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!
Who doesn’t love a good old pie from time to time?! Well this roasted vegetable and feta pie ticks all the boxes but is lighter than a pie you may devour through the winter months. Filo is light and crisp and is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. I have used a selection of vegetables with a Mediterranean vibe but you can mix and match until your heart’s content.
In order to keep the pastry crisp I have chosen to part roast the vegetables in advance so it draws out some natural moisture before popping into the pastry case. Unlike other pies this does not require precise tin lining so think of it as a free form pie that is perfect for pie making novices and well seasoned cooks alike. You will require a pie tin which is around 20cm in diameter which will feed 2 very hungry people or 4 for a lighter dinner.
Ingredients- serves 4
1 packet of premade filo pastry
30g unsalted butter
1 tbsp basil pesto
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves- kept whole
Glug of olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Do check the cooking instructions on the packet of filo as temperatures may vary from brand to brand so adjust accordingly. Whilst this is heating, cut the vegetables into small chunks and place on a baking tray with the garlic cloves, seasoning and olive oil. Toss so they are well coated and roast for a few minutes until beginning to soften.
2. In a small pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Use a pastry brush and brush a little of the butter in the tin. Take one the first filo sheet and lay in the tin before adding more butter to this sheet. Repeat until the sheets of filo are all layered; I offset each layer so they can be gathered more easily to form a crust. If you layer the sheets like this you should end up with a star formation. The last layer should be brushed with pesto so the vegetables will sit on top.
3. Take the roasted vegetables and scatter some of the feta amongst them before placing in the lined pie tin. Gather the loose edges of the filo and you can either bring them into the centre of the tin or, as I did, fold them in to form a crust so you can see the colourful vegetables in the middle. If you do this then add a little more feta crumbled over the top before popping in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the pastry cooking time on the packet) until the filo is crisp and golden. Serve with a side salad and some buttered new potatoes if you like and dig in. The pie is also great for lunch the next day if there are any leftovers but this is highly unlikely!
Roasted vegetable and feta filo pie- a taste of the Med at home this summer!
When the sun comes out, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy a colourful meal before the clouds threaten again. In the UK we are about to see the end of this year’s asparagus season (boo!) so this is a perfect way of enjoying it before it goes. Orzo is rice grain shaped pasta which is great for cooking in risotto style as it is here as well as using for pasta bakes and salads. Unlike classic risotto, the stock can be added all in one go rather than one ladleful at a time. Next time you cook this try playing around with combinations such as cherry tomato, chorizo and red pepper which are equally as delicious.
Ingredients- serves 2
Glug of olive oil
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped
50ml white wine
150g cherry tomatoes- halved
100g asparagus- chopped
300ml vegetable stock
Slices of pancetta
2 cod loins
1/2 tsp paprika
1. Add a glug of olive oil to a large pan that is large enough to hold the orzo. Gently cook the onion and garlic together until softening but not so they are turning golden. Pour in the white wine and simmer until it is reduced by half.
2. Stir in the orzo until it is well coated in the onion mixture. Pop the halved tomatoes and chopped asparagus into the pan. Add the stock little by little until the orzo starts to turn tender and the tomatoes will break down to form a light sauce. If you are using fine asparagus then you may like to add this in slightly later in the cooking of the orzo. You are aiming for the asparagus to retain a little crunch to add texture.
3. Meanwhile, you can prepare the cod. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Depending on how big the cod loins are and the size of the pancetta slices, lay -pancetta slices on a chopping board so they slightly overlap and are the length of the cod loin. Season the cod well with salt, pepper and paprika and wrap one of the cod pieces in it; repeat for the other loin. Take a small frying pan and add a small splash of oil, heating it to medium. Place the wrapped loins seal side down into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. If the pan you are using is ovenproof then pop the cod straight into the oven for around 10-12 minutes until the cod is cooked. If it is not ovenproof then use a baking sheet to cook the cod on instead. When the pancetta is cooked and crisped it is ready to serve on top of the orzo. Serve immediately.
Pancetta wrapped cod loin with tomato and asparagus orzo- a colourful dish to cheer up anyone’s day!