Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ginger and sesame salmon cakes (1 colour)

Potatoes - 2 medium, quartered
Red salmon - 180 g tin, drained
Lime juice - 2 tsp
Olive oil - 0.5 tbsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch, shredded
Green chilli - 1 small, finely chopped
Egg - 1
Breadcrumbs to coat.

1) Boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain and mash together with the salmon. Add the lime juice and stir.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.
3) Add the contents of the frying pan to the fish mixture and stir well. If the mixture seems too wet add some breadcrumbs.
4) Make the mixture into four large cakes. Beat the egg. Dip the fishcakes in the egg and then in breadcrumbs to coat.
5) Bake in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes. Serve with sweet chilli sauce. Serves 2.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sweet potato and black bean burritos (3 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2, chopped
Cooked black beans - 400 g
Water - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Ground cumin - 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper - 0.25 tsp
Sweet potato - 2 medium sized, baked, skins removed and mashed
Green chillis - 2, finely chopped
Wholewheat tortillas - 6
Cheddar cheese - 50 g, grated
Salsa and soured cream to serve

1) Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, beans and water and bring to the boil. Add the chilli powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until reduced to a thick consistency.
2) Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with the green chillis and set aside.
3) Divide the sweet potato mixture among the tortillas. Top with the bean mixture and then roll each tortilla and place in an oven-proof dish. Top with the cheese.
4) Bake at 175°C for 15 minutes. Serve topped with salsa and salad cream. Makes 6 burritos.

Date, cranberry and almond bars (1 colour)

I've recently become very interested in making energy bars that are both healthier and cheaper than those in the shops. My first attempts were simply with fruit and nuts, but I hope to add some more interesting ingredients like different grains and coconut in the near future.

I've made this recipe twice now and both times I had trouble breaking up the dates. The first time I tried chopping and then blending them, but they were far too hard for the blender. The second time I soaked the dates overnight first. Again the blender was unable to cut through them, but I was able to mash them with the back of a spoon. As you might expect the second batch turned out a lot more wet than the first. Both were delicious.

Pitted dried dates - 85 g, soaked in water or fruit juice overnight
Dried cranberries or a combination of dried cranberries and raisins - 65 g
Whole almonds - 100 g
Walnuts (whole or chopped) - 15 g
Honey - 3 tsp

1) Cut off four pieces of cling film and lie them on a flat surface. Admittedly I didn't do this first either time that I made the bars, but your hands do get very sticky so it's definitely advisable.
2) Put the almonds and walnuts in a blender and blend until they form crumbs.
3) Chop the dates and then mash with the cranberries and / or raisins. Add the nuts and mix well with a spoon. Add the honey (you might need a little more if you don't soak the dates) and mix together well.
4) Divide the mixture into four and use your hand to make it into bar shapes. Place on the cling film, wrap and refrigerate. Makes 4 bars.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Roasted vegetable lasagne (2 colours)

Olive oil for roasting
Red pepper - 3, deseeded and chopped
Aubergines - 2, sliced into 0.5 cm slices
Tomato sauce - 1 large jar
White sauce - 1 large jar
Lasagne sheets - 300 g
Mozzarella - 125 g ball, chopped
Cherry tomatoes - handful, halved

1) Place the peppers and aubergines on 2 large roasting trays. Drizzle over the olive oil, toss and roast for 25 minutes at 200° C or until lightly browned.
2) Reduce the heat to 180°C. Place one third of the vegetables in a large oven-proof dish and pour over one third of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets and drizzle over one quarter of the white sauce.
3) Repeat until you have three layers of pasta. Add the remaining white sauce and top with the mozzarella and tomatoes. Bake for 45 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Black bean soup (3 colours)

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 2, finely chopped
Carrots - 2, peeled and finely chopped
Celery - 2 stalks, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Cayenne pepper - 0.25 tsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tbsp
Dried oregano - 1 tbsp
Dried thyme - 1 tsp
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
Dried black beans - 375 g, cooked and drained
Vegetable stock - 1500 ml
Lime juice - 2 tbsp

1) Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, cayenne, cumin seeds, oregano and thyme and stir for 1 minute.
2) Add the tomato puree to the frying pan and stir well. Pour the vegetables into a slow cooker. Add the beans and vegetable stock and stir.
3) Cook on low for 8 hours. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Garnish with sour cream if desired. Serves 6-8.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Baked potatoes with black beans, tuna and sweetcorn (3 colours)

We had some black beans left over after making some burritos so I decided to try and replicate something I saw in the supermarket.

Jacket potatoes - 2 large
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Red chilli pepper - 1, deseeded and finely chopped
Red pepper - 1, chopped
Tomato - 1 large, chopped
Cooked (or canned) black beans - 110 g
Sweetcorn - 198 g can, drained
Tuna - 185 g can in sunflower oil, drained
Sweet chilli sauce - 1 tsp

1) Cook the jacket potatoes in the oven. Half an hour before they are due begin making the filling... heat the oil in a saucepan and add the pepper and chilli pepper. Cook on low for 15 minutes until softened.
2) Add the tomato, black beans and sweetcorn to the pan. Stir well and cook for a further 10 minutes.
3) Add the tuna to the pan and break it up with a spoon. Add the chilli sauce and stir well.
4) Halve the jacket potatoes and spoon on the filling, topping with cheese if desired. Serves 2.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sweet potato, pepper and pumpkin soup (4 colours)

Red peppers - 3, halved and deseeded
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Red onion - 1, finely chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Sweet potatoes - 400 g, peeled and cubed
Pumpkin - 400 g flesh (peeled), chopped
Vegetable stock - 1 litre
Pumpkin seeds - 2 tsp
Sunflower seeds - 2 tsp
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp

1) Chop 5 of the pepper halves.
2) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until soft.
3) Add the tomato puree, pumpkin, sweet potato and pepper pieces. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the vegetable stock.
4) Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
5) Put the seeds on a baking tray and toast under the grill until golden brown.
6) Blend the soup in a food processor or blender (in batches if necessary). Finely chop the reserved pepper half. Serve the soup garnished with the pepper pieces and toasted seeds. Serves 4.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Tomato and rosemary chickpeas (2 colours)

Dried chickpeas - 225 g, soaked overnight
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Bay leaves - 4
Fresh rosemary - 1 tbsp, chopped
Green chilli - 1 mild, halved and deseeded
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g can
Vegetable stock - 600 ml

1) Preheat the slow cooker on high.
2) Drain the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.
3) Meanwhile heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until the cumin seeds begin to pop. Add the chilli, garlic and tomatoes and stir. Pour in the stock.
4) Drain the chickpeas. Add the tomato mixture to the pan with the chickpeas and stir well. Bring to the boil and then pour into the slow cooker. Cook on high for 6-8 hours until the chickpeas are soft. Remove the bay leaves and chilli if desired. Serves 4.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Courgettes stuffed with beans, pine nuts and pesto (3 colours)

Courgettes - 2 large
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Shallots - 2, finely chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Chopped tomatoes - 200 g
Pine nuts - 1 tbsp, toasted
Canned haricot beans - 100 g, drained and rinsed
Fresh basil - 1 tbsp, shredded

1) Chop the ends off the courgettes and slice them in half. Remove the flesh, leaving the skin and about 0.5 cm of flesh behind. Chop the flesh.
2) Heat half the oil in a frying pan and add the shallots, garlic and courgette flesh. Cook for 10 minutes until tender then add the tomatoes, pine nuts, beans and basil. Stir well.
3) Place the courgette shells, cut-side up in an oven-proof dish. Spoon the mixture into the empty shells and drizzle over the olive oil. Cover with foil and cook at 180°C for 45 minutes. Serves 2.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A new year

It's been a year since Ian and I gave up eating meat. Apart from a few cravings for corned-beef, sausage rolls and oxtail soup it's not been particularly difficult which just goes to show how little I liked meat in the first place.

Over the last year I've cooked over a hundred new recipes and tried numerous new foods including celeriac, pomegranates, passion fruit, pumpkins, puy lentils, black-eyed beans, haloumi and tempeh.

My top 10 recipes from 2010 are
In 2011 I hope to try my hand at pastry - pies, tarts and pasties, and now that we're both working from home to be more adventurous with lunches in the form of salads, hot sandwiches and soups. There are many more foods that I hope to try cooking including buckwheat, millet, split peas, purple potatoes and more types of squash. Better get in the kitchen then...