Friday, 27 May 2011

Root Vegetable and Dumpling Soup


Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3 potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 3 parsnips, washed and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 3 carrots, washed and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 6 leaves of kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3 stock cubes
  • 1.5 litre water
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 125g vegetable suet
  • 4 to 6 tbsp cold water

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in the ghee until it starts to brown in a large soup pan.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the flour, suet and tablespoons of water.
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. While it's heating, mix the flour and suet together and then add the tbsp of water.
  5. Mix the flour and water into a dough and roll into 4 balls.
  6. Place balls of dough into soup.
  7. Simmer soup for 20 minutes with a lid on the pan.
  8. Serve soup with one dumpling per person.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

A friend of mine showed me the trick of using cottage cheese instead of white sauce in lasagna and it does make it considerably easier to make (as well as using one less saucepan as you don't need to make the white sauce). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 3 peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 150g mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 400g fresh spinach
  • 200g sheets of ready to cook lasagne which doesn't need pre-cooking
  • 350g cottage cheese
  • 50g mozzarella cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Fry the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  3. Add the tinned and quartered tomatoes and peppers and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix the spinach and mushrooms in a big bowl.
  5. Cook the spinach and mushrooms over a low heat with a tablespoon of water in a large sauce pan. It should only need a couple of minutes until it's started to reduce down into a smaller volume.
  6. Construct the lasagne in a lasagne dish by doing a layer of half the tomato sauce, followed by half the spinach and mushroom mix. Then a layer of sheets of lasagne, followed by the rest of the tomato sauce then the rest of the spinach mixtures and another layer of sheets of lasagne.
  7. Finally spread the cottage cheese over the top and sprinkle the mozzarella over the top.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serves 4.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

I cooked this after visiting a local Chinese supermarket and picked up a couple of the ingredients from there. It's great to experience the new range of flavours that such shops offer, I highly recommend random purchases from them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 floret of broccoli, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 chili, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive vegetables (this is pickled vegetables and olives, again available from Chinese supermarkets)
  • 150g deep fried tofu, thinly sliced (this is available already deep friend from Chinese supermarkets)
  • 2 blocks of noodles

Method:

  1. Put on a pan of water for cooking the noodles.
  2. Stir fry the mushrooms, broccoli and chili in the sunflower oil and soy sauce over a high heat for five minutes.
  3. Put the noodles in to the boiling water and cook for the time given on their package.
  4. Add the olive vegetables and tofu to the wok and stir fry for another few minutes.
  5. Drain the noodles and split them between two plates.
  6. Serve the stir-fried tofu and vegetable over the noodles.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cabbage and Cottage Cheese Enchilladas

I won't even attempt to pretend that this is a traditional mix of flavours. However don't be put off by the strange combination, it works very well.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 6 french beans, ends removed and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 floret of broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g cottage cheese
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 200g pasta tomato sauce or passata
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 8 large tortilla wraps
 

Method:

  1. Put the onion, cabbage, beans, broccoli, paprika, chilli powder and oil into a big wok and stir fry over a medium heat until it all goes soft. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cottage cheese followed by the lime juice.
  3. Heat the oven up to 200 degrees.
  4. Divide the mixture between the eight tortillas and wrap it up in them. Place them in a greased oven proof dish once you've wrapped them.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the tortillas. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the top is nice and crispy.
 

Friday, 13 May 2011

Carrot Maki (Sushi)

Ingredients:

  • 125g sushi rice
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, if you can get it then get Japanese soy sauce as it's less salty, but light soy sauce works too
  • 2 or 3 sheets sushi nori
You'll also need a sushi rolling mat.

Method:

  1. Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the packet. This will usually involve rinsing it a couple of times and then cooking it slowly in a sauce pan with a lid and a measured amount of water.
  2. Wash and peel the carrots. Cut off the top and bottom of each carrot.
  3. Carefully slice each carrot in half lengthways.
  4. To get strips of carrot which are suitably thin then it's necessary to cut the halves of carrots in half again, but going in the same direction as the other cut. This will give you two thin strips of carrot, rather than 2 quarters. It can be tricky to do, and be careful not to slip and cut yourself with the knife.
  5. Having got the 4 thin lengthways slices from the carrots, cut them into thin strips, no more than a couple of cm long.
  6. Put the strips into a sauce pan, add the water and soy sauce and place a lid on the pan.
  7. Bring to a simmer on a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, keeping the lid on the pan.
  8. The carrot should now be softer, but not completely cooked, so they still have some bite.
  9. Leave to cool.
  10. To make the rolls, place a sheet of sushi nori on the rolling mat and cover 2/3rds of the nori with a thin layer of the sushi rice. Leave a gap of about half an inch at the bottom and about an inch at the top.
  11. Place the strips of part-cooked carrot down the centre of the sushi rice. Be careful not to over fill it, otherwise it'll be hard to roll. However it's difficult to know how much to fill it without trying. Just don't be worried about failing to get a neat roll, it'll still taste as nice and after making it a couple more times you'll perfect it.
  12. Before starting to roll up the sushi, brush cold water on the top edge of the nori so that it sticks to itself more easily when you roll it up.
  13. Carefully roll up the sushi, starting at the bottom edge.
  14. Once the mat is rolled up, press firmly all long it to help seal it all together.
  15. Unroll and then cut into bit size pieces using a sharp knife. It generally helps if the knife is a bit damp as this prevents it sticking to the filling or the nori.
  16. Serve with wasabi, if you like it, and pickled ginger, to cleanse your palette between pieces of sushi.
Serves 1, but you probably want to make some other types of sushi to go with it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tamagoyaki (Egg Sushi)

Ingredients:

  • 125g sushi rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, Japanese soy sauce is best as it's less salty, but light soy sauce works too
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar, or if you can't get that then white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame or sunflower oil
  • 2 to 3 large sheets of sushi nori
You'll also need a sushi rolling mat.

Method:

  1. Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the packet. This will usually involve rinsing it a couple of times and then cooking it slowly in a sauce pan with a lid and a measured amount of water.
  2. Break the eggs into a measuring jug and mix well with a fork.
  3. Add the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce to the egg and mix well.
  4. Heat a large frying pan (or a Tamagoyaki pan if you have one) on a medium heat.
  5. Oil the pan with the sesame/sunflower oil, making sure it's well covered.
  6. Drop a small drop of the egg mixture to the pan to check it's the right temperature. You want it to be hot enough to start cooking, with a quite fizz, but not too hot that it sizzles loudly.
  7. When the pan is the correct temperature then pour in the mixture and leave to cook.
  8. When the top has started to become firm (usually by bubbles that start to appear on the surface) carefully fold over the egg mixture, either in half or in thirds, depending on how thick you like it.
  9. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. Don't worry if it falls apart a bit, once you chop it up to fill the sushi rolls it won't matter.
  10. Leave to cool.
  11. To make the rolls, place a sheet of sushi nori on the rolling mat and cover 2/3rds of the nori with a thin layer of the sushi rice. Leave a gap of about half an inch at the bottom and about an inch at the top.
  12. Slice the cooked egg mixture into strips and place down the centre of the sushi rice. Be careful not to over fill it, otherwise it'll be hard to roll. However it's difficult to know how much to fill it without trying. Just don't be worried about failing to get a neat roll, it'll still taste as nice and after making it a couple more times you'll perfect it.
  13. Before starting to roll up the sushi, brush cold water on the top edge of the nori so that it sticks to itself more easily when you roll it up.
  14. Carefully roll up the sushi, starting at the bottom edge.
  15. Once the mat is rolled up, press firmly all long it to help seal it all together.
  16. Unroll and then cut into bit size pieces using a sharp knife. It generally helps if the knife is a bit damp as this prevents it sticking to the filling or the nori.
  17. The cooked egg mixture is very nice on it's own, so if you have some left over then just cut it into bite sized slices and serve it on the side with the other sushi.
Serves 1, but you probably want to make some other types of sushi to go with it.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Parsnip Cakes

These are a refreshing way to prepare root vegetables in a way which isn't mashed or roasted.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 parsnips, washed and coarsely grated
  • 2 carrots, washed and coarsely grated
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
 

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in a saucepan with the olive oil until soft.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and leave to simmer while you prepare the parsnips cakes.
  3. Mix the grated parsnip, grated carrots, flour, egg, oregano and thyme in a large bowl.
  4. Heat up a frying pan or griddle to a medium heat.
  5. Use your hands to press 1/6th of the parsnip mixture into round patties about 2 cm thick.
  6. Repeat this so you have 6 parsnip cakes.
  7. Fry or griddle the patties in the pan you've heated up. They'll take about 10 minutes on each side. Turn them once during cooking to brown both sides. If you try to turn them too early then they might fall apart!
  8. Serve with cous-cous and the tomato sauce on the side.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Raspberry and Lime Cheesecake

This is a nice combination of flavours in a traditional (and very filling) dessert.
 

Ingredients:

  • 300g dark chocolate digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 125g butter, melted by heating in the microwave in a cup
  • 600g cream cheese, I recommend light to make it a bit 'healthier'
  • 140g caster sugar
  • juice and zest from 2 limes
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 180ml double cream
  • 175g raspberries
 

Method:

  1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter until they are really sticking together.
  2. Press the biscuit mixture into the bottom and sides of a buttered 23cm tin. I recommend using a springform tin, otherwise it's always difficult to remove the cheesecake.
  3. Place the biscuit tin into the fridge to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  5. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, lime juice and lime zest together in a large bowl.
  6. Mix in the 4 yolks from the eggs and the cream.
  7. Whip the whites from 2 of the eggs in a separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. (You don't need the other 2 whites for anything).
  8. Carefully fold the whipped whites into the cheese and cream mixture, trying to not be too violent so the little air bubbles aren't broken.
  9. Use the edge of a metal spoon to carefully fold and mix the whites into the mixture.
  10. Pour the mixture into the biscuit lined tin.
  11. Place the raspberries onto the top of the mixture. They should slowly sink in as you place them evenly over it.
  12. Place in the oven (on top of a baking tray to catch any drips or leaks). Bake for 1 hour.
  13. After the hour is up just turn the oven off and wedge the door slightly ajar to let it cool slowly.
  14. Once it's cooled in the oven place it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (preferably overnight).
  15. Enjoy in small slices, as it's quite filling.
 
Serves 10 to 12.