Roasted Cauliflower & Aubergine with Lemony Tahini Dressing

Here is a great winter salad for your lunch boxes or an alternative side dish. You can literally roast any veg you like (butternut squash, beetroot, carrots, courgettes, red onion, etc.) In this instance, my chosen vegetables are cauliflower and aubergine.

Grilled Cauliflower & Aubergine with Green Lentil and Tahini dressing

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, AUBERGINE & GREEN LENTIL SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

Ingredients:

1 cup puy lentil, cooked

1 small cauliflower head, separated into the florets

1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons tahini

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, grated

2-3 tablespoons of hot water

spring onion and parsley to garnish (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Toss cauliflower and aubergine with olive oil, salt and pepper then spread out in an even layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring half way through.
  3. Meanwhile cook the lentil according the instruction on the packet, if it’s not cooked already.
  4. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, zest, garlic and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until it’s reached the desired consistency. Stir in parsley and set aside.
  5. When vegetables are ready, serve on a bed of cooked green lentil and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve warm or at room temp.

 

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Shakshuka

Shakshuka

According to Wikipedia, Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin. The first time I heard about it, was on Ottolenghi’s TV cooking show. Thing is, I remember my grandma used to cook something very similar but without chillies and with some pre-cooked potatoes. Using up all the leftovers we called it ‘Poor Man’s Breakfast’.

It is warming and comforting, ideal for mornings or days when you are not up for a great culinary challenge. We had it with Soda Bread and it was a perfect match.

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 medium hot chilli pepper, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

5 large tomatoes, chopped

4 eggs

Salt & Pepper

Bread to serve

Method:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1-2 minutes; stir in cumin and paprika, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.

2. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet with a lid and leave it cooking until eggs are just set, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs, feta cheese or serve with hot sauce, if you wish, but definitely with some crusty bread to scoop up delicious sauce.

Cheesy Leek and Potato Soup

There was a program on TV this morning, explaining the origin of St. David’t Day and traditional Welsh food. They had laverbread (unfortunately, I’ve never tried it yet 😦 ), Glamorgam Sausages (which I’ve tried once and I loved it!), Cawl (it is a Welsh stew with lamb and leeks), Welsh cakes and many other delicious and authentic food. I thought I have to make something today at least remotely close to Welsh cuisine. As I had a nice looking couple of leeks in the fridge and recently saw a recipe for Potato and Leek soup on Andrea’s blog here, decision was made quickly 🙂 I also made dinner rolls, based on stout and honey, to go with the soup. Although, in her recipe Andrea uses Stilton, which I love but we had only Cheddar today and it paired well too. Also, I didn’t have cream and I could supplement with some milk but after blending I had a taste and it was perfect as it was.

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CHEESY LEEK AND POTATO SOUP

(Based on Andrea’s recipe taken from her blog Ten More Bites)

Ingredients:

2 tab spoons of butter

2 medium leeks or 1 huge one (in my case), sliced

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed,

1 stalk celery, chopped

1.5 litres vegetables stock

salt & pepper to taste

grated Cheddar to serve

Method:

1. Heat the butter in a large pan and add the leeks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften, add the potatoes and sauté for a few more minutes, after add vegetable stock, season well with salt and pepper.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat, whizz with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth. Serve with grated Cheddar (or Stilton, or any other your favourite cheese) on top, with some fresh crusty bread.

Happy St. David’s Day! 🙂

The walk we walked, the lunch we ate

Here some pictures from our walk before the storm on Sunday. We walked along the Thames toward the Thames Barrier with the beautiful vistas on both sides. Unfortunately, we didn’t reach the Barrier as the heaviest rain started half way, but it brought us to the first available eatery, which happened to be place called Krüger. I’ve never heard of it before but now I am a big fan! We had most delicious lunch there (see last two photos below): Mark had Duck breast with herby Lentil Stew and Wasabi Mash and I had Grilled Aubergines with Tahini sauce, Baba Ghanoush and Quinoa & Soy bean Salad, both of our course were absolutely divine! Good coffee too and cheaper then any other coffee shop chain. 🙂

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Refreshing Prawn, Leek and Dill Salad

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I remember seeing this recipe on TV ages ago, thinking ‘I must try it one day’ as it sounded unusual. ‘One day’ finally came. I had not much in a fridge but young leek and prawns. The only thing, the original recipe by Simon Hopkinson required brown shrimp, however I had to compromise and it didn’t disappoint.  Such a simple and refreshing summer lunch! 🙂

LEEK, PRAWNS AND DILL SALAD

Ingredients:

3-4 stalks (depends on size) young leek

200g cooked and  peeled prawns

juice of 1 lemon

5-7 branches dill

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

salt and peper to season

Method:

1. Cut leek into small round pieces and steam it for about 10 minutes until tender, after place it on a serving plate.

2. In another bawl toss together prawns, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, chopped dill and place the mixture on top of prepared leeks.

3. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and serve it with garlic bread or other preferred alternative.

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Cauliflower Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart

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I’ve had cauliflower cheese on my mind for a while, but haven’t got around to make it simply because I’m getting bored from cooking the same recipes, even if I like it a lot. Most of the time I’m coming back to the same ‘repertoire’ when I’m either short on time or need some comfort food. On this occasion I had spare time and was up for trying something new.

I like quiches a lot but some times I find them a bit too eggy for my liking. I prefer tarts instead, which are essentially dryer than quiches and with a little bit more character. Here is what I came up with:

CAULIFLOWER CHEESE & CARAMELISED ONION TART

Ingredients:

For the crust:

250 g plain flour

125 cold butter, cubed

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:

Olive oil

1 big or 2 small cauliflower heads, cut into florets (about 500 g)

2 white onions, sliced

1-2 tablespoon whole grain mustard

2 eggs

220/1 tub cream cheese

120 soured cream

150 g strong Cheddar

parsley or chives to decorate

salt & pepper

Method:

1. Start with roasting the cauliflower florets in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper at 220C for about 40 minutes, turning halfway throughout cooking.

2. To make the pastry crumble together by hand the butter into the flour, add salt, mix in the egg and few tablespoons of cold water or milk to form a soft dough, make a ball and chill in a fridge for minimum 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile cook the onions in a large flying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a moderate heat, for about 30 minutes or until onion is deep golden and caramelised.
(Everything up to this stage can be made in advance.)

4. Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it up on a well floured surface, arrange it into the prepared buttered and floured flan dish or spring form tin.  Preheat the oven to 180C. Meanwhile brush the inside of the pastry with whole grain mustard and layer over the caramelised onions followed by the cauliflower.

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4. Whisk together the eggs, cream cheese and soured cream, stir in the grated cheese, leaving some for the topping, fresh herbs and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tart filling and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

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5. Bake in the oven (180C) for about 50 minutes until crust and topping are nicely golden. Leave it to cool 15 minutes before serving. Serve with simple green or tomato salad, good for a picnic.

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