What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 20 November 2015

Douceur de courgettes au Vache qui Rit

I first came across this rather odd-sounding soup in a Tetrapak in a French supermarket, and liked it.  These days they seem to do it with goats' cheese, instead, but when I wanted to make soup for our lunch the other day, I thought I'd have a go.  And it is very good, although I used too much garlic (but we both have viruses, so I did that on purpose) - more than the recipe says.

1 tbs coconut oil
1 smallish onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
About 750g courgettes (zucchini, to my American friends), chopped
1 Knorr (or supermarket own brand) vegetable Stock Pot
1 litre boiling water
 2 Vache qui Rit (Laughing Cow) triangles
1 tbs crème fraîche
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 small tin sweetcorn (optional, but if you like a bit of crunch in your soups, as I do....).

Place the oil, and all the chopped vegetables, in a heavy-based pan, and allow to sweat for a bout 10-15 minutes, stirring cocasionally.  Then add the water and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. 

Blend until smooth, then return to pan and add the crème fraîche, cheese triangles and sweetcorn, if using.  Bring back to the boil, stirring, until the cheese has melted.  Serve at once. 

You could, of course, use grated Emmenthal or Cheddar instead of the cheese triangles, in which case I would add them to the soup bowl, rather than to the main body of the soup.  Or as well as.....

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Mushroom, pepper and cream sauce

This goes with steak or magret de canard - it would probably also go with salmon, or anything you fancy, really.... 1 small or 1/2 large onion 1 clove garlic 1/2 punnet (c 125 g) button mushrooms, or 2 large field mushrooms 1 large tablespoonful crème fraiche 1 tsp each black and Szechuan peppercorns 2 tsp cognac, armagnac or Calvados (optional, but does add to it!) A little butter for frying Chop the onion, crush the garlic, and halve the mushrooms if they are small; larger ones can be cut into relevant-sized pieces. Fry the onions and garlic gently in the butter until transparent, then add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they release their juices. Meanwhile, crush the peppercorns coarsely in a pestle and mortar. Now add them, and the remaining ingredients, to the sauce, bring to the boil, and serve at once.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Courgette crumble

Missed a phone call from the Daughter last night, but she texted me this morning to say not to worry, she had just wanted my recipe for courgette crumble, which she then found in a bunch of recipes I'd typed up for her when she first left home in 1998.  Quite why I included this one, when she was not, at the time, fond of courgettes I don't know, but I did.  I've actually adapted the recipe over the years since then, mostly making it smaller, so I'll say this amount serves 4.... you could halve it, of course, for two, but obviously you can't halve an egg, so just use a whole one - or maybe use two if you use this amount!

1 cup (250 ml by volume) rice (uncooked)
4-5 small courgettes (zucchini)
3 slices wholemeal (wholewheat) bread
3-5 oz cheese, grated
1 egg
1 gill (about 1/2 cup) milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook rice in the normal way. Slice courgettes very thinly. You can saute them briefly in a non-stick pan with a spray of olive oil, but I don't bother. Drain rice, and stir in the courgette slices, the egg, milk, seasoning and half the cheese. Put into ovenproof dish.
Make bread into crumbs and mix with remainder of cheese. Spread on top of rice mixture, and bake in moderate oven for about 30 minutes until crust is crisp.

We had an interesting variation on this this evening, as I had two leftover cooked sausages, so instead of putting cheese in the rice mixture, I put the sliced sausages.  The topping still had cheese in it, though!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Home-made lemonade

Two posts today!  But I don't think I've posted this recipe yet, and it is so very good when one is poorly, as I have been the last few days.  In an ideal world, you will possess a large plastic jug - holding maybe 2 litres.  We have a lovely one that fits into the door of the fridge.  But you can use a plastic measuring jug for the first bit, and then transfer into a non-heatproof jug when it has cooled a bit.

3 lemons
3 level tablespoons granulated sugar

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester or similar, being careful to get as little of the white pith as possible.  Put the peel and the sugar into a heatproof container, and cover with boiling water.  Stir vigorously until the sugar has dissolved.  Now add the juice of the lemons, and about a litre of cold water, and then a tray of ice-cubes.  You'll probably drink the first glass straight away, but put it in the fridge to chill right down.  It will keep about 24 hours in the fridge, but may well not last that long!

More inspiration

I was originally going to make this, from the Amuse Your Bouche blog (I'm not, as readers will have gathered, vegetarian, but we do eat quite a lot of vegetarian meals).  But we had far more cherry tomatoes that needed using, and I do like a bit of onion in my supper, and she didn't say what, if anything, she served it with.... plus I only had feta, not halloumi, which was going to make it a bit different anyway.  So I ended up with this, and very good it was, too.  Serves 2.

½ aubergine
 1 onion
1 pack cherry tomatoes, plus any you might have over from another pack
½ pack feta cheese
100g pasta - I used coquillettes, but use whatever you have.

 Chop the aubergine and onion, and place them in a lidded pan with a tablespoonful of cooking oil - well, all right, maybe a bit more than that.  Pierce the cherry tomatoes and add these.  Cover, and cook for about 20 minutes on a lowish heat, stirring occasionally, and turn down the heat if it looks like catching.  Season with salt, pepper, and what else you like - I used pomegranate molasses and za'atar:

Chop the cheese into cubes about the size of the cubes of aubergine.

Meanwhile boil the pasta for the length of time specified on the packet, drain it, and add it to what's in the pan, together with the chopped feta.
Cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly, until everything is mixed together and the cheese is hotted through - it doesn't really melt.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Banana pancakes

You will have seen these online everywhere, I shouldn't wonder, with massive great headlines: she made these wonderful pancakes with just two ingredients, or similar.

But the point is, they are delicious, and they are easy, and you can make them for afternoon snack with your five-year-old grandson in a very few minutes.

You simply whisk 1 egg per small, or 2 eggs per large ripe banana together until everything is smooth - my daughter, at whose house I was making these, had small bananas, so we mashed them first and then whisked them until they were more-or-less smooth.  Then I heated some oil in a frying pan - not a lot, only about a tablespoonful, if that, and when it was hot we ladled tablespoonfuls into the pan.  You cook them like drop scones or Scotch pancakes, nice and thick.  It looked disgusting in the frying pan.  The Boy said it looked like custard, but actually, it looked like puke (it was not as smooth as it could be, and the bananas were somewhat over-ripe).  Anyway, once they are dry-ish on top, you turn them over and cook the other side until golden, and serve immediately.  A professional cook would probably dust these with icing sugar, but they are actually sweet enough as it is, and really don't need anything with them.  And of course they tick all the boxes by being gluten-free, low carb and no added sugar!  And vegetarian....

Well worth doing.  Even my grandsons, who don't like eggs much, like these.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Fusion Trout

The Swan Whisperer wanted trout for his supper yesterday (Sunday), and I was wondering how to serve it, as there are so very many ways of cooking and serving trout.  So yesterday and today (it was a large trout) we had it, first with a Chinese-style stir-fry and then with a Moroccan-style couscous.  And I cooked the trout "à la Meunière", which is French..... 
1) The Trout

1 large trout, defrosted if frozen
A little milk
2 tbs flour, seasoned to taste

Dip the trout in milk, and then in the flour.  Fry in butter in a covered pan for about 7-8 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

2. The Stir-fry

 ½ cup (125 ml by volume) rice
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water, possibly with a Stock Pot.  I wanted to use a fish one, but found I had none, so used a vegetable one instead.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 courgette, chopped
1/3 pack beansprouts (which I happened to have)
(You can use whatever vegetables you like here - peas and broad beans work well.  The onion is pretty much mandatory, but apart from that....)
1 egg
Soya sauce

Chinese stir-fries traditionally contain crushed ginger and garlic, and chopped chillis, and are seasoned with 5-spice, but I didn't what to overwhelm the trout, so left out the ginger and chillis, and didn't fancy the 5-spice, so used Lidl's "Stir-fry seasoning", which I'm not sure what it contains but is very nice.

Put the rice in the boiling water or stock, bring back to the boil, cover, turn the heat down to the bare minimum, and leave undisturbed for 15 minutes (40-45 minutes if it's brown rice).  Meanwhile prepare the vegetables (and cook the trout), and stir-fry them for about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked rice and soya sauce to taste, and then make a gap in the middle of the rice and add the egg, which you stir and stir through the rice until it's cooked.  Serve with the trout on top.

3. The couscous

I actually had some of the vegetable stew left over from last week, which had spent the weekend in the freezer, but I make it like this:

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 leek (optional)
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large or 2 small courgettes, chopped
Either 1 tin chick peas, drained and rinsed, or 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight then boiled for about 30 minutes, drained.
About 12 dried apricots, cut in half
1 tin tomatoes, chopped or pureed.

Put all this in a frying pan or saucepan with some oil, and cook on a low heat until all the vegetables are cooked, probably about 30-35 minutes.  Season with ras-el-hanout, if you have any, and/or Moroccan seasoning, and then make a hot sauce with some harissa paste diluted with the juices from the pan, or with boiling water if you haven't quite enough juices.

Meanwhile, put ½ cup (125 ml by volume) of couscous in a bowl or jug with some salt and 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water and allow to sit for 10 minutes; then stir with a fork to break up any lumps.

Serve the couscous at the bottom, the stew in the middle, and the trout (as this was leftover, I hotted it up in the microwave) on the top, and pour over the hot sauce to taste.

Sorry there aren't any photos. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Halloumi with chickpeas, mushrooms, tomatoes and noodles

On Monday, the Swan Whisperer and I went into Brixton to explore the new Pop Brixton that has opened where the ice-rink used to be, but as it was Monday, everything was firmly closed.  So we got our lunch from a street stall called Pots of Brixton, which was a jacket potato place.  The SW had a meat filling, but I chose the veggie one, which was halloumi, chickpeas, mushrooms and tomatoes.  So, of course, I had to try to recreate it at home, only with noodles instead of potatoes.

½ packet halloumi cheese, sliced, and each slice cut in half.
½ punnet mushrooms, sliced
4-5 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or the equivalent amount of dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked (which is what I used, as they are nicer)
Seasonings to taste
100 g rice noodles (this was too much - 75g would have been better)

Place the vegetables in a lidded pan with a little oil, and allow to cook in their own steam for about 10-15 minutes.  Do NOT do what I did and leave the heat too high so that it dries out - this would have been a lot nicer if I hadn't!

 Add the cooked chickpeas, and heat through.  Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
Meanwhile fry the halloumi on both sides (it doesn't need any oil) until golden.  
Mix everything together and serve.... as I said, it was lovely, but would have been nicer if it hadn't dried out a bit, and we really didn't need so many noodles.