All posts for the month January, 2014


Published January 29, 2014 by Storm

Starting With Take-away

The night I would have normally have chosen to try making a new dish this week fell on a special occasion; the nature of the occasion meant the Railway Modeller and I wanted to enjoy the evening together, not have me messing around in the kitchen for half the evening.  Originally we planned to eat out but the weather had other ideas for us and we opted to order a curry from our local take-away instead.  Well, as our local take-away is generous with portion sizes and tend to give you some extras free, we had plenty left over for the next day.  The plan was to cook some rice to go with the leftovers, then I got the idea of finding something to compliment our curry as my new dish for the week.  

I browsed through about half my shelf of recipe books before making a decision!  In Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection Bread I found a recipe for Coconut Roti, there were three variations given and I thought the sweet one might work alongside our leftovers in a similar manner to a peshwari naan.

The Need to Knead

I read the recipe variation I was using and was slightly surprised to realise I had all everything I needed in my kitchen cupboards.  I re-read the recipe to make sure, and yes, I really did have everything.  Cheating slightly, I used the dough hook on my food processor to mix everything.  I wanted to spare my hands as much as possible because I was slightly anxious about one crucial part of the roti making process, I was going to need to knead my dough.  Once upon a time kneading would have left me undaunted but I’ve spent most of this winter nursing a rheumatic flare up in my hands which has even seen my knitting needles sit idle; however last week I agreed to a steroid jab to get things back under control and this week I have fully functioning hands.  Despite my reservations kneading the dough didn’t result in tears of pain and neither did rolling my roti into shape, I am ridiculously pleased about this!  Cooking was simple and a dozen roti were duly dished up alongside our supper of leftovers.

Better as a Biscuit?

I’m not quite sure what I expected the roti to be like but it wasn’t what I got; it was firmer than I’d expected from the photograph and the rice flour gave it a slightly powdery feeling against the roof of the mouth.  In terms of flavour we both found the roti pleasant but I think I might like it better baked as a biscuit.  Probably not something I’ll make again, though if I find I have another recipe for roti I might try it and see how they compare.

4 out of 5 for ease of preparation

3 out of 5 for taste

Now We’re Cooking With Rice

Published January 21, 2014 by Storm

Brown Rice Gets a Second Chance

After last week’s disaster you might think I would be steering clear of rice for a while, I certainly hadn’t planned on trying a new rice dish again just yet.  Then I pulled The World Vegetarian Cookbook off the shelf and started leafing through it.  I did try to skip past the risotto that caught my eye, I got as far as starting to write the shopping list for Egg and Potato Dum, but somehow I found myself drawn back to the rice.

A Cheesy Complaint

Before I go any further let me get my one gripe about the recipe out of the way!  The last but one ingredient listed is parmesan cheese shavings; if it’s calling itself parmesan (at least in Europe, I don’t know about the rest of the world) it’s not a vegetarian cheese.  There are a good few vegetarian alternatives to parmesan, look for names like vegetarian pasta cheese, and even some vegan ones but true parmesan, nope, never.

However, the cheese in the recipe was being used more or less as a garnish so I decided I’d make the dish anyway and top it with some of the hard goats’ cheese I had in the fridge.

Mushroom and Herb Risotto

This could almost be called Five a Day Risotto, it calls for such a selection of veg’; two types of mushroom, leeks, red onion, red pepper, celery, sweetcorn, peas and mixed fresh herbs.  Now I admit I skipped the celery, I’ve never liked it cooked or raw, but quite frankly I don’t think I’d have fitted everything in the pan if I had included it.

Making the risotto was simplicity itself; chop the veggies as appropriate and mix together everything except the peas, sweetcorn and herbs with a flavoursome stock, the rice and a good quantity of wine.  Obviously I had to have a small glass of wine whilst chopping the veg’, I had to make sure the bottle I had was fit for the purpose. The peas and sweetcorn went in when everything else was almost cooked and the chopped herbs, I used a mix of homegrown rosemary and parsley with some bought oregano and thyme, being added just before serving.

The recipe book claimed the risotto should serve four and, unusually, I would agree, often I find cookery books under-estimate portion size.  The first portion was eaten with shavings of goats’ cheese melting through it and was absolutely delicious. The second portion I reheated and topped with walnuts, as a vegan option this was good but it wasn’t quite as good as with the cheese.  The final two portions are in the freezer and I think will be used to stuff red peppers.

So, how would I grade this dish?

4.5 out of 5 for ease of cooking, preparation does take a while.

5 out of 5 for tastiness!

(Un)baked Rice

Published January 14, 2014 by Storm

Baked Rice

My newest, to me, recipe book, Vegetarian Cooking Through The Year, describes this as An unusual method of cooking rice in the oven with red lentils and nutritious root vegetables.” Wary but intrigued, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered savoury rice cooked in the oven, I decided to give it a go.

Perhaps I wasn’t wary enough!  I did have a back up supper of a favourite cheese, salad and nice bread but obviously I wasn’t going to need that; obviously I was.

I followed the, seemingly, clear instructions to the letter.  At the supposed end of the cooking time, as there wasn’t enough liquid left to half cover the contents of the casserole dish and everything was still rock hard, I boiled the kettle, topped up the liquid and returned the dish to the oven for another half hour.  At the end of this extended cooking time I had almost cooked vegetables, half cooked lentils and brown rice which looked like it had never been near water or heat. 

Baked Rice was declared compost.  I dished up what I’m told was a tasty mutton casserole, which I’d thrown together with no reference to any recipe, for the Railway Modeller and I sat down to my bread and cheese.

0.5 out of 5 for ease of cooking, it’s lucky to get that but if I were to take the ingredients and the order of adding them to the stock I could make this work on the hob.

2 out of 5 for tastiness, again I’m being kind but the vegetables gave me an idea of what the overall flavour should have been and with an effective cooking technique this would be an a reasonably flavoursome dish though probably not overly exciting.

Persian Egg Pie

Published January 8, 2014 by Storm

Introducing the 2014 Recipe Challenge

I’m one of those people who loves to cook but seldom follows a recipe but, because it’s well known that I enjoy my cookery, I have amassed a full shelf of recipe books.  I am ashamed of the way I neglect these wonderful books and am determined to correct that this year.  Thus the 2014 Recipe Challenge is born; I will try one recipe from one of my cookery books every week, and to hold myself to account with it I will write about it here.

Persian Egg Pie

From Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, I’ve been intending to try this recipe for a while if I’m honest but until my last birthday I didn’t have an appropriately sized frying pan for omelette type dishes for one, the Railway Modeller doesn’t like omelette much.  This was also a good choice to start with as most of the ingredients are things I usually have in my cupboards or, as with the parsley, growing in pots.

A short shopping list was compiled.  Basically I needed fresh coriander, I never have any success growing this, and dried methi.  The methi was probably a deciding factor in choosing this egg pie over any of the omelette or frittata recipes I have; I love methi and eat methi dishes whenever I encounter them in a restaurant but I’ve never used it myself before.

This was an easy dish to cook, with a tiny bit of planning ahead it would be a great dinner for those nights when I’ve been working late.  My only gripe was a small one, the quantities of fresh herbs are given for them after chopping finely, I’m not the sort of girl who has ready chopped fresh or frozen herbs, just how big a bunch would I need to produce four tablespoons of chopped coriander?  Actually, since I was making two thirds the size given, how much would I need to create eight teaspoons?  It wasn’t a big niggle though, my guesswork was close enough, and everything else went smoothly.

Persian egg pie was pretty darn tasty and wasn’t bad cold the next day, though I preferred it hot.  I will make it again though some customisation of the recipe will occur.  I’d like more raisins in it, the recipe called for currants but I switched to raisins as that was what I had in the cupboard, and  think I’d like to try swapping the chopped walnuts for flaked almonds.

Four out of five for both ease of cooking and tastiness.


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