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Entries in lemon (60)

Sunday
May262013

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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Wednesday
May222013

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.

Sunday
Apr212013

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.

Thursday
Apr112013

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.

Tuesday
Mar262013

pickled lemons

i treated myself to a couple of new cookery books at the end of year and am trying to make the effort to cook from them, and learn new things. yottam ottolenghi and sami tamimi’s jerusalem was the easiest book to get into, not least because i’d seen so many recipes online, so when i got the book i marked up some “must cooks” and got stuck in.

it was also easy to do as o many of the dishes are very flexible, easily working as the focus of a meal (such as these meatballs with broad beans) or as one of many dishes (i adore these roasted aubergines). plus, as ever with ottolenghi recipes, the sweet options (such as this muhallabieh) are just as tempting as the savoury. also very delicious are the accompaniments – for me, the lemon pickle is what really made this starter of fish and caper fishcakes with burnt aubergine and the aforementioned pickle, so delicious.

the fishcakes were wonderfully light – a combination of white fish (i used haddock), finely diced and mixed with capers, dill, spring onions, lemon juice and zest, a little cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper plus a scant handful of breadcrumbs and a little beaten egg to hold it all together.

the burnt aubergine was the a combination of charred-over-gas-until-blackene,d and then peeled, aubergine flesh enriched with a little greek yoghurt and balanced with some crushed garlic and chopped parsely. this is a flavour that appears in so many north african and mediterranean dishes, and i really do love it.

in this dish the richness contrasted wonderfully with the fresh-flavoured fishcakes and the tang of the pickled lemons, which obviously had the sourness of lemon but also hints of garlic, paprika, cumin and tumeric, to make them so much exciting than you might have expected; they are the sort of thing you will want to have in your fridge all the time.

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