What I'm cooking and eating

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Curly Potatoes

I do love my spiraliser.  This is an interesting alternative to chips, and very quick to cook.

3 potatoes, spiralised on the larger holes
1 tbs cooking oil
Salt and pepper

Spiralise your potatoes (sorry, if you don't have a spiraliser - I don't think I've seen spiralised potatoes in the vegetable department of the supermarket, even if they did have spiralised courgettes when whole ones were unobtainable last month!), and put in a large frying pan or sauté pan with the cooking oil, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently but keeping it covered in the meantime. 

I served this with fish, but it would be lovely with an egg, or even a steak.....

Friday, 3 February 2017

"Egg pancake"

My grandsons are not very good at eating eggs. But I wanted to cook them something quick for their evening meal yesterday, and with vague memories of this post from Chocolate and Zucchini in mind, I told them they were going to have an egg pancake, and would they like it with cheese, ham, both or neither?  As it turned out, there didn't seem to be any ham in their fridge, so I made it with cheese.... but I'm sure it would be lovely with ham, or herbs, or a mixture....  They had a slice of bread and butter with it.

Serves 2

2 eggs
Small amount (c 25-30 g, but I didn't measure!) grated cheese
A little black pepper (they don't have salt in their food yet; I would have added a little for an adult)
Butter for frying

Whisk the eggs until they are a uniform colour and texture.  Stir in the cheese.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and pour in the eggs, which you allow to spread out (or use a spatula) until they are as thin as a pancake (crepe type).  Allow to cook until it is beginning to dry out on top, at which point use a fish-slice to turn it over and cook for one minute on the other side.  In an ideal world you then roll it up and cut it in half, but mine didn't exactly turn over very well.... so I just divided it into two and watched it disappear......

Their mother tells me they will eat omelettes if they are called crustless quiches, too!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Mushroom Soup

We spent a day and a night with a friend in France recently, and she made the most delicious mushroom soup for lunch.  I was moved to try and emulate it, as it was so good, and this was the result.  Very quick and easy.  Serves 4, unless you are greedy and have all of it, as we did!

1 punnet mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tsp plain flour or cornflour
500 ml milk
500 ml stock (or water, and then you add a Stock Cube/Stock Pot to it)
A couple of dollops of butter
Salt, pepper, parsley

Slice 2/3 of the mushrooms and fry up in 2/3 of the butter with the peeled and crushed cloves of garlic.  When they are cooked enough to release their juices, sprinkle on the flour or cornflour and stir well, then add the liquids and season, and bring to the boil.  While this is happening, chop the remaining mushrooms finely.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and while it is not in the saucepan, cook the chopped mushrooms in the remaining butter.  Once they have released their juices, pour the soup back on top and bring back to the boil.  Serve at once.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Potato gratin, sort of.

This is definitely not a gratin dauphinois, as that does not have cheese on it, as any foodie will tell you!  Nor, I think, does it contain onions, but only garlic.  But I wanted a warming potato casserole to go with salmon and Brussels sprouts for Sunday dinner, and wanted to play around with spiralising potatoes and onions.

Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4, 180 C.

1 medium onion, which I spiralised on the flat blade of the spiraliser
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 potatoes, spiralised into noodles
The end of a 200 ml pot of creme fraiche, filled up and then refilled with milk (so c 400 ml milk/cream mixture in total)
Salt and pepper, to taste
The end of a packet of grated Emmenthal - probably about a tablespoonful.

Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes in vegetable oil in a casserole dish that will go on both the top of the stove and in the oven.  Add the potato noodles and stir well.  Season, and stir again.  Now add the milk/cream mixture, and top with the Emmenthal.

Bake for about an hour, until the potatoes are cooked.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Dried fruit compote

A winter favourite, infinitely variable.

About 200-250 grammes of dried fruit - you can buy mixes in places like Lidl, or you can use up the ends of packets - prunes, dried apricots, maybe some dried apple, pear or mango.  Also a sprinkle of sultanas, raisins or dried cranberries.

Cover the fruit in boiling water and leave to stand for an hour or so.

Then add a little sugar - it really won't need much, a couple of teaspoons.... but to your taste.  And a teaspoonful of cornflour which you have whisked into a little more water.  And - and this is the Sekrit Ingredient - a teabag.  It doesn't have to be Yorkshire; in fact, this is one of the occasions when a perfumed tea is good.  Earl Grey, or, better still, that Indian spiced tea you can buy that gives me indigestion to drink.  This time, I used an infusion which I like called "Winter Spice Mix" 

This all goes into a saucepan, which you put on the stove (duh), bring to the boil, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or so until the fruit is plumped up and soft.  Taste to adjust the sweetness, discard the teabag, and serve hot or cold with natural yoghurt, cream, custard or even ice-cream.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


My mother used to make this often in our childhood; she always called it "Pelau", although I am not at all sure this is the correct name.  I called it risotto when I first made it, but then I learnt how to make "proper" risotto, so have reverted to its original name.  And updated the seasoning a bit, too!  You can also make this with chicken; and probably with any leftover cold meat, but I usually use lamb.

1 quantity cold cooked lamb (enough for two people - I can't be specific as to quantities), cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 quantity frozen peas (again, you know your family's appetite!)
1 quantity sultanas or raisins (I used a 70g tub)
1 quantity roasted peanuts
Leftover gravy
Seasoning (I used pepper - no salt, as the peanuts provided that - Worcester sauce and ras el hanout)
1/2 cup by volume uncooked rice (125 ml)

Cook the rice as you normally do, and while this is happening, sweat the onions and garlic in a little cooking oil.  When they start to turn translucent, add the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked.  Mix together, and serve, with mango chutney if liked.

If you have leftover vegetables, by all means add them!  And if you don't have any gravy, use a little water and perhaps a "Stock Pot" - I see they do them in lamb now.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Emergency chicken soup

This was made in rather a hurry as my daughter went down with tonsillitis.  I put a great deal of immune-boosting foods in there, and the end result was really rather spicy.... not unpleasant, though, with a spoonful of cream in there to cut the spice!

For the stock:

1 chicken carcase (I bought a cooked chicken from Lidl, and removed all the meat from the bones; we used the meat in salads, sandwiches and suppers, so nothing was wasted)
1 onion
2 carrots
1 parsnip
2.5 litres water
1 chicken "stock pot"
1 chicken bouillon cube

Boil all this up together in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then drain, and discard solids.

For the soup itself

1/2 cup "soup mix"
1 small onion
5 cloves garlic (or more - why not?)
1 chilli pepper
1 cube frozen grated ginger (or use about 25g fresh ginger)
1 leek
1 sweet red pepper
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To serve: spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream

Soak the "soup mix" (grains, beans and peas) in boiling water with 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda for at least 30 minutes. 
Put the onion, garlic, chilli and fresh ginger (if using) into a food processor with a little water, and blitz until smooth.  Put this mix in to a casserole dish to which you have added a little cooking oil.  If you are using the frozen ginger, put that in, too.  Cook gently with the turmeric until just not raw any more.

Add the stock to this mixture, and put the drained, rinsed soup mix into the empty pressure cooker with 1 litre fresh water and boil for 10 minutes.  When it has come down from pressure, drain and add to the soup with the leek and sweet pepper, which you have chopped very finely.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning - I found this extremely spicy, so am serving it with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream in each bowl to "cut" it.  But it is very good.