Tag Archives: vegtarian

Roots and Wine

Sometimes we enthusiastically drink wine in the middle of the week, this can lead to a ‘hang on a minute, what the heck are we doing’ moment and the cork goes back in the bottle. The bottle then loiters on the counter until we drink it or fling it in a dinner.

Roots and wine are a excellent combination and get the left over wine off of the counter and out of temptations way. The robust flavours of carrots, parsnips and beetroots mellow nicely when cooked slowly with wine, puy lentils, bay leaves and onions. I stirred in tablespoon of pomegranate molasses at the end which gave it a bright little lift.


Served with some mash they make an easy midweek dinner.


The mash can be spuds alone but often it’s a blend. Last night it was pumpkin and kale.

We’re eating a lot of pumpkin and kale at the moment, having a stash of pumpkins and plenty of kale growing in the garden. I mix fifty fifty potatoes and pumpkin, mash them with a little olive oil or butter then stir in finely chopped and sautéed kale.


This is a delicious winter dinner and I might as well mention it’s very good washed down with a glass of red wine!!

2 onions – peeled and chopped into wedges

a good glug of olive oil

3 stems of celery – diced

2-4 carrots – peeled and chopped into chunks

1-2 parsnips – peeled and chopped into wedges

4-6 beetroots -peeled and chopped into equal sized chunks

3 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

150g puy lentils

about 250mls red wine – or whatever’s left in the bottle

750mls vegetable stock

1 tbs pomegranate molasses

salt and pepper


Heat a large saucepan the add a good glut of olive oil, enough to just cover the bottom of the pan.

Add the onions and cook on medium heat for five minutes. Stir in the celery and continue cooking


Peel and chop the vegetables in the above order, adding to the pan as they are prepared. Season with a little salt and keep cooking and stirring on a medium heat.


Add the bay leaves then the puy lentils, wine and vegetable stock, bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for forty minutes. Check the vegetables and puy lentils. If they are tender they’re ready to go. Stir in 1tbs of pomegranate molasses and season with a little salt and pepper.




Courgette Trio

The courgettes are back and it’s time I got back to my blog. I have spent the past few of months working on The Lettercollum Cookbook, it was good fun but didn’t leave time for much else. Now that it’s pretty much done and dusted- fingers crossed – I can think of other things.

The garden has been growing away all this time and there is an abundance to eat at the moment. The courgettes are increasing their momentum.They are very healthy after such a sunny early summer, and the rain in the past couple of weeks has helped them along even more. Each day we wander through the courgette patch and pick the ones that have grown inches over night. We try to pick courgettes when they are small as they are tastier but somehow there always seems to be the odd escapee that camouflages itself under the big leaves. We’re not quite wheel barrowing them away yet but I have been checking out some new recipes to deal with the anticipated glut.

These recipes are especially for anyone that is growing courgettes and wondering how to eat them all – it’ll save sneaking round to friends houses and leaving them on the doorstep!


Courgette Fritters



These fritters are are tasty and light, perfect for lunch or dinner, they’re even good cold for a picnic.


3 courgettes

1 large potato

2 eggs

1 small onion, finely grated

Grated zest of one lemon


A big handful chopped mint

Oil for frying


Peel the potato.

Grate the courgettes and potato on the coarse side of the grater and sprinkle over a little salt. Put them into a colander and sit it over a bowl. Leave for 30 minutes. You will be surprised at how much liquid will come out and what initially looked like an enormous amount will shrink dramatically. Next take a clean t-towel and put the courgette and potato into the centre, gather the four corners up and twist to extract the rest of the liquid. Put the squeezed courgettes and potato into a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, onion and eggs. Season with some black pepper and a little salt.

Heat a large frying pan, add enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Put tablespoons of the courgette mix around the pan leaving about 5 cms between each fritter.. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon Turn the heat down to medium and cook gently until a golden crust has formed. Carefully flip the fritters over and cook the other side.

Delicious served with tzatziki or mayonnaise on the side.


Courgette and Rocket Soup



Courgette soup has a reputation for tasting and looking a little bland but the addition of a handful of rocket picks it up and adds a dash of bright green.


1 medium onion

25g butter or olive oil

1 potato

3 courgettes

500mls vegetable stock

1 tsp white wine vinegar

100g rocket-


Peel and chop the onion. Heat a saucepan, add the butter or olive oil and the onions and sweat gently for a few minutes. Peel and chop the potato and cut into a very small dice. Add to the onions, season with a little salt and give everything a good stir. Cook gently for at least 5 minutes. Don’t let them brown. Chop the courgettes into small pieces and add to the pot along with a little ground black pepper. Cook for a few minutes more then pour over the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for five minutes. Check the potato is soft then take of the heat and buzz until smooth. Roughly chop the rocket and buzz again. Don’t cook the rocket otherwise it will loose the vibrant green colour. Serve immediately or if needs be re-heat gently without boiling.


Courgette, Poppy Seed and Lemon Cake



This cake is deliciously moist with no distinguishing vegetable flavor, the only evidence of courgettes are little green flecks throughout the sponge.


150g caster sugar

125g butter

200g grated courgette

200g plain white flour

1 heaped tbs poppy seeds

half tsp bread soda

half tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

finely grated zest 2 lemons

half tsp salt



Pre heat the oven 180c gas 4

Line a 1lb loaf tin with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar then mix in the egg and grated courgettes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bread soda and cinnamon then stir into the mix along with the poppy seeds and lemon zest.

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out.