Friday, 15 September 2017

Baked aubergine and courgette, with toppings and rice ....

Once again the mixed requirements of the dinner table meant a main feature, and varieties of extras.  Tonight we had veggie (doesn't like rice much), meat eating but lactose intolerant and blarghh aubergines (that's me) - so it was pick and mix from baked veg, white rice, a veggie topping and a minced beef and chickpea topping, feta and pinenuts - this is mine - obvs I got to have a bit of eveything apart from yucky aubergine ... I keep trying with them, but they need to be disguised for me to really enjoy them.

Olive oil
Chili flakes
Minced beef
Stock cubes (veg and beef, respectively)
Pine nuts

1.  Cut the aubergines and courgettes in half, score the flesh in diagonals, bake for about 40 minutes.
2.  Make the toppings - in 2 pans sautee onion and garlic and a sprinkle of chili flakes.
3.  To the meat version add minced beef and brown off.
4.  Add the correct stock cube to each mixture, stir in.  Add a cup of water to each.
5.  Prep the kale by removing thick stem and shredding quite finely.
6.  Drain chickpeas - add 2/3rds to the veggie mix and 1/3rd to the beef mix.
7.  Add passata to both, stir and simmer.  Add more liquid if necessary.
8.  (optional) toast pine nuts.
9.  Serve, with crumbled feta - scoff.

We all had seconds of something - and there are 3 more portions boxed up for lunch .... win, win, win.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Curry night

Chicken korma (lactose free), veggie curry, dhal and rice ... it's not that difficult, just lots of ingredients. You need to soak the cashews, so put them in water in the morning.  I started with the chicken and veg curries, and then put the rice on to boil.  As soon as the chicken went in the oven put the lentils on for the dhal ... it all kinda came together in about 45 minutes.

Olive oil
Chicken thighs
Tikka Massala paste
Cashew nuts
Mustard seeds
fennel seeds
cumin seeds
chili flakes
Garam masala

Red lentils

Basmati rice

1.  Soak the cashew nuts for some hours, or boil them for a few minutes.  Zizz them up with approximately an equal quantity of water to nuts.
2.  Sautee onions in olive oil in 2 heavy pans - one for the chicken, one for the veggie curry.
3.  Add crushed garlic to both pots.
4.  Put the rice on to boil in a heavy pot, covered by water to 1 inch above the surface of the rice..
5.  Add turmeric and a tsp of tikka masala paste to the chicken pot, then the chicken pieces skin side down first.
6.  Add fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and chili flakes to the veggie pot.
7.  The add peeled diced potatoes, diced courgette, mushroom and carrot to the veggie pot.
8.  Turn the chicken over, sprinkle on 1/2 tsp cinnamon and pour in the cashew mixture.  Transfer to the oven.
9.  When the rice boils, slam a lid on it, and put it in the bottom of the oven.
10.  Add tomatoes, in pieces if whole and veg stock to the veggie curry, stir and simmer.
11.  Put red lentils and water on to boil for the dhal.
12.  When ready to serve make the tarka by frying cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chili and curry leaves, if you have them, in a little olive oil.  Pour this, sizzling over the dhal.
13.  Serve, scoff.

Friday, 8 September 2017


I love Todmorden.  I do. And I love the stuff we can make when we have a trawl around the fresh and interesting stuff on the inside and outdoor market.  Today Paul had new season mussels from the Menai Straits. That was enough to start me off in the direction of this dinner.  The only ingredient not sourced from the market was the wine ... and you only have to cross the road for that.

Dry white wine
olive oil
White onion
Sweet picante peppers
Salad leaves
Baby cucumber
Balsamic vinegar

1.  Pour half a bottle of dry white wine into a jug.  Put the rest in the fridge to chill.
2.  Wash potatoes, cut into chip sized pieces - skin and all - roast in olive oil.  Check on them after about 20 minutes, turn them over so that they cook evenly.
3.  Do stuff ... the washing, the crossword etc for half an hour ...
4.  Wash the mussels, pull off beards, scrub off any barnacles etc ... actually these were beautiful - I only discarded two which didn't shut on a gentle tap.
5.  Finely chop onion, sautee gently in a big pan, in olive oil.
6.  Add very finely chopped garlic (lots of...) and peppers, keep on a very gentle heat.
7.  Chuck salad together - leaves, sliced cucumber, sliced radish - drizzle of balsamic and olive oil - toss together on serving.
8.  Check chips .. finely dice tomatoes and chop herbs.
9.  When chips are 10 minutes away .....  turn the heat up under the onion - add garlic and peppers, stir and cook for a minute or so.
10.  Pour wine from jug into onion pan ... pour chilled wine into glass ... :-p
11.  As soon as the wine starts bubbling, chuck in mussels.  Slam the lid on.  Shake the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
12.  Add the tomatoes and herbs to the mussels, lid on, shake violently ... cook for 2 more minutes.
13.  Serve, scoff ... don't eat any mussels which have not opened.

You may need crusty bread to dip into the delicious juice.

This was good ... really, really good ...

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Duck breast, with figgy greens and mash

More experimenting with the "pudding with me dinner concept", and I'm sorry to say, but in general I am still on the anti team .... this was perfectly pleasant, but ....

The sherry, fruit and cinnamon do give the greens a nice slightly spicy sweetness, but I still don't have a sweet tooth.  On the upside - 6 of my 5 a day in one dish.

Olive oil
Vegetable stock
Chili flakes
Cavolo nero
White cabbage

Duck breasts

1.  Peel and dice the potatoes, boil - when cooked mash with butter and put in the oven for the top to crisp up.
2.  Sautee chopped onion in olive oil.
3.  When the onion is soft add a splash of sherry and a cup of vegetable stock.  Add a small handful of raisins and 2 whole figs, simmer briefly.
4.  Remove figs, turn off the heat.
5.  Cook the duck breasts on a high heat, skin side first for a couple of minutes.  Turn the heat down, turn them over for a couple of minutes, then transfer to an oven dish and roast for 10 minutes.
6.  Cut figs into pieces.
7.  Add green veg to the stock, and simmer/steam for 5 minutes, stir the figs back in and heat through.
8. Serve, scoff, watch veg dodger eat seconds of cabbage mixture.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tapas ... figs with blue cheese, cod and chickpeas, potatas bravas, heirloom tomato salad

Tonight's tapas was so delicious that we just dug in and forgot to take a picture until we'd had seconds ... so, have a look at the leftovers protected by plates, for supper snacking.

Patatas bravas

Dice potatoes, toss in olive oil and roast for about an hour.  Salsa bravas - sautee diced onion, add garlic, a pinch of paprike, a pinch of chili flakes and a load of tomatoes ... simmer and stir until it's a sauce.

Cod & chickpea ragu

Sautee diced onion in olive oil, add chopped sweet red pepper and fry a little longer.  Add a splash of sherry, stir in.  Tip in a tin of drained chickpeas, stir through.  Put fillets of cod on top of the beans and allow to steam for about 8 minutes, then gently stir into mix ... sprinkle a little paprika on topn

Figs, with blue cheese and almonds (and jamon serrano)

Slit the figs and wrap with serrano ham (if using) ... drizle with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.  Stuff with blue cheese, and return to the oven.  Make the sauce by melting a little honey and add the almonds, turn over in the honey and pour onto figs.

Heirloom tomato salad

Cut tomatoes into tasteful shapes, delicately arrange them on serving platter (honestly, you just can't see them - lovely mix of red, orange, green and yellow.  Sprinkle on finely diced onion and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Leaf salad

Toss salad leaves with a drizzle oil oil and spritz of sherry vinegar.

Serve, scoff (do NOT under any circumstances take pictures) cover leftovers with plates.

Pork chop, brie and grilled nectarine

I'm not usually one for "me pudding with me dinner", but I saw a few recipes with round about this idea on t'interweb, and thought I'd give it a go.. it works!  The pork, mild mustard and cheese and really cut through by the bittersweetness of the grilled nectarine. The spinach was ours ... grown in the allotment.  Mostly the allotment has only grown weeds this year, as every time we get a minute it pours it down, and when we've been busy it has but sunny - perfect weed growing conditions.

Olive oil
Pork chops
Apple juice
Dijon mustard
Green beans

1.  Roast potato wedges in olive oil.
2.  30 minutes later - fry pork chops on each side.
3.  Steam beans and spinach.
4.  Smear top of chops with dijon mustard, top with slices of brie.  Put into oven dish and splosh in a half a cup of apple juice (just to stop it going dry).  Put in the oven for 10 minutes while brie melts.
5.  Griddle nectarine pieces.
6.  Serve, scoff ... be surprisingly impressed.

(Veggie had field mushroom and onion topped with brie).

Friday, 1 September 2017

Tofu bibimbap

We are spoilt at Todmorden market - we can venture way beyond our Yorkshire borders for some tasty dinners.  Today, I had a scout around t'interweb, and after reading a number of recipes thought I would create my version of a bibimbap ... big bowl of rice, topped with a protein source with assorted raw, pickled and cooked vegetables with a chili sauce ...ingredients are mostly available from the market - Oriental foods, The Mediterranean Pantry, a couple of vegetable stalls ... but I had to go to a local supermarket for the beansprouts!

Jasmine rice
Peanut oil
Korean red chili pasta - gochujang
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Agave syrup
Sesame seeds
Green beans
Cavolo nero
Bean sprouts
Spring onions

Basically you cook all the ingredients separately, give each person a bowl of rice topped with pan fried tofu and a fried egg, and they choose which of the other bits they want, add some sauce, and stir it all together.  I started with putting the tofu in salted water, then pickled the radish and carrot, then chopped the rest of the veg ... put the rice on, steamed the cavolo nero and green beans, fried the tofu, made the sauce, and stir fried the veg - one at a time - keeping them hot in the oven while I finished the tofu.  Finally fry the eggs .. and begin the assembly.

The tofu:-

Soak in salted water for 15 minutes to tighten up the edges.  Slice into fork sized slices - return to the salted water to firm up further.  Fry in hot peanut oil, in batches, do not over crowd the pan, until crispy on both sides.  Keep warm in the oven.

The sauce:-

Mix 3 tbsp gochujang with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp (to taste) agave syrup and 1 tsp sesame oil.

The pickled veg:-

Prepare carrot and radish batons.  Heat together 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup rice vinegar and 1 cup water.  Put veg into pickling liquid, swish about and take off the heat.  After 10 minutes drain and chill.

The stir fried veg, one at a time, keep warm in the oven:-

Mushrooms, sesame seeds, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil
Cavolo nero, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, soy sauce
Green beans, garlic, tiny splash soy sauce
Beansprouts, soy sauce, tiny splash sesame oil

The raw bits, chop finely:-

Spring onions
Sesame seeds

On your marks - go ....

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Chilli two ways, with GF cheesy cornbread

We had no potatoes!  We had recently had both rice and pasta, so I wanted something different on the carbs front - so - cornbread, why not?  This led quickly to the obvious decision to combine it with chili for dinner.  A minced beef one for the veg dodger, an aubergine based one for the veggie - and, of course, both for me!

Olive oil
Chilli flakes
Mixed herbs
Minced beef
Red pepper
Kidney beans
Black beans
Soya milk
Dark chocolate
Sour cream
Lime (optional)

Corn bread

GF plain flour
baking soda
baking powder
soya milk
sour cream
grated cheddar

1.  Start the chillies.  In two separate pans sweat down chopped onion in olive oil.
2.  Add crushed garlic, herb and spices - we don't like things too hot so I held back on the chili flakes, you can add, but it's very difficult to take away (if you do over spice you need some sugar to counter balance, so a big squirt of ketchup can help).
3.  Add chopped carrot to both, and continue to sweat down.
4.  Add minced beef to the meaty version, and diced aubergine to the veggie version.  Stir.  Keep stirring every now and again until mince is browned, and aubergine is slightly soft.
5.  Add chopped courgettes and red pepper to both, stir in.
6.  Drain a tin of kidney beans and a tin of black beans, stir half of each into each chili.
7.  Then add a cup of passata and a cup of water - simmer - season to taste.
8. When they are cooked (about 20 minutes, but you can just keep simmering gently, just make sure that they don't get too dry, add more water if necessary), add dark chocolate and a splash of milk/soya milk (this just "softens" the chili slightly). Stir until chocolate has dissolved. Spritz with lime if you have any.

Make soda bread

1.  Combine a cup of GF plain flour, a cup of cornmeal, 1/2tsp each of salt, baking powder and baking soda.
2.  Whisk together 1 egg, about half a cup of soya milk and a spoonful of natural yogurt or sour cream (you need a little acid to get the baking soda working).
3.  Mix a big handful of grated cheese into the wet ingredients.
4.  Combine the dry and the wet ingredients - kneed gently, but not for too long.  Juts enough to bring the mixture together.  Form into a round - with a sharp knife slash the top in a cross.
5.  Bake, on a floured tray, in a medium oven for about 30 minutes.

Serve, with sour cream .... scoff

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Smoked haddock and cavolo nero risotto

Well, it makes a change from fish and chips, but still fish on a Friday.  Again, all sourced from Todmorden Market - olive oil, herbs and rice from me at The Mediterranean Pantry, fish from Paul, vegetables from Garry or Traynors and eggs from one of the butchers .... jobs a good'un. Also - basket to bowl in 25 minutes.

Olive oil
risotto rice
White wine (optional)
italian seasoning
cavolo nero
smoked haddock
frozen peas

1.  Soften chopped onion in olive oil.
2.  After a couple of minutes add risotto rice, stir into the oil until every grain is lightly coated.  Pour in a glass of white wine, add a sprinkle of herbs, and stir.  Add a cup of water/stock and simmer.
3.  After about 6 minutes add shredded cavolo nero and chopped mushrooms, stir again.  Add more liquid as it absorbed by the rice.
4.  Put eggs on to boil.
5.  After another 5 minutes put the fish on top of the rice to steam.
6.  Keep an eye on the risotto, making sure it doesn't get too dry, add a little stock if necessary, but be gentle with the fish - after 10 minutes it will be nearly cooked so fold it gently through the rest of the mixture, with a handful of frozen peas.
7.  Leave the risotto to stand for a few minutes off the heat so that it can suck up the remaining liquid.
8.  Take the eggs out of the hot water, run under a cold tap, peel off the shells - and, there you go ...
9.  Serve, scoff

Friday, 25 August 2017

National burger day

You can't exactly call it a recipe - but it was national burger day - so rude not to!  Serve with potato wedges, cheese, gherkins and salad in pita.  Veggie had field mushroom and onion "burger" topped with cheese, also in a pita.