Friday, 29 July 2011

Kale Stuffed Aubergines

The combination of roasted kale and carrots combine well with the aubergines flavours in this dish. The use of foil to cover the dish as it's baked traps all the flavours and moistness in the dish.
 

Ingredients:

  • 4 small carrots, washed and finely sliced
  • 25g kale, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 25g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 aubergines, cut in half
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Mix the carrots, kale, garlic, sage and butter in a large bowl.
  3. Use the end of a teaspoon to scrape the seeds and most of the insides out of the aubergine halves, but leave the outside flesh.
  4. Finely chop the insides of the aubergine and add about half of it to the large bowl.
  5. Place the aubergine halves into a large ovenproof dish and fill the aubergines with the carrot and kale mixture.
  6. Pile any excess carrot and kale mixture on top of the aubergines.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.
  8. Serve with roast or mashed potatoes.
 
Serves 2 to 3.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Vege Philly Cheesesteak

This isn't an entirely accurate Philly cheesesteak recipe, but it's the most accurate I could come up with using easy to obtain ingredients in the UK.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 Quorn peppered steaks
  • 2 slices of processed (or burger) cheese
  • 1 small white baton of bread
 

Method:

  1. Add the onion, sunflower oil and Quorn steaks to a frying pan and cook on a medium heat.
  2. After 5 minutes turn the Quorn steaks.
  3. Once the other side have had 5 minutes, cut the steak up using the edge of a knife or fish-slice so that it's in small chunks.
  4. Cut the baton in half with a sharp knife and cut it down the middle.
  5. Divide the steak and onion mixture between the two halves of the batton.
  6. Place the cheese slices on top of the steak mixture and wait 30 seconds for it to melt.
  7. Enjoy!
 
Serves 1 to 2 people, depending on how hungry they are.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Pasta Genovese

This is a great one pan dish which is made more interesting than plain pasta and sauce by the addition of some vegetables.
 

Ingredients:

  • 100g dried pasta
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 12 to 14 broad beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 100g basil pesto
 

Method:

  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling add the pasta, potatoes and beans to it.
  3. Boil for 15 minutes.
  4. Drain the pan and add the pesto.
  5. Mix well and serve while hot.
 
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pesto Genovese

If you can find enough fresh basil to make pesto yourself then it's certainly worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 100g fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 40g parmesan cheese (or vegetarian Italian style hard cheese), finely grated
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Place the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and heat on a medium heat.
  2. Move the pine nuts around in the pan every couple of minutes to stop them burning.
  3. Once brown patches start to develop on the nuts, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Combine all the ingredients, including the toasted pine nuts, in a blender.
  5. Blend until a smooth paste forms.
  6. Serve with pasta or on toast. This will keep for a few days in a jar in the fridge as well.

Makes about 200g of pesto (half a normal size jam jar).

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mini Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes don't need to be cake sized to be enjoyable. These mini cheesecakes make great finger food at parties or as an alternative to cup cakes.
 

Ingredients:

  • 200g chocolate digestives, crushed
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 175g caster sugar
  • juice and rind of 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml double cream
  • 12 strawberries, washed and cut in half
 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Mix the crushed digestives and butter together using a blender until evenly mixed.
  3. Place 12 cupcake liners into a cupcake dish.
  4. Divide the crushed digestives between the cupcake lines, pressing into a firm layer in the bottom.
  5. In a large bowl mix the cream cheese and caster sugar until well mixed.
  6. Add the lemon juice and rind and mix again.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg.
  8. Once all the eggs have been added stir in the double cream.
  9. Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake lines.
  10. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
  11. When the cheesecakes are firm turn off the oven and open the door a little, but let the cheesecakes cool in the oven.
  12. Once the cheesecakes are cooled garnish with the strawberry halves and serve.
 
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Deviled Eggs

Devilled eggs are a food which I associate with the 70s for some reason, even though I wasn't even alive in the 70s. They're great party snacks though and turned out to be a hidden favourite of several of my friends.
 

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika to garnish
 

Method:

  1. Boil the eggs in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Once the 10 minutes are up drain the pan and cover the eggs in cold water to cool them.
  3. While the eggs cool, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vingear and salt/pepper in a bowl.
  4. Carefully peel all the eggs and discard the shells.
  5. Cut each egg in half and remove the yolk, adding the yolk to the mustard mixture.
  6. Place the empty white halves of the egg onto a big dish.
  7. Mash and mix the yolks into the mayonnaise mixture until it's an even texture.
  8. Fill the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture where the yolk used to be.
  9. Carefully sprinkle paprika over the eggs to garnish just before serving.
 
Makes 12 deviled eggs.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Triple Chocolate and Mint Brownies

 

Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 100g white chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 290g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 16 after dinner mints, such as 'after eights'
 

Method:

  1. Place the butter and dark chocolate into a bowl which is large enough to sit over a sauce pan.
  2. Place enough water in the sauce pan so that it comfortable covers the bottom of the pan, but isn't deep enough to touch the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Place the bowl over the sauce pan and heat the water on a medium heat. Turn the heat down low as soon as you can see any steam. Stir the mixture every few minutes until it's all melted into a thick but even liquid. Don't over heat it or it'll start to separate.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
  5. Place the bowl of chocolate and butter to one side to cool.
  6. While it's cooling chop the white and milk chocolate pieces into smaller blocks. This is easiest to do by resting the point of a sharp knife in a chopping board and then bringing the knife blade down onto the chocolate.
  7. Find a tin with reasonably high sides and an area of about 400 square cms. This means a 20cm square tin or a 13cm by 30cm tin. Cut out some greaseproof paper so that it fits the bottom of the pan and lightly grease it with some butter. Also grease the sides of the tin slightly to help prevent sticking.
  8. In a large bowl mix the eggs and caster sugar. Get a whisk (preferrably an electric one) and whisk for about 5 minutes.
  9. When the mixture has increased in size considerable and started to be thick enough that it takes a second or two for your whisk marks to disappear then it's done.
  10. Carefully fold in the butter and dark chocolate mixture by lifting liquid from the bottom of the bowl to the top in a smooth flicking motion. I prefer to use a spachelor here, as a spoon can break too many of the bubbles that you whisked in.
  11. When the chocolate is all folded in, use a sieve to add the flour and cocoa powder. I don't usually think that a sieve is necessary in recipes, but it is in this one to make sure that there are no lumps of flour or cocoa in the mixture.
  12. Carefully fold in the flour and cocoa until it's a smooth mixture.
  13. Finally stir in the pieces of milk and white chocolate.
  14. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin and use the spachelor to push it to the edges.
  15. Place the after dinner mints flat over the top of the mixture and pour in the rest of the mixture over the mints.
  16. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes is up give the dish a sideways shake to check that the middle is firm and doesn't wobble. If it does wobble then give it another 5 minutes and repeat the shaking until it's solid enough. There should also be a lovely paper thin crisp layer forming on the top.
  17. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the side. It's important to wait until it's fully cool before trying to remove it from the tin, otherwise it can still be a bit runny and collapse.
  18. When it is fully cool, remove it from the pan and cut into 16 squares.
  19. Store in an air tight container and eat as soon as possible.
 
Makes 16 brownies.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Gazpacho Soup

This is a really easy summer recipe which you just need to prepare the night before.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers, chopped with seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 salad onions, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
 

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Blend using a blender until it's a smooth soup.
  3. Chill in a fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Serve cold, possibly with some bread or croutons.
 
Serves 6 as a starter.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Aubergine Steaks

These stuffed aubergine steaks make an unusual, but tasty, vegetarian main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1/2 cauliflower, cut into small 2cm pieces
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 dried chili, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida compound (optional)
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 aubergines, sliced into 1.5cm slices and insides removed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes and cauliflower in a large pan of water for 20 minutes and then drain.
  2. Mash the potatoes and cauliflower together until they are roughly blended.
  3. Fry all the spices, apart from the sugar, in a small pan for 5 minutes in the 1 tsp of oil.
  4. Mix the spices, sugar and mashed potato and cauliflower mixture until well mixed.
  5. Stuff the mixture into the aubergine slices and press into a flat surface on both sides of the aubergine slice.
  6. Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
  7. Fry each aubergine slice for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  8. Serve with rice.