This is another ‘centre of the table’ or ‘mezze’ style dish made for sharing. Seasonally this is a winter salad which can be served warm or at room temperature. You can prepare this well in advance, just put all the elements together before serving. Cooking cauliflower on the fire with oil gives it a really unique flavour. I also roast off cauliflower in the oven which has the same nuances. This combination is really different and is always well received. It works well with any other dish on the table, fish, meat, or as a vegetarian/vegan dish.
Ingredients (serves 4 or 6 if part of a mezze meal)
1 small, or half a large cauliflower
20g roasted hazelnuts
1 small red onion
25ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp capers
Salt and pepper
Cut the onion in half and slice it thinly. Mix the vinegar and the honey (or sugar) together. Put the cut onions into the same bowl and push the onions down with your fingers so they are covered with the vinegar.
Cut the cauliflower across the body of it as oppose to florets as seen in the photo. Half of it will hold together, the other half will break into small pieces, but it doesn’t matter.
Make sure the hazelnuts are roasted, quite often they are already roasted, if they have no crunch then pop them in a hot oven for 5-8 mins, don’t forget about them.
Chop the parsley.
Measure out the capers.
Put your griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat, or fire up the gas bbq. When hot turn down to medium heat. Toss the cauliflower in olive oil and put each large piece on the pan first, then after do whats left of the smaller pieces. Cook it well, you want some bite left in it but not too much. The cauliflower needs to almost burn a bit, crispy caramelized cauliflower is what you want. When it as all done cut the bigger pieces into bite size bits. Put into a mixing bowl with the capers, half the onion, salt and pepper and half the parsley.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, taste, always taste everything, for seasoning. Lay onto a plate, then finish off the garnish with the rest of the onions and parsley.
When I first moved to southern Europe the first sign that Spring was upon us was the mountains of broad beans that arrived at the market. After four months of root vegetable and spinach something in a pod had landed.
The goats cheese melts into the warm beans to create a smooth creamy sauce without using cream. The cheese gives enough salt so there is no need to add more. If you can’t get watercress then rocket will be fine, you can use baby gems if that is all you can get as they are firm and hold the warm beans well. Watercress is preferable as it adds a depth of flavour from its pepperiness. If you haven’t got a zester then I highly recommend that you get one, you can go ahead with this recipe anyway without zesting and buy one next time you see one.
Ingredients (four people)
1kg broad beans in the pods ( this will yield about 250grams after podding)
50g watercress or rocket
125g goats cheese
50ml olive oil
1 medium sized lemon ( zested and juiced)
Cook off the beans in boiling water for about five mins. Whilst they are cooking break up the cheese into small pieces and put into a bowl, zest the lemon into the bowl with the cheese, grind the black pepper and add the olive oil . Lay out the watercress onto a large plate and taste the beans to make sure they are tender. Drain the water off when they are ready and pour into the bowl.
Gently start folding the ingredients together until the goats cheese has melted and you have a even consistency. Pour the mix onto the leaves and finish with some more black pepper.
You don´t have to eat this straight away, it can sit for a while.
If you are trying not to snack on rubbish, this kind of thing will be just what you need in your fridge. It will last three or four days in a plastic container and is perfect with crackers or crudites. It would also work well in the context of a ‘mezze’ which I willl develop later in the blog. You can find almond paste in health food shops and is a nice alternative to tahini particularly in dips such as this one. It is rich in protein and full of flavor.
75g sprouted sunflower seeds (see tips, anything sprouted will do it)
40ml almond paste or tahini
Juice of half a lemon
20ml olive oil
Clean the mushrooms and peel them. It is better not to wash mushrooms as they tend to go slimy which often puts a lot of people off. Slice them and put all of the above ingredients into a blender and pulse until you have a smooth consistency.
Place in a bowl to serve and drizzle over a little extra olive oil.
This has got lunch on a sunny day all over it. The contrast of textures and flavors is as good as it gets. As a chef I am always looking for rock solid combinations. Lime, dill and mackerel is one of those. Aim for trimmed and pin boned fillets of mackerel from your fishmonger, explain that you are following a recipe. The very least you will get is the fish filleted. The bones you will see, just try and pull them out with tweezers or pliers don’t get bogged down by that, a few bones doesn’t matter.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 small or 1 large mackerel fillet per person
2 red chillies de-seeded
5g fresh dill
75g spring onions (1 bunch)
100g sweet potato per person ( a medium potato)
100g courgette per person ( a large one)
100g rocket salad leaves
Peel the sweet potatoes and slice lengthways 1cm thick . Get your cast iron griddle pan (see chef’s tips) nice and hot and then turn down to medium. Toss the potato with the olive oil, and cook until the marks are prominent and the sweet potatoes are soft. About four minutes each side. Don’t let them get too black. The potatoes will be reheated in the oven so you can do these in advance.
Slice the courgettes 1.5cm thick (thicker than the potato) lengthways, and cook the same as the sweet potato. Courgettes have a much faster cooking time, one and a half minutes each side should be be enough, use your own judgement as well. These will also go under the grill to reheat so be careful not to overcook. Lay the potatoes and courgettes onto a baking tray lined with paper or foil and put to one side ready to reheat under the grill. Drizzle a little honey over the sweet potatoes, squeeze some lemon over the courgette and season both with sea salt and black pepper.
Chop the chillies nice and small leaving the seeds in if you like it hot. Slice the spring onions into rings, and roughly chop the dill. Put 20ml of olive oil into a shallow pan and soften the chilli and the onion. Add the juice of two limes two generous pinches of sea salt and half the dill. Remove the pan from the heat once softened and put to one side.
Brush the mackerel fillets with oil and season well. Cook them skin-side up under a hot grill until the skin is crispy. It shouldn’t be necessary to turn them as they are quite small and thin, they would normally cook through, though turn them if you think it is necessary. As soon as the fish is cooked take it out and put the courgettes and potatoes under the hot grill to warm through.
Lay your plates out and put a few leaves of rocket in the centre. Take out the tray from the grill and lay a slice of sweet potato, a slice of courgette a bit more rocket and the fillets of mackerel. Divide and spoon over the dressing and repeat between the two plates.
Finish with a sprinkle of fresh dill and a wedge of lime.
This recipe uses olive oil giving the cake a rich and moist finish. We have used mostly almond powder, therefore reducing the gluten content considerably. Poppy seeds are a good source of fatty acids, especially the omega-3 fatty acids, which are required by the human body to ensure good health. This is one of those cakes that work really well as an afternoon tea cake, keeping fresh and moist in a cake tin, and lasts for as long as you want it to.
250g natural yoghurt
150ml light olive oil
150g caster sugar (or xylitol)
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
200g ground almonds
75g spelt flour
2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
Zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons of poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease and line a 23 cm (9inch) cake tin. Whisk together the oil, yoghurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the almond powder until smooth. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the spice. Add the salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. If the top is looking a bit too brown, then cover the tin with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time. If you feel that the cake is still a little bit wet, you could turn the oven off, and leave the cake in for a further 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the cake tin, and leave to cool completely before moving onto a plate.
If you are going to have one dip nailed and down in your repertoire then let it be hummus. There are a lot of different dips out there but hummus without a doubt is King. It´s good for a week in the fridge so don’t worry if it seems like a lot when you make it, keep it in covered in the fridge for ‘snack attacks.’ Raw vegetables, rice crackers anything like that with hummus fills the hole in a low fat and healthy way. It also works well as an accompaniment with lamb, chicken, boiled egg and salads.The main ingredient in this dish is tahini (sesame paste) – readily available in UK supermarkets and health food shops – so don’t scrimp on it. Here I use 125ml, you could get away with 100ml, any less and the hummus will not taste right. It seems like a lot to use, but tahini is the money shot ingredient.Hummus is a double dose of protein from the chick peas and the sesame paste as well being of high fibre content.
250g cooked chickpeas (soaked and cooked or from a tin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml (half a cup) tahini
80ml (third of a cup) olive oil
175ml (1 cup) of water
Three large pinches of Maldon sea salt
Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth (you can use a stick blender if you don’t have a Magi-mix type blender). You may need to add more water – as there are so many different sizes and types of chick pea, its hard to quantify, just add water bit by bit. You are looking for a smooth consistency and not too thick. Taste for seasoning.
Place into a serving bowl, pour a little olive oil over before serving.