Torta di spinaci e riso

TortaSpinaciRiso-tile

One reason for making this, is that Rachel Roddy said in her column in the Guardian’s Cook Supplement on 30 January 2016 (which provides the recipe on which this is based), “Italy is where … leftovers really do still rule, helping cooking feel like a continuum” – has she been reading my blog?

Anyway, I also needed to use most of a 260g bag of spinach leftover from a stir-fry. Enough for 3 people:

  • 200g spinach
  • 125g risotto rice
  • small onion (finely chopped)
  • 20g butter
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 40g parmesan (grated)
  • black pepper to taste
  • oil (to brush the cake tin)
  • 1 heaped tbsp bread crumbs

Quickly wilt the spinach in a hot pan. Remove it to a plate, allow to cool, and snip into smaller pieces with scissors.

Cook the rice in boiling water and drain.

Heat the butter in a pan and cook the onion very gently over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Brush a cake tin (about 20cm in diameter) with a little oil and dust with the bread crumbs.

Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6).

Mix together the spinach, rice, onion and parmesan, and then mix in the beaten egg and add black pepper. Place the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top starts to brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I served mine with roasted baby plum tomatoes.

 

Watercress pesto

I had most of a bunch of John Hurd’s excellent watercress leftover so I made this pesto. Based on a recipe from watercress.co.uk – it serves four people with pasta, and according to the recipe, freezes well. So half of it is now in the freezer, and I shall discover if really does freeze well when I use it! I used my Cuisinart Mini-processor to make this (or you could just chop the watercress really finely, using a sharp knife and the grind the almonds and garlic with a pestle and mortar, and then mix all the ingredients together):

  • 1 bunch watercress (wash thoroughly)Watercress_Pesto
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 20 almonds (blanched)
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 50g finely grated parmesan
  • Black pepper and a fairly generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Method

Puree the watercress, garlic and almonds (blanched by steeping in boiling water for about a minute and the peeling away the skins – they have a better flavour than pre-blanched, flaked or ground almonds) in a processor. Add the oil and the parmesan and process until well blended. Add black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Served here with pasta.

Mash with kale and cheese

Kale&Brie_Mash_Tile

This is the ultimate in comfort food. The recipe is based on one from Waitrose Kitchen magazine for March 2015. This is a very simple dish, which can be eaten on its own. But it would also go well with poached eggs or sausages. Enough for 2 people:

  • 100ml milk
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 500g potatoes (peeled and cut into 2cm chunks)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 20g butter
  • black pepper
  • 100g shredded kale (with tough stalks removed)
  • 4 spring onions (cut into 2cm lengths, and split in half lengthways)
  • 50g brie (thinly sliced)
  • 20g cheddar (grated)

Heat the milk, to boiling, with the thyme. Cover, and leave to infuse.

In a saucepan, cover the potatoes, bay leaves and garlic with cold water. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain, remove the bay leaves, and return to the pan. Leave, uncovered, over a very low heat, for about 5 minutes, to dry the potatoes.

Mash together the potatoes, garlic, 10g of butter and the milk (having removed the thyme), and season with black pepper. Keep warm.

Heat the remaining butter in a large pan. Add the kale and spring onions and stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the kale is just about cooked. Stir in the mashed potato and the cheeses.

Serve.

 

Kale pesto

This makes a generous amount for 2, or smaller portions for 3 people when served with pasta:

  • 20 walnut halvesKale_Pesto
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 100g shredded kale (tough stalks removed)
  • 30g parmesan (grated)
  • Black pepper to taste

Grind the walnuts in a food processor. Add the garlic, olive oil, kale and parmesan. Process until fully combined to a paste. Season with black pepper.

Add to hot cooked pasta, and stir over a gentle heat, until hot. Serve.

Pea fritters with roast tomatoes and hot smoked salmon

This recipe is my adaptation of a recipe in Waitrose Kitchen magazine of February 2015. Serves 2:

For the roast tomatoes:

  • 8 small tomatoes (halved)Pea_Pancakes
  • Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Black pepper (a few ‘turns’)

For the fritters etc:

  • 100g frozen peas (defrosted – use the cheap peas for this recipe)
  • 2 spring onions
  • Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (for cooking)
  • 150g pack of kiln roasted salmon (flaked)
  • Soured cream

Place the tomatoes halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper. Shake together the thyme, garlic, sugar, oil, lemon juice and black pepper, in a small jar, and drizzle over the tomatoes. Roast at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for 20 to 25 minutes, until they start to char.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.

Place the peas, onions, mint, egg and milk in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Add this to the food processor. Once the mixture is smooth, spoon it into the frying pan to make 4 even fritters. Cook over a medium heat (2 minutes either side) until golden.

Serve with the tomatoes and the flaked salmon, with a dollop of soured cream.

Cajun rice and beans

I had half a can of red kidney beans, and most of the other ingredients, so this seemed like a good winter supper. This is another recipe adapted from Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015′ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilCajun_rice&beans
  • 1 leek (chopped)
  • 3 tsp ‘cajun’ seasoning
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 courgette (roughly chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 200g parsnips (peeled and diced)
  • 60g brown rice
  • 60g Camargue and wild rice
  • 160g can of sweetcorn (drained)
  • 1/2 a 400g can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegi stock
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the leeks and gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the courgette, red pepper, parsnip and the rice, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the sweetcorn, the beans, the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes until the rice is cooked (add more stock if necessary). Season with black pepper to taste.

I served mine with avocado (mashed with a little lemon juice) and grated cheddar.

Lentil and coconut dhal

This is good to eat on a cold winter’s day! Adapted from a recipe in Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015’ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilLentil&Coconut_Dhal (2)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3cm cube of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (diced)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 160ml can of coconut cream
  • 550ml vegetable stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 2 large tomatoes (skinned, deseeded and chopped)
  • Torn fresh coriander
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • Flat breads (heated in accordance with the instructions on the packet)

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the curry powder, lentils, coconut cream and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes (until the carrots and the lentils are soft). Take off the heat and roughly mash the mixture with a potato masher.

Add the peas and the chopped almonds, and gently cook for a further 5 minutes. Then stir in the tomatoes and add lemon juice to taste.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with warm flat breads.