Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Baked new potatoes (0 colours)

This has to be my favourite way of cooking potatoes at the moment - a combination of baking and roasting. Cook as many or as few as you like, but be warned they're very moorish. We ate a whole bag of baby potatoes between three of us.

New potatoes
Olive oil - to drizzle

1) Par-boil the new potatoes for 10 minutes and then drain.
2) Place the potatoes in a roasting pan with a very small amount of olive oil (the idea is to lightly cover the potatoes and not to let them swim in oil). At this point you can cover them with sea salt or herbs, but I think they're lovely as they are. Cook in the oven at 200°C for 40 minutes to one hour, depending on how crispy you like them.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Blueberry cake with cheesecake frosting (1 colour)

This easy-to-make cake looks beautiful and tastes absolutely delicious.

Self-raising flour - 225 g
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Golden caster sugar - 175 g
Butter - 175 g, warmed to room temperature
Vanilla essence - 2 tsp
Eggs - 3 large
Soured Cream - 4 tbsp
Fresh or frozen (defrosted) blueberries - 190 g

For the frosting:
Cream cheese (philadelphia) - 200 g
Soured cream - 1 dessert spoon
Icing sugar - 100g
Fresh blueberries - 150 g

1) Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the butter and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the vanilla essence and eggs and mix well.
2) Beat in the soured cream and then gently stir in the blueberries.
3) Pour the mixture into a round 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin, spread it level and bake at 180°C for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.
4) When the cake has cooled completely, mix together the cream cheese, soured cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Spread on top of the cake and scatter the blueberries on top. Keep the cake in the fridge, but remove an hour before serving. Serves 8.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Black bean and pumpkin soup (3 colours)

I had half a pumpkin left after making a risotto the other night so I decided to add it to a soup. I think this would be just as tasty with the other half of the pumpkin included.

To make pumpkin puree: halve a culinary pumpkin and remove the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Place the two halves in a roasting tin, cut-side down. Add 300 ml of water and roast in the oven at 175°C for 90 minutes. Remove the flesh with a spoon and puree in a blender.

Dried black beans - 1 cup, soaked overnight and cooked
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g can
Butter - 60 g
Onions - 2, chopped
Shallots - 4 small, chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, finely chopped
Ground cumin - 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock - 1 litre
Pumpkin puree - 1 cup

1) Blend the tomatoes and black beans to a coarse puree - I didn't blend them very much and the soup turned out quite thick, but you can obviously blend them to your preferred consistency.
2) Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted. Add the onions, shallots, garlic and ground cumin. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes until the onions have softened.
3) Add the bean and tomato mixture, vegetable stock and pumpkin puree to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Serves 4.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mango and tempeh curry (5 colours)

Until I made this curry I had no idea that mango skin could be eaten. I tasted it when it was barely cooked and it was a bit too chewy, but by the time the curry was cooked it was quite tasty. I'm sure this curry would be just as good without the mango skin if you prefer to remove it.

I added the tempeh for some protein, but it could be left out or replaced with chicken.

Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Tempeh - a third of a block, chopped into cubes
Red onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Green chilli - 1, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Mango - 1 large, with or without the skin, deseeded and cut into cubes
Pineapple - 1 small tin of rings, cut into bite-sized pieces
Tomatoes - 4 large, chopped into large pieces
Curry powder - to taste
Yoghurt - 250 ml

1) Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the tempeh until browned on all sides. Remove the tempeh from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
2) Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and cook the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
3) Add the mango, pineapple and tomato pieces to the pan with the curry powder and stir well to coat the fruit. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tempeh back to the pan and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the mango skin has softened.
4) Stir in the yoghurt and heat through for a couple of minutes. Serve with rice. Serves 4.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pumpkin, bean and tomato risotto (3 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Butter - 25 g
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Pumpkin - 325 g (about half a small culinary pumpkin), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1cm chunks
Freshly ground pepper
Arborio (risotto) rice - 275 g
White wine - 125 ml
Vegetable stock - 650 ml
Tomatoes - 3, diced
Baked beans - 415 g can
Fresh basil leaves - 3 tbsp

1) Heat the olive oil with the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and pumpkin and season with the pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the pumpkin has started to soften.
2) Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Add the white wine and cook until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Add half the stock and cook for around 10 minutes until the stock has been absorbed.
3) Add the rest of the stock and cook for a further 10 - 15 minutes until the stock has been absorbed. Add the tomatoes, beans and basil to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Algerian mixed vegetables (4 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Ground cumin - 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1, snapped into two pieces
Sweet potato - 1 medium sized, chopped into medium-sized chunks
Courgettes - 2, sliced into thick strips
Carrot - 1 large, sliced into thick strips
Celery - 2 sticks, sliced
Turnip - 1, chopped
Dried chickpeas - 100g, soaked overnight and boiled for 1.5 - 2 hours
Sultanas - 1 tbsp
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g can
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
Honey - 1 tbsp

1) Begin by chopping all the vegetables.
2) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened.
3) Add the cumin and cinnamon and stir well. Add all the vegetables and stir to coat with the spices.
4) Add the sultanas, chopped tomatoes, cooked chickpeas, tomato puree and honey. Add a little water to the pan (but not enough to cover the vegetables) and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
5) Serve over couscous. Serves 4.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Black-eyed bean cakes (1 colour)

Dried black-eyed beans - 150g, soaked overnight and cooked
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Cayenne pepper - 0.35 tsp
Egg - 0.5
Plain flour - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

1) Place the beans in a food processor or blender and blend with 3 tablespoons of water until reduced to a smooth thick paste, adding more water if necessary.
2) Add the onion, cayenne pepper, flour, baking powder and egg to the blender and blend until well combined.
3) Heat the oil in a frying pan. When hot, fry heaped teaspoons of the bean batter for a few minuts until golden on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a tomato-based dip, salsa or sauce. Makes around 15 - serves 2.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tagliatelle with lentil sauce (3 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Carrot - 1, peeled and thinly sliced
Celery - 1 stick, thinly sliced
Chopped tomatoes - two 400 g cans
Green lentils - 1 cup
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
Tagliatelle - 500 g

1) Heat the oil in a frying pan and when hot add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook for around 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
2) Transfer the vegetables to a slow cooker and add the tomatoes, lentils, tomato puree and season. Stir well. Cook on low for 6 hours.
3) When ready to serve, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes, drain and toss with the sauce. Serves 4.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Celeriac gratin (2 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Plum tomatoes - 400 g can
Red wine vinegar - 1 tsp
Brown sugar - 0.5 tsp
Celeriac - 750 g, peeled
Double cream - 90 ml
Parmesan - 100 g

1) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2) Add the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
3) Meanwhile, peel the celeriac, cut it into quarters and then slice thinly. Add the celeriac to the tomato sauce. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Stir in the cream.
4) Pour half the mixture into a gratin-dish and sprinkle over half the parmesan. Pour over the remaining mixture and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35 minutes at 200°C. Serves 2 as a main course or 3 as a side-dish.

Ginger cake (1 colour)

This is an old family favourite and I can't remember ever having a Christmas without it.

Golden syrup - 55 g
Black treacle - 170 g
Margarine - 115 g
Brown sugar - 55 g
Milk - 140 ml
Eggs - 2, beaten
Plain flour - 225 g
Bicarbonate of soda - 1 level tsp
Ground ginger - 2 level tsp
Mixed spice - 1 rounded tsp
Sultanas - 115 g

1) Heat the treacle, syrup, margarine and sugar in a small pan until the sugar and margarine have dissolved. Add the milk and leave to cool for a few minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sift the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
3) Add the eggs to the cooled treacle mixture and stir well. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and fold in the sultanas, mixing until everything is well combined. Bake in a greased tin for 1.25 - 1.5 hours at 150°C until a skewer comes out clean. Serves 12.