Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bean and cornbread casserole

Kids: porridge with jam
Me: nothing (wasn't hungry after eating huge bowl of chili last night)

Our favorite junk food - (white) french bread with hummus and taramasalata

Bean and cornbread casserole
1 cup polenta (fine cornmeal)
1 cup water (or 1 cup lime water*)
1 cup yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 tbsp butter
1 onion
1 cup cooked beans
500g sausage meat

If using lime water, then soak the polenta in the lime water for about 7 hours, then stir in the yogurt and leave in a warm spot for another 12 - 24 hours. If not, then soak the polenta in the water and yogurt mix for 12 - 24 hours.
Saute the onion in the butter. Mix half into the polenta mix and mix half with the beans. Butter a Pyrex or other oven proof dish. Spread the sausage meat over the bottom of the dish and then spread over the beans.
Separate the eggs and mix the yolks into the polenta, along with the salt and baking soda. Beat the whites until they are stiff and then fold them in. Pour the batter over the beans and sausage meat.
Bake at 375oF for 45-60 minutes. Serve with salsa and a salad.

This recipe is a definite work in progress! It was very nice, but next time I think I will add a tomato-y sauce to the beans and put some Parmesan into the corn batter. But it will be appearing on our table again soon. With more beans the sausagemeat could be left out (especially if there was a sauce on the beans) making this a vegetarian meal.

* Make lime water by putting about 1 inch of pickling lime into a 2 quart (about 1.9 litres) jar and filling it with filtered water. Shake well and cover and leave overnight. After the powder has settled, the clear liquid is lime water. Soaking in lime water frees up the nicotinamide (vit b3) in corn. If you use corn regularly as a staple this is important as pellagra (b3 deficiency) is very nasty. As it is an occasional food for us (and I don't have any pickling lime) I didn't bother with this step.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Bean chilli

Kids: cottage cheese and toast
Me: fruit smoothie

We were out for lunch today

Bean chili with quinoa and rice

Bean chili
I don't really have a recipe for this at all! The things that usually go in are tomatoes, beans (obviously), lentils, spices and oregano. Leeks are also very tasty in chili. I also regularly add some molasses or cocoa powder as well. I throw every thing in a pan, simmer and then add bit of what ever I have around until I'm happy.
When I am making beans I use a hot soak method, which I understand (from all-knowing Google) is the best method for reducing gassiness. The best method for removing phytates is apparently to soak at 140oF. But I am not messing about with a thermometer! I put my beans into a pan and cover them with plenty of water. I bring them to the boil and then turn off the heat. I leave them in the pan with the lid on to soak over night. When I want to cook them I drain and rinse them then put them back in the pan with fresh water. I boil them vigorously for about 10 minutes (this is especially important with kidney beans) then drain and rinse them again. Then I add either water or broth and cook them for a few hours until they are tender. There are a few steps to this method but it does make for digestible and tasty beans.

Rice and quinoa
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, beef - whichever you have)
1 cup quinoa

Soak the rice and quinoa (in separate bowls) overnight in water with a splash of vinegar. The rice doesn't matter too much - you can just use it as is but the quinoa does need soaking. Drain and rinse them both. Bring the stock to the boil in a pan that has a tight lid. Add the rice and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cover it tightly - if the lids doesn't fit well then use some tin foil to help keep it sealed. Leave it covered and cooking on low for 25 minutes (if you didn't soak the rice give it an extra 5 minutes) . After that time take off the lid and add the quinoa. You may need to add a little more boiling stock or water if there is very little or no liquid left. Cover tightly again and continue to cook on very low for 10 minutes. After that time turn off the heat and leave the pan (sealed) to rest for 5 minutes. Then season to taste and enjoy!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sourdough pasta, beef stroganoff

Kids: Breakfast cake
Me: Fruity kefir smoothie

Cheese on toast with baked beans and salad

Beef stroganoff with sourdough pasta and broad beans. This was so tasty - really rich. It was very popular with the little ones too - the baby ate more than he has in weeks! This was my first go at making pasta. I've always been really intimidated by it - I had the idea that it was a difficult and involved process. In fact it was quite easy and not too labour intensive. The part that took the longest was the rolling and cutting but I got that done while the meat was cooking. My kids loved helping cut out the pasta shapes, which did add to the time to make them!

Sourdough pasta
3 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup sourdough starter
6 egg yolks
A pinch or two of salt

Mix together the ingredients and knead into a smooth and elastic dough that doesn't stick to your hands (takes about 10 minutes). Depending on how wet your starter is you may need a little more water or a little more flour. Leave overnight for the sourdough beasties to do their thing getting rid of anti nutrients. Roll out as thin as possible and cut into whichever pasta shapes you would like (or use a pasta machine if you have one and want neat and fancy pasta). Use lots of flour (I used white flour for this) when rolling out and cutting. This can either be cook straight away (it only takes a moment to cook when fresh so beware of over cooking) or you can spread it out on the counter to dry. It takes a few hours but then you can store it to cook later.
This recipe came from here. The sourdough makes the pasta very easily digestible and it isn't overly sour.

Beef stroganoff
1 lb beef strips (use steak or other tender cuts)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 cup beef stock
1 cup soured cream
1/2 cup red wine (optional but very tasty)
1 tsp paprika

Heat the butter and briefly brown the beef - not too much or it will get tough, just so it is coloured. Remove the beef to a clean plate and fry the onions until translucent. Add the mushrooms and fry for a couple more minutes. Add the beef, paprika, stock and red wine. Simmer until the beef is cooked and tender and the sauce is reduced. Stir through the cream before serving.
This goes well with just about anything - mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, crusty bread - anything to mop up that sauce.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Shahi korma

Kids: Breakfast cake (with strawberries and jam today - yum!)
Me: smoothie

Left over farinata

Shahi korma ('Royal' lamb) with parathas and steamed cabbage.

Shahi korma
(serves 4-6)
8 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
2 oz blanched, slivered almonds (preferably soaked overnight in slightly salted water)
6 tbsp, plus 4 fl oz water
7 tbsp oil/fat of your choice (I used lard)
2 lb boned lamb, in 1 inch cubes
10 cardomom pods
6 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground corriander seeds
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pt single cream (I used creme fraiche because it was all I had)
1/4 tsp garam masala

Blend the garlic, ginger, almonds and 6 tbsp water into a paste. Heat the oil/fat and brown the meat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Put the cardomom, cloves and cinnamon stick into the hot fat and fry for a few seconds, until the cloves swell. Add the onions and fry until they start to brown. Turn down the heat a little and add the almond paste, corriander, cumin and cayenne. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until the mixture starts to brown a little also. Return the meat cubes to the pan, with any juices and add 4 fl oz water, salt and the cream. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Stir frequently to prevent the sauce sticking and burning. Skim off any fat that collects at the top before stirring. When you are ready to serve, stir in the garam masala.

This dish can be made with stewing beef. Just add an extra 4 oz water and cook for another hour. It can also be made in a crock pot (increase the cooking time accordingly) or baked in a covered casserole dish at gas mark 4 (350oF, 180oC). Another gorgeous recipe from the wonderful Madhur Jaffrey.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Mushroom Pullao

Kids: cottage cheese on toast
Me: smoothie

Roasted vegetable farinata and salad

Lentil dal and mushroom pullao

Mushroom pullao
(serves 3)
1 cup long grain rice
3 oz mushrooms
Small onion
2 tbsp coconut oil/ghee
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1/2 pt chicken stock (if using bought stock leave out salt) or water

Wash the rice and drain. Add a pint of water and a splash of vinegar and soak for at least half an hour. Drain for 20 minutes before cooking.
Slice the mushrooms into 3 mm thick slices. Thinly slice onion into half rings.
Heat the oil or ghee over a medium flame. Fry the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes, until the onion begins to brown at the edges. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes. Add the rice, ginger, garam masala and salt (if using). Turn the heat low and saute the rice for 2 minutes (stirring very gently so as not to break up the rice grains). Pour in the stock/water and bring to the boil. Cover very tightly (use foil under the lid if you aren't sure how well fitting it is) and cook on the lowest heat, or in an oven at gas mark 3, for 25 minutes (a little longer for brown rice - say another 10 - 15 minutes). Turn off the heat and let it rest, covered for another 5 minutes or so before serving.
This is a recipe from an old Madhur Jaffrey cookbook. I adore it. Kids pick out all the good bits. Sigh.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Tuna cobbler

No posts for a few days - we've all had a terrible tummy bug so food has really not been on my mind!

Kids: soaked oat porridge
Me: Fruit kefir smoothie

Fried egg and chips. Still not quite back to healthy eating....

Tuna cobbler with broad beans and peas

Tuna cobbler
Savoury scones - probably 2 per person depending on appetite
Tinned tuna
White sauce

Pour the white sauce over the (drained) tuna and top with the scones! This is a comfort food from my youth - my mum used to make it a lot.

White sauce
1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
1 pt milk

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and stir until it is all combined. Cook for a moment or two over a gentle heat. Add the milk very slowly, a splash at a time, stirring it all in before adding the next splash. When all the milk is added, bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring for a few more minutes so that the flour is cooked through.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pigeon pie #2

Kids: Soaked oat porridge
.....chocolate brownie....

Kids: Scrambled eggs and toast; fruity smoothie
Me: fruity smoothie - making up for breakfast!

Pigeon pie - a bit simpler than the last one, with steamed veg.

Pigeon pie #2
2 onions - the sweeter the better, chopped or thinly sliced
1 oz butter
500g stewing steak, diced
8-10 pigeon breasts
Seasoned flour
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz flaky pastry

Cook the onions in the butter, very slowly for as long as possible. Ideally for about 2 hours, until they are coloured and sweet. Put into the pie dish. Coat the steak in the flour and brown in the pan the onions were in (you may need some more fat at this point). Place the browned cubes into the pie dish with the onions. Put the stock in the pan and stir about to get up any juices and left over flour and pour into pie dish. Next layer over the pigeon breasts. Top with the flaky pasty and bake slowly (about gas mark 4) for about 2 hours.

Chocolate brownies

These are way too tasty to make often! The batter is the best bit in my opinion, tho it is still heavenly when cooked. This might not seem very sweet to most people, but to us it is plenty sweet enough with just 1/2 cup of sugar. You will probably want to try it out with more the first time. If you don't like banana leave it out and increase the sugar - up to 1 1/2 cups if you have a sweet tooth.

3 eggs
1 mashed banana
1/2 - 1 cup
muscovado (or other unprocessed) sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
170g melted butter

Preheat oven to gas mark 4. Line or grease a baking tin (I use an 8" cake tin for this). Mix together the eggs, banana and sugar. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and butter. Stir, but not too much - about 30 strokes should do it. If you like chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips in your brownie fold them in now. Pour into your tin and bake.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Beetroot risotto

Kids: toast with peanut butter
Me: coconut chicken soup

Pies from the market and salad from the garden. I was feeling idle!


Beetroot risotto (aka 'pink rice'!)
14 oz raw beetroot, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 oz butter
14 oz Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic
2 pt stock, kept hot
2 fl oz vodka or dry sherry (I often leave this out as I don't have either)
Juice of half a lemon, plus a good pinch of zest (I use a bit more lemon juice if not adding vodka)
3 1/2 oz Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp parsley
4 tbsp Greek yogurt or creme fraiche (optional)

Melt the butter and fry the onion gently until transparent. Add the beetroot and continue to fry (stirring) for about 10 minutes. Add the rice and finely chopped garlic and fry for a moment or two more until the rice is starting to cook and go a little transparent at the edges. Start adding the hot stock, a ladle full at a time. Stir in each addition and wait for it to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep at this for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and creamy and the beetroot is soft (it can have just a little bite left to it for texture). Add the vodka and lemon juice and half the cheese. Stir in and let the risotto sit with a lid on for a few minutes to rest.
You can use a little bit of left over stock or boiling water at this stage, if the risotto is not oozing and delicious. Serve it topped with the rest of the cheese, the parsley and the yogurt, if using.

This is a great dish - bright fuschia and really tasty. It comes from 'the Cranks bible'. Just right for brightening up a dull horrible day like today.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Nothing new!

For the kids: soaked oat porridge
For me: coconut chicken soup

Scrambled eggs and fried mushrooms on toast


Um... not sure I really want to admit what we had for dinner! It wasn't good - frozen pizza and chocolate hobnobs! In my defence we ran out of time for cooking due to the baby throwing up all over my mums (cream) carpet and that was the nearest to food they had in my local shop.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Thai chicken salad,


For the kids: breakfast cookies: smoothie
For me: smoothie (and a breakfast cookie that broke so of course had to be tasted!)

I used 2 tbsp of sugar in the cookies this morning, and 1/4 cup of yogurt instead of milk and they were delicious. No not sweet enough complaints from dd and they all vanished extra quickly.


Thai chicken salad
Left over cooked chicken
salad leaves
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

Mix together the peanut butter, yogurt, chili sauce and lime juice in a pan. Warm through and pour over chicken and salad leaves.


For the kids: the dinner they didn't touch last night (roast chicken, new potatoes, cabbage and gravy) - they were too tired after spending the weekend with their Dad
For me: coconut chicken soup

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Oat muffins

I adapted these from a recipe here. They were lovely - nice texture and quite light. Next time I will try adding some fruit for more flavour.

1 cup dry oatmeal
1/4 cup freshly ground wheat flour
1 cup yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sour milk etc
1 egg
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup sprouted wheat flour
1/2 tsp each of baking soda and salt
1 tsp baking powder

Combine the oatmeal, fresh flour and buttermilk (or alternative). Leave in a warm spot overnight. Add the egg, sugar and oil and beat to mix well. Add the sprouted flour, soda, salt and baking powder. Mix, but not too much. The flour should only just be combined (a few streaks left is fine). Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 400oF for about 20 minutes (mine too a little longer) until a skewer comes out clean. Really good served hot with butter.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Salsa eggs, Roe cakes


For the kids: fruit smoothie; peanut butter on toast
For me: what was left of the fruit smoothie (darn kids!); apple


Salsa eggs
Butter a small oven proof dish. Spread some salsa over the bottom then break in an egg or two. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake until the eggs are done to your liking. I like to do mine until they eggs are still very runny and then stir it all up. The salsa cooks the eggs while it cools down to eating temperature. You can also do this in the microwave, but I don't think it is as nice.


Roe cakes with steamed cabbage and asparagus

Roe cakes
3 or 4 medium potatoes (mashing ones are best but I used new with skins on today)
1/2 a cods roe (probably about 250g), cooked *
1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour
1/2 onion, finely chopped and softened in butter
1 egg
1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
fat for frying (I used lard)

Cook and mash the potatoes. Stir in the flour, onion and roe. Form into patties (might want to let it cool a bit first!), brush with egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Fry until brown and crispy.

*simmer the roe in the membrane in salted water with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice for about 15 minutes. Then remove the membrane and use.

These would have been really nice with tartar sauce had I got myself organised enough to make it! But I didn't so we had ketchup and sweet chilli sauce instead (I'm going to hide from the food police now....).

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bean and bacon soup, toad in the hole


For the kids: peanut butter on toast; glass of raw goats milk
For me: another smoothie!


Bean and bacon soup
2-3 rashers smokey bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp lard
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/4 cabbage, finely chopped
1 - 1 1/2 pts chicken stock
1 tin cannelini beans (or a cup or so of soaked and cooked beans if you are more organised than me!)

Fry the bacon and onion in the lard for a few minutes. Add the other ingredients and simmer until the veggies are soft.


Toad in the hole, asparagus cooked with butter and coconut oil and steamed broad beans. Followed by Yorkshire pud spread with jam and fresh strawberries.

Toad in the hole
(serves 4)
Yorkshire pudding batter
4-8 sausages (depending on how hungry every one is - I used 5, two for me and one each for the little ones)
suet, beef dripping, lard, butter or coconut oil (anything you can heat really!)

Heat the oven to 400oF. Put a little fat into each Yorkshire pudding tin (or you can use a cake tin, or even a Pyrex dish but individual tins are nice). Prick the sausages and divide them between the tins. Put them in the oven and bake them for 10 minutes. Take them out and give the batter a quick whisk. Pour over half the batter and return them to the oven until they are risen and brown. I usually put the other half of the batter in the oven for afters as I serve dinner. You can add fruit or spices to the batter if you like, or just cook it as is and spread with jam.

Toad in the hole goes amazingly with onion gravy.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Stir fried rice

For the kids: breakfast cake
For me: smoothie

We had some wholewheat noodles cooked with tuna, veggies and some pre-made chop suey sauce. Not ideal but fast and tasty!

I made some fried rice with egg, left over beef from Sundays roast, veggies and bean sprouts. No real recipe - I just throw it all in a pan with some soy sauce!