I went to the market this morning and got excited about garlic. Weird I know. This is a favourite spread I make, if you add a bit more oil and juice of a whole lemon you can make it a dip consistency. I like it in warm pita bread with slices of juicy tomato.
1 400g can butter beans
3 cloves of garlic (or more if you’re brave)
half a cup of chopped parsley
juice of half a lemon
Step 1 Rinse and drain the beans
Step 2 Finely chop the garlic, I use some course ground salt to help it mush up, put into blender
Step 3 Chop the parsley, add to blender
Step 3 Add juice of half a lemon to the blender, with the oil and the beans
Step 4 Blend,
Step 5 serve with toasted pita bread.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon one of the nicest things to do is wander through the Sunday Market at Westerpark. It’s full of crafty goodness, here are some of the highlights from today. (Scroll over to reveal captions).
Mandala – there were stencils for sale
Animals to love
Treasures to re-home
snacks, steamed Baozi and Jaozi
Hang in there
I see a face in the soap
Finger licking good
There is a market next Sunday – on Rokin, next one at Westerpark isn’t until 1 October.
I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, I don’t think I’ve ever bought it at the market before, but a friend isn’t well and this was her request. So, for the first time in my life I’ve made cauliflower soup. It’s delicious!
I found a lovely head of cauliflower, and googled for a recipe.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 1 potato
- 3 cups of stock
- salt, pepper, spices
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add finely sliced onion, salt, pepper, and half a teaspoon of spice mix – I used Ras el Hanout today. I think Garam Marsala would also work, I wanted to give a touch of a warm flavour to the soup. Cook on a medium low heat to soften the onions.
Dice the potato, add it to the onion mix. The final soup is blended so you don’t need to be too fussy about the size of the pieces.
Chop cauliflower into florets, add to pan and mix well.
Add enough stock to the pan to cover the vegetables, turn up the heat to boil the soup. Cook until all the vegetables are soft, this doesn’t take long, around 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
Serve warm, you can stir in some cream to make the soup richer but the potato already makes it creamy and delicious.
Summer stretched to the end of September this year, but I’ve gone from sandals to boots in about a fortnight. It’s suddenly autumn. Today was chilly and a little rainy. Time for soup.
Pumpkin soup. This is a hearty version perfect for this time of year, it uses just four ingredients; butternut pumpkin, red onions, olive oil and sage. Butternut pumpkin works best for a rich creamy soup. I found the pumpkin in the market for a euro each.
I have sage growing on my terrace, the wonderfully pungent purple sage.
I chopped and de-seeded the pumpkin, peeled and halved two red onions, put them in a roasting dish, and then roughly chopped a handful of sage and sprinkled it over the vegetables. Drizzled the olive oil over.
Roast the whole lot at about 150C (in a fan oven) for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven.
Allow to cool, then peel the skin off the pumpkin and put all vegetables into a pot, add about two cups of hot stock and blend. Adjust seasoning.
Warm through and serve – you can add sour cream, croutons, grated cheese – whatever pleases you. A big bowl with thick slabs of toasted bread is a warming, soothing lunch.
It will keep in the fridge for around five days, and freezes well.
At Saturday’s market figs were on offer, 10 figs for 3 euro. Best price all year. I love the dusky rich colour of figs, their distinctive flavour that can go either sweet or savoury. One of my favourite holiday memories is of standing under an ancient, spreading fig tree in Molise (south Italy) and eating fresh ripe figs warmed by the sun. Every summer I want to recreate that flavour memory so I couldn’t resist. One of my favourite ways to eat figs is fresh in a salad with a creamy goat’s cheese. The rich sweetness of the figs is a perfect foil for the sharpness of the cheese. But this time I wanted to go sweet, so I poached them in a sweet wine with some spices and honey. I’ve also used a solution of honey, water and a few drops of orange water for a non-alcoholic version.
My mix this time was 200 ml of “half sweet” wine, about two teaspoons of honey, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and one or two star anise thrown in. I heated the poaching mix and dropped in the semi-quartered the figs. I cooked them until soft – be careful, they disintegrate easily so don’t stir and do watch them. Spoon the poaching mix over the figs as they cook.
I served them still warm with good thick Greek yoghurt.
Maybe it’s the autumn weather, but this week I got inspired by the flavoured sausages on sale at the market. I bought the dried tomato version, it’s delicious sliced thinly or paired with pecorino. I also used some to flavour a lentil soup.
Take your sausage
chop vegetables, cook in vegetable stock, add lentils, cook futher 20 mins
serve with greek yoghurt and finely chopped parsley
Is your mouth watering?
Mine was as soon as I saw these beautiful tomatoes. I couldn’t resist, they were my “treat for the week”. So I wanted to make something that would highlight the tomato-goodness and retain the fantastic colours; bruschetta!
tomato chopped with salt, pepper, basil and good oil
I roughly diced the tomatoes, added salt, pepper, finely chopped basil and a good glug of good olive oil, set aside for half an hour. Toast slices of ciabatta, peel a garlic clove and cut it in half, rub onto the toast, top with the tomato mix and eat immediately (before the bread gets soggy!).
After my usual shop I went across to the Noordermarkt for some treats.
Raspberries! One of the joys of summer is the berries, and of all the berries raspberries are my favourite. This stand on the Noordermarkt has all sorts of incredibly delicious Raspberry products; baked goods, salad dressings, sauces and jams. They’re seriously yummy, I bought jam and sauce.
Herbs! I also stocked up on the Amsterdam’s best pesto from the herb guy; also got a bunch of good peppery rucola and some fresh flat-leaf parsley. I did not get any roast garlic, it looks fantastic but I’m not sure what to do with it.
I was wandering around the second hand sellers on the Noordermarkt today and it struck me that there were lots of funny faces at the market,
I did get a giggle out of the name “Graffiti Aubergine”, although I didn’t buy any, I prefer the rich dark old-fashioned aubergines, they taste much better.