Hearty meals packed with fresh flavours from Kate Humble’s wholesome new cookbook 

ROAST LAMB WITH GARDEN VEGETABLES, OREGANO & FETA

Accompanied with pickings from the veg patch, fragrant oregano and tangy feta, this roast won’t leave you with that feeling of sleepy-eyed lethargy that comes after a hefty meal.

Serves 6

For the lamb

  • 1 leg of lamb, about 2kg (4lb 8oz)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of rosemary and thyme sprigs
  • A generous glass of red wine

For the vegetables

  • 400g (14oz) broad beans in their pods, or 200g (7oz) frozen broad beans
  • 100g (3½oz) peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 300g (10½oz) French beans
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs of oregano
  • Zest of 1 lemon, juice of ½
  • Olive oil
  • 50g (1¾oz) feta

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Make sure your lamb is at room temperature before you cook it, so take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before. With a knife, make small, deep cuts all over the leg of lamb and push a slice of garlic into each one. Rub with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Kate Humble (pictured) shares a selection of hearty meals from her new cookbook

Kate Humble (pictured) shares a selection of hearty meals from her new cookbook

Put the rosemary and thyme sprigs in the bottom of a roasting tin and place the lamb on top. Put in the oven and cook for about 1 hour and 10 minutes if you want your lamb to be pink (it is so much nicer when it is) or for longer if you want it cooked through. Remove from the oven, put the lamb on a board and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you carve it.

Remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs from the tin and put it over a high heat on the hob. Add the wine to the juices and let it bubble for a moment or two to form a thin but tasty gravy. Pour into a jug and keep warm.

For the vegetables, cook the broad beans (shelled, if fresh) in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and tip them into a bowl of cold water. Slip off the skins to reveal the bright emerald green beneath. 

This is, I admit, a bit of a faff, and you don’t have to do it, but they taste so, so much nicer without the skins. Set aside. Cook the peas briefly in boiling water, drain and set aside. 

Trim the tails off the French beans and steam or plunge into boiling water and cook until they are al dente. Drain and put in a bowl with the broad beans and peas.

Finely chop the oregano leaves and add all but a few (saved for garnish) to the vegetables. Add the lemon zest and then drizzle over a bit of olive oil to make the veg glossy, but not swimming in it. 

Squeeze the lemon juice over, season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Tip into a pretty serving bowl, crumble the feta over and scatter with the remaining oregano leaves. Carve the lamb, pour the gravy over the slices and serve the vegetables alongside.

BRAZILIAN FISH STEW

I first ate this dish not in Brazil but in my friend Kirsty’s kitchen. It is inspired by moqueca, a Brazilian seafood stew, and it tastes wonderful. It is also one of those brilliantly convenient things to cook when you have friends over. You can prepare almost all of it in advance!

Serves 4-6

KATE SAYS…

I usually use a combination of white fish and prawns when making this dish, but you can use just fish or just prawns if you prefer.

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) firm white fish
  • 450g (1lb) raw peeled prawns
  • Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed limes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 400ml (14fl oz) tin of coconut milk
  • A handful of fresh coriander
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Chop the fish into bite-sized chunks and put in a bowl with the prawns. Pour over the lime juice and sprinkle with the zest, half the chopped garlic and a teaspoon of salt. Mix and let marinate for an hour or so.

While the fish is marinating you can get on with the rest of the stew, because it can happily sit until you are ready to eat – you just heat it up and add the fish just before you want to serve it. The fish will cook in moments.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion until it is translucent. 

Add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the spring onions along with the remaining garlic, the chilli flakes and paprika. Occasionally push them gently around the pan so nothing sticks.

Once the smell of garlic and paprika starts to rise from the pan, add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

You can then leave it covered on the hob, or cool it and put it in the fridge, until you want to eat. Or you can carry on and add the fish and the prawns straight away.

If you have made the sauce in advance, reheat it gently until it comes back to a simmer, add the fish and prawns in their marinade and stir gently until the fish has turned opaque and the prawns pink – about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve scattered with coriander, with lime wedges for squeezing.

ROASTED RATATOUILLE 

As well as being a delicious side dish, you can turn this ratatouille into various vegetarian main courses.

KATE SAYS…

Once the vegetables are done you can stir through some cooked pasta and add a big handful of chopped herbs and grated cheese.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 aubergine, cut into generous chunks
  • 2 courgettes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 peppers (a mix of colours is nice), cut into chunks
  • A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 whole head of garlic, sliced in half along its ‘equator’

Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6. Put the aubergine, courgettes, onion, peppers, parsley and thyme into a large baking dish or roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and a good pinch of chilli flakes if you want a little bit of heat. 

Mix everything around so the vegetables are evenly coated in oil and seasoning.

Place the vines of cherry tomatoes and the garlic halves, cut side up, on top of the vegetables, drizzle both with a bit more oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and put in the oven. 

Roast for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender and slightly coloured. Serve warm, passing around the garlic so your guests can squeeze the delicious, soft cloves from the skin.

LINGUINE WITH CRAB, CHILLI, LEMON, ROCKET & HAWTHORN

I had no idea that the fresh spring leaves of hawthorn are every bit as delicious as parsley. So I’ve used them in my favourite pasta dish – it’s our campervan regular and will always be the dish that kicks off a holiday.

Serves 2

  • 250g (9oz) dried linguine
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ -1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 150g (5½oz) fresh crabmeat (just white or a mixture of brown and white), or 1 tin of crabmeat
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus a squeeze of juice (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A small handful of hawthorn leaves or parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of rocket

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and cook the linguine according to the packet instructions. While the pasta is cooking, mix together the garlic, chilli, crabmeat and lemon zest with a little olive oil in a large bowl, big enough to take all the pasta. 

Using tongs, remove the cooked pasta from the water and put straight into the large bowl with the crabmeat. Stir to coat the pasta in the crab mixture.

If necessary, add a few spoonfuls of pasta water and stir well until the pasta is coated in a silky sauce. Season generously. Mix and taste – it might need a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir in the hawthorn leaves or parsley and rocket and serve.

CLEMENTINE CAKE WITH ORANGE & POMEGRANATE SALAD

A self-confessed tentative cakemaker, when I attempted this one for the first time it turned out to be nigh-on perfect. Consequently, I love it and probably bake it more often than any other cake.

KATE SAYS… 

Raspberries go well with this too, either whole or as a coulis, and I’ll often offer crème fraîche with a shake of cinnamon for those who want it.

Serves 8

For the cake

  • 375g (13oz) – or as near as possible – clementines or tangerines
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 225g (8oz) golden caster sugar
  • 250g (9oz) ground almonds
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder

For the orange salad

  • 6 oranges
  • 1tsp orange blossom water
  • 2tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2tbsp toasted flaked almonds
  • A few mint leaves, shredded

Boil the whole clementines or tangerines (in their skins) in a pan of water for 1-2 hours until soft. Let them cool, then cut in half and remove the pips. Purée the fruit halves – skins and all – in a food processor until smooth. 

Preheat your oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5, and grease and line a 20cm springform tin. Beat the eggs with a fork, then stir in the sugar, almonds and baking powder. 

Once well mixed, add the fruit purée and stir until the fruit is evenly distributed in the mix. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 1 hour.

Check with your trusty skewer that it is cooked through. If it gets a bit too brown before the end of the cooking time, loosely cover with foil. Let it cool in the tin on a wire rack. 

For the salad, peel the oranges carefully, making sure you remove all the pith, then slice them into discs about 5mm thick.

Arrange them in a dish. Sprinkle over the orange blossom water and the pomegranate seeds. Just before serving, add a scattering of toasted flaked almonds and shredded mint leaves.

SCROMLETTE 

Many years ago my husband Ludo and I went to stay with our friends Zoran and Zvesta in Ljubljana, in what was then still Yugoslavia. Zvesta, an extremely beautiful and successful actress, met us at the door waving a wooden spoon.

KATE SAYS… 

There are no careful quantities needed here – nothing can go wrong. It is one of those lovely dishes that can be made entirely to your own taste.

‘I’m making scromlette!’ she announced. Zvesta’s scromlette has become a staple in our house. It is – as it sounds – a glorious hybrid of an omelette and scrambled eggs.

Serves 2

  • 4-6 eggs (depending on how hungry you are)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Feta cheese
  • A few sprigs of parsley, chopped
  • Rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • A generous handful of spinach

Break the eggs (2 or 3 per person) into a bowl and whisk. Season  with salt and pepper. Crumble in the feta – as much as you like or have left in the fridge. (I had a bit of leftover parsley as well, which I added to the eggs.) 

Heat a little oil in the bottom of a frying pan over a medium heat then fry the tomatoes and chilli until soft – a few minutes.

Add the spinach and let it wilt. Pour in the eggs and feta and stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine the veg. Let it sit for a bit until it has cooked to the consistency you like your eggs. Stir again and it’s ready.

Have it on or with toast, or a chunk of soda bread, or with a slice of ham or just on its own. You can use any veg – Zvesta made hers with tomatoes, courgettes and peppers – any herbs, any cheese or no cheese. If you’re having it for lunch or supper, it is delicious with a simple green salad.

SAUSAGES IN RED WINE 

Sometimes circumstances call for food that is simple, reliable and satisfying to eat. This is all of those things. I’ve been cooking it for years and it never fails.

Serves 4

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 8 good-quality sausages
  • 150g (5½oz) pancetta, cut into cubes
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 250g (9oz) chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 heaped tsp plain flour
  • 1tsp mustard powder
  • 300ml (10fl oz) red wine
  • 200ml (7fl oz) stock of your choice
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme or 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of roughly chopped parsley

Heat a glug of oil in a large casserole over a medium-high heat and brown the sausages. Remove and set aside. Add the pancetta, onions and mushrooms to the same pan (you probably won’t need to add any more oil) and fry until softened and slightly browned on the edges.

 

Add the garlic and after a minute or two, sprinkle over the flour and mustard powder. Stir well for about a minute then add the red wine and stock. 

Stir so the flour is absorbed into the wine, then return the sausages to the pan with the thyme and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, put the lid on the casserole and leave to simmer over a low-medium heat for about 30 minutes.

Take the lid off and cook for another 15-20 minutes, to let the winey juices reduce to form a rich gravy. Check to see if it needs more seasoning, sprinkle liberally with roughly chopped parsley and eat. 

Mash is the obvious thing to go with this: good old potato mash, or a mixture of potato and celeriac. Or go slightly rogue and have mashed butternut or sweet potato.

Home Cooked: Recipes From The Farm by Kate Humble will be published by Gaia on 3 February, £25. © Kate Humble 2022. To order a copy for £22.50 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20. Offer price valid until 13/02/2022. 

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