Month: December 2014

Week 64: Gardeners Pie

Boxing day is always a day for leftovers.  Even the poisoner has some spare after Christmas dinner.  Rather than some charred bubble and squeak I thought this recipe from the Good Granny Cookbook might save the day.  Gardener’s Pie was originally a wartime creation to help people stomach a load of veg, instead of the shepherd they’d usually cook under a layer of fluffy mash.  Pretty Christmassy eh?

The recipe uses a load of spare raw veg, but I’d imagine it’d work just as well with cooked cold veg – I think you’d just have to cook it until it was hot, rather than until it was cooked; if that makes sense?

To make this for 6 you will need 1kg of mixed winter veg (I used a leek, an onion, a carrot, a parsnip, and half a small cabbage – but the recipe also suggests celery, swede, cauliflower and Jerusalem artichokes), olive oil, stock, salt & pepper, 900g floury potatoes, 50g butter, 400ml milk, and 115g grated cheese.

Set the oven at 200 and start boiling the potatoes, and in a wide shallow pan heat 2tbs of olive oil. Throw the veg in and turn them in the oil until they start to colour.  Add enough stock/water to stop the veg sticking.  If you’re using leftovers you can use less stock/water as you only need to warm the veg through rather than cook it from scratch.

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Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated.  The veg should be slightly crunchy (it won’t be if it’s leftover, unless you fried it for slightly longer… Oh I should have said that earlier)  season with salt and pepper and pour the veg into your pie dish.  It should seem a little dry, that’s ok though cos the moisture should come out of your veg in the oven.

I slightly disagree with the recipe for the potatoes, to my mind there’s far too much milk and it makes it more like a soup.  Mash the potatoes with milk (to taste) butter (of course) and cheese (controversial, but since when did Boxing Day become a diet day?) I’d also add a teaspoon of mustard powder or a big slosh of Lea & Perrins.  Plop the mash on top of the veg and scribe pretty/offensive patterns with a fork/dagger.

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The recipe is rather vague when it comes to the oven bit, but vagues OK if you have a hangover like I usually do on boxing day.  Basically, when you’ve finished sculpting the mash over the top of the veg pop it in the oven until the potato goes brown.  In my oven this took about 15 minutes.

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Serve with some leftover meat and some freshly cooked stink bombs sprouts and enjoy before dozing off infront of a repeat on telly.

 

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Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

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Week 63: Daal Curry, Warm Tomato Salad and Naan

I know, I know, I know. It’s December, cook sommat festive you fool. I wish I had actually, cos here’s a thing Mr Oliver didn’t mention: Fenugreek stinks. And lingers. I’m not even being a bit precious for my tiny flat here, it’s been two nights since I made it and it still scrapes at my eyeballs in the style of a chemical attack when my cold and I came back to the flat tonight. And I had a massive dirty three-pan fry-up last night which I thought would’ve got rid of it…

The moral of this pre-christmas story is: if you can’t find fenugreek, don’t start pounding the leafy streets of West London to find a fenugreek tree to harvest; shrug and forget about it – this curry is delicious and probably won’t miss it.

So anyway, to make this for for you will need: an onion, a clove of garlic, a thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 fresh chillies, a red pepper (de-seeded), a bunch of coriander, rapeseed oil (I couldn’t find that so I used sunflower), fresh curry leaves (I used dry), 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1tsp mustard seeds, 300g dried red lentils, 1 400g tin coconut milk, 200g baby spinach, and 700ml boilingwater.

That’s just for the daal, for the salad you will need: 500g ripe mixed-colour tomatoes, a lemon, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp mustard seeds, and two cloves of garlic.  Serve with naan bread and some yoghurt.

Somehow I managed to get this done in about 20-25 minutes, mostly by having a sous chef. It all took quite a while in the blender which definitely took me over the 15 minutes, I didn’t cut the bits up small enough.

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Turn on a large casserole pan high and the oven on 130c. Chuck the onion (peeled and cut up a bit), the garlic and ginger, the chillies, pepper, corriander stalks, and after seasoning with some salt and pepper blitz it until it’s all chopped up small.

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When that’s done put a tablespoon of oil into the pan with the curry leaves, turmeric, fenugreek (don’t) and mustard seeds.  Stir it up, add the blitzed veg and fry for a couple of minutes then add the lentils, the tin of coconut milk, and 700ml boiling water. Bring to the boil and stir regularly.

Naans in the oven and put the frying pan on low. Halve all the tomatoes, thinly slice half of the lemon (including the skin), and crush 2 cloves of garlic if you don’t have one of those fancy garlic crushers. Add 1tbs oil, the chopped lemon slithers, 1tsp mustard seeds, the garlic and squeeze the other half of the lemon over the mix. Toss the tomatoes round the pan and serve in a posh bowl.

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The daal should have thickened by now so add the spinach and stir until it’s wilted.  Get yer naans out and plate up your daal.

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I’m not entirely sure if I’d make it again, it was lovely but I hadn’t planned on it doubling as a chemical weapon – which has also given me a vicious pre-christmas cold.  I wouldn’t make the tomatoey bit again, it was OK – good for a different texture, but I wasn’t a fan of the lemony bits.

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So next week is Boxing Day – don’t even think about getting your bubble and squeak on until you’ve read new recipe night!  Merry Christmas!!

 

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

jamie 15min

Week 62: Leek and Bacon Tart

I’ve always been firmly of the opinion that the secret to good pastry is lard.  I know it’s an unfashionable thing to think these days, but it’s true. This recipe has been staring at me from the good granny cookbook every time I make toad in the hole, I’m not sure why it’s taken me over a year to give it a try.

First you need to make the pastry, which is nothing to be scared of. You will need 225g plain flour, 55g butter and 55g lard.  Roughly cut the butter and lard into cubes and rub it in to the flour with your finger tips.  Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir it with a knife after each spoonful. When it clumps together squash it into a bowl, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.

To make the filling you will need: 30g butter, 650g leeks (thinly sliced across), 85g smoked bacon, 90g Gruyere cheese (grated), 4 egg yolks 280ml single cream and salt & pepper to season.

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When end the pastry has stiffened up take it out the fridge, roll it out and line your trusty 9″ tart tin; make sure you prick the bottom with a fork.  Turn the oven on to 190c and heat the butter in a frying pan.  Once it’s melted gently cook the leeks for about 5 minutes until they’re soft but not brown.  Spread them over the pastry case.

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Cut the bacon into strips and fry for 5 minutes, grate the Gruyere while you wait.  I bought quite thick bacon for this, but I wish I’d bought much thicker bacon or gammon – next time!

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Spread the bacon over the leeks and sprinkle the cheese on top.  In a jug whisk together the cream and egg yolks, season with salt and pepper and pour over the tart mix.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set.

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I had this hot and cold, and it was delicious both times; but I think cold from the fridge was my favourite – ideal for a quick dinner after work!  As I said I’d probably use thicker bacon/gammon next time but I’d definitely have it again with the normal bacon if that’s all I had in.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good quiche, but this was somehow better.

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Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 61: Spanish Omelette

Ole! Nothing warms a December teatime more than eating something foreign. And simple food always tastes better, right? I had made myself the Gammon and Peas from Nigella’s Express book, and was flicking through the rest and liked the picture.

I do like a good omelette, with this one containing potatoes I didn’t have to do oven chips to go with it. Another bonus is that because you’re meant to eat it cold it’ll do 2 days – I’m not sure if I’m supposed to make it last 2 days, but we didn’t die…

To make this for 4 (or 8 if you’re doing a load more Tapas to go with it) you will need: 225g baby new potatoes, 4 eggs, 75g flame-roasted jarred peppers, 3 spring onions, 75g manchego/cheddar cheese, butter, oil, salt & pepper. You’ll need to finely chop the onions, roughly chop the peppers, and halve the potatoes.

Also, you’ll need a small-ish heavy bottomed frying pan that can go in the oven/under the grill – non of your plastic handles here!

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I always think these look like tongues…

Depending on your grill you’ll need to turn it on so its hot enough to finish off the omelette.  My grill needs about a weeks notice before doing a round of toast so I have to turn it on really early – but you might be able turn your on when you start frying the omelette.  Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, then drain them.  While they’re boiling grate the cheese, then whisk the eggs together in a bowl/a big jug. Throw in the peppers, onions, cheese and free potatoes, then season to taste.

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Heat 1 tsp of oil and a splash of oil in the frying pan, when it’s hot (but not crazily hot) pour the omelette mix in. Now apparently you don’t need to stir this, so didn’t. When my lover makes omelettes there’s grunting and pushing and alsorts – I quite like this sedate form of omelettry.

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After the omelette has cooked for 5 minutes move the pan under the grill to finish off.  This is instead of turning it over, which I guess would stop it being Spanish Omelette shaped.  Leave it under the grill for a few minutes until it’s pretty much set, then take it from under the grill and turn it upside-down onto a plate. If you can do it without burning yourself that would be great.

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Nigella says that the omelette will keep cooking as it cools down so you don’t need to worry if it’s a bit wobbly in the middle – I can’t comment on this as mine came out a little charred, so there’s no way that bad boy was uncooked when I turned it out.  Leave it to cool down the. Cut it into wedges.

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I even remembered to buy some salad!  I’d definitely make this again, nice and simple and really tasty – and I’ll have a crack at some other Spanish-y bits.

 

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

nigella express