Roast Autumnal salad

 

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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:

 

Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Roasted vegetables:

  • 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.

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Method 

  •  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.

 

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Chicken, red wine casserole with parmentier potatoes and local king cabbage

 

 

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Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.

It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.

This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.

Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.

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This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1/2 celery stick chopped
  • 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
  • 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
  • Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Parmentier Potatoes:

  • 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

 

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Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 190c

 

  • In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.

 

  •  Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.

 

  •  Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.

 

  • In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.

 

  •  Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.

 

  •  Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.

 

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  • Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.

 

  •  Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.

 

 

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Cauliflower, leek and chorizo gratin with a parmesan crumb topping.

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So, this is my new blog. What do you think?

I thought what a better way to kick start it off but with a recipe that went out on last Friday for one of my regular shows I do for BBC Radio Leicester, “Food Friday” which I have done for a few years now. It’s on my friends show, that of course is the lovely Mr Ben Jackson. I love cooking on “Food Friday” as I love being able to help people think of ideas for the weekend. I normally do something seasonal, inexpensive, fridge raids/leftovers and family friendly recipes. You get the gist.

This dish is a simple recipe for a family of four all put together in one dish.It’s using seasonal ingredients at its best with a little something extra.

You could also have this as a side dish or starter in smaller sized dishes (how I have shown on the pictures). It’s a dish you really don’t need to be accurate with ingredients. You can play around with it a little, i.e if you don’t want to have the chorizo in it, its also great as that lovely parmesan crumb on top gives a special crunch. It would make a great dinner party dish that doesn’t have you slaving in the kitchen too.

It really is a super, simple supper that is inexpensive to make.

Click on this link to hear to me showing Ben and our listeners just how fabulous and easy it is to make.  

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Half way point!

Ingredients:

Depending on how big your dish is, this is based on serving 4 people in a 25cm gratin dish.

Gratin mix:

  •  1 whole head of cauliflower including using some of the leaves. Florets broken apart and sliced downwards to the stalks.
  • 1 leek sliced thinly
  • 1/2 chorizo ring ( approximately 100g ) chopped into smaller cubes
  • cheddar cheese grated, I used a mature British ( approximately 60-70g )
  • A sprig of thyme, if the leaves are quite large, chop them finely. My herbs are from my garden so I didn’t need to and just stripped off the leaves.
  • 300g carton of double cream ( you may not need to use it all, don’t cover the gratin mix with it )
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few knobs of Unsalted butter
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Crumb topping:

  •  2 slices of bread ( a few days old ) I used wholemeal which gives more flavour
  • 2 spring onions chopped roughly
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesan ( Parmigiana reggiano ) grated some in the crumb mix and some for on top

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At the finish, bubbling away nicely

 

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 180c fan.

 

  •  Blanch off your cauliflower until just starting to soften.

 

  • In the meantime, in a blender/processor blitz together the ingredients for your topping.

 

  • In your chosen dish place a layer of cauliflower at the bottom. Then layer up with your leeks, chorizo, garlic, cheese and thyme. Then finish with cauliflower again on top.

 

  • Pour over your double cream and place your knobs of butter on top. Pop in the oven for 15 mins until things are starting to bubble and brown. Take out and put your crumb topping on. Place back in the oven for another 10 mins.

 

  • When golden brown onto, serve with perhaps some crusty bread, a nice salad and a lovely red wine.

 

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Diving in!

 

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Wheres that red wine and crusty bread?

Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:



Spring is underway now, tulips are in full bloom in gardens, birds are busy making nests and the weather is…well not the great today. However we have had some glorious days which means a certain Springtime ingredient is at it’s best now and that is wild garlic. I cannot get enough of this stuff every year and try and conserve it in ways I can enjoy it throughout the year. In this recipe, a butter. Once made and popped into the freezer, you certainly won’t be buying shop-bought Garlic bread anymore thats for sure!

This recipe is a quick way of turning some lamb chops into something a little bit more special using Spring’s seasonal ingredients. 
 The wild garlic butter gives colour and full flavour but still allowing the taste of lamb to come through.
 The butterbean mash gives an alternative to potatoes giving it a lighter feel and also being a little more frugal.
Finally, the medley of veg “ Petit pois a la Francais” is a lovely alternative to do as a side dish for this recipe, fish and chicken.



Here is the recording when I cooked this on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson showing just how simple, quick yet so effective this recipe can be :- LISTEN HERE




Spring Lamb chops with a wild garlic and herb butter, butterbean mash and a medley of veg:








Ingredients:
(serves 2)

  • 2-3 Spring lamb chops each depending on how big they are
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt ( I use pink himalayan but any will do ) and cracked black pepper to season

Wild garlic butter:

(Make this before hand and pop into the freezer)

  • A block of unsalted butter
  • a good handful of wild garlic ( if you haven’t got it, use normal garlic )
  • a handful of fresh herbs chopped- flat leaf parsley, basil, I had. You could use Rosemary instead if you wanted to.
  • 1/4-1/2 a lemon zest
  • season if you wish

Butterbean Mash:

  • 1 tin of Butterbeans drained and rinsed
  • a drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season


Medley of Veg:

  • 6-7 lettuce leaves such as romaine, little gem or the innards of a round lettuce
  • a few handfuls of frozen peas ( roughly 150g ) petit pois or garden peas defrosted and drained.
  • 3-4 spring onions or baby leeks cut into 3 including the green ends
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • knob of butter
  • a couple of sprigs of garden mint chopped finely
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season 




Method:

  • Just cover your butterbeans in a saucepan with water, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • In the meantime oil your lamb…not your pan and heat up your frying pan. Cook your Lamb for about 4 minutes each side for rare, more time for more well done.
  • Drain your butterbeans and crush/mash with a masher only slightly, drizzle with oil and season. Keep warm.

  • Rest your Lamb for about 5 minutes.

  •   Whilst this is resting bring to the boil your stock in 200ml of water and a knob of butter. Also season.

  • Add in your Spring onions and cook for a minute, then add in your lettuce and peas, cover and cook for a further minute.

  • Drain most of the liquid, add in a little more butter. Season if needed more, Pop in your chopped mint and stir.

–  Melt your Wild garlic butter.


–  Everything is now ready to serve.





Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas


I actually wrote this Recipe for my column ” Quick bite” in the Leicester mercury about 6 weeks ago when Broad Beans and peas were at the peak of their season but Ive decided to share this now still as I love this dish and regular make it. 

  Peas are still around at the moment ( August ) and you should still find some Broad beans as they sometimes can go on till September. If for some reason you can’t get them now, Courgettes will be a good substitute.


 Here is what I wrote before:

Broad beans and Peas are in the height of their season at the moment so I wanted to show you a different way of cooking these lovely pulses.
  Broad beans and peas as baby first pickings, like I had, should be enjoyed for their flavour so you shouldn’t by any means over cook them. Im growing both in my kitchen Garden, so if you are too, this is even more fantastic.
  Ive teamed them up in this recipe with Orzo which is a great little pasta shape, sometimes confused for being a grain almost like rice.  I use this quite a lot in cooking as its light, very quick to prepare and most things will go with it. Plus, it’s great to have as a salad the next day for lunch. 
  Ive also teamed these seasonal beauties with some added bacon, one for colour and the saltiness it gives will bounce off the sweetness of the peas.
  I also find that this dish is very refreshing so you won’t feel heavy after it.
  So if you’re unsure of a way to cook broad beans and you’re not quite sure wether you like them, have an abundance of fresh peas or even if you have a packet of orzo in your cupboard gathering dust, do this recipe now.






Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas:
Ingredients:
(Serves 2 approximately for a light lunch)
  • 3 handfuls of Orzo ( you won’t need a lot, it goes a long way )
  •   2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  •   2 rashers of bacon thinly sliced
  •   2-3 spring onions chopped
  •   8-10 seasonal (British) Broad beans podded (I double podded half )
  •   A good handful of seasonal (British) fresh peas podded
  •   Small amount of Chicken stock (100-150ml) just to taste
  •   Small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  •   Pea shoots to finish if you have them and even you can use Broad bean shoots in this too
  •   A good few turns on the pepper mill for some Cracked Black pepper to season
Method:
  • Cook Orzo to packet instructions ( normally only takes 5-6 minutes )
  • Fry off the Bacon for a couple of minutes till its starts to crisp and turn a golden colour.
  • Add your Garlic and Spring onions, cook and stir for about another minute.
  • Pop in your fresh broad beans and peas and cook for a bout a minute or two, not allowing your garlic to burn.
  • Add your chicken stock, stir, reduce down after a minute or two and then add your parsley and seasoning.


*  Make a final stir, taste, add your shoots if you have them, serve and dive in there.