Month: March 2014

Week 25: Roquamole and Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Two recipes in honour of it being week 25.

Continuing on from last week’s high-powered mixer madness, I thought it only right to have a go at Nigella’s Roquamole, to rev some more ingredients into a pulp; and my lover fancied the Mexican Scrambled Eggs – because we weren’t sure what a Quesadilla was!

Both recipes come from the Nigella Express book, and were really easy to make.  I’ve always been a fan of dipping things in guacamole, so the chance to combine guacamole with a big hunk of smelly cheese was too good to miss!  To make Roquamole for four hungry dippers you will need: 125g Roquefort (or St Agur), 60ml sour cream, 2 ripe avocadoes, 25g sliced pickled green jalepeno chilli peppers from a jar, 2 spring onions, and a quarter tsp of paprika.

First loosely mash the cheese with a fork, mix with the sour cream, and then mash in the avocados.  Roughly chop the jalapenos and finely slice the spring onions, and stir it in.

Spoon the Roquamole into a respectable dish and dust with the paprika.  Nigella recommends putting the bowl in the centre of a large dish and spreading the crisps round it – If I’d done this only my dog would have eaten crisps.  She also recommends blue corn tortilla chips to dip, but I couldn’t get them and wolfed it down with doritos instead.

Now for a confession:  I have never scrambled an egg before, and I don’t really like them.  So Mexican scrambled eggs seems a strange choice for dinner.  I liked the idea of it being more than just a wet yellow mess, so I thought I’d give it a go!

To make Mexican Scrambled Eggs for two you will need: vegetable oil, 2 soft corn tortillas, 1 tomato, 1 spring onion, 1 small green chilli (I used a jarred one from the Roquamole) 4 beaten eggs and a quarter teaspoon of Maldon Salt (or a pinch of normal salt)

First de-seed and chop up the tomato and chilli, and roughly chop the spring onion.  Then heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your heavy based frying pan, cut up the tortillas and lob them in the frying pan and toss them round a bit until golden and crispy.  Remove them from the pan and put to one side.

Put the tomato, chilli and spring onion into the oily pan, stirring it around for a minute to two.  Add the fried tortillas and then pour in the beaten eggs and the salt.

Scramble the eggs in the normal style, once the eggs start setting remove from the heat and continue stirring until they’re done to your liking.  This is where I went slightly wrong, never having scrambled an egg before – I think I kept it moving in the right way but I just kept on going.  As a result they were a bit rubbery and squeaked like halloumi against my teeth.

mexican8

Voila!  Mexican Night!  It was delicious.  I wish I’d made the Roquamole for four rather than halving the ingredients, normal Guacamole is dead to me now and I will probably die a fat cheesy mess.  I loved the eggs, the tortillas gave it a brilliant texture and were really tasty – and it wasn’t too spicy!

Halfway through his eggs my lover turned to me and said “I’ll teach you how to scramble an egg and you can try again…”

High praise indeed.

 

 

Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

Periodic Pudding Number 4: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Far too many weeks have passed since I dusted off an old dessert, so last week I thought I’d give one a bash.  The Pineapple Upside-Down Cake has seen more comebacks than Cher.  I remember begging my mum to try making us one went it swooped back into fashion in the 90s.  It was a disaster… probably Anthea Turner’s fault.

I can’t tell if the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is making an actual comeback, there seem to be a lot of them plastered across Pinterest but I might be missing some implied irony.  Anyway, there’s a recipe in Nigella Express and I wanted dessert.

To make Nigella’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake you will need: a 24cm tatin tin/23cm solid cake tin, 6 slices pineapple plus 3 tbs of the juice from the tin, 11 glace cherries, 100g flour, 1 tsp baking powder, quarter tsp bicarb, 100g soft butter (plus extra for greasing), 100g caster sugar (plus extra for the tin) and 2 eggs.

Firstly, turn the oven on to 200c/gas 6 (alter if you have a fan oven), butter the base of your tatin pan – I would recommend buttering the sides too – then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the the butter and arrange the pineapple rings and cherries on the bottom.

My tin is slightly smaller than the recipe recommends, but it’s the same one I do my tatins in.  In the old days, this was exotic.

Nigella recommends doing the next step in a food processor, but I did it by hand because I had a headache.  Put all the cake ingredients (butter, flour, eggs, bicarb, baking powder and sugar) into a bowl and mix them together until the batter is smooth.  Then add 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice from the tin and stir some more.

Pour the mix over the pineapples  and spread it out gently to cover all the fruit in the bottom.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Run a spatula around the edge of the tin, put a plate over the top and flip it over without burning yourself on the red-hot cast iron skillet or on any escaping molten pineapple juice, and you should have yourself a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake… mine looked like this:

I don’t remember it being such a heavy cake, maybe I’ll use less pineapple juice next time to see if it lightens the sponge a bit.

We just ate it on its own, but I’m guessing in the old days people ate it with a tin of carnation, or a slice of span or something.  Definitely one to make again!

 

Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

Week 24: Beef Kofta Curry, fluffy rice, beans & peas

That processor has corrupted me, corrupted I say.  I’m power mad, and to prove it I cracked open Jamie’s 15 minute meals… one of the many recipes that requires electricity!

I know it irks you when I say these things, but I had no idea what a puy lentil was, or that it was a different thing to the orange art-class lentil.  I couldn’t get even a sniff of a puy lentil in Hammersmith and had to go searching.  But I had the rest of the ingredients.

To make this for four you will need: 1 x 250g pack of ready-to-eat Puy Lentils, 1 heaped tsp garam masala, 400g lean mince, 3 ripe tomatoes, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 spring onions, 1 red chilli, bunch fresh coriander, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp runny honey, 2 heaped tsp Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Paste, half a tin of coconut milk, 300g basmati rice, 5 cardamom pods, 200g green or yellow beans and 200g frozen peas.  Jamie also says to use fat-free natural yoghurt, a lemon and 2 uncooked poppadoms, but I didn’t bother with those.  I’m not sure how big a bunch I was supposed to get, but Sainsbury’s sold me this:

I reckon it was too big.

After trying the last two recipes from this book I decided to ditch the frantic 15 minute malarky and calm down a bit.  To start with I scrunched together the lentils, garam masala, mince, with some salt and pepper.  It made a brain:

I had a whole Sainsbury’s fail and could only get a 500g pack of mince (the butchers was miles away in the other direction, I still feel bad cheating on him) so it made a much larger brain than was intended.  Once you have your brain, wet your hands and divide it in half and then mould each half into 6 fat fingers.  They look like mice at this point, which was the exact moment my squeamish lover chose to pop into the kitchen to see how I was going.  Oops.

At this point Jamie says you should put them in the pan, but to avoid burning everything I skipped that bit and skipped straight to the exciting blender bit.  Speed freak.

In your powerful yet sleek liquidizer put in the tomatoes, peeled ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, the coriander stalks (although not all of them if you’ve accidentally bought a tree of it) the tumeric, honey, rogan josh paste and half the tin of coconut milk.  It will look like this:

Blitz that mother down.  Vroom.  Now time to start cooking, calmly and serenely.

Put a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and turn the heat up high, then boil the kettle.  When the oil is hot stick the koftas in the pan, turning them when golden.  Put the rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a medium lidded pan and the (pre-halved) beans on top.  Put the lid on.

After a few minutes, give the liquidizer another quick blast, because its fun, and then pour the mix into the frying pan with the koftas.  Bring it to the boil and then simmer.  My pans don’t have tight fitting lids, so I had to weigh the lid down to stop the bubbly rice water from going all over my hob… which looked like this:

By now, I reckon you should be about 5 minutes before the rice is done, so open the lid of the rice pan, put the frozen peas in and give it all a good stir round.  After this Jamie says you should microwave your poppadoms, but I don’t have a microwave and forgot to buy the poppadoms, so I skipped it to take pictures.

Slice the other half of the chilli and the coriander leaves to artistically scatter over the dish.  Next time I make this I won’t scatter the chilli because it was really hot and gave me the hiccups.

beefkofta5

This was the first recipe from this book that I have loved, and the first where my lover has said I can make it again.

The quantities are to serve four, and rather than mess around with halving all the quantities I made the curry for four and the rice for two (150g rice, 1 mug water, 100g beans & 100g peas) and froze half of it.  It froze, defrosted and re-heated really well (although the koftas fell apart and were more like chunks than mice) so I will definitely make it again.  As a bonus I can use the other half of the tin of coconut milk, the other half of the bunch of spring onions and the other half of the pack of fine beans for Nigella’s curry in a hurry (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) – no waste and I get to process stuff, Boom!

jamie 15min

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)

Week 23a: Sausage Casserole

On Saturday the TV cook Clarissa Dixon Wright died, along with Jenifer Paterson she sparked my interest in cooking more than just cake – it just took me sixteen years to do anything about it!

I used to be a stew monster.  But since moving to London, and starting the New Recipe Night project I’ve not made one – all the books seem to list hundreds of ingredients for a stew, and I’ve banned myself from the Coleman’s Packs.  Then today when I heard about Clarissa on the radio, I reached for my copy of Clarissa’s Comfort Food and found this really simple sausage casserole recipe to make in her honour.

The recipe says it serves four, but I think you could easily halve the ingredients and there’d still be enough for four.  You’ll need 900g of sausages (approx 16 Richmond style bangers, less if you get big ones from the butchers) four onions, oil (although if the sausages are oily you won’t need it), 1 garlic clove, a tin of tomatoes and a bottle of beer/half a bottle of red wine.

For this recipe you need a flameproof casserole dish, or big lidded oven-pan that can go on the hob and in the oven.  Start off by browning the sausages and putting them aside.

This is pretty much my comfort eating fantasy.  The recipe says you should put oil in the pan and then fry the onions, but I just used the oil from the sausages.

When they’ve changed colour slightly, add the garlic and a few minutes later add the sausages

Season with salt and pepper, and then throw in the tomatoes and beer/wine and lob it in the oven at gas mark 4/180c/350f for an hour.

I didn’t take it out to stir or anything, and it came just like this.  To go with it I made mustard-y mashed potatoes, and did some beans.

sausagecass5

I guess with bigger sausages and hungrier diners it would be fine for four, but we’ve got two more portions going into the freezer, and with more mash we could easily have served eight.

I’m not sure where you’d find a copy of this book, maybe in the charity shops, or on Amazon, but it’s a good book with lots of comforting food, so track down a copy if you can.

Clarissa DW

Clarissa’s Comfort Food, by Clarissa Dixon Wright (Kyle Cathie Limited, 2008. ISBN: 978 1 85626 713 7)

Week 23: Barbecued Beef Mince

There’s an awful lot of tedious back story to this week’s new recipe; so of course I shall recount it all.

Nigella’s Barbecued Beef Mince recipe is on the page after last weeks triumphal Cheesy Chilli ( https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/week-22-cheesy-chilli/ ) and while I was cooking the chilli I kept looking at the picture of this brown stuff with nachos.  Then I read it:  Barbecued Beef Mince is the same thing as Sloppy Joes!  I had heard of Sloppy Joes but never tried it, and didn’t know what it actually was… it’s not the sort of thing my mum would ever have made with a name like that.

So I read the recipe, realised everything needed processing together and put it aside – my luddite kitchen was not equipped with a blender.  And then suddenly it was!

My lover’s boss was getting rid of his old mixer, he did this by offering it to everyone in the office, rather than putting it in a bin like any normal person.  When he lugged it through the door my heart leapt; YES!  I can cook all those liquidised recipes I have, and can eat meals through straws!  Boom!

I skipped off into town and bought the ingredients: 1 stick celery, 3 cloves garlic, 2 onions, 150g rindless smoked streaky bacon, 2 carrots, vegetable oil, dark brown sugar (3 tablespoons, 2 in the sauce) ground cloves (pinch), ground allspice (half teaspoon) 500g beef mince, 1 can chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce (3 tablespoons) bourbon (3 tablespoons) and tomato puree (2 tablespoons, but you can use sundried tomato paste if you like).  I was surprised how many of these ingredients I already had in my cupboard, this never would have happened in week one!

But then disaster struck… I decided to clean the mixer (it smelled like the last thing my lovers’ boss had liquidised was his underpants) and found that it didn’t work!  NOOOOOOO!  Faced with the prospect of Chunky Joes, I had to buy a mixer.  To cut a long story short the luddite days are over at Casa Del Crump:

There’s a preamble for you.  Behold my new toy; with some carrots.

The first stop in making this is to jam the carrots, celery, bacon, garlic and onions onions into the food processor and keep it spinning around until its all mushed up.  Like this:

Once it’s fully blended, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed lidded pan and cook the orange mush for 15-20 minutes.  While this is cooking, mix the can of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bourbon, tomato puree and add the tomato tin of cold water into a jug, and add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.  I only had dark muscavado sugar, so mine turned out like this:

I don’t know if it’s right.  It smelled kinda fishy…

After the orange mush has turned mushy-er and soft, add a pinch of ground cloves, the allspice and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar.  Give it a good stir and add the mince.  At this point it will look horrible, like so:

A little like a brain.  Eww.  When the pink turns grey add the jug of sauce, stir it, lid it, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes.  While this is simmering away you could make a start trying to scrub the carrot dye off your sexy new mixer without cutting your fingers off.  Also, you can prepare your chosen serving suggestion.  I decided to try it with tortillas and in a bread roll (they were left over from last weeks burger night https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/week-4-burger-night/ )

I know the dish is called Sloppy Joes, but I wasn’t prepared for it to look like this:

I’ll admit, it put me off slightly.  It was like the ultimate protein shake.  Worse still, buoyed by the success of last weeks chilli I made the full amount so I could freeze portions, leaving me with an enormous vat of slurry on my hob.

It has a certain taint to it.  I can’t tell if it was the celery (hate celery) or the bacon/allspice but it wasn’t very nice straight from the pan.  Also it was very watery, maybe I needed to simmer it longer?  The bread roll wasn’t a good idea, it just got wet and my lover has a thing about wet bread.

I froze the rest of the Sloppy Joes, and had a portion on a baked potato the other day and it was much better after it had been through the freezer.  If I make this again (when I have a bigger freezer) I’ll make it and freeze it straight away!

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Week 22: Cheesy Chilli

I know I’ve done chilli before, but the book fell open at this recipe during the other week’s puttanescapades (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/slut-vs-putta/). So I thought I’d give it a whirl, and see how it compared against the other chilli’s in my life.

It won.  This recipe actually won above all the recipes I’ve cooked in weeks!  I think after a few weeks of being an almost vegetarian, the massive amount of meat Nigella asks for gave me some sort of carnivorous euphoria.

To make this chilli (to serve 4-6),  you will need 110g chorizo, 500g beef mince, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato puree (or sundried tomato paste – which I didn’t have), 400g can chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce, 400g can kidney beans, 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, salt, pepper and optional coriander to taste.

First up, I chopped up the chorizo and put it in the pan, then added the mince when the oil started to come out of the chorizo.

Once the mince stops looking raw, add the cocoa powder, oregano and puree/paste and mix it all up. Then add all the other ingredients (except the cheese) and bring to a bubble

Turn the heat down low and simmer for 20 minutes.  What I adore about Nigella’s Kitchen book is that she’ll give a recipe that makes for six, and then tells you which bits you can freeze/refrigerate, and tells you where to stop and freeze.  Normally I would try to halve a recipe so as just to cook for my lover and I, but this time I thought “No!  Nigella knows best!”: so I made the chilli for six and froze half of it:

When the freezer portion has been taken out of the pot, turn up the heat to get it bubbling, chop up the mozzarella and stir it in, season and stir.

I bought baked potatoes to have with this, and then when I was heating the pan to start off the chorizo I realised that I had completely forgotten to put them in the oven… so we had it with rice:

Cheesychilli5

Did I mention that this is my favourite meaty chilli recipe?  I loved the Hairy Bikers Chilli from week 3 (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/week-3-chilli-con-carne/) which is much more vegetable based; Nigella’s chilli was much less hot – no hiccups from me!  I know I said this about the week 3 chilli, but I will definitely make this again.. I just wish I had a bigger freezer!

Nigella writes much better instructions than me, so if you see a copy of Kitchen for sale anywhere buy it, and if its already sat on your bookshelf its on page 31!  YUM!

Nigella Kitchen

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)