Saturday, 29 September 2012

Spiced Coconut Greens

Based on a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, this was a lovely accompaniment to Thai-chicken in romaine lettuce leaf wraps.  I stir-fried a shredded leek with some grated garlic and ginger for a few moments, then stirred in a quarter-teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli flakes.  I then tipped in a big handful of shredded kale, a 160ml tin of coconut milk and 100ml of veg stock, and half a tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  This was stirred over a high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, then the juice of half a lime was added, with some salt and pepper.  This would work with spinach or chard, but the bitter chewy nature of wonderfully fresh green kale was most welcome.  This served 2 but would easily be doubled for more, or doubled and served with rice as a main course.  I think it qualifies for under a fiver.

Leek Beetroot and Potato Soup

I'm back in the blogging saddle again after a spot of bother with Google Blogger.  And a great soup to start us off with.  It is absurd to get excited over something as simple as a leek, but when two beautiful specimens turned up in the veg box, it made my heart sing!  After trimming and thoroughly washing one, I partnered it in a soup with onions, beetroot and potato.  Made the usual way, I sweated said leek with a chopped onion in a tablespoon of rape seed oil and around 25g of butter.  I peeled 2 good sized raw beetroot (ignoring the 'Psycho' red splattering on hands, kitchen tiles, chopping board and apron) and 2 similar-sized potatoes, chopped them and added them to the pot.  After being just covered with Marigold veggie stock, the pot simmered for half-an-hour and was then blended with a stick blender until a smooth vision of creamy pinkness emerged.  I stirred in a dollop of creme fraiche and served it with another spoonful on top, some chopped chives (actually, spring onion tops!) and a drizzle of a little more rape seed oil, but these embellishments are optional - just plain and simple, it was a soup of sweet, smooth earthiness.

Perfect Sauteed Potatoes

Well, perfect as far as we're concerned!  The secret of a perfect sauteed potato is time.  And a non-stick frying pan.  If you rush your spud, it will brown too quickly and not be cooked on the inside.  Don't par-boil them, either, as they go mushy.  The other secret is not to stir them too often.  And use waxy new potatoes, as maincrop will just go mushy too.  OK, so that's four secrets, not one, but I like to give you value for money.  Chop as many spuds as you like, but make sure you have a big enough pan for them to be in one layer.  Cubes of about half an inch, or the metric equivalent, will be fine.  Heat 3 tablespoons of oil (I never said these were low fat!) in your pan - I like a blend of rape seed and extra virgin oil.  Keep the heat to medium and let the oil heat properly before adding the spuds, which should gently sizzle as they hit the pan.  As they do, toss them in the oil, shake them out to an even layer, sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Let them cook at a moderate sizzle for a good 5 minutes without disturbing them.  Meanwhile, chop a large red onion and a clove or 2 of garlic.  After 5 minutes, stir and toss the potatoes and throw in the onions and garlic.  Stir again, then leave for another 5 minutes.  Stir every 5 to 10 minutes until all sides are brown and the onions have gone a delicious caramelly gooey texture.  Taste the potatoes after half an hour.  Add more salt and pepper, and if they are cooked through, turn up the heat and fry briskly until everything is crisp.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn and adjust the heat accordingly.  Chop a handful of flat-leaf parsley and stir through at the very last moment before turning into a bowl and eating promptly with whatever takes your fancy - steak, fried chicken, lamb or pork chops, or grilled mackerel, which we had last night.  DEE-lish!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Apologies for the lack of updates

Google Blogger doesn't seem to want me to upload any photos, so I haven't been able to do any posting for a while.  I do apologise, and have a backlog of recipes for when it gets resolved - in the meantime, take a swing through the archives!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bircher Muesli

It is my poor hubby's first day off in 11 days, so I wanted to give him his favourite breakfast.  Being the (generally) virtuous bloke he is, this isn't a fry-up, but a plate of Bircher Muesli and lots of fruit.  On a lovely sunny early Autumn morning, it hit just the spot.  It is essential to use a good quality muesli base for this, and I like Dorset Cereals - not cheap but great quality.  Start the night before. For three servings (he has the leftovers tomorrow), put 9 heaped tablespoons of muesli in a bowl and pour over fruit juice to just cover - I used apple juice.  stir well, cover and leave in the fridge over night.  The next morning, grate an apple, peel and all, and stir into the muesli with a splash more apple juice.  Now stir in yoghurt, whatever flavour you like, but I went with peach yoghurt to match the flavours of the fruit.  Use as much or as little as you like to get the texture and consistency you prefer.  Spoon into plates and serve with a selection of perfect fruit - I used a glorious French white peach, skinned and sliced, some wonderful scottish raspberries and local strawberries, and a handful of brambles from the wild bit at the bottom of the garden, still warm from the briar.  This could only have been improved by eating it on a balcony overlooking the Devon or Cornish coast, but you can't have everything.  With gallons of tea, toast and homemade marmalade, I hope the old man had an oasis of rest before back to the slog again tomorrow.