Sunday, 30 October 2011

Lavender glazed rack of lamb



Ingredients


 Rack of lamb, 3 cloves garlic,
  rosemary, red wine, lavender jam, salt, pepper, butter
Serves: 4 Preparation: 40 minutes

Continuing with my series of lavender themed recipes - this makes a perfect Sunday lunch - especially with my lavender roast carrots, some mustard mash and some pea & mint puree for it to rest upon. As I've mentioned in previous recipes, rosemary and lavender are perfect partners and both of them go wonderfully with lamb.


1) First trim the lamb. A rack of lamb comes as a solid piece of meat with the bones sticking out of it and a thick piece of fat at the back of it. You need to score this fat with a sharp knife and slice in between each bone, leaving about 2cm of lamb at the base of each piece so that it remains one joint.
If like me you're a vegetarian, you may wish to ask someone to help you here - I bought this lamb from Swillington Organic Farm and it was a beautiful cut of meat but it didn't half smell of death! (unlike water-injected inferior supermarket meats which don't give off much of a smell) Fainting and waking up with your face in a plate of pureed peas is no fun for anyone.


2) Peel and crush 3 cloves of garlic and mix them with a teaspoon of butter. Spoon the garlic butter onto an ovenproof dish and rest the lamb upon it, pressing firmly so that the garlic is released slowly into the gravy as the lamb juices begin to flow, rather than burn in the oven and become bitter.


3) Finely chop a stalk of rosemary and stir in a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Brush the lamb all over (including the incisions you made) with the lavender jam (you may need to melt it down a little if it's come straight from the fridge) and then dust with the salt, pepper and rosemary mixture.


4) Pour a glass of red wine around the base of the lamb to keep the lamb moist and enrich the gravy. Roasting times will vary depending on the weight of the lamb and on whether you like the lamb rare or well done. Generally, an 8 bone rack will take about 30 minutes at 200 degrees to be cooked medium rare. The picture above is of a medium-rare rack. Rare = 20 minutes, Medium Rare = 25 minutes, Medium = 30, Well Done 35-40 minutes.


5) To carve the lamb, just remove the fat (it should slice right off the meat) and then slice through the remaining 2 centimetres of meat between each bone. Stir the gravy well and spoon over the lamb to serve.

Lavender & rosemary glazed carrots


Ingredients

3 carrots, 1 tbs butter, 1 tsp rosemary, Lavender Jam
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes


Continuing with my series of lavender themed recipes - this is a perfect side dish for Sunday lunch. As I've mentioned in previous recipes, rosemary and lavender are perfect partners and glazing carrots with my Lavender Jam really brings out the natural sweetness of this vegetable.


1) Peel the carrots, top and tail them and slice into batons.


2) Parboil them in hot, salted water for 8 or 9 minutes.


3) Strain the carrots and pour into an ovenproof dish.


4) Stir through a tablespoon of butter until the carrots are coated, then stir in about a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary.


5) Stir in a teaspoon of lavender jam until the carrots are completely coated in the glaze, then roast in the bottom of the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

Courgette & pistachio bread



Ingredients

 1 courgette, handful of pistachios, 500g wholemeal flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 150ml
 marscapone, 125ml milk, juice and zest of 1 lemon.
Serves: 8 Preparation: 1 hour


This bread manages to be at once light and spongy in the centre and incredibly crusty - I couldn't believe what a fabulous crust this formed from the texture of the nuts which also gave this enough flavour for me not to need to add any salt to the mix.



1) Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and grate the courgette into it. Stir well until each piece of courgette is coated in flour.

2) Finely dice the pistachios (this took me about 25 minutes so a quicker option would be to crush them in a mortar and pestle!) then stir in to the flour mix.


3) Zest the lemon and stir into the flour mix, then squeeze the juice from the lemon and stir that through too.

4) Stir through the marscapone and add the milk little by little until a soft, sticky dough is formed.

5) Form a rough ball with the dough and dust with flour, or set in a loaf tin. Slice a line down the top with a knife and bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until a good crust has formed which sounds hollow when you tap it.

Spanakopita



Ingredients


 900g spinach leaves, 2 eggs, 200g feta, 6-8 sheets filo pastry, nutmeg, butter
Serves: 6 Preparation: 30 minutes


I am a spinach junkie, I simply cannot get enough of it. I eat the leaves from the bag like a packet of crisps, I put it in salad, soup, curry, pasta, dips... if I go a few days without eating it I crave it and this Greek tart is something I come back to time and time again because it's sheer melt in the mouth spinach perfection.


1) Steam the spinach (you will have to do this in batches because it's a LOT of spinach!) - if you don't have a steamer, you can use a colander over a pan of boiling water - just keep stirring it to ensure that the spinach is evenly steamed and not mush at the bottom!


2) Squeeze the water from the spinach - the best method I find is to simply pick up the spinach and squeeze it over the sink/a bowl but don't burn your hands. Use rubber gloves if you don't have asbestos skin like I do, alternatively press with a wooden spoon.


3) Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and grate 1/4 a teaspoon of nutmeg into the eggs. Nutmeg brings out the flavour of spinach but we don't want it to flavour this dish so be sparing. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.


4) Stir in the spinach and crumble in the feta (you can cut into cubes if you want to be more precise). If you don't like feta you could use goats cheese but this dish works best with an old, stinky sharp feta - mine was barrel aged and could take the roof off your mouth!


5) Line a cake tin with filo pastry, brushing each sheet with a little melted butter to help it stick together. Fill the cake tin with the spinach and feta mix, packing it down gently. Draw the filo pastry together to seal the pie - you can always lay an extra sheet, brushed with butter, over the top if the ends don't quite meet.


6) Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and cut into slices to serve. This can be reheated in the microwave but the filo will become soft once it cools so crisp it back up under the grill!

Tomato & Cucumber salad



Ingredients
Baby plum tomatoes, 1/2 cucumber, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mint, salt
Serves: 4 Preparation: 5 minutes


Sometimes the simplest ingredients are the most delicious and this salad is a true tribute to that. So fresh and light and perfect on the side of something rich like the buffalo steaks that I bought at Cornucopia last weekend where I had a stall flogging my lavender jam.


1) Wash the cucumber thoroughly if it's not organic - they are often waxed to help them keep their shape - and cut thick slices (about 1.5cm) into half of the cucumber. Quarter each slice.


2) I used baby plum tomatoes because I think they have a sharp, sweet taste - the smaller the tomato the more concentrated the flavour in my opinion. Cut about 15 tomatoes in half


3) Finely dice a handful of mint leaves and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.


4) Toss the tomatoes and cucumbers in the dressing and serve, sprinkled with a pinch of salt.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Lavender scones



Ingredients



   225g self raising flour, 50g butter, 50g brown sugar, 150ml milk, 150g dried lavender.
Serves: 10 Preparation: 30 minutes

My favourite ingredient is lavender. It has an incredible flavour and scent, has been used in cuisine and home-remedies for centuries and to me manages to be both seductive and comforting. Snuggling under a bedsheet washed in lavender scented soap brings sweet dreams but breathing in the scent of my lavender plants enlivens me. These scones are subtly flavoured and perfect with my lavender jam.


1) First infuse the milk with the lavender by setting it to steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


2) Sift the flour and sugar together, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.


3) Strain the lavender from the milk, pressing firmly on the lavender to squeeze out as much flavour as possible, and mix the milk in with the dry ingredients until a dough has formed. I like to add in a teaspoon or so of the damp lavender to the actual scone dough to give it a stronger flavour but it's entirely a matter of taste. The subtle lavender flavour is lovely as it is.


4)  Roll out the dough on a floured surface and then fold it in half and roll again. Cut out rounds of pastry with a scalloped cutter and brush with the last drizzles of the milk to help the surface colour.


5) Bake at 200 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Fig, olive & goats cheese pizza



Ingredients


200g very strong white bread flour   
  (grade 00), 1/4 tbs salt, 1/2 a sachet    of yeast, 1/4 tsp honey, 1 tbs olive 
  oil, 130ml warm water, 100ml passata tomatoes, smoked garlic, 100g goats cheese, 2 figs, 100g kamalata olives, balsamic vinegar.
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes


It's no secret that I love figs and goats cheese - I have posted recipes for tarts, salads, toasted sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed marrows, linguine and canapes (vegetarian and non) - all of which using the fig and goats cheese combination. There's a reason for this - it's quite frankly sex on a plate! This pizza is one of my favourites and because it just contains a little cheese and a thin crust it's relatively healthy as pizzas go. Try it topped with rocket and a little balsamic glaze.

1) For a quick pizza dough: sift the flour and salt together and pour onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre and after dissolving the yeast, oil and honey in warm water, pour into the centre and mix with a fork until it is gradually combined. Dust your hands with flour and kneed until a smooth, elastic dough has formed. Set aside somewhere warm in a covered bowl to rise a little.


2) To make the pizza sauce I minced the smoked garlic (my new favourite ingredient!) into the passata tomatoes and added a little honey and balsamic vinegar to contrast with the goats cheese. Simmer for 5-10 minutes on a low heat.


3) Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface (as you'll see from the picture I rolled mine into a heart shape. A subtle indication of how much I love fig and goats cheese perhaps!?) until you have about a half centimetre thickness, then spoon the pizza sauce onto it and smooth it out.


4) Top with pitted kamalata olives, relatively thin wedges of fig (I cut in half, then cut each half into thirds) and rough chunks of goats cheese.


5) Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 220 degrees and serve.

Mexican Mole soup



Ingredients

  6 squares 70% dark chocolate, 1 pint vegetable/beef stock, 400g beans (I used kidney beans, pinto beans,
   cannellini beans and haricot beans but you could use black eyed
  peas/rice), 1 onion, tomato puree,
  olive oil, cumin, 3 cloves smoked
   garlic, tahini, smoked chipotle pepper.
Serves: 5 Preparation: 45 minutes

This soup is incredibly, incredibly rich. It's my perfect winter soup - full of beans and exotic spices and the silky texture of chocolate. Seduction in a bowl, this would be wonderful served with a spoon of Rachel's Organic Greek yoghurt to contrast.

1) Finely dice the onion and add into the stockpot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onions have softened, add in 2 cloves of minced smoked garlic, the diced smoked chillis (I have left the quantity up to you - personally I like my food ultra hot but not everyone has an asbestos tongue!) and the chocolate and stir through until the chocolate has melted.


2) Add a generous squeeze of tomato puree, a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of tahini and stir through.


3) Finally add in the stock, the beans and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes which should allow the stock to reduce down to a lovely rich soup. Tesco sell a tin of  "taco beans" in a mildly spicy sauce, 2 tins of which are perfect for this soup if you don't want to go to the fuss of soaking your own beans.

Sweetcorn soup



Ingredients


 200g sweetcorn, 1 pint vegetable stock, sage, leek, Rachel's Organic Greek Yoghurt, olive oil.
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes


This soup is quite sweet and fresh, a perfect summer soup.


1) Finely dice the leek and 3 or 4 sage leaves, then saute in a tablespoon of olive oil.


2) Add the vegetable stock and sweetcorn and stir through.


3) Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sweetcorn has cooked, strain the sweetcorn from the liquid before blending thoroughly and parsing through a sieve to separate the sweetcorn flesh from the skin.


4) Add the pureed sweetcorn back to the vegetable stock and allow to simmer. If you would prefer a smooth soup, serve as it is - if you would like bit of texture add some more sweetcorn into the soup.


5) I served this with a spoonful of yoghurt stirred through and topped with my leek & cheddar mini muffins as croutons.

Leek & cheddar mini muffins



Ingredients

   225g self raising flour, 50g plain 
 flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp mustard, 100g grated cheddar, 1/4
 finely chopped leek, 6 tsp vegetable
  oil, 150g Rachel's Organic greek yoghurt, 125ml milk, 1 egg.
Prepares: 52 mini muffins preparation 20 minutes

I am a total soup junkie and forever creating different flavours of breads to dunk in, or different textures and flavours to use as croutons. I have even been known to fill Hula-Hoops with cream cheese and float them on my soup. Mmmm melty goodness. Recently I have taken to making mini-muffins for soup and this is the first in what will be a series of my favourite mini-muffin crouton recipes.


1) Sift together the self raising flour, plain flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.


2) Grate your cheese and finely chop the leek and stir into the flour.


3) Whisk together 1 egg with the mustard, milk and vegetable oil and stir into the flour mixture.


4) Stir in the yoghurt but do not make the mixture too smooth - it needs to be a bit lumpy for the muffins to rise and have those lovely fluffy bubbles of air inside.


5) Spoon into the mini muffin cases and bake at 220 degrees for 7-10 minutes (until they mushroom from the cases and become golden brown).


6) Allow to cool and pop them out of the cases and float on your soup.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pumpkin cannelloni



Ingredients


Pumpkin, marscapone, egg, passata tomatoes, mozarella, cheddar, smoked garlic, smoked chipotle chillis, white onion, sage
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes (+1 hour to make the pumpkin puree)


I love pumpkin, this time of year finds me baking pumpkin bread and making pumpkin soup and I always save some of the pumpkin puree to make cannelloni or ravioli with. When it comes to cannelloni I love to get creative - seeing people in the supermarket buying microwaveable spinach and ricotta cannelloni that I know will taste bland and have the texture of leather makes me feel so sad. It's so quick and easy to make. If you haven't already - check out my spinach & goats cheese, pork & apple and stilton & cashew cannelloni recipes.


1) Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pith with a spoon. Make sure all the stringiness has been removed. Peel away the skin with a chef's knife and cut the flesh into cubes.

2) Roast in the oven in an ovenproof dish with a lid for 50 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the roast pumpkin and blend until smooth.

3) Sieve away the excess juice - this, along with the juice in the ovenproof dish should make about a pint of liquid. The liquid remaining from this recipe, along with the rest of the pumpkin puree is perfect for Pumpkin Soup.



4) Sage really brings out the warmth of pumpkin - finely chop about 5 large sage leaves and stir into the pumpkin puree. Beat together one egg and the marscapone, then whisk in 200 of the pumpkin puree. Put in the fridge to firm up.


5) Pumpkin loves spices so to make this sauce sautee half a very finely diced onion in about a teaspoon of chilli oil then pour in 250g of passata tomatoes. 


6) Add half a bulb of smoked garlic, minced and a tablespoon of chopped smoked chipotle chillis and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Thank you to The Chilli Jam Man for the yummy smoked ingredients! Season with salt to taste.


7) Stuff 6 cannelloni tubes with the pumpkin mix using a teaspoon and rest in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce and top with 100g grated mozarella and cheddar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes covered with foil and a further 5 minutes uncovered to allow the cheese to crisp.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lavender lamb stew


Ingredients

3 tablespoons Lavender Jam/2
  teaspoons dried lavender, 2 onions, 3 stalks of rosemary, 900g lamb, 2 carrots, 2 sweet potatoes, salt, 1 pint beef/lamb/venison stock, red wine, butter/rosemary oil, Worcestershire sauce. 
Serves: 6 Preparation: 2 hours


My favourite ingredient is lavender. It has an incredible flavour and scent, medicinal properties and is perfectly partnered with rosemary which makes this stew sinfully rich and fragrant. You can use my Lavender Jam to caramelise the onions which gives this stew that wonderful dark French Onion glaze and hint of sweetness, or keep it savoury and make your own lavender essence to add to the stock.


1) Peel and dice your onions and add to a stock pot with 2 tablespoons of butter or rosemary oil. As the onions begin to soften, crush 4 or 5 cloves of garlic into the pan along with the rosemary stalks (chopped finely) and stir through.


2) At this stage add the lavender jam and caramelise the onions if you're taking this approach. If not, peel and dice the sweet potatoes and carrots as the onions and garlic begin to soften, then set aside.


3) Add the chunks of lamb and stir through until the meat begins to colour then add 1/3 of a bottle of red wine and stir through. Allow to simmer on a low heat.


4) If you are not using lavender jam, infuse the beef stock with the dried lavender by simmering on a low heat in a separate pan for about 10 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve into the stock pot and discard the lavender.


5) Add the carrots and sweet potato and stir through. Leave on the hob for at least 30 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce and the carrot and potatoes to soften. Taste the sauce and season according to taste with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Grape & feta calzone



Ingredients
3 stalks Rosemary, handful of pistachios, basil oil, feta, handful of
  spinach, cinnamon, sherry, grapes, 200g very strong white bread flour 
(grade 00), 1/4 tbs salt, 1/2 a sachet of yeast, 1/4 tsp honey, 1 tbs olive oil, 130ml warm water.
Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour


I can remember the first calzone I ate as a little girl; a thin crisp shell dusted with flour that released a cloud of fragrant steam when I hacked into it, followed by an ooze of cheese and tangy tomato sauce. This particular recipe was inspired by a filling Jamie Oliver made for a breakfast pastry which I knew would be enhanced, like anything, with cheese.


1) For a quick pizza dough: sift the flour and salt together and pour onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre and after dissolving the yeast, oil and honey in warm water, pour into the centre and mix with a fork until it is gradually combined. Dust your hands with flour and kneed until a smooth, elastic dough has formed. Set aside.


2) Finely chop the rosemary and "bruise" in a mortar and pestle with a handful of pistachios until the nuts are crushed. Season with salt and pepper and about half a teaspoon of cinnamon, then stir in a tablespoon of basil oil and a teaspoon of sherry.


3) Roughly chop a good handful of spinach and quarter a good handful of grapes (I used seedless flame red grapes). Stir in the rosemary "pesto" and set aside.


4) Roll out the pizza dough to about half a centimetre thickness and cut out circles of dough (I used about 8cm diametre circles). Roll the circles a little thinner and dust one side with flour.


5) Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling onto each circle, adding cubes of feta (I used a 25 year barrel aged feta - the stronger the better for this recipe!) and then fold in half, ensuring the filling is evenly distributed.


6) Pinch the edges of the dough until it is sealed like a cornish pasty and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Pumpkin & walnut bread



Ingredients

 1 1/2 cups wholemeal bread flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 cup/240ml pumpkin, 1/2 cup /240ml
  butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp
  cinnamon, 1/2 cup walnuts. (Optional - 2 cups sugar)
Serves: 12 slices Preparation: 2 hours


At this time of year I go pumpkin crazy, making soup, bread, pasta dishes and pies. I even made pumpkin chips last year but the least said about that the better... this bread can be made sweet or savoury and is equally glorious. It's also something I always make at the same time as pumpkin soup because it only requires a small amount of pumpkin. Waste not want not!


1) Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pith with a spoon. Make sure all the stringiness has been removed. Peel away the skin with a chef's knife and cut the flesh into cubes. 


2) Roast in the oven in an ovenproof dish with a lid for 50 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the roast pumpkin and blend until smooth. 


3) Sieve away the excess juice - this, along with the juice in the ovenproof dish should make about a pint of liquid. The liquid remaining from this recipe, along with the rest of the pumpkin puree is perfect for Pumpkin Soup.


4) Sift together the flour, salt, spices, nuts and baking soda. (if you are making sweet pumpking bread, add the sugar at this stage)


5) Melt the butter and mix into 1 cup of the pumpkin puree. Beat in the eggs and 1/4 cup of the pumpkin juice.


6) Combine the wet and dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Pour into a loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes at 180 degrees or until a skewer comes out clean.

Baby leek pizza



Ingredients

200g very strong white bread flour  
  (grade 00), 1/4 tbs salt, 1/2 a sachet
   of yeast, 1/4 tsp honey, 1 tbs olive
  oil, 130ml warm water, 4 baby leeks, 100g mozarella, 100g cheddar, oregano.
Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes


I managed to get hold of some baby leeks today and fell in love with the sweet, delicate flavour of these tender young strips of yumminess. Smothering them with a mixture of gooey mozzarella and sharp cheddar made this a perfect lunchtime snack.


1) For a quick pizza dough: sift the flour and salt together and pour onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre and after dissolving the yeast, oil and honey in warm water, pour into the centre and mix with a fork until it is gradually combined. Dust your hands with flour and kneed until a smooth, elastic dough has formed. Set aside.


2) Slice the ends from the leeks and quarter the stalks.


4) Sautee in a teaspoon of butter for about 3 minutes until soft.


5) Roll out the pizza dough on a flour dusted surface until thin and even.


6) Arrange the leeks directly onto the top of the dough, brushing any excess butter onto the dough surface and top with a mixture of grated mozarella and cheddar.


7) Bake for 8-10 minutes and serve with a sprinkling of oregano.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Coconut tart



Ingredients

8 hob nob biscuits, 2 tablespoons  
  butter, 2 eggs, 350g Rachel's Organic coconut yoghurt, 2 squares dark chocolate.
Serves: 6 Preparation: 30 minutes


This coconut yoghurt is absolutely divine and has been cause for some serious foodspiration ever since the lovely people at Rachel's Organic introduced me to it. I think this tart is the perfect combination of salty base, creamy filling and the evocative tang of bitter chocolate.


1) Crush the biscuits into crumbs and stir in two tablespoons of melted butter.


2) Pack the biscuit mix into pastry cases and blind bake for 5 minutes at 200 degrees.


3) Whisk two eggs in a bowl and add the coconut yoghurt. Pour the mixture into the tart cases and top with a sprinkling of grated dark chocolate.


4) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees - the filling should have set but should wobble when shaken. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Guinness pie

Ingredients
250g plain flour, 1 tsp salt
250g butter 450g stewing steak, 2 white onions, 1tsp grainy mustard, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, 1 tsps honey, 1 pint Guinness, 3 rashers bacon, mushrooms. 
Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour and a half

1) To make the pastry - Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and mix in about 100ml cold water until you have a firm rough dough. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to chill.

2) Dice the onions and sautee them in 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the stewing steak into about a quarter of a cup of flour, then add into the pan to seal the meat and form a fine roux that will be the base of the gravy.

3) Pour in the pint of Guinness and stir through thoroughly until it has been completely incorporated. At this stage add the bacon and mushrooms, chopped into slivers.

4) Flavour with the sage, honey and mustard then simmer on the hob for about 15 minutes. 

5) Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it's no more than 1cm thick.  Line the pie dish with half of it and blind bake for 10-12 minutes.

6) Spoon the meat and onions into the pie dish using a slotted spoon which will ensure that there's some sauce left to make gravy with (add a little water to thin it down, then simmer on a low heat as the pie is baking) but also distributes enough into the pie.

7) Cover the pie with the remaining pastry, poking a steam hole in the centre and ensuring the edges are pinched tight to seal it shut. Bake for 30 minutes and serve smothered with the gravy.

Mole Quesadillas

Ingredients

Quorn Mince, 1 white onion, dark chocolate, tomato puree, mixed beans, red wine, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, olive oil, Rachel's organic Greek yoghurt, cheddar/Mexicano cheese, 1 tortilla.
Serves: 2 Preparation: 1 hour

Another great way of serving Mexican Mole when you have leftover tortillas - this is one of my ultimate hangover remedies.

1) Melt 4 squares of dark chocolate in a pan (I used some chilli and lime chocolate from BonBon to give this some extra heat) and add 1 finely chopped white onion and a glug of olive oil

2) When the onions have just begin to soften add the packet of Quorn mince (you could use some cooked, drained beef mince if you are not a vegetarian) and stir thoroughly until the chocolate has coated the onions and beef.

3) Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of chopped coriander. Stir thoroughly and add in a glug of red wine.

4) Add in the mixed beans - red kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans (Tesco sell "taco beans", 2 cans of which are perfect) and stir well

5) Add salt, tomato puree and chopped chillis to taste

6) Fold a tortilla in half and spoon the Mole and some grated cheese into the centre. Press the edges closed and grill until the tortilla is crisp and the cheese melted. Serve cut into wedges with a dollop of greek yoghurt or soured cream.

Enchiladas

Ingredients
Quorn Mince, 1 white onion, dark chocolate, tomato puree, mixed beans, red wine, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, olive oil, Rachel's organic Greek yoghurt, mozarella, 6 tortillas.
Serves: 6 Preparation: 1 hour

1) Melt 4 squares of dark chocolate in a pan (I used some chilli and lime chocolate from BonBon to give this some extra heat) and add 1 finely chopped white onion and a glug of olive oil

2) When the onions have just begin to soften add the packet of Quorn mince (you could use some cooked, drained beef mince if you are not a vegetarian) and stir thoroughly until the chocolate has coated the onions and beef.

3) Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of chopped coriander. Stir thoroughly and add in a glug of red wine.

4) Add in the mixed beans - red kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans (Tesco sell "taco beans", 2 cans of which are perfect) and stir well

5) Add salt, tomato puree and chopped chillis to taste

6) Slice each tortilla in half and add 2 tablespoons of the Mole to the centre of each. Roll the tortilla into a tube and rest them side by side in an ovenproof dish. This mixture should fill 12 tortilla halves.

7) Add the greek yoghurt and grated mozarella into a milk pan with a pinch of salt and stir on a low heat until the cheese is incorporated. Pour over the tortilla rolls and add extra cheese and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

8) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Yoghurt spiced chicken


Ingredients

8 Chicken legs, tablespoon cumin, tablespoon turmeric, 300ml Greek yoghurt, salt, black pepper.
Serves: 4 Preparation: 2 hours


1) Stir the turmeric and cumin into the yoghurt and season with salt and black pepper. Pour in the chicken legs and stir, making sure the chicken is thoroughly coated. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.


2) Roast the chicken in the oven for one and a half hours at 170 degrees

Yoghurt roast potatoes


Ingredients

Potatoes (floury ones like Maris Piper are best), Rachel's Organic Greek yoghurt.
Serves: 8 Preparation: 2 hours

When making a roast chicken or roast beef, roast potatoes are so easy to pop in with the meat and allow to crisp up in the fat and meat juices. Being a vegetarian I don't eat roast potatoes because they're never the same without that perfectly crispy coating that comes from being cooked in fat... but that was until I decided to try coating them in yoghurt before roasting them... I'm pleased to say that they're even BETTER cooked this way!


1) Peel and slice the potatoes into quarters, then parboil for 7 minutes in salted water.


2) Strain the potatoes in a colander and rough them up a little with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature in a bowl whilst you pre-heat the oven.


3) Stir in a few tablespoons of yoghurt until they are coated, then bake them in the oven for an hour and a half either alone, or with your joint of meat.

Carrot & walnut bread



Ingredients

1 carrot, handful of walnuts, 350g plain flour, 150g wholemeal flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 300ml Rachel's Organic Greek yoghurt, 125ml milk. 
Serves: 8 Preparation: 2 hours

This is one of my favourite breads - it's light and rich with flavour, makes amazingly crunchy toast and goes absolutely perfectly with my pumpkin soup.


1) Mix the flours together and add the salt and bicarbonate of soda.


2) Grate the carrot and finely dice the walnuts then add in to the flour mix.


3) Stir through the yoghurt and add the milk little by little until a soft, sticky dough is formed.

4) Form a rough ball with the dough and dust with flour. Bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until a good crust has formed which sounds hollow when you tap it.

Roast aubergine & chickpea salad



Ingredients

5 baby aubergines, 1 can chickpeas, 5 baby plum tomatoes, cumin, Rachel's Organic coconut yoghurt, parsley, coriander, salt, basil oil, 1 onion.
Serves: 8 Preparation: 1 hour


1) Cut the stems from the aubergines and slice them in half. Sprinkle with salt to draw out the bitter juices then drizzle with basil oil and bake for 30 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees.


2) Pour the can of chickpeas into a pan and boil for 5 minutes. Strain into a colander and remove the shells.


3) Peel and finely dice one white onion and sautee in butter for 5 minutes. Add a handful of finely chopped parsley and coriander. 

4) Add the chickpeas back to the pan along with 2 tablespoons of Rachel's Organic coconut yoghurt and 5 baby plum tomatoes cut into quarters.

5) Simmer, stirring frequently until the chickpeas are soft, then serve with the aubergine and more yoghurt.

Honey & ginger yoghurt tart



Ingredients

12 ginger biscuits, butter, crystallised stem ginger, 2 eggs, Rachel's organic Greek honey yoghurt
Serves: 6 Preparation: 45 minutes


1) Crush the ginger biscuits in a mortar and pestle, blender or by putting them in a freezer bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. Stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and press into tart cases. Put in the fridge to cool.


2) Whisk 2 eggs and whisk 1 pot of Rachel's Organic Greek honey yoghurt into the eggs. Pour into the tart cases and top with a few cubes of crystallised ginger.


3) Bake for 30 minutes and serve once cool.

Pumpkin Soup



Ingredients
1 large pumpkin, 2 small butternut squashes, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 pint vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 300ml double cream, butter, sage.
Serves: 8 Preparation: 2 hours


1) Peel the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into cubes and set aside.

2)
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pith with a spoon. Make sure all the stringiness has been removed. Peel away the skin with a chef's knife and cut the flesh into cubes and set aside.

3)
Roast both in the oven in an ovenproof dish with a lid for 50 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the roast vegetables and blend until smooth. The excess juice in in the ovenproof dish should make about a pint of liquid - do not discard it.

4) Peel and finely dice an onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a stock pot and sizzle the onions until soft. Add the garlic and chopped sage leaves and then stir through the pureed pumpkin, pumpkin/squash juice and pint of vegetable stock.
5)
Add the vegetable stock, cumin and pepper and stir through.
6) After 20 minutes, carefully strain the liquid from the mashed vegetables and pass them through a sieve. Be patient as this will take a while but the result - velvety smooth soup - is worth it.

7) Return to the hob along with the cream and leave to simmer for half an hour to one hour before serving.

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