Friday 29 December 2006

Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

I love Leek and Potato soup and make it fairly regularly, but I had this soup at a meal a couple of weeks ago and loved it, so tried to make it myself. Just as easy to make as the other variety, but more filling if anything, and just as good tasting. Just butter, leeks, sweet potato, vegetable stock with salt and pepper really, then blended with the new blender.

  • 3 Leeks, chopped
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 Pint of Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon
  • 0.5 Pint Water
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A Couple of Bay Leaves
  • Tablespoon of Butter or Olive Oil

Heat the butter or oil in a sauce pan, then add the leeks and cook until softened. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Depending on how you like your soup, blend either all or half the mixture with a hand blender.

You could also add some cream or milk at the end of cooking.

Thursday 28 December 2006

Homemade Hummus

I couldn't find any tahini in the shop, so decided to just get a load of sesame seeds and make my own. Also, I put small red pepper in there to sweeten it up. I got given a new blender for Christmas, and wanted to try it out, so this went down will with some cheese and onion bread. Really easy to make with a good blender.

Recipe for the Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • Half teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • Few tablespoons Tepid Water

Blitz the sesame seeds in the blender, then add the other ingredients, adding the water until you have a thin paste.

Recipe for the Hummus
  • 400g can of Chickpeas
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 small Red pepper, de-seeded, de-veined and chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Add the Chickpeas to the tahini in the blender and blend until a paste. Then add the other ingredients and continue to blend until the hummus starts turning a bit redder in colour. You can use right away, or store in the fridge before using.

Sunday 17 December 2006

Beef Meatball Curry

Reading this blog, you would be forgiven to think that I only make things like stew and curry. OK, in the last month or so, I have made these two recipes twice, but they're popular with guests as well as with myself. Besides, this time, I used beef mince instead of lamb. Actually, I think I prefer it with lamb mince, although I did cook it for an hour or so longer this time to get the gravy to a thicker consistency (and also to allow me to go get the wine which I knew Marisha wouldn't bring).

No photos unfortunately, as I can't find the charger for my camera battery. Also, with the awful tripod-less efforts I've made in these bad lighting conditions recently, I'm not sure any photo I would have taken would have done the finished product justice.

Specifications for the new site still continue. I think I'm going to have to at least get a personal version of the site going as I've had a few requests to see the recipes I'm using on-line.

Saturday 9 December 2006

Poker Night with Stew and Garlic Bread

I was hosting our infrequent poker night this evening, and rather than get pizza delivered like last time, we thought that we'd get a larger overall winners pot if I cooked and we got a load of beers from the supermarket. As one of the guys didn't turn up, this was actually not a bad idea as the pot was still a nice one to win, plus there was no shortage of food, beer and wine.

Ejaz requested that I do the Beef and Guinness Stew again, so I cooked that, plus got a couple of baguettes so that I could make some garlic bread.

The stew was very successful, although I think I might have put more cayenne pepper in the meat seasoning this time, as it was a quite a bit more spicy. Maybe too much. The garlic bread was also good, although the fact that Ejaz donated a couple of new knives (including a much needed bread knife) to my kitchen equipment cause, was a deciding factor as it meant I could actually cut the bread myself, rather than buying the pre-done stuff.

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon and Leek

This didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. I don't have a cheese grater, and didn't have any pre-grated cheese, so the top didn't really come out as neat and golden brown as I'd have liked. Plus I didn't get the bacon as well done as I'd have liked, and overdid the leek. Still, my sister apparently hated it when my mum put bacon in Macaroni cheese when we were kids, and when she had the left-overs of this a couple of days later, said it was actually much nicer than she remembered.

Very easy to make though. Just pre-cook the bacon and the pasta. The leek doesn't really need cooking beforehand, just mix it with the bacon and pasta once they're done. Then make a couple of pints of cheese sauce and poor over the lot in the casserole. Then sprinkle with more grated cheddar, parmesan and black pepper and cook for about 40 minutes, grilling for the last bit if not crisping a little on the top.

Tuesday 21 November 2006

Beef and Guinness Stew

It's been cold recently, so more comfort food required, plus the fact that I hadn't made stew in years. Used 900g of lean casserole beef (seasoned in flour, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper), lots of baby chantenay carrots, a couple onions, a load of shallots, a few ribs of celery, and pint or so of stock and a bottle of Guinness. Left to cook for 3 hours with some thyme and bay leaves, then just served as it was, but with a little bread to wipe up the gravy.

The amount I cooked would probably suite about 5 or 6 people (depending on the people). Might have been nice to have some dumplings too, but not really necessary with all the potato and carrot.

Thing is, there were only 2 of us, but I'm sure it will taste even better the next day, although I've already got a trade arranged for some lasagne which was made elsewhere tonight (although by the sounds of it, I'll be fishing the mushrooms out, so not the best trade I've done).

If I were making it again, I doubt there is much I would do differently. Except perhaps use a bit of bacon as well, as one recipe suggested. I would probably take the photo with the stew in a nicer plate or bowl, and slightly better presented. But other than that, it was pretty good as it was. It's what it tastes like that really matters, not whether someone has sloshed the gravy around on the way from serving to table.

Still working on the requirements of the site, and investigating various 3rd party APIs which may also be needed.

Friday 17 November 2006

Southern Fried Chicken

Djavid suggested cooking this after filling up on the Meatball Curry earlier in the week. None of us had ever had home-made fried chicken, and I rarely eat it at all. I've never deep fried anything before (that I can remember), and memories of bad fried chicken definitely put me off the idea, but Djavid had laid down the gauntlet, and as he's got a proper gas hob and more space, I agreed to do it as long as I could do it at his house. I just brought the ingredients and prepared everything, although he did the majority of the cleaning afterwards, which was definitely a bonus.

I got some ideas from a few recipes on the web, and created my own slight variation. Flour, Lawry's, Paprika, Cayenne, Black Pepper, mixed. A few eggs with some milk and a tablespoon or two of Encona Hot Pepper Sauce, beaten. Clean the chicken pieces, dry them, then cover with seasoned flour, then dip into egg mixture, then back into the seasoned flour, and deep fry in hot groundnut oil until golden brown and the chicken is cooked, turning once or twice during cooking. The first batch were a little bland on the spices, but we added more on each subsequent batch until we had it just right. If there is a next time though, I think we might experiment with other spice combinations.

I have to say, it tasted pretty good. Once properly drained on kitchen towel the chicken pieces weren't really greasy and the chicken on the inside was nice and moist without any oil at all. Djavid and Gab managed to eat 7 pieces each which seems slightly excessive. Personally, I think I had about 3 pieces, which I think is probably sufficient for most people, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

Then we experimented with South Fried Apple Fritter, which would have been OK if it wasn't for the salt I reckon. Definitely not advisable. But doing another flour mixture with cinnamon and a plain egg and milk mixture made Apple fritters which tasted almost like miniture Apple Pies. A lot of deep fried food, but we did have some corn and salad with it, and it seemed right to get the most from all the groundnut oil we used.

New requirements came out of the evening, so going to have to spend another day or so before getting them reviewed.
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