Recipes

Cauliflower Steaks Roasted with Red Pepper and Olive Salsa

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Cauliflower is a much underrated vegetable. Many people recoil at the thought of the smell of cauliflower - I'm sure many can recall our parents or grandparents, or even school's over-boiled cauliflower drowned in a cheese sauce. You still find it boiled or steamed, naked and limp, in many restaurants crying out for someone to do it some justice. But there is so much more to cauliflower than the boiled soggy experience we've become accustomed to.

If you're a vegan you'll be very adept at turning this undervalued piece of veg into a masterpiece. Buffalo cauliflower wings, breakfast scramble with tofu and cauliflower, roasted whole, cauliflower hummus, cauliflower alfredo sauce, a variety of dry and wet curries, roasted cauliflower soup...the list is endless. The king is definitely roasted cauliflower. You don't get that overpowering cabbagey smell when cooking, and it is sweeter tasting. You could make a cauliflower popcorn instead of actual popcorn to snack on, and it is very easy to eat a whole roasted cauliflower in one sitting!


Cauliflower steaks on a plate with red pepper and olive salsa
This recipe is quick, simple and delicious. 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cauliflower
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 4 black olives pitted
  • small handful parsley
  • 1 tsp capers
  • ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

Instructions:
  • Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and line the baking tray with baking parchment. Slice the cauliflower into two 1-inch. Rub the paprika and 1⁄2 tbsp oil over the steaks and season. Put on the tray and roast for 15-20 mins until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, make the salsa. Chop the pepper, olives, parsley and capers, and put into a bowl and mix with the remaining oil and vinegar. Season to taste. When the steaks are cooked, spoon over the salsa and top with flaked almonds to serve.

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Baba Ganoush (Aubergine Dip)

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This is a really simple to make dish with few ingredients, but don't let that fool you, as it's incredibly difficult to stop eating! There are some who are really hesitant about eating a dip made almost entirely of aubergine, but any reservations are cast aside upon tasting its lovely smoky, creamy flavour.  The smoke flavour is what makes the aubergine the star of the show with the depth of flavour coming from smoking the skin. The more charred the aubergine is, the better. It's like hummus, kind of, only tastier and much smoother and creamier. You can serve it cold or at room temperature, but in this autumnal weather, room temperature is better suited, and it is perfect with some warm flat bread. 

A bowl filled with baba ganoush topped with parsley and drizzled in olive oil.
It doesn't need to be summer to enjoy this fabulous dish!

It is better to cook the aubergine in a barbecue (not ideal in this weather) or under a grill, but you can also use a gas ring or do it in the oven. Whatever way you do it, you want the skin to blister and char.

Ingredients:
  •          1 aubergine
  •          Juice of ½ lemon, plus a little extra
  •          1 tbsp tahini
  •          1 garlic clove, crushed
  •          1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley or chopped mint
  •          1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

BARBECUE/GAS RING
  1. Blacken the aubergines (whole) over a gas ring or barbecue, turning regularly with tongs, until completely charred and collapsed (you may wish to surround the rings with foil, as it can be messy).  Allow to Cool.
  2. Slit the aubergines lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skins. Put in a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes, or squeeze out if you're in a hurry. Season a little.
  3. In a serving bowl, stir the lemon juice into the tahini until it loosens up. Add the garlic and two-thirds of the chopped herbs, and season again to taste. Add a squeeze more lemon juice if necessary.
  4. Mash the aubergines gently with a fork, and then stir into the tahini mixture. Top with the remaining herbs and the pomegranate seeds, if using. Pour a moat of oil around the edge and serve with pitta bread or some other flat bread; or even crusty bread. You can also serve with fresh raw veggies for dipping.

OVEN METHOD
  1. Heat the oven to 220°C-230°C oven.
  2. Slice in half, lengthwise, roast flesh side down, then place on a lined sheet on an oven tray until very tender – test by piercing the skin – about 60 minutes.  The skin should be charred on the outside. Allow to cool.
  3. Follow the rest of the instructions in the barbecue method.
GRILL METHOD
  1. Prick the aubergines with a fork. Grill the aubergines until the skin is charred and blacked and the flesh feels soft when you press it (this will take approximately 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking). Allow to cool.
  2. Follow the rest of the instructions in the barbecue method.

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Patchwork Orchard Pie

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The perfect autumnal dessert. Serve with warm custard to heat you up in these colder days. If you don't have quince you can simply add more pears and apples.

An autumn dessert with quince served in a pie dish
A delicious autumnal quince orchard pie.

  • 1½kg mix of quince, cooking apples and pears, peeled, cored and sliced (e.g. 5 bramley apples, 2 pears and 2 quinces or for a little colour add some berries)
  • 25g margarine (you can use butter if you wish)
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lenthways and seeds scraped out
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g golden caster sugar, plus some for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 375g packet of sweet shortcrust pastry
  • Some almond milk (or alternative) to brush the top of the pie with.

Instructions:

  • Put the quinces in a large saucepan with the margarine, vanilla pod and seeds, cinnamon and 2 tbsp of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the apples, lemon juice and sugar. Cover again and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the pears and flour and cook with the lid off for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the flour from sticking. The fruit should be soft by now, but still keeping its shape.
  • Remove the vanilla pod and transfer the fruit into a deep pie dish (22cm). Leave to cool. 
  • Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry onto a lightly floured surface until it is about as thick as a £1 coin. Trim the edges then cut into rough triangles or squares. Brush a little milk around the edge of the dish and all over the pastry shapes. Starting from the outside, layer the pastry in a patchwork style. You can leave little gaps for the fruit to poke through when cooked. Trim overhanging edges and sprinkle with a generous amount of caster sugar (the pastry should be wet from the milk for the milk to stick to). 
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and juices bubbling over, then serve.


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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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Servings: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes


Ingredients:
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Instrutions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Lightly oil a sheet of grease-proof paper and place on an oven tray.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds.* Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the squash, face down, onto the prepared baking tray. Place in then oven and roast until tender. This should take around 35-45 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave it until it's cool enough to handle.
  5. Using a fork scrape the flesh to create long strands.
*The squash can be placed in the microwave for 2-5 minutes for easier slicing.

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How To Cook Stuffed Round Courgettes

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small red onions
  • 2 peppers (red, green or yellow)
  • 2 small round courgettes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300 grams button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 300 grams cooked lentils
  • 120 ml passata
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to sprinkle in the veggies
  • A few grinds of pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Cut the tops off the veggies and carefully scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Chop the onion and courgette flesh.
  3. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion insides, garlic and a splash of water (or oil if you prefer). Once soft add the mushrooms and fry until browned. Add the carrot and chopped courgette flesh. Cook until the carrot is tender and the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the paprika and herbs and saute for a few seconds to release the flavours. Add the lentils, passata, salt and pepper and cook for a couple more minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Sprinkle the insides of the veggies with a bit of salt and pepper and stuff with the filling. Place them in a baking dish and put their tops back on. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Check on them from time to time and if the tops start burning, either take them out or cover them with tin foil.
  6. Let cool for a couple of minutes before serving.


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