Make the most of seasonal fare such as rhubarb and parsnips in these dishes
RHUBARB CAKE WITH GINGER SYRUP
This moist cake is made with new-season rhubarb, and topped with a sticky ginger syrup. Serve as a teatime treat or as a pudding with custard.
75g unsalted butter, softened; 250g light brown soft sugar; 284ml soured cream; 2 medium eggs; 3 tsp ground ginger; 300g self-raising flour; 400g rhubarb, trimmed and roughly chopped; 100g caster sugar
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm-round springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
2 Cream the butter and brown sugar together, then beat in a little of the soured cream until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the remaining cream, eggs and 2 teaspoons of the ginger. Gently fold in the flour, then spoon the mixture into the tin. Smooth the top then scatter over the rhubarb.
3 Bake for 1½ hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch, covering the top with foil or parchment after 1 hour if it begins to brown too much. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and peel off the paper. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely, then transfer to a plate.
4 In a small pan, gently heat the caster sugar with the remaining ginger and 100ml cold water, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for about 5 minutes, swirling occasionally but not stirring, until the syrup is golden brown. Spoon the hot syrup over the rhubarb cake and cut into wedges to serve.
Give the family a warming winter treat with this hearty, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, topped with a cheesy sweet potato mash.
1 tbsp olive oil; 1 large red onion, chopped; 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks; 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks; 200ml vegetarian stock; 2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves; 350g passata (or homemade tomato sauce); 420g can mixed beans, drained and rinsed; 900g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks; 75g grated cheddar
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, do not brown. Stir in the carrots and parsnips, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 Pour in the stock, add the rosemary and simmer for 2-3 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the passata and beans. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Transfer to a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish.
3 Meanwhile, cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with half of the cheese. Season to taste, then spoon it over the vegetable mixture. Scatter over the remaining cheese and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with broccoli or shredded cabbage.
COOK’S TIP If preparing for adults only you might like to omit the stock and use a vegetarian red wine in its place for a rich and sumptuous taste.
BUCKWHEAT PASTA BAKE
A wheat–free family supper, which is nice and easy to whip up when you are short of time. It’s also filling and warming, perfect fare for a cold winter’s night.
2 peppers, cut into chunks; 2 courgette, chopped into chunks; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 onion, finely chopped; 2 × 400g cans chopped tomatoes; 1 romano pepper, deseeded and diced; 1 tsp dried rosemary; 1 tsp dried sage; 500g buckwheat fusilli; 2 eggs; 250g natural live yogurt; pinch nutmeg; 4 tbsp cheese, grated
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put pepper and courgette pieces into a large ovenproof dish with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon of the oil to a saucepan and soften the onion for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes. Fill one of the cans with 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Add dried herbs and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water for 8 minutes, drain, add the remaining oil and toss well. Cover until ready to use, then tip into the large ovenproof dish containing the roasted vegetables and stir gently.
4 Combine the eggs, yoghurt and nutmeg then drizzle over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and piping hot. Serve with a large green salad.
With thanks to Waitrose.com