Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Nut roast with rich tomato and pepper sauce

 Sometimes you want a proper roast dinner, but based purely on plant products - or vegan, even.
So, pulling together some nuts and vegetables I came up with this delicious nut roast dinner.  The sauce is gloriously rich, and there is quite a lot left which I am looking forward to slathered onto some toast.

Nut roast
Olive oil
Tuscan seasoning
Roasted red pepper

Red pepper and tomato sauce
Olive oil
roasted red pepper
cherry tomatoes
sundried tomatoes
white wine

... and also ...
olive oil
green beans

1.  Cut washed potatoes into chunks, roast in olive oil in a roasting tray.
2.  Sautee chopped leeks, crushed garlic and mushrooms until soft, with a teaspoon of Tuscan seasoning and a teaspoon of grainy mustard.
3.  Blend the nuts.  Don't blend them until they are dust, but so that there are some bigger bits and some smaller bits, to give an interesting texture.  I used a handful each of hazelnuts, pistachio and walnuts, but these could be substituted with almost any nut.
4.  Mix the nuts with the leeks and mushrooms.
5.  Into a greased loaf tin, press in half the nut mixture.  Cut roasted red pepper (from a jar) into strips and cover the layer of nuts.  Cover the pepper with the rest of the nuts and press down gently.  Bake for about 30 minutes.
6.  Finely chop an onion and sautee with crushed garlic in olive oil.  Add a few chopped red peppers (from the jar), a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes and a big spoonful of sundried tomatoes.  Simmer in a little white wine until it all goes soft.  Whizz into a sauce.
7.  Steam the prepared vegetables for 10-12 minutes.
8.  Serve, scoff .... proper Sunday dinner time.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Asparagus and green beans with feta and walnut pesto

What a collision of events - summer has hit in Todmorden, so let's make the most of the weather with some delicious in season asparagus, it's also National Vegetarian Week and Love Your Local Market fortnight ... so I made this fabulous dinner with every single ingredient available from Todmorden Market.  Feta from The Crumbly Cheese, Olive oil, walnuts and garlic from me (The Mediterranean Pantry), and all the veg from Kevin on the outside market.

Baby new potatoes
Green beans

Baby spinach
Baby plum tomatoes
Spring onions

Extra virgin olive oil

1.  Boil the potatoes.
2.  Steam the asparagus and green beans over the potatoes.  To prep the asparagus simply bend it gently, it will naturally snap where the stem gets a bit woody.  Top and tail the beans, and but them in half.  I steam the veg over the potatoes - put them on 5 minutes after the potatoes have come to the boil.
3.  Meanwhile make the pesto.  Whizz together a small handful of walnuts, two big handfuls of basil and about 8 mint leaves with 2 big cloves of garlic (just peel and crush slightly with the back of a knife and add to the food processor), with a glug of olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice and grated lemon zest.
4.  Toss together baby spinach, tomatoes, spring onions and radish with a drizzle of olive oil.
5.  Chop feta into chunks.
6.  Gently toss together potatoes, beans and asparagus with the feta chunks, and drizzle with the pesto (you don't need that much, it packs a punch).
7.  Serve with the salad, scoff.

Sunday, 22 April 2018


Sunday teatime - no real plans, and the chickens have been laying, so a swoop of leftovers, and a chopping of some veg, a grating of some cheddar and this delicious thing was born.  If you have leftover potato wedges it is very, very easy - but they are optional, or you could boil and chop potatoes to add anyway.

Olive oil
red pepper
frozen peas
cold leftover potato wedges

1.  Sautee chopped onion in olive oil.
2.  Chop the rest of the veg and add them to the onions, then chuck in a handful of frozen peas, stir around until warmed through.
3.  Whisk eggs lightly with a fork and pour onto the vegetables.  Turn the heat down and "fry" gently for about 4 minutes.  Turn the oven on to about 180C.
4.  Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the eggs.
5.  Move the pan to the oven for 10 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling and golden, and the egg will be set through without going dry.
6.  Serve, scoff ... if you are more organised than me you could have a lovely green salad alongside.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Pork with apple, mustard and cider - with leeks and beans

Having bought bargain pork loins for yesterday's tea, there were some left over for today - so ringing the changes we went for traditional apple, cider and mustard - and very tasty it was too.  For the non-meat eater I made griddled halloumi with marinated apple wedges.

Olive oil
Grainy mustard
green beans
white wine
vegetable stock

1.  Peel the potatoes and put them on to boil.
2.  Create a marinade/sauce by mixing olive oil, cider, grainy mustard and crushed garlic.  Cut apples into wedges and leave to stand in the marinade.
3.  Chop and wash leeks, put into a baking dish with a splash of olive oil, a splash of white wine and a cup of vegetable stock.  Put chopped beans on top to steam.  Cover and bake at 180 for about 30 minutes.
4.  Mash potatoes with butter, transfer to an oven dish and bake to brown the top.
5.  Fry the pork a little in olive oil, until the edges start to brown slightly, then add apple wedges and marinade, simmer.  Reserve some apple wedges for the halloumi.
6.  5 minutes before serving griddle the halloumi in a hot griddle alongside the reserved apple wedges.
7.  Serve, scoff

Jerk pork, wedges and coleslaw

Easy, peasy lemon squeezy - but very tasty too.

I make my own jamaican jerk spice mix, available from The Mediterranean Pantry - but there are many other brands available.

Olive oil
Pork loin chops
Jamaican jerk seasoning
Red onion
sesame seeds
lemon juice

1.  Mix jamaican jerk seasoning with a spoonful of olive oil, rub onto pork and leave to marinade.
2.  Chop potatoes into wedges, toss in olive oil, and bake at 180 for about 40 minutes.
3.  Chop onion, peeled carrot and cabbage into coleslaw sized pieces (or grate if you don't fancy all that chopping).  Mix with a good pinch of salt.
4.  Add sesame seeds, a squirt of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil to the slaw and stir in.
5.  Pop the pork in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the potatoes.
6.  Serve, scoff - some people like to mix mayonnaise into their slaw for the creamier version.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Roast trout with peas and lettuce


The new kitchen is in!  But all the stuff is still in storage ....

Today we had trout, from the lovely Paul - simply roasted with slices of lemon.  The potatoes were roasted in olive oil, and the veg was cooked with white wine stock (spring onions softened in olive oil, then added frozen peas and wedges of little gem).

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Smoked haddock and spinach hotpot

 Week 11 of kitchen renovations... dinners have not been exciting, and have been aesthetically challenged in the main (scampi and oven chips is hardly inspiring!) ... but I am managing a win with most Friday dinners.  Paul's excellent fish helps big style.

The chickens have decided it's spring, and have been laying despite the recent snow - so the classic combination of smoked haddock and poached egg led to this.

Red onion
Olive oil
White wine stock pot
Grainy mustard
Green beans
Smoked haddock

1.  Sautee chopped red onion in olive oil, add crushed garlic.
2.  When a bit soft add slices of peeled potatoes, ad a handful of chopped green beans.
3.  Pour on stock made with a white wine stock pot and a spoonful of wholegrain mustard.
4.  Put the lid on a stew until the potatoes are nearly soft.
5.  Add a couple of big handfuls of baby spinach and the fish.  Lid back on a steam until fish is nearly done - about 10 minutes.
6.  Break in eggs, put the lid back on and steam for another 5 minutes.
7.  Serve, scoff ... a triumph.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Fish wraps ...

The limited kitchen is still presenting its issues, but I am determined to make the most of Paul's fish on a Friday.

This week I had some spare Jamaican jerk seasoning, so I concocted these wraps - with some "sautéed potatoes" and a tomato salsa.  They went down very well.  The jerk seasoning gave a pleasant heat, and left us with tingly lips for a few minutes.

New potatoes
Olive oil
Red onion

Red pepper
White wine
Baby plum tomatoes
Tortilla wraps
Sour cream

1.  Mix sliced red onion, red pepper and crushed garlic with a teaspoon or so of jerk seasoning.  Set aside.
2.  Slice new potatoes, toss in a drop of olive oil and a drop of water.  Microwave for 3 minutes.
3.  Now - bear in mind I have only one pan - in a normal world you could fry the potatoes and other veg in two separate pans, and speed the process up.  Fry the potatoes in olive oil, turning fairly frequently, until they are just turning golden brown and a bit crispy.  Move them to the cool side of the pan.
4.  Fry the seasoned onion and pepper for a few minutes.
5.  When the onions and peppers and nearly done, pile them into a strip, and layer the fish on top.
6.  Cover the fish with big handfuls of baby spinach.  Add a splash of white wine, and a splash of water.  Cover and steam for 10 minutes.
7.  Chop red onion, baby plum tomatoes and radish - mix to form salsa.
8.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of water onto wraps, microwave for 1 minute, turn them over, microwave for 10 seconds.
9.  Serve, ... put fish mixture and salsa into wrap, splodge with sour cream ... add sautee potatoes - scoff.


Monday, 12 March 2018

Eggs, potatoes and red peppers

Drawing inspiration from shashuka, but driven by the practicalities of a limited kitchen and limited ingredients ... eggs, with potatoes and red peppers ... it was delicious, actually.  Made even more delicious as our own pekin bantams provided the eggs.

Olive oil
Red onion
Mixed herbs
New potatoes
Red pepper
Cherry tomatoes

1.  Sautee sliced red onions and crushed garlic.
2.  Slice the potatoes to about the thickness of a £1 coin and add to the onions, stir in.
3.  Chop the red pepper, add to the potatoes with a pinch of mixed herbs.  Add a glass of water and simmer/fry/steam for about 20 minutes.   Add chopped cherry tomatoes.  Keep an eye on it, add more water if it looks like it'll start sticking, turn the heat up if its too liquidy.
4.  Test the potatoes with the point of a sharp knife.  When they are done crack in the eggs.  Cover and cook for about 8 minutes.
5.  It's done when the whites are set ... serve, scoff ... yum

Monday, 5 March 2018

Leek and potato soup, with a bit of toast

Simple, but tasty, and just what we needed on this chilly evening ... the Beast from the East and all that.  Just a word about the crockery ... i) thanks to my brother and his wife for the mug - I hate aubergines, but love the colour ... it's made more than one person laugh a lot ...ii) the christmas plate should have been packed up with the other christmas crockery on 12th night, and delivered to storage with most of the rest of the kitchen ... but emerged from a bedroom last week, after a student came home for the weekend!  Anyway, given the limited stocks with the minimal kitchen, it is back in use.  We are now 8 weeks into the 6-8 week kitchen revamp and have no cooker, fridge or sink ... it'll be worth it in the end.

olive oil
wholegrain mustard

1.  Chop leeks finely, rinse well and sautee in olive oil.
2. Add crushed garlic and very finerly diced potatoes.
3.  Stir in a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, season well.
4.  Add water and simmer until done.
5.  Toast bread.
6.  Butter bread.
7.  Serve, scoff.