Date Archives November 2019

Warm Broccoli & Pesto Salad


love cold crisp salads with warm roasted vegetables. The contrast is so comforting. Adding pesto to warm roasted vegetables is just an extra level up! Tossed with a handful of my favourite salad ‘accessories ‘ I’ve added toasted seeds and croutons here.

Because pesto is one of the main events, I highly encourage you to make it! If you have a processor its a 5 minute job so don’t be put off. 

Serves 2-4 (depending on hunger!)

  • 1 packet tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • 1 bag rocket
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc), toasted in a pan
  • 2-3 slices of stale breadcrumbs/a chunk of bread torn up
  • 2-3 tbsp homemade pesto 
  • 1 lemon


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large bunch basil 
  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • 1 handful of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Start by making the croutons. Break the bread into bitesize chunks and toss in a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. Add to a baking tray and roast for about 10-15 minutes in a hot (190) oven until crisp and golden. Set aside.
  2. Next make the pesto. Add all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor with some seasoning. You can also use a pestle and mortar here. Blend or pound the ingredients into a rough paste. Slowly add enough oil to loosen to your desired consistency, don’t be tempted to add too much. Set aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan to a medium high heat and toast the seeds (no oil, use a dry pan). When they start to pop, remove and set aside.
  4. Add a splash of oil to the pan now and add the broccoli and fry for 5-10 minutes until beginning to crisp and soften. Season.
  5. Roughly chop the outer leaves of the little gem lettuce and then simply ‘flake’ the inner leaves off the stem and add to a large serving bowl. Combine with the rocket.
  6. Mix the salad leaves with 2-3 tbsp of the pesto and mix thoroughly to combine. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and some seasoning.
  7. Add the broccoli and toss to combine. 
  8. Top with a scattering of seeds and the croutons. Serve!

This is a great side dish to many things, salmon, fish etc. Its also lovely with extra treats thrown in such as feta, crumbled goats cheese, avocado etc.

Mushroom & Cavolo Nero Lasagne


asagne is a warming comfort dish perfect for these soggy Autumn days. But with increasingly more vegetarian recipes out there to be experimented with I couldn’t resist the sound of this combination with a stringy cheese sauce and some soft sheets of pasta. The Italians might have something else too say about this but I think you can make ‘lasagne’ with anything as long as your have plenty of cheese, a white sauce and pasta. Throw in any meat ragu or roasted vegetable combination you like.

Serve 6-8

  • About 9 x sheets fresh lasagne pasta sheets (dried will work also)
  • About 300g cavolo nero, chopped (woody stalks removed)
  • 500g mixed mushrooms (I used a pack of chestnut and some chanterelles) sliced
  • Handful of dried mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • Few sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 750ml milk
  • 100g grated cheese (I used 50/50 cheddar and gruyere
  • Parmesan cheese for grating on top
  1. Start by making the white sauce. Heat 50g of butter in a saucepan and melt slowly. Next, add in the flour and mix throughly until you have a paste. Cook out this paste for a minute or so.
  2. Next, add a good splash of milk and use a whisk to mix throughly. It will start to thicken fast so whisk fast and constantly. Add more milk and repeat until you’ve added all the milk and the sauce is smooth. Season well with plenty of freshly cracked pepper. Simmer on a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes until the side thickens and its smooth. Taste and season if needed.
  3. Add all but a handful of the grated cheese, mix and remove from the heat. Add the chopped cavolo nero and stir. Put a lid on top and set aside. The heat should wilt the greens, ready for the lasagne.
  4. Soak the dried mushrooms in water (enough to cover) and leave for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add the remaining 10g of butter and a dash of sunflower/olive oil (Never cook with Extra virgin – it should not be heated). Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until they are beginning to brown and the water they release has been evaporated. Season well. Add the chanterelles, chopped garlic and sage for the final few minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180.
  7. Drain the soaked mushrooms, keeping the liquid, and chop roughly. Add to the pan of cooked mushrooms.
  8. Get yourself a rectangular lasagne dish, about 28x22cm approx.
  9. Spoon a small amount of white sauce on the bottom of the dish. Cover with 2-3 lasagne sheets, depending on your dish size. You don’t want any overlapping so cut them up to fit if needed.
  10. Spoon over 1/3 of the white sauce with the cavil nero followed by half of the mushroom mixture and spread evenly.
  11. Top with another layer of lasagne sheets and repeat the process adding 1/3 white sauce and the other half of the mushrooms. Top with the final layer of lasagne sheets (3 laters in total).
  12. You should be left with 1/3 of the white sauce. Spoon this over the top of the pasta, making sure to moisten all the sheets so they don’t dry out in cooking.
  13. Finally, scatter over the handful of cheese you reserved and grate a generous coating of parmesan over the whole thing. I don’t hold back with the parmesan. It creates a beautful golden crust and tastes amazing.
  14. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden on top and the white sauce is bubbling underneath.]

SERVE: with a crisp little gem, chicory and rocket salad coated in a smooth Dijon mustard dressing.