Monthly Archives: March 2014

Warm pasta, broccoli & bean salad with lemon, garlic and basil

2014-03-25 19.20.23
I love a warm salad.  The flavours are so much stronger when the dish is at room temperature rather than chilled, and partly cooking the ingredients allows each individual ingredient to shine.
This is such a delicious and healthy supper, we all really enjoy it and it’s a complete one pot meal so perfect for busy week night dinners.

Warm pasta, broccoli & bean salad with lemon, garlic and basil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Warm salad
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • Spray of olive oil / splash of water / stock
  • 350g wholemeal pasta – rigatoni, penne etc.
  • 1 smallish red onion, halved, then finely sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or microplaned
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 can / 250g cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 heaped tsp freshly grated / microplaned lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Large bunch of basil, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • A dozen or so Kalamata olives, to serve
  1. Put pasta on to boil.
  2. Steam the broccoli until just tender, about 6-7 mins. Once cooked, run under cold running water to refresh and retain colour.
  3. Put the onion, garlic and salt in a large heavy bottomed casserole with your choice of sautéing medium, mix thoroughly, and warm through on a low light for 5 minutes – do not COOK! The idea is to take the rawness out of the garlic but leave the onion still with some bite.
  4. Add a splash or two of vegetable stock as required to keep it moist but without stewing it.
  5. Add the beans, lemon juice and zest and continue to warm through for another few minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and keep on a low light whilst waiting for the pasta to cook. Once ingredients are all hot but not cooked, remove from the heat and tip into a large wide salad bowl along with the broccoli.
  7. Once pasta is cooked, tip into the bowl along with the basil and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to mingle.
  8. Top with olives and serve.


Sissy’s Soup

2014-03-25 12.31.12

To call this soup thick is a slight understatement.  You could literally stand your spoon up in it, if your bowl or mug is deep enough.  But we like it that way.  It really is a meal in a bowl, all you need is some good bread and maybe a salad.  My daughter gave her name to this soup when we made it together several years ago when she was around 10.  It’s a beautiful way to get plenty of vegetables into small children and the addition of the tomato ketchup is a clever trick to get fussy kids to try it – they love squeezing that in if they’re your kitchen “helpers” when you make this.

Sissy's Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6
  • Quick spray oil / water / stock
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large stick celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced,
  • 2 large broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 can peeled tomatoes, put through the blender
  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 heaped tsp vegetable stock powder
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  1. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot in a large heavy based pan, cover and sweat for 5 minutes
  2. Add the sweet potato, broccoli, cover and cook again for a further 5 minutes
  3. Add tomatoes, lentils, herbs, stock powder and a litre of water, apple juice and tomato ketchup
  4. Stir well and bring to boil. Replace lid, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom
  5. Check vegetables are very tender, blend with stick blender.
  6. Nice garnished with fresh coriander or parsley if liked, and hot toast fingers.