Thai style lentil soup

Thai_LentiL_Soup

I made this soup out of  the normal ‘base’ vegetables and what I had available. Hence no fresh coriander, which I would have added at the end, if I had had some. This quantity will feed 2-3 people:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • 1 large chilli (green or red: cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 2 pieces of dried lemongrass (chopped)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (crumbled)
  • 2 generous teaspoons of Thai curry paste (green or red)
  • 50g creamed coconut (the hard block sort, crumbled)
  • 200g good quality tinned of chopped tomatoes (ie 1/2 a tin)
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 120g red split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 1 bundle of fine rice noodles (c. 60g)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lime

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the curry paste, creamed coconut (crumble in), chopped tomatoes, water, stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Break up the noodles and stir into the soup. Heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and grated zest. At this point the soup is very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, the thick soup saves space).

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.

 

Pork meatballs

Enough for 4 people. I froze half of mine for a later meal.

  • 1 large slice of stale bread;Pork_meatballs
  • 1 large portobello mushroom;
  • 1 medium sized onion;
  • 1 clove garlic;
  • 1 small red chilli deseeded;
  • Small bunch of mixed herbs (eg parsley, rosemary & thyme);
  • 500g pork mince;
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup;
  • 3 ‘shakes’ of Worcester Sauce;
  • Black pepper;
  • 3 tsp tahini;
  • Oil;
  • Plain flour.

Finely chop the bread, mushroom, onion, garlic, chilli and herbs (I used my Cuisinart Mini-Processor).

Thoroughly mix the chopped ingredients with the pork in a large bowl. Mix in the ketchup, Worcester Sauce and black pepper.

In small bowl, gradually combine a small quantity of cold water with the tahini, until it becomes slightly runny. Thoroughly mix this into the pork mixture.

Using a plate of flour, take ping-pong ball sized piece of the mixture in your floured hands, and roll in the flour until ball shaped. Place on a flour tray. I made made 24 meatballs from this mixture.

Oil a baking sheet and place the balls on it, brushing or spraying them with more oil.

Bake at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for about 20 minutes, until they begin to brown.

I served twelve of my meatballs in a pasta bake, made with penne (3 ‘handfuls’ of dried penne (cooked)), 1 quantity of Tomato Sauce, topped with grated cheddar, and cooked in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). This will feed 2-3 people.

Butternut squash and ginger muffins

A squash based muffin recipe. These are low sugar and low fat, but I still think a quite acceptable as a ‘sweet cake’. Makes 12 small muffins:

  • 12 small muffin casesButternut_Muffins
  • 40ml light olive oil
  • 40ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 400g (previously roasted) butternut squash (skin and seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated root ginger
  • 200g wholemeal plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 60g light soft brown sugar
  • 75g raisins

Place the muffin cases in a muffin baking tin.

Heat the oven to 210C (Gas Mark 7).

Liquidise the oil, milk, eggs, squash and ginger.

Sieve together the flour, baking powder and sugar, into a large bowl, and stir in the raisins

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl and whisk the contents together.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for about 15 minutes until cooked.

Asian salmon with brown rice and greens

I had some leftover cavolo nero and some salmon fillets in the freezer so I decided to make this – enough for 2:

For the salmon:Asian_salmon

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 salmon fillets

For the rice:

  • 100g brown long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 5 leaves of cavolo nero (roughly chopped, with any tough stalks removed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • A dash of sesame oil

Cook the rice as indicated on the packet.

Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, honey and ginger, and the coat the salmon fillets, placing them in a dish that can be used under a grill.

Heat the grill and cook the salmon fillets for four minutes on each side, until the salmon is opaque and firm.

To finish the rice, heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, and stir-fry the onion, ginger and garlic. After 1 minute, add the cavolo nero and stir fry for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, together with the soy sauce and rice wine. When thoroughly hot, mix in the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.

Serve immediately, pouring any remaining liquid from grilling, over the salmon.

Greek salad

Greek_salad_tile

Enough for lunch for 2 (served with bread):

  • 100g feta (cut into small cubes, or crumbled)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1/3rd of a cucumber (diced)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 12 olives (stoned and halved)
  • A few sprigs of mint
  • A few sprigs of flat parsley
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • less than 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • Black pepper

Combine the feta, spring onions, cucumber tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking together the herbs, garlic, oil, vinegar and black pepper. Stir into the salad.

Serve.

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.