Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Lentil and Mushroom Burgers with Halloumi

Ohhh yes. Thank you Sarah from My New Roots, a source of constant inspiration.
I altered this recipe - I used Portobello mushrooms instead of wild mushrooms, and I didn't have any olives so just omitted them and hoped. Plus I added grilled halloumi and some caramelised onion chutney, as I had a mushroom burger with those at a gastropub recently and it was really good.

Seriously seriously good food.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Colourful vegetables

Does it fade, this mild but genuine shock and amazement, when you've grown vegetables for many years?
Do you cease to look wondrously at the beautiful things that appear amongst the plants you put in the ground, that you can just take, like a child who doesn't understand how the world works?

I intend to find out.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Blackcurrant Frangipane Tart

My mum is amazing! I came home to this - blackcurrant frangipane tart. She even did gluten free pastry.

It looks pretty and summery and it tastes like pure comfort food.

  • Pastry - see Coconut Cream Pie recipe 
  • 125g blackcurrants, washed, topped and tailed
  •  1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  •  170g sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 70g butter, room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 170ml milk
1. Oven to 190°C. Butter a 24cm (9½in) round ovenproof dish.

2. Make the pastry case.

3. Blind bake it.

4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy

5. Add the almonds, egg and egg white and mix

6. Stick mixture into the pastry case

7. Scatter blackcurrants on top

8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden and firm.

It is divine with some sort of creamy yoghurt, Rachel's Gooseberry Yoghurt was perfect.

Yes that is another home-grown runner bean salad...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Purple Pepper

I have been looking forward to this moment since February, when I sowed many many seeds into trays of compost and tended to them on all the windowsills all over the house. Amongst other things, I was attempting to grow multi-coloured peppers, some of which promised to be purple! Who knew you could do that?!
And today, in that strange way large, seemingly conspicuous vegetables often somehow tend to do, e.g. sudden marrows, my first purple pepper just appeared from nowhere!'s black?

Are they meant to be black?!

Now it's gone er...whatever colour it is, I don't know how to tell when it's ripe. Is that it? Should I let it get bigger? I shall find out.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Runner Bean Salad

I picked my first little bunch of beans today!

And I knew just the sort of thing I wanted to do with them....and it turned out really tasty, so here's the recipe.

Ingredients (serves two):

Pesto ingredients:
handful of fresh basil
half a handful of pine nuts
half a clove of garlic
teensy bit of fresh chilli
olive oil
sea salt
wholegrain mustard (optional)

Main stuff:
some runner beans
some uber-tasty little tomatoes
leaves if you want them: lettuce, rocket, etc
half a handful of pine nuts

First, make the pesto: I used a pestle and mortar because it was far too small a quantity to put in the blender.
1. chop up the basil leaves finely
2. chop up the garlic and the little bit of chilli finely
3. mash up the pine nuts with a bit of olive oil...

4. Mash the whole lot together with some sea salt...

5. Chop the beans up a bit and blanch them in boiling water for 4 minutes - you want them to still have a crunch.

6. Strain and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile dry fry the pine nuts to very very lightly toast them.

7. Mix some or all of the pesto into the beans, and mix the halved tomatoes in too.

8. Leaves, beans and tomatoes, pine nuts. Easy.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

It is exciting, growing vegetables.

  Yellow courgettes
  Tomatoes - they taste INSANELY good, had my first one yesterday
  Spaghetti squash, just starting to make off in every creeper direction

Monday, 15 July 2013

Almond Chicken Curry

The internet is the best thing that ever happened to me in the way of learning to cook. Don't get me wrong - I think with absolutely everything becoming digital, we can become disconnected from grounding, earthy things - we don't even need to speak or even message someone to find out what they're doing, let alone go and visit and hug them, we already know it all from their facebook feed. When was the last time you had a spare 15 minutes with nothing useful to do - did you ponder about life and death or draw something, or did you check your emails?
But I think cooking is a creative, come down to earth thing, and there's nothing that has helped me develop my passion and breadth of experience anywhere near as much as the internet. Have you noticed old people call it the 'world wide web?' If you call it this, you are old, and it's time to play on your eccentricities.
The thing is, the other day I knew exactly what I wanted to eat: chicken curry, with some sort of thick, a bit creamy, almonds-blended-up-into-a-paste, a bit cinnamony, not necessarily terribly spicy, sauce. Don't know where the craving came from, haven't eaten anything like that for ages, and only when someone wimpy orders something like it in a group takeaway. So, I knew what I desired, and I was very much up for spending an hour or two creating it. But if the 'web' wasn't in existence, how would I make it? I could ring round my neighbours and see if they'd got a curry cookbook. I could take one out from the library? But the thing with cravings is, you have to seize the moment, because if you hang about too long, it goes away, but if you catch it and feed it what it wants, nothing has ever ever tasted so good.
The other thing about getting recipes from the internet is, you can look at as many different people's takes on the same sort of dish, and decide what's essential, what's not, and what you might do differently. YEARS worth of cookery book learning, condensed into one or two meals.
I found a few recipes for the almond chicken curry I wanted, but this one was just perfect. It's from eCurry: 
I chucked in some prunes that needed using up, they were great. I've made this dish three times now, I absolutely love it.