Kale Pesto

2.5 cups of kale (no stalks)

0.5 cup olive oil (good quality)

0.25 cup either toasted pine nuts or almonds

juice one large lemon

1 tsp Maldon salt

Put everything except the nuts in the food processor and blitz, scrape down the sides and repeat. Add the nuts and blits until broken up but not totally smooth. 

Check the salt.

Done

‘Bubble & Squeak’ Pasta

Serves 2

100g dried pasta shapes of choice

1 large sweet potato

1 small red onion, finely diced

12-15 Brussel sprouts, any old outer leaves removed

1 tsp chili flakes

Juice from half a lemon

150g feta cheese

Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1cm cubes. In a large pan (which you will later cook the pasta in) bring to a boil and cook until just soft, remove with a slotted spoon into a colander and let them air dry a bit. 

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook.

Fry the onion in a little olive oil on number 6 with a pinch of salt. Remove once soft and add the chilli flakes. While the onion is frying finely slice the Brussels (as fine as possible).

Put the potato cubes into the frying pan with around 1tbs olive oil and fry until crispy and then add the Brussels and sauté for a couple of minutes, and add back in the onions as well as a couple of tbs of the pasta water.

Drain the pasta and add to the veg mix combining well. Crumble in the feta, add the lemon juice, check the seasoning and mix gently then serve.

Potato & Pasta Soup with Greens

            Serves 2

Half a white onion finely diced

1 medium carrot finely diced

1 large stick of celery finely diced

1 tsp Maldon salt

2 tbs olive oil plus more to serve

1 medium sized floury (chip) potato

500ml boiling water

1 chicken stock cube

1 bay leaf

2 handfuls of wholemeal macaroni 

Spinach/Kale couple of large handfuls

Parmesan to serve

Heat a Le Cruset pan on #6 and add the olive oil, salt, onion, carrot and celery and fry until soft, which will be at least 5 mins. Don’t let anything brown, add more oil if you need to. 

While this is cooking cut the potato in half down its longest length and then in half again like this:

Then cut into small pieces, each one about the thickness of a pound coin, like this:

Once the onion, carrot and celery are soft add the potato, stir and cook for a couple of mins in the oil. Add the boiling water, stock cube, bay leaf and a good grind of black pepper. 

Cook until the potato is soft, add the pasta and stir well. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Stir every couple of mins. 

If using spinach or kale, wash and shred it and add to the pan just a min before the pasta is cooked and stir well and let it wilt.

When the pasta is cooked remove the bay leaf. Add a little more water if the pasta has absorbed too much. Taste and season well with salt and pepper and if using parsley chop and add now. 

Serve with olive oil drizzled on top and a grating of fresh Parmesan.

Braised Fennel

Serves 4 with sausage and mash or something like chickpeas or lentils

3 Fennel bulbs

2 Leeks or 1 large white onion

1 tbs olive oil

2 Chicken stock cubes in 500ml boiling water

1 tbs plain flour

Trim the fennel bulbs (feed the trimmings to the chickens) and cut into slices (not diced) like shown in the photo below:

Cut the leeks into 1” long pieces or if using the onion cut into thin wedges, about the same thickness of the fennel. 

Heat the green Le Creuset on #6 and add the olive oil once it is hot, then add the leeks/onions and fennel and cook for a couple of mins with the lid of making sure you keep stirring them to coat in the olive oil. Then add the lid and cook for 5 mins. 

Take the lid off, stir, add the flour and stir well and keep moving around for a min to cook it off. Add the stock and stir well. Put the lid back on, turn the heat down to #4 and cook for 20 mins stirring a few times. 

After the 20 mins check to see if the thickest parts of the fennel are soft, if not put the lid back on and continue cooking.

Serve with mashed potato or chickpeas with sausages. 

Tomato Sauce (Pomodoro)

Serves 4

1 small white onion

2 large cloves of garlic

3 tbs good quality olive oil

Salt

Black pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp sugar

Parmesan rind (optional)

1 jar tomato passata (best you can find)

Parmesan to serve

Ideally chop the onion in a food processor until it is a paste or use a grater. Fry in a heavy saucepan (green Le Cruset best) on #6 with 2 tbs of the olive oil and 1 tsp Maldon salt. Fry until the onion is soft and do not let it brown (will be at least 5 mins) and then grate in the garlic and cook for 2 more mins. Add a little water if you need to to stop it sticking (browning). 

Add the passata  to the pan, fill the jar about 1/3 with cold water and swill it round and add to the pan as well. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaf, Parmesan rind (if using), a generous grind of black pepper and the sugar then turn down to a simmer. If in a rush let it cook until thickened (about 20 mins on #4) but if you can let it cook for an hour at least on a low heat (#2) just barely simmering until it is thick. 

If the sauce gets too thick it can be rescued with some more water. 

If you have fresh basil you can add a handful (stalks and all not chopped) to the pan while it is cooking and fish them out before serving. 

Once thickened check the seasoning, remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaf if you have used them. 

Serve by adding cooked pasta to the pan (linguine is best) and drizzling over some of the remaining olive oil and grating over some fresh Parmesan.

Keep any remaining sauce for a few days in the fridge. Just remember to take out what you don’t need from the pan before adding the cooked pasta.  

Spinach, Chorizo and Cream Cheese Pasta

1tbs olive oil

Half white onion, finely chopped

8-10cm piece of chorizo, skin off cut into small cubes (5mm)

Pinch of chilli flakes

Half a 180g tub of Philadelphia (cream cheese)

4 large handfuls of spinach

180g of pasta (something like Cava Tappi or Fusilli)

Parmesan

Put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta

Heat the olive oil in wide frying pan on #6 (green Le Creuset is best) and add a large pinch of salt and fry the onion. After a few minutes add the chorizo and fry until cooked (don’t let the onion brown, add more oil if necessary).

Cook the pasta as soon as the water is boiling. 

Chop the spinach and wash thoroughly and add to the pan with the onions and chorizo and stir until wilted. Add the cream cheese and chilli flakes and stir with the heat off.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the spinach mix. Grate in around 2tbs of parmesan and  season and stir. 

Serve with a little more parmesan. 

(The spinach could be replaced with any greens like chopped kale or chard and the cream cheese could be replaced with feta but if using feta retain a couple of tbs pasta cooking water to stir in to loosen the sauce).