Roasted carrot salad with lentils, feta and mint

This is so quick and easy to prepare – roasting the carrots gives them a fantastic sweet flavour.  The lentils and spices add depth and the feta and mint make the whole thing fresh and really delicious.


1kg carrots

lentils x 1 can (green or brown, drained)

small bunch of fresh mint, shredded

feta – one standard pack, crumbled

1/2 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds, lightly ground

(Opitional – juice of half an orange)

olive oil, Maldon salt and pepper

sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar or lemon juice would also work)

Nigella (black onion) seeds


Preheat oven to 200C.

Peel the carrots and chop into chunks approx 1cm square – this is not a precise instruction at all, chunks can be bigger or smaller but just try to ensure they are generally even in size to let them cook at the same rate.

Carrot salad Sep 16

Toss the carrots in a little olive oil, add the cumin and coriander seeds, salt & pepper and squeeze over a little orange juice if you have it (I used the juice of a clementine as that’s all I had left, but you could also just add a couple of tablespoons of water).

Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the carrots are tender (but not soft). Stir every now and then to make sure that nothing burns or sticks – but you might end up with a few lightly caramelized pieces which is fine and will just add to the sweet flavour.

When ready remove from the oven and add to a large bowl along with any juices left from roasting. Add the lentils to the bowl then, while the carrots are still warm, dress with olive oil and sherry vinegar to taste.  The lentils soak up quite a lot of dressing so you can be fairly generous.

When slightly cooled, add the feta and mint and finish with a teaspoon of nigella seeds if you like.  Stir everything together, check for seasoning and serve.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish



Cauliflower kuku (or frittata, tortilla…)

kuku served.jpgThis is a huge favourite in our house – very straightforward to make but takes a little time in the initial cooking to get the best flavour and texture.

I’ve called it a kuku, which is a Persian frittata, but as they are usually loaded with herbs it’s definitely not authentic.  I feel like it’s more middle eastern in flavours and inspiration than Mediterranean, but feel free to go with frittata, tortilla or just omelette if you prefer.

This is great served warm (not hot), room temperature or cold, and keeps well if you want to make in advance or keep leftovers till the next day.  It makes 8 slices which usually serves 2 of us for dinner or 4 for lunch or as part of a bigger meal.

Eggs – 6-8 depending on size

1 cauliflower

1 large / 2 small onions

2 cloves garlic (optional)

olive oil

1 tsp each: turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp nigella seeds (also known as black onion or kalonji seeds)

Maldon salt and pepper


Peel the onion, cut in half then slice very thinly. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a medium frying pan and cook the onion slowly until very soft and light golden in colour.  Thinly slice/chop the garlic and add after about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Set both aside then add some more oil to the pan and turn the heat up to high.  (Sometimes I use a wok or much larger frying pan for this next stage, especially if I’m trying to speed things up).

kuku start.jpgAdd the cauliflower and stir fry until just tender and nicely caramelised all over – takes about 15-20 minutes.  Return the onion/garlic to the pan and add the spices/seeds, cooking for about a minute and stirring well to distribute evenly. Season well with Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper. At this stage, preheat the grill to medium/high.

kuku cauli.jpgBeat the eggs with salt to taste, then add to the pan and mix well to incorporate all of the cauliflower and onion.  You can do this in a separate bowl then add everything to the frying pan if you prefer, returning to the hob at a medium heat. Cook the kuku for 5-10 minutes until the edges are set and the middle is still runny.

kuku setPut under the grill for around 5 minutes, watching carefully to check it doesn’t burn.  Once set on top remove – the eggs will have puffed up a little and the top will be glossy and burnished.  Sometimes excess olive oil will rise to the surface, so you can blot with kitchen paper to absorb.

Turn out of the frying pan onto a plate and leave to cool slightly, or serve later.  It’s great with some sriracha sauce drizzled over the top or serve with salad or inside a lettuce wrap.


Pork chops & pak choi with ginger, chilli and soy

pork chopThis dressing/marinade is super-quick and works with meat, prawns, vegetables, tofu – you can make it as spicy as you like and can make it up in advance too.

Dressing ingredients:
3 tbsp soy sauce (I love Kikkoman)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Fresh ginger – a medium sized chunk, very finely chopped or grated (I use my Microplane)
Red chilli – finely chopped, de-seeded or not as you prefer, 1 or 2 depending on heat

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and leave for 10 minutes or longer if you like. For this recipe I used the dressing over some steamed tenderstem broccoli and the rest to finish off a stir-fry of pak choi (stems then leaves in at the end) and shallots.  Once cooked, add a couple of tablespoons of the dressing over the broccoli and leave to rest while you finish everything else. The pork was just pan-fried (make sure the fat is rendered and golden and cook the pork to medium if you like it juicy) then sliced with the dressing spooned over.

pork chop 2