Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Microwave Corn on the Cob

While I think that the best way of cooking corn on the cob is to brush some oil onto it and then barbeque it, sometimes you don't have access to a barbeque. In that case it's easy to use the microwave and comes out tasting great.
 

Ingredients:



  • 1 corn on the cob per person

  • 2 tbsp water per cob

  • a pinch of salt


 

Method:



  1. Trim all the green leaves and other bits of plant from the cobs.

  2. Place in a microwave proof bowl and add the water and sprinkle the pinch of salt over them.

  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and poke a small hole in the clingfilm so it doesn't explode.

  4. Microwave on full power for the following times:

    • 1 cob - 1.5 minutes

    • 2 cobs - 3.5 minutes

    • 3 cobs - 4.5 minutes

    • 4 cobs - 5.5 minutes


  5. Adjust the cooking times depending on if the corn doesn't seem done, but be careful not to overcook it.

  6. Serve either on it's own or with a bit of butter melted on it.


 

Friday, 28 May 2010

Aubergine Wellington

This is my vegetarian interpretation of the classic beef wellington.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 15g butter
  • 1 aubergine, sliced in half lengthways and ends removed
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Put the mushrooms, onions and butter in a small saucepan and cook with a lid on over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Dry fry the aubergine in a non-stick frying pan or griddle for about 5 minutes on each side. Alternatively you can grill it.
  4. Add the marmite to the mushroom mixture and cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on. It should be a sauce that has nicely cooked down now.
  5. Layout the puff pastry on a baking tray.
  6. Cover the pastry in the mushroom mixture, leaving a couple of cm at the edge free from the mixture.
  7. Place the two aubergine halves in the middle of the mushroom mixture. Use some water to dampen the edges of the pastry which haven't got mushroom mixture on.
  8. Fold up the sides of the pastry so that they meet in the middle and then seal all the edges well by squeezing them together.
  9. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and crisp.
  10. Serve with crisp roasted potatoes and possibly some gravy.
 
Serves 3.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Cheesy Pasta Bake

This is really just a modification on macaroni cheese and the inclusion of roast vegetables makes it lean towards being like an 'au gratin'.
 

Ingredients:

  • 6 courgettes, washed and sliced into 1cm slices
  • 1 aubergine, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3 sweet peppers, cored and cut into 1 cm squares
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 568ml milk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 300g grated strong cheese, such as cheddar
  • 450g pasta, something tube shaped like penne is ideal
  • 150g finely grated cheese, again cheddar is good
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Toss the pepper, aubergine and courgette pieces in the olive oil and then place in a roasting tin.
  3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. While those are roasting, put on a large pan of salted water to cook the pasta in.
  5. During the time that you're waiting for the roasting vegetables and for the pasta water to come to the boil, put the milk, flour, oil and mustard powder in a saucepan.
  6. Heat up the milk mixture over a medium heat, stirring frequently.
  7. When the sauce starts to thicken, turn down the heat to the lowest it can go and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure it isn't sticking.
  8. By now the pasta water should be boiling, so add the pasta and cook as per the instructions on the packet.
  9. A couple of minutes before the pasta is done, add the 300g of grated cheese to the milk sauce and stir it until it all dissolves.
  10. Get a large oven proof dish and combine the pasta and roasted vegetables in it. Mix them well.
  11. Pour the cheese sauce over the top, making sure to get a good covering so the pasta won't burn.
  12. Sprinkle the finely grated cheese over the top and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Serve on it's own as a complete meal.
 
Serves 4.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Spicy Stewed Apple

This works great as a dessert on its own or as the filling for a pie or crumble.
 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
  • 75g dark brown sugar
  • 75g raisins
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp water
 

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a pan and place over a low heat.
  2. Place a lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 minutes or until the apple starts to go soft.
  3. Stir it every 5 minutes or so.
  4. That's it.
 
Serves 4.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Black Eyed Beans in Sauce

As all ingredients for this can be kept for months in the cupboard it's a great emergency dish. Just serve it with some potatoes or rice and you've got a filling meal.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tin of black eyed beans, strained to remove the liquid
 

Method:

  1. Fry the onions in the oil over a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the stock cube, puree, paprika and chilli powder to the onion and mix well.
  3. Let this cook for a minute or so to get the flavours to infuse.
  4. Once it's started sizzling add the black eyed beans and stir so that all the beans are coated in the tomato mix.
  5. Turn the heat right down and leave to heat through for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to make sure it doesn't stick.
  6. This can be served immediately or kept warm over a low heat until you're ready to serve it.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Potato Rosti

It took me several attempts to get a good recipe for a rosti which will hold together. I think this is mainly because most potatoes you find aren't ideally suited to it. However it's still possible to use them, you just have to cook it carefully.
 

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • a pinch of salt
 

Method:

  1. Wash and cut the potatoes into fairly large chunks (about 2 or 3 per potato).
  2. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes in fresh water.
  3. After removing the potatoes from the pan, put them in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to cool them.
  4. When the potatoes are cold enough to hold, dry them with a tea towel or kitchen towel.
  5. Grate the potatoes coarsely.
  6. Add a pinch of salt to the grated potatoes and place dry the grated potatoes with the tea towel again.
  7. Melt 1 tbsp of ghee or butter in a large frying pan on a low heat.
  8. When the fat is melted and covering the frying pan evenly, add the grated potato and press down firmly.
  9. Cook for 15 minutes over the low heat.
  10. Turn the half cooked rosti out on to a plate (this is easiest to do by placing the plate over the frying pan and turning both over together, being careful not to touch the hot pan).
  11. Melt the remaining ghee or butter in the pan and cook the rosti on the other side for a further 15 minutes.
  12. Serve straight from the pan and eat while still hot.
 
Serves 1 to 2.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Rogan Josh Carrot Curry

Tomato is always good in a curry sauce and this is my interpretation of the traditional rogan josh.
 

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter or ghee
  • 1 or 2 dried chilis
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced into 1cm slices
  • 6 medium carrots, washed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 30ml water
 

Method:

  1. Melt the butter/ghee in a big pan. Use your fingers to crumble the dried chilli into it.
  2. Add the onions and leeks to the pan and stir well. Fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and stock cubes (crumbling them up with your fingers as you add them). Stir well and fry for another 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkly the curry powder, turmeric and coriander over the top of the ingredients in the pan and mix well.
  5. Pour the tomatoes into the pan and use the 30ml of water to rinse out the rest of the tomato juice from the tin. Add this tomato water to the pan as well.
  6. Stir well and then place a lid over the pan. Simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with rice, naan and the usual accompaniments.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Stewed Rhubarb

It's the start of the rhubarb season and to celebrate I thought I'd make my favourite rhubarb dish.
 

Ingredients:

  • 12 sticks of rhubarb, washed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 6 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp water
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place the rhubarb in an oven proof dish such as a roasting tin.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar, lemon juice and water over the top of the rhubarb.
  4. Stir the rhubarb well to ensure it's got an even coating.
  5. Cover the dish with foil, squeezing the edges down to make sure you have a good seal.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  7. Serve hot or cold, on it's own or with a creamy sauce such as custard or yoghurt.
 
Serves 6 to 8.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Leek and Potato Pie

Everyone likes pies. Well, maybe not everyone, but everyone should and leek and potato pies are a good traditional vegetarian combination.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 leeks, washed, outer layer removed and thinly sliced
  • 3 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, washed and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 400g plain flour
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200ml cold water
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Fry the onion, leek and celery in 1 tbsp of sunflower oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
  3. Add the potatoes, wine, bay leaves and nutmeg and turn the heat down to low.
  4. Leave the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. While simmering you can make the pastry. First mix the flour and sunflower oil together until there's no obvious lumps of oil.
  6. Add the water a bit at a time. Mix it well between adding water but stop adding water when the mixture starts to hold it's shape. You want to have the dough slightly sticky as it will dry out as you kneed it.
  7. Flour a surface and kneed the dough with the palm of your hand for a couple of minutes. To kneed you should push down on the dough to flatten it a bit, then turn it, flip it over and fold it slightly.
  8. Once the dough is a nice texture split it in two and roll each half out flat into a circle.
  9. Place one of these circles in a pre-greased dish which can hold about 1.5 litres.
  10. Hopefully by now the filling will be done simmering, so place that inside the dish. Pick out the three bay leaves that you added before simmering it.
  11. Use the last circle of dough/pastry to form a lid to the pie. It will stick more easily to the pastry already in the dish if you wet the edges of the pastry in the dish with some cold water.
  12. Poke a hole in the top of the pie so that air can escape in the oven.
  13. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry starts to crisp up.
 
Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Butternut Squash Pasta

Roasted butternut squash has a wonderful flavour and texture which goes really nicely as a pasta sauce. The slight sweetness of the squash goes really well with the nutmeg.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half with seeds removed
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 150g creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 250g pasta
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Place the butternut squash cut side down on a greased baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and put it to one side to cool.
  4. Put on a big pan of water to heat for the pasta.
  5. While it's cooling, fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat until it's soft.
  6. Once the onion is soft, add the creme fraiche, sage and nutmeg to it and stir well.
  7. Start cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
  8. While the pasta is cooking scoop the insides of the squash out and add it to the pan with the onions and creme fraiche. You want to leave the skin from the very outside of the squash out.
  9. Once you've added all the butternut squash to the pan, mix and mash it around with the end of a spoon until it's not in big bits.
  10. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes while the pasta continues to cook.
  11. Serve with the sauce spooned on top of the pasta.
 
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Serves 2.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Creamy Potato and Parsnip Curry

This is a mild curry with a smooth flavour which makes a nice change from a hot a fiery curry with tomatoes.
 

Ingredients:

  • 6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 3 parsnips, washed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 dried or fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 150ml creme fraiche
  • 150ml water
 

Method:

  1. Put the potato, parsnip, garlic, chilli and oil in a large saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes with a lid on, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the paprika, curry powder and fenugreek and stir well so it's all nicely coated.
  3. Turn the heat down to a low heat and cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on.
  4. Add the creme fraiche and water and stir well so it's nicely mixed in.
  5. Leave on the low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with onion bhajis, naan bread or rice.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Onion Bhaji

These are traditionally deep fried, but they work just as well when shallow fried.
 

Ingredients:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam massala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 100ml water
  • enough sunflower oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan
 

Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the onions and make sure they're evenly distributed with the flour.
  3. Mix in most of the water and stir well. You should get a thick batter around the onions which can hold it's shape. If it's too dry then add a bit more water, if it's too wet then add a bit more flour. Different batches of flour absorb slightly different amounts of water so it's not an exact science. Luckily it doesn't need to be exact, it just needs to be a sticky enough batter to hold it's shape.
  4. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. Use your hands to shape the onion and batter mix into 4 balls and then press them flat, giving a thick burger shape.
  6. Cook the bhaji's in the frying pan for about 10 minutes on each side. Turning over once one side is cooked. It's also a good idea to push down hard on the top of the bhaji once you've turned it over. This ensures that they bhaji will hold together well (and also makes a lovely sizzling sound).
  7. Serve with a curry as a meal or some raita as a starter/snack.
 
Makes 4.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Creamy Leek Stew

The combination of flavours of creme fraiche, leek and nutmeg compliment each other well, making this a simple and tasty stew. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml creme fraiche
  • 150ml water
 

Method:

  1. Fry the onion and celery in the oil over a medium heat until the onion starts to soften.
  2. Add the leeks, nutmeg and some black pepper and stir well to make sure everything is coated.
  3. Turn the heat down a little to medium-low and place a lid on the pan.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times to check it's not sticking.
  5. Add the creme fraiche and water to the pan and mix well.
  6. Cook for 10 more minutes, again stirring 2 or 3 times to check it's not sticking.
  7. Serve with crusty bread or potato wedges.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Potato Wedges

These freshly made potato wedges are so simple to make and can cook in the oven while you make something to go with them. They're also tasty, which is a good thing for food. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sized potatoes, washed and any bad bits cut out
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 tsp chopped herbs, thyme or rosemary work well
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. After washing the potatoes, cut them into wedge shapes which are no more than 2cm thick on their thick edge. You can peel the potatoes as well, but I prefer the wedges with skins on, so only peel them if the skins are in a bad condition.
  3. Place the wedges in a large bowl and add the oil and the herbs.
  4. Use your hands to mix the potatoes well, ensure that every wedge has a thing coat of oil.
  5. Lay wedges out on a greased baking tray.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, turning the wedges over after 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with something moist to dip them in, like a salsa or a thick stew.
 
Serves 2, easily multiplies up to more.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Halloumi Chilli Pasta Bake

This is a simple variation on a halloumi pasta bake. It can easily be made the day before, kept in the fridge overnight and then just put in the oven when you want to eat.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 chilli, finely crushed or chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 250g block of halloumi, thickly sliced
  • 350g pasta
 

Method:

  1. Put on a big pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. Fry the onion in 1 tbsp of the oil until it starts to go soft.
  3. Add the vinegar, sugar, chilli, bay leaves and the tin of tomatoes and leave it on a low heat.
  4. Simmer the tomato mixture for 20 minutes.
  5. While the tomato mixture is simmering, fry the halloumi in the remaining oil over a high heat. Turn it over after a couple of minutes once it's golden brown.
  6. Put the halloumi aside to cool and cook the pasta according to the instructions.
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, chop the halloumi up into square pieces (it should be cool enough to handle, if it isn't then wait until it is, otherwise it might fall apart).
  8. Remove the bay leaves from the tomato mixture and then mix all the ingredients together in an oven proof dish.
  9. Cover with cling film and leave until you want to eat it.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and optionally sprinkle some grated cheese over the top.
  11. Remove the cling film and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  12. Serve straight from the oven so that it's piping hot.
 
Serves 2 to 3.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Jerk Tofu

This was the first time I tried both jerk seasoning and baking tofu and I was really pleased with how it turned out. It goes very well with Bean and Potato Stew.
 

Ingredients:

  • 250g block of firm tofu, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves, finely crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
 

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients apart from the tofu together in a bowl to make the marinade.
  2. Add the tofu and ensure it's well coated in the marinade.
  3. Leave to marinade for at least 2 hours, but it's best left overnight.
  4. Place the tofu on a baking tray, spooning any left over marinade over the pieces.
  5. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the tofu and bake for a further 10 minutes. When turning the tofu, spoon any remaining marinade over it (this is basting it).
  6. Serve once the tofu is golden brown.
 
Serves 2.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Bean and Potato Stew

This is a quick side dish which just requires a bit of chopping and then can sit bubbling away on a hob while you prepare the rest of the meal.
 

Ingredients:

  • 5 small to medium sized potatoes, washed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced into 3mm slices
  • 150g frozen green beans (or fresh if you're lucky enough for it to be the season for them)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
 

Method:

  1. Place the potatoes in a pan and fill with just enough water to cover the tops of them.
  2. Heat on a high heat until the water starts to simmer.
  3. Reduce the heat so that the pan is just simmering and leave it for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic, vegetable stock and the beans when the 10 minutes is up.
  5. Leave for a further 10 minutes, stirring well after 5 minutes.
  6. If some of the potatoes haven't started to fall apart then leave it to simmer for a bit longer. You want some of the potatoes to still have their shape, but for others to have made a thick sauce around the beans and potatoes.
  7. Serve immediately as otherwise too many more potatoes will lose their shape.
 
Serves 2.