Posts tagged ‘spinach’

October 3, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Spiced halloumi with a warm Puy lentil, spinach and beetroot salad

Warm salads are the perfect choice for months when the seasons are changing. Maybe it’s the ability to take some veg from one season and lighten it up, or load it down, with some from the next.

This salad – I say salad, though it’s almost a stew, is a Denis Cotter recipe from For the Love of Food – a book we’ve used a few times in this blog. See it here, it’s great. Oh, and go and visit Denis’s restaurant in Cork – it won’t let you down. Have a look, here.

So, I won’t give the recipe in full but, basically… the slices of halloumi are marinated briefly in chillis, cumin and lime zest; the beetroot roasted, with a sprinkle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar; the lentils cooked with sprigs of thyme and garlic; serve with lentils on a bed of spinach with the halloumi on top.

And can you spot our variation? Yep, we had no spinach so we steamed some greens and ran them through the lentils. Twas fine indeed.

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June 26, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Broccoli, Squash and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Friday 10 June

Something of a ‘superfood’ salad this, and a fallback for us on many an occasion. Oh and yes, you’re right, there’s a beetroot version of this somewhere in the lush green hinterland of this blog. Search it out.

We roast small chunks of butternut squash, lightly steam some broccoli, let it all cool and mix together with leaves, goat’s cheese and some toasted seeds. Or you could toast some walnuts or almonds instead. Oh and add a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice dressing. That’s it. Go, make.

June 7, 2011

Sweet pea season

Fresh peas, picked from the garden, breaking open the pod, scraping out the peas, stuffing them in your mouth, chewing he sweet juice from the pod… nothing better.

Too often bagged supermarket fresh peas are old and bitter and, while they’re okay for Muttar Paneer, frozen peas just aren’t the same taste of early summer.

I don’t think many people would associate London-based chef and restaurateur Mark Hix with lovely spring veg – I mean, he might cook it, but only alongside the meaty surf and turf that he normally dishes up. And yet, there he is in the Independent with some rather lovely recipes for chilled pea and fennel soup, an amazing sounding deep-fried pea pods with minted pea mayonnaise, and a must-try pea and spinach curry. Go see here. And if you try it out, let us know how it goes.

April 12, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Spring risotto

Monday 4 April

I was inspired by a feature at rufusguide.wordpress.com to make a risotto and, what with it being Spring, some light, fresh greens seemed the thing to add. I love a risotto with in-season British asparagus and peas – all just al dente so you get a little crunch among the nutty grains of rice and oozing, savoury sauciness. I added some baby spinach leaves to this risotto, too. Rufus gives a pretty good assessment of how to make a good risotto here. I’ll just add that no one wants a risotto the texture of rice pudding, so don’t overcook it. Neither should it be claggy – please don’t bake your risotto as Delia Smith does. The grains should be loose but still have, I think, the tiniest bit of bite to them and, while creamy, it shouldn’t be sweet – think savoury and season accordingly but carefully. A rich flavour needs develop in the liquor that thickly surrounds the grains – this will usually be a combination of olive oil, butter and parmesan, added as the rice settles after cooking. And lastly, in most cases, don’t add all your vegetables (whether asparagus or mushrooms or tomatoes, among many) as the rice starts to cook. Greens can be added near the end; mushrooms – for a mushroom risotto – can be pan fried first and scattered on top to serve, as long as you cook the rice in a stock made with dried mushrooms; tomatoes too can be run through the rice at a late stage – so roast them perhaps, with thyme or rosemary, or make a small tomato sauce to stir in. The options are endless. And lastly, for the love of food, please use proper risotto rice. Long grain rices and paella rices are all very wonderful, but no use whatsoever for risotto.