What I'm cooking and eating

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Swiss Breakfast

AKA Bircher Muesli. This is very like what we used to have at school; much nicer, in my opinion, than the cereal-type mueslis one can get these days.

Equal quantities (probably about 1/2 cup each) porridge oats OR muesli base, milk, orange or multi-vitamin juice, natural yoghurt.
1 apple, peeled and grated
Other fruit, fresh (ideally) or dried. I used a peach, an apricot and some strawberries. You can use frozen fruit, too, if you like - frozen rasps are good. If you want to use bananas, add them at the last minute or they'll go slimy. In the winter, sultanas or dried cranberries are very good. It needn't be the same twice!

Mix everything together, stirring well so that the apple doesn't discolour. Leave in fridge overnight. Will keep 2-3 days. Serves 3-4 people.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Pasta e fagioli

This is my take on what I understand to be one of those Italian peasant dishes that you basically make the way you like! It would be a lot quicker to use tinned beans, but might be a bit soggy.

1/2 cup each blackeyed peas and cannellini beans (or a 400g tin cannellini beans)
100 g small pasta (I used coquillettes)
1 400-g tin tomatoes
2 small or 1 large onions
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 punnet chestnut mushrooms
1 medium courgette
Large sloosh tomato paste
About 300 ml red wine (I had some that had been open too long)
About 300 ml vegetable stock (Knorr Stockpot)
Seasoning to taste (I used herbs, Season-all, chilli salt, black pepper and a little soya sauce)

If using dried beans, soak them overnight, then cook in fresh water for about 30-40 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and start it in the microwave. Put a little olive oil and/or butter in a saucepan and add the crushed garlic and mushrooms; stir and allow to cook gently for several minutes. Now add the onions and tomato paste, then the vegetable stock (to mix in the Stockpot). Put all this into a slow cooker, together with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, and leave to cook until supper time!

It was good, but the pasta slightly went to nothing. It might be better to be cooked on top of the stove, very gently, or in the oven. If you don't have as much wine to spare as I did, just use water, but it might want grated cheese on it. However, the combination of beans and pasta means that it is a complete protein as is.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Stuffed peppers

So easy it couldn't be easier!

1 packet risotto mix (I used Ainsley Harriott Asparagus & Leek as they were on special offer in Lidl a few weeks ago, and I always like Ainsley Harriott products as they are less salty than many/most prepared foods)
2-3 sweet peppers.
A little Parmesan cheese, shaved.

Prepare the risotto mixture as directed on the packet. Or you could make double quantities of risotto when you are making it and keep some specially.

Cut the top off the peppers and remove the insides. Put the risotto inside the peppers - if you have 3 peppers and only 2 of you, cut the smallest pepper in half lengthwise. Top with shaved parmesan, and put the "lids" of the peppers back on. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about an hour.

I served this with baked butternut squash, which I topped with rashers of bacon for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Courgette Crumble

Another old friend! Serves 2, but can, of course, be scaled up as necessary.

1 medium or 2 small courgettes (zucchini, if you're American!)
A little butter and/or cooking oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 eggs
60 g strong cheese, grated
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
2 slices wholegrain bread

Cook the rice the way you usually do. Meanwhile, slice the courgettes very thinly, and sauté with the oil, butter and garlic until soft. Mix with the cooked rice, the eggs, 1/2 the grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Make a topping with the bread and the rest of the cheese, reduced to crumbs in a food processor. Place in an oven-proof dish and top with the breadcrumb-and-cheese mixture. Bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes.