What I'm cooking and eating

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Microwave lemon curd

I find this quicker and easier than the way I used to make it, on the stovetop.  Citrus fruit is in season at this time of year - look out for the Sevilles for your marmalade - so it's a perfect time to make lemon curd and bring a bit of sunshine into dull January!

4 medium unwaxed lemons
450 g sugar
4 eggs
120 g butter

Sterilise a couple of jamjars by washing them in hot water, rinsing, and then putting them into the oven (on low) for at least 10 minutes - do this before you start the rest of the preparation.  This has the great advantage that you then have a large bowlful of clean washing-up water that you can use to wash up as you go along!

I find the easiest way of doing things is to put everything except the butter into a food processor - quite apart from anything else, you can put the lemon zest in in strips and don't have to use a microplane grater, which is boring!  So lemon zest, juice, sugar and eggs go in the food processor and you whizz this while melting the butter in a large microwave-proof bowl.

Then you mix the two together, stir really thoroughly and microwave for about a minute at a time until it begins to thicken, at which time reduce the time to 30 seconds at a time.  Stir vigorously between each bout of microwaving.  When it is thick and delicious, pot it up and enjoy!

It should be kept in the fridge, so I don't bother with cellophane and/or waxed paper, but you can if you prefer.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Rice, beans and mushrooms

Once again, I am inspired by Amuse Your Bouche.  I don't really like cilantro, though, and (at the time I planned this dish) had half a punnet of mushrooms that wanted eaten.  As it turned out, I didn't make this when I first thought of doing so (long story) so make the mushrooms into soup, and bought fresh for this dish.  It was very good, but I wish I'd cooked the beans a little longer!

1/2 cup uncooked black beans
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 punnet mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1/2 packet cream cheese (I used garlic-and-herb flavoured, but sweet chilli might also have been nice)
A little cooking oil and butter
1 tsp pilau seasoning (or as liked)
2 tsp mushroom ketchup
1 vegetable stock cube

Soak the beans overnight, and then cook in water to which you have added a stock cube in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot - I cooked mine for 10 minutes and they just weren't quite cooked, so maybe 12-15 minutes would be better.

Put a little cooking oil or butter in a saucepan, heat it, then add the pilau seasoning and the rice.  Stir, then add 1 cup salted boiling water.  Stir again, then reduce the heat as low as it will go and leave the rice, covered, to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.
  Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan and add the crushed garlic, the mushrooms that you have cut or broken into small pieces and the ketchup.  Allow to cook on a low heat. 

When the rice is cooked, stir the cream cheese into the mushrooms, and bring back to the boil; then add the cooked rice and the beans to the same pan.  Serve at once.  Serves 2.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Vegan Scramble

I don't quite know what to call this dish - it is more like an omelette than anything else, but as it is well known that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.... I think I'll call it a "frittata", in quotes, and have done.  It wasn't very photogenic, so I didn't take a picture.
Thanks to Judy Pearson for suggesting "vegan scramble" as the ideal name  for this dish.

This is basically one of those clean-out-the-fridge dishes that are so very useful!  You fry up a shedload of vegetables, then when they are cooked, pour on a gram flour batter and let that cook, too.  So feel free to use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge that want used up!  I also had some felafel that wanted eating, so added them when I added the batter.

1 onion
1/2 punnet mushrooms
2 tomatoes
The end of a vegetable marrow
1/2 cup gram flour (besan, chickpea flour)
1 tbs olive oil
Enough water to mix to a smooth, pancake-like batter
A little oil for cooking
Seasoning, to taste.

Peel and chop the vegetables, and fry slowly in a little cooking oil in a covered pan until cooked.  Put the flour in a bowl and add the oil and water, mix until very smooth.  Pour over the vegetables (I added leftover falafel at this stage) and cook gently until the top is looking dry; now if you are sensible you'll put it under the grill until the top is cooked, but if you're stupid, you'll do what I did and try to turn it over.  This was not a success - hence the lack of photographs - but I left it to cook for a further couple of minutes, and then dished up.  It was lovely!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Courgette "hummus"

I hadn't made this for years, and had forgotten how good it was. 

1 medium courgette, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
1-2 tbs tahini
1-2 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Put everything in the food processor and blitz until smooth.  I made this with a hummus-like texture, but you could make it runnier by adding more lemon juice and olive oil.  It makes a fabulous salad dressing, or just a spoonful of deliciousness on the corner of the plate.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Barley Mac

I have been making a lot of lemon barley water during this very hot weather, and the difficulty is to know what to do with the barley!  There is a limit to the amount of barley salad I can eat, much though I love it, and although it is quite nice plain with, for instance, some cooked chicken (I cooked chicken thighs with garlic on the stove top and then soaked the cooked barley in the juices that had run off from them), I thought I would try it as the "pasta" in macaroni cheese.  It was very good indeed.  This is my almost-vegan version of mucky cheese - if you wanted it to be completely vegan you could substitute a vegan "cheese" recipe (they are ubiquitous, just Google) or just add a little nutritional yeast to the sauce, and top the dish with Becca's delicious crispy garlic breadcrumbs.  But for those who do eat cheese, this is delicious "as is".

1/2 cup raw pearl barley, boiled in 1 litre water until cooked (15 minutes in Instant Pot); drained.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 small tin sweetcorn
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tsp plain flour (1 small tbs)
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs cooking oil (I used stir-fry oil to add a bit of oomph)
Grated cheese (Cheddar or Emmenthal works best) - I used a 200g packet of mature Cheddar.

Drain the tin of sweetcorn and mix it with the barley.  Meanwhile, fry the onions in the cooking oil until soft.  Place the tomatoes, flour and seasoning in a blender and work until smooth.  Pour the result on to the onions, and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.  Remove from heat and stir in half the grated cheese, until it has melted, at which point pour the sauce over the barley and sweetcorn and stir well.  Top with the rest of the cheese (or with crispy garlic breadcrumbs, if you prefer) and bake in a moderately slow oven for about 45 minutes.  Lush!

Friday, 20 July 2018

Vegan paella/risotto/whatever

This was adapted from this recipe.  Serves 4, or 2 people twice!

1 cup (250 ml by volume) risotto rice
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, or more as desired, crushed
1 red pepper, roasted/microwaved/grilled and peeled and then sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped (ideally peeled, too)
2-3 potatoes, diced (no need to peel!)
1/2 punnet mushrooms, sliced
1 small tin petits pois (or use frozen, but I do love French tinned peas!)
250 ml cooking white wine
500 ml stock (I cheated, and used a chicken stock cube, but obviously if you're vegetarian or vegan you will prefer to use a vegetable stock cube)
1 tbs cooking oil of some kind
Seasoning.  I dislike smoked paprika and had no saffron, so used allspice and sweet paprika instead, plus the usual salt and pepper.  But use what you like!

Cook the onion in the oil for a few minutes until soft, then add the rest of the vegetables, stir, and cook for a few more minutes.  Add the wine, then the rice, stir again, and finally add the stock.  Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

I suppose that to be certain of complete protein you should probably add a tin of sweetcorn as well, but I didn't.  It was very delicious, and I'm looking forward to seeing whether it's nice cold, too.  If not, it will microwave!

Edited to add: I found it absolutely delicious cold, but it would reheat very quickly in the microwave if you decide you prefer it hot.  Just be sure it's absolutely piping hot all the way through, though, before you eat it.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Käsespätzle with chicken

I appear to have neglected this blog rather - my apologies!  I'm still cooking, of course. This was really rather a bodge-up, but it tasted good!

About 1/4 cooked chicken, cut into small pieces (optional)
2 onions, diced
1 packet spätzle for frying (or use home-made) - not sure if you can buy them in this country, but they are ubiquitous in Germany and easy enough to find in France
Large handful grated cheese (cheddar or Emmenthal)
A little milk
Butter and oil for frying

Cook the diced onions in a little butter and olive oil, stirring frequently, until they are brown and caramelised.  Add the cooked chicken, if using, and the spätzle, and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Melt the cheese in the milk, and stir this into the rest of it.  Season to taste, and serve with a green vegetable.