Lentil and bulgur pilaf

This is based on an Ottolenghi recipe, which he suggests is one of the ultimate comfort foods. My version contains far less oil and butter, but still seems fairly comforting to me. Enough for 2 people as a main meal.

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;Lentil&bulgar_Pilaf
  • 1 aubergine (cut into 2cm dice);
  • 60g bulgur;
  • 70g green lentils (rinsed);
  • Bay leaf;
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 medium onion (chopped);
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed);
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric;
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice;
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 170ml water;
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds;
  • 1 tbsp raisins;
  • Zest of half a lemon (grated);
  • 15g butter;
  • Black pepper;
  • Lemon juice to taste;
  • Fresh coriander;
  • Greek yogurt (to serve on the side).

Mix 3 tbsp of oil with the diced aubergine. Spread the aubergine on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180C (Gas mark 4), until browned and nearly cooked though.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils with the bay leaf on plenty of water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes and drain (they should be al dente).

At the same time, heat the remaining oil in a large oven proof, lidded casserole, and cook the cumin seeds for about 1 minute. Turn down the heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, allspice and cinnamon, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the bulgur and the water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Stir in the aubergines, lentils, almonds, raisins, lemon zest and butter, and season with black pepper. Place in the oven at 160C (Gas Mark 3), and bake for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are just becoming soft.

Stir in lemon juice to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander and a portion of Greek yogurt.

 

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Spiced parsnip soup

This is a great ‘winter warmer’. I had quite a few parsnips left over from Christmas and this seemed like a good way to use them up – adapted from a Thomasina Miers recipe – enough for 2 or 3 people:

  • 3 medium parsnips (about 300g)Parsnip_Soup
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • About 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • A generous grating of nutmeg
  • 650ml of vegetable stock (or equivalent using cube/powder)
  • Lemon juice
  • Torn coriander leaves

Peel the parsnips and slice thinly. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions and cook gently for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely grind the peppercorns, clove and coriander seeds. Stir the spice mix into the onions, and grate over the nutmeg. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the parsnips, and then add the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour, until the parsnips are completely soft.

Prior to serving, blend, add lemon juice to taste, and stir in the coriander leaves.

Brazilian bean stew

Brazilian_Tile

This recipe is based on one I found on the internet, but the ingredients are what I had left-over or in the cupboard/fridge, so it’s unlikely to be very authentic. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • A 10cm piece of chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 1/3rd of a large butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and cut into approx 2cm cubes) or equivalent amount
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • Hot water
  • 400g tinned borlotti beans (drained)
  • Some green vegetables (I used about 70g of kale)
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • Black pepper
  • A few torn coriander leaves

Gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until they have softened (about 5 minutes); add the sliced chorizo and fry for 3 minutes (stirring occasionally); add the red pepper and butternut squash and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the stock powder, and sufficient hot water to cover the mixture; bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the butternut squash has cooked).

Add the beans and the green vegetables; bring back to the boil and cook until the green vegetables are sufficiently cooked.

Stir in the mango chutney. Add black pepper to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander.