Novelty Vegetables

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I seem to have found my way back to the kitchen lately.  I’ve dusted off my camera and found a little inspiration again.  It helps that there is so much crazy good food to be eaten at this time of year.  I’m literally coming back from the market sinking under the weight of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Ok, my husband is sinking under the weight.  I pretty much carry nothing apart from the small human I’m overcooking.  41 weeks, come on!

I was instantly charmed and intrigued by the purple cauliflower I saw at the market last week.  Obviously I had to buy one immediately and take pictures of it with my phone because that’s the kind of weird stuff that amuses me.  Purple cauliflower tastes much the same as regular cauliflower but I was pleased that it retains its colour while cooking.  A little research revealed that it also has added health benefits containing extra levels of antioxidants.

I was roasting some new potatoes for lunch so I decided to throw some cauliflower in with those.  It made a great side dish.  I’ll definitely be having my husband schlep one home from the market again.
Spicy Roasted New Potatoes and Purple Cauliflower
Serves 2 as a side dish.
New potatoes chopped in to bite size pieces
½ head cauliflower broken down in to bite size florets
For the spice mix: I tend not to measure so add or subtract amounts according to your taste.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon of cumin,
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7.  Line a baking tray with parchment.
Place the new potatoes and cauliflower in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.  As soon as the water boils remove from the heat, drain and allow the vegetables to steam dry for a couple of minutes.
Mix the spices, thyme, olive oil and honey together in a bowl and add the vegetables.  Combine until the vegetables are well coated.  Pour the vegetables into your prepared baking tray.  Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes turning occasionally until golden brown.

Lamb Ragù

Sunday, 17 August 2014

After months with scarcely a blog post two have come along in close proximity, much like buses apparently.  While I’m here twiddling my thumbs and trying to be patient I thought I’d share my ragù recipe with you.  According to Nigella, ragout is French and ragù is Italian.  I tend to think of this version as the latter.  I have no doubt it’s far from the traditional recipe but it’s one that has evolved for me over the years and I like it just the way it is, simple and easy to throw together.  Partly because I like to buy organic meat which is expensive I tend to add lentils as this means I can use less meat to make the pennies and the meal stretch a little further.  Lentils also add a good fibre element.  I cook them in the sauce along with everything else for a long time and you can barely notice they are there if hiding lentils is your thing.

Serves 2, easily doubled
The measurements here are approximate.  I tend not to measure anything but just throw it in ad hoc.
200g lamb mince (I like to use organic lamb mince)
30g (two handfuls) Lentils (either du puy, brown or green), rinsed
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 ½ tablespoons
1 small onion or large shallot finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 carrots peeled and sliced
½ a large fennel bulb, fronds removed, diced
1 generous teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon tomato puree
400ml Passata
Water as necessary

In a non stick pan brown the lamb mince in a dash of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
In a sauté pan fry the onion in extra virgin olive oil until translucent.  Add the carrots and fennel and continue to cook over a low heat until the vegetables begin to soften.  Next add the garlic and the rosemary.  Add the browned lamb mince to the pan and then add the tomato puree.  Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the passata and a little water.  Finally add the lentils and give everything a good stir.  Leave to simmer for 1 ½ hours and add water if the mixture begins to look a little dry.  Serve over your favourite pasta with grated cheese on top.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

We are awaiting a big event around here at the moment. Part of the reason for the silence on this here little blog.  Cooking and taking photos hasn't been much on my mind lately.  So all I can offer is a few random photos to share with you from this summer.

The only cake I've made this summer and I burnt it!  Blackberry and buckwheat adapted from this 

Eating a lot of ragù.


Eggs for breakfast.

Re-learning how to knit.  I don’t know what it is at the moment.

Smoothie: frozen banana, blueberries, peaches, chia seeds, almond milk, sheep yoghurt.

Afternoon jaunt to Watts Gallery.

Cooking millet on the stove for my lunch.

Eating millet with roasted veggies.

Shots of a derelict farm on a favourite walk.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s A to Z of summer recipes from the Guardian. Inspired by lunch at my brother’s house.  The flavours going on here are out of this world.

Summer toastie: goats cheese, peach and avocado on gluten free bread. Also favourite napkin.  About the only thing I could afford in the Anthropologie sale.

Obsessed with columns at Polesden Lacey.

Cherries, can’t get enough.

Breakfast: peaches, blueberries, sheep yoghurt, quinoa pops, toasted almonds.