Tuesday 30 May 2023

Parsley Sauce

May 2023

From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Delicious on fish, vegetables, salad greens etc

Makes about 1 cup

"Green and fresh, this sauce provides a bright flourish to root soups and stews, or why not a plate of spaghetti or a bowl of polenta? It's also useful to have on hand to spoon over cooked beets, carrots, celery root, and so many other vegetables, especially winter ones. Be prepared to chop the parsley by hand. A food processor shreds it and it's not pretty. A fine mince of green fluff is what patience and a sharp knife will get you."

1 or more cloves garlic

Sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns 

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

3/4 cup finely chopped parsley 

3/4 cup olive oil 

1 large shallot or 4 green onions, the white parts plus a little of the greens, thinly sliced

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Fresh lemon juice or champagne vinegar, to finish

Pound the garlic in a mortar with 1/4 teaspoon salt, the peppercorns, the fennel seeds, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley to make a smooth paste. If the mixture seems too dry to handle well, add a little of the olive oil. Stir in the rest of the parsley, the shallot, the lemon zest, and the oil to make a thick, green sauce. Taste for salt, then sharpen with a little vinegar or lemon juice. Best when used with a couple of days.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Imam Bayildi

 Cooked by Sally Ives for the Culinary Wanderers Turkish Lunch. May 2023

2 large eggplant


150ml olive oil

1 brown onion

4 large garlic cloves

4 large tomatoes

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbl tomato puree

handful fresh parsley and/or mint

pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees

Make this Imam bayildi recipe start by preparing the eggplants. Halve the eggplant and score the flesh on a cross hatch, trying not to tear the skin with the tip of your knife. Rub a generous amount of salt into the flesh, and set aside.

Measure out the olive oil in a measuring cup or jug and keep it by the stove. Add a generous splash to a large, non-stick frying pan set over a high heat. Fry the eggplant, working in batches and adding a little more oil if necessary until their exposed flesh is golden. As you remove them from a pan, nestle them cut side up in a baking dish just large enough to fit them snugly.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, thinly sliced into half moons along with another splash of oil and another pinch of salt. Fry for 5-6 minutes or so until they're soft and just starting to colour.

Finely slice the garlic cloves before adding them to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes until soft and aromatic.

Roughly dice the tomatoes and add them to the pan, cooking for a further 5 minutes until they start to break down into a rough sauce. Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, tomato puree and the fresh herbs, finely chopped. Season generously to taste with more salt and a little black pepper.

Remove from the heat and stir in 4 Tbls water before spooning the mixture over the exposed cut sides of the eggplant. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dish before covering and baking for 1.5 hours or until the eggplants are soft and have collapsed.

Leave to stand. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Baked Layered Rice with Spinach and Lamb, Tahcheen-e esfionaj

from 'Saraban: a chef's journey through Persia'

Culinary Wanderers Turkish Lunch, May 2023

"Tahcheen" means "spread over the bottom and the whole point of this dish is to end up with a lot of lovely golden crunch under the rice. Tahcheen is a brilliant dish for entertaining, as once the preparation is done it just bakes away by itself for a couple of hours.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped


1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

400 g lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2cm cubes

200g natural yoghurt

2 egg yolks 

80 ml Saffron Liquid (see below)

250 g spinach leaves, roughly chopped

400g basmati rice

12 prunes, pitted and roughly chopped

60g butter, plus extra for greasing

thick natural yoghurt and pickles to serve


Heat half the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add one of the onions to the pan with the garlic, I teaspoon salt, pepper and spices and fry gently for 4 minutes. Add the meat and enough water to just cover then bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Saffron liquid: lightly toast about 40 threads of saffron in a dry pan over medium heat for about 30 seconds. They will have a wonderful scent and change to a darker red. Do not burn! Tip into a mortar and grind to a powder. Add 4 Tbls (80 mls) boiling water and allow to steep for at least an hour. 

Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks and saffron liquid in a shallow dish.

Drain the cooled meat well and add it to the yoghurt mixture Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the remaining onion and fry gently until soft and lightly coloured.  Add the spinach and turn it about in the pan until wilted. Cook over a medium heat to evaporate any excess liquid, then set aside. When cool, squeeze the spinach to remove any residual liquid.

Wash soak and parboil the rice as described on page 53. Preheat the oven to 190°C and butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. 

Remove the lamb from the yoghurt marinade Mix half the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon it into the base and up the sides of the ovenproof dish Arrange the lamb on top of the rice, then cover with the spinach. Dot the prunes over the spinach then spoon in the remaining rice to cover and smooth the surface Cover tightly with a sheet of lightly buttered paper and a lid. Bake for 1.5 hours

Remove the dish from the oven and dot the surface of the rice with bits of butter. Replace the lid and leave to rest for 10 minutes. 

Turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter and serve with a bowl of creamy yoghurt and a selection of relishes or pickles.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Poor Man's Saffron and Carrot Dip


One of the two mezze sides I made for our Turkish lunch, I love the simplicity of this dish and pairing with caraway seeds. Went great with the marvellous rice dishes !

From Anatolia cooking book :)

Green Olive & Walnut Salad

 One of the salads I made for our inaugural Culinary Wanderer lunch, see recipe from Anatolia book below :)

Baklava & the Filo Dough for it


Saturday 21 January 2023

Carrot and Sultana Cake

Crop Swap January 2023
Dairy free. 
I doubled for the baking dish. 
I used rapadura sugar. 
Done in 25 mins.