Ever green goodness

Go-to soups and sides with nutritious extras. A big boost of colour and goodness on the plate…

Food: ever green

Roasted leek & spinach soup

SERVES 6

Ingredients

800g leeks (trimmed weight) thickly sliced

good olive oil

1 heaped tsp lemon thyme leaves

sea salt and black pepper

1 large onion peeled and chopped

1 celery heart trimmed and sliced

3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

150ml white wine

1 litre chicken stock

200g spinach

lime wedges coarsely chopped

flat-leaf parsley

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 210 C/190 C fan/gas 6½. Place the sliced leeks in a large bowl, drizzle over 3 tablespoons of oil, scatter with the lemon thyme, season and toss to coat. Transfer to a large roasting dish that holds the leeks in a thick layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until softened and lightly coloured.

2 Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden, stirring frequently. Add the celery and garlic and continue to fry for another 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until well reduced.

3 Stir in the roast leeks, add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the spinach, which should wilt instantly. Whiz the soup to a textured purée in batches in a food processor. Reheat the soup as necessary and serve with a squeeze of lime and a scattering of parsley.

With cumin chicken

Try this flavourful add-on. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 150g shredded cooked chicken and 4 stoned and sliced medjool dates, separating out the pieces. Scatter over ½ tsp coarsely ground cumin seeds, season and fry for a few minutes until the chicken is crispy at the edges, stirring frequently. Spoon a little on top of each bowlful.

Food: ever green

Roast asparagus with farro, red onion & parsley

 

SERVES 2 AS A MAIN OR 4 AS A SIDE

 

Ingredients

400g fine asparagus trimmed and halved across

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

1 tbsp lemon juice

good olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

2 red onions peeled and sliced into half-moons or rings

50g quick-cook farro

1 tbsp small capers rinsed

handful of coarsely chopped

flat-leaf parsley

chia seeds (optional)

lemon wedges to serve

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 210 C/190 C fan/gas 6½. Toss the asparagus and garlic with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat, season well and tip into a roasting dish.

2 Separate the onion pieces, toss with a little oil and spread on a separate baking sheet. Roast the asparagus for 20 minutes or until lightly golden, and the onion for 25 minutes, stirring the pieces halfway through to ensure even browning.

3 At the same time, add the farro to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 15 minutes or according to the packet instructions until just tender, then drain.

4 Combine the farro, onion and asparagus, then add the capers, taste for seasoning and transfer to a serving dish. Eat hot or at room temperature, stirring in the parsley at the last minute, and scattering with chia seeds if wished. Serve with lemon wedges.

Food: ever green

Oven-baked quinoa pilaf with broccoli & feta

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

good olive oil

3 banana shallots peeled and sliced lengthways

2 long red peppers deseeded and sliced thickly across

2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

1 heaped tsp ground coriander

1 heaped tsp ground cumin

300g quinoa (ideally tricolour)

600ml vegetable stock

1 cinnamon stick

sea salt

200g long-stem broccoli sliced into lengths

200g cherry tomatoes halved or quartered

To finish

1 x 200g block of feta drained on kitchen paper

handful of coarsely chopped

flat-leaf parsley

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C/gas 6. In a large cast-iron casserole with a lid (or similar) heat 2 tablespoons oil over a medium heat and fry the shallots and peppers for about 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic, coriander and cumin and gently stir-fry for 2 minutes more or until starting to colour. Stir in the quinoa and cook for 1 minute or until it begins to pop. Add the stock and cinnamon stick, season with salt, bring to the boil, cover and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

2 Scatter the broccoli and tomatoes over the pilaf, cover and return the pot to the oven for 20 minutes more, then gently stir through the tomatoes and broccoli and cook in the oven for 10 minutes more. About 10 minutes before eating, heat a small nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and fry the block of feta for 5 minutes until lightly golden with crisp patches on the outside. Don’t worry if it looks as if it might collapse in the process: carefully turn it using a spatula, scraping the crispy bits on top. Cook for 5 minutes more, until gooey on the inside and patched with gold. To serve, scatter over the parsley and gently mix in. Break up the feta with a fork and serve dotted over the pilaf.

Food: ever green

Chilli-spiked cavolo nero with freekeh & Asian dressing

SERVE 4

Dressing

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tbsp light or dark soy sauce

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tsp maple syrup

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

1 tsp finely grated ginger

Freekeh

100g freekeh

sea salt

400g cavolo nero stalks discarded

1 medium-hot red chilli deseeded and thinly sliced across

2 spring onions trimmed and thinly sliced

coarsely chopped coriander to serve

 

Method

1 Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.

2 Add the freekeh to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes or according to the packet instructions until just tender, then drain in a colander.

3 Meanwhile, thickly slice the cavolo nero leaves, add them to another pan of salted boiling water and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Drain in a sieve and press out the excess liquid using the back of a large spoon.

4 Carefully combine the freekeh and cavolo nero with a little dressing. Arrange on a platter or in individual bowls, spoon the remaining dressing over then scatter with the chilli, spring onion and coriander. Chilli-spiked cavolo nero with freekeh & Asian dressing WITH CRISPY SALMON This is good with pan-fried salmon alongside. Fry 4 x 125g skinless unseasoned salmon fillets in a large nonstick frying pan (skin-side down first) for 5 minutes until lightly crisped on the outside, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more until no longer translucent in the centre, or done to your liking. Serve with the cavolo mixture, reserving a little of the dressing for drizzling over. Both salmon and greens may be eaten warm or at room temperature.

With crispy salmon

This is good with pan-fried salmon alongside. Fry 4 x 125g skinless unseasoned salmon fillets in a large nonstick frying pan (skin-side down first) for 5 minutes until lightly crisped on the outside, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more until no longer translucent in the centre, or done to your liking. Serve with the cavolo mixture, reserving a little of the dressing for drizzling over. Both salmon and greens may be eaten warm or at room temperature.

 Food: ever green

Cauliflower soup with chard & halloumi

SERVES 6

 

Ingredients

25g unsalted butter

1 onion peeled halved and sliced

3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

about 700g small cauliflower florets (1 medium head)

1 litre water

large handful flat-leaf parsley

1 rounded tbsp crème fraîche

sea salt

freshly grated nutmeg

Chard & halloumi

200g swiss or rainbow chard (ideally young skinny stalks)

good olive oil

100g halloumi cut into 1cm dice

a squeeze of lemon juice

Method

1 Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and cauliflower, and stir to coat. Add 100ml of the water and fry for 8-10 minutes, without letting it colour and stirring occasionally, until it evaporates. Add the remaining water, bring to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes.

2 Purée the soup in a blender with the parsley and crème fraîche, a little salt and nutmeg until silky and flecked with green.

3 Trim the chard, slice the stalks 1cm thick and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the chard stalks and fry for a couple of minutes until beginning to colour, stirring frequently. Add half the leaves, and once these have wilted add the remainder and continue to fry for a couple of minutes until wilted and tender. Transfer this to a bowl, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan and fry the halloumi for several minutes until golden and toasted, stirring frequently. Squeeze over a little lemon juice.

4 Reheat the soup as necessary and serve with a spoonful of the chard in the centre of each bowl and some of the halloumi scattered over.

Food: ever green

Watercress & pistachio soup with ginger & miso butter

SERVES 6

Ingredients

1 tbsp good olive oil

50g unsalted butter softened

1 large onion peeled and chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped

fresh ginger

100g shelled pistachios

1 courgette trimmed halved and sliced

150ml white wine

750ml chicken stock

sea salt and black pepper

150g watercress coarsely chopped

20g miso

Method

1 Heat the olive oil with 10g of the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion, ginger and pistachios for 5-7 minutes until the onion is starting to colour, stirring frequently. Add the courgette and fry for a few minutes longer until it also starts to colour and the nuts are toasted. Add the wine and simmer until well reduced. Add the stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring in the watercress a minute before the end. Liquidise the soup in a blender in batches until as smooth as possible.

2 While the soup is cooking, work the remaining butter in a small bowl until soft and creamy, add the miso and fold through the butter to streak it.

3 Serve the hot soup with a teaspoon of the butter melting in the middle.

Recipes by Annie Bell

Photographs Chris Alack

Food Styling Clare Lewis

Styling Sue Radcliffe