Friday, 25 February 2011

Rootie Tootie Curry

Have a bit of a glut of root vegetables at the moment; Jerusalem artichokes from the garden, carrots from the veg box and sweet potatoes from the supermarket. The solution - a hearty vegetable curry, mild yet warming.
Serves 4-5 

1 large sweet potato (I prefer the orange fleshed ones) peeled and cut into chunks
3 medium carrots cut into chunks
2 medium Jerusalem artichokes trimmed and peeled (I find this makes them less 'windy') and cut into chunks
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
Thumb sized chunk of ginger peeled and grated
1tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fenugreek
1 stick cinnamon
1 small bunch of corriander
1 can chick peas
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
Small head of broccoli
1 fresh tomato
2 tsp garum masala
3 tsp oil
juice of one lime

Heat a roasting tray in an oven at 170C and coat the root veg in 2 tsp of the oil. When the tray is hot add the veg and roast in the oven - shaking occasionally - for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile make the curry paste by blending together the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks. Grind the dry spices together. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the onion mix and fry stirring continuously. Add the dry spices and the cinnamon stick. Continue to fry for a few minutes then add the tomatoes, chick peas and coconut milk. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add the root vegetables and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, garum masala and lime juice and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice or Indian breads.

If you want a less mild curry add 1-2 fresh green chillies chopped finely when you fry the onion mix.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Winter Salad

Today was the first day of the year that felt, at least for a while, nice enough to go down to the shed/greenhouse. We were joined by Fitz and Latte who enjoyed our presence and the warmth out of the wind. While Liz pruned the rampaging blackberry brambles I sorted through the seeds we had left over from the last century and swept the greenhouse floor.
When the wind got up and the rain swept in with a vengeance we returned to the warmth of the house to enjoy a tasty Cook and Butcher pork pie and a tasty winter salad.

Ingredients (for two)
3-4 Shredded Sprout tops (the tops of the Brussels Sprout plant, tasty tender, peppery leaves)
2 grated carrots
1 small red onion finely sliced into half moons
1 handful of cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 a red pepper (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil (I used a mix of plain and lemon infused oils)
Salt and pepper

Toss everything together and serve in a big bowl. Some finely sliced radishes, watercress or raw button mushrooms would be nice additions perhaps with some sautéed new potatoes or croutons to give a bit of extra yum.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Cottage Pie

The endless dilemma: Cottage Pie or Shepherds' Pie. Common wisdom is that the former is made with minced beef the latter with minced lamb and I'm not going to argue with that. In any case my version would shock any cottager or shepherd! Amounts serve four with enough left over to make a pasta sauce for my next two lunches!

For a vegetarian option replace the mince with more beans or cooked lentils.

400g minced beef
1 can tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 courgette
1/2 red pepper
1 bay leaf
2 carrots finely chopped
4 chestnut mushrooms chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

For the topping:
1 large parsnips
3-4 small potatoes
2 small Jerusalem artichokes (or more parsnips, potatoes, swede)
Knob of butter
Grated cheese
Grated nutmeg

Fry the mince in a little oil then add the onion, pepper, courgette and mushrooms. Fry for a bit longer then add the remaining ingredients bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
Cook the vegetables for the topping in plenty of salted water until soft then mash with the butter, cheese and nutmeg.

Put the sauce in a oven proof dish then cover with the mash and dot with butter and perhaps a little extra grated cheese.
Cook in hot oven until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Serve with green veg or a crispy salad.