Cheesy vegetable crumble

Ah October- the month that brings a chill in the air and an urge to hibernate in front of an open fire with all your favourite comfort foods. Well, look no further! This cheesy vegetable crumble makes the most of a range of seasonal vegetables and it is perfect as a main meal or a side dish. Potato, carrot, swede, kale and leek are my vegetables of choice which gives a balanced between earthy flavours and sweetness which marry with the creamy cheesy sauce which is topped with crunchy crumble.

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Ingredients- serves 4 as a main
1 small swede
3 large potatoes such as Maris Piper
1 large carrot
1 leek
Small bag of black kale
500ml vegetable stock
150ml milk
2 garlic cloves- whole
60ml double cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pepper
Crumbly, tangy cheese such as Caerphilly
100g plain flour
50g unsalted butter
Freshly grated parmesan

1. Prepare the vegetables by peeling them and cutting the swede, potatoes and carrots into cubes. Take a large, wide pan and place the cubed vegetables into it along with the vegetable stock and milk. Place two whole unpeeled garlic cloves in that have been pricked with a knife to infuse a delicate flavour. Bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer; cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender to a knife point. Remember that swedes take longer than the other vegetables so keep the cubes of this smaller so they all cook at the same time.

2. Meanwhile, in a small pan sweat the leek with a splash of oil and small knob of butter. Cook until tender before removing and setting aside. Add the kale into the pan along with a splash of water; cover and allow to wilt slightly.

3. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Choose a large ovenproof baking dish that is large enough to fit all the vegetables in. When the vegetables are tender, take the pan off the heat and stir in the double cream along with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, the leeks and kale and mustard. Season to taste. Spoon half into the baking dish before crumbling some Caerphilly through before spooning the remaining vegetables on top followed by more crumbled cheese. Pour the creamy sauce over.

4. Finally, for the crumble topping simply place the flour in a large bowl along with the butter. Cut the butter into small chunks for ease and rub the flour and butter between your fingers to form a crumb. Grate in some parmesan if you like. Scatter the crumble over the vegetables and bake in the oven until golden and crunchy; this should take 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a couple of minutes as it will be red hot! Serve as a main or as a side dish and dive in!

Cheesy vegetable crumble- a comforting autumnal meal that deserves to be centre stage on your dining table!

 

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Chilli cheese crushed potato stack

After making this chilli cheese crushed potato stack and posting a photo on Twitter I had no idea how popular this would be- retweets, likes and views coming left, right and centre but for very good reason! I was aiming to create a proper comfort dish and it hit the spot so read on… Not only do you get the recipe for the stack but you are also getting my much loved chilli recipe. The combination of spices and chilli gives heat, sweetness, smokiness and an overall well rounded savoury hit. I love the combination of cascabel and smoked chipotle chillies but ancho chillies are also fabulous if you can only find these.

I would advise making the chilli the day before you want to eat it so the flavours have plenty of time to develop. I simmered mine the day before for an hour before then finishing it off the next day. If you want to add beans then be my guest but this is a chilli for meat lovers.

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Ingredients- serves 4
1 tbsp vegetable oil
400g beef mince
1 large red onion- finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves- crushed or finely chopped
1 tbsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika and oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
200ml hot beef stock
1 tsp treacle
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 cascabel chillies
4 chipotle morita chillies
400g new potatoes
Butter
Cheddar cheese to top
Fresh jalapenos- finely sliced

1. Start by taking a pan and adding a glug of oil. Brown off the mince over a medium to high heat; if it is particularly fatty then drain off most before lowering the heat and adding the onion in. Cook until the onion is softening but not colouring and then add the garlic in for another minute.

2. Add the spices and herbs into the pan and stir well so the meat is well coated. Squeeze in the tomato puree and cook for two minutes. Pour in a little of the hot beef stock to help deglaze the bottom of the pan before pouring in the rest along with the tomatoes. Pop the cascabel and chipotle chillies. Stir through the treacle. Simmer the chilli for at least an hour and a half; leave overnight if you can.

3. When you are ready to assemble the dish, preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes until just tender. Drain well and lightly crush with a fork. Toss a good amount of butter through it (don’t hold back!) before placing the potatoes in an ovenproof roasting dish. Roast by themselves for 20-25 minutes until they turn golden and crispy in places. Spoon over the chilli and top with a liberal helping of grated cheese before returning to the oven. Cook until the cheese is melting. Finish with a sprinkling of freshly sliced jalapeno and serve with soured cream, if you like.

Chilli cheese crushed potato stack- forget your normal baked potatoes and give this a try!

 

Asparagus, feta and mint frittata

This time of year brings the end of the asparagus season so cue me raiding the shops and markets for what’s left in an attempt to hold onto this glorious British grown vegetable. Green, white and purple- you can’t beat asparagus in all its splendour and each with different flavour profiles so you can choose your favourite.

Frittata is perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner. I have chosen to add Jersey Royal potatoes as well to add another flavour and texture so all you need to do is serve the frittata with a salad and away you go! The frittata is also brilliant the next day when chilled overnight and then served at room temperature which makes it perfect for a make ahead picnic idea.

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Ingredients- serves 4
300g new potatoes
Glug of olive oil
1 banana shallot- finely sliced
6 large eggs- lightly beaten and seasoned
200g asparagus
100g feta
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped

1. Boil a kettle of water and simmer the new potatoes for a few minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside, allowing them to cool until you can handle them. Slice them into thin rounds and place in a large bowl.

2. In a frying pan that is going to be large enough to hold the eggs, potatoes and asparagus, add a glug of oil and gently fry the shallot until softened. Depending on the size of the asparagus you have, cut them into chunks and if they are particularly thick then you can also cut these lengthways. If the asparagus is a little more woody (as it can be at the end of the season) you may like to blanch it for a minute or so before using it.

3. To the bowl with the potatoes, add the beaten eggs, asparagus and most of the feta along with the mint. Gently mix to combine and add into the pan with the shallot. Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining feta. Increase the heat to medium and cook until set. Towards the end of cooking, fire up your grill and pop the pan underneath to melt the feta until golden. Serve with a salad.

Asparagus, feta and mint frittata- a frittata fit for picnics across the land this summer!

Pan fried sea bream with bacon and samphire crushed new potatoes

I absolutely adore sea bream- firm yet tender, meaty yet delicate, it ticks all the boxes for flavour in my book. Fish is almost always best treated simply to let it shine without being taken over by the accompanying ingredients. I have teamed the bream with marsh samphire, which is now readily available. Samphire needs little done with it to add a wonderful saltiness; it can be steamed, roasted or pan fried to perfection.

‘Bacon as well as samphire?!’ I hear you cry! ‘Absolutely’ says I! Don’t think that the bacon and samphire will create a thirst inducing meal, it simply isn’t so. I used a lightly smoked back bacon which is tossed in with the potatoes at the last minute. If you like, consider replacing the bacon with other sea vegetables. Another word: Jersey Royal potatoes are currently in season in the UK and are simply wonderful so do use them whilst you get the opportunity.

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Ingredients- serves 2
2 fillets of sea bream- skin on
Salt and pepper to season
60g butter
200g jersey royal potatoes
100g samphire- rinsed well
2 rashers of smoked back bacon- roughly cut

1. Before you get cracking on the fish itself, boil a kettle of water and cook the potatoes. Most average sized new potatoes take around 15-20 minutes but this will also depend on the size. Test if they are cooked with a knife, drain well and set aside.

2. Meanwhile take two pans; one that is suitable for the fish so this needs to be a non- stick frying pan ideally and one that can be used for frying the bacon. Sea bream fillets will take around 5-6 minutes so I simply pan fry with 20g of butter (and a glug of oil if you like as well). Season the skin side of the fish with salt and pepper before frying skin side down for 3 minutes until golden. Flip the fish onto the other side and season before cooking for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked through. I used a spoon to baste the fish with the melted butter in the pan throughout the cooking.

3. At the same time this is all going on, heat a knob of butter in the second pan. Pop in the bacon pieces and samphire. Take the drained potatoes and lightly crush them with a masher or spoon before adding to the pan. Keep as much butter as you want (or need) to work its way through the potatoes. Now is not the time to worry about the diet! That can wait! When the bacon is crisped, the samphire soft and the potatoes warm, divide between two plates. Carefully remove the bream from the pan and place on top of the bed of potatoes. Serve immediately.

Pan fried sea bream with bacon and samphire crushed potatoes- savour every bite of this wonderfully simple yet elegant dinner!

 

 

‘Chloedethumps’

Burns Night is just around the corner and this is perfect as part of your celebrations although there is no reason that this dish has to be confined to being eaten on only one day of the year. Think of a Scottish version of bubble and squeak and you’re on the right track. Rumbledethumps (its official name!) uses seasonal vegetables to create a moreish dish which can be served on the side of haggis (for the fans) or something along the lines of sausage. Traditionally rumbledethumps uses a mix of potato, swede and either kale or cabbage however with the rise of the mighty flower sprout I used this instead.

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Ingredients- serves 4-6
1 medium swede
600g floury potatoes such as Maris Piper
100g unsalted butter
1 large red onion- finely sliced
200g flower sprouts, cabbage or kale
Salt and pepper
50g grated mature cheddar

1. Get going by preheating the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Prepare the swede and potatoes by peeling them and cutting them into large chunks. Bring a pan of boiling water up to the boil and cook the swede and potato until tender before draining well. I make sure the chunks of potato and swede are about the same size and boil them together but you could boil them separately in two lots if you prefer.

2. Shred the flower sprout leaves (or cabbage or kale). Melt the a knob of butter in a separate pan before adding the sprouts and onion to cook for a few minutes until softened. When they are ready simply set aside.

3. Take the drained swede and potato and lightly mash the chunks. You are after a rough mash so don’t overdo it! You will find that some potato pieces mash down a bit more than others and bits of swede will stay relatively chunky but that is exactly what you are after. Toss in the remaining butter and stir through. Next, stir in the sprouts before stirring to combine well and then season to taste. A good crack of black pepper doesn’t go amiss here! Place the vegetables in an overproof dish before topping with grated cheese, such as a cheddar. I cook mine in the same shallow casserole dish that I sautéed the sprouts and onion in; saves on washing up!

4. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and cook for 30 minutes before removing the cover and placing it back in the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve with your choice of meat and tuck in!

For those of you who indulge in haggis I have the perfect way to finish up any odds and ends… Crumble any leftovers into any leftover rumblethumps or a plain mashed potato and shape them to form potato cakes. Fry in a pan until golden and crispy and serve with a poached egg perched on top and a good dollop of tomato chutney.

Chloedethumps- a modern twist on a delicious Scottish classic!