Thursday 28 February 2013

Dukka-Rolled Soft-Boiled Eggs with Chickpea Puree

From The Modern Vegetarian, Maria Elia, Kyle Cathie Ltd, 2009.
Sometimes a build-up of bits and pieces occurs in the refrigerator so this week has been one of finding recipes that can make use of these. I had made tattie hushie to use up some cauliflower and a leek waiting patiently in the vegetable section. There were a few figs bought once on the spur of the moment and still waiting for their moment so, combined with some left over blue vein cheese, they were turned into a disappointing figs à la bourguignonne. Now I wanted to use up a can of chickpeas in the pantry and the end of a loaf of bread made earlier in the week. This recipe looked as though it would make a good light meal.
Firstly I made the dukka. Some hazelnuts (the end of a packet) were roasted in a 180ªC oven. After them a few sesame seeds (again the end of a packet) went in to be roasted. Now a couple of teaspoons of coriander seeds and a little less of cumin seeds (another packet being emptied) went in the oven for a couple of minutes to release their wonderful aromas.  These all went in a blender with a teaspoon salt, a good few grindings of black pepper, about half a teaspoon of paprika and a large pinch of cayenne pepper. They were ground to a rough, not too fine mix. That was the dukka ready.

Now it was time to make the puree. I heated a little olive oil in a pan and then dropped in two chopped garlic cloves and removed the pan from the heat. The oil was swirled around to absorb the garlic flavour and a large pinch of cayenne was added together with about half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. A drained can of chickpeas was added to the pan with 150ml water. It now went back onto the heat to warm it through. It was then pureed and salt added to taste. This was a really tasty puree and I had to limit the amount of tastings I gave it.

One egg per person was now placed in boiling water and cooked for 4 minutes. The recipe called for 5 minutes and I should have stuck to that because when I tried to shell the eggs when they were cooled I had great difficulty.
A slice of bread for each person was placed under the grill and toasted.
A fennel was finely sliced and added to a pan with a chopped garlic clove and a little oil. When it was cooked it was removed and into the pan now went a large pile of rocket and baby spinach leaves. When they had wilted the fennel went back into the pan with the juice of half a lemon and it was turned off.
It was now ready to put everything together. The bread was covered with a goodly amount of the chickpea puree. Over this went a helping of the wilted leaves. The eggs were supposed to have a little olive oil dribbled on them and then to be rolled in the dukka. My eggs would not have survived this treatment so they were just placed on the wilted greens and the dukka was sprinkled over.
I truly enjoyed this meal. I was ready for something that was light and not too filling. This was just right. It had a wonderful mix of flavours that all went together really well. The puree had a touch of heat from the cayenne and a slight smokiness from the paprika. And there was a little bitterness from the greens, matched with the sourness of the lemon. The egg poured its yolky sauce over all, spreading the spicy crunch from the dukka. I could go for this easily again.
Taste: ✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Tattie Hushie (Potato, Cauliflower and Oatmeal Soup)

From A Passion for Potatoes, Paul Gayler, Kyle Cathie Ltd, 2009.
Sometimes what you cook depends almost entirely on what you have handy. Such was the reason for making this tattie hushie, a Lancashire dish.
A leek and 200g of cauliflower were cut into small pieces and let soften for a couple of minutes in a pan with some butter. About 500g of peeled potatoes cut into small pieces now went into the pan to sweat for 10 minutes with the lid on.
Meanwhile 50g of oatmeal was mixed in 500ml milk. When the potatoes had had their 10 minutes, the milk/oatmeal mix went in together with 500ml water and a vegetarian chicken stock cube. The soup was now brought to the boil and then reduced to a simmer until the vegetables were cooked. A stick blender now reduced this mix to a puree. Salt and pepper were added to taste and the soup was ready.
At serving time the soup, now quite a thick mixture, was poured into bowls and I added a little crushed potato chips to the top. I had begun this recipe thinking it was going to be a slight variation on potato and leek soup but it turned out to be a totally different creature. It was creamy and flavoursome and filling. This was a soup for winter, hearty and satisfying.
This recipe book contains nothing more than recipes that include potatoes as the main element. I love potatoes. I love the book and wish there were more time to be able to cook everything in it that is vegetarian—and most of them are.
Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

Sunday 24 February 2013

Figs Stuffed with Blue Vein Cheese à la Bourguignonne

From Biró European-Inspired Cuisine, Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró, Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2005.

Figs are such a wonderful fruit and I had six of them that were plump and heavily ripe. I had long looked at this recipe so thought this was now the opportunity to try it.

I cut the tops off the figs and with a small spoon dug out a little of the contents. Into the cavity I poked pieces of blue vein cheese. I melted some butter in a pan, placed the figs and their tops in and sprinkled over them about half a tablespoon of sugar. I cooked them for about 2 minutes, until the sugar had caramelised. I took the pan off the heat and added a tablespoon of water.

I now placed about a quarter cup of red wine in a small saucepan together with the insides of the figs that had been dug out. I added about half a tablespoon of port and then cooked the mixture until it had decreased by about half. Half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar was added and the mixture was strained. A little salt was added and some freshly grated black pepper.

The oven had been preheated to 180ªC. The figs had their tops placed back on them. The strained liquid was now poured over and they went into the oven for about 5 minutes to warm through and let the cheese just begin to melt.

I love figs so much yet I did not enjoy this dish at all. The flavours did not sit well with my palate. It was difficult to discern the flavour of the figs through the red wine sauce and the blue vein cheese. The best part was the bottom end of each fig where you could distinguish the fig taste jut a little.

Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

Pineapple-Orange-Pomegranate Relish

From The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Joni Marie Newman, Fair Winds Press, 2011.

To go with my Jamaican Jerk Burger I made this relish. One cup of pineapple juice was mixed in a saucepan with ½ cup orange juice and ¼ cup of olive oil. One cup of crushed pineapple was added to this and it was brought to a boil then simmered for about half an hour.

The heat was turned off and a cup of pomegranate seeds was added with a little chopped spring onion and a touch of salt and pepper. It was now ready.

This relish worked wonderfully with the burgers. Its cool sweet/savouriness contrasted with the hot spiciness of the burgers.  

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔✔

Saturday 23 February 2013

Jamaican Jerk Burger

From The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Joni Marie Newman, Fair Winds Press, 2011.

I have been looking for ages for somewhere to purchase seitan. Finally I have found somewhere, The Vegetarian Butcher. I immediately came home with a packet to try out, as well as a packet of vegetarian sausages.

Naturally, when I browse through vegetarian cookery books I always find mention of seitan but when I have the product I don’t remember where I saw it mentioned. But then I found this burger recipe.

Firstly the Jamaican jerk sauce had to be made. It was easy, only a matter of putting all the ingredients in the blender and processing them until they became a type of paste. While I used the same ingredients (spring onions, ground allspice, pineapple juice, garlic cloves, chillies, dried thyme, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, salt and black pepper) I did not follow the measurements given. I just approximated them roughly, tasting as I went to get a hot spicy mix that I was happy with. I tipped it all into a bowl.

The burgers were then made. I chopped half a red onion and placed it in the blender with the seitan, about 300g. These were processed until they broke up and became crumb like. They were tipped into the bowl with the jerk sauce and mixed together. I tried to form this mix into burger shapes but they did not hold together very well. I thought that perhaps the pieces needed to be processed more to become a little finer. So I now processed the whole mixture in the blender. They held together a little better though not perfectly.

The oven was now heated to 180ºC. The mixture was formed into burger shapes and placed on a tray covered with baking paper. A pineapple ring was placed on top of each burger. They then went into the oven for 45 minutes. Since the oven was on I roasted some potatoes and carrots to have with the burgers rather than eat them in buns.

I also made a pineapple-orange-pomegranate relish to have with the burgers.

The burgers turned out to be very spicy, perhaps a little too much so when eaten by themselves, but when combined with some of the relish the spiciness was modified a little and they were chewy and tasty. The sweetness of the pineapple and the relish worked nicely with the hot chilli.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔