Friday, 16 December 2011

Celariac Madras

The sweetness of the celariac compliments the smooth warmth of the madras well in this recipe.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 celariac, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 dried chilli, crushed
  • 1 star of star anise, whole
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida compound (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 100ml yoghurt
 

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in the oil in a large sauce pan until soft.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to the pan apart from the yoghurt. Add 150ml of water.
  3. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the celariac starts to soften. Stir every couple of minutes to ensure even cooking.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yoghurt just before serving. If you do it too early then it can curdle and separate in the heat.
  6. Serve with rice and/or naan bread.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Mushroom Quesadilla

Baking quesadilla in the oven might not be traditional, but it does make them easier to make and removes the need to turn them over in a frying pan.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 large mushrooms, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 175g mild cheese, grated
  • 8 medium size tortilla
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Put the onion, oil and chilli powder in a large sauce pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  3. Add the lime juice and mushrooms and stir well.
  4. Cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Place 4 of the tortilla on a couple of baking trays.
  6. Once the mushrooms have started to soften, divide the mushroom mixture between the 4 tortillas and spread out evenly on each one using the back of a spoon.
  7. Divide the cheese between the four tortillas and sprinkle it over the mushroom mixture.
  8. Place the other tortillas over the top of the cheese and gently press down.
  9. Put the baking trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges of the tortilla start to go crisp.
  10. Divide each tortilla sandwich isn't quarters and serve with dips such as guacamole.
 
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as starters.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Chipotle Meatballs

The chipotle pepper add a great smoky flavour to this dish.
 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chillis, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 300g packet of Quorn Swedish style balls
 

Method:

  1. Fry the garlic, chillis, paprika and cumin with the oil in a deep frying pan for a couple of minutes over a medium heat.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the meatballs.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice or a congee and a sprinkle of grated cheese.
 
Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rice Congee

A congee is a type of porridge. By cooking the rice very slowly it falls apart, thickening the dish. This goes well with a variety of toppings, such as meatballs or toasted nuts.
 

Ingredients:

  • 250g long grain rice
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1000 ml boiling water
  • 1000 ml cold water
 

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large pan.
  2. Heat on the lowest heat for 2 hours.
  3. Turn the heat up to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to ensure that it's not sticking on the bottom of the pan.
 
Serves 4.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Beetroot Pasta

This receipe is worth making just for the colour that the beetroot gives to it. Luckily it's also not just an amazing colour but also tastes nice; the roasted beetroot adds a slight sweetness which goes well with the cream.
 

Ingredients:

  • 7 or 8 small beetroot or 4 large, well washed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g of cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400g pasta, penne work best
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200ml double cream
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Add the beetroot to a roasting tin and add the olive oil. Mix it all around so that everything is well covered with the oil.
  3. Roast in the oven for an hour.
  4. Remove the beetroot from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Put on a large pan of water for the pasta.
  6. Add the cashew nuts to a large frying pan over a medium heat(without any oil). Turn every minute or so.
  7. When the cashew nuts start to toast then remove them from the pan and set aside.
  8. Pour the oil from the beetroot roasting tin into the frying pan and add the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  9. While the garlic is frying, peel the beetroot to remove the outer skin and chop into 1cm or smaller pieces.
  10. Add the chopped beetroot to the frying pan and leave to cook.
  11. Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook as per the instructions.
  12. When the beetroot has heated through for a couple of minutes in the frying pan, add the lemon juice and mix well.
  13. Next add half the double cream and mix well. Then add the remaining cream.
  14. Turn the heat on the frying pan right down and leave it to gently come to a simmer.
  15. By now the pasta should be done so drain it and mix it with the beetroot mixture from the frying pan.
  16. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and with the roasted cashew nuts sprinkled on the top.
 
Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Refried Mashed Potato

This is a very simply recipe that I learnt off my dad. It's a great way of using up leftover mashed potato, especially as part of a morning fry-up.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bowl of mashed potato
  • enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of your frying pan
 

Method:

  1. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. I recommend using a non-stick frying pan as otherwise you'll find that the crispy potato bits stick to the pan.
  2. Add the mashed potato to the frying pan and press down so that it's well spread out in the pan.
  3. Fry for 5 minutes and then turn over. It doesn't matter if it breaks up as you turn over, this will just mean that the crispy bits end up inside the mashed potato.
  4. After another 5 minutes remove the mashed potato from the pan and place on a plate.
 
Serves 1 or more, depending on how much mashed potato you have.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Mushroom and Blue Cheese Mashed Potato

Caramelizing onions and mushrooms comes up a fair bit in extravagant recipes. This recipe is a good introduction to how to do it and the flavours it produces. Don't worry about the mushrooms and onions burning and sticking to the pan a bit, that's all part of the process to bring out the rich flavours. However it is possible to go too far: you don't want a black lump of dry charcoal, so be ready to add some liquid (stock or wine) if it starts burning so much that pieces of mushroom or onion are burnt to the pan.
 

Ingredients:

  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 6 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 30ml milk
  • 200g blue cheese such as Stilton, cut into 2cm pieces
 

Method:

  1. Place the onions and oil in a saucepan with a lid.
  2. Put over a medium heat and cook for 20 minutes or so. Stir well every 5 minutes.
  3. When the onions are soft and started to caramelize/burn, add the onions to the pan and place the lid back on.
  4. Put the potato pieces into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft.
  5. While the potatoes are cooking keep stiring the mushroom mixture every 5 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes remove the lid from the pan and let the mushroom mixture simmer down.
  7. When the mushroom mixture starts to caramelize/burn on the bottom of the pan add the vegetable stock and stir well to 'deglaze' the pan (which is the cooking way of saying wash the burnt bits off).
  8. Leave the mushroom mixture simmering for 5 minutes while you prepare the mashed potato.
  9. Make the mashed potato by mashing the potatoes, milk and cheese together until smooth.
  10. Serve immediately by putting the potato onto a place, making a well in the center and spooning the mushroom mixture onto it.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Creamy Turnip Curry

Just before making this curry for the first time I heard about two different techniques for making thicker curry sauces. The first of these is to use a blender to blend the onions with the spices until they make a thick paste and then fry that paste. The second was the addition of ground almonds just before the end to add a nice nutty taste and texture. I can happily report that both techniques work very well.
 

Ingredients:

  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150ml plain yoghurt
 

Method:

  1. Put the onions, turmeric, coriander, curry powder, chilli, water and oil in a blender. Blend until it forms a smooth paste. This will take a minute or two and you'll probably need to keep on stopping to mix it up manually.
  2. Put the onion paste in a large sauce pan and fry over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stiring constantly.
  3. Add the turnip, potatoes, stock cubes and boiling water to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
  4. Boil with the lid off for 20 minutes, or until the turnip has started to go soft.
  5. Mix up the almond and yoghurt in a mixing jug.
  6. Stir in the almond and yoghurt mixture just before serving.
  7. Serve with rice, naan bread or both.
 
Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Everyone loves chocolate, oranges and cheesecakes, so when someone mentioned combining them together I jumped at the chance.
 

Ingredients:

  • 250g Hobnob biscuits
  • 170g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 50ml double cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 segments from a chocolate orange
  • 25g dark chocolate, finely grated
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees.
  2. Use a blender to combine the biscuits and butter together until they form into a ball of dough.
  3. Press the biscuit and butter mixture into a pre-greased flan dish or springform tin. The larger the better, I used a 23cm one. If you use a larger one then adjust the cooking time down by 15 minutes or so.
  4. Put a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and add the 200g of dark chocolate and orange juice to the bowl. Keep a gentle heat under the saucepan to keep the water hot.
  5. Leave the chocolate to melt into the orange juice and don't get tempted to stir it until it's all melted, otherwise the chocolate can separate.
  6. In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar with a spoon until it's well mixed.
  7. Add the double cream to the mixture and mix well.
  8. Next stir in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one.
  9. The chocolate should have melted by now, so mix it well in the bowl over the pan of water until it's smooth.
  10. Add the melted chocolate to the cheese mixture and stir well.
  11. Pour over the biscuit mixture and put in the oven.
  12. Add a dish or roasting tin of boiling water to the oven to keep the air nice and moist.
  13. Bake for an hour or until the center of the cheesecake has just gone soft.
  14. Leave to cool for a couple of hours and then place in the fridge for another few hours.
  15. Garnish with the chocolate orange segments and the grated chocolate.
 
Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Carrot and Cabbage Stew

This is a warming recipe which is ideal for cold autumn nights.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 cabbages, core removed and shredded
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp marmite
  • 3.5 litre boiling water
  • 750g carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 150g french beans, cut into 2cm lengths
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
 

Method:

  1. Use a large pan (at least 6.5 litres) to fry the onion in the sunflower oil over a medium heat until it starts to soften.
  2. Add the cabbage and stir well. Add a couple of drops of water to keep it moist and place a lid on the pan.
  3. Cook the cabbage with the onion for five minutes and then stir it well.
  4. Leave the cabbage cooking for a further five minutes.
  5. In a cup mix up the cornflour with a bit of water to make a paste.
  6. Add the cornflour, stock cubes, marmite and boiling water to the pan and bring to a simmer. I normally turn the heat to high while trying to bring it to a simmer, but be careful it doesn't burn on the bottom if you do this.
  7. Reduce the heat so that the simmer is just kept.
  8. Add the carrots and potatoes and place the lid back on the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add the french beans and parsley and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Check that the potatoes and cooked all the way through and then serve.
 
Serves 8.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Vegetarian Toad in the Hole

This is a vegetarian version of the classic autumn dish of toad in the hole. As vegetarian sausages have far less fat than their meat based relatives it's necessary to add a bit of oil to make sure it doesn't stick.
 

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 vegetarian sausages
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 135ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Place the sausages and oil in a large ovenproof dish, pyrex or thick ceramic works best.
  3. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  4. While they are roasting in the oven, mix the flour, egg and half the milk in a bowl or jug. Whisk with a fork until it's a smooth paste.
  5. Add the remaining milk to the mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until a smooth batter is formed. It's best to add the milk in two lots to prevent lumps from forming. You can do it all in one go, but you'll end up whisking it far more to get rid of the lumps.
  6. Remove the sausages from the oven and pour the batter over them.
  7. Return to the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Try to not open the oven door as the batter will crisp best if it's kept very hot.
  8. Once the batter has risen and gone a wonderful brown, remove from the oven and serve. I recommend with gravy and peas.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Baked Squash and Couscous

Having had couscous as a topping for various dishes in restaurants, I decided to give it a go as a topping for a butternut squash. The couscous crisps up very nicely in the oven, gaining a stronger flavour as it does.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out with a teaspoon
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 120g cous cous
  • 1 stock cube, crumbled
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 30g grated cheese, I used spicy cheddar but you can use your personal favourite
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place the squash halves into a large ovenproof dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  3. Fry the leek in the olive oil over a medium heat until it has softened.
  4. Add the tomatoes, cous cous, stock cube and boiling water to the leeks and stir well.
  5. Turn the heat down low and bring the cous cous and vegetable mixture to a simmer.
  6. Stir the cous cous frequently until it has absorbed all the water.
  7. Add the cheese to the cous cous and stir it in.
  8. Remove the squashes from the oven and top with the cous cous. You'll probably end up having some cous cous in the sides of the dish as well.
  9. Cover the dish with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cous cous is nice and toasty on the top.
  11. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and serve. It's ok, and recommended, to eat the skin of the butternut squash; the slow roasting will have made it very soft.
 
Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Leek and Potato Stew

This is a warming stew which is great for autumn evenings.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large leek, peeled and finely chopped
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 50ml double cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 25g grated cheese
 

Method:

  1. Fry the onions in the oil over a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the chopped leek, mix well and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  3. In a jug mix the cornflour with a couple of table spoons of the stock.
  4. When it's a smooth paste mix it with the rest of the stock and the cream.
  5. Season the stock and cream mixture with salt and pepper and then add it to the leeks and onion.
  6. Bring to a simmer and then add the potatoes.
  7. Simmer with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon into bowls, top with the grated cheese and serve.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Butternut Squash in the Hole

When I came to make this toad in the hole dish I was going to use vegetarian sausages, but then decided to try using butternut squash instead. I reasoned that oven roasted squash is just as tasty as sausages and it transpires that this is a correct assumption.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices with seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 135ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Run a knife around the corner edges of the slices of butternut squash so as to round them off. This prevents them from burning during the cooking.
  3. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  4. Fry the slices of butternut squash for a couple of minutes on each side, just until it starts to change colour a bit.
  5. Place the butternut squash pieces and the oil from the pan into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish with high sides, such as a roasting tin.
  6. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  7. While it's roasting in the oven, mix the flour, egg and half the milk in a bowl or jug. Whisk with a fork until it's a smooth paste.
  8. Add the remaining milk to the mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until a smooth batter is formed. It's best to add the milk in two lots to prevent lumps from forming. You can do it all in one go, but you'll end up whisking it far more to get rid of the lumps.
  9. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and pour the batter all around the dish, especially at the edges.
  10. Return to the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Try to not open the oven door as the batter rises best if it's kept in a hot oven.
  11. Once the batter has risen and crisped up, remove from the oven and serve with lashings of gravy. I generally go for roast onion gravy using instant gravy granules.
 
Serves 2.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Cabbage and Cauliflower Gratin

Although this isn't really a gratin (as it lacks the toasty top) I still think of anything in white sauce as being a gratin, so it's a gratin in my mind.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cabbage, quartered, core removed and sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small pieces about 2 cm in length
  • 150g penne pasta
  • 560ml milk
  • 16 green olives, cut in half
 

Method:

  1. Put the cabbage, olive oil and flour in a large pan.
  2. Cook the cabbage over a low to medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to stop it sticking.
  3. While the cabbage is cooking, put on a large pan of water to boil and add the cauliflower to it.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the pasta to it and cook as per the instructions on the pasta, probably 12 to 14 minutes.
  5. When you add the pasta to the boiling water, add the milk to the cabbage pan.
  6. Stir the cabbage and milk mixture frequently as it heats up to make sure it doesn't stick.
  7. When the pasta is cooked the milk mixture should have thickened, so drain the pasta and cauliflower and add it to the milk mixture.
  8. Mix well and then stir in the green olives.
  9. Serve with grated cheese and ground black pepper to garnish.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Diced Quorn Basque

When making this recipe I used some homemade orange wine (which it turns out is only really any good for use in cooking), but a mixture of white wine and orange juice works as a suitable replacement.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 300g Quorn pieces
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 8 sun-dried tomatos, roughly sliced
  • 1 pepper, sliced into 1/2 cm strips
  • 660ml orange wine or 330ml orange juice and 330ml dry white wine
  • 2 tsp paprika, preferably smoked
  • 14 green olives, cut in half

Method:

  1. Add the onions, oil and Quorn pieces to a large saucepan with a well fitting lid and fry on a high heat until it starts to brown.
  2. Add all the other ingredients, other than the olives, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Stir well, turn the heat down low and put the lid on the pan.
  4. Leave to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, checking a couple of times to make sure that it's not got too dry or started burning on the bottom.
  5. Add the olives when all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
  6. Mix well and serve immediately.

Serves 3 to 4.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Aubergine Parmigiana

Stictly speaking this isn't parmigiana as it should use Parmesan cheese. However as Parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian I used Sainsbury's Basic Italian Hard cheese, which is vegetarian and similar in taste to Parmesan. I would also recommend the exceptionally good hard Italian style cheese from Bookhams, but I've yet to find that for sale anywhere near me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 50g tomato puree
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 aubergines, washed and sliced into 1cm slices
  • 3 x 125g mozzarella balls, sliced into thin slices
  • 50g grated hard italian cheese (Parmesan or equivalent)
  • 50g grated mozzerella

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in the oil until soft.
  2. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and bay leaves and leave to simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. While that's simmering, cook the aubergine on a griddle or in a frying pan. Cook it on a medium to high heat until each side is nicely browned off, turning it over once each side is done.
  4. Put the aubergine on a plate to the side while you wait for it to cool a bit.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  6. Remove the 3 bay leaves from the tomato sauce.
  7. In a couple of large oven proof dishes, spread 1/4 of the tomato sauce over the base of each one.
  8. Next layer half the aubergines between the two dishes, then a layer of the sliced mozzarella followed by a sprinkling of 1/4 of the Parmesan in each of the two dishes.
  9. Then layer the remaining aubergines on top of the Parmesan layer, followed by the remaining Parmesan.
  10. Carefully divide the remaining tomato sauce between the two dishes, trying to not disturb the layer of Parmesan as you spoon it on.
  11. Finally sprinkle the grated mozzarella over the dishes.
  12. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  13. Serve with a fresh green salad.

Serves 6.