What I'm cooking and eating

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.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Salmon with white wine sauce

Once again, no photos!  But this was very good.  Serves 2, takes about 20 minutes.

2 salmon fillets
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 small leek
Small tin peas (or use frozen)
250 ml white wine (I buy cooking wine in France)
Salt, pepper, herbs (I used 1 tsp mixed herbs and 1 tsp sumac)
Butter
1 tbs creme fraiche
100 g pasta of your choice (I used spaetzle)

Put half the butter into a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion, garlic and leeks.  Allow to cook for a few minutes until the onion is transparent and the leeks stop looking raw.  Now add the white wine and seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile cook the pasta for the requisite length of time, and fry the salmon in another pan in the rest of the butter. 

Drain the peas, then stir them into the white wine mixture, then add the creme fraiche.  Bring back to the boil, then stir in the cooked pasta.  Pile into big pasta plates and serve with the salmon fillets on top.  Delicious!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Chick peas and noodles in sweet potato sauce

Some weeks ago now, Becca at Amuse Your Bouche posted a recipe for chickpea dumplings in sweet potato gravy.  I made it, and it was delicious, but the chickpea dumplings were really rather solid.  I think they would have been better with some kind of raising agent added. 

Anyway, I wanted to put my own take on it.  I was vaguely thinking of trying to make noodles with chickpea flour, but I've tried that before and it was a disaster.  So I thought I would make ordinary noodles, and then add some chickpeas to the recipe.  This was how I adapted it.

1 medium-sized sweet potato
1 leek
1 onion
2 cloves garlic (I have some lovely garlic just now, from my brother's garden!)
1 sweet pepper
1 quantity cooked chickpeas (1/2 cup uncooked, or a drained tinful)
1 tin tomatoes
500 ml stock
Seasoning, including cumin and turmeric

250 ml plain flour
1 egg
Enough water to mix





Chop the vegetables and sauté in a little cooking oil.
Add the tomatoes and stock, season, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Then take  a stick blender and puree the stew - you don't want it soup-quality, but just so it's nice and gungy.  Add the chickpeas. 
Now make the noodles by putting the flour into a bowl, adding the egg, and mix it with dough hooks on a hand mixer, adding water as necessary, until you have a really smooth dough. 
Go on mixing for a few minutes, then press through a noodle maker straight into the sauce.  Bring back to the boil, stirring, and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Serve with a green vegetable.

It was delicious, but I now have indigestion.....



Monday, 20 November 2017

Squid in black bean sauce

This was a (fairly successful) attempt to re-create a favourite of mine from the Chinese take-away across the road that closed its doors several years ago now, and I still miss!  I bought the squid bodies from Sainsbury's - Tesco's only sell squid rings, which aren't quite such good value for money.  Sadly, I don't quite know where to source whole squid, complete with tentacles - they are quite the nicest.

About 100-150 g squid (I didn't weigh, but it was 4 of Sainsbury's frozen squid bodies), thawed and cut into smallish pieces.  Or a similar weight of raw squid rings.  Or use whole squid if you can get them.
1 chunk frozen ginger (or grated fresh - a piece about the size of your thumb)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli pepper, chopped (seeds removed)
1 onion, peeled and chopped, but not too finely
1 green pepper, cut into chunks about the same size as the pieces of squid.
1 sachet black bean sauce
Oil for frying

Melt the oil in a wok or large frying pan, and add all the vegetables.  Stirring all the time, once they begin to cook, then add the squid pieces, stirring again, and finally the black bean sauce.  Bring back to the boil and serve at once with rice or noodles, or even vegetable noodles, as liked!