Roasted squash, beetroot and carrot lentil salad

On a freezing cold November’s day the last thing on your mind for lunch is probably salad. The temperature drops and the mind naturally turns to foods laden with cream and cheese but this salad brings all the soothing flavours of autumn but without all the calories. This salad makes the most of seasonal vegetables and give an extra savoury whack with a tahini dressing. You can serve your the salad warm or at room temperature depending on your preference. The addition of some salty feta is also a welcome addition if you fancy. The added bonus is that the salad will keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days so it’s a perfect make ahead lunch for work too.

Ingredients- serves 4
1 pack of microwave puy lentils
1 butternut squash-peeled and diced
4 small beetroots- peeled and diced
2 large carrots- grated
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tahini
8 tbsp warm water
Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan whilst you place the diced squash on one baking tray and the diced beetroot on another. I tend to find that vegetables roast better on a shallower tray. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to each tray long with some salt and pepper; move the diced vegetables so they get a coating of the oil. Roast for around 20- 30 minutes or until tender.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer thr squash and beetroot to separate bowls. This allows them to cool and stops the beetroot running into the squash.

3. Meanwhile microwave the lentils and also allow to cool. While that’s happening you can arm assemble the tahini dressing which is quite literally a case of combining all the ingredients and whisking well together.  Remember to taste as you go!

4. Finally toss the cooled vegetables, squash and lentils together and grate in the carrot for an added crunch. Finish with the dressing and serve.

Roasted squash, beetroot, carrot and lentil salad- a surefire way to brighten up the kitchen on a chilly day!

Lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas with homemade tzatsiki

Go Greek this summer with these lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas. Ideal to make and enjoy straight away but also delicious cold as well as freezing well. Dig in for dinner or pack for a picnic! Every for kofta need a killer dip so I’ve given you my homemade tzatsiki recipe too- don’t say I don’t treat you!

wpid-20150607_202315.jpg

Ingredients- serves 4-6
400g lamb mince
2 medium beetroots- peeled and grated
1 small pack of feta
1 small pack of fresh mint- finely chopped
Ground cumin and coriander
Salt and pepper

For the tzatsiki
Natural Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber- grated
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
Olive oil
Ground cumin

1. Start off by placing the lamb mince in a large bowl and add in the grated beetroot, crumble in the feta, chopped mint and season well. Add 1 tsp of the ground cumin and 1 tsp ground coriander. Work the mince with your hands so it becomes firm and binds together. Decent mince shouldn’t need an egg or breadcrumbs to help it along so give it a little time and form small sausages with the mixture. Place the kofta on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour or until you need them.

2. Meanwhile make the tzatsiki by grabbing a bowl and pouring the yogurt in followed by the mint, cucumber,garlic, a glug of olive oil, pinch of salt and a good pinch of ground cumin. Cover and chill.

3. When you’re ready to enjoy the koftas, simply heat a little oil in a large nonstick frying pan and fry in batches over a medium heat. Serve in pitta bread with salad, pickled chillies and top with the tzatsiki. If you have leftover kofta then they are delicious cooked in a tagine style with a base of tomato- http://wp.me/p4O5jd-e3.

Greek lamb, beetroot, feta and mint kofta with homemade tzatsiki- a summertime winner!

Balsamic roasted beetroot with lentil and sausages

This makes use of some of the best seasonal ingredients around at the moment and it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Earthy, sweet and may make up the perfect combination!

wpid-wp-1421680739440.jpeg

Ingredients- serves 2
150g green lentils
250g beetroot- washed and cut into wedges
1 large red onion- peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves- kept whole
2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
4 good quality sausages- I used Toulouse style sausages
Handful of watercress leaves

For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp wholegrain mustard
Squeeze of lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Get the lentils on the go by placing in a pan of cold water, bringing it to the boil for 10 minutes before lowering to a simmer for the next 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender. When they are ready, drain and set aside.

2. For the roasted vegetables, place the beetroot and onion wedges in a roasting tray along with the whole garlic cloves (do not peel these). Add in the olive oil and vinegar and toss well to coat all the vegetable wedges. Roast for 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are tender when tested with a sharp knife. I checked the vegetables from time to time and turned them as needed to ensure even cooking.

3. Meanwhile cook the sausages until cooked through and golden on the outside. While they are cooking you can make the dressing by combining the mustard, oil and lemon juice. Remember to taste as you go and make any adjustments to suit your tastes. Take a large bowl and combine the lentils, vegetables and a splash of the dressing. You can either fish the garlic out of the roasting pan and discard or, do as I do, and squeeze the roasted garlic from the cloves and mix through with the lentils. Just before serving add in the watercress leaves.

4. Serve in warmed bowls with the juicy sausages on top of a bed of lentils and finished with a good drizzle of the mustard dressing.