Category Archives: Vegetarian

Zingy courgette and pea soup

Cooking Time
30 mins

Serves
4

Ingredients
4 courgettes
250g frozen peas
150ml half fat creme fraiche
Juice of half a lime
1 finger chilli
3 cloves of garlic
750ml of chicken or vegetable stock
Splash of olive oil
Salt to season

This is a super zingy summer soup using courgettes and peas so it’s super healthy as well as tasty and so easy to make!

First heat the oven to 180 c and get a roasting tin/sheet ready.  Chop the courgettes into 2cm discs and add to the tin along with the chilli halved lengthways and the whole garlic still in its skin.

Add a good splash of olive oil to coat everything and a generous pinch of sea salt (about a tsp).

Roast the vegetables in the oven for about half an hour; halfway through move the mixture around so you get a colour on all the veg; they should be golden brown and cooked soft rather than brown!

If you have a blender the next bit is easy.  Simply add the courgette and chilli to the blender, squeeze out the garlic and add the garlic minus the skin; add the lime juice, a stock cube, hot water and creme fraiche and blitz to a  a smooth consistency.

If you don’t have a blender then do this in a pan and use a stick blender to  make the soup smooth and silky

Three cheese Ravioli with tomato sauce

This is a very simple and easy to follow recipe for  ravioli using three cheeses which serves 4 as a starter or two as a main course.  First make the pasta  by adding the flour to a large bowl, or just tip onto a large dry surface.  Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, salt and olive oil.  Gradually work the flour into the liquid in the middle until it starts to come together, it takes a but if practice but you soon get the hang of it.  For a good tip watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twG7PCPDPEE

When the mixture starts coming together knead it roughly until it it forms a shiny ball, this will take 5-10 mins, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge.

Next make the tomato sauce, this is a classic Italian staple and can be eaten just with pasta.  Add the olive oil to a pan over a medium heat and add the garlic and onion, fry until soft before adding the chopped chilli and finally the tomato, salt, and sugar.  Leave on a low heat with the lid off until it reduces to a rough sauce, basically once the tomato has broken down, typically around 45 mins  set aside until ready to use.

Next make the filling by simply combining the ingredients in a bowl into a smooth mixture; taste for seasoning.

You are now ready to put everything together, remove the pasta from the fridge a good 15 mins before you roll it out, preferably using a pasta machine.  Roll the pasta out and then cur circles onto the sheets, use the beaten egg to wash around the circles before placing some filling in the centre, don;t use too much or they will burst, for more tips check this out although she uses a cutter but you’ll get the idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGCe_qujRtc

Place another sheet of rolled pasta over the layer with the disks cut out, use your hands to form the pasta around the filling making sure to get the air out as you go along before cutting the ravioli out into disks and placing on a floured tray to stop them sticking.

For the final dish warm the tomato sauce through and add the pasta to a boiling pan of salted water, they will take about 3 mins to cook.  Serve with the sauce and a nice salad with balsamic vinegar.

Gnocchi with tomatoes, pinenuts and blue cheese

Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat as the gnocchi aren’t homemade but it’s still damned good and let’s face it, sometimes needs must! It’s such a quick and easy dish and the soft pillowy gnocchi with the garlicky sauce and oozy cheese are the perfect comfort food after a busy day. Glass of red wine mandatory.

Continue reading Gnocchi with tomatoes, pinenuts and blue cheese

Pearl barley risotto with roasted squash, red peppers and rocket

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the squash and peppers in a roasting tray with a good drizzle of olive oil and the leaves picked from the thyme sprigs. Season and toss well and roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until tender. Give it a good mix halfway through.

Pour the stock into a small pan and keep warm over a low heat.

Meanwhile, heat a good drizzle of olive oil in another pan (I used a deep-sided frying pan with a lid) and add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the barley and cook for one minute.

Start adding the stock a ladle or two at a time, stirring well and making sure all the stock has been absorbed before adding more. This will take 30-40 minutes – the barley should be tender but still al dente. When you’re happy that it’s cooked, put the lid on, turn the heat off and leave to stand.

Take the squash and peppers out of the oven. Add these to the risotto with the parsley and gently mix through. Divide between two warmed bowls and top each with the rocket and parmesan. Another drizzle of olive oil and some balck pepper and you’re good to go.

Lentil and roast carrot salad with feta

Method:

A great lunch dish, ideal for taking to work. Roasting the carrots with honey gives them a lovely sweetness which contrasts beautifully with the sharp saltiness of the feta.

Warm the lentils in a pan with a little extra water.. Put the spinach and spring onion in a colander and then pour over the warmed lentils to drain (this will also wilt the spinach and soften the onions). Drizzle over some olive oil and squeeze over the lemon juice. Add the mint, mix well and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C. Put the carrots on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the cumin seeds. Season well and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Drizzle over the honey and roast for a further 5 minutes or until just tender. remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To assemble, mix the lentils again, divide between two plates and scatter over the roast carrots and feta. Drizzle over a little more oil and add a grind or two of black pepper.

Tagliatelle with parsley and walnut pesto

Method:

A Tagliatelle twist on the traditional basil/pine nut pesto. So easy but so tasty!

Put the parsley, hazelnuts, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and whizz to a semi-smooth paste. Add the parmesan and then, with the food processor going, drizzle in the olive oil gradually until everything is emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly.

Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan with the reserved cooking water and mix through the pesto.

Serve immediately with more grated parmesan.

Garlicky pumpkin risotto

Method:

Make the pesto:
Pulse the basil, garlic and pinenuts in a food processor to a coarse paste, adding enough olive oil to produce a loose-textured puree. Pour into a bowl and fold in the parmesan.

Cook the garlic:
Blanch the 6 cloves in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain all the water off then add 200ml of the stock and half the butter. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the garlic is really soft and the stock and butter have reduced to a syrupy glaze. Remove from the heat. (You can do this up to 4 hours in advance).

Cook the pumpkin:
Heat oven to 200C. Toss the pumpkin cubes with the olive oil, season and roast for 10-15 minutes until just tender.

Make the risotto:
Sweat the onion in the remaining butter in a large shallow pan until soft – about 5 minutes. Tip in the rice, raise the heat and toast the rice until translucent. Lower the heat and add the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, stirring well until the stock is completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful.
Once the rice is al dente, fold in the two cheeses, garlic cloves and pumpkin. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of pesto on top.

Vegetable fried rice

Method:

Heat a wok or large non-stick frying pan and then add the oil. Add the peppers first and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients and stir fry for a few minutes before adding the rice.

Continue to stir fry over a high heat until the rice is heated through. Add the salt and pepper and mix through.

Move the rice to one side of the wok or pan and add a little more oil. Add the soy to the beaten egg and pour this into the space in the pan. Stir the egg to cook through before mixing the rice in.

Taste and add more salt or soy if needed.

Gnocchi with creamy mushrooms and spinach

Method:

First, prepare the spinach. Put it into a large sieve or colander and pour over a kettleful of boiling water so that it wilts. Leave it to drain and once it is cool enough, squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible before chopping roughly. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms. Fry them over a fairly high heat for five minutes or so until they are nicely browned and have given out all their liquid. Tip them out into a bowl and set aside.

Pour a little more olive oil into the pan and add the shallot. Fry for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes more before adding the white wine. Allow to bubble until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Return the mushrooms to the pan along with the chopped spinach and mix everything together. Add the creme fraiche along with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.Simmer gently so the sauce thickens a little.

Meanwhile heat your grill to its highest setting and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the gnocchi. Cook according to packet instructions but generally the moment they rise to the surface, they are ready. Drain.

Grate some nutmeg into the sauce and add the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can be quite generous with the nutmeg. Mix the gnocchi in with the sauce then spoon into a gratin dish. Grate over a generous amount of parmesan and place under the hot grill for a few minutes until golden and bubbling. Leave to cool for a minute before eating or you’ll burn your mouth (like I did).

Broccoli, feta and chickpea salad

Method:

Cook the broccoli in salted water until tender. Drain and rinse under a cold tap. Set aside.

Mix the chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, olives, hazelnuts and parsley in a large bowl. Add the broccoli, a good glug of olive oil, the lemon juice and some black pepper (you probably won’t need salt as the feta is quite salty) and mix everything well together.

Finally, add the feta and give another mix, trying not to break up the feta too much. Divide into two bowls and drizzle over a little more of your best extra virgin olive oil.