Moroccan-style Bean Stew

All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012


I’ve really got into combining sweet and savoury flavours recently, and I thought I’d use these as a basis for creating a dish for Meat-free Monday. This is a Moroccan-inspired bean stew, healthy, tasty and incredibly simple to prepare. I made sure to make plenty so there was enough left for lunch the next day. I really wanted to try making flat breads but ran out of time, so I served the stew with toasted wholemeal pittas and a yogurt dip.


You will need
400g (dry weight) of mixed beans and pulses (I used chick peas, kidney and flageolet beans)
400g of good quality chopped tinned tomatoes (+ half a tin of water)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or fresh chilli if you prefer)
½ tsp paprika
A handful of sultanas
1 handful of dried chopped apricots
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp dried powered ginger
1 tsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 generous glug of olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


1.)Heat the oil in a large pan. Add your onion and allow to soften before adding your garlic, carrots, cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, chilli and coriander. Cook for about 3 minutes.
2.)Add your beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, sultanas, apricots and half a tin of fresh water. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients together. 
3.)Leave on a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 mins to allow the stew to cook down.

Spicy sweet potato soup

I know my last post was a soup recipe, but the weather has been so ridiculously cold and snowy here in Sussex this week that I’ve been eating little else. Knowing that I’ve got a warm and satisfying lunch to look forward to is about the only thing that makes braving the arctic temperatures in the morning bearable.

I think this has to be one of the simplest soups I’ve ever made: quick to prepare, healthy and a really short list of ingredients. My kind of recipe.

You will need
A glug of olive oil
1 onion, chopped 
½ teaspoon of dried chill flakes or ½ fresh red chilli, deseeded.
1 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
750g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
1 pint of warm vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste.

1.) Warm the oil in a large pan, add your onions, garlic, chilli flakes and ground coriander and cook until soft.
2.) When your onions have softened, add your sweet potato and mix it in with the other ingredients. Leave it to cook in the pan for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Pour your warmed stock over the mixture, bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer for about 10/15 mins, or until the sweet potatoes soften.
4.) Blend your soup until smooth. Serve with fresh crusty bread (this soda bread is ideal). If you find the soup too spicy then add a dollop of crème fraiche.

All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012

Cosy winter vegetable soup

All images © Heather Wilkinson 2012


The temperature has really plummeted here this week. It’s the kind of cold weather that means you have to hop from foot to foot just to generate enough heat to stop your toes going numb. I basically live off soup when the weather’s like this, and I luckily had enough root veg to whip up a batch today. Soups of this nature can be a tad bland, so I add just a pinch of dried ginger to give it a subtle lift.


You will need

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stick of celery, sliced
1 leek, sliced
150g potato, peeled and diced
150g swede, peeled and diced
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp dried ground ginger
1 litre milk
Single cream


1.) Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry until soft.
2.) Add your garlic, carrot, leek and celery, stir it all together and continue to fry for about 5 minutes.
3.) Next, add your swede, potato, nutmeg and ginger, salt and pepper. Add the milk, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 25 minutes, or until all the vegetables have softened.
4.) Add your soup mixture to a liquidiser and blend together until it is smooth. You can run it through a sieve if you want it extra smooth.
5.) Return the soup to a clean pan, add a little cream, mix and heat thoroughly. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Chicken and leek risotto

Here’s the final recipe in my ‘Give life to your leftovers’ series. This recipe not only makes good use your remaining roast chicken, but also includes delicious leeks, which are currently in season. And the addition of parsley and lemon zest (optional, of course) really brings this dish to life.

The secret to great risotto is to take your time over it, adding the stock gradually and stirring slowly to allow it to be fully absorbed by the rice. This recipe serves 2.

You will need
Your remaining chicken meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
175g Arborio risotto rice
600ml of chicken stock
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ large leek, diced
2 tbsp of crème friache
1 small onion, chopped into small pieces
A generous handful of finely grated parmesan cheese
Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
A teaspoon of grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

1.)Heat the stock
2.)In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions, garlic and leeks. Fry very slowly for about 15 minutes until softened.
3.)Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes until the rice is coated and glossy.
4.)With the heat on a simmer, carefully add your chicken stock, one ladle at a time, to your saucepan of rice and stir using a wooden spoon.
5.)Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, allowing each to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. This will take about 15 minutes. You’re aiming for your rice to be soft but with a slight bite.
6.)When all of your stock has been used and absorbed by the rice, add your chicken, stir, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the parmesan, 2 tbsps of crème fraiche, stir and season to taste.
7.)Divide the risotto between two bowls, top with lemon zest, parsley.

Chicken noodle soup

In my last post, I promised recipe ideas for leftover roast chicken. So, here goes with the first, ideal for this time of year when you want something warm, satisfying and healthy. This recipe serves two people.

You will need:
2 pints of chicken stock (read my last post for a how-to)
1 tsp caster sugar
half a red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 tbps of dry sherry
2 portions of dried egg noodles (thick, thin, or whatever you prefer)
½ small leek, shredded
Leftover roast chicken, cut into small slices or bite-sized pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
A handful of fresh coriander

Add the stock, a mug of cold water, soy sauce, chilli, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and sherry to a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat right down and allow to simmer very gently. In a separate pan, cook your noodles, drain and then toss in the sesame oil. Remove your soup mixture from the heat and sieve it over a bowl or pan.

Divide your noodles between two big bowls, ladle the soup over the noodles and then add chicken. To finish, add shredded leeks and coriander and, if you’re feeling adventurous, some thin slices of red chilli too.

Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for the final roast chicken recipe.

I almost forgot to mention that I was really chuffed to be featured on Fiona Beckett’s (Guardian food and wine columnist) lovely blog recently. Thanks Fiona!

 

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