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Entries in lemon (61)


ofm top twenty: broad bean, mint and ricotta bruschette

i’ve had this polpo recipe for broad bean, mint and ricotta bruschette on my “to make” list for ages so it was great to see it in the ofm top twenty, as that gave me the necessary nudge.

my expectations were high – summer flavours, easy food and quick to pull together. so, how did i get on?

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ofm top twenty: courgette, feta, pea and mint flatbreads


this allegra mcevedy recipe, which is part of the ofm top twenty , is described as a good option for lunch, or even a packed lunch. easy cooking and easy eating, apparently. i made them for brunch today and think they would be good at any time of day. not that the recipe was perfect, that would be too easy!

so, how did i get on?

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halloumi, fennel, asparagus and potato salad

as i mentioned recently, i’ve fallen in love with anna hansen’s lemon, fennel and halloumi bruschetta. the things which really makes this dish stand out for me are the layers aniseed flavours (fresh fennel and fennel seeds), the layers of caramelised flavours (the fennel and the strips of lemon zest both caramelise as they cook), the endlessly wonderful squeaky creaminess of the halloumi and the hit of citrus from the lemon.

so, when i saw hugh fearnley whittingstall’s recipe for potatoes, asparagus and halloumi which also uses lemon, i decided to combine the two, thinking that the potatoes could be used in place of the bruschetta bread. the result was fabulous, both eaten warm and as leftovers the following day.

to make this i cut my potatoes into bite size pieces, tossed them olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and then roasted them 180c for 10 minutes. while they were cooking i mixed together pieces of fennel (cut each bulb into 10 wedges), lemon zest (peel this off and then cut into matchsticks), lemon juice, fennel seeds and a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper. this was added to the potatoes after they’d been in the oven for ten minutes, mixed together and covered with foil. after 20 minutes roasting i added my asparagus and cubes of halloumi. another stir to mix the flavours and a final ten minutes in the oven uncovered.

i finished the dish with crispy capers (drain, dry and shallow fry in olive oil) and a squeeze of fresh lemon. i meant to add some parsley, as suggested in hfw’s recipe, but forgot and i don’t think it was missed at all.


fennel, lemon and halloumi bruschetta

fennel is one of my favourite vegetables; i also love fennel seeds as a spice. and lemon is one of the ingredients which i always need to have to hand, otherwise i start to feel twitchy. all of which makes it obvious that i was going to love this dish.

the flavour combination isn’t new but the results are absolutely superb – chunks of fennel are tossed with fennel seeds, matchsticks of lemon zest (use a vegetable peeler, avoid the white pith then cut into thin strips)the juice of the lemons, olive oil, salt and pepper. these are covered in foil and roasted at 180c for 20 mins and then, having been uncovered, are given a final 10 minutes to crisp up and caramelise the edges.

i think it’s the lemon peel match sticks which really make this taste so nice – cooking them slowly under cover so the peel softens before it starts to caramelise creates a mellow but rich flavour. this contrasts wonderfully well with the fennel seeds and creamy fried halloumi (slice and soak it overnight, to create a softer texture when it is cooked).

the final winning component in this anna hansen recipe, from her modern pantry cookery book, is crispy capers (shallow fry them in vegetable oil for a few minutes).

i piled these ingredients on top of some toasted sour dough bread, which was rubbed with a smoked garlic clove, and finished with some rocket and a drizzle of olive oil. just delicious and my favourite recipe from the book, so far.


courgette and chickpea salad

i’ve been eating versions of this salad quite a lot recently – it has an eye towards brighter, warmer weather but still has enough bulk to make it suitable for a chilly day.

at it’s heart are courgettes, chickpeas, lemon, cheese and cumin. my chickpeas tend to come straight from the tin and if i want them warming through i just cover them with boiling water, after draining and rinsing them, while i prepare the rest of this dish. having said that, i don’t usually bother as adding the just-griddled courgettes to the salad tends to warm everything through just enough for me.

the courgettes are sliced, tossed with a little olive oil – 1 tablespoon is enough for 2 courgettes which, along with one tin of chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients tends to be enough for two people. i use the bowl that had the oiled raw courgettes in to assemble the salad as i go, so any excess oil forms part of the dressing. the cumin – 1 teaspoon of seeds, toasted and then ground, is sprinkled on the veggies and adds a depth of slightly spicy flavour to the dressing, which has the juice and zest of a lemon as it’s final components (just add these to bowl, while you cook the courgettes in batches, stirring as something new gets added).

for the cheese component i use whatever i have in – pictured are little cubes of smoked ricotta; last night i used some crumbled feta. other ingredients depend what i have in – crunchy red peppers as pictured above, or chery tomatoes are nice. you can also add garlic, chilli, shallots or spring onions for extra oomph and i always finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  a nice and easy healthy dish. perfect too for fast days if you’re doing the 5:2 diet, coming in at c200-250 calories, depending how generous you are with the olive oil and cheese.