In the Winter section of Susannah Blake’s lovely cookbook, Seasonal Food, there’s a section on the very under-rated Jerusalem artichoke. Unrelated to the globe artichoke the Jerusalem artichoke is a great alternative to potatoes. When cooked, they have a soft, creamy texture and, with their slightly sweet and nutty flavour, they make a particularly good accompaniment to meat and poultry, as well as being a great base to soups and vegetarian dishes.
To prepare them, scrub well, then trim off any dark or woody bits and peel thinly. If you want to stop them from discolouring, drop them straight into water in which a squeeze of lemon juice has been added. Jerusalem artichokes can be boiled like potatoes, then mashed or puréed. They are also good tossed in a creamy sauce and baked in a gratin, or roasted in olive oil until crisp and golden. When sliced wafer-thin and deep-fried, they make delicious crunchy crisps.
This recipe, from Susannah’s book, gives the Jerusalem artichokes a lovely earthy, spice, fiery taste.
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 450g/1lb Jerusalem artichokes, cut into large pieces
- juice of ¼ lemon
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Toss in the Jerusalem artichokes, season to taste with salt and pour over 60ml/2fl oz/¼ cup water. Stir to combine well, bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the artichokes are tender.
- Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary, then squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.
A beautiful dish for Valentine’s Day, this is delicious – with sweet succulent lobster, deep, rich tomato flavours, fresh herbs and fiery chilli, and soft pasta. I’ve used the traditional flat-leaf parsley, but I’ve also used mint and basil to add extra aromatic, fresh tastes. This recipe does take time to make – and, of course, you could speed it up enormously by not bothering to remove the seeds from the tomatoes and using boiling water instead of the stock, but finessing the tomatoes like this and adding probably the most beautiful stock you’ll ever make(!) deepens the flavours and makes this a seriously gorgeous dish. (And you’re left with a lobster stock that rocks – use it to make a bisque or a risotto that takes a million miles away from a shop-bought one.)
- 1 large or 2 small cooked lobsters (about 600g/1lb 5oz)
- 1 red chilli, halved and deseeded
- 1 garlic clove
- 1kg/2lb 4oz plum or vine-ripened tomatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 250g/9oz gluten-free spaghetti
- 1 large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
- 2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, white part chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 6 parsley stalks without leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- Put the lobster onto a chopping board and flatten the tail. With a heavy knife, cut down the middle of the tail lengthways. Pull off the head and claws and open the claws by breaking the shell with the knife. Remove the flesh from the tail and claws and any from the head. Put the shells in a large saucepan to make the stock and leave the lobster meat to one side.
- Add the remaining ingredients for the stock to the pan, cover with 1.5l/52fl oz/6 cups water and bring just to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer, covered with a lid, for 40 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the remaining ingredients.
- Put the chilli and garlic in a mini food processor or spice mill and blend until finely chopped.
- With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the skins of the tomatoes, place in a large, heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 2–3 minutes, then take out of the water, peel off the skins, remove the seeds and chop coarsely.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the spaghetti and cook over a medium heat for 8–10 minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet, until soft. Make sure you stir frequently to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick. Drain and rinse well with freshly boiled water, then drain again.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the chilli and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5–6 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and formed a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the lobster. Cook for a couple of minutes. When the pasta and tomato sauce are cooked, add to the pan and stir in well. Add 3 tablespoons of the hot stock and the herbs and stir in thoroughly. Serve immediately.
Recently Zoe discovered the pine nuts in the kitchen cupboard. Much nibbling (and a little scattering) later, these are now her new favourites. So I made quinoa with them – and added passion fruit. It’s often hard to know what to do with quinoa but this is a great way to eat it. The crunchy, chewy textures of the passion fruit and the pine nuts combine brilliantly with the soft quinoa. What’s more, the tangy fruit tastes of the passion fruit, along with the earthy, nutty flavours of the pine nuts, blend with the flavours of the oil, balsamic vinegar and the herbs – and the quinoa literally soaks these flavours up. Delicious!
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
- 300g/10½oz/scant 2 cups quinoa
- 70g/2½oz/scant ½ cup pine nuts
- 3 passion fruits, seeds scraped out
- 1 small handful mint leaves, chopped
- 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt (optional)
- Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse well. Transfer to a saucepan and pour over 500ml/18fl oz/2 cups cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. If there is any water left, drain the quinoa thoroughly. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat and add to the serving bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season if you like and serve either warm or cold.