Chickpea,spinach & potato curry

Recipe idea

Chickpea, spinach & potato curry
From Sam Stern’s ‘Student Cookbook’

3 large potatoes
1 large sweet potato
2 tbsps sunflower/groundnut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch salt
2 tbsps korma curry paste
1 can chickpeas
500ml water or veg stock
Juice 1 lemon
200ml coconut cream
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsps chopped coriander
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsps ground almonds
Large handful spinach

1. Peel potatoes and sweet potato. Cut into bite sized chunks.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish. Add onion, garlic, pinch of salt. Cook until transparent.
3. Stir in curry paste. Cook for 2 mins. Add potatoes, sweet potato, hickpeas. Stir to coat. Cook for 1 min.
4. Add water/stock, lemon juice, coconut cream, mango chutney, tomato puree, two thirds of coriander, tomatoes, almonds.
5. Increase heat to boil. Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer gently for 45 mins. Check and stir so it doesn’t dry and stick. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit.
6. Garnish with remaining coriander.
7. Serve with natural yoghurt, raita, chapattis

Bacon Broth

Recipe idea
A hearty soup using seasonal winter veg.

From the Irish Heritage Cookbook

1 bacon hock (about 2lb)
3oz pearl barley
3oz lentils
2 leeks, sliced, or onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
7oz swede, diced
3 potatoes, diced
Small bunch of herbs (thyme, parsley, bay leaf)
1 small cabbage, trimmed, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Brown bread to serve

1. Soak the bacon in cold water overnight. Next morning, drain it and put it into a large pan with enough fresh cold water to cover it. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface, then add the barley and lentils. Bring back to the boil and simmer for about 15 mins.

2 Add the veg (except cabbage) to the pan with black pepper and herbs. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1.5 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3 Lift the bacon hock fro the pan with a slotted spoon. Remove the skin, then take the meat off the bones and break it into bitesize pieces. Return to the pan with the cabbage. Discard the herbs and cook for a little longer until the cabbage is cooked to your liking.

4. Adjust the seasoning and ladle into large serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with freshly baked brown bread.

Cassoulet with chilli & creme fraiche

Recipe idea

‘Cassoulet’ with chilli & crème fraiche
From ‘Avoca Café cookbook 2’

225 flageolet beans (white beans), soaked overnight
2 onions
6 cloves
6 tbsps olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red cliddies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp harissa
1 dst spoon finely chopped rosemary
Half dst spoon finely chopped sage
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 glass white wine
2 parsnips, peeled
1 small swede turnip
4 carrots, peeled
4 tbsps crème fraiche
6 tbsps breadcrumbs
2 tbsps butter

Cook the beans in enough water to cover generously, along with a whole onion studded with the cloves. When the beans are tender, about 35-45 minutes, drain, reserving the liquid and transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish. Preheat the oven to 220c.

Chop the other onion and gently sauté in 3 tbsps olive oil for 10 mins, without colouring. Add the garlic, chilli, harissa, herbs, cinnamon, tomato puree, bay leaves, chopped tomatoes and wine, and cook for a further 2 mins. Roughly chop the root veg and lay in a baking tray. Toss with the remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 10 mins in the preheated oven for 10 mins, or until just coloured.

Combine everything in the ovenproof dish along with the crème fraiche and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Toss so everything is mixed well and pour in enough of the reserved bean liquid to come almost to the top of the mixture. Lower the oven temp to 180c and bake for 1.5 hours. About 20 mins before the end sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and dot with the butter. Serve with more crème fraiche.

Potato, chorizo & feta frittata

In honour of our new hens’ arrival it has to be an egg based recipe this week:

Potato, chorizo & feta frittata
From Rachel Allen ‘Rachel’s favourite food at home’

250g potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1cm pieces
6tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
100ml single cream
1tsp salt
1tbsp chopped fresh marjoram (or 1tsp dried oregano)
125g chorizo sliced (or salami/ grilled streaky bacon)
125g feta cheese, crumbled

1.    Preheat oven to 180c. Boil potatoes for 5 mins, until just cooked. Drain and set aside.
2.    Heat a 10in ovenproof frying pan, add 3 tbsp oil and the sliced onion, cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat until soft and slightly golden. Set aside.
3.    Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the cream, 1 tsp salt and marjoram. Stir in the chorizo, the cooked onions and potatoes.
4.    Heat 3 tbsps oil in the pan. When it is hot, pour in the egg mixture and stir briefly to distribute the ingredients evenly. Top with the crumbled feta cheese. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-35 mins, or until set in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before sliding it onto a large serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

There’s no waste with this soup. Use the whole broccoli head, including the stalks, to really make the most of those valuable antioxidants.

Recipe provided by:

Readers Digest | Amazing meals


  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 600g broccoli, cut into florets and stalks chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp long-grain rice
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

preparation method

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Set aside a few florets of broccoli for the garnish, then add the rest to the saucepan with the onion and garlic.
  2. Bring back to the boil and tip the rice into the saucepan. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the broccoli and rice are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the reserved broccoli florets in a little lightly salted, boiling water for 5 minutes until just tender. Refresh in cold water and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Blend the soup in a blender or food processor, then return the soup to the pan. Add the crème fraîche and season to taste.
  5. Serve garnished with the separately cooked broccoli florets and the toasted almonds.


Copyright by The Readers Digest Association, Inc. 2005


*If preferred, you can substitute milk or single cream for the crème fraîche. *Add a few ice cubes to the water in which you refresh the broccoli florets in step 2: the cold will set their deep green colour.

Boxty potato pancakes

Pancake day is coming soon, so here’s a traditional Irish savoury idea to try.

Boxty Potato pancakes
From The Irish Heritage Cookbook


500g potatoes, peeled and chopped
50-75g plain flour
About 150ml milk
Salt to taste
Knob of butter

1.    Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor and process until the potato is thoroughly liquidized.

2.    Add the flour and enough milk to the processed potato to give a dropping consistency, and add salt to taste.The milk and flour can be adjusted, depending on how thin you like   your pancake. Heat a little butter on a griddle or heavy based frying pan.
3.    Pour about a quarter of the mixture into the pan – if the consistency is right it will spread evenly over the base. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cake. Serve rolled with the hot filling of your choice.

Suggested fillings:
Chopped bacon and cabbage, bound in a light mustard sauce.
Sauteed leek and mushroom in a light cream cheese sauce.

Beetroot & Celeriac remoulade

Recipe idea
Celeriac & Beetroot Remoulade
From ‘100 great recipes – Farmers Markets’ by Jacqeline Bellefontaine

A tasty winter salad – great with cheese, homemade bread or as a side dish.

350g celeriac
2tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
175g raw beetroot

1 tsp mustard powder/ English mustard
1 egg yolk (pasteurized)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.    Clean and peel the celeriac and coarsely grate or shred. Use the coarse grater attachment of a food processor for speed.
2.     Place in a bowl with the lemon juice and salt and toss well. Allow to stand for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain, squeezing out any excess water.
3.    Peel and coarsely grate or shred the beetroot and add to the celeriac.
4.    Whisk together the mustard, egg yolk and vinegar, then very slowly whisk in the olive oil until a thick sauce is formed. This can also be done in a food processor. Season with a little salt and pepper.
5.    Add enough dressing to moisten the vegetables and toss to combine. Serve cold. Chill any remaining dressing and use within 3 days.

Broccoli & Chicken Lasagne

Recipe idea
Broccoli and Chicken Lasagne
From ‘5 a day fruit and vegetable cookbook’

500g broccoli, broken into florets
500g chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1tbsp sunflower oil
25g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
500ml passata/creamed sieved tomatoes
½ tsp thyme
½  tsp oregano
about 12 sheets lasagna (precooked)
275g fromage frais
75g parmesan cheese, grated
225g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
salt/black pepper – fresh ground

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and then butter a large shallow ovenproof dish. Steam the broccoli until nearly tender. Strain and set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into thin strips. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the chicken for a few minutes until lightly browned. Then transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onion has softened and is lightly golden brown. Stir in the passata, thyme, oregano and seasoning, and cook for about 3-4 minutes over a moderate heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring regularly.
  4. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the prepared dish. Add a layer of lasagne and then half the chicken and half the broccoli, Dot with half the fromage frais and sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese. Put another layer of lasagne on top and spoon over the remaining tomato sauce, chicken, broccoli and fromage frais. End with a layer of lasagne.
  5. Arrange the mozzarella cheese slices on top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden.