Thursday, 20 July 2017

Wagamama's Edamame Soya Beans

I bought a bag of frozen soya beans from the supermarket a few months ago on a whim, and still have not remembered the meal I had in mind to put them in.  So today, googling what to do with soya beans, I turned up a simple snack from Wagamana's website - Homemade Edamame

Serves 1

100g frozen soya beans
1 very small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 pinch hot chilli flakes
1 pinch sea salt

Cook the soya beans according to the instructions on the packet.  Mine were boil for 5 minutes from frozen.  Mix through all the other ingredients.  Eat.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Sweet & Sticky Rhubarb Chutney

The start of rhubarb chutney
I cut the last of this year's rhubarb this morning to ensure I have enough chutney for the Christmas Country Markets.

I found this recipe on the internet many years ago, and will put it back there for posterity.  It says it is good for end of season rhubarb

Makes 2.3 kg (5 lb)

Rhubarb - 900g (2 lb)
Garlic - 15g (½ oz) 4 cloves
Root ginger - 25g (1 oz)
Lemons - 2, zest only
Salt - 1tsp
Cayenne pepper - 15g (½ oz) 2 tsp
Sultanas - 450g (1 lb)
Demerara sugar - 900g (2 lb) 1.5lb
Vinegar - 600 ml (1 pint)
Finely dice the rhubarb.  Put the roughly chopped garlic and root ginger into a blender cup and liquidise with a little of the vinegar.  Add all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens.  Pot the chutney while hot into sterilised jars.  Keep it for 3 months before using.

Penne with Arrabiata Pasta Sauce

We've had a meaty rugby, then cricket, club barbecue kind of weekend.  So Meatless Monday started early, on Sunday night.

Arrabiata (Angry) sauce came to mind, but without my Mum's trusty Elizabeth David books to refer to, I had to google it and of course was swamped with options.

I ended up making my basic tomato pasta sauce and adding a pinch of hot chilli flakes, and a small handful of fresh basil leaves to the sauce just before pureeing.  Simpler than I thought!

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin of of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can recently boiled water
Pinch of chilli flakes
Small handful of basil leaves (optional)

Gently soften the onion in the olive oil over a low-medium heat.  Add the garlic once the onion is transluscent or begins to brown.  Add the tomatoes and rinse the can/pack out with the boiling water.

Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or more for a stronger flavour.  If the sauce is too watery after 20 minutes, take the lid off and simmer to reduce a little.  If the sauce is too thick add a little water.

Before serving, add the basil leaves if using, and puree with a stick blender.

Arrabiata sauce is traditionally served with penne.  I cooked 600g of dried pasta for our family of 5 and this amount of sauce was perfect. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Rhubarb Cordial

I was inspired to make this after enjoying 6 pints of Rhubarb Cider at our local Alresford Music Festival.

So far I have added a shot glass full to a Vodka & Tonic, and a half pint of cider.  It's full range of uses are still work in progress.

500g pink rhubarb
300ml water
300g caster sugar
Zest & juice of 1 orange
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 slice of root ginger

Put all the ingredients in a pan.  Cover and bring to the boil.  Simmer until the rhubarb has completely fallen apart.

Pour through a clean muslin into a heatproof jug and then into sterilised bottles.

Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Add 100ml of sparkling water to 25ml of cordial, or to taste.

Elderflower Cordial

I found this recipe on the internet many years ago and printed it out.  It is a self styled 'best recipe ever' and I have to say that I agree and post it here so I can keep on refering back to it many years after I've lost the print out.

35 medium sized elderflower heads
2 oranges
2 lemons
3 pints water
3lbs sugar
50g citric acid
1 campden tablet (optional)

Heat the water and dissolve all the sugar in it.  Leave to cool.

Roughly slice the oranges and lemons and add to a container (saucepan, wine making bucket) large enough to take the sugar solution, fruit, and elderflowers.  Stir in the citric acid.  Cover with a cloth and leave to infuse for 2-3 days.

Strain through a muslin or clean drying up cloth (I save the orange & lemon slices to make St Clements Marmalade) leave for another 2 days.

Siphon the cordial, leaving behind the sediment/dregs, into another container adding 1 crushed Campden tablet per gallon of cordial if using.

Shake well, and then leave for 3-4 hours to settle.  Siphon into sterilised bottles, leaving behind any more dregs.

How to sterilise bottles
* Microwave – 2-3 minutes should kill anything.
* Oven -  put glass bottles into your cold oven. Run it up to about 140C, keep it there for 10-15 minutes and then leave it to cool.
* You can also use Milton or even just very hot water.

How long you can store your cordial:
* With no acids or tablets – 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Freeze in plastic bottles for longer storage.
* With the citric or tartaric acid it will keep for 3-4 months in the fridge.
* With the Camden tablets, elderflower cordial keeps almost indefinitely (years) in a cool, dark place.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Vegan Chinese Braised Tofu & Soya Mince

Still trying to stick to a vegan Monday, I found this on a vegan recipe site.  Kids thought it was 'okay' and asked what the meat was

1tbsp sunflower oil
1 large handful dried soya mince
3 finely chopped spring onions (I didn't have any and only managed to find a few chives in the garden)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
4tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2tsp chilliu flakes
350g firm or silken tofu

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients minus the tofu and simmer for about 20 minutes until the soya mince has fully hydrated.  Cube the tofu and add 5  minutes before serving.  Firm tofu will keep it's shape whereas silken tofu will break down and crumble as mine did.

Serve with rice.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Vegetarian Bolognaise Ragu Sauce

Every Monday I try to make a vegan evening meal, in part a culinary challenge, and in part following a BBC programme (so it must be true) that we need less animal protein as we get older.  Monday is also #meatlessmonday #meatfreemonday on social media.

A traditional Italian tomato sauce is, by it's very nature, a vegan sauce hailing as it does from the poor protein-low diet of Southern Italy.  But I wanted to fool my kids into thinking they were having a normal Spag Bol.  And this sauce is certainly very convincing, particularly if you use a food processor to render all the vegetables into a mincelike texture.

Serves 6
1 onion
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 large clove of garlic
100g mushrooms
1 handful dried soya mince (optional, but this is what gives the sauce a meaty texture for the unconverted)
100ml red or white wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 can boiling water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 vegetable stock cube (optional - it gives a meaty depth of flavour, again for the unconverted)
1tbsp olive oil

Start by soaking the soya mince, if you are using it, in the wine.

Peel the onion and chop finely/mince in a food processor.  Fry gently in the olive oil in a saucepan whilst you finely chop the celery, carrot (I usually just wash but not peel carrots if I'm mincing them), and garlic.  Add these to the pan to soften once they are chopped.  Brush any dirt off the mushrooms and mince them, again adding them to the pan once chopped.  Pop a lid on the pan and let everything sweat for 5-10 minutes.

Once the vegetables have sweated down, or the pan has started to dry out, stir in the tomato paste, blitz the chopped tomatoes into a passata, and add the remaining ingredients.  Add boiling water until the sauce is a gloopy Bolognaise quality.  Put the lid on and bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

After 20 minutes, check the seasoning.  If the sauce is too loose, take the lid off and reduce over a gentle heat.  If too thick, add a little boiling water (or more wine!).  Once the desired consistency either leave to stand for the flavours to develop or serve immediately.