On a lazy Sunday morning (the rarest of things recently) one of my favourite things to do is to head over to Beauly and have breakfast or lunch in the lovely Corner on the Square.
A cafe and deli, Corner on the Square is bright and cheerful and chocablock full of nice things to eat right there or take home. I love the Goats cheese on toast and the cooked breakfasts especially but the specials are always rather, umm, special too.
David and I disagree about this salad. Both of us love the crunch and the sweetness of the vegetables and both of us think the colour is fantastic. We do not, however, agree on the dressing. He prefers a zingy gingery flavour; I like a kick of mustard.
See what you think.
Shredded Beetroot and Carrot Salad
(serves 4 as a side)
3 medium beetroot, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled
- Simply use a mandoline to shred the vegetables finely. (Unless you have incredible knife skills, a mandoline is what is required here. Grating makes the whole dish a bit wet.)
- Toss with one of the following dressings (you may not want to use all the dressing) and sprinkle with the matching herb.
Dressing 1 – Mix together the juice of one lime, a teaspoon of grated ginger and 25ml groundnut oil. Top salad with coriander.
Dressing 2 – Mix together 1/2 tspn Dijon mustard, 1 tblspn white wine vinegar and 4 tblspn olive oil. Top with parsley.
A lovely loaf cake that keeps fresh for days. Nice sliced and spread with butter; even better toasted and topped with ricotta.
Apple, Date and Walnut Loaf (Adapted from Bill Granger’s Everyday)
50g rolled oats
1 tspn cinnamon
250g self raising flour
100g dates, chopped
75g dried apple, chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tspn mixed seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180oC.
- Add the cinnamon to the milk and stir. Soak the oats in the milk for 20 mins to soften.
- Sift the baking powder and flour into a bowl then add the dried fruit and nuts. Stir to combine then add the sugar, egg and milk soaked oats. Stir until combined.
- Pour mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Sprinkle over the seeds the bake for 45.
I love Nigel Slater. That is all.
Rosemary, Aubergine & Cannellini Bake (adapted from The Kitchen Diaries II)
Serves 2 as a main or 3/4 as a side dish.
200g dried cannellini beans, soaked for at least 12 hours
2 Bay leaves
1 large aubergine, cut into 2cm chunks
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn chopped fresh rosemary
400g tin of cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
1 thick slice of bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs
Handful of grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of ½ lemon
- Heat oven to 200oC. I like to salt the aubergine at this point. Just sprinkle with salt and leave in a colander for 30 mins. Use a clean tea towel to squeeze out the moisture from the chunks before step 3.
- Add beans to a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Drain the beans, rinse then cover with water once again and adtd the bay leaves. Bring to the boil then simmer for 40 mins or until beans are just tender.
- Meanwhile, toss the aubergine in a little olive oil and roast for 20-30 mins until golden brown. Keep an eye on them in the oven and move them around every now and again.
- At the same time, fry the onion gently in a little olive oil in a heavy based, oven/stove friendly pot until golden brown. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for another few minutes.
- Add the beans, aubergine, tomatoes and 200ml water to the onions and stir well. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and parmesan lightly and season with pepper. Sprinkle evenly over bean mixture.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180oC. Bake bean dish for 45 mins until crust is golden and the beans are bubbling.
Marco’s happy either way and so am I! Off for a run in the snow. Man, I love holidays.
As much as I enjoyed my weekend of scone hunting, cooked breakfasts, seven course meals (really) and other food based indulgences, it is good to come home to my own kitchen and some lighter meals. One of our favourite meals at the moment is the below Sabzi Bhaji, a mixed vegetable curry which is extremely tasty, very filling and very good for you too. I tend to cook a big pot each month and freeze double portions for weeknight meals. This week, however, we’ve been enjoying it so much we’re gradually working our way through the pot I made on Wednesday afternoon and neither of us are even nearly fed up of it. Luckily, it’s not a very calorific dish so it’s helping us atone for all the black pudding that was consumed last weekend.
(makes 6 portions)
2 tblspn oil, ghee or groundnut or vegetable
3 onions, chopped
2 inches of ginger root, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 large potato or two small, peeled and chopped into 1.5 cm dice
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1.5 cm dice
1 cup of frozen peas
1/4 head of white cabbage, sliced and cut into 3cm strips
100g green beans, cut into 2cm bits
400g tin of chickpeas
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tblspn garam masala
Optional – Coriander and yoghurt to serve
- Whizz two of the onions, the garlic and ginger in a blender until they form a rough paste.
- Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the paste and fry for 10 mins to soften the onions, stirring often.
- Add the spices to the pan and stir well. Cook for another 5 minutes adding a splash of water if the mixture starts to stick.
- Add all of the vegetables including the chickpeas and tomatoes to the pan. Fill the tomato tin with water and pour it in too. The liquid should be just below the top of the vegetables. Stir well to combine.
- Bring to a boil then quickly reduce the heat. Simmer for 45 mins – 1 hour until all the veg is tender then stir in the garam masala.
- Serve topped with yoghurt and coriander alongside some flat breads or basmati rice.
After a very tough, ridiculously busy few months at work, the Easter holidays have finally arrived. To say I’m happy would be the understatement of the year. It so good to have room in my head once again to take in the world. And to think about blogging too. I’ve been away from this space so long, it feels a little odd to be writing a post once again. Shall sort that out in the coming weeks by posting often.
Spent the first four days of the holiday on the west coast with friends. As if celebrating with us, the skies, which had been heavy and slate grey for weeks and weeks, broke out in brilliant blue for the whole weekend. A perfect backdrop to the fantastic time we had indulging in lots of good food and wine and then walking it all off on the hills and shores of Skye and Lochalsh.
Back home now and, really, I feel brand new.
I will be back. Hopefully sooner rather than later…
Leakey’s is an enormous second hand bookshop and cafe in Inverness. Chock-a-block full of really old, kinda old and not-at-all old books and prints and maps and photographs, it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing and reading and buying in between big bowls of soup, coffees and lovely traybake cakes.
If you’re coming to Inverness, I reckon Leakey’s should be at the top of your “To See” list.