Tag Archives: oil

Za’atar Spice Roasted Red Cabbage Steaks

6 Mar

Za'atar Spice Roasted Red Cabbage

Red cabbage may not be your favourite vegetable. It wasn’t mine.  I have always loved the colour of it though. You’ve got to love food that is such a beautiful shade of magenta. When I run past these purple and green striped fields of  cabbages I can’t help but smile.

Cabbages

Another thing that makes me happy is the price. They are so cheap at the moment at the farmer’s market and if you have ever bought a cabbage you will know how far it goes. I mean these things go on for ever.

I use about a quarter of a white cabbage in this fridge emptying favourite Minestrone Soup that I now serve topped with a swirl of homemade basil pesto, it makes such a difference to the flavour.

mont 3

You can’t really use red cabbage in that soup though, it turns everything purple. Other than using it to make my Grandad’s Pickled Red Cabbage I have never done anything exciting or blogworthy with this beautiful Brassica. Until now that is.

Za'atar Red Cabbage Steaks

I found a recipe for roasted red cabbage steaks on Drizzle & Dip that immediately caught my eye.  She used a different spice mix but the idea is the same and I have been wanting to incorporate Za’atar into a recipe for a while.

Z'a'atar Spice Oil

Za’atar is herb and spice blend popular throughout the Middle East most often made with a mix of dried oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. There are other variations if you want to research it more.

It has many uses but its most common guise is to be mixed with olive oil, rubbed over flatbread dough and baked. You can also dip your toasted flatbread straight into a pot of it on the table. It can be used as a quick and easy marinade or rub for meat, fish and vegetables as well, as I have done here.

Za'atar Roasted Red Cabbage Steaks

Za’atar Spice Roasted Red Cabbage Steaks

Serves 2-3 as a side dish. Vegan, gluten-free.

For the za’atar

  • 1 Tbsp sumac (used ground cumin or coriander if you can’t find it)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  •  a few grindings of black pepper
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes

Mix this all together and store in an airtight container.

  • 3 – 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a red cabbage (or more)  cut into 1/2 – 1 cm thick slices 
  • sea salt to serve

Mix the oil with the za’atar in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 180C and line  baking sheet with baking paper.

Lay the cabbage steaks out on the baking sheet and spread the za’atar oil all over them, you may need some more oil. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes depending on thickness and serve sprinkled with sea salt.

Za'atar Roasted Red Cabbage

Serve these as a side dish or for a party as part of a mezze table with some Baba Ghanoush, Muhammara, Sweet Potato Filo Cigars , Roasted Beetroot Hummus and this Lebanese Lentil Salad. Just a suggestion.

Za'atar Red Cabbage Steaks

Make some more of the Za’atar straight away so you will always have some for dipping bread into or for a quick salad dressing or to serve over a plain hummus. The possiblities are endless.

You will be addicted, I am.

Za'atar Spice Oil

Things That Made Me Smile Today

Rainy Day Dog

This little fella was all ready for the rain. He was really working that outfit and Rufus was a little jealous of all the attention he was getting…

imagesCAFT0O3W

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Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Pistachio and Parsley

5 Jun

I know it may be a little early in the season for watermelon where you are, or it may even be getting on for winter but I got a baby watermelon in my organic veg box this week. Look how cute it is.

Look, I put it next to a lemon for you so you can see how small it is. Watermelon is one of the ingredients in my favourite summer salad and it is definitely feeling a lot like summer here so this is what I made with it.

Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad with Pistachio & Parsley

Serves 2, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from Nigella Lawson

  • 1/4 small red onion, very finely sliced
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 400 g watermelon, rind & most of the seeds removed then cut into approx. 4 cm triangles
  • 100g Greek Feta cheese
  • a handful of fresh parsley leaves, left whole
  • 5 or 6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 black or purple olives, halved & stoned
  • black pepper
  • extra virgen olive oil
  •  a handful of shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • lemon wedges to serve

Put the finely sliced red onions in a small bowl and cover with the lemon juice. Leave to soak while you make the rest of the salad. This makes the flavour less harsh and turns them a pretty magenta colour.

Place the watermelon triangles in a beautifully random arrangement on your serving dish/plates. Cut or break  the feta into similar sized pieces as the watermelon and scatter them amongst the watermelon. Tear off sprigs/leaves of parsley and do the same. 

Tip the bright pink onions and their juices over the salad, add the olives, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the chopped pistachios and a grinding of black pepper. Serve with extra wedges of lemon if you like.

This is me sending some much needed sunshine in the form of this beautiful salad to all the people in the UK celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee in the cold and rain.

This is my 93-year-old Grandad at a Jubilee garden party yesterday. He is wearing ski gloves, a shawl and a blanket over his legs. This is the 4th of June by the way, a typically English summer’s day!!

Sending you some sunshine Grandad, Enjoy!!

Wholemeal Focaccia with Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

30 Jul

I made my own sun-dried tomatoes this week, very proud. Well you might as well put the sun to good use. It’s out there all day blazing down and generally making a nuisance of itself.

If you’ve never tried it, now is the time (in the northern hemisphere anyway). It’s really easy and it makes you feel like a proper domestic goddess, for about five minutes.

I got the instructions on how to do it from Chica Andaluza, my fellow British food blogger in Andalucia. She grows her own tomatoes as well as many other things and I’m very jealous of her little huerto.

I don’t eat bread very often so when I do it has to be good bread. I’m not wasting my time with that supermarket bouncy fake stuff.

This is my favourite bread recipe and it uses sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they are soaked in.  I couldn’t wait to try it with my own sun-drieds.

If you are scared of making bread, like I am, don’t be sacred of this.  Me and yeast have issues, as in it won’t do its thing for me, ever.

I’ve lost count of how many heavy, dense and thoroughly unrisen loaves I’ve made. And the panettone? Don’t even go there, it was more of a flat tea cake than a light and airy, beautifully risen dome of loveliness.

This however, has never let me down, and I use wholemeal flour which is usually the kiss of death in any bread I’ve ever made. It’s a kind of flatbread so it’s not supposed to rise very much, but it does enough, every time.

You can use whatever herbs you like, rosemary is traditional, but I like basil with my sun-dried tomatoes. Just make sure you use the oil the tomatoes are soaked in. It adds so much more flavour.

Wholemeal Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Focaccia Recipe

makes one 8-10 inch round loaf, vegan

If you want to try making your own sun-dried tomatoes see Chica Andaluza’s recipe here

  • 450 gr wholemeal flour (or plain)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 g sachet dried fast action yeast
  • about 50 gr sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato oil (the oil the tomatoes are kept in)
  • 300 ml tepid (warm, not hot) water
  • about 10 basil leaves, rolled up & finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Make a well in the middle and pour in 3 tbsp of the oil, the water and the sun-dried tomatoes.

Using a wooden spoon, mix it all together, then use your hands to make it into a soft sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth & elastic, dusting with a little more flour if necessary but not too much.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and then rub some olive oil over the paper. Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto the baking sheet. Push it out with your fingers  to an 8-10 inch round about 2cm thick. Cover with a clean tea towel, tuck the ends under the baking sheet and leave in a warm area for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 230 C. Uncover the bread and pour a little hand-hot water into a cup. Dip your index finger into the water and poke deep holes all over the dough, wet your finger each time.

Brush the remaining 1 tbsp oil over the top of the  dough (some will collect in the holes) and sprinkle with the sea salt and basil. Poke some of the basil into the holes.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Then remove from the tray and leave to cool for 15 minutes wrapped in the clean tea towel. Keep wrapped in the tea towel or in a plastic bag in the fridge if you want to keep it longer.

I like to cut it into quarters and then cut off  little slices or wedges to dip into some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Or you can cut it in half widthways, through the middle and fill it like you would a sandwich. Mozzarella, avocado and tomato is nice, especially toasted.

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

Dragonfly Porn… it was a bit windy, they were hanging on for dear life!

Is it me or does she look like she’s saying “What are you looking at?”…..

Andalucian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and a tricolor salad)

8 Dec

We have picked up our bottles of the olive oil we helped to harvest here a few weeks ago and it is amazing. The flavour is so far superior to that of anything I have ever bought, I want to put it on everything. Its viscous, cloudy, golden greenness is a joy to behold. I think  that this olive oil and the bouganvilla flower should become the emblems of Andalucia, they represent the beauty and flavour of the region perfectly..

And I’m going to put it on an Italian salad! Oh well, these are the ingredients I have in my possesion: avocadoes (loads of them -windfalls!), juicy Spanish tomatoes (full of flavour right now), mozzarella cheese & our homegrown basil. What would you do?!

Andalucian Tricolor Salad

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 large spanish tomato, sliced
  • 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil (Andalucian preferably!)
  • Jerez- sherry vinegar (or balsamic)
  • salt & black pepper

Alternate the slices of tomato & mozzarella around the plate and top with the avocado slices in the centre. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt & sherry vinegar and tear over some fresh basil leaves. Drizzle the olive oil generously over the salad and crack over some black pepper..

Serve with some rustic toasted bread drizzled with more healthy, fabulous olive oil… Enjoy!!

Tasty Tomato Soup & Basil Oil Recipe

7 Oct

As it is the beginning of Autumn here now my thoughts start turning to soups and stews. Warming dishes that comfort & revitalize. With the weather being so gorgeous here and the tomatoes still growing everywhere I decided on an End of Summer Soup with all the flavour of beautifully ripe tomatoes & our homegrown basil. The basil has gone slightly woody so The Washer Up has decided to make a basil infused olive oil to use up all the leaves before they get too tough. This means that we get to keep the wonderful flavour of basil to add to salads, soups and roasted dishes for a lot longer.

Basil & Garlic Olive Oil

Basil & Garlic Infused Olive Oil Recipe

  • a big bunch of basil leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped in their skins
  • 500ml olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  1. Put the the basil & garlic in a large pan with the olive oil, salt & sugar and cook on a low heat, mashing occassionally with a potato masher, to release the flavours. (It should be lightly bubbling not burning)
  2. After 20 mins turn off the heat and leave it to cool at room temperature.
  3. You can then pour the oil & basil & garlic pulp in to jug to decant into your chosen jar/oil bottle.

We had enough to pour most of the oil into an oil pourer and the rest of the oil and the pulp into a jar to use in cooking. This should be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge. The oil kept in the fridge will harden slightly with the cold but it is still easy to use.

Easy Tomato Soup Recipe

Serves 2 Vegan

 

Tomatoes Bubbling Away

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (basil oil if you have made it)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 5 large ish tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of the basil & garlic oil pulp (or a big handful of chopped fresh basil leaves) Leave some for the garnish.
  • 750ml veg stock
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the (basil) oil in a large pan over a medium low heat, add the onions & peppers and cook for about 10 mins until tender.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil & garlic pulp(see recipe above) or fresh basil, veg stock, salt & pepper & stir well.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat & simmer, uncovered for about 30 mins.
  4. Blend the soup (carefully you don’t want hot red soup everywhere!) to the consistency you require – I like it to still have some texture to it, not too smooth. Taste for seasoning & add more basil pulp if you want.
  5. Ladle into warmed bowls, drizzle with basil oil, & serve with lots of crusty bread.

Tomato Soup with Basil Oil

This is a really tasty easy recipe that is good for you and will make you feel better, bring some sunshine into your life & it is also great if you’ve got a hangover.. Not that I’d know obviously!!

Home Grown Chilli Recipes

24 Sep

Our Frozen Chillis

These are some of our beautiful home grown chillis. The Washer Up is very fond of chilli & so am I but he would have it on everything! We grew the birdseye chillis (the little fiery ones)from seeds in a pot on our roof terrace & the Scotch Bonnet plant (the rounder ones)was given to us by The Washer Up’s sister in law & nephews when she moved back to the UK. 

They are green first & then they turn red, you can pick them when they are green or red (the green ones are not quite as hot).The thing is with chillis is that they you get loads ripening at once & they come in quite large packs. A great tip is to freeze them in a little plastic container then you can just take one out when you need it, chop it & use it straight away. That way you always have fresh chillis when you need them. 

As we have a mountain of them The Washer Up has decided to make a chilli & garlic oil with some of them so he can drizzle it over everything! 

Chopped Chillis & Garlic

 

 Garlic & Chilli Oil Recipe                                                                    

 Makes 500ml Vegan 

  • 5ooml olive oil
  • 10 – 20 chillis ( depending on how hot you like it)
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  1. Finely chop the chillis (with the seeds)& garlic.
  2. Blend the chillis & garlic together with 100ml of the oil.
  3. Then add the rest of the oil, salt & sugar and blend again.
  4. Pour the chilli oil into a bottle with some of the pulp.
  5. Keep the rest of the pulp in a sealed jar to use for cooking.

Chilli oil can be used on pizzas, pastas, salads or brushcetta as well as in Asian dishes. Just a little goes a long way. Chilli is fantastic at bringing out the other flavours in dishes and is definitely addictive- you will be having it on everything! 

Chilli & Garlic Oil

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