Chilli Bean Enchiladas

I love messy Mexican feasts, I really do. These veggie enchiladas were tasty, filling and very satisfying. Served with freshly mashed avocado (you can upgrade this for proper guacamole), some hot sauce and pickled jalapenos for a proper Mexican style dinner.

More with beans: Summer Pork, Fennel and Beans; Chipotle black bean chilli with guacamole; Speedy Pepper & Black Bean Chilli

Chilli Bean Enchiladas

Serves 3-4 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 25 mins
Easy | Vegetarian

You’ll need:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed;
  • 1 tsp ground cumin;
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika;
  • 2 cans red kidney beans in chilli sauce;
  • 3-4 tortilla wraps;
  • 200g salsa;
  • 100g cheddar, grated;
  • 1 avocado;
  • dash of cayenne pepper;
  • 1/2 lime, juiced;
  • sour cream, to serve;
  • chopped coriander, to serve.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 2 mins. Add the cumin and cook for 1 min more. Tip in the beans, paprika and a splash of water. Using a potato masher, break the beans down as they warm through to make a rough purée. Season generously.

Divide the bean mixture between the tortilla wraps and roll up. Set the rolls in a tight baking dish and scatter over the salsa and top with the cheese. Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 15-20 mins until piping hot.

While the enchiladas are cooking, mash the avocado in a small bowl. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and the lime juice. Mix well and season lightly.

Serve the enchiladas with the smashed avocado, sour cream and chopped coriander.

Adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe, available online here.

Tomato, caramelised onion and mascarpone tart

I’m not quite ready to let go of summer just yet, so here we go with this lovely tomato tart. The combination of the sweetness of the mascarpone and the caramelised onions with the zestiness of the tomatoes is really lovely. I had some beautiful heritage tomatoes for this, and recommend that you get them ripe and full of flavour! This tart goes perfectly with some green salad on the side, and believe me you will be reaching for seconds.

More with tomatoes: Watermelon, Tomato and Halloumi salad | Rachel Roddy’s Penne all’arrabbiata

Tomato, caramelised onion and mascarpone tart

Tomato, caramelised onion and mascarpone tart

Serves 4 | Prep 40 mins | Cook 50 mins
Easy | Vegetarian

You’ll need:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for frying and drizzling;
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced;
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar;
  • 250g mascarpone;
  • Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon;
  • 4-5 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped;
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed;
  • 320g ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry sheet;
  • 500g tomatoes (a mix of colours and sizes), halved or quartered;
  • A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked.

Heat a large frying pan with a glug of oil over a medium heat. Add the red onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes until sticky and caramelised.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone with the lemon juice and zest, rosemary, spring onions and garlic. Season. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.


Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet. Spread with the mascarpone, leaving a 2-3cm border. Top with the red onions, then the tomatoes and a little thyme. Drizzle over a little oil, season, then bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven to 170°C/150°C/gas 3½. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes have shrivelled and the pastry is golden. Replace any burnt thyme leaves with fresh and serve warm.

Original recipe from Delicious Magazine, issue August 2014, available online here.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mussels with Barley Stew

The beginning of September is pretty much the beginning of Autumn and a slow transition away from all the bursting flavours of summer. This is a lovely stew which very much defines this period of transition for me. We have fresh tomatoes and mussels for that flavour of summer, with a hearty barley stew to give us that autumnal feeling. I’ve never considered barley and mussels as a one-pot stew before, but it works rather well! I omitted the watercress from this (because I forgot), but can see some fresh chopped parsley working very well here too! The recipe is a little faffy but I found that you can just go about doing other bits and pieces as this is cooking, and the flavours are definitely worth it. This is fantastic with some fresh crusty bread to mop up the sauces!

More Ottolenghi recipes: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreek | Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caramelised Onion Crostini

This is a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe featured in The Guardian’s Feast magazine.

Mussels with Barley Stew

photo of mussels and barley stew

Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 1hr 10 mins

You’ll need:

  • 1 large head of garlic, top fifth cut off to expose the bulbs;
  • 80ml olive oil;
  • Salt and black pepper;
  • 300g pearl barley;
  • 3 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced;
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds;
  • 1 lemon – finely shave off 5 strips of peel, then cut into wedges, to serve;
  • ½ scotch bonnet chilli;
  • 400g cherry tomatoes;
  • 1½ tbsp tomato paste;
  • 250ml dry white wine;
  • 800g mussels;
  • 60ml double cream;
  • 50g watercress.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Take two cloves from the garlic head and peel and thinly slice them. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil over the rest of the head, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the head tightly in foil and roast for 40 minutes, until the cloves have softened and turned golden brown. Remove the foil and, when the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and discard the skin.

Meanwhile, put the barley in a medium saucepan with plenty of cold water and put on a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is semi-cooked but still has a good bite to it, then drain.

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat with the remaining 75ml oil, the raw and cooked garlic, shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel, scotch bonnet and two and a half teaspoons of salt. Fry gently for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are soft and golden brown (turn down the heat if they start colouring too quickly). Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the wine, 750ml cold water and plenty of pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for seven minutes. Add the barley and cook for eight minutes more, until it has swollen a little in the sauce.

Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover the pan and cook until they open – anywhere between three and six minutes.

Pour over the cream, add the watercress and plenty of pepper, and gently stir everything together. Serve hot with the lemon wedges and crusty bread to mop up the sauces.

Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in The Guardian’s Feast, available online here.

Gnocchi with roasted red peppers, aubergines and chilli

Romano peppers (long pointed red peppers) are currently in season and I love making the most of them during late summer. This is a really easy, veg packed gnocchi recipe and it’s perfect for a vegetarian/meat-free meal. If you are looking to make this a vegetarian meal, make sure to use a vegetarian hard cheese instead of the Grana Padano. Serve with fresh green salad on the side.

Romano peppers & garlic pre-cooking

An easy way to peel peppers once cooked and still hot, is to leave them in a bowl and seal with clingfilm for a 5-10 minutes. After that, the peal should easily come off, though be careful as the peppers will still be hot.

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners magazine.

More with Aubergines: Melanzane Parmigiana with Green Salad | Potato and aubergine curry | Charred Aubergine, pepper and bulgur salad

Gnocchi with roasted red peppers, aubergines and chilli

Gnocchi with roasted red peppers, aubergines and chilli

Serves 4 | Prep 25 mins | Cook 30 mins
A little effort | Meat free

You’ll need:

  • 4 romano peppers, halved and deseeded;
  • 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed;
  • 1 large aubergine (about 300g), cubed;
  • handful basil leaves;
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded;
  • 50g grana padano, grated;
  • 500g pack essential Waitrose fresh gnocchi;
  • 40g wild rocket /or other green salad to serve.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Toss the peppers in 1 tsp olive oil, season and arrange skin-side up on a baking tray with the garlic. Brush a second baking tray with 2 tsp oil, then add the aubergine; season. Put both trays in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes (peppers on the top shelf ), turning the aubergine occasionally. Meanwhile, put the basil leaves, chilli and most of the grated cheese into a food processor, then whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Remove the vegetables from the oven, then carefully peel and discard the skin from the peppers and garlic cloves (see introduction for a tip). Add the roasted garlic and half the peppers to the food processor with the remaining 1½ tbsp oil; whizz to a semi-smooth paste and season. Tip into a large pan with the aubergine. Cut the remaining peppers into strips and add to the pan.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, gently heat the pepper and aubergine sauce. Drain the cooked gnocchi, then tip into the sauce, tossing through. Divide between plates, piling the rocket or green salad alongside and scattering over the remaining cheese.

Original recipe from Waitrose and Partners magazine, issue August 2020, available online here.

1 post has been published on the blog on Aug 26th in a previous year:

2018: Spaghetti Carbonara

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Grilled fish is without doubt the best way (ok… my favourite way) to eat fish. The fish retains it’s flavour, it’s lovely and juicy and it just tastes perfectly fresh. This dish is perfect for summer – it’s light, but filling and the fish is so tasty it needs just a simple side salad or two to complement the flavours.

For this dish, I also attempted to gut and descale the fish myself – first time for everything! I reckon the lockdown is a good time to learn more about preparing food from scratch completely… Though usually you’d ask your fishmonger to do this for you!

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine.

More with fish: Sea bass with potato and tomato bake | Swordfish tacos with mango & jalapeno salsa | Chipotle salmon with avocado salsa and chilli broccoli

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Serves 4-6 | Prep 15 mins, plus marinating | Cook 20 mins
Easy | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 2 green chillies, stalks trimmed;
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 56g fresh coriander;
  • 50g fresh mint, leaves picked;
  • 4 tsp ground ginger;
  • 5 limes, 1 cut into wedges;
  • 3 whole sea bass (about 300g each), gutted.

Put the chillies, garlic, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, the juice of 3 limes, a good pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water into a blender and whizz to make a smooth salsa. Divide the salsa into 2 portions; put 1 portion in a serving bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge to serve with the fish.

Cut 3 slashes into both sides of each fish, then rub the remaining salsa all over the outside and inside of each fish. Cover, chill and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high. Put the fish on a rack and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over the juice of 1 lime. Serve immediately with the remaining salsa alongside and the lime wedges for squeezing over.

Nutritional information per serving (4): 1268Kj/300kcals/6.1g fat/1.5g saturated fat/3.7g carbs/1.1g sugars/1.2g fibre/55g protein/0.8g salt.

Original recipe from Waitrsoe & Partners Food, issue August 2020, not available online.