Sweet Potato salad

When the days are short and the weather cold it’s so easy to reach for heavier food in the evening. A warm salad is a way of bridging the gap between what the body seems to crave and what it actually needs (ie a bit of post Christmas restraint) Thankfully, my post Christmas back to  juicing habit seems to make resisting the stodge easier which is a start.

I used this week’s sweet potatoes last night to make a filling warm salad with some of my favourite middle Eastern flavours.First of all, I parboiled then roasted chunks of  potato then tossed them with a couple of handfuls of super fresh rocket. Then for crunch I made some garlic and cumin scented toasted breadcrumbs which I tossed in the pan with some sultanas before throwing them oven the sweet potato. With all that going on, I kept the dressing simple – extra virgin olive and sherry vinegar (but red wine or cider would have worked well I reckon as well). A final drizzle of pomegranate molasses gave a lovely sweet and sour finishing touch.

It’s the kind of salad that you can eat on it’s own but which works really well with lots of other bits – we ate it with a bowl of quinoa, a simple beetroot and blood orange salad and some parsnip fritters (more on those anon) other partners would be things like hummus, falafel, some simple pan-fried fish, goat’s cheese or feta, some lightly steamed broccoli tossed in sliced pan-fried garlic and chilli, cous cous, a Spanish omelette…. you know the drill.

Roasted sweet potato salad with rocket topped with garlic and cumin scented breadcrumbs and pomegranate molasses

You’ll need:

500gr sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes

Olive oil for roasting

70gr (2 handfuls) rocket or any other salad leaves you prefer

4 heaped tablespoons dry coarse breadcrumbs

1 fat clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

A small handful sultanas

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

To garnish: A generous drizzle of pomegranate molasses

Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and parboil the sweet potatoes. Drain and toss in olive oil in a roasting tray then place in the oven for about 30 minutes (give them a toss half way through to make sure they roast evenly) while you get on with the rest of the salad. Wash and dry the rocket and set aside. If it’s very stalky,  you may want trim it a bit as you go.

Make some breadcrumbs with old bread or use your usual stash (I normally have some in the freezer but didn’t yesterday).I made them quite chunky so they wouldn’t soften too much when mixed with the dressing and lose their crunch. I also stuck them in the oven for a couple of minutes to dry them out a bit more.  Heat 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil on a pan then push the clove of garlic through the crusher and add that along with the cumin seeds. After about a minute when you can see the garlic beginning to soften, throw on the breadcrumbs.Toss until they have absorbed all the oil and crisped up a little more then throw in the sultanas and mix everything together then take off the pan.

When the sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly. Make the dressing by whisking the oil and vinegar together with a tiny pinch of salt.

To put the salad together, toss the rocket and sweet potatoes together then add the dressing and toss again. Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and sultanas then generously drizzle with pomegranate molasses and serve.

Enjoy!

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Hi everyone,

This week all the selections have cauliflower and I made fritters with cumin and was rather pleased with the results. I also added a green chilli and some coriander then had them with a yogurt dip. Very tasty!! You could also serve them on a bed of salad and have them as a starter or light lunch. I reckon they are perfect as a kind of casual nibble to have with beers before dinner.

Cauliflower fritters (enough for 6 as nibbles/ 4 as a starter)

You’ll need:

1 small head of cauliflower (about 280gr) broken into florets

3 Eggs

100gr plain flour Read the rest of this entry »

Apart from beetroot (which most most people come round to when they learn how good it is  roasted) celery is possibly one of the least loved of all the veggies we (very occasionally!!) put in our bags. While it does make good soup (amazing with Cashel Blue toasts) salads and can be braised (in white wine with a Gruyere topping) to very good effect it really prefers to take a back seat in the kitchen. Celery, you see,  is what’s called a flavour builder.  Used, a stick or two at a time, it gives depth to pretty much any sauce, soup or stew. In France, along with onion and carrot it’s part of the holy trinity known as Mirepoix- diced up and fried in butter (what else?) it’s the starting point of a millon dishes. They do the same in Italy although they saute in olive oil and in the markets it’s very common to see sticks of celery for sale instead whole heads and this makes a lot of sense because generally that’s all you really need. Luckily it lasts well so as long as you don’t forget it’s in the fridge you can use it up over time. Try adding it to any dishes you’re cooking over the next while and see if you notice a difference… Read the rest of this entry »

I’m on my own this week. Paul is out west fishing (so I better be writing about the amazing Wild Trout I ate all weekend next week or there’ll be trouble!). It’s been hectic, 2 small kids mean that most of the day consists of nonstop laundering, wiping, sweeping …(I could go on). There’s barely any time to eat never mind cook but somehow we’ve been doing alright.  Dan and I even made a mango and coconut cake the other day (not quite right yet so I won’t share).

Last night I fancied something a bit more grown up than the stuff I’ve been eating all week so I treated myself to a Vietnamese style rare beef salad – properly rare slices of Steak tossed in a flavour-drenched concoction of Garlic pounded with Peppercorns, Lime Juice and Nam Pla (the Vietnamese fish sauce) tossed in Greens, Scallions and Coriander. It’s a dish that’s pretty easy to put together and tastes a little different every time I make it. I like it fiery with lots of Chili but you can tone it down by taking out the seeds.If you don’t have Lime juice, lemon will do. No Fish sauce? Soy will do fine. This week’s Pak Choy could easily replace the Lettuce, just wilt it first. It’s a movable feast and a very addictive one…………

Vietnamese style Rare Chilli Beef salad (for 1)

You’ll need:

2 Cloves Garlic
5 Peppercorns
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (nam pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 Red Chili
1 Steak
1/2 Head of Lettuce
2-3 Scallions
A generous bunch Coriander

Begin with the sauce. Using a morter and pestle, pound the Garlic and Peppercorns until smooth(ish). Add in the Lime juice,  Fish Sauce and a pinch of Sugar. Mix and set aside.

Heat a little oil in a pan. When it’s almost smoking hot add the steak. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes adding a little Sugar to the crust on each side after the first 2 minutes. While the Steak is cooking wash and tear your lettuce. Chop the Scallions and add them to the Lettuce  along with some roughly chopped Coriander. When the Steak is cooked, remove from the pan and slice. Reheat the pan and thrown in the Chill, toss and then add the sauce and any meat juices left after slicing the steak.  Stir well to get all the juices clinging to the pan then throw in the Steak. Toss then place on  the leaves. Top with some Scallions and Coriander and eat with a cold beer. Fantastic!!

My other recipe this week is for Ana our lovely Spanish babysitter who is, sadly, returning to Madrid this week. I made this soup for her to have for lunch with the kids the first day she came and she loved. So, Ana ( te vamos a hecher de menos muchissimo!) this one’s for you (and for anyone else who has about 10 minutes to make lunch at 8.20 in the morning).

Carrot and Cumin Soup

You’ll need:

1 Medium Onion

1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds

Olive Oil

5 Medium Carrots

1 large Potato

600ml vegetable stock

Chop the Onion. Heat some Olive Oil in a pot and toss in the Onion and cook over a medium heat unless you’ve loads of time in which case slowly over a low heat will always work fine. As the Onions cook peel and chop the Carrots and Potato. When the Onions have softened and begun to darken add the Cumin seeds and toss well to make sure they all get coated in oil. Add the other vegetables and continue cooking for a few minutes then add the stock. Allow things to come to the boil over a medium heat. Then turn  back down again and simmer for about 20 minutes or until  the veg is cooked.  Blast with your handblender til smooth (always a bit of a jolt first thing in the morning!). Serve straight up or top with a little yogurt.

This week our Mediterranean selections have the first of this year’s Cherries. Hurray! So good you don’t need a recipe. That’s the point with Cherries. But as weeks go on I’m sure I’ll be thinking of ways to gild the lily so I’ll keep you posted. Next week I’d better be writing about wild Trout or there’ll be trouble!

Hope you enjoy these recipes,

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Carrots and mushrooms

April 20, 2009

From Margaret …some Carrot recipes

Carrots go well with cumin and orange and thyme. They are good cut into batons then put in tinfoil and oven roasted with cumin and butter and orange juice (or white wine or stock). They need about forty minutes in a moderate oven. Serve as a side dish.

Another nice idea is carrot, cumin and orange soup. At this time of the year I like to grow lovage and add some but thyme is also good.
An Indian style salad with popped mustard seed, grated carrot, chile, oil and raisins is always welcome. If watching the carbs substitute fine strips of carrot or courgette for pasta or noodles.

I roasted some carrots with onions blitzed them and made a risotto. This recipe would be good with any root veg (roasted parsnip with rosemary) or with roasted peppers (and a basil maybe) or butternut squash(and thyme) or aubergine (add plenty of lemon and cumin). If you are having a busy week roast the veg in advance at the weekend when you have the oven on anyway. Puree while still hot and use for risotto or as a side dish or a souffle or in a veg tart.

carrots

carrots

Carrots

roast carrot risotto
400g of carrot peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
50 ml olive oil
1.2-1,5 l veg stock
150g butter
2 cloved garlic peeled and finely sliced
400g risotto rice (I prefer carnoroli)
1 bay leaf
4 tsp fresh thyme leaves(or dried)
2 tsp fresh tarragon leaves (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
finely grated rind and juice of two lemons (optional)
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200. Put carrots onion and olive oil in roasting dish and roast till golden – about 25 minutes. Finely chop or blitz in food processor. In a heavy pot saute onion and garlic in butter stirring gently till softened. Add rice turn up heat and fry for a minute stirring well. Add herbs and season, then carrots, lemon zest and juice and mix well. Then start adding stock bit by bit as normal for risotto and cook until the rice is done.
Serve with parmesan. If you are a forager like me add some wild leek/garlic to garnish (you will spot in the parks and in gardens now a white star shaped bluebell type taste …unmistakable)

Serve with salad

This is adapted from a Peter Gordon recipe for arancini

Arancini is leftover risotto made into balls dipped in breadcrumb and egg and fried . Personally I would never make a risotto from scratch for arancini but if you have the patience… Make extra and use leftovers….

This week coming my risotto will be with wild garlic, nettles and courgettes… yum and very healthy. Nettle tops are full of vitamins and minerals and make a good tonic. Get those gloves out and get picking !! Once the leaves are boiled the sting is gone. Puree and put thro’ risotto.

For a light supper or a lunchbox try carrot fritters.

For 2-3 people
3 medium carrots grated and then squeezed in a clean tea towel
1 egg beaten(or use 2 tbsp chickpea flour and water)
1 tbsp plain flour or potato flour
teaspoon cumin seed or cumin and caraway mixed (lightly toasted on dry frying pan)
black pepper
chopped red chile (optional)
oil
Heat oven to 150
Put the finely grated carrrot into a bowl and season with pepper, Mix in all other ingredients. Roll into small balls with your fingertips. Or make into patties if easier.

Heat oil in a wok at about 3 inches depth. Carefully brown fritters on all sides then remove and dry on kitchen paper. Put on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes.

Then make a sauce to have with them with either sour cream or greek yoghurt a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander or parsley or dill…. Whatever beckons. They can be varied with added grated courgette or shredded spinach or pakchoi and eaten straight out of the oven with an indian style tomato sauce.

In your bag this week is also chestnut mushroom which would be good sauted and then on a pizza or veg tart with some goats cheese. Mushroom are also good cooked and mixed through a salad with greens and pine nuts…Or mushroom on toast with butter and grated parsley and a rasher.. or mushroom stroganoff.

Another option is to wilt some pak choi in a little oil then cook lightly with rice vinegar, sake and fish sauce (or oyster sauce) adding the mushrooms and a little water.

Hi all

I am on hols !!
You wont miss me because I have a treat for you. Margaret who is a fab cook but in a completely different style will be doing the recipes for me. Enjoy something a bit different and new..

Sarah

From Margaret … some organic recipes

Courgettes
I love courgettes, they are so versatile eaten small, large or medium. I plan to grow again this year so I get the lovely flowers to stuff and deep fry. I also like marrow that dreaded and maligned veg. Courgettes are a great base and take strong flavours well. I eat courgette sliced lengthways to about 1/4 cm thick and then griddled with a little oil on a hot grill pan. Then marinate in chopped garlic and lemon juice for a few hours (and if I have in the garden lots of chopped parsley). This is good as a sandwich filling maybe with goats cheese, as part of a pizza topping or a veggie tart or as a side dish with other salads. It keeps in the fridge for a few days.

I like to fry courgettes in olive oil with some garlic on the pan and have as a side dish with maybe grilled chicken. This time of the year they can also be added to a risotto with whatever other greens you have around; young nettles if you have time to forage.

For a healthy option slice lengthways to 1/2 cm thick or in halves if courgettes are small and use instead of pasta in lasagne. Surprisingly nice and tasty…

Or chocolate courgette cake.. always moist. Here is a link to Riverford organic http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/recipe.php?recipeid=414&catid=8. My 5 and 2 year old nephews love making cakes chocolate if possible so this or chocolate beetroot brownies are favourites. The great thing is these cakes cant really go wrong as they dont rise too much. You can add some healthy spelt flour instead of the white if you want.

For a light supper or a lunchbox try Courgette Fritters.
For 2-3 people
Ingredients
2 medium courgettes grated and then squeezed in a clean tea towel
1 egg beaten (or use 2 tbsp chickpea flour and water)
1 tbsp plain flour or potato flour
1 teaspoon cumin seed or cumin and caraway mixed (lightly toasted on dry frying pan)
black pepper
chopped red chile (optional)
oil

Method
Heat oven to 150 -175
Put the grated courgette into a bowl and season with pepper.
Mix in all other ingredients.
Roll into small balls with your fingertips. Or make into patties if easier.
Heat oil in a wok at about 3 inches depth.
Carefully brown fritters on all sides then remove and dry on kitchen paper.
Put on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes.

The fritters can be eaten hot of cold with a sour cream or greek yoghurt dip.

Sour Cream dip
To sour cream or greek yoghurt add a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander or parsley or chives or dill…. Whatever beckons. I like to grow herbs in the garden as they can add that needed bit of flavour. I had these first with a Munich friend of Indian descent made to take to the beer garden for a picnic!! Happy memories

Eat with some green salad for a light supper !!

To vary fritters
Add grated carrot or spinach and eat straight out of the oven with an Indian style tomato sauce.

Red Cabbage

I like red cabbage best slow braised with apples in the oven. Sarah already has a recipe on the blog for this. It is great with pork or duck or game. As with any cabbage red is also good shredded stir fried and wilted with
sesame oil, vinegar and rice wine/sake and soy or possibly try cider vinegar, mirin and pomegranate molasses.
Another classic is a hearty borchst with red cabbage, tomatoes and beetroot topped with sour cream.

For an alternative try a simple Indian style curry with Red Cabbage. The spices help to make the cabbage more digestible !!

red chillies

red chillies

Indian style curry with Red Cabbage
Ingredients

1 tsp mustard seed (optional)
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves or garlic finely chopped
1cm piece of ginger finely chopped
1 chile finely chopped (if you dont like too spicy go for half a chile and put some in a bowl on the table for other people to add)
2 tomatoes finely chopped (I find canned better for this)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 red cabbage shredded
a cup of sliced courgette or whatever other veg you have to hand like shredded carrot or beetroot
optional some cooked aduki beans
oil
salt
half can coconut milk or about 1/4 block of coconut
fresh chopped coriander or curry leaves
1 tbsp of garam masala
optional 1 tsp poppy seed 25g cashews ground together in food processor

Method
Heat oil in deep pan and pop the mustard seed. Then add the onion and fry gently in some oil till softened. Add ginger and garlic and chile.
(a good trick here if busy is chop onion earlier in day with garlic add some oil and maybe some stock and roast in a low oven for 40 minutes then puree)
Then add tomatoes and fry gently.
Add sugar and sprinkling of salt.
Add the veg and stir and cook for a few minutes stirring and put lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes adding some water to nearly cover veg if needed.
Then add the coconut milk or shredded block coconut with little water .
Stir in the masala and the ground seed and nuts if using.
If you have a lime or lemon handy a squeeze is always good just before serving.
Serve with plain rice and some chutney.

Enjoy Margaret