Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Mushroom and Kidney Bean Paté

This is an ideal vegetarian starter which if you substitute vegan spread for butter, easily becomes a vegan starter. It's packed with flavour and the butter content gives it a smooth texture making it easy to spread on toast. We've had such a mild Winter, I still have fresh watercress in the garden.

For this recipe, (serves 6 to 8) you will need;
500gm of mushrooms
250gm of cooked red kidney beans
130gm of shallots
100gm of unsalted butter
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of marsala or dry sherry
1 tablespoon of oil
black pepper
1 teaspoon of Marigold Bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme.

Begin by slicing the mushroom and frying over a medium heat in the oil. If you want to get the full flavour of mushrooms it is essential to fry them until you achieve a nice brown caramelisation, see the photograph. There is never any need to increase the amount of oil when frying, if the mushrooms, which are naturally absorbent, seem to have dried out the pan simply throw in a tablespoon of water, this creates steam and the absorbed oil will be released. De-glaze the pan with the marsala and add the chopped shallots. Continue to cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, add the garlic and after another 2 minutes put a lid on the pan and switch off the heat. This helps to ensure the shallots and garlic are fully cooked.
Place the cooked kidney beans, butter, thyme, seasoning (bouillon powder and pepper) and mushroom mixture in a food processor and process on pulse until the mixture is as fine as you like. Personally I like it a little coarse, but it's possible to process until you have a totally smooth paté.
Chill, for 4 hours, either in a single container or in small ramekins to serve.

High colour when cooking mushrooms ensures a strong umami flavour

You can vary the flavour of this paté very easily, by using different beans. I used chestnuts the last time I made it. You can also use wild mushrooms or a combination of wild and not so wild mushrooms. Use Sage or oregano instead of thyme if you fancy. As with many of my recipes, this should act as a foundation for experiment.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Oat & Walnut Cookies

My kitchen has been blessed with the addition of a Nutribullet, such a useful device, I highly recommend it. I used it this morning to produce oat flour from some porridge oats in order to make these cookies. Making your own oat flour of course means you can make these cookies gluten free if you need to.

Ethiopia, welcome. No 151!

For this recipe you will need; (makes 26 to 30)
300g of oat flour
200g of light muscovado sugar
200g unsalted butter
80g of walnuts
1 egg
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a soft dough.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.
Form the dough into small balls, roughly the size of a large walnut. I found having wet hands makes this process considerably less messy,
Space the balls of dough out with enough space to double in size, they will spread. Flatten them just a little. Bake for 17 minutes. If they are a little soft when baked for this length of time in your oven, simply extend the baking time by a minute or two.
Allow to cool completely on the tray, to allow them to firm up.

This basic recipe gives you lots of options to vary the flavour, you can add powdered ginger and small pieces of crystallised ginger or chocolate chips or dried cranberries for instance.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Jerusalem Artichoke and Red Quinoa patties

Thank you Gauthier!

My laptop has been in the doldrums for a very long time which is one reason why I've contributed very little over the past few months. Like many people, I'm fine with what I know when it comes to computers but when it comes to intensive care or bringing sick laptops back to life, I am useless but I am blessed to have a friend who is a genius, so when Gauthier visited and suggested some radical rejigging of the hard drive I was very grateful.
We celebrated by digging up some of this year's Jerusalem artichokes and creating these delicious little patties. They made an excellent addition to a meal of prawn and mango curry and rice.

For this recipe you will need;
400g of Jerusalem artichokes
120g of urid dal
75g of red quinoa
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 or 2 green chillies
1 tsp of Marigold Bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Begin by soaking the urid dal, it will need a good hour to rehydrate. Meanwhile cook the quinoa in a 750ml of water until cooked, then drain and leave to cool.
When the urid dal has rehydrated, drain any excess water and grind it in a food processor, along with the ginger garlic paste, chillies and bouillon powder.
Grate the Jerusalem artichokes and stir together with the urid dal paste and red quinoa.
Form into small patties, I found this mix makes about 20, and shallow fry in a tablespoon or so of oil until lightly browned and cooked all the way through.

Jerusalem artichokes are regarded as vegetables that really benefit the microbiome and this recipe is straightforward and delicious. There is no need to peel the artichokes and the use of ground urid dal paste as a binder makes them GF for those of us who genuinely have to avoid gluten, i.e. people who have Coeliac disease.
I chose to flavour these with the Indian classics, chilli, garlic and ginger but you could easily adjust the flavouring to suit yourself.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Considering how easy it is to make hummus, I'm always surprised that people ever buy it. The product you make yourself is far tastier, cheaper and above all has only the ingredients you want in it.
Here I have added equal quantities of roasted carrots, I believe the sweet flavour, intensified by roasting works well and since cumin, in my opinion is the perfect spice to use with both carrot and chickpeas, I had to include it.

For this recipe you will need;
300gm of cooked chickpeas
300gm of carrots
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 clove of garlic
1 heaped teaspoon (at least) of cumin seeds
The juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra for roasting the carrots
1 teaspoon of Marigold bouillon powder of 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of coursely ground black pepper.

Begin by roasting the carrots in a teaspoon or so of oil, in a hot 200C oven for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender, allow to cool completely.
Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan over a medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until the seeds realease their aroma. Grind and set aside.
In a food processor, process the chickpeas, carrots, crushed garlic, tahini, lemon juice and seasoning. Blend until you have a really smooth paste and finally trickle in the olive oil while still processing.

The earthy flavour of beetroot also works well with this type of humus, again the use of cumin works well.
Another vegetable to consider is red pepper, I wouldn't use green peppers but red, orange or yellow will be fine. Roast the peppers rubbed with a little oil to intensify the flavour. As well as using the cumin, you can add chili when using peppers. 
I like to roughly grind the cumin, there's no need to achieve a fine powder, the odd little nugget of cumin is a welcome treat.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Roasted Artichoke Paté

It's hard to believe that with little more than three ingredients you can produce such a delicious finished dish. the last of my Jerusalem artichokes have now been dug up, leaving only a few for next winter's harvest. They have long been a favourite vegetable of mine, you have only to type "artichoke" into the search box at the top left of my blog home page to see how many recipes I have created using them and of course artichokes simply roasted in oil and served as a vegetable, are delicious.

For this recipe you will need;
400gm of Jerusalem artichokes
250gm of cream cheese
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of Marigold bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of oil for roasting the artichokes.

Begin by scrubbing the artichokes, cutting them in half length ways and rubbing with the oil before roasting in a hot oven (200) for 15 minutes or until the artichokes are tender and have taken on some dark brown caramelisation, Allow to cool completely.
I make my own cream cheese by straining kefir over a couple of days, it produces a cream cheese that has far more flavour, with a pleasant acidity. You can substitute commercially available cream cheese.
When the artichokes are cool, blend them in a food processor until they form a coarse puree, then add all remaining ingredients, process on pulse until fully incorporated.

I enjoy the extra texture that leaving the caramelised ends and skin bring to the paté so I leave them on.
This paté is delicious served with crackers or toasted sourdough, but it also makes an excellent sauce for cooked and drained spaghetti, reserve a tablespoon of the pasta cooking liquid to slacken the sauce if needed.