I always struggle with finding a vegetarian protein at Christmas and then I struggle to find one to pair with cranberry sauce afterwards. Cheese is always an option, it famously goes well with cranberry and redcurrant, but I’m not a huge fan of it at the moment. I love cranberry sauce with potatoes, and Brussels sprouts (Recipe: Potato, Brussel Sprout and Cranberry Bake), but that isn’t enough protein to tick the boxes for a well-balanced meal.
I tried red split lentils last night. I like red split lentils because I don’t have to soak them for hours before hand when I need an instant meal, they are very nutritious and filling and never taste how you think they are going to (they have a lemony taste to me). I use them a lot in daal (Courgettes and carrot Daal) but they are actually very nice just boiled, plain. And even more nice with a little bit of sweet cranberry sauce added to them.
Do you know what else goes really well with cranberry sauce? Runner beans. I dug out a packet we froze from this years harvest.
I’ve got another 3 1/2 large jars of cranberry sauce from December left to eat up… 🙂
Lentils, potatoes, runner beans and cranberry sauce
-4 medium sized potatoes -250g red split lentils -8 serving spoons worth of runner beans -4 generous tsp of cranberry sauce, to serve
- Pierce holes in the potatoes and place in the microwave. Heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and squishy and have cooked through.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to the boil. Add the red split lentils and simmer for about 15 minutes or until they have absorbed the water and are cooked. If there is any spare water, drain, and put to one side.
- Bring another pan of water to the boil and add sliced beans into it. Boil for about 6 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Drain.
- Place a potato on each plate and slice open. Spoon lentils next to it and 2 serving spoons of runner beans. Add a large dollop of cranberry sauce to serve.
Anyone have too many peppers? Any one at a loss of what to do with them? Try my new recipe…
-2 servings spoons of pasta -Olive oil -1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green bell peppers -2 handfuls of cheddar cheese, grated
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the pasta and then leave it to simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta has cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Add a generous splash of olive oil to a frying pan.
- De-stalk, de-seed and slice the three peppers into long, thin strips. Scrape them into the frying pan and bring to a high heat, stirring. Once they start to char slightly, turn down to a simmer.
- Scrape the pasta into the frying pan and mix into the peppers. Bring the heat up briefly for a minute or two and then remove the frying pan from the flame.
- Divide the mixture in half and serve onto two plates. Sprinkle a handful of cheddar cheese over the top of each helping. Serve.
Raspberry Curd Cake
All of our raspberries are harvested and frozen for this summer’s season. I am using them to make lots of jam, but not only am I trying to make room in the freezer again for the runner beans (oh dear) but I am trying to use up the eggs of our many chickens and ducks that are laying non-stop.
My mum showed me this great idea – raspberry curd.
I thought of an equally good idea – raspberry curd cake.
I’ve already been making my lemon curd cake for a few years now, so why not try raspberry curd instead? Uses up raspberry and eggs, perfect!
Well, the curd was a little runny and when I created my cake mix, it looked bubblegum pink. This kind of frightened me a bit. It looked alright once cooked. When I cut a slice, it was very pink. I carefully tried a bit, with extra curd as a sauce, and wow, I actually thought it was alright! To me, it was better than the lemon curd cake, despite being pink!
If anyones curious to try it, the recipe is below. Have fun!
– 4 egg yolks – 250g sugar – 200g butter – Zest and juice of 2 small lemons – 210g raspberries
- In a pan, whisk together the yolks and sugar until combined.
- Mix in the butter and lemons. Over a low flame, whisk the mixture, as if you are making custard, until it has thickened. This may take some time.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the raspberries so that they breakdown and the mixture becomes pink coloured.
- Leave it to cool completely before using it in the cake (below), spreading it on bread, or storing it in preserved jars in the fridge for up to a month.
Raspberry Curd Cake
– 75g butter – 150g sugar – 2 eggs – 150g self-raising flour – 1 tsp baking powder – 4 tbsp raspberry curd
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until creamy.
- Mix in the eggs, followed by the flour and baking powder.
- Finally, mix in the curd until thoroughly combined.
- Scrape the contents of the bowl into the prepared tin. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Test to see in the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, it is done.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin before transferring it to a wire rack.
- Serve the cake in slices with more of the curd spread on top. Store in an airtight container for three days.
You can still sow most of the vegetables I have mentioned in previous months (e.g. radishes, spinach, lettuce, courgettes, spring onions…) but here are some new ones that you have to wait until April for:
Runner-Beans – Firestorm, St George, Borlotti, Cobra, Wisley Magic, Desiree, Moonlight
French Beans – Monte Cristo, Cobra, Maxi, Dulcina, Speedy, Delinel
Squashes – Butternut squash (try Hawk), Honey Bear, Sunburst
Soya Beans – Elenor
Crystal Apple Cucumbers
Sweetcorn – Swift (These could have been started indoors last month, I still have yet to sow mine…)
Parsnips – Gladiator
Look at my other previous monthly posts for more ideas of what seeds to sow!