Lentil Pie with Colcannon Mash

Is there anything more comforting and satisfying than a mashed potato topped pie? This is hearty and healthy family food. Perfect for a cosy evening weekday meal and also special enough, I think, for a Sunday lunch. Colcannon is a great way to get some extra greens in, and it’s crazy delicious! I also cook enough for two and freeze one for a rainy day…no shortage of those here in Ireland am I right?

Here’s the flexible and simple recipe. I hope you enjoy it and it becomes a part of your regular rotation. It’s certainly a winner in my house. Liz x

Ingredients (makes enough for 2 pies which serve 4 hungry people each)

  • 2 white onions – diced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 sticks of celery – diced
  • 6 carrots – diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic – sliced
  • 2 tbsp crumbled, dried mushrooms
  • 2 mugs of green or brown lentils – rinsed
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 glass of red/white wine (or a tbsp or two of vinegar)
  • 1 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 10 or so floury potatoes
  • 6 scallions/spring onions – chopped
  • a large bunch of kale or half a spring green cabbage – chopped
  • a generous knob of butter/margarine
  • a splash of oat milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasonal greens to steam and serve on the side
One for now, one for the freezer for a rainy day.

Method

You’ll need two large pots and two baking dishes. Preheat your oven to 200C. Get a large pot of water on to boil.

Peel your potatoes (or don’t if you prefer a rustic mash), chop them into even sized pieces and put them in the large pot of water to boil until soft.

Meanwhile make the lentil filling. Sauté the onion in the oil until starting to soften and turn golden. Then add the celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until fragrant. You can of course switch the base veg for whatever you have eg beetroot, parsnips, swede, mushrooms…

Add the rinsed lentils and the wine/vinegar. Give the pot a quick stir then add 6 mugs of water, crumble in the two stock cubes and the dried mushrooms. Add the dried herbs, bay leaves and some black pepper then simmer, stirring often, until the lentils are cooked and have soaked up most of the water. Add more water if needed, just keep an eye on it.

Put the chopped scallions in a wide bowl and just cover them with oat milk so that they can infuse their flavour through the milk.

Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the kale/cabbage to the pot to quickly steam in the last 3 minutes or so of the cooking time. Then fish them out and put them in the bowl with the oat milk and spring onions.

Drain and mash the potatoes with the butter and plenty of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Then stir the kale/cabbage, scallions and milk through the mash.

Taste the lentil filling and add more salt/pepper as needed. Them assemble the pies. Make one to eat now and one to cool down and freeze for another day?

Divide the lentil filling between two oven dishes, then divide the mash. Smooth it out and then rough it up a little with a fork so that you get nice crispy bits in the oven.

Put one of the pies in the oven to bake and crisp up. It’s still warm so it should only take 20 minutes or so. If you are cooking one from cold it will take a lot longer. You will need to cook a cold one covered with foil or a baking tray until hot in the middle, then remove the foil/baking tray for the last 15 minutes or so to allow the pie to take on some colour.

Serve with seasonal greens and enjoy!

Devilled ‘Eggs’

I saw these pop up on the fabulous Tabitha Brown’s Instagram months ago and haven’t been able to get them out of my head since. So when we finished a jar of pickles the other day I knew exactly what I was going to make. My yolk recipe is quite different (more of a European version than her American one I guess?) but all credit to @iamtabithabrown for the genius idea. These are such fun little retro canapés or as an Easter starter. Give my version a try and let me know what you think. Liz x

Ingredients

  • a jar of pickle liquor left after eating the pickled cucumbers
  • small mushrooms – white is best for the look of the dish but chestnut mushrooms work fine too – enough to fill the jar
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp black salt (kala namak)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (or ketchup)
  • 6 tbsp mayonaise (try my aquafaba mayo recipe here and use the liquid from the tin of chickpeas to make it!)
  • smoked paprika (or hot paprika or chilli powder)
  • optional dill or chives to sprinkle on top

Method

Clean the mushrooms with a paper towel or pastry brush. Then pull out the stalks and peel them (like in the picture above). Keep the stalks and peels, do not throw them away! They are great crumbled up and sautéed as a base for a lentil pie or a soup or in tofu scramble.

Put the peeled mushrooms in the jar of leftover pickle juice. Give the jar a gentle shake and put it in the fridge. Every time you open the fridge, turn the jar the other way up so that the mushrooms all get an even soak in the juice. Leave them to soak and lightly pickle overnight.

Then just before you are ready to serve, make the yolky filling. Drain a can of chickpeas (reserve the aquafaba to make mayonnaise or a clafoutis?) and put them in a food processor or blender.

Add the black salt (this tastes like egg, if you don’t have it then regular salt is fine), pepper, turmeric, mayo, tomato puree/ketchup and mustard in the blender too. Then blend until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if needed. You may need more mayonnaise or salt? The mixture should be thick but pipeable.

Put the mushrooms out onto a platter and put the ‘yolk’ mixture into a piping bag with the star shaped nozzle attached. Pipe a generous amount of the mixture into each mushroom.

Sprinkle the devilled eggs with smoked paprika and dill or whatever you like (chilli powder, tabasco, shopped scallions, parsley, chives, capers…) and enjoy them cold and fresh.

Hot Cross Buns

How is it the Easter holidays already? The kids have only just been back at school for a few moments! Well here we are and what is Easter without toasted sticky, spiced, fruity buns slathered in lots of butter? Here’s my plant based recipe. Sure it takes a while to make, but most of that time is just waiting for the dough to rise. These will keep you and the kids busy for a least one day over the Easter holidays anyway. Liz x

Ingredients (makes 12 buns)

  • 120g sultanas
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 300ml milk (I use oat milk)
  • 50g butter (I use a dairy free butter)
  • 500g strong white bread flour (plus about 60g extra for making the paste for the crosses)
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 7g yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar mixed into a syrup with a little water (or maple syrup) for glazing

Method

Measure out the sultanas and spices into a small bowl. Add the zest and juice of the orange. If your orange is very large, just use half the juice. Mix well and allow the sultanas to soak up the orange juice and spices.

Measure the milk and butter into a small pan and gently heat it to melt the butter. Allow it to cool to a touchable temperature while you measure out the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well then pour in the warm milk and butter and mix with your hand into a rough, sticky dough.

Tip the dough onto a clean work surface then knead well for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour, just keep kneading until it all comes together. Then pop the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and allow it to rise and double in size. This should take about an hour in a warm place.

When the dough has doubled in size, stretch it out onto a clean work surface and spread over all of the juicy, spicy sultana mixture. Then roll it up and give the dough an extra knead to incorporate the ingredients. Put the dough back in the bowl to rise again for another hour or so in a warm spot.

Once the dough has doubled in size again, take it out and divide it in 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into neat balls and put them on a lined baking sheets. I space mine out onto two sheets because my oven doesn’t bake evenly so I like to give them room for the hot air to circulate. If your oven is good you can place them together on one large baking sheet, just leave a couple of cm between each one to allow them space to rise. Cover them with the tea towel and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes.

Once the buns have risen, mix about 60g of flour with just enough water to make a paste (aim for the texture of toothpaste). Then spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe crosses over the buns. You could do other designs too if you like? Signs of spring like eggs, flowers, bunnies or lambs… Then put the buns into a preheated oven at 200C (fan) for 15 to 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown.

*If the buns are looking a bit dry, spray them with a little water just before they go in the oven. Most of the rise will happen in the oven now so you don’t want them to form a crust before having a chance to rise and get fluffy inside.

When the buns are cooked, removed them from the oven and brush them with syrup while they are still hot. I simply mix a couple of tbsps of brown sugar with enough boiling water to make a syrup. You could use maple syrup or warmed, sieved apricot jam instead. Then allow them to cool before eating. They are fantastic still warm and fresh from the oven or if you are eating them the next day they are great toasted. Happy Easter!

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes with Curd

You can’t beat a simple stack of fluffy pancakes for breakfast sometimes. My recipe is plant based and so easy. I’m putting my kumquat curd on absolutely everything at the moment, but actually it’s the perfect thing for pancakes being buttery, sweet and zingy, I think I’ll be making another batch or two before the season is over!

What are your favourite pancake toppings? Are you a classic butter and maple syrup person? Or do you like to go nutty with peanut butter and banana slices?

Liz x

*as always, click on the words in bold to be taken to the ingredients or other blog posts

Ingredients (makes 12 pancakes)

Method

Whisk the flour, milk, salt, sugar, baking powder and oil in a mixing bowl. You should be left with a thick, fluffy batter.

heat a non-stick pancake pan to medium high and add a tsp of butter to the pan.

Fry dollops of the batter in small batches of 3 pancakes in the pan (if your pan is small, just do 1 or 2 at a time).

Flip when golden brown underneath and thick and fluffy on top. I like to drop a few blueberries into the wet batter just before flipping them.

Once cooked on both sides, stack up on a plate and top with some curd and a few more blueberries.

Jay and Joy Vegan Cheeses

Have you tried the Jay and Joy range of vegan cheeses we sell yet? They are absolute game changers. There’s no doubt that there are some dodgy tasting plant based cheeses out there, but these are the real deal. We love that they use recognisable, all organic ingredients. We love that they are made using ancestral French cheese-making techniques. But most of all we love the flavour. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire you to make the most out of these delectable little boxes of cheese. Let us know your favourite way of eating them in the comments or over on our facebook group. We are always looking for new ways to enjoy our carefully curated organic products.

Liz x

*as always, words in bold are clickable links to our shop so you can easily add the ingredients to your usual order


Goat Cheese, Blood Orange, Red Onion, Black Olive

Method (serves 2)

Arrange some washed fresh lettuce leaves in two bowls.

Trim off the skin of 1 blood orange and add juicy slices of it to each bowl.

Peel and thinly slice quarter of a red onion and add a few circles to each bowl.

Add a handful of halved salty black olives to each bowl.

Add four slices or so of Jay and Joy Goats Cheese to each bowl.

Drizzle everything with our excellent extra virgin olive oil and a crack of black pepper.

Simple as that! The sweet tang of the oranges contrasts the olive oil, salty cheese and olives perfectly. Every mouthful a delight.


Celeriac Steaks, Kale, Blue Cheese, Pear, Walnut

Method (serves 2)

Slice 4 steaks out of the middle of a celeriac – about 1cm thickness each. Then trim off the skin and knobbly roots of each slice. (Reserve the leftover ends of the celeriac for soups/stews/risottos…)

Melt a tbsp of plant based butter with a tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat.

Then add the celeriac steaks and season them with a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Fry on both sides until golden brown and tender – this takes about 10-15 minutes.

Keep the steaks warm, propped up in one side of the pan then add lots of rinsed and chopped kale to the pan. Stir fry to wilt for 3 minutes or so then taste and season if necessary (there may be enough seasoning already in the pan from the celeriac steaks and butter/oil).

Divide the cooked kale onto two warm plates, top with the celeriac steaks and then quickly toast two generous handfuls of walnuts in the now empty frying pan.

Add a sliced pear to each plate, the toasted walnuts and finish with little slices of Jay and Joy Blue Cheese.

The balance of sweet pear, buttery celeriac, crunchy nuts and salty blue cheese is absolutely gorgeous. I hope you really enjoy it!


Baked Brie, Caramelised Red Onion & Thyme Toast

Method (serves 2)

Melt a generous tbsp of plant based butter and a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan.

Add one peeled and sliced red onion and a pinch of salt and fry on medium for about 10 minutes or until it starts to collapse and caramelise.

Add four peeled and chopped cloves of garlic and fry for another 5 minutes or so.

Then to help the caramelisation, add a tsp of brown sugar and season with some black pepper and a tsp of fresh thyme leaves. Fry for another minute or so to bring the flavours together.

Meanwhile cut and toast two slices of sourdough bread.

Put the toast in a baking dish, divide the caramelised onion between the two slices and top with slices of Jay and Joy Brie.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and put the baking dish in a hot oven or under the grill for a few minutes. This vegan brie does not melt like regular brie, but warming it up really brings the dish together.

Scatter with a few more fresh thyme leaves and enjoy! Crunchy toast, sweet caramelised onion, creamy cheese and fragrant thyme…so good!

St Patrick’s Day Menu

Easily get 10 portions of fruit and veg into your day with this plant based St Patrick’s Day menu. No green food colouring in sight but lots of vibrant, fun, healthy ideas. Hope you have a fab day off everyone! Let us know what you are cooking to celebrate the day in the comments or over on our friendly facebook page.

Liz x

Breakfast

Green Smoothie Pancakes

Is it even St Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat something green? Avoid the food colouring and get out your blender for these sweet (but healthy) pancakes.

Ingredients (makes 10 pancakes)

Method

Put all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup into a smoothie maker and blend until smooth.

Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium then melt some butter and fry the pancakes in small batches for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. It’s better to cook them low and slow so that they are cooked through and not too dark on the outside.

Stack them up and serve simply with butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup or your favourite pancake toppings.

Lunch

Golden Boxty with Rainbow Slaw

Traditional Irish potato griddle cakes (but with very non-traditional grated courgette in the mashed potato batter instead of grated raw potato) are fried in butter until golden brown. Serve these ‘pots of gold’ with a rainbow slaw of fresh, raw, crunchy veg and a dollop of mayo for the perfect lunch.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Method

Start with the slaw. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and thinly slice the peppers, spring onions and chives. Mix in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon to start with and the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.

Preheat a frying pan and mix up the boxty batter. Put the mashed potato, grated courgette (or raw potato), flour, milk, vinegar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. You should end up with a batter that’s a dropping consistency. If not, add more milk.

Fry in melted butter on a medium heat for about 5 or so minutes on each side. You can fry them in little fritters or in large rounds the size of the pan. Carefully flip them over when the bottom is golden brown. Add more butter to the pan before flipping if it’s looking a bit dry.

Serve warm with the rainbow slaw and a dollop of mayonnaise.

Supper

Irish Stew with Soda Dread Dumplings

Meaty mushrooms and bitter Guinness makes this stew rich and delicious and what better way to mop up the juices than with some Irish soda bread? I steam it as dumplings on top here for a hearty one pot supper but you could bake it separately if you prefer and serve it alongside. Looking for a gluten free alternative? Why not make some colcannon (mashed potato with wilted green cabbage or kale and spring onion stirred through) to go with the stew instead and use a gluten free stout in place of the Guinness?

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 mug of green lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional – to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped chives to serve
  • 500g flour (I like 250g plain and 250g wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml oat milk
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method

Get a large pot on the hob and heat it to the highest setting.

Roughly dice the onion and add it to the pot with 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.

Roughly dice the carrots, celery and mushrooms and add them to the pot next.

Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to take on some colour and caramelised flavour for around 10 minutes. Then peel, chop and add the 4 cloves of garlic.

Rinse your mug of green lentils and add them to the pot with the can of Guinness, the stock cube and an additional mug of water. Season the stew with salt and lots of black pepper. Give the broth a taste and add some brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness if needed.

Then let the stew come up to a simmer while you make the soda bread dough.

Measure the dry ingredients (the flour, salt and bicarb) into a large mixing bowl and mix well to evenly disperse the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Check for lumps and sort them out now before you add the wet ingredients.

Measure the wet ingredients (the oat milk, oil and vinegar) into a measuring jug and give it a stir. This is the plant based alternative for the traditional buttermilk in the recipe. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. No need to knead, just stir well to ensure there are no dry, floury bits in the dough.

Use wet hands to form 6-8 balls of dough and place them carefully in the top of the simmering stew. Put the lid on the pot, make sure it’s turned down ow and allow the stew to simmer an the soda bread to steam for about 20-30 minutes.

Check that the lentils are cooked through then serve the hot stew and dumplings with chopped chives on top.

Dessert

Mint Choc Chip Ice-Cream

This ice cream is vibrant green, creamy and sweet…but made with peas and bananas! Don’t be put off by the healthy ingredients, blended frozen banana is a creamy revelation and peas are naturally so sweet. It’s especially good if the banana is frozen when super-ripe. If you eat through your bananas from your weekly delivery then this recipe is a good way to use up those reduced over-ripe bananas at the shops. A win-win for you and for the epic food waste problem the planet is facing. I’ve used cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips because I love their bitter, dark chocolate flavour, but do feel free to substitute with real chocolate chips…especially if you are serving this to children.

Ingredients

  • for every frozen banana
  • you’ll need a handful or so of frozen peas
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • optional sweetener of your choice to taste (eg maple syrup)
  • and a tbsp or so of cacao nibs (or sub with chocolate chips)

Method

Peel and chop as many over-ripe bananas as you like. About one per person. Freeze them overnight on a tray until solid (with gaps between the pieces otherwise they’ll all freeze together and be very difficult to blend).

You’ll need a strong food processor with an S blade attachment. A food processor works better that a jug/smoothie blender for this.

Put the frozen banana chunks and frozen peas into your blender along with fresh mint leaves to taste.

Blend into a frozen, crumbly texture then stop the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again until vibrant green and creamy.

Taste the mixture and add a sweetener or more mint leaves if you like and blend again.

Scrape the nice cream out into a tub and stir through cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and serve (they will be quite soft at this stage so for quickly) or move to the freezer to firm up until you are ready to serve.

Spring Sunday Roast

A roast on Sunday doesn’t have to be a big faff. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for a delicious beetroot and butterbean loaf with lemon and herb roast veg, spring greens and gravy. Liz x

*You can get all the ingredients from our online shop delivered straight to your door. Just click on any bold words to be taken to the item to add to your cart. We deliver to every address in Ireland.

Ingredients (serves 6)

Method

Turn your oven to 200C. Find your biggest roasting dish and put it in the oven to heat up too.

Peel the potatoes and carrot, cut them into large chunks and just cover them with water in a big pot. Put the lid on the pot and get them on the stove to boil.

Meanwhile make the beetroot and butterbean loaf:

Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan and add them to a blender with the linseeds and oats. Pulse until coarsely combined, but still with some texture.

Grate the beetroots into a mixing bowl on the fine side of the grater. Add the drained tin of butterbeans to the bowl too.

Add the oat, sunflower seed and linseed mixture to the bowl, season well with salt and pepper (you could also add additional flavourings here like lemon zest, crushed garlic, herbs).

Using one hand, squish the mixture together into a stuffing-like mixture. You may need to add more oats as you go if your mixture is too wet. When you are at stuffing texture taste the mix for seasoning ad adjust as needed.

Then put the mixture into a baking dish or loaf tin lined with baking paper. Top with slices of mushroom a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then pop the dish in the oven to bake.

By now the potatoes and carrots will be par boiled so move them off the heat. Finely chop a generous couple of handfuls of herbs and put them into a bowl with the zest of a lemon, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper and enough sunflower oil to bring it into a loose sauce.

Remove the hot, large roasting dish from the oven and drizzle it with sunflower oil. Use a slotted spoon to move the potatoes and carrots onto the hot tray and keep all the water in the pot (you’ll need this to cook the cabbage and make gravy with later).

Add the garlic/lemon/herb oil to the roasting dish of potatoes and carrots and stir to coat the veg in the mixture. Cut the zested lemon in half and add it to the roasting tray. Return the dish to the oven and get on with the greens and gravy.

Add a stock cube to the water that the carrots and potatoes were cooked in. Then rinse and chop the cabbage and add it to the pot to poach in the stocky water. When it is still slightly undercooked, use the slotted spoon to pull out the cabbage and keep it in the pan you used earlier to toast the sunflower seeds (you’ll use this to re-heat and finish cooking the cabbage when the beetroot loaf and roast veg are nearly done).

Then make the gravy. Put a tsp of dried mushrooms into the stock and bring it to the boil. You can also dip the bowl that you mixed the lemon/garlic/herb oil for the roast veg in and get all those flavours added to the gravy.

Mix the cornflour with a little cold water into a smooth paste in a cup. Then add that to the stock and simmer and stir until it has thickened into a gravy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I like to add a couple of tbsp of soy sauce to add a punchy umami flavour. You may wish to add a splash of wine or a spoon of recurrent jelly to your gravy. When you are happy with the flavour and texture of your gravy you can pour it into a jug through a sieve and keep it warm.

The beetroot and butterbean loaf and roast veg should be ready after about 40-60 minutes in the oven. Just keep an eye on them. Then re-heat the cabbage and gravy and serve!

Fruity Chia and Oat Pots

These little chia and oat pots are perfect for breakfast (and they make a fabulous healthy pudding too)! You can prepare the two layers in separate bowls the night before, then just put it together in the morning with some crunchy granola, juicy fruit and silky curd (find the recipe for my favourite kumquat curd here). If you don’t have curd you could use a dollop of yogurt instead.

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. Packed full of fibre, antioxidants, minerals and heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Oats are brilliant too of course! This humble grain is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat and can lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar control and contains a powerful soluble fibre which is great for your digestive system!

I love this combination of berry chia, turmeric oats, zingy sweet citrus and toasty granola. But of course you can tweak the recipe to use your favourite fruit or flavours. How about rhubarb compote in the chia layer and making the creamy oat layer taste like custard with some vanilla? Then top with yogurt, granola and more rhubarb? Or do you like tropical flavours? How about a passionfruit chia layer, coconut milk in the oats and top with mango slices and toasted coconut flakes? Are you a chocoholic? Raspberries in the chia layer, cacao powder in with the oats then top with pieces of dark chocolate, fresh raspberries and toasted hazelnuts? The possibilities are endless.

Let us know your favourite chia and oat pot flavour combos in the comments. Liz x

*as always, bold words are clickable and will take you to the product or recipe on our website so that you can easily add ingredients to your order or find the recipe I refer to

Ingredients (makes 2 pots)

Method

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, leave to stand for a few minutes and mix again. Then cover and refrigerate (or use right away if you are making this in the morning).

Mix the next 4 ingredients in a separate bowl, cover and refrigerate over night to allow it to thicken (or you can serve it after a quick 10 minute soak if you are making this in the morning).

Serve in a couple of simple glasses. Divide the chia and berry mixture between two glasses, then add the turmeric porridge mixture. Top with a tbsp of kumquat curd, peeled slices of blood orange and a couple of tbsp of granola.

4 Ways With… Leeks

Leeks are such beautiful vegetables and they grow really well here in Ireland. Make the most of their sweet, mellow flavour by giving them the starring role on your plate. I absolutely adore them in this easy tarte tatin recipe – a must try!

As part of my ‘4 Ways With…” series, here are 4 new luscious leek recipes for you. Let us know your favourite leek recipes in the comments or over on our facebook group. We love to see what you make with our wonderful organic produce. As always, the words in bold are clickable links which will take you to our shop so that you can easily find the products to add to your order.

Liz x


Mushroom, Leek & Butterbean Pie

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Split the leeks in half, lengthways, keeping them intact at the base. Run them under a tap and rinse out all the mud between the layers.

Slice the dark green part of the leeks into 1-2cm chunks and the mushrooms into halves or quarters and sauté with the butter or oil and a pinch of salt.

When the mushrooms and dark greens have started to cook down a little, slice the pale part of the leeks and add that to the pan too with an extra pinch of salt.

Peel and slice the garlic cloves and pull off the thyme leaves and add them to the pan too. Sauté gently for around 10 minutes or until very fragrant and the vegetables are softened and mostly cooked through.

Add the mustard and either a half glass of white wine or a tiny splash of vinegar and stir well.

Sprinkle in the flour and nutritional yeast, stir to coat the vegetables, and then add generous splashes of oat milk and keep stirring and cooking out the flour until you get to to a silky, creamy consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with pepper and more salt as needed. Then drain the butterbeans (reserve the aquafaba for mayonnaise or clafoutis) and add them to the pie filling.

Then either tip the filling into a pie dish and cover quickly with pastry or pop the pastry straight onto your pan if it is oven and hob safe. Work to get the pie in the oven quickly if your filling is still hot otherwise the pastry will melt.

Put the pie into the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and the filling is bubbling. Slice into wedges and serve with steamed greens and some extra wholegrain mustard on the side.


Leek & Potato Soup

Ingredients (serves 2 or 4 as starters)

  • 1 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 leek
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional extras – garlic, celery, carrot, fresh herbs, a tin of chickpeas/white beans…

Method

Leek and potato soup couldn’t be simpler and it’s my kids favourite soup. They like it left chunky and brothy like in the photo, but it’s delicious blended smooth too.

Sauté the green part of the leek (thinly sliced) in the oil/butter with diced potatoes until softening – about 8 minutes.

Add the thinly sliced paler part of the leek, optional extras like garlic, thyme, rosemary, diced celery or carrots etc and sauté for a few more minutes.

Add a stock cube and cover the vegetables with hot water.

Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Then either leave chunky or blend until smooth.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. I always like a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper in my soup to brighten and lift the flavours.

*Bulk it out and add some plant protein with a drained tin of chickpeas or white beans simmered into the soup.


Leeks Vinaigrette with Lentils & Herbs

Ingredients (serves 2 or 4 as a side)

  • 1 leek
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 tin of green lentils (or cook dried lentils from scratch)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt to taste
  • fresh herbs (tarragon or dill go really well here)
  • *optional extras – toasted nuts or seeds, capers, olives…

Method

Traditionally, leeks are boiled in salted water then cooled and drained before dressing with a classic vinaigrette. I like to half sauté and half steam my leeks to add a little caramelised colour to the dish.

Split and wash the leeks, keeping them intact at the root end. Then cut into long chunks, about the length of your index finger.

Place the leeks – beautiful, stripy, cut side down – in a hot frying pan with the butter or oil. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and allow the leeks to take on some colour. Don’t move them around in the pan, let them sit in one delicate piece. Then after about 4 minutes, put the lid on the frying pan and allow the leeks to steam in their own juices. You may wish to turn the heat down to medium at this stage.

Test that they are cooked through with a small, sharp knife. Then plate them up.

Put the cooked lentils into a large bowl or platter (drain the tin or simmer dried lentils in stock until soft). Make a classic vinaigrette by mixing the olive oil, vinegar and dijon mustard with a pinch of salt.

Arrange the leeks on top of the lentils and drench with the vinaigrette. Then scatter over some freshly picked tarragon or dill and enjoy with some fresh, crusty bread and a crisp glass of white wine.

*Sprinkle over some toasted walnuts or other nuts or seeds you like or some salty capers or green olives to give the salad an extra dimension.


Charred Leeks with Romesco Sauce

Ingredients (serves 2)

Method

This recipe is my nod to the Catalonian calçot festival which I have never been to but have high on my bucket list. Calçots are extraordinary vegetables, somewhere between a small leek and a large scallion, so leeks work really well as an alternative. Traditionally calçots are grilled over open flame until blackened on the outside and perfectly sweet, smokey and juicy inside. Then they are wrapped in newspaper and left to rest. They are delightfully messy to eat. Peel off the burnt outer layer, dunk the sweet middle in nutty romesco sauce and lower the sweet, tender vegetable into your mouth and enjoy.

My version with leeks is so delicious, you’ve just got to try it! I love this messy meal with some really good bread to mop up the juices and a large glass of red wine. We sell some excellent organic Spanish wines which would go perfectly.

Make the romesco sauce by blending the almonds, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar into a semi-smooth sauce. Taste and season with a big pinch of salt.

Split and rinse the leeks, leaving the roots intact. Then slice them into long pieces, carefully keeping the layers all together.

Carefully put them in a large, hot frying pan with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and allow them to take on a good amount of colour before covering the pan with a lid and steaming them in their own juices until soft.

They should be soft all the way through and the burnt edges should contrast beautifully with the sweet, silky middles.

Spread some romesco sauce on a large platter, then place the hot leeks on top and eat them immediately. Scoop them up with a fork or your hands and finish off the sauce with torn chunks of bread. Absolutely delicious!

Vegan Mayonnaise

Illustration from my cookbook which is available to add to your order here.

Organic, egg-free mayo is so simple to make with common store-cupboard ingredients. The easiest way is with soya milk as per the illustrated recipe above from my book. But there’s another way if you are intolerant to soy or don’t have soy milk in the house. Aquafaba is the viscous liquid result of boiling beans, the most reliable source is from a tin of organic chickpeas, and it’s truly magic stuff. It makes a brilliant egg white replacement and I use it in lots of cake recipes like this clafoutis. It is used as an emulsifier in this mayonnaise recipe and it works perfectly.

Let us know in the comments or over on our facebook group if you try this recipe. We love to see our recipes recreated in your homes. Liz x

*Get the ingredients from our shop. Just click on any of the bold words and you’ll be taken right to the product so you can easily add it to your cart.

Ingredients (makes about 300ml)

Watch the recipe here or read the method below.

Method

Measure the aquafaba, mustard, salt, vinegar and optional flavourings into a jar or jug in which your immersion blender will fit.

Blend with the immersion blender until frothy.

Add the oil in a slow steam whilst continuing to blend. You may not need to use it all. Stop once your mayonnaise is thick, creamy and glossy.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as you wish with more salt/mustard/vinegar.

Keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Add to sandwiches, burgers and wraps.
  • Stir through shredded cabbage and carrot to make homemade coleslaw.
  • Dunk potato wedges in it or other roasted veg chips.
  • Make potato salad. Mix through boiled potatoes, carrot and beetroot with chopped dill and spring onions.
  • Saffron mayo is especially good with patatas bravas. Roast bite size chunks of potato with olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Make a simple tomato sauce (simmer sautéed onion and garlic with a tin of chopped tomatoes and seasoning) and serve the potatoes in small tapas bowls on top of the sauce with chopped parsley and saffron mayo.
  • Make a vegan ‘egg mayo’ sandwich. Simply mash the chickpeas from the tin, then stir through some mayo and chopped chives or spring onions, black or white pepper and then pile between two slices of bread with some watercress, rocket or our seasonal winter purslane. It’s great with some crunchy, peppery radish slices too! Get that eggy flavour by sprinkling in some sulphurous kala namak (aka black salt).