Torta di spinaci e riso

TortaSpinaciRiso-tile

One reason for making this, is that Rachel Roddy said in her column in the Guardian’s Cook Supplement on 30 January 2016 (which provides the recipe on which this is based), “Italy is where … leftovers really do still rule, helping cooking feel like a continuum” – has she been reading my blog?

Anyway, I also needed to use most of a 260g bag of spinach leftover from a stir-fry. Enough for 3 people:

  • 200g spinach
  • 125g risotto rice
  • small onion (finely chopped)
  • 20g butter
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 40g parmesan (grated)
  • black pepper to taste
  • oil (to brush the cake tin)
  • 1 heaped tbsp bread crumbs

Quickly wilt the spinach in a hot pan. Remove it to a plate, allow to cool, and snip into smaller pieces with scissors.

Cook the rice in boiling water and drain.

Heat the butter in a pan and cook the onion very gently over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Brush a cake tin (about 20cm in diameter) with a little oil and dust with the bread crumbs.

Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6).

Mix together the spinach, rice, onion and parmesan, and then mix in the beaten egg and add black pepper. Place the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top starts to brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I served mine with roasted baby plum tomatoes.

 

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Pea fritters with roast tomatoes and hot smoked salmon

This recipe is my adaptation of a recipe in Waitrose Kitchen magazine of February 2015. Serves 2:

For the roast tomatoes:

  • 8 small tomatoes (halved)Pea_Pancakes
  • Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Black pepper (a few ‘turns’)

For the fritters etc:

  • 100g frozen peas (defrosted – use the cheap peas for this recipe)
  • 2 spring onions
  • Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (for cooking)
  • 150g pack of kiln roasted salmon (flaked)
  • Soured cream

Place the tomatoes halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper. Shake together the thyme, garlic, sugar, oil, lemon juice and black pepper, in a small jar, and drizzle over the tomatoes. Roast at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for 20 to 25 minutes, until they start to char.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.

Place the peas, onions, mint, egg and milk in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Add this to the food processor. Once the mixture is smooth, spoon it into the frying pan to make 4 even fritters. Cook over a medium heat (2 minutes either side) until golden.

Serve with the tomatoes and the flaked salmon, with a dollop of soured cream.

Potato, cheese and onion pie

Potato_Pie_Tile

This is a variation on the classic Pomme Dauphinoise. The recipe is based on one in Jean Conil’s Cuisine Vegetarienne Francaise (published in 1985). Enough for 2 as a main meal:

  • 2 largish onions (finely sliced)
  • 50g butter
  • 500g potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 150ml double cream
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 80g grated Cheddar

Heat half the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in the onions and leave to cook very gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rub a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the ingredients) with garlic (cut in half). Retain the garlic. Butter the dish with the remaining butter.

Peel the potatoes and cut into rounds about 5mm thick. Place in a pan of cold water. Bring the boil and drain.

Beat together the cream, the egg and garlic (crushed). Season with black pepper and grated nutmeg.

Arrange half the potato slices in the bottom of the shallow dish. Pour over half the egg and cream mixture, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Then arrange the onions on top. Layer the remaining potatoes, pour over the remaining cream and egg mix, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake in the oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Sweetcorn Fritters

 

Sweetcorn_frittersThese featured in Waitrose Kitchen (March 2014), and are served with avocado and tomato salsa. They taste really good and are easy to make. Serves 2:

For the salsa:

  • 1 avocado (roughly chopped)
  • 125g cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • A handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle paste (be careful strength varies!), or Tabasco

Mix together all the above ingredients and set aside in a serving bowl.

For the fritters:

  • 330g can of sweetcorn (drained)
  • 3 spring onions (thinly sliced)
  • 75g self-raising flour (sieved)
  • 1 large egg
  • 65ml milk
  • 2 tbsp oil

Heat the oil (to a medium heat) in two large frying pans (this enables you to make all 8 fritters at once). Beat together the flour, egg and milk. Mix in the sweetcorn and spring onions. Spoon the 1/8th of the mixture onto the frying pan (and repeat until all the mixture has been used).

Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve warm with the salsa.

Spinach gnocchi

Spinach_gnocchi_Tile

This recipe is based on the recipe for ‘Spinach and ricotta malfatti’ which appeared in the dumpling recipes in the Guardian’s Cook supplement on 22 February 2014. Enough for 2:

  • 500g fresh spinach, or 250g frozen, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g ricotta
  • 140g  plain flour (the recipe said 100g, but this left the mixture too wet), plus extra for rolling the gnocchi
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 30g unsalted butter melted
  • Black pepper

Cook the (fresh) spinach in a large pan with a lid for 5 minutes. Drain and leave until cool. Then squeeze out all the water, and chop very finely.

Beat the egg and the ricotta in a large bowl. Then mix in the flour, nutmeg, spinach and half the parmesan. Add black pepper to taste.

Form the mixture into balls the size of large marbles, by rolling small amounts of the mixture on a plate of flour. Chill for 30 minutes.

To cook, add the gnocchi, a dozen at a time, to a large pan of boiling water. Cook each batch for about 2 minutes after they have risen to the top. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the serving plates (in this case two), and cover to keep warm.

When all gnocchi are cooked, reheat in the microwave (1 minute on ‘high’ for each plate was sufficient).

Pour the butter over the gnocchi, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. Just before serving, spoon the butter over the cooked gnocchi, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and serve at once.

Cheese, potato and onion pie

Cheese_potato_onion_pie-horz

I made this the other day. I’ll own up – it was cobbled together from two recipes I found on the web. As I had some potatoes that were rather worse for wear (they were beginning to sprout) and one egg in the fridge, I thought this would do for supper:

  • 700g potatoes (peeled, cubed, boiled and mashed) [500g]
  • 1 onion (chopped and cooked in a little butter until soft)
  • 125g grated cheddar [150g]
  • 1 egg (beaten) [omit]
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper

Add the cooked onion and the cheese to the hot mashed potato and mix well. Then mix in the beaten egg and the mustard. If the mix is too stiff add a little milk.

Place in an ovenproof dish, flatten the top and and make ridges and furrows in the top with a fork.

Bake in the oven at 190C (Gas mark 5) for about 25 minutes.

I served this with baked beans and grilled bacon (carnivorous version) or grilled tomatoes (vegetarian version).

Having eaten it, I came to the conclusion that either it needed fewer potatoes or more cheese (or both), and that the egg seemed to do little for the quality of the dish and could probably be dispensed with. My suggested changes are in square brackets above (not yet tested).

I can imagine that an improved version would be very good on a cold winter’s night!