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.

Friday, 28 April 2017


A trip to IKEA, which happens very rarely these days, would invariably include the purchase of these crispbreads to enjoy with cheese.
I'm happy to have created a recipe that allows me to make and share these.
The kitchen has recently turned into a bit of a cheese factory; since I began making kefir, I now regulalry make both hard cheese and soft cheese, so having a supply of knäckebrot and my crackers click here for the recipe to hand makes me happy.

For this recipe you will need;
260gm of bread flour
70gm of rye flour
160 mixed seeds (I use a combination black and white sesame seeds and sunflower seeds)
Plus 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
2 teaspoons of malt extract
14gm of salt
20gm of fresh yeast
About 200ml of whey or water.
Oat bran for rolling out.

Begin by rubbing the fresh yeast into the flours and seeds, add the remaining ingredients (apart from the oat bran) to form a soft dough.

Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Portion the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll out into circles on a board liberally floured with oat bran. The circles need to be roughly 2 to 3 mm thick. I cut out a hole in the centre, partly because it makes cooling easier and I have a beautifully made Knäckebrot holder made by Dick George it's a real pleasure serving them on the oak holder. After rolling out the rounds, dock with either a docker or a fork to create lots of holes, this helps the escape of air during baking and avoids air bubbles in the finsihed crackers.
Leave the rounds for 15 minutes while the oven heats up to 200C.
Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight tin.

Add the whey or water gradually, you may need slightly less than the full 200ml in order to make a soft but not sticky dough.
You can vary both the flours and the seeds, but the caraway for me give them what I think of as an authentic flavour.
The crispbreads don't really rise, but I found they are not the same if I omit the yeast.
The oat bran makes rolling the rounds out very much easier and they add to the crunch of the finished article.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Roasted Pumpkin and Bean Curry

The first of the pumpkins I harvested last Autumn, began to change colour, a sure sign that I would need to use it or lose it. I'm enjoying Indian inspired food these days so a curry seemed the obvious dish to create. I decided to combine borlotti beans which I also harvested last Autumn and dried.
Delicious served with a cabbage thoran and dosas.
for this recipe you will need;

500g of pumpkin
300g of cooked borlotti beans
2 medium red onions, sliced
4 cloves of garlic
2 green chilies
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp of black mustard seeds
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric,(optional)
1/2 tin of plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of salt.

Dominca, welcome, country 149

Bringing the number to 150! Curaçao

Begin by peeling and cubing the pumpkin. Toss in 1 tablespoon of oil and spread out on a baking tray with the salt and bake in a hot oven, 220C, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is charred, set aside.

In a large pan, on a high heat, add the oil and when the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds and when the seeds begin to pop, add the onion, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions become lightly browned, this can take 10 minutes or so, but they will require stirring from time to time. Meanwhile, chop up the garlic, chili, ginger and turmeric if using. Once the onions have taken on a good colour, add the garlic, chili, ginger and turmeric and continue to fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes and a cup full of water. Turn down the heat and having added the cooked beans and roasted pumkin, gently cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Butternut squash works well in this dish. I use crown prince, because I have more success in growing it. Whatever you chose, use a dense fleshed pumpkin not the type that are carved at Halloween.
I make my own curry powder but a good quality commercial one is fine and if you're really opposed to using one, a half a teaspoon each of ground cumin, round coriander and ground turmeric will be fine.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Butternut Squash and Sun dried Tomato Soup

These days butternut squash soup is often to be seen on a pub menu; I have to admit to it always being a little off putting. The problem is butternut squash lends itself perfectly to being made into soup and as such, it's often a lazy option. Boil a butternut squash in some stock, blend it and you have a reasonable if mediocre soup.
Think about enhancing the natural sweetness of the vegetable and become a little creative and you will be rewarded with a far better and worthwhile soup.
This soup incorporates sun dried tomatoes, and that hugely important spice cumin, its earthy savoury quality is perfectly matched with the sweet squash. The addition of a little chili completes the mix.
The texture of the dense flesh once cooked and blended is so creamy, this recipe requires only the oil that remains clinging to the sun dried tomatoes and no more, so comes in as a low calorie dish.

For this recipe you will need;
500g of butternut squash
300g of chopped onion
3 fat cloves of garlic chopped
75g of sun dried tomatoes
1 litre of vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Begin by gently cooking the onion, garlic and sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped in a large enough saucepan. The oil from the tomatoes will be sufficient to moisten the onions and garlic, you won't need any more.
Cut up the squash into chunks, since the final soup is to be sieved, there is no need to peel it. cook on a low heat until the onion becomes translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the stock and seasoning and simmer gently, with the lid on, for an hour.
Using a blender, I find the stick variety far easier and safer with hot liquid these days, blend until you have a smooth soup. Sieve and reheat before serving.

I made my own dried tomatoes in oil this year for the first time

Less than a tablespoon of residue!

I photographed the residue from sieving to show what little there is, an illustration of just how wasteful it is to peel the squash.
The weights of the squash and onions can be varied without altering the finished result too much, so don't worry if your squash is a little larger or smaller, simply adjust the amount of stock.