Donnerstag, 26. März 2009

baked beans and vegetarian bolognese

Last night I didn‘t have much time to cook, so we had this with some left-over brown rice, and it was pretty tasty:

4 leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly
a can of organic baked beans
a tbsp of tomato puree
a tsp of garam masala
some soured cream

I just sauteed the leeks till tender, poured over the beans, stirred in the tomato puree, seasoned, and served on the rice topped with soured cream. Maybe even better with some freshly chopped coriander leaves. But mine haven‘t even sprouted.

A few days ago we made this lovely sauce which goes really well with spaghetti. The lentils cooked to a nice texture and the whole thing developed a wonderfully rich taste I dare say might even appeal to staunch carnivores.

150g brown (or green/puy) lentils, cooked in plenty of water
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 carrots, diced (you could also add some celery or courgette or omit this)
2 tbsp tomato puree
generous handfuls of dried or fresh herbs: rosemary, laurel, thyme and oregano or basil (basil needs to be added just at the end)

Saute onion and garlic in the hot oil. Add the carrot and pour in the lentils with their cooking liquid, adding more if required. Stir in the tomatoe puree and any dried herbs and fresh rosemary if using. Cook until thick and veg soft.

Montag, 23. März 2009

Swede Palya

In Karnataka, a dry vegetable curry, mostly sparingly spiced and finished off with coconut shavings, is called a palya. This is a very very British take on it. We found it gives a really lovely taste to the swedes, taking away the rooty-cabbagy edge.

1 small swede and a few carrots – or use one medium swede, or just carrots
a medium onion
some fresh ginger
one fresh green chilli
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp demerara sugar
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
some mild garam masala

Chop the swede and carrots into fine strips. Finely chop the onion and ginger. Roughly chop the chilli. Heat the oil in a pan or wok. Roast the cumin for a few minutes. Add onion, ginger and chilli and saute. Add the vegetables. Sprinkle salt and sugar over. Try to fry for as long as possible without any additional liquid. If you find the carrots to stay too crunchy, add about a cup of water, cover and cook till soft. Add the coconut with the water. Season with garam masala. Serve with yoghurt, rice or couscous.

Donnerstag, 19. März 2009

Glas noodles from the wok and Kashmiri winter veg curry

This is a dish my DH and I developed quite early in our relationship but keep coming back to all the time as it is quick and easy, tasty and versatile. You can (and should!) vary the veg according to taste and season!

glas noodles (we find 100g is quite enough for 2)
some spring onions or a chopped regular onion
finely chopped or grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
sesame or sunflower oil
some tofu, cubed, if desired
carrots, cabbage, peppers, bean sprouts… finely cut for stir-frying (not the sprouts, of course!)
rice wine
soy sauce
chinese 5-spice mix
sesame seeds

Soften the noodles as per pack instructions. Drain.
Heat oil in wok. Fry (spring) onions, ginger and garlic along with the tofu if using. Add the vegetables one after the other. When they start to soften, pour in a little bit of rice wine and soy sauce. Add about 1/4 tsp of the spice-mix (or to taste - it is quite overpowering if you use too much). Cover for a little, cook until the veg are done the way you like them, but they really should have some bite left to them. Mix in the noodles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

I adapted this curry recipe from one for Kashmiri shalgam gosht, shalgam meaning turnips and gosht meaning lamb. I didn't use any turnips yesterday, though I have before, and I obviously don‘t use lamb as a vegetarian, but the following makes a hearty curry which almost tastes as if it has been cooked in a meat stock. If using turnips, you might want to salt them first to remove any bitterness

a large onion
about 1 kg winter vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, swedes, potatoes, parsnips cut into medium-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic
a nice piece of fresh ginger
a can of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh ones, but they wouldn't be in season)
1 bay leaf
1/4-1 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground fennel or 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 black cardamoms
4-6 green cardamoms
some cinnamon stick or cinnamon bark
salt to taste

Heat oil in a heavy-based pan. Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onion softens. Add the spices, saute for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, add the vegetables and more water to just cover them. Slow cook till down. You can remove the lid near the end to reduce the sauce and intensify the flavours. You can also remove the whole spices before serving, if you prefer. Rice and/or naan bread go well with this.

Donnerstag, 12. März 2009

Phad Thai

This is probably not at all authentic, but it made a nice meal for two and a half people:

about 200g flat rice noodles, prepared according to pack instructions (soak in hot water for ten mins, rinse)
an onion or a few spring onions
100 g tofu, cubed
green, red and yellow peppers, chopped
a little bit of January King cabbage (veg are interchangeable), shredded
chopped fresh ginger
soy sauce
sambal oelek or fresh red chillies to taste
a tsp of brown sugar or jaggery
2 eggs, lightly beaten
lightly toasted peanuts, cashewnuts or sesame seeds

Heat a little oil in a wok. Stir fry the onion(s), ginger, tofu, pepper and cabbage, adding one ingredient after the other, until as done as you like them. Add the noodles. Combine the soy sauce, chillies or sambal oelek and sugar in a bowl, dissolve sugar, pour over everything and mix well. Pour the eggs over and mix until just cooked through. Garnish with nuts and chopped coriander leaves. Mine turned out pretty spicy, but very nice.

Yesterday I made cauliflower with rice and white sauce. Not very original but nice. Just to say that I can do conventional European cuisine as well. I‘d recommend using the cooking liquid of the cauliflower in the sauce. Tasty and healthier, somewhat.

Montag, 9. März 2009

And this is what we had for our Sunday lunch: Swiss winter soup with cabbage and pearl barley

One of our friends made this soup for us a while ago. She adds bacon, but that is not really necessary to get a lovely warming soup.

For 3-4 as a light meal:
a little olive oil
a few leeks, trimmed and cut
a few carrots, cut into small pieces
a small head of savoy or january king cabbage
a ltr of vegetable stock (two cubes and water)
half a cup of pearl barley, washed
about half a pot of single cream

Saute the leek in the oil. Add the carrots, saute a bit more. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then throw in the pearl barley. Cook till almost done. Add the cabbage now (not overboiling it preserves colour and a nicer taste as well as less smell). When it is all done, pour in as much cream as you like. Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper. Very nice with sourdough bread.

Riverford, Devon

A while ago I participated in a recipe competition by Riverford Home Deliveries, the people we are getting our lovely organic veg boxes from each week. My recipe for Oriental Swedes (to be posted on this site soon) was shortlisted as the finalist for our regional farm (Stockley)! Actually, this gave me the incentive to start this blog :-). Anyway, we just had to go down to Devon to the original Riverford farm for the grand finale. So we did. We drove down on Thursday, and oh, it is so beautiful down there! They had put us up for a night in a cosy B&B in Buckfastleigh, Killbury Manor. It was a wonderful place to stay, with doggies for our DD and the river Dart just behind the house. We had a nice room in the refurbished barn. We took a walk by the river where daffodills and Schneeglöckchen were in bloom and the dark waters were gurgling away. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Next morning over the leisurely and yummy breakfast we met the other finalists, and then drove to the farm. I had always been in two minds about Riverford, mainly because I thought they were a bit over-styled for organic, and because of the size of their business. But I‘ve always found Guy Watson‘s newsletters really thought-provoking and right up my street. And here he was, a real farmer rather than a business man. The field kitchen is a wonderful light structure, and the chef, Jane Baxter, and her staff, were already cooking away. We were shown around the fields and the sheds were the boxes are packed, the cold houses and all. Yeah, it is a business, but it is so inspiring to hear Guy talk frankly about his principles, the compromises, the mistakes and successes, and above all to hear him talk about his plants as if they were his best friends. We got to pick our own salad leaves (which were delicious as a salad but I tried stir-frying them, which wasn‘t so succesful). Lunch was a menu with all the competition finalist recipes along with pork for the carnivores and some nice dessert. The flaked almonds in my recipe should have been toasted separately rather than just mixed in with the veg, but never mind. Everybody was so nice and it was just a lovely meal. No, I did not win, but the whole thing was just a great experience. I am a complete convert – if we could afford, I would get all we need from them… All of us got a certificate, a signed copy of the Riverford Farm Cookbook, a bag and a black Riverford Field Kitchen apron – which I am wearing very proudly around the kitchen now!
Find out more about them or order one of their boxes here:

Mittwoch, 4. März 2009

Vegetable Stew with Couscous, Carrot-Pasta Sauce and a Thai Curry

Kitchen Diary - haha. So I’m posting three recipes this time… All of these turned out really nice. Good for a chilly evening.

We like to make this vegetable stew - it is versatile and easy. It benefits from the flavours of the spices, slow cooking in tomato base, and large chunks of veg which you can vary seasonally, but carrots are a real must
For a nice big pot I used:

two handfuls of chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled separately (adding a pinch of baking soda speeds up the cooking, or you can use a pressure cooker)
one large onion roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
a little olive oil
a can of peeled plum tomatoes
3 tsp ras-el-hanout (a North African spice mix, I will post a recipe some other time)
half an onion squash (butternut also works well, or other pumpkins and squashes) cut in large chunks
three medium sized carrots cut in large chunks
two parsnips cut in large chunks
a handful of raisins and barberries each

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil. Add the tomatoes, squish them with a wooden spoon, add the spice, a tsp of brown sugar if you want, salt. Add all the veg and the pre-boiled chickpeas (with their water, if desired) and one to two times the empty tomato can full of water. Boil slowly till done. Stir in raisins and barberries. Serve with couscous or bulghur wheat and harissa paste. I like to mix some chopped coriander leaves with my couscous, or a mix of coriander and parsley or mint.

The following pasta sauce sounds unlikely, but was very nice:
six big carrots
one medium potato
some soft cheese, mascarpone, blue cheese, puck, Schmierkäse
lots of freshly ground pepper

Boil the veg, if you want you can add a veg stock cube. Blend with a hand blender, adding the cheese. Serve with pasta. DD loved it.

My version of a Thai curry
half an onion squash, cut in to small pieces
a small broccoli head, broken into florets, stems cut into pieces
a small onion
a little vegetable oil
2 tsp red thai curry paste
one stick lemongrass (innerparts only, finely chopped)
1 tsp ground cumin
chopped coriander leaves
lemon or lime juice
lemon pepper or black pepper
1 can coconut milk
a tsp jaggery or brown sugar

Fry onion in oil, add cumin, lemongrass and curry paste. Add coconut milk and plenty of water. Add pumpkin and brokkoli stems, salt and pepper, jaggery. Boil. Season with lemon or lime juice and coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.