Tag Archives: peas

Recipe: Leek, spinach and pea risotto

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Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, and I almost licked the plate when a friend and I inhaled bowls of spinach, leek and pea risotto (but made with barley) at Taurus Crafts near Lydney. So my mission was to recreate it at home. And it turned out to be about the easiest dish ever …

Except, I didn’t have any barley, so it was bog-standard risotto rice called in to play. What with a handful of frozen peas and two twirls of frozen spinach, it required a minimum of chopping. I approve thoroughly. Next time I might be inclined to try it with fresh thyme in.

If you make too much and can resist it cold, you can have risotto balls shallow-fried the next day. If you’re vegetarian, put a chunk of melty cheese in the middle; if you’re vegan, try them with salsa.

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Ingredients (serves two, or one plus generous leftovers)

Half a leek

Knob of butter or tbsp of olive oil

120g of risotto rice 750ml of vegetarian stock (you may not need all of it)

Handful of frozen peas

Handful of fresh spinach, or a couple of lumps of frozen

Vegetarian-style parmesan

Sea salt

Black pepper

Finely chop the leek and soften in the butter or oil. Add the rice and stir to coat it. Once it starts crackling, add the stock gradually. Stir often to stop the rice sticking.

Once the rice is almost cooked (keep testing it), throw in the peas and spinach – and remember that if you’re using frozen spinach that it will release liquid. Once the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables cooked, remove from the heat and season with salt and black pepper.

If you’re vegetarian, add the parmesan substitute; if you’re vegan, try some nutritional yeast flakes. You can add a knob of butter or vegan spread to make the dish even more creamy. Let the risotto rest for a few minutes, then serve.

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Recipe: Mushroom and Pea Curry

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I wanted to try a creamy curry but without the dairy in this recipe. There are simple ingredients in this dish, but they are packed with flavour. The mushrooms, too, add a satisfying mouthfeel that means this is a vegan curry you’ll want to eat again and again.

Mushroom & Pea Curry photo DSCN1051_zpsebd5b941.jpg

Ingredients
For the spice paste
1 green chilli
15g coriander leaves
1 clove garlic
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1/4tsp turmeric powder
4tbsp water

For the cashew cream
50g cashew nuts
4tbsp water

1/2tsp cumin seeds
200g mushrooms, sliced
150g peas

Put the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop add the spice paste.
Stir for a minute and then add the mushrooms.
Cook for a couple of minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking put the cashew nuts and water into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the peas to the pan, followed by the cashew cream.
Stir to mix and then cover.
Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice or naan bread.

Serves 2

Recipe: Pea Guacamole

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There is an apocryphal story about Peter Mandelson, one of Labour’s original spin-doctors, who when going around his constituency of Hartlepool, called into a fish and chip shop. He ordered fish and chips and then pointed to a pot of green stuff on the counter – “And I’ll have some of that guacamole,” he said. The ‘guacamole’ was mushy peas.

That story is almost certainly untrue, but you can make guacamole with peas instead of avocados. It doesn’t taste the same (obviously) but it’s sweet and spicy, cheaper than using avocados, has fewer calories and you can rustle this up in minutes if you have unexpected guests round. It also does well as a side dish to chilli and rice or as a filling in quesadillas.

Mandelson Dip anyone?

Pea Guacamole photo PeaGuacamole_zpseb090219.jpg

Ingredients
200g frozen peas
1/2 red onion
1/2 red chilli
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp fresh coriander
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
sweet chilli sauce (optional)

Cook the frozen peas in boiling water until just tender (about 5 minutes).
Drain the peas and add to a food processor with the onion, chilli, garlic, coriander, lime juice and olive oil.
Blend until it becomes a smooth paste.
Put in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add more oil if the mixture is too dry.
Serve drizzled with the sweet chilli sauce.

Serves 2 with other dips

Recipe: Quick Cauliflower and Pea Curry

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I think one of the biggest surprises I got when I turned vegetarian was just how much quicker things took to cook. Outside of the larger dried pulses, the trick is to not overcook the vegetables rather than worry about them being undercooked.

A prime example is this cauliflower curry. If you’d suggested cooking a curry as a midweek evening meal I would have laughed at you, but you can get this one from chopping board to plate in half an hour. It’s also a waste-not-want-not dish as it uses the cauliflower leaves as well as the florets. The cauliflower is the only fresh ingredient (apart from the onion, garlic and ginger and I assume most people keep those in the fridge as a constant). Am I selling this to you yet? – it tastes great as well!

Cauliflower & pea curry photo DSCN0973_zpse10fba8f.jpg

Ingredients
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
400g tin of tomatoes
1 small-medium cauliflower florets separated
leaves from cauliflower, shredded
100g frozen peas
1 tsp black onion seeds
Fresh chopped coriander for garnish

Heat some oil in a saucepan, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until the onion has turned golden brown.
Add the fennel, cumin, coriander, chilli and turmeric and stir for a minute or so.
Then add the tomatoes and the cauliflower.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower leaves, peas and black onion seeds.
Season with salt.
If the mixture is looking a little dry at this point add a splash or two of boiling water.
Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender.
Serve with the chopped coriander as a garnish.

Recipe: Courgette, pea and mint soup

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This is a spring soup, in lieu of spring weather. This is very quick and simple to make, but tastes like you’ve spent ages on it. It’s also one of the best uses for the fairly bland courgette. Courgettes are not my favourite vegetable, but they add a wonderful texture to soups when they’re blended. This soup is also fat-free for those who care about that kind of thing.

Courgette and pea soup photo DSCN0681_zpsb7445aa1.jpg

Ingredients
2 courgettes, roughly chopped
150g frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
500ml vegetable stock
6 mint leaves

For the garnish
Leaves from 2 stalks of mint
Zest of half a lemon

Put the soup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the courgettes are cooked.
Blend until smooth.
Season with salt & pepper.
Chop the mint and lemon zest together.
Serve the soup, hot or cold, sprinkled with the lemon and mint garnish.

Serves 2