Egg, Avo salad

Rough notes.

I mashed an avo, added a bit of plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.

Chopped up some lettuce leaves (from the garden!) and two hard boiled eggs. Cubed some Paris Creek fetta. I mention the brand because it’s quite different from a lot of fetta. Drier, slightly rubbery. I love it, and wouldn’t normally eat fetta at the fridge door, if you want the full ad. I don’t know that I’d add what I think of as normal fetta to this.

Mixed.

Served with toast.

Variations are no doubt infinite.

 

Kale pesto: the good and the bad news

We happened to pick up some organic kale straight from a garden on our way home a few days ago. A couple of options stood out for using it, one being pesto.

I just did pretty much the same as I do with ordinary pesto except the green is kale. I did take out the stalks and ribs first.

It tasted FABULOUS. Which is obviously good….

But maybe bad? I love things being seasonal. To me one of the joys of summer is basil and that means pesto. The idea that I can have pesto out of season is one I’m going to have to chew over, but I’m afraid it’s going to be hard to swallow.

Signed: confused.

Hard-boiled eggs in spicy cream sauce Madhur Jaffrey

Hard-boiled eggs in spicy cream sauce

The first time I made this, the sister of the person I was living with was coming to dinner. EGGS???!!!! What SORT of dinner food is that?

Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s lunch or breakfast or something. But…

But I adored it. Eggs and curry. They were born to be together.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1″ (2.5cm) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ -1 fresh, hot green chilli, finely chopped – seeded if you are mouse, not man
1.5 cups (275ml) cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground, roasted cumin seeds *
a pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons tomato purée
¼ pint (150ml) chicken stock
6-8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut crosswise into halves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method

Heal oil over medium heat in large, non-stick frying pan, add onion and stir, frying for a few minutes until just starting to brown. Add the ginger and chilli, stir for a minute or so and then add all the other ingredients but the eggs and coriander. Give this a good stir to mix while bringing to a simmer.

Put all egg halves into the sauce in a single layer, cut side up. Spoon sauce over them. Cook over medium heat for about 5 mins, spooning sauce over the eggs frequently. By this time, the sauce should have become fairly thick and you’ve been gentle so the eggs are in one piece still. Well, two in a manner of speaking. You can just serve into plates or bring to the table in a serving dish, eggs neatly yolk side up with the sauce gently added to them. The coriander is now sprinkled on top.

Serve with rice. This is I can’t stop salivating good.

* Roast the cumin seeds in a small frying pan with a good heavy base. Keep an eye on them, you want them to turn a bit darker but NOT burn. They will smell ready. I make up a quantity of these now and then, keep some whole and grind some which will then live in its own container…

This recipe is Madhur Jaffrey’s. I’ve worded it to taste.

Cumquats in a salad

This is especially for Phil. I have a cumquat addict in the house, against the odds by far, since nobody I have ever known likes them. It made me wonder what one could do to make them work for the population at large.

The trick is to salad them….

Rocket, Pecan and Cumquat salad

Wash and dry the rocket, place in a salad bowl.

Toast pecans and sliver, add to the rocket.

Slice the cumquats and take out the seeds, which I gather are rather nasty unless you are a true KQ addict. I expect they would be nice simply added to the mix now, but if you want to go slightly unhealthy and do something decadent with them, fry them in butter, add a little sugar to caramelise them – that didn’t happen for me, but I imagine the sugar was still a nice addition.

Deglaze the pan by adding vinegar and olive oil, mix thoroughly with the cumquats and their sauce. Put all this on the rocket and pecans, mix thoroughly.

Eat.

Really not bad. Obviously one would have any number of variations. But the bottom line is, it’s a lovely thing to do with the cumquats, which will have a beautifully slightly tart, slightly sour, slightly sweet impact.

Do this with enough of them and it would make a nice sauce accompanying a piece of roast meat/chicken for example. I imagine starting with shallots and then adding cumquats could be nice too.

 

Dressing for carrot and cucumber

Just so as I don’t forget:

Coarsely grate carrot and cucumber. Squeeze cucumber to remove excess liquid.

Dressing:

  • Tamari
  • sesame oil
  • lemon juice
  • sugar
  • rice vinegar or similar
  • neutral oil like grape
  • toasted sesame seeds

You can mix all this up including half the sesame seeds with the carrot and cucumber. Then garnish before serving with the rest of the seeds.

Zucchini fritters with garam masala and a raita

For two people.

For the fritters/pancakes

  • four small-medium zucchinis, topped, tailed and grated
  • an egg, beaten
  • garam masala
  • plain flour with a little baking powder added
  • milk
  • salt and pepper
  • oil/ghee

Mix the grated zucchini with a little salt, leave for 5-10 minutes and squeeze to remove some moisture, which I added to a soup I happened to be making.

Mix in other ingredients, quantities being rather a matter of opinion how you want these to turn out. I went more for pancake than fritter, ie a bit sloppy. Remember that you have already added some salt when you are seasoning.

I shallow fry with as little oil as possible in a non-stick pan. It should make about 7 small pieces, each one is maybe two dessert spoons full.

For the raita: I mixed a large grated carrot with about a cup of natural yoghurt and added a little salt and pepper. Mix. Just before serving heat a little oil in a small non-stick pan, when hot add a teaspoon (or more) of cumin seeds and chilli powder to taste, swirl once or twice, don’t burn!! Tip over the yoghurt/carrot, mix in.

Serve.

Notes for apple crumble

Why put chilli in stewed apples? Because this is a dish eaten with tea and the chilli adds a moreish taste which goes with tea the same way a curry does.

Note: when stewing apples, you need to stir often as they cook quickest on the bottom and otherwise you will end up with a combination of mush and half crunchy apple – of course, that may be exactly what you want!

For one standard pie dish:

For the filling:

  • 6 granny smiths peeled, cored and sliced
  • dash of water
  • sugar to taste – with sweeter apples maybe none
  • cloves
  • freshly ground cinammon
  • a few dried chillies crushed/crumbled

Bring to boil in saucepan, they don’t take long to soften, stir once or twice.

For the topping (I didn’t measure the ingredients):

  • whole oats
  • sugar
  • dessicated coconut
  • powdered ginger
  • cinammon
  • finely chopped pecans
  • butter in small pieces

Preheat oven to 180C

  • Butter pie dish and add apples, take out cloves.
  • Mix all ingredients for topping and rub in butter. It will be dry in parts and lumpy
  • Spread over apples

Bake until topping looks ready.

Serve piping hot with natural thick yoghurt. Yoghurt could be cream, creme fraiche or icecream.

Had half for dessert, the rest will be breakfast in the morning.

Added: I have also made this with no sugar on granny smiths, and with treacle instead of sugar on the crumble. If using treacle add after you have rubbed in the butter.

White bean and spinach pasta sauce

One of our favourite spaghetti sauces is a tarted up white bean puree. You can see it here.

It got me thinking, recently, as spinach season comes upon us here in Geneva…

This is a three ingredient dish. Rinse and drain a can of white beans. Put them in a saucepan. Add some washed spinach – I did a few large handfuls. Enough water to make sure it all cooks without sticking. When spinach is done enough for you, you might want to take some of the water out, I did, though I saved it to add later if required – or it can be added to vegetable stock. Puree. Add salt and pepper.

I suggest letting this sit overnight in the fridge, it’ll taste better the next day.

When spaghetti is still a bit too al dente, drain but not carefully, you want a little water still in the pot, put spaghetti back in the pot and add the sauce to taste. Start with a few big spoonfuls, you can add more later. Keep stirring over low heat while the spaghetti absorbs some liquid so that the sauce isn’t watery. Last moment add maybe 100g of grated mature cheddar and mix thoroughly.

Serve. I think this is enough for four.

Value for effort? Tops.

I love sauces which are cheap, easy to make, and if you can freeze them (which I assume I will be able to do with this one), so much the better.

Update: we have since tried this thus:

  • with a little pesto stirred in at the table: parsley, pinenuts, garlic, a little cheese, heavy on the olive oil.
  • bacon chopped and fried and added at the end
  • parmesan cheese at the table

Last time I made it, I started with an onion chopped and fried in a little ghee before adding the beans and spinach.

Hard to see what you can do wrong with this dish.

Two things you need to know about Swiss Chard before you die

1)  It gives wonderful depth of colour ranging from a delightful pink tinge to spaghetti sauce or something more polished to stock.

2) The stalks taste lovely raw. If they are too ropey, finely chop and add to stock.

Things I’ve done with it lately:

  • Started off with plain chicken stock made from wings (of course). I keep that in the freezer. Defrosted, added fairly finely chopped vegetables: some ordinary cabbage, peas, a bit of broccoli, parsley – to taste and according to what you have to hand. I included all the chopped stalks of a bunch of chard, having used the leaves for other things. Just before serving, I added a bag of tortellini, spinach and cheese which serves two. A few minutes later, serve. You might want to put parmesan on the table, but I don’t think this needs it.
  • risotto with prunes and pinenuts and lots of the leaves finely chopped. My base is olive oil, shallots, and white wine. Love the colour of this.
  • spaghetti sauce consisting of tin of tuna, finely chopped leaves, garlic, shallots, olive oil, served with parmesan.

Puff pastry for flat tarts

How time flies. A few years ago I wrote a couple of  posts on puff pastry tarts, both based on best summer tomatoes.  Details here for one featuring tapenade and here for one with buffalo mozzarella.

Tonight I got around to doing this again.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1-2 onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • tomatoes – about 20 cherry or equivalent
  • avocado

Method

Preheat the oven as per packet instructions and then on waxed paper bake the pastry for up to 10 minutes, it really depends on the oven. You don’t want to overdo it, as it’s going back in.

While you are doing all that, caramelise thinly sliced onion  at least one, in olive oil. Take out the onion and add sliced tomato – I added about 20 cherry tomatoes each sliced into three – and a little finely chopped garlic. You don’t want to overcook the tomato, just collapse it.

Take the pastry from the oven, sprinkle with the onion and tomato. Return to oven for at least five minutes. Keep an eye on it, you’ll be able to tell. Meanwhile, peel and slice an avocado.

Take the tart out of the oven, scatter the avocado on top. Slice. Eat. Yum!

And too simple for words.