Friday, 27 November 2009

Cous-cous with Goat's Cheese and Tomato

A simple dish with a good range of flavors from the sweet tomato to the sharp cheese.
 

Ingredients:



  • 75g cous-cous

  • 250ml hot vegetable stock

  • fresh black pepper

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half

  • 40g soft goat's cheese


 

Method:



  1. Mix the cous-cous with the vegetable stock and leave for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the fresh black pepper to taste and fluff up the cous-cous with a fork.

  3. Place the tomatoes and goat's cheese on the top and serve.


 
Serves 1.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Soy Bean Noodles

Ever since trying them on their own I've really liked the flavour and texture of soy beans. The only downside with them is that it's very difficult to get them fresh near where I live, so I have to resort to the dried one's which just aren't the same and require hours to cook.
 

Ingredients:



  • 150g soy beans, soaked overnight if dried

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 2 leeks, chopped into half cm slices

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 3 sticks of celery, thinly sliced and ends removed

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • 2 blocks of medium egg noodles

  • 1 tbsp brown miso


 

Method:



  1. If using dried soy beans then boil them for 1 hour in plenty of water and then boil them for a further 2 hours. If using fresh beans then boil for just 5 minutes. Leave them boiling in the pan (or start boiling them in the pan if using fresh beans) while you prepare the next steps of the recipe.

  2. Place the oil, leeks, onion, celery, coriander seeds and stock cube into a small pan and put on a gentle heat.

  3. Sweet all these ingredients together for 5 minutes with the lid on. Stir and leave for another 5 minutes, or until the onion and leeks are nice and soft.

  4. When the leeks are cooking for the last 5 minutes add the egg noodles to the soy beans which should still be boiling away.

  5. After 5 minutes strain the beans and noodles and then add the miso and onion mixture to the noodles.

  6. Stir well and serve immediately while still hot.

  7. Ideal with fresh black pepper ground on top.


 
Serves 2.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Perfect Basmati Rice

It took me ages to work out the best way to do rice. Here's my method which seems to be reliable.
 

Ingredients:



  • 75g of rice per person

  • 160ml of water per 75g of rice

  • 1/4 tsp of ghee or butter by 75g of rice


 

Method:



  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan which has a good fitting lid.

  2. Place the lid on the saucepan.

  3. Put a low to medium heat on under the saucepan.

  4. When you can see the water boiling (or it looks like there is lots of steam under the lid if you don't have glass lids) turn the heat down to the lowest it'll go.

  5. Cook the rice until all the water is absorbed. It'll take about 20 minutes. Resist the urge to lift the lid and let out all the wonderful steam until you think it might be done.

  6. Enjoy beautifully tender rice.


 

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Spinach Curry

This spinach curry is nice and simple and can easily be made from ingredients you can store in the cupboard so makes the perfect emergency dish when all the shops are closed and you forgot to buy anything.
 

Ingredients:



  • 3 red onions, coarsely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee

  • 1 tbsp coriander powder

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 600g tin of spinach puree


 

Method:



  1. Fry the onion with the garlic and butter/ghee on a medium heat.

  2. When the onion starts to soften add the coriander, cumin and spinach puree.

  3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Serve with rice.


 
Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Fresh Naan Bread

When I first had freshly made naan bread I was amazed. I'd never really thought about it, but it's as different to the naan bread you get from supermarkets and takeaways as a fresh loaf of bread is to pre-sliced bread. But given it's all bread that's hardly surprising.
 

Ingredients:



  • 1 tsp dried yeast, make sure it's fast action otherwise it won't rise in time

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 50ml plain yoghurt

  • 100ml milk

  • 250g strong plain flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter


 

Method:



  1. Either place all the ingredients in a bread maker and set it to dough setting or do the following: mix all the ingredients and kneed with your hands for 5 minutes; place the dough somewhere warm for 30 minutes; kneed it for 5 minutes again; return to the warm place for 30 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough into quarters and roll them out on a floured surface.

  3. Turn the grill on at a medium to high setting.

  4. Place the rolled out dough under the grill.

  5. Watch it carefully as it'll only take a couple of minutes for one side to be done.

  6. When the side is done, turn them over to cook the other side.

  7. Repeat with the remaining dough (depending on if you could fit all four under your grill to start with).

  8. Serve while still warm. If you need to keep them warm wrap a clean(!) tea towel around them.


 

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mango Curry

A slightly unusual curry which is fairly sweet, but still goes wonderfully with rice as a main course.
 

Ingredients:



  • 3 red onions, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter

  • 1 tsp mustard powder

  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 4 not-quite-ripe mangos

  • 50ml yogurt

  • 1 tin coconut milk


 

Method:



  1. Put the onions, ghee/butter, mustard, fenugreek and turmeric in a pan and fry on a medium heat.

  2. While that fries get a knife to the mangos and peel off the outer flesh. Cut off reasonable sized chunks of the mango flesh, remembering that there is a stone in the center.

  3. Once the onion has gone soft add the mango to the onions and fry for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the yogurt and coconut milk and carefully heat through (you don't want to boil it as then it'll separate).

  5. Serve on a bed of rice.


 
Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fajita Wraps

This is a great way to use up random vegetables in a quick and tasty meal.
 

Ingredients:



  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 600g of assorted vegetables cut into pieces no larger than 2 cm

  • 1 tsp fajita spice mix

  • 4 tortilla wraps

  • 1 pot of hot salsa

  • 50g grated cheddar cheese


 

Method:



  1. Start by frying the onion in the oil for 5 minutes.

  2. If you're using root vegetables (potatoes, carrots) you'll want to boil them in water for 10 minutes in water before adding them at the next step.

  3. Next add the vegetables and fry them for 10 minutes. Recommended combination:

    • Potato and Califlower

    • Mushrooms

    • Carrot and Cabbage

    • Sweet Pepper and Kidney Beans (from a tin)

  4. Add the fajita spice mix and 3 or 4 tbsp of water if the mixture looks dry.

  5. Fry for a couple more minutes.

  6. Serve at the table with the pan and the tortillas, salsa and cheese.

  7. Construct the fajita with the mixture, salsa and cheese and then roll up and eat.


 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fajita Spice Mix

While you can buy spice mixes for fajita and other tex-mex style food in the supermarket, it doesn't ever quite beat making it yourself. I like having a jar of this available in the fridge for when I feel like tex-mex. It's great even just spread thinly in a toasted cheese sandwich.

Ingredients:



  • Juice of 4 limes

  • 2 vegetable stock cubes

  • 4 tsp smoked paprika

  • 4 tsp cumin powder

  • 4 tsp coriander powder



Method:



  1. Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.

  2. Store in a jar in the fridge until you need it.

  3. Roughly use a tsp of this mix for every 2 or 3 people you're cooking for when using it.