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a vegetable curry … ish

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

Well, it was meant to be a vegetable curry, but I’m not convinced it turned out like that.

I love pulses and beans, and keep serried ranks of jars in my cupboards, all containing various varieties of same. Last weekend, I thought I’d cook up some kidney beans, so I poured some into a bowl and covered them with water, left them to soak. Then on the Sunday, I cooked ‘em up in the slow cooker. On Monday morning, I drained them into a colander, and thought “Gosh. That’s a lot of beans”. I do this regularly, and I really must learn how many cooked beans a given quantity of dried beans transmutes into. “Lots” seems to be the general answer.

In a “lets clear the fridge of all the old veg”, between us Pete and I chopped red onions, aubergine, butternut squash and sweet potato. And garlic and ginger was liquidised into a paste. I took the black Le Creuset out of the cupboard, looked at the bowl of beans, and got out the enormous faux Le Creuset that I bought in Sainsburys for about 45 quid (about ¼ of what a genuine one would cost).

In my ongoing attempts to lose weight, I’m using far less oil to cook, so I put about, oh, a dessert spoonful of groundnut oil, in which I softened the onions, then added quite a lot of garam masala and cooked it off. In went the garlic/ginger paste, then the cubed veg. Turned it all round to coat it, and get it started, then added passata, and sufficient water to cover the mix, and some seasoning. When the veg were almost cooked, we shoehorned in the kidney beans (not easy, I can assure you), and left it another 15 minutes or so.

It was really, really nice, but not very curryish. No matter. And it made 10 portions for really not very much money at all.

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making good use …

January 17th, 2013 | 2 Comments | Posted in general

Guinness soda bread

We held a small gathering here the other night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We cooked up a slow cooker’s worth of lemony chicken and coriander, and  a big pot of dhal to accompany it, and also for the vegans/veggies in the throng. We also served (bought) chapatis.

That recipe, incidentally, is a base – we use a lot more garlic, chillis and spices than that, and I’ve discovered that if you just sling the chicken in the slow cooker without browning it, it still works beautifully, and you save a lot of time and effort, and a lot of oil too! Makes it a very low calorie dish. Anyway, I digress.

I also made a chocolate, ginger and guinness bundt cake, which left most of a bottle of stout left over.

So this morning, I tipped the remainder of the coriander chicken sauce into the stock pot, added a few carrots, a courgette and an onion which had been minced in the Magimix, and two mugfuls of red lentils, and a nice pot of spicy soup is now bubbling away for lunch. To go with it, I used (most of) the rest of the stout to make a Guinness soda bread loaf, which is now baking in the Remoska.

Sadly, Pete declined to drink the rest of the stout – it was two days old, I know, but still. I poured it down the sink.

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Moooooosewood curry

January 14th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in general

We had a cauli in the fridge last week. Now, I like cauli, and we make cauli cheese, or a cauli and lentil curry. Sometimes we even just have it as a side veg. But none of them appealed, so I went rummaging through the books, and came up with Satyamma’s cauliflower curry. I didn’t follow the recipe precisely – they’re guidelines, is all.

We added sweet potato rather than “ordinary”, and adjusted the spices a bit (but not enough – needs about twice as much as the recipe, to my mind), and added a can of chickpeas*; it was absolutely lovely, and I reckoned it at about 190 calories a serving, without rice or whatever. We had roasted peanuts left in from the festive season, and everything else was in the house already, so that was a win too.

I really must go through that book more, because I’m currently in a bit of a rut with cooking.

Also, note to self: take photographs!

*Yes, I know, but I do keep a few tins of pulses in for such occasions; normally I would have soaked and boiled. Mea culpa.

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lentil and aubergine … gloop

October 17th, 2012 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I was all set to make a Thai veg curry the other night. There were aubergines, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and peppers in the fridge, Pete was despatched up the road (in the cold, in the dark, with an owl) for coconut milk, and I was good to go. Except I didn’t want veg curry. I wanted soothing lentils, a comfort food in this household. So lentils I had.

I chopped two small onions, some garlic and fresh ginger, and fried them down in some olive oil. While this was going on, I chopped an aubergine and a couple of peeled sweet potatoes. Added them to the mix with cumin seeds and chilli flakes, turned it all round in the oil. Bunged in a mugful of red lentils (an old WordPerfect mug, in fact, an integral part of our batterie de cuisine here), and a can of coconut milk. Despite my precautions, the wretched stuff still managed to squirt a stream of clear coconut up  my arm under the sleeve of my fleece.

Stirred that all round, went “um”, and added two cans full of water, and about 2 teaspoons of Marigold bouillon powder, a very useful thing indeed. Seasoned with salt and black pepper, brought it to the boil, and then put it on a diffuser for about 45 minutes.

It was absolutely gorgeous – that made six portions, and we liked it so much that we ate it again for lunch the next day. I did managed to put one tub in the freezer before we pigged it all, but I shall be making that again. And again.

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indian style aubergines and potatoes

April 9th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I bought a pack of baby aubergines at the weekend – I’m not normally seduced by such things, but they were so pretty …  We had about a third of them in the roast veg on Sunday, and I was left with not enough for moussaka, but some.  There were also some cold cooked new potatoes lurking in the fridge. So:

Heated some groundnut oil in a shallow pan, and put in some black mustard seeds. Added a chopped red onion, and cooked till translucent.  Lobbed in some standard Indian spices, ground (tumeric, cumin, coriander) and a fresh red chilli, sliced. Stirred it all round.

Added the aubergine and potatoes, cut into largish dice. Stirred round some more. Added about 1/2 mug of water, put lid on, left for 15 minutes.  Stirred in a load of fresh coriander at the end.

It was utterly lovely – we shall be eating *that* again!

We used up the last of the button mushrooms in a poor man’s mushroom pilau – shallot, cinnamon, mushrooms, rice.

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roasted veg

March 24th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

butternut squash and aubergines

This is a photograph from another roast veg, but all text makes a dull post :)

We used to have this a lot, but somehow got out of the habit.  But it’s a nice healthy meal while I’m battling with health issues, so off we went.

Chopped an aubergine, a yellow pepper, half a butternut squash, half a sweet potato and a red onion, and put in a bowl with about five cloves of chopped garlic.  Added olive oil and sesame seeds, mixed it together (I always use my paws), then put some clingfilm on it, and zapped for 8 minutes in the microwave, which knocks about 20 minutes or so off the cooking time.

Turned into an ovenproof dish, and baked for about 45 minutes at gas 6.

To accompany it, I did some chickpeas (as I’d boiled up a load the day before) – browned a chopped shallot in some olive oil, add the chickpeas and a good dollop of lemon juice, and warmed through.  Added chopped fresh coriander at the end.We had the remainder of the veg on a small ciabatta each for lunch, topped with a little feta and grilled for a couple of minutes.  Fab.

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chinese style green beans

June 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

Still more green beans to eat …

Topped and tailed them, chopped into 2cm chunks (this is starting to sound like a repeat :).  Simmered for 6/7 minutes.   Drained and rinsed in cold water.

Chopped an onion and some garlic, oh and some fresh ginger.  Heated groundnut oil in the wok, added about a dessertspoon of mustard seeds and waited for them to pop.  Then hurled in onion, garlic and ginger and cooked until soft, splattering self in hot oil in the process.

Added the beans and some five spice powder,  stirred about for a couple of minutes, added a good splash of tamari, cooked for about 2 minutes.

I used too much oil, but it worked really well.  We had it with basmati rice, which had the juice of half a lemon added to it, which is really nice.

And now the green beans are all gone – hurrah!  But another veg box arrives tomorrow …

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gingery chickpeas

March 7th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

More experimentation with the slow cooker, this. I started on Wednesday evening (i.e. 2 days before we ate this!), by putting some chickpeas (probably about 2.5 mugs full) to soak in cold water overnight. We do always have tins in the larder, but I like to used dried where possible, as they are so much cheaper.

On Thursday morning, I rinsed them and put them in the slow cooker for about 9 hours on low, then turned it off, then on Friday morning I took them out, rinsed and drained them and put them back in.

Then I chopped a large onion, and cooked it in some groundnut oil until it was just starting to brown. While they were cooking, I whizzed up garlic, fresh ginger, coriander seeds and a little bit of water into a paste. Added a couple of teaspoons of cumin seeds to the onion and cooked for a minute or two, then added the gingery paste and fried it all off for a couple of minutes.

Then in went a tin of tomatoes and a slug of balsamic vinegar (I was sort of following a recipe, vaguely, from my new veggie slow cooker book). Brought it all to the boil and put it in the slow cooker with the chickpeas.

It didn’t smell quite right – the balsamic was too … sweet, possibly, so I chucked in the juice of a lemon and hoped for the best. They had about 9 hours again, and we consumed them as an accompaniment to a tub of chicken dansak from the freezer, and some basmati rice. And the balsamic taste was all gone by then!

This also provided three tubs for the freezer, which would do nicely with some pitta bread for lunch, or as accompaniment for further Indian feasts. We cook/eat a lot of Indian food here, as you may gather.

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stir fried sprouts

November 13th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

We were approaching a glut of brussels sprouts – half a stalk in the shed, and yesterday’s veg box brought us another stalkful.  As my regular reader will notice, we’re not really “meat and two veg” eaters, so sprouts don’t tend to be something that fit easily into our cooking.

So, I experimented …

Snapped the half a stalkful of sprouts off their stalk, trimmed them, and cut them in half.  Slivered some fresh ginger and garlic, and softened that in some groundnut oil in a wok.  Added the sprouts, and cooked them for about five minutes, stirring all the while.  Then added a splash of tamari, a spoonful of runny honey, and some salted roast peanuts, and cooked for another couple of minutes.

Mixed in some noodles, and ate from bowls.  Not at all bad, although I think I would parboil the sprouts a little next time.

Sorry, no photo – didn’t come out well.

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vegetable tagine

September 14th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

vegetable tagine

Using up: bits of veg – courgettes, carrots, aubergine, spinach

As I said a day or so back, I wanted to do something other than moussaka with the aubergine.  We also had some green beans that needed eating up, a fair number of carrots and a lot of courgettes, so they seemed like suitable candidates for this.

Firstly, I simmered the cut green beans and carrots for 5-6 minutes, as they would need longer to cook than the other veg. I also cooked the last third of the bag of spinach for a couple of minutes, rinsed it under cold water, drained it, and marmalised it in the food processor.

We chopped up two red onions, lots of garlic and two green chillis, and cooked them down in olive oil in my old faithful Le Creuset cast iron casserole.  Then we added some spices, ground up in our trusty spice grinder; Pete did them, and there’s no point in asking for quantities – just do what you think is right.  He did cumin and coriander seeds, allspice, dried ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, and some black pepper.

We added this to the pan and fried them a bit to release the flavour.  Then we added one each of aubergine and courgette, cut into dice, and stirred them around a bit until they were coated with oil.  Added the carrots and green beans, and quite a lot of chickpease (I’d put a big batch into soak on Friday night, and cooked them up yesterday; not sure yet what I’m going to do with them).

Added a tin of tomatoes and a little salt, brought it to the boil, put a lid on it, and simmered for about 25 minutes, then added the spinach puree and simmered for another ten or so.

Ate it with couscous.  I put three tubs in the freezer this morning, so that made eight portions for what can’t have been more than about four quid, which I think is pretty good.  And it was delicious too!

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