Last weeks bag with courgettes and aubergines gave me a lift, there was a feeling of changing seasons. This week, with little sunshine and more dull days, the veg bag arrived with cauliflower and celeriac and although courgettes had appeared again, I felt a longing need to see the end of the hearty root veg. March is that kind of month,stuck between Winter and Spring.
It had been a slightly quieter week in the kitchen and there was still a few veg from the previous bag to use up. But with a busy weekend looming, and a lot of mouths to feed it was soon used up.
The week saw the end of the Sport Relief charity event and friend Ellen Arnison over at In a bun dance, was taking part in the adventurous and sporty Team Honk Relay. Being way too energetic for me, I offered to make food to sustain them through some of the Scottish parts of the relay. With an uncompromising weather forecast and the team planning to raft in Perthshire on the Saturday, warm hearty, easy to eat comfort food was the order of the day. A very large pot of lentil soup ticked that box and used up a fair amount of the carrots onions and celery, but thankfully it did the trick for warming up some very cold and wet rafters. My mother and I always disagree over the recipe for lentil soup as she adds leeks and I don’t. She also finely grates her carrots and I chop mine. It’s been the subject of many a discussion but that’s the way I prefer to make my lentil soup.
This amount will serve around 4. Large ham hough, onion, carrot and any other leftover veg/herbs for stock. 1 litre of water. 8oz red lentils, 1-2 tbsp oil, 2 Onions chopped, 2 celery sticks chopped, 2 large carrots chopped, Bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaves.
Make the stock by adding the ham hough, water and the stock veg/herbs to a large pan. Slowly bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Simmer for approx 90 minutes. Strain the stock and then return to the pan with the lentils and continue simmering for approximately 10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and continue cooking for approx 15 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are cooked. Blend to a smooth consistency. Shred the meat from the ham hough and add to the soup.
The second soup for the week was Celeriac and Spinach. Another one of my ‘green’ soups and also very tasty and nutritious.
1tbsp oil, 1 onion chopped, 1 small celeriac chopped, 750 ml stock – vegetable or chicken, herbs – I used bay leaf and a sprig of thyme, 2 large handfuls of spinach
Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onion. Add the celeriac, cook for 1 minute and add the stock and herbs. Simmer for approx 15 minutes. Once cooked added the spinach, allow to wilt and blend to a smooth consistency.
Spicy Prawn & Veg Noodles
This is one of those recipes that works well with a variety of vegetables and as usual, I used what was in the veg basket. Other vegetables such as mushrooms, mangetout, green beans, celery, sweetcorn and peppers will work equally well. The prawns can be replaced with chicken or serve without meat as a vegetarian dish.
1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil, 2 tsp grated root ginger, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 red chilli, chopped, 1 courgette, sliced, 1 large carrot, sliced into thin sticks, half of a small head of broccoli, broken into small florets, 3 tbsp soy sauce, tbsp sherry or Chinese cooking wine, small amount of vegetable stock (if required) 4 oz cooked prawns, 2-3 nests of egg noodles. To serve, freshly chopped coriander.
Heat the oil in a wok or a large saute pan, add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add the remainder of the veg and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the prawns and heat through. While the veg are cooking, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and toss with the cooked veg and prawns, add the soy sauce, sherry and if required a small amount of vegetable stock. Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped corriander.
Pasta with courgettes and sun dried tomato pesto
This is another dish that was born out of what was in the fridge and it was packed full of flavour from the pesto and the goats cheese. The pesto had been made for the Team Honk sandwiches with about 12 sun dried tomatoes, a small bunch of basil, 2 oz grated Parmesan, 2 oz pine nuts and seasoning. Any type of pesto from a jar will also work well.
8oz of dried pasta, 1 tbsp oil, 3 shallots, finely chopped, 1 large courgette, approx 150g sun dried tomato pesto, 10 olives sliced, 100ml vegetable stock, approx 4 oz goats chopped cheese, ( I used Dunlop Dairy, Bonnet, a hard goats cheese). handful of basil leaves.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. In a large pan, heat the oil and saute the shallots for 1 minute. Add the courgette, cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly golden. Stir in the pesto, olives and a small amount of stock if required and heat through. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Transfer to an oven proof dish, scatter over the goats cheese and brown under a hot grill. serve scattered with basil leaves.
Spicy Rice with Cauliflower and Chicken
The cauliflower was a good addition to this quick and easy spicy chicken rice, made with leftover cooked chicken I had used in the sandwiches for Team Honk.
Serves 4. Long grain or basmati rice, measured to the 14oz Mark in a measuring jug. Add the rice to a pan with 500ml cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, turn to a low setting and cook for approx 10 minutes until the rice cooked and the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
1 onion chopped, 1 garlic clove crushed, heaped tablespoon of curry paste, heaped tablespoon of tomato ketchup, 250-300ml chicken stock, small cauliflower broken into small florets. Approx 8 oz leftover cooked chicken, or any leftover cooked meat. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve with mango chutney on the side.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion, cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, cook for a further minute, add the curry paste, tomato ketchup and 250 ml of the stock and mix well. Add the cauliflower and continue cooking until it starts to soften. Add the cooked chicken, continue cooking until the chicken is piping hot and if needed add the remaining stock. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve with mango chutney on the side.
Carrot and raisin cookies
I also had time to bake the carrot and raisin cake/cookies from the Bellfield Organics newsletter, featured in last weeks post. I opted to bake the cookies and they were delicious.