The earthy, nutty and slightly smoky flavour of buckwheat’s amazing tiny pyramid shapes, makes a robust addition to dishes.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes | COOKING TIME: 30 minutes | SERVES: 6
1 medium cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt flakes
¾ cup (135 g/4¾ oz) raw buckwheat groats, rinsed
²⁄³ cup (90 g/3¼ oz) medium pitted black olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 handful parsley, chopped
¹⁄³ cup (80 ml/2½ fl oz) olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (fan 170°C/325°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Rinse the cauliflower and cut through the thick core into quarters. Cut each quarter into thick slices and put into a bowl. If you prefer, cut them into large florets. Pour over the oil, sprinkle with a little salt and toss. Arrange the cauliflower on the tray and roast for 20–25 minutes, or until crispy and slightly charred.
Set aside to cool.
While the cauliflower is roasting, bring a pot of water to the boil, tip in the buckwheat and simmer for 8–10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, rinse and leave to cool to room
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste, to make a chunky thick dressing. Watch the amount of salt you use, as both the capers and olives will provide a briny tang.
Put the cauliflower, buckwheat, olives, capers, pine nuts and currants in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and lightly tumble together. Serve at room temperature.
Add a touch of spring to the day with braised lamb shanks in a soupy, risotto-like combo of barley, garden peas and refreshing fresh mint. Lamb and pearl barley are a natural pairing. This is a one-pot meal that you can prepare quickly and then leave to gently cook. Pearl barley is a gentle way to bolster the sustenance of a slow-cooked meat dish and is an excellent alternative to potatoes, rice or pasta.
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes | COOKING TIME: 2 hours | SERVES: 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large lamb shanks
1 brown onion, chopped
about 4 cups (1 litre/35 fl oz) chicken stock
1½ cups (300 g/10½ oz) pearl barley
1½ cups (235 g/8½ oz) garden peas
1 handful mint leaves
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (fan 160°C/315°F).
Place a large casserole dish on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and, when hot, add the shanks and brown all over, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Push the shanks to the side of the dish slightly and reduce the heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, or until golden. Pour in the stock, bring to a lively simmer, cover and place in the oven for about 1½ hours, or until the shanks are tender.
Rinse the barley, drain and add it to the casserole dish, making sure it is covered in liquid. If not, add a little more stock. Cover and cook for about 25–30 minutes, or until the barley is al dente, adding the peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Roughly chop half of the mint and stir it in with the orange zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Using forks, pull the meat from the bone and serve with the barley and pea mixture, garnished with the remaining mint leaves.
Sometimes a traditional pastry crust just doesn’t do justice to a spectacular filling. This is one of those times. This no-need-to-cook food processor pastry is chock full of flavour, and is refrigerated so it can be prepared the day before. So too can the ‘creamy’ cheese filling. Each pear variety has its own personality in texture and flavour. Choose a mild and sweet variety with subtle, fragrant citrus notes – bartlett pear comes to mind.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes | COOKING TIME: 15 minutes | SERVES: 8
1 cup (65 g/2¼ oz) shredded coconut
100 g (3½ oz) hazelnuts or almonds
12 pitted soft dates, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, plus
2 cm (¾ in) piece ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium pears
½ cup (110 g/3¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 whole star anise
1 small lime, thinly sliced
2 cups (500 ml/17 fl oz) soda water (club soda)
¾ cup (200 g/7 oz) ricotta
½ cup (100 g/3½ oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
½ cup (130 g/4½ oz) natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons warmed honey
Line a 23 cm (9 in) flan (tart) pan with baking paper with overhanging sides to make it easy to lift the flan out. Put the coconut in a food processor and blitz until fine.
Add the hazelnuts, dates, finely grated ginger and cinnamon and pulse to a fine-crumb texture. Don’t worry if it is a bit more coarse than fine. Tip the mixture into a bowl and, using your hands, clump it together and press it evenly into the base and sides of the prepared tin. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.
Peel the pears, cut into thick wedges and remove the core (leave the stalk on for decoration if you like). Put the sugar, peeled ginger, star anise, lime and soda water in a large pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then reduce the heat to low and drop in the pears. Cover the pan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the liquor. Lift the pears out with a slotted spoon and drain well.
Whisk together the ricotta, cream cheese, yoghurt, lime zest and 1½ tablespoons of the honey until smooth and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the flan and arrange the pears on top. Brush the pears with the remaining honey.