Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

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Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.

Smoked Butterbean and Sesame Hummus (v)

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I used to think I didn’t like hummus, but the reality was I don’t like mass produced supermarket hummus. I also don’t like the over reliance on serving hummus as the bog standard vegan/vegetarian dip of choice. Variety is the spice of life people…

Anyway, I do like hummus. Especially when it’s made with butterbeans which give it an even softer more voluptuous texture. The sesame seeds enhance the tahini and the smoked paprika adds a piquant smoky back note. Delicious served in many different ways, don’t just limit yourself to pitta bread or crudites. It’s really nice when used as a sauce over pasta or hot new potatoes for instance. The possibilities are endless.

This recipe is adjusted to our tastes which means it’s quite zingy and citrusy. Amend the ingredients below to suit your palate.

For one can of butterbeans you also need:

  • 1 can butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 80ml or thereabouts of olive oil
  • 80ml or thereabouts of tahini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  1. Place everything apart from the sesame seeds and paprika into a small blender and mix until creamy and smooth.
  2. Season to taste and pour into a serving dish.
  3. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and paprika then drizzle over a little more olive oil.

Instant Pot Carrot and Potato Tagine (v)

I’ve made this recipe countless times on the stove, but today was the first outing for my beloved Instant Pot. Super quick and easy, and it tasted lovely. It’s an Instant Pot adaptation of an original recipe by Ghillie Basan with a few tweaks of my own thrown in for good measure.

For 4-6 portions you need 

  • 250g new potatoes
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, grated
  • 500ml stock
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 400g cooked chickpeas (I used previously cooked frozen chickpeas)
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin; coriander; turmeric and chilli flakes
  • Cous cous to serve
  • Freshly chopped coriander to garnish
  1. Begin by putting everything apart from the cous cous and fresh coriander into the pot.
  2. Set on manual for 5 mins. I have mine 20mins NPR as I was busy but it’s fine with only 5-10 mins NPR.
  3. Add the peas and pop the lid back on to the pot for another 3-4 mins until the peas are hot.
  4. Serve with cous cous and fresh coriander.

Cheesy Veggie Sausages

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These aren’t going to win any prizes for being healthy, but sometimes you just want some comfort based stodge. Well I do at any rate..! I based these on Simon Rimmer’s Lancashire Cheese Sausages, but seriously, who would really use 600g of cheese in one recipe?!? That’s a ridiculous amount. Not to mention expensive. So I stripped it back and made a few other substitutions according to what was in my pantry. The results were so yummy we didn’t end up with any leftovers. The texture of the sausage was great too, it didn’t fall apart when deep fried and had a nice consistency.

For 12 sausages you will need:

  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 300g grated cheese – I used a combo of Wensleydale, Cheddar and Emmental
  • 2 onions, blitzed to a pulp
  • 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp veggie stock powder
  • salt and pepper (be generous with these)
  • 2 eggs
  • oil for deep frying
  1. Mix together everything apart from the oil until well combined.
  2. Squidge into 12 sausages or patties. Cover and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. Heat the oil and fry the sausages for 5-6 mins until golden brown. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.

 

Raspberry Steamed Pudding

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I made a golden syrup version of this last week, but I didn’t seal the pudding bowl well enough and it boiled giving the pudding a dense, heavy texture. This was slightly undercooked, due I think to not putting enough water in the pot, but it rose magnificently and I finished it off in the microwave instead of bringing the pot back up to pressure again. Adding fresh raspberries as well as jam gave a lovely tangy topping to the pudding. Delicious!

For 4-6 portions you need

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 100g butter/margarine
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp milk/non dairy milk
  • handful frozen raspberries
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • custard to serve
  1. Mix everything apart from the jam, raspberries and custard together with a hand whisk until light and fluffy.
  2. Place the raspberries and jam in the bottom of a pudding basin. Scrape over the batter.
  3. Cover *tightly* with foil and place on a trivet in the Instant Pot. Add enough water to come half way up the sides of the pudding basin.
  4. Steam for 25 mins, then manual pressure for 15 mins. Quick release the pressure and serve with custard. If yours is slightly undercooked then 1-2 mins in the microwave will soon sort it out 🙂

 

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Freekah with Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas (v)

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My mum made this for us over Christmas. It was delicious and the perfect antidote to all the rich food we had been eating. This is my version.

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 200g freekah or bulghar wheat
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 300g cooked chickpeas
  • 3 mixed peppers, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 onions ditto
  • 1 aubergine ditto
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 pack each of flat leaf parsely and mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp baharat
  • salt and pepper
  • houmous to serve
  1. Begin by tossing the aubergine, carrot and sweet potato in 3 tbsp olive oil and the baharat. Roast in a hot (190 degree) oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Meanwhile place the freekah in a pan with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and leave to steam for a further 15 mins. Keep warm.
  3. Add the peppers, onions, chickpeas and remaining oil to the roasting tin and continue to cook for a further 30 mins.
  4. Add the fresh herbs and pomegranate molasses to the freekah. Mix. Season to taste.
  5. Toast the pine nuts and mix into the cooked veggies and chickpeas.
  6. Serve with hummus, salad and pitta bread.

Steamed Syrup Sponge Pudding

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It’s January. It’s cold, grey and miserable. It’s the end of the first working week of 2017 and I’ve cycled through all the gales and sleet… What we needed was internal central heating courtesy of traditional British stodge. I love syrup sponge pudding but I’ve only made it from scratch a few times. Once in the pressure cooker, and a couple of times in the microwave. It works OK in the microwave but the texture and flavour isn’t as good as a proper steamed pudding. Enter my beloved Instant Pot from stage right. From start to tummy in an hour. Oh yus!

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 100g vitalite
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • custard
  1. Begin by making the sponge. Put everything apart from the custard and syrup in a bowl and using a hand whisk combine.
  2. Grease the sides of a souffle dish or other bowl that will fit inside your instant pot. Pour 3 tbsp of golden syrup into the base and scrape the sponge batter on top.
  3. Cover with foil and place on a trivet in the instant pot. Fill the IP to halfway up the pudding dish.
  4. Set to steam for 25 mins, then manual for 15. Do a quick pressure release and serve with lashings of custard. Collapse in front of the fire with a happily full belly!

 

Raspberry Brioche Pudding

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Another use up the leftovers I’d forgotten about recipe. The brioche was lurking in the dark depths of the bread bin, the jam was one of many opened over Christmas and the cream was a remnant from a pavlova. Together they made a harmonious cloud of sweet deliciousness, the perfect Sunday night pudding. You can adapt this to whatever you fancy or need to use up. Chocolate chip brioche rolls would work nicely, with cocoa powder in the custard to make a chocolate version. Or add some dried fruit. Or use up your panettone. Or whatever!

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 8 slices of brioche
  • Raspberry jam
  • 250ml double cream
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Make jam sandwiches with the jam and brioche. Don’t butter the brioche as it’s already enriched and will go too greasy.
  2. Place the brioche sandwiches in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Mix together the cream, milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla. Pour over the brioche and leave to stand for 15 mins.
  4. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and then bake in a bain marie for 30-45 mins at 170 degrees. The pudding should be crispy on top and puffed up. The custard should just set.

Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers (v)

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The last pressure cooker I used blew up on me. I heard an earth shattering kaboom and came back into the kitchen to find lentils dripping from every available surface. It was armageddon. I have been too scared to use one since, even tho I know that they’re ace for quickly cooking pulses and making all sorts of yummy food. The Instant Pot has been growing in popularity recently and I took advantage of the Amazon Black Friday deal to get one and assorted accessories as my Christmas present from the teenager. How thoughtful of him 😉

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After doing the initial water test I asked said teen what he wanted for tea and stuffed peppers was the response. So here is my inaugural attempt, and a resounding success it was.

For four portions you need:

  • 4 peppers, tops sliced off and insides removed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 instant pot cups of paella rice (the instant pot cup is only 160ml so is smaller than a US cup…)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • new potatoes
  • (the spiced tomato sauce I made on the stove)
  1. Put the instant pot onto saute mode and add the oil and onions. Saute for 3-4 mins and then add the garlic and rice. Cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  2. Turn off saute mode and add the wine and stock. Cover with the lid and using manual cook for 4 mins, leave to stand for 10 mins then Quick Release (QR).
  3. Add the parsley and drained beans to the rice mixture and season to taste. I also added a little more liquid at this stage to make them a little looser.
  4. Put the peppers into a pyrex bowl (that will fit inside your IP!) and fill with the rice mixture. Cover with foil. I also made a handle out of foil to make it easier to remove the dish once they’d cooked.
  5. Place on the trivet and add 1.5 cups of water to the pan. Put on manual for 20 mins. I did a QR as I needed to cook the potatoes as well.
  6. For the potatoes, place on a steamer trivet and add 1 cup of water (I have a second pot so that made it easier). Steam for 8-10 mins depending on size and then QR as a Natural Release (NR) might overcook them.
  7. Serve with the spicy tomato sauce and be amazed! The potatoes in particular were delicious due to being steamed. I’ve never done that before as they always take too long in a conventional steamer.
  8. Dream up what your next recipes will be…