Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spicy Egg Curry

This past week I have eaten a lot of food, and none of it was made by me. Not so great when you have a food blog… But here I am, back with a student staple, curry. Unhealthy as it may sound, I cook curry at least once a week; it’s just too simple to make, and always delivers on flavour and price. As my diet becomes increasingly vegetarian I have looked to find tasty alternatives to chicken and lamb. Chickpeas, paneer and tofu have all proved perfect substitutes, and the addition of the whole boiled eggs here work nicely too. The chilli paste adds a punch of heat, and I find just half a tablespoon the perfect amount, but feel free to add more or less depending on your preferences. The coconut makes this curry creamy and the spices and ginger create a really unusual, but very delicious, flavour.

Serves 2/3
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 cm piece ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ tbsp chilli paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
200ml coconut milk
4 eggs, boiled and peeled
large handful mange tout
  1. To peel the tomatoes, cut a cross in the base of each, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a couple of moments then drain, peel and roughly chop.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or sauce pan and add the garlic, shallots and ginger. After a minute, add the spices, paste and tomatoes and stir for a few minutes more.
  3. Add the coconut and sugar, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened. This should take around 5 minutes. Add the eggs and mange tout and simmer for another 4 minutes or so, until the mange tout are cooked and the eggs are warmed through. Serve with steamed rice. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Risotto

Considering the main ingredient of this post, you may be surprised to hear that I have not always been the biggest fan of beetroot. I suppose its just another example of how my palette has ‘grown up’ over the last few years. Back when I was at school, which still feels like it was yesterday but was in fact half a decade ago now (possibly the most depressing thought ever), I turned my nose up at salads, would poke a chopped anchovy around the plate, and screw up my face eating olives. I hated coffee, and the mere hint of spice in curry would deem it uneatable. Thankfully my taste buds have matured somewhat and I now actively enjoy some of the food stuffs that would have previously turned my stomach (I still refuse to eat raw tomato though, yuck).

Beetroot is one such flavour that I hadn’t really been able to get to grips with until relatively recently, I find it has an almost grimy flavour and I still wouldn’t choose to eat it on its own. However, I have found that when mixed in salads, or pureed with some lime juice, it can really compliment a dish. In this instance, more then complimenting the risotto, the beetroot is the main ingredient and flavour, but with the addition of yoghurt, goats cheese and white wine, it is not so overpowering, and is deliciously creamy. Its pretty great to look at too, I really ought to have posted this one for Valentines Day!!

 Serves 2
3 ready cooked vacuum packed beetroots (about 250g), half of them chopped and half pureed in a food processor
125g risotto rice
knob of butter
half a red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
small glass of white wine
500ml vegetable stock
dollop of natural yoghurt
around 60g goats cheese, finely sliced
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the onion and garlic and soften over a low heat for around 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, and mix together, then pour in the wine and reduce. Add the pureed beetroot and stir.
  3. Slowly add the stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly after each addition and ensuring that the stock is absorbed before adding more. Continue until all the stock is used and the rice has plumped up, is fluffy and retains a slight bite. This should take around 20 minutes.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Nutella Brioche and Butter Pudding

I first made this dessert by mistake, at the humble age of 11 or so. Back in the first few years of senior school I was lucky enough to have Food Technology lessons; we shared kitchens in pairs and got to eat everything we made. Obviously I didn’t realise how great they were at the time, but in hind sight, and in the knowledge of how difficult it is to find evening cookery courses (that aren’t either too academic, extortionately priced, or about cupcakes) I really wish I had made the most of them. Each week we were given an ingredients list for the following lessons recipe, and each week I would lose it in the bottom of my satchel until around about 5 pm the night before said lesson. On one such occasion the only kind of bread available in the grocery shop down the road was brioche… and so the Brioche and Butter Pudding was born. 

I remember Mrs Grist, the scary FT teacher, being infinitely impressed with my (read my mums) cleverness at substituting brioche for bread, and this happy accident became a firm favourite in my household.

The sweetness that the brioche brings to the pudding is complimented by a generous amount of Nutella, which melts all over the bread. Delicious. So quick and simple to make, I serve mine with double cream, custard or ice cream.

Serves 4 to 6
Loaf of Brioche, sliced and cut into triangles
Lots of Nutella
1 egg
half a pint of milk
1 tbsp caster sugar
handful of raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the Nutella on each slice of brioche and arrange in a greased tin or pyrex dish, sprinkling over raisins on each layer. 
  2. Mix the milk and sugar, then add the egg and beat until all mixed together. Pour mixture over the brioche, ensuring that the bread is soaked with the liquid. Cook in the oven for half an hour, until the pudding is nicely browned on top.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Padana Pizza

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I don’t know about any one else but I think the Padana Pizza at Pizza Express is just about the best pizza ever created. Consisting of goats cheese, caramelized red onion and spinach on a thin crust base, I can’t remember a time when I’ve ordered anything other then the Padana. Well, you can imagine my excitement at managing to recreate this delicious pizza at home and for a fraction of the price, I’m pretty much over the moon. The caramelised onions would be delicious with burgers too (don’t tell anyone, but I may have actually eaten quite a bit straight from the pan, they are just so sweet), and the pizza base recipe I followed was quick and simple to make with no resting time required.

Serves 2
Pizza base recipe available here (remember to roll the dough really thin to ensure it crisps up nicely)
-Pizza Toppings-
4 tbsp passata
2 tsp dried oregano
a long round of goats cheese, sliced
caramelised onions (see recipe below)
fresh spinach leaves, wilted
olive oil, to drizzle
1. On the prepared pizza bases, spread the passata and sprinkle with oregano. Add the remaining toppings, drizzling over the olive oil, and bake in the oven for around 10 to 15 minutes, on a high shelf and on a preheated up turned baking tray, at 240C.

-For the Caramelised Onion-
One large red onion, thinly sliced
A large knob of butter
1 ½ tbsp light muscovado sugar
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and onions and cook over a low heat. After 15 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the onions have softened.

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