Grilled Aubergine with Lentils

Adapted from Nigel Slater in Christmas Chronicles

Serves 2

2 large aubergines
3 tbs olive oil
1 lemon
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic
4 large sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
150g puy lentils
2 large handfulls of spinach leaves, shredded and rinsed
2 tbs double cream
Fresh parsley (enough to make about 1 tbs chopped)
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Preheat the grill on high. Wash and dry the aubergines and slice in half lengthways. Score a tight lattice pattern into the flesh without piercing the skin. Put them onto a baking sheet cut side up and rub over enough of the olive oil to cover each side (generously) and season with salt and black pepper. Halve the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Put under the grill, not too close to the top and cook until golden brown. (check after 10 mins and if brown but not soft then cover with foil and switch the grill to oven 185C and finish for another 10-15 mins).

Rinse the lentils and check for stones, then put into a pan with enough cold water to come up about 1″ over the top. Bring to a boil, put a lid on top and reduce heat to 5 and simmer until cooked (min 20 mins) keeping an eye on the water level.

While the lentils are cooking put the green Le Creuset on 6 to warm. Peel and dice the onion, add the olive oil and diced onion to the warm pan with a generous pinch of salt and stir. Cook until soft and then grate in the garlic cloves. Rinse the thyme and rosemary and remove the leaves from the stalks, finely chop the rosemary and add both to the onion mix with the mushrooms. Add some more olive oil if the pan seems dry. Leave to soften, adding the lid after a few mins and reducing the heat to 4.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, check the lentils to be sure they are cooked, drain and add to the mushroom/onion mix. Stir in the chopped spinach, stir and add the lid for a couple of mins until the leaves have wilted. Add the cream and parmesan and stir then season generously and taste. Needs to be well peppered!

Put the lentils in a pasta bowl and serve with one half of the grilled aubergine on top.

 

Quorn & Spinach Casserole

350g Quorn pieces

1 large onion roughly chopped

2 large carrots cut into cubes

1 large glass of dry white wine

2 bay leaves

1 large potato cut into small pieces

300ml boiling water

2 Kallo chicken stockcubes (or veggie)

1 dessert spoon corn flour

6 leafy stems parsley

– stems finely chopped

– leaves roughly chopped

4 large handfuls of spinach leaves, finely chopped

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Heat a tbs of olive oil in a Le Creuset casserole pan on 7. Add the quorn and brown it off, stirring from time to time, add more oil if necessary. Once brown, reduce the heat to 5 add the onions and a large pinch of salt and cook until the onions are soft.

 

Add the white wine and bay leaves, using a spoon to scape the bottom of the pan and reduce by half. Add the carrots and potato, the stock cubes and boiling water and the parsley stalks. Reduce the heat to 4, add some black pepper and cook with the lid off stirring from time to time until the potato is cooked (about 30 mins).

Mix the corn flour with a little cold water so it is runny. Pour in half to the casserole and stir well, if it is still not thick enough add the rest and stir again. Add the parsley and stir.

Add the spinach on top and cover for a couple of minutes until wilted. Stir well and check the seasoning and serve.

Goes well with roast turnips and some green veg.

Lentil, Pumpkin, Spinach & Chickpea Soup/Dahl

250g red lentils

1700ml cold water

1 chicken or veg stock cube

1.5 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tbs olive oil

1 medium white onion, finely diced

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli finely chopped (or 2 tsp dried flakes)

200g of pumpkin/squash peeled and diced into small cubes

1 small tin chickpeas (or about 2/3 jar) rinsed

1 tbs tomato puree

Black pepper and salt

Fresh spinach (4 large handfuls) washed and chopped

Put the lentils, water, stock and turmeric in a large pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and skim off any scum that forms. (use a black pan so the turmeric doesn’t stain and don’t use wooden spoons).

Heat a frying pan on a medium heat for a few mins and add the mustard and fennel seeds, toast until they start moving/jumping around the pan. Add the olive oil, a good pinch of salt and the onion and fry until soft. Add the ginger, chilli flakes and the puree and cook for a couple of mins. 

When the lentils are cooked add the onion and spice paste to the pan with the squash and cook for another 10-15 mins until the squash is cooked through and then add the chickpeas and warm for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat, add the spinach and stir well and check the seasoning. 

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and or some natural yoghurt on top.

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.

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).

Harissa Roast Vegetable & Feta on Chickpea & Spinach

Serves 3

1 large sweet potato

4 medium turnips

1 red onion

1 desert spoon harissa pasta

1 tbs olive oil

1 jar chickpeas

1 chicken or veg stock cube

3 large hand fulls of spinach, washed and shredded washed thoroughly

1 tbs each chopped coriander and mint

Seeds from half a pomegranate 

150g feta cheese

1 small fat free yoghurt

1.5dsp lemon juice

1dsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 210ºC fan

Peel the veg. Cut the onions into wedges (in half and into 6) and the sweet potato and turnip into chunks. Put into a large bowl and mix with the harissa and olive oil. Spread out onto a flat baking tray and cook for 20 mins, remove the onion and retain and flip the veg and cook for another 10 mins.

Mix the stock cube with about 200ml of boiling water. Put the chickpeas in a pan and add the stock and warm through for a few mins on a medium heat. Once warm, mash approx 1/3 of the chickpeas to absorb the water and thicken the mix and stir in the spinach and the retained roasted red onions.

To make the dressing, mix the yoghurt with lemon juice to taste and season. Add the olive oil and stir to combine.

Plate up with the chickpea and spinach mix on the base and drizzle over some dressing. Add the roasted veg and more dressing and finish with crumbling on the feta, and sprinkling over the herbs and pomegranate seeds. 

A few seeds or chopped nut are nice sprinkled on top