Archive for September, 2012

Squash and fennel lasagne

Squash and fennel lasagne

Ok…this picture doesn’t really do this dish justice, but it is amazing. It’s again from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Serves 6

1kg squash

6 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to trickle

1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped

A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, finely chopped

750g fennel (3 large bulbs)

150g blue cheese or goat’s cheese, crumbled

125g lasagne sheets (fresh is best, but dried is fine)

20g Parmesan, Cheddar or other well-flavoured hard cheese, grated

Sea slat and freshly ground black pepper

For the bechamel sauce

1 litre whole milk

1 bay leaf

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk finely chopped

A few black peppercorns

50g unsalted butter

50g plain flour

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 180 degrees / Gas Mark 4

Peel and deseed the squash and cut into 2cm cubes. Toss with 4 tbl spoons oil in a roasing dish, season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 mins, or until tender. Remove from the oven, toss immediately with the garlic and thyme, and set aside.

Trim the fennel, removing the tough outer layer, then cut into roughly 5mm slices. Heat another 2 tbl spoons oil in large frying pan, over a medium-low heat. Add fennel and saute for 10 – 15 min, or until tender, set aside.

For the sauce (my adapted recipe) Hugh FW puts all the veg  and spices into the milk until almost boiling and then takes it out later, but I leave it in. He chops it roughly and I finely.

Fry the onion and celery in the butter, then add the flour to form a smooth paste then slowly pour in the milk and stir it often  until the sauce bubbles for a few minutes and thickens. Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper.

Spread a third of the bechamel  sauce over the bottom of approx. 28 x 22xm ovenproof dish. Layer half the lasagne sheets in the dish, then scatter the roasted squash evenly over it. Trickle over another third of the sauce. Add another layer of lasagne, then the fennel. Scatter the crumbled cheese over the fennel, then spoon on the remaining bechamel.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese and add a trickle of oil. Bake for about 30 mins until golden. Serve at once, with peas or a green salad.




This is my favourite stuffed pepper recipe from River Cottage.

The peppers with a side of potatoes and yoghurt

Hugh FW uses chillies for this but I just use small red or yellow bell peppers which he suggests as alternatives. The recipe below is exactly as it is in the guardian article here, which by the way has some more amazing tasty veggie dishes. I just bought the River Cottage Veg everyday cookbook, which these recipes are from and I am so looking forward to cooking something from it. So far it looks really amazing.

Peppers ready to eat…

River Cottage stuffed peppers

Serves six as a starter, two to three as a main course.

6 large, fresh poblano, Beaver Dam or Hungarian hot wax chillies (or 6 small red and yellow bell peppers)
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2-3 shallots (or 1 medium onion), peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
150g-200g tomatoes 
400g tin beans (butter, borlotti or pinto), drained and rinsed
1 small bunch coriander, leaves picked and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the garlicky yoghurt (optional)
6 tbsp full-fat plain yoghurt, r soured cream
½ clove garlic, crushed

Beans ready to stuff peppers with

Heat the grill to high. Put the chillies on a baking tray and grill, turning from time to time, until the skin begins to char. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skin, taking care to keep the chillies whole. Cut around and remove the stalks and a flap of flesh to form a “lid”. Scrape out the seeds and membranes from inside the chillies and lids, and tip out any juice.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, then gently sauté the shallots and garlic until soft – about 10 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half and grate their flesh straight into the pan, holding back the skin. Simmer for a minute or two to reduce slightly, then remove from the heat.

Add the drained beans to the pan and roughly mash some of them with a fork so they break up a little – don’t overdo it, you want plenty of them to stay whole. Add coriander, cumin and paprika, mix and season. Stuff the mixture carefully into the chillies and top with the “lids”. Place in a lightly oiled oven dish and bake for 20 minutes.

While the chillies are baking, combine the yoghurt with the crushed garlic, season and set aside.

Serve hot, with garlicky yoghurt and some crisp, green salad.

Bon appetit!

Aubergine pasta with panko breadcrumbs and mozzarella

This tasty dish was made following this recipe from the Big Girls Small Kitchen blog which is great and I plan to be making more recipes from there.

Bellow is the recipe taken directly from Big Girls Small Kitchen although I’ve changed some of the ingredients a bit to make them sound a bit more British:

Makes 4 servings

1 medium aubergine, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
1 pound rigatoni 
10 basil leaves, torn
½ pound perlinis (or chopped fresh mozzarella)
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

In the meantime, set a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 2 tablespoons. Add the eggplant, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the eggplant is tender, but not falling apart. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 more minutes.

Pour the tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes over the eggplant mixture and stir to combine. Simmer gently until the acidity of the tomatoes has burned off, and the eggplant is soft and falling apart, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.

In a small non-stick pan, toast the breadcrumbs with a little bit of olive oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add to the pan with the pasta sauce. Add the basil leaves (reserving one or two for garnish) and the perlinis (or chopped mozzarella) and toss to combine.

Spoon the pasta into serving bowls and top each with a tablespoon of breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Garnish with torn basil leaves, and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Loving my potato

I love my potato, I do, then I do pretty much love most foods, but there is something comforting about eating potatoes – I love them mashed, boiled, fried, made into a gratin with cream or added into an omelette. Potato omelette is one of things I love to cook up most and it’s great for brunch as well as dinner, when you want something fairly quick.

It’s really easy to make. Fry some onion and then add the potato cut into very little cubes, so it cooks quickly. Then add veggies of your choice – I like to add pepper and tomato, you can also add salami or bacon if you like. Wait until the mixture is cooked and season with salt and pepper and paprika or any other herbs or fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, chives or basil work well. At this stage add the  whisked eggs with a bit of cream or milk and put on the lowest heat. If you have a lid cover the tip and wait until the top of the omelette is cooked. At the end add some grated cheese – I use cheddar, feta or Parmesan, depending on what I have in the fridge.

Serve with some bread and Bob’s your uncle.

Potato omelette with bread



Vegetarian Thai green curry

This is such an easy recipe to make. The main ingredient is good quality curry paste. We used Mae Ploy green curry paste, or the Thai Taste brand is also good. It’s worth buying these in a specialist Asian food shops or you can make your own paste.

Thai green curry with butternut squash

To make it, we first we put the oven on and roasted some butternut squash.

Roasted butternut squash

In the meantime you should also stir fry your veg and cook the rice. We used mange tout, courgettes and peppers for this, but you can vary the vegetables or make it with chicken as well. For the rice I added some roasted almonds (optional). You can make these in the oven or by deep frying them.

Stir fried veg

After this you put in the curry paste as per the instructions and fry it a bit, and then stirring it into the veg, together with a can of coconut milk. Then add the roasted butternut squash to the curry and sprinkle with coriander to serve.

And dinner is ready!

Rice and Thai Green curry before serving