What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 22 May 2020

"Yelm", or home-made lemon squash.

It was my father, I think, who first called it "Yelm",  as a way of distinguishing it from other kinds of lemon drink.  Certainly my family have been making it for well over 50 years - I remember taking a supply to school in empty whisky bottles, which slightly disconcerted the House Mistress and Matron - it would have been a lot worse had I been bringing in whisky or gin in empty lemon squash bottles, of course.... Yelm, by the way, is very nice mixed with gin if you like gin.

Measurements are in Imperial, as that's what we used back in the day.  I'll put rough metric equivalents in brackets.

Rind and juice of 3 lemons
2 oz citric acid (approx 50g)
2 lbs sugar (a little less than 1 kg)
3 pints boiling water (1.75 litres)
Optionally, you could add elderflower blossoms or crushed mint (I love mint in lemon drinks so I used the latter).
Empty bottles - to take at least 2.25 litres



Mix everything together in a large jug or bowl and stir until the sugar and acid have dissolved.  Strain, and pour into bottles (if you don't strain, it doesn't last so long as the lemon peel is apt to go mouldy); keep in the fridge and dilute to taste.  I imagine that if you wanted lemon barley water, you could use this as a base instead of making from scratch......

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Stuffed pancakes

This is an awful faff to make, but worth it once in awhile.  Serves 4.

For the pancakes:
110 g buckwheat flour (or gram flour, or even plain wheat flour)
1 egg
250 ml milk
Seasoning

For the stuffing:
1 tbs oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 punnet mushrooms
2 large tomatoes
1 slice bread
30 g (approx) walnuts
Seasoning

For the b├ęchamel sauce:
25 g butter
250 ml milk
2 heaped tsp flour
2 large handfuls grated cheese
Seasoning

First make the pancake batter by whisking together the egg, flour and milk, seasoning as liked.  Leave to stand while you make the stuffing: peel and chop the vegetables (probably no need to peel the mushrooms), cook in the oil until soft and juices run; whizz bread and nuts in a food processor until smooth, and then mix into the rest of the stuffing.

Make your pancakes in the usual way - this amount makes about 4 large ones.  It's probably easiest to layer them up with stuffing in between, but I tried to be clever and roll them round the stuffing:
 Melt the butter in a clean saucepan, and whisk together the flour, milk and seasonings.  Pour this on to the melted butter and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.  Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese.  Pour this mix over the pancakes, and then top with the rest of the grated cheese.

You can easily make this vegan; the stuffing already is.  For the pancakes, use water or beer instead of milk, and a tablespoon of olive oil or tahini instead of the egg.  For the sauce, use a tin of tomatoes instead of the milk, and season more vigorously to make up for the lack of cheese. 

Friday, 7 February 2020

Mushroom, bean and barley slow cooker casserole

I wanted a casserole I could leave in the slow cooker until I got home after grandmother duty yesterday, and this was it!  You could, of course, substitute a tin of cannellini beans for the dried ones I used, but I prefer the texture when made from scratch.

1/2 cup dried cannelini beans
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 tbs cooking oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
1/2 large sweet pepper
2/3 large punnet mushrooms
1 tin tomatoes
About 200 ml red wine
Seasoning to taste
1 large tbs mascarpone (optional - thicken with cornflour if preferred/vegan).

Soak the beans in boiling water to which you have added a little bicarbonate of soda for at least an hour.  Then drain and rinse, and transfer to a saucepan.  Cover with fresh water, bring to the boil, and allow to cook hard for 10 minutes.  Drain again, and transfer to the slow cooker, together with the barley.

Now in the saucepan in which you cooked the beans (to save washing up), add a sloosh of vegetable oil, then sweat the chopped carrots, onion, garlic and pepper for a few minutes.  Add this to the slow cooker, then put the chopped (not too small - I break them into quarters, and then chop the stalks separately) mushrooms into the saucepan and sweat until the juices run.  Put these in the slow cooker, along with the rest of the ingredients except the mascarpone, and cook on auto until supper time - at least 5 hours, I reckon; mine had about 8.  Then stir in the mascarpone, if using, and serve, ideally with a green vegetable.

It is lush, but not very photogenic.....


Friday, 22 November 2019

Bean burgers

I don't care for fake meat, being perfectly happy to eat the real thing, but bean burgers are a good thing in their own right. And these were so easy and quick to make - and the Swan Whisperer said "Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!"

About 1/2-3/4 cup dried beans, soaked for at least one hour in boiling water and then cooked for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Or a 400g tin, drained and rinsed. You can use any sort of beans - kidney, cannelloni, borlotti, pinto, black-eye... I used kidney beans.
1 slice wholemeal bread
Handful walnuts (30g?)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 chilli pepper, seeds removed 
1/2 packet fresh parsley
2 small or 1 large carrots, grated
1 tbs cooking oil
Seasoning

Put everything except the beans and carrots into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Now add the beans and pulse several times, but not too much - you want them to be recognisably beans!

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the grated carrots and seasoning, then use your hands to mix everything very thoroughly until it begins to come together. Form into patties, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with flour (I used gram flour) and then fry for several minutes on each side. Or bake....

I served this in a bun with avocado and a portobello mushroom with cheese, garnished with sweet chilli sauce, with coleslaw and home-made tzatziki on the side.
And no, I couldn't eat it all, but the Swan Whisperer ate that which I could not! 

Friday, 4 October 2019

Cabbage Casserole

I was really surprised not to find a version of this elsewhere on the blog, as I've been making it on and off since the 1970s, in both a vegetarian and meat version.  It is cheap and easy, and very definitely a one-pot meal.  I'm not giving exact amounts,  because you can adjust them to suit the number of people you're feeding.

Cabbage - the solid kinds work better than the very leafy kinds (white or red, or that extremely nice pointed one), chopped.
Potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs plain flour
1-2 tbs wine vinegar
1 tbs brown sugar (demerara is best, but any brown will do).
Salt and pepper.
Then your choice of:
Belly pork, diced OR
Lean pork, diced OR
Chicken pieces, diced OR
Roasted nuts (peanuts or cashew) OR
I expect tofu would work, too, if you like it.

Use either the kind of casserole that will go both on top of the stove and in the oven OR a pressure cooker (Instant Pot is best).  In either case, put the oil in the pan, and if you are using meat or tofu, seal them in the hot oil.  You can also cook a teaspoonful of mustard seeds and/or cumin or caraway seeds in the oil.  Now add the cabbage and stir thoroughly until it is coated, and then stir in the flour, vinegar and sugar.  Season to taste. 

If you are using a pressure cooker, add 1/4 cup water at this stage, and if you're using peanuts or cashew nuts, now is the time to add them and stir in.  Flatten off the dish and place the potatoes, flat side down, on the top.  If this is going in the oven, brush the potatoes with a little oil, and bake in a moderate oven for about 90 minutes.  Otherwise, cook in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes at high pressure.  The oven version gives wonderful roast potatoes on the top, but the quick version is equally delicious.
























Friday, 2 August 2019

Grain-stuffed marrow

½ large marrow
1 onion
1 clove garlic
½ punnet mushrooms (about 8)
1 tub or tin chopped tomatoes with chilli
1 packet microwaveable mixed grains (I used Middle Eastern)


Peel and chop the onion; peel and crush the garlic.  Add both of these to a saucepan with a little cooking oil, and allow to cook for a few minutes.  While this is happening, cut your marrow into 4 equal slices, then peel each slice and remove the seeds.  Place the rings thus obtained on a baking dish.

Now chop the mushrooms (you can peel them if you wish, but unless they are beginning to be old, life's too short) and add them to the onion mixture, and allow to cook until they are just rendering their juice.  Stir in the tomatoes and the grains, until the grains are separated and the whole lot is heated through.
  Now pile into the mushroom rings, and bake in a moderately hot oven for about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Midweek mushroom pasta

Yet again I failed to take a photograph....  Very quick, very easy, very delicious.

Vegetarian.  Serves 2

100 g (approx) fettucine or tagliatelle (I never know the difference)
200 g mushrooms, broken into pieces (or sliced)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 packet parsley, finely chopped (I used a mini food processor)
1/2 tub mascarpone
Knob of butter
Salt, pepper, 1 tsp mushroom ketchup
Sprinkle of grated cheese

Put the pasta on to cook according to the instructions on the packet.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms.  Cook until they render their liquid, then add the crushed garlic and continue to cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Now add the mascarpone and the cooked, drained pasta, and stir thoroughly until everything is well mixed.  Serve at once, perhaps with a sprinkle of grated cheese (I used Emmenthal, but Parmesan would be nice, too).