Tag Archives: mint

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

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Recipe: Greek Stuffed Peppers

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I have been enjoying Rick Stein’s trip around the mediterranean sea from Venice to Istanbul. Although he’s famous for fish, he has also been featuring some vegetarian recipes. And this one, from Greece, was a lunch favourite for the crew, apparently.

Stuffed peppers, are nothing new for veggies, of course, but these are sunny and light-flavoured while still being substantial enough as a lunch dish on their own.

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Ingredients
2 large red peppers
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
150g long-grain rice
200ml vegetable stock
pinch chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 small packet of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 sprigs mint, finely chopped
lemon juice (optional)

Remove the ‘lids’ from the peppers and scoop out the seeds.
Place upright in a roasting tin. Keep the lids to one side.
Heat some oil in a saucepan, and sweat the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and softened.
Add the chopped tomato and tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes.
Add the rice, vegetable stock, chilli and herbs, season with salt and pepper stir thoroughly and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes the rice should have absorbed most of the stock, but it should still be a fairly wet mixture.
Spoon the rice mixture into the peppers and replace the ‘lids’.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour 100ml of just boiled water into the roasting tin and cover with kitchen foil.
Put in a preheated over, 180C for an hour.
After an hour, remove the foil and put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes
Serve hot, room temperature or cold with some lemon juice drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch

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: Carrot & Ginger Salad

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This is inspired by a recipe on one of Jamie Oliver’s quick-cook shows – I’m not sure if it was 30 minutes or 15 minutes. Either way, this is lightening quick to make and a great addition to a curry or chinese meal. The ginger and lemon combine to add an almost lemon-sherbet background and then the mint lifts it into cooling territory. I can recommend it as a side dish with a dal or pulse-based stew. It’s well worth having in your repertoire.

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Ingredients
2 medium carrots
5cm length of fresh ginger, peeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped

Grate the carrots and the ginger into a bowl.
Stir in the lemon juice, coriander and mint.
Season with salt and mix thoroughly.
Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes for the flavours to mix.
Stir again and serve.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Recipe: Griddled Courgettes with Walnuts and Mint

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One of the results of moving is that I have been reacquainted with some of my old kitchen equipment. I now have four frying pans. I also have my old griddle pan again. I’ve been dying to use it all week.

This is a lovely salad/side dish for summer days. I made it inside on the griddle pan, but it would also work on the barbecue. Don’t slice the courgette too thin, though or the slices will disintegrate.

Mint and lemon always work well with courgette, but here the walnuts add a touch of bitterness to work against the sweetness as well as the textural crunch.

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Ingredients
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 twig of mint, chopped
1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
1 courgette, sliced lengthwise into strips

Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, mint and walnuts in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Brush the courgette slices with oil and place on a hot griddle pan.
After a minute, turn them over and cook for another minute.
Repeat until all the courgette slices are cooked.
Arrange the courgette slices on a plate and drizzle the dressing over them.
Serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a side salad

Recipe: Minted Pea and Carrot Soup

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There’s a time in every winter when you just want something simple and warming. A pulse and vegetable soup hits the spot every time for me. This is based on the famous pea and ham soup, so I have used the green marrowfat peas, but yellow split peas or lentils would work equally well. Just adjust the cooking time to suit. The mint lifts the flavour of this soup above the ordinary.

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Ingredients
250g marrowfat peas, soaked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks of mint
750ml vegetable stock
3 or 4 mint leaves, shredded for garnishing

Add the ingredients to a large saucepan.
Bring to the heat and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender. This should be 45-60 mins.
Remove the mint stalks and discard.
Spoon out about 1/4 of the peas and carrots and reserve.
Blend the remaining soup until smooth and then add the reserved peas and carrots back in.
If you want a completely smooth soup, just blend all of it together.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the mint leaves sprinkled over.

Serves 2

Recipe: Courgette Salad with Thai Dressing

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This is a lightning quick salad to produce, even quicker if you don’t skin the broad beans.

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Ingredients
For the Dressing
Juice of half a lime
1 small red chilli, chopped
1cm slice of fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar

For the Salad
250g broad bean pods
1 Courgette, grated
2 spring onions, chopped
75g mangetout, sliced
1 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped coriander

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and leave to stand.
Simmer the shelled broad beans for no more than 5 minutes.
Put the beans in cold water and then slip the skins off.
Add the courgette, beans, spring onion, mangetout and herbs into a bowl.
Spoon over the dressing and toss thoroughly.

Serves 2 as a side salad