Sometimes we all need a little help with some cooking inspiration when its cold and miserable outside. The new year starts with good intentions of cooking healthyish, flavourful food but it can be hard to keep the ideas coming after the first week or two. Planning and painting are my prioritise through January, neither or which are my forte and both of which create in me a longing to grab a cookery book, light the fire and shut the world out; but if I’m honest, its fresh flavours and bright colours that appeal. I keep the slow cooker for making bone broths and the over night cooking of shoulder joints that end up as pulled meat in a zingy salad, often scattered with Pomegranate seeds.
Salads are not just for summer days! I eat just as many through the winter months as through the summer. the deli counter at Relish will usually boast at least 5 salads on any one day. Fennel Bulbs grilled, brussel sprouts sliced to within an inch of their lives, root vegetables roasted, brassicas steamed. To eat a rainbow of colours is still possible through these grey months; we just have to use our imagination!
Enter stage left the wonderful world of Ottolenghi, Sabrina Ghayour & Anna Jones. Ottolenghi recipes often read like an essay and can turn take a very long time to create but it’s a great excuse to explore some unusual ingredients whilst dreaming of hotter climes. Sabrina Ghayour is the newest member of my “Yorkshire Women that should be Gods” Group. Having been to stay at Tommy Banks pub, The Black Swan, at Oldstead, she decided to leave London and move up here, buying a house near Easingwold. Her Instagram account is now equally full of gorgeous views in Yorkshire and produce that she has come across up here as it is the Persian Feasts she is famous for around the world. Anna Jones writes for the Observer Food Monthly, in my opinion the only reason worth buying a Sunday Newspaper. She worked for Jamie Oliver for many years, starting out as a chef then joining his Creative Team, before striking out as a Food Stylist, and with two best selling cook books, this in one veggie girl who we should all be paying attention to. Her recipes are simple and delicate, often using fresh herbs which I absolutely adore, always vegetarian and often very quick, letting the quality and freshness of the vegetables do all the work.
Brussel Sprouts with Burnt Butter and Black Garlic, by Ottolenghi
450g Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
20g Black Garlic (available from Relish!)
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
30g Unsalted Butter
30g Pumpkins Seeds
1.5 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tbs tahini
Black Garlic has a highly concentrated taste: liquorice meets balsamic meets the absolute essence of garlic. It’s a quick way to inject a huge amount of flavour into a dish. Best to get everything chopped and ready so you can eat the sprouts fresh from the pan.
1.Preheat the oven to 220C
2. Mix the sprouts with the olive oil and a grind of salt. Spread on parchment and bake in the Oven for 10 mins until golden brown but still crunchy.
3. Meanwhile in a pestle and mortar, lightly crush the caraway seeds. Add the black garlic and thyme and crush to form a rough paste.
4. Put the butter in a large pan and cook on a medium heat for 3 mins until melted and dark brown. Add the crushed garlic paste, sprouts, pumpkin seeds and another grind of salt. Stir for a few seconds and then remove from the heat, stir in then lemon juice and drizzle with tahini. Serve up immediately.