What I'm cooking and eating

Friday, 12 January 2018

Salmon with white wine sauce

Once again, no photos!  But this was very good.  Serves 2, takes about 20 minutes.

2 salmon fillets
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 small leek
Small tin peas (or use frozen)
250 ml white wine (I buy cooking wine in France)
Salt, pepper, herbs (I used 1 tsp mixed herbs and 1 tsp sumac)
1 tbs creme fraiche
100 g pasta of your choice (I used spaetzle)

Put half the butter into a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion, garlic and leeks.  Allow to cook for a few minutes until the onion is transparent and the leeks stop looking raw.  Now add the white wine and seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile cook the pasta for the requisite length of time, and fry the salmon in another pan in the rest of the butter. 

Drain the peas, then stir them into the white wine mixture, then add the creme fraiche.  Bring back to the boil, then stir in the cooked pasta.  Pile into big pasta plates and serve with the salmon fillets on top.  Delicious!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Chick peas and noodles in sweet potato sauce

Some weeks ago now, Becca at Amuse Your Bouche posted a recipe for chickpea dumplings in sweet potato gravy.  I made it, and it was delicious, but the chickpea dumplings were really rather solid.  I think they would have been better with some kind of raising agent added. 

Anyway, I wanted to put my own take on it.  I was vaguely thinking of trying to make noodles with chickpea flour, but I've tried that before and it was a disaster.  So I thought I would make ordinary noodles, and then add some chickpeas to the recipe.  This was how I adapted it.

1 medium-sized sweet potato
1 leek
1 onion
2 cloves garlic (I have some lovely garlic just now, from my brother's garden!)
1 sweet pepper
1 quantity cooked chickpeas (1/2 cup uncooked, or a drained tinful)
1 tin tomatoes
500 ml stock
Seasoning, including cumin and turmeric

250 ml plain flour
1 egg
Enough water to mix

Chop the vegetables and sauté in a little cooking oil.
Add the tomatoes and stock, season, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Then take  a stick blender and puree the stew - you don't want it soup-quality, but just so it's nice and gungy.  Add the chickpeas. 
Now make the noodles by putting the flour into a bowl, adding the egg, and mix it with dough hooks on a hand mixer, adding water as necessary, until you have a really smooth dough. 
Go on mixing for a few minutes, then press through a noodle maker straight into the sauce.  Bring back to the boil, stirring, and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Serve with a green vegetable.

It was delicious, but I now have indigestion.....

Monday, 20 November 2017

Squid in black bean sauce

This was a (fairly successful) attempt to re-create a favourite of mine from the Chinese take-away across the road that closed its doors several years ago now, and I still miss!  I bought the squid bodies from Sainsbury's - Tesco's only sell squid rings, which aren't quite such good value for money.  Sadly, I don't quite know where to source whole squid, complete with tentacles - they are quite the nicest.

About 100-150 g squid (I didn't weigh, but it was 4 of Sainsbury's frozen squid bodies), thawed and cut into smallish pieces.  Or a similar weight of raw squid rings.  Or use whole squid if you can get them.
1 chunk frozen ginger (or grated fresh - a piece about the size of your thumb)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli pepper, chopped (seeds removed)
1 onion, peeled and chopped, but not too finely
1 green pepper, cut into chunks about the same size as the pieces of squid.
1 sachet black bean sauce
Oil for frying

Melt the oil in a wok or large frying pan, and add all the vegetables.  Stirring all the time, once they begin to cook, then add the squid pieces, stirring again, and finally the black bean sauce.  Bring back to the boil and serve at once with rice or noodles, or even vegetable noodles, as liked!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Vegetable rice

I nearly called this bottom-of-the-fridge rice, as it can be (I imagine) made with lots of different vegetables, depending on what wants used in your fridge.  I served this with bought chicken kievs (don't judge me - they are nice once in awhile), but I imagine it could be a meal in its own right if you added some cooked beans, or cheese or an egg, depending on whether you wanted it vegan or vegetarian.

2 tbs cooking oil
1.5 tsp asafoetida (only because I cba to chop an onion!  Use an onion instead if you prefer)
1 tsp dried garlic (or 1-2 cloves of fresh; again, I cba to prepare it!)
1 leek
1/2 small swede (rutabaga)
Handful Chantenay carrots
1 chilli pepper
1/2 cup long-grain rice
250 ml chicken stock (from a cube is fine if you don't have any home-made; obviously if you want this to be vegetarian or vegan, use vegetable stock or plain water - if the latter, up the seasoning a bit).

Cook the asafoetida in the oil for a few minutes - don't let it burn if you can help it - and then add the prepared vegetables.  Allow them to cook in their own steam for a bit, then add the rice and stock.  Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to the minimum and leave to cook for 15 minutes.  It comes out quite different from a risotto, much more (in my opinion) of a side dish.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Garlicky aubergines with goats' cheese* and root vegetable noodles

* If you don't eat goats' cheese, substitute either regular cream cheese or, for a vegan alternative, hummus or a simple tahini dressing.

2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 chunk daikon

1 medium aubergine
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbs cooking oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 tub goat's cream cheese (I used one with chives, which was really nice!) (or ordinary cream cheese, or hummus, or a simple tahini dressing)

Spiralize the root vegetables,
and put into a pan with the oil, salt and pepper.  Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently, while you dice the aubergine
and crush the garlic.  Add these to the pan, cover, and allow to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in the goats' cheese (or substitute), heat through again, and serve at once.
You could also use sweet potato or butternut squash noodles with this.  Either as well as, or instead of, the carrot and parsnip.  I do like to add a bit of daikon (aka mooli), though, as it lightens things up a bit.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Macaroni cheese revisited

Macaroni cheese is, of course, infinitely variable, but this particular casserole has a couple of new things.  First of all, I discovered that home-made spaetzle should really be kneaded for several minutes, and this certainly does improve their texture and the length of the finished product in my noodle maker.

Secondly, I decided to try Amuse your Bouche's crispy garlic breadcrumbs instead of my normal breadcrumb-and-cheese topping; the first time I tried to make these they were a disaster, but, but I realised that if I made the bread into breadcrumbs first, it would work rather better.   It did!

Thirdly, I used a tin of tomatoes instead of the normal béchamel - I used to do this a lot in the past, but haven't done it with leeks before.


The noodles:

1 cup (roughly 250 ml by volume) plain flour
1 egg
Salt, pepper and mustard to taste
Enough water to make a stiffish dough.

Knead the above - ideally using dough hooks on a stand mixer - for several minutes, until it is really smooth and stretchy.  Press through a noodle-maker into boiling salted water; bring back to the boil, then drain, and rinse the noodles in cold water until they are cold (this helps set them).

The main event:

1 leek, chopped
About 1/4 small pumpkin or butternut squash, diced
c 20g butter
c 1 tbs plain flour
1 tin tomatoes
Seasonings - salt, pepper, mustard, maybe sweet paprika
Several handfuls grated cheese

Cook the leek and pumpkin (or any other vegetable you fancy) in the butter until no longer raw; using a blender, whizz the flour with the tin of tomatoes and pour the result on to the vegetables; bring to the boil and add the noodles and grated cheese.  Smooth the surface, and top with: crispy garlic breadcrumbs (see recipe here).  Bake at Mark 5 for about 45 minutes, until the breadcrumbs really are crispy.

Edited to add: I was not totally convinced by this.  The garlic breadcrumbs were wonderful, a great addition to the repertoire, but I think with a tomato sauce I do prefer onions to leeks, and I'm not sure the home-made noodles showed to best advantage like this.  Maybe commercial pasta would have been better (the dried kind - one can buy fresh spaetzle anywhere on the Continent, but not in this country as yet).  The pumpkin worked well, though.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Well, duh!

There are times when I really think I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me!  I have been cooking for - what - the best part of 60 years, and I always, but always, made a béchamel sauce to go with cauliflower, especially if I was going to make it into a cauliflower cheese bake.

But we have been travelling, and space in our motor home is limited.  So it occurred to me - when I make nachos, I just melt the grated cheese in a little milk - what would happen if I poured the result over the cauliflower?

And, of course, it worked splendidly!  I didn't realise quite how dim I was not to have thought of that that long since....