August recipes: Feast of fun

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Ching He Huang & Lizzie Acker are two of the chefs on the sizzling line-up for the Big Feastival in Oxfordshire, 26th-28th August, so they’ve served up these summer tasters…

Lizzie Acker’s fruit tart

Prep: 65 minutes, Cooking: 50 minutes, Serves: Four

Ingredients:
Pastry
• 250g unsalted butter
• 2 eggs
• 350g plain flour
• 250g icing sugar
• Small pinch of salt

Filling
• 3 eggs
• 30g melted browned butter
• 50g ground almonds
• 150g double cream
• 150g light brown sugar
• 1tbsp flour
• 50g sliced almonds
• 1tsp vanilla bean paste
• 200g berries

Method

Pastry:
Beat the butter and sugar until mixed together. Add the beaten eggs and then add the flour and icing sugar mix until it forms a dough.

Squash the pastry into a round disc, shape with cling film and chill for an hour in the fridge.

Filling:
Add 30g of butter to a hard-based pan and place on a hob to melt and brown.

Beat the eggs and then add the sugar, double cream, ground almonds, vanilla paste and flour.

Once the butter has cooled slightly, add to the egg mixture and chill in the fridge. Set the oven to 175°c.

Roll out the pastry on to a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a tin and trim the edges with a knife. Prick the tart base.

Fill the tart with the filling mixture. Sprinkle in the berries and sliced almonds.

Bake for 50 minutes and then serve with cream and a dusting of icing sugar.

Ching’s waikiki bowl

Prep: 15 minutes, Cooking: 18-23 minutes, Serves: Three

Ingredients:
• 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 tbsp tamari or low-sodium light soy sauce
• 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
• 200g (7oz) jasmine rice
• 50ml (2fl oz) coconut milk (see tip)
• 1 tbsp toasted coconut flakes
• 1 tsp rapeseed oil
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
• 200g (7oz) smoked tofu, drained, rinsed in cold water and diced into 1.5cm (¾ in) cubes
• 2 tbsp mirin
• 2 tbsp tamari or low-sodium light soy sauce
• 1 tbsp golden syrup
• kiwi, peeled and sliced into 0.5cm (¼ in) rounds, then each round into 8 wedges
• 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and diced into 0.5cm (¼ in) cubes
• 1 whole mango, peeled, stoned and diced into 0.5cm (¼ in) cubes
• A handful of roasted salted cashew nuts
• A handful of edamame, blanched from frozen, ready to eat
• 50g (1 ¾ oz) red cabbage, shredded
• Fried crispy salted seaweed, two or three pieces of hand-torn, crispy fried ready-to-eat nori, fried shallots and toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

Method
In a small bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes with the tamari or light soy sauce and chopped chives and set aside.

Place the jasmine rice in a saucepan with the coconut milk and 350ml (12fl oz) water. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low to bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15–20 minutes.

Once cooked, remove the lid and fluff up the rice with a fork. Sprinkle over the toasted coconut flakes and set aside.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, and add the rapeseed oil. Once hot, add the garlic and ginger. Toss for a few seconds, then add the smoked tofu and cook, tossing, for five seconds.

Add the mirin, tamari or light soy sauce and golden syrup and cook for two or three minutes until the sauce is reduced and the tofu is sticky. Set aside.

When you’re ready to serve, divide the rice between three bowls. Working in sections (like slices of a pizza) add the various toppings to the rice: the tamari-chive tomatoes, the teriyaki tofu, the kiwi, the pineapple, the mango, the cashew nuts, the edamame and the red cabbage.

Garnish with crushed crispy fried salted seaweed, nori flakes, fried shallots and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Ching’s tip — If the coconut milk has separated in the can, stir the milk to bring it back together before using.

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July recipes: Blooming Great Tea Party

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Tea parties have been a real feature of the summer so far after June’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations so carry on with a Blooming Great Tea Party in aid of Marie Curie

Invite your friends, family or colleagues to join you for tea and cake, and don’t forget to price your slice! Find out more about the work of Marie Curie and ideas to help you throw a tea party

Fiona Cairns’ strawberry & elderflower cake

Ingredients:
For the cake:
• 450g unsalted butter, really soft, diced, plus more for the tins
• 450g self-raising flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 8 eggs, lightly beaten
• Finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
• 450g golden caster sugar
• 4 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the elderflower cream:
• 1.2kg ripe, even-sized
• strawberries, cleaned, dried and hulled
• 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 600ml double cream
• 8 tbsp elderflower cordial

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. To make the three-tiered cake, take three 20cm round sandwich tins. Butter the tins and line the bases with baking parchment. If you have only two tins, then make the cake mixture and divide it evenly into three batches, baking the third as soon as a tin becomes free.

For this cake, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but you can use a food processor, or a bowl, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest and sugar, and beat well, adding the cordial towards the end. Be careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. (To halve the recipe, bake in two 20cm tins for 20-25 minutes.) Remove from the oven, leaves for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the rim to loosen the cakes from the tins and turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave to cool completely. Trim the cakes flat.

For the filling and decoration:
Slice 400g of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla, leave all the flavours to mingle for 30 minutes.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, adding the cordial slowly just as it begins to thicken. Place one cake on a cake stand and spread with a layer of cream and half the slice strawberries. Repeat with another cake, a layer of cream and the remaining sliced strawberries. Top with the last cake. Spread the remaining cream all over the top and sides.

Take the best-shaped strawberries and cut 10-12 in half. Place the halved strawberries, cut side up in a circle around the edge of the cake, and pile up the rest in the centre. Cut the remaining strawberries into slices – or in half – and press into the cream all around the sides.

Ingredients:
For the cake:
• 200ml soya or almond milk
• 20ml cider vinegar
• 180g self-raising flour
• 20g ground almonds
• 200g caster sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• 80ml vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract

For decoration:
• Raspberry Jam
• Toasted almond flakes
• Glacé or fresh cherries
• Almond icing.

Makes: 12 large cupcakes, about 24 fairy cakes or 48 mini ones

Ms Cupcake’s vegan Bakewell tart cupcakes

Method
Mix the soya milk and vinegar together and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line your muffin tray with muffin cases.

In a bowl mix by hand the dry ingredients until fully combined. Add to the bowl the soya milk mixture, oil, vanilla and extract. Using a metal spoon quickly mix together until just combined (about 10 seconds). The mixture should still be a bit lumpy, so be careful to not over-mix! Tap the bowl onto the work surface to halt the raising agents from working too quickly (you will see the bubbles pop.)

Using an ice-cream scoop or a spoon, evenly place the batter into the lined muffin tray and tap the filled muffin tray on the work surface to pop the bubbles again.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack in the muffin tray for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the muffin tray and finish cooling them on the wire rack until room temperature.

Decoration:
Once your cupcakes are cooled, spread a big dollop of jam on top of the cupcake and then pipe your almond buttercream on top to hide the jam below. Decorate using toasted almond flakes and top it all off with either a fresh or glace cherry.

Almond icing:
Using an electric mixer (or a handheld mixer), whip together the margarine, vegetable fat and vanilla until creamy (about 1 minute). Add half of the icing sugar and continue mixing (slowly at first and then bringing up to speed). Mix until combined. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix while dripping in the soya or almond milk until it is a smooth consistency. If the icing is too firm, then add a bit more milk and mix again.

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Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace

Liz Nicholls

Recipes

Blenheim beauty is the backdrop for Nocturne Live stars. Singer/songwriter Mick Hucknall chats about being back on the road performing as Simply Red get set to star at Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace on 15th June

“What I’m most looking forward to about going back on tour is the audience because I think all of us have been through so much,” says Mick. “Some of us have lost family and friends, which is clearly a very emotional thing, and I just want to be a reassuring figure to the audience that we’re here, you know, entertaining them with the music they clearly love because they’re at the shows.

“The other part of it is that there’s great camaraderie between the band and I’ve missed them and very much look forward to being on a stage. And I know that we’re all gonna be really proud and thrilled to be performing to the audience.”

Q. Is there anything you don’t like about being on tour? “Well, you know, maybe three years ago I would have said yes, but I’m now saying there’s nothing, because I’m actually quite thankful to just even be on tour.”

Q. Without being able to perform over lockdowns, what has helped you cope? “Well, during the pandemic I’ve been lucky enough to have a family and we’ve been in it together, and we’ve had to deal with it like every other family has. I feel particularly for those people that don’t have a family, who have been on their own throughout this time. And again, that’s one of the beautiful things about being on the road is that you can actually be part of their family by having them come to the show and share the experience. The other thing I’ve been doing in the pandemic is writing songs, so that’s been a very positive experience and I’m hoping to share some of that music with you when the time is right, in the autumn I would think.”

Q. What can the fans expect from the tour? “Well, I want to effectively give the fans what they want. We’re gonna perform our ‘best of’, we’re gonna perform the biggest songs of our career and some familiar album tracks from over the years, but it’s just gonna be a real review of the story of Simply Red from 1985 to now, and we hope to give you the big hits.”

Q. Do you have a favourite song to perform and why? “I guess I have to say the favourite song to perform will always be Holding Back The Years. It’s just such a key song on so many levels. But then again there are others. Stars is always a favourite to perform. But always I think, for everybody, Holding Back The Years, it’s the first major song I ever wrote, and it’s something that will always be played.”

Simply Red join headliners Lionel Richie, Simple Minds, UB40 featuring Ali and Astro, and David Gray (celebrating the 20th anniversary of his seminal album White Ladder) on the line-up for the popular concert series, which will run across five nights from Wednesday June 15th to Sunday June 19th 2022.

Support acts for next summer’s event include the likes of Macy Gray, Deacon Blue, Brand New Heavies, Nerina Pallot, Jimmy Cliff, Aswad and James Morrison (full details below). Tickets, along with a limited number of VIP packages – which provide an exclusive opportunity to dine in the State Rooms of Blenheim Palace – are available from www.nocturnelive.com.

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June recipes: Heavenly honey

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Header photo credit: Comvita Manuka Honey and nutritionist Caitlin Rule

Manuka honey is not only good for your gut and your skin but its soothing properties can also help your overall wellbeing, not to mention it tastes delicious in any number of recipes, try these courtesy of Comvita Manuka Honey

Prawns with Honey, Garlic & Brown Butter Chilli Jam
Photo credit: Comvita Manuka Honey and Holy Inglis @THEHEALTHYHUNTER

Ingredients:

• 1kg green prawns, weighed whole
• 50g butter
• 2 tbsp Comvita UMF 5+ Mānuka Honey
• 4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 red chilli
• 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
• 1/2 tsp lemon zest
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice plus extra lemon for serving
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for cooking
• Extra lemon zest and salt flakes for serving

Prep: 30-40 minutes | Cooking:  25-30 minutes | Serves: 4

Method

Shell and de-vein prawns. Slicing them down the back so they curl up as they cook.

Place butter in a small saucepan, melt and continue cooking until it smells nutty and the milk solids have turned brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes.

Cut the chilli in half. Finely chop one half and finely sliced the other.

Mix together the garlic, finely chopped chilli, all but one tablespoon of chives, Mānuka honey, lemon zest, salt and oil. Then slowly stir in the brown butter.

Pour half this mix over the prawns and toss to coat. Set aside to marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Add the lemon juice to remaining marinade.

Mix together one teaspoon each of lemon zest and salt flakes and set aside with the sliced chilli and remaining chopped chives. This will be used to garnish.

Heat a large pan on medium heat add a drizzle of oil. Once hot add the prawns in batches. Cooking for one minute each side, they should be golden brown. Once cooked add all the prawns back to the pan and pour over remaining sauce. Toss to coat, the sauce should quickly caramelise.

Remove from the heat and serve scattered in your prepared garnish. Drizzle with extra Mānuka honey and serve.

Strawberry Carrot Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:
• 2 cups (180g) grated carrot
• 1 cup (125g) chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 (85g) cup Comvita UMF 5+ Mānuka Honey
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup (150g) quick oats
• 2 cups (190g) almond flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt

For the coconut honey frosting:
• 2 tbsp melted coconut butter
• 1 tsp Comvita UMF 5+ Mānuka Honey
• 2 tbsp milk of choice

Prep: 10 minutes | Making: 25-30 minutes

Photo credit: Comvita Manuka Honey and nutritionist Caitlin Rule

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F.

Grease and line a mini loaf pan or square baking pan with baking paper.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in strawberries.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and top with extra diced strawberries.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Bake for 40-45 minutes for a larger pan).

Mix together the frosting ingredients then drizzle on top and enjoy.

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May recipes: Green queens

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We’re celebrating the green goodness with two brunch recipes to herald Alresford Watercress Festival

Kedgeree with Watercress

Ingredients:

• 100ml Whole Milk
• 2 smoked haddock fillets
• ½ tbsp olive oil
• ½ Onion, chopped
• Small piece ginger, grated
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp curry powder
• 100g basmati rice
• 2 eggs
• 80 watercress, chopped finely

Prep: 10 minutes | Cooking:  30 minutes | Serves: Two people

The origins of ‘Brunch’ are unclear. Some food historians think the meal has its roots in England’s hunt breakfasts – lavish multi-course meals that featured such treats as chicken livers, eggs, meats, bacon, fresh fruit, and sweets.

Others believe Sunday brunch derives from Victorian times when staff were given the Sabbath off and they left their lords and masters with enough food to graze on throughout the day while, yet others look to 1930s New York and the abundance of dining spots for the origins of classic brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bagels and lox.

So, indulge that weekend feeling! Chow down on this fantastic brunch recipe at your leisure and revel in easy, comforting food.

Method

Heat the milk and around 50ml of water in a large pan on a low heat. Add the fish, skin-side down, and poach for around 5 mins. Remove carefully and flake it – set aside and reserve the liquid for later.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion before adding garlic, ginger, turmeric and curry powder. When the onion is soft, add the rice and let it soak up the flavours in the pan.

Make the reserved poaching liquid up to around 150-200ml with water before adding it to the pan. Simmer for around 10 minutes.

Boil the eggs for around 6 minutes – this should give you a gooey yolk (boil for longer if you prefer.)

Once the rice is cooked, stir through the haddock and watercress. Quarter the cooked eggs and place on top to serve.

Mushroom & Watercress French Toast

Ingredients:

• 2 Slices thick crusty bread
• 1 egg
• 100g mushrooms, halved
• 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
• 80g Watercress, chopped
• 50g grated Swiss cheese
• Butter

Prep: 10 minutes | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: One person

This is another fabulous tasty quick brunch recipe, perfect for a lazy Sunday morning or indeed a snack whenever you fancy.

Method

In a bowl, beat the egg and add a little salt & pepper. Dip the bread in, covering both sides.

Heat some butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the eggy bread for a couple of minutes, flip it and sprinkle the grated cheese on the side that is cooked so it melts.

Meanwhile, heat a knob butter in a pan over a medium heat (add garlic if using), cook the mushrooms. Add the watercress as the mushrooms start to brown and cook for no longer than a minute, so that the watercress has just wilted.

Serve the mushrooms and watercress on top of the cooked bread with lots of black pepper.

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Lifelong learning and mental fitness

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You don’t have to run a four-minute mile…

…to follow in the footsteps of Roger Bannister.

On a windy day in May 1954, a 25-year-old medical student broke track and field’s most famous barrier – the four-minute mile. Roger Bannister won fame at Oxford’s Iffley Road track, with a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Bannister, who’d been born into a working-class family, showed promise in education as well as running. After retiring from athletics, he enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a neurologist. He made the Queen’s Honours list twice for his contributions to sport. Then, in his 70s, he returned to his studies – by taking short courses at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.

Bannister knew that mental fitness carries many of the same benefits as physical fitness, including improved health, mental resilience and longevity. As a research neurologist, he would have understood brain plasticity – how a stimulated brain forms new synaptic connections at any age. Many studies (including one published in The Lancet in July 2017) cites educational attainment and lifelong learning as among the most important factors in preventing one-third of future dementia cases.

Among the topics Bannister explored as an adult learner were the philosophies of Hegel and Wittgenstein, the politics of Asia and America, the making of modern Europe, the history of the Cold War, and the archaeology of Roman Britain.

He went on to complete a longer course too – an Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing. Bannister joked with his poetry tutor that writing a villanelle was harder to achieve than breaking the four-minute mile.

For most of us, breaking a record in track and field is off the table – but lifelong learning is always well within reach. You can follow Sir Roger Bannister’s example at Oxford, choosing from more than 1000 short courses and longer programmes, taught both in Oxford and online.

Learn more: www.conted.ox.ac.uk

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April recipes: Feed your family

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Say bye-bye to boring dinners with exciting recipes from Chefs In Schools, by Nicole Pisani & Joanna Weinberg

Nerissa’s butternut squash cake

Ingredients:

• 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
• 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
• Two free range eggs
• 200g/7oz cooked butternut squash
• 250g/9oz self-raising flour
• One teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Edible flowers, to decorate

For the icing

• 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 100g/3½oz soft light brown sugar
• 85g/3oz maple syrup
• 220g/7¾oz cream cheese

Prep: 15 minutes | Cooking:  45 minutes | Serves: 8 people

“This recipe is one we share with every school we work with,” writes Nerissa Buckley, school chef trainer.

“It was developed out of necessity but became a hit. I was at a school one day and we needed a cake ASAP for lunch. We like to get as much fruit or vegetables to our cakes as we can and I was hunting around for some to put in, when I remembered we were baking butternut squash whole in the oven for the next day. It was a lightbulb moment… and what a yummy result.”

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a 20-cm/8-inch cake tin with reusable baking paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat again until pale and creamy.

Add the cooked squash, flour and spices and gently fold in to combine. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Make the icing while the cake is cooling: beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup (an electric beater makes this easier) until light and airy, then add the cream cheese, a quarter at a time.

Continue to beat for about two minutes until smooth and thick.

When the cake is completely cool, smear all over the top and sides. Decorate with edible flowers.

Ingredients:

• 400g/14oz hummus
• 24 baby vegetables for “planting” e.g. radishes,  carrots (with leaves if possible), baby cucumber and  tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and peeled, with tops on, or cut into small spears
• Flatbread, to serve

For the ‘black soil’

• 75g/2¾oz stale, good-quality bread
• Olive oil
• 75g/2¾oz black olives, pitted
• 50g/1¾oz pumpkin seeds
• One teaspoon cumin seeds
• Generous pinch of chilli flakes

Prep: 5 hours (drying time) | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: 4-6 to nibble on

EDIBLE GARDEN

“he first time Oli and I made the Edible Garden, a Nopi classic, for Gayhurst School was just an epic moment for me – educational, beautiful, joyful, with the kids all eating vegetables. It was everything in one moment and I remember thinking that we were on to something here.” Nicole Pisani.

For this recipe you’ll need two small loaf tins or other vessels deep enough to “plant” the veg into – tumblers or squat mugs also work.

Method

First make the “black soil”: preheat the oven to 100°C fan/120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. Toss the stale bread in a little olive oil and arrange with the black olives on a baking try and pop into the oven (turned off) to dry out for four or five hours. Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds and chilli flakes until fragrant. Transfer to a blender with the dried olives and bread and blitz together.

Tip the mixture back onto the baking tray and rub the soil together to feel if it is dry enough. If not, return to the low oven for an hour or until dry.

Divide the hummus between the loaf tins. Scatter over the black soil and plant in the veg. Serve with flatbread.

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March recipes: Dinners for winners

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We’re sharing three hearty recipes from The Hairy Bikers’ Everyday Winners by Si King and Dave Myers, published by Seven Dials, out now £22 hardback

Cumberland sausage pie

Ingredients:

• Eight Cumberland sausages (about 500g)
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 15g butter
• One large onion, diced
• Two large carrots, diced
• Two celery sticks, diced
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 100ml red wine
• 400ml beef stock
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• Two bay leaves
• One large thyme sprig
• 1–2 tbsp Cumberland sauce
• 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
• sea salt and black pepper

Topping

• 1kg floury potatoes, cut into chunks
• 30g butter
• One bunch of spring onions, cut into rounds
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
• 50ml single cream
• 100g Cheddar cheese, grated

Prep: 20 minutes | Cooking:  90 minutes | Serves: 4 people

Cumberland pie is similar to shepherd’s pie, so we thought: why not make a pie with Cumberland sausages for the full Cumberland experience? We’ve broken the sausages up into little balls so everyone gets a bite of banger satisfaction. Add the cheesy potato topping and this is a dish to be proud of.

Method

Skin the sausages. Divide each into four and roll each into a ball. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and lightly fry until browned on all sides, then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in a large saucepan or a flameproof casserole dish. Add the veg and sauté for a few minutes, until well coated. Cover and leave to cook, stirring regularly, until tender – this will take at least 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour, then when it has disappeared, stir in the tomato purée. Turn up the heat and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, then pour in the red wine. Bring to the boil and continue to stir, then add the stock, sauce and herbs. Stir in the Cumberland sauce and orange zest, if using, then add the sausage balls. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom, until it has reduced a bit and thickened. Meanwhile, make the topping. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add potatoes, season and cook for 10–15 minutes until tender. Preheat oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the spring onions. Fry until they start to soften, then add the potatoes to the pan with the mustard, if using, and the cream. Beat together until well combined.

Put the filling into a pie dish or casserole dish. Spread the mashed potato over the top, then rough it up with a fork. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until browned and piping hot.

If you’re a burgerholic like we are, you’re always on the look-out for something new. Here’s our latest incarnation of the veggie burger which has bags of flavour and a nice hit of chilli. Good served Mexican style with avocado and a dash of soured cream.

Ingredients:

• 2–3 tbsp olive oil
• One small onion, very finely chopped
• ½ red pepper, very finely chopped
• One small carrot, finely grated
• Two jalapeños, very finely chopped (include seeds)
• 3 tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped
• Four garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1-2 tsp chilli paste or hot sauce (such as chipotle)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 400g can of black, pinto or kidney beans, drained
• 50g cooked brown rice
• 75g breadcrumbs
• One egg
• Sea salt and black pepper

To Serve

• One avocado
• Juice of one lime
• Cheese slices (optional)
• Four burger buns
• Four lettuce leaves
• Four slices of red onion
• Soured cream (optional)
• Coriander leaves, to garnish
• Hot sauce

Prep: 20 minutes + 1 hour chilling | Cooking: 15 minutes | Serves: Four

Chilli bean burger (vegetarian)

Method

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, pepper and carrot and cook until the onion is soft and translucent and the vegetables collapsed down and glossy, but dry. Add the jalapeños, coriander stems and garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Stir in the chilli paste or hot sauce, soy sauce, cumin and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Put the beans into a bowl and mash roughly – you want a mixture of textures. Add the rice, breadcrumbs, egg and the cooled vegetables. Season and mix.

Heat a little more oil in the frying pan, take a dessertspoonful of the mix and form it into a small patty. Fry on both sides and taste for heat and seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or chilli, if necessary. Form into four patties and chill them for at least an hour – this will help the flavour develop.

Remove patties from the fridge. Prep the avocado, toss in the lime juice and season with salt. Heat more oil in a frying pan and add the patties. Cook over a medium heat until a brown crust forms underneath. Carefully flip. If serving with cheese, add it to the burgers now and cover the pan to help the cheese melt. Lightly toast the buns, then layer up the lettuce leaves, onion, avocado slices, burgers, cheese, if using, and soured cream, if you like. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with extra hot sauce.

Barley & Beetroot Salad (Vegetarian)

Ingredients:

• 100g barley, well rinsed (or farro)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
• 150g salad leaves
• 200g green beans, topped, tailed and blanched
• 2 large cooked beetroots, Peeled and diced
• Small bunch of dills, leaves only
• Small bunch of parsley, leaves only
• Small bunch of mint, leaves only
• 50g walnut pieces, lightly toasted
• Sea salt and black pepper

Dressing

• 50ml buttermilk
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp lemon juice or
• white wine vinegar
• ½ garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
• 1 tsp honey

Prep: 10 minutes | Serves: 4 people

Barley is great in a salad like this or you can use farro – a super-healthy grain that has a similar nutty taste to barley and is quicker to cook. Whichever grain you use, this is a big earthy salad with plenty of flavour and texture. You could add some goat’s cheese, if you like.

Method

Put the barley in a saucepan, cover with cold water and leave to soak for half an hour. Drain and cover with fresh water, then season with salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour until the barley is cooked through – you want it quite al dente. Strain, drizzle with the olive oil and add the garlic. Leave to cool to room temperature.

If you prefer to use farro instead, cook according to the packet instructions, then dress with the olive oil and garlic.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season with salt And pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning or sweetness as necessary.

Arrange the salad leaves on a large platter. Add the beans and beetroots, then drizzle over some of the dressing. Sprinkle over the herbs, barley and walnuts, tossing everything very lightly so the top layers combine well. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.

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February recipes: Sweet dreams

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Recipes

We share a taste of Nadiya’s Fast Flavours published by Penguin Michael Joseph (£22)

Banana thyme loaf

Ingredients:

• Four small bananas, three mashed (340g prepped weight), one sliced lengthways
• 50g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
• 175g caster sugar a pinch of salt
• a large sprig of fresh thyme leaves picked
• 120ml olive oil
• 75ml whole milk, at room temperature
• 300g self-raising flour, sifted
• 100g caster sugar 45g salted butter 60ml cream
• ½ teaspoon salt flakes

Prep: 25 minutes | Cooking:  1 hour | Serves: 8-10 people

Method

Put the mashed bananas in a bowl and leave out for half an hour to oxidise – this will make them browner and add to the colour. Or if you are in a rush, just mash the bananas and get to baking the loaf.

Line and grease a 900g loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C.
Add the butter and caster sugar to the banana and mix, then add the salt and thyme leaves, reserving a few to sprinkle at the end. Now pour in the olive oil and milk and mix through. Add the sifted flour and fold through until you have a smooth cake batter.

Pour into the tin and level off with a few sharp taps, add the two slices of banana, cut-side up, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, covering loosely for the last 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the caramel by adding the sugar in an even layer into the base of a pan, on medium to low heat, and watch as the sugar turns to caramel, stirring it occasionally. As soon as the sugar melts, add the butter. If you find it seizing, don’t worry, just keep stirring over a very low heat and the caramel will come together. As soon as the butter has melted, add the cream. Cook on a low heat for two minutes till you have smooth caramel. Take off the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as it has cooled enough, drizzle over the caramel. If it’s become too stiff, warm gently and then drizzle. You will have caramel left over but not to worry, because we all need a little extra caramel and it’s perfect served on the side for anyone who wants some more to pour over. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, if you like.

The simplest of all recipes, this set-custard-slash-mousse pot is creamy, zesty and entirely foolproof. Using very few ingredients, the syllabub is infused with thyme and set with lemon juice. Simply serve with sponge fingers and a good cup of coffee.

Ingredients:

• 150g raspberries
• One teaspoon rose extract
• A sprig of fresh lemon thyme, leaves picked
• 300ml double cream 50g caster sugar
• One lemon, zest and juice sponge fingers, to serve

Prep: 15 minutes + 1 hour chilling | Makes: Four

Lemon Syllabub

Method

Have four serving glasses or jam jars ready.

Mix the raspberries with the rose extract and lemon thyme leaves and mash a little to break up. Divide the mixture into the four glasses.

Add the cream and sugar to a mixing bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the lemon zest and juice and fold through. Spoon on top of the raspberries. Ideally chill for an hour before serving, but you can eat it straight away!

Serve with sponge fingers.

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January recipes: Gut Reaction

Round & About

Recipes

We’re serving up a taster from The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane which is out this month, published by Pavilion Books

Baked salmon topped with sourdough crumbs

Ingredients:

• One slice of day-old sourdough, or shop-bought sourdough loaf
• 1½ tbsp olive oil
• One lemon, quartered
• One fennel bulb, finely sliced
• One red onion, sliced
• Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes
• 100g jarred artichoke, drained
• Two salmon fillets
• Two garlic cloves, finely sliced
• Handful of stoned black olives
• Handful of fresh herbs, such
as basil or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• Salt and pepper

Prep: five minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes | Serves: two people

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add the sourdough to a blender and pulse to breadcrumbs, then stir in the ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Place the fennel, onion, tomatoes and jarred artichokes in a mixing bowl, season well and coat with the remaining olive oil. Spread out over a medium baking tray and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, stir in the garlic and olives, add the salmon and cover the salmon and vegetables with the sourdough breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15–20 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve garnished with the chopped fresh herbs and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Extract credit to: The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana and Lisa Macfarlane of The Gut Stuff (Pavilion Books). Image credit – Haarala Hamilton

Spiced green pancakes

Who said pancakes have gotta be sweet? I love these for a weekend brunch or a lazy late lunch. Excellent with a spicy Bloody Mary!

Ingredients:

Pancakes
• One garlic clove, peeled
• Handful of fresh coriander
• Handful of spinach
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cardamom
• 100ml (3½ fl oz) milk or oat milk, plus extra if needed
• 125g (4½ oz) spelt flour
• Two large eggs
• 1-2 tbsp butter
• Salt and pepper

Topping
• One avocado, cut into chunks
• Two spring onions, finely sliced
• Two handfuls of spinach
• 2 tbsp milk kefir (homemade, or shop-bought)
• One 200g (7oz) can of sweetcorn, drained
• ½ tbsp chilli flakes
• Squeeze of lemon juice

Prep: 22 minutes | Cooking: 50 minutes | Makes: Two

Method

Put the garlic, coriander, spinach, cumin and cardamom in a blender and blitz to a smooth green paste. Add a splash of the milk or oat milk to loosen if needed.

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and create a well, then add the eggs, slowly whisking them into the flour. Add a pinch of salt and stir, then gradually add the milk, followed by the green paste and whisk to combine. Leave to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Put all the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Melt the butter in a 20cm (8 in) non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Once hot, whisk the batter, then ladle 60ml (4 tbsp) into the pan. Cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat, serve with the mixed topping.

Store any leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days.

The topping is best prepared and served immediately.

We have two copies of  The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane, published by Pavilion Books to giveaway

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