Beans with Beans

Fry a couple of tablespoons of onion (red, spring, white – any sort, even leek) in a mixture of butter and olive oil until soft.  Add some garlic, one or two cloves, and some mushrooms if you like.  Fry for a further 2-3 minutes.  Now throw in a few handfuls of green beans.  Stir, then add a glass of white wine and some salt and pepper.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for up to twenty minutes.  If the pan is going dry, add a little water.  When the green beans are tender, add a tin of flageolet beans.  Warm through, then serve garnished with spring onion or parsley.

DSC_0008[1]

Vegetable Pakoras

Four or five large potatoes, diced

One onion (or three shallots), sliced or diced

Four or five handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped

Mix the vegetables in a large bowl.  Add half a teaspoon each of turmeric, ground coriander and chilli powder.  Add a rounded teaspoon each of ground cumin and sea salt.  Grind in some black pepper.  Mix well with your hands.  Add 300g of gram flour, mix, then add a few drops of water, mixing all the time, until you can form clumps with the mixture.

Heat up a large, deep-sided frying pan with oil.  When the oil is really hot, drop in four or five balls of the sticky vegetable mix (about a heaped tablespoon per pakora).  Cook for 4-5 minutes until nicely browned, then keep warm in the oven while you do the rest.

Baked Onions

Sophie Dahl’s ‘Voluptuous Delights’ has seen me through my whole shopping list and menu this week.  I can’t understand why this book is selling for £3.99 in bargain bookshops already – it’s wonderful!  Paris Mash on Monday, Aubergine Parmigiana on Tuesday, Grilled Salmon and Baked Onions on Wednesday…a meatless delight of a week.

I’ll certainly be making these again, as they were deliciously sweet and cheap to make.  Here is the recipe, slightly adapted.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Peel four smallish onions and boil them whole for twenty minutes, or until the centres are trying to burst out.

Cut them in half and place them inside-up into an ovenproof dish.  Individual enamel dishes are perfect.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Pour over about 150g single cream and sprinkle with up to 50g parmesan or grana padano.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and serve with grilled salmon, Sunday dinner, sausages, a pork chop, anything!

Goat’s Cheese Salad with Figs and Walnuts

You’ll need spinach, small ripe figs, walnuts, goat’s cheese, a lemon, some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, some chutney, a clove of garlic and a little French mustard.

Start by making the dressing.  Put the garlic clove, a dessertspoon of balsamic vinegar, the juice of half a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the mini-processor with half a teaspoon each of any nice chutney and mustard.  Whoosh them together.

Slice your goat’s cheese, one slice per salad and place each piece onto a small square of greaseproof paper.  Put them under a hot grill.

Scatter a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves over each plate and sprinkle over some of the dressing, a few walnuts and about three halved figs.

When the cheese is golden and bubbling, carry the greaseproof paper to the plate and slide the cheese onto the salad.

DSC_0006

Lentil Soup with Ginger and Spring Onion

The stir-fry that never happened.

Put one red onion, 2 bunches of spring onions (save just one spring onion for the garnish later), 5 peeled carrots, a 3″ piece of peeled ginger and 2 cloves of garlic into the processor.  Skoosh up until small, but not mushed.

Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and 100g red lentils and stir for one minute.

Pour in 2.5 pints of hot vegetable stock (Marigold is fine) and a bay leaf.  Pop the lid on and cook vigorously for 30-35 minutes.  Add a little more boiling water if necessary.

Garnish with spring onion and serve.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

DSC_0125[1]

Fry a finely sliced onion with a bay leaf and 4 cloves in a mixture of hot oil and butter.  When it’s good and brown, add a tablespoonful of grated ginger and 3 chopped cloves of garlic.  Turn the heat to medium.

Now add 2 diced potatoes and stir through for a minute or two.  Add about 300g cauliflower florets or a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower.  Stir again.

Add a teaspoonful and a half of sea salt, some black pepper, a teaspoonful each of cumin seeds and turmeric.  Stir through, then add a sliced fresh green chilli.

Stir in half a tin of tomatoes and half a pint of water.  Add a drained tin of chickpeas.  Simmer with no lid for 15-20 minutes.  Add a teaspoonful of garam marsala at the end, and some chopped coriander.  Serve with yoghurt.

Sautéed Ginger Carrots

DSC_0009[1]It might still be 22 degrees in County Durham, but my taste buds are craving something autumnal, and carrots with ginger are it.  Let’s see if it’s so simple to make that I can write the recipe in just two sentences.

Place a tablespoonful of grated ginger, plenty of peeled carrots (cut chunkily on the diagonal), a sliced onion and – if you want – a few slices of potato into a large, lidded frying pan with a decent knob of butter, a peeled clove of garlic, salt, black pepper and a teaspoonful of dried thyme.

No water necessary:  Just clamp the lid on and cook low-low-low for 30 – 45 minutes, shaking from time to time and removing the lid for the last five minutes if you’d like your vegetables to colour.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Three sentences…oh, well.