I’m on my own this week. Paul is out west fishing (so I better be writing about the amazing Wild Trout I ate all weekend next week or there’ll be trouble!). It’s been hectic, 2 small kids mean that most of the day consists of nonstop laundering, wiping, sweeping …(I could go on). There’s barely any time to eat never mind cook but somehow we’ve been doing alright.  Dan and I even made a mango and coconut cake the other day (not quite right yet so I won’t share).

Last night I fancied something a bit more grown up than the stuff I’ve been eating all week so I treated myself to a Vietnamese style rare beef salad – properly rare slices of Steak tossed in a flavour-drenched concoction of Garlic pounded with Peppercorns, Lime Juice and Nam Pla (the Vietnamese fish sauce) tossed in Greens, Scallions and Coriander. It’s a dish that’s pretty easy to put together and tastes a little different every time I make it. I like it fiery with lots of Chili but you can tone it down by taking out the seeds.If you don’t have Lime juice, lemon will do. No Fish sauce? Soy will do fine. This week’s Pak Choy could easily replace the Lettuce, just wilt it first. It’s a movable feast and a very addictive one…………

Vietnamese style Rare Chilli Beef salad (for 1)

You’ll need:

2 Cloves Garlic
5 Peppercorns
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (nam pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 Red Chili
1 Steak
1/2 Head of Lettuce
2-3 Scallions
A generous bunch Coriander

Begin with the sauce. Using a morter and pestle, pound the Garlic and Peppercorns until smooth(ish). Add in the Lime juice,  Fish Sauce and a pinch of Sugar. Mix and set aside.

Heat a little oil in a pan. When it’s almost smoking hot add the steak. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes adding a little Sugar to the crust on each side after the first 2 minutes. While the Steak is cooking wash and tear your lettuce. Chop the Scallions and add them to the Lettuce  along with some roughly chopped Coriander. When the Steak is cooked, remove from the pan and slice. Reheat the pan and thrown in the Chill, toss and then add the sauce and any meat juices left after slicing the steak.  Stir well to get all the juices clinging to the pan then throw in the Steak. Toss then place on  the leaves. Top with some Scallions and Coriander and eat with a cold beer. Fantastic!!

My other recipe this week is for Ana our lovely Spanish babysitter who is, sadly, returning to Madrid this week. I made this soup for her to have for lunch with the kids the first day she came and she loved. So, Ana ( te vamos a hecher de menos muchissimo!) this one’s for you (and for anyone else who has about 10 minutes to make lunch at 8.20 in the morning).

Carrot and Cumin Soup

You’ll need:

1 Medium Onion

1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds

Olive Oil

5 Medium Carrots

1 large Potato

600ml vegetable stock

Chop the Onion. Heat some Olive Oil in a pot and toss in the Onion and cook over a medium heat unless you’ve loads of time in which case slowly over a low heat will always work fine. As the Onions cook peel and chop the Carrots and Potato. When the Onions have softened and begun to darken add the Cumin seeds and toss well to make sure they all get coated in oil. Add the other vegetables and continue cooking for a few minutes then add the stock. Allow things to come to the boil over a medium heat. Then turn  back down again and simmer for about 20 minutes or until  the veg is cooked.  Blast with your handblender til smooth (always a bit of a jolt first thing in the morning!). Serve straight up or top with a little yogurt.

This week our Mediterranean selections have the first of this year’s Cherries. Hurray! So good you don’t need a recipe. That’s the point with Cherries. But as weeks go on I’m sure I’ll be thinking of ways to gild the lily so I’ll keep you posted. Next week I’d better be writing about wild Trout or there’ll be trouble!

Hope you enjoy these recipes,

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

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Carrots and mushrooms

April 20, 2009

From Margaret …some Carrot recipes

Carrots go well with cumin and orange and thyme. They are good cut into batons then put in tinfoil and oven roasted with cumin and butter and orange juice (or white wine or stock). They need about forty minutes in a moderate oven. Serve as a side dish.

Another nice idea is carrot, cumin and orange soup. At this time of the year I like to grow lovage and add some but thyme is also good.
An Indian style salad with popped mustard seed, grated carrot, chile, oil and raisins is always welcome. If watching the carbs substitute fine strips of carrot or courgette for pasta or noodles.

I roasted some carrots with onions blitzed them and made a risotto. This recipe would be good with any root veg (roasted parsnip with rosemary) or with roasted peppers (and a basil maybe) or butternut squash(and thyme) or aubergine (add plenty of lemon and cumin). If you are having a busy week roast the veg in advance at the weekend when you have the oven on anyway. Puree while still hot and use for risotto or as a side dish or a souffle or in a veg tart.

carrots

carrots

Carrots

roast carrot risotto
400g of carrot peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
50 ml olive oil
1.2-1,5 l veg stock
150g butter
2 cloved garlic peeled and finely sliced
400g risotto rice (I prefer carnoroli)
1 bay leaf
4 tsp fresh thyme leaves(or dried)
2 tsp fresh tarragon leaves (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
finely grated rind and juice of two lemons (optional)
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200. Put carrots onion and olive oil in roasting dish and roast till golden – about 25 minutes. Finely chop or blitz in food processor. In a heavy pot saute onion and garlic in butter stirring gently till softened. Add rice turn up heat and fry for a minute stirring well. Add herbs and season, then carrots, lemon zest and juice and mix well. Then start adding stock bit by bit as normal for risotto and cook until the rice is done.
Serve with parmesan. If you are a forager like me add some wild leek/garlic to garnish (you will spot in the parks and in gardens now a white star shaped bluebell type taste …unmistakable)

Serve with salad

This is adapted from a Peter Gordon recipe for arancini

Arancini is leftover risotto made into balls dipped in breadcrumb and egg and fried . Personally I would never make a risotto from scratch for arancini but if you have the patience… Make extra and use leftovers….

This week coming my risotto will be with wild garlic, nettles and courgettes… yum and very healthy. Nettle tops are full of vitamins and minerals and make a good tonic. Get those gloves out and get picking !! Once the leaves are boiled the sting is gone. Puree and put thro’ risotto.

For a light supper or a lunchbox try carrot fritters.

For 2-3 people
3 medium carrots grated and then squeezed in a clean tea towel
1 egg beaten(or use 2 tbsp chickpea flour and water)
1 tbsp plain flour or potato flour
teaspoon cumin seed or cumin and caraway mixed (lightly toasted on dry frying pan)
black pepper
chopped red chile (optional)
oil
Heat oven to 150
Put the finely grated carrrot into a bowl and season with pepper, Mix in all other ingredients. Roll into small balls with your fingertips. Or make into patties if easier.

Heat oil in a wok at about 3 inches depth. Carefully brown fritters on all sides then remove and dry on kitchen paper. Put on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes.

Then make a sauce to have with them with either sour cream or greek yoghurt a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander or parsley or dill…. Whatever beckons. They can be varied with added grated courgette or shredded spinach or pakchoi and eaten straight out of the oven with an indian style tomato sauce.

In your bag this week is also chestnut mushroom which would be good sauted and then on a pizza or veg tart with some goats cheese. Mushroom are also good cooked and mixed through a salad with greens and pine nuts…Or mushroom on toast with butter and grated parsley and a rasher.. or mushroom stroganoff.

Another option is to wilt some pak choi in a little oil then cook lightly with rice vinegar, sake and fish sauce (or oyster sauce) adding the mushrooms and a little water.