Pomegranate and Tomato Salsa

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There are some very large pomegranates in the supermarkets in Berlin at the moment and they are really juicy. This is deliciously fresh and healthy and works really well served with the eggplant pilaf. We like it spicy in our  house, so bear this in mind! Use the best tomatoes you can find.

Ingredients

Serves 4 as a side dish

The juice and seeds of one large pomegranate

About 15 cherry tomatoes or 3 large, ripe tomatoes chopped

A spring onion chopped very finely

A large green chili very finely chopped

A large handful of fresh coriander finely shopped

A tablespoon of lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the  ingredients in a medium bowl and season to taste. Leave for an hour before eating for the flavours to develop.

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Eggplant, Chickpea and Mushroom Pilaf with Toasted Almond Flakes

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I keep complaining how hard it is to get really good Indian food in Berlin. Sometimes I need to eat a plate of Indian food that is  vibrant with the complex flavours of fresh, whole spices. That is hard to find here so I have to cook it myself. I like this dish because, although it is rice based, it is light and  not at all stodgy. Use the best basmati rice that you can afford and rinse it well before use then be very careful to cook it lightly as it can turn to mush easily. Both eggplant and mushroom have good, strong texture and hold their flavour well. The toasted almonds add extra flavour and texture. It is really important to use fresh, whole spices, powder is just not the same in this dish.

Ingredients 

Serves 4

1 large onion thinly sliced

Half an eggplant cut int thin half moons

200g mushrooms cut into thick slices

2 medium tomatoes chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, a whole green chili and a thumbnail sized piece of fresh ginger ground to a pulp

250g basmati rice rinsed

1 tin of chickpeas

1 teaspoon each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black mustard seeds

1 piece of cinnamon stick

2 black cardamom pods

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons of toasted almond flakes or slivers

A large handful of fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onions gently in half of the oil until they are dark brown but not burnt. In a separate pan fry the eggplant and mushrooms in the rest of the oil. Toast all of the whole spices in a small dry pan but be careful not to burn them. Then combine them together with the chili, garlic, ginger paste, rice, onions, eggplant, mushrooms, chickpeas and tomatoes in a larger pan. Add just enough water to barely cover the rice and season. Bring slowly to the boil and  cover tightly with some foil before putting on the lid. Turn to a very low simmer until the rice is about two thirds cooked. Do not stir during this time.This will take about 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave with the lid on tight for a further 5 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and liberally garnish with almonds and coriander.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas and Baked Corn Salsa

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The fresh corn is coming to an end now in Europe but it has been an amazing season. As a more warming dish for the slightly cooler weather, I baked this dish to create Enchiladas and also baked the salsa on top. The enchiladas are filled with a combination of sweet potatoes and red, kidney beans. Sweet potato enchiladas is one of the first vegan dishes I ever created. I have served it to the most fussy and old fashioned meat eaters and everyone has loved it.

Preparation time 20 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the enchiladas

A medium onion finely chopped

A crushed clove of garlic

4 medium fresh tomatoes liquidised

Two chopped red chillies

Two medium, peeled, sweet potatoes cut into 3cm cubes

A tin of red kidney beans

A large red pepper chopped or sliced

A teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin

A teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

A teaspoon of oregano

A handful of fresh coriander

Half a tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Four large tortilla wraps

For the salsa

Two ears of corn roasted in the oven for 15 minutes and corn removed

A large tomato finely chopped

Two chopped spring onions

A red chilli finely chopped

A handful of fresh coriander

Two teaspoons of lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and cook the onion, garlic and peppers for about five minutes till soft. Add all of the other ingredients for the enchiladas, except the tortillas. Bring to the boil and turn to a simmer for about 40 minutes. Before filling the tortillas, mash some of the sweet potato with the back of a fork so the fillings a thick consistency.

Share the filling between the four tortillas and roll or fold them for cooking. Place in a large baking dish.

Add all of the salsa ingredients to a bowl and stir together. Season to taste. Spoon evenly across the top of the enchiladas. Place in a medium oven for 10 minutes until the salsa is warm and the tortillas are soft.

 

Button Mushroom and Chickpea “Chasseur”

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Chasseur is the French term for hunter. Chasseur dishes are normally made with game cooked slowly in wine until the dish is sweet and rich. Fortunately, during the hunting season, there is also an abundance of mushrooms for us vegans to enjoy. Mushrooms are another food that help build our immune system and should be eaten every day during the winter. I found some delightful, tiny, button mushrooms which cried out to be the main feature of a dish. This would also be great with the addition of whole, tiny onions. The chickpeas could be replaced with white beans. This could be served with crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour.

Serves 4

Ingredients

300g of button mushrooms left whole

Two large carrots cut into circles 1cm thick

A large onion finely chopped

A large aubergine cut into 3cm dice

A tin of chickpeas

150ml of white wine

A large tomato chopped finely

A crushed clove of garlic

Two teaspoons of fresh thyme

Half a tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a casserole dish and add the onion, garlic and aubergine. Stir for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place into a medium oven for about an hour. You can add a little water if it starts to dry out but try not to water down the dish sauce too much. The aubergine should be soft and starting to melt before the dish is removed from the oven.

Brussels Sprouts with Mustard,Cumin and Fennel Seeds

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Brussels sprouts are just coming into season in Europe. I hated these as a child and now cannot get enough of them. We eat huge piles of them in our house all through the season. They are best after the frost has been in them so taste much better in the winter. I could eat them on their own with a pool of gravy any day but it is nice to experiment with other ways to cook them, especially as they are part of the magic Cruciferous vegetable family that are so good for our immunity during the cold months. Apparently these kind of vegetables are better for us if we chop them before eating. Joel Fuhrman explains the science of this in his book Super Immunity.

I served these as a side dish with another more substantial curry but they could be served with just about anything.

Preparation time 5 minutes. Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

Half a kilo of Brussels sprouts finely sliced

Two shallots finely sliced

A crushed clove of garlic

A medium tomato finely chopped

Half a teaspoon each of toasted cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black mustard seeds

Half a tablespoon of oil for sautéing

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add the garlic, shallots and seeds. Stir fry for about three minutes until the garlic and shallots are soft. Add the sprouts and tomatoes and continue to stir fry for two minutes until they are coated in the other ingredients. Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook until just soft or leave crunchy if you prefer. Season to taste.

Thick Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Massaman

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Massaman is my favourite South East Asian curry. It should be thick and rich with a slight peanutty flavour. You can get Massaman curry paste in Asian supermarkets. If you cannot get any the use a red or yellow Thai paste and add half a teaspoon of ground cumin and ground coriander. Cauliflowers are really good at the moment and have a good flavour. Cruciferous vegetables are excellent for strong immunity and help us to fight colds over the winter.

 

Preparation time 10 minutes. Cooking time 15-20 minutes

Serves 3

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of Mossamon curry paste

1 cinnamon stick

1 stick of lemon grass crushed a little

A thumbnail sized piece of ginger left whole

Two medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced into 3cm cubes

A medium cauliflower broken into small florets

A tin of coconut milk

A handful of toasted peanuts finely ground

A large red chilli chopped

A handful of fresh coriander

A few toasted peanuts for garnish

Put the curry paste into a warm pan and toast it for a few seconds before adding half of the coconut milk. Stir till it is all combined. Add the lemon grass, cinnamon and ginger and the fresh chilli to taste. Add in the vegetables and stir to coat with the wet ingredients. Add the rest of the coconut milk, bring to a boil and turn to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are just soft. Stir in the ground peanuts and most of the coriander. Garnish with whole peanuts and coriander.

 

 

French Bean and Walnut Salad

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I refuse to buy French beans brought in from Kenya or South America but when they are in season in Europe I love to incorporate then into salads or sauté them in garlic oil. They remind me a lot of trips to Paris where the beans are always tiny and tender. This salad feels very French. You could add black olives or capers for a salty bite.

Preparation time and cooking time 10 minutes

Makes a large bowl

150g of French beans topped and tailed

Half a romaine lettuce

Balsamic dressing

Two handfuls of toasted walnuts

Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the beans in boiling water for five minutes and then refresh in cold water so that they keep their colour. Shred the lettuce coarsely and place into the bottom of a large salad bowl. Throw the whole beans on top and scatter the coarsely chopped nuts over the salad. Pour over a tablespoon of balsamic dressing and season to taste.