Tag Archives: lemon

Recipe: Asparagus and Lemon Soup

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Asparagus season is just starting. One of the things I miss about moving from the Surrey countryside to London is that I no longer have a ready supply of locally grown English asparagus. I’m making do with Spanish-grown spears at the moment. As usual, being on my own, I end up having to buy more than I can comfortably eat at one time. That is where this recipe comes in. It’s a good way of using up the remains of bunches and spears that have just started to get a bit droopy.

It has a lovely, fresh taste – spring in a bowl. But be careful with the flavourings, not too much garlic and not too much lemon – you should be able to really taste the asparagus.

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Ingredients
300g asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced small
750ml light vegetable stock
4 tbsp small soup pasta shapes
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 sprig mint
1/2 lemon, juiced

Place all the ingredients apart from the lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
Remove the mint sprig.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the lemon juice a bit at a time until the soup has a fragrance of lemon in the background.
Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lemony Lentil & Spinach Soup

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This recipe is based on one from A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices by Mona Hamadeh (review to follow). I have had to adapt it because a) I didn’t have the green lentils it originally called for and b) I really don’t like swiss chard. I did buy the chard for this recipe, but when I was cutting it up I gave it a quick taste and ick! if I want something that earthy, I’ll go lick an earthworm or something! So, no chard, but I had some fresh spinach to hand so I used that instead. Please use chard if you do like it.

This is a lovely soup. The strong lemon flavour seems to pull the sun into the soup, giving promise of warmer days to come. It’s freshness and warmth suit the uncertain spring weather. A keeper, I think with the possibilities of a change of vegetable to suit whatever is available.

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Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
250g split red lentils
1 l vegetable stock
250g fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 lemons, juiced

Soften the onion in a little oil in a large saucepan.
When the onions are translucent, add the lentil and vegetable stock.
Bring to the simmer, skim off any scum from the surface, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
Add the chopped spinach and lemon juice.
Stir vigorously to break up the lentils.
Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Recipe: Lentil and Mustard Salad

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I would not have put Ethiopian or Eritrean food at the top of my list to try, until a friend took me to an Eritrean restaurant. It was a revelation. Not only is the food very veg*n friendly, with a wide variety of pulse and vegetable dishes available, it tastes wonderful. One of my favourites was a lentil salad that had a kick of heat from mustard or horseradish. I had no idea how to reproduce it, until I came across this recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook.

The hidden ingredient was brown mustard seeds and they add a lovely pungency to the dish. I’ve used puy lentils here, but any whole green lentils would do, including a tin of green lentils, which would make this a really quick addition to a meal of different salads.

NB the water must be boiling for this recipe. Anything less and the dish will be bitter.

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Ingredients
190g puy or other green lentils
1/2 green pepper
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
8 peppercorns
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp boiling water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil

Put the lentils with 500ml of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
When cooked, drain and add to a bowl.
Chop the pepper into small dice and add to the lentils.
Put the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and grind until you have a coarse powder.
Add the chilli powered and the boiling water and stir.
Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir thoroughly.
Add the mustard dressing to the lentil and peppers and mix through.
Season with salt.

Serves 4 with other salads

Recipe: Kisir with Tofu

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I found this bulgar wheat salad in a Slimming World Recipe book. Although it was very tasty and satisfying I didn’t hold out much hope for its authenticity. I did some investigating and found that it’s pretty much what you would expect from a traditional kisir. Naturally that’s not enough for me so I added some tofu to it to up the protein content.

Give this one a go. It’s easy to prepare and makes a great mid-week supper meal.

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Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
100g tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tomatoes, finally chopped
100ml vegetable stock, boiling
150g bulgar wheat
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 spring onions, chopped
2 bottled roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
60g pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped

Add a little oil to a small frying pan and put in the onions and tofu. Fry gently until the onions are softened.
Add the tomato puree and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Add the stock and the bulgar wheat.
Turn the heat up until the stock is boiling.
Add the lemon juice, spring onions, red peppers, chilli powder, garlic and cumin.
Remove from the heat, stir well, cover and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.
Once the bulgar wheat has absorbed the stock and plumped up, stir well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and mint.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lemon and Coriander Noodle Soup

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This is a simple, fragrant soup with sour and hot notes. it makes a lightening-quick, great tasting, lunch or supper. You can add more vegetables to this if you want, but I’ve kept it simple with only the flavour of lemon, coriander and chilli.

I have assumed you’ll be using the type of noodles that come already portioned in nests or bundles of noodles. If you don’t have that type of noodle, you’ll need about 80g per person.

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Ingredients
2 portions noodles (about 80g each)
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 chilli, chopped
25g fresh coriander, chopped
100g tofu, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
Drain into a colander and cool under a running cold tap.
Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
When it is simmering add the chilli, coriander, tofu and the lemon juice.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Divide the noodles into two serving bowls.
Pour the soup over the noodles.
Serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch

Recipe: Spicy Sprouts

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I had a first last week. I sent a dish back at a restaurant. The first time in my life that I’ve ever had to do that. I’m not going to name the restaurant because they didn’t quibble and took the dish off the bill so I have no complaints about the service. The dish was a mexican take on brussels sprouts. The problem was that sprouts aren’t a traditional mexican dish and in any case the chef cooking them didn’t know how to cook sprouts. For anyone reading this, rolling whole sprouts around in a hot pan for a few minutes will not cook them. They were warm, but like bullets.

This irritated me, because it could have been a nice dish. I determined to try my own version with heat and citrus notes but where the sprouts were actually cooked. I’m pretty pleased with it. And, considering that sprouts aren’t as strong-flavoured as they used to be, you could also make this with shredded spring greens to get that slightly bitter tang.

This is a side-dish, but if you wanted to make it more substantial, a bit of feta wouldn’t go amiss. You could also swap out the pine nuts for chopped hazelnuts as well.

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Ingredients
250g brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 green chilli, chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Juice 1/2 lemon

Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
Drain and set to one side.
Heat some oil in a medium hot frying pan.
Add the chilli and garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the sprouts to the pan and cook until the sprouts take on some colour and are tender.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the pine nuts and lemon juice sprinkled over.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Recipe: Potato, avocado and dill salad

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I love potato salads, but I don’t always want the creamy or mayonnaise dressing that frequently goes with them. This one uses creamy avocado instead. The lemon cuts through the richness with just the right amount of acidity and the dill adds it’s fragrant mellowness as a high note.

A handful of ingredients, very little prep and a great taste at the end of it. This is my kind of cooking.

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Ingredients
250g new potatoes, cooked and chopped into bitesize pieces
1 avocado, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Mix together thoroughly until the avocado starts to break down and little and coat the potatoes.

Serves 2 as a side salad