National Country Cooking Month

National Country Cooking Month

If you love traditional home cooking, let’s celebrate National Country Cooking Month this June! It’s all about creating simple, healthy home-cooked meals and is the perfect month to try something new.

For National Country Cooking Month, why not try cooking something from scratch every day? For instance, you can grow your own vegetables and fruits in your garden and use them in a meal. It’s a great experience and much tastier and healthier. Or you can try to use new techniques, like making bread by hand instead of using a machine in this Country Cooking Month!

Recipes to Try for National Country Cooking Month 

1. Green Gazpacho

Try this dazzling take on the classic chilled Spanish soup with green vegetables, herbs, and yogurt.

Green Gazpacho - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cucumber, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ green chili, deseeded
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • ½ small bunch basil
  • ½ small bunch mint
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 spring onions
  • 7 ounces of yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Edible flowers and ice cubes

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the oil, pea shoots, and ice cubes, into a food processor with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz, adding enough water to get a soupy consistency. Taste, and add a little more vinegar and seasoning if necessary.
  • Chill for up to 24 hrs or for at least 2 hrs.
  • To serve, divide between shallow soup bowls, float a few ice cubes in each bowl and add a scattering of pea shoots and a drizzle of oil before serving.

2. Beef Stew

This stew is an easy and super healthy way to add some protein to your diet…

Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 10.5 ounces of beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can of chopped tomato
  • Handful of rosemary and olives

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes until they soften and turn golden. Add the beef strips, pepper, tomatoes, and rosemary, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked through, adding some boiling water if needed. Stir in the olives, and serve with mash or polenta.

3. Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad, with parsley being the number one ingredient. It’s refreshing, light and packed with healthy ingredients. It is also a great recipe to try for National Country Cooking Month.

Tabbouleh Salad - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1 small-to-medium)
  • A large diced tomato (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 medium bunches curly parsley
  • ⅔ ounce (⅓ cup) chopped fresh mint (optional but recommended—you can chop it in the food processor with the parsley)
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced

Method:

  • Cook or soak the bulgur until tender according to package directions. Drain off any excess water, and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad.
  • To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems. Then finely chop the parsley and remaining stems—you can do this by hand, but it’s much easier in a food processor. Process 1 bunch at a time (it should yield about 1 cup chopped), transferring the chopped parsley to a large serving bowl before proceeding with the next.
  • Add the cooled bulgur, mint (if using), and green onion to the parsley. Strain off and discard the cucumber and tomato juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. (This ensures that your tabbouleh isn’t too watery.) Add the strained cucumber and tomato to the mixture.
  • In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—add another tablespoon of lemon juice for zing or salt for more overall flavor.
  • If you have the time, let the salad rest for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors mingle. Otherwise, you can serve it immediately or chill it for later. Tabbouleh will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator if covered.

4. Ratatouille

This recipe for Mediterranean-style ratatouille is perfect for a super healthy dinner.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 red onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 red or yellow peppers
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil  (about 15g)
  • Olive oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 14 ounces of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ a lemon

Method:

  • Prep your ingredients before you start. Peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely slice the garlic. Trim the eggplant and zucchini. Deseed the peppers and chop into 1-inch chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan over medium heat, and add the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. (You may need to do this in batches.) Fry for around five minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon the cooked veggies into a large bowl.
  • To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil stalks, and thyme leaves, using another drizzle of oil if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden.
  • Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet.
  • Stir in torn basil leaves and finely grated lemon zest. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a hunk of bread or steamed rice.

5. Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

These brownies are gooey, chocolatey, and oh so delicious. Perfect for when you need a sweet treat.

Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Ingredients:

For the brownies

  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 7.7 ounces blanched hazelnuts
  • 5-6 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons date syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the frosting

  • 16 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2.1 ounces cacao powder
  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup  almond milk

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, fan setting.
  • Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the  oven and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled, blend the roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture.
  • Add the dates and blend again before adding the cacao powder and date  syrup.
  • Place the mixture into a baking tray (we use 8 in x 11 in) and refrigerate.
  • While the brownies are in the fridge, place all of the frosting ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Spoon a smooth layer of the frosting over the top of the brownies.
  • Place back in the fridge for 3-4 hours to allow the brownies to set.

 

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