Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Treacle toffee

450g (1lb) unrefined brown sugar
225g (8oz) black treacle
110g (4oz) unsalted butter
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vinegar

Melt butter in a pan along with water and vinegar. Add the sugar and treacle and allow to fully dissolve (this takes forever!). Cover and bring to a fast boil. Boil gently, stirring, until the mixture forms a hard ball when a little is dropped into a glass of water - takes about 10 minutes. Pour into a shallow, very well greased tin and allow to cool. When it has cooled a little then mark into squares with a knife. When totally cool it can then be broken up.

Watch your fillings!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Beetroot soup

Yes, again with the soups. It is definitely getting colder here!

Couple of large beetroots
Onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp butter
Creme fraiche

Peel and chop the beetroots. Add them and the onion to the butter and saute gently for about 15 minutes. Then add water - cover them and then about half as much again. Season and simmer until the beetroot is soft and cooked. Puree and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

I love this soup. It is very simple and tasty and a great colour - just don't wear white when you eat it! You can also use this soup as a test of your stomach acid - if you pee pink afterwards then you are not producing enough HCl. On the plus side pink pee is pretty cool!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Pease Pottage

Pease pottage hot, pease pottage cold, pease pottage in the pot, nine days old. Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot nine days old....
The kids love pease pottage because they can make me say the rhyme three million times over the meal time. I love pease pottage because it is cheap, tasty and nutritious. Every one's a winner!
This is a soupier recipe. Some folk call a solid dish made from yellow split peas and spices and baked pease pottage. I call that pease pudding. Both are delicious!

My recipe is very vague. I don't think I have ever measured any of the ingredients but I will give a guess to the quantities (actually that is how most of my recipes go...)

A ham bone with a little meat left on it, or a small amount of bacon
250g or so of green split peas
Water or stock, enough to cover the peas and about the same again

Put the ingredients in a pan. Simmer until the peas are soft. If using a bone, remove from pan and strip off any remaining meat. Return meat to the pan and puree. Season to taste and serve.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Potato-based pizza

The base of this is delicious as a side dish, or with just some cheese on top too. I make this with out the onion for fussy kids. You could also add grated cauliflower and cheese to the base, or egg to help bind it.

Makes a large pizza or several smaller ones

Couple of large-ish potatoes, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated
tomato puree (or pizza sauce of your choice)
pizza toppings and cheese

Squeeze some of the water out of the potato in a clean tea towel. Mix in the onion and season. Form the potato mixture into a pizza shape - taking care it isn't too thick or it won't cook through - on a greased baking tray. Cook at about 350oF for about 20 minutes. Then add the toppings as you would for any other pizza and return to the oven until the cheese is browned.

Leek and potato soup

I love soups so as soon as the weather goes colder I have them at least one meal a day.

1 onion
2 tbsp butter
2 medium/large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 pts stock (I use chicken and add a little bit of cooked chicken to the soup too but vegetable stock is fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream for serving (optional)

Saute the veggies in the butter gently for a few minutes. Then add the stock and simmer until they are all cooked through. Season to taste and puree before serving with a swirl of cream.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Curried squash soup

1 small squash, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
1-2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1 pint stock (chicken or vegetable would be best)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the squash and onion on a greased baking tray and roast until the edges are just starting to blacken (gives a roasted flavour to the soup - you can skip this step if pressed for time and just simmer the soup until the veg is cooked). Place the veg and stock in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Put the curry powder in a dry frying pan and heat until it starts to turn a little darker and smells good. Add to the soup and season. Blend and serve - a swirl of yogurt is nice in this.

Chocolate (chickpea) cake

This is really yummy and very easy to make. So nice you would never guess it was made of chickpeas (not that I have anything against chickpeas - but in pudding?!). Only drawback is the amount of sugar - but for a treat it is not bad at all.

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp melted coconut oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (2-3 minutes). Pour into a greased cake tin and bake at 350oF for 25-30 minutes. Then try not to eat it all at once....

Don't forget to use gluten free baking powder if cooking for people who are sensitive.