Monday, 28 February 2011

Liver and bacon with root vegetable mash

For the mash (adjust to meet the needs of however many you're feeding):

2-3 cloves of garlic
Celeriac, if you like it
Turnip, if you like it
Swede, if you like it

Any combination of the above is just fine. Pop a spoonful of Marigold vegetable bouillon in the water and boil/simmer til tender.

While that's boiling away, prepare the liver and bacon:

Trimmed, lean bacon
Red onions, sliced thinly
Lamb's liver, rinsed well and checked over, trimmed and cut into pieces of your preference size wise

Just saute off the bacon and onion in some low-fat cooking spray until well browned and the onion is slippery and soft. You can add a splash of balsamic vinegar too if you like, which will make it taste deleeeeeeeeshios.

All you do then is mash your mash, adding (if you like) a bit of wholegrain mustard, or some Quark, and some salt and pepper to taste. Leave it in the saucepan with a teatowel clamped over it and the lid on top to keep it warm, and get on with doing your liver. It really doesn't need very long - just a few minutes, or it'll be the miserable grey rubbery liver we all dread.

We like this either with some gravy, or some fine beans tossed in wholegrain mustard. You can of course make the liver and bacon mix up into a gravy by tossing the liver in flour before it goes into the pot and adding a bit of water, but because there's barely any fat in there it's not the greatest ever (hence the Bisto).

Anyway! It's not meant to be fine dining; it's a 30-minute weeknight dinner and we eat it about once a week :)

Sunday's Spicy Feast

So, after a couple of days of excess we were feeling the need for some spicy comfort food, and my friend Carleen had been talking on Facebook about the harissa and kibbeh she had I asked for the recipes and can confirm that they are delicious!

Carleen's harissa:

1/2cup crushed dried chillis- soaked in very hot water to cover for 30mins.
1tbsp caraway seeds
2tsp coriander seeds
3 small fresh red chilli. seeded and chopped.
5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water

Drain dried chillis and set aside.

Place caraway seeds and coriander seeds in a small frying pan on a low heat. Toast them for 1-2 mins until fragrant stirring so they don't burn.

Porcess all ingredients to a smooth(ish) paste. This will fill a 400g jar(ish) and will keep for ages in the fridge.

And the aubergine and chickpea kibbeh:

1/2 cup bulgur
2 cups boiling water
1 tin chickpeas
1tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
2tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 medium sized aubergine, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1tsp lemon juice

Place bulgur in a dish and cover with the boiling water. Leave to stand for 20 minutes. Drain well and squeeze to remove excess water. Place in a large bowl.

Coarsely chop the chickpeas and add to the bulgur. Add the allspice, cinnamon and cumin and season with salt and pepper to taste. stir to combine and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute onions for 5 minutes until softened. Add aubergine (no need to salt-its only older larger ones that tend to be bitter) and cook for about 7 minutes until the aubergine is tender. Stir in pinenuts and lemon juice and season to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Press half the bulgur mix into the bottom of a lightly oiled 10inch dish, smoothing the top. Add the eggplant mix, the cover with the remaining bulgur and press down to smooth.

Bake until hot and lightly browned (about 30mins). Remove from oven and let stand for 10 mins before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

She also gave me a recipe for vegan feta substitute:

Drain a block of firm tofu (the cauldron brand is ideal) and press out as much water as you can.

Cut into smallish cubes and place in a bag. Add:
2tbsp wine/rice wine vinegar
1tbsp lemon juice
4tsp olive oil
1tsp oregano
1tsp basil
2 whole but squashed cloves of garlic
1/2tsp salt (more if you prefer it salty)
lots of black pepper.

Marinade overnight and give the bag a good jiggle every so often. This is amazing in salads. Its not quite as good cooked but it gives you that feta like hit without the fat!

I also made hummus (my recipe this time!):

1 can of cooked chickpeas, semi-drained
Juice of half a lemon
1.5 tbsp tahini
LOTS of garlic (I used about 6 cloves!!)

Blend, sprinkle with smoked paprika and scoff.

With all that I also made baked chicken with za'atar and the harissa, and a salad with rocket and sliced sweet onion and peppers.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Gill's Amazing Fried Rice*

This is a two-stage process

For the pork:

Diced pork leg, trimmed and all fat removed

and marinated in...
Sesame oil
Sweet chili sauce
Dark soy sauce
Honey (the runny kind)
Chinese 5-spice (2tsp)

Rice, boiled, drained and cooled (we like brown, but basmati is fine)

Spring onions
Red pepper

Eggs, beaten

Low fat cooking spray

So. Step one is to first marinate the pork and then cook it in a pan, tipping all the marinade in and letting it cook through. Remove to a dish and allow to cool.

While you're in the kitchen you can also boil some rice, drain it and spread it over a plate to cool.

If you're really feeling frisky you can slice up all those vegetables finely (or whatever else you fancy) and have them ready.

When you are ready it's just an assembly job. Just spray your pan, let it heat RIGHT up, and put the veg in. They will take two or three minutes, and then add the egg, followed by the pork and the rice. Keep it all moving, keep it hot, and then chuck it in bowls and devour. Nice with a bit of extra soy sauce/chili sauce.

*Obviously, this might not SOUND amazing, but it was. You have to just trust me on this.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Home-made pork in black bean sauce

Diced lean pork leg, trimmed thoroughly
Green peppers
Any other veg you want to put in - I used some leftover Brussels sprouts which I sliced like teeny cabbages, a grated carrot and half a courgette
Dark soy sauce
Black beans - use canned/cartons/ready cooked
Chinese 5-Spice powder
1 red chili (optional if you're not keen)
Black pepper, generous amounts, but to taste

To serve, we had this with rice but it's your call :)

Very easy. Brown and seal the diced pork thoroughly, and then add the sliced onion and garlic. Once those have become golden and soft, add the 5-Spice and a splash of soy sauce, turn it down and leave it to cook in together for a little while while you get the veg ready. Add them to the pan, including the optional chili, cover and leave to cook in together. While that is going on, sort out your black beans.

I used two small cartons for this, and what I did was empty one whole carton, water and all, into a bowl and hand-blend it together until mostly smooth (you could mash it if you haven't got a hand blender), and then drain and add the other carton of whole black beans, to give it texture.

Go back to your pan; if the veg are as you like them then add your black beans along with a bit more soy sauce and a generous amount of black pepper. Let it all bubble up, taste and adjust the seasoning, and then serve over rice. We had some snipped coriander over it and it was really nice.