Parmigiana Di Melanzane

I love this recipe, you can always add some chicken if you don’t want it to be meat free. Personally I think it’s amazing on its own.

You will need (this recipe was made with three aubergines and I served an entire aubergine as a portion. You could however serve this as a side dish, just slice across (in discs) and arrange in a dish instead of lengthwise like the above.

Aubergines x3

Large red onion

4 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

X2 tins of tomatoes

250g Mozzarella

150g Parmesan

Handful of Fresh basil

Seasoning

Chili flakes

Firstly slice the aubergines lengthwise fairly thinly and place on the side – sprinkle with salt and leave for an hour.

Then rinse the aubergines and pat dry. Now dry fry the aubergines in a hot pan (no oil in the pan) until browned on both sides – set aside on kitchen towel (this will allow for any moisture to be removed).

Meanwhile. Make the sauce – easy.

Dice the onion, peel the garlic and add a splash of olive oil to a pan.

Now add some chilli flakes – personal taste. Then add the tomatoes, seasoning and a cup of water. Leave to cook down and thicken for approx 45 minutes.

Once cooked and nicely thickened take a hand blender and blend everything together, add another glug of olive oil and stir.

Now take an oven dish and begin by putting a couple of spoonfuls of sauce in the bottom. Now place the aubergine slices in the dish and cover with a layer of sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil

Then repeat until all the slices are arranged and top the final layer with everything apart from fresh basil, as this will burn.

Place in a hot oven (180) and cook for an hour.

Serve on its own, with chicken, salad or green veggies.

Creamed spinach

Utterly gorgeous

You will need

Large bag of spinach

Parmesan grated – approx 3 tablespoons

Small onion diced

Butter or olive oil

Cayenne pepper

Nutmeg – grated

Double cream (approx a mug full)

Salt

Pepper

Firstly put butter or oil in a pan, place spinach in pan and cover for one minute.

After one minute remove lid and start stirring until all spinach has wilted. Remove spinach from pan and drain well until all the water has been removed.

Then chop finely.

Now go back to the pan and add a little more butter and add the diced onion and cook for approx 3/4 minutes.

When the onion is soft, add a pinch of both nutmeg and cayenne pepper and season with with salt and pepper.

Now add cream and stir around. Cook for approx 5/10 minutes until cream has reduced a little then add the chopped drained spinach and Parmesan and stir to combine fully. Cook for a further 10 minutes and then you’re good to go

Braised celery

So easy and delicious (served 3)

I used 3 sticks of celery cut in half.

One onion

Sprig of thyme

4 rashers of steaky bacon

Butter

Clove of garlic

500ml chicken stock

Dice onion. Cut celery in half.

Place butter (50g) in a pan and add onion, cook until soft.

Then add garlic, thyme and bacon (diced). and cook until bacon is browned. Then add the celery and stock.

Cover and simmer for approx 45 mins (until celery is soft).

after 45 mins the stock should have reduced quite considerably and your celery is soft and ready to be served.

I served the celery with fondant and puréed celeriac with roast chicken, and then used the reduced stock as a gravy for my chicken dish.

Celeriac

What an ugly vegetable but what an amazing taste.Here is how I cooked it two different ways but served together. Fondant Celeriac and puréed celeriac.

I used one celeriac for both dishes – not one per dish.

Firstly, peel the celeriac

For the fondant celeriac I cut three slices approx 1cm thick and then put the remaining in a saucepan for later.

Fondant – take your slices and put in a pan with 50g unsalted butter. Cook one side without moving for approx 5 mins.

After 5 mins add a clove of garlic, springs of rosemary and thyme and now turn your celeriac over gently. Then add 50ml water to the pan and cover – place in a low oven for approx 40 mins – keep an eye on it.

Now to the purée (whilst the fondant is cooking).

Take the remaining celeriac and add to a saucepan with 50g butter. Cook for 5 minutes.

After 5 mins add 100ml of milk and 50ml of double cream, pinch of cayenne pepper and pinch of salt. Simmer gently until soft when soft (approx 30 mins) remove from heat.

Now squeeze in half a lemon and then purée with a hand blender.

This is now ready (cover and keep warm until needed or place in fridge and reheat when needed.

Back to the fondant. Remove from the oven – by now all the water should have been soaked up by the celeriac so the pan should be almost dry – now you’re ready to serve. Remove gently from the pan and serve.

I served with roast chicken and braised celery with spinach and mushrooms – see blog for braised celery recipe.

(served 3)

Tah Dah Tabbouleh !!

This was so easy and quick it’s embarrassing, but made a very welcome fresh change to cauliflower rice!

You will need:

Cauliflower head

Broccoli head

Cup of water

Half red onion

Half cucumber

Avocado

4 small ripe tomatoes

Coriander

Mint

Lemon

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

First of all cut the florets off the stalk of the cauliflower and broccoli and place them in a blender. Pulse until it resembles couscous. Then tip into a bowl.

Now put a small cup of water and a pinch of salt into a sauté pan. Tip in the broccoli/cauliflower mix. Keep an eye on this that it doesn’t over cook – no one wants soggy veg (this should take approx 5 minutes). Once ready remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, dice the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and avocado into small pieces. Now chop the herbs and add them to the mix. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Mix everything around.

Once the broccoli/cauliflower mix is cool, tip it into the tomato, cucumber and avocado mix and stir around until everything is coated.

Now serve !!

We had it with Persian Kofte and it was delicious !

Broccoli with a lime butter

This is a fabulous alternative to just steamed broccoli or any green vegetables and fabulous with spicy dishes.

Green vegetables of your choice

3/4 tbsps butter

1 tsp sea salt

One lime zest

Some black pepper

Juice of half lime (whole lime if you like it really citrusy).

Put everything in a blender and mix together. You can double this up and then place in some cling film and freeze for another time.

Steam veg, when ready to serve tip the butter on the top of the vegetables toss everything around so the butter melts and serve.

Cauliflower Mash with an Indian twist

This could be used in a variety of ways, as a substitute for mash potato or simply as a side dish for a curry, as a substitute for dal – delicious however you eat it.

You will need:

One cauliflower

One onion- diced

Two spring onion tips or chives

One teaspoon of turmeric

One teaspoon of dried ginger or fresh ginger

One teaspoon of garam masala

Two cloves of garlic – crushed

1/2 teaspoon of fresh chilli

Firstly, take your cauliflower and remove as much stalk as you can – keeping it whole. Steam until soft.

In another pan gently fry the onions with some olive oil. Fry until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, ginger and chili and cook for a further few minutes. Now add the turmeric and garam masala and cook for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, take the cooked cauliflower and add to a blender and pulse for a few minutes. Now add the onion and spice mix and pulse until smooth but not too mush as to make it too soft, it needs to hold its shape.

Now dish up and add some spring onions to the top and serve!

We had it with Indian sausages cooked with turmeric, onions, peppers and ginger served with spinach and broccoli.