Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Forget flipping! Ban boring crêpes! Give these two exciting pancakes a go this Shrove Tuesday!

 

Whilst everyone else is tossing “flat as a pancake” crêpes, lemon-soused and sprinkled in sugar or slathering Nutella with sliced bananas (all of which were sold out at the local supermarket) think different and hit the latest pancake trends this Shrove Tuesday.

Whereas past trends have been avocado/vegan pancakes and pancake art, this year, think savoury pancakes stacked with streaky bacon and drizzled with unctuous golden syrup; thank you Sabrina Ghayour.  OR if you’ve got a sweet tooth and can’t end your meal without a sweet hit try Japanese soufflé-style pancakes – an internet gourmet-isation! OMG! Simple to make and absolutely amazing to eat; like eating a cloud.

Sweetcorn griddle cakes

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These savoury griddle cakes make for a great evening meal.  They can be totally vegetarian should you wish or deck them with bacon.  Heat is totally optional as is the sweet to drizzle over – we used golden syrup which worked really well at bringing out the sweetness of the corn.  We sprinkled some paprika over to add subtle warmth but chilli jam, sweet chilli sauce, sriracha or dried chilli flakes will work just as well.

Ingredients:

3 spring onions thinly sliced

1 large can sweetcorn drained (or 2 roasted corn on the cob)

150g feta cheese

1/2 bunch coriander

2 eggs

100ml milk

60g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 packet streaky bacon

oil for frying

optional: dried chili flakes, maple syrup, honey, chilli sauce

Method:

1st: Preheat the oven to 200ºC.  Place the bacon rashers onto an oven tray and bake until crispy.  Drain onto kitchen towel and reduce the heat to 100ºC.

2nd: In a large bowl mix the sliced spring onions, the can of drained sweetcorn, roughly chopped coriander and crumble the feta cheese in.  Add the flour and baking powder.  If using chilli flakes, add these now.  Season to taste but be careful as the feta and bacon will be salty.

3rd: Mix the eggs and milk together and stir into the dry ingredients. 

4th Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with a splash of oil and spoon heaped spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan.  Fry in batches until golden brown on both sides and keep warm in a low oven whilst you cook the rest of them.

5th: Serve stacked with the bacon rashers balanced between them and drizzled with maple syrup, honey or chilli sauce.

Japanese Souffléd


Pancakes

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Begone crêpes! Flipping pancakes is a thing of the past as people turn to wobbling instead of tossing.  These super fluffy pancakes made with whisked egg white and cooked within a metal ring are twice the thickness of American-style pancakes but are extremely light in texture and wobble in a similar fashion to a soufflé.

Ingredients:

5 tbsp plain flour

1½ tbsp milk

1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

½ tsp vanilla extract

2½ tbsp caster sugar

2 large eggs; separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar or a few drops of lemon juice

Method:

1st: In a bowl, add milk, melted butter, vanilla extract and egg yolks.  Mix well.

2nd: Sift in the flour and gently fold in.

3rd: Add the egg whites and the cream of tartar (or lemon juice) to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk for 5 mins before adding the sugar.  Whisk until the meringue holds its form and you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue will not slide out.

4th: Scoop out ⅓ of the meringue and add to the egg yolk batter.  Once this is full incorporated, add the remaining ⅔ of the meringue and fold this in gently until everything is a pale yellow and there are no visible white streaks.

5th: Either add butter or use oil spray to the inside of the ring moulds and the griddle / frying pan.  Heat the pan to a low/medium heat and fill the mould ½ the way up.  Add a tsp of water to the pan and close the lid.  I used an upturned pan to create a dome.  Cook for 4-5mins.

6th: When you see the pancakes have risen to the rim of the mould, they are ready to turn over.  Do this with a spatula and take care.  Add a teaspoon of water to the pan and cover for another 3-4 mins until the pancakes are cooked and golden brown on both sides.

7th: Gently, remove the pancakes from their mould.  Serve these warm with any topping of your choice.

Pancake gourmet-isation!

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t like a good fajita? Strips of chicken or beef mingled with peppers and onions in a tex-mex salsa and wrapped into a flour tortilla, served with guacamole, cheese and sour cream drizzled over and freshened up with a spritz of lime.

taco faj burr

The fun being assembling them at the table. Everyone trying to see how loaded they can roll their tortilla wrap without it’s contents spilling from either end. If you prefer guacamole but not cheese it’s your decision to take – generally fajitas are a safe meal that everyone at the table can enjoy, spice them up with jalapeños, cool them down with sour cream. Everyone loves a good taco, especially children, it’s the whole eating with your hands and getting stuck in that appeals.

spice them up with jalapeños, cool them down with sour cream

Faja in Mexican means an underskirt. Fajita refers to the strips of meat, peppers and onions to be placed inside a tortilla to make a taco or burrito.

Originally, fajitas were made with skirt steak that required long, slow, low temperature cooking and this incredibly tender and flavoursome meat was then wrapped in a flour tortilla to make a taco. Nowadays people generally gravitate towards the chicken version as this can be easily put together midweek by working parents.

Increasingly, however, people are trying to eat less meat. Those who choose to go meat-free tend to be short changed with tacos as they will generally pick out the meat (stricter vegetarians will need their peppers and onions cooked separately) but either way, their taco will lack bulk and substance.

Just because you choose to go meat free doesn’t mean you should go hungry! A good way of bulking out a meat free taco is by using thick slices of sweet potato.

Sweet Potato Tacos

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Ingredients
1 Sweet potato
1 Red onion
1 Red pepper
1 Yellow pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp pimeñtón
Salt & pepper
Tortillas and any taco extras you wish

Method
1st: Slice the sweet potato, peppers and onion and mix together with the chilli powder, ground cumin and pimeñtón. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake at 180°C until the sweet potato is soft.

2nd: Warm a tortilla of your choice and fill with the vegetable mix. Add any taco essentials you wish from avocado to sour cream.

Another great taco filling that I’ve come across recently is fish. Yes, fish tacos are a thing; like a mexicana fish finger sandwich. Even though I used haddock, you can use any flakey white fish such as cod, halibut, pollock or even use king prawns or lobster.

Fish Tacos with mango salsa

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Ingredients
White fish fillets
1 Red onions
1 Red peppers
1 Mango
Limes
1 Jalapeño
Fresh Coriander leaves
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Ground coriander
Tortillas
1/4 Red cabbage
Salt & pepper

Method
1st: Place the fish fillets on a sheet pan and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, ground cumin and ground coriander. Squeeze some lime juice over the fish and allow to marinate for 15mins. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2nd: Make the mango salsa: chop the mango, the red onion, red pepper into similar sized pieces. Finely dice the jalapeño and mix everything together with lime juice and coriander leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

3rd: Bake the fish in the oven for 10 to 15 mins. Heat the tortillas, I used coconut tortillas which added a hint of tropical flavour to the overall dish.

4th: Assemble your taco with a fish fillet, mango salsa, shredded red cabbage, coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime.

And bite.

So why don’t you join me this week and chomp your way through Taco Tuesday?!

Sweet Potato Logo

I must admit, I came to the sweet potato party quite late in life. Considering I eat pretty much anything I don’t know why I’ve been so ambivalent towards the sweet potato / boniato.

Perhaps it’s the way I’ve always seen it prepared; baked jacket-potato style with its orange flesh collapsing in on itself and scooped straight out of its blistered skin. And what is it about the skin that takes on irregular shiny-caramel looking spots where the flesh is peeking through? And when mixed in with carrots and parsnips as part of the Sunday roast veggies drizzled in maple syrup, the sweet potato pretty much disintegrates into the buttery maple juices at the bottom of the pan.

I think I may have answered my own question!

At a party years ago, I remember there was a sweet potato and peanut butter filo parcel which all the veggies were enjoying but I couldn’t decide whether i liked it or wondered whether it should be dessert; all it needed was some vanilla ice cream and a dusting of icing sugar and I’d have been happy…I think.

But it was on a trip to LA that my love for the sweet potato was restored. After several food blow outs I fancied something light but not salad-light(!) and came across a plain chicken breast with fries dish on the menu, that as it arrived on the table I thought, wow these American potatoes are really orange! After the first bite I realised they were sweet potato fries, duh! However, they were sweet, salty and acidic all in one bite. My eyes lit up, they were coated in salt, and freshness of lime zest and juice screamed through.

Since sweet potatoes and boniatos (white fleshed Caribbean sweet potatoes) are currently in season what better way to celebrate them than to try and recreate these lime, salty, sweet potato fries which I have shamelessly decided to call, margarita sweet potato fries; the tequila is optional.

Note: cutting them thicker makes for lighter work but they take longer to cook.

Grill some chicken breasts and corn on the cob to make this a great mid-week family supper. But I warn you, the first time I made this I ate the entire tray of sweet potato fries and left everything else!

 

 

 

…sweet potato fries which I have shamelessly decided to call,
margarita sweet potato fries; the tequila is optional…

Margarita Sweet Potato Fries

1st: Preheat the oven to 210°C

2nd: Wash the sweet potatoes to remove any soil or grit they may still have and slice into fries or wedges should you wish. There is no need to peel them.

3rd: Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt flakes, pepper and lime zest.

4th: Cook in the oven for anything from 25 to 40 mins depending on size. Try to turn them once and get good colour on them throughout the cooking process.

5th: Squeeze lime juice over them as they come out of the oven and sprinkle with fresh coriander.

These fries are great with chicken but make a tasty accompaniment to grilled pork loin and white fish; anything that will pair well with zesty lime juice.

Whether you eat them as a side dish or as the main I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

When day and night are of equal length and druids encircle Stonehenge; the moon grows fat and glows blood-red.  Summer turns to autumn.  Farmers and their families work hard to ensure their crop comes in before the first frost.  It’s harvest time.

The more delicate crops, beans and leafy greens, get picked first.

The pumpkin, large, round and orange, peaking out from under its deep green leaves, soaking up every last ounce of summer sunshine until eventually it too must be picked.  But whilst the rest of the crops are ready to be consumed, the pumpkin has another month to develop.  As it further ripens, its starches turn into sugars giving the pumpkin its sweet taste.  The pumpkin needs this time to mature and for its skin to harden.

Come late October, the pumpkin has reached perfection.  The excess of them meaning that they get churned out as Halloween pumpkins but for others, it is time to give thanks to the hare, the spirit of the land, for a bumper crop in this year and for the next.

And a whole pumpkin baked in the oven, a la river cottage, can’t be anything less than delicious!

Whole Oven Baked Pumkin

Ingredients:

1 whole pumpkin

250g Grated cheese (Gruyére,cheddar, emmental, etc)

300ml Double cream

500ml Vegetable stock (or chicken stock should you prefer)

2 Bay leaves 

Rasp of Nutmeg

Salt & pepper

Method:

1st: Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and cut the top quarter off the top of the pumpkin. Reserve to one side.

2nd: Scoop out the seeds from the interior and any fibrous bits.

3rd: Fill the pumpkin with the cheese.  Use any cheese you wish, I used a packet of pre-grated cheese which had a mix of Emmental, Gruyére, Cheddar and Red Leicester, but you are more than welcome to stick to one cheese or combinations of cheeses that you prefer.

4th: Pour in the pot of cream.

5th: Add the bay leaves, nutmeg and salt & pepper.  Top up the pumpkin with your choice of stock but make sure not to fill it to the brim.

6th: Put the lid back on the pumpkin and place it in the oven for approx 1hour (this can take any length of time from 45mins to 1hr 15mins), until the flesh comes away from the pumpkin’s skin or a knife can be pushed through (careful not to pierce the skin).

“At this point the pumpkin is in real danger of collapse.  The larger the pumpkin, the greater the danger!  Don’t panic, it will look deflated but will taste delicious.” HFW.

7th: Fish out the bay leaves and serve piping hot.

If there is any leftover, scoop the remaining flesh out and blitz with some extra cream, cheese & stock.

The perfect pumpkin recipe to celebrate this fantastic gourd and welcome in those longer autumnal evenings.

Start by making a mushroom risotto but make sure to ALWAYS make a little bit extra just so that you can make these easy to create, amazing arancini!

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Ingredients:

  • Leftover mushroom risotto
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • plain flour
  • breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying

Method:

 

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1st: Take the fridge cold mushroom risotto and make teaspoon sized balls.  Roll the mixture in the palm of your hands, taking care to squish back in any pieces of mushroom that stick out.

2nd: Place all the mushroom rice balls onto a baking sheet and place back in the fridge for a few moments to firm up.  Use this time to bring out the flour, beat the egg and pour breadcrumbs onto a plate that you’ll need for the next stage.

3rd: Take the rice balls out of the fridge and dredge each one through flour – shake off the excess – then pass through the beaten egg, and roll in the breadcrumbs.

4th: Chill for 10mins before deep frying them until golden.

These can be eaten as they are.  I prepared a quick aioli and chilli mayo to snack on but some favour a béchamel style sauce to dip these luscious balls into.  Either way, it’s a win-win situation: delicious mushroom risotto, amazing arancini!

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Fresh Pasta – Tortellini

A couple of years ago, or was it last year? I was given a pasta machine for my birthday.  And whether this was a gift given out of love or the thought that I’d be inviting people around to eat fresh pasta on a regular basis I don’t know BUT what I do know is that it is great fun making fresh pasta from scratch.

A great activity for the weekend when you’ve got time to make some space, make a mess and clean up.

Believe it or not, fresh pasta is actually very simple to make; 100g pasta ‘00’ flour to one large egg.  Combine the dough together, let it rest for approx 20mins and then start rolling.

In the past I’ve transformed my fresh pasta into tagliatelle and spaghetti using the attachments on my pasta machine but this time I wanted a hand at stuffed fresh pasta such as ravioli or tortellini.

If you want to know about The Science Behind Fresh Pasta – click on the hyperlink to read about the ingredients to make the best fresh pasta, an article written by Nikki Achitoff-Gray from www.seriouseats.com

Spinach and Goats Cheese Tortellini with Toasted Pine Nuts and Sage Butter

Ingredients (serves 2):
For the Pasta:
100g ‘00’ flour and 1 large egg  

For the Butter:
Pine nuts
50g butter
Sage leaves

 

For the Filling:
100g of wilted spinach
100g of goat’s cheese
30g of grated parmesan cheese
Rasp of fresh nutmeg

 

 

Method:
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1st:
On a clean surface pour your flour and make a well in the centre.  Crack the egg into the well, and either using a fork or your fingers, start to mix the ingredients together.  Once the dough has come together, allow to rest for 20-30mins.  Place under a damp tea-cloth, wrap in cling film or hide under an upturned bowl.

2nd: Whilst the dough is resting make the filling.  Chop the wilted spinach and mix with the goat’s cheese and the parmesan cheese, season and add a rasp of nutmeg.  Taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly.

 

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fresh pasta

3rd: Once the dough has rested start rolling it out- it is much easier with a pasta machine (as you can see in the clip above) as you can get it much thinner than if rolling by hand.  Follow the directions on your machine as each will have its own instructions.

4th: To make tortellini: On a pasta sheet, place teaspoonfuls of the filling at regular intervals.  Put another pasta sheet on top and using your fingers, seal the two pasta sheets expelling any air around the filling.  Note: any trapped air may cause the tortellini to burst on cooking.  Using a circular cutter or wine glass, cut out each tortellini and sprinkle in semolina to avoid them sticking together or the surface they are on.  Repeat the process until all your tortellini are made.

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Fresh Pasta – Tortellini

5th: Boil the tortellini in salted water for 4 mins, this is a good time to make the butter.  In a dry frying pan toast your pine nuts.  Once they are as coloured as you dare, place the butter and the sage leaves in the frying pan.  Add a ladleful of the pasta water and mix to make a sauce.  Serve with grated parmesan and crispy sage leaves.

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Spinach and Goat’s Cheese tortellini with toasted pine nuts and sage butter

Buon appetito!

 

With the onset of cooler nights I want my dinners to pack warmth.  The best and most effective way to add warmth to your dinner is by adding spice.  There are so many different types of spice to add warmth to a meal that you can pretty much tailor make the flavours to suit you. Creating an Curry from scratch is actually quite simple and is a great way of creating food with spice.

There are times when I use holy the trinity of aromatic spices: ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric to create a taste of the ancient world in a beef tagine or Garam masala chicken dish.  If I want something to have a bright, chilli-citrus hit then it will be a Thai prawn curry with chilli, lemongrass and lime.  But there are times when only the South Asian flavours which combine the taste of the aromatic spices with the rounded warmth of ground ginger, the pungent heat of mustard seeds and cayenne pepper are sometimes the flavours I want in a beef or chicken curry.  These spice blends don’t always have to be made from scratch – shop around and find one that works for you.

To create a Meat-free Monday dish, substitute the beef of chicken for aubergine chunks.  The aubergine when cooked in large chunks holds its own without becoming mushy; it retains a meaty-kind of texture and does not disappoint.

The lemon pickle can sound frivolous but makes the world of difference to this dish and is super easy to create.

Aubergine Curry with Cardamom Rice and lemon pickle

Ingredients:

1 Aubergine per person

1 large onion

2 large tomatoes

1 tblspn tomato paste

2 cloves of garlic

1 tblspn curry powder of choice

 

3 cardamom pods

Basmati rice

For the lemon pickle:

1 lemon

1 tspn of mustard seeds

1 tspn of turmeric

Glug of vegetable oil

 

Natural yoghurt

 

01a995efcf64056fc02386cfcb101fa257cf2210a5Aubergine Curry

1st: Cut the aubergine into large chunks and drizzle in olive oil.  Either griddle or fry the aubergine chunks.

2nd: Slice the onions and fry until soft and add chopped garlic.  Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the tomato paste.  Let this simmer for 5 mins before adding the aubergine.

3rd: Add the tblspn of curry powder to the saucepan and mix well.  Allow to simmer gently for a few minutes before sprinkling coriander over and serving.

 

Basmati Rice

I prepare my rice via the absorption method usually adding a few pressed cardamom pods and or cinnamon stick to the pan.

Lemon Pickle

Slice a whole lemon down its length and cut each half into quarters.  Cut the lemon into small, thin pieces.  Remove any seeds.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.  Once the mustard seeds start popping add the turmeric and turn in the lemon pieces.

 

Serve with a generous dollop of yoghurt.