A return to trying to blog straight after cooking and eating…
After a lovely weekend away relaxing at a spa for a friend’s hen do, I got home and got to thinking about dinner. I had most of the ingredients assembled but nipped out for squash and spinach. This veggie feast was another Good Food recipe, and pretty simple to prepare (although it did generate quite a lot of washing up, so lost some of its appeal for that).
First Mr M chopped the squash up into little cubes, then I sprinkled it with oil, cinnamon and crushed coriander seeds. After 35 minutes in the oven the squash was tender. Whilst it was cooking I sweated ginger and shallots until soft. Then I bashed some lemongrass, before chopping it finely and adding it to the pan with some garlic, to cook. Once these were all soft in went some red chilli,coriander leaf, turmeric, pineapple juice and water. This mix was cooked until reduced by a third.
A quarter of the squash and the chilli liquid were combined with a tin of coconut milk and then blitzed till smooth. The rest of the squash was then added with the spinach and some chopped water chestnuts. Ten minutes of simmering later it was ready to serve on rice with a coriander and cashew nut topping.
The flavours of this were sweet, coconutty and a little bit spicy. The chestnuts saved it from being too smushy bringing some welcome crunch. I enjoyed the light Thai flavours from the lemongrass, ginger, coconut, coriander and chilli. Not sure what teh spinach was doing except adding visual contrast, as its flavour got quite lost. I think if I made it again I would add more heat! Mr M liked it though so overall pretty pleased with my efforts, 8 out of 10 from him. Although I have to say the delectable chocolate banana cake I’m tucking into made by my lovely husband is a 9+ at least veggie food includes cake 🙂
Mr M and I struggled to agree on a country that we both fancied this month. So inspired by our friends who have decided to go Vegan in the week, we opted to make veggie meals in the evening. We thought it would be a bit restrictive to give up meat entirely so as with other months we are just sticking with the theme for dinner.
We’ve been very bad with blogs so far this month, so this is the start of an attempt to catch up 🙂
We started the month with puy lentils, red onion and goats cheese. Satay stir fry was then followed by Carbonara (oops, we had bacon to use and its always bacon that cracks vegetarians). We were then away for the weekend.
Mr M got the week of to a smokey, spicy start with a four bean chilli. Flavoured with a mix of beans, Mexican chillies, cumin, cinnamon, black cardamom and dark chocolate. This was yummy and served with tortilla chips, creme fraiche and cheese.
Next was a delicious apple flavoured beetroot borsch. Beetroot, cider, apples, onion, garlic and stock were cooked, pulsed and served with creme fraiche.
A cheeky stir fry got us through Wednesday before we went a visiting again. Expect a proper blog on Saturday
Mr M made this traditional favourite, although sadly his efforts were not as amazing as usual. This is really easy to make, soften onions and leeks in plenty of butter. Meanwhile peel, chop and boil potatoes until soft. Then mash up the potatoes with butter. Mix softened onions and leeks into the mashed potato. Mr M then added water to thin and seasoned it. He likes his soup so thick and chunky that you can stand a spoon up in it. This was no exception!
I think being critical this was a 6, it filled the belly up but wasn’t quite what I was after. My version uses chicken stock and a bit of milk to give a creamier mix and partially pulses the vegetables. I think Mr M just needs more practice 🙂
A nice fresh vegetable mix of garden tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, red onions, garlic and aubergines. Lightly pan fried and enhanced with basil and thyme. Served with pasta for a quick and healthy tea, just 6.5 from Mr M as I think the vegetables had lost some crunch.
So French, so onions! Although I think the recipe we used tonight would score lowish for authenticity, as it was a reduced fat version, but tasty with it!
Mr M chopped a mountain of red onions and then fried them gently for 20 minutes until golden and caramelised.
I made a light scone style pastry from butter, flour, milk and yogurt. Once rolled out this went into a fluted pie tin. Mr M mixed together the filling of creme fraiche, djion mustard, thyme, eggs and gruyere.
The cooked onions lined the bottom of the tin, topped with creme fraiche filling and more onions. Twenty five minutes in a hot oven gave a golden pastry case, with rich topping, shot with vibrant purple onion. An enticing aroma of rich cheese and sweet onion wafted up.
Served with a simple salad, this was a delicious combination of onions, shot with occasional hints of thyme in a light creamy filling. A miserly 7.5 from Mr M, I would have gone for 8, let’s see what the Coq au Van scores tomorrow.
A nice healthy dinner last night, this was a dish from the lovely Turquoise cookbook.
Chopped onions and peppers were softened in oil with dried mint. Chilli was added, plus chickpeas and a tin of tomatoes with a good litre of stock. This simmered for half an hour before bulgar wheat was added for a final 15 minutes of cooking. Just before serving fresh mint, paprika and the juice of a lemon were added.
A hearty soup with a nice tang from the lemon and something very Mediterranean about it from the mint.. Mr M liked it giving it 8 out of 10.
There are a couple of components to this dish. I started with the tomato sauce, using tinned rather than fresh to speed things up. Onions, garlic and a result red chilli were softened. Tomatoes added, a splash of red wine vinegar and a smidge of sugar, with a bay leaf. Before adding to the layered dish some cinnamon was included. This bubbled away whilst I prepared the ingredients to go inside the tortillas.
Essentially this is a Mexican version of Cannelloni, with a filling wrapped in tortilla instead of pasta, coated in sauce and topped in cheese.
First spinach was cooked and thoroughly drained. Pine nuts were pan fried until brown, a little oil was added and then raisins were plumped up for a few minutes. The spinach was stirred in to the mix, ricotta and a smidge of nutmeg were added.
A splash of sauce on the bottom of a ceramic dish, then tortillas were filled with spinach mix and rolled up. Topped with more tomato sauce, then sour cream, followed by some feta. Oven baked for half an hour.
This was a pleasant change from some of the drier dishes we have had, and very filling! A pretty content Mr M voted 7.5 out of 10.
We went for a long walk today, so we’re pretty hungry when we got home. A mountain of Pizza soon filled the gap 🙂
I cheated a little and made the pizza dough in the bread maker whilst we were out. When we goohome I rolled 2 things pizza bases out, lightly dusting them with semolina for a bit of crunch. I then placed them on oiled foil whilst I made the topping.
Red peppers were roasted in the oven, then peeled and chopped. A base of tomato puree, passata, thyme and olive oil was mixed. Goat’s cheese was sliced onto rounds and some parmesan into thin slices.
Pizza was swiftly assembled and cooked in a hot oven for just 10 minutes.
End result? A thin crispy base with just the right amount of topping, I was quite pleased with this recipe, it wouldn’t have seemed out place in the pizzerias I ate in during my visit to Italy.
8 out of 10, although I think it could have been higher!
After an extravagant meal of pancakes yesterday at a friend’s, Mr M and I were both ready for a simple meal. Today’s dinner did just that.
I chopped onions, celery and carrots and then fried in oil until soft. Parsnips, potatoes and pearl barley then went in. A litre of stock and some bay leaves went in then dinner simmered for an hour. Simples.
Served up with some bread, it was tasty and filling, but very low on wow factor. Mr M gave it 7 out of 10.
So my last experience with Tofu was in Japan about 5 years ago, but I’ve never cooked it. So thought it was time to give it a go. I think I’m quite motivated by texture in food, so Tofu with its jelly like ways isn’t something that I particularly like. I can confirm that my own attempts to cook with it haven’t improved my view of this Asian staple.
Tonight’s recipe was quick and simple. A selection of mushrooms (shiitake, oyster and others) were cleaned then fried with the Tofu for a few minutes. Then black beans, soy sauce, red chilli, garlic were mixed into a sauce and added to the pan. A few minutes of cooking, then stock and cornflour were added to make a thick rich sauce.
The dish was ok, aromatic enough and the mushrooms were nicely cooked. The tofu soaked up the flavour from the sauce, but kept its slimey texture. Mr M voted just 5, the lowest score so far 😦
Hopefully the rest of the week will be onwards and upwards.