Tag Archives: recipe

Swede recipes

18 Nov

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Swede: humble, hearty and, to lots of people, a bit boring. For many years, my sole experience was neeps on Burns Night, or as part of a triumvirate of mashes, school dinner-style. But these two-tone beauties, vibrant purple and off-white, so often reached over for more easygoing parsnips or sweet potatoes, are worth your attention in their own right. They roast as well as they mash and pair brilliantly with spice, especially those with a smoky undertone – smoked paprika, chipotle, cumin, black pepper – which stand up to its sweet backnotes. Cut into batons and roasted, it makes a great alternative to chips, too. Here are two recipes that I cook on repeat.

A smoky swede carbonara
This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authentic carbonara, but I use the word to give you an idea of what it will look like: crisp-edged morsels of smoky swede offset the instant silky sauce of eggs and parmesan coating the pasta. Follow the method carefully to make sure you don’t scramble the eggs. I use smoked salt here – it’s easy to find in supermarkets, but use regular sea salt if you prefer.

Prep 5 min
Cook 12 min
Serves 4

Olive oil
300g swede, peeled and cut into 1cm x 3cm batons
Smoked salt or flaky salt
3 eggs
3 tbsp grated parmesan (I use a vegetarian one)
Black pepper
400g spaghetti

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the swede, season well with the smoked salt and add a couple of tablespoons of water: leave the swede to simmer until the water is all gone, then continue to cook until it is golden brown and crisp-edged all over but soft in the middle. Turn the heat right down and keep warm.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a good grinding (about one teaspoon) of black pepper and the parmesan, and mix well.

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Once the pasta is perfectly al dente, use tongs to lift it out of the water and straight into the frying pan with the swede, along with a little of the cooking water – this will cool the pan a little, stop the eggs from scrambling and help the sauce emulsify.

Toss the pasta and the swede together and, once the pan has cooled enough that you don’t hear any sizzling, add the egg mixture. Toss again until all the pasta is coated in sauce – if you need to, add a little more of the cooking water. The eggs and parmesan should come together to coat the pasta in a creamy, silky sauce. Serve immediately with more parmesan and black pepper.

Maple and black pepper roasted swede
I find myself making this again and again. This is very simple, but the flavours work brilliantly. To turn it into a meal, serve on cooked puy lentils alongside wilted greens. Be sure to peel your swede until the green layer under the skin is gone.

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Prep 5 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

1kg swede, (about 2 swedes), peeled and cut into 2cm thick wedges
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme or sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put the swede wedges on to a baking tray and drizzle over some olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and add the chilli and herbs. Toss to coat everything, then put into the hot oven to roast for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden.

When they look good, take them out of the oven and tumble into a bowl, douse with the vinegar and stir. Leave for a couple of minutes to let the vinegar absorb, then add the maple syrup and mix again, and check for seasoning.

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Easy recipe for brussels sprout gratin with fennel salami

20 Oct

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When it has been this cold and grey for so long, it’s hard to shake yourself from the winter torpor. Thank goodness, then, for the optimism of the pagans: Imbolc, or St Brigid’s Day, is a Gaelic festival at the start of February, halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It’s a celebration of the first signs of spring, and milk-based dishes traditionally mark the occasion. In keeping with that, here’s a creamy-rich gratin studded with salami. Perfect fodder to spoil yourself, and to welcome the lengthening days.

Brussels sprout gratin with finocchiona salami, fennel seeds and breadcrumbs
Brussels sprouts as you never knew them: sweet, tender and with a twist of fennel echoed in the delicious Tuscan salami – you should be able to get that in any Italian deli worth its salt.

Prep 20-25 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4-6

1kg brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
350ml double cream
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
30g butter
70g finocchiona salami, slices cut into thick strips
Salt and black pepper
½ tbsp fennel seeds
3 tbsp demerara sugar
4 tbsp olive oil
100g soft white breadcrumbs
50g parmesan (or pecorino), grated

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas mark 4. Bring a pan of well salted water to a boil and blanch the sprouts for three to four minutes (depending on size), until just tender, then drain.

Put the cream, two garlic cloves and the bay leaf in a saucepan on a medium-low heat, bring to a simmer and cook gently for five minutes, until the cream has reduced a little.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the salami for 30 seconds, just until it starts to release its fat. Stir in the sprouts, season and toss in the hot, buttery fat for a minute. Stir in the infused cream (discard the garli, which has now done its job), then tip the lot into a small baking dish into which the mix fits snugly.

Put the remaining garlic clove, the fennel seeds, sugar and a couple of pinches of salt in a mortar and grind to a paste. Stir in half the oil, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs and cheese. Toss to combine, then sprinkle on to the gratin. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden. Leave to rest and cool slightly before serving.

And for the rest of the week…
Saute shavings of leftover salami with savoy cabbage, then drizzle with black butter (butter melted and cooked until nutty and brown) and a grating of parmesan for a tasty and quick lunch (the salami also works well with green beans in summer: cut it into batons and dress in a simple vinaigrette). Sprouts are great in veggie curries, whether Indian or Thai: they add real body and keep their shape.

Vegan potato and cabbage curry recipe

18 Sep

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Today’s recipe is an ancient dish that my ancestors cooked over wooden fires in their village on the Kathiawar peninsula in Gujarat, western India. It’s also something I ate regularly when I got home from school in Lincolnshire, while sitting in front of the telly and watching Neighbours, as well as something I wanted to eat almost every day when I was pregnant. It might be simple and cheap, but it’s also delicious and wholesome, and deserves to continue for many more generations.
Gujarati potato and cabbage curry

My mother uses waxy potatoes such as charlotte or anya in this, because they hold their shape when cooked; I prefer crumbly, fudgy spuds such as maris pipers, which merge into the sauce. Boost the table offering with a dal or spinach curry.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

800g maris piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
Salt and black pepper
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 pinch fenugreek seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
200g tinned plum tomatoes with their juice (ie, half a tin)
500g white cabbage (ie, half a large one), cored and shredded
1 tsp ground coriander
⅓ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground red chilli powder
250ml lukewarm water

To serve
Chapatis
Non-dairy yoghurt
Fresh coriander

Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with cold water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, then drain and leave to steam.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil over a medium flame in a large frying pan for which you have a lid. Once it’s very hot, add the fenugreek, mustard and cumin seeds and, when they start to crackle, stir in the onion and fry for six minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, cook for two minutes, then add the tomatoes, tipping them in with one hand and crushing them with the other as they hit the pan. Cook until the tomatoes become concentrated and paste-like and the oil floats to the top – about eight to 10 minutes.

Turn up the heat, add the cabbage and stir until well coated in the tomato mixture, then cover the pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring infrequently (every couple of minutes, say), so the cabbage caramelises a little while it softens.

When the cabbage is soft, fold in the potatoes, the ground spices and a teaspoon and a half of salt, and stir gently, so the potatoes don’t break up too much. Add the lukewarm water bit by bit, stirring after each addition, and leave to cook down for five minutes, until the liquid thickens into a sauce. Check and adjust the seasoning, then take off the heat.

Serve generous helpings of the curry with warm chapatis (heat according to the packet instructions) , a large spoonful of non-dairy yoghurt and a couple of sprigs of fresh coriander.

Nigel Slater’s orecchiette, salsa verde and parmesan crisps recipe

16 Oct

The recipe

Warm a nonstick frying pan over a moderate heat. Finely grate 12 tbsp (about 40g) of parmesan. Place the cheese in six piles in the warm pan, smoothing each one out into a disc about the size of a digestive biscuit. Watch carefully as the cheese melts. It will take about 2 minutes. As soon as it turns pale gold turn off the heat, but leave the cheese in place. Put a deep pan of water on to boil for the pasta. When it comes to the boil, salt it generously.

Cut 250g of broccoli into very small florets, much smaller than you would to serve it as an accompanying vegetable. Dunk the florets into the pasta water and let them cook for 3 minutes, till tender and bright. Remove them with a draining spoon or metal spider and refresh under cold running water to keep their crispness and colour.

Let the water return to the boil, then add 125g of orecchiette or other small pasta, stirring as it goes in to prevent it from sticking. Cook at a rolling boil for 9 minutes or until tender but with a little bite left.

While the pasta cooks, put the ingredients for the sauce into the blender: 20g of parsley, 20g of basil, 12 large mint leaves and the juice of a lemon. Now blend in 8 tbsp of olive oil and a little salt. You should have a thick green dressing.

Drain the pasta and toss with the broccoli and dressing. Lift the cheese discs from the pan and break into pieces over the pasta and vegetables.

The trick

Don’t let the pan for the crisps get too hot – just hot enough to melt the cheese. As soon as the cheese colours lightly, turn off the heat as they will continue cooking in the residual heat. Slide a palette knife under the warm crisps to remove Don’t let them cool before removing.

The twist

Instead of broccoli, you could use brussels sprouts (halved) or long-stemmed broccoli cut into short lengths. You could introduce anchovies into the sauce (you need 6 fillets for this recipe). The idea works with boiled, thickly sliced potatoes instead of pasta, dressing them while they are warm and freshly sliced.