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For those of you thinking of taking one of our cooking courses, we'd like to introduce you to your cookery trainer. Milly Rees moved to Shropshire in 1997 and runs workshops and demonstrations, caters, and cooks in our Cafe if we need a helping hand. Each Tuesday she will provide a recipe, cooking tip or introduce an ingredient which will hopefully fire your enthusiasm for cooking. Look within this section of our website for courses that you can take with her.

This sauce is addictive. Use it to add a really vibrant kick where you need it. I like it on salmon or chicken but I also use it as a dressing to add contrast to something creamy like a quiche or eggs mayo.

The mix of herbs is up to you and what you have available but don’t miss out the capers and the gherkins (though an optional extra) give it extra depth.

Salsa Verde

Large bunch of parsley with chives, a bit of mint, fennel and some basil if you have it Sorrel is a nice addition
4 gherkins
1 heaped tablespoon capers
250 ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of sugar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

Chop all the herbs etc by hand and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and pinch of sugar. Add the garlic and transfer into a jam jar. Add the oil and lemon juice. Screw on the lid tightly and give it all a good shake.

Keep in the fridge or in a cool place till needed.

Alternatively whizz everything with a blender but not too fine.

Click here to download this recipe

 

Here is one for lamb which has a Middle Eastern vibe so serve it with a sprinkling of mint and lemon zest and a cucumber and yogurt salad.

Lamb shanks with fennel, chickpeas and apricots

4 lamb shanks                                      1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp. oil                                             1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Flour                                                    2 bay leaves
4 onions                                               2 strips of orange peel
2 fennel bulbs                                      200g dried apricots
2 tsp fennel seeds                                2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp ground coriander                        Salt and pepper
2 tsp paprika                                        150g chickpeas
A thumb sized piece of ginger

Heat the oven to 175 degrees. Roll the shanks in seasoned flour and fry in oil until browned. Transfer to a roasting tin.

Lower the heat and lightly sear the fennel and put aside in a bowl for later. With a little more oil, fry the onions until soft. Add the spices, bay leaves and orange peel and season well. Stir for a few minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and add 500ml of water or stock.

Add the chick peas and bubble for a minute before adding to the lamb. Cover with foil and bake for an hour and a half. Turn the shanks and skim off some fat. Lower the heat, add the fennel and apricots  and cook for another hour.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Milly had a request for what to do with half a jar of preserved lemons ( remembering the recipe back in the early spring, search this website and that recipe will come up) so here is one of my favourites. Recipe is taken from an ancient booklet on Mediterranean cooking by the late great Jane Grigson.

 

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and olives

Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, crushed                                                       1 onion, grated
1 tsp powdered ginger                                                         1 bunch of chopped parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin                                                           Pinch of saffron ( or 1/4 tsp turmeric)
3 tbsp. sunflower oil                                                             60g green olives
1 chicken                                                                              2 pickled lemons
Black pepper

 

The day before you want to cook it, put the chicken into a casserole dish. Mix the spices, garlic and oil and smooth over the chicken. Put the lid on and leave in the fridge over night. Baste the chicken once or twice if you can. (You can use chicken joints instead of a whole chicken)

The next day, add the grated onion, herbs and saffron or turmeric. Pour in enough water to come up about a couple of centimetres in the dish and bring to the boil. Put on the lid and cook at a very gentle simmer for an hour and a quarter if the chicken is whole or 45 minutes for chicken
pieces.

Meanwhile, cut the olives in half (stone them in they need it). Cut away the pulp from the lemons and rinse them. Cut them in half and add them with the olives to the chicken.  Cook on for another 15 minutes then remove the chicken to a serving dish and boil the liquid to reduce it to
about 150 – 170 ml.

Taste and add extra salt if it needs it and plenty of black pepper. Pour the liquid over the chicken and serve.

Click here to download this recipe. 

 

Just the weather and time of year for this!

Elderflower cordial
Collect your flowers on a fine day. Use scissors to snip the flowers into a bag or bas-ket and be careful not to knock off the pollen – It’s the pollen that has the fragrance.
Ingredients
30 elderflower heads
1.7litres/3 pints boiling water
900g/2lb caster sugar
50g/2oz citric acid or tartaric acid (available from chemists)
2 unwaxed oranges, sliced
3 unwaxed lemons, sliced
Method
Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Stir well and leave to cool.
Add the citric acid, the orange and lemon slices, and then the flowers. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm.
Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain through some muslin and transfer to sterilised bottles.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Summer vegetable pasta
Serves 2

250g dried pasta – farfalle or rigatoni works well
1 egg
100ml low fat crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls of frozen peas
A bunch of asparagus tips
3 handfuls fresh spinach
1 courgette
2 rashers of smoky bacon or pancetta (optional) 
Bunch of mixed herbs ie mint, parsley, chives, sorrel
1 handful grated parmesan

Method
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
If using bacon, cut it up small and dry fry until crispy. Grate in the courgette and add spinach. Stir over a medium heat until wilted.
When pasta is nearly cooked, throw in the peas and asparagus and cook for a couple of minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving a little water. Stir in with the bacon and vegetables. Add most of the chopped herbs.
Mix together the crème fraiche and egg and stir into the pasta with a little water. Season and sprinkle with parmesan and remaining herbs.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Asparagus salad with hazelnut and orange

Serves 6 

Can be a side salad or starter
2 handfuls of fine asparagus spears, 2 handfuls of mange tout, 2 handfuls of samphire or fine beans, a small bunch of tarragon
2 handfuls of baby new potatoes (optional)
70g un skinned hazelnuts
1 orange
Small handful of chives
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp nut oil
1tsp French mustard
Salt and pepper

Method

Toast the hazelnuts and rub off the skins.

Boil the baby new potatoes with mint if using. Drain and cool.

Blanch the vegetables. Nb the mange tout only takes a minute. Refresh and drain.

Chop the nuts and zest the orange. Mix the dressing in a large bowl with the orange juice and mix in with the veg, potatoes and tarragon. Taste and season.  Quickly fry the croutons in a little olive oil and sprinkle on and serve.

Click here read to download this recipe.

 

Chia breakfast

Chia seeds are protein packed but more to the point, they have an ability to add thickness when they swell up in whatever liquid you care to add them to so they are great for making smoothies a bit more spoonable and they are not as gloopy as Bircher muesli – much as I like Bircher muesli.

For an easy breakfast to take to work, this jam jar of delight is just the job. Make it the night before. In fact, make 2 or 3 to keep you going through the week.

Two thirds fill a jam jar (or small preserving jar) with whatever milk you like, stir in half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a little runny honey or maple syrup. Stir in 2 teaspoons of chia seeds.

Throw in some blueberries or raspberries or whatever fruit you fancy. Screw on the lid and give it all a good shake. Leave in the fridge to thicken up.

The next day, give it another shake and top with a few more blueberries, maybe add some chopped nuts or seeds or oat flakes (anything to add a bit of texture and bite) and off you go. Remember to take a spoon!

Click here to download the recipe

 

Wild Garlic Pesto 
Recipe from our Manager Grant Wilson who has been making it for more years than he cares to share

You will need:

100g wild garlic leaves
50g shallots
50g walnuts
200ml virgin rapeseed oil
50g parmesan cheese (grated)
A pinch of salt to taste

Method

  • Wash and dry your garlic leaves
  • Grate the cheese
  • Peel the shallots
  • Add all the ingredients to a food mixer and blend to a smooth paste
  • If not eating straight away, transfer to a jam jar and your pesto will keep for months.

 

Labneh

In case you haven’t come across this Middle Eastern dish, think of it as a 2 step process to make your own cream cheese. Apart from being quite fun to make, you can choose what yogurt to use as it seems to work with low fat, goat’s milk, full fat and Greek. It might even work with dairy free but I’ll leave you to experiment.

Why not get the children involved and put out some saucers of your chosen coatings for them to roll the  balls of cheese in – It’s still Easter so they could be egg shaped!

NB the whey that collects under the muslin can be used in cooking and it was good enough for Little Miss Muffet.

All you need is 2 large tubs of natural yogurt, 2 heaped teaspoons of salt, a square of muslin or jaycloth.

Share the salt between the tubs of yogurt and stir. Wet the cloth and put it into a large sieve. Place the sieve over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cloth and leave to drip for an hour. Give it a squeeze then leave it in a cool place or fridge for about a day.

Squeeze again and then you can have fun rolling the cheese into balls and coating these in flavours you might fancy. Maybe try nigella seeds, coriander, herbs, pesto, chopped spiced nuts. Or you can just keep it in a tub with a bit of olive oil on the top and smear it on toast with something tangy like sundried tomatoes.

Click here to download the recipe

 

Bean Burritos

2 tins of pinto beans                                 2 tsp smoked paprika (packet fajita mix
Oil                                                                      is great if you don’t have the  spices)
1 chopped onion                                      Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic chopped                           Tinned tomatoes
1 red pepper chopped                             Natural yogurt
2 carrots, grated or celery                       Cheese
         or courgettes                                  Wholewheat wraps
2 tsp cumin

 In a large pan, gently fry the onions in the oil until they are soft and translucent. Add the peppers and cook for a couple of mins. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

 Add the beans and carrots or courgettes. If your beans are without liquid, you may need to add extra water or milk at this point. Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, chilli powder, and black pepper (or fajita mix). Bring to a slow simmer and allow it all to cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Once the beans have cooked down for a while, mash them with a potato masher, fork or blender. Oil a baking dish and tip in some chopped tinned tomatoes. Roll up the wraps around the filling and lay into the dish. Smear with yogurt and scatter with grated cheese. Bake at about 180 degrees until the cheese is bubbly.

Click here to download this recipe. 

 

Easter Egg Salad

This makes a really nice lunch or part of a Good Friday spread. Children might like to experiment with putting onion skins or beetroot in the water to dye the eggs.

Hard boil your eggs for 8 minutes and then run cold water over them to chill. It’s nice if the eggs are not too hard. But if your eggs are especially big and if you have kept them in the fridge they might need 10 minutes at a simmer.

Yogurt mayonnaise

I just mix 2 parts mayonnaise with one part yogurt or buttermilk. I like to add a teaspoon of mustard a teaspoon of anchovy essence and a dollop of salad cream with plenty of black pepper and sea salt.

Cut the eggs in half and arrange on a bed of lambs lettuce, watercress and wild garlic for a truly Spring time platter and eat with plenty of chunky wholemeal bread.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Here is a winter warmer! With lots left over for sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Gammon

A slow cooker results in a very tender gammon which is delicious hot or sliced cold the next day. If you don’t have a slow cooker just very gently simmer in a tightly lidded pan for 2 ½ hours before transferring to an oven - or do the whole thing in a low oven or aga. I have used cider and tea but you might like to try apple juice with water. The liquid should come up at least a third of the way on the gammon.

4 kg gammon joint
300ml cider
300 ml  tea
Cloves
English Mustard
Brown sugar
2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 sticks celery cut into chunks
The peel of a Clementine or use a potato peeler to cut strips of orange zest

First soak your gammon in cold water overnight then tip away the water. This helps to get rid of salt. I also recommend bringing the gammon up to the boil
in a saucepan of water (cover the gammon) and tipping this water away. Either or both is good practice.

Then put the vegetables and zest into the slow cooker, add the gammon and put in the cider and the tea. Put the lid on and steam gently for 4 hours. I start on high then go down to low after about an hour. A heat probe is very useful to ensure that the gammon has an internal temperature of at least 65 degrees before it goes into the oven.

Have your oven ready at 180 degrees.

Lift the gammon out of the slow cooker and allow to cool enough so that you can strip off the rind.

Then score the fat in a crisscross pattern. Smear with mustard. Poke cloves into some of the diamonds of fat and pat brown sugar over the whole thing.

Place the gammon into a roasting tin with the liquor and cook in the oven for 30 minutes tented in foil then remove the foil for the last 15 minutes.

Use the remaining cooking liquor as a gravy base and serve with creamy mashed swede and purple sprouting.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Spiced Fish cakes

Serves 4

300g cooked white fish
200g mashed potato
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 lemon grass stems, outer leaves removed and central section finely chopped
Handful of chopped coriander
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

For the coating - 2 tbsp flour, 2 beaten eggs, 4 tbsp breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

Method
Put the mash and fish into a large bowl. Make sure everything else is finely chopped, add to the bowl and thoroughly mix .
Heat oven to 160 degrees and put a dish in to warm.
With wet hands form the  mixture into cakes and chill for half an hour or until needed.
Dip first into flour, then into egg and then into breadcrumbs.
Shallow fry in small batches and keep warm in the oven until all are ready. 

Click here to download this recipe

 

Pickled lemons

This is a favourite ingredient of many North African and Middle Eastern dishes.  I like to make a batch at this time of year while lemons are cheap and the pickle will be ready to kick start Spring dishes and salads.  After it has been stored for a month, rinse the lemon wedges as needed and scrape off the pulp so that only the rind is used. A little goes a long way as the flavour is good and punchy.

Sterilise a bottling jar and tip a little salt into the base.

Partly quarter as many lemons as you think you can fit into the jar but don’t cut them all the way through. They should look a little like tulips.

Cram salt into the middle of each lemon (about 1 ½ tsp each) and squash into the jar, packing them down.

Cut two batons from wooden skewers or orange sticks and make a cross that just fits under the neck of the jar. This is a bit of a fiddle but it keeps the fruit submerged. Fill the jar with lemon juice or cold brine, made by dissolving 30g of salt in 300ml of boiling water then left to cool.

Fill the jar and close the lid. Once opened, store in the fridge. Seems to keep for months.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Beetroot and fennel soup

I bake/roast my beetroot when I happen to have the oven on but you could also steam them. Try giving them a head start in the microwave to reduce the cooking time.

3 cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped 1 oranges
1 onion, peeled and chopped 250ml chicken or veg stock
A knob of butter and a little oil Salt and pepper
1 bulb of fennel Crème fraiche

Sweat the onion gently in the butter and oil until translucent. Cut the fennel into chunks (save some of the green fronds for when you dish up) and add to the onion and cook on for five minutes. Add the stock and beetroot and bring up to simmer.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add nearly all the zest from one orange the juice from 2. Season well and blend.

Serve hot with some crème fraiche, extra orange zest and fennel fronds. (in summer this is very nice cold)

 Click here to download this recipe.

 

This makes great packed-lunch fare but last night Milly ate a big slice of it on top of buttered sprouting broccoli with a big spoonful of tomato salsa. Seems you could use beetroot or parsnip in place of carrot. Use any cheese you like but carrots are quite sweet so the saltiness of feta or goats cheese works well.

Carrot and feta loaf

50g butter or margerine plus some for                                                    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
          greasing the tin                                                                              2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 onion, finely chopped                                                                           180g feta, crumbled
1 tsp ground cumin                                                                                  A handful of chopped dill
100g plain or wholemeal flour                                                                 3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g cornmeal                                                                                        150ml milk (or soya milk)
1 tsp baking powder                                                                                1/ tsp salt

Melt the butter and sauté the onion until soft. Add the cumin, stir for a minute and set aside.

Heat the oven to 180degrees and butter a loaf tin. Ideally, line with baking parchment if you have some.

Sift together the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and baking powder. Stir in the carrot, feta and dill.

Beat together the eggs and milk then pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix very lightly together and scrape into the tin.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Just the thing for a Pancake Day with a difference!

Golden pancakes                                                                      Filling

I like to use a blend of chick-pea flour and fine polenta                          2 sweet potatoes
which makes these handy for a gluten free diet but there                      An orange or yellow pepper, chopped
is no reason why you can’t use plain flour.                                             A bunch of spring onions, chopped
                                                                                                               1 lb spring greens, torn up with the thick stems
100g gram flour (chick pea flour)                                                                        removed.
50g fine polenta (cornmeal) or plan flour                                                A thumb size piece of ginger
2 large free range eggs                                                                          1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
½ tsp turmeric                                                                                         100g desiccated coconut
Salt                                                                                                          1 tbsp. soya sauce
Butter or oil                                                                                              Salt and pepper

To Serve
Coconut  or natural yogurt
Cucumber
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

Make the batter in the usual way, making sure you sort out the lumps. Leave it for half an hour to soak.

If you have 2 frying pans then this is a good time to use them together to fry the pancakes. Stack the pancakes on a plate.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees

Make the filling by peeling the sweet potatoes and either grating or finely chopping them. Put in a pan with hot butter or oil, add the spring onions, the chopped pepper and the finely chopped ginger and chilli. Stir for a minute before adding the spring greens. Add a splash of water and cover with a lid. Let it all cook for 5-10 minutes until the potato is soft and the greens wilted. Add the coconut and soya sauce. Season.

Butter (or use coconut oil) a dish and fill your pancakes. I tend to fill a semicircle, fold over the flap and fold again into quarters. Fit the pancakes into the dish and dot with butter. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins or store in the fridge or freezer until you want to bake them

 Click here to download this recipe.

 

Blood Orange Tart

Pastry                                                                                    Filling

180g plain flour                                                                      170g caster sugar
1 tbsp. sieved icing sugar                                                       5 eggs
100g cold butter, diced                                                           Juice of 4 blood oranges,
1 egg yolk                                                                                       zest of 2
Juice and zest  of ½ lemon                                                    Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of salt                                                                           250ml double cream

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar. Add the salt and zest. Break up the eggs yolk and stir in with the lemon juice. Add 1 tbsp of cold water and only add more if it really needs it.

Pull together to form dough. Wrap it and rest it in the fridge.

Roll out and line a 20cm flan. Chill for a little while longer while your oven is heating to 180 degrees.

Bake blind using paper and weights for 15 minutes then remove the paper and cook for a further 10 minutes until light brown.

Take out of oven and turn down the heat to 120 degrees.

Whisk the juices and zest with the sugar and eggs then stir in the cream. Strain into a jug.

Put the tin into the oven and carefully pour in the filling. Bake for 40 minutes until still a little wobbly but set. Leave to cool before eating.

Click here to download with recipe. 

 

Whole Orange Marmalade

Whatever recipe you use, I would say the most important aspect is getting the shred really soft in the first place. Tough or rubbery shred is very disappointing. Also, do not think you can get away with less sugar than your recipe suggests. You can’t! And I speak as one who has tried in the past and regretted it.

I like to boil the oranges whole rather than cut them up first. If you haven’t got quite enough Seville oranges there is no harm in making up the weight with sweet oranges, lemons or grapefruit.

NB Seville oranges freeze so if you see bargain bags do snap them up for later.

You ideally need a preserving pan but don’t despair. Better to use two pans than try to cram it all in your biggest pan. Or do it in two batches.

3 ¼ litres water
3 kg sugar
1 ½ kg Seville oranges
Sterilised jars (I run them through the dishwasher and warm them in the oven)

Simmer the whole oranges in water for at least 1 ½ hours until the skin is really tender. Remove and keep oranges in a bowl until cool enough to cut into quarters. The water you boiled them in should stay in the pan. A slow cooker or alternatively a pressure cooker will do the job with different timings of course.

Scrape the mush and pips from the inside of the oranges into muslin or a jelly bag and put into the water along with any liquid that might be in the bowl.

Cut up the peel as you like it and add to the pan. Put a plate in the fridge to use as a setting test. Warm your clean jars in an oven set to 100 degrees. Turn off oven as they need to be warm but not scalding when you fill them.

It’s a good idea to warm the sugar in a microwave or low oven before adding to the pan. Stir until dissolved then turn up heat and boil the marmalade until a drop of the liquid sets enough to form a skin when you push it on the cold plate. This process can take from ½ an hour to an hour depending on the size of your pan. Keep pushing the juices out of the muslin from time to time to help it set.

When your marmalade has reached a setting point, let it stand for 15 minutes to avoid the shred rising to the top of the jars. Carefully fill your jars and seal tightly with the lids. I never bother with cellophane.

Click here to download this recipe.

Wholemeal Blueberry and banana cake

This is a deliciously moist cake and it’s not too sugar laden. It is so full of food things that could get away with it for breakfast as well as teatime or even warmed up for comforting pudding.
100ml milk                                                     100g muscovado sugar
2 tbsp. natural yogurt                                    1 large egg, beaten
1 ripe banana                                                275g wholemeal flour
2 tbsp. dried cranberries                               1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
     or other dried (optional)                           2 tbsp. runny honey or syrup
75g pure sunflower margarine                      1 small punnet of blueberries
or softened butter                                          Demerara sugar to top

Grease and line a large loaf tin or 20cm round tin. Preheat oven to 175 degrees

Mix the milk and yogurt together and mash the banana into a large bowl with the margarine and brown sugar until it is creamed in together.

Mix in the beaten egg. Sift in the flour and bicarb and tip in the bran from the sieve.

Fold in the milk mixture and the honey. Fold in the blueberries and dried berries if using.

Pour and scrape the batter into the tin and scatter Demerara sugar over the top.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Baked Sea Bream

I have been reading recently how over-fished bass are now. So try bream. They taste great and they can take the place of bass in every recipe I can think of. One fish feeds one mouth and you can get your fish filleted if you prefer, in which case shorten the cooking time to 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Gut and rinse out the bream if they are completely whole. Fill with a couple of thin slices of lemon, a little fresh fennel or thyme and sit them in an oiled tray with some extra spring onions or shallots tucked around them.

Season well with salt and pepper and maybe some fennel seeds and drizzle with olive oil (if it is garlic infused then great). Add a dash of white wine or a little water to the tin and tent with foil.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes then remove the foil and test for done-ness by lifting the skin a little with the tip of a knife.  The flesh should be white and easy to move off the bone. Remember the fish will carry on cooking for a while if you leave it on the tray out of the oven while is a good way to let it finally cook to perfection without overdoing it.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Roast cauliflower with yogurt and spices
Serves 4 as a main dish
2 heads of cauliflower                        1 tsp paprika
4 tbsp. runny natural yogurt               1 tsp turmeric
Juice and zest of half a lemon           1 tsp ground coriander
1 red chilli                                          1 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed                       salt and black pepper
1 tbsp. rapeseed or sunflower oil      Pumpkin or sunflower seeds (to add before roasting)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Trim the stalk and most of the leaves off the cauliflower heads and nestle them into a close fitting tin.
Mix together all the other sauce ingredients and smear all over the vegetables. Top with seeds and put into the oven for 45 minutes (depending on the size of the cauliflower heads)

Click here to download this receipe.

Noodle Salad
This is a crunchy, light but filling way to get a dose of vitamins into you at this time of year. Make plenty so that you can use it for packed lunches and double up the dressing ingredients so that you have some to keep in the fridge.
Serves 4
100g nuts eg hazelnuts and cashews
200g fine egg noodles
150g fine beans/sugarsnaps cut in half
Small head of broccoli, broken into florets
A packet of mini sweetcorn, chopped
6 spring onions
Small bunch of coriander and some mint if you can find it

Dressing
2 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
1 tblsp tahini
Grated zest and juice of a lime
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey or brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tblsp soy sauce

A splash of water
Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a screw topped jar and shake till mixed.
Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan if they are not already roasted.
Blanch the beans for 3 minutes in a large pan pf boiling salted water then add the sugarsnaps, sweetcorn and broccoli and cook on for another 2 minutes.
Drain the veg and refresh with lots of cold water. Drain thoroughly so that it is as dry as possible.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions, refresh and drain.
Cut the spring onions on the diagonal. Put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl with the nuts and dressing. Add the mint and coriander and mix well.

Note you could add some smoked tofu, shredded chicken or cooked fish to this to ring the changes.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Inviting people around and looking for some food to serve, this recipe from Milly Rees could be just the ticket!

Beetroot Patties with tahini and sweet chilli sauce

200g roasted beetroot                          1 tblsp tahini
100g chick peas                                   2 spring onions
handful chopped mixed herbs              1 egg beaten
     (mint, parsley, coriander)                 ½ grated lemon zest
½ tsp ground cumin                              salt and pepper

Finely chop all the ingredients and mould into patties with wet hands
Fry in shallow oil until golden brown and serve with natural yogurt or maybe these sauces.

Sweet chilli dipping sauce – So easy and great with pretty much anything.
Use a blender to blend 150ml white wine vinegar, 3 red chillies,(deseeded), 2 cloves of garlic, 120g caster sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute then add a dash of Thai Fish Sauce. Store in a jar for up to a week in the fridge.

Clementine and Tahini Sauce – Nicely Christmassy and full of flavour
125g light tahini 2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tsp cider vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce Grated zest of a Clementine 80ml Clementine juice 1 tsp grated ginger ½ red chilli, finely chopped
Blend everything with a little water until the sauce is smooth. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Take advantage of this snowday and make snow ice cream!

  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 cups clean snow (more or less depending on the density of the snow)

Whisk together the milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring in the snow and begin stirring snow into the milk mixture, and adding it until an ice-cream-ish consistency is achieved.  It should be fluffy and scoop-able, but not runny. Enjoy.

Click here to download this recipe.

You could make this just using potatoes or any combination of tubers and celeriac. Sometimes I make it with sweet potatoes as well.  It is a classic side dish but with the addition of seeds on top and maybe some cheese you have a delicious vegetarian supper. You can part cook it in advance to split the cooking time to suit and it also freezes perfectly well.

Jerusalem artichoke and potato gratin – serves 4

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

300g Jerusalem artichokes                                         1 large clove of garlic, crushed
300g potatoes                                                               40g butter
300ml double cream                                                    Grated nutmeg

300ml veg stock                                                            salt and pepper

Scrub and peel the artichokes and potatoes and slice them thinly.

Butter an oven proof dish. Mix the liquids and seasoning into a large bowl and stir in the crushed garlic.

Add the sliced vegetables and stir with a big spoon.

Layer the creamy veg into the dish and dot with a little extra butter.

Cover with greaseproof and foil and press down before it goes into the oven. I press once or twice during cooking.

Bake for at least 1 ½ hours then remove the paper and turn up the heat a little to brown for a few minutes, adding seeds and cheese if you like.

Let it sit for a short while before you eat it.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Here is something delicious recipe for the last of your spinach or chard before the frost gets it all.

Spinach and Gruyere Tart

Serves 4-6

Pastry
500g plain flour
½ tsp salt
150g butter
100g lard
1 tsp dried herbs or fresh thyme
1 egg
Ice cold water

300g spinach or chard                                        1 tsp Dijon mustard
100g sorrel                                                


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