Chard, Aubergine and Potatoes: a killer combination.

We recently took over an allotment and it’s being much fun (and work).

Yesterday we finally did our first harvest: potatoes 🙂

Our plot neighbours gave us also some chard and explained how to prepare this (to me) unknown veggie. Everytime we visit the allotment, one of the neighbours gives us something, we are so lucky! 🙂

Today we experimented and the combination of chard, potatoes and supermarket bought aubergine gave me an unexpected satisfaction. 

INGREDIENTS

– 5 potatoes

– 1 chard

– 1 garlic clove

– juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1 aubergine

– white sesame seeds

– olive oil

– sunflower oil

DIRECTIONS

For the POTATOES

– cut them in small cubes (I don’ bother with peeling the iron rich skin)

– in a frying pan heat up a thin layer of sunflower oil

– fry the potatoes until cooked

For the CHARD

– cut the leaves from the stalk and cut in chunks, keeping the hard bits separated from the leaves.

– heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic for 1 min.

– add the stalks and cook for 3 mins

– add the leaves and cook for further 3 mins.

– dish out and sprinkle with lemon juice

For the AUBERGINES

cut in chunks and soak in cold salted water for 10 mins

– rinse and squeeze

– heat up a thin layer of sunflower oil and cook the aubergines until cooked

– before dishing out sprikle with sesame seeds and cook for 1 min

– dish out and eat.

Greek flavoured Sicilian Pasta alla Norma

Traditionally Pasta alla Norma consists of Maccheroni with tomatoe sauce topped with fried aubergines and salted ricotta. It was apparently named by the playwriter Nino Martoglio after Bellini’s opera.

At present I live in the UK, so retrieving salted ricotta is a very difficult quest. Therefore I have dared and replaced it with Greek feta.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 gr Maccheroni
  • 400 ml passata or a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 aubergine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50gr Greek Feta

DIRECTIONS 

  • Chop up the aubergine in small cubes and soak in cold water for 10 minutes

  • Bring a saucepan of water to the boil 
  • Meanwhile heat up 3 tbsp of olive oil and shallow fry the aubergines until brown in a frying pan.
  • In a small saucepan heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes the garlic and pour in the tomato. Simmer for 10 mind. 
  • When the water is boiling add salt and cook the pasta.
  • As the three pans are ready combine the ingredients and sprinkle the pasta with the Feta.

Jerusalem artichoke, Beetroot and Pecorino Risotto

I did my first locally sourced grocery the other day, I was so excited. I got carried a bit away with the shopping list, but the idea of fresh and organic vegetables was too exciting.

One of the items was Jerusalem artichokes. I obviously thought I would receive artichokes, but instead I had some sort of strange potatoes in my bags.

After extensive research on the topic it was decided they will become risotti.

INGREDIENTS

  • 100gr Jerusalem, cut in small cubes
  • 100gr beetroot, cut in small cubes
  • 1 small leek, cut finely
  • 300gr risotto 
  • 20gr butter
  • 500ml water/broth
  • Pecorino cheese,to taste

    DIRECTIONS

    • If using fresh beetroot, boil it in a little water for 5 mins.
    • When the water has dried out and the beetroot softened, add the butter and cook the leek and the jerusalem artichoke for 10 mins.
    • Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes.
    • Add the water and salt to taste.
    • Cook until cookes (roughly 17minutes or 7 in a pressure cooker).
    • Stir in the pecorino.
    • Serve and garnish with parsely

    ChocoYogo – Chocolate Yoghurt Cake with Nutella Mascarpone Icing

    Today is a little’s person 4th birthday, the occasion requested a super special cake!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 200gr self raising flour
    • 50gr raw cocoa 
    • 120gr sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 pot yoghurt (125ml)
    • 1 pot of vegetable oil (125ml)
    • 50ml of milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp bicarbobate of soda

      For the cream:

      • 1 heaped tbsp Nutella
      • 125ml of mascarpone

      DIRECTIONS

      • pre-heat the oven at 180°
      • Mix in a bowl flour, cocoa, sugar and bicarbonate of soda.
      • Mix in a different bowl the eggs, yoghurt, oil, milk and vanilla extract.
      • Pour the liquid mixture in tthe flour mixture and mix well.
      • Butter and flour a 23cm cake tin.
      • Pour the mix and cook in the oven for 35mins oor until cooked.
      • Let it cool.

      For the Icing:

      • Mix together the Nutella and the mascarpone.
      • Once the cake has cooled, smear the cream on top andif you fancy sprinkle some decorative stars.

      Pumpkin (Chocoa) Cake

      After making pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto and roasted pumpkin seeds, we had still some pumpkin left over and had to make a cake.

      I took inspiration from this, but I just could not bring myself to use so much sugar or vegetable oil, so I revisioned slightly the ingredients. The result was still quite soft and moist.
      INGREDIENTS

      •  4 large eggs
      • 150gr sugar
      • 150ml vegetable oil
      • 150ml milk
      • 420gr blended fresh pumpkin
      • 450gr self raising flour
      • 1 tbsp raw cocoa
      • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp cinnamon

      DIRECTIONS

      • mix everything together well
      • Pour in a 25cm diameter buttered cake tin.
      • Cook in a pre-heat (180°C) oven for 35 minutes.

      Pumpkin Soup

      As it is getting colder outside, I am in the mood for soups.

      INGREDIENTS

      • A medium/small sized pumpkin
      • Two small potatoes
      • One carrot
      • One onion
      • Salt and pepper
      • Cream cheese (optional)

      DIRECTIONS

      • Chop the vegetables and cut a ‘hat’ from the pumpkin. 
      • Scoop out the stringy flesh and seeda from the pumkin. I used a tablespoon 
      • Scoop out as much flesh as possible. I used a measuring spoon for this process.   
      • Toss all the ingredients in a pan. 
      • Add ca. 500ml water and salt to taste.
      • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20. I have used a pressure cooker, setting soup for 9 minutes.
      • When ready, blend it with a submersion blender.
      • Optional: add some cream cheese (my kids won’t drink milk, so I very often add cheese to many dishes)
      • Serve in its pumpking with its hat on. The kids loooooved it! 

      Pumpkin Seeds

      Pumpking seeds are packed with iron! They also have many other super healthy minerals and benefits, but for me it is enough to know they give us loads of iron and proteins. My daughters aren’t too fond of meat, so I am always glad when they eat other sources of iron.

      INGREDIENTS

      • A pumpkin
      • Olive oil
      • Salt
      • Spices

      DIRECTIONS

      • Clean the pumkin seeds from the stringy flesh, wash and dry them. 
      • In a frying pan heat up a tiny bit of oil.
      • Add the pumkin seeds and frequently stir.
      • When they brown, pass them in a bowl.
      • Season with salt and spices (we used paprika).

      Oh my Pumpkin

      Today I fell in love with a pumpin. It gave us so much inspiration and energy!

      Well, first of all it flooded us with orange. I love this color, especially if it is autumn!

      I prepared a speedy hearty soup, which warmed us up. 

      While the soup was cooking I have prepared a super powerful snack: pumkin seeds. Lucy loved them!

      Finally we made our first, warming up scary (or scared, as Lucy says) pumpkin.

      Finally, by accident I took a picture that might end up on my ‘food wall’. For some reason this picture makes me very hungry! 🙂

      Happy pumpkin to you all! 🙂

      Pancakes – reduced sugar

      Pancakes, reduced sugar

      • Servings: 4
      • Time: 20 mins
      • Difficulty: very easy
      • Print

      Sunday morning and daddy’s pancakes. It doesn’t matter if outside is sunny or raining, pancakes make any Sunday special!

      Ingredients

      • 120g self-raising flour
      • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      • ½ tsp salt
      • 1 tbsp caster sugar
      • 120ml milk
      • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
      • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for cooking

      Directions

      1. Mix everything with a blender.
      2. Heat a frying pan with a little oil on a medium heat.
      3. Pour 2tbsp of batter.
      4. When the bubbles apper, flip it!
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      6. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
      7. Eat.
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      Energy Balls

      Energy Balls

      • Servings: 8
      • Time: 15 mins
      • Difficulty: very easy
      • Print

      A friend kindly pointed out a need to take care and energies myself… what better excuse to make energy balls!

      Last Christmas I met this lovely New Zelander and she gave me this amazing recipe to boost our energise (obviously I have lost her previous handwritten recipe.. so this is the best I can remember)! I love them 🙂 And they are made with the most obscure, but powerful, ingredients I have ever heard of.

      Ingredients

      • 1 tbsp spirulina powder
      • 1 tbsp maca powder
      • 1 tbsp chia seeds
      • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
      • 1 tbsp honey
      • 1 tbsp coconut oil
      • 1 teaspoon tahini
      • 2 tbsp ground almonds
      • 12 dates (mehjoli), steamed and then blended

      Directions

      1. Steam the dates for 10mins to soften them up. Mix them with honey and coconut oil and blend them.
      2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
      3. Form little one bite truffle balls (it is a very sticky job)
      4. Roll them in different finishes (coconut, almonds, walnuts or crazy colored cake decorating things) and gently push the decoration in.
      5. Eat.
      6. You can store them in an air-tight container for up 10 days.
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