Salad with falafel and eggs

Ingredients

  • mixed salad leafs, or baby spinach washed and dried
  • eggs boiled until soft-hard, one per person
  • cooked falafels, a few, broken into small pieces
  • yogurt
  • tahini
  • lemon juice
  • finely chopped/crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • roasted ground cumin

Method

Put the salad leaves in a serving bowl, mix in the falafels – I took them from the fridge, left over from yesterday, and broke them up by gently crushing them.

For the dressing: mix the rest of the ingredients, I used several tablespoons of yoghurt and 2 teasps of tahini. It’s all to taste.

Mix the dressing into the salad.

Cut the tops of the eggs and scoop the egg into the salad, gently mix again.

That’s it. The toast addict had it on top of toast. I had it on its own.

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Matar paneer: paneer and peas in a fragrant tomato-based sauce

This is my go-to recipe for what to do with the paneer you made in the previous post. Although I have the matching book by Julie Sahni on vegetarian food, this is from her Classic Indian Cooking. She introduces it with a lecture about the paneer:

The flavour and texture of the paneer are of prime importance here. The cheese should be sweet and fresh-smelling; it should feel firm to the touch but not hard; it should be moist but not wet; and finally, its texture should be close and compact, not porous. (If the paneer is dry and too solid, the cheese pieces will taste hard and rubbery, and the sauce will not penetrate the paneer, leaving it with a bland taste. If the paneer is too wet and loose-textured, it will not hold its shape, but will fall apart while it is being fried.)

We like this dish, but I’m undecided as to whether my paneer stands up to these exacting requirements.

Ingredients for six people

  • one portion of paneer (already made)
  • 12 tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil
  • 375g finely chopped onion
  • 1 teasp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 2 teasps ground coriander
  • 1 teasp turmeric
  • 1/2 teasp each red and black pepper (I only use black)
  • 1 teasp paprika
  • 375g tinned chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • 300g shelled fresh peas (or frozen)
  • 2 teasps salt
  • 2 teasps garam masala
  • 4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Method

  • slice the paneer into bite-sized cubes and leave to dry for half an hour on grease-proof paper (a plate would do fine)
  • heat 3 tblesps of the ghee in a heavy based frying pan, medium heat. Sahni says preferably non-stick, but I don’t have one to hand and do fine without, but my pan is definitely heavy based. You want to do the cheese some at a time, don’t crowd the pan, turn them gently so that they get browned on all sides if possible. She suggests about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl/plate and do the next lot and then – I find – the last lot. It does all splatter a bit, I have a couple of burns on my arm at the moment. Other people will probably manage to avoid that 🙂
  • Add the rest of the ghee to the pan, and increase heat to high. Add the onions and stir all the time until light brown – you really don’t want a burnt taste, which is why you have to be diligent about the stirring.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, fry a couple more minutes.
  • Add all the spices. Stir quickly to mix thoroughly and add the tomatoes. Cook until it thickens and the fat begins to separate from the sauce, which will be about 10 minutes.
  • Add a cup of water, bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a high simmer and cover, leave for 20 minutes, stir now and again. Sahni cools and purees the sauce at this point. I don’t see the need, particularly as she calls for it to still have texture.
  • Now add the peas, paneer, salt and half a cup of water. Bring to boil, reduce to a good simmer again, cook covered until peas are done, this will take longer if the peas were fresh.
  • Let dish rest off the heat for an hour and then reheat thoroughly. Before serving, stir in garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.

I’m very happy to make more of this sauce and freeze it, with a view to being ready for the adding peas, paneer etc when you want this dish.

When you’ve run out of paneer and still have sauce left, try adding hard boiled eggs.

I was wondering, given that it seems in general best to avoid frying things, if it’s okay to do this recipe with paneer which hasn’t been fried first. Looking around, I see lots of people do and lots of people don’t. I note one recipe which says to soak the paneer in water AFTER it’s been fried, while  you are cooking the sauce. I think I’m going to try the non-fried version and if it all holds together, I’ll stick to that. And report back, of course.

Breakfast banana pancakes

My friend Wren introduced me to these which are surprisingly good and easy and healthy.

banana pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • cinammon

Method

Mash bananas, beat eggs, mix all ingredients together.

Fry as one would a normal pancake. They will go brown on each side.

Serve

You can serve these so many ways. If the banana is properly ripe, you certainly don’t need any additional sweetening ingredient. If you ask me, maple syrup would be overkill.

I served them with drained yoghurt to which I’d added some apple juice. Any sort of fruit can be added on top. Today strawberries because they are so cheap right now: Italian, 4CHF/kg and quite nice at that price. But you do get what you pay for. The 9CHF for 500g strawberries from Provence are 4 times as good!

For the future: I wondered about separating the whites and whipping them stiff before folding them in, with the intention of making these lighter. I’m curious to see how that turns out.

Reminder: I made a complete hash out of turning these. Hence the strategically placed yoghurt.

 

Belinda Jeffery’s absolutely scrumptious pork pie

absolutely scrumptious pork, thyme and apple pie Belinda Jeffery

aka her family’s ‘Christmas pie’ which is when I make it too

Serves 6-8.

ingredients

  • shortcrust pastry (she makes her own, I buy it)
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 180g bacon, rind removed, cut fairly finely
  • 3 teasp finely chopped thyme or oregano
  • 2 tblesp finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg or ground mace to taste (try 1/4 teasp)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 small eggs, hard-boiled and peeled (I use quail)
  • milk to brush the pastry top (she uses an egg yolk and water)

to serve:

  • red cabbage or beetroot pickle
  • tomato or apricot chutney

method

  • Preheat oven to 200C and lightly butter a 24cm springform cake tin. Put aside.
  • Mix the filling ingredients except for the small eggs.
  • Line the tin with pastry, leaving a 2 cm overhang. Half-fill tin with mixture and smooth it out. Make 4 little hollows in which the eggs go. Cover with the remaining filling.
  • Dampen the edges of the pastry overhang, add a pastry lid and pinch edges together tightly to seal. Crimp and trim the edges as you please.
  • Brush the top with the milk or eggwash. Prick holes into the top to allow steam to escape. You can embellish the top with left over pastry trim in shapes to taste if you haven’t already eaten it.
  • Put the pie on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 180C and cook for another 50 minutes. Belinda’s advice is that ‘If the juices bubble up in the final stages of cooking, just mop them up with paper towel and return the pie to the oven to dry out for a few minutes.’ When cooked, leave out to cook in the tin and then chill, preferably overnight.

To serve: run a blunt knife around the edges of the tin to loosen the pie, then release and remove the sides of the tin. Sit on a platter or board in thick slices with the pickles and/or chutney.

It keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Satay sauce

I have to start with an apology to my past, present and future sex providers. When I think I’ve died and gone to heaven it’s always because I’ve eaten this sauce. Sorry about that.

Ingredients

200-250g crunchy peanut butter
150g palm sugar
tamarind concentrate mixed with water
5 finely chopped red chillies
5 finely chopped cloves garlic
1 large can coconut milk thoroughly shaken
a little grape seed oil

Method

Fry the garlic in the oil gently until becoming golden. Add the chillies and the sugar, followed by the peanut butter and the tamarind. Mix thoroughly and then add the coconut milk. Cook, stirring, until the oil is separating from the mix

Cool and store in fridge in screwtop jars. Stephanie Alexander says this lasts for months, but I wouldn’t know. I’m lucky if I can make it last til dinner time.

My guess is about a tablesp of the tamarind with about 4 tblsps of water.

Stephanie Alexander does this with peanuts, which is my preference if I have them. She says brown sugar or palm. I love palm sugar and always use it. She also says to take tamarind pulp, soak it, extract the juice. I happened to have the concentrate and it seems okay to me, but in the past I’ve used the extraction method. Her recommendation is peanut oil for the frying, but I used grapeseed because it was in the cupboard and it has a neutral flavour.

Stephanie Alexander gives this in conjunction with a recipe for a marinade for the meat to go with it. Of course a famous way to use this sauce is as the star of gadogado. Today for lunch we are having a very simple version of that. A few raw vegetables, a little fried tofu. Some rice on the side.

 

 

 

Scotch Eggs – Two Fat Ladies’ style

Two Fat Ladies’ Scotch Eggs

They simply have no idea, these two, how to write a book and it really makes a difference. Just being good cooks is not enough.

In this case, I find that this recipe does nowhere near 8 normal sized eggs. However, as it happens, I like using quails eggs so that you have something more like finger food.

Makes 8

10 large eggs (but be warned, see intro)
200 grams cooked ham
6 anchovy fillets
100 grams fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter or bacon fat

Boil 8 eggs in cold water brought to the boil and simmered for 5 minutes, put immediately into cold water and then peel.

Beat 2 eggs

Finely chop ham and anchovies – I’ve done it by hand, but you can use something mechanical. Mix in breadcrumbs, mixed spice, freshly ground pepper and most of the beaten egg.

Brush each boiled egg with the remaining beaten egg. Mould the ham mix aroung the eggs with your hands.

Fry in oil and butter on a medium heat until brown all over.

Spicy herby eensy eggs

Miniature omelettes

These are so good. Sit around the kitchen and eat them out of the pan.

Ingredients

3 eggs
good pinch of ground cumin
finely chopped fresh mint
finely chopped fresh parsley
3 spring onions, white part, very finely chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Method

Mix the eggs with the cumin and then everything else but the olive oil. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan: perhaps 5mm of oil. Slip teaspoons of the mixture into the hot oil. Allow the omelettes to puff up and brown around the edges – these are so small, they don’t need turning. Remove with a slotted spoon to a hot plate and eat while you are cooking the rest. Oh, if you have to be civilised about it, remove with a slotted spoon to a hot plate lined with crumpled kitchen paper and keep warm. When all are cooked, serve. You can top with a little more cumin mixed with GOOD salt.

recipe idea from Stephanie Alexander The Cook’s Companion