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…)
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.
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.
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.
Serve with some leftover meat and some freshly cooked
stink bombs sprouts and enjoy before dozing off infront of a repeat on telly.
Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
So here’s a turn up for the books – this week I had my 5000th viewer – which is pretty darn impressive for a year of slightly burned food and bad smells. So thank you for visiting, and coming back for more, it’s great – and to celebrate I will tell you all about the really horrible meal I cooked at the weekend…
I was pretty intrigued by the concept of a ‘jazzed-up tomato sauce’, I’ve almost made this recipe before, but it takes a bit too long to make after work so it’s waited until now. I liked the idea of being able to keep the sauce for a few weeks in the fridge, which would be ideal for later work nights.
To feed two people you will need: 200g spaghetti, 250ml olive oil (yes really) 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (squash them in a colander until you’ve just got pulp – like in the tomatoey pasta), 10 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole), and salt and pepper to season.
Gently heat the oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic when the oil is warm. The book says to keep the heat low so that the oil doesn’t spoil. I’m not entirely sure that this isn’t where I went wrong; my hob is a bit of a flamethrower! After 20 minutes check the garlic cloves are really tender (give them another 10 minutes if they’re not) and then carefully add the squashed up tomatoes. Turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer the mix to your trusty food processor and blend into a smooth emulsion. It’s a little tricky because I found that almost immediately the sauce separated into oil and not-oil which turned out to be a nuisance when it came to the next bit. Cook the pasta like how it says on the packet, and then drain it really briefly so it’s still a little dampened return it to the cooking pan and add 4-5 table spoons of the sauce and give it a toss.
Serve with Parmesan, and pour the rest of the sauce into a thingie and put it in the fridge.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about this, I thought the garlic seemed very subtle, maybe too subtle for my bawdy palette – and then my lover put his fork down and said “it’s just a load of tasteless oil”
That was me told. It wasn’t very nice, and even the next day when I poured off a bit of the oil and it was more tomatoey it just tasted a bit ‘crisp-n-dry-ish’. Also, I was slightly worried about Botulism from the garlicky oil, but it’s been a few days and nothing’s developed.
There could have been loads of things I did wrong, like not using good enough oil or not garlicky enough garlic, or it might have been too hot, but it wasn’t very tasty so I don’t think I’ll make it again. Oh well!
Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)
Or as they say in France: Galette aux pommes de terre et poires avec Roquefort. Oo la la.
So right up until the moment I came to serve this I thought the worst thing to happen was that I completely forgot to buy any form of salad. How wrong could I be? This months Cheese, Please! is recipes for cheese and fruit; and after a fruitless search through the books for a hearty warming Stilton-y Pear thing I found this recipe in the Rachel Khoo book.
I didn’t read too closely at the start so didn’t notice that the Galettes are meant to be starters. To make these for four you will need 4 waxy potatoes (like Charlottes or Maris Peer), a firm pear, and 100g of Roquefort.
I’ve not been able to find normal potato sized waxy potatoes round here, they all seem to be salad sized, so for this you might need 8 -10 smaller ones, which will be a pain to peel. They were definitely a pain to peel.
Pre-heat the oven to 180c, peel the potatoes and cut into 2mm thick slices and peel the pear and cut it into small cubes. Lay the slices out onto a paper-lined tray to make rectangles with the layers overlapping… If that makes sense? Sprinkle the pear cubes over the rectangles and then crumble the Roquefort over the top. Bake for 20 minutes.
I’m not entirely sure where I went wrong. I am pretty bad at getting grease proof paper the right way up (like every single time) and I might have also turned the oven down a bit too far (stupid fan oven, who’s bright idea was that?), but the end result was that I served them stuck to the paper… Just like in all the best houses in France.
So to sum up; ignore the paper, imagine some salad, and I’m not sure what the foam is. Et Voila!
Bear in mind when I started making this my lover was very philosophical and said ‘oh well rubbish crisps are the worst that could happen’ which changed to ‘hurry up I could eat a scabby horse’ when he saw it… I’m not entirely sure I’d make it again – it’d probably be much nicer if I’d got it a bit crispier. The flavours were good though.
I thought this would be much more hearty and autumnal, but it was tasty, and it’s quite easy to make on a work night – if you remember to buy salad!
Septembers Cheese, Please! http://thegardendeli.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/cheese-please-a-challenge-for-september/ http://fromagehomage.co.uk/2014/09/03/cheese-please-a-challenge-for-september/
<div align=”center”><a href=”http://fromagehomage.wordpress.com/” title=”Fromage Homage”><img src=”http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a562/fromagehomage/Cheesey2_zps85113bab.jpg” alt=”Fromage Homage” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>
The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Penguin Books 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15811-8)
Gosh well there’s a flash name for ‘Chilli, Basil and Almond Sauce’ but if you can’t wave a bit of italian around the kitchen every now and again what can you do? This recipe is from my beloved Cupboard Love book, and Tom Norrington-Davies thinks Picci Pacci might mean something like ‘this and that’.
The recipe does indeed involve putting a bit of everything in, I saw that it had almonds in and was sold. I was hoping that it would be a quick after work pasta fest like the fishy pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/week-9-linguine-with-sardines-anchovies-and-parsley/) or the tomato-ey pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/week-35-spaghetti-and-tinned-plum-tomatoes/) but it wasn’t as such. The actual cooking is instant, but it needs time to steep for a couple of hours.
For two people you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, 50g blanched almonds, 400g tin peeled tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped basil (or parsley, I used parsley), 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic) half teaspoon salt, pinch of sugar, half a teaspoon dried crushed chilli flakes.
To start drain the tinned tomatoes into a sieve or strainer and squeeze out all the juice, just like on the tomato-ey pasta. Put the pulp into a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, the finely chopped garlic, the basil/parsley, vinegar, salt, sugar, and chilli flakes; stir it all together and leave to steep for an hour or two.
Heat the oven to a medium heat and toast the almonds for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then chop them up (50 grams looks a lot for two people, but I found I ate loads of them before they got anywhere near the table.
Cook the pasta as recommended on the packet (use good quality pasta) then drain it, return it to the pan and stir the sauce in straight away. Plate up and sprinkle the almonds over them.
While this has a total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes the steeping makes it a bit of an effort for a work night. I’m not sure how the sauce would cope steeping a whole day outside the fridge, and away in the fridge would make it too cold to stir into the pasta with being heated. But it is so delicious I would definitely make it on the weekend, and should you. YUM!
Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)
This week I was really busy at work so I asked my lover to have a look through the books to find something quick for dinner… And he chose these: quesadillas!
This recipe from Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy Food makes four quesadillas, which can be cut into 16 triangles to serve as finger food – ideal for a party! Like a Fiesta Friday kinda party!
To make four quesadillas you will need: 4 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, fresh coriander, 4 tortillas (corn or wheat) 250g goats cheese and 4 teaspoons runny honey. It’s a complicated recipe in that you need to put the oven on and use two frying pans to make sure everything cooks properly and stays warm. If you’ve got one of those hotplate things I’d imagine you could use that, and if you’re cooking these as canapes I would skip the second pan and just make them one at a time. I had chips in the oven so I used two pans.
Turn the oven on to 100c (gas 1/4) and then put two medium frying pans on medium with a drizzle of sunflower oil in each pan. While these are heating up break the hazel nuts with a pestle and mortar, but don’t grind them too small. Chop the coriander leaves (I used dried ones that were in the cupboard)
Lob a tortilla into each pan and toast them for a minute, then crumble some of the cheese (roughly 60g) onto each tortilla, then scatter some hazelnuts, coriander, and a tsp of honey over the cheese.
Now listen up, don’t do what I did and spread it out all pretty like in the picture; pile it in the middle or it’ll all fall out the sides after you’ve folded the tortilla over on itself – then press it down slightly. Reduce the heat down low, cook for a minute and then flip them over to cook for another 5 minutes.
So if you’re making 4 at once this is where you want to slide them onto an oven tray and put them in the oven to keep them warm while you turn the pans back to medium and make the second pair of quesadillas. I just scraped mine off the pans and cut them in to 4 and served them up with oven chips and rocket for our tea.
I think that these were slightly stickier than they should have been after all the filling poured out, and I should have bought some new nuts rather than the ones from the back of the cupboard; but I’d definitely give these another try – and maybe even serve them as canapes.!
Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)
So the other day my lover turned to me and said “you know I will actually eat soup, just not from a mug like my parents” this after 9 years or solid meals. So I set out to make a thick soup to lull him into soup-ness before making something runny.
The recipe I chose was from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things on a Plate, it looked lovely, I had everything except the beans and kale in already, and I could finally try making something with Kale after years of people telling me it’s a super-food. Word to the wise: kale definitely gives you certain super-human abilities, which aren’t for demonstrating in polite company.
Hugh says this is his take on a traditional Tuscan Peasant dish, without wanting to give away the ending, if I gave what I made to a Tuscan Peasant I’d wake up with a horse’s head in my bed. Unlike most of the other recipes that have gone wrong this year, I’m not entirely sure what I happened this time.
To serve four you will need olive oil (Hugh says normal oil and some really top-notch oil to drizzle afterwards), an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 200g Kale, 850ml vegetable or chicken stock (Hugh recommends home-made stock or really good quality shop bought stock, but I used oxo cubes haha), 400g tine cannellini beans, 100g quick-cooking polenta, sea salt and black pepper.
Chop the onion and the garlic, drain the beans, and strip the kale from the tough stalks; you can cut the leafs into ribbons but I didn’t. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, sweat the onions on a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and golden.
Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock and the beans and bring to a simmer. Add the kale and return to a simmer for 5 minutes until it is tender. Stir the polenta in and return to a simmer (stir well and the polenta wont go lumpy). Simmer for another 3 minutes until it has thickened.
I’m pretty sure this is where I went wrong. Maybe my polenta was too quick cooking? Anyway, I was expecting it to be somewhere between a stew and a soup and its not what I turned out with… my lover had got bowls and spoons out, came over to look into the pan and said “well we can have that on plates” and went to get some forks. To serve spoon it into a warmed bowl and drizzle with your good olive oil. Et Voila:
Not much like soup… It wasn’t very nice. I don’t know if it was the not top-notch stock that I used, or maybe I had faulty Kale, or maybe it was just too delicately flavoured for our burly pallettes? It’s not a dish that I’ll make again. Sorry Hugh.
But wait, there’s more… I didn’t fancy having half a bag of kale hanging around in case I didn’t like it, so I cooked for four. In the book Hugh says that to re-heat this add some more stock or boiling water to break up the polenta and heat in a pan until piping hot.
After 2 days in the fridge I didn’t do that, I broke it into chunks and heated it in a frying pan with a knob of butter, and when it was cooked all the way through I served it up with some cooked chicken from the supermarket and a big dollop of Dijon mustard.
Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)
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.
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.
Once the vegetables are tender add the sugar snaps and serve when they’re hot.
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)