What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cucumber Slush

Half fill a blender goblet with ice, add a chunk (about 3 cm) of cucumber, cut slightly smaller, and a sprig of mint if you have it (I didn't).  Cover with chilled water and process until slushy.

 If you don't like cucumber, or don't find this sweet enough, why not try melon?  Or even mango or peach?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Courgette Tart

This has a bit to do with the recipe in the current Tesco magazine, and a bit to do with David Lebovitz' tomato tart recipe, and a bit of my own invention!

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry (or okay, make your own.  Be like that.  See if I care!  Me, I use ready-rolled).
½ quantity pesto (roughly)
½ tub goats' cream cheese
1 egg
½ roll goats' cheese (Lidl's Petit Chebra is what I tend to use)
1-2 courgettes, cut into thin slices.  I used a gourd-shaped one that was on special offer in Sainsbury's as well as ½ an ordinary one

Spread the pastry out into a baking tray.  Put the pesto, cream cheese and egg into a food processor
and blitz until smooth.

Spread this mixture on to the pastry base, then top with the sliced courgettes and bits of goats' cheese from the log.
Bake in a hottish oven - gas mark 6, 200C (180 C fan) - for 25-30 minutes. 

You can, of course, use tomatoes or other roastable vegetables (butternut squash?) in place of courgette.

I do wish I had discovered earlier how easy it is to put photos on my blogs - you can get them straight from your Android phone!  So if I think of adding my recipe while I am making it, I can photo-blog it.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Dundee Cake

I could have sworn I'd posted my version of this famous classic, but obviously not

200 g prunes, no stones.
150 g demerara sugar + extra for sprinkling
3 eggs
45 ml liquid (see note)
500 g mixed dried fruit ("Cake Fruit" in the supermarket), plus nuts if liked
250 g self-raising flour

Pour boiling water over the prunes and leave to soak for at least an hour (longer if they are very dried!).  Drain, reserving 45 ml of the liquid (see note), and place in bowl of food processor with the eggs, sugar and liquid.  Process until smooth.

Now transfer to a bowl, and fold in the flour and fruit (and nuts, if using).  Place in a greased, 7" cake tin.  Decorate the top with blanched almonds, if liked, and sprinkle with the extra demerara sugar.  Bake in a very low oven (Mark 1, 125 C) for 2½ hours.

Note: Although I usually the prune liquid, you can use more or less any liquid you like: milk, beer, cider, cold tea....  And if you use beer, you get to drink the rest of the bottle, which is always a Good Thing.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Aubergine pasta

One cannot, I find, eat asparagus every day at this time of year, although I do my best! I may post some recipes using asparagus later on. But today I decided to have a break, and make aubergine pasta, which is fairly quick, very easy and delicious.

1 aubergine, diced into ¼" chunks
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp coconut oil (or 1 tbs olive or rapeseed oil)
1/2 tub soft goats' cheese or other cream cheese, as liked (cheese and chives very good, too)
100 g small pasta

Put the aubergine, garlic and oil into a frying-pan that has a lid, season it, and cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down even lower, as low as it will go, while you cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is cooked, stir it into the aubergine, and then mix in the soft cheese. Stir it through until the cheese has melted and coats everything, and then serve. Yum.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Omelettes, part 2

I don't pretend to make authentic Spanish tortillas or Italian frittatas, but they are very much easier than traditional French omelettes.  Quite apart from anything else, you can keep them waiting, and even eat them cold if you would like (if you get it right - and I find mine tend to fall apart - you can take them on picnics).

The idea of these omelettes is that they are stuffed full of vegetables. They have way more vegetables than eggs. Spanish ones must contain potatoes and onions, but may also contain things like peppers, chorizo (okay, that's not a vegetable, but hey?), tomatoes.... whatever.  Italian ones just contain vegetables.  It's probably not a good idea to use too many vegetables that render a great deal of juice when cooked, although one or two.  But choose a selection of vegetables that you like: onions, peas, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes (cherry tomatoes work well), chunks of butternut squash, maybe chopped aubergine or courgette, maybe chunks of carrot or parsnip... maybe a root vegetable omelette would be nice (must try this!).  You might want a green vegetable omelette in the spring - perhaps peas (or mangetout if you can get them that haven't been flown in from Kenya), baby broad beans, broccoli florets, asparagus tips or maybe a green pepper.

Whatever, you chop your vegetables into small pieces, and cook over gentle heat in a lidded frying pan - use cooking oil of some kind.  Stir occasionally, but keep the lid on as much as possible to let the vegetables cook mostly in their own steam.  If you're using frozen vegetables, thaw and slightly cook them in the microwave.  If you're using bacon or chorizo or even mini-sausages, add them and cook them, too.  When the vegetables are cooked, pour on a couple of eggs that you have whisked until they are all one consistency, seasoned, and maybe added some grated cheese to.  Keep the heat low, and keep the lid on the pan.  Cook gently without disturbing it until the eggs are set through.  Cut into wedges and serve - perhaps with bread if you haven't used potatoes (I am incapable of eating anything eggy without some form of carbohydrate, a relic of having grown up in the 1950s!).

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Omelettes, part 1

When you think of an omelette, what comes to mind?  For many of us, it's the iconic French omelette, filled, perhaps, with cheese or mushrooms, or ham.... but perhaps it's an Italian frittata or Spanish tortilla that comes to mind.  They are very different animals, and I like - and can cook - both, so I thought I'd do a post on each.  There is also a soufflĂ© omelette, which is as eggy as the French kind, but cooked more slowly, like the Spanish/Italian kinds....

So for a traditional French omelette.  First of all, you prepare your filling - if it needs cooked, like mushrooms or tomatoes, then you cook it; grate your cheese, chop your ham or herbs.... 

One egg is possible, two ideal and three, frankly greedy!  Whichever you choose, choose a pan to suit, and for these purposes, a heavy cast-iron pan, Le Creuset or a clone thereof, is ideal.  It doesn't want to be too big.

Whisk your eggs until they are all one consistency.  Add salt and pepper.  Now heat your pan, and add a knob of butter.  The pan should be very hot, and the butter will sizzle.  Listen carefully, and as soon as it stops sizzling, pour in your egg.  Using a fish slice or spatula, pull the set bits away from the side, allowing more liquid egg to run underneath.  When it is just not quite set on the top, add your filling, fold it in half using the spatula/fish slice, and tip on to a plate.  Serve immediately with bread (and butter, if liked, and perhaps a salad).

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Easiest pancakes ever!

I used to struggle dreadfully making pancakes, but these days I tend to make galettes au sarassin and we will have a "galette complete" for supper tonight, with eggs, lardons and cheese, and I shall add some mushrooms because I like them and a side salad. Anyway, they are easy enough, but this is even easier, full of protein and very delicious:

 Per pancake:
 c 50-75 ml water
1 heaped tablespoon gram flour.

 Er, that's it!

You can, of course, season this to taste with salt and pepper, maybe some chilli and garlic.... and if you want to make it really lush, add 1/2 tablespoonful of tahini.

Whisk this together thoroughly. Lightly grease a frying-pan, and cook in the usual way, over a medium-hot heat until the top surface looks dry, and then turn it over and cook for a further minute or so.

This is vegan and gluten-free; I have seen it called a "vegan omelette". You can fill it with things like tomatoes and onion, or sliced avocado, or whatever you fancy, really, but it's very nice on its own.

Edited to add: try spreading it with hummus and rolling it up! That is seriously lush....