It’s all too easy to fall back on unhealthy food during these strange lockdown times, to neglect our balanced diets and reach for junk food instead. This herby sweet potato, chickpea and feta salad is quick and can be made using some ingredients which you masy have in the cupboard and fridge. Use the recipe as a guide and feel free to add anything else that may take your fancy or use up anything that would otherwise go to waste. The salad keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days if covered. It is a meal in itself but could be used to serve with simple grilled meats if you like.
Ingredients- serves 4- 6
2 sweet potatoes or 1 small squash- peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin of lentils in water- drained
1 tin of chickpeas- drained and rinsed
Half a cucumber- deseeded and sliced
Pinch of dried oregano
Aleppo chilli- to taste (optional)
1 tbsp each of fresh chopped parsley, dill and mint
60ml Greek yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper
1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180 fan/ gas mark 6. Place the cubed potato or squash on a baking tray, season well and add the oregano and chilli (if using). Cook for 10 minutes until starting to soften and then add the chickpeas. Continue to cook until the potato or squash is tender to a fork then toss the lentils through as well. Put to one side.
2. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients. Remember to check the seasoning and lemon juice as you go.
3. When the potato, chickpea mixture has cooled add the rest of the ingredients and toss. If serving immediately finish with the yogurt dressing otherwise portion up and chill in the fridge along with the dressing in a separate container until you need it. Add some extra chopped herbs to serve.
Herby sweet potato, chickpea and feta salad- light, refreshing and simple!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll notice by now that, not only do I enjoy cooking with seasonal ingredients as far as possible, I also have a penchant for pan fried sea bream. I love how delicate it is whilst also being able to stand up to a range of flavours. If you can’t find sea bream then sea bass will also work well. When fish is fresh you really don’t need to do much to it to bring out the best in it so keep it simple. I have chosen to pair the fish with spring vegetable fricassee; asparagus, peas and broad beans are in plentiful supply at the moment so take advantage of them whilst they are at their best. I served the fish and fricassee with roasted garlic mashed potato to bring the dish together and indulge in my other love in life- garlic!
Ingredients- serves 4
4 sea bream fillets- pin boned and skin left on
1 shallot- finely chopped
200g shelled broad beans
200g podded peas
150ml double cream
Salt and pepper to season
For the mashed potatoes
1 bulb of garlic
500g Maris Piper potatoes- peeled and quartered
1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Take the bulb of garlic for the mash and remove some of the outer papery layers. Carefully use a sharp knife to cut the bulb across the top to expose a little of the cloves. Place the garlic on a sheet of foil, drizzle with some olive oil and gather the side of the foil to make a parcel; roast in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the garlic has softened. When tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle the garlic. Squeeze all the garlic from the bulb and use the back of a fork to lightly mash it down; set aside.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a little salt. Cook the potatoes until tender; drain well and set aside before mashing with the butter added. Pop in most of the roasted garlic and combine well. Keep the mash warm.
3. Next up you need to make the fricassee and this could not be more straightforward. Bring a medium pan of water to a vigorous simmer but just below a boil. Take the asparagus and quarter each spear before then chopping each quarter to give thick sticks of asparagus. Add to the water and blanch for 1 minute before removing with a slotted spoon and refreshing in a bowl of ice cold water. Take the shelled broad beans and do the same for 3 minutes and then do the peas for 2 minutes.
4. In a medium pan add a glug of oil and soften the shallot. Pop in the remaining roasted garlic. Add the asparagus, broad beans and peas and pour over the double cream. Simmer gently for a few minutes until the vegetables are nice and tender. Taste and season well.
5. As the fricassee is finishing off get going with the fish. Heat a non- stick frying pan over a medium- high heat and add a good knob of butter and a glug of oil. Lightly season the skin of the fish and place skin side down into the hot pan; when the butter and oil starts to bubble then its ready to use. Fry the fish for around 4-5 minutes before gently flipping it over and cooking for a further minute or two. Serve the mash and fricassee and mash in deep bowls and top with the golden pan fried bream; serve immediately.
Springtime vegetable fricassee with pan fried sea bream- a celebration of seasonal ingredients!
Sweet, delicate sea bream paired with fresh baby leeks is a perfect match for these seasonal delights. Sea bream can often be overlooked so give it a chance and give this speedy recipe a go.
Ingredients- serves 2
2 sea bream fillets- skin on
1 tbsp non-pareille capers
1/2 tbsp flat leaf parsley- chopped
Small pack of baby leeks- washed
1. Start off by preheating the oven to 180c/ 160 fan, boiling a medium pan of water and heating a griddle to a medium/ high heat. Take a large non- stick frying pan which can fit both bream fillets easily- don’t crowd them! Heat half of the butter over a medium/ high heat and when melted, add the fillets skin side down and cook for 2 minutes. I season the skin before adding to the pan and aim to get the skin beautifully crisp and golden. The butter will foam which makes it nice and easy to then baste the fillets. When the fillets are ready, pop in the remaining butter, capers and a good squeeze of lemon juice before basting once more and putting in the oven for an additional 2 minutes. When the fish is ready it will look translucent so don’t overdo it. There’s nothing worse!
2. For the baby leeks all you need to do is make sure they are well washed to remove any grit that may be lurking and then simmering in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they become tender. Remove the leeks carefully and finish off in the griddle pan until slightly charred.
3. When everything is ready to go, arrange the leeks on the plate and lay the bream on top. Add the parsley to the butter sauce before pouring over the fish and leeks and you are good to go! I served this with steamed new potatoes which are also bang in season.
Sea bream with baby leeks- a celebration of spring ingredients!