What I'm cooking and eating

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Noodles and - noodles!

I recently treated myself to a spiralizer - it was a special deal on Amazon, reduced to £10, rude not to, really.  I've been wanting one for ages.

But you know me, I'm not one to eat chopped-up cauliflower and pretend it's rice, or chopped-up courgettes and pretend it's pasta, but what's wrong with mixing them?  So, as I wanted to try to play with the spiralizer, I thought I'd make some vegetable "noodles" and then some home-made ones, and serve them with a bacon, mushroom, tomato and sweetcorn sauce.

Well, it took some experimenting, and I ended up "sharpening" one of the courgettes, but by the time I'd got to the butternut squash, I'd worked out what to do.
I was really rather impressed with myself!

So that was two small courgettes and a chunk of butternut, more-or-less successfully spiralised.

For the sauce:
1 packet lardons (bacon bits), ideally unsmoked
1/2 punnet mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 packet passata (or a tin of crushed tomatoes)
1 small tin sweetcorn
Season with pepper and maybe some chilli sherry - it doesn't need salt.

Fry the bacon until it renders, then add the sliced mushrooms and crushed garlic.  When the mushrooms collapse, add the rest of the ingredients and leave to simmer while you prepare the various noodles.

1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 egg
enough water to make a stiff paste
(if you add too much, add more flour)
Mix to a dough, then press through the larger holes of a potato ricer into a saucepan of boiling salted water. 
In a wok, heat some oil and add the vegetable noodles, stirring all the time.  When the flour noodles come to the boil, allow to cook for one minute and then drain, and add to the rest of the noodles. 
Continue to stir-fry for another minute or two, then divide into two plates and put the sauce on top.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Oeufs Florentine

I am not at all sure this is the correct way to cook oeufs florentine.  In fact, it probably isn't - but who cares, because it's very quick and very easy.  I had planned to take a photograph when I had served it, but it flipped over and all you could see was an unpretty mound of spinach!

I never used to like spinach when I was a child, but I think that, rather like kale, modern cultivars are milder in taste.  But even though it must be fifteen years or so since I discovered that actually, it was edible, I was still a bit wary of it as it seemed to have a taste that overwhelmed everything else on the plate, rather like coriander can if you use too much.  But the baby spinach, sold for use in salads, is also very mild when cooked - yes, it tastes like spinach, of course, and if you don't like that you won't like it, but it doesn't dominate or overpower.  My brother, who has always liked spinach, says he just snips the corner of the bag and shoves the lot in the microwave!  But don't do that if you aren't sure that the spinach has been washed, or it's a good way to get a mouthful of grit!  And, of course, it is also lovely raw, in a salad or sandwich.

1 dollop of butter (about 20g - what Americans would call a teaspoonful, I suppose)
1 large handful baby spinach, washed if necessary
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small saucepan - a milk saucepan is ideal - and put the spinach on the top.  Allow it to cook for a minute or two, and stir vigorously to make sure all of it wilts and cooks.  Now lower the heat and break and egg on the top, leaving this to cook (cover the pan, if possible) for several minutes until the white is firm and the yolk as firm as you like it.

Serve on (ideally) a toasted muffin or a slice of toast.  Or not, if you're being low-carb and can digest an egg without bread....

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Cheese and onion flatbreads

This is still slightly a work in progress, so no photos - they didn't really work tonight!  I know what I did wrong - I added all the water at once, as I would had I been going to make the dough in a bread machine, when really, I should have added it bit by bit.

1/2 packet (250 g) cheese and onion bread mix
up to 160 ml warm water

Put the bread mix into a bowl and add the water, working it all the time (a hand mixer with dough hooks is a plan, or use the dough hook on your food processor, if it has one, but you can do it by hand if you wish) until it is smooth and non-sticky.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes, until it has risen a bit. 

Knock it back, and roll it out as thin as possible on a floured board.  Cut in half (or thirds, or quarters, but this amount is ideal for two) and heat a little sunflower oil in a frying pan.  Add the flat bread and cook for a minute or two on each side, as hot as possible.  Then cook the second/subsequent ones in the same way.  Serve at once.