Tag Archives: lemon

Lavender, Lemon and Honey Soft Oat Bars

9 Mar

We have a beautiful lavender on our roof terrace. I sometimes pick some to use as table settings. I wrap 3 or 4 stems with natural garden raffia and put it on a white serviette.

I store these in a draw with the serviettes so they always smell nice. After a while they do dry out, which isn’t a problem, but it got me thinking about cooking with lavender. When we had the restaurant we had a lamb dish on the menu with Lavender, Honey and Garlic. It always sold really well for an unusual dish.

I saw a recipe for Lavender and Lemon Pound Cake on Kitchen Operas which caught my eye. It looked beautiful and I have a huge bowl of lemons on my kitchen table. This was definitely the direction I wanted to go in but I didn’t feel like making a cake. The Washer Up likes to take sweet things to work to share with the others so when I saw a recipe for Honey Lavender Oatmeal Squares at The Bee & the Fruit in the Kitchen I decided to combine the lemon into that recipe and see how it turned out.

Lavender, Lemon & Honey Oat Bars

makes 9 – 12 mini bars/squares, vegetarian, sugar-free. Adapted from The Bee & The Fruit in the Kitchen & Tartelette

  • 75 gr wholemeal flour
  • 60 gr rolled oats
  • 50 gr almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds (make sure they are untreated)
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 55ml greek yogurt
  • 115 gr honey
  • the zest of 1 lemon (washed)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • a few drops of almond extract (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 180C and line a small baking tin with baking paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a jug and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together well with a wooden spoon. Tip the mixture into the lined baking tin and pat it down so it is even. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into 9 or 12 mini bars.

As you can see there is no butter or sugar in this recipe. The sweetness comes from the honey which makes this a healthy, not overly sweet, treat. The lemon & lavender work really well together as a flavour and aroma combination making these perfect for a grab & go breakfast or a mid afternoon pick me up snack.


The Washer Up said he prefers his snacks with sugar in but the other guys weren’t complaining. It’s funny to think of a group of builders snacking on healthy Lavender & Lemon Oat Bars with their afternoon cup of tea………….

These oat bars are featured in a sweet treats round up hosted by Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookies. Just click on the Sweets for a Saturday badge above and have a look around at some of the most delicious sweet things posted this week.

Battered Halloumi with Mashy Peas, Tartare Sauce and Spicy Lemon Pickle

6 Mar

 This recipe came from a new book The Washer Up bought for me called Terre A Terre. Terre A Terre is a vegetarian restaurant in Brighton and the book has some amazingly creative, unusual recipes for dishes that you will have never seen anywhere else. Their aim is to challenge the image of vegetarian food and push the boundaries of conventional perceptions by creating gourmet vegetarian cuisine.

This recipe caught my eye mainly because of the Halloumi cheese. In case you didn’t know I love Halloumi. Halloumi is a Cypriot sheep’s milk cheese that is special because it cooks rather than melts. Because of this you can grill it or fry it and it doesn’t lose it’s shape. I usually cook my Halloumi slices in a dry pan and then marinade them in olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs & spices. You can see the full recipe here.

This recipe is a vegetarian play on the traditional English Friday night take-away dish: Battered Fish with Mushy Peas & Tartare Sauce you would get from the local fish & chip shop.  They had me at battered Halloumi, but the addition of minty mushy peas really sealed it for me. The tartare sauce recipe is mine. I don’t like capers or gherkins (cornichons) so I substituted them for pickled onions, which I love, and it worked! I also added some coriander as well as parsley. The result is better than any tartare sauce you’ve ever tried, I promise. The addition of the nori seaweed is from the book and is, I have to say, genius. Nori seaweed is what you use make sushi rolls and the flavour of the sea it gives to the sauce is so spot on, once you’ve tried it you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before.

The “mashy peas” came about by happy accident. I halved the recipe for the minty pea puree from the book which was for 6 people but forgot to halve the butter. This resulted in a very buttery puree (above). To resolve this (I didn’t have any more peas to add) I decided to add some mashed potato to the puree. I had seen Jamie Oliver do something similar with broccoli and peas in mash. Any excuse to include mash really.

The spicy lemon pickle (they call it “Yemeni Lemony Pickle” which is such a cool name) is just the right mix of sweet, spicy and sour and is a fabulous alternate dip for the Halloumi with the creamy tartare sauce. You could always just serve this with a wedge of lemon instead if you’re not up for making the pickle as well. I made it because I had a large fruit bowl full of lemons and was making some preserved lemons as well. I will post the recipe for the preserved lemons when they are ready.

The original dish in the book also serves pickled quail’s eggs and vodka grape tomatoes with this. As fantastic as they sound it would be a lot of work if you were to make everything. I was really happy with it as it was but am intrigued about the pickled quail’s eggs!  This book makes you appreciate and understand how much work goes into each component part of each dish at this restaurant and definitely makes me want to go the next time I am in Brighton.

Each recipe has 4 or 5 different elements to it but you can pick and choose as to how many you do, like I did. It is really inspiring and aspirational.

The Halloumi is soaked in buttermilk for several hours or overnight so do this in the morning or the night before.

Battered Halloumi with Minty Mashy Peas, Tartare Sauce & Yemeni Lemony Pickle Recipe

Serves 2 -3, vegetarian.  Adapted from Terre A Terre by Amanda Powley & Phillip Naylor

For the Halloumi

  • 1 pack 250 gr Halloumi cheese
  • 250 ml buttermilk or 125 ml yoghurt mixed with 125 ml milk
  • plain flour for coating
  • sunflower oil to deep fry

For the Batter

  • 75 gr plain flour
  •  35 gr self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 120 ml cold water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • salt & black pepper

Cut the Halloumi in to thin slices (less than 1/2 cm) then cut them into triangles (See photo above). Cut the triangles with the natural break of the Halloumi. Put the buttermilk or yoghurt/milk mixture in to a dish (I used an empty1 litre ice cream tub) and submerge the Halloumi in the liquid to soak, overnight or, for several hours in the fridge.

To make the batter whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl to make a batter the consistency of double cream. Adjust water/flour if necessary. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook the Halloumi.

Just before serving heat the oil in a wok or deep fryer to hot (180 C).  Put some plain flour in a shallow dish and remove the Halloumi & batter from the fridge. Lift the Halloumi pieces, one at a time, out of the buttermilk and let it drip off slightly. Put it in the flour and flip it to coat, then put it in the batter. Open a window unless you want your whole house to smell of deep-frying. When the oil has reached temperature, lift the Halloumi out of the batter and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Fry two triangles at a time. It should puff up and start to turn golden straight away. If not your oil is not hot enough. Turn the halloumi with a slotted spoon to cook on both sides. This should only take a minute or two to be crisp & golden on both sides. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

For the Mashy Peas

  • 200 gr frozen peas
  • a big handful of mint, keep the stalks & chop the leaves
  • a big handful of parsley, keep the stalks & chop the leaves
  • 50 gr unsalted butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered and put in a pan of cold salted water
  • salt & black pepper

Bring the pan of salted water with the peeled quartered potatoes to the boil, turn down slightly and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, in a small pan of boiling, salted water, cook the peas with the herb stalks until tender (about 3 minutes).  Drain the cooked peas and throw away the stalks. Blend the peas with the butter and chopped herbs, season with salt & pepper and taste.

Drain the potatoes and mash them well in the pan. Heat up the pea puree and add this to the mashed potatoes, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Add more salt & pepper & taste again. Just heat through in a pan when ready to serve.

For the Tartare Sauce

  • 1 nori seaweed sheet
  • a handful of coriander & parsley, chopped
  • about 4 heaped tbsp good mayonnaise
  •  1 or 2 pickled onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • fresh lemon juice about 2 tbsp
  • salt & black pepper

Put the nori sheet under the grill for a few seconds on each side to crisp up. Keep an eye on it, it burns! Crumble or chop the nori into the processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until incorporated but still a bit chunky. Season with a little salt (the seaweed is salty) and pepper stir in and taste. You may want to add more lemon juice or pickled onion. It’s up to your taste buds. Store in the fridge.

For the Yemeni Chilli Paste (for the lemon pickle)

makes 1 small jar

  • 4 red chillis, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • a big handful of fresh coriander, leaves & stalks
  • salt
  • olive oil

Blend all the ingredients together, drizzling in olive oil until a paste consistency is reached. Pour into a clean jar and cover the top with olive oil. Will keep in the fridge for at least a month.

For the Lemon Pickle (makes 1 jar)

  • 4 lemons, segmented
  • 100 ml fresh lemon juice
  • peel from 3 preserved lemons (I didn’t have any but I have made some now)!
  • 150 gr caster sugar
  • 3 or 4 tsp yemen paste, recipe above, or more if you dare
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Segment the lemons by cutting off the peel & white pith, from top to bottom all the way around (See photo above). Then cut out the lemon segments in between each membrane. Put the lemon segments from 3 of the lemons into a blender and reserve the segments of the fourth for later. Add the lemon juice, peel from preserved lemons if using, to the blender and liquidize until smooth. Put this in a small pan with the sugar and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Boil rapidly for two minutes then stir in your Yemeni chilli paste. Put in the fridge to cool. When cool stir in the reserved lemon segments and chopped mint. This is now ready to serve. Store in the fridge. This would be a great sauce or baste for grilled fish or chicken as well.

 To serve, warm your plates and put your lemon pickle (or lemon wedge if you are going for the easier option) and tartare sauce in their dishes on the plate ready. Heat the frying oil. Heat the mashy peas over a low heat with a little veg stock to loosen if necessary. Keep an eye on it while you fry off the Halloumi. Drain the halloumi on kitchen paper and pile them on the plates with a big spoon (or quinelle) of the mashy peas.

This may sound like a lot of work  but it’s so worth it. Soaking the Halloumi really brings out the flavour and softens the texture. The mashy peas are to die for and the lemony pickle is perfect if you can be bothered. The Washer Up said the Halloumi was better than battered fish! I will definitely be trying some more recipes from this book in the future and would recommend it to any creative, confident cooks out there who are looking for something different, delicious, challenging and inspiring. I’m going to have a go at the pickled quail’s eggs next time, I promise!!

Greek Style Tomato and Bean Soup with lemon, mint and parsley

16 Feb

 Lemons are one of my kitchen staples. I couldn’t cook without them. Their juice adds a zing to any curry that lifts all the other flavours. A squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of good olive oil is all you need for the best salad dressing. The zest gives a brightness to cakes and cookies that could otherwise be too sweet. And no paella (vegetarian or not) would be complete without those sunny little wedges to spritz over as you serve.

If you taste a dish just before serving and think that there’s something missing, that it’s not quite right. Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice, add a pinch more salt and taste it again. The dish will come alive.

I always make sure I have a bowl of lemons in my kitchen, it makes me feel safe and the aroma of freshly squeezed or zested lemons makes the kitchen smell fresh and clean.  Lemons are best friends with another of my kitchen staples, fresh herbs. If you have lemons and fresh parsley, coriander, mint or basil you are seconds away from making an okay dish into an outstanding one. An uninspiring bowl of pasta with tomato sauce can be transformed with the last-minute addition of lemon juice and fresh basil. Any curry, South East Asian, Caribbean or Indian, would be dreadfully incomplete without the final squeezing over of fresh lemon juice (or it’s more exotic cousin, the lime) and a large handful of fresh coriander.

Lemon, mint and parsley are the stars of this Greek style soup. Mint and parsley are widely used in Greek and Middle Eastern cooking. The freshness of mint with the saltiness of a Greek Feta or Cypriot Halloumi cheese is a match made in heaven, squeeze over some fresh lemon juice and you have arrived…..

Greek Style Tomato & Bean Soup with Lemon, Mint & Parsley

serves 4 – 6, vegetarian/ vegan without the Feta

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed and sliced (you can use a small onion)
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/4 or 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 jar/tin cooked butter beans about 400 gr
  • 1/2 jar/tin kidney beans 200 gr
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • 1 lemon
  • a splash of white wine (optional)
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • about a litre of veg stock 
  • 10 squares of frozen spinach or 1 bag of fresh (about 300 gr)
  • 100 gr quinoa (or orzo, rice, small pasta)
  • 75 gr Greek Feta cheese
  • 10 or 12 fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • a handful of black olives (if you like them, I don’t)

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large deep saucepan. Add the onions/leeks, celery, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chilli flakes and dried oregano. Season with salt & black pepper and cook until softened about 4 or 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add a splash of wine and stir in the shredded cabbage, butter beans, kidney beans and tinned tomatoes. Zest the lemon, add it to pot with half of the juice and the tomato puree. Add the veg stock, season well with salt & black pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down & simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Add in the quinoa or pasta, olives and the frozen spinach (if using fresh stir it through a couple of minutes before serving just to wilt). Cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until the quinoa/pasta/rice is cooked.

Just before serving squeeze  the rest of the lemon juice into the pot or serve some wedges on the side. Serve the soup in warmed bowls topped with some crumbled Feta, sprinkle over the chopped mint & parsley and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil…….

You can make this soup with whatever beans you have in your cupboard. White beans and chickpeas would be good. I had some cooked quinoa in the fridge so I added it in. It may not be authentic but the texture worked and it’s high in protein which is great for vegetarian dishes. Just make sure you use the dried oregano (a key Greek seasoning) as well as the fresh mint, parsley, lemon juice and Greek Feta and it will be delicious………….

My Big Fat Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi

11 Jan

If you’ve never tried Halloumi cheese before, buy some. I promise you its delicious. It’s a Cypriot sheep’s milk cheese and I would go as far as to say it is my favourite cheese. Even saying that makes me feel bad about Feta. I love Feta too it’s just that Halloumi is more difficult to get over here. So, when I do see some, I buy 3 blocks because I know they will sell out quickly and not get any back in for weeks. I think it’s a case of “absence makes the heart grow fonder“. Does that apply to cheese too? I think Feta suffers from being slightly more (dare I say it) common. Now I feel really awful.

The best thing about Halloumi is it doesn’t melt, it cooks. This means you can grill it on a dry pan or griddle and serve it as you would chicken like the Grilled Halloumi Sandwich  that I have posted before. The texture is actually quite meaty when it’s cooked and its salty flavour stands up really well to loads of fresh herbs & lemon juice. This salad is the perfect backdrop from which your Halloumi can shine. In the interest of fairness and equality Foil Baked Feta would be a great alternative if you can’t get hold of any Halloumi…..

Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 1 pack halloumi 240gr sliced into 1/2cm slices
  • 1 big tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber diced
  • 1/2 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • a handful of black olives (I left them out because I don’t like them)
  • a handful of rocket
  • 1 little gem lettuce heart, cut into quarters, lengthways
  • sea salt
  • 1 lemon
  • a handful of chopped coriander or parsley. Stalks as well.
  • a handful of chopped mint
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red chilli (deseeded & chopped) optional
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • coriander/parsley leaves for garnish

Put the little gem wedges on the plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, lemon juice & a little sea salt. Put the tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, olives, oregano & half the fresh herbs in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil &  a good squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt & pepper and set aside. In a shallow dish large enough to hold the Halloumi slices mix together about 4 tbsp olive oil the juice of half the lemon, cumin, sumac, chilli, black pepper and the rest of the fresh herbs.

Heat a non stick frying pan or griddle to hot. (Don’t add any oil). Put the Halloumi slices in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. When the halloumi is browned put the slices into the dish with the marinade and cover it in the marinade. (You may need to add more oil/lemon juice). When all of the Halloumi is in the marinade add the rocket to the tomato salad and toss together with you hands. Pile this on top of the little gem wedges then arrange your Halloumi slices on top and around the salad. Pour over the remaining marinade and serve garnished with the coriander/parsley leaves.

You could also serve some toasted pita wedges on the side to soak up the delicious marinade juices. This is a dish you could serve to hardened meat eaters and they wouldn’t notice it was vegetarian. It’s so good, please try it!

Roasted Squash, Red Onion and Quinoa Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

4 Jan

This little squash growing on the ground on one of the farms where we walk the dog was the inspiration for a quinoa (keen-wah) salad I made for lunch yesterday. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. It is so highly regarded because of its nutritional value, having a high protein content, essential amino acids and fibre. 

This is the first time I have cooked with Quinoa. After all the indulgence over Christmas this is my attempt at healthy eating. I roasted the squash & red onion the night before for dinner and had some left over to put in this salad. Make sure you season the quinoa well it soaks up lots of flavour…

Roasted Squash, Red Onion & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

serves 3 or 4, vegetarian

  • 1/3 squash or pumpkin about 500 gr cut into 1 cm dice
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (wedges)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa about 200 gr
  • 1 cup water 250 ml
  • 1 cup veg stock 250 ml
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful of chopped pistachios (I used walnuts but pistachios would be better)
  • a handful of sultanas

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 0r 3 tbsp tahini
  • the juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water from the kettle (maybe more)
  • 1/ tsp salt

First roast the vegetables. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the squash cubes & red onion wedges on a lined baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil & balsamic vinegar, sprinkle over the salt, pepper, chilli flakes & rosemary and toss together with your hands to coat the veg. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven & leave to cool.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa, water, veg stock, salt & pepper in a medium saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. You may need to add more liquid. It is done when you can see the curly swirl in each grain. Fluff up with a fork, leave to cool and toss with the squash, onions, pistachios & sultanas. Check for seasoning.

Make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, zest & olive oil. Add the hot water & salt and continue whisking until you get the desired consistency. Add more hot water/oil/lemon juice if you need to. Pour half of the dressing over the quinoa salad and mix to coat evenly.

Serve the salad at room temperature with some extra tahini dressing on the side….. You could also crumble over some feta or goat’s cheese for extra flavour.

Enjoy!

  

  

 

“When life hands you lemons…”

30 Dec

“…..Make Lemon Curd”

It was mandarins, now its lemons. They are everywhere, people are giving them away. That’s how we came to have a huge bag full. The lemons obviously like the rain..

I would usually make lemonade but it’s not really the weather for it. I’m sure it won’t be long before the sun comes out again but until then its going to be lemon curd. The mandarin jam is nearly finished so I need something else to spread on my morning panettone. The second panettone I made came out the same as the first (a bit like a giant teacake). It tastes great but the electric went off half way through cooking it again so it didn’t rise very much. I’m not making it anymore I’m obviously jinxed Panettone-wise. And anyway, as my friend Tara said “that’s why people buy them”! I wouldn’t usually agree but on this occasion I admit defeat. Luckily they are all reduced now in the sale after Christmas…

Lemon Curd Recipe

makes about 1 & 1/2 jars (double it to make 3 jars, obviously!) I only had 2 jars, vegetarian

  • grated zest & juice of 3 small lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gr caster sugar
  • 115 gr room temperature unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients and put on a medium high heat. Whisk continuously until thickened about 5 – 8 minutes. Lower the heat to minimum and simmer, whisking for another minute. Remove from the heat and pour into hot sterilized jars (just put them through the dishwasher or fill with boiling water from the kettle and tip out). Seal immediately, leave to cool then store in the fridge.

Serve on hot toasted bread (or panettone). They’re reduced at the moment!!

Enjoy….

    

Artichoke, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto

27 Nov

 

The artichokes growing where we walk the dog are looking pretty ready and they are a really good price in the market now so I bought a couple. I have never eaten artichoke before let alone cooked with one so I was a little nervous about preparing them- it looks complicated!

The artichoke globes are so pretty when you buy them like green & purple prehistoric looking flowers. It seems a real shame to pull all  the leaves off when you want to cook them.

This is how the artichokes start out but by the time you have cleaned them down to the hearts, you are not left with much. You can understand why they are expensive to buy in jars. If you want to know how to clean an artichoke look here.

I would definitely recommend buying more than two! I thought one each would be plenty for a risotto but you don’t get left with much so I added some mushrooms to bulk it out a bit. The artichokes get soaked in lemon water to stop them discolouring so I decided to follow that flavour through in the risotto as well. The combination of artichoke, mushroom & lemon worked really well, I added some fresh parsley too..

Artichoke, Mushroom & Lemon Risotto

Serves 2 Vegetarian

  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • at least 2 artichokes (4 would be better) you could use some from a jar of hearts.
  • a handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lemon 1/2 zested & then juiced
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 125 ml white wine or sherry
  • about 1 litre veg stock
  • 2 big handfuls of arborio rice (I used brown shortgrain)
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • about 100 gr manchego cheese (or parmesan) grated

When you have prepared your artichokes (see above) put them in a bowl of water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium low heat for about 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Chop up your artichoke hearts, add them to the pan with the mushrooms and a spoonful of the stock and cook until the chokes are tender about 5-8 minutes, add a bit more stock if it dries up.

Turn the heat up, add the rice and lemon zest & stir to coat the rice. After a minute or so add the wine and leave it to absorb into the rice. Season with salt & pepper.

Meanwhile put the veg stock in a small pan and bring to the boil the turn it down to a simmer. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice, stir or swirl until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until each ladle has been absorbed. About 18-20 minutes.

When the rice is just cooked turn off the heat, add the other 1/2 lemon juice, the chopped parsley and the grated cheese. Stir to combine, put the lid on and leave it for 2 minutes.

Taste for seasoning then serve in warmed bowls with extra cheese & parsley garnish

If you are lucky enough to have some, crumble over some Lancashire cheese, so delicious with it and the lemon really highlights the flavour of the artichokes. This was my first attempt cooking with artichokes and it won’t be my last but I will definitely buy more next time, or maybe a jar of hearts!!

We had some risotto left over as I always make too much. I like to do this , it means you can get creative for lunch with the leftovers. We had some lovely long green peppers in the fridge that were just crying out to be stuffed, I added a little chopped green chilli to the risotto for a little heat and piled the mix into the halved and deseeded peppers.

I crumbled over some Lancashire cheese but you can use whatever you have, Feta or Parmesan would be good. Then sprinkle with a few breadcrumbs, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 200 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the peppers are collapsing slightly and the cheese & breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Serve garnished with lime wedges to squeeze over and some fresh coriander or parsley. The lime juice brings all the flavours back to life, enhances the green chilli and sends it down Mexico way… Enjoy!

 

Blueberry and Lemon Tartlets

2 Nov

It has been a while since I posted a dessert recipe and I wanted to make something gorgeous with the blueberries that were in danger of going off in my fridge. The craving I had for fruit over the summer has suddenly gone and cooler evenings have replaced the stiffling heat. My stomach is now craving soups, comfort foods and I have a yearning to make pretty afternoon teas. Although I still haven’t bought a vintage three tiered cake stand its only because I haven’t found the right one, a vintage jade green china with pretty handpainted flowers, slightly faded glory. This only exists in my mind, I think, unless anyone knows differently…..

I decided not to go down the blueberry muffin route, too Starbucks! But I do remember making some lovely lemon & blueberry muffins a while ago with a pinch of ground cloves that worked really well so I’ll try those flavours in a tart. The recipe below includes The Washer Up’s sweet pastry recipe but you can buy a precooked pastry case if you like.

Blueberry & Lemon Tartlets

Makes  8/10 individual or a 9 inch big tart  

Vegetarian 

For the Sweet Pastry (Pate Sablee) 

  • 200gr plain flour
  • 120gr butter cold
  • 60gr icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • egg white for brushing
  1. Put the butter, sugar & egg yolks into a food processor & work together quickly
  2. Then blend in the sifted flour & work into a paste
  3. A soon as it forms a ball wrap it in clingfilm & refrigerate it for at least an hour ( The longer the better it will be easier to work with )
  4. When the pastry is really well chilled cut it into 8 equal portions keep 1 portion out & put the rest back in the fridge.
  5. Get 2 big pieces of clingfilm & lay one on your work surface & dust liberally with icing sugar.
  6. Put the piece of pastry on the cling film, dust it with more icing sugar then top with the 2nd piece of clingfilm. Push it down into a flat round shape.
  7. Roll out the pastry (in between the 2 bits of clingfilm to stop it sticking to the rolling pin)to a size a bit bigger than the tart tins
  8. Peel off the cling film carefully & push the pastry into the tart tin(Push it in don’t stretch it)
  9. Trim off the edges & use the excess to fill any holes.
  10. Now put the tart in the fridge & take out the next piece of pastry. Continue until all the tarts are in the fridge.
  11. If you make a big tart you only have to do it once obviously(much less work!!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Line the tarts with baking paper & fill with dry baking beans or uncooked rice.
  3. Cook in the middle of the oven for 6mins for individual tarts. 10 mins for the large tart.

  1. Remove the baking paper & beans, prick all over the pastry bases with a fork.
  2. Put them back in the oven for another 6 mins. 10 mins for the large until it is starting to dry.
  3. Brush with pastry bases with egg white & put back in the oven on the bottom shelf for 2 mins to harden slightly
  4. Take out & leave on a rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
  5. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees

For the lemon & blueberry filling 

  • 170gr caster sugar
  • 185ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 punnet blueberries washed
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  1. Whisk the sugar, cream & egg yolks in a bowl to blend well.
  2. Mix in lemon juice & zest. Transfer to a jug.
  3. Sprinkle the washed blueberries with pinch of ground cloves and toss to coat evenly
  4. Put the tart cases on the bottom shelf of the oven & pull the shelf out slightly
  5. Pour the lemon filling into the tart cases(not up to the top)tumble in some blueberries & carefully slide the shelf back in.
  6. Bake for 15 -18 mins until set round the edges & a slight wobble in the centre.(About 30 mins for a large tart)
  7. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before taking out of the tart tins.

Serve for afternoon tea with friends, they really are delicious. The clove is genius, but only a pinch or you will ruin them!

Honey Spiced Sticky Aubergines with coriander & lemon yoghurt

30 Oct

I know I said I was going to make a Wild Mushroom & Goat’s Cheese Lasagne. Well I tried but my wholemeal pasta turned out to be a bit of a disaster, too hot in the kitchen I think, it all stuck together. So I will keep trying but in the meantime I don’t have any more mushrooms.

Beehives

Today, while out walking, we got a closer look at the beehives, so it got me thinking about honey recipes. One of my favourite Spanish recipes is Berenjenas con Miel which is thinly sliced aubergines in a light batter served drizzled with Miel de Cana. Miel de Cana is a local honey made from cane sugar and the flavour is a mixture of maple syrup, treacle & honey. Apparently they are stopping making it because all the sugar cane in Malaga has been cut down to make way for the new airport terminal and surrounding buildings. This is a real shame because it’s a unique speciality to the area, it tastes fantastic & I love the label. If you see any buy it while you still can….

Berenjenas con miel has been a lifesaver on a number of occasions here in Spain as the vegetarian options available are basically non-existent, well they were when we moved here 10 years ago, it’s getting better now, slowly. I wanted to use the miel de cana and aubergine but spice it up a little as I like to do so I got some inspiration from The Traveler’s Lunchbox an amazing food blog where I have adapted a recipe for eggplant stewed with honey and spices. It really is so good you have to try it even if you hate aubergines, it delicious…

Honey Spiced Aubergines Recipe

serves 2 as part of a mezze or as a side dish

  • 1 aubergine sliced into about 1cm thick rounds
  • salt
  • olive oil
  •  2 1/2 tbsp clear honey (or miel de cana)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  •  1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste*
  • a handful of chopped coriander

* Harissa paste is a hot spice paste from Morocco use cayenne pepper if you don’t have any.

Lay the aubergine slices on a board or clean tea towel, sprinkle with salt, leave them for 15 – 20 minutes for the water to come out then wipe dry with kitchen roll.

Heat a large frying pan or grill pan (the stripes would be nice) to a medium high heat, brush the aubergines with olive oil on both sides and cook until browned on both sides (You will probably need to do it in two batches). Then set aside.

Combine the honey and lemon in a bowl with about 4 tbsp hot water from the kettle and stir to dissolve the honey. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan over a medium heat, add the ginger & garlic and fry for about 30 seconds (don’t let it burn). Ad the cumin & harissa paste (or cayenne) and fry for another 30 seconds then stir in the honey & lemon water and bring to a boil. Put the aubergines back in to the pan with the sauce and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes turning occasionally to coat in the sauce.

Cook until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze and the aubergines are really soft. You can add more water if the sauce dries up before the aubergines are cooked. Leave to cool and serve at room temperature sprinkled with fresh coriander. Mix some greek yoghurt with lemon juice, fresh coriander & mint, salt & cumin seeds to serve with them.  You can also serve them as part of a mezze with spiced yoghurt cheese (Labneh see recipe September) or as a delicious starter or even as an accompaniment to a Moroccan flavoured roast lamb.

Lovely Little Lemon Tarts

22 Sep

Mouthwatering!

These are the best lemon tarts ever! The Washer Up is a bit of a pastry star & these are my favourite thing at the moment. Currently available at Santiago’s Restaurant Alhaurin where the Washer Up makes all the desserts & they are fabulous. 

Lemon Tarts Recipe 

Makes  8/10 individual or a 9 inch big tart  

Vegetarian 

For the Sweet Pastry (Pate Sablee) 

  • 200gr plain flour
  • 120gr butter cold
  • 60gr icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • egg white for brushing
  1. Put the butter, sugar & egg yolks into a food processor & work together quickly
  2. Then blend in the sifted flour & work into a paste
  3. A soon as it forms a ball wrap it in clingfilm & refrigerate it for at least an hour ( The longer the better it will be easier to work with )
  4. When the pastry is really well chilled cut it into 8 equal portions keep 1 portion out & put the rest back in the fridge.
  5. Get 2 big pieces of clingfilm & lay one on your work surface & dust liberally with icing sugar.
  6. Put the piece of pastry on the cling film, dust it with more icing sugar then top with the 2nd piece of clingfilm. Push it down into a flat round shape.
  7. Roll out the pastry (in between the 2 bits of clingfilm to stop it sticking to the rolling pin)to a size a bit bigger than the tart tins
  8. Peel off the cling film carefully & push the pastry into the tart tin(Push it in don’t stretch it)
  9. Trim off the edges & use the excess to fill any holes.
  10. Now put the tart in the fridge & take out the next piece of pastry. Continue until all the tarts are in the fridge.
  11. If you make a big tart you only have to do it once obviously(much less work!!)
  12. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  13. Line the tarts with baking paper & fill with dry baking beans or uncooked rice.
  14. Cook in the middle of the oven for 6mins for individual tarts. 10 mins for the large tart.
  15. Remove the baking paper & beans, prick all over the pastry bases with a fork.
  16. Put them back in the oven for another 6 mins. 10 mins for the large until it is starting to dry.
  17. Brush with pastry bases with egg white & put back in the oven on the bottom shelf for 2 mins to harden slightly
  18. Take out & leave on a rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
  19. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees

For the lemon filling 

  • 170gr caster sugar
  • 185ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  1. Whisk the sugar, cream & egg yolks in a bowl to blend well.
  2. Mix in lemon juice & zest. Transfer to a jug.
  3. Put the tart cases on the bottom shelf of the oven & pull the shelf out slightly
  4. Pour the filling into the tart cases & carefully slide the shelf back in.
  5. Bake for 15 -18 mins until set round the edges & a slight wobble in the centre.(About 30 mins for a large tart)
  6. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before taking out of the tart tins.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream
  8. If you want to brulee the top you can sprinkle it with brown sugar, shake off the excess, then blowtorch it or put it under a hot grill until browned.

It may seem like a lot of work but if you make one big tart it is a lot less work & totally gorgeous!! This sweet pastry recipe is a fantastic buttery shortbread type pastry which can be used for fresh strawberry custard tarts in the spring or apple custard tarts in the winter it really is lovely….

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