Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Bacon, Tomato, Celery and Mushroom Stew

Prepared with about 150g of chunky cooking bacon, cut into gougons, and fried until golden brown. Add finely chopped celery, mushrooms and onion to the stir-fry, and cook until the onions also begin to brown.

Add boiling water (around a cupful) and add a 400g tin of plum tomatoes. Crush the plum tomatoes with a spatula. Stir together and allow to simmer under glass for half an hour to forty-five minutes.

Add the vegetable stock, and the herbs, Sage, Basil and Herbes de Provence. Add a pinch or two of paprika and stir together. Simmer for another ten to fifteen minutes. Serve on a bed of basmati or American long grain rice.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Salted American Pancakes with Brown Pickle

Add two medium eggs to a glass bowl, a heaped dessert spoonful of cornflour, and three desert spoonfuls of whole milk. Add a teaspoonful of salt. A pinch of oregano is optional. Stir the mix together, until the cornflour is blended together with the other ingredients, then beat the mixture with a whisk for a few minutes. Repeat the process two more times.

Preheat a flat non-stick pan containing a brushing of sunflower oil, until a couple of drips of the pancake mixture begins to bubble and brown. Add a ladle full of the mix for each pancake. Cook for two and a half minutes each side. Turn down the heat until the pancakes are ready (if you are using an electric hob). Turn up to a high heat for each of the subsequent pancakes, and reduce the heat during the cooking process.

Serve with a dessert spoonful of brown pickle. Delicious!

Sweet Chilli Houmous Dip with Carrot and Celery

Houmous dip from the Co-op, served with carrot and celery batons.

Houmous is made from chickpea flour, cooked with the addition of an emulsifier such as olive oil, and in this case also with some cornflour in the mix. Also with a little vinegar, sugar, crushed garlic, and chilli sauce.

Batoning vegetables is fairly straightforward if you are using a very sharp vegetable knife, and hazardous with one which isn't. Cut both the carrot and the celery into strips, and then divide into three or four.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Coconut, King Prawns, with Sweet Potato noodles

Coconut, lime Leaves, lime juice, and King Prawns.Thai style king prawns from Vietnam.

A  prawn dish which was intended to be consumed as part of an Asian salad with Asian pickles. I chose to make them the focus of a stir-fry.

The prawns were heated in a steamer for about ten minutes.

The noodles were made with sweet potato and onion. The noodles were spiralised sweet potato, and onion, and stir-fried in a pan at medium heat, along with two small carrots, grated and sliced red pepper. The noodles, carrot and sliced red pepper were decanted onto a plate with a spiral of dark soy sauce.

Ready in fifteen minutes at a medium heat. Stirred frequently to prevent burning. Delicious!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Egg and Mayo with a Lettuce, Cucumber, and Red Pepper Salad

Sometimes it is good to have a salad in the winter. Two boiled eggs, cooled and sliced, mixed with two dessert spoonfuls of mayonnaise.

The vegetable part of the salad consists of cucumber, chopped iceberg lettuce, three spring onions, chopped salad tomato, and chopped marinaded red pepper. Normally I would add some grated carrot to the mix, but did not in this case. Mix in a bowl, and dress with a drizzle of  olive oil, coriander leaf, and serve with black pepper.

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup

After experimenting with spiralizing sweet potato and onion, I used the leftovers as the basis for a soup. I chopped both the remains of the sweet potato and the onion into small cubes, and did the same for a third of a fresh red pepper.

I added all three ingredients to a small pan containing boiling water. (just big enough to make soup for two).  After a couple of minutes, I added about 100g of tomato passata. Then some herbs - oregano, and basil. I also added about a third of a teaspoonful of smoked paprika, and three shakes of sea salt.

The soup was cooked under glass at a low heat for an hour. Simple to make, and delicious.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Bacon and Tomato Pasta

Penne pasta with a tomato and parmigiano regiano sauce salsa, with bacon chunks, garlic and herbs.

I cooked the bacon first at a medium heat, together with the garlic, which takes around fifteen to twenty minutes, until the bacon pieces are slightly browned. Then I added boiling water and pieces of the cheese (about 75g). Cooked for twenty minutes to half an hour until the cheese has melted, stirring frequently.

Then I added about 150g of tomato passata, plus the herbs basil, oregano, and a pinch of paprika. Added a dash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Stirred together thoroughly. This is essentially a neopolitan style salsa, which is the basis of many excellent Italian meals.

I left it  to cook at a low heat under glass for another twenty minutes to half an hour. During which time I prepared the wheat-free, gluten free pasta from Sainsbury's. I boiled water, and added about a third cupful of the dried pasta. I also added a quarter teaspoonful of turmeric, for both flavour and colour. The pasta was stirred frequently to prevent sticking.

The pasta was ready to serve in ten minutes. I spooned the salsa into a pasta bowl and used a slatted spoon to capture all of the bacon chunks. The pasta was drained, and decanted into the bowl. The dish was served with black pepper. Delicious!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Unsmoked Gammon with Winter Vegetables

Boiled potato, steamed carrots and Brussels Sprouts. The main ingredient was unsmoked slices of gammon (carved from a roasted joint the previous day), served with a gravy made with chopped green peppers and onion. The gravy could be blended if you prefer.

Boil the potatoes for twenty minutes and steam the carrots for the same amount of time. The sprouts take less time - ten minutes should be enough.

The peppers and onion were cooked in a vegetable stock and some onion gravy granules (Bisto brand). Add the slices of gammon after about fifteen or twenty minutes. Cook under glass for another fifteen or twenty minutes. A small dash of sweet chilli sauce was added in the last five minutes. Not necessary, but I like the edge of heat it gives.

Basa Fish with Pan-Fried Mushrooms

Baked Basa Fish with pan-fried mushrooms, served with freshly ground black pepper.

Basa fish (river cobbler, catfish) from Morrisons. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. The fish fillets were placed in a greased non-stick roasting pan, and cooked for twelve minutes. Basa fish often is filleted to contain no bones, as was the case with these fillets. A delicate flavour - the kitchen does not smell of fish for a couple of days. Often sourced from fish farms in the Mekong Delta.

The mushrooms were pan-fried with sunflower oil at a medium heat for about seven minutes, but could have been cooked with a knob of butter instead (expensive these days in the UK!). Serve with black pepper.

Can be served with roast potatoes, or oven-roasted chips in a spicy salsa.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Beef Chow Mein with Rice Noodles

The remains of some bargain topside beef went into this dish. Finely chopped, and added to chopped spring onion and chestnut mushrooms, all the ingredients were cooked in a small lidded pot with the juice from marinaded red peppers (Polish style, mainly vinegar), and a sachet of chow mein flavoured sauce from Aldi.

Cooked slowly for about twenty minutes, while the rice noodles were cooking. The noodles were dropped into boiling water, and then the heat was turned down. Cooked at a low heat under glass.

The noodles were decanted into a metal sieve, and sifted with a fork to ensure separation. Added to the serving plate, and dusted with some Sumak powder, which imparts a lemony flavour. The beef chow mein was added to the centre, and then the dish was served. Delicious!

Aberdeen Angus Beef Burgers, with Chilli Sauce

Aberdeen Angus beef burgers, with a yellow pepper, spring onion, and a red chilli sauce. Bought cheap, because they were priced too expensively to sell quickly at the local co-op. A few years ago they would have shifted fairly quickly, but not any more.

Aberdeen Angus beef is one of the best brands of beef in the world. So if you use it to make beef burgers, what you are going to get is a superior product to what you will normally find in a burger restaurant, unless the manufacturer messes up. They didn't mess up with these. They were pan-fried for twenty five minutes, starting at a high heat and reducing to a low heat. No added oil. There was sufficient fat in the burgers to do the job, but the least amount I've ever seen in a burger. Not much shrinkage either. Excellent!

The burgers were turned three times, and they spent the last ten minutes at a low heat under glass.

I diced three quarters of a yellow pepper and two spring onions, and cooked them in a small lidded pan with some of the juices from a jar of marinaded red peppers (essentially vinegar), and some water. I added two and a half dessert spoonfuls of red chilli sauce, and stirred them together. Cook for 30 minutes under glass at a low heat, stirring occasionally. I added a pinch of paprika and a pinch of oregano also.

Serve with freshly ground black pepper. The sauce is a delicious compliment to the beef!