Sometimes in winter, you need a break from all the soups, stews and pies and want something fresh and vibrant. A warm winter salad is the answer. This is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion. I make versions of this fairly regularly and always make more than enough so that we have leftovers for packed lunches.
Simply chop up some winter veg into similar sized pieces (squash, onion, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, beetroot…), pop them into a roasting tray with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Mix and roast at 200C until slightly charred and soft – this takes around 20-30 minutes depending on how much veg you roast.
Then pile onto some beautiful bitter leaves and dress. A creamy, tahini dressing goes really well here. Mix a couple of tbsp of tahini with a pinch of salt, a tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and two tbsp cold water. Once the dressing is well mixed it should be beautifully creamy and pourable. Taste it for seasoning and add more lemon or salt as needed. You can even pimp it up with some crushed garlic or finely chopped herbs like parsley or coriander. Then drizzle it all over the roasted veg.
Sprinkle over some crunchy, fragrant dukka (see my parsnip and pear soup recipe for that) and some sweet little pomegranate seeds. Those jewel-like seeds make everything more festive and are the perfect sweet and sour foil to the nutty, rich dressing. Enjoy!
This is my plant based take on the classic French stew. Beetroots have a beautifully earthy, almost bloody quality which seeps and simmers into a spectacularly rounded sauce. I roast wedges of beetroot and onion, chunks or whole mushrooms and whole, peeled cloves of garlic before starting the lentil stew to create a complexity of flavour you wouldn’t get from simply simmering everything together.
Roasting caramelises the edges of vegetables and brings little sweet and smokey flavours and textures to the finished dish. It’s those layers of flavour…the outer edges that caramelise, the middle that is sweet and soft, the simmering richness, the fragrance of bay and thyme leaves, the tang and texture of red wine…that make a simple stew into a memorable meal. Serve on mashed potatoes or with good bread, some wilted greens, whatever is in season, and a dollop of Dijon mustard. Enjoy in front of a fire on a chilly winters evening with a glass of red wine. Liz x
Turn your oven on to 200C and put the beetroot, onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms in an oven and hob safe pot. Drizzle a tbsp or so of olive oil over the vegetables, season them generously with salt and pepper and mix well.
Roast the vegetables in the oven until they take on some colour and start to soften. This should take around 30 minutes. Take the pot out of the oven and stir the vegetables every 10 minutes or so to ensure each vegetable feels the full force of the heat and gets a little caramelised.
Then bring the pot onto the hob and add the mug of lentils, the thyme, bay leaves and mug of wine. Get the pot on to simmer and add the water or stock.
Let the dish simmer until the lentils are cooked through. This should take around 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add more water or stock if it starts to dry out.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper as you like. Then serve with good bread or mashed potatoes and some wilted greens.
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Biryani is a very special Indian dish, traditionally reserved for big celebrations like weddings and festivals. The elaborate layering of marinated meats, par cooked rice, whole and ground spices, nuts, fruit and caramelised onions take a long time to prepare and would feed a big gathering from one large pot. My version is not exactly authentic, being plant based, and I’ve simplified the method to suit my relaxed style of cooking. But, it doesn’t hold back on the flavours and textures. It’s a crowd pleaser in my house and I love it because I can assemble it fairly quickly in one pot on the stove top, then let it bake in the oven while I get on with something else. It always gets some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ when it emerges from the oven, good enough for dinner parties but also quick enough to rustle up mid-week.
You’ll need an oven and hob safe pot with a lid. If you don’t have one, you can always use a baking dish and cover it with foil (or to avoid single use foil, try use a baking sheet weighed down with an oven safe bowl as a lid). I hope you give it a try. Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook group or Instagram if you do. We love to see what you’re up to in the kitchen with the wonderful produce from the farm.
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a handful of flaked almonds (or chopped nuts/seeds of your choice)
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. In an oven and hob safe pot, sauté the diced onions and chopped garlic in the vegetable oil until they start to colour.
Roughly chop the mushrooms then add them to the pot with a little salt and the ginger and curry powder. Sauté until fragrant.
Add the chickpeas and the tin of chopped tomatoes. Swirl the juices out of the tin, into the pot by filling it 3/4s with water. Season the curry with salt and pepper and taste. The curry should be slightly on the too salty side as this will permeate and flavour the rice too.
Turn the heat off and then evenly sprinkle over a mug of basmati rice to cover the whole top of the curry. Don’t stir it in! Let it sit on top of the curry in an even, separate layer. Then carefully add two mugs of water to the pot without disturbing the rice. I do this by pouring the water in slowly over the back of a wooden spoon.
Flavour the water which the rice will cook in with some whole star anise or saffron strands, or both! You can also add other aromatics like cardamom pods or cinnamon sticks if you like. I used ground star anise this time as I didn’t have any whole. At this stage you can also add a handful of sultanas or other chopped dried fruit to the rice if you like. It will rehydrate as the rice cooks and add little sweet pops of flavour to the dish.
I like to add an extra layer on top of the rice here by carefully placing cauliflower florets into the pot, then sprinkling them with turmeric and black pepper. But if you like, you can stop short of that and just add a little turmeric and black pepper to the rice layer. Then put the lid on the dish and pop it in the oven to bake until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. This normally takes around 20-30 minutes.
Once the rice has absorbed the water it should be perfectly cooked through and fluffy. You can then sprinkle over the flaked almonds or other chopped nuts or seeds of your choice – cashew nuts are a good choice. Return the pot to the oven with the lid off for just 4 or 5 minutes to gently toast the nuts. Serve with spicy Indian chutneys or a cooling natural yogurt.
Why not try seasonal variations of this dish? I love a roast squash biryani with a tin of coconut milk instead of the tin of tomatoes. Or in summer, a silky aubergine biryani topped with tomato and red onion slices in place of the cauliflower is so delicious. What combinations will you try? Let me know in the comments. Enjoy!
These hand held pies are so good, I’m confident that even a local Cornish person would accept my plant-based knock-offs as the real deal. According to the Cornish Pasty Association, which champions and protects the authenticity and distinctiveness of the genuine Cornish pasty, the pastry should be shortcrust (traditionally they use a mix of lard and butter, I use a quality plant based butter) and the filling should be diced beef, potato, swede and onion. I simply replace the beef with gorgeous umami chestnut mushroomsand add some deep, dark miso to bring out those mouthwatering savoury notes (if you don’t have miso, substitute it with a little splash of soy sauce). November is the perfect time to make these delicious pies. Most of the ingredients can usually be found in my weekly veg box from the farm at this time of year, but of course feel free to substitute ingredients as you like. Any root veg or squash would work well, you could even up the protein with a drained tin of beans or chickpeas.
The photos below are from my instagram stories where I often take my followers through a simple step-by-step as I’m making dinner. Don’t forget to tag @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram or share your photos on the Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating facebook page if you make this recipe. We love to see your creations!
For the pastry:
500g strong flour (I like to use a 400g of white and 100g of brown)
enough cold water to bring the dough together (usually only a couple of tbsp)
Either use the tips of your fingers to crumble the butter into the flour and salt, or pop all the pastry ingredients (except the water) into a food processor with the blade attachment and pulse it together, until it resembles wet beach sand. Then add a small splash of cold water and blend if using a food processor, or gently knead the dough, just until it comes together into a ball. Be careful not to add too much water, be patient with it. Don’t overwork the dough, you want it to be tender, not hard. Then wrap the pastry with a damp tea towel and let it rest while you prepare the filling. Turn the oven on to 175C.
One of the many beauties of buying organic is that there is rarely a need to peel your vegetables. Just give them a thorough scrub and you’re good to go. As is the way with many of my recipes, no need for exact measurements for the filling. I like an equal balance of swede, potato, mushroom and onion in my pasties. Once you have your veg all diced up fairly small (around a cm squared is good) into a large mixing bowl, season it generously with salt and black pepper. If you have miso, stir a tbsp of that through the mix, if not, either add a touch more salt or a splash of soy sauce.
Then you need to sort out the pastry. Tip it out onto a clean work surface and slice it into 8 equal pieces.
Then roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc with your hand. If you need to, you can lightly flour your work surface to stop sticking and roll each ball into a thin circle. Aim to get the pastry around 4mm thick.
Then pile a generous amount of filling onto each piece of pastry, carefully gather up the sides and seal and crimp as best as you can.
Pop the pasties onto a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (175C) for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through and steaming.
I always encourage creativity and this recipe is no exception. Although this is as close to a traditional Cornish pasty as you can get making it plant based, feel free to let your tastebuds run free. Why not try a curried pasty? Add some turmeric and black pepper to the pastry and some curry powder to the veg. And while you’re at it switch the veg for diced potato, cauliflower and onion with a drained tin of chickpeas. Or go mediterranean in the summer? Switch the veg for peppers, aubergine, tomato and courgette and add some basil, pop a sprinkle of fennel seeds through the pastry. What combinations will you try? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to see your creations.