Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spinach & Chickpea Quenelles

This is another of those recipes that I don't measure the ingredients for!  I am posting it here as a reminder to myself that this worked because I once made some of these quenelles using garden peas and now I can't remember how I made them!! :)

For this recipe I used ... approximately
250g baby leaves of spinach
3 large homegrown, blow-your-socks-off spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
a handful of mixed nuts
a 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter
3 slices of white bread
100g mature cheddar, grated
spices
seasoning
1 large egg

1.  Preheat oven to 190'C.
2.  Fill a food processor bowl with the spinach, chickpeas, nuts and peanut butter.  Dot the latter around the mixture so help distribute it.  Blitz until roughly chopped.  Just enough to that the mixture will hold together in the quenelles, but with a few lumps left for texture.  Place mixture in a large bowl.
3.  Finely slice the onions and chop the garlic.  Add to the mixture in the bowl.
4.  Place bread in processor and turn into breadcrumbs.  Add the dried spices and seasoning to the crumbs as this helps to distribute them evenly.  This time I used turmeric, smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli flakes.
5.  Add crumbs and spices to the spinach and mix well.
6.  Add the beaten egg and mix.  The ingredients should start to hold together and shaping them will complete the task.
7.  Using two dessertspoons, shape the mixture into quenelles.  I find it is less messy than using my hands to make them into balls! :)
8.  Place on a lined baking tray and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Any leftovers can be chilled and frozen.  To use, I bake from frozen covered with foil, at 190'C for 10-12 minutes.

Vegetarian Lasagna

I make my lasagna with either Puy lentils or vegetables; mainly a mixture of whatever is to hand!  I have been asked for the recipe, but as I don't usually measure the ingredients I feel that this is a little too rudimentary to be called a recipe.  All amounts are guesstimates as I go by the feel of the mixture rather than measuring everything.  This makes four servings.  
For the Puy lentil version you will need 250g of lentils pre-cooked as per the instructions on the packet.  I often cook the whole box full and then use the other half for a shepherdess-style pie.
For the vegetable version you will need one of the following:- courgettes, butternut squash, mushrooms or anything that you fancy.  Broccoli also works in this recipe. Chop to bite-sized pieces.
For both versions you will need:-

For the Base
Olive Oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 sweet pepper - red, orange or yellow, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
herbs - de Provence, Italian or your own mix
500g passata
Seasoning

For the Sauce
1 heaped tbsp butter
2 heaped tbsps plain flour
0.5l milk
80g mature Cheddar, grated
seasoning
optional - 0.5 tsp mustard powder or a few drops of Worcestershire sauce

Lasagna sheets that don't need pre-cooking
50g mature Cheddar, grated for the topping

Frying-pan.  Pyrex basin.  Oven-proof dish.

1.  Pre-heat oven to 190'C (if you have roasted your vegetables the oven will already be hot).
2. For the lentil version - Drain your pre-cooked Puy lentils.
For the vegetable version - Either roast your vegetable of choose or add to the pan to fry in stage 2.
3.  In a pan, heat oil and gently shallow fry the onions and pepper until soft.  Add the herbs.  If using courgettes or mushrooms I also add these to the pan.  Butternut squash I tend to roast.  As vegetables soften add the garlic.  Season when cooked and remove from the heat.
4. For the lentil version - Add the pre-cooked lentils to the onion mixture.
For the vegetable version - add any roasted vegetables to the onion mixture.  If vegetables are already in with the onions then you are ready for the next stage! :)  It may seem that there is a lot of passata, but the mixture dries up a little in the oven.
Both versions are now the same.
5.  Stir the passata into the lentil/vegetable mixture and set aside.
6.  We like cheese sauce in our lasagna!  You could omit the cheese and make a white sauce if you prefer.  I make my sauce in the microwave - 800w on high.  In a Pyrex bowl, melt the butter for approx. 10 seconds.  Stir in the flour and mustard powder if using.  Cook for 10 seconds.  Very gradually, stir in the milk.  Once you have a smooth paste, swap your spoon for a whisk and continue to add the remainder of the milk.  Cook for 1 minute, then stir.  Repeat this until the mixture is thickened.  The aim is for a thick sauce, thicker than usual so that it doesn't run in the lasagna.  Add the cheese and cook for a further minute or two.  Season with pepper.  If using Worcestershire sauce add it now.
7.  You now have all the ingredients ready and can begin assembling the lasagna.  Lightly oil your ovenproof dish (I bake mine in two dishes simply because that is what I have).
8.  Starting with a layer of the lentil/vegetable mixture, spread a thin layer at the bottom of the dish.  Place lasagna sheets on the mixture and spread a thin layer of cheese sauce over the pasta sheet.  Continue building up the layers and finish with a layer of the cheese sauce and the grated cheese reserved for the topping. 
9.  Bake at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.



Saturday, 4 July 2015

Lavender Madeira Loaf



Flowers from 3 fresh (or dried) lavender sprigs
225g/8oz SR flour 
5ml/1tsp baking powder
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
175g/6oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs
15ml/1tbsp milk

For the icing
Flowers from 3 lavender sprigs
175g/6oz icing sugar
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
10-15ml/2-3tsp water

1. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.  Preheat oven to 170'C.
2.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat well, until smooth and creamy.
3.  Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until firm and when tested with a skewer, is cooked in the centre.
4.  Allow to cool completely in the tin, remove before icing. 
5.  Mix together the icing ingredients and pour over the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. (I don't usually measure my icing ingredients, but do it by eye.)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

Every year our rhubarb grows like a weed!  I make the usual desserts and jam with it and chop and freeze a lot of it for eating later.  I'm always on the look out for a new way to use the rhubarb and found this recipe, which I tweaked a little bit.  It makes approximately 2 litres of ice cream.  I found it a little sweet for my taste, but my menfolk declared it perfect!  This time I used plain white flour, but usually when making a crumble I use wholemeal flour as it adds a lovely nutty taste and that would work well in this ice cream too.
For the ice cream base
1kg fresh rhubarb, chopped into 2cm chunks
200g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
700ml double cream
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk

For the crumble
200g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
150g light muscovado sugar
100g porridge oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
1.  Place the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with the caster sugar and cinnamon.  Add water to almost cover the fruit.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb has completely softened.
2.  Strain the fruit through a sieve, reserving the liquid.  Set fruit to one side in a bowl and return the liquid to the saucepan.  Simmer until thick and syrupy.
3.  Pour the reduced liquid over the rhubarb and leave to cool.
4.  Preheat the oven to 140'C fan.
5.  Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour.  You are aiming for fine breadcrumbs, but it doesn't matter if it is a little lumpy - mine was!
6.  Stir muscovado sugar, oats and cinnamon into the flour mixture.  Add vanilla if using.
7.  Spread out on a large baking tray and bake for approximately 20 minutes, stirring halfway though.   Remove from oven when crumble is golden brown.  Allow to cool.
8.  Whisk together the cream and condensed milk to the soft peaks stage.
9.  Into the cream, stir the rhubarb and 3/4 of the crumble mixture.
10.  Transfer into a freezable container(s) and sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the top.
11.  Freeze for 8 hours.  Remove from the freezer 5 to 10 minutes before eating to allow the ice cream to soften slightly.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Spicy Chickpea and Nut Roast

This recipe is a variation on my Festive Chestnut and Cranberry Loaf that I usually make at Christmas time.
2tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
0.5 tsp ground cumin
0.5 - 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground smoked paprika
0.5 tsp dried thyme
100g frozen peas
200g mixed chopped nuts
240g tinned chickpeas, drained
1 carrot, grated
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g mature cheddar, grated
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
100g goats cheese, soft or hard
seasoning

2 x 1lb loaf tins
Baking tray, lined
oil or butter for greasing plus greaseproof paper or silicon lining

1. Preheat oven to 190'C. Line and grease tins.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion, red pepper, garlic, cumin seeds, ground spices and dried thyme for a few minutes until softened.  Add frozen peas and stir until defrosted.  Set to one side.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together mixed nuts, drained chickpeas, breadcrumbs, grated carrot and grated cheddar.
4. Stir onion mixture into nut mixture and season well. Stir in the 3 beaten eggs.
5. Place half of the mixture equally into the base of lined tins and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
6. Dot the mixture with pieces of goat's cheese, then cover with the remaining mixture, again pressing down firmly.
7. Place tins onto a baking tray and bake at 190'C for approximately 35 minutes, until lightly browned.
 8.  Remove from oven and loosen from paper with a palette knife.  Turn upside down onto baking tray and carefully remove paper from loaves.  Return to oven for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Either serve immediately or cool and freeze in slices.  If freezing allow loaf to cool before cutting as it slices easily when cold.  To use from freezer, allow slices to defrost, then wrap loosely in foil and bake at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.
 10.  I usually serve this hot with my spicy tomato sauce, but it would also be good thinly sliced and served cold for a picnic with a chutney.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I use a vegetarian variety)
a few drops of chilli sauce (Tabasco or other)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp mustard, smooth or wholegrain
salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onion and garlic over a medium heat until softened.
2. Stir in chopped tomatoes.
3.  Add remaining ingredients.
4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
 5.  The mixture can be blended if a smooth sauce is required or served as it is.
6.  Can be eaten hot or cold.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Chickpea and Lentil Burgers

1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 390g tin of green lentils, drained
100g fresh breadcrumbs
6 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper
75g mature Cheddar, grated
100g Stilton, crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
plain flour to dust

There are two ways of making these burgers.

If you like your burgers to have a smooth texture:-
1.  Place chickpeas and lentils in a food processor and chop with metal blade.
2.  Add chunks of bread and whizz into breadcrumbs.
3.  Add spring onions, garlic, peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper and process until smooth.
4.  Transfer ingredients into a large bowl and mix in both cheeses.
5.  Add egg and stir to form a dough.  You will need to use floured hands towards the end of mixing.

If you like your burgers to have a chunky texture chop each ingredient separately in the processor and combine them in a large bowl.
 6.  Dust your hands and a board with flour and form mixture into burgers.  This recipe makes approximately 11/12 burgers, depending on the size you prefer.
 7.  Place them on a floured tray and dust with more flour.
8.  Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until firm.  (I made mine in the afternoon and we ate them in the evening.)
 9.  Cook until golden on both sides and hot throughout.  My husband cooked some of them on the BBQ and I cooked the remainder in the oven the next evening at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.
This recipe could easily be adapted by changing the herbs and spices and/or replacing the Stilton with another cheese.  Another time I might try one of the following options:-
Feta and cooked red onions with thyme,
 Goat's cheese and cooked white onions with rosemary,
Mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes with basil.
They could be spiced up with chillis or a curry powder.
Basically anything that you have in the kitchen.  I mostly make it up as I go along! :)