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.
Wild garlic is at is peak now for foraging and should be in most places over the UK in flower. I Love wild garlic and this year I have been experimenting more with it. I think people who come into my kitchen recently must be sick of smelling it, or even on me for that matter! ( Never thought about that until now! ) Also what is coming up great in my kitchen garden are the herbs. My fennel has lasted all through winter and is still going strong.
One recipe that really stood out through developing was this one on how quick it takes to prepare and cook. Plus it is super healthy.
I don’t usually buy salmon purely on its cost and sustainability but I couldn’t get Loch trout which I would have used instead. I managed to find some Scottish salmon that was MSC certified which had a lovely taste.
Combining the lovely subtle fresh flavours of the wild garlic and herbs in the couscous makes this dish so light. I didn’t overpower the salmon either, just gives it a little gentle heat against everything else. This dish is perfect for lots of occasions and especially with Easter coming up it’s a lovely alternative if you don’t want to have Lamb or any other meats. One key factor to remember…Do not overcook the Salmon then it will keep it’s lovely flavour and just flake away nicely.
I paired this up with some lovely British tomatoes that look fantastic on the dish but if Im completely honest I don’t think they go with the rest of the dish. They have a beautiful taste roasted though. So that’s your choice on whether you put them on the dish or not.
- 2 responsilbly sourced Salmon fillets ( I used Scottish )
- 1 tsp of dry Harissa spice mix/rub ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- Sprinkle of sea salt to season. I use pink himalayan salt on mine but any good quality will do.
Wild garlic and herb Couscous:
- 150g of Couscous ( you might even have more left over for Lunch the next day )
- 250ml of vegetable stock ( boiling water )or enough to just cover the Couscous
- a handful of freshly picked wild garlic leaves, stalks off, washed and finely chopped ( Chiffonade )
- A good handful of fresh herbs finely chopped such as: Chives, mint, green fennel or fronds of, chervil and parsley. If you can’t get the fennel or chervil use a little tarragon or dill.
- A little salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.
- 1 small red onion roughly diced
- 1 small red pepper diced roughly
- 1 small yellow pepper roughly diced
- 1 stick of celery chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Small handful of lemon thyme, (if you can’t get this use normal thyme and a little lemon zest at the end of roasting)
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season.
- British Vittoria tomatoes on the side ( optional )
- Preheat oven to 180c fan.
- Place vegetables in a roasting tin/dish with the lemon thyme and place in oven for 5 minutes.
- Place Salmon after 5 minutes in a roasting dish, smother the harissa and oil over it, season and place in the oven also for approximately 12-15 mins or when salmon is cooked.
- Continue cooking the vegetables also.
- Whilst these are in the oven together Pop your dry couscous into a bowl, cover with the vegetable stock and cover with cling film for 10 minutes. Leave aside.
- At this point pop your tomatoes in the oven if you want to use them.
- Then when all is ready in the oven, flake your couscous with a fork and will be fluffy at this point. Then add in your herbs and wild garlic, stir and leave to stand until all dished up together.
- Serve altogether and enjoy!
I actually did this recipe back in June this year for my column but I thought it would be perfect to share now as a nice meal change in-between all that Christmas shopping.
These fishcakes are a great alternative for a fish Friday supper. The green bean salsa gives it more of a lighter feel but will still fill you up.
So I wanted to show you how easy making fishcakes can be, as having no egg and breadcrumbs to this recipe, it takes less time. Also this version is healthier than the usual mashed potato used with butter and cream.
I have added the peas into the fishcakes as it’s a great way of getting vegetables into your children’s diet.
You can use other strong fish in this recipe but I prefer the mackerel and its great for budget shopping.
This dish will be a perfect, lighter alternative for you before all that meat is consumed over Christmas.
Oh and a little tip from me also…they are great eaten cold the day after.
Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa:
- 2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil for frying
- handful of plain flour to dust the fishcakes
- 4 skinned Fresh Smoked mackerel fillets
- 2 Spring onions chopped
- 500g bag of Jersey Royal potatoes or any other New potatoes halved
- A good Handful of petit pops defrosted and drained
- fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- A good squeeze of lemon
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
Green bean salsa
- Fine green beans blanched for 3 minutes and halved
- 2 large tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1 medium red onion diced finely
- small handful of baby capers chopped
- half a 180g tin of sweetcorn drained
- Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste as above
- Boil your potatoes until just starting to break/soften
- Blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes as they still need a “bite” to them then place into ice cold water
- When your potatoes are done crush them using a potato masher, leaving them still with chunks and add a little seasoning to them.
- Take a bowl, pop in your crushed potatoes, flake in your smoked mackerel but also leave chunky.
- Add spring onions, peas, lemon and seasoning and mix together with your hands.
- Start to form in your hand a ball like shape and flatten to form a fishcake. dust in flour and place on a plate.
- Continue with the rest of the mixture.
* If you aren’t using them all, you can freeze at this stage.
- Once all formed, in a frying pan heat a little oil and start to fry. Turning every couple of minutes. Once golden brown after approximately 5-6 minutes, they will be done.
- Place all fishcakes onto Kitchen paper to drain the oil.
* Put all your salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve.
This oven-roasted meal really is incredibly easy to make. Not to mention how inexpensive it is also.
After a long day the last thing you need is to be slaving over the oven or even waiting a long time for something to cook. Plus, now that Autumn is making more of an appearance and becoming darker in the evenings this is the perfect comfort, pick me up food and with a little cheekiness from the cider I’ve popped in there.
Ive used apples in this recipe as it just adds an extra burst of sweetness against the sausages and sage in there. Plus lots of people are giving them away due to bumper crops this year.
If you have a family get-together coming up or you just want to do a Sunday lunch thats a little easier, this is a perfect choice for that. Leftovers can be chopped up and put into a spicy tomato pasta bake.
With the lovely colours it gives off, it truly is Autumn in one dish really.
Sausage, vegetable and apple traybake:
– 1-2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
- 6 British sausages ( I used a Pork and chive variety)
- 2 red onions sliced into wedges
- 2 garlic cloves crushed and roughly chopped
- 1 chicken stock cube crumbled over or half a gel pot
- 1-2 parsnips roughly diced
- 1 red pepper roughly diced
- 1 orange pepper or yellow diced roughly
- 2 apples, something like a British cox
- 2-3 potatoes peeled and chopped into inch size chunks
- a good sprig of thyme
- a few fresh sage leaves
- 200ml Apple cider
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Preheat oven to 190c. In a frying pan, brown off the sausages.
- Coat all vegetables in oil, ( not the peppers or apples yet )and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes coat the vegetables with the honey and mustard, add the peppers, thyme, garlic, stock and seasoning.
- Place the sausages in between the veg and pour into your frying pan the cider to get all the sticky juice from the sausages.then pour that into your traybake.
* Pop back into the oven for a further 15 minutes. After that put your apples and sage in-between the sausages and veg and pop back into the oven for approximately another 15 minutes or when all golden and cooked.
I couldn’t help diving in with a knife and fork before even serving it up, it was THAT nice!
This may seem like JUST a Roasted vegetable salad to you, but to me it screams out a whole lot more. One might say this resembles a Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes, olive oil and herbs served in summer, maybe it is?
Throughout summer I always roast off a medley of these vegetables as the produce is pretty much all in season now and to me its just like summer in a bowl. I love the colours it gives off and the flavours are just immense. Another great thing regarding this little dish is that if you are a Kitchen gardener like myself, at some point, such as now in summer some of your homegrown vegetables will be used in it if not all. Its great for a glut of tomatoes, courgettes or peppers.
Roasting mediterranean vegetables can be the basis of creating so many other dishes from it. Here is just a short list of examples for you:
- Use it as a topping for Pizza or on bruschetta’s
- Turn into a gratin by adding cheese on top and placing back in the oven
- Make quiche or tarts
- Add chickpeas and some Moroccan spice or Indian spices to make a curry
- Also adding feta cheese and olives gives a greek feel
- Mix through Rice
- By adding it to Pasta, popping on a rich cheese sauce with some dijon mustard in will make an amazing Pasta Bake.
- I could go on…
Or simply of course this dish can be the great accompaniment for barbecued/grilled meats or fish.
However going back to the dish alone, Ive added fennel to mine and lots of herbs which give it that extra flavour. I personally love to sit outside with a big bowl of this and of course a large glass of wine to wash it down. As I said…Summer in a bowl.
- 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or Olive
- 2 Cloves of Garlic roughly chopped
- 1 small courgette trimmed
- 1 red pepper and yellow pepper
- 1 Baby fennel trimmed , cut through the middle into 4-5 pieces
- 2 handfuls of cherry/baby plum/piccolo tomatoes halved, I used British Vittoria ones
- 1/2 Aubergine trimmed
- 1-2 red onions
- Handful of fresh herbs finely chopped: Oregano, Lemon thyme or normal thyme, Basil, parsley
( If you don’t have Lemon thyme, use normal and then grate about a 1/4 of lemon zest)
– Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
Croutons for the Salad
- 2 Slices of Bread ( couple of days old) chopped into squares
- 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- 1 clove of garlic bashed
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Sprig of Rosemary finely chopped
- Chop all vegetables into similar size chunks, 2-3 cm
- Place all vegetables ( not tomatoes )into an oven proof dish add the oil, garlic and season. mix through with your hands
- Pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
- Drizzle oil over croutons, season and coat with the rosemary. Dry fry in a pan until golden brown.
- After 15 minutes add your most of your fresh herbs and tomatoes and pop back in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked through.
* Toss the croutons through, add the rest of your herbs, a good drizzle of oil and serve in a large bowl.