Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with dill and peas

So last year, flower sprouts were flower sprouts, a cross between a brussel sprout and kale and we’ve blogged quite a few recipes using them.
This year however, they appear to be called Kalettes… Which I think sounds like either a helpful 1950’s electrical kitchen implement, or a mysterious item of ladies underwear.
So I’m sticking with flower sprouts, it’s straightforward and my mind is less likely to disappear off on flights of fancy and am much more likely to get some cooking done.
So, to the recipe! The flower sprouts are slightly bitter, and so go beautifully with the sweet peas and pea shoots. With chewy savoury tofu and lovely fresh dill it all comes together very nicely.
I’m increasingly using the sachets of ready cooked rice as a base for lunch salads at the moment, mostly for speed to be honest, but there’s some lovely varieties around at the moment with all sorts of nice seeds and grains added.


Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with peas and dill

makes 4 servings

200 g flower sprouts, washed and patted dry on kitchen paper
400 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm ish cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons or 1 clove chopped garlic
3 tbsp tamari
75 g frozen peas
100 g pea shoots
15 g fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
500 g cooked rice, (I use 2 of the ready cooked sachets, this time the Tilda brand brown basmati with quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Toss the tofu in 1 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to brown.
Move the tofu to one side of the tin, turning the cubes over as you go. Add the flower sprouts to the other side, drizzling the remaining 1 tbsp of oil over them. Sprinkle the ramsons or garlic, and tamari over the tofu and flower sprouts and then bake for a further 15 minutes.
The flower sprouts should be crisp in places and cooked through. Leave to cool.
Cook the rice according to the sachet instructions, and tip into a large bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.
Stir through the frozen peas, and the vinegar. This helps to cool the rice quickly, but stir it around often too. When it’s stopped steaming pop it in the fridge to cool completely.
Mix the tofu, flower sprouts and dill into the rice and peas, and serve each portion on top of 1/4 of the pea shoots.

By E.


Rosti, apple dill coleslaw and walnut pate

I’m not sure why potato rosti is so satisfying, but it really really is!
I guess, like with roast potatoes or chips, it’s the combination of potato with a crisp outer layer and a soft inside, which is always going to be such a comforting combination.
This recipe makes a great lunch, combining the rosti with a lovely fresh apple and dill coleslaw, and a savoury, creamy walnut pate.
It’s really quick to prepare if you have a food processor with a grating attachment, but if not you can always slice the cabbage, celery and apple for the coleslaw. The potatoes and carrot do need grating though! The ground ginger in the coleslaw may seem an unusual ingredient, but do try it, it’s just a tiny bit so you don’t taste it as such but it complements the flavours of the vegetables beautifully.
We ate the rosti between the two of us, and had coleslaw and pate left for another meal, but you could serve it as a starter for 4 with the rosti cut into quarters.


Rosti, apple dill coleslaw and walnut pate

serves 2 to 4

for the potato rosti
5 medium potatoes, grated
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
for the apple dill coleslaw
200 g white cabbage, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2 sticks celery, grated
2 small apples, cored and grated
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
a pinch of ground ginger
a pinch of salt
15 g fresh dill
for the walnut pate
100 g firm tofu
50 g walnuts
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
50 ml soya milk
1 tbsp dried ramsons or a small clove of crushed garlic
a big pinch of salt
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

Grate the potatoes first, and then tip them into a clean tea towel and wring out over the sink.
Heat the oil in a (preferably low-sided) frying pan on a medium heat. Add the potatoes, with salt and pepper, to the pan and squash out into a large round, about 5 mm thick. Cook for around 5 minutes until golden brown. Flip, and cook the other side for a further 5 minutes. While the rosti is cooking make the coleslaw. Simply combine the vegetables and apple with the oil, vinegar, dill and seasoning and mix well.
For the walnut pate, whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor or with an immersion blender until combined but still with a little texture.
Serve the rosti cut into halves or quarters, with the coleslaw and pate on the side.

By A. and E.


Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

Ackee again! To be honest I was going to do a fried rice type of thing and stir the ackee through at the end, but as it turned out I had run out of rice… the horror!
So instead I used butterbeans and ooh it came out well, there’s something about the richness of the ackee with the creaminess of the butterbeans and the crunchy vegetables that’s ever so satisfying.
You could vary the veg, but if you can, do use the dill, the flavour is gorgeous with the ackee and beans.
As well as being delicious, it’s a super quick dish, and is good hot or cold!


Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

makes 2 nice big servings

1 540 g tin of ackee (340 g drained weight)
1 400 g tin of butterbeans (240 g drained weight)
1 large carrot, finely diced
100 g sugarsnaps, sliced in half
1 large courgette, diced
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or apple cider, or balsamic)
2 tbsp tamari
a pinch of pepper, black or white
3 tbsp fresh chopped dill

It’s dead easy this one! Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and stir fry the courgette and carrot for about 3 minutes until starting to soften. Add the sugarsnaps and butterbeans along with the vinegar, tamari and pepper and stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
Fold in the ackee, and continue to cook, mixing often until the ackee is heated through. Another 3 minutes should do it!
Stir the dill through at the end.

By E.


Fennel and artichoke salad with almonds and herbs

It’s been very hot here at the seaside today, which is great for the local economy, but not so much for me! I’m a total heat wuss…
So, I definitely didn’t want to have the oven or hobs on to make tomorrow’s work lunch for Alex and I!
We’ve blogged recipes using canned artichokes before, I really do like them as a salad ingredient, they’re very different from fresh artichokes but awfully tasty all the same.
Here I’ve put them with fennel steamed in the microwave (avoiding using the cooker!), almonds and herbs, with some sugar snap peas and baby corn for sweetness.
The dressing is predominantly sherry vinegar, which I haven’t used for ages, I’d forgotten how lovely it is!
For herbs, I’ve used some micro herbs that we picked up at the great greengrocers on Topping street in Blackpool, chilli cress which tastes rather like watercress, and pak choi shoots which have a mild flavour but are very pretty.
Also, dill to complement the fennel, I do find aniseed flavours feel very cooling, so are absolutely perfect for the hot weather!


Fennel and artichoke salad with almonds and herbs

serves 2 as a meal with a bit of brown rice or quinoa, or 4 as a starter

for the salad
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 can of artichoke hearts in brine, each one quartered (240 g drained weight)
40 g salted almonds
150 g sugar snap peas and baby corn, sliced. Substitute these for other vegetables if you like, fresh peas would be lovely, or even cooked beetroot.
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
4 tbsp micro herbs or other soft herbs. Parsley would be nice, and a bit of basil.
for the dressing
3 tbsp sherry vinegar. Or use apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
1 tbsp liquid from steaming the fennel

Steam the fennel until just tender. I did mine with a little bit of water in a vented container in the microwave. It took two bursts of 1 minute 30 seconds. Remember to save the steaming liquid for the dressing.
Cool the fennel and liquid and then make the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, oil and fennel liquid together with the salt until combined.
To assemble the salad simply toss all of the ingredients together gently with the dressing. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

By E.


Herb salad with lemongrass lentils and peanut dressing

Yesterday morning Alex and I took the tram into Blackpool, and as it happened the shops we wanted to visit were either closed or closed down! But the trip wasn’t wasted, as the greengrocers on Topping Street had gorgeous big bunches of herbs and spinach at a very good price. So we came away with dill, coriander, parsley and spinach, hooray!
Having such an amount of lovely herbs immediately brought to mind Vietnamese food, so that’s where the inspiration for this salad came from. Rather than rice or noodles though, we’ve gone for small green lentils and cooked them with lemongrass.
The liquid left over has great flavour, so we’ve used that as the base of a peanut dressing. Along with toasted cashews, the nutty zesty dressing, and masses of herbs and vegetables, it’s a fresh, protein filled salad to take for work lunches which will keep us going all afternoon. I’m looking forward to it already!


Herb salad with lemongrass lentils and peanut dressing

makes 4 servings

for the salad
30 g fresh coriander, chopped (plus a little extra for the lentils, see below)
30 g fresh dill, chopped
2 carrots, shredded or grated
1 courgette, shredded or grated
120 g baby corn, sliced
150 g cashews, toasted
for the lentils
300 g small green lentils
2 stalks lemongrass, cut in half and bashed a bit to release the flavour
5 g fresh parsley, chopped
5 g fresh coriander, chopped
600 ml water
75 g spinach, washed and sliced
for the dressing
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tbsp peanut powder, or peanut butter
3 tbsp lime juice (1 tbsp for the dressing, and 2 tbsp to finish the salad)
100 ml lentil water, top up with stock if there isn’t enough left
1 tsp oil (omit if using peanut butter)
a large pinch of salt

First set the lentils cooking. Put the lentils, lemongrass, parsley, coriander and water into a rice cooker or saucepan. Cook for around 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. If you’re using a saucepan keep it mostly covered so that you don’t lose too much of the liquid.
Add the spinach for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid, and remove the lemongrass. Set aside to cool. While the lentils are cooking prep the carrots, courgette, baby corn, coriander and dill and toss them together in a large bowl.
Toast the cashew nuts in a dry saucepan until starting to brown and then tip out to cool.
Using the same saucepan, heat 100 ml of the lentil cooking water on a low heat until just starting to bubble and whisk in the tomato puree, peanut powder, 1 tbsp of the lime juice, the oil, and salt. Cool.
Mix the lentils, cashew nuts and dressing into the bowl with the vegetables and herbs, along with the other 2 tbsp of lime juice.

By A. and E.


Gluten free herby pitta crisps with warm dill and vegetable dip

If you have a food processor with a grater this warm dip takes mere minutes to put together, but even if you don’t it’s worth a little longer prep time.
It’s immensely satisfying, sort of like a vegan version of fondue!
The pitta crisps are made using the dough we blogged about here, and they’re so good… absolutely perfect for dipping!


Gluten free herby pitta crisps with warm dill and vegetable dip

serves 2 – 3

for the vegetables
1 carrot, grated
1 small parsnip, grated
1 courgette, grated
1 medium potato, grated
for the sauce
250 ml soy milk
1.5 heaped tbsp cornflour, slaked in a little water
1.5 tbsp good flavoured oil, we use cold pressed rapeseed oil
salt to taste, it needs a fair amount to season the vegetables
black pepper, to taste
5 – 10 g fresh dill, chopped
5 g fresh parsley, chopped
0.5 tbsp dried ramsons (wild garlic) or 1/2 chopped clove of garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
0.5 tbsp tapioca flour, optional but it gives the sauce a bit of stretch
for the dough
30 g cassava flour
40 g millet flour
20 g rice flour, plus extra for dusting the board
40 g potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
80 ml cold water (you may need a bit less)
a little oil for the trays
for the herb oil
2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried ramsons (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
a generous pinch of salt
you will also need
a baking dish, about 15 cm x 20 cm
2 large oven trays, lightly oiled

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Mix all of the grated vegetables together in the baking dish.
To make the sauce, heat the soy milk in a small saucepan until just about to simmer. Mix in the slaked cornflour, and salt and beat until thick. The sauce should be very thick to counteract the liquid that the vegetables will release.
Turn the heat off and beat in the oil, black pepper, dill, parsley, ramsons, nutritional yeast and tapioca.
Mix the hot sauce with the vegetables and smooth over the top. Bake for 20 minutes and then mix the edges, which will be starting to brown, into the middle. Smooth the top again and bake for a further 20 minutes.
To make the dough mix together the cassava, millet and rice flours with the potato starch, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl using a balloon whisk. This ensures that all the flours are distributed evenly.
Add the water slowly and mix using a wooden spoon. You may not need all of the water, the dough should be fairly soft and slightly sticky. When the dough has come together, knead it briefly to ensure everything in mixed together well. Bring the dough into a ball, and cover with clingfilm to stop it drying out. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t rest it, the dough will be difficult to roll and liable to fall apart. While the dough is resting mix together the oil, oregano, ramsons and salt and set aside.
When the dip is done cover it with foil to keep warm and turn the oven up to 220 degrees c. Pop the oiled trays in to heat up.
Divide the dough into two and roll one piece out very thinly, about 1 mm. Drizzle the flavoured oil over the top and rub it in so it covers the whole surface, you may not need quite half of it.
Take one of the trays out of the oven and transfer the dough to it. Working quickly (and carefully so as not to burn yourself!) Cut the dough into rough triangles, a pizza wheel is quickest for this but a sharp knife is good too. Put the tray back in the oven.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake each tray of crisps for 10 -12 minutes until they are puffed up in places, golden, and lovely and crunchy.
Spoon the dip into bowls and serve with the pitta crisps.

By A. and E.


Vietnamese style vegetable soup

I’ve got lots of fresh herbs at the moment, and yesterday I really fancied a lovely broth, with plenty of chilli heat and vegetables.

Years ago I used to make a soup inspired by Vietnamese pho, with a broth flavoured with cassia bark and ginger among other things. It just so happens that for the first time in ages I had, as well as the herbs, both ginger and cassia available, so I just had to make a version of the soup!

It looks like a long list of ingredients, but half of them are for the broth, and it would be super easy to make a larger quantity so that you have some ready for another day. In fact I wish I had, I could happily eat this soup again today!

Vietnamese style vegetable soup

Vietnamese style vegetable soup

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