What I'm cooking and eating

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Midweek mushroom pasta

Yet again I failed to take a photograph....  Very quick, very easy, very delicious.

Vegetarian.  Serves 2

100 g (approx) fettucine or tagliatelle (I never know the difference)
200 g mushrooms, broken into pieces (or sliced)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 packet parsley, finely chopped (I used a mini food processor)
1/2 tub mascarpone
Knob of butter
Salt, pepper, 1 tsp mushroom ketchup
Sprinkle of grated cheese

Put the pasta on to cook according to the instructions on the packet.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms.  Cook until they render their liquid, then add the crushed garlic and continue to cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Now add the mascarpone and the cooked, drained pasta, and stir thoroughly until everything is well mixed.  Serve at once, perhaps with a sprinkle of grated cheese (I used Emmenthal, but Parmesan would be nice, too). 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Egg curry

The last time I made egg curry, until tonight, was in September 1989 - that evening, we had some very bad news which was so shocking and unexpected that it made me feel sick, so I didn't fancy egg curry for many months and then forgot about it! But it is a useful addition to the repertoire. The sauce is vegan, and can be used on almost anything, doesn't have to be eggs - chicken or fish, if you eat those (although I think I have a nicer fish curry recipe), big chunks of vegetables (cauliflower, etc)1, even tofu or quorn if you eat those.  Sorry there are no photos - it got eaten!

2 tbs oil (I used Tesco stir-fry)
1 large tbs curry powder
1 cube frozen ginger and garlic (or a bit of ginger root and a couple of cloves of garlic)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 plantain (or banana), peeled and sliced
1 chilli pepper, chopped (remove seeds)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I used tomatoes with chilli, which worked beautifully)
1/2 tin water
 Salt, pepper, soya sauce, mushroom ketchup, chilli sherry, etc.
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Put the oil, ginger/garlic and curry powder (either a proprietary blend or mix your own) into a saucepan and cook on a gentle heat for several minutes.  Add the onion, chilli, plantain and apple, and cook, stirring all the time, for a couple more minutes.  Add the tomatoes, water, and seasoning, bring to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes while you cook some rice.  I then like to blend the sauce with a stick blender to thicken it up - you don't want it totally smooth, just nice  and thick.  Put cooked rice on the plate, add a hard-boiled egg (or 2!) and pour the sauce over.  Top with a bit of chutney, if liked.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Very quick lentil curry

Serves 2-4

1/2 punnet mushrooms
1/2 courgette
Any other vegetables you may have that using - spinach is great, and can just be folded in at the end.,
1 tin tomatoes with onion and garlic (or plain, and add the onion and garlic separately)
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
2 tbs sultanas or currants (or a mixture)
Curry powder and other spices as liked (I used asafoetida, to make up for the lack of onion and garlic)
1 tbs cooking oil

Cook the spices in the oil over a low heat until fragrant.  Add the vegetables, stir to coat, and let cook for a minute or two.  Or not, if you can't be bothered!  Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve at once, perhaps with chutney.


Friday, 3 May 2019

Vegetarian Lasagne

Please note that the not-bolognese sauce was adapted from a Rose Elliott recipe in Not just a load of old lentils.

6-8 lasagne sheets, as needed
Grated parmesan cheese (or vegan substitute), to taste

A little cooking oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 punnet mushrooms 
1 small tub (I think 50g) walnuts
2 slices bread
1 packet passata
Salt, pepper, mixed herbs, mushroom ketchup

300 ml milk (or vegan substitute)
About 20g butter or cooking oil
1 heaped tsp plain flour
Salt, pepper, mustard powder
Grated Emmenthal, Cheddar, or vegan substitute to taste

Peel and chop the onion; peel and crush the garlic.  Put into a saucepan with the oil and allow to cook for a few minutes while you chop the mushrooms.  Add these, and continue cooking.  Meanwhile blitz the bread and walnuts in a food processor.  When the mushrooms are more-or-less cooked, turn off the heat, add the bread/walnut crumbs, the passata and seasonings to the mix and stir well.  Leave to soak for a bit while you make the bechamel sauce.  I added a spoonful of sunflower seeds to this, just because they were sitting there, looking at me!



For the Bechamel sauce, put the milk, flour and seasonings into a jug and whisk very thoroughly while the butter melts in another saucepan (or the oil heats up); pour this on to the melted fat, and continue to cook, stirring all the time, until it thickens and the mixture boils.  Turn off the heat and add the Emmenthal cheese.  Stir well.

To assemble: Make layers of not-Bolognese, lasagne sheets and Bechamel in a lasagne dish, finishing with Bechamel sauce, and top the lot with grated Parmesan or similar. 

Place on a baking tray in the centre of an oven which you have heated to 200° C (180° fan), Mark 6, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Bärlauchsuppe (Ramsons soup)

Mum and I went to a farm shop yesterday, and I bought a huge bag of ramsons.  About 250g, I think, but it's like spinach - huge leaves that weigh very little.

125 g (roughly) of ramsons (wild garlic), either bought or foraged
1 onion
1 clove smoked garlic (or ordinary, or omit)
4-5 potatoes
1 litre vegetable stock (a cube is fine!)
1 tbs creme fraiche (optional)

Peel and chop the onion and potato, crush the garlic, put it all in the soup maker with the stock.  Cook on "pureed soup".  When it bleeps, add the roughly-chopped ramsons, and blend until it is smooth.  Add the cream, if using, and check the seasoning. 

If you don't have a soup maker, sweat the veg in a little oil, then add the stock and cook until the potatoes are done, blend it, add the ramsons, and blend again.  Finish as above.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Asparagus risotto

This is the second of my favourite main-course ways of eating asparagus.

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup (125 ml by volume) risotto rice
250 ml cooking white wine
500 ml stock (chicken, if you're not vegetarian, or vegetable if you are; cube is fine, although fresh always nicer)
About 25g butter
A nice amount of Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tray asparagus + any tough stalk ends you saved from previous recipe

Cut the tough stalks of the asparagus, and put them into a saucepan with the stock; bring to the boil and simmer while the rest of this is happening. 

Put the olive oil, onion and garlic into a pan and cook gently until transparent.  Now add the rice and stir well, and then add the wine.  Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes until it is all absorbed, stirring frequently.  Now add half the stock and continue.  Meanwhile, cook the asparagus - steaming is easiest, but however you prefer.
When the stock has been absorbed, add the rest of it.  Put the now-cooked stems into a food processor and blitz with a little water (or retained stock) until you have a very smooth puree.
  Now continue cooking the rice until all the stock has been absorbed, and then add the asparagus puree, the butter and the cheese, and beat vigorously until all is smooth and gloopy and delicious.

Serve topped with the steamed asparagus.
Serves 2

Asparagus with pasta and pine nuts

The asparagus season is finally here!  Actually, strictly speaking it starts next week, on 23 April, but British asparagus is already beginning to be found in the supermarkets, and I treated us to two trays thereof (only 6-7 spears in each tray, and they were expensive, but worth it).   1Some people just want to eat it as a starter, steamed with Hollandaise sauce, and why not?  Very delicious.  But sometimes you want it as a main meal, and this post and the next are two of my favourite ways of having it.

1 tray British (or local to you) asparagus
40-50 g pine nuts (Lidl sells them in 40g sachets, which is what I used)
100-120 g pasta of your choice
About 50g butter
About - well- a nice amount of Parmesan cheese, grated.

Put the pasta on to cook, and while this is happening, fry the pine nuts in half the butter, stirring all the time, until everything is nicely browned.
Then you can add the rest of the butter and fry the asparagus in the same pan, turning it frequently.  Or, if you prefer, you can steam it - up to you.  I fried ours yesterday, and it was lush.  NB, if you cut off the tough ends of the asparagus, save them for the next recipe!

Mix the pine nuts, cheese and drained pasta together, and top with the cooked asparagus.  Yummy.
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Serves 2.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Stewed squid

The thing about squid is that either you need to just barely show it the stove, as in a stir-fry or battered squid rings, or else you need to stew it thoroughly.  Anything in between and you have india-rubber!

This was a concatenation of several recipes, but I used too much liquid and it came out more like soup than stew - none the worse for that, I may say.  I thought the beans would absorb more than they did.

About 250 g squid - whole, if possible, but rings is fine if that's what you have.
1 large onion
2 carrots
1 leek
1 chili pepper (optional)
1/2 courgette (this would have been a whole one, but I found a half in the fridge that wanted using)
Several small potatoes
1 sloosh tomato paste
1 tin tomatoes or passata
200 ml cooking wine (I used white, as there was some open)
1/2 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
A little cooking oil
Stock cube and other seasoning, as liked.

Peel and chop the vegetables - I didn't peel the potatoes, but did slice them - and do feel free to substitute any or all of them.  Many recipes include celery, but we are not fans of cooked celery, so I tend to substitute leek.  I did think of using a "casserole mix" as Lidl sells pre-prepared vegetables you can use in a casserole, and which make very good soup, too, but had too many vegetables in the fridge to justify doing that.

Sweat the vegetables in the cooking oil,
then add the rest of the ingredients.
I then added 500 ml water, which turned out to be far too much as I was using my Instant Pot for this.  I think probably 200 ml would have been ample, maybe even less, but I hadn't pre-cooked the beans (if I had, I probably wouldn't have added any extra water).  Then cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, or, if you are not using a pressure cooker, simmer for about an hour.