Mushroom Curry

Do I miss meat in a curry?  Well, certainly not when I make this one.  The mushrooms seem to take on a meaty taste.  Please feel free to add as much heat with the chilli flakes and curry paste as you wish.  Also experiments with different vegetables such as peppers and butternut squash.  I also like to add chickpeas as well.

On the subject of curry pastes, the one below is one that I picked up from Waitrose a while back.  I have to say, I really like it and its one of my favourites.  Occasionally I make my own but this one comes in useful for when I am too busy to make my own.  I find using 2 teaspoons of this paste is more than enough heat for me.  The rice I have used is a whole grain rice with quinoa, which is very filling!

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Ingredients 

500g Mushrooms – Use a mixture. I slice plain white mushrooms and then I quarter some chestnut mushrooms.
2 Cloves of garlic crushed
5cm Piece of ginger grated
1 Onion Chopped
Pinch of chilli flakes
Olive Oil
2 – 4 tsp of good quality curry paste (depending on how hot you like it. I like a Medium Moglai curry paste for this dish)
4 Tomatoes roughly chopped
1 Tbsp of Mango Chutney
1 x 400ml of Coconut Milk
Splash of double cream (optional)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a heavy bottomed cast iron pan place in the mushrooms and dry fry them to get some colour for around 5 minutes. They squeak in the pan when dry frying, but this gets them a nice colour. If you put oil at this stage, the mushrooms just absorb it and sort of steam. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the chilli, onion, garlic along with your curry paste. Stir round for 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes, mango chutney and coconut milk. Add some salt and pepper, put the lid on and place in the oven for between 20-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes that it is not drying out and stir round. You can add a splash of hot kettle water if you feel it needs more liquid. Once cooked transfer to the stove top and taste to check that you are happy with the spice heat and seasoning. I like to add a splash of double cream, but you could eat it without.

Serve with rice and other items such as poppodums.

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Tomato & Bean Soup

This is such a lovely hearty soup, that almost verges on being a vegetable stew.  We eat this most weeks throughout the year.  It warms you up in the winter, and is somehow refreshing in the summer months.  You can add some croutons if you like, which gives a lovely crunch.

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Ingredients

Olive oil, for frying

1 Large onion, chopped

1 Large carrot diced small

2 Sticks celery, diced small

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tin of cannellini beans

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

Good pinch of sugar

4 Leaves of Cavolo Nero cut into thick shreds

Good handful of Parmesan Cheese

400ml of Vegetable stock

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Fry off the onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes gently in a little olive oil.   Then add the garlic cloves, tomatoes and simmer for a further five minutes.  Then add a generous pinch of sugar (this helps to stop the tomatoes tasting too sharp) then add the chilli flakes, cannellini beans, parmesan, cavolo nero, vegetable stock, plus seasoning of salt and pepper. If I have a rind of parmesan then I will add that too, making sure that I remove it before serving.  Gently cook for around 20 minutes or so with a lid, until the carrot is tender.  If you need more stock then just add it.  Taste for seasoning.  Then serve.

 

Cashew Nut Roast

My food and health group friends tucked into this last week, which is a great alternative to meat.  Cashews are a great nut, and contrary to popular belief can actually help you lose weight!  Yes, you heard right.  If you want to look at the many reports, simply google ‘cashew nuts for weight loss’ and you will find that many studies have been done to support this theory.  There are many benefits of eating cashews for people, especially those with diabetes, eye, heart and blood related issues.

Although I am not a vegetarian, I enjoy this as a substitute.  I have reduced my meat intake  to three times a week, and have found that I have extra energy and lost a few pounds in the process, which is no bad thing. So give it a whirl.

 

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Ingredients

250 g of cashew nuts
The two end slices of a loaf of bread (that no-one likes eating) – Wholemeal gives a better consistency
1 medium onion chopped
100g mushrooms chopped not sliced
250 ml of hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon marmite
1 heaped teaspoon of mixed herbs
A little Olive oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

First fry the onion and mushrooms in a little olive oil.  Fry gently until the onion has softened.  Remove from the heat.  In a food processor blitz the cashew nuts until fine.  Put into a large mixing bowl.  Then blitz the bread in the food processor until it turns to breadcrumbs, then add to the cashew nuts in the mixing bowl.  Also add the onions and mushrooms.  In a measuring jug get the hot stock and add to it the marmite and mixed herbs.  This will allow the marmite to melt, you can help it along by stirring it with a spoon.  Once melted add the liquid to the mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients together well.

Place the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Cover the top with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until golden on top.  Leave to cool.  If you do not allow the mixture to cool, the dish will collapse.

This is so tasty if left to eat the following day. I like to slice and eat it cold or you can slice and fry it. This is great with a salad and most vegetarians and meat eaters will give it the thumbs up.

Pesto Pasta

This is a pasta dish that hits the spot and is ready in next to no time.  You can use any pasta you like, but I like the fusilli twirled pasta for this, as the sauce gets stuck into the grooves with it.

This dish is reasonably healthy too and is cost effective, especially if you grow lots of basil like myself.  I also like the fact that most of this is store cupboard ingredients, and so is great for making when you are stuck with knowing what to cook.

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 Bunches of Basil – remove the leaves from the stalks
  • 100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasalt – a couple of good pinches
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove
  • 50g Pine Nuts
  • 3 Large Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pasta of your choice (80g per person)
  • Vine cherry tomatoes on top to decorate (optional).

Boil your pasta to the packet instructions.  Whilst it is cooking you can make the pesto sauce.  In a food processor place all the ingredients except the tomatoes and blitz until fairly smooth.  You may need to stop a couple of times and go around the edge of the bowl with a spatula.  Leave the pesto to rest a few minutes, you will see that it will thicken slightly.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the warm pan.  Do not put the saucepan back on the stove.  Place the pesto in with the pasta and mix well, ensuring it is all fully coated in the pesto mix.

Serve in bowls and add some vine tomatoes on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Kedgeree

I am not one for eating breakfast early, but I do enjoy a good brunch.  This recipe for kedgeree is great for a late breakfast or lunch and is reasonably healthy too.  Do try and get the undyed haddock.  I am no fan of the bright yellow stuff where dye was used years ago, as a way of reducing smoking time and cost.  Some of the dye used is an E number called E104 Quinoline Yellow.  People who suffer from Asthma, hyperactivity and dermatitis should probably avoid this like the plague.  This additive has been banned in certain countries such as Australia, Japan, Norway and the USA.  Still want to eat the dyed fish?  If so, the  you must be mad!

kedgeree

 

480g Undyed smoked haddock fillet, cut in half
100ml Milk with 400ml of cold water
2 Bay leaves
200g Basmati rice
4 Free-range eggs hardboiled and peeled, then cut into quarters
80g Frozen peas cooked and left warm
40g Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 Heaped tbsp medium curry powder
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp double cream
½ Lemon, juiced
Ground black pepper
Place the haddock, milk/water and bay leaves in a large frying pan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, then drain but making sure you reserve the cooking liquor and remove the bay leaves.

Place the cooking liquor in a saucepan and add the rice. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. If the rice is using up too much of the cooking liquor too quickly then add a little extra hot water from the kettle. I use a lid on my pan with just a slight opening to let a little steam out. Turn off the heat and leave the rice undrained for a few minutes. The rice will then absorb much or all of the liquor.

In a large frying pan melt the butter and oil and cook the onion over a low hear for five minutes until softened and translucent. Then add the curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, making sure you stir constantly. Drain off any excess liquid from the rice, and then add to the pan along with the peas, cream and parsley.

Flake the fish into the pan, stir in the lemon juice and stir gently to heat through for around 1 minute. Then take the pan off the heat, and add some ground pepper and stir once more gently so as not break the fish too much. Place the egg quarters on top and place a lid or tin foil on top of the pan, and leave for around 3 minutes, so that the egg is heated slightly. Then serve.