Saturday, 30 November 2013

Savoury corn cookies with pineapple sage

The great thing about playing in the kitchen is that you get to discover stuff along the way. I tried to make my version of corn bread, but it turned to soft savoury corn cookies served with a ginger and garlic pulses mix.

So, to make the corn cookies the ingredient s are:

·         1 ½ coarse corn meal

·         1 cup of flour

·         1 cup of rice milk

·         1/3 cup of corn oil

·         1tea spoon of baking powder

·         1tea spoon of salt

·         1tea spoon of sugar

·         5 leaves of pineapple sage leaves

In a bowl, mix the milk, oil sugar and salt add the corn mix well, then add the flour. Work the paste into an homogenous ball and wrap it in cling film and leave in room temp for 30 minutes.
Then, unwrap and crush in the fried pineapple sage leave. Work the past once more to incorporate the sage. Then, divide the dough in smaller balls and flatten them ready for the oven.

Spray the oven tray or baking dish being used for the baking with corn oil and place the
Preheat the oven at 180c and place the cookies in to bake for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the accompaniment and get it ready for serving the cookies warm.
My accompaniment is a moist pulses mix including butter beans, kidney beans, barlotti beans and chick peas cooked with soya meatballs in plenty of garlic, onion and ginger.

The cookies need improvement, but this tasted not bad at all… will do better next time…and intentionally.
See you later!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Spaghetti plant carbonara with avocado cream

Shaz pic of the monster - Also called spaghetti squash
Before my friend Shaz mention this the Spaghetti plantvegetable, I have never heard of the thing. Her dad grew this in the allotment and she gave me half of the monster so I can create something original. I came up with a vegan version of carbonara.

This dish was created completely off hand and for the first time as are most dishes on this blog.

Ingredient for 3:
200g Spaghetti plant (cooked & deseeded)
2 ripe small avocados
100 red cabbage
50g of whole dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 medium onion
100 ml of rice milk
5 garlic cloves
Sunflower oil
1 stock cube

1 - Cut the spaghetti plant in big wedges so they can fit in a single pot. Place the wedges in the pot face up with just enough water to produce steam. Cover the pot and steam for 20 minutes. When this vegetable is cooked it actually become stringy like very thin spaghettis.
Ready avocado cream
2 - Remove the veges from the stove and let cool down. Once cooled. Take it apart and remove the pips then, separate the strings and rinse out all the starch. Squeeze out the water and set aside.

3 - Now peel the avocadoes, chop a put in a mixer. Add the rice milk and the peeled garlic cloves. Blend and set aside.
4 - As for the Shiitake mushrooms, remove them from the package and place in a bowl with the stock cube. Pour over it about 150ml of boiling water. Leave to hydrate for about 30 minutes, then remove from the water and roughly cut them in 3 or 4 pieces each. Do not throw away the water as it will be used in the cooking later.

5 - Take about 10 leaves of red cabbage and slice them finely. Set aside do the same for the onion.
In a hot wok, heat 4 table spoons of sunflower oil, throw in the finely slices onion and brown for about 2 minutes. Drop in the mushrooms with a pinch of salt continue to stir, then add the chopped cabbage and the stock. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

By now the mushrooms and cabbage should be well flavoured. Now, add the “spaghetti” and mix well adding black pepper and adjust the salt. Add the avocado cream and mix well making sure that the cream is well incorporated.

Cover the pot, and turn the heat down. Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time to allow the liquid from the cream to dry out a bit. By now, the cream should be sticking to the other vegetable in the pot. 

After the avocado cream is incorporated, the pot should only remain on the fire for about 5 minutes as everything goes so quick.
It is ready.
Serving suggestion
Note: This dish tasted really good! Using avocado as cream really came up in a dream (I know crazy right?), but, I had never heard of it before. I will definitely use avocado in other dishes that call for cream in the future. The texture is really original and the shiitake mushroom gave the chewiness needed in such dish. I am really surprise that the spaghetti plant despite the cooking and the manipulation didn’t disintegrate… Wow. Two unknown in ingredients, one great dish!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Homemade tomato conserve

Often we buy fresh tomatoes and never get round to use all of the pack and it start to go off in the fridge. When my tomatoes start to go off, I either make a soup or my conserve of tomatoes that I use in many ways.

You will find in the post how I make my conserve and in the next ones you will see how I sue the conserve that can last up to a month.

To make the conserve you will need the following:

 6 medium tomatoes
2 medium red onions
10 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
Olive oil
Fresh thyme – 3 twigs

1 - Start by Peeling and chopping the garlic and onions. Rinse the fresh tomatoes and cut off any rotten bits, then chop the tomatoes and set aside. It is preferable to keep all the elements separated as you will incorporate them separately.

2 - In a sauce pan, heat 5 table spoons of olive oil, then fry the onions and thyme for 2 minutes. Now add the fresh tomatoes and the garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the tinned tomato, salt and pepper. Mix well and cover to simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir and do not let the sauce stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir until there is no more moisture in the pan. All you should see in the bottom of the pan is the paste and oil.

Letting all moisture evaporate will mean that the conserve /chutney lasts longer. So you must make sure that all you hear from the pan frying noises.
3 - Remove the pan from the stove and leave to cool before putting the conserve in a dry glass jar with lid. Again, make sure that the jar and it lid have not a sign of moisture inside.

Once the tomato is in the jar cover it with 2 o 3 more table spoons of olive oil.

With the ingredients above you can produce up to 600 grams of tomato chutney. I splited mine and blended a half and kept the other half in chunks and in separated jars.

Note: Oil is a great conservateur and will protect whatever you cover with it from moulding.
You can then also use the oil covering the tomato to flavour some of your salads or roasts.
Whenever you want to use your conserve, make sure you only use clean and dry spoons. This way, you will not insert moisture or bacteria in your jar and will be able to keep it for at least 21 days.

Check out next week’s post to see how to use the conserve in quick and easy vegan dishes.