What I'm cooking and eating

Thursday, 17 March 2016

St Patrick's Day Casserole

Drat it, I keep forgetting to take photos of what I cook until all there is left is an empty plate....

The American-Irish may eat corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick's Day, but the Irish at home traditionally ate bacon - this turned out to be either unobtainable or desperately expensive when they arrived in New York, so they turned to beef as a good second-best, and now have forgotten they ever ate anything else! 

But here it is bacon, and this is my take on the tradition.  As I said to the Swan Whisperer, I could have just served grilled rashers alongside steamed potato and cabbage, but I thought this would be tastier - and it was!  Enough for 2.

1 packet lardons
1 onion
5 small potatoes
¼ green Savoy-type cabbage

Cook the lardons gently until the juice and fat run, then add the rest of the vegetables which you have peeled, chopped and shredded, as appropriate (leave the potatoes in dice, chop the onions and shred the cabbage).  Season with pepper - it does not need extra salt - and stir several times while you leave it to cook on a gentle heat for about 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


I had been going to make minestrone soup for lunch, but somehow the morning got away from me and it didn't happen.  And I hadn't the least idea what to make for supper.  And then I thought that a minestrone soup isn't that different to the large vegetable stews I so often make, and what if I made it more stew-like that soup-like..... so I did, and it was really rather delicious.  Enough for 4 people.

 1/2 cup dried cannelini beans (or 1 400g tin, drained and rinsed)

1 tbs olive oil

A few basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 chilli pepper

1 onion
1 carrot
1 small parsnip
A chunk of swede (rutabaga)
2 small potatoes
1 leek
1 courgette (zucchini)

 ½ punnet mushrooms

1 400g tin tomatoes + ½ tinful boiling water

Salt, pepper, marjoram, oregano, thyme, 1 vegetable "Stock pot"

100g small pasta

Parmesan cheese, to serve.

Soak the beans for several hours, then drain and rinse, and boil in fresh water for about 30 minutes, until cooked.   Meanwhile, blitz the garlic, chilli and basil together in a food processor.  Then grate the rest of the vegetables, except the mushrooms.  As the drum of the food processor gets full (you didn't think I meant you should grate them by hand, did you?), empty it into a heavy-based casserole dish into which you have put the olive oil.

Slice the mushrooms and add them to the vegetables, and finally add the tomatoes, water and seasonings.  Stir thoroughly, then bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then add the beans and the pasta, and cook for a further 9-10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.

Serve with masses of Parmesan or other grated cheese.

Friday, 4 March 2016


This was going to be shakshuka, and then it sort of morphed into a tortilla.  So Shaksilla, no?

1tsp coconut oil
1 onion
½ large red pepper
3 small potatoes
½ pack Lidl small sausages (Nurnberg bratwurst)
1 large tomato
4 eggs
Seasoning as you would season shakshuka - harissa or Lebanese seasoning or chilli or what you use.

Peel and chop the potatoes and onion, and cook gently in a covered pan in the coconut oil.  Chop the peppers, and cut the sausages into 3 pieces each, and add to the pan.  Season, and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes.  Chop the tomato and add that.  Cook for a further few minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are cooked.  Now whisk the eggs until they are all one texture, and then pour over the vegetable/sausage mix.  Cover again and cook on a gentle heat for another 5 minutes, until the eggs are set.