Multi-Vegetable Paella

multi-vegetable paella
multi-vegetable paella

We thought it was about time we made another recipe from Plenty, and DH chose this Paella.   He said it was really easy to make & it was really tasty, and perfect for a light summer dinner.

He didn’t add any Sherry (because we didn’t have any), and used Soy beans instead of Broad beans.  The recipe suggests that Carrots, courgettes, peas or sugar snaps could be used too.

This says that it makes 2 generous portions, but DH & I only ate half of it and popped half in the freezer.  We defrosted, then re-heated it in the microwave and, although not as good as it was fresh, was still very nice.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 0.5 red, green and yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 0.5 fennel bulb, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 0.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne
  • 150g Paella rice
  • 100ml sherry
  • 1 tsp saffron strands
  • 500ml boiling vegetable stock
  • Sea salt
  • 12 mini plum tomatoes
  • 5 small grilled jarred artichokes, quartered
  • 300g podded broad beans, blanched and skinned
  • 10 pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 4 lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a paella or large, shallow frying pan, then gently fry the onion for five minutes.
  2. Add the peppers and fennel, and fry over medium heat until soft and golden – about eight minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the bay leaves and spices, stir, add the rice and cook, stirring, for two minutes.
  4. Add the sherry and saffron, boil down for a minute, then add the stock and a third of a teaspoon of salt.
  5. Reduce the heat as low as it will go and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir: the low heat will prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and add salt if needed, but avoid stirring the rice and vegetables much.
  7. Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and beans over the rice, cover the pan tightly with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Take off the foil, scatter the olives on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutty endive with roquefort

Nutty endive with roquefort
Nutty endive with roquefort

hmmm.  Salad for dinner in the middle of Feb?  Well when it’s a recipe by Ottolenghi why the hell not?!

I must admit, I was surprised to discover this recipe that DH chose from Plenty was a salad as I had assumed it would be cooked (like the Braised chicory & beans we love so much).  But it was of course, very tasty – the Roquefort & crème fraîche was delicious & the crunchy endive (chicory) and toasted nuts went beautifully with it.

I just noticed this recipe says it serves 4 for a starter – which makes me feel better about DH & I polishing the lot off so easily for our dinner tonight.  We did have a few nuts left over, so I’ve saved those for the girls to have as a snack tomorrow.

Tip: Save a couple of endive leaves for wiping out the bowl you mixed the cheese & crème fraîche in 🙂

Ingredients

  • 50g Roquefort, coarsely grated
  • 150g crème fraîche
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 50g pinenuts, roughly chopped
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 endives
  • A few radicchio, red endive or baby chard leaves

Instructions

  1. Stir the Roquefort with the cream and some white pepper – use a whisk to do this, so you get the mixture nicely incorporated and thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  2. In a hot frying pan, lightly toast the nuts with the butter and a pinch of salt until gold all over, then set aside to cool. (be careful not to overcook)
  3. Trim the base of the endives and pick out the leaves. Trim a bit more to get to the core.
  4. Using your hands, smear each leaf with plenty of the cheese mix. Form bundles of six to eight leaves pressed together, each leaf partly encased in a larger one.
  5. Line a serving dish with some red leaves. Place a few cheesy endive bundles on top, possibly stacking them or leaning them standing against each other. Sprinkle over a generous helping of nuts and serve.

Baked eggs with yogurt and chilli

Baked eggs with yogurt and chilli
Baked eggs with yogurt and chilli

I left DH looking at Plenty & he decided we should eat these Baked eggs with yogurt and chilli.

Somehow I ended up making it, it took a bit longer than expected, but it was (as expected) delicious. (The photo, yet again, doesn’t do it justice!)

Pay attention to the amount of rocket required (I didn’t, and had to send DH out to buy more), and cook the eggs in a low sided bowl – I used a quite high sided ‘casserole’ type dish & the eggs took 20-25mins to cook (far longer than the original recipe says they should).  Next time I will reduce the amount of butter too – it’s very tasty (I won’t reduce the spices), but there was a bit too much of it for me.

Ingredients

  • 300g rocket
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 150g Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 0.5 tsp (more or less, depending on variety) kirmizi biber (I used 0.25 tsp chilli flakes + 0.25 tsp paprika)
  • 6 sage leaves, shredded (I used 0.5 tsp dried chopped sage)
  • Maldon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2.
  2. Wash the rocket and place with the oil in a large pan, add some salt and sauté over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the rocket has wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Transfer the contents of the pan to a small, (shallow?) ovenproof dish and make four deep indentations in the rocket mix.
  4. Carefully break an egg into each crater, taking care not to break the yolk. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg whites set.
  5.  While the eggs are in the oven, mix together the yogurt and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Stir well, taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary and set aside – do not chill.
  6.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the kirmizi biber and a pinch of salt, and fry for a minute or two or until the butter starts to foam and turns a nice golden-red. Add the sage, cook for a few seconds longer, then remove from the heat.
  7.  Once the eggs are done, take the dish out of the oven. Spoon the yogurt mix over the centre, and pour the hot chilli butter over the yogurt and eggs.
  8. Serve piping hot on warmed plates.

Grilled Vegetable Soup

This recipe caught DH’s eye when he was looking through Plenty, so I volunteered him to make it!

He said it was easy to make, once you’d done all the chopping, and it was very tasty & everyone liked it!!

Sorry for forgetting to take a picture, but check out the link above for one – it’s not exactly “pretty”, but it is very tasty!

Ingredients

  • 3 medium aubergines
  • 2 red peppers, stalk removed with seeds
  • 3 medium tomatoes (we used a tin)
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g basil leaves, torn
  • 4 oregano springs, leaves picked
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 600g freshly cooked butterbeans (canned are also okay)
  • 4 tbsp greek yoghurt or 4 lemon quarters (optional)
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to high. Line a small baking tin with foil. Prick the aubergines in a few places with a small pointy knife and place in the tin. Grill for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the peppers in another small foil-lined baking tin under the grill, next to the aubergines. Turn the aubergines over with tongs. Grill for 15 minutes, turning the peppers over once during this time. Don’t worry if the aubergine skin begins to crack and char or if the peppers start going black.
  3. Place the whole tomatoes in a small tin, underneath the other vegetables. Continue grilling the vegetables for 15 minutes. Then remove them all from the grill. Cover the peppers with foil and leave to cool down; once they can be handled, peel them and tear the flesh into pieces. Cut a long slit in each aubergine and scoop out the soft flesh, avoiding most of the burnt skin; roughly chop the flesh and set aside.
  4. While the vegetables are grilling, put the onions and olive oil into a large pot and fry on a low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft and golden.
  5. Add the aubergine flesh, grilled peppers, grilled tomatoes, half the basil, the oregano leaves, garlic, stock and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer the soup for 15 minutes.
  6. Blitz until smooth using a hand blender, or a regular blender. Add the beans and mix well. Reheat the soup, then taste for seasoning. Serve hot, topped with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (or with lemon) and the remaining basil.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka
Shakshuka

This was absolutely fabulous! Make it now!

I was reminded of this recipe when I saw it  on thepatternedplate, but why not head over to Ottolenghi’s post, which also features a video of the man himself cooking it!

The recipe below serves 4.  I can’t comment on how difficult it is to make as DH always makes it.  The first time he made it, he made half the recipe & it was a perfect amount for us both (although I could have eaten much more). Now he usually makes the full recipe & freezes half for a quick & easy meal another day (just add eggs)

The original recipe says to have two eggs each, but we usually just have one because DH thinks it would be difficult to squeeze two into our little pans.

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 190ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
  • 4 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp saffron strands
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Up to 250ml water
  • 8 free-range eggs

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
  3. Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them.
  4. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets.
  5. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.

Sweet potato cakes

I got Plenty for my birthday & may have fallen just a little bit in love with Ottolenghi (just don’t tell DH! 🙂   I didn’t know where to start, so thought I’d try these Sweet Potato Cakes out on DD1

Serves four.

Ingredients

  • 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 100g flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp spring onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh chilli, finely chopped (or more, to taste)
  • Lots of butter, for frying

For the sauce:

  • 50g Greek yogurt
  • 50g sour cream
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Instructions

  1. Steam the sweet potato until soft, then drain in a colander for an hour. 
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, work all the fritter ingredients by hand – it should be sticky, so if it’s a little runny, add some flour. Do not over-mix.
  4. Dip your hands in water and shape walnut-sized balls with the fritter mix, then flatten so you have round cakes around 5cm in diameter and less than 1cm thick. Place on an oily surface.
  5. Melt some butter in a nonstick pan. Using a fish slice, lift the cakes in to the pan and fry on moderate heat until you get a nice, brown crust, turning as necessary – about six minutes. 
  6. Place between two sheets of kitchen towel, to soak up the excess butter. 
  7. Serve hot or warm, with the sauce on the side and a crisp green salad.
Verdict?
DH & I loved them. DD1 looked at them like they were poison, but she was being a bit of a nightmare with food that day. I’m sure she’ll love them when she actually tries them!

Black Pepper Tofu

Apparently they made this on MasterChef the other day (must buy a Yotan Ottolenghi recipe book!) – I have the recipe ripped out of an old Veg Soc magazine, which I found the other day,but it’s also on the Guardian website

The original recipe served 4 so I roughly halved everything. We also had it with some purple sprouting broccoli fresh from the garden.

It also said to cook the tofu before starting the sauce, but i think it makes more sense to start the sauce first, then put the rice on & then cook the tofu?  does mean you need 3 pans on the go though.

Both DH & I really liked this, but as tasty as the peppercorns were, they were getting to be a bit too much by the end of the meal! – Next time I’ll be putting less peppercorns in.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • half a pack of firm tofu
  • veg oil for frying
  • cornflour to dust the tofu
  • 75g butter
  • 6 small shallots, thinly sliced (I didn’t have any, so used 2 onions instead)
  • 4 fresh red chillies (fairly mild ones) thinly sliced (I used 3 dried)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
  • 7 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed (use a pestle & mortar)
  • 8 small and thin spring onions, sliced longways & then cut into 3cm segments
  • jasmine rice for two

Instructions

  1. cut the tofu into large cubes (about 3 x 2 cm) & drain on kitchen roll
  2. put the kettle on (water for the rice)
  3. melt the butter in a large-ish saucepan (the tofu will end up in here too)
  4. add shallots, chillies, garlic & ginger
  5. saute on a low to medium heat for about 15mins, stirring occasionally until the ingredients have turned shiny & are totally soft
  6. meanwhile:
    1. put the rice on
    2. heat some (~2mm) oil in the wok/frying pan
    3. toss the tofu in some cornflour (I shook them together in a tupperware box)
    4. fry the tofu, turning them around until they are golden all over
    5. transfer the tofu onto kitchen roll when they are cooked.
  7. add the soy sauces and sugar to the shallots etc and stir
  8. then add the crushed black pepper
  9. add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute
  10. finally, stir in the spring onions
  11. serve hot, with the rice.