Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Carrot Pesto

As you can see here, here and here, I obviously love pesto with all different sorts of ingredients. For a complete list, please enter 'pesto' in the Search box of my blog. For some time now, I've wanted to try out a carrot pesto. My other half brought more of the lovely local yellow carrots back and since they taste like 'real' carrots I finally did it. Tastes great not just with pasta but also with unpeeled boiled potatoes and is great as a dip or sandwich spread.

500 g carrots
1 pointed red pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 small handfuls of (toasted) hazelnuts
50-75 g freshly grated parmesan
sea sal
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp cumin
extra virgin olive oil

Half the pepper lengthways and core. Place under a hot grill until the skin starts to blacken. Transfer into a plastic bow and put the lid on. A plastic freezer bag works as well.

Meanwhile peel the carrots and slice them into 2 mm thick slices. Bring a pan with about an inch of water to the boil. Steam the carrots for 10-12 minutes until they are just tender.

Coarsely chop the nuts or grind them in a food processor. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or the beaker of a handheld blender and whizz.

1 kg of (yellow) carrots
80 g unpeeled almonds
juice of 2 limes
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp toasted cumin
75 g parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
30 g fresh coriander

Prepare as above using as much olive oil as you think it needs. Make the pesto Wash, spin and chop the coriander. Add to the pesto and whizz for a couple more minutes.

Because of the lime juice and lack of sweet peppers this is a much lighter pesto that's also great as a sandwich spread or with crackers.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


I found this recipe somewhere a few years ago but don't remember where. I think it was in a supermarket leaflet. Blinis are great for for Christmas or as tapas and go well with a variety of toppings, e. g. smoked salmon, smoked salmon and hot horseradish, spreadable goats cheese. This recipe can be made a couple of days in advance. I tend to serve the blinis at room temperature but they can be warmed in the oven.

(makes about 80 blinis)

60 ml warm water
2 g (1/2 tsp) dry/ 5 g fresh yeast

125 g flour
125 ml milk
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, separated
30 g unsalted butter

vegetable oil for frying

1. Mix the yeast and and water and leave for 5 minutes. Melt the butter.
2. Beat the flour, milk sugar, salt, egg yolks, melted and yeast mix into a smooth runny dough. Leave to rest for 1 hour.
3. Beat the egg whites and fold into the dough.
4. Gently heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the blinis in batches. Cook them until the look dry and there are bubbles on the surface. Flip over and cook for another minute. Drain on kitchen papier, then cool on a rack and store in an air-tight container in the fridge until used.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Filo Tart with Yellow Carrots, Abate Pear and Goats Cheese

I love filo tarts, Flammkuchen, Pizza etc. For Tonight's tart I used some of the Scottish yellow carrots that my other half found at Aldi of all places. When I opened the package – unfortunately, they came in a plastic punnet wrapped with cellophane-like film – I was greeted by the most wonderful smell. And they tasted great, too. The remaining carrots from the packet were used in a shredded winter salad.

1 packet of filo pastry
4 yellow carrots, approx. 250 g
1/2 Abate pear
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
100 g goats cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a good handful of fresh herbs (flat parsley, tarragon, dill)
150 ml soured cream/crème fraîche/Schmand
150 ml yoghurt
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp cumin (ground toasted whole cumin seeds)
extra virgin olive oil

1. Place your first filo sheet(s) on a baking tray or pizza tin, brush with olive oil, then add the next layer. Continue until all the pastry has been used up.

2. Mix the yoghurt, soured cream, pepper, salt, cumin, tomatoe puree and herbs and spread the mixture onto the filo pastry.

3. Peel and cut the carrots into 1-2 mm thick slices (I used the food processor for this) and slice the onion. Sauté in a little olive oil for 4-5 minutes. Season with a little pepper and salt. Scatter on top of the cream mixture.

4. Quarter and core the pear but leave the peel on. Cut into 2 mm tick slices and place onto the tart.

5. Cut the goats cheese into 2-3 mm thick slices and place onto the tart as well. Drizzle each slice with a tiny wee bit of olive oil

6. Bake at 200° C for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven.

Carrot and Coconut Soup

Serving in matching coloured bowls is not mandatory ;)

1 kg carrots
300 g potatoes
1 l vegetable or chicken stock
1 can of coconut milk
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli with seeds
1/2-1 tsp toasted and ground cumin
olive oil

1. Peel the carrots and slice into 5 mm thick pieces, peel and dice the potatoes.
2. Finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli.
3. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli for 2-3 minutes without browning. Add the carrots, potatoes and cumin. Mix, then pour in the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the vegetables are soft. Whizz and add the coconut milk. Heat through and check the seasoning.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chickpea and Vegetable Pan

Today's recipe comes without too many instructions. It was spontaneous, vegan and delicious. Just try it using your imagination. Serve with warm crusty bread, e. g. ciabatta, pasta, potatoes, couscous, millet, buckwheat, rice or... or...

red onion, sliced
aubergine, diced
courgette, cored and sliced
mushrooms, sliced
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
splash of red wine
sea salt
black pepper
toasted cumin seeds, ground
garlic, crushed
olive oil
chopped parsley or coriander to serve, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and start sautéing the onion and aubergine. Once they start browning, throw in the courgette and mushrooms. Add the garlic and seasoning. After a few minutes add the can of chopped tomatoes and the wine. Cover and simmer until the veggies are almost done. Add the chickpeas during the last five minutes. Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley or coriander if at hand.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Savoy Cabbage and Pasta Bake

I've mentioned before that I don't really like cabbage but I'm discovering that this really only applies to boiled white cabbage. Other, greener, cabbages are just fine though I never boil them.

Today's recipe is sheer autumn indulgence and is the result of my not being ready to eat when the food was cooked last night. So I added soured cream and yoghurt, chucked everything into an oven-proof dish and baked it. Heaven on a plate!

Try also with cavolo nero.

(serves 6)

500 g pasta
1 medium savoy cabbage
2 garlic cloves
300 ml soured cream/crème fraîche/Schmand
300 ml Greek-style yoghurt
300-400 ml vegetable stock
2 balls of mozzarella, optional
2-3 tbsp pine nuts
freshly ground parmesan
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

1. Remove the dark green, outer leaves from the savoy, cut out the stalks. Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll and cut into 5 mm strips. Halve the remaining cabbage, remove the stalk and also cut into strips.

2. Bring a pan of water large enough to hold the cabbage to the boil. Prepare a large bowl with icecold water. Blanch the savoy for 2 minutes (no longer), drain in a colander or remove with tongs and dump straight into the cold water. Once the cabbage is cold. Drain and either spin dry or place in clean teatowels and pat dry.

3. Bring another pan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for about 8 minutes (if the package instructions ask for 11-12 minutes). Drain when done and transfer into the oven-proof dish.

4. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil and sauté the cabbage over a medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the crushed garlic and season with pepper and salt. Pour in about 250 ml of the stock and simmer until the cabbage is al dente. Add more stock if necessary. The stock should be almost completely absorbed by the time you add the cream and yoghurt. Bring to a high simmer, season with Tabasco and a little nutmeg. Check the seasoning.

5. Mix the vegetables with the pasta. Tear the mozzarella into chunks, if used, and "bury" in the mix. Scatter the pine nuts over the top.

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C for 20 minutes. Then, sprinkle with the parmesan and bake at 200° C for a further 10 minutes or until the parmesan is browned.