October 30, 2009
Coriander may not be very common here in Ireland but because it’s used all over the South America, the Middle East , Asia and Africa it’s actually the world’s most popular herb. It’s quite pungent and people either love it or hate it (there’s actually an online community of haters!). When I first discovered it I really wasn’t that keen but using it in guacamoles and salsas, then in thai cooking got me hooked. Recently I’ve been eating it in a Quinoa salad which is my current favourite thing to eat (I am sooooo addicted). Totally moreish, this recipe is completely healthy and what’s more it’s vegan, a direction I’d like to go in more and more as all that Feta (and Parmesan and Stilton and Cashel Blue……..check out previous recipes for proof) might be delicious but there’s no denying that dairy is just not that good for us and having recently spent a week doing lots of yoga and eating practically no dairy I can totally attest to this. As someone who is 99% (okay, 90%) vegetarian, dairy is often a default protein source for me – it’s quick and it goes with nearly everything I cook.
For me, more vegan cooking will about finding dishes where dairy has no place rather than simply taking it out of dishes I already cook. I mean what’s the point of Eggplant parmesan without the parmesan?? South east Asian and Indian are the first obvious places. Last week’s warm Asian salad is one of my all-time favourite things to eat (it also went down very well with you so I’m clearly onto something) and it was a vegan recipe so this might be the start of something. I think I’m going to try and come up with/find at least one completely vegan (look no feta!!) recipe a week for a while.
If you’re going to be a proper vegetarian or vegan you’ve got to know your seeds and grains. I use a lot of seeds but up until quite recently hadn’t done a whole lot with Quinoa (most people call it a grain but it’s actually a seed). It’s a funny one (and I mean that in a very very good way) – it’s both fluffy and crunchy at the same time and when it’s fully cooked it sprouts a tiny tail (yes really). It’s fab in salads but can also be used in soups and you can even make porridge from it.. It’s veggies credentials are second to none due to the fact that it’s a complete protein. This week’s salad is an adaption of one from 101 Cookbooks and it is very good starting point if you’ve never had Quinoa as it is completely addictive….
Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad for (1 very greedy person’s lunch or enough for 2 civilised people sharing)
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 Can Chickpeas drained
1 Bunch Coriander chopped
1 small red Onion chopped
2 Tablespoons Tahini (you’ll get this in any good deli, middle eastern or healthfood shop
4-5 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Oil
3 Tablespoons Hot water
Begin by rinsing the Quinoa with a sieve then add the 2 cups of water and bring it the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until cooked ( ie all the water has been absorbed and the Quinoa is fluffy) – this should take about 15 minutes. The first time I cooked Quinoa I watched a video on youtube which was very useful as I didn’t know what to expect. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgOxhdHoAwc for a very simple 5 minute lesson that will make things foolproof. Probably a lot less foolproof but way more fun is a video of David Lynch cooking it with Broccoli (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XliMny3AvnE) – it’s a complete joy. When the Quinoa is cooked drain it and set aside.
While the Quinoa is cooking you can prepare the dressing by first mixing the Tahini with the hot water then whisking in the other ingredients. To put the salad together toss the Quinoa with the Chickpeas, Coriander and Red Onion. Mix in half of the dressing and serve the rest on the side. This recipe is perfect for a pack lunch but in my case, sadly, it rarely makes it that far…..
This week’s Baby Beetroot is perfect for roasting and that’s how I cooked it last night. I scrubbed the Beets, parboiled them for about 10 minutes, let them cool down a bit then halved or quartered each one. I roasted them with Coconut Oil another super healthy thing I’ve been trying out recently. Beloved of nutritionists because it can withstand high temperatures (it’s basically reckoned to be the healthiest oil to cook with) and it’s also got less calories than other oils. I bought some recently from a man who sells a very high grade organic variety which is as pure as it comes. For roasting the veggies last night I took a tablespoon of Oil (it’s hard so it’s more than a liquid tablespoon would be) let it melt in the oven then threw on the veg (I also did some Carrots which I scrubbed, sliced into long chunks and parboiled but not with the Beets as I didn’t want the them to turn everything pink). I served them with a Cous Cous salad with Coriander and Chickpeas dressed with Lemon juice and Olive Oil and ……. a slab of roasted Feta (what can I say??? Lunch was vegan, I’ll have to ramp to this new completely vegan lifestyle).
The Cous Cous salad took all of 10 minutes to prepare so I started on that when the veggies started caramelizing (after about 40 minutes – enough time to drink a nice glass of wine and watch David tell his story while cooking the Quinoa)
Toasted CousCous salad with Coriander, Chickpeas and Cumin
1 Cup Wholemeal Couscous
3-4 small Onions (red or white but red will give you a nicer colour)
1 Tin Chickpeas drained
1 Bunch Coriander
3 -4 Tablespoon of Sultanas soaked in warm water (plumps them up)
2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
Juice of 1 Lemon
First of all chop up Onion and get it on the pan over a medium heat with plenty of Olive Oil. In another pan toast the CousCous grains and when they start to turn golden brown turn the heat right down and add about 2 cups of hot (not boiling) water. Stir like crazy until all the water is absorbed and the grains have expanded and are cooked through. If they are still hard after this add a little more water, turn up the heat and stir until the water is gone. Stir a generous glug of Olive Oil through the Cous Cous to separate the grains. At this stage the Onions should be starting to caramelize and you can add the Cumin Seeds. Turn down the heat so the seeds don’t burn and allow the cumin flavour to gently permeate the Onions and Olive Oil for a couple of minutes. To finish things off, add the Chickpeas, Coriander, Sultanas, Onions and Lemon juice to the Cous Cous along with some Salt. Check and correct your seasoning – you may want more Lemon juice, Olive Oil or Salt.
1 Slab of Feta (about 200gr)
Place the cheese on a piece of tinfoil and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with Chilli (take the seeds out if you don’t want things too hot). Bake in a medium oven (Gas mark 6) for 10 minutes
Variations: Oregano is always lovely as are Chopped Olives
Quinoa and Coconut Oil can be hard to track down so I have got some in and we can deliver it to you over the next couple of weeks.
The Quinoa (organic) costs 3.50E per 500gr
and the Coconut Oil cost 15E for 480ml (seems pricey but this will last you for ages and I don’t think you’ll get it cheaper anywhere else.
If you want either of these things with your next delivery just let us know email@example.com
Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great weekend,
June 12, 2009
This week the Garlic in your bag is the Fresh or Wet kind. It’s the same as the other stuff but it hasn’t been dried and as a result should be kept in the fridge and used within the week. More subtle and delicate than the regular kind, you can use lots more of it when cooking and it can be used raw in salads along with the stem which adds lovely colour. It’s amazing roasted and served on bread. Just top and tail the head and drizzle with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper then roast for about 40 minutes in a medium oven. If you’ve nothing in the fridge before we deliver next week saute as much as you like in plenty of Olive Oil and a little Chili and you’ve got a pasta sauce that even a child (train ’em young!) could make. This Garlic reminded me that it’s been ages since I’d made Aioli (the Catalan version of Garlic Mayo) so I made some last night which we ate with some chips and veggie kebabs. When I learnt how to make Aioli years ago in Barcelona everyone had something to say about it – don’t use eggs at all, add a little piece of bread dipped in vinegar at the beginning, add the oil drop by drop etc etc. The best way was shown to me one day after I had tried to make it at least 3 times unsuccessfully and it was getting very dangerously close to lunchtime. You use a whole egg as opposed to just the yolk and a blender and it is pretty foolproof…
1 Egg at room temperature
2 Cloves Garlic
200ml/roughly 1/2 Pint light Olive Oil – don’t use extra or even virgin Olive Oil as it gives a very strong flavour. If all you have is virgin Olive mix it with a vegetable Oil
I use a handheld blender and I find that things are easier to manage if your receptacle isn’t too much wider than the blender. If you don’t have something that’s made to go with the blender try using a pint glass.
Chop up the Garlic and drop it into the glass along with an Egg, a pinch of Salt and a glug of oil. Put in the blender turn it on and very gently move it up and down (I’m taking about an inch) until the egg and oil have emulsified (you’ll see a thick creamy paste almost like whipped cream). Continue adding the Oil moving the blender a bit more to ensure the oil gets incorporated properly) until you have a thick emulsion then set aside (in the fridge as there’s raw egg).
Serve as I did with chips, baked Potatoes or roast veggies.
I’ve been making Bhajis a lot recently which are vegetable fritters from India. They can be made with pretty much anything so last night I tried them with this week’s fresh Garlic and some green Chili. They are very quick to make but you’ll need to get some Gram Flour in as they really do work best with it. Any of the Eastern shops around will have this as will a decent health food shop. We usually eat them with Mango Chutney but some plain yogurt is lovely too..
Fresh Garlic Bhajis with Green Chilli and Coriander
1 Head of Fresh Garlic very finely sliced
1 Green Chili deseeded and finely chopped
75gr Gram Flour
2 Tablespoon Chopped fresh Coriander Leaves
1/2 Teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Seeds
A pinch of Salt
60 ml Sparkling Water or Beer (the bubbles add lightness)
Groundnut Oil for frying
Sieve the Flour, Salt and Coriander Powder. Add the Garlic, Onion Seeds and Chilli. Stir in the Beer or water and make a smooth batter.
Heat the Oil in a pan then drop tablespoonfuls of the Batter into the pan and fry each side until golden (about 2 mins). When they’re done drain on some kitchen paper then eat immediately with some Chutney and/or yogurt.
Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great weekend,
May 22, 2009
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)
2 Cloves Garlic
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (nam pla) or Soy Sauce
1/2 Red Chili
1/2 Head of Lettuce
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
1 Medium Onion
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
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,
April 18, 2009
I am on hols !!
You wont miss me because I have a treat for you. Margaret who is a fab cook but in a completely different style will be doing the recipes for me. Enjoy something a bit different and new..
From Margaret … some organic recipes
I love courgettes, they are so versatile eaten small, large or medium. I plan to grow again this year so I get the lovely flowers to stuff and deep fry. I also like marrow that dreaded and maligned veg. Courgettes are a great base and take strong flavours well. I eat courgette sliced lengthways to about 1/4 cm thick and then griddled with a little oil on a hot grill pan. Then marinate in chopped garlic and lemon juice for a few hours (and if I have in the garden lots of chopped parsley). This is good as a sandwich filling maybe with goats cheese, as part of a pizza topping or a veggie tart or as a side dish with other salads. It keeps in the fridge for a few days.
I like to fry courgettes in olive oil with some garlic on the pan and have as a side dish with maybe grilled chicken. This time of the year they can also be added to a risotto with whatever other greens you have around; young nettles if you have time to forage.
For a healthy option slice lengthways to 1/2 cm thick or in halves if courgettes are small and use instead of pasta in lasagne. Surprisingly nice and tasty…
Or chocolate courgette cake.. always moist. Here is a link to Riverford organic http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/recipe.php?recipeid=414&catid=8. My 5 and 2 year old nephews love making cakes chocolate if possible so this or chocolate beetroot brownies are favourites. The great thing is these cakes cant really go wrong as they dont rise too much. You can add some healthy spelt flour instead of the white if you want.
For a light supper or a lunchbox try Courgette Fritters.
For 2-3 people
2 medium courgettes 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
1 teaspoon cumin seed or cumin and caraway mixed (lightly toasted on dry frying pan)
chopped red chile (optional)
Heat oven to 150 -175
Put the grated courgette 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.
The fritters can be eaten hot of cold with a sour cream or greek yoghurt dip.
Sour Cream dip
To sour cream or greek yoghurt add a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander or parsley or chives or dill…. Whatever beckons. I like to grow herbs in the garden as they can add that needed bit of flavour. I had these first with a Munich friend of Indian descent made to take to the beer garden for a picnic!! Happy memories
Eat with some green salad for a light supper !!
To vary fritters
Add grated carrot or spinach and eat straight out of the oven with an Indian style tomato sauce.
I like red cabbage best slow braised with apples in the oven. Sarah already has a recipe on the blog for this. It is great with pork or duck or game. As with any cabbage red is also good shredded stir fried and wilted with
sesame oil, vinegar and rice wine/sake and soy or possibly try cider vinegar, mirin and pomegranate molasses.
Another classic is a hearty borchst with red cabbage, tomatoes and beetroot topped with sour cream.
For an alternative try a simple Indian style curry with Red Cabbage. The spices help to make the cabbage more digestible !!
Indian style curry with Red Cabbage
1 tsp mustard seed (optional)
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves or garlic finely chopped
1cm piece of ginger finely chopped
1 chile finely chopped (if you dont like too spicy go for half a chile and put some in a bowl on the table for other people to add)
2 tomatoes finely chopped (I find canned better for this)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 red cabbage shredded
a cup of sliced courgette or whatever other veg you have to hand like shredded carrot or beetroot
optional some cooked aduki beans
half can coconut milk or about 1/4 block of coconut
fresh chopped coriander or curry leaves
1 tbsp of garam masala
optional 1 tsp poppy seed 25g cashews ground together in food processor
Heat oil in deep pan and pop the mustard seed. Then add the onion and fry gently in some oil till softened. Add ginger and garlic and chile.
(a good trick here if busy is chop onion earlier in day with garlic add some oil and maybe some stock and roast in a low oven for 40 minutes then puree)
Then add tomatoes and fry gently.
Add sugar and sprinkling of salt.
Add the veg and stir and cook for a few minutes stirring and put lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes adding some water to nearly cover veg if needed.
Then add the coconut milk or shredded block coconut with little water .
Stir in the masala and the ground seed and nuts if using.
If you have a lime or lemon handy a squeeze is always good just before serving.
Serve with plain rice and some chutney.