Barley, beetroot and feta salad

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It is the return of #beetrootgate…. It has been a while – maybe a bit too much. The recipe is from Mafalda Pinto Leite, who as of late has been working on a healthy recipes withe healthy ingredients and healthy cooking methods.  Sometimes, like this barley salad, with delicious results. A very good salad for the Summer, refreshing and comforting at the same time.

Barley, beetroot and feta salad (adapted from Mafalda Pinto Leite’s blog Dias com Mafalda)

Ingredients 

1 cup of barley
1/3 cups of toasted sun flower seeds
1 small beetroot
1 grated carrot
50g of grated feta cheese

Dressing
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon
1/3 cup of lemon
¼ cup of  torn basil leaves

Method

Cook the barley according to the instructions on the packet, until it is tender. Cool down with cold water and drain. Reserve.

For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Alternatively, just put them all in closed bottle and shake.

To serve, put the barley in a salad bowl and mix with all the vegetables and cheese. Add the dressing, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

 


Leek, gruyère and thyme pie

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Perfect brunch dish… can be made in advance, is delicious and has the exact amount of richness for a semi-festive meal. It has nothing but very simple and humble ingredients, which work well together, for a very versatile dish. Leeks are in season, even…

 Leek,  gruyère and thyme pie (as seen in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • 1 large baking potato, cut into slices
  • 3 medium leeks, washed and sliced into rounds
  • A knob of butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 20ml  cream
  • 150g  grated gruyère cheese
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
  • 500g all-butter puff pastry, rolled
  • 1 egg, for washing

 Method

Heat an oven to 180C. Cook the baking potato in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain and set aside.

Cook the leeks over a medium heat in the butter until tender. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the potato flesh with the leeks, cream, gruyère and thyme leaves and season well.

Place one circle of puff pastry on top of a 25cm nonstick pie dish and press into the base – there will be an overhang, which can be trimmed off.

Spoon the leek mixture into the prepared dish and place the other pastry disk on top. Crimp around the sides to seal, then brush the top with egg and make an incision in the middle of the lid to let the steam escape while it’s in the oven.

Cook the pie for 30‑40 minutes until the pastry has turned golden and crisp. Rest for a few minutes before serving.


Broccoli slaw

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I would have never thought raw broccoli could taste this good…  Please don’t even mention it is often considered a super-food (whatever that means), that raw broccoli has more anti-oxidants than cooked one and how much finer it has. It supposed to be a side dish for a dinner party,  not a statement piece or declaration of intentions, OK?

Broccoli slaw (adapted from MailOnline’s Food special part one: Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate home cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g  whole blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 200ml natural yoghurt
  • 1–11⁄2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Cut off and discard the broccoli stalks. Chop the head into small pieces. Place in a salad bowl and add the almonds and currants. Set aside.

Put the yoghurt for the dressing into a bowl and stir in the vinegar, starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more later if needed. Add the sugar, mix well and season. Taste and add the remaining vinegar or a little extra sugar if necessary.

Pour the dressing over the broccoli, toss well and serve. In case you want to prepare it advance, you can kept in the fridge overnight.


Pumpkin and tahini spread

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Smooth, creamy and  with a warm spices note – Autumn doesn’t get any better than this. It was supposed to be eaten in small portions with savoury cookies, but soon spoons made an appearance. TEoU and I ended up having it as pumpkin purée for lunch…

Pumpkin and tahini spread (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • About 1kg pumpkin (or butternut squash)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 70g tahini paste
  • 120g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Olive oil to drizzle

Method

Heat the oven to 180C. Spread the pumpkin out on a medium-sized baking tray, pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and salt. Mix well, cover the tray tightly with tinfoil and roast for 70 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Transfer the cooled pumpkin of the bowl of a food processor, along with the tahini, yoghurt and garlic. Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste

To serve, spread the butternut in a wavy pattern over a flat plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and a drizzle of syrup.

PS – Cookies (Taralli Caserecci Pugliesi) courtesy of Coop Fine Food 


Thomas Keller’s creamy polenta

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It was not my intention to make this a polenta cook-off between two of the best chefs in the world…  Adrià’s polenta is a very popular dish in this blog, and I get to cook it often. However, this polenta looked so creamy and fluffy, I had to give it a go…  The mobile calorie intake units  My guests got a bit worried about the extra calories, but ate it all without too much complaining. The general consensus was that it was indeed creamy – a bit too much even.

Creamy polenta (adapted from Thomas Keller‘s Ad hoc at home)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 L (=6 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • about 500g of coarse polenta
  • 600 mL (=2.5  cups) of heavy cream
  • 170 grams ( =12 tablespoons ) of unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method

Combine the stock, garlic and sprinkle with salt in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Pour in the polenta in stream and cook over low heat, stirring often, stirring often, for about 20min, until the polenta is quite dry and coats the bottom of the pan. The moisture must evaporate, because it will be replaced with fat.

In the meanwhile, warm the cream in a small pan

Increase the cream under the polenta to medium and stir in the butter. Add a cream, about half a cup at the time, and let the polenta absorb it all before adding more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Beetroot, apple and walnuts salad with yoghurt and cumin seeds dressing

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Beetroots again! It has been while – but here they are again… #Beetrootgate proceeds with a lovely salad of contrasting flavours and different textures. Add a bit of feta cheese for a full meal, perfect for a lunch box.

Beetroot, apple and walnuts salad with yoghurt and cumin seeds dressing  (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cooked beetroots (not pickled), cut into small cubes
  • 20g blanched hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 chicory heads, trimmed.
  • 2 red apples, like gala 
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley

Dressing

  • 150g of low fat yoghurt
  • the juice and the zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon of runny honey

Method

Slip the beetroots out of their skins. Cut them into wedges and then into cubes

Roughly chop the hazelnuts on a board. Tip them into a colander and give it a good shake until get rid of all the small powdery bits. Reserve the big chunky ones.

Scatter the nuts into a non-stick frying pan and toast over a medium-high heat for about 5min or until lightly browned, turning them as they cook. Add the cumin seeds and toast together for about 1-2min. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.

Cut each head of chicory lengthways into 6 thin wedges and put them in a salad bowl; alternatively you can separate the some leaves. Cut the apple into quarters, remove the core and the slice the apple quarters fairly thinly. Peel and finely slice the onion. Roughly chop the mint and parsley leaves.

Lightly toss the chicory, apple, onion, hazelnuts, cumin seeds and herbs together. Scatter the beetroot on top of the salad and mix gently. Scatter around the dressing to taste


Pear and fennel salad with caraway and pecorino cheese

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From an off-season salad  to a totally in season one, courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi. It seems an odd combination of flavours, but they really go well together: the anise flavor of the fennel, sweetness of the pears, the saltiness of the cheese, the freshness of the lemon, the bitterness of the rucola…. It could well be one of the dishes of this Autumn (minus pecorino cheese, for a sensible calorie count).

Pear and fennel salad with caraway and pecorino (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half lengthways, then each half cut  sideways into 2mm slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp caraway seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 10g picked dill
  • 75g rocket
  • 3 medium ripe conference pears, peeled, quartered lengthways, cored and cut into 0.5cm wedges
  • 60g pecorino, thinly shaved

 Method

Mix the lemon juice and vinegar in a large bowl. Add the fennel and leave to soften for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Put the oil, caraway, maple syrup, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and some black pepper into a small bowl, strain in the lemon and vinegar from the fennel bowl and stir well.

Add the dill, rocket, pear and pecorino to the fennel bowl, pour on the dressing, toss lightly and serve.