Kale Vichyssoise

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2018)

A twist on the classic, says Drew Smith in ‘Broth to Bow’ (Nourish Books, £20) but this version has more dimensions, and doesn’t have to be reinforced with chicken broth.

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

¼ head celery
2 carrots
1 onion
3 leeks
2 new potatoes
1 litre Potassium Broth*
Handful of kale
Bunch of fresh parsley
50ml double cream
Olive oil for frying
Bread cubes for croutons

Step One:  Wash, trim and peel the celery, carrots, onion, leeks and potatoes, then put in a saucepan.  Cover with the Potassium Broth* and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 40 minutes.

Step Two: Take off the heat and leave to stand.  Transfer all the vegetables and about half the liquid into a smaller saucepan, ensuring that you have roughly equal vegetables and liquid.  Add the majority of the kale, trimmed, and bring back to a simmer for 4 minutes.

Step Three:  Chop the parsley and add, then liquidise in a blender or food processor, and stir in the cream.  In a frying pan, warm some olive oil and fry a few bread cubes for croutons.  Using the same oil, fry a couple of kale leaves until they are crisp, and use to garnish.

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Chestnut and chorizo soup

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

Roast chestnuts have the starchy quality of baked potato, with a smoky sweetness that is fantastic with chorizo.  You can also use pre-prepared chestnuts here, for something that is almost as good.  If you need more protein, a poached or fried egg is a great addition.

Chestnut Chorizo soupServes:  4

Ingredients: 

400g fresh chestnuts (in shells)
125g chorizo or spicy salami, skinned
1 tsp butter or duck fat
Pinch of fennel seeds (optional)
4 carrots, roughly diced
1 large onion, roughly diced
1 celery stick, roughly diced
150g Swiss chard or rainbow chard
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp tomato puree
large pinch of saffron threads
Greek yogurt and Turkish dried chilli flakes, to finish

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 220oC / Fan 200oC / Gas 7.  Make a cut in the top of each chestnut, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel, halve or quarter and set aside.  (It’s a lot quicker to use pre-prepared chestnuts, but you won’t get the same smoky flavour).

Step Two:  Cut the chorizo or salami into small chunks.  Heat a saucepan over a low heat and add the chorizo chunks with the butter or duck fat and fennel seeds, if using.  Cook gently for a few minutes until the chorizo oil starts to run.  Add the diced vegetables and cook gently for at least 20 minutes until they have taken on a deeper colour and smell sweet.

Step Three:  While the vegetables soften, slice the white stalk from the chard leaves and cut it into chunks; set aside.  Shred the leaves finely and set these aside too.  Add the garlic to the pan with the thyme leaves and tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomato smell rises from the pan.  Add the chopped chestnuts, chard stalks, saffron threads and enough boiling water to cover everything by 2-3 cm.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and lower the heat.  Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until everything is soft.  Taste for seasoning.

:  Either leave the soup chunky or mash it a bit, leaving some texture – you’re not aiming for a smooth result.  If it’s too thick, add a little water; if too thin, uncover, turn the heat up a bit and let it bubble to reduce slightly.  Finally, add the chard leaves to the soup and bring back to the boil; this will be enough to cook them through.  Serve each portion topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, if you like.  If the chorizo is mild, you may want to put some chilli flakes on the table.

Seafood Bisque

BisqueIngredients:

20g (¾ oz) butter
650g (1 lb 5oz) small shrimps or prawns (in the shell)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
1 stick celery roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
250g (8 oz) fillet salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 tbsp tomato purée
125ml (4 fl oz) dry white wine
80g (2 ¾ oz) Arborio rice
2.5l (85 fl oz) fish stock (made with good cubes is fine)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
100ml (3 fl oz) double cream
Ciabatta, to serve

Serves:  8    Prep time:  15 mins      Cook time:  40 mins
Cals per serving:  269      Fat: 13g

Step One:  Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the prawns (in their shells), onion, leeks, celery, carrot, garlic and fennel seeds for about 6-7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.

Step Two:  Add the salmon, tomato purée, white wine, rick, stock, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes.

Step Three:  Let the soup cool a little and blend with an electric blender or with a hand-held stick blender until smooth.  Strain the soup through a sieve (it needs to be nice and smooth).  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, add the double cream and bring back to just under the boil.

Tip: If you’re feeling extravagant, add cooked crabmeat at step 2 for a richer flavour.

 Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Manaeesh (Flatbread, also known as manakeesh)

manaeeshThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Makes: 4   –   Prep time : 15 mins, plus 2 hours standing time   –   Cook time : 20 mins

Cals per serving: 173   –   Fat : 2g

Ingredients: 7g (1/4 oz) sachet quick-acting dry yeast; 750g (1 ½ lb) white bread flour; 2 tsp salt; 2 tblsp olive oil

For the topping: 125g (4oz) za’atar spice blend mix

  1. Place the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add olive oil and 420ml (13 fl oz) of tepid water.  Mix using a dough hook for about 5 minutes until the mixture comes together and forms a really soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes, then shape into a large ball.  Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth or cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Heat the oven to 240oC (gas mark 9). Punch down the dough with your fist to expel the air.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 minutes and then shape into four balls.
  3. On a lightly oiled surface, use a rolling pin to shape each dough ball into thin 5mm (¼ in) rounds, then transfer to two baking sheets.  Make a few indentations in the dough with your fingertips.
  4. Brush the loaves with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Slide the manaeesh off the trays onto the oven shelves and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until crusty.

Spices

Other recipes for za’atar

Fast Humous

humousThis recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Prep time : 5 mins   –   No cooking   –   Total Cals : 212   –   Fat : 15g

Ingredients: 400g (13oz) tin chickpeas; Juice of 1 lemon; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1 tsp paprika; 1 tsp ground cumin; 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) tahini (sesame seed paste); 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Taste the mixture as your go and add more spices if necessary.
  4. Serve with carrot sticks and pitta bread.
Tahini:

#humous #chickpeas #tahini

Falafel

Falafel

This recipe is courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Makes : 26  –   Prep time : 15 mins plus soaking  –  Cook time : 20 mins

Cals per Falafel: 80 cals;   Fat : 5g

Ingredients:  250g (8oz) chickpeas, dry and uncooked; ½ onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic; 1 bunch parsley, chopped; 1 bunch coriander, chopped; ½ tsp salt; ½ tsp chilli powder; 1 tsp cumin; ½ tsp ground coriander; ½ tsp baking powder; 500ml (16 fl oz) vegetable oil, for deep-frying; ½ tsp ground or crushed sumac

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight (for at least 6 hours), then drain the water.  In a food processor, grind the chickpeas on a low speed, slowly adding the onion, garlic, parsley and coriander until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  2. Remove half of the mixture from the food processor and set aside.  Re-grind the remaining part for an extra few minutes or until smoother than the other half.  Mix the smooth and coarse portions together.
  3. Mix the salt, chilli powder, cumin, ground coriander and baking powder together.  Add this to the chickpea mixture.  Add a little water if needed – the mixture may be a bit crumbly, but this is fine.  It is now ready for frying.
  4. In a pot or wok, heat the oil.  This will be used to deep-fry the falafel.  Use two tablespoons to mould the falafel.  Fill one tablespoon with the mixture, then use another spoon on top to shape it.
  5. Slowly drop the falafel into the hot oil, and repeat.  Cook each side for roughly 2 minutes (until it turns brown).  Remove from the oil onto a colander or place on top of a paper towel to soak up any surplus oil.  Sprinkle with sumac and enjoy while hot (it’s good served with humous)

Sumac:

Middle Eastern cook book:

Greek Salad Served on Skewers

Feta cheeseIdeal accompaniment to the Whole Barbecued Fish.

Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients: 8 cherry tomatoes; 6 whole black olives, stoned; 225g / 8oz feta cheese, cubed; 1-2 tblsp chopped, fresh oregano; a little extra virgin olive oil
To serve: shredded salad leaves and crusty French bread

  • Divide the tomatoes, olives and feta cheese between 8 small wooden skewers. If using metal skewers, you may need to heat them first or the cheese may crumble.
  • Place on a nest of salad leaves, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped oregano. Serve with crusty French bread.
  • If liked, add chunks of cucumber and wedges of read onion to the skewers, too.

Some skewers for the salad:

Black olives:

Bacon, Cheese and Onion Slice

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp cooking oil; 2 onions, finely chopped; 8oz (225g) puff pastry; English or Dijon mustard; 4oz (100g) smoked bacon, chopped; 4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated; sesame seeds, to garnish

  • This slice makes great canapés, finger snacks or an accompaniment to soup.
  • Most people buy ready-made puff pastry but if you want to make your own, here’s how. Melt 2oz (50g) butter, cool. Leave 5oz (150g) butter to soften. Sift 7oz (200g) plain flour and pinch of salt into a bowl. Make well in centre, pour in about 4 fl oz (120ml) cold water, a few drops lemon juice and the melt butter. Knead lightly, then leave to rest for 20 mins. On a floured board, roll pastry from 4 sides, leaving a lump in centre – dough should look like a crossroads. Sit remaining butter on the centre lump of the dough and fold over each pastry flap. Pat into a rectangle measuring about 6 x 12in (15 x 30cm), refrigerate for 10-15 mins. Roll pastry lengthways until double in length. Fold both ends into centre, then fold once more. This is called a double turn. Complete process a further 3 times. Always roll with folded edge on left and leave to rest for 20-30 mins in fridge before each turn. Leave pastry in fridge for a further 30 mins before using. This makes roughly 1 lb (450g) of pastry but you can freeze the excess.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry onions for a few minutes until softened. Make sure onions do not brown. Allow to cool.
  • Roll out puff pastry very thinly into a 12in (30cm) square. Cut square in half and on one half only, spread a little mustard, according to your taste. Then spread with the onions, bacon and cheese and cover with the remaining pastry half. Roll up pastry parcel like a Swiss roll, then leave to rest in fridge for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7. Remove roll from fridge, cut into ¾ in (18mm) slices, place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 12-15 mins until golden.

Asparagus, Red Pepper and Halloumi Salad

Serves: 4; Takes: 25 mins plus marinating; Calories/Fat: 304 cals /22g; Sodium/Added sugar: 1.2g/0.4g

Ingredients: 2 tblsp olive oil; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 2 sprigs of fresh thyme; 3 red peppers, deseeded and quartered; 400g (14oz) asparagus, trimmed; 1 x 250g Halloumi cheese, thickly sliced; 2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce; Salt

  • Mix the oil, garlic and thyme and marinade the veg and cheese, reserving a little, for at least 15 mins or in the fridge overnight.
  • Barbecue the peppers first (they can take up to 10 mins), turning occasionally. When the peppers are almost ready, add the asparagus for one min and then the Halloumi for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Skin the peppers and mix with the cheese and asparagus. Season with salt. Stir the chilli sauce into the remaining marinade and drizzle over the warm salad.

Would you like to try to make Halloumi?

An Asparagus cooker when not grilling as in this recipe.

Mozzarella and Tomato Bruschetta

Serves: 6; Prep: 10 mins; Cost: £5.35; Cals per portion: 250

Ingredients: 3 beef tomatoes, sliced; 3 x 100g pkts mozzarella di bufala; extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle over ingredients; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 18 fresh basil leaves; 6 slices olive Ciabatta bread; 2 cloves of garlic, peeled

  • Arrange the tomatoes and sliced mozzarella on a platter then drizzle with olive oil. Season and scatter over the basil leaves and olives. Set aside in a cool place until ready to serve.
  • Just before you are ready to eat, toast the slices of Ciabatta until golden, then rub the surface of each with the garlic. Drizzle a little olive oil over the bread and serve warm with the salad.

Menu idea: Chicken with sage and prosciutto; Garlic and herb roast potatoes; Peppers with fennel; Mascarpone and chocolate cassata

Do you have problems when slicing Mozzarella? Maybe this will help?