Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hazelnutty Salad

Yesterday, I bought hazelnut oil for the first time and of course had to try it out straight away. I used a bag of winter baby leaves, chopped toasted hazelnuts and a very simple dressing. I found I'd made too much dressing so I covered the remainder with cling film and stuck it in the fridge.

1 bag of baby leaf lettuce
chopped toasted hazelnuts
Herbamare organic herb salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp organic balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp hazelnut oil
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Soup of Jerusalem Artichokes with Nutmeg

Earlier this week, I bought a kilo of Jerusalem artichokes, half of which I roasted in the oven (halved lengthways) and served with for another dish. From the remainder I made this delicious soup that'll serve 4-5 as a starter or 2-3 as a light lunch.

500 g Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled
1/2 a thin leek
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 small onion
1 bay leaf
1 l vegetable stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil
crème fraîche for serving

Peel the onion but leave whole. Trim the leek and celery, trim and peel the carrot. Chop into 5 cm/ 2 inch pieces. Wash the Jerusalem artichokes really well if like mine they're really dirty. Cut into 1 cm/ 1/2 inch slices.

Heat the olive oil, add all the veg and mix until they're coated with a little oil. Season with pepper and salt. Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, bring to the boil and simmer for approx. 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Remove the onion and bay leaf. Blitz, check the seasoning and grate in some nutmeg. Stir and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Vegetable Soup with Chicken Stock, Red Lentils and Coriander

This soup can be made with vegetable or chicken stock. I made it with chicken stock I prepared with the left-overs of a roast chicken, the woody bits of asparagus and a few more bits and pieces.

Chicken Stock

bones of an organic or free range roast chicken (including any bits of meat that won't come off, the garlic cloves I'd stuffed inside and the cooled olive oil still clinging to the carcass)
1/4 leek
1 small onion
10 g fresh thyme
the woody bits from 750 g green asparagus
250-300 g carrots
1 tsp black pepper corns
3 cloves
1.8 l boiling water

Peel the onion and stud it with the cloves. Slice the leek and dice the carrots. Place all ingredients into a large saucepan, add the water and boil with the lid closed for  about 45 minutes.

Drain through a sieve and squeeze out the vegetables. Discard the bones and vegetables once they have cooled off.

I don't add salt when I make home-made stocks, so I can use them with any recipe, even if I use lardons, pancetta and the like.

This stock is relatively bland and not suitable to enjoy on its own. The soup itself has a delicate chicken flavour, which I prefer. The stock is also great for risotto.


Vegetable Soup with Red Lentils and Coriander

1 medium onion
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2-1 red chilis
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
1 1/2 bunches of spring onions
3/4 leek
500 g carrots
1 large parsnip
2 large handfuls of red lentils
1 bunch of fresh coriander
20 g butter
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1,5 l chicken stock

Finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli, thinly slice the spring onions (which I used because they were almost past it) and leek and sauté all these ingredients in the butter.

Dice the carrots and parsnip and add to the above. Season with pepper and salt and add the stock. Lastly, pour in the lentils. Bring to the boild and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Optionally blitz with a handheld blender and check the seasoning. Chop the coridander and stir into the soup.

I like to serve this with a dollop of harissa-flavoured soured cream.