Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: sides

Allotment Salad

This is the perfect salad to serve with a roast on a hot summer’s day when cooked vegetables would be simply too much to take. This takes a bit of prep so it is good for a Sunday lunch or for guests. This is enough for six people. It keeps a day in the fridge at a pinch.

Prepare your vegetables, put a large pan on the hob full of boiling water and have a large bowl of iced water to hand. You will also need a scoopy thing and a colander or paper towels.

  • Handful of tender French beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • Handful of asparagus stalks, cut into 4cm lengths
  • Handful of tenderstem broccoli, cut in half
  • Large handful of frozen peas
  • 6 spring onions, chopped into 1cm lengths
  • 6-8 radishes, sliced
  • Half or whole sweetheart cabbage, tender inner leaves, thinly sliced
  • Bunch of mint leaves, shredded

Boil your asparagus for 2 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your French Beans for 4 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your Broccoli for 2.5 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your peas for 1 minute. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Mix all your vegetables in a large salad bowl. make a dressing:

  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Gently toss the dressing through the salad.

Sag Aloo

Authentic enough…

  • 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

  • 250g spinach   leaves

Continue cooking until wilted. Done!

Garlic Bread Salad

Quick, easy, tasty. Goes well with lamb chops or steaks. Serves 4.

Heat the oven to 200C.

  • Half a baguette
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 50gm butter (or more)

Melt the butter and mix with the garlic. Slice the baguette. Paint the slices both sides with garlicky butter, and place on an oven tray. Bake 15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Leave to cool slightly.

  • 4 lamb steaks or 8 chops
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and sprinkling of chopped mint

Season the meat and pan fry 3 minutes each side on a hot pan. Remove from the pan and let rest to continue cooking and firming up.

  • 1 cucumber chopped into cubes
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped into cubes (or quarters halved)

Pan fry in the juices 2-3 minutes each side until charred. Make a dressing by mixing the following:

  • One lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh mint

Tear up the bread into chunks. Mix with the cucumber and tomatoes. Toss in the dressing. Add chopped parsley if you wish. Serve the warm salad alongside your lamb. Told you it was easy.

Lebanese Pickle

If you buy a kebab from a genuine takeaway or van you will usually be offered (or find) some bright pink pickled vegetable with a nice crunch and a bit of a tang. These are surprisingly easy to make, and go well with your own kebabs at home. You will need some sort of glass jar, I used a Kilner but others are available. Wilco is a surprisingly useful source for these. There are other recipes available on-line. This one does produce good pickles though. Others appear to have more salt and less vinegar. Experiment!

  • 1 large or 2 small turnips, 400-500g total
  • 1 small uncooked beetroot.

Trim off the peel and slice into sticks the size of French fries, or shorter chunkier pieces.

  • 175ml water
  • 175ml distilled vinegar (white)
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 chilli stabbed with a knife (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole.

Mix the pickling ingredients and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Pack a jar with the beets and fill with the liquid. Place in the fridge and check it each day to see the pink tinge grow! The original recipe advised swirling around every few days. After a week it will be ready to eat. Keep it in the fridge and it will last a few weeks I am told. It didn’t last that long here – it was eaten. The Lebanese call these pickles “lift”. Yes, you can see Rudi in the photo.

Simple Cornbread

Really good with chilli. Best eaten while still warm from the oven, it doesn’t keep well.

Heat the oven to 200C and grease and line an eight inch square cake tin.If your tin is too large, the cornbread will be thinner like in the photo above. I made a half quantity but the tin must have been bigger than half.

There are two parts to this recipe:

Mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (maize flour, fine polenta – same stuff)
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

In another bowl mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (at a pinch use half plain yogurt half milk)
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 6 tbs melted butter

Combine the two bowls to make a batter. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Test by sticking a knife blade in the top, if no goo sticks to the knife it is ready. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then turn it out and cut into squares. Great for sponging up chilli juices.

Alternative version without buttermilk:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-3 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 beaten egg

Mix the lot into a batter and fill a 9″ greased skillet. Cook at 200C for 25 minutes.

Best Yorkshire Puddings

First heat your oven scorching hot 230C

Oil a muffin tin generously and put in the oven to heat up.

Make the batter:

  • 140g plain flour (which is 200ml)
  • 200ml milk (which is 200ml)
  • 4 eggs beaten (which is 200ml – see where this is going?)

Mix to a smooth batter. Take your scorching hot pan out of the oven, trying not to spill the now-runny oil. Pour batter into each hole, it should make 16 puddings. Put back in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED, no peeking. They will rise like good’uns if you obey this simple rule.

Josh’s Dhal

Son Josh has decided to be vegan. Apparently he has halved his grocery bill! I find vegan food often lacks a bit of substance, but not this recipe. I call it Josh’s Dhal because it is always a hit when he comes home and it is great alongside a curry. So easy.

  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 4 cups water

Boil for 40 minutes

  • 1/2 cup red lentils

Add to your split peas and boil another 20 minutes more. Keep an eye on it, because it will probably dry out and catch. Just add some more water if it getting too thick too soon. While that is boiling, take the following:

  • 1 chilli, copped
  • 1 inch of root ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Ghee or oil

Gently fry all these to create a browned topping to put on your dhal to serve. Finally:

  • 250g spinach

Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Add

  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

When the spinach has wilted and the dhal cooked to a gloopy consistency, put it in a serving bowl and top with the spicy garlicky mix. Serve as a side for a curry or a main course with rice or Indian bread and chutney. For a vegetarian rather than vegan meal you could top with quartered hard boiled egg.


There are several variations you could take for making dhal (even the spelling, daal, dahl!) . Try a simple and quick version with two cups of red lentils and five cups of water, cooked for 25 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally. Add salt and lemon juise to taste. You can also fry up onion, garlic, chilli, cumin seeds and mix in before serving to add a bit more interest to the dhal base.

Try dhal served with wedges of aubergine and wedges of shallot or red onion, which have been tossed in a mixture of oil, lemon juice, garlic puree, salt, ground cumin and ground coriander and oven baked for 20 minutes at 200C.

Sour cream dip

As approved by a real American.

  • 2 cups sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh chive
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix
  2. Dip!

Cuban Black Beans

Not as fiddly as the truly authentic version but pretty good.
You need:

  • 250gms dried black beans
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • 1 green pepper seeded and chopped roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • Olive oil

Sweat the onion, pepper and garlic in the oil for five minutes
Add the cumin and dried beans
Cover with water with 2cm to spare
Boil like crazy for 10 minutes
Simmer for 1.5 hours, keeping an eye on the water level. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Remove the vegetables and a few beans, and whiz to a gloop (or corner the veg and use a stick).
Stir it back in so you have a nice thick sauce and very soft beans.
Adjust the seasoning.
Serve with rice and grilled pork or chicken.

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