Asparagus risotto

Ingredients:

  • 200g Risotto rice
  • 1 litre of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • A glug of white wine or marsala
  • 25g of unsalted butter
  • 25g of grated parmesan

Method:

Put the stock in a pan and bring to a simmering boil. Blanch the asparagus spears in the stock for a couple of minutes then take out and place immediately in cold water to cool down.

Chop the heads of the asparagus and set them to one side. with the remaining stalks chop very finely. Add the chopped asparagus and onion to a pan and fry gently for about ten minutes until the onion is soft but now coloured. Add the rice and fry on a mdium heat for a couple of minutes, turn up the heat and add the wine or marsala. Burn of the alcohol and then turn down the heat again to a medium heat.

Start adding the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly and only adding more when the stock has been fully absorbed. After about 20 mins the rice should be ready, you may not need all the stock but when it is ready it should be soft but still have a little bite to until, a bit like al dente pasta.

Add the reserved asparagus heads and heat through, then add the butter and parmesan and check for seasoning before serving.

Tim’s vegetable flan

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • Few florets of broccoli
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3 small eggs
  • Half a cup of milk
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • Pinch of thyme and sage
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Line a flan tin with the pastry and blind bake (see Cook’s tip).Cook vegetables in boiling water until tender. Drain and add to the pastry case.
Beat eggs with milk, add cheese, herbs and salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the vegetables in the flan and bake in the oven (180C-190C) for 15-20 minutes.

Spicy Stir Fried Vegetables (Indian style)

Ingredients:

  • 100g whole cashew nuts
  • 200g mangetout
  • 200g green beans
  • 200g baby sweetcorn
  • 1 head broccoli, broken into florets
  • groundnut oil for frying
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Small handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt and sugar

Method:

This Indian recipe is a great idea for vegetables.

Fry the cashew nuts in a 4 tbsp oil until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Put the vegetables in a pan of boiling water and cook for a minute. Drain, refresh under cold running water and set aside.
This can all be done ahead of time.
When ready to serve, heat a wok and add 2 tbsp oil. Add the cumin seeds and fry until they crackle. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook for a minute, then add the blanched vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes, stir frying. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Add the cashews, lemon juice and coriander and toss well.

Risotto verde

Ingredients:

  • 200g Risotto rice
  • A couple of large handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 20g butter
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 litre of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Parmesan grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Splash of white wine or Noilly Prat

Method:

Blanch the spinach for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water, strain and set aside. Using the same water boil the peas for a couple of minutes. Put the peas, spinach and basil leaves into a blender and pulse until roughly chopped.

Now make the risotto. Fry the onion in a little olive oil and a knob of butter until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and fry for a minute or so, turn the heat up to the max and add the wine. Bubble until all the liquid has been absorbed. Have the stock in a separate pan on the heat, now add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Do this on a medium heat and stir constantly. After about 10 mins add the pulsed spinach and continue to stir, adding more stock, until the rice is cooked. It should be soft but still have a bite to it.

Turn of the heat, the consistency should be a bit like porridge, not sloppy or dry. Add the butter and parmesan and check for seasoning. Lush…

Parsi eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • Half a cup of frozen peas
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Splash of cream (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley (optional)

Method:

In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and cumin seeds over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden.

Add the turmeric, curry powder and chilli (you can use a pinch of chilli flakes instead) and stir well.

Next, add the tomatoes and peas and fry for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened and the peas have defrosted.

Turn the heat down and add the eggs and seasoning. Cook, stirring over a low heat until the egg is just cooked through. It’s worth taking your time here as the eggs will be nice and creamy. Once the eggs are cooked, add the cream and fresh herbs if using and serve at once.

Great on their own or with potato wedges.

Dry potato and pea curry

Ingredients:

  • 750g potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Half a tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 125ml/half a cup water
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method:

This is a really tasty Indian recipe, the mint gives it a lovely freshness.

Heat oil in a large pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the onion, garlic, ginger and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and potato and mix well together. Season well with salt – about 1 tsp.
Add the water, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is just tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the peas and simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked through and all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the mint and serve.

Goes well with all Indian main courses as a side dish but could easily be served as a vegetarian main course with rice and naan bread.
If you cut the potato smaller, the same recipe makes a good filling for samosas.

Caramelised Onion Quiche

Ingredients:

  • Pastry
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 50g wholewheat flour (can use all self-raising)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half a tsp mustard powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g cheese (cheddar, parmesan, gruyere or similar) grated
  • Cold water to mix
  • Filling
  • 600g onions, thinly sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp grated cheese (same cheeses as above)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

This is a really rich and tasty quiche, not at all ‘eggy’. You can call it a tart or flan if it makes you feel less ‘happy housewife’!

Preheat oven to 180C.

Make the pastry:
Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks a bit like breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and stir through. Then add enough water to form dough. Roll into a ball, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 mins.
Make the filling:
Meanwhile, fry the onions slowly in the butter, stirring occasionally until soft and caramelised. This may take up to 20 mins – you can add a tsp of sugar to speed up the process.
Make the quiche:
Grease a flan or pie tin with butter. Roll out the pastry and line the tin. Prick the base with a fork.
Bake blind for 15 mins. Remove from the oven, brush with a little beaten egg then bake for another 5 mins.
Place the caramelised onions in the pastry case and spread out evenly. In a jug, mix together the eggs, cream, most of the cheese (keep a handful for the top), salt and pepper and then pour over the onions. Shake gently to ensure the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 30 mins or until golden and just set.

Artichoke, chickpea and baby spinach salad

Ingredients:

  • 400g (1 tin) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 280g jar of artichokes in oil, drained and quartered
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 12 black olives, halved and pitted
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite size pieces
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt and black pepper

Method:

Combine the chickpeas, artichokes and red onion in a bowl. Add the spinach and olives and mix lightly.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.
Scatter mozzarella on top of salad and drizzle over dressing. Toss gently to mix.
Serve on a large white plate.

 

Buy the best quality artichokes you can find as it will make a difference.