Vegetable Tian

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Serves 6

  • 4 large egg tomatoes
  • 3 large courgettes
  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 1.5tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, plus 1 garlic clove, halved
  • A small handful of kalamata olives, torn in half
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil, extra if needed
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of basil leaves

Preheat oven to 180C.

Slice the tomatoes, courgettes and aubergine into thin rounds 3mm thick, also halving the aubergine lengthwise if it’s much bigger than the other vegetables.

Drain the tomatoes and courgettes on kitchen paper, and place the aubergine slices into a colander set in the sink, sprinkle with coarse salt, and leave to drain for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, pour 2 cups of boiling water over the aubergine, drain, and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Rub the cut garlic clove over the base of a 20 x 30cm gratin dish, and drizzle with 1tbsp of the olive oil.

Starting from the outside of the dish, arrange the vegetables tightly, working your way into the centre of the dish. Tuck an olive half and a slice of garlic in every now and then.

Scatter with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, season well with salt and pepper, and brush with the remaining olive oil.

Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160C, check vegetables, and brush with extra olive oil if looking a little dry, and bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, scatter with basil leaves and serve.


Charred Broccoli and Spring Onions with Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream

 

Serves 2-4

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 270ml coconut cream
  • 500g baby broccoli florets with leaves, or broccolini, cut in half lenghtways
  • 1-2 small hot red chillies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • An extra clove of garlic, green germ removed and thinly sliced
  • 4-5tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed
  • Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2tbsp combined sunflower and pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
  • Thai basil sprigs

Preheat the oven to 200C and slice the top quarter off the head of the garlic horizontally and discard. Place the rest of the garlic in the centre of a square of foil, drizzle with 1tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap up the garlic, place it on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, until soft.  Set aside, and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the garlic cloves, discard the skin, and crush in a mortar and pestle, or with a spoon.

Bring the coconut cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat immediately as it comes to a boil and let sit until just warm. Then stir in the garlic purée, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature until needed.

On a baking tray lined with parchment paper place the spring onions and drizzle with 1tbsp olive oil. Place into the 200C oven for 5 minutes. Spring onions should be soft and charred in places. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron pan. When hot, toss in broccoli, garlic and chilli, stir to coat in olive oil (add a little more oil if necessary) and pour in 1/4 cup water. Pop on the lid and leave for 3 minutes. Remove lid, turn broccoli over, and replace lid for 2 minutes. Check to see if ready, you should be able to just pierce stems with a knife, and broccoli will be charred in places.

Place broccoli on a serving platter entwined with the spring onions, spoon over roast garlic coconut cream, and scatter with toasted seeds and Thai basil.

Serve with wedges of lemon.


Roasted Red Peppers with Marinated Goat Cheese

 

There is no exact recipe for this dish, I usually use what I have on hand. This is the combination of flavours that I like best.

Allow one long, sweet red pepper per person, cut in half lengthways and take out the seeds. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and fill each half loosely with one tablespoon seeded, diced tomato, one anchovy fillet, a teaspoon of capers, a little chopped garlic, some fresh marjoram leaves, and black pepper. Drizzle over good extra virgin olive oil, and put into a preheated 160C oven for about 20-30 minutes. The peppers should be soft, and slightly charred around the edges. Take out of oven, splash moderately with decent sherry vinegar, dollop with Meredith Dairy marinated goat cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and strew with a handful of fresh mint leaves. I know you’ll love it.


Leeks with Red Wine

 

Serves 4 as part of mixed hors d'oeurves

  • 8 small leeks
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • A wine glass of red wine
  • 50ml very good broth
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Clean the leeks thoroughly, and put them side by side in a frying-pan in which you have heated the olive oil. Cook gently for 3 minutes, turning them over now and then. Pour over the red wine, and watch out for the sputtering, let it bubble away for a minute, and then add the broth and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, turning them over halfway. When they can be pierced with a skewer easily, take out and place on a serving dish, reduce the sauce a little, and pour over the leeks. Serve hot or cold, either way is delicious.


Champignons à la Grecque

 

Serves 4 as part of mixed hors d'oeurves

  • 250g very small button mushrooms, cleaned
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 skinned, seeded, and chopped tomato
  • 1/2tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1/2tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 1-2tbsps chopped parsley

Put olive oil, tomato, peppercorns, coriander seed, bay leaf and thyme into a small saucepan with a pinch of salt, bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook gently for about 5 minutes. Take out the mushrooms, put them into a small shallow serving dish; and continue to cook the sauce for a few more minutes until it is thick and somewhat reduced. Pour over the mushrooms, scatter with parsley and serve at room temperature.


Poached Pencil Leeks and Baby Fennel, Soft Boiled Eggs, and Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

 

Serves 2 as a light lunch

Pencil leeks may be a problem to obtain, if so, buy the smallest leeks possible, and cut them lengthways through the centre.

  • 1 bunch pencil leeks, about 10, trimmed
  • 6 baby fennel, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 cups great chicken or duck broth
  • 2 large organic, free-range eggs
  • Fennel fronds and tarragon leaves
  • Pickled red onion and baby capers to serve

Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 3tbsp walnut oil
  • 1tbsp baby capers
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Firstly prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together mustard, tarragon vinegar and walnut oil until you have a lovely thick emulsion. Season with salt and pepper, add capers, and put aside.

Boil your eggs to your liking, peel, and set aside.

Put leeks and fennel into a shallow saucepan, pour in broth just to cover and bring to a simmer. Cook gently until you can just pierce vegetables with a sharp knife.

Let cool in broth, and when ready to serve, place vegetables beautifully on a platter, (reserve broth for another dish), cut eggs in half and place around the vegetables, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and scatter the red onion and a spoonful of capers around and over the dish.


Tandoori Carrots

 

Serves 4-6 people

This makes more than enough for two bunches of carrots. Store the excess paste in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month.

  • 2 bunches of small carrots
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5tsps cumin
  • 1tsp coriander
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp red curry paste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g natural goat milk yoghurt
  • Groundnut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 fresh lime and a hanful of Thai basil leaves to serve

Peel and trim carrots and put aside.

In a large bowl, combine ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, and curry paste. Stir in yoghurt, season with salt and pepper, and pour a large slurp of oil into the mixture.

Fold carrots through, and set aside for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200C, and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Place carrots in an even layer, making sure they are well coated with the yoghurt mixture, drizzle with a little more oil, and put into the oven for 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes pierce carrots with a sharp knife, they should be just tender, and charred in places. Give them another 10 minutes if necessary.

Remove from oven when ready, place on a platter, scatter with Thai basil leaves, and squeeze the lime over all.


Spiced Romanesco with Currants and Greek Yoghurt

 

Serves 3-4

  • 700g romanesco, cut into florets
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp combined fennel, coriander and cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1/2tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • ¼ cup currants, soaked in hot water for a few minutes, drained, and patted dry
  • Small handful of mint, coarsely chopped
  • Small handful parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Lemon wedges

Spice mix

  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds

(Store leftover spice mix in an airtight jar, in the fridge)

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180C, and prepare your spices. Heat a small fry pan over a low heat, and gently toast spices until fragrant and lightly coloured. Do not let them burn! Remove from heat, and whilst warm crush in a mortar and pestle, leaving some texture. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss romanesco with 3tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp of the spice mix, chilli flakes and Maldon sea salt. Transfer to a baking dish lined with baking paper, place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn romanesco over, and roast another 10 minutes. Take out of oven, let stand for 5 minutes, and then gently toss with currants, mint and parsley. Turn out onto a flat serving dish, drizzle with Greek yoghurt and a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!


Rainbow Chard and Tomato Walnut Crumble with Burrata

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Serves 4

  • 1 Burrata (drained and patted dry)
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 small, hot dried chilli, crumbled
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon

Slice the chard leaves from the stems and cut stems into pieces about 5cm long. Rinse well. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add a spoonful of salt. Add the stem pieces to the boiling water and cook for a minute, then add the chard leaves to the pot, stir well, and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain the rainbow chard well, and gently squeeze it to remove any excess water.

In a large frypan gently warm the olive oil with the garlic, chillies and anchovies. After a couple of minutes, throw in the rainbow chard and gently toss over low heat until the rainbow chard is coated with the aromatic mix. Be careful not to burn. Turn off the heat, and lay the rainbow chard on a serving plate in a lovely tangle of colour, season with the sea salt and pepper, place the burrata on top, scatter with the tomato, walnut crumbs, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with wedges of lemon.

Tomato and Walnut Crumb

I have adapted the tomato walnut crumble recipe from one of Nigel Slater’s, reducing the amount of breadcrumbs, and adding walnuts and marjoram.

  • 2 large Roma tomatoes
  • 25g finely chopped walnuts
  • 25g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • 1tbsp chopped marjoram leaves
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut the flesh into small dice. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the paper, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently until just combined. Place on the baking sheet and press gently to flatten into a rough rectangle, put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture has crisped, and lightly browned. Remove from oven, break up roughly and scatter over the burrata and rainbow chard, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with wedges of lemon.

There will probably be some leftover crumbs, reserve them to scatter over a bowl of pasta later.

You could crisp up some pancetta in olive oil to toss in with pine nuts or serve it with some creamy burrata for a first course, as I have here, with tomato and walnut crumbs.


Barbecued Corn with Chilli Lime Butter

 

Serves 4

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, green germ removed and minced
  • Grated zest of 2 limes
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1/2tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup each finely chopped tarragon and parsley (optional)
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste

This can be made either in a food processor, or by hand in a mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed. While corn is grilling, take butter out of fridge to soften slightly.