Celeriac and Pea Shoot Salad

Serves 2.

Ingredients

  • Half a celeriac
  • Bunch of pea shoots
  • Handful of parsley
  • Half a soft goats cheese log
  • Half a lemon
  • Tbsp poppy seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Method

  • Grate the celeriac, roughly chop the pea shoots and parsley and mix in a bowl with the poppy seeds.
  • Grate the rind of half a lemon in to the mix, and add the juice of half a lemon.
  • Drizzle with (I used Greek extra virgin) olive oil and mix well
  • Add some crumbled goats cheese and serve
  • I served the salad with fat chick peas  in fresh pesto and some smoked tofu, marinaded in lemon peel and black pepper and then shallow fried to make it crispy.

    Actually I didn’t use pea shoots, I used an unknown veg from the Indian grocer at Crown Point which looks like a  cross between pea shoots and clover and tastes like a cross between pea shoots and spinach. It has pretty yellow flowers too.

    DSC_0179

    DSC_0182

    Chick pea aside:
    If using tinned, always use cheap Asian brand, not supermarket bullets, the cheap ones are nice and fat. Or you could spend £4 on some fancy Italian ones in a glass jar, but that would be stupid when you can get lovely fat chick peas in tins, 4 for a pound, in the corner shop.

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    Spicy chickpea salad

    Serves 2

    Serve by itself or with a green salad. This is very good for you but doesn’t taste in the least bit worthy. Great for a quick lunch, its full of zingy flavours which wake you up after a morning’s work – it also makes an ideal packed lunch.

    Vegan.

    Ingredients

    • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained (or 250g cooked chickpeas if you prefer to boil your own)
    • 2 large carrots, very thinly sliced (see method)
    • 1 courgette, , very thinly sliced (see method)
    • 1 stick of celery, diced or ½ a kohlrabi, peeled and diced
    • A handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in to halves
    • Chili sauce to taste. This salad should be flavoursome rather than hot. I use 1 tsp of Cap Bon Harissa (beautiful packaging and easily available) or 1 tbsp chilli tomato ketchup – use whatever you have in the fridge or a little bit of chopped fresh chilli if you prefer.
    • Splash of olive oil
    • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
    • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

    Method

    • Heat the oven to 220 °c.
    • Peel and trim the carrots, trim the courgette. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin, long strips of the carrots and courgette. This gets tricky towards the end, so finish up by using a knife if its easier.
    • Put the carrot and courgette strips in a tin, toss with a splash of olive oil and spread out. They should be very lightly coated in oil so use very little. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. They should be soft but still with a bit of bite, and slightly charred in a few places.
    • While the vegetables are cooking, mix the chickpeas with the diced celery or kohlrabi, the chilli sauce and the halved tomatoes.
    • When the carrots and courgette strips are cooked, put the chickpea mixture in the tin with them and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pop back in the oven for a couple of minutes to warm through.
    • When ready to serve, stir in the fresh herbs.
    Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

    Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

    Pink and purple speckled beans

    Last week there were still lots and lots of runner beans in the garden, but having steamed some, found them way too stringy and tough. So I picked them all, composted the plants, and was left with this lovely stash of pink and purple speckled beans.

    Runner bean seeds

    I boiled them and they were pretty good. The beans from the pods that had dried were too tough (these are the purple ones, the cerise pink ones are fresh) so I picked those out.

    Once cooked (10 mins) I pondered what to make and ended up with this brown rice, bean and herb concoction which was thoroughly delicious and virtuous too.

    There’s some grilled baby yellow courgettes and spring onions in there too. The herbs are tarragon and sorrel.
    (Yes, I am still OBSESSED with sorrel).

    Some grated Parmesan on top finished the thing very nicely.

    Potato and Sorrel Gratin


    “As gratins are all made by the same method, I shall give that first, and follow it up with a list of suggested ingredients. Remember that they are suggestions, and not Holy Writ.”

    Ah, the lovely and sensible Jane Grigson.

    So, for this gratin I borrowed the proportions of veg to liquid from Jane and used whatever veg I had in the garden. It totalled a kilo; 600g potato and the rest in sorrel and young courgettes. I did not peel the potatoes because the peeler has disappeared. But this made the gratin event better, the edges a chewy bonus, a bit of texture in the creamy veggie goo.

    For 1kg veg I used 400ml liquid, half and half veg stock and cream.

    For flavouring I used 3 cloves garlic and lemon thyme flowers (because the thyme had flowered, not because I was being deliberately posh). And loads of black pepper.You just slice the veg to the thickness of a 50p piece and layer with the flavoured bits, and then pour the mixed liquid on top.

    I baked at 200 degrees c for 55 minutes and the gratin was delicious. I mopped the creamy sauce up with bread. A big carb fest love in. Yuuuum.

    Oh, and sometimes the liquid is hard to get right in  a gratin. You need it to practically cover the veg, but yet not to be liquid at the end. If its too liquid just ladle some out at the end of cooking and pop the gratin back in the oven for 5 mins.

    Lemony butterbeans with sage breadcrumbs

    Vegan. Serves 6 as a side dish, 4 if the lead

    Using a puree of cashew nuts to make a rich and creamy sauce is a vegan trick and it is brilliant.

    Ingredients

    • 500g cooked butterbeans
    • 100g cashew nuts soaked for 1 hour in water
    • Juice of one lemon
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 100ml water
    • Zest of one lemon
    • Breadcrumbs equivalent to 1 small bread roll
    • 10 sage leaves
    • salt and pepper
    • Drizzle of olive oil

    Method

    • Drain the cashew nuts and blend them with the lemon juice, garlic, salt and water which you add gradually until you have a thickish sauce. You may need a dash more water
    • Stir the sauce into the beans and put in an oven proof bowl
    • In a food processes whiz the bread, sage, pepper and lemon zest into breadcrumbs
    • Sprinkle on the beans and then drizzle with olive oil
    • Bake at 220 degrees c for 20 minutes until heated through and brown on top

    Good with…

    Some green salad as a light lunch, or with veggie sausages. Which will be the next post…