Archive for July, 2010

July ’Meanderings’ … 

All images ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’

Pictured (top to bottom)
Sweet Potato & Red Leicester Streudel
Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream
Spiced Vegetable Dhal Lasagne
Citrus Fruit Mousse

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

For some time I have been wanting to share some of my favourite vegetarian recipes, collected over the years, so I have posted just a few this month.  Although I am not a vegetarian myself, I do have vegetarian friends so it is handy to have a selection of good ideas for entertaining.  I also try to cook a vegetarian meal each week for the family (not as regularly as I would like, but I do try!)  There are some really delicious meals out there which do not need meat – or fish.  The one I have made most frequently is Nigella Lawson’s Triple Cheese & Onion Strata, or at least a version of it: I often use leeks which are a delicious addition.  This is closely followed by Sweet Potato & Red Leicester Streudel which is great made as individual portion mini-streudels.  For lovers of spicy dishes there is my own Spiced Vegetable Dhal Lasagne: definitely no meat needed here! 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Since I rediscovered my (Philips Delizia) Ice Cream machine last year I have found some lovely new ice cream and sorbet recipes and I have been posting these to continue on from the Summer dessert recipes of last month: Cider-Apple Sorbet, Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream and Mango Ice Cream.  In addition to these three ice cream/sorbets I have also included a basic recipe for Citrus Fruit Mousse, a recipe which is adaptable and could be made with a variety of fruits.  As I try out new combinations I hope, as usual, to update the recipe. Read further on for more  about my cookbook of the month, Ice Creams published by Hamlyn. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Restaurant Meanderings:
I ate a really enjoyable Indian meal this month. While visiting a friend in East Ham, London, E6 we went to Saravanaa Bhavan, a local Indian vegetarian restaurant serving food from the Tamil Nadu region, on the East coast of India.  We enjoyed a delicious and unusual meal, sharing two different dishes, Bagalabath (yoghurt rice cooked mixed with cashews, grapes, mustard seeds, served with pickle) and Basibelabath (rice cooked with lentils and mixed vegetables served with potato chips/appalam), drinking Lassi to go with it.   Delicious – but rather hot!  I have suggested we eat there again on another occasion as there are other dishes I would like to try, in particular the rice and lentil pattie known as idly

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Small Screen Meanderings: 
I am still watching and enjoying the Australian SBS TV series Food Safari, presented by Maeve O’Meara which was shown on the UKTV Good Food Channel.  I have now watched almost all the programmes and have discovered a great deal about the key foods and recipes from many countries worldwide, even though each of the programmes is just a half hour snapshot.  The Food Safari website is very detailed, giving programme, ingredient and other information, as well as a large number of recipes.  I notice too that there is a Food Safari book to accompany the programme: I shall have to investigate further!

Bookshelf Meanderings: 
While writing about books I ought to mention the Ice Cream book that I have been using this past month, which is fast becoming a favourite: Ice Creams published by Hamlyn – there is no specified author. (Yes, I know I already have two books, but this one pleaded with me from the charity shop shelf and I just had to have it!)  It is a slim volume, but packed with delicious ideas.  This month the recipes I have posted for Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream and Mango Ice Cream come from the book, as well as that for Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts posted a few weeks ago.  There are so many other good ones too: I have my eye on Cherry Almond Ice Cream, Crystallised Ginger Ice Cream and St Clements Ice Cream (St Clements is a mixture of orange and lemon, as  in the nursery rhyme: Oranges and Lemons, say the bells of St Clements …’.

Blogosphere Meanderings: 
Each month I will be highlighting some of the sites I have been enjoying recently: one food site from the UK, one from outside the UK plus something completely different, which may or may not have a food connection.  This month my three are:
UK foodie site … Keep Learning Keep Smiling.  For me, the title of Mary Moh’s blog sums up the joy of food blogging so well: always learning and hopefully smiling at what we produce.  Mary produces an interesting variety of food, mostly influenced by her Malaysian heritage.  I enjoy blogs that are informative, a recent example being her fascinating post, Best Local Fruits of Malaysia but I also enjoy hearing about unusual recipes, such as the ones for Pandan Yoghurt Cake and Tamarind (Assam) Tomato Tiger Prawns.
Non-UK foodie site … Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  I know that I am not alone in enjoying Celia’s blog, which originates from Sydney, Australia.  I never know what is going to pop into my Inbox and I have so many of her posts bookmarked.  Posts that have recently caught my attention are: Homemade Greek Yoghurt (I have a yoghurt maker which really ought to see the light of day again), Rhubarb and Blackberry Jam (there is rhubarb in the freezer and loads of blackberries in the garden, so this is something to try when I get back from holiday) plus Butterscotch Brownies (yum – no other comment needed!)  Some of the ingredients differ from what is available here in the UK, but  most recipes are possible.
…and something else – Epicute (part of the ‘Cheezburger’ Network) arrives in my Inbox most days and makes me smile!  Some people make so much effort to get their food ‘just right’ and most of the photos on this site are delightful.  Some of my recent favourites: Pizza Cat!, Meaty BBQ Cupcakes, Noms and Crafts, Tower of Babies, Family Portrait Time & Bon Appetit Petit!* – most come from food sites and blogs which you can follow a link to visit to find out more.  

July Recipes 

Cider-Apple Sorbet
Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream
Citrus Fruit Mousse
Mango Ice Cream 

Nut Rissoles in Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti Neapolitana
Spiced Vegetable Dhal Lasagne
Sweet Potato & Red Leicester Streudel
Triple Cheese & Onion Strata 

Meanderings Revisited (remakes & updates of previously posted recipes) …
Australian Spiced Roast Pork
Choc-Cherry Banana Flapjacks
Special Pilaf Kedgeree
Strawberry & Almond Cream 

Read Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months   


‘For what we are about to receive…’ August 2010 & beyond 

I will be away on holiday during August, but have scheduled posts which should appear while I am away: a selection of salads plus some quick and easy snack recipes.  At this time of year and especially on holiday where it is self-catering, I mostly choose food that I can get to the table within half an hour – after all it is my holiday too.  We are off to the French Alps via Burgundy.  Among other dishes, I very much hope to be able to try Tartiflette, which I make at home (will be interesting to compare), as well as sampling our usual quota of cheese and patisserie. I have a list of special ingredients and food items to look out for as well!   I am hoping to be able to add some more French Style recipes to this site in the coming weeks. 

Meanderings Revisited will also be taking a break during August, but will re-appear in September.  

Happy Cooking & Eating!

Read Full Post »

This fluffy oven baked lunch or supper dish is somewhat reminiscent of Welsh Rarebit but oven baked and more substantial.  It is, in fact, a savoury bread and butter pudding, but with no butter apart from a very little to grease the dish.  It can be quickly assembled in advance and stored in the fridge for some time before baking: very convenient when you are in a hurry.  Although it was originally suggested for the very busy Christmas season, it can be eaten at any time of the year including as a light Summer supper dish served with a simple salad.  At a recent church lunch, I made this as the vegetarian alternative using a leek in place of the spring onion and it was very well received.

The recipe comes from the book Nigella Christmas (which I was given for Christmas in 2010) but was part of Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Kitchen television series in 2009 where it was served as a simple supper dish.  She calls the recipe Triple Cheese & Onion Strata, which I think is a lovely title.  As an alternative to a side salad it can be served with roast mixed vegetables which can be baked in a separate oven dish alongside.  As the recipe contains bread it certainly does not need potato, rice or pasta.  I found the recipe gave four generous portions.  The original used French bread, which is also good, but it is definitely not a recipe for pre-sliced processed bread.  I used large cubes of a good quality two-day old bread from the bakery (a Bloomer type loaf) as this was in my cupboard. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Triple Cheese & Onion Strata
(Serves 4)
150g/5 ozs bread from bloomer type loaf (weight without crusts)
1 small baguette, ends removed, cut into 1cm/½in slices and left to go stale
Butter, to grease dish
6 spring onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
1 medium sized leek, rinsed to remove sand and finely chopped
150g/5oz mozzarella, roughly cut into pieces
50g/2oz parmesan, grated
100g/3½ cheddar, grated
100ml/3½fl oz soured cream
6 free-range eggs
small bunch fresh chives or 2/3 green spring onion tops, chopped, to garnish

1.  Butter a large 25cm/10in square gratin dish.  Thickly slice the bread and cut into large chunks or cut the baguette into rings.  Arrange the bread in a layer in the bottom of the dish.  It is better if the bread is a day or two old and it does not matter if the cubes dry out a little.

2.  Put the spring onions, mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar into a food processor with the soured cream and eggs.  Blend until the mixture is smooth with green flecks of spring onion.

3.  Pour the mixture over the bread in the dish.  Cover with cling film, and leave in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight so the bread absorbs the liquid.

4.  When ready to cook preheat the oven to 180oC/360oF/Gas 4.  While the oven is heating up remove the dish from the fridge and bring it to room temperature before cooking.  This will prevent the dish from cracking. (If you have used a metal dish then it does not need to be brought to room temperature.) 

5.  Uncover the dish when it has reached room temperature. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it is completely cooked through and golden on top.

6. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chives or onion tops. 

7.  Serve with a mixture of roast vegetables: red onion, sweet potato, peppers and tomato is a good combination.  The dish does not need potato as it contains bread so including another root vegetable in the mixture is a good idea.  Alternatively, especially in the Summer months, serve with a mixed salad.

Read Full Post »

The simplest recipes are often the best – I think I may have written this line before …  This dessert is a quickly made citrus flavoured cream, to which fruit pulp can be added, which is then served with or without additional fruit.  It would certainly be worth substituting lemon or orange (possibly tangerine too) for the lime and then partner the mousse with other fruits.  I intend to experiment with this idea and add variations on this page as they arise.  I have already combined lemon and strawberry in another recipe and know that to be a delicious combination.

This first recipe is a variation on the original, Mango Lime Mousse by chef Nick Nairn found on the BBC Food website.  The earthiness of the mango certainly complements the lime beautifully.  Although called Mango Lime Mousse, it was actually a lime mousse served with mango.  When I made it my mango was very soft and I ended up with pulp rather than recognisable pieces.  I decided to combine the fruit with the lime mousse and then to cut up another mango, which was firmer, to serve alongside.  The original recipe called for half a mango: I ended up using two, so the whole mango and lime balance of this recipe has been altered from the original.  This recipe uses half a tub of cream and generously served three people.  For four people it would be necessary to use the whole tub of cream and the proportions of the other ingredients either increased or kept the same, depending on personal preference.  For six people I would add another mango, half as purée and half as cubes or slices. I see no reason why a fruit and cream mixture could not be churned in an ice cream machine (or for those without a machine, semi frozen and then well stirred once or twice to break up the crystals before the final freeze).

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mango & Lime Mousse
(Serves 3)

For the citrus mousse:
150ml/5¼fl oz double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 lime, zest and juice only 

For a mango & citrus mousse add:
1 mango, pulped or puréed 

To finish the dish:
1 mango, peeled and either cubed or sliced
honey, to drizzle
sprig of mint, to garnish 

1.  Whisk the cream and sugar together in a bowl until thickened. 

2.  Zest and squeeze the lime.  Fold into the cream mixture until well combined. 

3.  Pulp or purée the softest mango (this is a good way to use an over ripe fruit) and whisk into the lime cream.  Place cream mixture in the refrigerator until it is to be served. 

4.  Arrange some cubes or slices of mango in each serving plate or dish. 

5.  Spoon the lime mixture on top, drizzle with honey and decorate with a sprig of mint.

Read Full Post »

I am always looking out for easy and unusual meat free recipes and I can thoroughly recommend this delicious vegetarian recipe.  I have a few vegetarian friends and it is good to have something a bit different to serve them.  I am fond of sweet potato and it is lovely in combination with melting cheese and sweet red pepper.  The next time we have a church lunch and I have to find a main course for vegetarians, this will be it!

I found a copy of Weightwatchers The Time to Eat Cookbook in a charity shop and this was the first recipe that caught my eye.  The original recipe used low fat Leicester cheese, but I used full fat cheese.  I had not used filo pastry before but I did not find it too difficult to handle as long as I followed a tip I had heard to keep unused pastry from drying out by covering with a damp tea towel.  When the pastry tore slightly it did not cause too many problems: I simply patched it with another piece of pastry.  Individual streudels could be served as a light lunch and not just for vegetarians – see below for more information.  It would also make an ideal starter to serve before a fish main course.  I served the streudel with salad and a Naan bread, although I felt the Naan not really necessary unless you were feeding someone who was very hungry.  Do not worry too much if the streudel splits open while cooking.

Sweet Potato & Red Leicester Streudel
(Serves 4)

450g (1lb) sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
75g (2¾oz) Red Leicester cheese, grated (half fat if you wish)
1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
1 onion, chopped finely
4 sheets filo pastry
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Boil the sweet potatoes in a panful of lightly salted water until they are tender – around 10minutes.

2.  Drain the sweet potatoes well and mash thoroughly.

3.  Stir in the cheese, red pepper, onion.  Season. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes.

4.  Preheat the oven to 190oC/370oF/Gas 5.

5.  Dip a tea towel in cold water and squeeze out very well.  Use this to cover the unused sheets of filo pastry to stop them from drying out. 

6.  Remove a sheet of filo pastry, covering the remainder with the damp tea towel.  Lightly brush the pastry sheet with some of the olive oil.  Do this with each sheet, stacking them on on top of each other once they have been prepared.  Put any remaining pastry sheets away as soon as possible.
7.  Spread the sweet potato mixture over the top of the pile of pastry sheets to within 7cm/¾inch of the edges. Carefully roll up the pastry so that the filling is enclosed.

8. Carefully lift the roll of pastry onto a lightly greased non-stick baking tray.   Brush the streudel with the remaining oil and carefully make some diagonal cuts in the top with a sharp knife. 

9.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

10.  Cut the strudel into four slices and serve with a mixed salad.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Individual Streudels
Make the mixture exactly as above, dividing the sweet potato mixture into four equal portions in the saucepan.  Peel off one sheet of filo pastry and cover the remainder with a damp tea towel.  Lightly oil one half of the filo sheet and fold in half.  Spoon the mixture onto the pastry sheet and roll up, tucking the ends in slightly as you go.


Read Full Post »

Cider ice lollies have always been one of my favourites and invariably my choice from the shop ice cream cabinet.   I was delighted, therefore, to find this recipe.  The sorbet is smooth from the apple puree and soft as the alcohol content stops it from freezing too hard.  We felt that it seemed extra cold even when soft, so it was very cooling and refreshing. 

The recipe comes from my favourite Ice Cream book: Making Ice Creams & Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis. I changed the title from Apple Sorbet to Cider-Apple Sorbet to indicate the inclusion of cider as some may prefer a recipe without alcohol.  The original recipe suggested that the apples were cored but unpeeled but I found removing the pieces of peel rather time consuming.  It may be that there is a nutritional, colour or flavour value from cooking apple peel, so I suggest first removing the apple peel but still cooking it with the fruit.  Peelings can easily be removed from the pan before the apple is pureed.  Originally the apples were cooked in half of the water with the remainder added before freezing, but I simplified this adding all the water at once.  Also, some green food colour was suggested to give a green tint, however I’m not too sure about additives.  Anyway I like the gentle sandy beige/pale cider colour, a similar but much paler version of commercial cider ice lollies.  If you do use colour, the book recommends making the colour just a little darker than you want when finished as Sorbet turns paler as it freezes.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Cider-Apple Sorbet
(Serves 6-8)

500g/1¼lb Granny Smith apples (be generous!)
150g/5ozs sugar
300ml/½pint water
250ml/8fl ozs strong dry Cider
A few drops Green food colouring (optional)
Thin strips of lime rind or (reserved uncooked) apple peel to decorate

1.  Peel and core the apples.  Roughly chop the fruit and place in a saucepan with the peel, but not the cores. 

2.  Add the caster sugar and the water.  Cover and simmer for around 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.

3.  Remove the apple peel and puree the fruit (or push it through a sieve placed over a bowl).

4.  Stir the cider into the apple puree and the boiling water from the apples.  Add a very small amount of green colouring.  Omitting this will produce a soft beige/pale cider colour.  Sorbet goes lighter as it freezes so make the colour just a little darker than you want when finished.

5. Ice Cream maker:
Pour into machine and churn.   When the mixture is slushy transfer to a container and freeze.

6. By hand:
If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze until slushy.  Remove once or twice and whisk to break up the ice crystals.  Return to freezer for at least four hours.

7. To serve:
Defrost in the fridge for about 20minutes before serving. Serve garnished with the lime rind or twists of apple peel reserved from earlier.

Read Full Post »

Back in the dim and distant past, when pasta was still a strange and unusual foodstuff, at least in our house (and well before I was married so probably still at school) I found this simple, inexpensive and useful recipe on the site of a spaghetti packet.  Sadly I have lost the original recipe but once made the basic recipe is not easily forgotten.

I think the herbs in the original were probably dried, I don’t think the peppers were included and I have a feeling that it was topped off with grated cheddar rather than parmesan cheese. My updated version uses fresh basil, which I always have available on the kitchen window sill and two diced peppers.  To serve I add freshly grated parmesan (I use Grano Padano rather than the more expensive Reggiano) and if unavailable then I substitute frozen grated parmesan from the freezer, but definitely not the dried powder in little boxes which is best left on the supermarket shelf!  For a spicier version substitute 1tbsp dried chilli peppers (or more for extra spice).  Piment d’Espelette from the French Basque country is regionally incorrect but still good, used in place of the basil.  This turns the recipe from Pasta Neapolitana into a fiery Pasta Arrabiata.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spaghetti Neapolitana
(Serves 3-4)

2tbsp olive oil
2 large onions
2 large cloves garlic
2 14oz/400g tins tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 large peppers (red or mixed colours, finely chopped)
2 large sprigs basil
1tsp vegetable stock powder (optional)
½tsp sugar
Salt & pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve
Basil to serve (reserved from above or additional)

2-3ozs/50-75g Spaghetti per person – I eat much less, say 1oz/25g

1.  Finely chop the onions, crush the garlic and fry gently in olive oil until transparent but not browned. 

2.  Chop the tinned tomatoes and add to the pan along with the tomato puree, stock powder (if using), most of the basil, sugar and diced peppers.  Season to taste. 

3.  Bring the tomato mixture to the boil and simmer gently in an uncovered pan until it has reduced to a thick sauce.  It is must better to simmer slowly so that the flavours can develop rather than reducing by boiling quickly.  (However, for a speedy meal, it is perfectly acceptable to cook this quickly as long as enough time is given for the ingredients to soften, although the flavours will not be as good.)

4.  While the tomato sauce is reducing, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water with a little oil to help stop the strands from sticking together.  When cooked (the strands should still ‘give’ a little – al dente (from the Italian ‘with bite’) – rather than very soft.  Drain and rinse with boiling water before serving a pile of spaghetti on each plate with a ‘well’ in the middle for the sauce.

5.  Serve the sauce onto the spaghetti (another small pasta shape can be substituted). Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and chopped or torn basil leaves.

Spaghetti Arrabiata – replace basil with ½-1tsp dried chilli peppers or ½tsp chilli powder.  Garnish with parsley and grated parmesan.

Read Full Post »

Cinnamon is one of my favourite spices and combines beautifully with pear.  This is a lovely creamy smooth textured ice cream which scooped well.  It was a very easy recipe and thick honey could be used as the sweetener in place of golden syrup.  It would also be interesting to try substituting pieces of stem ginger and perhaps some syrup from the jar for the golden syrup, perhaps leaving out the cinnamon.  I have made a few small changes to the original, halving the butter content and using just one egg rather than the egg and yolk suggested.

Once more the original recipe came from the book Ice Creams published by Hamlyn (there is no specified author) which contains a lots of delicious sounding and uncomplicated ice cream recipes.  I served this ice cream with some gently warmed slices of Conference pear which I sprinkled with a little lemon to prevent it browning but no sugar, before being cooked in the microwave for 1 minute on medium heat.   The ice cream starts to slightly melt over the warmed pear and I served it with a sprinkling of a little cinnamon mixed into demerara sugar, giving it a sparkly crunch!  Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream would be delicious served with French Pear Frangipane Tart, often known as Pear Pie Bordalue, something I occasionally make (recipe coming eventually).  To save work when repeating this recipe, I would make and freeze a double or triple quantity of the pear mixture, defrosting it to turn into ice cream at a later date.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

 Cinnamon Pear Ice Cream
(Serves 4)

500g/1lb ripe pears, peeled, cored & chopped (I used Conference)
2tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp golden syrup
25g/1ozs butter
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg (add an extra yolk if available)
150ml/¼ pint double or whipping cream
Cinnamon & demerara sugar mixture or mint leaves to decorate

1.  Place the pears in a saucepan with the lemon juice, golden syrup, butter and cinnamon.  Bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer gently and uncovered until the pears are soft.  Puree the pears in a liquidiser or food processor and return the mixture to the rinsed pan.

2.  Beat the egg (or egg & yolk) together in a bowl.  Combine with the pear mixture in the saucepan and cook on a very gentle heat, stirring well, until the mixture thickens.

3.  Ice Cream maker:
Churn the pear mixture in the machine, gradually adding the cream until thick , which should take around 10-15 minutes.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours.

4. By hand:
Whisk the cream lightly until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted. Combine with the pear mixture.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze until partly set.  Remove the partly frozen ice cream from the freezer and stir once before freezing until set. 

5.  To serve:
Defrost in the fridge before serving: this can take up to 1hour depending on the type of ice cream.  Dip the serving spoon or scoop in boiling water to help it cut through the ice cream if it is a little hard.   Serve with fresh or lightly cooked pear or pear tart, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or decorated with fresh mint leaves.

Read Full Post »

I have long been on the look out for a good Nut Burger/Cutlet/Rissole recipe.  From time to time I buy ready made Goodlife (Fairtrade) Nut Cutlets which are useful for a quick meal, but want to find a successful recipe to make something similar myself.  I may well end up experimenting using some of the ingredients from the back of the packet however there is one recipe I have made that is rather good and just needs a bit of ‘tweaking’ before I post it!  This recipe for Nut Rissoles is definitely a ‘keeper’ and one of the quickest nut ‘burger’ recipes I have come across, although the recipe is finished in a tomato sauce rather than grilled or baked, which keeps the rissoles moist.  The little patties are quickly mixed and shaped while the sauce is cooking.  After that it is just a quick 25-30 minutes in the oven.

The recipe comes from Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.  Originally called Brown Nut Rissoles in Tomato Sauce the recipe suggests using almonds or hazelnuts.  I used a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.  The cheese and egg in the recipe is not noticeable and helps to bind the mixture together.  I see no reason why these Rissoles might not be frozen as I have previously made nut burgers in bulk and stored them in the freezer.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Nut Rissoles with Tomato Sauce
(Serves 3-4)

1 quantity of  Simple Tomato Sauce (sauce in original recipe has no herbs)

Nut Rissoles
1 small onion, finely chopped & fried in 1tbsp olive oil
125g/4ozs roughly chopped nuts, single variety or mixed
50g/2ozs soft white or wholemeal breadcrumbs
50g/2ozs Cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 heaped tsp tomato purée
1 egg
½tsp dried thyme
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4.

2.  Before making the rissoles make Simple Tomato Sauce and leave it to simmer.

3.  Mix the rissole ingredients together well, season to taste and form into 6 to 8 equally sized slightly flattened balls with your hands.

4.  Place them in the base of a shallow greased dish and pour over the tomato sauce.

5.  Bake for 25 -30 minutes.

6.  Serve with pasta or rice sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese plus a green vegetable or green salad.

Read Full Post »

Mangoes abound on our market during the summer months: just one of the many advantages of living in a multi-ethnic area.  We love their rich flavour and silky texture, so I was delighted to find this easy recipe for Mango Ice Cream.  The resulting Mango Ice cream was delicious: smooth, rich and creamy.  I can see myself making a lot of this, especially as Mangoes are often plentiful locally.  It would be wonderful combined in a trio of tropical flavoured ice creams. In combination with Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts and/or Pineapple Ice Cream and/or Coconut Ice Cream this would be a lovely cooling Summer dessert.   The recipe specified one Mango: mine was very large, which did not affect the recipe at all.  The recipe is very quick once the sugar syrup has been made: this takes 15-20 mins and needs to be done a little in advance to allow it to cool. My first batch of syrup had to be discarded as I cooked it too long (trying to do several things at once I did not watch it carefully enough) so be warned, but please do not be put off!  I have found that a slightly overcooked syrup can be cooled slightly, a little extra water added, the syrup gently melted into the newly added water and then carefully reboiled to the thread stage.  It may be able to be rescued providing it has not started to caramelise.  I have recently made Citrus Fruit Mousse, in this instance a mango and lime cream mixture, to serve with fruit so I am sure that lime juice would be a really good substitute for lemon juice in this ice cream.

The original recipe was found in the book Ice Creams published by Hamlyn (there is no specified author).  This useful little book was found in a local charity shop and contains a good number of fairly easy ice cream recipes within its slim pages.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mango Ice Cream
(filled a 1litre ice cream container)

300ml/½pint water
100g/4ozs sugar
1 large ripe mango, peeled
2tbsp lemon juice (alternatively lime juice)
150ml/5fl ozs double or whipping cream

1.  Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to the boil and cook steadily until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, reaching 107oC/225oF on a sugar thermometer.  (This is called thread stage. If you do not have a sugar thermometer then let a small amount of syrup fall from a spoon onto a saucer.  It should form a fine thin thread.)  Leave to cool.  Take care it does not over cook (see note above).  I found that, once it was at a rolling boil (after the sugar had dissolved) it took around 15 minutes for the syrup to cook.

2.  Remove the flesh from the peeled mango in rough chunks, place in a liquidizer with the lemon juice and puree.  Stir into the syrup.

3.  Ice Cream maker:
Churn the mango mixture in the machine, gradually adding the cream until thick , which should take around 10-15 minutes.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours.

4. By hand:
Whisk the double cream lightly until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted. Combine with the mango mixture.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze until partly set.  Remove the partly frozen ice cream from the freezer and stir once before freezing until set. 

5.  To serve:
Defrost in the fridge before serving: this can take up to 1hour depending on the type of ice cream.  Dip the serving spoon or scoop in boiling water to help it cut through the ice cream if it is a little hard.

Read Full Post »

Recipes for versions of Lentil Lasagne abound online and in cookery books, but I just couldn’t find a definitive one we really liked.  They had a tendency to be dry tasting and a bit bland.  I wanted a sauce base starting with onion, garlic, mushroom, tomato and a selection of other flavoursome vegetables we like plus, of course, red lentils to soak up the liquid.  I decided to make a similar mixture to the Masoor Dhal (Red Lentil Dhal) I serve with Indian food, adding extra vegetables, but keeping the spice mix much simpler: fragrant but definitely no heat plus some of our favourite fresh coriander.  After that the mixture could be simply layered with sheets of lasagne, white sauce and cheese in a similar way to traditional meat Lasagne al Forno made with Ragu Bolognaise.

There is not really an original recipe to acknowledge for my Spicy Vegetable Dhal Lasagne, however as my starting point one of the main recipes I used was this one for Lentil Lasagne from Forkd, which was tweaked and adapted until it became my own Spicy Vegetable Dhal Lasagne.  I chopped the vegetables into quite small pieces, but they could be left larger for a more chunky lasagne.   We were delighted with the tasty result: here it is.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spiced Vegetable Dhal Lasagne
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
125g/4ozs button mushrooms, quartered
200g/60zs red lentils (masoor dhal)
1-1½ pints water
1tsp vegetable bouillon powder
1 x 400g/14oz tin tomatoes, chopped
15ml/1tbsp tomato puree
½tsp sugar
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1 large courgette in small dice  (or 4-6 baby courgettes in small slices)
1 large yellow pepper (or red if not available), chopped2tbsp chopped fresh coriander, reserving a little as a garnish
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
200g/6ozs grated mozzarella or mild cheddar
9-10 Lasagne sheets

For the sauce:
¾pint milk
2tbsps cornflour
1tsp butter or margarine
½tsp mild French mustard
½tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.

2.  Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry together the onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms until soft but not brown.

3.  Check the lentils and remove any stones or twig and add to the pan with at least 1pint of water, the tomato puree, well chopped tinned tomatoes, sugar, ground coriander, ground cumin and stock powder.  Stir well, bring to the boil and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until the lentils start to soften (about 20 minutes).

4.  Add the grated carrot, diced courgette and chopped pepper. Stir well.  Add salt & black pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to start to soften.  If the mixture becomes to thick then add some more water.  The lasagne sheets need to absorb plenty of liquid from the dhal mixture or they will not be soft enough.

5a.  Meanwhile make the white sauce.   Blend the cornflour with a little of the milk.  Heat the remaining milk and combine with the blended cornflour.  Pour this mixture into a saucepan and stir continuously over a moderate heat until the mixture thickens.  It should be a pouring consistency so add a little more milk if it is too thick.
5b.  Gradually combine the milk with the cornflour in a microwave proof jug.  Heat in 30 second to 1 minute bursts on a high heat, stirring well between each burst of heat, until the mixture starts to thicken.  It should be a pouring consistency so add a little more milk if it is too thick.

6.  Stir the French mustard and nutmeg into the thickened white sauce and mix well.

7.  Mix most of the chopped fresh coriander into the dhal mixture, reserving a little for garnish if you wish.

8.  Starting with spoonfuls of dhal mixture, layer the lasagne: sauce, about 2tbsp white sauce, a sprinkling of grated cheese and sheets of lasagne.  Continue in this way ending with a final layer of dhal mixture.  I usually add some more boiling water at this point around the edge of the lasagne, which will either be absorbed by the pasta or evaporate in the hot oven.

9.  Pour the remaining white sauce over the final layer of dhal mixture and cover with the remaining grated cheese.

10.  Bake for 30-40minutes until the top is golden and crispy and the water has completely disappeared.

11.  Serve garnished with chopped coriander.

12.  This dish does not really need extra vegetables, but a simple side salad makes a good accompaniment.  For extra hungry diners it could be served with a garlic bread.  Leftovers can be frozen but, as usual, should be thoroughly reheated before serving.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: