Soft Herbs

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Chicken coleslaw with tahini, mint & dill

serves 4 starters
difficulty easy
prep time 20mins (approx.)
total time 45mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) chicken, wombok, tahini, mint, dill, sesame seeds, Soft Herbs
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Rather than poaching chicken for this dish you can use sliced or shredded leftover roast chicken.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts (or cold roast chicken)
1 large clove garlic, finely grated
2 heaped tablespoons tahini
2 heaped tablespoons thick plain yoghurt
1 lemon, juiced
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 spring onions, white part finely sliced
50 ml water
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
½ wombok, outer leaves discarded, finely shredded
1 handful of mint leaves, larger leaves torn
1 handful of picked dill
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan and lightly ground

Method

In a small pan add enough lightly salted water to cover the chicken, bring to the simmer, add the chicken and poach gently for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 2 minutes in the water. Remove and rest before slicing – the chicken finishes cooking as is stands in the water and when it rests, but larger portions may take a little longer in the simmering water.

To a small bowl, add the garlic, tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice, oil, spring onion and 50ml of water, season and combine.

Place the wombok on your serving plate, season, add half the herbs and spoon over half the dressing. Arrange the chicken on top, spoon over the remaining dressing, scatter over the rest of the herbs and the ground sesame seeds and serve.

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Broad beans are a bit of a labour of love, what with all that podding and double podding, and that big bag that came back from the market is now just a small bowl of beans. But the sparkling green jewels are so worth it, just make sure you choose the freshest pods and discard any yellowing beans.

Ingredients

3 free-range eggs, room temperature
1 bunch of thick stemmed asparagus, trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons goat’s curd
500 grams (single podded weight) broad beans, double-podded with the tiny ones left whole
6 pickled artichokes, cut in half
1 shallot, finely diced
bunch of chives, finely chopped
handful of mint leaves
10 black olives, regular or dried

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C fan forced or 220°C conventional.

Cook the eggs in boiling water for 6 minutes, refresh in cold water and peel.

Coat the asparagus in a little oil, season with salt and pepper, spread out on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. Arrange the hot asparagus on your serving plate and dollop on the goat’s curd.

To a large bowl add the broad beans, artichokes, diced shallot, chives and mint, season, dress with oil and toss together. Arrange this mix on top of the asparagus. Tear open the soft eggs and place around the salad, season and scatter over the olives.

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Penne with zucchini, mint, currants & pine nuts

serves 4 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 40mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Soft Herbs, pasta, zucchini
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This makes more than enough pesto for the dish but you can also enjoy it smothered on bread or tossed through green vegetables or potatoes. You can keep any leftover pesto in a jar in the fridge, just cover with a layer of olive oil to stop it from oxidizing.

Ingredients

40 grams basil leaves
40 grams parsley, blanched & chopped
50 grams mint leaves
2 small cloves garlic, sliced
60 grams pine nuts, toasted, plus extra to serve
120 grams Pecorino, grated
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
3 medium zucchini, cut in batons
250 grams penne
80 ml milk
2 tablespoons currants, simmered in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar for 1 minute

Method

Roughly chop the mint and the parsley. Process the herbs, garlic, 60 grams of pine nuts and oil together in a food processor or blender until you have a smoothish paste, then add the cheese and a splash of water and briefly blitz again.

Cook the penne as per the packet instructions in plenty of boiling salted water.

While the pasta cooks, in a medium saucepan add a little oil and fry the zucchini for 5 to 10 minutes to soften and brown, season with sea salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Lift the penne out of the water and place it on top of the zucchini in the pan. Add enough of the pesto to coat the pasta completely without drowning it (I usually have about a quarter left over), toss, then add the milk. Let the pasta bubble over high heat for a minute, add a little extra cheese and a splash of olive oil if necessary, and toss through. Check seasoning, sprinkle with the currants and extra pine nuts and serve.

Tip: Keep any leftover pesto in an airtight jar for a week with a thin layer of oil over the top.

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