March can be a changeable month. Sharing a savoury perfect for picnics and a pudding guaranteed to warm the cockles, Katie Moore of Allotment covers all culinary bases
Now that the days are getting lighter, I am beginning to look forward to the heady days of summer picnics in the garden. Everything is feeling greener and more luscious, and it warms the heart to see seeds starting to germinate, and shoots starting to poke through the earth. Should we be so lucky as to have a warm weekend in the not-so-distant future, these vegetarian rolls are a perfect picnic addition. But worry not, they taste just as delicious eaten round the kitchen table.
Spinach, Cheese and Pine Nut Rolls
800g spinach leaves
1 tub of ricotta
300g mature cheddar
50g toasted pine nuts
1/2 lemon zest
1/2tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Wilt down the spinach leaves in a large pan, then transfer to a sieve over a bowl and allow to cool.
Grate the cheddar cheese into a mixing bowl and add the ricotta, pine nuts, lemon zest, cumin and a good pinch of seasoning.
Once cool, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible, then roughly chop and add to the bowl with the cheese.
Lay the sheet of puff pastry out flat and cut into eight even pieces. Divide the spinach mixture between the pieces then brush the bottom of each piece with egg wash. Carefully roll the pastry over the filling and place the rolls on the lined baking tray, leaving plenty of space between them as they will puff up while they bake.
Brush the top of each roll with egg wash and sprinkle over a handful of poppy seeds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden all over and beautifully puffed up.
Whilst I often wish that blood oranges were in season all year round, the fact that their appearance at the end of winter is so fleeting makes me appreciate them all the more. Each one is a unique shade somewhere between deep blood red and peachy orange, and this light steamed pudding recipe shows off both their colour and flavour in a simple but effective dessert.
Blood Orange Steamed Pudding
8tbsp golden syrup
2 blood oranges
150g softened unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds, toasted
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
200g Greek yoghurt
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease eight mini pudding moulds.
Spoon 1tbsp marmalade and 1tbsp golden syrup into the bottom of each mould.
Zest the blood oranges and keep the zest to one side. Carefully cut all of the skin and pith away from the oranges and then slice them into rounds. Place one piece in the bottom of each mould, on top of the marmalade.
Cream together the butter, orange zest and sugar until very light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs.
Weigh out the flour, almonds, bicarb, baking powder and salt into a bowl and lightly mix them together with a fork. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, followed by the yoghurt, and finally the remaining dry ingredients. Give everything a good mix and then spoon into the moulds so that they are 2/3 full.
Arrange the moulds in a roasting tray and pour approx. 1cm boiling water into the tray so that the puddings steam while in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Use a tea towel to turn the puddings out onto plates and serve with a good helping of cream or custard.
For more information – including where to find Katie’s fabulous food – follow @allotmentcafe and see allotmentcafe.com.
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