Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumn and Spring together.

I carved my pumpkin this morning, after I had removed the seeds, to roast, and most of the flesh, to curry, it is now complete with tealights by the front door ready for tomorrow.

Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry.

2 tsp Turmeric, 2 tsp Coriander, 1 tsp Cayenne, 2 tsp Cumin, 2 tsp curry powder and 1 tbsp Fenugreek.

The flesh of a small pumpkin, 2 peppers (halved, save the other bits for the next recipe), half a sad leek, a small red onion, a bit of fresh ginger OR 1 tsp of ground ginger, 2 cloves garlic, a tin of chickpeas and a tin of tomatoes. I also used 2 dollops of tomato puree from the freezer.

Sweat the spices in the oil for a few minutes, add a grind of black pepper and some salt.
Peel and dice the onion and garlic, peel and very finely slice the ginger then mince and add to the spices, stir to coat with the oily mixture. Slice the half leek lengthways and dice, the deseed and dice both the half peppers and add to the pot, add the prepared pumpkin, stir and sweat for a few minutes. 

Tip in the tomatoes, chopped, the tomato puree, the drained and rinsed chickpeas and about 1/3rd pint of water or veg stock. Bring to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cool and keep in fridge for about 4 days, I have never frozen this as the pumpkin is soft, I think that after freezing it would turn to mush on reheating. 
I have however used the dry sweated veg mix to make pasties, very tasty, and served with a spicy tomato sauce.

As a token gesture to the Spring like weather, and the profusion of second flush flowers around I made this.

Spring Pasta.

Dice 2 sticks celery, and the leaves, a bunch of spring onions, half a green and half a yellow pepper and a few rashers of bacon ( these weighed 100 gm) Sweat in a little oil for around 10 minutes.

Then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and the tin full of water, 2 tsp Italian mixed herbs, 1 tsp dried Basil and a good grind of black pepperI also added a dollop of frozen tomato puree. Bring to simmer and cook on low for 20 minutes till thick.

Once cool chill and freeze. This smells and tastes fresh and spring like, I add some fresh basil leaves just before serving over cooked pasta. 


                           TTFN                                       Pam

Monday, 26 October 2015

Vegan beany burgers

On Friday I needed to provide a Vegan meal for 3, only 1 was vegan but I had no intentions of cooking 2 different things. I was also feeling lazy and decided that burgers and chips would be fantastic.

Grate 2 decent size carrots, finely dice 1 large onion and sweat in a little oil till soft. I used coconut oil, as I had it.

Mash enough red kidney beans, I used 470 gm that I soaked and cooked a while ago. They were in the freezer and needed using up. Then mash the carrot and onion into the beans, adding your seasoning of choice. I used 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp dried mixed herbs and a good grind of black pepper and a good pinch of  salt. I pressed scoops of the mixture into burger shapes and then rolled in gram flour to coat. This helps them to hold their shape as I did not use egg to bind them.

 Put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

Then I fried them gently in more coconut oil for about 4 minutes on each side, the chips went in to my Air Fryer for 25 minutes. I went the whole hog and served Mushy Peas on the side, Oh Yum
3 empty plates, I only had 1 as I was having chips.

There are many different versions of this recipe out there, I vary the beans and the veg, grated courgette and red onion is a good mix. Baked beans with the sauce washed off are equally as good. If I use chick peas from a tin I tend to drain and rinse then boil for 5 minutes or so in fresh water to soften them up.

I do make these smaller and serve with salad and warm flatbreads with cucumber, mint and yoghurt dressing.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Fish cakes without mash.

I was given a pack of frozen salmon steaks a couple of weeks  ago, my friend has bought them and decided that she could not be bothered to cook them. Woo Hoo. I had them in my freezer before you could say Jack Robinson, although I can not think why you would want to.

Yesterday I decided to use them, I was cooking for 4 and wanted something simple that I could prep in advance.
Fish cake and chips it was then.

Cook the steaks in milk and drain through a sieve, collect the milk in a bowl.

Once cold use the milk to make a thick white sauce.

I had 3 blocks of frozen spinach so thawed them, squeezed the excess water and chopped.

Stir the fish and spinach into the white sauce and spread in a dish, you want a layer around an inch deep, cool and chill for a couple of hours.

This amount will make 8 meals, so cut half the slab into 4 portions.

Dip each piece into seasoned plain flour, then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs, repeat the egg and breadcrumbs and chill for an hour or till you are ready to cook.

Line a baking tray and spray with a little oil, put in the fish cakes and spray with oil.

Place in the middle of a hot oven 200c for 30 minutes, put a tray of home made chips on the top shelf and turn during cooking.

I served these with mushy peas and tartare sauce and they were very good and very filling.
The remainder of the mix is in the freezer in 4 portions and will make me some great fish pies.

I do make fish cakes with mashed potatoes but this time had milk and the heel of a loaf of bread that needed using.

I would not call this a cheap meal, salmon steaks are quite pricey but 3 of them will make 8 meals so not too expensive, and with my gifted fish these meals will be as cheap as the chips we had.
I used a plain flour roux to make the sauce as I intended to freeze part of it, this does not split when thawed out.

                 TTFN                                                      Pam

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Chick Pea and Veg Thai Red Curry

This is a "use it up" meal and the ingredients vary each time that I make it. This weeks recipe is....

Put a splash of oil in a large pan, add 2 sticks of celery, 1 red onion and a green pepper, diced, sweat for a few minutes.

Add about 12 button mushrooms, halved, 1 carrot diced and a few small potatoes, peeled and diced, stir and add,

1 tin chick peas, drained and rinsed and 4 lonely runner beans chopped.

I added a full jar of Red Thai Paste, I like it hot. Stir well

A tin of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, I chopped each chestnut into 3 chunks.

Cut 1/3rd of a block of creamed coconut and dissolve in 400 ml hot water and stir into the mix.

Bring to simmer and cover, cook for 30 minutes or so until all veg is cooked.

There is enough here for 4 good servings, with rice or noodles. I will portion and freeze some once it is cold. If you like a milder curry use half the jar of paste and freeze the rest for another day. The coconut cream keeps well in the fridge, wrapped in film, and I use it in lots of dishes.

You do not have to use Thai, any curry paste will give you a good meal. Leave out the coconut and bamboo and water chestnuts,change the chick peas for kidney beans and use chilli powder and flakes. Forget the spices and use onion gravy and serve with Yorkshire Pudding or mash. It is a very adaptable meal.

                          TTFN                                      Pam

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Roast Vegetable Tart.

I do not claim to have invented this, I saw it somewhere a few days ago. I have made versions in the past but this time I more or less copied what I saw ( at least what I remembered).

First I dug a block of puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost.

Then I had a recce in the fridge and did this.

Peppers deseeded and pith removed , celery, onion and garlic skinned, all diced and tossed in a little oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then into a tray to roast. I had some steamed cauliflower and broccoli as well so tossed that in the same oil  mix.
These were roasted for 30 minutes and then left to cool.

I rolled the pastry out into a rectangle that just fitted my tin, 10" by 15", on a silicone baking sheet it is easier to handle then, and made a very shallow cut 1/2 to 1" inside the edge all the way round. Lifted it into the tin and spread a pot of cream cheese with herbs inside the cut .

Top with the roasted veg, the cauli and broccoli were for another dish.

Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes, it should be well risen and smell divine.

I am going to ' fess up to eating a third of this, it was wonderful and I was stuffed, but not to the point of immobility.

The puff pastry was from Farm Foods and I think that it is 69p, The cream cheese was from Lidl and is very cheap, the veg was left from last weeks shopping and used up the last few bits in the salad drawer.
It fed 2 amply with left overs, took minimal work and gave maximum taste.

Try it out, I will be making it again with silken tofu to replace the cream cheese as one of my vegan days.

               TTFN                                              Pam

Friday, 9 October 2015

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves, Yum

Warning, this post contains umpteen photos.

I have been making variations of this recipe for a long while, long before Quinoa became "famous". This version is vegan, by design, I enjoy a total break from meat and dairy every now and then.

First take 100 g dry Quinoa,

 drop into plenty of boiling water and cook for 13 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve, you want to see the little filaments released from the grain. It holds quite a lot of water so needs the time to drain.

Then put a large pan of water on to boil and have a bowl of very cold water ready and next to that an empty bowl and large sieve.
When the water boils drop in 2 or 3 decent size cabbage leaves, Savoy is the best one to use as the leaves are fleshy and soft once blanched.
Leave for 2 minutes, fish out with draining spoon or tongs and drop straight into the cold water.
Add more cabbage leaves to the boiling water for 2 minutes. Take the first leaves from the cold water and put into the sieve to drain and put the second batch of leaves into the cold water. Repeat until all the leaves have been blanched and are draining.

I use a large tea towel folded in half longways and put 4 leaves onto one half, then fold the other half over and put another layer on, cover with a cloth or kitchen roll and leave to dry.

Dice a red onion, green pepper and some celery, (the trinity) and sweat in a dash of oil.
Meanwhile dice 100 g mushrooms and 100 g ready cooked chestnuts ( Home Bargains, 99p for 200 g). 

Add these to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, or so. Taste and add seasoning. 

Stir in the well drained Quinoa, I allow it 3 - 4 hours to drain but you could spread on kitchen towel, put aside to cool.

Lay a cabbage leaf down with the base nearest to you, and on its back to give you a "cup" for the filling, put a good spoonful of the cooled filling at the bottom.

Fold the bottom up and then the sides in to partially enclose the filling.

Then roll the top of the leaf down to hide the filling.

Place the filled rolls into an oven proof dish just big enough to hold them snug.

Cover with a tomato sauce, this was just a small onion, 1 stick of celery sweated in oil, a handful of cherry tomatoes and some veg stock simmered and then given a quick blast with the wand liquidiser. I added a dash of hot sauce and some Worcestershire sauce as well.

Bake in a moderate oven till bubbling and starting to brown, mine took 25 minutes from room temperature. I made this in the early afternoon so I was not faffing around when my guests arrived.

2 rolls and a jacket potato made for a filling and very tasty dinner.

There was room for pudding as well. 

                           TTFN                                         Pam

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Let Us Eat Cake.

This is the current version of Mum's Apple Cake, she put it on her blog a few weeks ago and I have made it at least twice a week since and altered it slightly each time.

The basic recipe is 
12oz SR Flour 
6oz butter, I use a soft margarine.
6oz Caster Sugar, I used soft light brown sugar (£1.39 per KG from Lidl)
2 eggs and a splash of milk. I buy medium eggs and use 3 plus some milk.
2 apples peeled, cored and diced.
I vary the amount of apple and add other things.
This time it was a handful of mixed dried fruit and a good spoonful of sunflower seeds, I used 2 small cooking apples and added a heaped tsp of ground cinnamon to the flour.

I had a stack of photos but the laptop chewed them up.

Put the flour, butter, sugar, eggs and a splash of milk into a medium bowl and mix well together with a wooden spoon. Add the apples and fruit and stir in, if it is a bit too dry just add some more milk. If by chance it is too runny Do Not Add Flour ( you will make it heavy) instead try a handful of dessicated coconut or a spoonful of ground almonds.

I usually make 2 x 1lb loaf cakes but today I made a tray bake. I have some Half British Standard tins, 10" by 8".
Salvaged from a school kitchen when it closed down.
I lined one with a reusable silicone sheet, this has been cut down to stick up an inch above the sides of my tin.
Spoon enough of the mix in to almost fill the tin, smooth out and scatter a few flaked almond on top.
Into my mini oven at 170c for 35 minutes.

The remainder of the mix went into a small pyrex dish, had a cover of cling film added and went in the microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Pudding for 2 or 3 for very little cost in money or time.

This will go to my friends across the road later on.

I have Ben to walk and a quilt on the table that I would like to spend a couple of hours with first.

                          TTFN                                     Pam

Monday, 5 October 2015

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

A really filling meal, as spicy as you like, so easy and quick to make.

Start with "the trilogy", green pepper, celery and onion,oops only have red onions so I used a leek. Dice and sweat in a little oil for around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile separate half a cauliflower into florets and dice or slice as the fancy takes you, drain and rinse a can of chick peas.

Choose your spices, I used 1 tsp of all of these and added a good big pinch of dried Fenugreek leaves. Then decided to add a bit more curry powder.

I used the whole tin of tomatoes, just chopped with a knife in the tin, and a heaped tsp of paste.

Add the spices to the pan, stir through and cook for 2 minutes 

then add the tomatoes, paste and enough vegetable stock to make the sauce. Simmer for 20 -30 minutes, serve, eat and enjoy.

3 good servings with some rice or even a jacket potato.

This is my dish full, I had some garlic bread with it and am stuffed to the gills.

Sometimes I want the veg but not the curry, so I use smoked paprika, garlic granules, black pepper and dried basil instead of the curry spices. You end up with a goulash type meal which is just as good.

Tomorrow I am making Chestnut and Mushroom stuffed cabbage leaves in tomato sauce.

      TTFN                                                                      Pam