving a few to garnish.

Serve with bean burgers and relish or as a side to meat skewers or grilled fish.

 

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Barking to baking

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Cook up some peanut butter cookies for your four-legged friends!

The award-winning team behind The Big Bakes are helping dog owners across the nation turn Barking to Baking with their new free online classes as part of a mini series helping owners make simple dog treats at home.

The Big Bakes is the UK’s first and only live baking competition, where guests take part in live bake off events in fully decked out marquees in London and Birmingham. Whilst we are all isolating at home, they are hosting an array of remote tutorials across their instagram and facebook channels to get the nation baking.

Keeping us humans company during our new indoor time is hard work for our four legged friends, so to say thanks, homeowners across the country can now bake their canine companions some special treats to say thank you.

Eloise Frank, co-founder at The Big Bakes said: “My dogs Luna and Freddie have provided me unconditional love and friendship, making life in lockdown infinitely more manageable which is why it is great to be able to return the favour and spend time together baking their favourite dog treats!”

The new mini pet baking series, available now, will see recipes launched twice weekly for an array of pets in the home. The baking team will be sharing two pet treat bake-at-home classes each week across their social media channels, airing on IGTV every Monday and Friday – make sure you look out for the cuteness overload making a guest visit in the Peanut Butter Dog Cookie recipe airing today, Monday, 6th April. All recipes use day-to-day ingredients and standard kitchen equipment found in the home.

To take part in these digital sessions, all people need to do is visit @Thebig_bakes on Instagram or The Big Bakes on Facebook where they will find a list of all the necessary ingredients needed for their up-coming class. And the good news is, there are also plenty of free baking classes on the channel for us humans too. Once people have completed their home made creations, they can share a photograph with @Thebig_bakes, in order to be in the running for a prize. Each week, the team will choose the winning amateur baker, who will receive vouchers to attend a live session later in the year.

The Big Bakes is all about bringing people together through a love of baking (and eating!) so they thought why not extend this to all members of the household, including those with four legs as well as two!

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Cookies  

Ingredients:

 ⅔ cup or 85 grams fruit puree e.g. pumpkin, banana, apple  

• ¼ cup or roughly 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (Do not use peanut butter spread that contains sugar, or additives, this should be an all natural whole nut butter suitable for animal consumption e.g. Meridian or Pip and Nut as Xylitol, the sweetener most often used in peanut butter with sugar is toxic to dogs).  

• 2 large eggs  

• 3 cups or 384 grams plain flour wholemeal or rye  

Method:

Begin by preheating your oven to 180c degrees and line a large flat baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.  

2  Take your large mixing bowl and crack in your eggs and then add the peanut butter and fruit puree. Now mix the wet ingredients until combined using an electric whisk with the paddle attachment or with a wooden spoon. Remember to give it a good mix if you are using a spoon! 

3  Once combined, gradually add your flour about a quarter at a time and fold into the wet mixture. If you are using an electric whisk then beat this slowly until just incorporated. Then repeat to add the rest of the flour quarter by quarter until the dough is no longer sticky.  

4  Now, form your dough into a ball TIP: you may need to use your hands to do this, so dust them with some flour first.  

5  Then, once your dough is bound together in a ball, dust a work surface with flour and then knead the cookie dough (use your knuckles to press firmly and turn the dough a few times) until it comes together. If you are finding the dough to be sticky just sprinkle on some more flour. 

6  Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about the thickness of a £1 coin.  

7  Once rolled, take your cookie cutters (you can also make these by choosing some stencil shapes online and printing and cutting these out using a piece of card) and cut out your desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet leaving a little space between each cookie.  

8  Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown and they are firm to touch.   

9  Once ready, leave to cool completely before treating your 4 legged friend to a delicious peanut butter treat! 

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British Pie Week

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Never has the saying ‘nice as pie’ been so apt – who doesn’t love a tasty pastry pie and what better time to indulge than in British Pie Week. 

With so many great recipes to choose from all you need to do is decide whether it’s savoury, sweet, crumble or pasty – why not make a different one every day this week and get all members of the family involved in the cooking too? 

According to the most common internet search results, here’s our top 10, love them or loathe them:- 

1: Cottage Pie 

2: Fish Pie 

3: Shepherd’s Pie 

4: Chicken & Leek Pie 

5: Chicken and Mushroom Pie 

6: Steak and Ale Pie 

7: Meat and Potato Pie 

8: Pork Pie 

9: Steak and Kidney Pie 

10: Corned Beef Pie 

We asked our star baker Christine Wallace to share a pie recipe with us so why not put this on the menu this week? 

Left over turkey, leek and mushroom pie 

 

• You will need an 8” (20cm) Pie dish.
• 500gm block of butter puff pastry.
• 1 large leek – cut into large chunks
• 120g button mushrooms
• 300g cooked turkey meat
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tblsp oil
• 50g butter
• 50g plain flour
• 1 pint milk
• ½ tsp onion salt
• White pepper
• Beaten egg for glaze

Method 

• Place the oil and butter in a pan and add the leek, gently sweat for 5 minutes but do not brown.

• Add the mushrooms and thyme, cook for a minute.

• Stir in the flour and gently cook for a minute.

• Slowly add the milk until you have a nice thick sauce, add the turkey meat and cook for a couple of minutes.

• Add the onion salt and a little pepper then pour into your pie dish

• Roll out the pastry and cover the pie, sealing well and fluting the edges.

• Brush with beaten egg and cook for 30 minutes or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown.

N.B. If you are making the pie to freeze, do NOT add the turkey meat until the leek and mushroom sauce is completely cold. Use fresh puff pastry if you are freezing, not frozen! 

March recipes: Not your average Joe!

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Fitness star Joe Wicks –AKA The Body Coach – has teamed up with cancer charity Macmillan to share some veggie recipes for March

Rosie’s Beautiful Lentil Bolognese

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Large onion, finely chopped
• Two medium carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
• Salt and pepper
• Two cloves garlic, crushed
• Two sprigs of rosemary
• 200g dried green lentils
• A glass of red wine
• Two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
• 1tbsp tomato puree
• 60g walnuts
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• Cooked pasta of your choice
• Grated cheese, to serve
(optional)

This one [inspired by Joe’s wife Rosie] is a great recipe to make ahead. It will keep in the fridge for two or three days and freezes very well.

Method:
Add the oil to a saucepan over a low heat. Tip in the chopped onion and carrots, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for six minutes until mostly softened. Stir in the garlic and rosemary sprigs. Cook for another minute until it smells fragrant, then tip in the lentils. Give everything a good stir, then pour in the wine.

When most of the wine has bubbled off, chuck in the chopped tomatoes, then re-fill one of the tins with water and pour it in. Stir in the tomato puree then leave to cook for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the lentils are soft. When the lentils are nearly cooked, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until lightly browned and smelling nutty.

Allow to cool and roughly chop, then add them to the pan. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season your bolognese to taste, removing the rosemary sprigs. Serve with cooked pasta and, if you’re like me, loads of grated cheese on top!

l To support this fantastic charity please visit www.macmillan.org.uk

Peri-Peri Halloumi Burger

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp peri-peri sauce
• 100g halloumi, cut into four slices
• 1 tbsp mayo
• One baby gem lettuce
• 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
• One medium tomato
• Burger bun

Method:
our two tablespoons of the peri-peri sauce into a shallow bowl. Add the halloumi slices to the bowl and turn them so that both sides are covered in the sauce. Leave to marinate for a few minutes.

While your cheese is marinating, stir the remaining peri-peri into the mayo. Separate the lettuce leaves and slice the tomato into rounds. Warm a dry non-stick frying pan over a high heat. When it is hot, chuck in the halloumi slices. Dry fry for two minutes each side, spooning any of the leftover marinade over the cheese as it cooks so that it becomes sticky and crisp. Take off the heat. Toast your burger bun, then spread the base with spicy mayo. Stack in the halloumi, lettuce and tomato.

Avo & berry breakfast pot

Ingredients:

• Half an avocado, flesh scooped out\
• One small banana, roughly chopped
• Two handfuls of mixed frozen berries
• 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
• 1 ½ tbsp rolled oats
• 1 ½ tbsp. mixed seeds
• 1 tbsp almond butter
• Drizzle of honey

Make ahead – You can blitz the fruit and yoghurt the night before and keep it in the fridge

Method:
Place the avocado, banana, frozen berries and natural yoghurt in a blender and blitz with a splash of water until smooth. Tip into a bowl or pot to take to work. In a dry frying pan, over a medium heat, toast the oats and seeds until the seeds start to pop. Take off the heat. When you’re ready to eat, top the avocado berry pot with the toasted oats and seeds, almond butter and a drizzle of honey

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February’s recipes: Rice & easy!

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We’ve teamed up with Tilda to serve up some recipes to make the most of their new flavoured easy-cook sachets

Chicken Massaman curry

Ingredients:

• One red chilli, deseeded and cut into very thin matchsticks
• One spring onion, trimmed, halved and thinly shredded
• 50g peanuts
• 400ml can reduced fat coconut milk
• 200ml hot chicken stock
• One cinnamon stick
• 100g Massaman Thai curry paste
• 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
• 300g baby potatoes, halved
• 350g Tilda Fragrant Jasmine rice
• Large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped (see cooks tip)
• Finely grated zest and juice of one lime
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Lime wedges to garnish, if liked

Method:

Place the chilli and spring onion into a bowl of iced cold water and set aside while cooking the curry.
Dry fry the peanuts in a small pan for one or two minutes until toasted. Set aside until ready to use.

Place the coconut milk, chicken stock, cinnamon stick and curry paste into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the chicken and potatoes, cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the potatoes and chicken are tender and cooked through.

Meanwhile, place the rice into a sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Tip into a large heavy based saucepan and season with a little salt. Pour over 600ml boiling water and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over the lowest heat possible for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand until the curry is ready to serve.

Discard the cinnamon stick from the curry. Stir in half of the coriander, lime zest and juice and season to taste.
Fluff up the rice with a fork and arrange into individual serving dishes. Spoon over the massaman curry. Scatter over the peanuts and remaining coriander. Drain the spring onions and chilli and scatter over the curry to serve. Serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

Cook’s tip

There is lots of flavour in the stalk as well as the leaf of fresh coriander don’t be afraid to chop up both and add to the curry. For an even quicker version of this recipe substitute the jasmine rice for 2 x 250g sachets of lime and coriander basmati rice or sweet chilli and lime basmati rice.

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Kimchi rice

Ingredients:

• One pack of Tilda
• Long Grain rice
• 2tbsps vegetable oil
• One clove garlic, crushed
• 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
• One onion, finely chopped
• 50g kimchi, drained
• 3tbps soy sauce
• Two eggs
• One spring onion, finely sliced

Method:

In a large pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil and gently fry the onions, garlic and ginger for a few minutes until softened. Add the drained kimchi and heat for a couple more minutes

Heat the long grain rice in the microwave for one minute and then add to the kimchi mix.

Drizzle in the soy sauce and mix in well. Keep warm.
Fry the eggs in the remaining oil for a few minutes.
Divide the kimchi rice between two bowl and top each with a fried egg and a sprinkle of spring onions.

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January’s recipes: Vive la revolution!

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We share two exclusive recipes from Ollie Hunter’s brand new sustainable cookbook with two copies up for grabs

Chicken breast tagine

with locally dried fruit

Ingredients:

• 1 tbsp ground cumin
• 1 tbsp ground coriander
• 1 tbsp ground turmeric
• 1 tbsp paprika
• Two raw chicken breasts
• Oil of your choice, for frying
• One onion, diced
• Six garlic cloves, diced
• A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), with stalks diced
and leaves left whole
• One red chilli, diced
• 100 ml/31/3 fl oz or 1/3 cup
red wine, water or even cider (hard cider)
• 1 x 400g/14oz can of
chopped tomatoes
• 1 tbsp apple molasses, or use whatever molasses is locally produced
• 1 x 400g/14oz cooked beans
or pulses – cannellini beans
are delicious
• Handful of local dried fruits such as prunes, damsons
or apricots, pitted
• Salt

To serve

• Dollops of plain yogurt
• Grains such as spelt or couscous, cooked

Method:
reheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Mix all the spices together and set aside. Rub the chicken breasts with 1 tbsp of the spice mix. Add a few glugs of oil to an ovenproof saucepan and place over a medium heat. Quickly fry the chicken breasts – just to sear the outside on both sides – then remove from the pan and leave to one side.

Add some more oil to the same pan and then sauté the diced onion, garlic, coriander stalks and chilli until soft. Once soft, stir in the rest of the spice mix and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine, cider or water to deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes and molasses and give it a little stir. Simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Add the drained beans or pulses and dried fruit, stir and season with salt. Nestle each seared chicken breast into the sauce, then add 100 ml/31/3 fl oz/1/3 cup cold water and transfer to the oven to cook for between 30 and 35 minutes.

Serve the tagine scattered with fresh coriander leaves and perhaps some edible flowers, with dollops of yogurt and some spelt or couscous.

Beetroot leaf dhal

Ingredients:

• 100g/3½ oz/½ cup dried red split lentils or split peas
• Oil with a high smoking point such as rapeseed or sunflower, for frying
• One onion, diced
• Chunk of fresh ginger, diced
• Six garlic cloves, diced
• Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks diced and leaves left whole
• One red chilli, diced
• One cinnamon stick
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 1 tsp black mustard seeds
• Four fresh tomatoes,
chopped (or ½ x 400g/14oz can of tomatoes)
• Four beetroot stalks and leaves, thinly sliced (save the beetroot for another meal)
• Salt
• Dollops of plain yogurt,
to serve

One of the great things about eating from root to fruit is the added variety of flavours and textures available to us. For example, sage flowers have the subtle taste of sage but are a little more floral than the leaves. Pea shoots offer a lighter and more delicate pea flavour than the pea. In this recipe, beetroot stalks bring that earthy beetroot taste, but with added crunch and freshness.

Method:
If you’re using split peas, then they’ll need to be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water before using.

Put a good amount of oil into a large pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and chilli and fry until soft.

Once they’re soft, add the cinnamon stick, ground spices, mustard seeds and continue to cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and lentils or soaked and drained split peas. Season to taste with salt and stir. Add one litre / four cups of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes if using lentils (or 40 minutes if using split peas).

Stir in the sliced beetroot stalks and leaves for the final five minutes of cooking. Serve the dhal scattered with the fresh coriander leaves and dollops of yogurt.

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December’s recipes: Movers & shakers

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We’ve teamed up with multisensory creators Sam Bompas and Harry Parr to serve up some cocktail fresh recipes from The Bompas & Parr Cocktail Book

Formula E

Ingredients:

• 60 ml/2½ fl oz ‘electrified’ Absolut Citron vodka
• 15 ml/½ fl oz triple sec
• 30 ml/1 fl oz lemon juice
• 1 medium egg white (20 ml/2/3 fl oz egg white)
• 2–3 drops blue food colouring

This was created for the organisers of Formula E to mark the race’s return to London in 2016. We served it along the top corridor of Tower Bridge to the epic backdrop of our home city.
This is an excellent example of how vodka acts as a flavour vehicle. For the original drink we included a touch of the eco-friendly saline algae Formula E uses to power its electricity generators to lend the drink its blue-green hue. You can simply add a little blue food colouring to convey the colour of electricity.
The ‘electrified’ vodka is simply Absolut Citron lemon-flavoured vodka infused with Japanese Sancho pepper. Pour 25 or so of these peppercorns into a bottle of the stuff and leave for a couple of days to add some zingy spice. If you can get some Szechuan buttons, even better – these taste like you’re licking an 8V battery, a comparison which you’ll either ‘get’ or will not.

Method:
Dry shake all the ingredients to emulsify the egg white, then add ice cubes and shake again. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. For Formula E we garnished the drink with some blue-coloured Sancho pepper-flavoured popping candy.

Mojito

Ingredients:

• Large sprig of mint
• 60 ml/21/2 fl oz white rum
• 30 ml/1 fl oz lime juice
• 2 tsp white caster sugar
• Top with soda water
• Wedge of lime and fresh mint leaves to garnish

This is one cocktail where it’s better to use sugar rather than sugar syrup – the sugar crystals lacerate the mint as you muddle and it releases a lot of flavour. It’s a refreshing drink – a light sour that has been lengthened with lots of soda. It’s traditional to make it in the glass that you are ser ving it in. It originates from Cuba and was a favourite drink of the writer Ernest Hemingway when he lived there in the 1940s.

Method:
Put 5–6 mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass, and use the non-spoon end of a bar spoon to gently bruise (but not crush) the leaves. Pour over the rum, lime juice and sugar. Next, fill the glass with crushed ice and churn the mix with your spoon. Top with soda, add extra crushed ice to ensure a good pile is showing above the rim of the glass, then finally garnish with a wedge of lime and tuck the remainder of your mint leaves in among the ice.

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November’s recipes: Tried & trusted

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Leading chef Laura Mason shares some recipes from the new National Trust Book of ROASTS (£16.99), which is out now

Breast of lamb

Stuffed with capers, garlic and herbs

(Prep: 20 minutes – Cooking: Three and a half to four hours – Serves: 
Three to four)

Ingredients:

•   Two breasts of lamb, boned
•   40g (1½oz) unsalted butter
•   One medium onion, peeled 
& finely chopped
•   Two garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
•   Two tablespoons salted 
capers, well rinsed and 
coarsely chopped
•   A little chopped fresh mint
•   Three tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
•   A large tablespoon chopped fresh basil
•   Zest of ½ lemon (preferably unwaxed), finely grated
•   150g (5oz) crustless day-old white bread, torn into small pieces
•   Splash of stock or milk, 
to moisten

This needs slow cooking, moisture, and a highly flavoured stuffing to add interest and counteract the fattiness. In the past, standard English mixtures of bread with herbs and suet bound with eggs were favoured, but these are very dense to modern tastes. I suggest using a mixture with flavours borrowed from salsa verde (capers, herbs), which works well with this meat.

Method:

Breast of lamb is flattish and thin, with one straight edge cut from the forequarter, which may still contain the ends of the rib bones, unless the butcher has already removed them. If you have to do this yourself, run a knife in between the bones and the meat on the outside, then cut them away from the lesser covering inside and slip them out.

To make the stuffing, melt the butter over a low heat and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Stir in the capers, herbs, lemon zest and bread, and add enough stock or milk to moisten the bread.

Spread the meat out, skin-side down. Put a layer of stuffing 
on top of each piece, then roll from the narrow end and 
firmly tie at each end with string.

Preheat the oven to 140°C, 275°F, Gas mark 1. Put the lamb in a shallow roasting tin and cook for three to three and a half hours, pouring off any fat that the meat renders. Then turn the oven up to 200°C, 400°F, Gas mark 6, and give it a further 15 minutes to crisp up.

It won’t produce gravy, but a light tomato sauce goes well with the caper-flavoured stuffing. Alternatively, serve a salad dressed with vinaigrette on the side.

RED CABBAGE

(Prep: 10 minutes – Cooking: 140 minutes – Serves: Six)

Ingredients:

•   One generous tablespoon goose, pork or bacon fat, or oil
•   One medium onion
•   One or two apples, preferably sourish ones
•   A small red cabbage
•   Two or three tablespoons cider vinegar
•   Two tablespoons light pale brown sugar
•   Four or five cloves, bruised
•   5cm (2in) 
cinnamon stick
•   A piece of orange zest (preferably unwaxed) about 5 x 2cm (2 x 1in)
•   A teaspoon of salt
•   Freshly ground 
black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 140°C / 275°F, Gas mark 1. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel, core and chop the apples. Quarter the cabbage, discard the stem and finely slice.

Heat the fat in an ovenproof casserole and fry the onion until translucent. Stir in the apples, then the cabbage, and fry lightly for a few minutes. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Cover and transfer to the oven for about an hour and a half. 
This can be cooked on the hob, but the heat must be very low – and stir frequently, adding a little more water from time to time if it shows signs of drying up.

Roast potatoes

(Prep: 15 minutes – Cooking: 60 minutes – Serves: Four to six)

Ingredients:

•   1kg (2¼lb) potatoes
•   About 50g (2oz) fat for roasting, such as beef or pork dripping
•   Salt

Roast potatoes are a defining element of “a proper roast”. King Edward, a potato variety with almost iconic status in Britain, probably has the best flavour, and can develop a fantastic crisp crust and melting interior. Wilja and Desirée are also good; Cara and Romano should produce reasonable results.

Method:

The oven needs to be hot – 200–220°C, 400–425°F, Gas mark 6–7. 
Peel the potatoes. Leave small ones whole, and cut large ones into smaller pieces (3–4 each). Put them in a pan, just cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Boil for 5–7 minutes. Tip them into a colander and drain well.

Put the fat in a roasting tin and place in the oven to melt and get very hot. Take it out and add the potatoes. (Wear oven gloves and an apron in case the fat spits – it should be hot enough to sizzle satisfactorily.) Turn the potatoes well in the hot fat, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 40–50 minutes. In a gas oven, put the potatoes at the top. Turn once or twice during cooking, and add a little more salt each time.

 

Roasts by Laura Mason, published by National Trust Books.

Images: Tara Fisher.

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October’s recipes: Italian job

Round & About

recipes

Chef & restaurateur Gennaro Contaldo shares two delicious autumnal recipes from his new book Pasta Perfecto

LASAGNE DI CARNEVALE

Carnival-Time Lasagne

(Prep: 30 mins – Cooking: Three hours (including cooking meat ragu) – Serves: 6)

Ingredients:

• 250g / 9oz Italian pork sausage
• Splash of extra virgin olive oil
• 350g / 12oz ricotta
• Two eggs
• 150g / 5½oz / 2¼ cups grated Parmesan
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 12 lasagne sheets
• 250g / 9oz mozzarella, coarsely chopped

For the ragù:

• 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• One onion, finely chopped
• Two bay leaves
• 750g / 1lb 10oz beef brisket, cut into large chunks
• 5 tbsp red wine
• 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste) dissolved in a little warm water
• Three x 400g / 14oz cans of chopped plum tomatoes
• A handful of basil leaves
• 20g / ¾oz / ¼ cup grated Parmesan
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

 

This typical southern Italian lasagne is usually made for special occasions such as Carnevale – the week before Lent when festivities all over Italy take place. Lent is traditionally a time when eating meat is forbidden, so a lasagne such as this one – with meat ragù and sausage – would be made to enjoy before the period of abstinence. Only the tomato sauce from the meat ragù is used for the lasagne; the beef can then be enjoyed as a second course with a green salad.

Method:

First make the ragù: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and bay leaves, and sweat for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the beef and seal well all over. Increase the heat, add the wine and allow to evaporate. Stir in the tomato purée mixture, chopped tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and some salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for at least 2 hours, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Check from time to time, stirring with a wooden spoon and, if necessary, add a little hot water.

When cooked, remove the beef and set aside to enjoy later.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Cook the pork sausage: you can either do this in the oven or fry it. If using the oven, put the sausage into a roasting pan with a splash of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes. If frying, fry for about 15 minutes in a frying pan (skillet) with a splash of olive oil over a medium heat. When cooked through, remove, slice and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, half of the Parmesan, and some salt and pepper, until creamy.

Line the bottom of a baking dish (about 24 x 17 cm/9½ x 7 in) with some of the tomato ragù, cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then add a layer of ricotta, scatter over some sausage slices and some pieces of mozzarella, then add another layer of tomato ragù. Continue making layers in this way until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets, tomato ragù, mozzarella and the remaining grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Cover with foil and bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

ZUPPA DI VERDURE E PASTINA

Vegetable and Pastina Soup

(Prep: 5 mins – Cooking: 15 mins – Serves: 4)

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ onion, finely chopped
• ½ celery stalk, finely chopped
• One carrot, finely chopped
• 85g / 3oz courgette (zucchini), finely chopped
• 800ml / 28fl oz / 3½ cups hot vegetable stock (bouillon)
• 85g / 3oz pastina (small pasta shapes)
• Grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)

This should be really be called ‘Olivia’s Soup’ as it’s my daughter Olivia’s favourite meal! Small pasta shapes (pastina) can be little stars, butterflies, alphabet shapes or even broken-up capelli d’angelo (very fine spaghetti) if you have nothing else. In Italy, there is a huge variety of pastina shapes to choose from and we always bring some back after a trip. For an even richer flavour, pastina can be made with homemade broths in place of the ready-made vegetable stock.

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, celery, carrot and courgette, and sweat for 2–3 minutes until softened. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pastina and cook until al dente (check the instructions on your packet for cooking time).

Divide between serving bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan, if desired.