Cupboard Love

Week 79: Greek Salad

Like the swallows returning and the leaves turning brown there are events in my kitchen that Mark the changing turning of the seasons… The first stew, first quiche, and the first salad. This week I made the first salad of the year. In London spring has sprung.

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Week 70: Thai Vegetable Curry

Its a while since I did something for the vegetarians.  I’ve had a very meaty January, but I was making the Thai Chickpea Curry from the Cupboard Love book last week and this one is on the page opposite (and covered in curry) (more…)

Week 15a: Thai Chickpea Curry

Those darn waxy potatoes taunting me again!

After the vegetable cutlets debacle (http://wp.me/p42Dr4-X) I went online to find out which potatoes were waxy and which weren’t – I was surprised to learn that there are so many!  Unfortunately, I was looking on the run up to Christmas, and the already limited choice of potatoes in Hammersmith was distinctly floury.

Then, I chanced upon a pack of Maris Peer potatoes in M&S Foodhall.  I pounced on them, and then bought them to avoid the angry stares of security.  Not wanting to try feeding my lover the cutlets again I remembered a different recipe in the Cupboard Love book:  Thai Chickpea Curry!

This curry uses garlic, fresh ginger, black pepper, vegetable oil, a medium sized waxy potato, madras curry powder, coconut milk, a tin of chickpeas, tomatoes, soy sauce, salt and sugar.  For once, I had most of the ingredients in, and the others weren’t hard to find.

Then I hit my only hurdle.  The recipe asked me to pound or blitz the ginger, pepper and ginger into a paste.  I didn’t have  pounder or a blitzer, but the waxy potatoes were mocking me, so I had to improvise:

My rolling pin and tin foil blitz-pounding-extravaganza!  It didn’t turn very paste-like, more like lumpy dust actually, but I had to improvise…

Like all wok-cooked curries, everything else gets lobbed in pretty quickly, and then it boils and simmers down, from this:

To this:

The tomatoes get put in for the last few minutes.  The recipe said to put in basil or coriander, but I didn’t have either (and it was the night before I escaped north for Christmas so I wasn’t going to get any in specially) so I left it out.

I have to say, it turned out delicious.

Thai Chickpea 5

I’ve made it three times now, and its turned out slightly differently every time.  The only problem I have with this curry is that what my body does to cheap eggs is nothing compared to what it can do to half a can of chickpeas.

I canvassed my friends and the various suggestions for making chickpeas less gassy included peeling the chickpeas (which I don’t fancy doing for a whole tin of them) adding parsley (which either stops the gas or makes it smell like parsley…?) or either cooking the chickpeas for longer or shorter (but my friend couldn’t remember which)

If anyone knows how to make chickpeas less ‘trumpy’ or knows a substitute that’s as tasty and comes in a handy 400g tin, please do not hesitate to post a comment below (No, seriously, please do – I can’t open my bedroom windows, I need a solution before I make it again)

But to end on a nicer note, I bought myself a little present before I cracked open the tinfoil to make it a third time:

My kitchen’s becoming high-tech!

(I meant to post this Christmas week, and I completely forgot – and now its the end of January… So Slack!)

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Week 14: Crabby Noodles

Ladies and Gentlemen there is a dead crab in my kitchen.

It still has eyeballs.

crabbynoodles1

I called it Nigel.  I’ll admit I chickened out of getting one I’d need to wrestle into a pan of boiling water for a whistle-y death in my kitchen;  I got a dressed one instead.  One day, I’m sure I will commit crabicide – but not the first time I’ve cooked it!

I saw the Crabby Noodles in the Cupboard Love book on week 12 when I did the Thai Style Noodle Fry-Up – https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/week-12-a-thai-style-noodle-fry-up/ –  and thought it would be good to give it a go.

The recipe uses: rice stick noodles, chilli and garlic sauce, spring onions, courgette, Thai fish sauce, lime, and crab meat.

I got everything lined up ready like they do on the telly.  It was good to be organised, and I felt just like Nigella (however, I looked more like Mrs Craddock) – more importantly I could baff it all in the wok without having to panic.

It cooked so quickly I couldn’t really take any other pictures, until it was all bubbling at the end, as seen above!

I had a slight crab panic, because I didn’t know if I should save the spare meat for lunch the next day; or if it would kill me after being in the fridge so long.  So rather than die, I lobbed it all in and it was a little too crabby.  My lover said I should have put more courgette in, but if I’d got one any bigger it would have been a marrow.  I think next time I’ll just use the quantity the recipe asks for, and pop the rest in the freezer.

crabbynoodles2

When I have a bigger freezer, I’ll buy a few crabs at once and portion them off so I can make this quickly; but I’ll definitely make this again!

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cupboard-Love-Most-Your-Kitchen/dp/0340835265

Week 12: A Thai Style Noodle Fry-Up

After the meatballs and cutlets didn’t turn out so well, I decided to do something very simple and quick.  So quick in fact, I spent longer chopping than cooking.  It’s been a few years since I last got my wok out, and I have never cooked rice noodles before.

Everything chopped and ready to wok – it felt a bit like cooking on TV but stir-frying is very fast and I’ve had them go wrong in the past when I’ve had to stop and chop something halfway through.  Above: chopped chillies, spring onions and garlic, beaten eggs and prepared sauce.

After doing the preparation you heat the wok and then put the eggs in.  The book said to start the egg as if you’re making an omelette – which made me laugh, because I’ve never made one before…

The omelette with the chillies, spring onions and garlic.

100g beansprouts – this was the only thing I wasn’t sure about, because I’ve only ever eaten shop prepared stir-fry before and I’m not a big fan of the beansprouts in them; however this recipe gives them time to wilt and soak up the sauce.  After this the noodles get added to the sauce and it’s on the table as quick as you like.

noodles4

It’s really tasty.  The only thing I don’t like about it  (which has more to do with what I don’t like about my local Sainsbury’s than the recipe) is that we have to eat it twice in a row if I’m only making it for two. The recipe needs 100g of beansprouts and the smallest pack I can get is 200g.

If you’re at a loss for something to spend your amazon vouchers on, I can’t recommend this book enough: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cupboard-Love-Most-Your-Kitchen/dp/0340835265 or if you have good old-fashioned cash your local Smiths/Bookshop will probably still have a copy on the shelf.  Mine came from the charity shop for £2.95!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas (/Holidays) and a Happy New Year!

Cheers

Simon

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Week 10: Vegetable Cutlets

I love burger night.  I actually love it.

However, I am aware that some of my friends would rather remain vegetarian than sample the delights of the usual beef burger I make… Not to worry: Cupboard Love to the rescue!

In all my years I have never eaten a veggie burger, so I was interested to see how it would taste.

I think the main problem was that my carrot was too big:

It sounds like a silly problem, but I’m pretty sure it made the mixture too wet.

It made them a bit too floppy, which made smothering them in polenta pretty difficult.  And they were still pretty floppy after they were cooked…

veg cutlets

I tried my best with them, but ultimately they weren’t very nice so won’t be something I make again.

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)