Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup (v)

This is from French Polynesia apparently. It smelt very strange whilst it was cooking but actually tasted suprisingly good. It’s a quick and healthy recipe that can easily be thrown together after work.

For 4 portions you need:
750g sweet potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne, ground black pepper
handful chopped coriander
600ml veg stock
can coconut milk
oil

Begin by frying the onion in 1 tbsp oil. After about 5 mins add the spices and garlic. Then add the sweet potatoes, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 mins till the potatoes are cooked. Blend till smooth, reheat and serve garnished with the coriander. Some crusty french bread is good with it too.

Guacamole (v)

Yummy, creamy, green gunk! L told me today he wouldn’t eat anything beginning with ‘gwa’ so he missed out on this luscious dip! I like mine sort of chunky, but you could blend it all for a smoother dip, or leave it all chopped for a rougher one. Either way it’s great with tortilla chips!

For 4 portions you need:
4 avocados, halved, stoned and roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, pulverised in a food processor
1 chilli, blitzed (with the toms)
1 red onion, diced
juice 1 lime
salt

Mix everything together, blitzing half of the mix if you want a smoother texture. Scoff. Dead easy!

Quesadillas

There are infinite variations on what you can put in to these, this is just one suggestion. They’re a fab snack, quick lunch or a side with other Mexican food.

For each quesadilla you need:
1 tortilla
1/4 cup grated cheddar
1 sliced spring onion.

Heat a large frying pan and place the tortilla on it. Sprinkle the cheddar over the surface of the tortilla and add the onion to one half. Heat. Fold in half to make a semi circle and then flip over. Serve cut into wedges. They’re nice cold too!

Beans in Beer aka Frijoles Borrachos (v)

Fiesta baby! Today we had a Mexican feast, partly due to the surfeit of avocados in the fruit bowl that ripened together and partly due to watching Mark Beaumont Cycling the Americas where it looked like he’d had some yumsome food in central and south america. This recipe, for beans cooked in beer, is an adaptation of a Celia Brookes-Brown recipe.

For 2-3 portions you need:
2 large onions, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 can chopped toms
1 can canolleni beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle corona beer
juice 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar
large handful chopped coriander
olive oil

Begin by sauteeing the onions in 2 tbsp oil till translucent. Then add the chilli, cumin and garlic. Fry for a further 5 mins or so. Then add the beans, toms, beer, seasoning and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat till the sauce is reduced by about half. Reduce the heat and keep warm till you’re ready to serve. They’re nice with quesadillas and sour cream. Omit the dairy to keep it vegan.

Butternut and Rosemary ‘Pizza’ with Feta

This is an adaptation of a Good Food recipe, which uses naan bread for speed so is a quick after work dinner.

For 4 portions you need:
4 naan breads (I like the round ones from M&S or Waitrose)
olive oil
1 butternut squash, cut into a small dice
2 red onions, sliced
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 block feta (omit for a vegan version)

Roast the squash in the oven with the oil, onions, rosemary and half the balsamic. After about 20 mins, scatter the squash over the naans, season and add the feta. Bake in the oven for a further 10-15 mins till the feta is lightly browned and the squash and onions are caramelised. Drizzle over the remaining balsmaic before serving with a green salad. Delicious!

Lazy Noodle Stir Fry

I have to say, I don’t usually just cook packets of stuff. Honest. But Tescraps had an offer on ready prepared stirfry veg, and it was silly not to buy the other two bags when getting some beansprouts for another recipe. So here’s another stupidly quick and easy after dinner recipe…

For 3-4 portions you need:
3 blocks sharwoods medium egg noodles
1 packet stir fry sauce (I used Blue Dragon Hoi Sin and Garlic)
1 pack ready prepared stir fry veggies
1 pack marinated tofu
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soya sauce

Cook the noodles in boiling water for 4 mins. Drain and toss through with sesame oil and soya sauce. Meanwhile stir fry the veggies and tofu in a wok, adding the sauce after 30 secs. Cover with a lid (add some extra water if you need to) and steam the veggies for about 4 mins. Serve the veg piled onto beds of noodles topped with extra toasted sesame seeds if you fancy. Try not to dribble too much sauce down your chin as you scoff…

Rasmalai

We all *adore* this traditional Indian dessert, and with good reason! The perfumed milk is delicious, as are the spongy, slightly dense, dumplings floating in it. This version uses a packet from an Indian grocers but you can also make it with ricotta. Both taste good but are very different.

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 pack rasmalai mix
1.5 litres milk
250g vanilla sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
3 tsp rose water

Make the rasmalai dumplings as per the instructions (basically mix the dry ingredients with 1 egg and 2 tbsp oil, form into small balls). Heat the milk, sugar, vanilla and rose water until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Add the dumplings and poach lightly for 5 mins. Leave to cool (if you can) and then eat. And eat. And eat…!

Cheats Pad Thai

It’s Thai New Year, and given that my sister lives in Thaliand I made a token attempt at celebrating it tonight! Given that it’s a work day tho, it’s a quick and dirty cheats version. Doesn’t mean it didn’t taste nice tho 😉

For 2 portions you need:
1 pack ready for wok rice noodles
1 pack stir fry vegetables
1 tbsp oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp pad thai sauce
soya sauce to serve

Lightly scramble the eggs in a pan. Set aside. Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the veggies. Add the noodles and sauce with a splash of water if needed to loosen the sauce. Cook thoroughly but quickly, adding the eggs right at the end. Serve with some soya sauce to taste. Enjoy the Songkran Festival!

Summer Fruit Cobbler (v)

I always keep some frozen fruits in the freezer for puddings, smoothies and muffins. At this time of year the frozen fruits are much better value and have fewer food miles/carbon from hothouses but taste just as good, especially when cooked. This is a dead simple recipe but tastes divine, especially with some ice cream or clotted cream if you’re feeling indulgent. You can make it vegan by using vegan marge and soya milk and serving with swedish glace.

For 4-6 portions you need:
800g fruit (I used british garden fruits and cherries)
85g vanilla sugar
1 tbsp plain flour

Topping:
100g plain flour
50g ground almonds
85g vanilla sugar
1 tsp baking powder
50g butter/soya marge
75ml milk plus a little extra for brushing before baking
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g flaked almonds

Toss the fruit, sugar and flour together before tumbling into a baking dish.

Blitz the butter, baking powder, sugar, almonds and flour together till mixed and then drizzle in the milk till just combined. Knead together lightly then roll out and cut into about 12 pieces. Lay the scones on top of the fruit and brush with the left over milk. Bake at 180 degrees for about 35 mins till bubbling, golden and aromatic. Scoff. Repeat.

Pseudo Gado Salad

I adore Gado Gado and this is a cheat’s version. Not that authentic, but scrummy none the less and very easy to throw together after work for a healthy feast.

For 3 portions you need:
3 eggs
2 carrots, cut into batons
1/2 cauliflower, broken into florets
small head broccoli, broken into florets
2 leaves from chinese leaf
2 large handfuls bean sprouts
1/2 cucumber, cut into fingers
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 bunch spring onions, trimmed
1 pack marinated tofu

For the peanut sauce:
1/2 jar crunchy peanut butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp mirin
small can coconut milk

Place the sauce ingredients into a pan and simmer till everything has melted together and the garlic has lost its raw edge. Set aside.

Semi hardboil the eggs for 6-8 mins, then cool. Meanwhile blanche the carrots, cauli and broccoli. Assemble on a serving plate and share or alternatively shred the chinese leaves and scatter over the veggies finishing with a generous dollop of the satay sauce. Set the shelled and halved eggs on top. Omit the eggs for a vegan version.