Friday, 23 November 2012

Thai green curry idea

It's been a while and to be honest I haven't cooked an awful lot that I haven't before. I find myself with a lot less time on my hands now than I used to, especially now I've picked up a new hobby as well. I might just do a "recipe of the month" from now on.

But anyway! Here's this rather cheaty thai green curry, as I didn't make the paste myself but was testing one ofthe only other curry pastes I know to be vegetarian from Tesco supermarket. It wasn't brilliant, too much heat and not enough flavour for my liking, but find a decent curry paste and the combination of veggies and coconut milk in this version will taste great.

Thai Green Curry

Serves 2

Takes 30 minutes

Half a block of tofu (enough for a good handful of small pieces each)

1 courgette

1 red pepper

5-6 babycorns

Half a white onion

A clove of garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

400ml coconut milk (I always use half-fat, but full fat tastes much better)

Thai green curry paste

Half a lime

Noodles or rice to serve.

* Drain and chop the tofu into small pieces. Fry on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes until getting nicely brown on all sides.

* In the meantime chop the vegetables as desired. When the tofu is nicely fried, add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the curry paste and coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

* Tip in the rest of the vegetables and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may wish to add the courgettes a little after the others if you prefer them with a bit of bite.

* When ready to serve, squeeze in the juice from the lime and stir through.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

An easy, quick dinner

Whoops! Consumed before imaging!

I suppose this idea is based on bruschetta, but it's not really like proper bruschetta at all. It uses lots of convenience ingredients so it's easy on your hands and easy on your time. I'm sure you can chop and change the vegetables used in here easily, as long as they are fairly swift to cook (no turnips!).

Quick 'bruschetta'

Serves 2

Takes around 20 minutes

2 bulbs of fennel

2 courgettes

Olives (amount to taste)

8 artichoke hearts

350g jar of your favourite pasta sauce

200g garlicky/herby cream cheese

Bread of your choice (I chose ciabatta rolls)

Garlic butter (or just use garlic bread)

* Slice up your veggies whilst heating some oil in a pan and preheating your grill (broiler, I think). Spread the garlic butter on the bread, if using.

* Gently fry the courgettes, fennel, artichoke hearts and olives until soft, which should take around 7-10 minutes.

* Pop the buttery bread under the grill. Stir in the cream cheese and then the pasta sauce into the veggies and lower the heat to simmer and thicken for about 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't go dry.

* When the bread is lightly toasted serve with the veggie mix on top.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Nicoise style salad

I have moved! I'm still largely in the "can't be bothered to be inventive" phase, but I did have a flash of inspiration when we were fancying a salad. This is based on the classic Nicoise salad, which is usually served with tuna but can easily be fiddled with to make vegetarian. I used crumbly cheshire cheese, which is probably an english peculiarity. You could probably use feta, halloumi or any other cheese really, or you can add your favourite meat replacement.

Nicoise style salad

Serves 4

Takes about 30 minutes in all

300-350g bag of mixed salad leaves (depending how leafy you want it)

4 hard-boiled eggs (or you can boil them on the side along with preparing the rest)

750g baby new potatoes

6 medium-sized tomatoes

A jar of black or kalamata olives (you will most likely have spare)

200g green/french beans

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing. Flavoured oil goes nicely here.

175g cheshire cheese

* Set the water boiling for your potatoes (and a pan for the eggs if you're doing them now). Chop the potatoes and beans into bite-sized pieces.

* When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and boil for 15-20 minutes. I usually do 20 minutes.

* In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and cheese and add to a large salad serving bowl. Add the olives and stir around a bit.

* Add the salad leaves to the serving bowl and pour over a suitable amount of oil and vinegar fr dressing.

* When the potatoes have 5 minutes left to boil, add the beans to the potatoes.

* When the potatoes and beans are done, add to the serving bowl and toss everything together well. Peel the eggs and slice into quarters lengthways and arrange on plates before serving the salad.

If you want the salad completely cold the eggs, beans and potatoes will have to be cooked much further in advance. You can also add some chopped fresh herbs, such as chives and parsley. You can serve with a couple of slices of ciabatta bread, but you probably wont't need it!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Peperonata pasta salad

I originally made this as a cooked meal, but was so hot and frazzled the other day that I couldn't face standing around a cooker. In my opinion it actually made a better salad, with fresher flavours, more juice and more filling. I even had some left over for lunch the next day.

Peperonata pasta salad 

Serves 2-3

Takes 20 minutes

2 sweet peppers (I usually use one yellow and one orange)

2 large 'beef' tomatoes

Half a red onion

A handful of kalamata olives each

100g crumbly salad cheese

170g brown spaghetti

A handful of torn fresh basil leaves

Olive oil and vinegar for seasoning

* Put some water on to boil for the pasta and slice the peppers and onion into very thin slices. Slice the tomato as finely as you can, but don't get rid of any juicy bits. Slice the cheese into small chunks and prepare the basil leaves.

* Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta in and cook as per instructions (mine said boil for 9-10 minutes).

* Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and toss with a little of the oil and vinegar (don't forget the olives!)

* When the pasta is cooked, drain and either add to the bowl and drizzle with the rest of the oil and vinegar or leave to cool a bit first. Toss in with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

This doesn't need anything else with it as the pasta and raw veg are really quite filling.