Category Archives: Supper Dishes

Cheese and Leek Toasties

Leeks and Cheese on Kefir Toast3

Inspired by Heidi’s comment about grilled cheese sandwiches  on the cheese and pickle post, I rifled through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Vegetable book and found a lovely  simple recipe for cheese and leeks on toast which I have customized slightly to use up half a red pepper as well as my leeks. It is the sort of book that if you are an experienced cook and a vegetarian you probably know most of the methods and techniques in it already,  but I like it for its simple layout and clear straightforward recipes. I think, going by this article I just found, HFW is very fond of cheese on toast. Lots more of his ideas here of things to put on toast : – Posh cheese on toast recipes.

Leeks and Cheese on Kefir Toast2

As I was making vegetable soup anyway and sweating leeks, I borrowed a couple of spoonfuls of the leeks from the early stages of the soup to make this treat. I am going to make it again today as we have lots of leeks in our vegetable box this week.

Leeks and Cheese on Kefir Toast4

Pepper and Leek Cheese on Toast for Two

  • 1 medium leek
  • Half a red pepper (capiscum)
  • 50g of favourite cheese
  • 3 spoonfuls of half fat creme fraiche
  • salt and pepper
  • Thyme or favourite herbs
  • Two chunky slices of favourite bread – here I used my kefir date bread with sesame seed crust

Leeks and Cheese on Kefir Toast1

  1. Sweat the sliced leeks and pepper in a little butter or stock on a low heat
  2. Grate cheese and put to one side
  3. Once leeks and peppers are soft and glistening lower the heat
  4. Slice some bread and toast lightly and put the grill on
  5. Add the creme fraiche and mix in
  6. Add about three quarters of the grated cheese and stir well
  7. Season to taste, add thyme
  8. Pile onto warmed bread and divide the remaining cheese between the two slices
  9. Pop under hot grill and cook till bubbly and browning
  10. Eat!

In My Kitchen July 2013

Blackboard in Zeb Bakes Kitchen

Dog Meds and Vetty things

In my kitchen there are two slim dogs.  Mme L has been ill with pancreatitis and is now on a complicated regime of micro meals and vet stuff to line her little tum with so she doesn’t vomit all the time. Zeb is in rude health once more after his leather eating trauma earlier this year fortunately.

In my kitchen is a blackboard which usually says things like, buy chicken, or take parcel to post office. My blackboard was made by Andy at Arcadian Furniture who restores furniture and makes new pieces too. He made this board for us with just the right size ledge that it could hold a board rubber and chalk and made it out of the same wood as the kitchen, American Oak.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note it says ‘Eat Wed pm’ at the bottom. This is because Brian has had the lurgi for over a week and the doctor said starve yourself for 48 hours and drink Dioralyte.

Dioralyte

We are into 36 hours and I am joining in in solidarity till this evening, when we will partake of ‘clear soup’. Brian has decided we are going to have a Chicken Soup and has gone off to buy himself a chicken. The good news is that, so far today he feels better, so cross fingers the doctor gave him good advice finally.

So what else can I show you?

My neighbour's gift of sweet peas

A stunning handful of fragrant frilly sweet peas grown by my neighbour. We are busily trading lettuce and flowers, cheesy buns and vegetables. My neighbour drives out to visit her mother who is now in a Nursing Home, she who likes my bread, and it is very near a wonderful vegetable grower called Mark Cox who gardens at the Walled Garden at Wrington.

Broad Beans from the Walled Garden at Wrington

Broad Beans from the Walled Garden at Wrington

My neighbour is allowed to pick what she wants more or less and she brings me treasure once a week; last week I had the most beautiful broad beans, chard, cavolo nero, newly dug potatoes, and a perfect artichoke.

I have baked more bread in the kitchen, mostly of the sourdough variety. Here is a particular fetching loaf, which someone on Twitter described as a Tin Tin loaf without the tin. A bread with a quiff!

Tintin loaf of sourdough by Zeb Bakes

At the moment as it is hot here, the easiest way to make the bread is to mix it in the evening, retard it in the fridge, shape and prove early in the morning and bake it.   Works for me just fine!

Pheasant casseroleIn the freezer I discovered three halves of pheasant that I bought from a local butcher in pheasant season earlier this year, so I have made them into a casserole, once I had pulled all the bits of shot and feather out I could find. My casserole consisted of the pheasant, cut into smaller joints, sweet onion and carrots from the Walled Garden, two sticks of celery, herbs from the garden, silver thyme, Greek oregano, sweet Cecily, bay leaves, a few peppercorns, a couple of tablespoons of ancient Pontack sauce (made from foraged elderberries in times of yore) some Chinese rice wine, and vegetable stock. Pheasant is a dry meat to my mind but it is all cooked up now and boxed and back in the freezer for another day.

I also had a crack at making the claypot pork dish that Celia made from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse blog.

Ingredients for Claypot Belly Pork

Here is a pile of bottles that I had to get in order to have a go at it. I already had a kg piece of belly pork from Thoroughly Wild Meat who supplies us with salt marsh lamb hidden in the freezer.

I don’t have a claypot so I made it in my regular casserole. It smelled divine while it was cooking but that too has gone into the freezer as it coincided with Brian and his Lurgi.

Ottolenghi Turkey and Courgette Meatballs from Jerusalem

Ottolenghi Turkey and Courgette Meatballs from Jerusalem

I have also made the fantabulous Ottolenghi turkey and courgette meatballs with sumac sauce, a recipe which is in his Jerusalem but you can probably find written out by someone or other on the net if you look. These little nuggets solve the mystery of doing something tasty with the incredibly boring meat that is turkey mince. I thought they were a bit fiddly to make but if you are set on eating turkey mince and have spare courgettes, then give them a whirl, because the end result is worth it.

Home grown courgettes

In my kitchen were our first veggies apart from lettuce and rocket – three pale green courgettes – which I fried with garden mint in a little butter and oil  about five minutes after harvesting them and had them with some rice and chard while Brian looked the other way.

I have been eating North Sea brown shrimp, odd bits of roast chicken,  and lettuce and bread. Feeling guilty that I can eat and he can’t, though not that guilty that I couldn’t cruelly munch my way through half a bag of M and M’s last night while catching up on the White Queen on the telly box while The Hollow Man averted his gaze.

3IMK

I also had a box of very special chocolates from Haigh’s hand-delivered from Melbourne from a blog friend who is visiting the UK. Lucky lucky me and I loved meeting her and her husband in my kitchen and plying them with cake, more of which another day. (There are no chocolates left of course!)

After watching the White Queen (historical drama based around the time of the War of the Roses)  I always have to spend ages on Wiki looking up the Kings and Queens of England, the Kings all seem to be called Edward or Henry and all the queens Elizabeth. Many of them are a little stressed out.  I have no memory, nor interest in retaining their names and who was married off to whom in political unions but  I am enjoying the White Queen, chiefly because I like the way they roll their eyes in a thoroughly modern way when they marvel and gasp at each other’s Machiavellian ways.

Eat Wed PM

But back to the kitchen –  by the time I get to the end of this post it has indeed become Wed pm and we have made supper.

My grandmother's Willow Pattern soup bowl

The man vet said ‘clear soup’ we translated that tonight into Canja de Galinha  – ‘a soup for what ails you ‘  – as made in the one and only Bewitching Kitchen by Sally.  A Brazilian take on a Portuguese soup, which hit all the right notes for Brian being substantial but super low in fat and super soothing.

Brian's soup

Brian chopped the veggies and I poached the chicken and we cooked far too much rice, but we didn’t care. I invoked the spirit of my paternal grandmother Lily and got out her Willow pattern soup bowls which have nursed more versions of chicken soup than I can remember in their long life and hope that he is cured now. (I added a liberal splosh of chilli ginger sauce to mine as I hadn’t been on starvation watch, but I have never seen Brian attack a bowl of soup with quite such enthusiasm).

I realise it has been far too long since I wrote one of these IMK posts, but if you want to read a whole lot more or indeed join in,  you should visit lovely Celia @ figjamandlimecordial.com whose meme this is and peek at her sidebar as there are lots and lots of kitchens to visit from her links.

Pasticcio Macaroni

Pasticicio Macaroni

Lately I have discovered the joys of macaroni, a variety of pasta I have always held in deep suspicion, something to do with my school days and the fact that I am not that fond of cheesy white sauce.

The great thing about this dish is that the cheesy sauce sort of disappears into the pasta, keeping it lovely and soft and full of flavour and you don’t have mouthfuls of wet slop to contend with when you eat it which is probably what put me off at school all those years ago.

Again it is another dish that you probably all know but I have never made it at home before so just in case you need a delicious comfort food that can feed loads of people and that can be easily reheated, I suggest you pop over to Jane @ Tea With Hazel where the recipe for Pasticcio Macaroni lives and have a go at making it. I followed it pretty much word for word, very easy to follow recipe, thank you Jane!

We love the cinnamon and allspice with lamb, which makes a change from the everyday rosemary, mint and lemon that we tend to pair with this meat. The top becomes light and bouncy and a little bit crunchy when you reheat it, so you get a good variety of texture. We were eating it all last week with a variety of steamed vegetables or salads and were perfectly happy. You can cut it into squares and just warm it up whenever it suits you.

I reduced the amount of meat from the original recipe to 400g because I didn’t have the right amount in the freezer, and used a mixture of feta, cheddar, ricotta and parmesan (all bits and pieces lurking in the cheese box in the fridge)  in the topping, but like all these sorts of dishes they adapt easily to what you have available.

Greek oregano in between the peony shoots

Greek oregano in between the peony shoots

We have greek oregano growing in the garden, I bought a little plant years ago and now it seeds itself all over the garden and makes itself at home;  it has a definite affinity with pebbles and stones.

I rarely make baked pasta dishes but this one has just shot to the top of my go-to list.

Do you have a favourite baked pasta dish?

Of Celery and Stock and Lentils…

Celery Gratin Prep

Last week I made a celery gratin and a lentil salad side dish to go with it. I also cooked some tiny chorizo sausages that Brian had bought as they needed using up, so it wasn’t in the end a vegetarian meal, but it was meant to be. Good intentions eh?

For the celery gratin I followed the method in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book on Vegetable cooking. I do have lots of cook books and after writing the last post I realise I am maybe not using them properly, so by writing the post it prompted me to open my books!

You bake the celery covered in foil with aromatics and a little butter.  In this case, I used bay leaf and thyme, both from my garden. Once baked and tender, I followed the recipe to make a sauce from the liquid exuded from the celery and a little cream and sprinkled the top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated hard cheese, such as parmesan and then put it back under the grill to bake and go an inviting golden crispy colour.  I found it a little bland so if I was going to make it again I would maybe add some other vegetables into the mix, but it was good to do something I wouldn’t normally do and see how it came out.

Uncooked Le Puy Lentils

I am on much more familiar ground with cooking lentils. One of my favourites, and I suspect that of many other people too, are the Le Puy lentils which hold their shape when they are cooked and have a wonderful earthy nutty flavour.

Home made vegetable stock

I boiled the lentils briefly first, before covering them in home made vegetable stock, the recycled bay leaf, (I have a whole shrub of it in the garden but I was feeling lazy)  parsley stalks and a couple of cloves of garlic. For the vegetable stock I used the leaf and off cuts from the celery dish, some ageing carrots, parsley and an onion.

Cooking Lentils

Once the lentils had cooked, I drained them and dressed them while warm with a little balsamic vinegar and oil and then added some cubes of yellow beetroot, cooked the day before, some feta cheese, some little tomatoes, spring (salad) onions and some basil and salad leaves.

Together with another bowl of salad leaves and some pita bread popped in the toaster direct from the freezer this was a happy meal which we shared with our lovely neighbour last week.

These sorts of dishes are really adaptable to using up small quantities of salad veggies and bits of cheese that you need to use up. They are colourful, a healthy mix of food types, and they store well in the fridge once mixed, good for lunch boxes too!

Le Puy Lentil Salad

Lean Pork with Creme Fraiche in a Red Pepper Sauce

pork with red pepper sauce

I found myself putting this together the other night and when I had finished I realised that it was very similar to the sort of food my mother cooked, when she cooked, which wasn’t often. Her food usually involved some sort of lean meat, pork was a favourite, paprika, and cream and a slosh of sherry.

For cream I substitute creme fraiche as this doesn’t trigger Brian’s asthma like sweet cream does. I like the tangy taste it contributes to the sauce as well.

home made biber salcasi

It helps if you have a jar of home made biber salcasi to use up and some skinny pork in the freezer which you forgot you had…

Red Peppers

To make biber salcasi the way I like it, which is not too hot, you can do one of two things.

Jar of roast peppers.jpg

  • Use cheap red peppers if they are in season or buy a jar of already roasted and skinned peppers from the supermarket or middle eastern store.
  • If you buy fresh ones. Put the oven on and roast them on a tray until the skins blister and soften.  Then peel the skins off and remove the inside white parts and seeds. Save the liquid that comes out from the middle and add it to a stock or a soup as it is delicious.
  • Puree the roasted peppers with salt to taste, start with a teaspoon for about 6 large peppers, and as much or as little fresh red chilli as you prefer. I use relatively little, but I am a wimp.
  • Spread the pureed mixture on an oven tray and put it back in the oven on a low temperature. This is to evaporate the liquid and thicken the sauce. If you live somewhere hot, you can of course just put it out in the sunshine.
  • Store in a clean jar, covered in olive oil in the fridge. Make little and often and you should use it up fairly quickly.

roastpepper

You can add this simple sauce to all manner of dishes, soups and vegetable dishes in particular when you tire of tomato with everything, but still want the happy red colour that tomatoes bring to a dish but with the delicate bitter-sweet quality that roasted red peppers offer.

Pork with Creme Fraiche and Biber Salcasi

  • 250 grams of lean pork cut into strips
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 – 10 tbsps of biber salcasi
  • 1 chopped up fresh red pepper
  • Water
  • ¼ tub about 4 tbsps of creme fraiche
  • salt
  • pepper to taste

To prepare:-

  1. Sweat the onion in a little oil or butter until it is translucent and just starting to colour
  2. Add the strips of pork and continue to cook gently for a few minutes, it shouldn’t take long
  3. Add the chopped up red pepper
  4. Add the biber salcasi and some water to create a sauce
  5. Put a lid on the whole lot and let it sweat away gently for another few minutes
  6. Just before you are ready to serve, stir the creme fraiche into the pan and make sure it is well mixed and everything is hot. Don’t let it boil.
  7. Sprinkle a little chopped fresh greenery on the top
  8. Serve with plain rice and a green vegetable of your choice. I used the last of the flower sprouts which are just about all we have left growing in our veg bed right now.
  9. Flower sprouts in February

Just right for a wintery day and it doesn’t take that long to make either!

This is how I cook most of the time –  no cook book, just a memory, I tend to cook most of our suppers that way, either from memories of food I have cooked before or been given. My evening meal tactics are pretty basic.

What needs using up? What is lurking in the fridge and the freezer? Are there leftovers that can be turned into a meal? That’s the first stage. The next one is to think what we have had in the last few days and what might be nice to have. If we have been eating too much of one sort of food then we choose something else. Speed plays a huge part in the process. If I have left it too late to think about supper then simple and speedy wins out every time, opening a book would slow me right down, so I rarely bother at that point. So we live on stir frys and steamed vegetables, baked potatoes and risotto, kedgeree. If my neighbour comes for supper I try a little harder, I might make Nigel Slater’s Thai Fish cakes, or a vegetable gratin. Occasionally I might see a lovely dish on a blog and I certainly book mark some amazing food that I see on the internet. But in real life, in real time, I make simple speedy food and try to waste as little as possible.

How about you?

Twitter Tagliatelle Tutorial – almost as good as being in someone else’s kitchen

Tagliatelle making

For the full Tweety Conversation pulled together by Lynne using Storify click here :  Twitter Tagliatelle Tutorial

My abbreviated version with mainly Carla’s tweets and photos  – loads quicker or if you have a slow connection – click here) of the tutorial on Twitter that Carla gave us yesterday on making pasta with the Imperia pasta machine. I was given this wonderful gadget as a birthday present last year by my lovely sister and this was its first outing. I had borrowed one last year from Mitch who lives in Bristol but there was something lacking in our technique the one time we tried and we felt a bit out of our depth, so when Carla, expert chef,  (in Rome) offered to teach me yesterday, I jumped at the chance!

The Imperia

I could write it all out here as a post but that doesn’t give the feeling of the fun of doing this yesterday and this way you get to see all Carla’s wonderfully detailed photos and read her instructions. She is a fantastic tutor and I feel really confident now that I can do this again!

Freshly cut tagliatelle

Lynne, who tweets as @josordoni, another Twitter friend of Gibassier fame, has kindly spent some time to make the Storify story. I had a try at using Storify, but left out my own tweets.  Lynne joined in and made the noodles by hand, an act of great determination!

I served the tagliatelle with chestnut mushrooms, onion, parsley, and a sauce of Charvroux goats cheese and some Serrano ham

I served the tagliatelle with chestnut mushrooms, onion, parsley, and a sauce of Charvroux goats cheese and some Serrano ham

So thank you Carla and thank you Lynne so very much for the company and the joy of sharing.  You are both such kind and generous friends and I wonder daily at this world where one can be friends with people who one has never met in person and have such fun.

Have a lovely weekend!

Zeb Eats Tagliatelle and Dreams of Carla

My pasta was made with

  • 3 eggs weighing about 140g unshelled
  • 150 g of 00 Italian flour
  • 150g of Semonlina Rimacinata flour (the finely milled durum wheat, which has a fine slightly gritty feel)
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • and a lot of love from Carla