Noodles, tarts and meatballs: Claire Thomson’s recipes for all the family to make | Food
Peanut butter and sesame rice noodles
Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
For the sauce
120g smooth unsweetened peanut butter
2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste, or tahini
½ tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp finely grated ginger, skin on is fine
1 large juicy lime, half juiced, the rest cut into wedges, to serve
300g rice noodles, soaked or cooked according to packet instructions, drained and tossed with 1 tbsp sesame oil so they don’t stick together
½ cucumber, cut into half-moons or small batons
½ bunch spring onions, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
80g roasted salted peanuts (ie, 1 large handful), lightly crushed
Chilli sauce or chilli oil, to serve
In a bowl, whisk just enough warm water into the peanut butter and sesame paste to make a thick sauce that’s the consistency of double cream, then stir in the other sauce ingredients. Taste, and adjust by adding more fish sauce, soy, sesame, lime and sugar as necessary. Add the noodles to the bowl, and toss, adding a splash of water, if necessary, to loosen. Divide the noodles between four bowls, top with cucumber, beansprouts, spring onions, coriander, sesame seeds and peanuts, and serve with your hot sauce of choice to add at the table.
Flamiche with gruyere, new potatoes and thyme
Prep 10 min
Prove 1 hr
Cook 40 min
Makes 2 x 40cm x 30cm flamiche, to feed 4 with leftovers
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g fast-action dried yeast
330ml warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 whole eggs
300ml soured cream, or creme fraiche
½ tbsp thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 small waxy new potatoes (about 200g), cut into 2mm-thick slices (use a mandoline, if you have one)
70g gruyère, or comté or cheddar, grated
Put the flour, yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and process for three minutes, until well combined (or whisk by hand for five to 10 minutes). Add the salt, mix for five minutes more, until you have a smooth, elastic dough, then transfer to a clean bowl greased with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover and put somewhere warm for an hour, until just about doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in two. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough to about ¾cm thick and roughly the size and shape of a medium oven tray.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7, line two flat 40cm x 30cm oven trays with greaseproof paper and lay a dough rectangle on top of each. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the soured cream, thyme, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Make a small lip all around the edge of each sheet of dough by turning the outer ½cm up and over itself to create a barrier. Spoon the egg and soured cream mix over the two sheets, spreading it evenly right up to the edge of the lip. Distribute the potato evenly over the top, drizzle over the last two tablespoons of oil, then scatter the cheese over the top.
Bake the flamiches for 18-20 minutes, rotating the two trays halfway through, if need be, until the tops are nicely coloured and the bases are crisp. Remove, leave to rest and settle for a couple of minutes, then cut into squares and serve.
Lamb and bulgur meatballs with sweet cinnamon tomato sauce, yoghurt and flatbreads
Prep 15 min
Cook 50 min
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin, lightly toasted
80g bulgur wheat
500g minced lamb
80g sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, half finely chopped, half roughly chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 fresh bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
150g plain yoghurt
½ garlic clove, finely grated
1 big squeeze lemon juice
Shop-bought flatbreads – Greek or Turkish ones are ideal – or naan: you want something you can roll up, and that’s not too thin
Hot sauce of choice (optional)
Put half the olive oil in a medium saucepan set over a medium–low heat, then fry the onion for eight to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent, but not coloured. Add the garlic and spices, cook, stirring, for two minutes more, until fragrant, then take off the heat and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, boil the kettle. Rinse the bulgur under cold running water, drain and transfer to a bowl. Pour over 200ml just-boiled water, cover, leave the bulgur to steep for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly and put to one side.
In a large bowl, mix the lamb mince, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, drained bulgur, half the spiced cooked onion mix and the finely chopped parsley, and use your hands to mix and knead for at least two minutes, until very soft and well combined. Shape the mince into ping-pong ball-sized meatballs and set aside.
Add the tinned tomatoes, bay and cinnamon to the remaining onion mix in the pan, season well with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, then set over a moderate heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, and cook the tomatoes for about 10 minutes more, until rich and thick. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then stir in the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and turn off the heat.
Put the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat, then fry the meatballs in batches for about three minutes, until browned all over, but not cooked through. Once browned, transfer the meatballs to the warm tomato sauce pan.
Once all the meatballs are browned and in the sauce, cover the pan, set it over a low heat and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through (alternatively, transfer the mix to a suitable dish and bake in a 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 oven for about 15 minutes). Once cooked, remove from the heat and leave the meatballs to rest in their sauce for five minutes.
Put the yoghurt in a small serving bowl and stir in the grated garlic, lemon juice and a big pinch of salt. Warm the flatbreads in the oven or toaster.
To serve, scoop some meatballs and tomato sauce on to a flatbread, add a spoon of seasoned yoghurt, some roughly chopped parsley and hot sauce, if using, roll up the flatbread and eat immediately.