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Vegan pesto

I'm sure you all know, at the very least more or less, how to make pesto. This is just to remind you that pesto is always a good idea: for a quick pasta dinner, as an addition to a sharing platter, on what to do with herbs from your garden.

Traditional Ligurian pesto is made with basil, but I went for a blend of different herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and a bit of rosemary and mint. I skipped parmesan, but kept pine nuts from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with herbs and nuts - try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or walnuts.

Recipe: Vegan pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, roasted on a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soli morskiej
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste using pestle and mortar or a food processor.
  • Feel free to add more olive oil, depending on what kind of consistency you like.
  • If not using immediately, place the sauce in a jar, top with a layer of oil and refrigerate until needed..

Clams steamed with cider

A steamy pot of mussels or clams is a rather effective, yet extremely simple and easy dish. It takes so little time to prepare it that it almost seems unfair. Anyway, if you're looking for a spectacular main for a date, a family dinner or a larger party, go for shellfish. They're great with white wine, but beer and cider make delicious alternatives.

Recipe: Clams steamed with cider

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 kg of clams, cleaned
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • one tbsp. of butter
  • 300 ml of dry cider
  • 2 tbsp. of freshly chopped parsley
Method
  • Melt butter in a large pot.
  • Add garlic and shallots and cook until tender.
  • Add clams and wine, increase the heat and cover the pot.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, until shells has opened.
  • Top with fresh parsley. Serve with fresh baguette and a glass of chilled cider.

Roasted whole chicken with lemon and thyme

I'm pretty positive that whole roasted chicken is one of the best possible meals ever. It works great for more fancy occasions, as well as for an ordinary family dinner on an insignificant weekday night.

Roasted chicken is ranked rather high on my list of possible last meals. I suppose I would go for mussels in white wine in the end, especially if they came with a really crispy baguette. Luckily, I don't have to make this tough decision at the moment. One day I can devour some chicken, another day I can enjoy the mussels. Life really is beautiful when you eat the right things.

Recipe: Roasted whole chicken with lemon and thyme

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • whole chicken - around 2 kg
  • 6-7 tbsp. of melted butter

Recipe: Marinade

Ingredients
  • juice of 6-7 lemons
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • a bunch of fresh thyme
  • one tsp. of salt

Recipe: Vegetables

Ingredients
  • 300 g of carrots, cut into stripes
  • 300 g of potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 3 onions, cut into quarters
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Method
  • Whisk together all the ingredients of the marinade.
  • Combine marinade with chicken and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge (at least 30 minutes before roasting).
  • Fill the cavity with garlic, thyme and lemon slices from the marinade.
  • Truss the bird. Place in a buttered baking dish, breasts down.
  • Roast at 200C for 50 minutes.
  • Combine vegetables with oil, salt and pepper.
  • Remove chicken from the baking dish, place vegetables on the bottom and place the bird on top of the vegetables, this time breasts up.
  • Top with melted butter and roast for another 50 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the oven. Wait 10-15 minute before carving.

roasted purple carrots

Sounds unnatural?

A few centuries back, almost all the carrots were purple.

We owe orange carrots to Dutch growers, who developed them by crossing different varieties in the late 16th century.

Recipe: Roasted purple carrots

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 g of purple carrots, peeled
  • a few branches of fresh thyme
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. of coarse sea salt
Method
  • Mix olive oil with thyme leaves and salt. Coat carrots with the mixture.
  • Roast at 180C for about 20 minutes, until the carrots are soft.

roasted ratatouille

Ratatouille is a Provençal vegetable stew, originating in Nice. As it is often the case with traditional dishes, there is much debate on how to prepare ratatouille. The simplest method is sautéing all the vegetables together in a large pot. Some cooks insist on cooking the vegetables separately in order to enhance their individual flavours. Eggplants and courgettes are sautéed and tomatoes, bell peppers and onion are made into a sauce. Vegetables and sauce are then cooked together or baked as a casserole.

My recipe resembles confit byaldi - a contemporary version of ratatouille, invented by French chef, Michela Guérarda. Guérard is the creator of cuisine minceur, a cooking style which creates lighter version of French classics. In his confit byaldi vegetables are cut into thin slices and baked without frying. The dish was popluarized owing to an American chef, Thomas Keller, famous for his Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry in California. Keller was a consultant for the animated Ratatouille and it is his version of the dish that we can see in the film. Keller's variation of Guérard's dish added two sauces Basque piperade made with tomatoes, green bell pepper and onion and balsamic vinaigrette.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare it, ratatouille is going to be delicious.

Recipe: Roasted ratatouille

Ingredients
  • one eggplant
  • one courgette
  • one yellow bell onion
  • one red onion
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • one can of chopped tomatoes
  • a few branches of fresh thyme
  • one tsp. of brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  • Thinly slice all the vegetables.
  • Spread tomatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Season with sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Arrange vegetable slices concentrically on top of tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, top with fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 180C for about 45 minutes.
  • Serve as a side or as a main with fresh baguette. Możecie podawać jako dodatek do dania głównego albo jako samodzielne danie, np. ze świeżą bagietką.
  • The taste improves with age overnight in the refrigerator.
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