This is a really “different” soup that is good for everyday and would stand up for a dinner party starter too.
- 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Bunch of sage leaves (about 20)
- 500g parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 eating apples, peeled and cut into cubes
- 4tbs oil
Heat your oven to 200C. Reserve a few sage leaves, 1 tbs of oil and 15g of nuts. Toss the rest into and oven tray and roast for 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred.
Remove the sage leaves from the tray and discard. On the stove top, pour the stock into the tray and bubble until the charred bits in the tray have loosened and incorporated into the liquid. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick, add some more stock.
Fry the reserved sage leaves and hazelnuts in oil until the leaves are crispy and the nuts are brown.
- 4 tbs creme fraiche (or vegan alternative)
Serve the soup in bowls with a spoon of creme fraiche and a scatter of nuts and leaves.
- 200g dried chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed) – dried chickpeas have a better taste and texture than tinned
If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight, covered, in a pan of lukewarm water. The next morning, drain the water and cover with fresh water. Add ½ tsp salt and boil until soft (about 1½-2 hours). Drain and set aside.
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 medium green chilli, finely chopped
Put the garlic, ginger and chilli in a small bowl and mix together into a coarse paste.
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 400g tin chopped tomato
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 10-15 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add the cumin seeds and the ginger, garlic and chilli paste, and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes, adding salt to taste.
- 1 level tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
Add the turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, ground coriander and ground cumin and stir well, then add the chickpeas and cook for 15 minutes.
- Handful fresh coriander, chopped
- Natural yogurt and lemon wedges to serve (vegan yoghurt for vegans)
Stir in the chopped coriander and serve with a dollop of yogurt and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Ten out of ten for this one. You can use any type of squash or pumpkin but butternut is the best.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 3 leeks sliced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 30g butter or Bertoli (or oil if you want vegan)
Chuck everything in a big pot and sweat gently for 10 minutes.
- 1.2L light chicken (or vegetable stock to make it vegan)
Add the stock and simmer for 25 minutes. Whizz with a stick blender. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Even more incredible with Gremolata sprinkled on top:
- 1 tbs parsley chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- zest of one lemon
Mix the above. That is Gremolata. Sprinkle on meat and fish to zap it up a bit if it needs it.
Simple to make and flexible with main ingredients. Firstly make this awesome dressing which would go with other things too.
Boil 3 minutes. Add
Boil 2 minutes more. Drain, remove garlic skins and add to a blender (stick blender is best) with
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 tsp onion powder
- half a cucumber
Zap. Add the other half of a cucumber and zap again. You can experiment by adding herbs – tarragon, chives, etc but I am not sure that is necessary.
For the salad – you can swap vegetables around but I used the following:
- Red cabbage, cut into thin slices including the core so it stays together as a “steak”
- Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- Courgette, sliced
Fry in a hot pan until charred. Transfer to an oven 180C fan, season and roast 30 minutes. Less if your charring took a while. Take them out when soft all the way through, and cool for a bit. Meanwhile…
- Broccoli florets
- Chives chipped or spring onions in 3 cm lengths
In the same pan, add a bit more oil then toss the broccoli and chives around and char until bright green with charred bits. They should be still crunchy but not raw. Remove.
- Tofu (vegan) or halloumi (vegetarian)
In the same pan, sear until browned.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Lettuce hearts, quartered
Arrange the roasted and seared items with the fresh items in a tasteful display on your platter. Serve with the sauce.
You could also try asparagus, treated like the broccoli; button mushrooms left whole and fried with garlic and herbs in olive oil; swede or parsnip treated like the sweet potato.
Awesome, looks impressive and is actually very easy to make. Here’s how (serves 4)
- 3 eggs beaten
- Pack of puff pastry sheet
Heat the oven to 180C. Unroll the pastry sheet, leaving it on its parchment. Put it on a baking tray. With a sharp knife score around the pastry sheet about 2cm the edge so it looks like a picture frame. Stab the inside if the frame with a fork or knife. Brush with beaten egg all over, but keep the rest of the egg, you will need it later. Bake 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Actually you don’t really have to let it cool, I didn’t. You may need to squash down the middle a bit if the whole thing has turned into a pillow.
Boil for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water to blanch then set aside
- 50ml creme fraiche
- 50g grated cheese
Mix these with your remaining egg
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 lemon zested
Mix with your asparagus
- 50g goats cheese or similar, cubed
Pour the egg and cheese mixture onto the centre of your pastry frame and spread out. Lay out the asparagus artistically, then dot with the goats cheese. Cook at 180C for another 15-20 minutes until set and golden.
Great with a salad for lunch!
Great with a grill or you can eat this as a light meal. Use quantities according to your needs.
- New potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed but left whole
- Olive oil
- salt and pepper
Cut the potatoes into even chunks, about 2cm cubed. Put in a baking tray, toss in oil, season and bake in an oven at 190C for 30 minutes
- Fresh asparagus, cut into 4cm lengths
- Pack of halloumi cheese, cut into 2cm chunks (serves up to 6 – for more servings open another packet)
Toss into the potatoes. Cook a further 15 minutes. It is done when the potatoes and asparagus are tender and the halloumi is tinged brown. Discard the garlic and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.
The best side with Daddy Burgers. You will need:
- Large onion, sliced into 1cm slices and rings separated (1 onion = 2 servings)
- Fizzy water
- Self-raising flour
- Oil for deep frying
Make a batter with the flour and water, the consistency of double cream. Start with a cup of flour and add water until it looks right. Heat your oil in a saucepan to 180C. Dip onion rings into the batter and deep fry for 2-4 minutes until they look light brown. Drain on kitchen paper, serve with plenty of salt. Salt and deep frying are bad for you but the onion is good so I guess it cancels out.
- prepared squash
- 2 tbs mild curry paste
Put cubes of squash in an oven tray, toss in oil and curry paste and season. Cook in a 200C oven for 30 minutes until soft. Meanwhile…
- 200g green lentils
- 600ml vegetable stock
Put in a pan and simmer 40 minutes or in a pressure cooker for 6 minutes.
- 100g spinach
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- pack of coriander, leaves chopped
Add to the lentils. Add the squash and heat until the spinach has wilted.
Heat in a pan until slightly brown
Serve in bowls. Add pomegranate seeds and coconut on top. Serve with warm naan breads and plain yoghurt.
This makes a warm salad which makes a great lunch. This serves 4 but can be adjusted.
- 1 large butternut squash
- Olive oil
Peel, de-seed and chop your squash into bite-sized lumps. Place in a roasting tin, toss in oil, season and roast for 30-40 minutes until soft. Toss halfway through so it gets a bit charred on all sides. Remove when cooked and keep warm.
Near the end of cooking time,
- 225gm couscous
- Same volume of boiling vegetable stock made with a cube or powder
Put the couscous in the stock and cover. Leave for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.
- Pack of halloumi
- Olive oil
Put a splash of oil in a frying pan and heat. Chop the halloumi into cubes about 12mm across. Fry the cubes in the oil over a medium heat, turning so all sides are tinged brown.
- Chopped parsley or coriander leaves
- Pomegranate seeds (frozen defrosted works too)
Assemble your salad tossing together couscous, squash, halloumi, parsley and pomegranate seeds.
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 large red chilli, halved, de-seeded and finely sliced
Fry gently. Add
- 500g potato cut into small cubes
Fry some more. add
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- ½ tsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric
Fry some more. Add a splash of water and ½ tsp salt, cover and let cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add
Continue cooking until wilted. Done!