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I am really enjoying our meat-free month and not really finding it a challenge so far – it’s really great to be trying out a lot of recipes that I would usually not cook because we seem to default to others.  The only downside was this evening realising that we couldn’t eat fish and chips at the pub – I was pretty gutted.

Monday 16th January

Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup

Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup from the Riverford Cookbook.  Pumpkin and tomato soup with a hint of chilli, topped with crumbled tortilla chips, avocado chunks tossed in lime juice, grated Jarlesburg, and coriander.

Utterly, utterly amazing.  It’s always those dishes that you want to like, but don’t think you really will, maybe because it contains an ingredient you don’t think you like, and WHAM –  so delicious!  If there’s one recipe so far I would recommend you make, it would be this one.

Tuesday 17th January

Mushroom Risioniotto

Mushrooms, creme fraiche and pasta.  This is Hugh’s mushroom risioniotto…at least I think that’s what it’s called.  He does make up some odd names.  It’s basically tiny pasta that looks like rice, I love it, it’s very comforting and moreish – probably because you can eat big mouthfuls of it along with some rich sauce.  The mushrooms were simply fried in butter until they start to go golden, then some wine and creme fraiche stirred through to make a sauce.  I miss calculated the amount of mushrooms and did half the recipe…turns out it was only for 2 people so I definitely won’t mess this up next time, as it did need more mushrooms.

Wednesday 18th January

Roasted tomato mozzarella risotto

Roasted tomato and mozzarella risotto.  Another from Hugh’s trust Everyday Veg book, and one that we had been cooking regularly before we even considered doing a meat-free month.  Yes, perhaps eating tomatoes in January isn’t the most seasonal choice, but my body was craving it and they were bought from Unicorn Grocery in Manchester so not as bad a supermarket tomatoes.

Hugh’s recipe uses a roasted tomato sauce that he also provides a separate recipe for – I just sliced a whole load of plum tomatoes in half and roasted them in the oven with olive oil, sliced garlic and herbs until they were soft and gooey.  I think pop the whole lot through my mouli, a carboot bargain that I couldn’t now live without.  If the Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup was my top recommended recipe, the mouli would be my top recommended piece of kitchen kit.

I was inspired this morning by one of my favourite food blogs Country Woodsmoke to share a snippet of our Christmas feasting – this was our Christmas meal yesterday snapped briefly before it all disappeared.

We had a roasted turkey thigh (perfect for two, and all delicious dark juicy meat), roasted carrots, parsnips and shallots, goose fat potatoes, and finely sliced sprouts tossed with crispy bacon.  I also had a good dollop of homemade bread sauce.

This was by far the tastiest and most enjoyable Christmas dinner we’ve ever made.  Happy Christmas everyone!

Has anyone come across this before – a roasted and salted corn snack? They look like popping corn, before its popped, but don’t break your teeth.

They are brittle and salty and pretty tasty – I’ve never heard or seen of them before but came across them in a deli in the Cotswolds.

Truly I am.  What has it been…a week since I last posted?  And it’s not for lack of eating nice things or doing nice things.  This week we have eaten … ugh, I forget without photos to document it!

We have eaten far too much Dunham Massey ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce that I do remember – but along with pizza making we leave chocolate sauce making to Mr Rigg.  My attempt resulted in a near disaster!

Tonight we are making Jamie’s lasagne – the sauce part is busy bubbling away in the oven with the fragrant scent of cinnamon filling the house.  This lasagne has a mixture of beef and pork mince, roasted butternut squash and flecks of crispy pancetta. 


Image: Jamie Oliver

We’ve also made slow cooked chilli con carne with leftovers for lunches – delicious with wraps, sour cream and grated cheese.  This one is worth a post sometime soon when I’ve reinstated a camera into our lives. 

I’ve bought locally grown quinces to make quince jelly after trying some on crumpets at work – yum!  Tomorrow night we have friends over for dinner and are planning a Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous – another Jamie recipe.


Image: Radish NYC

My week has also included a two-day headache (ugh!), an exciting time in the life of my website, lots of log fires, happiness that Mr Robin is back and singing in my garden,  and a visit to the dentist (I’ve had a numb cheek and face all afternoon).  Hoping for a less painful week next week. 

I also came across this lovely blog, a post from the same blog on an incredible looking gourmet shop in New York (wish there was somewhere like this near me!), and amazing lunchboxes.


Image: made by OOTS

I am feeling sorry for myself at home with a horrid cold – my eyes are running, I’m coughing and sneezing and generally feeling miserable.  It’s the summer and I’m stuck at home with a cold.  And on top of that I’ve lost my taste!

Ultimately that means I’m not dreaming too much of what I want to eat for dinner, food is chosen based on it being strong tasting so that I might be able to savour at least some flavour.

So whilst I’m sniffling and swallowing whole garlic cloves in a bid to rid my body of this cold, I will share my recipe for homemade granola.  I never used to like the idea of granola, being a bit to put off by sawdust like muesli.  But this is different, it’s baked in the oven drizzled with honey until it’s golden and crispy, and it’s full of seeds and nuts.

Our favourite way to eat our homemade granola begins with a bowl of natural yoghurt, covered in a layer of fruit purée, topped with a generous amount of granola and drizzled with an extra naughty bit of honey.  It’s also good with fresh fruit added into this mix.

I must say that this recipe is inspired but adapted from a fantastic book by Jenni Muir called A Cook’s Guide to Grains: delicious recipes, culinary advice & nutritional facts.  It is fabulous on so many different levels, both for its facts and history to the lovely recipes, and the beautifully designed cover.

Homemade Granola

This makes 1 large jarful

200g roasted hazelnuts
4 mugs of rolled oats
4 mugs of barley flakes
2 mugs of rye flakes
3 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
3 handfuls of sunflower seeds
2 handfuls of linseed seeds
1 jar of runny honey

A couple of notes before starting:

  1. If you want to roast the hazelnuts yourself, simply spread the hazelnuts in a baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes in the oven at 180°C – don’t let them burn.  Once they’ve cooled a little, rub of the skins by placing them in a tea towel and rubbing your hands over them.
  2. You could use different nuts in place of hazelnuts, I’ve previously used pecans which was equally delicious.
  3. When choosing honey I would pick a darker coloured honey – they are usually stronger in flavour and best for this.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bash the roasted hazelnuts up – I like to wrap the hazelnuts up in a tea towel, hold securely and bash with a rolling pin.  I do this until they are crushed into various sized pieces.

Take a large roasting tray and add all of the dry ingredients.  Mix them up with a wooden spoon.

Drizzle over the jar of honey and bung in the oven.  Cook for 5 minutes then remove and mix up.  Repeat this process (cook for 5 minutes then mix) for about 20-25 minutes or until the granola is crisp and granola.

Once it’s cooled you can pop it in a jar and use when needed.  Should last for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

I’m not doing very well at keeping up with … well … updating!  There’s so much I want to share and yet I must find more time!  And so many promised posts and recipes … I haven’t even finished off my food memories of Italy (part 1 and 2), and that was last September!

Note to self: must try harder.

On a jollier note, we had a scrumptious and so SO simple tea of roasted summer vegetables.  This is my idea of cooking, of eating, of tasting.  And what a Nigel Slater way to eat dinner – just a plate of roasted vegetables and some hunks of good bread to mop up the juices.

In my pan of delicious roasted vegetables were the following: baby orange peppers, red pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, red baby plum tomatoes and homegrown yellow courgette.  All cut into similar sized chunks, drizzled with good olive oil and roasted. 

The added extra that make this dish really simple were liberal dollops of sundried tomato paste, hunks of buffalo mozzarella, finely chopped garlic, a sprinkling of dried herbs, and some good old fashioned seasoning (salt and pepper). 

I also whizzed up lots of fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a good handful of grated Parmesan which was drizzled over everything towards the end of the cooking, and extra served fresh.

All this was munched up with gorgeous foccacia bread from Jane’s Handmade Bread – bought that morning at Abbey Leys Farmer’s Market.

You can’t get better than that!

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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