Swede Gratin

Had some swede in the veg box, and no masher to mash it with! So created a gratin to use it up and served it with bangers, potato mash and steamed veggies. Even Lex liked it.

You need:

1 large swede, peeled and finely sliced
2 onions, finely sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 milk
butter for greasing
grated cheese

Begin by greasing an oven proof dish with the butter. Put one layer of swede into the bottom, then add a layer of onions, some salt and pepper and a sprinkling of cheese. Continue until everything s used up, finishing with a neat layer of swede and a sprinkling of cheese. Gently pour over the milk, cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for 45-60 mins. Remove the foil, turn the temp up a a bit and finish off for another 15-40 mins until bubbling and crispy. Lovely and warming.

Muddas (Rice with Lentils)

A middle eastern staple that originates from Saudi Arabia. Cheap, filling and good for you.

You need
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup brown or green lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup oil/ghee/butter
4 cups boiling water

(FYI a cup = 250ml)

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions. Add the lentils and rice and fry for 5 mins or so. Add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 45 mins (cook over a very low heat).

Serve as is, or with roti.

Akara with Pili Pili

or Bean Cakes with Chilli Sauce

A traditional Nigerian recipe from Celia Brooks Brown’s World Vegetarian Classics

For the akara:
2 x 400g black eyed beans, drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 egg
4 rbsp plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for frying

For the Pili Pili
2 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped
1=2 hot fresh chillies
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice 1/2 lemon

Place the beans and onion into a foodprocessor. Blitz to a smooth paste. Add everything else and pulse till mixed.

Heat a shallow pan with the oil. When it’s hot enough drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Cook till brown and flip over halfway. Drain on kitchen paper.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and serve with the bean cakes.


Things to Make This Week

I have long been a subscriber to BBC Good Food magazine but I have to say I am usually more than disappointed with the recipes in the magazine. They taste bland and there’s not a lot of veggie choice. November’s edition is providing me with lots of inspiration, so well done to the team.

I am planning on making the following from the issue:
p122 toffee apples (done and they taste fab!)
p33 Chicken Chow Mein (using marinated tofu not chicken)
p35 One pan chicken couscous (using quorn)
p36 Spicy tofu kedgeree
p43 wintry rice salad
p45 Chargrilled turkey with quinoa tabbouleh and tahini dressing (using quorn again)
p52 tangy carrot, red cabbage and onion salad
p52 creamy baked leeks with citrus crumbs (I will bulk this out with some gnocchi)
p54 sweet potato and lentil soup
p55 Indian style chickpea soup
p73 custard tart with nutmeg pastry
p110 creamy gratin of butternut squash
p120 mulled apple juice
p120 rarebit toasts
p120 crisp baked potatoes with sour cream
p159 coffee semi-freddo

Next step, finish reading Delicious and Cook Vegetarian and add the recipes to try from there too!

Tangy Orange Bread and Butter Pudding

Cycling to work this week had worked up an appetite for stodge. I haven’t made bread and butter pudding for years but was flicking through Delia’s Winter Collection and came across the recipe for marmalade bread and butter pudding and decided to give it a whirl. It was lovely, and smelt so good that even Lex tried it and liked it. Result.

You need:

6 slices white bread
75g softened butter
2-3 tbsp marmalade
3 eggs
325ml milk
grated zest of an orange
3 tbsp demerara sugar

Butter the bread on one side, then spread the marmalade on 3 of the slices. Make 3 sandwiches and butter the top side of each sarnie. Slice into 4 triangles and lay in a shallow baking dish.

Mix together the milk, eggs and orange zest and pour over the sandwiches. Sprinkle over the sugar and leave to soak for 30 mins if you have time. Bake for 30 mins at 160 degrees, make sure you don’t over cook it so it gets burnt. Scoff and hide the leftovers from your family so you can eat them all by yourself later on mwahh!

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

I made this on Friday and thought it was worth blogging it to remember for next time I have a surfeit of cauli in the veg box.

Sweat 1 large onion in some butter till soft. Add a head of cauli cut into florets and 900ml light veggie stock. Simmer for 30 mins till very tender and then blitz to a puree. Add some milk/more stock if it’s too thick. Re-heat with 100g grated cheddar and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with nutritional yeast and some chopped chives. And lashings of bread of course.

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

I am not a big crumble fan – I usually like the idea of it more than the reality. But I have to say tonight’s offering was lovely. My FIL enjoyed it enough to give me a compliment!

You need:
4 large cooking apples, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp vanilla sugar

150g plain flour
75g cold butter
25g oats
75g cinnamon sugar

2 cups blackberries
2 tbsp vanilla sugar

Start by putting the apples, sugar and water into a pan and cooking for 10 mins till soft and fluffy. Pour into a shallow baking dish and top with the scattered blackberries. Add the extra vanilla sugar on to this.

Blitz the butter and plain flour in a food processor until it’s like find breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and add the sugar and oats. Mix and then scatter over the fruit in the dish.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15 mins then turn up the heat to 200 and bake for another 10-15 mins till bubbling and browned and crispy on top.

Serve with custard for a proper english treat, or mascapone/creme fraiche if you fancy something more continental. Delicious either way. The leftovers will be my breakfast tomorrow.

There’s a Chill in the Air…

…and the nights are beginning to draw in and after not wanting winter to come, I am now enjoying cooking with the lovely root vegetables in my veg box and eating carb laden puds!

Tonight we had beef in ale again but I made a few tweaks to make it go further as we were feeding 5 not 3, and also to get over the saltiness we had last time.

I added 500ml water to the stew, and substituted pickling onions for the celery and used leeks instead of onions. It was bloody gorgeous and my meat eating ILs were very happy with the savoury, meaty feel of the stew.

Pudding was crumble which I will blog separately to make it easier for me to find next time.

Roll on real winter!

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

OK so this could easily be ‘very thin and runny dhal’ but somehow it’s not. It’s a soup in it’s own right and delicious.

You need
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 tin toms
1 litre stock
1 tbsp curry powder/garam masala

Saute the onion in some oil for a few mins. Then add the curry powder/garam masala. Cook for a further few mins to take away the cupboard taste. Add the lentils and stock and simmer for 20 mins or so. Blitz and serve with naan or crusty french bread. Don’t forget to add some nutritional yeast too to add further depth of flavour!

Green Lentil Soup

I love soup, and we do tend to eat a lot of it. It’s cheap, quick and easy to make and I can also hide all manner of veggies in it that Lex might not otherwise eat! We often have soups made from pulses, and this is a very tasty one using green lentils.

You need
2 onions, sliced
175g green lentils
1 litre veggie stock (use a light one or it’ll overpower the lentils and spices)
1 tsp tumeric
small handful of corriander, roughly chopped

Begin by sauteeing the onions in some oil for a few mins. Then add the lentils and stock/tumeric. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins or so until the lentils are tender.

Blitz with a stick blender (or leave chunky) and serve with the corriander scattered on the top.

If you want to serve a spiced butter with it, then blend 1 clove garlic into 50g butter and add 1 tsp paprika, cumin seeds and chilli to it. Chill to re-set and then slice into the soup and let it melt. Very good with soft naan. Yummy!