Sunday, 28 October 2012
A wonderfully pretty and delicious raw vegetable salad. With an abundance of summer veg to choose from, you can basically include whatever you fancy - courgettes, radishes, beetroot, carrot, kohlrabi..... anything you like really! The punchy, zingy dressing really complements the fresh and slightly sweet raw veg too.
Prep time: 30+ mins (cutting those little radishes took some time!)
Cooking time: none!
2 beetroot - purple, yellow, whatever you can get hold of
200g mixed radishes (there was about 3 different colours in the bag I got from Waitrose)
and the dressing...
1 1/2 tsps English mustard (I used 2tsps of Dijon)
3 tsps clear honey
1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice
6 tbps rapeseed oil (I used olive oil)
sea salt + black pepper
1. Trim and rinse/scrub all the vegetables, and peel the beetroot (and kohlrabi, if using). Using a mandolin / very sharp knife, shave/slice the veg into rounds as thin as you can manage. (This took quite a while, and I had to enlist the help of another Clubber to do the radishes while I was making my Baby carrot and broad bean risotto!). Add all the veg to a large salad bowl.
2. For the dressing, pop all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake up until thick. Pour generously over the salad, toss lightly and serve.
A tasty and perfectly balanced summer supper (ok, I know it's October but I actually cooked this about 3 months ago!), super easy and super tasty.
Another Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall River Cottage Veg Everyday recipe - of course!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 35-40 mins
2 tbsps olive / rapeseed oil, plus a little extra to serve
1 large onion, finely chopped
1.2l veg stock
300g risotto rice
150ml dry white wine (if you happen to have any lying around, it does make a difference to the flavour)
350g baby carrots, scrubbed and halved/quartered depending on their size
200g baby broad beans (I used frozen, thawed before cooking)
30g parmesan / hard, well flavoured cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve
a large handful of chopped parsley
sea salt + black pepper
1. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large saucepan / casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, bring the stock up to a simmer.
2. Stir the rice into the onion, and cook for a few minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, cooking until the wine is absorbed. Add the stock a large ladleful at a time, ensuring each additional has been absorbed into the rice before adding the next. The rice should take about 25 minutes to cook through.
3. About halfway through cooking the rice, add the baby carrots. A few minutes before the rice is cooked, add the broad beans. Once the rice has finished cooking, turn off the heat and stir through the remaining butter and the cheese, cover and leave for a few minutes. Add most of the chopped parsley and season to taste.
4. Divide between warmed bowls / plates, and serve with a drizzle of oil, a fine grating of cheese and a garnish of parsley.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Like a creamy latte, only very cold! This is a delicious and super easy ice cream to make, as you don't have to churn it (well, if I'd followed the recipe properly it didn't, but we'll get on to that later).
Borrowed from Nigella Lawson's new book and series, Nigellissima.
Prep time: 10 minutes
300ml double cream
175g condensed milk (half a can, to you and me)
2 tbsps instant espresso powder (I used whole bean instant coffee, which isn't quite the same, so added more)
2 tbsps espresso liqueur (which I didn't have!)
1. Whisk all the ingredients together to form a soft, smooth and airy peaks. Spoon into an airtight container and pop in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
The ice cream should be ready to serve straight from the freezer, but as I didn't add any alcohol (having realised about 2 hours into freezing, Nigella saying you add it to prevent it freezing solid!). But all is not lost - just take it out about 10 minutes before serving instead!
Also, next time I'd be tempted to make double this quantity, unless you like having half a can of condensed milk in the fridge.
A retro British puddings pull out in the weekend papers led me to this pud. Perfect for a dark, misty Autumn evening; the heavy apple base combined with the light meringue topping was scrummy.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
450g or so of peeled and cored cooking apples (British, of course)
50g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g fresh white bread, blitzed into fine crumbs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, separated
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease a 20cm pie dish (or small lasagne dish). After peeling and coring the apples, cut them into 8 wedges. In a saucepan, add the butter, 50g of sugar and the apples, and cook on a gentle heat until soft and thick - a combination of apple sauce and pieces is ideal.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and cinnamon and stir in. Beat in the egg yolks and spoon into the base of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites adding the remaining sugar slowly, until they form stiff shiny peaks (if you can hold the bowl upside down over your boyfriend's head, its done). Spoon the meringue over the apple base and bake for another 10 minutes, until the top is colouring a light brown but the meringue is still soft underneath. Serve immediately with coffee ice cream.
A wonderful welcome to Autumn. Individual squashes stuffed with cheesy, creamy chard and shallots, and a last remnant of summer with a courgette salad. The stuffed squash was like an mini cheese fondue, but with a wonderfully edible pot!
This is based on a great Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, originally stuffed with leeks. However, this summer marked my first attempt at 'growing my own' - simple things like salad leaves, chard, spinach, chillis and herbs. Some were a disaster (the mustard that ran to seed almost immediately when we had those baking few weeks, or the carrots that have yet to do anything due to the deluge of rain the past few fortnight or so!) but some were a great success - the rocket and salad leaves certainly had a good go despite the climate, but the real winner was chard (hence why I have lots of it in October!).
Squash stuffed with chard
Prep time: 30 mins (I seriously underestimated how long it would take to prepare and deseed the squash)
Cooking time: 50mins - 1 hour, depending on the size and type of squash
6 smallish squash (I found mine at the local farmers market, a mix of colours and types looks great as well - each one is an individual main portion - but they are rather filling!)
2 big bunches of chard, leaves and stalks roughly chopped into largeish bits
3-5 shallots (depending on their size) sliced
1-2 tsps English mustard (well I used Dijon, add to taste)
300ml creme fraiche
200g gruyere / mature cheddar / a mixture of the two (I used about 150g gruyere + 50g mature cheddar) finely grated
sea salt + black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190oC. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and add the shallots, cover and sweat for about 10 mins on a low heat until soft. Add the chard, and cook until the leaves are wilted and the stalks start to soften. Remove from the heat, and add the creme fraiche, mustard and cheese. Season well with black pepper and sea salt.
2. Cut a 'lid' from the top of the squash - I did this by plunging the large sharp knife into the top, moving round and forming a rough circle. The lid should pop off with a little persuasion from the knife. Cut off any seeds from the lid, and de-seed the squash. Then pop the lid back on and pop the squash on a large baking tray (it should be big enough to hold all the squash and allow air to circulate around them). Repeat for all the squash (now you see why it takes so long!)
3. Make sure that the squash sit flat on the baking tray - if not just slice a little off the base. Fill the empty squash with the creamy, chardy mixture, but don't fill them up (about two thirds or so is fine). Tuck in a few sprigs of thyme and replace the lid. They need to bake for around 50-60 mins, depending on their size and squash type - I found orange ones needed the least time, followed by the fully green ones. The acorn squash needed about 10 minutes more. To test when they are cooked, poke a knife into the sides of the squash (not too deep or else you'll have a cheesy haemorrhage!).
4. Serve straight away - but beware, the filling is VERY hot!
Courgette and Green Bean Salad
Yes, it was the beginning of October, but the clocks hadn't gone back yet and we were all still pretending it's summer - putting off getting out that warm coat, delaying turning on the heating and still enjoying the end of summer produce. However, the fact I couldn't get courgettes or green beans at the farmers market meant they were out of season, so this salad would be wonderful when they are!
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
For the dressing
1 small garlic clove, crushed with a little sea salt
3 tablespoons of tahini (I found some in a squeezy plastic bottle, so used a little more)
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I actually just used juice from a bottle)
juice of 1/2 an orange (which again, I didn't have!)
1 tsp clear honey
3 tbsps good olive oil
sea salt + black pepper
For the salad
3 tbsps olive oil
4 medium courgettes. sliced into 5 mm rounds
juice of 1 lemon (ok, again it was from a bottle)
1 red chilli (I used my own homegrown one, which was very small but rather hot) finely chopped, remove the seeds if you have a delicate tongue (I didn't)
150g or so French beans
6 good handfuls of salad leaves (I used rocket, spinach and small mizuna greens)
12 semi dried tomatoes (from a jar, or you could make your own)
a handful of fresh mint, chopped
1.To make the dressing, in a small bowl add all the ingredients except the olive oil and stir well together (if it's quite thick, add a little water to loosen up) you're looking for a creamy consistency. Gently stir in the olive oil, and add a little more salt or pepper if required.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan (or griddle pan) and fry the courgettes in batches (this takes a while!) until golden brown on each side. Set aside in a large salad bowl, and add the lemon juice, chilli and a little salt + pepper, and toss together.
3. Meanwhile, trim the French beans and bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Plunge into the bubbling water for 1 minute, before removing and dunking in cold water (I just put mine under a cold tap in the sieve, same thing really). Pat dry and toss with the courgettes.
4. Assemble the salad - spread the salad leaves on a large dish, and scatter over the dressed courgettes and beans, tomatoes and fresh mint. Trickle over the tahini dressing generously. (I didn't have another dish, so i just added the salad leaves, tomatoes and mint to the courgettes + beans, and tossed with the tahini dressing).
Sunday, 14 October 2012
A hop, skip and a jump from Liverpool Street station, situated in an courtyard enclosed by converted Victorian warehouses and a rather good glass roof, lies the Cinnamon Kitchen and neighbouring bar Anise. An offshoot of the acclaimed (and Michelin starred, no less) Cinnamon Club in Westminster, this venture offers contemporary Indian food in smart surroundings. Plus, the set menu isn't to be sniffed at.
3 courses with a champagne cocktail - £19 (12.5% service charge was added to the bill)
Atmosphere + Decor - 7
Menu (inc. veggie options) - 8
Food + Cooking - 9
Service - 9
Loos - 8
Value - 8
Monday Club Score - 8/10
- the pork ribs (great meat to bone ratio!) as recommended by our waiter
- the lentil amuse bouche was a welcome start of the meal (and not expected at all)
- good selection on the set menu + a lovely autumnal champagne cocktail to accompany our dinner
- amazing food, delicious flavours + textures
- attentive yet not annoying waiter who offered advise but wasn't pushy
- each dish was beautifully presented, with a contemporary twist
- weird industrial, smart but slightly corporate interior (like it couldn't decide what it wanted to be?) and the feel of the restaurant was a bit odd on a Monday night (could be great post-work on a Thursday/Friday though)
- being sat next to the doors was a quite chilly
- would have expected more vegetarian options for the main being an Indian restaurant
A great meal only really let down by the interior and atmosphere of the restaurant. With the majority of people being sat in the perimeter of the seating area, it lacked intimacy and didn't encourage us to relax completely. Due to it's location, the slight corporate feel was quite fitting, however didn't suit us Monday Clubbers particularly well.
The food, however, was fantastic - such wonderful combinations of flavours, textures and colours within each dish, carefully prepared and cooked to perfection. Each dish was a triumph, superbly balanced, proportioned and presented - standard 'curry, rice and naan' this is not. The service was smooth, attentive and easy, and we didn't need to ask for anything throughout the meal.
Essentially, the set menu was great value all round (the only unfortunate thing about it is when it's available - not on most evenings unless you happen to eat very early or very late!) but the Cinnamon Kitchen was a success, and we'd love to try it's new restaurant in Soho (recommended by our waiter as being 'younger and more modern in style'). Here comes highly recommended if you're looking for a modern take on Indian cuisine.
9 Devonshire Square
Thursday, 11 October 2012
I served these with the lavender ice cream. I had never heard of a brownie that wasn't chocolate before. I used my 'flavour thesaurus', by Niki Segnit, to make the lavender-apple pairing. They work well together it seems.
1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar2 eggs4 large apples, peeled and chopped1/2 cup nuts (optional)2 cups flour1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon cinnamon
Beat all ingredients together. Pour into a greased/sprayed 9 x 13" pan. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I was given some lavender cooking essence as a gift that came with a suggestion for making this ice cream... how could I resist? So if you have essence you can substitute it for the stems which saves you a lot of infusing time.
280ml whole milk
4 medium egg yolks
90g caster sugar
1 x 284ml carton double cream
Chop the lavender into 1 cm pieces using either a knife or scissors. Place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan together with the milk. Heat until just below boiling, then remove from the heat and cool. When cold, put in the fridge and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavour to infuse. Next day, warm the milk and lavender once more, ensuring the milk does not boil, and strain. (skip this step if using essence)
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, then pour the warmed milk slowly in, stirring all the time. Put the mixture into a clean, heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir over a low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let it boil, or it will curdle. Leave to cool, then add the lavender essence if you are using it.
If you have an ice-cream maker, stir the double cream into the custard, transfer to the ice-cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. If you do not have an ice-cream maker, lightly whip the cream and fold into the custard. Pour into a shallow, freezerproof container, freeze for about 30 minutes and then stir. Repeat three more times, or until the ice cream is set. Store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Last of the steamy summer weather a few weeks ago, so I thought some fresh green veg would go down well.
2 tbsp olive oil
12 shallots, peeled and halved if large (To peel shallots easily, drop them into boiling water for 1 minute, then refresh, drain and pull away the outer skin.)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
150g brown or green lentils
2 tsp ras el hanout (moroccan spice mix)
½ tsp cumin seeds
800ml vegetable stock, hot
100g dried ready-to-eat apricots
150g baby carrots, scrubbed
3 small fennel bulbs, each cut into 6 wedges, any herby fronds chopped and set aside
2 courgettes, halved lengthways and cut into 4cm wedges
200g fresh or frozen peas
Grated zest of 2 lemons, plus the juice of 1
100g blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
Handful fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large tagine base, casserole or saucepan. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lentils, ras el hanout and cumin, and cook for a further minute. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Add the apricots, carrots, fennel and courgettes and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the peas and half the lemon zest and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
3. Scatter with the remaining zest, toasted almonds, fennel tops and parsley to serve.
For the base- 100 g almonds- 70 g dates, pitted- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the filling- 1 and 1/2 medium sized ripe avocados- 70 g raw cocoa powder
- 50 g coconut oil (I used sunflower oil, as no supermarkets near me stocked coconut oil, there might be a better substitute though)
- 100 g coconut flower sugar (you can substitute with raw cane sugar)- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded- pinch of sea salt
In a food processor blend the almonds. Add dates and salt and blend until you get a 'dough' or until the mixture forms a ball (if it's too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil to the dough).
Line the spring form pan with cling film and press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer to harden until you make the ganache.
Place all the filling ingredients in a food processor then blend everything until smooth. Pour the ganache over the base. Set in the freezer for 1 hour (it should be firm enough to slice up). If you're impatient you can take out after 45 minutes freezing. :)