Tag Archives: pesto

Warm Roasted Beetroot, Carrot, Lentil and Goats Cheese Salad with Dill Hazelnut Pesto

25 Oct sm-91

This salad started with these beautiful organic beetroot & carrots from the market.

It’s the colours that I love, and their rusticness or is that rusticity? I couldn’t resist them anyway and wanted them both to star in something lovely. Something where they were roasted to bring out their natural sweetness.

The warm mellow sweetness of beetroot is always perfectly enhanced by the cool sharpness of a mature goat’s cheese. Enter an extremely mature goats cheese that a friend of mine Jeanne bought when we went to the Luna Mora festival in Guaro this September.

She very kindly gave me a huge wedge of it to try a few days later. I think she just wanted to get it out of her fridge to be honest, it is very stinky, but very good.

Luna Mora is held every September in the small Andalucian village of Guaro.

The festival of Luna Mora which translates as The Festival of the Moorish Moon is a celebration of Andalucia’s Muslim, Christian and Jewish history. There are colourful performance artists and hundreds of stalls line the narrow streets giving it a souk vibe. Tourists and locals flock to enjoy the spectacle and ambience.

The festival is held over two weekends and when night falls, the streets are illuminated by over 20,00 candles and lantern. It really is an unforgettable sight that creates an extremely special atmosphere and explains why nearly 50,000 people visit this festival every year.

For more information on The Festival of Luna Mora, and other things to do and places to visit in the spectacular province of Andalucia have a look at The Andalucia Diary. Andrew knows all there is to know about what to do and where to stay as well as having a beautiful holiday cottage to rent in the village of Guaro itself with breathtaking views of the Sierra de las Nieves.

So back to the food and the smelly goats cheese. This is actually two recipes merged together. Warm Roasted Vegetable & Lentil Salad from Alli at Pease Pudding and Puy Lentil Salad with Goats Cheese, Beetroot & Dill Vinaigrette from My Little Paris Kitchen.

Dill and beetroot are another classic combination that works so well. Even if you think you don’t like dill you have to try this. Dill is now my new favourite herb. I used to loathe it. But since working over the summer with an Iranian family I learnt a lot of new Persian dishes that I will be sharing shortly. And they put dill in everything, I love it.

I changed the dill vinaigrette to a pesto to make it a bit more robust and less of a salad really. It’s beautiful with hazelnuts, quite sweet but you could use walnuts or almonds, whatever you like.

Warm Roasted Beetroot & Lentil Salad with Goats Cheese & Dill Hazelnut Pesto

Serves 2-3, vegetarian, gluten-free.

  • 200 g beetroot, peeled & cut into small wedges
  • 200 g carrots, peeled & cut into batons/wedges
  • olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the prepared vegetables on two lined baking sheets (keep the carrots separate from the beetroot or they will turn pink too) drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper & thyme leaves, toss to coat and roast for about 25 minutes or until soft to the point of a knife. Depending on the size, the carrots may be cooked before the beetroot.

  • 250 g dried Puy lentils (they hold their shape when cooked and taste delicious)
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  1 sprig of thyme
  • 500 ml veg stock
  • salt & black pepper

Wash the lentils under cold water then put them in a sauce pan with the stock, bay leaf, thyme, salt & black pepper.  Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, partially covered, or until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Then drain and discard the bay leaf & thyme. Meanwhile make the dill pesto.

  • a handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • a small handful of toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • a squeeze of honey (1 /2 tsp to start with)
  •  a squeeze of lemon
  • salt & black pepper
  • olive oil
  • about 150 g goats cheese

Blend the  dill, vinegar, hazelnuts, lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper with a good glug of olive oil until you get a chunky pesto consistency. Taste and add more salt, honey, lemon juice as required. I like it quite sweet , it works nicely with the dill.

Pile some warm lentils on a plate and top with the warm roasted vegetables, pieces of goats cheese and drizzle over the dill pesto. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.

Buen Provecho!!

Chargrilled Vegetable “Sandwich” with Feta, Basil and Pine Nuts

16 Oct Chargrilled Vegetable & Feta "Sandwich"

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a sandwich without the bread for a while. Alli at Pease Pudding recreated a version of this that she had for lunch in a cafe.

She lives in New Zealand and every time I visit her blog it makes me want to visit New Zealand even more. The choice of food apart from everything else is inspiring. One of her latest posts is a breakfast she had in another cafe which was Baba Ghanoush topped with a Poached Egg (heaven), that is definitely next on my list. Maybe for brunch tomorrow, if I can wait that long…. 

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Warm Potato Salad with Asparagus, Broad Beans and Hazelnut Mint Pesto

28 Apr Ingredients

This is a great alternative to all those rich mayonnaise based potato salads. It is spring on a plate. Fresh, seasonal, delicious and completely guilt free. I served it warm as a side dish with dinner and then cold for lunch the next day. Both ways were lovely. It would be great for a barbecue or buffet too.

I bought some beautiful baby new potatoes from the market along with fresh asparagus & broad beans. This formed the base of my salad now I just needed  a dressing. My mint plant on the roof terrace is growing like mad with all the rain so I had to use it. A basil pesto would work really well too but I think the mint with the new potatoes is heavenly. The hazelnuts add a slight sweetness which rounds off the flavours and brings it all together.

Warm Potato Salad with Asparagus, Broad Beans & Hazelnut Mint Pesto

serves 2 -3 as a side dish, vegan, gluten-free

  • 300 gr baby new potatoes, cut into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1 bundle fresh asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut in half or thirds
  • 200 gr broad beans
  • 50 gr toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped plus extra for garnish
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh mint (keep mint stalks) plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 finely chopped small spring onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a grinding of black pepper

Put the potatoes and mint stalks in a large pan of cold, salted water, bring to the boil & cook until just tender. Add the asparagus & broad beans to the potatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and remove the mint stalks.

Meanwhile make the pesto. Process the hazelnuts, mint, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper to a paste. Taste and add more salt if necessary. If you need to add more liquid use olive oil, lemon juice or a bit of veg stock.

If you like you can peel the broad beans at this point if the skins are tough and you want a brighter green colour. Tip the potatoes, beans, asparagus and spring onions into a bowl, pour over the pesto and mix everything together well. Check seasoning again.

Serve straight away sprinkled with some chopped hazelnuts and mint leaves or store, covered in the fridge until about 10 minutes before you want to serve it. Let it come to room temperature then garnish as above.

This is a really elegant, flavourful side dish that can be adapted to what is in season or what you have in the fridge. Green beans would be nice if you don’t have asparagus and try swapping the mint/hazelnut for parsley/almond pesto.

It has just occurred to me that this is the perfect dish to take to a Royal Wedding party tomorrow. Everyone seems to be watching it on TV at someone’s house and taking something for the buffet. I must be the only person who won’t be watching it. It’s The Washer Up’s only day off so we are going out and getting our hair cut instead…. It’s not like I won’t see the dress or anything. I’m sure there’ll be nothing else on the TV for days……..

Good Luck Kate, you’re going to need it!!

Mediterranean Roasted Veg with Basil Bean Puree and Toasted Pine Nuts

15 Apr Mediterranean Roasted Veg

It has definitely decided to skip Spring here and go straight to Summer, at least for the moment. It always rains at Easter though, every year, without fail. Just as the re-enactment of the crucifixion gets going. Poor Jesus (a very honoured young man from the town) up on that cross in the pouring rain. It all adds to the dramatic effect, I suppose. I’ll be following the processions and documenting all that is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Alhaurin next weekend. You’ll get to see some photos of the most important date in the town’s religious calendar and hopefully feel some of the atmosphere and theatre of it all. It really is not to be missed.

Anyway this pre- Easter heat wave has got me craving summery food and, to me, there is nothing that says Summer more than Mediterranean roasted vegetables. I love roasted veg, I don’t know why I don’t cook them more often. It is easy, packed full of flavour tastes like sunshine on a plate. You can roast them with whatever herbs and spices you like. I went for the classic garlic and rosemary because I have a rosemary plant on my terrace that is growing like mad at the moment. I added a pinch of dried chilli flakes too because I think it brings out all the other flavours but if you don’t like chilli, leave it out.

I went for the all time Top 3 (in my opinion) summer Mediterranean vegetables. Red pepper, aubergine and courgette with an onion (red would be nice) thrown in to bring it all together. I roasted them on 3 trays all at the same time. One for the pepper & onion, one for the courgette and one for the aubergine. They take about 30 – 35 minutes to get nicely browned. I put some whole unpeeled garlic cloves on the tray to roast as well for about 10 – 15 minutes. I love roasted garlic it’s sweet, mild and smoky and tastes amazing in my favourite butterbean mash.

I bought  a big bunch of beautifully scented basil too. The smell of fresh basil screams summer to me and I had an idea to make a basil pesto bean mash without the cheese, cream or butter (because of the detox).  What I ended up doing was a kind of deconstructed pesto. I blended the five roasted garlic cloves with a tin of butterbeans loads of sliced basil leaves some lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. I decided to leave the pine nuts out and use them toasted as a garnish to give an added crunch. Who knew pesto without the parmesan was so good? Because nobody told me. It’s a revelation, totally delicious and in no way lacking in flavour in the absence of cheese. If you don’t believe me try this recipe, it’s my new favourite thing. Pesto, no parmesan is my friend…

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables

serves 2, vegan, gluten-free

  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded & cut into wide strips
  • 1 red onion, peeled & cut into wedges
  • 1 large courgette, thinly sliced, lengthways
  • 1 aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or more)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 pinches of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 5 or 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic for the bean mash

Preheat oven to 200 C. Put the sliced veg on three lined baking trays. The pepper & onion on one, courgette on the second and aubergine on the third.

In a small bowl, combine the crushed cloves of garlic, chopped rosemary leaves, chilli flakes, olive oil, salt & black pepper. Brush a little of this mixture over each piece of veg, you  may need to add more oil. 

If you are making the roasted garlic for the bean mash put 5 or 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic on one of the trays and remove from the oven after about 15 minutes until softened.

Roast the veg in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until slightly charred and tender.

 Roasted Garlic & Basil Pesto Butter Bean Puree with Toasted Pine Nuts

serves 2 vegan, gluten-free

  • 5 or 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled, roasted (see above)
  • 1 tin/jar 400 gr cooked butter beans (or any white bean), drained & rinsed
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 3 or 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 – 20 large basil leaves, stacked, rolled up and finely sliced
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • basil leaves, stacked, rolled and finely sliced for garnish

 Put the rinsed & drained beans into a bowl or food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into the beans. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the pine nuts and blend to a smooth creamy puree.

If it is too thick add more olive oil or a splash or stock/water.  Taste for seasoning, you may need more salt, lemon juice or basil.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, shaking occasionally, until slightly browned. Keep your eye on them or they will burn. When you are ready to serve heat the bean puree in a saucepan.

If you want to make pesto, no parmesan replace the butterbeans with a handful of toasted pine nuts, blend and adjust seasoning to taste. It’s lovely on baby new potatoes…..

Serve a big spoonful of the deliciously creamy bean mash next to a twisted pile of the Mediterranean roasted veg. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and shredded basil leaves. Eat and remember, this is good for you. It tastes so good you’d think it was bad….

Red Peppers are super-rich in vitamin C and beta carotene, both powerful antioxidants with anticancer effects. The aubergines & courgettes are rich in potassium, which helps to balance fluid levels in the body.

Moment of Gratitude or “Things that made me smile today”….

A herd of goats blocking the road…

Buen Fin de Semana!!

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