Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Breaded Aubergine with Curry

I came up with this recipe when thinking of doing an aubergine curry, but deciding to try something different and have the curry sauce as something on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lump of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with a fork
  • crusts from 6 slices of bread, blended into breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. Grill or griddle the slices of aubergine until it's well browned.
  2. In a small sauce pan mix the onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and 1 tbsp of the plain flour.
  3. Add the vegetable stock to the mixture and mix well until all the flour is dissolved.
  4. Bring the curry mixture to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring well every minute to stop it burning or lumps forming.
  5. Put the other 3 tbsp of plain flour into a small plate. Do similar with the breadcrumbs and the beaten egg into a wide bowl.
  6. Coat the aubergine pieces in bread crumbs by putting them in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
  7. Fry the breaded aubergine slices for 5 minutes on each side, or until the breadcrumbs are a nice crispy brown colour.
  8. Serve with rice.

Serves 2.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Sausage and Cabbage Hotpot

This is a good single pan dish, but does require you to have quite a big dish with a lid which fits it. I use a big wok, but a deep frying or saute pan should work as well.

Ingredients:

  • 6 sausages
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cabbage(s), washed and roughly chopped with hard core removed
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes
  • 250ml white wine
  • 250ml water

Method:

  1. Brown the sausages in a large and deep pan with a fitting lid.
  2. Remove the browned sausages and put to one side.
  3. Fry the onion and celery in the oil until soft.
  4. Add the cabbage and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes, water and wine and reduce to a simmer.
  6. Stir well and then place the sausages on top of the cabbage and put the lid on.
  7. Let the pan cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Don't take the lid off to look or you'll let all the good flavours out. However it's important to use a very low heat so that it doesn't burn or boil dry.
  8. Serve straight onto plates from the pan to minimise washing up.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Chickpea and Pepper Stew


Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 2 peppers, washed and sliced
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 200ml vegetable stock

Method:

  1. Fry the onions and celery in the oil over a medium heat until they start to soften.
  2. Add the peppers and fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  4. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with cous-cous.

Serves 2 to 3.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Carrot and Broccoli Pasta Bake

This is another variation on the pasta bake.
 

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 5 carrots, peeled and thinly chopped
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 250ml water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 heads of broccoli, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 300g fusilli pasta
  • 100g grated cheese
 

Method:

  1. Put on a large pan of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a separate saucepan put in the tomatoes, oil, chilli powder, carrots, tomato puree and water.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Heat the tomato mixture over a medium heat and simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes.
  5. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, so add the pasta to the water.
  6. At the same time add the broccoli to the tomato mixture and mix well.
  7. Put the oven on to preheat to 170 degrees.
  8. Cook the pasta for 15 minutes and then drain.
  9. In a large ovenproof dish combine the pasta with the tomato and broccoli mixture and mix well.
  10. Top with the grated cheese and place in the oven.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is nice and golden.
 
Serves 3.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Hash Browns

If you're a hash brown purist then you'll object to this recipe as it includes eggs to bind it all together. If you get the right sort of potatoes then you can get away without the egg, but the egg makes this recipe more reliable.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sunflower oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan
 

Method:

  1. Grate the onion into a clean tea towel and squeeze out excess water.
  2. Peel the potatoes and then, taking them one potato at a time, grate them into the tea towl, squeezing out the water again. It's important to get the onion and potato as dry as possible so that it all holds together.
  3. Put the grated onion and potato in a large bowl and add the egg.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and mix well until it's all well combined.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until it's hot enough that a piece of the potato mixture starts to fizzle.
  6. Take a medium sized handful of the mixture, push it together in your hard to form a patty and then place in the frying pan.
  7. Repeat until all the mixture has been pressed into patties.
  8. Leave to cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Use a fish slice to press each hash brown flat in the frying pan and then cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Check the underside of each hash brown and when it's nice and golden turn them over.
  11. Cook the other side for a further 10 minutes, or until golden.
  12. Serve while still warm with ketchup and mustard.
 
Serves 2.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Spanakopita (Feta and Spinach Pie)

I'd never used fillo (or filo/phyllo) pastry before trying this recipe, but it turns out it's rather easy to work with. If you're using frozen fillo pastry then you'll need to get it out and put it in the fridge the day before you want to use it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 230g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp parsley or mixed herbs
  • 200g feta cheese, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, yolk and white lightly beaten together
  • 14 sheets of fillo pastry
  • 100ml olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Place the spinach, 1/2 tsp olive oil and herbs in a large pan, cover with a lid and heat over a medium heat.
  3. After about 5 to 10 minutes the spinach should have cooked down to a dark green mass. When it has, removed the pan from the heat and place it to one side to cool.
  4. Once the pan has cooled for 5 minutes add the feta and egg to the spinach and mix well.
  5. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of a deep roasting tin or large cake tin with olive oil. If you don't have a pastry brush then a rolled up stick of kitchen towel can work, but won't give as even coverage and you'll need to watch for leaving behind bits of paper!
  6. Place a sheet of fillo pastry into the dish and brush olive oil over it. If it's a bit too large for the dish then trim it down a bit or, if it's not too much bigger, just fold over the edges into the dish.
  7. Repeat with more sheets of fillo pastry until you've got 7 layers in total.
  8. Next spread the feta and spinach mixture over the inner layer of pastry.
  9. Add the remaining sheets of fillo pastry to the top of the dish, on top of the feta and spinach mixture.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is a nice light golden colour.
  11. Serve on it's own or with a tomato salad.

Serves 3.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Creamy Beetroot and Carrot Stew

This is a good winter vegetable stew which celebrates the colourful natures of various root vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pak choi, outer leaves removed, washed and cut into 1cm strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm lengths
  • 4 beetroot, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 150ml crème fraîche
  • 100g Shropshire Blue (or other blue cheese) finely chopped

Method:

  1. Put the onion, pak choi and olive oil in a large sauce pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes (or until soft).
  2. Add the carrots and beetroots to the pan and stir well. Add 50ml of water.
  3. Place lid on pan and let simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes and add more water if it's starting to get dry.
  4. After the 30 minutes add the crème fraîche and blue cheese and stir until well mixed.
  5. Continue to stir every 30 seconds or so until all the blue cheese has melted into the sauce.
  6. Serve on it's own as a complete dish.

Serves 2.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Carrot and Barley Soup

This is a nice hearty soup with a good balance of interesting flavours.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 10g butter
  • 8 carrots, washed and sliced
  • 100g dried barley
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 125ml red wine
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tsp marjoram
  • 3 bay leaves

Method:

  1. Fry the onions in the butter in a large sauce pan until golden.
  2. Add the carrots and barley, stir well and fry for five minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, wine, water, marjoram and bay leaves and stir well.
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sausage and Red Wine Dumpling Stew

When considering what to have for dinner one evening I saw a half open bottle of wine and started wondering if it could be used in making dumplings to give them a unique flavour. It turns out that it can.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 stock cube
  • 5 vegetarian frankfurters, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 150g french beans, doesn't matter if they're frozen or not
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 100ml red wine

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in the oil until golden brown.
  2. Add the stock cube, frankfurters, beans, water and sage to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  3. While that's heating up, mix the self-raising flour with the wine in a bowl until a stiff dough forms.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 balls.
  5. Add the balls of dough to the top of the stew and place a lid on the sauce pan.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes, turning the dumplings after 10 minutes so that they are cooked on both sides.
  7. Serve on a plate or in bowls.

Serves 3 to 4.