Vegan

Spinach, chard and leek risotto

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In April return to Greece for culinary inspiration. This month’s recipe is a risotto dish much loved in my homeland and to make it I am using seasonal organic Greens from Blaencamel Farm in West Wales. The key difference of this Greek risotto, called ‘Spanako-rizo’ or ‘Spanakoprasó-rizo’ is that it is less complicated in its cooking process (when compared to its Italian cousin) and it uses a lot of greens as the star ingredient rather than focussing on making a creamy rice. Whilst the rice is also added before the water it does not follow the Italian risotto method and you add all the water at once simmering the rice slowly to complete the dish.

Traditionally this dish is made with a rice called Karolina. In the UK, you can find this in Greek specialty shops, but also on the shelves of many of the Middle Eastern shops where you should seek it as Egyptian Rice. It is a short grain variety which keeps its bite when compared to Arborio. If you cannot find Karolina/Egyptian rice why not try Thai Jasmin rice which I find is a great replacement for many Greek recipes. In fact, as I am not a purist, I recommend that you try this dish with all rice varieties to find your preferred version.

Chard is regarded a wild green in Greece and has traditionally been foraged. Now cultivated widely in farms such as Blaencamel it has become a staple of our diet in the UK. Which is why I am using it together with spinach. Its meatier leaves, organic spinach, delicious Welsh leeks, foraged wild garlic and wonderful onions complete this version of the dish. In fact, Blaencamel farm’s April box will include all the ingredients you need to make your Greek Risotto. A perfect gift of the emerging Spring time and a great dish to help your body detox the heavy flavours of winter!

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 300g Blaencamel leeks (1 bunch), sliced
  • 450g spinach (1 bag), roughly chopped
  • 450g chard (1 bag), roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch wild garlic
  • ¾ cup of rice
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • Up to 2 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sea buckthorn berries (optional)
  • 1 finely chopped bunch of dill or 1 tbsp tried dill
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation (30 minutes)
1. Coat the base of a 20cm pot with olive oil and sauté the onion and leeks with one tsp of salt until soft and translucent.
2. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
3. Gradually add the chopped greens (spinach, chard, wild garlic) so that wilt slightly.
4. Add the raw rice and mix well.
5. If using chop the sea buckthorn berries roughly or crush and add to the rice and green.
6. Add the lemon juice, around two cups of boiling water, dill (if adding), another teaspoon of sea salt and the pepper.
7. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
8. Serve with more crushed sea buckthorn, some feta cheese and drizzle with raw olive oil.

All you need is love … and chocolate coated, caramel almonds

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Happy St Dwynwen’s Day you lovely people! So proud that in Wales we have a lady patron of love.

Last week the amazing We Are Cardiff blog asked me to develop a recipe for them! And here it is together with the full blog. 

wearecardiff.co.uk/2017/01/23/all-you-need-is-a-love-inspired-recipe-for-saint-dwynwens-day/

Remember to find out more about Greek food join one of Lia’s Kitchen intimate cooking classes on 3 and 10 February. I will be introducing participants to Greek Kitchen basics but will also be sharing Greek flavours and recipes that are not yet widely known in the UK. You can book online here www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/lias-kitchen-7901836356. 
Or contact Lia for more information at lia@liaskitchen.com.

Blaencamel Farm’s Cima di Rapa & greens in coconut sauce

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Cima di rapa is a star ingredient grown organically in our very own patch by the fantastic Blaencamel Farm this January. It is a broccoli sprouting (Broccoli raab/Rapini) loved in Southern Italian/Puglian cooking, typically in anchovy and butter sauce combinations and served with orecchiette pasta. Together with the other greens offered in Blaencamel vegetable boxes and at farmers’ markets this January, Cima di Rapa has inspired a Lia’s Kitchen dish that takes me back to my Greek – greens – loving roots but also uses coconut milk, an ingredient I have come to love through my travels in India and Cambodia. Good and ample sea salt is essential for your recipe, as Cima di rapa loves a salty kick.

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 700g mixed Blaencamel farm greens, such as 2 bunches of Cima di Rapa, half a bag of spinach and half a bag of winter sproutings
  • 5-10g peeled ginger (size of the top of your thumb)
  • 1 big peeled garlic clove
  • 1.5 cups of coconut milk for drinks OR 1 tin of coconut milk for cooking (400ml)
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil, if using coconut milk for drinks OR 1 tbsp. coconut oil, if using tinned coconut milk for cooking
  • 1 heaped tsp. Oliveology’s truffle salt or Pembrokeshire Beach company Seaweed Salt
  • 1 heaped tsp sea salt
  • A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp Pembrokeshire Beach Company Kelp Seaweed (optional)

* You can source Pembrokeshire Beach Company products at Penylan Pantry.

Preparation (20 minutes)

  1. Wash all the greens really well. To ensure all dirt is removed leave the greens in a bowl or basin for around 10 minutes after the first wash.
  2. In a big pot add enough boiling water to cover the greens (stalks included) and boil for around 10-15 minutes on low heat, or until the stalks are cooked.
  3. Whilst the greens are cooking, heat the coconut oil and fry the ginger and garlic for a few minutes (roughly chopped in 2-3 three chunks each).
  4. Then add the coconut milk of your choice, the specialty salt and the kelp seaweed salt and chilli flakes if you are using.
  5. Lower the heat and simmer the coconut sauce for 5-10 minutes or until the greens are cooked.
  6. When the greens are ready, drain them keeping the liquid from the boiling process. You can use the liquid to boil pasta or noodles in it (if that’s a serving preference) and you might need a little bit of the liquid to thin the sauce of the dish, particularly if you are using tinned coconut milk.
  7. Return the greens in your big pot and pour the thin coconut sauce over them, simmering for another couple of minutes.
  8. If the coconut sauce has thickened use some of the liquid (kept after draining) to thin it. This is a dish for which you should have a runny, thin sauce to serve the greens in. The end result should be something between a thin soup and a stir fry.
  9. Cool down for 5 minutes and serve with bread or noodles to enjoy the flavoursome and nourishing sauce.

The Carrot and Cumin soup that stole your heart

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MDuring Love Food Hate Waste Project 2016 (roadshows and workshops included) there was one soup that definitely stole everyone’s heart both in terms of taste and simplicity of preparation.

An easy recipe to help you use  that bag of carrots you bought when you really only needed a couple. Nutritious, warming and satisfying it is versatile in its use of pulses, I actually make it with yellow split peas more often than with red lentils, but if you are in a rush lentils are a better option. If you do not have ras-el-hanout spice mixture you can increase the cumin dose, add some paprika, ground coriander, a pinch of chilli powder and a squeese of lemon. Fresh coriander or spinach complements the recipe very well. The use of almond milk is in my opinion what really makes this soup (use sweetened). And if you serve with toasted almonds it and coriander pesto you have a luxury version to indulge in.

Enjoy!

Ingredients
Makes 2.5lt soup or 6 portions for main

  • 700g carrots
  • 350g red lentils or split yellow peas
  • 2.5 litres stock
  • 250ml almond milk
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 1.5 tsp Ras El Hanout spice mix
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh coriander or spinach (Optional)

Preparation
45minutes

  1. Wash carrots well with a vegetable brush and chop finely.
  2. Coat the bottom of a pot with enough olive oil.
  3. When hot add the cumin seeds and chilli flakes and fry for a few
  4. Add the carrots, with a couple of pinches of salt and stir fry for
  5. Add the lentils and Ras El Hanout and stir well until well coated
  6. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat, add the almond milk and blend to a creamy
  8. Add the chopped spinach and/or coriander for a soup that will make you as strong as Popeye!

Lia’s Tips: Mix parsnips or potatoes with carrots to use up leftover vegetable. This soup is great with split yellow peas. Served with pesto and nuts it is a very filling meal. Serve with savoury muffins or toasted stale bread or croutons.

 

Festive Sprout Stir Fry

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This is a recipe that even the biggest sprout sceptic will enjoy – I have tested this with my partner whose face contorts with disgust every time I even mention sprouts. Slicing the sprouts finely definitely helps. For the host of a Christmas dinner this is a great side for any roast and rather helpfully the recipe can be cooked mostly on the hob, freeing up the necessary space in your oven.

As all recipes this month are inspired by Riverside Market Garden’s vegetable box all you need to do is place your order today (Wednesday 16 December) and you will have all the vegetable ingredients you need to execute this and the rest of the recipes.

The combination of ginger (in the stir fry), nutmeg and a hint of clove (in the roast nuts) is inspired by the French Quatre Epices (four spices) mixture but I have substituted the white pepper with crushed red peppercorns for a festive look. And I have added an optional pinch of crushed buckthorn seeds (hippophae) for a zingy lift. I have also shared my recipe for roasted spiced walnuts which I learned from Anna Hansen’s, The Modern Pantry cook book. In the past year I have used this method to roast nuts with any imaginable spice to suit my recipes – it is a real delight!

Ingredients (4-6 people)

  • Salt to season as required
  • ½ tsp buckthorn seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp red peppercorns
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 50g fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 500g Brussel sprout, finely sliced

 

  •  100g walnuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of clove
  • 1 Tbsp water

Preparation (30 minutes)

  1. In a baking tray mix the walnuts, salt, icing sugar, nutmeg, clove and water until the nuts are well coated.
  2. Place in a low to medium oven (160 centrigrade) for 20 minutes or until dried and golden.
  3. Finely slice and grate the onion, sprouts and ginger.
  4. Coat the base of a wide frying pan with enough olive oil and heat.
  5. Stir fry the onion and ginger with the paprika and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes and until translucent.
  6. Add the finely sliced sprouts and stir fry with the soya sauce for 15 minutes or until the sprouts are soft.
  7. Season with additional salt or soya sauce if required – the sprouts can definitely take it so don’t be shy.
  8. Crush the red peppercorns (and buckthorn seeds) in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle on the stir fry
  9. when the walnuts are ready sprinkle on the stir-fry.

Back to the roots #3 – Festive recipes: Parsnip or celeriac oven chips with beetroot dip

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Photography by http://www.dangreenphotography.com
Do you find it hard to get your little ones to tuck into root vegetable other than potato? This is a festive recipe that make everyone happy and it will use up your Riverside Market Garden festive vegetable box contents rather nicely. These oven chips are tasty, nutritious and comforting. Serve with Lia’s Kitchen beetroot and feta dip as a snack or side. They are so easy and fuss-free to make and once you try these you might never go back to deep-fried, potato chips. And as always you can sprinkle some home made dukkah on this delight – guess what …we have a dukkah recipe too.

 

Ingredients (snack quantity or enough for two)

  • 350g parsnip, celeriac or turnip or a mix
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sweet or smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation (40min)

  1. Wash the vegetable well with a brush or peel and wash.
  2. Chop in long chip sticks and in a baking tray toss in the thyme, paprika, salt and olive oil.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes in a medium oven (180 centigrade) or until cooked enough to pierce with a fork but not falling apart.
  4. For Lia’s Kitchen beetroot dip please see www.liaskitchen.com.

Back to the roots #2 – Festive recipes: Parsnip and/or Jerusalem artichoke maple roasties

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Continuing with the festive theme, here is another roast vegetable recipe which can accompany any chosen Christmas dinner meats or veggie roast. I think it will particularly delicious with goose.Once again this is a stress-free recipe which does not require  extensive preparation. It is versatile enough for you to use with many of the white root vegetables that you can find in your Riverside Market Garden festive vegetable box. Personally I have great difficulty stopping myself from devouring these before I place them on the dinner table. Let’s hope I manage it this time for the family’s sake!

Don’t forget to order your festive Riverside Market Garden vegetable box by Wednesday 16 December here: https://store.buckybox.com/riverside-market-garden

Ingredients (feed 4-6 as part of a roast dinner)

  • 6 Jerusalem artichokes (around 250g)
  • 1 large parsnip (around 200g)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground salt to season
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil to dress

Preparation

  1. Wash the artichoke and parsnip well with a brush or peel. I prefer both vegetable with the skin on if you cut off any ‘hairy’ bits and chop the top and tail off.
  2. Roughly chop and mix well with all ingredients in a baking tray.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes in a medium oven (180 centigrade) or until cooked enough to pierce with a fork but not falling apart.
  4. Particularly delicious with roast goose, duck or a hearty nut roast.

Back to the roots #3 – December festive recipes: Parsnip or celeriac oven chips with beetroot dip