Lentil Ragu

This lentil ragu is a firm family favourite. It’s quick and easy to make, full of flavour and nutrition (lentils are a powerhouse of fibre, protein, potassium, iron and folate) and it can be frozen in portions to use on busy days. I use this as a ‘base’ recipe but often add or switch the vegetables with the seasons. For example, the carrots can be swapped with swede, beetroot or squash, the mushrooms could be replaced with aubergine or crumbled walnuts. We usually stir it through pasta or layer it up in a lasagne but it also makes a great cottage pie when topped with mash and baked.

You can also tweak the seasoning and turn this Italian-style ragu into a Tex-Mex-style chilli non-carne! Just use chilli, cumin, coriander, bay, oregano and smoked paprika in place of the herbs, and add a drained tin of kidney beans and peppers to the mix too. This adaptable lentil ragu recipe is just thing to add to your repertoire for hearty family meals.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • approx 10 chestnut mushrooms, diced
  • 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1x 400g tin of green lentils, drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp each: fennel seeds, thyme and oregano
  • optional splash of red wine…
  • salt and pepper to taste (roughly a tsp of each)
  • pasta to serve (100g dried weight per person) we stock a range of organic wheat, wholegrain and gluten free varieties

Method

  1. Gather and prepare your ingredients and find a large pan to cook your ragu in. Get a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Sauté the onion with the olive oil for roughly 6 minutes over a medium-high heat until softening and starting to take on some colour.
  3. Then add the salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, thyme and garlic and stir for a minute to release and wake up the flavours.

4. Add the diced vegetables and sauté for 5-10 minutes until they start to soften and cook in their own juices. Then add the chopped tomatoes and bay leaves.

5. Swirl the juices out of the tin into the pan by filling the tin with water. Then add the drained lentils and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is rich and delicious. You may need to add a splash of water (or red wine) to loosen the sauce if it is starting to look a bit dry. (This is a good time to get your pasta into the now-boiling water).

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper. Then stir through the cooked and drained pasta and enjoy! Serve with fresh basil leaves and an extra drizzle of good olive oil.

Super Seedy Crackers

My super seedy crackers are easy to make and packed full of toasty, nutty flavour and incredible nutrients. They contain all these amazing ingredients which can be added to your next veg order. Did you know that our nuts and seeds come in compostable bags?

  • pumpkin seeds (protein, fibre, healthy fats, magnesium, zinc)
  • sunflower seeds (protein, healthy fats, selenium, vitamin E)
  • linseeds (fibre, healthy fats including omegas, protein)
  • chia seeds (fibre, protein, omega fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants)
  • oats (fibre, protein, manganese)
  • flour (you can use any flour you like, plain wheat flour or try our buckwheat or spelt flour)
  • salt (minerals)
  • olive oil (antioxidants and healthy fats).

So you can see why I love including these crackers in my diet and in my kids lunchboxes. They make a brilliant afternoon snack too! Scoop up hummus with them (find the recipe here), pop on a slice of cheese (we stock an amazing range or organic dairy and vegan cheeses here), or eat with soups.

Liz x

Ingredients (makes around 32 crackers)

  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 50g flour
  • 25g chia seeds
  • 25g linseeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 250ml water

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 150C and find your largest baking sheet. You may need to use two depending on the size of your oven. I used one sheet approximately 38x46cm as a guide. You’ll also need to line your tray with a sheet of baking parchment and have another sheet of parchment ready. Find a mixing bowl and wooden spoon or spatular.
  2. Measure the seeds, oats, flour and salt into your mixing bowl. Stir well to evenly disperse the ingredients.
  3. Then add the olive oil and water and mix well until there are no dry clumps. Leave the bowl to stand for about 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds and linseeds to absorb the liquid.
  4. After 20 minutes your mixture should be thickened and spreadable. Scrape it out onto the lined baking tray and use the spoon/spatular to spread it as evenly as you can. A good tip is to avoid the edges, don’t worry about getting it perfect yet, the next step will ensure your crackers are thin and even.
  5. Place the second piece of baking parchment over the sticky cracker dough. Use your hands to spread the dough out into a thin, even layer. Make sure there are no thicker bits anywhere as these will take longer to cook. The layer should be about 3mm thick all over.
  6. Then carefully peel off the top layer of parchment and use a knife to score the cracker dough to the size and shape you prefer.
  7. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until toasty and dried out. Allow the crackers to cool completely before snapping them apart from each other and storing them in an airtight container. They should stay fresh at room temperature for 2 weeks, in the fridge for 1 month or frozen for 3 months.
Kale crisps, hummus, crackers and raw veggie sticks – a colourful and nutritious snack box.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a classic one pot celebration of summer vegetables. Although it’s a simple recipe, with humble ingredients, it’s all about timings and getting the vegetables cooked just right. Spongey, undercooked aubergine is the reason many people don’t like it. Aubergine should be silky and soft, and almost melt in the mouth and then it’s absolutely stunning! Serve with some good bread and a glass of red. We often add a drained tin or two of white beans or lentils to this summer stew to boost the protein and make it an even heartier meal.

Why not make a double or triple batch and get some in the freezer for a busy day? You could even blend some for a quick summery soup or a flavoursome pasta sauce.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 aubergine
  • 2 courgette
  • 2 red pepper
  • 4-6 tomatoes (or 12 cherry tomatoes, or a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes)
  • 6 cloves of garlic – peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
  2. Chop the aubergine and peppers into bite sized pieces. Put them in a deep roasting dish and drizzle with the olive oil.
  3. Season well with salt and pepper, mix with your hands to evenly coat the vegetables in the seasoning. Then put the dish in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and add the courgettes and tomatoes, also cut into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add the garlic, red wine vinegar and a little more salt and pepper. Mix well and return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until everything is well cooked.
  6. Stir through lots of freshly torn basil and serve in bowls with fresh bread. Or it’s lovely with pasta or potatoes. Bulk it out and add protein with a drained tin of white beans or green lentils.

Slow-Cooked Courgette Caviar

Courgette caviar is a Russian/Ukrainian spread made from slowly cooking summer vegetables down into a rustic and delicious purée. The long, slow sauté reduces and caramelises the vegetables together, elevating these humble ingredients into a stunning jar of flavour. This is so much more than a stew. Slow cooked courgettes have the most wonderful texture, you can also use aubergines or a combination of the two. It’s just a brilliant way of using up a glut of courgettes and other summer veggies. If we are having a barbecue, I sometimes chuck a few courgettes and aubergines (also peppers, whole bulbs of garlic, carrots…) on to get smokey and soft then make this purée with those. It’s amazing, the smokiness really comes through. Just peel off any very blackened bits of skin and sauté and crush the vegetables together in the pan until reduced.

Enjoy cold on good bread or with crackers. It’s delicious as part of a picnic spread with cheese, pickles, ferments etc. Or heat it up and loosen it with some pasta water for a quick pasta sauce. It’s an incredible pizza sauce base too! I have never tried making a huge batch and keeping the jars in a cellar, but if you have the know-how and the right equipment, that’s a great way to preserve the fruits of summer. But making the recipe as per the method below, the jar should last well in the fridge for two weeks.

Liz x

Ingredients* (makes a large jar approximately 1 litre)

*don’t worry too much about amounts and the ingredients can vary too! Leave out the pepper, add aubergine, use fresh tomatoes, add more or less garlic… it’s more about the technique of slowly cooking down and caramelising the vegetables together than getting the proportions and ingredients exact. I suppose starchy vegetables like potatoes wouldn’t work here, but most other vegetables will be fine. Use any combination that you like. Here’s what I did this time:

  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • a generous slick of olive oil to coat your pot/pan, plus extra to to top the jar
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • optional extras like black pepper, dill or fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chilli…

Method

  1. Start by dicing or grating all your ingredients.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or pot, heat up a generous slick of olive oil and add the diced onion. Keep the pot at medium high and stir fry the onions until they start to soften and colour.
  3. Add the garlic, courgettes, carrots, pepper and a big pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring regularly for at least 30 minutes. You will need to lower the heat as you go. It’s nice if the vegetables caramelise and slightly catch on the bottom of the pan. Just keep scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Crush the vegetables together with the back of the wooden spoon, or use a masher to help you along.
  5. When the vegetables are reduced and drying out, add the tomatoes and keep cooking, stirring and reducing. You should end up with a rich, thick purée. You can keep it rustic or blend it smooth.
  6. Pack the mixture while it’s still hot into a large, sterilised jar. Add a layer of olive oil and put the lid on. This should make it last longer.
  7. Keep it in the fridge. It should last well for 2 weeks.

Grilled Peaches

Have you ever tried grilled peaches? They’re amazing on the barbecue but this morning I tried them in my little panini grill and they were really good so I thought I’d share.

No real recipe. Just slice them in half and twist out the stones. Our delicious flat peaches tend to de-stone quite easily but use a small knife if you’re having trouble. Then brush them with a 50:50 mix of olive oil and maple syrup and place on a hot grill until nicely charred, smokey, sweet and sticky. Serve on natural yoghurt with granola for the best summery breakfast! Or serve with ice cream after a barbecue for a refreshing dessert.

Liz x

BBQ’d New Potatoes

This is my simple and adaptable method for BBQing our gorgeous new potatoes! I have fond memories of pricking large jacket potatoes, wrapping them in foil and packing them in with the food for camping trips. Then we would carefully tuck them into the BBQ coals to bake while the rest of the grilling was done, they’d often come out perfect if we remembered to turn them occasionally, but more often than not, half the potato would burn and half would be raw, or the coals would burn out before the potato was done and there’d be some disappointment… So this way of par-boiling, dressing then skewering little salad potatoes provides a much more consistent result.

Start by boiling scrubbed new potatoes until they are nearly cooked through. Test a few larger ones with a sharp knife or skewer. Then drain the potatoes and allow them to cool in the colander while you prepare a tasty marinade or dressing!

I love potatoes with garlic and herbs. This time I mixed olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, rosemary and lemon zest in a large bowl. Then toss the par cooked new potatoes in the dressing.

Push the potatoes on skewers (or cook in a BBQ basket) and get them onto a plate or tray ready to pop over the coals.

Cook on the BBQ, turning often until soft, smokey and delicious!

Then push them off the skewers, back into the dressing bowl and toss again to get any last bits of dressing and flavour back over the delicious, charred potatoes. Enjoy!

Kale & Pumpkin Seed Pesto

The new season kale coming out of our fields and tunnels is so stunning! We are adding it to all our meals. Don’t forget to add some to your next order! Here’s a quick and easy kale pesto recipe which is so handy, not just for pesto pasta, but for sandwiches and wraps, to spread on toast and top with scrambled egg/tofu, to toss through freshly boiled new potatoes… My recipe is dairy and nut free to make it allergen friendly (I use pumpkin seeds which are incredibly nutritious and ours come in compostable bags), but as always, tweak it to your liking with different nuts/seeds and cheese. And do share how you love to eat your pesto in the comments below.

Liz x

Ingredients (makes a jar like the one pictured above)

  • 100g kale – rinsed
  • 100g pumpkin seeds – toasted
  • 1 clove of garlic – peeled
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 a lemon – zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for a thin layer on top at the end)

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse until the ingredients come together into a rough, textured sauce.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil, lemon juice or salt as desired.
  4. Spoon into a clean jar and top with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresher for longer.
  5. Keep in the fridge and use within a week, or freeze for longer storage.

Simple Salsa

We are obsessed with salsas! Scooping up salsa with tortilla crisps has got to be one of the best ways to get kids to eat a load of fresh, raw veggies too. Putting out a big bowl of salsa and tortillas while the BBQ is getting going keeps everyone happy. And of course, salsa is a key ingredient in a taco. There are countless variations, enjoy playing around and finding a fun combination that you love. The version below is a super simple one which I know my whole family will love, but I also love adding fruit like diced pineapple, cherries, mango or peaches and adding finely sliced fresh chillies or a spoon of smokey chipotle chilli paste. Grilled corn and diced avocado are also stunning additions. Share your favourite combination with us in the comments?

Liz x

Ingredients (makes enough for a whole large bag of tortilla chips)

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 1/3rd of a large cucumber – diced
  • 1/2 a punnet of honey drop cherry tomatoes – diced
  • 2 scallions – finely sliced
  • 1 bunch of coriander – chopped
  • *optional extras* chilli, avocado, grilled corn, cherries, peaches, mango, pineapple…

Method

  1. Pour the olive oil and lime juice into a large bowl.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and salt and mix well.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spoon to coat them all in the dressing.
  4. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Serve with a bowl of tortilla chips.
  6. Keep any leftovers in a tub in the fridge, salsa is even better the next day!

Babaganoush

Babaganoush is similar to hummus, but made with aubergine rather than chickpeas. It’s softer, silkier and deliciously smokey! I always pop a few aubergines on the barbecue to make this dip. You can grill them in a hot griddle pan or roast them in the oven instead, but they won’t be as smokey. You’re looking to really blacken them on the outside and let them collapse and get silky soft in the middle. The blackened skin is then peeled off, then the flesh is blended (or mashed if you like more texture) with garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil. Here’s my recipe for one aubergine. Serve with grilled or raw veg, salads, on toast or with pitta bread strips to scoop it all up.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon (or a tsp of preserved lemon purée)
  • OPTIONAL EXTRAS? A pinch each of cumin and smoked paprika and some pomegranate seeds and sesame seeds for garnishing.

Method

  1. Grill or barbecue the aubergine until it’s completely soft inside and the skin is burnt and blackened.
  2. Allow it to cool enough to handle, then slice it in half lengthways and scoop all the flesh out into a bowl to mash or blender to blend smooth. Scrape the skin carefully to get every bit of aubergine into the mix. Those bits nearer the skin have the best, smokey flavour.
  3. Add the garlic (crush or finely grate first if mashing rather than blending), olive oil, tahini and lemon.
  4. Blend or mash into a spoonable mixture, then taste and add salt and more lemon to taste.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a small serving bowl and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and optional extras like pomegranate seeds, sesame seeds, smoked paprika, cumin…
  6. Enjoy scooped up with flatbreads or toasted pitta bread and salads.

Romesco Sauce

This romesco sauce is THE MOST delicious accompaniment to barbecued vegetables, it is our take on the special sauce used during calçot festivals in Catalonia (where barbecued large leek/scallion-like vegetables are dunked in romesco in their thousands). We make it on repeat all summer! It’s silky, nutty, savoury, sweet and smokey. Dunk freshly grilled  vegetables or bread in it or even use it as a stunning pasta sauce. Spread it into wraps or sandwiches, smear it on a plate and top with salads and grilled veg, or just eat it with a spoon! You’ll fall for this sauce hard so let us know your favourite way to eat it. 

There are as many traditional recipes as there are cooks in Catalonia and if you’re a fan of romesco you may notice bread, hazelnuts and tomatoes are missing from this one. Of course you should feel free to add them back in, but I love the undiluted, smokey roasted pepper flavour of our recipe. Use roasted or barbecued red peppers and good olive oil, or for ease, one of our new jars of organic ready roasted peppers in oil. We also sell bulk bags of organic almonds (and hazelnuts) in compostable packaging. Sherry vinegar is traditional in this Catalonian recipe, but actually, we love using the raw, organic, Irish, apple cider vinegar from Clashganny Farm in Co. Waterford instead. It’s gorgeous stuff, why not add a  bottle to your next order?  

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 190g jar of roasted peppers & the oil*
  • *OR* 2 roasted/grilled red peppers & 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of raw garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (sherry or apple cider)
  • 1 handful of roasted almonds (about 50g)
  • a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Roast the almonds in the oven until they just start to take on some colour – for about 5 minutes – or toast them in a dry pan on the hob.
  2. If you are roasting/grilling your own peppers, cook them on a high heat until the skins are blistered and the flesh is soft. Then cool and peel off as much of the blackened skin as you can, remove the stem and seeds. Otherwise just use one of our jars of grilled peppers.
  3. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend into a silky, smooth sauce. 
  4. If you like a thicker sauce, with more of a hummus-like texture, you can simply add more toasted almonds and blend again.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, smoked paprika or vinegar.
  6. Keep the sauce in a jar in the fridge and use within a week.