Month: July 2014

Week 42: Fruity Rice Salad

I’m back!  With party food!  Well, a rice-y salad – but it’s much better than the Martha salad I made the other week.  This last week has been insanely hot, 30c and really clammy.  Hate it.  I thought that making a salad would be the ultimate rain-dance.  It wasn’t, it was still hot and I was covered in pineapple (I obviously wasn’t sticky enough), and the rain that tried to fall in my corner of London came down as steam… but at least I had salad; and it’s the salad I’m bringing along to Fiesta Friday!  It’s been a while!

When I was young my gran would always make a rice dish at family parties – it was yellow with bits of tinned orange and peas in it, and I thought this was an update of that recipe (I’d make the actual recipe but every time I ask my gran she says it’s a secret, which either means she makes it up as she goes along, or has been secretly buying it frozen since 1964).

This recipe is in the Hairy Bikers diet book, and like all the recipes – it uses a lot of ingredients, but I had all the spices and just had to buy in the rice and fruit/veg. That would never have happened when I started the new recipe night project.  This week the ingredient that had never before darkened my kitchen was wholegrain rice – I’d had it at friends’ houses, but never cooked it myself.  I don’t know why I left it so long – it didn’t take as long to cook as I thought it would, and I’ve been getting a bit bored of bismati rice.

This recipe serves 4 as a lunch, or 6 as an accompaniment, or maybe more in a bowl at a barbeque, and is roughly 800 calories for the whole dish.  You will need 125g easy-cook wholegrain rice, olive oil, half a medium red onion, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, half a tsp ground turmeric, a small un-waxed lemon, 1 small pineapple (200g prepared weight), half a cucumber, 100g red grapes, handful of chopped up coriander.

Tip 125g of rice into a half full pan of boiling water, stir the rice then bring to the boil.  The recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but this depends on how easy-cook your rice is, and if it’s not easy cook then follow the instructions on the packet.

Once the rice is on, finely chop the onion, half the grapes, cut the cucumber into into 1.5cm chunks and the pineapple into 2cm chunks.  I think I’d cut the cucumber up smaller next time, the chunks were too big – and I’d use prepared pineapple.

Heat 2tsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and soften the onion in it for about 4 minutes.  Add the cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and cook for about 30 seconds before adding 2 tablespoons of cold water.

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Cook for about 2 minutes – stirring continuously – until the the water has evaporated, then remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of the lemon.  Stir and leave to cool.

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Mix the cucumber, grapes and pineapple in a party-proof serving bowl.  When the rice is cooked drain it in a sieve/strainer and then run it under the cold tap until the rice is cool, then tip it into the onion pan and stir it around until the rice is fully coated in the onions and spice mix.  Stir the rice mix into the fruit in the serving bowl, scatter it with chopped coriander and serve to your adoring guests.

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HA the ultimate serving suggestion!  I should have added some more cocktail umbrellas but I can’t remember where I put them.

Would I make it again?  Yes and no… I would make the rice and stir it into the onion and spice, maybe with some sultanas, but I don’t think I’d go the whole hog with the bits of pineapple.  The second night we had it I served it with some barbeque chicken I got from the deli counter and it was much nicer than eating it on its own.

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The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)

Hairy Dieters

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Week 41: Tomatoes and Mozzarella on Brioche

A Summery Cheese based recipe you say?  Sounds like a job for yours truly to add something summery to his culinary repertoire while also making his first recipe from another bookshelf veteran.

I got Matt Tebbutt’s Cooks Country a while back, from either a Jubilee party or my Mum’s village fete.  I’ve flicked through it every month and liked the look of something and then not be able to find the ingredients in London (having said that its hard enough finding a beef tomato in Hammersmith, nevermind a grouse).

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July’s Cheese, Please! is for summery recipes involving cheese, and I think this definitely fits the bill.  To make it for two you will need: 25g salted butter, 2 beef tomatoes, 4 anchovy fillets, 120g creme fresh, 2 balls buffalo mozzarella drained and torn up (see above), some basil (I didn’t) and 2 slices of brioche.

Heat 25g of salted butter in a heavy bottomed frying, and while you’re waiting for the butted to start foaming cut the tomatoes in half, lengthways.  Season them with salt and pepper and then put them in the pan cut side down.

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After 5 minutes turn them and cook for 5 more minutes.  Add the anchovy fillets and mash them up so they dissolve.  Put the brioche under the grill.

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Stir in the creme fresh and bring it to the boil and let it thicken. This step is very important because otherwise it can go quite watery.

Tip in the mozzarella, stir round and serve on the warm brioche.

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I wasn’t sure whether I’d like this, what with not being the world’s biggest fan of tomatoes, but I did!  Definitely a summer dish – its small and quick enough to eat without passing out of heat exhaustion, and filling enough to keep you satisfied.  If only there was a single beef tomato to be had in the whole of W6.  YUM.

Summery cheese based delicious recipe, with cocktail umbrella… check, check and check.

 

Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country, by Matt Tebbutt (Mitchell Beazley 2008, ISBN 978-1-84533-371-3)

matttebbutt

Week 40: South Indian Vegetable Curry

In a moment of vegetable deficiency I walked all the way to the veg stall and bought the world’s biggest cauliflower to make this veg curry I’ve had my eye on in Nigella’s kitchen book.  I’m pretty sure I was mainly attracted to it for the challenge of finding tamarind paste (which was only a challenge because I didn’t look in the bomb-shelter that is Hammersmith Sainsbury’s first).

To make this for four you will need: 2 x tbsp garlic oil, 1 onion, 1 green chilli, 2cm chunk fresh ginger, crushed chilli flakes, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, 1 can of coconut milk, 600ml vegetable stock, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp tamarind paste, 350g cauliflower, 350g broccoli, 100g fine beans, 125g baby corn, and 150g sugar snap peas.  Serve with rice or a warmed naan bread.  Or both…

Firstly,  Break the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, trim and half the beans, half the baby corns, cut the ginger into fine strips, de-seed and finely chop the chilli, and peel and cut the onion into half moons (sort of like orange segments).  While you’re finishing this off start the oil heating in a thick bottomed casserole or a large saucepan.

Fry the onion – sprinkled with a pinch of sea-salt flakes – until the onion starts to soften, then add the chopped green chilli (I used a red one I had left over in the fridge) and the ginger strips.  Nudge it all around the pan for about a minute.

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Add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp of ground ginger and give it all a good stir to ensure the onion is coated in the spices, and cook for about another minute then pour in the coconut milk, the vegetable stock, a tsp of sugar, and the tamarind paste.  Stir again and bring to the boil.

Nigella says that at this point you can stop cooking to finish off the next day, or portion it up to freeze for another day, and I took half out to put in the freezer – but I had the hob on too high in the next stage and had to add it back to stop it boiling dry.  The flamethrower hob strikes again!

Once the sauce is boiling (either the first time round, or when its been reheated) add the cauliflower and the broccoli and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans and baby corns and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Once the vegetables are tender add the sugar snaps and serve when they’re hot.

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Again I’ve tried a new recipe in the summer and decided it’s definitely a winter dish.  It’s delicious, and very cozy, and I’d imagine Ideal for doing something different with the spare un-cooked veg at Christmas – or Thanksgiving if that’s your thing!

 

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

Nigella Kitchen

Week 39: Korean Fried Rice, Steak, Mushrooms & Pickles

Instead of cooking something tricky at the weekend and writing it up in time for Friday morning, like I usually do; this week I decided that I’d trash my kitchen with a Jamie Oliver recipe on a work night. Fool.

To make this for four you will need: 2 250g packs of cooked brown rice (like Uncle Ben’s or similar), a lemon, 125g oyster mushrooms, sesame oil, low-salt soy sauce, sherry vinegar, clove garlic, 2 x 250g sirloin steaks, 1 cucumber, 2 spring onions, caster sugar, 1 little gem lettuce, harissa paste, 100g baby spinach, 2 large eggs and some sesame seeds. I was cooking only for him and me, so I used half the quantities.

You’ll need a large frying pan at medium heat, and a griddle pan at high heat, and you’ll need to get your food processor out – but if you’re not fussed about making this in 15 minutes, and you’re a tidy chopper you can use a knife instead.

Put the cooked rice into the frying pan, with the lemon juice and keep stirring it regularly.  With tongs place the mushrooms on the griddle, and turn them over when they’re charred.  While they’re charring mix 1 tbs of oil, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sherry vinegar, and a crushed up/minced garlic clove in a bowl.

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Slice the steak into 1cm thick strips, transfer the mushrooms into the marinade and lay the steak out on the griddle in one layer.  Slice the cucumber and the spring onion and tip into a bowl with a pinch of sugar and salt, a drizzle of soy sauce and of sherry vinegar, and scrunch it all together.

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When the steak is done to your liking put it in the bowl with the mushrooms and mix it all in with the sauce.  Tip the rice into a bowl, and put the a teaspoon of the sesame oil in the pan.  Crack two eggs into the pan and cook for a minute and a half on each side – sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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I’m not sure the best way to serve this.  The picture shows it all in separate bowls, which I did, and then we lobbed it all on to our plates – I could have done this in the kitchen and saved a load of washing up…

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It was OK.  If I make it again I’d use different mushrooms – the oyster mushrooms with were a bit like cold wet ears.  I’d also cut everything up with the knife, maybe leaving out the cucumber/onion mix out and bring it straight from the kitchen already plated up.

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And I wouldn’t make it on a work night.

 

 

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

jamie 15min