We received some beautiful, freshly-cut chives as a bonus in our organic veg box yesterday, so I wanted to showcase them in a simple recipe that would let their flavour sing out. Also, we had an abundance of rich, orange-yolked eggs to use up. We forget that eggs are a seasonal ingredient, and at this time of year, with the lengthening sunny days, hens produce eggs with particularly richly-coloured, nutritious yolks. So, I found a good recipe from Marks and Sparks, using a strong cheddar. I followed this recipe pretty much exactly, the only difference being that I coated the inside of the dish with some grated Paremesan and dusted the top with a little, too, before baking. This gives a wonderful brown, savoury crust to the souffle. The result was a fluffy, cheesy supper, imbued with the sweet alium flavour of chives. Accompanied by a simple salad and a glass of chilled rose wine, all was well with the world! The quantity in the recipe is for 4 for a starter, but it served 2 amply for a main course. Double it up and it will still cost less than a fiver, so it qualifies in that category for sure.
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Saturday, 24 March 2012
What on earth does one do with that strange, Sputnik-like root, kohlrabi, when it turns up in your veg box? In the past, I have braised it with butter, stock, garlic and lots of herbs and lemon juice, and I've also made it into a slaw, by finely shredding and mixing the raw veg with spring onions in a herby mayo. But this is definitely the nicest way - let's face it, anything is improved by being fried! (except, perhaps, a Mars bar, as my compatriots do in Scotland......hmmmm). Anyway, grate the peeled kohlrabi and mix with a small egg, a tablespoon of plain flour, a clove of garlic, crushed, the zest of a lemon and plenty of salt and black pepper. Heat a centimetre of oil (sunflower or rapeseed) in a non-stick pan, and fry dessertspoons of the mix, pressed flat, keeping the heat on the high side. Turn after a minute or so once lovely and golden, and when done, lay out on several sheets of kitchen paper to blot excess fat. Eat straight away or reheat in a single layer on a baking sheet and serve with poached eggs and a watercress salad for a lovely lunch or light supper.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
This'll put hairs on your chest. A Pasticcio is essentially a greek version of an Italian meat and pasta bake. The pasta is mixed with a ragu made from minced lamb, onions, garlic and tomatoes, and seasoned with ground cinnamon (not too much) and dried oregano. Once thick and reduced, mix the sauce with cooked pasta - a chunky variety such as rigatoni is good, then top with a cheesy, nutmeggy white sauce and parmesan and baked until set and bubbly-brown on top. The cinnamon gives it a really different flavour and is what edges it a couple of countries to the right from Italy to Greece - a moussaka lasagne, if you like. Anyway, for 4, use 500g of minced lamb and a regular tin of tomatoes, and you will need around 300g of pasta, and half a pint of cheese sauce. This makes a cheap and substantial dinner, and could be done for around the fiver mark, depending on the cost of your meat - however, I'd say go for good quality and then it might push it up to the six quid bracket. Still great value though.
Monday, 19 March 2012
This recipe is based on a recipe from the Hairy Bikers, and the easiest thing to do is to link to their original recipe. A couple of variations: the cauliflower was tossed in a teaspoon of garam masala before roasting, and the Saag Aloo curry had a base of pureed onion, ginger and garlic, as well as a sliced onion - this gives a thicker finish to the dish. I also used all cauli, as I didn't have any romenesco to hand. I don't think it diminished the overall result! This was utterly delicious, the cauliflower being transformed by the roasting and retaining its texture and interest without being water-logged. Definitely under a fiver too. Yummy with simple boiled basmati rice.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
We recently visited friends in Lancaster, and amongst the beautiful dishes they prepared for us was a shoulder of lamb, gently pot-roasted for 22 hours. It was amazingly tender and delicious. Sadly, because of the slightly bizarre configuration of our flat, we can't do anything like that, as our bedroom is next to our kitchen - the smell overnight would prevent me from sleeping! However, you can still achieve something approaching that tenderness and succulence in a shorter time, so this version cooked for 5 hours instead. You brown a boned, rolled shoulder in some oil in a heavy ovenproof casserole, then add lots of large chunks of onions and some peeled chopped carrots. Add a couple of bay leaves and some sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Deglaze the pan with 250ml each of white wine and lamb or chicken stock, and season well with salt and pepper. Clamp the lid on, with a layer of foil underneath if you doubt its airtightness, and bake in a low oven (around 120C) for 4 to 5 hours. Check after 3 hours and top up with a bit more wine/stock. It shouldn't be swimming in liquid, but should have some delicious light juices in the bottom. When you adjudge it to be tender enough to cut with a spoon, dish up in large chunks (slicing is virtually impossible, it is so soft and melting), with the veg around and spoonfuls of the lovely winey lamby juices. Creamy colcannon, in honour of St Patrick's Day yesterday, went down well with this, as did some sticky, caramelly roasted parsnips.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Mary Berry's 'Best Ever Chocolate Cake' recipe, but cooking it as a single layer in a 12" by 9" traybake tin, then icing the top with her chocolate ganache icing. Very good. I didn't use the layer of apricot jam before the icing that the recipe stipulates, largely because this divided opinion the last time I made it. Do use Bourneville chocolate, though. I know it isn't as high in cocoa content as other brands, but its sweet chocolatiness seems to make for a perfect smooth icing. The remainder will be brought in to work on Monday afternoon - Ady Fenwick, you'd better be there!
order the book on Amazon for a bargain ten quid. You do this 'cos Maggie says it is a good idea, and she is always right.
Friday, 9 March 2012
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Monday, 5 March 2012
Sunday, 4 March 2012
lovely recipe from Tom Parker-Bowles, and it is a winning combo. I added a spoonful of flour to the fruit, as the rhubarb makes a lot of sauce, which the flour thickened nicely. I used Calvados, which is apple brandy, after all, and just a tablespoon of it over the fruit has filled the flat with the most incredible smell as it cooks. Perfect.