Archive for category Vegetables
Today I wanted to share my green bean recipe. It’s not really a recipe, more an idea, just four ingredients that go very well together.
I made these lemony beans one Christmas a few years ago. We had my Mother in law for dinner and although she appreciates the effort made she is the least foodie person you could imagine and she doesn’t eat vegetables! However it was Christmas and I wanted everything to be different, special, so that day I tossed the French beans in some butter and lemon zest, even if I would be the only one to eat them. Well I loved them but I had the shock of my life when not only did my non-vegetable eating husband try one but he liked them and had more!
To this day this is the only way my husband will eat French beans! I think we were both surprised that simply tossing some beans in lemon and butter would be what made him start to eat French beans! I have since swapped the butter for olive oil as it feels a little healthier but tastes just as good.
Green Beans with a Lemon Dressing
ingredients (serves 2)
- 150 grams French beans, (you may call them dwarf beans), topped and tailed
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- zest of half a small lemon
- sea salt to taste
- Steam or boil your beans until just tender, 3-4 minutes if boiling, 5-6 if steaming.
- Drain the beans and pour the olive oil in the pan you used to cook the beans (saves on washing up).
- Turn the heat on low, add the lemon zest, salt and beans. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
Spring is here! Actually it’s been here for a while, the earliest blossom has finished and almost all of the trees have their leaves. We have even had some lovely sunny days. However, to me, a sure sign of spring is when British asparagus arrive. I got my first bunch last week, exciting times!
Wherever your asparagus comes from this soup is a quick way to enjoy them. I had seen an asparagus soup recipe with a Thai theme and I still may try that one but for the first asparagus of the season I wanted the asparagus to be the star of the show. So this soup has just a few ingredients, asparagus with a little onion, a waft of garlic and a hint of lemon grass. Its light and fresh, clean eating at its best.
Asparagus soup with a hint of Lemongrass
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- Prepare the asparagus by washing, snapping the woody ends off and chopping. Dice the onion and peel the garlic, leaving it whole.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and whole garlic clove and sauté until softened.
- Remove the garlic clove and add the asparagus. Stir to coat in the oil and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Peel off the outer layer of lemongrass and bash the stalk firmly with a wooden spoon to bruise it and slightly split it to release its flavour. Add to the asparagus and onion,
- Add the vegetable stock to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, until the thickest asparagus are softened.
- Remove the lemongrass and purée the soup, I use a blender but an immersion blender would be fine. Purée until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
I can be very forgetful, its something I worry about occasionally but then I remember that I’ve been the same way for many years so I hope its more the sign of a busy brain rather than a declining one. Occasionally my forgetfulness can be a good thing, like when I made this soup. I wanted to make a butternut squash soup that was not as sweet as they often are so I decided to include chipotle powder to mine to add a hot smokiness. I went on to get the ingredients together and chopped my vegetables, including a red chili pepper. When preparing the soup as soon as I stirred the chipotle powder in, it occurred to me that I already had a chili pepper in the pan! When chopping that red chilli I had forgotten I was adding the chipotle despite the chipotle been the main reason I was making the soup! I stood staring at the pan but it was too late to do anything other than cross my fingers and hope my tongue would survive!
This is a hot soup, but I loved it! The smoky chipotle compliments the sweet butternut really well. If you don’t like food so hot, I wouldn’t add that extra chili pepper, just stick with the chipotle. However if you don’t mind some heat go for both! I found the soup somehow less hot the next day.
Butternut and Chili soup
- 1 medium butternut squash, de seeded and cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 red chili
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 500 ml stock, vegetable or chicken
- Put the chunks of butternut into a roasting tray and pour over 1 tbsp of the olive oil, stir so all the butternut gets coated in the oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a preheated oven 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6 for around 40 minutes until the butternut is soft and the edged starting to brown.
- Heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery and chili pepper over a medium heat until the onion is translucent and beginning to soften.
- Add the chipotle powder to the onion mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the stock, mix well and simmer for 15 minutes until the celery is softened.
- Add the roasted butternut squash to the pan
- Pour the mix into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add salt to taste and more stock if you like the soup more runny.
I adore Yotam Ottolenghi, I loved his recent Mediterranean series and I could eat most anything from his book Plenty. One dish I’ve made from that book several times is the Winter Cous Cous. Although perfect as it is I most often have to change the original recipe to suit my fridge contents! In fact I don’t think I’ve ever had all the ingredients for the original recipe and gradually I’ve changed it to this one which although a little different to the original it is, in my opinion, still delicious. Its full of some of my favourite things.
This makes a lovely meal in a bowl, real comfort food, perfect for this time of year. There is enough for 2 people or it’s also delicious cold if you have any left over.
Ottolenghi Inspired Cous Cous (inspired by the Winter Cous Cous Recipe in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 onion peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 small aubergine, cut into chunks
- 200 g pumpkin or squash, cut into chunks
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 2
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas
- 175 ml water
- 120 g cous cous
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150 ml vegetable stock – boiling
- 1 tbsp butter
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
- Pre heat the oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6.
- Add the carrot, onion, aubergine, pumpkin, cinnamon stick and star anise and spices (first 9 ingredients) to a large roasting tray. Sprinkle with 2 of the 3 tbsp of olive oil and mix all the ingredients together. Roast for 40 minutes, lessen this time if the vegetables are cooking too quickly in an oven hotter than mine.
- Add the chickpeas and water to the roasting ingredients and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the chickpeas have heated through.
- Now make the cous cous by putting the cous cous into a heat proof bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and the last tbsp of olive oil. Pour over the boiling stock and cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
- Dot the butter over the cous cous and fluff it all up with a fork.
- To serve place some cous cous into a bowl and spoon over the roasted vegetables, remove the cinnamon and star anise first. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice and scatter with coriander leaves.
It’s that glorious time of summer gluts from keen vegetable growers, everything arrives at once at the moment and in large quantities! This is less of a recipe and more of an idea. I was given a large bag of runner beans, I like runner beans but have never done anything with them other than boil or steam them. I dutifully blanched and froze some but still had a lot left so I steamed a few and dressed them simply with olive oil salt and pepper, they were delicious served immediately but I found I enjoyed them even more cold as a salad the next day, they are seriously good! I ate nothing but a bowl of these for lunch!
You will see there are no quantities, just use however many beans you have and dress to taste. This really is just an idea that worked so well I wanted to share it here. This keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, I prefer it a room temperature.
Runner Bean Salad
- runner beans, topped ,tailed and washed
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground pepper and sea salt
- Cut the runner beans to bite size pieces then steam until tender.
- Drizzle with olive oil, enough so that all the beans get a good coating.
- Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
- Eat right away or serve as a salad at room temperature.
It’s that time of the year again, the sun is shining and the courgettes/zucchini just keep on coming! This relish has become one of my yearly summer recipes to
get rid of use up a few of the many courgettes that come my way! I’ve tried various recipes over the last few summers and this is a combination of those.
It makes a sweet relish that goes well in any sandwich containing meat or cheese, it would be perfect with hotdogs if you eat them. These days I don’t eat hotdogs but loved them growing up in America and even more so I loved the (bright green!) relish that we had with them. I believe we used to have Heinz sweet relish, something I’ve only found once in the UK. My label reading habit would now have me leaving it on the shelf if I did find it again and anyhow this version of relish is just as sweet but a whole lot more natural! When the last jar gets finished, usually at the beginning of Spring I find myself feeling a little sad and believe it or not I momentarily begin to look forward to the courgette glut again just to make more of this relish!
- 3 lb grated courgettes
- 1.5 lbs peeled and finely chopped onion
- 3 oz salt
- 2 red peppers (or 1 red, 1 green)
- 590 mls white vinegar
- 2.5 lbs sugar (I use unrefined)
- 1.5 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Grate the courgettes and finely chop the onions ( I use a food processor for this, much easier if you have one). Put both the courgettes and the onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, mix the salt evenly throughout, its easiest to just use your hands here! Cover and leave for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in the fridge although beware of leaving it in the fridge as the onions smell very strongly.
- Drain the courgettes and onion in a colander, rinse well with cold water then squeeze out the excess water, again hands are best for this!
- Put the chopped peppers, vinegar,sugar and spices into a large pan, stir well.
- Add the drained courgettes and onion. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Carefully fill your sterilised jars with the relish. Screw on the lids and process for 10 minutes in a water bath. If unsure of canning procedures see here
You will get 5-7 jars of relish depending on your jar size.
It rare for me to want to make or even eat soup in the summer. Rarer still we are actually having some summer like weather here which makes soup an even less likely meal! However I got to thinking of recipes for all the tomatoes I’m hoping for from the allotment and a request for tomato soup from my favourite 10-year-old resulted in this unseasonable recipe.
This is a one pan and blend recipe, really quick and easy to make. It actually makes a great summer meal as there is little effort involved. Paired with a salad you can have a light, nutritious meal in no time.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (makes 2-3 servings)
- 550 grams (approx 5-6 largish) tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 500 mls chicken stock (vegetable stock works fine too, whatever you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 200 c, 400 f, gas 6.
- Place the cut tomatoes, garlic and onion on a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil. season with salt and pepper and scatter over the thyme.
- Roast for 30- 45 minutes until it’s all beginning to get a little charred.
- Tip the contents of the baking tray into a blender along with the stock and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. If you don’t have a blender an immersion blender would also work.
- Season more to taste if necessary and serve.
A swirl of cream added to the soup in the serving bowl makes a decadent finish.
I prefer to use large vine tomatoes but any will do, the roasting really brings out the flavour.