White asparagus with Turkish beetroot sauce

Spargel and Turkish sauce

Spargel and Turkish sauce

This is a simple and slightly quirky way to enjoy your asparagus. White asparagus is superior, here in Berlin, to its green brothers and can take a little more time to prepare as the stalks are very woody. Take the time to trim them so you do not end up with a tough spear but the clean, silky texture of this much beloved vegetable.

I have teamed them with this vibrant and garlicky Turkish dip which works perfectly as a side dish or starter.

Enjoy!

Serves 2.

Shopping list:

2 medium beetroots

2 cloves of garlic

soy yogurt

juice of half a lemon

olive oil

cumin powder

500g white asparagus, trimmed

black sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

First heat the oven to 180C and rub your beetroot with a little olive oil and salt and roast until soft and easily pierced with a knife. This should be about an hour or so. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the tough skins and discard. Roughly chop the beetroot and set aside.

Fill a saucepan with water, put on to boil and steam your asparagus until tender.

While they are steaming pop the beetroot, garlic, lemon juice and cumin into a blender and blitz. While the motor is running pour in about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Next spoon in roughly 3 tbsp of soy yogurt, salt and pepper and blitz until everything is well blended and you have a gloriously vibrant magenta.

Taste for seasoning, perhaps you need more salt, cumin or lemon and adjust accordingly.

Once the asparagus is cooked, serve drizzled generously with the Turkish sauce and the black sesame to garnish.

Basil and tahini sauce with aubergine, basil orzo risotto

photo 2-5
I love basil and I love tahini and this sauce is the perfect marriage of the two.

Tahini is most commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine but also Greek and Turkish, so I decided to bridge the gap between Arabia and the Italian Med that bit closer and combine basil with tahini and an orzo ‘risotto’.

This creamy, fragrant sauce works as a delicious accompaniment to the roasted aubergine and basil risotto. Add some bite with toasted walnuts and zing with quickly pickled radish and this is an impressive meal for 2.

Enjoy!

Shopping list:

large bunch basil (2x supermarket packs)

100g toasted walnuts

1 lemon

1 clove garlic

olive oil

200g orzo pasta

tahini, 100ml
1 medium/ large aubergine

2 spring onions, cut in half length ways

vine cherry tomatoes

radishes
good quality vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
basil and tahini sauce

basil and tahini sauce

Set your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Thinly slice your radishes, pop into a bowl and douse with vinegar until fully covered. Set aside for later.

First to make the basil sauce, pop into a blender the tahini, roughly chopped garlic, lemon juice, 2/3 of your basil (reserve a handful of the stalks and roughly chop them), salt and about 2 tbsp of water and blitz until you have a smooth, green sauce. The consistency should be creamily pourable but not too runny. Set this aside for later.

Now chop your aubergine into bite size cubes and add to a roasting tray with the spring onions and a liberal amount of olive oil. Toss until all is evenly coated. Pop in the oven and roast until golden, roughly 20-25 minutes.

About ten minutes before your aubergine is ready, remove the roasting tray and stir in the chopped basil stalks. Now place your tomatoes, still on the vine, on top of the aubergine. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and place back into the oven to cook.

While this is happening its time to prepare the orzo pasta. Get some water in a pan up to a boil and cook according to the packet instructions.

Drain and drizzle over some olive oil to prevent sticking.

Once your vegetables are nicely golden and soft, set the vine tomatoes aside and add the orzo pasta to the roasting tray over the hob you used to boil the pasta, and stir into the aubergine and onions. Now add the remainder of your basil leaves, roughly chopped, and tumble over the toasted walnuts and stir well.

Drain the vinegar from the radishes.

Serve the risotto with the basil sauce, vine tomatoes on the side and a few of the pickled turnips.

photo 5-2

Raw chocolate brownies

  

For some, the notion of a raw brownie may seem absurd but I promise you these are magic! Just as delicious as the baked version, soft and gooey thanks to the dates and on top of that you know it’s healthy! A super quick dessert. 

Enjoy!

Shopping list:

2 cups of walnuts

2.5 cups of soft dates, pitted

60g cacoa powder or if unavailable, unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp cacoa nibs plus more for sprinkling on top

Pinch of sea salt

 

In a food processor, process your walnuts until finely ground.

Now add your cacoa powder, salt and pulse to combine evenly.

Remove this mixture and set aside.

To the food processor, add your dates and process until you have finely chopped pieces. Now pour the walnuts/ cacoa mix back into the food processor and process until nicely blended with the dates. You want a soft almost dough like texture. If the mix is not holding together well then pop in some more dates and pulse.

Line a bread tin with baking paper and sprinkle some cacoa nibs over the base.

Press your brownie mixture evenly into the tin with a spatula. Sprinkle over some more nibs and some leftover walnuts.

Lift the baking paper out from the tin and cut your brownie and enjoy!

Even better if you have another five minutes spare to chill in the fridge.

Asparagus and Devil’s Pesto Penne

Devil's food

Devil’s food

This is a fantastic way to celebrate two ingredients which are now in season, asparagus and wild garlic. Simple and delicious, this pasta dish makes for a perfect quick mid-week supper. Avocado lends its silky unctuousness that is a welcome addition to almost any dish. Wild garlic is also known as ‘devils garlic’ giving the dish a rather funky name.

Enjoy!

Serves 2

Large bunch of wild garlic (around 500g)
Large bunch of asparagus (around 200g)
small packet of pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil
nutritional yeast
Penne pasta (around 200g for 2 people)
1 avocado, peeled, de-stoned and sliced

First make your Devil’s pesto. Begin by toasting your pine nuts in a small frying pan and set aside.
In a food processor add your roughly chopped wild garlic, juice of 1/2 the lemon, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, seasoning and blitz while pouring in gradually the olive oil until you have a nice, creamy paste. Check for seasoning, you may need a little more salt/ lemon etc.
Now prepare your asparagus by trimming away the tough, woody ends and then chopping into 1 inch pieces leaving the attractive tips a little longer.
Get some water boiling on the stove in a large saucepan and steam your asparagus until cooked and tender but retaining some bite. Set aside.
Now cook your penne pasta according to cooking instructions, drain and remember to keep a little of the cooking water.
Slice your avocado and squeeze over the rest of the lemon to stop from discolouring.
Now its time to put it all together!
To your drained pasta add the pesto, asparagus and a little of the pasta cooking water and stir well so everything is deliciously coated with the pesto.
Add the avocado and serve.

Spring has sprung- beetroot, corn and butter bean fritters with pea and tahini dip

fritters and dip

fritters and dip

This is a great recipe for using any leftover hummus you may have, super quick and easy, these fritters are a fantastic mid-week supper. Full of fresh, healthy ingredients, they are also gluten-free. Paired with the creamy pea and tahini dip, the vibrant colours please both the eye and the tummy! Delicious served like this, they would also make for some killer vegan burgers with a good bun, pickles and the works.

Enjoy.
1 large beetroot, peeled
1 medium courgette
1x 400g can of butterbeans, drained
1 bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
cumin, 1 tsp
1 small can of sweet corn
chickpea flour, 3 tblsp
hummus, 3tblsp or another can of butter beans blended until smooth
500g of peas, blanched
juice of 1 lemon
good quality vinegar, 1tblsp i.e. herb or white wine
tahini, 3 tblsp
1 garlic clove
a good handful of mint
digging in

digging in

Pop the beetroot and courgette in a food processor using the grater function or use regular box grater. Remove and place in a large bowl.
Back to the food processor, assemble the regular blade function and add the butter beans, coriander, corn, spring onions and pulse until smooth but retaining bite.
Pour mixture into the bowl with beetroot and courgette and mix well with your hands.
Add the hummus or blended butter beans, cumin, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add the chickpea flour and make sure it is well blended once more. The texture should be moist but hold well, you may want to adjust the amount of hummus/ flour you added.
Set aside in the fridge while you whizz up the pea dip simply by adding to your food processor/ hand blender the peas, lemon, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mint, salt and tahini and blend until smooth.
Add a little olive oil to a pan and heat. When quite hot, with floured hands form your fritters into 4 patties (or 8 smaller ones) and carefully place them in the pan. Fry that side until golden and crisp and then delicately turn the fritters over to fry the other side. Roughly 3 minutes on each side if the pan is good and hot.
Serve either with a baby leaf salad and the pea and tahini dip, or as awesome vegan burgers such as my kimchi burger with slaw and Sriracha ‘mayo’.
kimchi burger with slaw

kimchi burger with slaw

Rhubarb season is here! Rhubarb and Sumac Hummus

rhubarb hummus and crudites

rhubarb hummus and crudites

The idea for this slightly unusual hummus popped into my head one day on considering the similarities between rhubarb and the vibrant spice Sumac. Both flavours are tart with citrus notes, and since I love to add a little sumac to my regular hummus and rhubarb season is finally here again, I decided to give a rhubarb version a try. And you know what?
it’s great! The addition of roasted rhubarb gives the humble, earthy chickpea dish a tangy undertone that is delicious. I served it simply with fresh vegetable crudites but it would work equally well with flat bread or perhaps as a side with some taboulleh.Enjoy!

3 sticks of rhubarb

Large can of chickpeas (800g or 2x 400g)

Rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
paprika 1/2 tsp
sumac 1/2 tsp
cumin 1tsp
coriander 1 tsp

salt to taste

lemon to taste

1/2 orange or satsuma

tahini

olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

rhubarb is here again!

rhubarb is here again!

To start, chop and trim your rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, removing any stringy fibre as you go.

Throw the rhubarb into a baking tray and drizzle over the rapeseed oil, spices, a little salt and squeeze over the juice of the orange half. Mix with a wooden spoon so that the rhubarb is evenly coated.

Pop in the oven at about 200 degrees Celsius and roast until soft, this will take roughly 15/20 minutes.

While this is happening pour your chickpeas into a saucepan, liquid and all, along with the garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and then a low simmer until the garlic has softened. (I find this makes the garlic mellower).

Drain most of the chickpea liquid away into a small bowl as you may wont re-incorporate some liquid when you get blending later.

photo 3(4)
Once your rhubarb is softened remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, reserving a couple of pieces to garnish. Now tumble the rhubarb into the pan with the drained chickpeas and garlic. Drizzle in about 1/2 tbsp of tahini, (you can adjust this to your preference, adjusting my hummus can become almost obsessive!), add your lemon, a little sprinkle of cumin, sumac and also the juices from the pan the rhubarb was cooked in.

With a hand blender/ processor etc blend until you have the consistency that pleases you. I prefer something creamy but with still a little body to it.

Adjust the flavours to your liking- perhaps more salt or lemon or even some more of the spices.

To finish, spoon the hummus into a serving bowl and drizzle with a little more of the cooking juices, reserved roasted rhubarb, some olive oil, sumac and serve with crudites.
photo 1(4)

White bean Minestrone

Springtime in a bowl

Springtime in a bowl

This is Spring in a bowl! Beautiful and fragrant, everything about this sweet and fresh broth makes you feel nourished. Simply grab any vegetable you find at the market- or if you’re lucky, in in your garden, and use them to make this soup.
The white beans are dreaming of being a Minestrone (Minestrone would typically ask for pasta) and they help make what is a delicious, hearty and seasonal dish.

Enjoy!

Shopping list:

for the pesto:
bunch of basil
1 garlic clove
lemon juice (1/2 the lemon)
olive oil
pine nuts, toasted
nutritional yeast, 1 tsp (vegan option)

for the soup:
1 courgette, quartered and sliced
1 fennel bulb, halved, sliced and finely chopped
3 carrots, sliced
6 spring onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
dried oregano, around 1/2 tsp
6 runner beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
6 asparagus spears, rough stalks finely chopped and the the more delicate ends cut into 1 inch pieces.
8 medium tomatoes, blanched, skin and seeds removed and then roughly chopped.
1 medium red chili
1x 800g can of white beans
good vegetable stock (I used 2 organic veggie stock cubes in about 1 litre water)
zest of 1/2 lemon

First make the pesto by blitzing all the ingredients in a food processor, steadily adding olive oil until you have a smooth creamy paste. Set aside to garnish your soup later.

Heat rapeseed oil in a wide based casserole dish on high.

Add your spring onions, garlic, fennel, carrot and chili and stir so the oil coats all the veg. Sprinkle in a liberal amount of oregano and fry everything for about 10-15 minutes.

Get your vegetable stock on a high heat and bring to a boil.

Add your courgette and asparagus stalks and stir fry for about a minute or so and then add enough stock to cover comfortably- its a soup so liquid is good!

Now throw in your runner beans and asparagus heads and cook the soup a further 5 minutes or until these are tender.
The key with this soup is to: chop small and cook quick, we want to retain a nice crunch in our veggies.

Now stir in your lemon zest to help that Springtime burst of flavours.

Serve in large bowls topped with a healthy dollop of pesto and a sprinkle of the fennel’s delicate fronds.
Enjoy!