Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

We’ve been fairly self-sufficient recently in terms of green vegetables and the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel spouts have kept us going through the winter months. The other day, I spotted some perpetual spinach and so thought I would do something different with it. Here is a recipe for pasta with spinach and ricotta. I used wholewheat macaroni but you could use anything.

SPINACH AND RICOTTA PASTA

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g pasta
  • 200g ricotta
  • fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated
  • extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. Heat some salted water for the pasta.
  2. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan with a splash of water.
  3. Roughly chop the spinach.
  4. Cook the pasta.
  5. Heat some oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic.
  6. Add the spinach, the ricotta and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the frying pan and mix well.
  8. Add some more of the pasta cooking liquid if necessary.
  9. Serve and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Dried aubergines: spiced aubergines

dried aubergines

Dried aubergines have a firm consistency when cooked. I’m still not sure whether this is a good thing or if they need to be cooked for longer. For this recipe, I soaked the dried aubergines overnight in cold water but next time, I will try putting them in boiling water to see if they soften up more. For more information about cooking with dried vegetables, see this page. Information about how to make your own solar drier can be found here.

SPICED AUBERGINES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups dried aubergines, soaked in boiling water overnight
  • 1 onion, roughly
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. On a fairly high flame, heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the onion and fry until soft.
  4. Drain the aubergine and add to the pan.
  5. Toss well and continuing frying, adding the remaining spices and seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  7. Cover and continue frying until the aubergines are soft
  8. Serve.

Parsnip Fritters

We’ve got a lot of large parsnips at the moment and although I love roast parsnips, we don’t often light the wood-fired oven and cook a roast dinner. I’ve therefore been looking for new ways of cooking them. This recipe is similar to a bhaji and uses oregano instead of spices. You could substitute parsnips with butternut squash or sweet potato. This recipe with no eggs but with potatoes is very similar to a potato rosti. 

PARSNIP FRITTERS

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g coarsely grated parsnip
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkle oregano
  • 2 small eggs
  • splash extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. Mix all of the ingredients well in a bowl.
  2. Heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan.
  3. Put spoonfuls of the mix into the frying pan and fry on a medium heat for 6 minutes, covering the pan with a large saucepan lid.
  4. Turn and fry for a further 6 minutes, covering the pan.
  5. Remove the lid and fry for another minute or so until the fritters are golden and crispy.

The recipe makes about 8 fritters.

Bhindi Bhaji – Okra Curry

Okra or “ladies fingers” as it is also known is commonly used in Indian, Asian and African cooking. Although okra is typically grown in tropical or warmer climates, we are able to grow it here in the summer at 1,300 metres above sea level. By picking the pods when they are tender and not cooking it for too long, it is possible to avoid the slimy texture that many people associate with okra and find off-putting.

 

Bhindi Bhaji


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 bowl of okra, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • a splash of water

METHOD

  1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and then add the chopped tomatoes.
  2. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spices and heat for another minute or so.
  4. Add the okra and coat well in the spice mixture.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 10.15 minutes on a low heat, adding a splash of water as necessary to prevent the mixture drying out.