Seasonal local food recipe No.352 – Cauliflower and lentil curry


We had this tasty curry recently, the lentils and coconut milk give a nice creamy sauce. Use the green coriander in Camel CSA’s veg boxes this week.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
25g fresh root ginger, grated
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
75g red split lentils
150ml vegetable stock
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
400 ml can coconut milk
75g green beans
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic, ginger,ground coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Stir in the lentils, then pour in the stock.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and gently simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.  Add to the lentil mixture with the carrots and coconut milk.  Bring the curry back to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Stir in the beans and cook until all the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the chopped coriander and lemon juice, then season to taste.  Serve with rice, warm naan or chapatis.

Seasonal local food recipe No. 311- Squash and lentil soup with coriander and smoked paprika

Bridget Gould, one of our professional growers, has recommended this recipe from Felicity Cloake in The Guardian.  Looks like Sunday lunch is sorted in our household!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

800g peeled and seeded pumpkin or squash
2 carrots, about 200g, peeled
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
400g tin of plum tomatoes
100g red lentils
small bunch of coriander

Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.  Cut the squash and carrots into chunks about 4 cm square and toss with a little oil.  Spread out on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes until tender and very slightly charred.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft, golden and beginning to caramelise.  Stir in half a teaspoon of paprika and cook for another minute or so, then tip in the tomatoes and mash up.  Stir in the lentils and about a litre of water and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and take off the heat.  Whisk together the remaining teaspoon of paprika with the remaining tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt.  Puree the soup and season to taste, adding a little more water if you prefer it thinner.  Roughly chop the coriander.  Divide between bowls and drizzle over the paprika oil.  Top with coriander and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.300 – Nigel’s dhal and pumpkin soup

This recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. He boils his pumpkin flesh for 10 minutes but I am going to try roasting it instead which means I don’t have to peel it first.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
A walnut-sized knob of ginger, peeled and cut into thin shreds
225 g split red lentils
1 1/2 litres water
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground chilli
250 g pumpkin flesh, roasted or boiled
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

For the onion topping:
2 onions, peeled and cut into thin rings
2 Tbsp groundnut oil
2 small, hot chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, lentils and water into a large, heavy-based saucepan, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to an enthusiastic simmer.  Stir in the ground turmeric and chilli, season and leave to simmer, covered, for twenty minutes.

To make the onion topping, cook the sliced onions in the oil in a shallow pan until they start to colour.  Add the garlic and chilli and continue cooking until the onions are a deep golden colour.  Set aside.

Once the lentils have been cooking for 20 minutes, uncover and turn up the heat, boiling hard for five minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked pumpkin flesh.  Blend the soup until smooth, reheat then add the coriander.  Serve in bowls with a spoonful of the spiced onions on top.

Nigel Slater’s spiced swede or turnips with spinach


An extremely versatile vegetarian dish that uses up the last of the winter season’s swede in this week’s veg boxes. You can use turnips or swede or a mixture of both. The same goes for spinach and chard.

As Nigel says: “This gently fragrant dish works well with potatoes and parsnips, too. You could use another leaf, perhaps chard or kale.” It comes from his Mid-week dinner feature in The Guardian.

Serves: 6
Preparation/cooking time: 20 minutes


1kg mixed turnips and/or swede
1 onion, finely chopped
knob of butter
1 tsp oil
1 tsp each of cumin seeds, ground turmeric and garam masala
200g spinach or chard
yogurt and coriander leaves, to serve

Peel turnips and swede and cut them into large pieces. Cook the turnip and swede either in boiling, lightly salted water, or in a steamer, until tender.

In a shallow pan, fry a peeled and roughly chopped onion in a little butter and oil until soft and golden, then add the cumin seeds, ground turmeric and garam masala. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes at a moderate heat until all is fragrant.

Wash and remove any tough stalks from 200g of spinach or chard. Place a nonstick, shallow pan over a moderate heat, add the wet spinach and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let the spinach cook in its own steam for about three minutes, until wilted, then drain and gently press the water from it.

Add the drained turnips and swedes to the onions and continue cooking until they are lightly golden and have soaked up some of the flavour for the spices. Season with a little salt. Fold the spinach into the spiced turnips and swede and serve, if you wish, with a trickle of yogurt and a few coriander leaves. Serves 4.

Nigel’s trick: “Steam your spinach rather than boiling it. The best way I have found is to wash the leaves and, while they are still very wet, put them in a shallow pan to which you have a tight-fitting lid. Place over a moderately high heat, cover and let the spinach cook for a minute or two in its own steam. Lift the lid, turn the leaves with a pair of tongs or a draining spoon, then cook them for a minute more. I find this gives a better result than boiling.”

Seasonal local food recipe No.254 – Hugh’s cauliflower pakoras with tamarind raita


My husband made these delicious morsels for tea last night, he used pomegranate molasses instead of tamarind paste in the raita and it was delicious. They’re from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Every Day.

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

1 medium cauliflower (about 800g), trimmed
sunflower oil, for frying
For the batter:
150g gram (chickpea) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsps ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
a good shake of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

For the tamarind raita
6 heaped tbs plain yoghurt
A large handful coriander, chopped
2 tsps tamarind paste or mango chutney
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the raita, mix all the ingredients together, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no more that 2 cm across in any direction, discarding nearly all the stalk.
For the batter, put the gram flour, baking powder, ground spices and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk to combine and get rid of any lumps.  Slowly whisk in 175 ml cold water, which should give you a smooth batter with a similar consistency to double cream.  Add a little more water if necessary – different brands of gram flour will vary in how much they absorb.

Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and turn them, making sure they are all thoroughly coated.  Heat about 1 cm of oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat.  When the oil is hot enough to turn a cube of white bread light golden in 30-40 seconds, start cooking the pakoras, a few at a time so you don’t crowd the pan.

Place spoonfuls of battered cauliflower – just a few florets per spoonful – into the hot oil.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until crisp and golden brown on the base, then turn over and cook for another minute or two.  drain the pakoras on kitchen paper, then serve piping hot with the raita for dipping.

Seasonal local food recipe No.252 – Jamie’s creamy butternut squash

This dish can be served as a main dish or as a side with roast meat.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1 medium butternut squash, peeled
1 heaped tsp coriander seeds, smashed
1-2 dried red chillies, crumbled
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
250 ml single cream
1/2 a nutmeg, grated
a wineglass of Chardonnay
2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, remove the seeds, then cut into 1 inch slices and toss in a bowl with the smashed coriander seeds, chilli, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and a good glug of olive oil to coat everything.  Mix around then place the squash slices tightly in a roasting tray or earthenware dish, standing up on their sides.  Take a piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the roasting tray, dampen it under the tap and scrunch it up then drape it over the squash, tucking in at the sides.  Place the tray in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the squash starts to soften.  While the squash is cooking mix together the grated nutmeg, cream, wine, half the parmesan, salt and pepper.  Take the butternut squash out of the oven, remove the greaseproof paper, pour over the creamy sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan.  Place with the squash back in the oven for another 10 minutes until golden, bubbling and delicious.

Seasonal local food recipe No.247 – Neela’s aubergine and potato Ⓥ

This recipe is taken from Madhur Jaffrey‘s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking.  It is a tasty side dish for a curry.

Serves 2-4

Preparation and cooking time: 20-30 minutes

4 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
140g peeled, diced potatoes (1.5 cm cubes)
115g diced aubergine (1.5 cm cubes)
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs fresh green coriander (optional)

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  When hot, put in the mustard seeds.  As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop put in the potatoes and aubergine.  Stir once then put in the rest ot the ingredients, apart from the fresh coriander, stir and fry for one minute.  Add 3 tbs water, cover and turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 – 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring every now and then.  If the vegetables seem to catch at the bottom of the pan, add another tablespoon of water.  Serve garnished with the fresh coriander, finely chopped.

Seasonal local food recipe No.197 – Masala omelette

Enjoy this delicious, spicy Indian omelette at the start or the end of the day. This version (there are many) comes from the Edible Garden. Kerala-born food blogger Nags (Nagalakshmi V ) says: “Needless to say, the omelette has many forms in India and every household makes it differently. Even I have a few variations… depending on what I have in the pantry and vegetable tray.”

As I didn’t have any sweet pepper to hand, I used some freshly-cooked French beans along with the tomatoes and coriander in Camel CSA’ s veg boxes this week.

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

4 eggs
3 tbsp of shallots or minced onions
3 tbsp of finely chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp of finely chopped capsicum (bell pepper)
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (see notes)
3 tbsp of finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp of curry powder or garam masala
1/2 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)
2 tsp of oil

Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add all other ingredients (except oil) and beat again.

Heat the oil in a small pan and swirl around so it coats it completely. Pour half the egg mixture in the pan and cook until the edges curl over and the centre bubbles up. Gently flip the omelette over and cook for another minute (the centre may be jiggly but the edges would have cooked). The omelette will rise a bit and then fall, making it fluffy and soft.

Add more pepper powder on top if you prefer. Serve hot with toast / ketchup or eat on its own.

Seasonal local food recipe No. 131: Carrot, cannellini bean and coriander soup

We’ve still got loads of organically-grown carrots to dig up on our community vegetable patch.

But this is positively the last soup recipe for a while (promise). It’s from the vegetarian cookery queen Rose Elliot.

This one’s a real winter warmer – filling as well as very satisfying. Rose says: “The beans help thicken the soup, so making it creamy and extra nourishing.”

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
500g carrots, sliced
425g can cannellini beans, drained
1.3 litres water or vegetable stock
4 tbsp chopped coriander
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic, covered, for five minutes. Add the carrots, beans and water or stock. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Purée in a food processor or blender. Add the coriander and lemon juice and season to taste.

Try some more delicious carrot soup recipes from Camel CSA
Potage Crecy
Carrot and ginger soup
Carrot and parsnip soup

Seasonal local food recipe No.127: Spiced squash (or pumpkin) soup

This warming, spicy soup is a great antidote to rich, Christmas food. It’s an adaptation of a couple of classic recipes, using the squash or pumpkin as well as chillies, carrots, onions, garlic and parsley from this week’s Christmas vegetable boxes.

Serves: 4

Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins

750g squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 fresh red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1.25 litres vegetable or chicken stock
Lemon juice
Flat-leaf parsley or chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 180°c/gas 4.

Peel the squash or pumpkin, remove the stringy bits and seeds and discard them. Chop it into cubes and put in a roasting tray mixed with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the garlic and the spices. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft and brown at the edges.

Place a pan on a medium heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the carrot, onion, celery and chilli and sweat until softened but not coloured. Then mix in the roasted squash or pumpkin and the stock.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and cooked through.

Blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, then sprinkle with some chopped parsley or chives.

Serve with a swirl of creme fraiche and a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds or crispy bacon pieces.

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