Avocado with cocktail sauce

Moving on from the last post, something for the teetotallers and the vegetarians.

The sauce:

tomato sauce (ie Rosella or some inferior brand)
yoghurt
tabasco
vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper

Mess around with the proportions, maybe 2 tblsp of tomato sauce to one of yoghurt?

And I never seem to make enough of it, so make more than you will need.

Now the hard part. Slice open the avocado, take out the seed. You may be the sort of person who has a special bowl for serving avocados so they don’t slip. I think you simply slice just a tiny bit from the bottom of the round part. Put it on a plate and generously fill the hollow with the cocktail sauce

I guess adding prawns to this would make it posh, but it is yummy without.

Prawns with cocktail sauce

One of the things I’ve been doing in excess while in Australia is the devouring of South Australian king prawns. This is a favourite way.

Rick Stein’s cocktail sauce it is the only way I drink whiskey and I really do mean drink. I can stand at the fridge, door open, shovelling this into my mouth. If you happen to have prawns about, so much the better.

Ingredients for sauce:

* 4 tbsp mayonnaise
* 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
* 2 tbsp single malt whiskey
* 4 tbsp natural, unsweetened yoghurt

Mix the above and serve with prawns.

I buy green king prawns and cook them myself: a large pan of water to a good rolling boil, toss in the prawns, they will rise to the top and be pink after a couple of minutes or so. Quickly plunge into cold iced water and then chill until needed.

If you are serving this formally in glass bowls with salad leaves underneath and prawns mixed into the sauce, then I guess you shell them. If you are simply serving the prawns as a free for all fight, maybe best not to shell them, this is probably supposed to be part of the fun of the dish.

One of my favourite Christmas Day dishes for when I’m in the climate God surely intended for that occasion.

Mixed vegetable curry

A couple of years ago I had a vegetarian friend come to stay for a week. I find vegetarians very demanding. Oh, they never are in their own eyes, in fact they are the moral opposite. ‘You can give me anything’ or ‘I’m used to eating whatever’. But I can’t do that. If you are going to eat vegetarian it should be splendid, it shouldn’t be ‘whatever’. But vegetarian undoubtedly takes a lot of time.

So, when Jonathan visited, I organised a dinner party and bridge for him, just four of us, one vegetarian. Even though before I started cooking in the late afternoon I had already prepared the meat dishes, nonetheless I simply hadn’t nearly calculated how long it takes to prepare Indian vegetarian dishes. I made the chickpea curry, recipe given elsewhere here, a rice dish, palak paneer (I will give the recipe for this divine dish made with Indian cheese which you make yourself) and this vegetable dish. It took forever, I don’t think we sat down to eat until 9pm. By the time we were playing bridge I was sound asleep and played like it.

Mixed Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

4-5 tbsp ghee
1 large onion finely chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teasp turmeric
1 teasp coriander
1 teasp cumin
1 teasp paprika
tin of tomatoes
225g potatoes, peeled and diced
90g green beans, sliced
120g carrots peeled and sliced
90g shelled peas
450ml warm water
2-4 fresh green chillies left whole
1 teasp garam masala
1 teasp salt
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves

Method

Heat the ghee over medium heat and fry the onions until lightly browned. Add the ginger, stir a few times and reduce heat before adding the dry spices. Stir well. Add half the tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes. After they’ve cooked for five minutes add the rest of the vegetables. The potatoes just need a bit of a head start. Add the water, bring to the boil, then simmer on very low until vegetables are tender, at least a quarter of an hour…ah. Time for a quick goodreads review. Hurry back, add the remaining tomatoes and the green chillies. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or so, add the garam masala and salt, mix. Stir in half the coriander leaves, place in a warmed serving dish and garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves. Serve. (From Classic Indian Cuisine Rosemary Moon)

The worst thing about how much time preparing vegetables Indian style is that you can’t freeze the result the way you can a meat curry. The results of your efforts have to be cooked right there on the spot or within a day or two. But life would be a poorer thing in their absence, no doubt about it.

Aloo Mattar – Potatoes and Peas

Aloo Mattar – Potatoes and Peas (or beans)

Ingredients

4 tbsp ghee
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, c. 2” each, broken up
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
half a teasp turmeric
2 teasp cumin
a little chilli powder
freshly ground black pepper
450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1-2 whole fresh green chillies
1 tbsp tomato puree/paste
1 teasp salt
225ml warm water
120g frozen peas
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves

Method

Heat the ghee over medium heat and fry the onion, cinnamon and ginger for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Reduce heat to low and add the spices and pepper. Stir and fry for one minute, then add potatoes and green chillies and stir for a few minutes making sure that the spices are thoroughly blended. Stir in the tomato puree/paste and salt, then add the water. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook over medium to low heat for 10 minutes, until potatoes are half cooked.

Keep a careful eye on this, you don’t want it to burn. Add the peas, cover the pan and cook as long as necessary. We do not want undercooked potatoes, do we…stir in half the coriander leaves, use the rest as garnish. Serve.

I often use green beans instead of peas for this.

Spiced Green Beans

Spiced Green Beans

Ingredients

2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp ghee
half teasp black mustard seeds
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillies, roughly chopped
half a teasp turmeric
1 teasp coriander
460g green beans, topped, tailed, diced
salt to taste
1 tbsp dessicated coconut

Method

Heat a pan over medium heat and add the seasme seeds to lightly brown. Be vigilant, DO NOT BURN!! Remove to a plate and leave.

Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the garlic and brown a little. Add the red chillies and spices, stir and add the beans and salt. Stir to mix, reduce heat to as low as possible, cover pan and cook until beans are tender, stirring now and then. Maybe this will take 15-20 minutes. Grind the sesame seeds and the coconut according to your preferred technology and mix into the beans. Serve.

YarnSub.com

I saw a pattern today for a bag I want to knit – an old-fashioned stringbag in Quince’s Sparrow, which is a linen.

I have Euroflax Sport by Louet and at first glance figured it was probably going to be a good substitute.

This is where YarnSub.com comes into play.

I went to their page on Euroflax and quickly established that it was an excellent substitute for Sparrow. It gave details of the primary yarn and then of over twenty possible substitutes, rating them and describing the various points of comparison and divergence.

I give the following as an example, but please note that on the site this information is more nicely laid out!

Euroflax Sport Weight
Yardage varies

Weight: Sport
Texture: Plied
Fiber: Linen (100%)
Needles: 2.75mm (2 US) (12 UK)
3.5mm (4 US) ( UK)
Gauge: 24 sts / 10cm (4″)
Balls: (Varies)
Care: Machine wash (30C)
Styles: Solid colors
Price: $$$$$

Suggested substitutes
QUINCE AND CO
Sparrow (97% match) $$$$$
Good news! The texture of this yarn is a close match.
Good news! The gauge is an exact match, but you should always swatch.
Good news! The fiber content matches exactly.
Good news! The qualities of the fibers in this yarn (elasticity, drape, warmth etc.) are a very close match.

LA DROGUERIE
Lin (92% match)
Good news! The texture of this yarn is a close match.
Good news! The fiber content matches exactly.
Good news! The qualities of the fibers in this yarn (elasticity, drape, warmth etc.) are a very close match.
Information This yarn is more dense. Your garment will weigh more than with the original yarn.
Information The gauge almost matches, but you may need to use smaller needles. Swatch to check gauge.

and towards the end of the list:

CLASSIC ELITE YARNS
Bella Lino (70% match)
Good news! The qualities of the fibers in this yarn (elasticity, drape, warmth etc.) are a very close match.
Information This yarn also has a regular, smooth texture, but it is plied with a loose twist rather than plied. It is still a good match, but the ply structure of yarn has an effect on the finished fabric and what it’s best used for.
Information This yarn is more dense. Your garment will weigh more than with the original yarn.
Information The gauge almost matches, but you may need to use smaller needles. Swatch to check gauge.
Information The fiber content is different. This yarn contains: Linen (58%), Viscose (26%) and Cotton (16%)

As well as being a database of yarn substitution for the major and also, the site states, for lots of smaller, companies, it discusses how to make the choices.

This is a wonderful site I’ll be coming back to again and again. It has hundreds of companies listed, including discontinued yarns, which can be so hard to find substitutes for.

Aloo Gajjar Potatoes and Carrots

Aloo Gajjar Potatoes and Carrots

Ingredients

60g ghee
1 teasp cumin seeds
2 potatoes, peeled and diced, about half an inch
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 teasp chilli powder
1 teasp coriander
a little turmeric
salt
juice of half a lemon

Method

On high, heat the ghee in large frying pan and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to pop, add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes before adding the carrots. Stir in the spices and salt, stir for a couple of minutes and add a very little water before covering and cooking on very low heat until the vegetables are cooked.

I add frozen peas just before the end sometimes. Add the lemon juice, stir, serve.

This is one of the many recipes I use from Classic Indian Cuisine Rosemary Moon