Warm butter bean salad

We normally make our bean salads using tinned beans but have now taken a conscious decision to us dried beans moving forward.  Although they are more time consuming to prepare we feel happy knowing what we are cooking and think  it is probably a healthier option.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

 

  • 1 cup dried butter beans soaked overnight and pressure cooked
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 big green chilli sliced
  • 1 plum tomato de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

How much will I make?

3-4 side portions

How do I make it?

Pressure cook the butter beans and drain any remaining liquid.   Heat a saucepan with butter and olive oil.   Saute the garlic over medium heat for a minute before adding the onions and green chilli.   Continue cooking over medium heat till the onions are translucent – add the cooked butter beans, sprinkle the sumac and salt and pepper and switch of the heat.   Dress with lemon juice – add chopped tomatoes and fresh parsley and give it a good mix.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

Advertisements

Walnut pesto

Both of us are not keen on pesto that comes in a jar as it tends to be too oily (although both our kids love it!) and we have finally hit upon a homemade version which hopefully is worthy of getting an Italian’s seal of approval.  We didn’t have any pine nuts or grated Parmesan cheese but we think walnuts and Pecorino Romano works just as well.   The addition of walnut oil accentuates the taste of the walnuts in the pesto.  We had it for lunch today with some penne and tricolore salad.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 small bunches of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful walnuts toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp walnut oil
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A small bowl full – 6-8 heaped tablespoons

How do I make it?

Place the basil, garlic and walnut in a mixer or pestle and mortar and blend to a coarse paste.   Add the oils, cheese and adjust the seasoning.  Use it with your favourite pasta or as a spread on some grilled ciabata.

Red chicory with feta cheese

Red chicory is normally not on our shopping list, although it should be, as it makes an incredibly tasty salad option.   Interestingly we weren’t able to find too many recipes on the internet but we came across one by Angela Hartnett which we like and thought we would share it with you.

SONY DSC

What do I need?

  • 3 red chicory heads – stem cut
  • 1 orange peeled – each segment cut in three
  • 1 small apple sliced into sticks
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 6-8 green queen olives sliced
  • Handful walnuts toasted
  • 100 gm of feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

2 large main portions or 4 sides

How do I make it?

For the dressing, whisk the olive oil and vinegar with some seasoning till it emulsifies.  Layer chicory leaves in a salad bowl and add the other ingredients before drizzling a generous portion of the dressing.  Enjoy.

Spiced roasted tomato soup

Last night we made a fiery roasted tomatoes and coriander soup which despite being spicy was quite difficult to stop eating.  Guess it is true what they say about the addictive nature of chillies.   We will probably tone down the chillies next time around but the rest of the ingredients work well together to produce a delicious soup.

SONY DSC   SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 2-3 red chilli peppers
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 small handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • 50 gms butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

2 large portions or 4 smaller servings

How do I make it?

Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes, garlic, chillies, onion and green pepper and roast in a 180 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour till the vegetables begin to char a bit.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and blend to a paste with roasted chillies, onion and green pepper.  Remove the skin from the tomatoes and blend to a puree.   Heat butter in a large pot and add the paste – stir over medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the chopped coriander.   Stir for a minute and then add the pureed tomatoes and sugar.  Add the stock cube and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over a medium heat.   Adjust the seasoning before finishing off the soup with some roasted cumin seeds and creme fraiche.

Mediterranean chicken for kids

Here’s a quick recipe for some mini chicken fillets marinaded with Mediterranean flavours which so far has gone down well with our two fussy eaters.   We marinade enough to prepare over a few days by either pan frying it or baking it in the oven and serve it on its own with fries or as a filler for a wrap.   Our son loved the marinade to the point he actually enjoyed eating it on its own (we though it was amusing).  We’ve also found that by involving the kids in the preparation of a meal they seem more likely to enjoy it when it’s cooked.

SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gm mini chicken fillets
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Normally 12-14 fillets depending on size

How do I make it?

Place the minced garlic and chopped onion in a mixing bowl.  Add the Italian seasoning, sumac, salt and pepper and give it a good mix.  Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice, mix and finally add the chopped parsley.   Place the chicken fillets in the marinade and refrigerate for an hour or more.   Heat a non stick pan and cook the fillets on both sides till they are done.   We make the same marinade for ourselves but add a teaspoon of crushed red chillies for a spice hit.   Hope your little ones enjoy it as much as ours do.

Salad therapy – lambs lettuce with pear and Sharon fruit

We can’t believe that neither of us had tried Sharon fruit (persimmon) till earlier this year but having done so it is now a regular feature in our fruit bowl.  Tonight we had a simple salad combining thinly sliced Sharon fruit and pear (used a mandolin slicer) topped with lambs lettuce dressed in olive oil, balsamic white vinegar, salt and pepper and finished with shavings of flavoured Gloucester cheese (onions and chives).  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

SONY DSC

Moroccan baked eggs

We have been eager to try a baked egg dish for quite some time and the recent purchase of an oven proof frying pan provided the right impetus to experiment.   We have come across several recipes with different ethnic twists and interpretations and so here’s ours with Moroccan flavours.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper cut in squares
  • 5-6 closed cup mushrooms sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tsp of Ras-Al-Hanout spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 400 gm tinned brown chick peas drained and washed (smaller variety but could use regular chick peas)
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped for garnish
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 main portions or 4 sides

How do I make it?

Heat oven proof pan and melt butter and olive oil before tossing in the garlic – stir for thirty seconds before adding onions, green pepper and chillies.   Cook on medium heat for ten minutes till the onions soften.   Add the cumin powder and Ras-Al-Hanout spice mix and stir for a minute.   Toss in the sliced mushrooms and cook for five minutes.   Add the chopped tomatoes, brown chick peas and harissa paste with a bit of water.   Continue cooking on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes till the raw smell of spices disappears.  Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.   Take off the heat.   Make four cavities in the sauce and crack an egg into each (ensure you don’t break the yolk).   Place the pan in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes till the white is cooked through and the yellow is at your preferred consistency.  Enjoy.