ramtops: (Default)

iphone timer

As my regular reader will know, Tuesday night is pasta night. I just open the fridge and concoct something from its contents. For people who don’t have time to cook, here’s a 15-20 minute supper.

Bear in mind I have an ceramic hob, so you can skip the “put the rings on” bit if you’ve got gas.

  1. Switch on the big ring, put a deep frying pan on it, add a slug of olive oil
  2. Switch on the medium ring, put some cold water and salt in a pan, set it on the ring
  3. Slice up a big leek and put it in the pan with the oil.
  4. Weigh out the pasta (if you do such things – we do, because carbs/diabetes)
  5. Slice up some mushrooms, and add to the leeks
  6. Notice pasta water is boiling – add pasta, set timer for ten minutes (this is dried pasta – your pasta may vary)
  7. Remember you haven’t put any garlic in, so quickly peel and chop two cloves and throw them in with the vegetables
  8. Put a colander in the sink for drainage purposes
  9. Grate black pepper into the veg
  10. Open the fridge for some lemon juice, find a bottle of white wine open, and add some of that instead.  Too much, so turn up the heat to boil it down a bit
  11. Remove block of feta from fridge and cut up about one third of it
  12. When timer goes, drain pasta then add it to vegetables, together with the feta.
  13. Stir it all together, decant into bowls, scoff.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

green beans and pasta

This is another ridiculously quick and easy supper, and pretty cheap too (depending where you shop) – certainly well under £1 per serving. Works well with runner beans as well.

serves 2:

1 pack green beans (89p from Aldi, I think)
125g of pasta (fusilli, quills, whatever – Aldi fusilli is 49p for 500g, so that’s (counts on fingers) 12.5p)
1 chopped onion (20p)
1 dessert spoon (ish) of olive oil
lemon juice – a bottle is easier, and cheaper, than fresh
black pepper
about 25g grated parmesan (35p?)

Top and tail the beans, while you put a decent amount of water on to boil. When it has, put in the pasta and set a timer (mental, if necessary) for 10 minutes. I put the beans in that pot when there was eight minutes left, which left a nice crunch to them.

While the beans and pasta are cooking, cook the onion off in the olive oil. Add to the drained pasta/bean mix, stir in a good slug of lemon juice, the parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Light, quick, simple, healthy, cheap. Vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this :)

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so – 30p max)
⅓ big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about £0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max.   I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

This is one of my standards – you can use it for lasagne, moussaka, shepherds pie … anything you do with mince, really.

There are just two of us in the household, but I always cook for at least six so I can freeze some. Also, this recipe is a bitsa, using up what I have in the fridge.

Into the slow cooker: one chopped onion, three diced carrots, one diced courgette, half a red pepper, 4 cloves garlic, small slug of olive oil, and any spice you fancy. I usually use Ras el Hanout, but anything middle eastern is good. Left on low for about an hour. Add 1 pint of red lentils and 2 pints of water, switch to high, leave for about four hours. If you didn’t fancy the spices, substitute a splash of red wine for some of the water, and bung in some herbs.

I made a lentil bake with this yesterday, which I shall write up in a bit.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

cauliflowers and asparagus

We were in Norfolk last weekend, to celebrate the 7th birthday of our grandson. A very nice time was had by all, and on our way home on Sunday afternoon, we kept an eye out for roadside stalls, looking for asparagus and strawberries. Nothing on the roadside, but we stopped at a huge farm shop somewhere … in the South Holland district in Lincolnshire, according to Foursquare.

Two bunches of asparagus at £1.50 each, and two caulis for a quid. So all that lot for £4.00!

One bunch of asparagus went into a quiche, with three eggs, some milk and some rather elderly brie, chopped up. Also a shallot fried off in a little butter, and some chopped chives. That did supper with some Jersey Royals, and lunch the following day.

The second bunch was stir fried with chilli and ginger, one of our absolutely favourite dishes.

One cauli was last night made into a veg curry, which will do at least two more days (if I can find some freezer space!), and the other will be enrobed in cheese sauce for tonight’s supper.

No strawberries (just a little bit too early, I guess), but all the same – that’s really cheap living (although I suppose it’s rather far to go if we weren’t passing …)

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

Cheesy potato scones.

Potato scones are a doddle. 3-2-1 potato, flour, butter or marg. I usually do 150g of spud, but there was 225g leftover from last night and really, what am I going to do with 3oz of mash? To hell with it, it’s Friday, I used it all.

So – rub flour and marg/butter together to make breadcrumbs. Squish in the mashed potato* to make a dough. You’ll need some milk at this point – somewhere between a dribble and a splash, I guess – just to make the dough more pliable. If you make it too sloppy, don’t worry – just add more flour!

Roll it out into (an approximation) of a circle – the thickness doesn’t matter, really, it only affects the cooking time – and divide into six. You can bake these in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes, but I tend to do them on the gas hob on a cast iron griddle (any heavy bottomed frying pan would do). It uses less energy. Turn them after 5 minutes or so, or when they’re browning and cook the other side. I actually had time to wash up and wipe down the worktops while they were cooking.

Traditionally, these are served with bacon in Ireland, but we just scoff them as is, with lashings^H^H a tiny bit of butter.

*If I have cold potato, unmashed, I tend to bung it all in the food processor, but I did it by hand today.

 

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

Well, it was meant to be a vegetable curry, but I’m not convinced it turned out like that.

I love pulses and beans, and keep serried ranks of jars in my cupboards, all containing various varieties of same. Last weekend, I thought I’d cook up some kidney beans, so I poured some into a bowl and covered them with water, left them to soak. Then on the Sunday, I cooked ‘em up in the slow cooker. On Monday morning, I drained them into a colander, and thought “Gosh. That’s a lot of beans”. I do this regularly, and I really must learn how many cooked beans a given quantity of dried beans transmutes into. “Lots” seems to be the general answer.

In a “lets clear the fridge of all the old veg”, between us Pete and I chopped red onions, aubergine, butternut squash and sweet potato. And garlic and ginger was liquidised into a paste. I took the black Le Creuset out of the cupboard, looked at the bowl of beans, and got out the enormous faux Le Creuset that I bought in Sainsburys for about 45 quid (about ¼ of what a genuine one would cost).

In my ongoing attempts to lose weight, I’m using far less oil to cook, so I put about, oh, a dessert spoonful of groundnut oil, in which I softened the onions, then added quite a lot of garam masala and cooked it off. In went the garlic/ginger paste, then the cubed veg. Turned it all round to coat it, and get it started, then added passata, and sufficient water to cover the mix, and some seasoning. When the veg were almost cooked, we shoehorned in the kidney beans (not easy, I can assure you), and left it another 15 minutes or so.

It was really, really nice, but not very curryish. No matter. And it made 10 portions for really not very much money at all.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

There seems to be Quite a Lot of Stilton in the fridge, so yesterday I made a start on it. I had oatcakes with stilton for lunch, accompanied by rather a lot of silverskin onions, and some of the coriander chicken soup (which is a triumph, though I say so myself).

Then last night, I rummaged through the fridge, and a carton of rather sad chestnut mushrooms presented itself.

So … I chopped an onion and set it to cook down in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Chopped the mushrooms and a couple of cloves of garlic and added them in.I kept the heat low and stirred all the time, because I’m trying to use less oil in cooking, and mushrooms just slurp it up. Stuck a pan of hot water on to boil, and added 120g of fusilli pasta when it did so.

Kept stirring the mushrooms, while also dicing up 30g of stilton (that’s seen off the slab, now just the jar to go :). When the pasta had five minutes to go, I put the diced cheese in, and kept it all moving so that it melted down and coated the mushrooms. Then drained the pasta, put it in the mushroom pan, and added 2 good teaspoons of half fat creme fraiche.

Really tasty, and about 520 calories a portion.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

leeks
We’re having a bit of a funny day today, food wise. A friend asked if we could hold a birthday party here for him tonight, and said he would order takeaway pizza. *Takeaway pizza*. I ask you. So I said we’d cook, and indeed I have – a vat of Madhur Jaffrey’s lemony chicken with coriander has been constructed, and Pete will make a big dish of dhal, later. Also two cakes baked this morning.

But the party won’t be kicking off until about 9 p.m.for various reasons, and I really can’t wait until then to eat my Indian Feeeeast, so I thought I’d made something a bit more substantial that our usual lunch, and grab a mug of soup later to keep me going.

So … to serve two.

Removed the green end bits from two nice fat leeks, and sliced the rest into rings. Set them to sauté down in some olive oil and a knob of butter. Put water on to boil for 150g of penne pasta. Added a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped, to the leeks. Ventured out in the snow for some thyme, chopped and added that. When the pasta was done, added it to the leek mix, and hurled in half a tub of low fat creme fraiche. Quick, easy, tasty. Just under 400 calories a serving. Win.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

We had a cauli in the fridge last week. Now, I like cauli, and we make cauli cheese, or a cauli and lentil curry. Sometimes we even just have it as a side veg. But none of them appealed, so I went rummaging through the books, and came up with Satyamma’s cauliflower curry. I didn’t follow the recipe precisely – they’re guidelines, is all.

We added sweet potato rather than “ordinary”, and adjusted the spices a bit (but not enough – needs about twice as much as the recipe, to my mind), and added a can of chickpeas*; it was absolutely lovely, and I reckoned it at about 190 calories a serving, without rice or whatever. We had roasted peanuts left in from the festive season, and everything else was in the house already, so that was a win too.

I really must go through that book more, because I’m currently in a bit of a rut with cooking.

Also, note to self: take photographs!

*Yes, I know, but I do keep a few tins of pulses in for such occasions; normally I would have soaked and boiled. Mea culpa.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

I was all set to make a Thai veg curry the other night. There were aubergines, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and peppers in the fridge, Pete was despatched up the road (in the cold, in the dark, with an owl) for coconut milk, and I was good to go. Except I didn’t want veg curry. I wanted soothing lentils, a comfort food in this household. So lentils I had.

I chopped two small onions, some garlic and fresh ginger, and fried them down in some olive oil. While this was going on, I chopped an aubergine and a couple of peeled sweet potatoes. Added them to the mix with cumin seeds and chilli flakes, turned it all round in the oil. Bunged in a mugful of red lentils (an old WordPerfect mug, in fact, an integral part of our batterie de cuisine here), and a can of coconut milk. Despite my precautions, the wretched stuff still managed to squirt a stream of clear coconut up  my arm under the sleeve of my fleece.

Stirred that all round, went “um”, and added two cans full of water, and about 2 teaspoons of Marigold bouillon powder, a very useful thing indeed. Seasoned with salt and black pepper, brought it to the boil, and then put it on a diffuser for about 45 minutes.

It was absolutely gorgeous – that made six portions, and we liked it so much that we ate it again for lunch the next day. I did managed to put one tub in the freezer before we pigged it all, but I shall be making that again. And again.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

I bought a pack of baby aubergines at the weekend – I’m not normally seduced by such things, but they were so pretty …  We had about a third of them in the roast veg on Sunday, and I was left with not enough for moussaka, but some.  There were also some cold cooked new potatoes lurking in the fridge. So:

Heated some groundnut oil in a shallow pan, and put in some black mustard seeds. Added a chopped red onion, and cooked till translucent.  Lobbed in some standard Indian spices, ground (tumeric, cumin, coriander) and a fresh red chilli, sliced. Stirred it all round.

Added the aubergine and potatoes, cut into largish dice. Stirred round some more. Added about 1/2 mug of water, put lid on, left for 15 minutes.  Stirred in a load of fresh coriander at the end.

It was utterly lovely – we shall be eating *that* again!

We used up the last of the button mushrooms in a poor man’s mushroom pilau – shallot, cinnamon, mushrooms, rice.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

butternut squash and aubergines

This is a photograph from another roast veg, but all text makes a dull post :)

We used to have this a lot, but somehow got out of the habit.  But it’s a nice healthy meal while I’m battling with health issues, so off we went.

Chopped an aubergine, a yellow pepper, half a butternut squash, half a sweet potato and a red onion, and put in a bowl with about five cloves of chopped garlic.  Added olive oil and sesame seeds, mixed it together (I always use my paws), then put some clingfilm on it, and zapped for 8 minutes in the microwave, which knocks about 20 minutes or so off the cooking time.

Turned into an ovenproof dish, and baked for about 45 minutes at gas 6.

To accompany it, I did some chickpeas (as I’d boiled up a load the day before) – browned a chopped shallot in some olive oil, add the chickpeas and a good dollop of lemon juice, and warmed through.  Added chopped fresh coriander at the end.We had the remainder of the veg on a small ciabatta each for lunch, topped with a little feta and grilled for a couple of minutes.  Fab.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

Another big bag of broad beans in the box this week. I wanted something quick and simple for supper, but of course failed to allow the time required to shell a big bag of broad beans. Ho hum.

Once they were released from their furry prisons, I set (far too much) pasta on to boil, and simmered the beans for about 7 minutes. Chopped an onion and sauteéd it in olive oil. Chopped the half a pack of feta that was in the fridge. Hurled everything into one pan when done, and stirred round with a little more olive oil and the juice of the half lemon lurking in the fridge.

Nice quick, fresh, summer supper (even with the bean depodding time).

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

The veg box brought us a pair of sweet potatoes, and we had a cauliflower left over.

Not wanting to cook too much in the heat, I peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2cm-ish chunks.  They were simmered for about 18 minutes, and I put the cauliflower florets in the steamer basket for the last 7 minutes.

I chopped an onion and a red pepper, and minced ginger and garlic, and fried that lot off in some olive oil, while Pete ground some spices with a Morrocan twist (including pomegranate seeds), and I put them in the frying pan with the onion mixture for a couple of minutes.

Tipped everything into the slow cooker, and added the rest of the broad bean stock. Cooked on low for about 8 hours, and ate with rice, but cous cous would have worked too.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

I looked at all the pods from the broad beans, and thought “I should be able to make some stock with those”, so I threw them in the slow cooker with some water for a few hours.

There were two rather tired leeks in the fridge, so they were sliced and sautéd in olive oil and butter, then I added 5 oz of arborio rice and stirred it round.  I added some finely chopped lemon balm from the garden too.

Then in went 1 pint of the pod stock (which was not great, but OK), bit by bit, stirring as I went to allow the rice to absorb it..  Some sea salt and black pepper, and half a block of feta at the end, chopped into small chunks, which made it nice and creamy.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

Still more green beans to eat …

Topped and tailed them, chopped into 2cm chunks (this is starting to sound like a repeat :).  Simmered for 6/7 minutes.   Drained and rinsed in cold water.

Chopped an onion and some garlic, oh and some fresh ginger.  Heated groundnut oil in the wok, added about a dessertspoon of mustard seeds and waited for them to pop.  Then hurled in onion, garlic and ginger and cooked until soft, splattering self in hot oil in the process.

Added the beans and some five spice powder,  stirred about for a couple of minutes, added a good splash of tamari, cooked for about 2 minutes.

I used too much oil, but it worked really well.  We had it with basmati rice, which had the juice of half a lemon added to it, which is really nice.

And now the green beans are all gone - hurrah!  But another veg box arrives tomorrow …

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

lentil dosas

I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I spotted them in one of my bread books, but I’ve never been organised enough to do it - they’re remarkably simple, but you need to start them 32 hours in advance, according to the book.

Take 3/4 cup of long grain rice (I used Basmati, as we had no long grain), 1/4 cup of red lentils, and combine in a bowl with 1 cup of warm water.

Cover with clingfilm, and leave for 8 hours.

Then, blitz the contents of the bowl in a food processor, and return to the (rinsed out) bowl, recover with the clingfilm, and leave for 24 hours.

Then stir in some salt, ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp (ish) of turmeric.  The recipe said to add fresh coriander; we didn’t have any, but I did lob in some grated fresh ginger.  It claimed it would make 6 x 6″ dosas, but I made them a bit smaller for ease of scoffing - just heat up a heavy based frying pan, add some oil, and cook them like drop scones or whatever.

They were utterly delicious - we ate them with some leftover black-eyed peas in tomatoes that I cooked up at the weekend to accompany our (home made) chicken dansak.  We shall be having them again!

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

I reviewed the contents of the veg drawer last night - to my shame, there were two small turnips going mouldy, so they had to go.  A wide assortment of carrots was hurled into the slow cooker for carrot and coriander soup for lunch today.  And there were a lot of green beans.

greenbeansWe like green beans, but we tend to do the same sort of stuff with them every time, and I wanted to try something different, so this is what I did.  It was lovely - perfect summer food.

Topped and tailed the beans, and then cut them into chunks of about 2cm.  Set them to simmer for about  seven minutes, I guess.

Put on some pasta quills to boil.

Got Pete to grate a lot of parmesan, rummaged for the tired half lemon in the fridge, and went and cut some fennel fronds from the garden, which I chopped up small.

Combined beans, pasta, parmesan, black pepper, lemon juice, fennel and some cream, and scoffed from bowls.

Followed it with local strawberries and a home made brownie.  Lovely.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

ramtops: (Default)

There was a bunch of swiss chard lurking in the fridge; and we were slightly over-tomato’d.  So I soaked some chickpeas overnight on Friday, and bunged them in the slow cooker with some boiling water at early o’clock on Saturday, so that we could construct something for supper.

Sliced the chard into 1 cm strips, and blanched it for 2-3 minutes.  Skinned and chopped three fat tomatoes (actually, I got Pete to do that, as raw tomato makes me heave).

Fried about 1 dessertspoon of caraway seeds and an onion in some olive oil, then added tomatoes, ground coriander, some tamarind paste (watered down), some water and cooked that down for about 20 minutes, then added chickpeas and chard.  Chopped fresh coriander went in at the end, along with the juice of half a lemon.

We ate it with rice, and it was lovely.  A tub went in the freezer, and the last couple of spoonsful served as a base for a chickpea salad to go with yesterday’s barbie.

As usual, of course, there are Still More Chickpeas.  Some are being dealt with for tonight’s supper (details to follow), and the rest will go for hummous, I think.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

Profile

ramtops: (Default)
ramtops

March 2016

S M T W T F S
  1 2345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags