Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sometimes your tastebuds need comforting, like sitting too close to the fire on a frosty day.
I have a terrible habit. When I clear up after mealtimes I dispose of any leftovers. Into my mouth usually. This could be my upbringing (“think of the starving Africans”) but is more likely because I am a bit of a greedy pig. But when you have leftover bread cooked with crunchy sea salt and chilli oil, and there is a jar of Nutella in the larder . . . well.
The salt brings out the nuttiness of the hazelnuts, the chewiness of the bread complements the waxy softness of the chocolate spread and afterwards you are left with a pleasant burning sensation on your lips, almost too hot but just not quite . . .
Life is for living.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Kiwis love banana loaf. I can’t say I do - to be honest it comes a close second to pasta salad as a pointless use for leftovers. But I am not a kiwi and that many of them cannot be wrong, and . . . I quite often make a Nigel Slater recipe of bananas roasted with cardamom, sugar, butter and orange juice ( which is delicious ) and . . . I had some ripe bananas and . . . needed to make something to take to my meditation class, so after a quick google search for vegan muffins I sort of put them all together and this was the result.
- Put the oven on to heat - 150 c (because my oven is on the hot side, probably 175 c normally).
- Put two cups of self raising flour in a bowl along with a pinch of salt, half a cup of sugar and half to one teaspoons of ground cardomom seeds ( I like to crush my own in a pestle and mortar because they taste better and I like all the different sized bits you get)
- Add in the grated zest of a couple of tangarines or an orange.
- Peel three ripe bananas and squash them with your hands to mash roughly mash them ( great fun! ) and add to the bowl along with a quarter cup of oil.
- Then squeeze the juice out of you tangarines or orange and make it up to one cupful with more orange juice from a carton ( or more oranges if you have them )
- Pour this into the bowl, quickly mix, and spoon into a muffin tin.
- Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar for prettiness.
I liked them, and so did the meditators, but at work today feelings were mixed - perhaps a bit too strange for them ? I suppose you have to be careful playing around with old childhood favourites.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
It is wet, wet, wet here in Hawkes Bay, it has been raining for what seems like weeks now. Cold as well or at least what we call cold here - 5 degrees C . . . a day then for sitting inside by the fire watcting the world outside with a good book to hand. And very much a day for soup. The shops here are full with huge piles of fat Kumara so what better than Kumara soup served with bright green spinach, because spring will be back again before long.
- In a saucepan with some oil and butter gently fry a small onion, peeled and chopped with a couple of cloves of garlic.
- Peel a piece of ginger the size of you thumb, finely grate it and add to the pan, leave to cook until the onion is soft and transparent.
- Peel and chop a big Kumara or a couple of little ones and add to the pan along with a pint and a quarter of vegetable stock made from boullion powder.
- Leave to simmer gently until the Kumara is soft enough to squash against the side of the pan then blend or mash (with a potato masher) smooth.
- Reheat adding salt if required.
- Meanwhile pop another saucepan on to heat, rinse some spinach in cold water, shake off the water and pop into the hot pan.
- the spinach will hiss and gently wilt in less than a matter of minutes, take off the heat and squeeze in some lemon juice.
Pour some soup into a bowl, top with a little pile of spinach and squeeze over more lemon juice and perhaps a drop or two of chilli oil if you have some.
Quietly interesting this one, well worth getting to know better . . .
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Wintertime is almost here and what is one of the best things about Winter? Parsnips. Yet while I love the taste, it is so distinctive that I find a whole bowlful or dish of it just too much. So here I have married together the beautiful compination of parsnips and apples whilst keeping the flavours seperate as well. And as there was a chorizo looking at me from the fridge, left over from earlier in the week, and as Winter vegetables usually go well with bacon I popped the sausage in there as well (smoked bacon would be nice as well I magine).
- Roughly chop a white onion and let it cook gently i some olive oil whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients. You want the onions to cook without burning until they start to turn honey coloured, so let them take their time, a good ten minutes should do it.
- Peel and chop an apple and chop up the chorizo into pieces the size you would like to find in your soup bowl.
- Scoop out the onions into a bowl and put to one side.
- Turn up the heat and pop in the chorizo followed by the apple and let them cook until browning or charring on the edges.
- Peel and roughly chop two or three parsnips, I used two but it depends how big they are.
- Scoop out the apples and chorizo into another bowl and keeping the heat up pop in the parsnips, adding a little oil if neccesary (I usually pour in the oil that collects at the bottom of the onion bowl).
- Once the parsnips have browned at the edges lower the heat, pop the onions back in along with a pint and a quarter of half strength vegetable stock from a powder.
- Leave to gently boil until the parsnip is soft enough to squash against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Liquidise or blend the soup smooth and return to the pan to reheat adding in the reserved apple and chorizo.
- Mine needed some ground black pepper and a little salt.
- Serve with some big chunks of buttered white bread and some chopped parsley if you have some.
The amounts here are plenty for two people (as all my recipes are).
I often use whole spices in my cooking and baking because I love the way that thay give a sudden burst of flavour when biting one and it is the same in this soup, so use a dessert or eating apple rather than a cooking one so that the chunks don’t turn to mush and if you cook them quick and hot the insides will remain crunchy and almost raw.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
We don’t eat a lot of fish in our house, mainly because I am the only one that relly likes it. So when we do have fish it either comes in batter from the fish and chip shop or I will spice it up a bit - there is a lovely fish curry in Appetite by Nigel Slater. Mostly though it is just me that gets a sudden craving for fishyness and so I’ll make something just for myself for lunch perhaps.
This recipe is a bit of both, a mildly spiced soup made for my lunch. Fresh salmon would have been nice but I am at home all achy and headachy with a virus and didn’t have the energy to go out, so tinned salmon it was.
- Start by finely slicing a small onion and a clove of garlic and gently fry until translucent.
- Add the spices, half a teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes. Follow that with a teaspoon of cumin seeds and the same of black mustard seeds. Allow to fry gently for a few minutes, just relax and enjoy the aroma . . .
- Turn the heat back up and pour in half a pint of vegetable stock ( I like Rapunzel organic vegetable boullion because I always make it half strength) simmer gently for a few more minutes to blend the flavours together .
- Now take the soup off the heat and allow to cool a little, then pour in one of those tiny tins of coconut milk (165ml).
- Open a small tin of salmon, pour off the oil or water and add the chunks to the soup discarding any bones or skin as you go.
- Reheat again gently until nce and warm but do not allow to boil because the coconut milk might go all bitty and the salmon will break up into a mush. (if it did I would probably blend the whole lot smooth and serve it anyway!)
- Serve with some chopped coriander leaves scattered over.
Because it was just for myself the quantities here are reduced - this amount will just serve two people one bowl each, or in my case two bowls for me and several spoonfuls out of the saucepan for Nicola who just arrived back from work as I was reheating it.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Born and brought up as I was in the 60’s, tomato soup for me has always come from a can. And even recipes I have tried have that same thick creamyness to them. But it does not have to be. Tomatoes are after all a fruit - you can eat them raw, and it is quite easy to quickly put together a simple fresh tomato soup. Like this one . . .
- Peel and chop a small onion and a clove of garlic into smallish pieces.
- Put them in a saucepan in a little olive oil over a low heat and cook gently until the onion goes translucent.
- Meanwhile peel some tomatoes (I used 7 biggish ones)- make a small cross shaped cut at the end oppsite the stalk end, put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover them. Leave them a few minutes then take out of the water and the skin should easiliy peel off.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, you could remove the seeds at this point but I never do, I just cut out and remove the tougher stalk parts.
- Put the tomatoes into the saucepan along with maybe 3/4 of a pint of vegetable stock and a small handfull of chopped parsley.
- Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the tomato breaks down, 15 minutes or so.
And that is all there is to it. Serve with some more chopped parsley and a generous sprinkling of coursely ground black pepper.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Sometimes what I need is a pure and simple soup to revive the soul, and that is when I turn to an Asian style of soup. I have mentioned before that I see two different ways to make soup. One, the western way involves cooking your ingredients together slowly until deep complex flavours develop. The other, what I would call the asian way involves quickly heating stock with added flavourings and adding a few fresh ingredients at the end. Cooking quickly and lightly produces a light healthy soup preserving much more of the vitamins in the fresh ingredients, and if you are organised is very quick and easy to make. This soup is my take on an asian style soup but using western flavourings - chicken lemon and fresh basil.
- Turn the grill (or broiler) on full to heat up (and turn on the extractor fan as well - you’ll need it!)
- Put a little olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and pop in a crushed and sliced clove of garlic to cook slowly.
- Peel an onion and slice it end to end to make pointy slices.
- Take a piece of aluminium foil and fold up the edges to make a shallow tray. You could use a tray but this way there is less washing up.
- Put a chicken breast and the onion in the foil, pour over a little olive oil, salt and ground pepper and the juice of half a lemon and mix together.
- Pop it under the hot grill to cook.
- Pour about 3/4 of a pint of chicken stock in with the garlic, throw in the squeezed lemon half and bring slowly to the boil. The stock features large in this type of soup so a homemade stock is best but, hey, use whatever you have.
- Keep checking the chicken and onions - you want them cooked and just blackening at the edges but the chicken will take longer so remove the onions into a bowl as soon as they are done
- Once all is cooked roughly slice the chicken breast and pour the juices from the little tray into the stock.
-To serve place the chicken in a couple of soup bowls along with onions, pour over the stock and finally top with a handfull of basil leaves. Basil does not need cooking so goes in right at the end. Mine needed a little salt but that depends on the stock so taste it first.
A very pretty soup I think but not one for entertaining as there is too much to do at the preparation stage. No this is one to keep for a solitary but luxurious lunch or supper just for one (or two, if you really like them) . . .