I often get left with carrots at the bottom of the fridge. They play an overlooked, but important, base in so many meals: part of a mirepoix, in casseroles and in pies to name a few. Rarely, in my kitchen anyway, do the carrots get to be the star of the dish. So when some beautiful rainbow carrots arrived in the veg box it would have been rude to simply chuck them into various dinners. This time, I wanted to celebrate this lovely root in a rainbow carrot tart with summer herbs and goat’s cheese. A seasonal halfway tart if you will; one that is both full of summer flavours and the anticipation of autumn.
Beetroot has to be one of my favourite root vegetables. I love all the different colours you can get and a recent addition to my veg box was a bunch of golden beetroot. At first I thought about boiling it and mixing it with white wine vinegar and some spices. Then I got to thinking about proper comfort food and a golden beetroot remoulade would be the perfect finishing touch to a rather traditional dinner. A fantastically earthy alternative to using celeriac.
You will need (for a good bowlful of remoulade, enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day):
- 2-3 medium golden beetroot, peeled and grated
- 3 heaped tbsp good quality mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- Small handful parsley, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
Squeeze any excess moisture from the beetroot. Luckily with golden beetroot there are no purple stains to clean off of your hands and the rest of the kitchen when you’re done!
In a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, mustard, lemon juice, parsley and seasoning. Stir everything together well and then add the grated beetroot.
It is important to use a good quality mayonnaise for this for two reasons: firstly, it’s the base of the remoulade so you want it to taste excellent and secondly, you want it to be good and thick otherwise your finished remoulade might be a bit runny. No one wants runny remoulade.
I served my remoulade with some steamed new potatoes which had been covered in butter and fresh herbs, a little rocket salad and some delicious honey roast ham from the local butcher. A little update, or my version of, something that I know my grandparents would enjoy immensely. Simple flavours with a little pepperiness from the rocket, punch from the mustard, sweetness from the beetroot and freshness from the herbs. I can also confirm that beetroot remoulade makes a fantastic addition to a cheese sandwich; preferably one with very strong, crumbly cheddar.
Moussaka is one of my favourite dishes to eat. It’s a bit of an involved one to make, you need four different cooking pans going to make all the component parts; that’s why I don’t make it very often! Frying the aubergines, I think, is one of the most laborious parts of making the moussaka so I’ve got a different way of doing it. My moussaka without frying the aubergines is every bit as good as the original and you use far less oil than if you fry them. Win win.
Leaving the bay leaf in the sauce while it bakes really helps to impart a lovely flavour into the béchamel sauce. I’m not sure the potatoes on top are necessarily that traditional but I know so many people who add them to the top that I can’t imagine eating moussaka without them. This is a rich, full of flavour meal and cooking the moussaka without frying the aubergines does make things easier. The once or twice a year I make moussaka I try to make a double batch so that I can keep one in the freezer for a rainy day.
I used to really dislike horseradish, I just didn’t understand why you would want to eat something that makes you pull a face similar to the one you would pull if someone trod on your foot. I had tried it before and had decided to avoid it at all costs from then on; until I ate some by accident in a mini Yorkshire pudding covered with rare roast beef and everything changed. If you’re like me and you’re also on Team Horseradish then you must try this recipe for horseradish celeriac remoulade. If you’re not a fan of the fiery root then just leave the horseradish out; it’ll still be tasty (just not quite the same).
You will need (for two large portions or four smaller ones):
- 1 small celeriac
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- Juice 1 lemon
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp horseradish
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- Pinch pepper
Having a celeriac in the kitchen means you’ll have to attack it at some point and this is best undertaken with a big, sharp knife and plenty of care.
Start by peeling the skin from the celeriac; if it’s a little one the skin should be thinner so this will be quite easy. You’ll need to slice off any awkward knobbly bits from the rest of it.
Slice the celeriac thinly, around a pound coin thickness if you can, then layer up the slices on top of each other and slice these into strips. You ideally want matchstick sized strips of celeriac but if, like me, your patience wears thin then a few thicker bits here and there won’t bother anyone.
Put the celeriac into a bowl and sprinkle over the celery salt. Mix it all together well then leave to one side for around half an hour.
Get a muslin or clean tea towel and put the celeriac in the middle. Gather the edges of the fabric up and then give it a really good squeeze to get as much water out as possible.
Put the dried celeriac into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Give everything a really good mix before serving.
I served my horseradish remoulade with some steak and it would be delicious with salmon or smoked fish too. It’s amazing how much the texture of the celeriac changes after it’s been squeezed and its sweetness works really well with the horseradish. I prefer dried parsley than fresh in this because it adds an earthy, herby note and the lemon a lovely citrus freshness. Next time life gives you this knobbly root you know what to do with it.
When it’s hot in the day but slightly cooler in the evenings, sometimes a salad doesn’t quite cut it; I’m after something with a little warmth and zing for those colder evenings. This Harissa Lamb with Tabbouleh came about for two reasons: firstly I had some harissa paste leftover from a previous chicken version and secondly I had two lamb steaks which were crying out for some Middle Eastern flavours. Also, this recipe is part of an upcoming post where I look at eating organic on a budget so it worked out really well to use up some lovely veg and herbs I had in the kitchen. Also, if you make double the amount of tabbouleh it’s great for lunch the next day, particularly with some toasted pitta bread and hummus.
You will need (for two):
- 2 lamb steaks
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- 50g bulgur wheat
- Large handful of parsley and mint, roughly chopped
- 3 medium/large tomatoes, diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Start by cooking the bulgur wheat according to packet instructions. If you don’t have bulgur wheat you can use cous cous or quinoa. I have made tabbouleh with all three and they’re all equally as good.
While the bulgur is cooking prepare all the vegetables and herbs and put into a bowl.
Once the bulgur is cooked, add this to the veg in the bowl then add the lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix well and put to one side.
Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and add a little oil. Season the lamb steaks on both sides then put into the pan. Cook the lamb, turning over to make sure both sides are lovely and brown until cooked through (or cooked to your liking). Just before they are cooked brush each side with the harissa paste while still in the pan so the paste catches the heat slightly and caramelises.
Serve the lamb with the tabbouleh.
Similar to lots of my posts recently, this meal is ready in around 30 minutes, is full of flavour and makes the most of what I have in the fridge and cupboards at the time. I think this would be fantastic with some lamb koftas or butterflied chicken cooked on the barbecue then brushed with the harissa for the last few minutes of cooking. The more parsley and mint you add, the more intense the flavour (and colour!) is. I prefer to keep the herbs roughly chopped as I like the texture with the crunchy onions and soft tomatoes. This is my kind of summer cooking.
Wholesome food always makes you feel good; it’s made from humble ingredients and is full of good things like beans, vegetables and whole grains. I normally eat slow cooked, what I would describe as wholesome, meals in the autumn and winter but this easy white bean stew with purple sprouting broccoli is the perfect dish for this time of year. It’s quick and easy to make, is full of seasonal vegetables and is absolutely delicious. Using seasonal veg not only makes the best of what’s around but means it’s super cheap to cook up too, feeding four people for around £4.50 (most of what I used was organic too!).
You will need (for two hearty bowls):
- 1 large leek, sliced £0.40
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced £0.10
- Olive oil for cooking £0.10
- 2 carrots, diced £0.10
- 2 bay leaves £0.05
- 2 cans cannellini beans, drained £1.30
- 500ml vegetable stock £0.30
- Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped £0.20
- Purple sprouting broccoli, woody ends removed (4-5 stems each) £1.75
- 1 lemon £0.30
- Salt and pepper £0.05
Total price £4.65
Get a casserole pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Stir the garlic in and stir briefly before adding the carrots, leek and bay leaves. Add a dash of water (2-3 tbsp is all) then leave everything to soften for around 10 minutes.
Add the beans and stock and then simmer everything for 10-15 minutes with a lid half on.
Fill a pan with a steamer with a little water then get it on to boil.
Check the stew, it should be like a thick soup, you can add a little water if you need to thin it out then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Stir through the parsley.
When the water is boiling steam the broccoli for 2 minutes then remove and squeeze over the juice from the lemon and a good grinding of black pepper.
Serve with nice crusty bread.
This is one of my favourite dishes and one that I can see myself returning to again and again. It’s also vegan, which I realised afterwards so if you’re looking to expand your vegan cooking repertoire then I can recommend this as an excellent place to start! It’s lovely to have the seasonal purple sprouting broccoli as the star of the dish and the acidity the lemon brings cuts through the comfort of the bean stew. I also normally have some sort of white bean in my cupboards and I think it would work with any of them. If you make double the amount it’s also very tasty served as a soup the next day. I would advise serving this with crusty bread so you have something to mop up the juices from the stew.
I often get left with a collection of fresh herbs. I don’t have a freezer so can’t freeze them for future use and even if they come in a pot, they always seem to die on me. This recipe is a great one for using up almost any fresh herbs you have hanging around (except maybe mint, keep that for the gin). As if this recipe wasn’t useful enough already it also contains super easy meatballs, made from sausages, for minimum fuss and maximum taste.
You will need (for four):
- 4 large herby sausages
- 350g tagliatelle (you can use any other pasta)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped, most of the seeds removed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Small handful fresh basil and parsley, large stalks removed, roughly chopped
- Oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper
Get a large frying pan onto a low heat and add a little oil. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10-15 minutes.
Stir the tomatoes (canned and fresh) along with the oregano into the onion and turn up the heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is thickening squeeze the sausage meat out of the sausages into a bowl and then roll the sausage meat into meatballs. Whatever size you like; I ended up with 23.
Put a separate frying pan on a medium/high heat and add a little oil. Fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over and cooked through. Remove the meatballs and drain on kitchen paper.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the tagliatelle. Boil for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta well then stir the tomato sauce, meatballs and fresh herbs before serving.
Using sausages for this is a brilliant shortcut and adds a great flavour; try using some spicy sausages for a bit of a chilli kick if you fancy it. The fresh herbs in this really lift it up and make it a little more delicate. The fresh tomatoes add a nice bit of sweetness; you can add a little sugar to canned tomatoes but I don’t like to add sugar to a savoury meal. I hope these pasta recipes have given you a bit of inspiration for your meals (there’s one more to come). I try to make all my meals the same way as these pasta recipes: simple, full of flavour, quick and inexpensive.
Scandinavian food interests me; cured salmon, pickles and dark rye are the things that immediately spring to mind. By coincidence I was sent two different crispbreads to try; some from Finn Crisp and some from Plain Tasty so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try and make a Smörgåsbord with a Swedish salad; Swedish style anyway! Something very different for dinner in the ATIE household.
You will need (make as many as you need):
- Cheese and cream cheese
For the salad:
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1 small fennel, sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
- Handful fresh dill and parsley, chopped
- 3-4 spring onions, sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
I took inspiration for the salad from the Jamie Does book. Put all the prepared salad vegetables into a bowl and mix it together. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper together then dress the salad.
Carrots seem to be in my fridge no matter what time of year it is. Earlier in the year and around this time they are skinny spring carrots bought or delivered with their huge green fronds still attached. In the autumn and winter months they are the sturdier, larger carrots which are essential for roasting, stewing and making into a hot soup. I do sometimes find myself at a loss for what to do with spring carrots; other than nibbling on them as they are or serving simply with butter. I needed to find something new to try, something to cut through but complement their sweetness: a recipe for spring carrots with crème fraîche and herbs.
I don’t get to eat much fish at home as the OH isn’t a fan of anything with gills and I certainly can’t be bothered to make something different for both of us! Now I’m working from home I can have all sorts of things for lunch. The mind boggles. In reality it’s almost always toast but I was offered some Skrei cod to try and I thought it would make my midday meal much more exciting.
Skrei is a much loved Norwegian delicacy. Skrei must be caught fully grown and meet the strict quality standards to be labelled as such. This source of cod is a sustainable one and most of the Skrei are line caught. You can read more about Hugh’s Fish Fight here.