Roasted Carrot and Hummus Dip

A copy of Discover Organic dropped onto my doorstep this week.

This new cookbook is part of the Why I Love Organic Campaign. It features tips and recipes from celebrities and home cooks. Kate Humble, Raymond Blanc, Lorraine Pascale and Jody Scheckter are among the celebrities that feature.

The book sets out to show us just how easy it is to eat great tasting and natural food without all the nasties. It is divided into seasons and has a great seasonal fruit and vegetable chart, which is very useful for keeping an eye on what is coming into season.

I didn't think I was going to have time to try anything just yet, as I am about to head off to sunnier climes, but I have to make a lunch up for Cooper to take to his childminder's tomorrow, so I decided to try out the roast carrot hummus.

You can check out Cooper's filled lunchbox over at Little Tums and see some cute photos of him decorating his lunchbox. Innocent sent Cooper a shiny, red lunchbox to decorate as part of their 'Design a Lunchbox Challenge'. He had a wonderful time sticking on stickers.

 Related - Easy Hummus Recipe 

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Roasted Carrot and Hummus Dip
A lovely carrot hummus. Such a gorgeous colour and very easy to eat and eat and eat......
  • 350g organic carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas Mark 72. Place the carrots in a small roasting tin, add the garlic, cumin and 1 tbsp of the olive oil and toss to mix.3. Place the garlic under the carrots and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are tender and lightly charred.4. Add the chickpeas to the roasting tin ans stir well to coat them with the cooking juices.5. Remove and discard the skins from the garlic.6. Transfer the ingredients to a food processor, add the remaining oil and lemon juice, then use the pulse setting to blend to a creamy puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Serve: with vegetable crudites and oatcakes.
Total time: Yield: Serves 4-6

Cooper hasn't tried the hummus yet. All will be revealed tomorrow. Graham really enjoyed it and pronounced it so much better than standard hummus and me, well I just love hummus in all it's forms.

Disclosure Statement: I received this book free from the publisher to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Sweet Potato, Spinach & Chickpea Bake

This scrumptious comfort bake is from The Frugal Cook by Fiona Beckett.

Way back in 2008 Fiona got in touch with me asking if I would like to review her new book The Frugal Cook. It sounded great and I was happy to oblige. It never did turn up and I forgot all about it.

Roll on three years and I am browsing through the shelves of my local library and I come across it. After a flick through I decided it was well worth a read. I still hadn't clicked at this point. It wasn't until I was doing an email search for the email conversation I had with Fiona that I discovered the email from 2008.

The Frugal Cook was relevant in 2008, but I would say it is a must-have book now we are moving to the end of 2011 and suffering from the current financial pickle. We all need to tighten our belts and think more carefully when shopping, including food shopping.

This isn't a vegetarian cookbook, but it does have enough recipes and ideas to be worth buying. Fiona gives us a thrifty tip with each recipe and advice on how to have a thrifty store cupboard and fridge along with ideas for leftovers as well as information on how to be energy efficient.

I loved this recipe as soon as I saw it and it has proved to be as good as it looks. I have made this several times now and we all love it. I have served it with rice, with couscous and with potato wedges and sour cream.

One night when my friend was coming to dinner I made it and spooned it over potato wedges, topped it with cheese sauce and grated cheddar and popped it back into the oven to brown. Mmmmmmmm, that was so good! Just perfect for a dull, dreich evening, served with salad and garlic bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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Sweet Potato, Spinach & Chickpea Bake
A comforting bake made with roasted vegetables, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes and spices. A real crowd-pleaser.
  • 3 medium onions
  • 6 tbsp light olive oil
  • 450g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 red peppers, quartered, de-seeded and cut into thick strips
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 - 3 tsp Morocan Spice Mix (recipe to follow)
  • 400g can whole or chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml (9fl oz) stock made up with 1 tsp Marigold Vegetable Bouillon Powder
  • 300 - 400g cooked chickpeas or a 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • a good handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 small carton of sour cream
  • salt, pepper & sugar to taste
1. Peel two of the onions and cut each into 8 wedges. 2. Pour 4 tbsp of the oil into a large roasting tin. Add the onions, cubed sweet potatoes and peppers and mix well with the oil.3. Turn the oven to 200c/400f/Gas 6, put the tin in the oven and roast the vegetables for about 35 minutes, turning them half way through.4. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the other onion.5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and spice mix and stir well. Add the tinned tomatoes and their juice, breaking them up if necessary with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes.6. Stir in the stock then check the seasoning adding salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Stir in the chickpeas.7. When the vegetables in the oven have been cooking for 35 minutes, pour over the spice tomatoes and chickpeas and mix well.8. Turn the oven temperature down to 190c/375f/Gas 5 and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are well cooked, turning them half way through.9. Just before the end of the cooking time wash the spinach, remove any tough stalks, slice the leaves finely and stir them into the bake. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.10. Serve with sour cream or a mild onion raita.
DetailsTotal time: Yield: Serves 4-6

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Moroccan Spice Mix
A tasty blend of spices to bring that Moroccan touch to your dishes.
  • 10g ground cumin
  • 10g dried coriander
  • 5g turmeric
  • 2g chilli powder or hot paprika
Add all the ingredients to a tub or jar. Fix the lid on and shake to mix. It is as easy as that. Keep this mix in your store cupboard ready to be used.
Total time: Yield: 1 small tub

Thanks to to Fiona for giving me permission to post the recipe and of course for coming up with such a scrummy dish.

Fiona blogs over at The Frugal Cook, The Cheeselover, Wine Naturally and Food & Wine Finds. She is one busy lady, as well as writing 4 blogs, she has also authored and co-authored 23 cookbooks and is currently wine columnist for The Guardian and Guardian Green, contributing editor to the wine magazine Decanter and wine writer for Fork magazine. Well the list goes on, but you get the idea.

Disclosure Statement: I did not receive this book free from the publisher to review. I borrowed this book from the library and decided to review it. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tagliatelle al pesto e yogurt

This is another fabulous recipe from my favourite pasta cookbook, Gino's Pasta by Gino D'Campo.

I have been kindly given permission to publish three recipes from this must-have book and this recipe has become my quick go-to recipe for evenings when I don't have much time, but want something really tasty. It has been enjoyed by everyone I have served it to and I hope you will enjoy it too.

This sauce is particularly special when made with homemade pesto, but I often make it with a jar of emergency store cupboard pesto and it is still full of flavour and such a delight.

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Tagilatelle al pesto e yogurt

This is a really special pasta dish that can be made in a flash on busy evenings and is packed with flavour. The recipes includes homemade pesto, but you can use jarred pesto. Just skip the first four ingredients.
  • 60g fresh basil, leaves only
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 130ml extra virgin olive oil (I prefer a milder olive oil)
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 100g greek yogurt
  • 400g tagliatelle
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Place the basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Drizzle in the oil and blitz until smooth.2. Transfer the basil mixture into a large bowl and fold in the lemon zest and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.3. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and tip into the bowl with the yogurt pesto. Toss everything together for 30 seconds to allow the pesto to coat the pasta evenly.4. Serve immediately.5. Enjoy!
Total time: (If using jarred sauce. Add 5-10 minutes if you are making your own pesto.)

Yield: serves 4

a bowl of tomato and roasted red pepper pasta sauce

If you like this recipe you may like my tomato and roasted red pepper pasta sauce.

Gwyneth's Broccoli & Cheese Soup

I was really pleased to receive a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow's Notes From My Kitchen Table and surprised about how much I enjoyed reading it.

It is one of those real comforting cookbook reads you can take to bed. Real home cooking with a lovely introduction where Gwyneth talks about her family and how her love of food grew. From there on in it is photo after gorgeous photo. Guaranteed to make your mouth water and your tummy rumble. Each dish has a lovely personal intro, which I though was a nice touch. Although there are fish, chicken and meat recipes in the cookbook, there are plenty of veggie and vegan dishes to enjoy.

Here are a few of the recipes that caught my attention:

White Bean Soup topped with melted parmesan toasts
Portobello & Slow-Roasted Tomato Burgers
Fried Courgette Spaghetti
Sweet Potato Ravioli
Artichoke & Pine Nut Pesto
Vegetable Paella
Spiced Apple Crumb Muffins
Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
Margarita Granita

However, the day I decided to make a dish was dull and dreich, so I decided comfort food was the order of the day. I settled on the Broccoli & Cheese Soup, thinking that wee Cooper would enjoy it too. Because I was making it with him in mind, I made the soup with cheddar and then just added a crumble of stilton to my bowl. Graham hates blue cheese with a vengeance, so he stuck to the cheddar too. We really enjoyed the soup and I will be adding it to my repertoire.

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Gwyneth's Broccoli & Cheese Soup
A really comforting bowl of green, green soup finished off with cheddar or if you are more adventurous, crumbly and punchy stilton. Mmmmmmmm!
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 large stalks broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 40g rocket (or watercress)
  • 30 - 60g crumbled strong assertive Stilton for the adults or grated cheddar for the kids
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for just a minute, or until fragrant. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes, or until bright green. Add the stock, salt & pepper, bring to the boil, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the broccoli is just tender. Pour the soup into a blender and puree with the rocket until quite smooth. Be very careful when blending hot liquids. Start slowly and work in batches is necessary. Pour the soup back into the pan, stir in 30g of the cheese, taste and add more if you'd like. Serve with black pepper and a drizzle of your best olive oil.
Total time: Yield: Serves 4

While we are talking about soups, I would really appreciate it if you would head over to New Covent Garden Soup Co and vote for my Roast Onion and Lemon Thyme Love Soup. I have submitted it to them for their special monthly soup, for Valentine's Day. Thank you.

Just a wee reminder. If you fancy winning a cute apron, then be sure to entry my Giveaway.

A new monthly list of challenges and giveaways is live on The Food Blog Diary now. There are still more to be added, so be sure to visit regularly.

I also have a rather tasty Tomato Couscous Salad over at Little Tums. I'm not getting many visitors over there, so be sure to stop by and say hi, so I don't get too lonely.

Disclosure Statement: I received this book free from the publisher to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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