Monday, 25 June 2018

Sweet Potato Satay Curry

I've been threatening to make this curry for the kids for a few years now, and today, with a spare sweet potato, I made it for them.  I sold it on the strength of it having curry powder and peanut butter in it.  I would have added some kale or spinach for a splash of colour, had I had any.

Serves 4-6

1 tsp red Thai curry paste (vegan if desired)
1 tsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 a 340g jar crunchy peanut butter
4 tsp sugar
1 large sweet potato, peeled & grated
4 tbsp fish sauce (or vegan alternative)
2 shredded kaffir lime leaf (optional)
Handful shredded spinach or kale (optional)

Fry the curry paste in the oil for a minute or so, then add the curry powder and fry again for another minute or so.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure it is not catching on the bottom of the pan, until the sweet potato has all but melted into the curry.

Serve 2 big ladlefuls of sauce per person if serving 4, or less if serving more, with steamed Thai or Basmati rice.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Rajmah, Kidney Bean Curry

In an attempt to recreate the Vegan Dhal Makhani I made a few weeks ago,  I seemed to have made a Rajmah or Kidney Bean Curry with the leftover kidney and pinto beans I had in the fridge.

Serves 4

2 cans kidney beans
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
2cm ginger, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli powder
500ml passata
40g cashew nuts
1 tsp salt

Pour 100ml boiling water over the cashew nuts in a jug you can use a stick blender in, and leave to soften.

Fry the onion in the oil until starting to brown (about 5-7 minutes), stirring from time to time.  Add the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger and stir around until you can smell the spices.  Add the rest of the ingredients with 250ml/half a passata carton of recently boiled water, and the tinned beans with their liquid.  Liquidise the cashew nuts and water and add to the pan.  Stir and leave to simmer gently with the lid on for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve with basmati rice.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Pesto Alla Trapanese (Sundried Tomato & Nut Pesto)

I can't believe I'd never come across this pesto living in Italy as a child, and in Southern Italy to boot. The first I heard of it was a passing comment on Radio 4 as I was driving somewhere.  I don't even remember the programme.  And it's not in my mum's 1970 edition of Elizabeth David's Italian Food.

As I had a jar of sun-dried tomatoes just past their use by date, this is what I came up with.

Serves 4/400g dried pasta

50g sundried tomatoes
40g blanched almonds (I used cashew nuts)
1 small clove of garlic
50-100ml olive oil
Pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients into a mini food processor and whizz.  Add olive oil to loosen the mixture to taste, so it can be stirred through pasta.

If you don't want to use too much oil, reserve a mug of the pasta cooking water to loosen the pesto as you mix it through the pasta.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Cucumber Raita or Tzatziki

I love raita or tzatziki.  It's probably because I love garlic, and plain yoghurt.

I googled the difference between the both, and whilst tzatziki is often spoken off as a dip, apart from that the ingredients are pretty much the same.

1/2 a cucumber, grated
4tbsp greek yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Large pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped mint, dry or fresh

Mix all the ingredients together and leave the develop for 30 minutes or more

Quick Chickpea Salad with Cumin

Never think to make this at home but we made it pretty much every day over half term, away with foodie friends in France, to accompany barbecued meat

1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 a small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp mustard vinaigrette
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Mix all ingredients together and leave to marinade for as long as possible.  Can be made with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp red wine vinegar if you don't have vinaigrette to hand.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Vegan Aubergine & Lentil Curry

The aubergine I bought what seems like weeks ago was beginning to go mouldy at one end, so I decided to lose it in a curry.  I googled aubergine curry and came up with yet another Maunika Gowardhan recipe which I added a few more of my favourite ingredients.

This is a mildly spiced curry.  Aubergine lovers like me can still taste the aubergine, whilst the aubergine phobics in this family had no idea until I told them and yet would happily eat it again.

Serves 4

2 large onions
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 large aubergine
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
5cm cinnamon stick
5 green cardamon pods
1 500g carton passata
1 heaped tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp tamarind paste
100g green lentils
1 carton recently boiled water
1 tsp salt

Peel and slice the onions.  Fry in 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat for about 20-30 minutes until brown and caramelised but not burnt.  Scrape into a stick blender jug.

Whilst the onions are cooking cut the aubergine into 1cm cubes and fry in the remainder of the oil until browned or it starts to stick.  Add the whole spices, liquidise the cooked onions with about 250ml of water to make a paste the consistency of double cream.  Add the remaining spices to the aubergine and stir around for a few minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.  Add as much water to make a slightly watery stew, as the lentils will absorb some of this liquid.

Bring to the boil and simmer briskly for 10 minutes then turn the lid down and leave to simmer gently for another 30 minutes.  Stir from time to time to check it is not sticking.  Add more water if you think it is, or remove the lid for the final 10 minutes if the curry is too liquid for your tastes.

Season to taste and serve with basmati rice.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Retro Borscht or Beetroot Soup

Beetroot must be the Marmite of vegetables.  Mention it to the wrong person and they start gagging and retching at the very thought of it.  I'm sure this is because of a traumatic memory of the overly vinegared stuff on their grandmother's table served with the cold cuts.  But sadly it is hard to get past the amateur dramatics to get them to try it served a different way.  After all, it's flamboyant colour is near impossible to hide.

Bortsch has been a favourite of mine since my early teens, when my mother seemed to go through a phase of working her way through the 1960s recipes from her Kenwood liquidiser manual.  In the absence of this manual I have attempted to recreate Borscht as I remember it.

We usually ate it chilled in summer, but it equally good warm on a cold British summer day.

Serves a greedy 2

2 large or 3 medium cooked beetroot
1 small onion
1 medium carrot
1 stick of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
600ml boiling water
1 beef stock cube
juice of 1 small lemon
salt and pepper
2 tbsp greek yoghurt

Peel and roughly chop the onion and start to soften in a saucepan over a medium heat whilst you peel and roughly chop the carrot, beetroot and garlic, and roughly chop the celery.  When the carrot and celery is chopped add this and soften for a few minutes before adding the hot water, stock cube, garlic, and chopped beetroot. Bring to the boil with a lid on and then simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes blitz the boiled ingredients.  If eating hot,  blitz with the lemon juice.  Season to taste.  Pour into bowls and serve with a heaped teaspoon of yoghurt.

If serving chilled, blitz, cool, then chill in the fridge.  Stir in the lemon juice before serving, then add yoghurt teach bowl as before.