This is a simple stew of tomatoes, spinach, lentils and warming herbs served with rice or a baked potato and accompanied by a minty yoghurt. What’s not to love?
Ingredients: handful of cherry tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli, 2-3 shallots, small bunch of oregano, large handful of spinach, 5 basil leaves, small baby cucumber.
From the larder: 150g rice or 2 baking potatoes, 100g red lentils, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, ½ cup yoghurt, oil, salt and pepper (optional: grated cheese).
- Start cooking the rice or baking potatoes in preheated oven (180 degrees C). If using potatoes, allow up to an hour for them to bake.
- Place lentils in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until soft, approx. 10 minutes.
- Chop the shallots, garlic and chilli (use half or a whole chilli if you like it spicy – it also tastes fine without). Sauté on a low heat until translucent and then add the tin of tomatoes.
- Chop the oregano leaves and quarter the tomatoes. Add to the sauté pan, season and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- When lentils are soft, drain and add to the tomatoes along with 50ml of water and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Grate or finely chop the cucumber and mix with yoghurt in a bowl.
- Chop the spinach and basil leaves and just before serving the lentil stew, stir them in allowing them to wilt.
- Serve the lentil stew with rice or baked potatoes and cucumber yoghurt on the side. Add grated cheese as an optional extra.
Ingredients: 4 shallots, 1 clove of garlic, 1 red romero pepper, 120g fresh peas, 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 sprig of rosemary and 1 sprig of thyme.
Larder: 160g paella rice or arborio rice, 500-600ml stock, 2 tsp smoked paprika, and juice of ½ a lemon (optional extra: sliced chorizo).
- Chop the shallots, garlic and pepper.
- Fry in a little oil with paprika and chorizo (optional) for 5 mins.
- Prepare the stock and pour into the same pan.
- Once simmering, add the rice and simmer, covered on a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Quarter the tomatoes, strip rosemary and thyme from their stems and chop and shell the peas. Add all to the pan, season and gently simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
- While cooking add more stock if drying out.
- Paella is ready when stock is absorbed and rice is fluffy. Before serving, you can cover and allow to stand for a few minutes for flavours to settle. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
This comforting bowl roasted of roasted tomatoes, romero pepper, melted mozzarella and pasta can’t be beat on a cool Autumn night.
Ingredients: 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 romero pepper, 1 spring onion, 2-3 shallots, a few sprigs of oregano and thyme, a garlic clove.
Larder: 200g rigatoni or similar pasta, 1 ball of mozzarella, olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- Weigh out the pasta and bring a pot of water to the boil.
- Halve the tomatoes and chop the pepper into 1 cm squares, chop the shallots, spring onion and garlic clove: place all in a baking tray.
- Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, add salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When ready, drain.
- When tomatoes and peppers are juicy and soft, remove from the oven.
- Tear or chop the mozzarella into chunks. Strip the oregano and thyme from their stems.
- Add the pasta, herbs and mozzarella to the roasted tomatoes and peppers, mix well and put back in the oven.
- Bake for 5-10 mins until mozzarella is bubbling and starting to turn golden. Serve immediately.
Ingredients: 200g Potatoes, 1 clove of garlic, 2 shallots, 1 red pepper, 1 courgette, 2 pattypan, 1 san marzano tomato, a few basil stems, a few sprigs of oregano.
Larder: 1 tin of tomatoes, 2 tsp honey, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, (optional extra: grilled chicken or sausages and a dollop of yoghurt or grated cheese).
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. To make the hasselback potatoes: thinly slice half way through the potatoes at 3mm intervals, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven on a baking tray for about 25 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to hold the potatoes while you slice them.
- If using meat, roast or grill in the oven.
- Heat a glug of oil in a pan. Chop half the shallots and a clove of garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes until soft.
- Chop the patty pan, pepper and slice the courgette. Add to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Chop the tomato and add to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes, chopped oregano balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Stir and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the basil and add half to the ratatouille.
- When potatoes are golden and crispy, serve with the ratatouille and meat if using. Garnish with any remaining herbs and a dollop of yoghurt or a sprinkling of grated cheese if desired.