Spanish Omelette

 Being a bank holiday and the kids off school I know I am not going to have a whole lot of time for cooking this week. I ordered a small veg box original which came packed with lovely new potatoes, bunched carrots, bunched onions, baby spinach, courgettes & asparagus.

Box 2

First up I knocked up a Spanish Omelette with the delicious new potatoes and bunched onions. Waxy potatoes are imperative for this dish and Riverford’s new potatoes are perfect, especially as they are quite large, which makes them easier to peel. A good little non-stick, oven proof frying pan is important for omelette too. Try googling “GreenPan Rio 20cms” and you can pick a great one up for as little as £15.99.

Next, I can’t tell you how much time you will save in the kitchen with a good Mandolin. I find that the simple Japanese ones are the best. The best value one I found was “Grunwerg Benriner Mandolin” at Amazon for £17.14 – just do watch your fingers.

Don’t forget to order Riverford’s brilliant organic eggs as well. When choosing an olive oil – think “Spain”. You want something fruity, sweet and mild. Riverford have just started selling a new Andalucian olive oil “Nunez de Prado extra virgin flowers olive oil” which sounds delicious but is a little pricy. I promise to give it a try and let you know if it is worth it!

As always, there are numerous variations to my recipes and a few of my favourites are to add red pepper, chorizo or spinach. Serve up with some of Riverford’s excellent salad leaves. I always find this is one of the few meals the whole family enjoys, even though my daughter, as always ,insists on plenty of Tomato Ketchup.

Spanish Omelette

Makes two thin or one fat omelette

400g New Potatoes

4 or 5 Bunched Onions (depending on size and how much you like onions)

6 Eggs

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Peel and slice your onions. Use the mandolin if you have one up until where the neck bends. Then you will have to use a knife. Slice as thin as possible right up to the green onion top. (You can use this thinly sliced in a salad like a spring onion.) Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large saucepan, preferably on with a lid. (If not you can use a plate to cover it.) Sweat the onions on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes until melting but with no colour. Season with a good pinch of salt. Whilst the onions are cooking, peel the potatoes and thinly slice. A Mandolin is brilliant for this but if not use a knife. The potatoes should be about ¼ cm thick. When the onions are ready add the potatoes. Stir really well making sure each slice is separated and season with sea salt. Generously pour over some more olive oil, stir again and cover. Place over a low heat. After about 5 minutes remove the lid and carefully stir. Make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom but try not to break up the potato slices. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes or so until a blunt knife will easily insert into the potato. Leave covered to cool. Preheat your oven to 170 ⁰C. Meanwhile break your eggs into a large bowl. Whisk to break up the eggs. There is no need to season the eggs as the potatoes and onions should have enough salt. Tip the potato mixture into a large colander over a bowl and drain off the excess oil. Heat your small non-stick frying pan on a very low heat. Add a little of the drained oil (you can use re-use the rest in other cooking) and wipe round the pan with a piece of kitchen paper. Add the egg mixture and spread out so that it is even. Cook until the edges of the omelette are just set and put in the middle of the oven. Cook until completely firm. There should be no liquid in the middle when pressed. Allow to cool before turning out.

Omelette 2 Shrunk

Rounding up this week’s box

So that is it for this week. I promise lots more recipes next week. Please feel free to comment and let us know what challenges you are facing. I know I never got round to those lovely bunched onions and carrots but I promise to next week and at least I finally found something to do with tops of the carrots which I always hated throwing away. I discovered that Waffle and Charcoal just love them!

Waffle and Charcoal

Blueberry Pound Cake

Blueberries

Finally for this week, I was tempted by the delicious looking blueberries, fresh in at Riverford this week. These are delicious just sprinkled on your breakfast but I was inspired to make a cake which I have often made when cooking Riverford lunches. This cake is super easy and I particually like it as it works equally well as a pudding with a dollop of Crème Fraiche or Clotted Cream, as it does with a cup of tea in the afternoon. You can either bake it is the traditional bundt tin (I managed to find one in Elys sale) or else try it in cupcake cases.

Blueberry pound cake

2 cups plus 8 Tbsp. Plain Flour (14oz)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

1 2/3 cup sugar (14oz)

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. Vanilla Bean Paste

1 cup/punnet blueberries

 Set an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 170⁰C. Butter a standard-sized Bundt tin and dust it with flour, shaking out any excess. Do this well – the edges of Bundt tins can stick. In the bowl of a food processor, blend eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add butter and vanilla, and blend until the mixture is fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry. Add dry ingredients saving back 1 tbsp. of flour, and process just to combine. Do not over mix. The batter should be thick and very smooth. In a bowl, toss berries with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly across the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer cake to a rack, and allow to cool. Carefully invert the cake out of the pan onto the rack, and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Sweet potato wedges

I never used to know what to do with Sweet Potatoes and I was always concocting elaborate curries and chillies to use them up but I had forgotten how delicious simple roast Sweet Potato Wedges were until my son asked me to make them for him instead of potatoes. I lightly sprinkled them with a little salt and some smoked paprika, drizzled them with a little olive oil and roast them in the oven at 190⁰C for about half and hour until soft in the middle but crispy and golden on the outside. I then served them with a couple of dips – Crème Fraiche (Riverford’s is very good) and the other was some Sweet Chilli Sauce (once again, Riverford do make their own) and it soon became a firm, family favourite.

sweet potato wedges

Mushroom, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Lasagna

Mushrooms and Spinach just go together for some reason, whether it be in a stir-fry, an omelette or a tart but this week I tried out a Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne with a bit of Goat’s Cheese thrown in as well. Serve alongside some of Riverford’s delicious salad leave and you have a meal in no time.

Riverford don’t do a Goat’s Cheese. Maybe they haven’t managed to find a good Organic one. I used Helen’s Farm, which although not organic, does a lovely range of Goat’s milk products and they even come in a variety of strengths so there is something to suit to everyone. I chose the mild hard cheese and even managed to sneak it past the kids without a fuss.

Spinach_mushroom_goats cheese lasagne

Mushroom, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Lasagna
Serves 2
One Punnet of Mushrooms
One Bag of Baby Spinach
One large clove of garlic
25g Butter
25g Flour
350mls Milk
50g Parmesan
120g Goat’s Cheese
½ box of lasagna sheets
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely slice your mushrooms. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan and add your mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Fry on a medium heat until golden brown. Meanwhile heat a large saucepan with a lid. Add a very thin layer of oil to the bottom to stop the spinach sticking. Add the bag of spinach and add a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid carefully. The spinach should be just wilted. Tip the spinach into a colander and wipe out the saucepan. Very finely slice the garlic. Add a glug of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Fry until just golden brown. Add the spinach carefully as it may spit. Stir well and turn off the heat.

Heat the butter in a small non-stick saucepan. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to a low heat and stir until sandy. Carefully add the milk and whisk over a medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan. Season well to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Cut the goat’s cheese into small chunks. Take a gratin dish about 20cms x 15cms and put a very thin layer of béchamel on the bottom. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Break up the sheets if necessary. Top with the spinach and 1/3 of the remaining béchamel and 1/2 the goat’s cheese. Next do another layer of lasagne. Then top with the spinach the rest of the goat’s cheese and the next 1/3 of béchamel. Next the final layer of lasagne and finally the rest of the béchamel. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or so until golden brown on top and a blunt knife inserts easily all the way through.

 

Grilled asparagus & baby gem salad with feta & mint

I couldn’t wait to get started with a Grilled Asparagus & Baby Gem Salad with Feta & Mint. Grilling your veg keeps them lovely and crisp whilst adding a delicious hint of smoke. This is a great salad to make if you are having a BBQ at the weekend, as it is so quick and easy, especially if you already have the BBQ lit. Mint is everywhere at the moment. One of the first signs of summer in my garden is when the mint reappears from nowhere, green and lush.

Herbs_mint

If you don’t have any in your garden, be sure to add some to your Riverford order. Like all my recipes you can easily adapt the ingredients and this super salad would have worked just as well with grilled courgettes or even whole spring onions. It occurred to me that a few delicious broad beans would have been lovely scatted on top as well. If you are looking for a good olive oil for this recipe, I would like to recommend Riverford’s Italian Extra Virgin at £5.95 for 500ml. I like the one from Giancarlo in Puglia best – it has a lovely peppery taste.

grilled asparagus_baby gem salad with feta and mint

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

Bunch of Asparagus

One or two Baby Gem Lettuces (depending on size)

100g Feta

½ a Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Few Sprigs of Fresh Mint

 Snap any woody ends off your asparagus and drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Trim the very end off the baby gem lettuce and then cut in half lengthways through the root, taking car to keep it in tack. Cut each half into three wedges. Again drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Heat your griddle or BBQ until smoking. Lay the flat sides of the lettuces on the grill, turning as soon as they have a clear char mark. Do the same with the asparagus making sure they are just cooked through. (It is imperative that your asparagus is very fresh.) Make a dressing with the juice of half a lemon, whisked up with a good pinch of salt and some extra virgin olive oil. Arrange the baby gem and asparagus on a plate and crumble over some feta. Roll up your mint leaves and finely slice to create a chiffonade. Sprinkle over the top and drizzle on your lemon dressing.