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Beetroot & Red Cabbage Pickle

What you need:

1/2 large red cabbage

2 medium beetroot

1 litre water

325ml apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp fine salt

1 tbsp mustard seeds (yellow or black)

1 tsp fennel seeds

What you do:

Place the water, vinegar, salt, mustard seeds and fennel seeds in a large pot and bring to the boil, once boiled turn heat to low.

Halve the cabbage and shred thinly. Peel and grate the beetroots. Combine the cabbage and beetroot in a bowl and mix to combine. Turn the heat back up on the pickling liquid, add the cabbage and beetroot and stir to combine, cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Sterilise 3 x 750ml jars (or two larger jars), divide the cabbage between the jars and top with pickling liquid. Seal the lid on the jars and set aside for 2 or more days (you’ll get away with one day if you’re really in need).

Once opened, store the pickle in the fridge for several weeks.

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Basil & Macadamia Nut Pesto

What you need:

1 1/2 cups picked and washed basil leaves

80g (1/2 cup) raw macadamia nuts

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 small lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Sea salt

Black pepper

What you do:

Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor, blitz till nuts are a chunky consistency. Check seasoning and adjust with extra salt, pepper or lemon juice.

Pesto stores in the fridge for several days.

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French lentil casserole

What you do:

2tbsp olive oil

1 red onion

2 sticks celery

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tbsp picked and chopped lemon thyme

3 fresh bay leaves, or two dried bay leaves if fresh unavailable.

1 large red chilli, split length ways

1 cup French lentils

1 litre vegetable stock

350g washed potatoes

2/3 cup roughly chopped parsley

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

What you do:

Dice the onion, celery and carrots into 1cm dice. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish and add vegetables, cook gently for several minutes. Add garlic, herbs, and salt and cook a further 2 minutes.

Slice washed kipfler potatoes (skin on) into 1cm thick rounds. Add vegetable stock, lentils, kipfler potatoes and whole red chilli to the casserole dish, bring to the boil and cook gently for 15 minutes. Use a ladle to skim any excess scum that cooks out of the lentils. Cover with a lid and simmer a further 15-20 minutes. Check seasoning and set aside.

Place the roughly chopped parsley in a mortar and pestle, add red wine vinegar, sea salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil, pound till ingredients are well combined (you could also use a small food processor, or chop parsley by hand and mix together in a small bowl).

Add the parsley oil to the lentil casserole and stir to combine.

Divide between bowls and eat.

 

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Lentil Bolognese

 

What you need:

2 cups dried split red lentils

4 cups of water

2 tbsps olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 garlic glove, finely diced

2 medium-sized carrots, cut in 2mm thick slices, then quartered

1 turnip, cut in 2mm thick slices, then quartered OR: 1/4 of a celery root, cut in 2mm thick slices, then quartered

500g sieved tomatos (passata)

1 teaspoon mild paprika powder

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried thyme

handful of fresh basil (alternatively: 1 teaspoon of dried basil)

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper

What you do:

First, rinse the lentils and then place them with the 4 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and let them simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are mushy. Meanwhile, prepare and chop the vegetables. Then, in a big pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and the garlic and fry for about 2 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the paprika powder and the diced vegetables and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Now add the pot of mushy lentils. There might be some liquid left, but don’t worry about it, just add the whole thing into the pan. Also pour the passata into the pan, add the dried herbs and give it a good stir. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. If it needs more liquid, add some water until you have a consistency that you like.I prefer mine rather thick. Add the pinch of sugar (balances the acidity of the tomato) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Coarsely chop the fresh basil and sprinkle it over the sauce. Serve sauce with your prepared pasta and maybe some more basil for decoration on top.

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Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

What you need:

8 oz bacon

1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion

1 clove garlic, minced

16 oz white button mushrooms

4 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

what you do:

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas mark 4

Cut bacon into small pieces.

In a large pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy.

Remove bacon from pan and set aside; reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and pour the rest from pan.

While bacon is cooking, remove mushroom stems from caps; dice stems until finely chopped.

In the same pan used to cook bacon, saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes (be sure to scrape the bottom of pan, loosening up any brown bits).

Add chopped mushroom stems and garlic; cook for 3 more minutes.

Reduce heat to low; add cream cheese and parmesan cheese, stirring until cheeses are melted.

Add cooked bacon to pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove mixture from heat and transfer to large bowl.

Stuff each mushroom cap generously with mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and filling is hot.

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Root vegetables and butter-bean stew

What you need:

350g (12oz) carrots
300g (10½oz) swede
350g (12oz) parsnips
5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for pouring
2 tbsp flour
1 orange
750ml (1¼ pint) carrot juice
1 tbsp grain mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 x 400g (14oz) tin butter-beans, drained and rinsed
10 green olives
100g (3½oz) sourdough breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
bitter salad leaves (frisée, rocket, endive, radicchio) to serve

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F/Gas mark 3.

Peel the vegetables. Cut the carrots and swede into 1.5cm (½in) chunks. Halve the parsnips lengthwise, remove the core and cut into 1.5cm (½in) slices. Pan-fry the vegetables in 2 tbsp of the oil for 10 minutes until they start to caramelise. Sprinkle with flour and cook for a further two minutes. Place the vegetables in a heavy lidded casserole.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove a 10cm (4in) strip of peel from the orange, making sure no bitter white pith is attached. Mix the carrot juice, mustard and soy sauce until blended. Pour over the vegetables, add the butter-beans, orange peel and olives and bring to a simmer. Trace the lid on baking-parchment, cut, then place directly on top of the vegetables (this will prevent them from drying), cover and bake for 90 minutes.Pan-fry the breadcrumbs in 3 tbsp of olive oil for two to three minutes. You want the crumbs to be very crisp. Add the garlic, season and cook for a further minute, stirring all the time and making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn – the bread would immediately absorb the burnt taste.

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Ricotta & Tomato Pasta

 

What you need:

14 oz gluten free organic rice pasta– fettuccine style
¾ cup ricotta cheese (preferably fresh)
¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for garnish
½ tsp dried oregano
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups baby spinach leaves

What you do:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the hot pot.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture and sauce. In a small mixing bowl mix together the ricotta cheese with ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, the dried oregano and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil until hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Cook for 4 minutes then add the reserved pasta water and spinach. Cook for another minute or two or until the spinach has wilted. Add the tomato/spinach mixture to pasta and toss. Serve the pasta in large, shallow bowls with a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the centre. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a grating of parmesan.

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Migas (gluten free)

What you need:

4 tbsp grape seed or vegetable oil, divided use
4 tbsp unsalted butter or dairy free butter, divide use
4 gluten free corn tortillas
1 medium onion, chopped
2 red  peppers, seeded, deveined, and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined, and minced
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
12 large free range eggs
¼ cup half and half, milk, or dairy free milk
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup  of mature  or dairy free cheese – grated
½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

What you do:

Heat 3 tbsp oil and 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut each tortilla into six pieces (wedges) and add, in batches, to the hot oil. Fry until crispy and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the pieces to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Wipe out the pan, add the remaining tbsp of oil and butter and melt. Add the onion, red peppers, and jalapeno, season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and reserved tortillas and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk the eggs with the half and half and another big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir the eggs and cheese into the vegetables and let cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are just set. Stir in most of the coriander and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately garnished with the rest of the coriander

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Aubergine & Couscous salad

 

What you need:

3 tbsp olive oil

140 g couscous

225 ml hot vegetable stock

200 g cherry tomatoes, halved

handful mint leaves, roughly chopped

100 g log firm goat’s cheese, cubed

juice 1⁄2 lemon

What you do:

Heat grill to high. Put the aubergine on a baking sheet, brush with oil and season. Grill for about 15 mins, turning and brushing with more oil halfway, until browned and softened.

Meanwhile, tip the couscous into a large bowl, pour over the stock, then cover and leave for 10 mins. Mix the tomatoes, mint, goat’s cheese and remaining oil together. Fluff the couscous up with a fork, then stir in the aubergines, tomato mixture and lemon juice.

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What you need:

750 g lighter ready-rolled puff pastry
4 medium-sized Portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
15 g (½oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 large shallot, finely diced
200 g (7 oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300 g (10 oz) spinach, large stalks removed
squeeze lemon juice
150 g (5 oz) Camembert, sliced
1 small free-range egg, beaten
rocket salad, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil

What you do:

Preheat the oven to  220 C /  425 F / Gas mark  7

Using a pastry cutter or saucer, cut out 4 x 12 cm (5 in) circles of pastry and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool.

Cut out 4 x 14 cm (5½in) circles of pastry and set aside on nonstick baking paper. Use the trimmings to cut out 12 leaves as decoration for the Wellingtons. Place the leaves on the baking paper beside the circles and chill.

Remove the stalks from the Portobello mushrooms. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and fry the whole mushrooms over a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. The mushrooms will release lots of juices, so leave them on the heat, turning occasionally, until the liquid is re-absorbed. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain them, reserving the soaking water, then chop finely.

Place the frying pan back over a medium heat with the remaining oil, add the shallot, chestnut mushrooms and thyme leaves, season well and fry for 3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic and chopped porcini and fry for another 3-4 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Put the spinach into a colander, pour boiling water over to wilt it, and squeeze out the excess water by pressing with a wooden spoon. Place on a chopping board, squeeze over some lemon juice and season well. Toss it all together and chop roughly.

Divide the chopped spinach between the cooked circles of pastry, making sure you leave a 1cm (½in) border of pastry clear. Now divide the chopped mushroom mixture and carefully spoon over the spinach. Add a slice of Camembert and top each circle with a Portobello mushroom. Season well.

Brush the border of each circle with beaten egg, then gently stretch the larger circle of pastry over the whole thing, trying not to push a hole in it or trap air under it. Press the pastry edges together with your fingers and chill the Wellingtons for 10 minutes.

Once chilled, press the edges firmly with a fork, and neaten with a sharp knife to make even circles. Then brush the Wellingtons all over with beaten egg, decorate each one with 3 pastry leaves (also brush over with egg) and chill until ready to bake.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown and puffed up, then allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve with rocket salad dressed with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

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