Veggies

AUBERGINES, COURGETTES, TOMATOES AND PEPPERS WITH CAPERS, OLIVES, SULTANAS AND PINE NUTS

A sort of cross between caponata siciliana and ratatouille (capo-touille?), this yummy mixture of aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes and peppers gets added oomph and a nice sweet-sour touch from the capers, olives, sultanas and pine nuts.

Serves 6-8
2 large aubergines/eggplant, sliced
2 large courgettes/zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, mashed
2 red peppers, de-seeded and sliced
1 x 400g tin tomato passata or peeled tomatoes with their juice
or 500g vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp capers
100g green or black olives
2 heaped tbsp sultanas (golden raisins)
150ml red or white wine vinegar
a handful of pine nuts
some torn basil leaves

  • Salt the aubergine and courgette slices and put them in a large colander over the sink to drain for about 30 minutes
  • Heat the grill/broiler to maximum
  • Pat vegetable slices dry with paper towels and lay them on an oiled baking sheet to fit under the grill (do this in two batches)
  • Brush slices with oil and grill until speckled with golden brown
  • Turn the slices and grill the other side. Remove slices to a side dish and continue with the rest
  • Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large frying pan, soften the onion and garlic gently, add the sliced peppers and cook till wilted (5-10’)
  • Add tomato passata and salt and pepper to taste and cook steadily for 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes are reduced
  • Stir the grilled aubergine and courgette slices into the pan, mixing carefully, and add the capers, olives and sultanas
  • Let the mixture stew gently for another 5-10 minutes
  • At the last minute sprinkle on the pine nuts and basil leaves
  • Serve warm or chilled

AUBERGINE, PEPPER AND GOATS’ CHEESE TORTE WITH BASIL SALSA
Grilled aubergines and roasted/grilled peeled peppers are layered in a cake tin with fresh goats’ cheese and chilled till firm. Serve in wedges with the salsa.

Serves 8-10
3 aubergines
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 ‘Petit Billy’ fresh goats’ cheeses (200g each) or similar
Salsa
1 shallot or small onion
1-2 fresh or dried red or green chillies, stalks and seeds removed
a handful of basil leaves
3-4 firm ripe tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

  • Cut the aubergine in lengthwise slices 1 cm wide. Brush them with olive oil, put under the grill (broiler) and cook until golden (or grill them on the barbecue)
  • Grill the peppers (or put directly on a gas flame) until thoroughly blackened, put them in a plastic bag to sweat and soften a little
  • Rub off the skin under running water
  • Put both vegetables in a large shallow dish, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar. Leave to marinate overnight
  • Next day, line a springform tin with clingfilm (plastic wrap)
  • Layer the vegetables with the sliced cheese until the tin is full
  • Bring the clingfilm up over the torte to enclose
  • Put a plate on top and a weight on top of the plate
  • Set the tin on a plate (it will leak). Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight
  • For the salsa, finely chop the shallot or onion and chillies
  • Add the roughly chopped basil and the quartered tomatoes, salt and oil
  • Process in short bursts until the salsa is roughly chopped, tip into a little bowl
  • Alternatively, finely chop all ingredients and combine them in a small bowl
  • To serve, invert the torte over a serving plate, release the clip on the springform and peel away the clingfilm
  • Serve the torte with the salsa

FENNEL WITH CHERRY TOMATOES, WALNUT AND PARMESAN CRUMBLE

Even if you (or your significant others) don’t normally ‘do’ fennel, try this recipe (inspired by one from the Ottolenghi cookbook): the fennel is bathed in light cream and herbs, topped with a crumbly mixture of breadcrumbs, Parmesan and walnuts and baked crisp. A great stand-alone dish or delicious with grilled fish or white meats.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a sides dish or starter
1 kg fennel (4-5 tennis ball-sized bulbs)
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200ml whipping cream (crème fraîche liquide/Schlagrahm)
Crumble
100g fresh breadcrumbs
50g Parmesan
8-10 walnut halves (about 3 Tbsp, chopped)
a pinch of brown or raw sugar
50g butter, cut in cubes
8-12 cherry tomatoes
flat-leaf parsley to garnish

  • Trim woody ends off fennel stalks and trim the bases – reserve and chop the green fronds
  • Cut bulbs in half, then in slices, then dice them quite chunkily
  • Put diced fennel in a large bowl and add olive oil
  • Strip the leaves off the thyme sprigs and add to fennel with the reserved chopped green fronds
  • Add crushed garlic and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper
  • Tip fennel into an ovenproof dish and pour on the cream
  • Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chopped walnuts and sugar and dredge the fennel with this crumbly mixture
  • Cut the butter in small dice and scatter over the top
  • Refrigerate the crumble if not baking immediately
  • Heat the oven to 200 C and bake the crumble for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven, push the cherry tomatoes down into the fennel/cream and return crumble to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy and the cream beginning to bubble at the edges
  • Sprinkle with roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley to serve

BAKED FENNEL WITH TOMATOES AND OLIVES
A colourful and tasty summer dish to go with fish or barbecued lamb – also nice cold.
Serves 6-8
4 fennel bulbs
1 kg tomatoes, skinned
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
olive oil
100g black olives

  • Trim the tops off the fennel bulbs down to the bulb
  • Discard the tube-like stems but keep the feathery fronds, and chop them finely
  • Skin the tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds and chop the flesh roughly
  • Arrange the sliced fennel in an oiled baking dish or cassola, sprinkle the tomatoes on top
  • Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over lots of olive oil
  • Mix together the chopped fennel fronds and the garlic and sprinkle this on top
  • Heat the oven to 200oC and bake the fennel for 30-35 minutes or until beginning to brown slightly
  • Scatter the olives on top and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes

MIXED ROAST VEGGIES WITH THYME, PRESERVED LEMON AND BLACK OLIVES
A good dish for winter, great for entertaining as you can prep all the veggies, put them in an ovenproof dish, massage in the olive oil and herbs and leave them till ready for roasting. Use a mixture of whatever comes to hand, with an emphasis on dense, rooty vegetables – potatoes, celeriac, kohlrabi, turnips, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots…
Serves 6
About 1.5 kg mixed root vegetables (see above for suggestions)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 bay leaf, crumbled
salt and pepper
6 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 a preserved lemon, peel only (pith and pips removed), diced small
125g black olives, stoned/pitted
12 cherry tomatoes
plenty of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • Trim all the vegetables and peel if necessary – aim for about 1.2 kg after trimming
  • Cut in quarters or chunks or slice thickly, depending on shape/type – keep them all roughly the same size/shape so they cook evenly
  • Line a large roasting pan with baking parchment (saves washing the pan afterwards) and put in all veggies
  • Add peeled, halved garlic cloves, thyme leaves, crumbled bay leaf, salt and pepper, olive oil and preserved lemon dice – mix well with your hands
  • Heat the oven to 200oC and bake the veggies for about 45 minutes, or until almost tender and the veg. is beginning to brown a little at the edges
  • Add the olives and cherry tomatoes, mix them in well and return pan to the oven for another 15-20 minutes
  • When veggies are done, sprinkle generously with flat-leaf parsley and serve

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH COCONUT MILK AND HARD-BOILED EGGS

Ginger, onion, garlic and chiles are blended together till smooth and fried with spices to a thickish paste. Then comes coconut milk and cauliflower florets. Ring the changes with other veggies if you like, though I reckon it’s a cool way to serve the much-maligned cauliflower.

Serves 4
a piece of ginger the size of a walnut, peeled and sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 fresh green chile (or 1 dried red), seeded and roughly chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds + 5 black peppercorns + 1 tsp coriander seeds
salt and pepper
1 tsp turmeric + 1 tsp curry powder
1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
400ml coconut milk
3 eggs, hard-boiled
plenty of parsley or coriander, chopped

  • Put the prepared ginger, onion, garlic and chile(s) in the blender or food processor with 4 Tbsp water and process to a smooth purée
  • Crash the spices about a bit in a mortar or under the blade of a large, heavy knife so they release some of their aromas
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan or wok and fry the spices for a minute or two, stirring, until they smell fragrant – don’t burn them!
  • Add the ginger/onion purée and cook, stirring vigorously, for about 10 minutes until thickened and reduced almost to a paste
  • Season with salt and pepper and add the turmeric and curry powder
  • Stir in the cauliflower florets and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time, till cauliflower is well coated with the purée
  • Add coconut milk and salt to taste, cover the pan and simmer gently until the cauliflower is just cooked – 10-12 minutes – if it seems to be drying out too much, add a splash of water or stock
  • Shell the hard-boiled eggs and cut in quarters, add to the pan and allow to heat through for a couple of minutes
  • Sprinkle generously with chopped coriander or parsley and serve with Basmati rice

COURGETTES/ZUCCHINI AND SPINACH WITH SHALLOTS AND GARLIC
This wonderful mix of grated courgettes, spinach, shallots and garlic is from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art – terrific with fish and good enough to convert even hardened anti-veggies. It’s practical too as you can do all the initial prep ahead and toss the courgettes and spinach in the pan at the last minute.
Serves 6
4-5 large courgettes/zucchini (ca. 1 kg)
1 tbsp salt
500g frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
25g butter + 1 tbsp oil
pepper, grated nutmeg
some more butter – 25-50g

  • Wash the courgettes/zucchini and grate them (unpeeled) using a cheese grater or grating disc of food processor
  • Put them in a colander in the sink (or set colander over a bowl) and sprinkle with salt – leave them for at least 1 hour to release their juice
  • After this time, press down hard on them to squeeze out any remaining juice and set them aside
  • Squeeze out the thawed spinach by handfuls till quite dry
  • Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and soften the shallots and garlic gently without allowing them to brown
  • Add the well-drained courgettes and spinach, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until just cooked
  • If not to be served immediately, let vegetables cool and then refrigerate them
  • About 10 minutes before serving, heat some more butter in a frying pan and toss the courgettes/spinach in it till thoroughly hot (or tip into microwave-safe dish, cover with clingfilm and heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes)

COURGETTES WITH CHILLI AND GREEN PEPPER
Serves 4-6
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 green pepper, roasted, peeled and cut in strips
500g courgettes, diced
finely chopped chives and/or parsley

  • Heat the oil and soften the onion and garlic without allowing them to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chilli and green pepper strips and cook another 5 minutes or so
  • Raise the heat and add the courgettes and about half a cup of water
  • Continue to cook briskly till the courgettes are just tender – 2-3 minutes
  • Sprinkle on chives and/or parsley and serve

COURGETTE FRITTATA WITH MOZZARELLA, TARRAGON AND MINT
Serves 4-6
olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
500g (3 medium) courgettes/zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper
6 eggs
tons of fresh tarragon and mint, finely chopped
150g baby Mozzarellas (drained weight)

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the sliced onion and mashed garlic till lightly golden
  • Scrape these onto a plate and heat a little more oil in the pan
  • Add the sliced courgettes, season with salt and pepper and fry till golden, turning them once
  • Add them to the onions and garlic
  • Put the eggs in a large bowl, add salt, pepper, chopped herbs and Mozzzarellas and mix well
  • Add the onions, garlic and courgettes to the eggs
  • Heat a little more oil in the pan and tip in the egg-vegetable mixture
  • Cook till the underside is just set – when you give the pan a good shake, the frittata should move around freely (4-5 minutes)
  • Put a flat lid or plate on top of the pan and invert the frittata onto it
  • Heat a little more oil in the pan and slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the second side (another 4-5 minutes) – don’t overcook it or it will be leathery

GRATIN OF ROOT VEGETABLES

A good rooty dish for winter, good for entertaining as you can get all the vegetables ready ahead and put them in a gratin dish with stock and cream ready to be baked. Use a mixture of whatever roots you have to hand: potatoes, celeriac, kohlrabi, baby turnips, sweet potatoes etc. Serve with roast or grilled meats.

Serves 6
250ml stock
250ml whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
a sprig of thyme
5 medium potatoes
2 kohlrabi
1 bunch baby turnips (5-6 turnips), peeled and sliced
3 sweet potatoes (about 400g)
salt and pepper

  • Put the stock, cream, garlic and thyme in a pan and bring to a boil
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes; discard garlic and thyme
  • Peel all the vegetables and cut in fairly thick slices (2-3 mm)
  • Butter an oval gratin dish about 35 x 23 x 5 cm deep
  • Put all the vegetables in the ovenproof dish, seasoning as you go
  • Pour on the creamy stock – it should come up to just below the level of the vegetables
  • Heat the oven to 200 C and bake the gratin for about 1 hour or until golden brown on top and the vegetables tender

BAECKEOFFE OF WINTER VEGETABLES
Baeckeoffe is a classic Alsace dish of meat, vegetables amd white wine, baked in the oven in the traditional decorated pottery terrine. Here’s a version with just winter veggies, which goes well with all manner of meats. If you add a few ceps to the vegetables at the frying stage, it makes a magnificent meatless main dish.

Serves 6-8
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
50g butter
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 heads of chicory, sliced
6 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
150ml chicken stock (or ½ a stock + 150ml water)

  • Soften onions and garlic in HALF the butter
  • Add sliced leeks, carrots and chicory, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until slightly soft
  • Butter a deep ovenproof dish (choose one with lid), lay half the potatoes in the bottom and season them with salt and pepper
  • Put the cooked vegetables on top and finish with a layer of potatoes, salt and pepper
  • Dot with the rest of the butter and pour over the stock
  • Cover with the lid
  • Heat the oven to 200oC and bake for 1 hour

PUMPKIN AND PRAWN/SHRIMP TIMBALES WITH A BRILLIANT PARSLEY SAUCE
For this lovely starter or supper dish, the pumpkin flesh is cooked and puréed with eggs, cream and spices, packed into ramekins with a prawn/shrimp buried in each one, and baked till set. The orange timbales (‘castles’) are turned out for serving over a brilliant green parsley sauce.
Serves 8
1kg pumpkin, preferably potimarron (pictured above)
25g butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 eggs
200ml crème fraîche épaisse (lightly soured thick cream)
salt, pepper, grated nutmeg
optional: a little grated orange zest
8 peeled prawns/shrimp
Sauce
a good handful of parsley, leaves only (about 50g)
½ tsp powdered chicken or vegetable stock (or ½ a cube, crumbled)
200ml crème fraîche liquide (whipping cream)
2 tsp cornflour/starch (Maizena)

  • Pare skin from pumpkin and remove seeds, chop flesh roughly
  • Heat butter and garlic in a medium pan and stew pumpkin gently for about 10 minutes with salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of water until tender
  • If there’s still a lot of liquid, raise the heat and cook briskly to drive it off. Allow pumpkin to cool a little, then scrape into a food processor
  • Add the eggs, cream, seasonings, nutmeg and optional orange zest and blend till smooth
  • Heat the oven to 180oC/350oF
  • Butter 8 ramekins, fill them with pumpkin and push a prawn/shrimp into the centre of each
  • Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, add water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the dishes, put the pan on top of the stove and bring almost to a boil
  • Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm and set – a knife or skewer stuck in the centre should come out clean
  • Sauce: boil 2 cups water in a medium-sized pan, add parsley leaves and boil 5 minutes. Tip into a strainer set over a bowl (reserve the water!) pressing down hard on parsley
  • Measure out 1 cup of reserved cooking water and add powdered stock
  • Put parsley in the blender, add stock, cream and cornstarch and blend till smooth – don’t overdo it or it will curdle!
  • Tip into a pan, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Let the ramekins cool a little, run a knife around them and turn out onto warm plates over the sauce

TAJINE OF PUMPKIN AND COURGETTES/ZUCCHINI
A gorgeous, golden, spicy pumpkin dish for winter. Great with beef, lamb or duck; or as a main course vegetable dish served over couscous or rice.

Serves 6-8
2 tbsp olive oil
1.2 kg pumpkin flesh (no seeds, no skin), cut in chunks
2 red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 fresh red or green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 courgettes (500g) cut in chunks
1 measure powdered saffron
1 chicken/vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp powdered chicken/vegetable stock
a walnut-sized piece fresh ginger, grated (or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
1 tsp ground cumin
a sprig of thyme + 1 bay leaf
a handful of black olives
optional: 1 salt-preserved lemon (citron confit), sliced
optional: harissa to taste
loads of fresh coriander, chopped

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the pumpkin chunks for about 10 minutes, stirring, until lightly golden
  • Lift them out with a slotted spoon and put them on a dish
  • Soften the onion, garlic and chilli in the same pan without allowing them to brown
  • Tip the pumpkin chunks back into the pan
  • Put the saffron powder and stock in a measuring cup and add boiling water
  • Stir to dissolve, then add it to the pan with the grated ginger, cumin, thyme and bay leaf
  • Cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is just tender – stick a knife into it to test
  • Add the courgette chunks and cook for 5 minutes more. The mixture should be quite dry – if there is still lots of liquid, raise the heat to boil it off
  • Finally, stir in the olives, chopped lemon (if using) and harissa to taste
  • Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary (usually the olives and the preserved lemon does the business)
  • Tip the pumpkin out onto a serving dish, add coriander and serve.

TAJINE OF BEANS AND COURGETTES/ZUCCHINI
A fragrant, mildly spicy summer veg. dish, great with meat or as a main course vegetable dish, served over couscous. A Catalan-type cassola (earthenware heatproof cooking/serving dish) is just the thing for this dish.
Serves 4-6 as an accompaniment, 2-3 as a main dish
2 tbsp olive oil
2 [red] onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 fresh red or green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
500g green beans (French, runner , coco etc.), trimmed and cut in short lengths
2 courgettes (500g) cut in finger-sized pieces
1 measure powdered saffron
1 stock cube or 1 tsp powdered stock
a walnut-sized piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
a sprig of thyme + 1 bay leaf
a handful of black olives
optional: 1 salt-preserved lemon (citron confit), sliced
optional: harissa to taste
loads of fresh coriander, chopped

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions, garlic and chile for about 10 minutes, stirring, until lightly golden
  • Add the beans and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring
  • Put saffron powder and stock in a measuring cup, add boiling water and stir to dissolve
  • Add to the pan with the ginger, cumin, thyme and bay leaf
  • Cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the beans are tender
  • Add the courgettes and cook 5 minutes more – the mixture should be quite dry – if not, raise the heat to boil off excess liquid
  • Stir in the olives and optional chopped lemon and harissa
  • Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary
  • Tip the vegetables out onto a serving dish, sprinkle with coriander and serve

GREEN BEANS WITH CHILI AND GINGER
A robust bean dish, good with fish or light meats, and/or with Thai rice.
Serves 2-3
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
a walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 fresh green chilli (peperoncini), seeded and chopped
400g green beans (French, runner, coco etc), trimmed and sliced
salt and pepper
3 tbsp fromage blanc (curd cheese)
2 tbsp chopped coriander

  • Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and fry the garlic, ginger and chilli gently for 5 minutes, or until the garlic and ginger are lightly golden
  • Add the prepared beans and half a cup of water
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes
  • Remove the lid, raise the heat and cook till all the water is evaporated
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the fromage blanc (If you leave the pan on the heat and allow it to boil with the fromage blanc, it will curdle.)
  • Sprinkle with coriander and serve at once.

CARROTS WITH HONEY, LEMON AND GINGER

Quick and easy this one, and full of goodness, colour and flavour. I’ve no idea why, but the carrots taste 100% better/different if you cut them in little batons (like French fries/chips) rather than boring old school-dinnerish rounds.

Serves 6
600g carrots, cut in sticks the size of French fries
salt and pepper
a walnut-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
25g butter
1 tsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup water
chopped parsley

  • Put the carrots in a wide saucepan with all the remaining ingredients
  • Bring to a boil and cook hard for 5-6 minutes or until the carrots are just cooked
  • Lift them out with a slotted spoon and keep them warm
  • Boil the juices down hard till glazed and pour them back over the carrots
  • Sprinkle with parsley
  • Peel and trim the carrots and cut in finger-length strips
  • Clean the leeks and cut in similar lengths
  • Put the carrots and turnips in a wide, shallow pan, add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and about 1 cupful of water
  • Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • The vegetables should remain a bit crunchy and the water should have boiled away
  • Draw the vegetables aside, add parsley and allow them to cool.

CAROTTES ET NAVETS AUX PETITS LARDONS
A lovely spring dish of baby carrots and turnips with cream and bacon

Serves 6
a bunch of young carrots
a bunch of small navets (spring turnips)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
a pinch of salt
25g butter
100g lardons (Speckwürfeli)
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp cream
fresh parsley, chopped

  • Trim the carrots and turnips
  • Scrape the carrots (no need to peel them if they’re new ones), peel the turnips and cut both in finger-sized pieces
  • Put in a wide, shallow pan with a little water, vinegar, salt and butter
  • Boil for 10 minutes or until just tender and the water evaporated
  • Put them in an ovenproof dish to keep warm
  • Melt a little more butter and add the lardons and onions to the pan
  • Let the onions get soft and the lardons become a little golden
  • Tip the vegetables back into the pan, add the cream and parsley and bubble up
  • Put them back in the serving dish
  • Either serve at once, or allow to cool, then cover with foil and refrigerate till needed
  • Reheat in the oven at 180o C for 15-20 minutes or until hot through

PUREE OF LEEKS AND GREEN FLAGEOLETS
A deliciously simple, pale green puree that goes beautifully with lamb, or with chicken. You can prepare it ahead and keep it in the fridge, reheating it for serving.
Serves 4
1 leek
optional: 1 clove garlic (mashed)
25g butter
1 x 800g can flageolets (green haricot beans), drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
3-4 Tbsp crème fraîche épaisse (thick sour cream)

  • Wash the leek thoroughly to remove any grit/sand and slice finely
  • Heat the butter and soften the leek (and optional garlic) without allowing it to brown
  • Add the drained, rinsed beans, cream and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • Tip into a liquidiser and blend till smooth
  • Reheat and serve with lamb or chicken

ROAST VEGGIES WITH LOADS OF GARLIC

Serves 6
1 kg pumpkin flesh (i.e. weight without peel, seeds), cut in chunks
500g potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
500g celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks
3 carrots, cut in finger-sized pieces
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
plenty of chopped parsley
a few cherry tomatoes

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • Put all trimmed root vegetables in a large roasting pan, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle on the garlic, drizzle olive oil all over and scatter cherry tomatoes around
  • Roast for 40-50 minutes or until roots are tender and lightly golden and the cherry tomatoes somewhat collapsed
  • Stir in the lemon juice and parsley just before serving

COCOTTE OF SPRING VEGETABLES WITH SALT LEMONS AND A MARMALADE FINISH
A lovely recipe for spring inspired originally by the chef at Les Crayères in Reims. It makes a terrific stand-alone veggie option, or you can serve it with with grilled fish or duck or chicken breasts.

Serves 4-6
1 salt lemon (citron confit), sliced
several sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
2-3 spring carrots
2 sticks celery or a 100g piece of celeriac
1 courgette
1 aubergine
1 fennel bulb
2-3 spring turnips
250g tiny new potatoes
a handful of broad beans, shelled (buy 1 kg beans)
200g coco beans or mangetout, cut in lozenges
5 cloves garlic, chopped
15g olives (black or green), stoned [pitted] and chopped
1 teaspoon capers
1 tsp marmalade
3 tbsp well-reduced vegetable stock
1 small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
more olive oil

  • Heat the oil in a large deep sauté pan or casserole
  • Stew the lemon slices gently in the oil with plenty of fresh thyme for about 10 minutes until tender and fragrant
  • Lift them out and put them on a plate
  • Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, or under the blade of a heavy knife
  • Using the same pan and oil, fry them gently until fragrant (don’t let them burn)
  • Cut the carrots, celery, courgette and aubergine in little finger-sized pieces
  • Slice the fennel, peel and quarter the turnips, scrub and halve the potatoes
  • Add all these vegetables to the pan or casserole with the stock
  • Season to taste, cover and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes or until just tender and the stock absorbed
  • Stir occasionally
  • Bring a small pan of water to a boil, drop in the broad beans and mangetout or coco beans and boil for a couple of minutes
  • Drain, refresh in cold water and add to the casserole, together with the garlic, olives and capers
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes
  • Just before serving, stir in the marmalade
  • Tip into a serving dish, sprinkle with the chopped fresh coriander and arrange the lemon slices on top

 

BULGOUR WITH MUSHROOMS
Bulgour (also spelt boulgur, bulgar or burghul, a.k.a. cracked wheat) has a wonderful nutty flavour that comes from the intact inner layers of bran. Similar to (and often confused with) couscous, it has loads more flavour and texture – great with tagines or with any meat in sauce.

Serves 8-10
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions or 1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
400g bulgur
30g mushrooms, cultivated or wild, trimmed and sliced
1 litre/4 cups stock or boiling water + 1 stock cube
salt and pepper
a pinch of red chile flakes
juice of 1 lemon
1 spring onion, sliced on a slant

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat and soften the spring onions and garlic gently without allowing them to brown
  • Add sliced mushrooms and cook a few minutes until wilted
  • Stir in the bulgur and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Tip in the stock (or boiling water and stock cube), season with salt, pepper and chile flakes, cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes or until the water has all been absorbed by the bulgur
  • Pull pan off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and scatter sliced spring onions on top

COURGETTE AND PEPPER OMELETTE CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO OR SMOKED SALMON FILLING
Make a bunch of omelettes, some flavoured with red pepper, some with courgettes, layer them with cream cheese and smoked salmon or prosciutto and chill well before serving in wedges. Great for déjeuner sur l’herbe

Serves 8-10
10 eggs
salt and pepper
plenty of chopped tarragon
1 tbsp concentrated tomato purée
plenty of chopped parsley
olive oil
2-3 courgettes (about 350g), diced small
1-2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 large red peppers (about 450g) roasted, peeled and diced small (or 400g bottled peeled peppers)
1 fresh red chile (or 1 dried)
2 cloves garlic
Filling
300g cream cheese (St Moret, Philadelphia, Boursin, Tartare etc.)
5-6 tbsp fromage blanc
plenty of chopped chives and basil
300-400g thinly sliced prosciutto or smoked salmon

  • Break the eggs into two bowls (5 in each), season with salt + pepper
  • Add chopped tarragon to one bowl and chopped parsley and tomato purée to the other – mix well with fork, whisk or hand-held blender
  • Heat a film of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the diced courgettes and chopped onions over lively heat or until barely cooked and all liquid has evaporated (4-5 minutes)
  • Scrape the courgettes into the eggs with tarragon
  • Heat a little more oil in the same pan and add the garlic – cook briefly, then add the diced peppers and cook till just soft (3-4 minutes)
  • Add these to the eggs with parsley and tomato purée
  • Line a 22cm springform tin generously with clingfilm
  • Take a 22cm non-stick frying pan (bottom diameter) and heat more oil
  • Pour in a soup ladleful of omelette mixture to make 3-4 omelettes from each mixture, turning them once
  • Stack them up on a plate as they are ready
  • For the filling, tip cream cheese into a bowl, work in enough fromage blanc to make cheese spreadable, stir in chopped chives and basil
  • Put one omelette into the cake tin, spread with a thin layer of cream cheese and lay prosciutto or smoked salmon slices on top, cutting to fit
  • Continue with successive layers of omelettes, cream cheese and prosciutto/smoked salmon, alternating the courgette/pepper omelettes
  • Finish with an omelette, close up the clingfilm, put a plate on top with a can of beans (or similar weighty item) and refrigerate the omelette cake
  • Release the springform, remove the clingfilm, set the cake on a serving plate and cut in wedges to serve

One thought on “Veggies

  1. Pingback: Sunny Summer Food | Sue Style on Food, Wine & Travel

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