Za’atar Scones & Spring Onion Soup

As a British person, scones are very close to my heart but basically being just a mixture of butter and flour, I don’t eat them as often as I would like. I tend to eat scones as a sweet treat with jam and clotted cream (always jam first! – everyone has an opinion on this in the U.K – it’s a great conversation point.). If you’re a tourist to England and you’d like to try the best scones, you need to go to the teahouse at the Jane Austen museum in the beautiful city of Bath. I saw these savoury scones in the book ‘Palestine on a Plate’ and decided to serve them with Ottolenghi’s spring onion soup. I managed to slice my thumb open in the process of chopping up the immense quantity of 900g spring onions but fortunately it was just as I’d pretty much finished so I’m happy that this soup turned out well considering that I can no longer practice the guitar.

Serves 4 (with 8 scones)

Ingredients

Scones

  • 340g plain flour (plus one handful) and extra for dusting
  • salt
  • 3/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 tbsp baking powder
  • 125g butter
  • 240ml milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 egg

Soup

  • 900g spring onions (or salad onions if possible)
  • 40g butter
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 300g peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 80g parsley
  • 40g crème fraiche
  • 20g parmesan
  • 20g mint leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C

2.) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda into a bowl. (I found that the flour in the recipe was not enough so ended up adding one more handful at the end)

3.) Chop up the butter into cubes

4.) Rub the butter into the flour but like breadcrumbs as if you were doing a crumble, so you can still see bits of butter

5.) Measure out the milk and add the vinegar (this is my sub for buttermilk), Stir very briefly to combine.

6.) Flour a work surface, tip out the mixture, flour your hands and push it together. Try to work the dough as little as possible.

7.) Sprinkle the za’atar over the dough.

8.) Line a baking tray, cut up the dough into 8 pieces and place on top. You could make these a bit prettier by using a cutter but you’ll just be left with the edges that you’ll need to mix together again at the end and I would rather have light, fluffy scones that look a mess.

9.) Crack the egg into a bowl and beat. Brush the scones with the egg.

10.) Bake for 18 minutes until golden.

11.) For the soup, peel and chop up the garlic. Chop up the white parts of the spring onion.

12.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the whites of the spring onions and the garlic. Add some pepper and cook for about 15 minutes.

13.) In the meantime, slice up the green parts of the onion and chop up the courgette. Make up the litre of stock.

14.) Add the bay leaves and the green parts of the onion to the pan and cook for 10 more minutes.

15.) Add the peas and courgette and cook for another 5 minutes.

16.) Take out half the veggies from the saucepan and put to one side. Adding them back later will give the soup a nice texture.

17.) Chop up the mint and set to one side.

19.) Cover the vegetables with stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

20.) Grate the parmesan and measure out the crème fraiche. Zest the lemon.

21.) When the soup is done, remove the bay leaf, add the parsley and blitz with an immersion blender.

21.) Add back the set aside vegetables, warm up, then stir in the crème fraiche and parmesan

22.) Serve and garnish with lemon zest and mint leaves.

Saag Paneer

You may have noticed a bit of a gap on the blog, I was a little behind on posting but with this recipe I will be caught up to at least before I came back from holiday (4 days ago) – woo! I took this saag paneer recipe from Bosh – ‘Healthy Vegan’ and brutalised it into being vegetarian again. The vegan version uses tofu with nutritional yeast and miso which does sound interesting and probably would have been better than the paneer I bought from Sainsburys which turned out to be the feta textured kind which doesn’t fry properly (the halloumi textured kind that M&S sell is much better).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250 paneer
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 5cm ginger
  • 2 tomatoes (actually I forgot to buy these or Sainsburys forgot to deliver so I switched with some asparagus – very Indian I know!)
  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 rotis

Method

1.) Chop the paneer into cubes

2.) Prepare a plate with 2 pieces of kitchen roll on it

3.) Melt 1tbsp of the ghee in a frying pan, add the paneer and fry until golden brown, turning around to catch all the sides.

4.) Remove the paneer from the pan and place on top of the kitchen roll. Press down with another piece of kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.

5.) Peel and dice the onion, ginger and garlic. Dice the tomatoes.

6.) Melt the other tbsp ghee in the pan, add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook down for 4 minutes.

7.) Add the spinach and leave it to wilt for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

8.) Stir through the paneer and serve with a roti.

Avgolemono soup

I first came across this avgolemono soup on the beautiful food blog ‘Adventures in Cooking’. It’s often seen as a Greek recipe (though may have Jewish roots) and the author of this blog has Greek heritage. I first tried that recipe a number of years ago when I still ate meat. It had shredded roasted chicken and chicken stock so it was a bit of an ask to convert it into a vegetarian recipe but I had to try as I really love it and fortunately the result was a success. Whisking the egg white up then slowly incorporating it back into the hot soup is a genius idea which really makes a lovely creamy textured soup. The recipe works pretty well with orzo or rice noodles that I have used. With the kick of lemon, it’s a perfect dinner for when you have a cold.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • Plant pioneers chicken style pieces (300g)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 rice noodle nests
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp Massel ‘chicken flavoured’ stock

Method

1.) Strip the thyme leaves from the thyme sprigs

2.) Pan fry the chicken pieces until cooked with the oregano.

3.) Slice thinly and set to one side

4.) Peel and dice the onion, chop up the courgette

5.) Pan fry the onion and courgette until soft then set to one side

6.) Make up the stock with 8 cups of boiling water

7.) Add the stock to a large pan and add the rice noodles

8.) Let this simmer for 5 minutes and take off the heat.

9.) Separate the eggs into two separate bowls

10.) Juice the lemons into another bowl

11.) Whisk up the egg whites until beginning to froth. Add in the egg yolks and lemons and whisk together.

12.) Add ladlefuls of the stock to the egg, whisking between each spoon.

13.) Carry on until half the stock is whisked into the egg.

14.) Then, add ladlefuls of the egg mixture back into the soup and whisk between each until it’s all incorporated.

15.) Put back onto the heat and simmer until the noodles are cooked

16.) Add the chicken pieces, courgette and onion back into the soup, season, stir and serve.

Thai Konjac Noodles

I really hope this post ends up being legible. I was at a hen do yesterday so my brain is in a bit of a fog though the gym sesh definitely helped. Hungover exercising is the best as your brain is not functioning well enough to tell you you can’t get through the work out. For this recipe, I used konjac noodles which are a 0 carb very low calorie noodle made out of a kind of yam. They don’t have tons of flavour but work well for this kind of recipe where you have a punchy sauce. (They have a slight fishy smell so it’s a good idea to rinse the noodles.) Too many pub trips watching England have meant that I need to lose a few pounds hence the konjac noodles but this would be great with normal noodles too. Speaking of England, really hope it’s coming home tonight though gotta say, I’m not feeling too confident. The recipe was in Thailand – The cookbook and I adapted it a little.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 3 packs konjac noodles/1kg cooked rice noodles
  • 600ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 2 birds eye chillis
  • 6 shallots
  • 5 thin slices galangal (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 fillets white fish
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • coriander leaves/basil leaves to garnish
  • 1 pack pre-prepared stir fry vegetables

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C, line a baking tray and place the fillets on the tray. Bake for around 15 minutes or according to the packet. When done, peel off the skin.

2.) While the fish is baking, crack on with the rest of the recipe. Peel and finely chop the shallots, chop up the chillis, and the galangal/lemongrass if needed. Make up the stock.

3.) Add the stock, chilli, shallots, galangal and lemongrass and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 8 minutes to reduce.

4.) Rinse the konjac noodles and set to one side.

5.) Chop up the herbs for the garnish.

6.) After the 8 minutes, tip the stir fry veg into the pan and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Then tip in the noodles and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through. Add the fish sauce.

7.) Flake in the fish. and sprinkle in the herbs then give everything a gentle toss before serving.

qrf

Salmon Salad with Marie Rose

I came upon this recipe scanning through Jamie Oliver’s website – ‘Simple Roast Salmon’. The salad dressing is called ‘Marie Rose’ sauce and was created by a famous British chef – Fanny Craddock – back in the 60s. It’s nice to be posting this today as England won their first match in the Euros and I’m feeling patriotic. Back in the 70’s this Marie-Rose sauce was used a lot in ‘prawn cocktails’ and since then it’s come to be seen as a bit outdated. Apparently, however, coincidentally it’s made a bit of a comeback and my husband spotted it in an article on resurging food trends. This and fondue. Was fondue ever out? The usual way to make the sauce is with ketchup which feels a bit like cheating but it taste pretty good.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 lemons
  • tabasco sauce
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 300g cooked prawns
  • pinch paprika

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, season the salmon and put the salmon on the tray and drizzle on some oil (skin on top if there is skin)

3.) Cook for about 10 minutes or as per instructions on packet

4.) Make the Marie Rose sauce. Zest a lemon and add to a bowl, squeeze in the juice then add the yoghurt, ketchup,. Season and add a dash of Tabasco

5.) Wash and chop the little gem lettuces and chop. Add to a mixing bowl. Wash the watercress and add to the bowl. Season, chop the other lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl and a drizzle of oil and mix.

6,) Plate up the salad. Divide the prawns between the servings. Add the salmon on top.

7.) Drop over spoonfuls of the Marie-Rose sauce and sprinkle over a pinch of paprika.

Cauliflower & Cherry Salad

I love cherries so much – when I was a kid I would ask for a bag of them as a snack from the grocers. Weird kid huh. Anyway I was really happy to see a recipe using them that wasn’t a dessert even if I am very partial to a cherry clafoutis. This recipe was in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’. Such a great book, I really recommend it. I subbed out brown rice for bulghar wheat and probably any mix of fresh herbs would be fine.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 200g bulghar wheat
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 200g cherries
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30g fresh mint
  • 30g fresh dill
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Chop up the cauliflower into florets

3.) Add the bulghar wheat and cauliflower to a pan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon. Continue simmering the bulghar wheat until cooked. When done, drain and set aside to cool.

4,) Line a baking tray and place on the cauliflower. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with za’atar and salt and pepper. Get another baking tray and crush down. Leave the top tray on the cauliflower and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. (In fact I forgot to do this straight away and ended up taking the cauliflower out halfway through but I think I got away with it. It may have been easier to crush).

5.) While this is baking, prepare the cherries. Destone the cherries, roughly chop and throw into a mixing bowl.

6.) Finely chop the preserved lemon, removing the pips and add to the cherries. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice in from one of the halves. Drizzle in the honey and 3 tbsp olive oil. Give it a good mix.

7.) Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan on a low heat until they start to smell fragrant.

8.) Finely chop up the dill and mint. Mix with the bulghar wheat along with the juice from the other half of the lemon.

9.) Plate up the bulghar wheat and place on the cauliflower. Spoon over the cherry mixture, sprinkle over the pine nuts and spoon over some yoghurt.