Hassleback al Forno

In Britain we have a tradition of having a roast dinner on a Sunday. This consists of roast vegetables, meat, some gravy and potatoes in some form. Many families still do this but it does tend to use up every pot in the house which has put me off making it just for the two of us. These roasted vegetables with puy lentils cooked in red wine do a nice job of recreating that Sunday lunch feeling without all the extra washing up. Once again this recipe was in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15g thyme
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 400g tins green lentils
  • 100g spinach
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt

Method

1.) Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Peel the parsnips, squash, onion, carrots and potatoes.

2.) Slice around all the veg but don’t go through the middle at 1/2 cm intervals.

3.) Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to a large bowl with 6 tbsp oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Strip off and add the thyme leaves.

4.) Add the veg to the bowl and coat with all the ingredients.

5.) Pour everything into a roasting tin and roast for one hour.

6.) Once the veg are done, take them out the tin and set aside. Put the tray over the hob and pour in the wine and let it reduce. Then add the tins of lentils with the liquid and the spinach. Stir until the sauce is thick and the spinach has wilted then season.

7.) Serve some lentils with some roasted veg and a dollop of yoghurt.

‘Alsatian’ gnocci

I call this post ‘Alsatian’ as I adapted a recipe from Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen switching out the pasta for gnocchi and making it veggie so I’m not sure how Alsatian it is anymore. In saying that I think you could Anglify it by serving with mash and it would be equally as good. Probably a wise thing to do with the grain prices too. I was reading the Economist (I have to do 40 units (hours) CPD for my accountancy qualification each year and I thought an issue of the Economist would be a cheap way to earn some of these) and I learnt that South-East Asia are some of the only countries not affected by the ‘global’ inflation partly due to the fact that they eat more rice than wheat products. Anyway I went for gnocchi because I had some at my company conference lunch but it was cold so I fancied some cooked gnocchi – we arrived late due to our coach breaking down before it even arrived to pick us up. We then got a replacement coach which was actually more like a school bus for primary (elementary?) aged kids.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pack gnocchi
  • 500g vegetarian meatballs
  • 10g parsley
  • 500ml beef flavoured stock
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 4 rashers vegetarian bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 175ml red wine
  • thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 30g parmesan

Method

1.) Peel and finely dice the onion and the carrot. Finely chop up the celery. Chop up the veggie bacon.

2.) Heat some oil in a casserole dish then add the meatballs. Fry on all sides until brown and then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.

3.) Add some more oil to the pan and add the carrot, the onions and the celery. Fry for about 7 minutes until everything is soft. Add the bacon and cook for another couple of minutes. In the meantime, chop up the parsley, strip the leaves from the thyme and crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Set the carrot, celery and onion aside with the meatballs.

4.) Melt the butter in the casserole dish then add the flour. Cook the paste down for a couple of minutes. Then gradually add the stock and whisk after each addition. Add the tomato paste and the wine and whisk to dissolve everything.

5.) Add the peppercorns, thyme and half the parsley to the pan, along with the veg, bacon and meatballs. Simmer for 15 minutes.

6.) Whilst this is cooking, grate the parmesan and finely dice the cornichons. Cook the gnocchi according to the packet.

7.) Add the capers, cornichons and rest of the parsley to the pan and stir. Serve with the gnocchi and garnish with some parmesan.

Spiced Carrot Fritters

As may have been clear from this blog I’m a huge fan of Jamie Oliver’s cookbook ‘Veg’ and this might well be my favourite recipe from it so far. I was extra impressed that I’d managed to get it on the table as I’d finally had my first confirmed COVID infection after attending our yearly company conference held in the south of the country this time. Monday to Wednesday was grim living with COVID and the lasting effects of the HIIT class I’d signed up for at the work event but after struggling to work through those days to get all the month-end journals in I decided I couldn’t go on any longer. I signed off work in the morning, had a three hour nap and got woken up by my cat pawing me in the face. When I was a bit better I found the time to watch Taxi Driver which I’ve always wanted to watch so at least my week wasn’t completely wasted.

These delicious pancakes are spiced with cumin, fennel seeds, chilli and coriander but to divert from the topic once again just because I found it quite interesting – I was watching Rick Stein’s India and he was talking about how when the spices started first travelling from India to England, the first one that was really desired was pepper. People really hadn’t had anything like it before with it’s slight kick. It’s so funny as it’s just a table condiment now and not at all seen as exotic!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 150g carrots (I think around 2 medium)
  • 1 green chilli
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 /2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup self raising flour (I used a measuring jug and filled to one cup level)
  • 1 cup milk (as above)
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • 100g crunchy veg (radishes/cucumber/carrots)
  • rose harissa
  • 1 bag watercress
  • 40g feta
  • hummus

Method

1.) Make up the salad by chopping up/peeling the veg you’ve chosen. If you’re using cucumber it’s best to cut out the seeds as they will make everything watery. Put these in a salad bowl with the watercress. Crumble in the feta.

2,) Peel and grate the 150g carrots. Add to another large bowl. Finely chop the chilli and coriander leaves and add to the bowl. Chuck in the fennel and cumin. Peel and slice the onion and add to the bowl.

3.) In a measuring jug, add the flour and milk and mix well with a fork. Crack in the egg and mix that in too. Pour the batter in with the carrots and give everything a stir.

4.) In a frying pan, heat up some oil and add about 1/2 a ladleful of the mixture. Cook until browning then flip over and brown the other side.

5.) Repeat until you get through all of the mixture.

6.) Serve the pancakes with some salad, a dollop of the hummus and a teaspoon or two of the rose harissa.

Bulgur & Veg Khichree

This recipe is another winner from the book ‘Simple Spice Vegetarian’. It’s actually a mix of rice, lentils and bulgur wheat which I kind of questioned when I first saw the recipe but the mixture of textures and the ability of the different elements to soak up the spices really added something to the flavour. The word kedgeree comes from this word too so you just know it’s going to be good. This is really tasty when you ramp up the ginger content.

Serves 4 (large portions)

Ingredients

  • 200g bulgur wheat
  • 100g rice
  • 150g lentils
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 chilli
  • 5cm ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 150g peas
  • 250ml water
  • salt

Method

1.) Cook the rice and lentils in a pan until tender, Halfway through cooking, add the bulgur wheat. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees C.

2.) In the meantime, peel and grate the ginger. Peel and finely dice the onion, carrot and parsnip.

3.) Make a masala paste by adding the turmeric, coriander and cumin in a bowl with a tbsp water and mixing.

4.) In a casserole dish, melt the ghee and add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

5.) Add the masala paste and cook until it dries out. Chop up the tomatoes and add to the pan with the carrot and parsnip.

6.) Cook for about 5 minutes then add the spinach and peas and cook for another couple of minutes.

7.) Drain the lentils, rice and bulgur and add to the pan. Add the water and stir everything together. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.

8.) Season before serving.

Chickpea Curry

Recently I started watching the Andy Warhol documentary on Netflix as I am a fan of art even though I know very little about it. During Warhol’s life he was a very private person and no one knew much about him but after his death his diaries were found, edited and published (they’re winging their way to me as we speak). What I really loved in the first episode is that the editor of his diaries said that some of the people he had written about resented what he’d said about them but she said this diary is Warhol’s narrative, if you want to tell your own narrative, write your own diary. Other people can disagree with you, but they can’t invalidate your opinions, your feelings are your own. So, in summary, don’t piss me off because I can totally write about you here, it’s my narrative :P. The documentary uses David Bowie’s ‘Andy Warhol’ song to open which is quite funny because for one, Andy Warhol didn’t like David Bowie. Also, David Bowie did idolise Warhol but despite that, you could hardly call his song flattering with lyrics such as ‘Andy Warhol, looks a scream, hang him on my wall. Andy Warhol, Silver Screen, can’t tell them apart at all’.

Here is another chickpea curry recipe that I found on BBC Good Food. It did have eggs but I didn’t so it’s eggless but feel free to add eggs or whatever kind of protein you like.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 cm ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 450g tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 200g spinach
  • 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • rice to serve

Method

1.) Peel and finely chop the onion. Melt some ghee in a large pan and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft.

2.) Whilst this is cooking, put some rice in another pan with some boiling water and cook on a low heat. Peel and finely dice the garlic. Slice off the ginger skin and grate the ginger. Chop up the tomatoes.

3.) Add the garlic, ginger, spices, chilli flakes and tomatoes to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.

4.) Drain the tin of chickpeas and add the chickpeas to the pan with 100ml water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.

5.) Chop up the coriander leaves whilst this is cooking.

6.) Once this has finished, remove the lid and add the spinach, Cook for 3 more minutes until the leaves have wilted.

7.) Stir through the yoghurt and sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Serve with the rice.

Hearty Herby Stew

I enjoyed The Tinder Swindler documentary so much I even listened to the podcast ‘The Making of the Tindler Swindler’ on Spotify. It’s fascinating stuff. On the back of that I just want more of the con artists and I’m trying to watch the show about Anna Delvey but to be honest, I’m pretty lost and I’m not sure what Julia Garner’s accent is meant to be and if it’s good or not, I’m not sure who she’s conning and how and what her motivation is. This is the weather for staying in watching TV and also for eating a hearty stew. This recipe from the Bosh team in ‘Healthy Vegan’ is great, It packs a lot of flavour for a veggie stew. This meal is both light and filling at the same time.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stick celery
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 250g new potatoes
  • 1 tin green lentils
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 200g kale
  • 15 parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 11/2 tbsp oil
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 500ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Peel and finely dice the shallots and garlic. Peel the carrots and chop up. Chop up the celery.

2.) Heat the oil in a casserole dish and add the veggies. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.

3.) In the meantime, strip the leaves from the rosemary and the thyme. Chop them up finely.

4.) Chop up the potatoes into smaller chunks.

5.) Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.

6.) Add the thyme and rosemary and cook for one more minute.

7.) Make up the stock and add to the pan with the water, bay leaf and mustard and bring to a simmer.

8.) Add the potatoes and cook until they’re tender.

9.) Chop the lemon in half and remove the pips. Drain the lentils and beans and add to the stew. Add the juice of half of the lemon. Simmer for 4 minutes.

10.) Whilst this is simmering, chop up the parsley and sage. Add the herbs, the kale and the marmite and simmer for another couple of minutes.

11.) Season with salt and pepper. Dish into bowls.

11.) Add the kale, sage,