What I'm cooking and eating

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tahini dressing

This is a lovely way of adding flavour and protein to a vegan dish; my thanks to Heidi of 101 Cookbooks, whose recipe I have adapted:

2 tbs tahini (Sesame seed paste, rather like a sesame seed version of peanut butter; you can get it in the World Foods section of Sainsbury's, and occasionally in Tesco's)
2 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs boiling water

Shake everything together until it goes more-or-less solid. Is wonderful stirred through, say, bulghur wheat and chickpeas.

You could also make a similar dressing with peanut butter; Heidi suggests using rice vinegar instead of lemon juice with this - also very good, but quite different!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Leek and broccoli barley bake

This is normally a variation on macaroni cheese; however, as I had cooked pearl barley from the lemon-barley water I'd made earlier, I thought I would see whether using barley instead of pasta would work - and it did! This variation also had mushrooms and tomatoes!

1/2 cup (125 ml) pearl barley, uncooked.
1 litre water
c 20 g butter
1/2 pack button mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, chopped
1/2 head broccoli, divided into florets and the stem chopped
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
250 ml milk
1.5 tsp plain flour
(Allegedly) 60 g grated cheese (Cheddar and/or Emmenthal - but I think I used rather more than that, and it may even have been as much as 60g of each!)

Cook the barley in plenty of water, which you might then use to make lemon barley water. Or not. In either event, put the barley in an oven-proof dish.

Meanwhile, steam the broccoli, and cook the mushrooms and leeks in the butter. Whisk the flour and milk together with seasoning (salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp dry mustard will do), and pour on to the mushrooms/leeks. Stirring constantly, bring to the boil and allow to thicken. Turn off the heat and add half the cheese. Put the broccoli in with the barley and pour the sauce on the top. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Top with the sliced tomatoes and the rest of the grated cheese.

Bake in a moderately hot oven for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lemon Barley Water

This is lovely when you are not very well. Actually, it's lovely even when you are well, but I do try not to have drinks with calories in them (other than alcohol and maybe fruit juice) when I am well!

1/2 cup pearl barley
1 litre water
Generous pinch salt
3 large unwaxed lemons
100 g sugar
Another litre or so of water or ice!

Put the barley, water and salt into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the barley is cooked. Drain, and put the barley to one side to use in something else.

Using a potato peeler or lemon zester, peel the lemons, being careful not to get any of the pith. Put the peel and the sugar into a plastic jug, then bring the barley water back to the boil and pour over it. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and leave to steep for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze the lemons.

Strain the barley water into the lemon juice, then top up with ice-cold water (or ice) to make about 1.5-2 litres. Serve as cold as you can (stir before serving if it's sat for a bit).

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Spicy tomato soup with noodles

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1 large bag tomatoes (1 kg, probably)
1 chilli pepper
A bit of butternut squash, if you have any spare
1-2 litres boiling water
1 Knorr Vegetable Stock pot
Seasoning, including a little chilli sauce, if liked.
1 tbs olive oil

For the noodles:
1 cup flour (I like gram flour)
1 egg
Enough water to make a stiff dough

Chop onion and garlic, put in large pan with oil. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables, also chopped (the tomatoes can be cut into 1/4s). Allow to cook for about 10 minutes until everything is soft and the tomatoes have shed their juices. Now add the water and stock, and seasoning. Run through a blender.

Bring back to the boil. Make the noodles by mixing the ingredients together, then passing them through a potato ricer. If you put too much water in, which is what I did, it goes all clumpy and doesn't make separate noodles, but still tastes good! You could, of course, use a packet of instant noodles and throw away the flavour sachet which is what I often do!

Bring back to boil, and simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Keeps well in fridge.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Baked falafel

I love falafel, and they are incredibly easy to make. I don't deep fry, though.

1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
1 tbs gram flour (chickpea flour)
A large bunch of parsley or coriander
1-2 cloves garlic
Seasoning (spicy Moroccan style is good).
A little oil for cooking

Rinse the chickpeas and put in bowl of a food processor, along with flour, parsley, garlic and seasoning. Blitz until it is like fine breadcrumbs. Form into patties - 1 large, 2 small, 4 titchy, whatever.... and then bake on a greased baking tray for about 30 minutes at mark 6, turning once. Serve with hummus and salad.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Ash Wednesday stew

It's delicious at any time of year, but I call it Ash Wednesday stew as it is a good one to make when you don't want to eat animal products, and it will sit in the slow cooker until after the Ash Wednesday service!

1 tin aduki beans
1 clove garlic
1 onion
1 chilli pepper
1 sweet red or yellow pepper
2 sweet potatoes
1 leek
A cube of frozen ginger, or a piece of grated/chopped ginger root
500 ml vegetable stock

To serve: 1 tbs peanut butter; 1 tbs roasted peanuts or cashew nuts.

Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and forget about them; when ready to eat, stir in the peanut butter, and sprinkle each bowlful with roasted peanuts or cashew nuts.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Gram flour pancakes

These were rather nice! You can make them vegan by replacing the egg with 1 tbs of oil.

c 1 cup gram flour (chick pea flour)
c 1.5 cups water
1 egg

Mix to a pancake-batter-like consistency, and cook as you would ordinary pancakes. They are nicest with something savoury - I served them with chilli beans with chopped frankfurters in them.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Chicken Casserole

Really fancied this last week!

1 packet chicken pieces (thighs or breast fillets, up to you)
1 large onion
1-2 cloves garlic, if liked
2 large carrots
1 leek
1 tbs cooking oil
1 tbs plain flour
1/2 litre chicken stock (I used Knorr Stock Pot)

Mix the seasoning with the flour, and toss the chicken pieces in it (I just put the flour on a plate and vaguely stir the chicken around in it.

Heat up the oil in a casserole dish and add the floury chicken, stirring a bit so it doesn't stick, while you chop up and add all the other vegetables. Lastly, add the stock, bring to the boil, and put in a moderately hot oven (Mark 5, 190 C) for about 45 minutes. Serve with a starchy carbohydrate and a green vegetable (we had rice and cabbage).

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Leek and fish casserole

This was our St David's Day meal, adapted from this recipe some years ago now!

2 frozen coley fillets (or other white fish, as liked)
2 large leeks
500 g baby new potatoes
1 small pot creme fraiche (ideally 1/2-fat, but Lidl doesn't sell 1/2 fat creme fraiche, so....)
1 tbs olive oil
Seasoning to taste

Thaw the fish just enough to be able to cut it into small pieces. Trim and chop the leeks, and cook them in the olive oil for a few minutes, then add a little water and reduce the heat so they simmer in more or less steam for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, steam or boil the new potatoes until they are cooked.

Put the potatoes, fish and cream into the pan with the leeks, and bring to the boil, stirring well, and simmer for a minute or two until the fish is cooked - this really doesn't take long. Serve in soup bowls as it's a bit liquid!

I appear to have stopped keeping my food diary again - which is okay, as long as I don't start snacking and eating between meals. Which so far I haven't been.