What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 28 December 2012

Carrot, lentil and split pea soup

In the interests of remembering how I did it!

1 tbs olive oil
2 small onions, peeled and chopped
5 large carrots, ditto

1 tsp each cumin and coriander seeds, ground in a pestle & mortar
Pinch asafoetida
1/3 cup (approx  80 ml by volume) each of red lentils and  split peas
Salt, pepper, soya sauce
1 tsp tahini

1 vegetable Stock Pot
1.5 litres water

To serve (optional): 1 small tin petits pois and/or 1 small tin sweetcorn or equivalent amount of frozen sweetcorn

Pound the seeds in a pestle and mortar until they are powder.  Fry this, the asafoetida, the onions and the carrots for a few minute in the oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.  Now run all this through the blender, put it back in the pan, add the peas or sweetcorn (if using) and bring back to the boil.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

I do love the mouthfeel that both carrots and lentils bring to a soup.  And this was particularly good on an evening when nobody was very hungry, but we all wanted/needed a light meal!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Mulled Wine

Someone asked....

1 bottle cheap red wine
1-2 sachets mulled wine spices (or mix your own - cloves, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg....)
2-4 tbs brown sugar
1 orange
1 tbs brandy per person (optional)

Put wine, spices and sugar into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes.   Some people boil the sliced orange in with the wine, but I prefer to put the orange slices in the mugs with the brandy, if using, and pour the mulled wine on the top. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Instant Supper!

I didn't have my act together at all this evening, and the Swan Whisperer came in from Ice Dance Club at 8:30 pm and I hadn't even begun to think about supper.  In my defence, I had had rather a substantial snack earlier in the day.... 

So a quick trawl through the fridge yielded this, which really took no more than 7-8 minutes in total:

1 packet lardons
1/2 packet cherry tomatoes
Handful diced cheese (or grated, but I had some diced brought back from France - a mixture of Mimolette and Gruy√®re.  It was nice as it went all stringy, but if you don't like stringy cheese, use Cheddar!)
2 eggs

For the noodles:
1 egg
1/2 cup (125 ml by volume) buckwheat flour (or plain white or wholemeal flour, or even gram flour.  Buckwheat and gram flours are gluten-free, so suitable for those with coeliac or similar)
120 ml water
Salt and pepper

Pierce the cherry tomatoes and put them and the lardons into a saucepan and allow to cook gently.  Meanwhile put a second pan of salted water on to boil, and make the noodles by mixing the ingredients together to form a smooth paste.  It should be more paste-like than batter-like.  To make noodles, you really need a potato ricer - I have this one, which I use pretty well daily for mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetables and noodles (it comes with three different discs) and have done for some years now.
Put the paste into the tub of the ricer, using the disc with fewest holes in it, and press the noodles into the boiling water.  Bring back to the boil, and allow to cook for one minute.  Drain, and add to the saucepan where the lardons and tomatoes will now be cooked.  Add cheese, the two eggs and some pepper and stir until the eggs are cooked.  Serve at once.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Although hummus (or homous, depending on how you care to spell it) is ubiquitous in supermarkets these days in a multiplicity of flavours, I like to make my own occasionally.  It's the one occasion where I do think tinned chickpeas are useful - I've increasingly moved to using the dried variety, only you do have to think about them in advance!

1 400-g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste, widely available in the World Foods section of supermarkets; but if yours doesn't do it, check your local Turkish shop)
1-2 cloves garlic (which you may, of course, omit if you dislike garlic)
1-2 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tbs olive oil OR 1 tbs olive oil and 1-2 tbs natural yoghurt

Seasoning to taste.  I went for Moroccan, and used a Moroccan seasoning mix from France, some Ras-el-Hanout, also from France, a few coriander seeds (couldn't find my cumin seeds; think they were lost in the Great Spice Rack disaster of a few weeks ago) and a little Harissa paste.

Put most of the chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth.  A tablespoonful of water or another tablespoonful of yoghurt or olive oil may help if the mixture is too thick for your taste.  Add the rest of the chickpeas just before you stop the machine, so they remain a little chunky.

Perfect with pita or other flatbreads, toast, or stirred through "slow-fried" vegetables.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Lemon marmalade

I seem to be unable to make the correct amount of marmalade each January, as either I have too much left when the Seville oranges come in again, or I run out, as I did last year and have this. As I am not very fond of three-fruit marmalade, finding it rather too sweet and lacking the "tang" or a proper Seville orange marmalade, I made lemon marmalade last year, and have done the same this year.

4 lemons and their weight in sugar, and the equivalent amount of water, or a little more (my lemons weighed 540 g so I used 600 mls of water and 600 g sugar).

Place whole lemons into a pressure cooker with the water and cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes, then allow to cool. Remove lemons from the water, then remove the insides, which you return to the water, and chop the peel as finely as possible. Boil up the water with the insides of the lemon in it for 5 minutes, then strain to remove the pips. Add the chopped peel and sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then boil hard until setting-point is reached (about 5 minutes - lemons have a lot of pectin!).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then pot into heated jars, cover and seal. Keeps indefinitely, but you only need it to keep until you make proper marmalade again in January!