It’s very easy to grab our favourite comfort foods at this time of year as the weather starts to change but we need to also keep eating something thats going to be good for us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to be having soups and stews but we still require something light.
This Autumnal warm salad will boost that vitamin c needed. It is super easy and looks great and colourful. You can also put some squashes in there including using up Pumpkin if you like, which is perfect for this time of year.
Those earthy flavours just burst out into this salad pairing perfectly with the honey, fennel and goats cheese. This mixture could even go onto a puff pastry tart or a great pizza topping.
This recipe is for my regular cooking slot on BBC Radio Leicester. Ady Dayman filled in for Ben Jackson who I usually do the show with. I have to admit though, I have felt shocking over the past couple of days. I have been really ill, even as I write this so the recording isn’t usually as thorough as it normally is. I do apologise! However I could’nt let my listeners down and plodded on through as I enjoy doing the show much. More reason why I did this dish really so I could try and boost my immune system!
Click here to hear the recording.
Roast Autumnal salad of beetroot, carrots, goats cheese, honey and fennel:
- Roughly 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil.
- A good handful of fresh beetroot 3-4 good size peeled and chopped into chunks ready for roasting.
- 3 good size carrots peeled and sliced into chunks for roasting also.
- 2 red onions chopped into chunks.
- Sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper to season.
- 1 tbsp honey ( I used local Leicestershire honey )
- a good sprig of lemon thyme, thyme and oregano ( If you can’t get lemon thyme, use a little lemon in there )
At the end of roasting add :
- Handful of fennel fronds/tops chopped loosely
- chopped chives
- 2 handfuls of your choice of greens for the salad. I used mizuna in mine, but you can use any peppery salad such as rocket, watercress or even Spinach.
- 100-150 grams of goats cheese crumbled
- Any oil and honey left in the roasting dish. Use to drizzle over the salad.
- Preheat oven to 180c.
- Par boil carrots for 5 minutes, just to soften them slightly.
- Roast Beetroot for 10- 15 minutes in Rapeseed oil
- Then add in your carrots and roast for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Then pop in your Red onion and herbs. At this point add more oil if needed and coat all vegetables in honey.
- Place back into the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. I like to have my beetroot still having a little bite as it tastes more earthy.
- Once out of the oven , add fennel and chives to the mixture. Sprinkle in the goats cheese.
- Place on top of your leaves or toss together. Add any oil and honey from the roasting tin and more goats cheese if you wish.
This seasonal pasta dish will be on the table in under 20 mins. A great dish for this weekend if you have guests coming over. It has a velvety sauce that will wow your guests but it’s not too filling. It’s also great for a quick midweek meal when you have a couple of sausages left in the fridge.
It can be adapted if you can’t get the lovely seasonal chard either to spring greens or cavolo nero ( dark kale ). Maybe a friend who has an allotment or veggie patch will gladly give you some.
I think sometimes chard can be pushed aside slightly. Many people I speak to shy away from it as they aren’t sure how to use it. It sometimes can confuse people with its large leaves and stems. I personally love the veg and feel it should be showcased more. It’s beautiful colours are a delight to look at. Especially as we are in Autumn now. Mine are still growing well in the kitchen garden, some have bolted as I want them to go to seed but the others are fine.
I may even grow some more over the coming months.
Listen here where you can hear me cooking this super simple, quick and inexpensive recipe for Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester.
Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard:
- 3-4 pork sausages ( Meat taken out of the skins )
- A small handful of fennel fronds/tops chopped
- A sprig of sage chopped ( 4 leaves )
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
- 200g, linguine ( I used dry )
- Good glug of Rapeseed oil ( I use cold pressed )
- 1 medium sized red onion diced
- 1 large clove of garlic chopped, use 2 if very small
- 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
- A good pinch of chilli flakes or you can use fresh.
- 2 large handfuls chard chopped roughly, stalks a little smaller. If you can’t get chard, use spring greens or cavolo nero.
- 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
- 2 ladles hot water from the pasta
- Slug double cream
- fresh parmesan grated
- Cook linguine to packet instructions
- Mix together the sausage meat, herbs and seasoning and create small meatballs. This will make roughly 16 small sized ones.
- Whilst that is cooking, fry of the onion in rapeseed oil on a medium heat for a minute, then add in the mushrooms. You may need to add a little more rapeseed oil.
- After a couple of minutes bring your mixture to the sides of the frying pan.
- Add in your meatballs into the middle and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as you go.
- After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and toss all together.
- When the meatballs are starting to brown slightly, pop in the chard.
- As it cooks down, add in your chilli flakes and chicken stock.
- Add in the water from the pasta and reduce down for a minute or two.
- Drain off your pasta, keep some water if you feel you need to add a little more.
- Add a slug of double cream and a little grated parmesan
- Add your pasta to the sauce using tongs or a spaghetti spoon so you don’t add too much at once. Fold the velvety sauce through the pasta.
- Serve into large pasta bowls and add a sprinkle of grated fresh parmesan.
Even though Autumn has now arrived and we saw the equinox appear on Friday, we are still in that “in-between stage” as I call it certainly food wise.
I cooked this recipe on my regular BBC Radio Leicester slot with Ben Jackson a couple of weeks ago. I came up with the recipe because we are still having lovely bouts of sunshine and like in my garden, I am still harvesting the last of the summer vegetables. I still have Courgettes, baby leeks, carrots, beans, lots of herbs and many more to list. Great for me to create even more recipes with in the next few weeks.
I feel at this time of year we are in the middle of wanting comfort food but maybe somedays you still want food that is quick to prepare, healthy and feels light when eating.
This is a great recipe also for using up leftover Roast chicken. So if you usually have chicken for a Sunday Roast, or in midweek then this is a perfect meal to come up with after. I also wanted to showcase how to use pearl barley in a different way rather that just in stews/casseroles and highlight the lovely herbs in this dish. Pearl barley is inexpensive and you don’t need to use a lot of it.
Click here to hear me with Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester showing you just how quick and simple this meal is to prepare.
Warm pearl barley salad with courgettes, leeks and chicken.
- 75g of cooked pearl barley , I cooked mine in a little chicken stock and seasoned with cracked black pepper and sea salt once cooked.
- 2 tbsps of rapeseed Oil.
- 2 knobs of unsalted butter.
- 1 1/2 – 2 Courgettes sliced to the thickness of a one pound coin.
- 2 baby leeks or 1 small leek finely sliced.
- 1 large spring onions or 2 small sized ones finely sliced.
- 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped .
- Approximately 100g of leftover roast chicken, shredded. ( I used chicken thighs and cooked mine in rapeseed oil with garlic, lemon thyme, oregano, sage, dill and fennel. Plus seasoned. I also added a few slices of lemon.)
- A good handful of fresh herbs such as dill, fennel fronds, fennel pollen and mint finely chopped.
- A few Squeezes of fresh lemon.
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season.
- If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian then simply leave out the chicken and chicken stock.
- Fry off your courgettes for a couple of minutes in rapeseed oil.
- Add in your garlic and stir. Then pop in your leeks and cook for a further minute. Again stirring or tossing around the pan allowing your garlic not to stick or burn.
- Add the white parts of your spring onion, stir and then add in your butter. Cook for a further minute.
- By now the courgettes will be cooked and glossy with the butter. Season with cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt .
- Add to this mixture your green part of the spring onions and take off the heat.
- Sprinkle in your fresh herbs but save some dill and fennel fronds for serving.
- Pour your mixture into a bowl, add to this then your shredded chicken and pearl barley, Squeeze a little fresh lemon into the mix and give it a good stir.
- Serve into large bowls, add the remaining dill and fennel on top and a little extra squeeze of lemon ( if you like it extra zingy ).
- You can serve this on its own or with some toasted bread ( a batard type ). Use the same frying pan to lightly toast your bread if you do and it will give it wonderful flavour.
There’s nothing more I like that cooking outdoors. Wherever I can do it, I will. Yesterday was in my lovely little garden which is great as I can pick whatever herbs, fruit and vegetables I want. I get really bored of typical bbq food, i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sausages etc…that a lot of us Brits do. So if you are like me and want to cook something easy but a little more adventurous then this recipe will be for you. Especially if you like seafood!
The only thing I would stress is that cooking outdoors, some bbq’s, fire pits, outdoor ovens with have different strengths to how hot they are and how quick things will cook. It also will change in time to how much other ingredients you put in there along with the mussels.
( Serves two as a main course portion )
- A 1kg bag of fresh Mussels ( Mine were Scottish )
- half an onion diced finely
- 1 small courgette diced finely
- A good handful of tomatoes. Sliced in half. I used my own homegrown ones which were golden ones and some piccolo red ones.
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- A few slices of a funnel bulb diced finely and also a few fronds
- A handful of parsley ripped roughly
- a pinch of sea salt
- A good splash of white wine. I used Sauvignon blanc. Plus a good splash for yourself!
- 2 knobs of unsalted butter
- Also I used a branch of bay, thyme and Rosemary to smoke underneath the embers. The smell is amazing!
- De-beard and clean your mussels including taking off any barnacles. Rinse them under cold water.
- Make a bag/parcel with foil and place in your Mussels plus all other vegetables and herbs. Add your wine and place the butter over everything.
- Close up your foil parcel and place onto your bbq.
- This will Cook for roughly 12-15 minutes ( Times may vary ) If you are cooking with just the mussels, it will take less time.
- After half way through take off and check how far it is cooking. Stir will a spoon and place back on the bbq.
- When everything is cooked through, take off, pour into large bowls and serve with some crusty buttered bread.
Most of us, including myself love a dish that can be thrown together easily, take not much time but come out bursting with flavour. Who wouldn’t? Plus even better, one you can throw on the BBQ too?
As I’m writing this today and looking outside to how lovely a day it is. The Sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and all you want to do is come home to not much at all and sit in the garden with a nice chilled glass of something. Dare I say not really wanting to even think much about dinner.
I thought I would share this recipe as a couple of weeks back on a Sunday evening this is what I “threw together” not expecting much but turned out to be now a favourite in our household. We ate the lot…not in one go of course! * Sarcasm maybe*
This is great to do as the marinade can be done the night before or just a few hours before. I only did mine for an hour first time and worked perfectly.
Tonight or in the near future cook this recipe. Don’t reach for the ready meal or the telephone to order. Fire that BBQ up and cook this to go along side potatoes, rice, salads and coleslaw. I did homemade chips and homemade coleslaw the first time. It went down a treat. I can guarantee , it will be a sure winner indeed.
Serves up to 4
- Chicken pieces such as thighs and drumsticks ( I had nine altogether )
- 2-3 cloves of garlic ( depending on size ) finely chopped
- A good sprig of fresh oregano finely chopped. If you can’t get fresh use dried but fresh is so much better in this case.
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 1/2 a green chilli pepper and 1/2 red chilli pepper, seeds included, chopped finely. If you want it more hot, use more. Less, use less!
- A good spritz of lemon.
- 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season.
- Place the chicken and all ingredients into a bowl or large freezer bag. Mix all together and make sure all the spices are coating the chicken.
- Allow the chicken to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Pre heat your oven to 180c when you are ready to cook and then place in the oven for about for 15-20 minutes or when your chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
- In between though, baste your chicken with the juices half way through and at the end.
- Serve with a side of your choice and a glass of something and enjoy!