Sunday, 26 October 2014

Onion bhaji; potato, turnip and pea curry; spinach thingy

There was spinach, and onion, in the fridge from the veg box.  There was a need for comfort food.  I happened upon a delightful asian/eastern european cornershop in Leeds this afternoon which had, in their very beautiful vegetable display, some very beautiful turnips.  So, with a tiny outlay I revamped our dinner.

To make this assortment of dishes, start with the potato curry, then chop and mix the bhaji mix - until adding the water stage.  Then, when you are about 10 minutes off, start the spinach - then, fry the bhajis, keep them warm while you fry them all off, and serve.

Potato, turnip and pea curry

Olive oil
Black mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Fennel seeds
Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Turnips, peeled and cubed (apporx the same amount as potato)
Garlic, crushed
Frozen peas

1.  Heat oil in pan, add fry spices.   When they release their aroma chuck in potatoes and turnip.  Toss them all about so that every piece of veg is coated.
2.  Add crushed garlic, stir in.  Add a cup of stock - put a lid on a simmer gently.
3.  Keep simmering potato mixture, check every now and again, make sure there is enough liquid to help it cook through, but that it is a "dry" mixture. Adjust seasoning.
4.  Tip some frozen peas on top, put lid back on, turn flame off and keep cooking for 5 mins.

Onion bhajis

large onion, chopped into fine half moons
chili flakes
lemon juice
dried herbs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
gram flour
oil, for frying (I used a mixture of olive oil and peanut oil)

1.  In a bowl mix onion and seasonings.  Add salt and leave for at least 10 minutes.
2.  Add bicarb and garm flour, toss together.
3.  When about ready to fry, stir in a small amount of water.  Mix to form a batter around the onion mixture.
4.  Fry, in hot oil, in blobs.
5.  Drain, on kitchen roll, and keep warm.

Spinach thingy

Olive oil
Chopped onion (I used the extra bits which weren't in moons from the bhajis)
Crushed garlic
Spinach, washed, stalks removed and shredded
Black pepper

1.  Sweat off onion in olive oil, then add the garlic.
2. Add spinach and enough water (not much) to let it wilt down.
3. Season

Being all dished together and scoff.  I was going to do a raita type thing, but was fine without.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

potato and cabbage gratin, with cumin - and beetroot and carrot burgers

I have included a pic for completeness - but it's an awful one.  This is a shame because the dinner was delicious.  And comforting.  That was important after a long and trying week.

The feature today is the potato and cabbage gratin the beetroot and carrot burgers have featured earlier.  I have made them a few times now and they freeze beautifully.  Just bake them from frozen.

Potato, cabbage gratin, with cumin.

Chopped potato (1 huge, today)
Shredded cabbage
Olive oil
Chopped onion
Crushed garlic
Cumin seeds
Corn flour
soya milk
grated cheddar

1.  Boil potato with cabbage steaming on top.
2.  Sweat onion in olive oil, until soft.  Add garlic and cumin.
3.  Make the sauce by adding soya milk to onions, slake the corn flour in a little soya milk and stir into the onion mixture.   Simmer and stir while it thickens.
4.  Tip the cabbage into an oven proof dish, drain the potatoes and add and mix through.
5.  Add 3/4 cheese to the sauce and pour over the vegetables.  Sprinkle the last of the cheese on top.
6.  Bake at 180 for 25-30 minutes, till the top is bubbling and golden.  (The burgers will be great in the oven for the same time).

Comforting, and tasty. I'm supposed to avoid lactose - and cheese gives me head aches - but sometimes, just sometimes ... you have to say it's worth it.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

veg and lentil pilaf ... innit

Lots of stuff happening this week.  Today, I was, unexpectedly, required to be available at work om Saturday... so, I turfed up.

I tried to speed this recipe up ny par-cooking the rice, and then adding it to the veg mix to finish.

Brown rice
red rice
olive oil
red pepper
mexican seasoning
lentils (tinned and drained)
vine tomatoes
lime juice


1.  Put brown rice, a handful of red rice - and enough water to cover + 1 inch into a cast iron pot.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer.
2.  Put cherry tomatoes in a hot(ish) oven, after you have sploshed on a glug of olive oil, a twist of salt and a twist of pepper.
3.  Chop an onion, some mushrooms and a red pepper.  Sautee the onions in olive oil until a bit soft/
4.  Add mushrooms and pepper, stir around.  Add garlic and seasoning (I used mexican - not so much for it to be HOT, but just to add a depth of falvour).
5.  Drain par-cooked rice and add to veg. Stir around til all rice has a film of oil.
6.  Add chopped kale and some stock, simmer until done - stir occasionally.
7.  mix 3 tbsp of yogurt with the juice of a lime, 1 tbsp of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic - salt and pepper to taste.

Serve/// admire, scoff.... gloat :)

Friday, 17 October 2014

peas, sweetcorn and chicory - with fish and chips and gherkin fritters

Fish and chips are a solid tradition in this household, but sometimes it's worth adding a twist, particularly when something less usual turns up in the veg box.  This week, I thought I'd try batter instead of recent cornmeal crispy coatings, and had a bit of a bonkers idea about chopped gherkins in the batter (you know, in the batter instead of in the tartare suace, well why not ??) ... and had some red chicory in the veg box.

The gherkin didn't stick very well to the fish in the batter - BUT little blobs of it fried in the batter (like a bhaji) were DELICIOUS!

So, start with the potatoes, chop and par boil - heating the oil in a tray in the oven, so that it's hot to transfer the drained potatoes an hour before you want to serve.  Then prep the veg and batter for the fish then need to be sorted 20 minutes before you want to serve.  Start the veg, then when it's simmering start frying the fish .. then it'll all be done about the same time.


Boil, drain, roast in hot oil...

Fish in batter

Enough fish (I cut pollock fillets into 3-4 pieces, about 4 cm square)
cream of tartar
cold water
Chopped gherkin
salt and pepper

olive oil

1.  Mix cornflour, polenta and cream of tartar with cold water to form a batter - the consistency of double cream.
2.  Stir in finely chopped gherkins and seasoning.
3.  When ready, coat fish in batter, and fry in batches, in hot olive oil.  Fry for a minute or so on each side, and drain on kitchen roll.  Keep warm.
4.  Collect the remaining chopped gherkin and batter into spoonfuls, and fry as little fritters.


olive oil
1 onion, chopped
frozen sweetcorn
frozen petit pois
chopped chicory
white wine
squirt of lemon juice

1.  Sautee onion in olive oil.
2.  When soft add frozen veg and garlic, turn in oil - add in wine and simmer
3.  Throw shredded chicory on the top and allow to wilt, add a little water if its looking dry.
4.  After about 4-5 minutes it should be heated through - squirt with lemon juice and grind on black pepper.

Rally good.  Chicory works really well with peas and sweetcorn instead of lettuce in the french version.  The gherkin fritters were spectacular.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Mushroom and courgette crumble

No pic because we were hungry, and I forgot.  However, it was tasty enough to record.  The bottom was chopped and sauteed - onion, garlic, mushrooms, courgettes and tomatoes - with a teaspoon of mixed herbs chucked in.  The topping was rolled oats, mixed seeds and crispy fried onions (from an Asian supermarket) mixed with olive oil to form a crumble.  It was all healthy and vegan - and then I added grated cheddar.  Bake for 25 mins (ish).

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Thai butternut squash, sweet potato and chickpea curry

Another late-ish night.  The new veg box was delivered - which is great BUT I have to resist the temptation to use all the new yummy stuff and let the old stuff go off.

So, I challenged myself to use the butternut squash and sweet potato which had been knocking about - so thai red curry.

Peanut oil
Thai curry paste (yellow in this case)
yellow pepper
butternut squash
sweet potato
tin of chickpeas
tin of coconut milk


1.  Sautee onion in oil.
2.  Cook rice by your favourite method.
3.  Stir in other prepared veg (peeled and diced), garlic and curry paste.
4.  Add a little water to allow it to simmer.
5.  Add drained chick peas and coconut milk, simmer ... for about 30 minutes

Taste - if too hot, add a teaspoon of sugar and cook out.  If it is going dry before it's cooked - add a cup of water.

Serve, scoff.  It all looks very yellow but very tasty.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Mustard mash, cavolo nero and kale with pine nuts - and a bit of a vegtable ragu

Quite (!) a busy week, and  need to chill at the weekend - but also some teenage student fetching and carrying (not that I mind, actually) - so by Sunday teatime, some comfort food was in order.  BUT, this isn't just comfort food - this is comfort food with bells on - it is incredibly nutritious and delicious.  There is some butter in the mustard mash - but otherwise - gluten free and without anything processed.

Start with the potatoes, then chop the onion, then the greens.  If you get the onions softening before the potatoes have boiled, you are really on it.  Keep working on the ragu, put the shredded greens on top of the boiling potatoes when they have been boiling for a couple of minutes.

Keep the ragu cooking, adding stock if it gets too dry.

When potatoes are boiled and mashed, stick them under a hot grill to crisp up the top for 5 minutes.  Keep the greens warm and roast the pine nuts at the last minute.

Mustard mash

potatoes, peeled
whole grain mustard

1.  Boil potatoes - chopped into even chunks - in salted water,
2.  When done, drain, and mash with a good knob of butter (olive oil or soya spread for vegans).
3.  Beat in a splodge of wholegrain mustard.

Cavolo nero, kale and pine nuts

1.  Shred cavolo nero and kale, steam on top of boiling potatoes.
2.  Roast pine nuts in dry frying pan.
3.  Toss pine nuts onto steamed leaves

Vegetable ragu

olive oil
mixed herbs
yellow pepper
vegetable stock

1.  Sweat chopped onion in olive oil until a bit soft.
2. Add chopped pepper, mushrooms, courgette and herbs and continue to soften.
3. Add a cup of stock and simmer until vegetables are all soft and tasty.

delicious.  Really!  Try it!